Offering a rich provocation of smoky rhythms alongside combustible vocals this production joins the power of words together with shimmering sounds to tease and delight in equal measure. Uncomplicated yet direct this is very much the sound of contemporary electronic music dancing to its own tune, delivering emotional resonance for diluted times. Only the one version but only one is needed.
Following hot on the heels of R. Cleveland Aaron’s astute debut is this expansion of terrain moving through time and motion in brisk, provocative fashion. As with the former collection of music these soundscapes charge your mind with a series of images creating imaginary solutions to electric situations. And again this can be equally unsettling, equally serene. Likewise you still feel that what you are experiencing has an innately unique quality like these sounds exist only here. The compositions are deliciously intense such as on the drone infused, yet warm embrace of [Intermission 2] while the final collective tones of Theory of Change Pt 1 propose a probing fiction of science. Otherworldly qualities remain yet fractures and the spaces in-between suggest an infinity of musical wealth which Cleveland has opened up, and will continue to do so for some time to come.
Suffice to say I have no idea how to succulently deliver a description of this musical revelation by D Tiberio, other than to say it sounds like American Soul disassembled then reconstructed, grinded and twisted into a breathless suggestion of history. Everything dances on Jeffy Just Needs A Hug like it was meant to be as drums alongside samples form a collaboration of the art of the possible, pulsing with energy. Followed by the more awkward, grainy processes of Honey which again twists an abstraction of ideas into haunting suggestion yet proving emotionally rich.
The key to this production is tension. As layers of sound are introduced so does the pressure increase. And yet you can feel an almost improvised Jazziness at play here too with piano strikes contrasted by a chorus of heavenly voices. The drums are typically smouldering while sound effects and treatments pick out spaces creating further dialogue, all in all this is an excellent piece of music. Then, Satellite delivers a message in words that captivate and inform as taught beats and keys punctuate the intention in four-four time, feeling like contemporary Acid could and should.
Some music sounds better within the warm embrace of sunshine and this new album from Catz ‘n Dogz does just that. Albeit, with an air of uncertainly coursing through certain tracks such as on the opening Sunrise, which has James Yuill’s yearning vocals questioning the nature of being. Grainy structures are then explored on the soulfully tempting Life, while the more celebratory melodies of Meditate featuring Heather Chelan speak for themselves. The use of varying patterns of rhythm, the sheer depths of emotion, plus sweet production values all define this album’s innate strength. The title track itself almost defiantly sets the drums to four on the floor as whispered voices alongside cool trumpet blasts heighten a sense of reassurance. Likewise Jaw’s vocal on Time also feels remarkably transparent. Finally, the prophetic words of Tomorrow seek to end with the thoughts: What if tomorrow never comes, and we’re never going to dance again?
A signature of life is written by each strike of Gabríel Ólafs keys as you engage heart and soul with what is being played. It is a simple enough formula, one man and a piano but it is also beautifully potent to the nth degree. You get the feeling that this is every movie, every painting, every force of nature you have witnessed all rolled into one, or thereabouts. There is of course a haunting quality to the lone accompaniment as notes and atmospheres resolve into the air, but not before leaving their indelible impression. In complex days like these this simplicity is compelling, necessary even. The music does expand slightly with Loa and engineer Bergur Thorisson has done a sterling job of enhancement. You may also get the sense that this is all sounds familiar, like a lifetime of experience and yet you can’t quite pit your finger on exactly why….
4.18 reminds me of what bass is for. The grinding, raw edge of this dangerously shaped bassline is something to behold, and that’s not before Thea Austin breathy vocal hits. Apart from the equally heavy-duty drums, plus some stabs that’s almost everything, which is more than enough. Soledrifter’s remix provides a neat alternative sequencing more bounce to the rhythms and hints of funky Acid to the grooves.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, ISSA. Your record label: ISSA Music is also part of a publishing company of the same name. Who inspired you to get into publishing and how would you describe how it currently functions given Covid-19?
Thank you for your interest in our new release. I started my career signing a publishing deal with EMI Publishing (now SONY ATV) as an artist / songwriter. I am first & foremost a songwriter / lyricist and understand the value and importance of the actual song itself. Owning the publishing and copyright of a song is like owning real estate, an intellectual property that is timeless.
What is the story behind the title of your new single for the label: 4:18 AM? Which features renowned vocalist Thea Austin, can you tell us about how that relationship came about?
4:18AM is about the push & pull of seduction. 4:18AM is all about timing. Thea and I met in the early 2000’s through a mutual friend. He instinctively knew Thea and I would be a great collaborative match. She and I instantly had a connection upon meeting. There was a very creative chemistry between us. We carried on to write + produce some powerful music together!
The track feels like a lot of your influences have been ingrained into its grooves. Who are you most important influences both within and outside of electronic music – any painters, writers etc that inspire you too?
The groove takes precedence in my work because I am a drummer / percussionist at the core. My father, who is a drummer, exposed me to rhythm + beats since I was a child. So yes, the groove is very deeply ingrained in my DNA.
Can you talk us how you produced the track, including any software / hardware you always refer to? Did 4:18 AM originate from a single idea, or something you heard, read or watched?
I use an Apple MacBook Pro computer & Logic Pro as my main software. Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin Duo Thunderbolt is my audio interface. For vocals my set up is a Neumann U87 & TLM103 Microphones + a Manley Vox Box Tube Pre-Amp. I utilize software analog synths such as Arturia, have a library of sounds which I am always mixing + matching to create new tones. I typically start tracks with the groove and build my way up. 4:18AM was written about a personal experience based on seduction, destiny and timing.
What speakers do you like to listen to music on?
I have an array of different speakers with which I like to listen to my mixes. A few pairs of JBL’s, one of which are vintage JBL 4315s, some classic Yamaha NS10s, an old pair of Alesis Monitor Ones + some QSC K12 DJ PA Speakers. Lastly, I always like to take a quick listen on some Apple ear buds + the little speakers on my MacBook Pro Laptop to make sure all translates & sounds good & balanced across the board!#
You also create music for films. How would you describe the difference between making soundtracks and sounds for the dancefloor? Are you freer to be more inventive with one or the other?
I definitely feel more freedom of expression and more inventive writing & producing sounds for the dancefloor. When composing music for films you are a bit locked into the perimeter of the scenes with regards to the timing, mood and atmosphere. Although it can be a very creative process there are more boundaries. I prefer creating dance tracks.
Has Covid-19 affected the way you work in Los Angeles? And in what ways do you see it affecting how the (Dance) music industry works in the future?
I have been quite productive in my home studio during this Covid-19 crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has had the strongest and most direct impact on the live music industry, of course. However, it has popularized and placed focus on the “Virtual” platforms for live entertainment. My plan is to continue releasing my own works as well as collaborative efforts with others on my own label. I also like to license my tracks to other record labels from time to time. I feel this helps to reach a wider audience. Continuing to build my music catalogue in the interest of pursuing licensing opportunities is high on my list of priorities moving forward. Thanks once again!
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Saudade. Your new EP: Xango has just been released on Pont Neuf Records. Tell us about how your relationship with the label happened? And what does the EP’s title mean for you?
Pont Neuf Records has always been a family to me, I was there at the creation of the label 4 years ago where I released my first EP “Nights” with my other alias “Taos”. I know the manager Thomas and the other artists for years now. Great people and great music 😊
When I lived in Rio, I used to go to the carnival rehearsal of « Salgueiro » samba music school. The energy of their percussion ensemble « Bateria Furiosa » blew my mind. It inspired me a lot for incorporating Samba music into electronic music. Each samba school has a theme for the carnival. The theme of Salgueiro for 2019 carnival was “Xango”. That’s why I called the EP “Xango” as a tribute to my experience in Rio. Xango is an Afro-Latin divinity coming from Yoruba Religion. He is actually the spirit of bolt and thunder.
You can clearly hear how important percussion is to you as so much of the detail in the tracks is dedicated to it. Where did your love of drums originate from, and who are your most influential players?
I learned the drums from the age of 12 to 18. I have always been in love with rhythms and especially dance rhythms. I always listened very carefully to the drum breaks in funk songs. What I love is the energy, the dynamic, and the pace that allows rhythms. I was astounded by percussion ensembles I could hear the street sometimes when I was a kid. The sound power that spread from it. What I found interesting in percussion is its cultural roots. Each part of the world has different patterns and a different feel and therefore different ways to dance. I don’t have specific players to name except Tito Puente. Otherwise, I like Darbuka rhythms from North Africa, every rhythm made in Central and South America, Dhol and tabla beats from India, or even Bodhran from Scotland.
Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the EP, including any favourite software/ hardware you use?
To make the track “O Samba”, I wanted to produce a sincere tribute to Samba music. First, I tried to recompose electronically the percussions of samba ensemble like surdo, conga, caixa and shakers. To do so, I used a few drum synthesizers vst and my Roland Juno 6. Then I felt it lack an organic touch. That’s why I recorded my percussionist friend Tom Guillouzic in the music studio of my former music school in Nantes. It was a lot of fun! Then I added some vocals I found in an interview from an art exhibition about samba history that took place in the art museum of Rio. I found this vocal very interesting because it talks about the Angolan roots of samba, its link with the slavery history and the form that spread from it in Brazil and especially in Rio with its key places: favelas, samba schools, and the Sambodromo (literally the Samba stadium where the Carnival parade takes place). I added a few synth pads from my Juno to add depth and a bit of lightness. And subs to add the club energy it needed.
For this track I used the Microtonic and Kick 2 which are great drum synth plugin. I use a Shure SM-57 to record the congas. The Roland Juno 6 plays all the synths in the track. For the mix, I mainly use Waves plugins. You know all the secrets know 😉
How has Covid-19 affected the ways in which you work? And how do you see things changing (in terms of artist income, clubs and music venues etc) as a result of the pandemic?
It didn’t change the way I worked. It helped me to focus on my workflow and to learn to develop independence with my music setup. In terms of artist income, this crisis underlined the precarity of being a professional DJ, and let me think about other ways of living out of music without gigs. In terms of music venues, I am very optimistic, and I hope it will be just like it used to be or very close in a few months.
Where did the inspiration for O Funk come from? It’s such a refreshingtrack.
Thanks 😊 When I lived in Rio I have been to some Baile Funk parties. Baile Funk which is called “Funk” in Rio is a music genre inherited by Miami Bass with a carioca groove of its own. Originally it is a kind of music made by producers from the Favela. It’s often a tight beat and a MC rapping over it. The groove between the kick and the snare is very special. It makes you stumble. The energy of this kind of music is focused on the bass and low frequencies of the kick and also the noisy high pitched slappy snares. On loud club speakers, the Baile Funk vibe is impressive. It’s like a cloud of frequencies, almost like listening to minimal or techno music on a sound system. At least, that’s how I felt it. Therefore, I wanted to translate that feeling into an electronic interpretation of Baile Funk with this track “O Funk”. At the very end of the track, you can hear a regular Miami Bass 808 rhythm, which is the very root of Baile Funk. That reminds me of that dance contest I saw a Wednesday night on Praça Tiradentes back in Rio with old school Miami bass in the background.
How did you get into DJ’ing and also Producing music? Do you think one can be done without the other these days?
I started producing first with a looper pedal and a Casio keyboard at 14 years old. Then, at 15, I bought my first DAW software in a multimedia store at the time… I discover DJ’ing in high school with a friend Adrien from Cosmonection (also in the Pont Neuf Records). We had a duo, he introduced me to DJ’ing. At the age of 17, we mixed for parties with friends from high schools. I loved the positive impact dance music had on a crowd.
I think you can produce music without DJ’ing if you have a nice music live to show to your public. And you can mix without being a producer if you have great knowledge and a particular feel.
Outside of electronic music who would you say are your most importantinfluences?
I would say Thom Yorke for the importance of sincerity in music. J Dilla for the complexity of simplicity. Errol Garner for the power of creating a jazz swing of his own. And Tom Jobim for the joy, the sunshine, and the freshness of his music, like a living painting of Rio.
The artwork for the release is particularly striking. Tell us about the people who created it and what it signifies to you?
Shout out to Louis Stecken! We studied in the same school. I discovered very lately he became an artist and such a talented one. I found the painting of the artwork in his portfolio. I loved it. I thought it could be a good incarnation of the spirit “Xango”.
And finally. What are your plans for moving forwards?
After this tribute EP to Brazilian rhythms, I might want to go deeper in this way or to bring new rhythm influences in my music. It might be North-African rhythms or Jazzy stuff. I still don’t know. I like the idea of interbreeding in electronic music between the acoustic and the electronic world. Otherwise, I want to develop the live aspect of my music and to take a step forward in production skills. I bought a new synth recently, the Syncussion. I hope I will be able to make great bass lines and drum synths with it.
Talk about perfect timing. Just as the summer heat ignites thoughts of sunnier climbs Afterlife arrives with this latest instalment of refreshments. Into The Heat begins via sun soaked rays suggesting a cosmic refrain, with echoed voices pulsating alongside the rhythm of generous percussion and soaring, celebratory keys. The expansive sounds which fuel Wanderlust then perpetuate the notion that something good is about to happen with suggestive swirls of emotive synths, sprinkles of piano and a deliberately intense expectation. Jolly Up, completes the series of originals with a four on the floor chug of driving beats accompanied by chimes of joyful resolution destined to feel hot on the sound system.
Last but not least are DJ Rocca’s remixes of Si Si Si from last year’s Naif EP. Not surprisingly the tantalising Erodisco mix replays the influence of the 1980’s into fresh movement with vocal stabs alongside a neat line in bass. The tempting colours of his most impressive Dark Arts mix finishes as introspective layers synthesized sound create dangerous corners to lose yourself in.