Tuesday
Dec162014

New Mix: Nick Minieri-Hometown (Boston Producer Showcase Mix)

At the end of every year I usually do some sort of recap on my favorite tracks by local cats here in Boston. I opted to do it in the form of a DJ mix instead of a listicle this year to just let the tunes do the talking. It was recorded on a bit of a whim last week but has been well-received so far since initially posting it on Soundcloud.

Some of the tunes in this mix are by good friends of mine, some by peeps I barely know but respect, others are prospects for my Zakim label for next year. On top of that, some of these tracks are free downloads, a few can be purchased on Beatport, and around half are unreleased as of right now but will likely be dropping in the first half of 2015.

Historically, Boston has always struggled to get much press in large electronic media outlets, Soul Clap aside. In 2014, this has started to change. Features on Do Androids Dance of tracks by Colin Domigan, Moduloktopus and Graphs. Glowing reviews on John Barera & Will Martin’s debut album on Resident Advisor, XLR8R and FACT Mag. Widespread A-list DJ support of tracks by JSTJR, Durkin, and Twism/B3RAO. It’s nice seeing heads starting to turn, realizing the city isn’t just hidden by the shadow of New York.

So all in all, I want to personally thank all the great producers in this city for making and sending me so many great tracks. Let’s keep it going in 2015!

The mix is simply titled “Hometown”. Hope you enjoy.

Anja Schneider: Dubmission (Smeed & Suspence Remix)
Sheffield Boys: The Best Coast
Colin Domigan: Free Beer
JLO: Waiting For Tonight (Twism & B3RAO 2014 Remix)
John Barera & Anton M: Gathering
Techncn: Traipse
Ali Berger: Gallery (Midnight Mix)
Soul Clap & Robert Owens: Misty
John Barera & Will Martin: It’s Alright
John Barera & Will Martin: Moonlight
DRJ (Doctor Jeep): Luv 4 Me
Twism & B3RAO: Everyman
Ali Berger: Kick It
JSTJR: Killa Bass
Moduloktopus: Headdie Murphy
Skeeza: Don’t Cha
Lightfoot: Blown Out
Durkin: Feel It
Nick Garcia: vMotional
Cirrus: No Matter
Graphs: Schemata
Graphs & Tone Ra: Chopper
Undrig: Backslider (R.A.W. Remix)
EHT: Amethyst
Stranjah: Demonology
Vax: Vulpineal (Undrig Remix)
Abiliphy: Drift
Noya: It’s All a Hologram

Tuesday
Dec162014

Cool Free Stuff: Boards of Canada-Olson (Midland Re-Edit) (House)

Nice little re-edit here from British DJ/producer Midland. Originally a one-minute piece buried at the end of one of their earliest albums, Midland plucked the Boards of Canada’s “Olson” from relative obscurity when he first presented it in his FACT Mag mix from 2010. Midland adds some rhythm and a bassline to his version which the original lacked, while keeping both attributes lightweight to keep the focus on the original’s graceful pads. Get it in full WAV format below.

Monday
Dec152014

Cool Free Stuff: Mateo Murphy-7506 1445 (Dub Techno)

When Montreal-based techno producer Mateo Murphy bought his Roland AIRA at the beginning of 2014, his new year resolution was to create one track per week using only that drum machine plus the x0xb0x for pads and effects. Calling this project “7506”, he’s not only kept true to the resolution, but many of the resulting tracks are also free downloads on his Soundcloud page. For starters, check out “7506 - 1445”, released a month ago. A hypnotic nine minutes of dub techno, 7506 - 1445 has that raw and organic aesthetic that many producers laud early, hardware-based electronic music for. Check it out below.

Monday
Dec152014

Ticket Giveaway! Youngsta & Truth at Wonderbar, Friday 12.19

A synopsis on the early days of dubstep would not be complete without a mention of London’s own DJ Youngsta. With a highly-coveted residency at FWD>> (one of the first club nights to define the dubstep scene in its infancy) along with a radio gig at Rinse.FM, Youngsta was one of the first DJ’s peddling this sound to the masses. He helped break guys like Skream, Benga, and Digital Mystikz a decade ago, and continues to break little-known artists today.  

When Youngsta plays, expect an upfront set of unadulterated rhythms. Every producer in the world that attempts to produce or emulate the dark, desolate sounds from dubstep’s early years sends their demos to Youngsta. The sound has a lot of nostalgic merit to it, but no two Youngsta sets are the same. He’s one of the few DJ’s in the scene still revered for exposing unheard music, as opposing to playing from a prescribed playlist based on what’s worked in the past. 


Youngsta returns to Boston this Friday, playing alongside Truth at Wonderbar. Truth are also solid producers who wear the pants of dubstep’s earliest sounds quite well, while also tastefully sneaking in current-day sonics when appropriate. They’ve released on a wide array of labels, including Tempa, Deep Medi, Rotten, SMOG, and Tuba, amongst others. 


Supporting Truth and Youngsta are Mike Skillz and Terraphorm. Thanks to NV Concepts and Resonate, we’re giving away a free pair of tix to this show! Just “like” Beantown Boogiedown and Resonate on Facebook, and leave your name and email in the comments section below. Winner gets drawn on Friday (the day of the show) at 12pm. Good luck! 

Facebook event page

Thursday
Dec112014

Backyard: Boston Chiptune Label Rhythmus Readies Debut 8-Bit Compilation

There is no shortage of nostalgic folklore from the 80s and 90s that has been slowly falling back into favor over the past few years. One of the more interesting ones being an entire scene built around the concept of crafting original music based on classic 8-bit video games we played when we were growing up. Known by many as “Chiptune”, this low-fidelity sound encompasses an array of different styles; its notoriety lies in the fact many of these songs were composed on the actual video game consoles they strive to emulate!

While chiptune is a global movement, one ambassador for the sound right here in our own backyard is Radio Skotvoid. He’s launching a new record label, Rhythmus Records, to focus exclusively on its lo-fi beauty. Rhythmus not only showcases domestic talent, including tracks by Boston 8-Bit, this city’s most enduring purveyors of the sound, but also worldwide. The label releases its debut album on December 19th.

 

Humbly titled Rhythmus Presents…[rr001], this debut compilation is a largely instrumental look at the way the Nintendo Game Boy was meant to be heard. Tracks such as “Born A Ninja, Die A Ninja” by Coco Lowres, “Mega Maid” by Temple Maps and “Mecha Dragon Vs Blue Bombahton” by Dem Batard sport the most obvious video game emulations here. Other tracks sport quirky themes, such as the effervescent “Bubblewrap Society” by Fade Runner and the rapid-fire licks of “Keyboard Warrior” by Nitro Pulse.

 

A few of the tracks in this debut even attempt to creatively emulate other styles of music using vintage video game technology, such as nickePUNK’s indie rock-laden “Picnic” (one of the only vocal tracks presented here) and the bassline-driven “Disco Rod” by Forrest James, which actually passes for a deep house groover!

All in all this is a pretty cool compilation, which you can pre-order for $5 (digital format) or $10 (super limited-edition cassette) on the Rhythmus Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow their Facebook and Soundcloud pages as well for updates on future projects! They also have a launch party happening next Friday in Salem at the Gulu-Gulu cafe; see Facebook page for more details on that.

Wednesday
Dec102014

Crate Exploratory: DJ Junk-Untitled (1993 Jungle)

DJ Junk released a small series of white-label jungle and breakbeat hardcore 12”s in the early 90s on his own label. At the time he was already a decade deep in the b-boy scene, which is evident with the numerous vintage hip-hop breaks and classic samples that were embedded in his early jungle work.

So anyway he’s one of his self-released 12”s that came out around 1993 (according to the ‘Cogs). Similar to his other records, the tracks were all untitled and he seemed to run his label in a renegade fashion of sorts, which is exactly what I love about early rave culture in London at the time. Piano riffs in hardcore were still somewhat fashionable in ‘93, and the amen break and darker, off-key sounds were starting to trend as well. Junk combined both here to pretty unique results. Season with a few hip hop samples and a croaking frog…voila. 

DJ Junk appears to have a site which he still updates, so be sure to keep tabs on his recent projects there.

Wednesday
Dec102014

Cool Free Stuff: Craset-One Day Last (UK Garage)

A free one for the all the two-steppers out there. “One Day Last” by Craset is a dusty, low-fidelity sounding slice of UK garage, set to a galloping rhythm. Rich in texture, Craset goes for those classic Rhythm & Sound vibes here, where every bass note, muffled pad, and drum hit is lightly drenched in distortion to give everything a bit of analog warmth. The label this is released on, Geometry Recordings, is a Russian divi-label mostly specializing in ambient and experimental sounds, so check their Soundcloud if what you’re hearing is up your alley.

Wednesday
Dec102014

A Didgeridoo and Blocks of Light: Bastinado Play This Sunday at Wonderbar. (Interview & Ticket Giveaway!)

On any given night of the week you can go to a party that has a DJ spinning records or CD’s behind a set of turntables. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with that as long as the music’s good, it isn’t every day you go to a show and see the performers playing….ahem, a didgeridoo and a table with blocks that control the sound. But this is Bastinado we’re talking about here, and they don’t do things the “ordinary” way. 

Members Joseph Carringer and Josh Harris have been well-involved in the music industry before they first joined forces in 2008. Carringer has over a decade-and-a-half of experience on the 1,500-year-old didgeridoo while Harris has enjoyed a prolific career behind-the-scenes as a remixer for dozens of top 40 acts during the ‘oughties. Those “blocks of light” I mentioned are actually called a Reactible, a sound generator which operates on the same principles as a synthesizer, only incorporating the paradigm of blocks on a table rather than knobs and faders. Reactibles are custom-built and not cheap, but acts like Bastinado are helping spread their virtues with their high-energy performances.

I had the chance to catch up with the boys of Bastinado to chat with them about how they started collaborating, how they perform, and of course geek out on the technical side of the Reactible!

Nick: You had over a decade of experience playing the didgeridoo and Josh a decade of remix work under your belts when you two joined forces in 2008. What initially brought you guys together? Has your musical vision changed since then?

Josh: Joseph asked me if I would be interested in playing a set with him for a local radio show. We had been friends for a couple of years, and I had recorded him for another project, so I was very aware of his caliber of playing. He would occasionally sit in with DJ’s, and we both had a deep passion for electronic music. That first gig was completely unrehearsed, and the setup consisted of a laptop running Ableton and a Juno-106. The music was literally composed and arranged “on the fly”, while we were live on the air. Back then, we weren’t even thinking about studio recordings. We knew that we had good chemistry as performers, had a similar musical palette, and the notion of live arranging with a didgeridoo was unique. Now, we really view ourselves as a band.

Joseph: I had been playing with a DJ on a weekly radio show and mentioned it to Josh a couple times. He said he would be interested in sitting in one night, so I nailed him down to a night. I jumped at the chance to have someone drop live arranged tracks for me and be able to tell me what key we were playing in.

That first set was the first time (since I played with live bands) I was able to rip an entire set on the didge because everything that was dropped was done so with the intention of me playing with it. I was hooked from that first set.

This project started out as two guys getting together and playing for fun a couple times a year. It got serious on the business side when we invested in the first table and started to plan out “The Hard Six”, but the vision for the music has always stayed the same; Make music we love to listen to and love to play!

Nick: The didgeridoo is certainly an interesting niche you managed to successfully carve for yourself. What first inspired you to take it up? Was there a steep learning curve with it? 

Joseph: So, I am a freak of nature and not the normal story. I woke up in 1996 sitting straight up and saying “I’m going to play the didgeridoo”. Six months later I found my first didge, picked it up and played a perfect drone the first time I put it to my lips.

I had a sax teacher who taught me the theory of circular breathing when I was 14yrs (never could do it on a sax) and put it together on the didge in about a week and a half. I started sitting in with blues and jazz acts at the blues bar worked at by the end of my first month.

Since I started teaching, I have learned that this is not normal for most people learning to play the didge. My students have given me an even deeper appreciation and gratitude for how unique my natural ability on the didge is.

Nick: When you two perform together, is it heavily pre-planned and structured, or more ad-libbed and organic? 

Josh: The arrangements of the songs are completely live and unscripted. We only started using a set list and began to rehearse a few months ago, because our show has evolved into a two Reactable set (Joseph still plays the didgeridoo). When we were using one Reactable, we felt that it was more exciting to perform with no rehearsal or set list. As a performer, I like to put myself at some sort of risk on stage. If I make a mistake, you can hear it.

 

Joseph: There is no set sheet music for the didge, but there are unique rhythms that live inside each song that the didge will naturally gravitate towards. Playing a one table and didge set with Josh is like having someone build a custom race track for you on the fly. Since I know the music there is always familiarity but without a ridge format, there is always space for surprises and improve.

With the two Reactable set we still have that improve dynamic just with more arrangement options. 

Nick: For those who don’t know about it, describe the Reactable. Is it essentially a modular synth? Can it work with samples, as well as store banks of sequences and patches? How would you compare the sound engine to that of an analog synth or Ableton running through a laptop with a good sound card?

 

Josh:  It’s important to point out that Reactable Live runs off of its own, proprietary software. It is Mac only and you can use whatever sound card/audio interface you choose, as long as it works with the Mac OS. Both of us are audiophiles, in our own right, and I love the Reactable’s filters and delays.

Joseph: The Reactable is it’s own paradigm of instrument. It is a photonics-driven erector set for sound that uses both loop playing and native sound generating. There are three basic ways to create sound with it.

1: Loop Puck
2: Sampler Puck
3: Oscillator 

The Sampler and Oscillator use a combination of a step sequencer and LFO to control them The Oscillator also can be split into 4 sub-oscillators and is based loosely on the Moog principles of sound wave generation.

There are six loop pucks each with five playable sides and each side has four programmable stations. 

Each one of our songs has a Session file (.xml) that I program with the songs loops, effects, oscillators etc. The table does not work out of the box and requires a good bit of set up, but once it’s programmed with a few songs it’s a blast to play.

Nick: Have you guys worked with the iPad version of Reactable at all? If so, how does it compare with the Experience/tabletop version?

Josh:  Joseph is way more qualified to answer that one than I am!

 

Joseph: Reactable mobile is a lighter version of our Reactable Live simulator. It has the equivalent of 1-loop puck (5 sides, 20 total loops) and a sampling of all the filters and effects. You can’t mix from song to song with it (bummer) unless you run two with a mixer and old school beat match. It is a lot of fun though and if you want to play around with the technology for a couple bucks definitely buy it!

Nick: Any upcoming projects or show dates we should be aware of?

Joseph: Boston on 12/14 at Wonderbar. We also have some remixes, singles and an EP scheduled for release in 2015 so be sure to follow or twitter and Facebook for updates.

 

This Sunday MJS Productions hosts Bastinado at Wonderbar in Allston. In celebration of Sterling Golden’s birthday, Bastinado will be combining both the old and the new, while Audio Spectrum DJ’s Jonathan Santarelli and Daniel Sevelt help lay the groundwork early on. Thanks to MJS we’re giving away a free pair of tix for the show too. All you need to do is “like” Beantown Boogiedown and MJS Productions on Facebook, be 21+, and leave your name and email in the comments section below. I draw the winner Sunday (the day of the show) at 12pm. Good luck!

Bastinado Soundcloud | Bastinado Web | Facebook event page | MJS Productions

Tuesday
Dec092014

Cool Free Stuff: Jon Rundell Releases New EP on Intec & Etch Series

Jon Rundell is a prolific techno producer from London who has been well involved with re-launching and running Intec Digital. A refreshed version of the original Carl Cox-founded label, Intec Digital has showcased a lot of Rundell’s dancefloor-friendly work over the past five years, and he releases his “Distorted” EP today. A two-tracker, this EP consists of “Distorted View”, a thumping modern techno affair with a buzzing proto-acid lead line, and “My Obsession”, a hard-driving floor-filler that focuses primarily on the subtle changes that unfold between the rhythm-centric loops. Check the tracks below and click to download on Beatport.

 
 
Additionally, Rundell has a slew of free tracks on his Soundcloud page. Have a listen at the embeds below.

Monday
Dec082014

On the Boogiedownload: Mix 089 by Bianca Oblivion (Bass/140-180 bpm)


HEYYYY KIDS! Are you interested in hearing over 40 tracks you probably haven’t heard before seamlessly blended in a 45 minute DJ mix? What if I told you there were about 10 different genres in this mix? I shouldn’t have to pitch it any harder than that, but in case you still aren’t sold, we’ve got Bianca Oblivion on tap for our latest installment of the BBD podcast.

Click here to read more and check the mix!