2017 Music: The Most High Exalted

2017 – what an absolutely ripping year for music. Probably the hardest to write about because of the sheer volume of incredible shit out there. On a personal note, I spent most of it traveling, began working at boxout.fm, had the privilege of playing New Delhi’s first Boiler Room and re-did my whole apartment (among other fun stuff). Most of my listening time was spent on the fringes of weirder electronics, rap, metal and a lot of synthesiser stuff. If you’re into maybe half of that, there’s a chance you might find something in here worth your time. Lastly, if you’re one of those people who, living in 2017, with access to the Internet and a wealth of amazing music literally a click of a button away, is still going on about how “music isn’t the same anymore” and “there’s no more great bands”, please FUCK OFF and never talk to me again. Thank you, have a great NYE blackout, and I’ll see you somewhere in 2018.

Surachai – Asymmetry Codex / Temple Of The Weakening Sun
Managed to catch some of this in fragments at the BLK__NOISE post-NAMM showcase in January so it’s safe to say my year began on a very high note. Hands-down my favourite piece of electronic music (and videography) from 2017.

Ziur – U Feel Anything?
Ziur is a monster, a force-to-be-reckoned with. U Feel Anything?, out on Planet Mu, flips club music over its head a few times, climaxing in things like this…

Second Woman – S/W
Probably the finest Second Woman record till date and still pushing forward into computermusik spaces few artists would dare to wander.

The Delay In The Universal Loop – Esplendidos!
At least one San Nazzaro native has been charting a path of his own for about half a decade, putting out genre-defying records on the regular and touring as often as possible between the United States and Europe, building experiences that go on to cement a fearless, non-conformist creative vision.

Drab Majesty – The Demonstration
And finally, the ’80s done right.

William Basinki – A Shadow In Time
On possibly the greatest ambient tape of 2017, demi-God William Basinski comes forth as gold with a piece worthy of multiple repeat listens (in addition to a fitting tribute to the late Ziggy Stardust).

KONSTRUKT & KEIJI HAINO – A Philosophy Warping, Little By Little That Way Lies A Quagmire
You’ll never look at Turkish disco the same way again. Fought for place on this list with the new James Holden and won easily I should add.

Cornelius – Mellow Gold
“effortlessly blurs the lines between organic, electronic, acoustic, downtempo and funky and gives new meaning altogether to pop music in 2017”

TOTAL LEATHERETTE – FOR THE CLIMAX OF THE NIGHT
The art alone would disqualify this from most top album lists, but hey, you gotta look hard to unearth real shit (I guess). Dark, dark, dark electronics for late night drives through terminally fucked up cities.

Kaitlyn-Aurelia Smith – The Kid
More timeless synthesiser work from the throne.

Visible Cloaks – Reassemblage
Still going strong from early on in the year, exemplary ambient work from Visible Cloaks and a highlight of the decade for sure. Yes, the decade.

Pan Daijing – Lack
The absolute dread of letting this record wash over you on your toughest day is only matched by its all-encompassing beauty on your best. As evident from her live show at the Atonal this summer, Pan Daijing is truly a performance artist in a class of her own.

Investigations of a dog x Spankeol – Investigations of a dog x Spankeol
Spellbinding collaborative album between auteurs and experimentalists Investigations of a dog and Spankeol with some help from Silent Nerves and Infinite Jar Space. Nothing out of the home country has EVER come close to this in depth, space and variety. As usual, our finest visionaries operate under the radar, away from the soul-sucking machinations of the mainstream.

Belief Defect – Decadent Yet Depraved
I was there, right up front taking it all in. Barring an Abul Mogard performance that reduced me to tears, Belief Defect was the highlight of my Atonal. Buy the record here.

Félicia Atkinson – Hand In Hand
A dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within.

Ex Eye – Ex Eye
IMHO, this is what post-anything that has to do with guitars-drums-bass should aspire to be. A confluence of metal, jazz and experimental music like no other in 2017.

Godflesh – Post Self
Beautifully unforgiving through its runtime, Godflesh are on a whole new level with Post Self. Worth listening to over and over again in all settings humanly imaginable.

Primitive Man – Caustic
The kind of electronic doom that’ll suck all the air out of the room once it’s finished, leaving you with a void that only a repeat listen can fill. In other words, perfect.

Tetragrammacide – Primal Incinerators of Moral Matrix
Strictly no fucks given here. This is the black metal record I’ll be measuring all black metal records up against.

Roc Marciano – Rosebudd’s Revenge
Tell me once again how your favourite rapper is Kendrick Lamar and how the hottest thing in hip-hop is a group of art-school millennials who call themselves a boy band. Then listen to this and shut the fuck up forever.

Conway – Reject On Steroids
While a string of releases from Westside Gunn, Benny and Conway (in addition to a hyped Shady Records co-sign) made all the news in 2017, nothing comes quite close to this heater from The Machine. My rap AOTY by a mile and then some.

Apollo Brown & Planet Asia – Anchovies
Another blinder from MMG after a prolific 2016 spent putting out some of the year’s best in hip-hop. Apollo Brown is on a mission, clearly.

Sean Price – Imperius Rex
Sean P setting the record straight from beyond the grave. The hype, in this particular case, is very, very real.

Muggs & Meyhem Lauren – Gems From The Equinox
Instant uplifter of spirits with instant-recall beats and some of the strongest features of the year.

Emptyset – Borders
100% Bristolian banger fare for DJs living on the edge.

Damien Dubrovnik – Great Many Arrows
There’s a fine line separating great noise music slash power electronics from wankery and it’s usually the one that helps winnow truly thought-out compositional nerve from the widespread amateurism romanticised by so many for the sake of supporting the subculture. Damien Dubrovnik are progenitors of the former, archers of the highest order taking aim studiously, prolific at hitting the target and bringing home the prey.

Caterina Barbieri – Patterns Of Consciousness
Forgive such largesse on my part. Yes, I have talked the hell out of this record since it came out. And I’m happy to do it again for Patterns Of Consciousness houses some of the finest synthesizer compositions ever created, every second committed to tape like its the last second of music that’ll ever be recorded; a masterclass in sonics and a lesson in minimalism but most importantly, full of heart. I wish her the absolute best.

Alessandro Cortini – Avanti
Rich in meaning and intersected by vivid memories through thought-provoking visual accompaniment, proving once and for all that this is some of Alessandro’s best work since starting out. Separate the electronics, dig for the soul and you’ll find yourself swimming in it.

Jlin – Black Origami
Absolutely biblical mind-body-soul stuff from the Atlanta native, transcending the already future-proof experimental footwork that she owned on Dark Energy. Pity I wasn’t in Bangalore when she was around; I’d have given a lot to be able to pick her brain.

Dopplereffekt – Cellular Automata
News of a new Dopplereffekt record arrived early on in the year and shortly thereafter, I had the privilege of watching them perform most of it live (albeit with more assertive beats) in Berlin just before the Superbooth. Been on rotation since.

Lee Gamble – Mnestic Pressure
Got just one word for this one and the word is ‘wow’.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – On The Echoing Green
The morning ambient record to end all morning ambient records. Dominated my Light Drinker playlists for most of the year.

Fret – Over Depth
Christmas came rather early this year when Mick Harris returned as FRET with a HUGE full-length record that you really ought to be into. Like seriously, if you don’t come up to me the next time I see you and say ‘No Rain’ made you want to break stuff and that you actually went ahead and broke some stuff, you can f**k right off because there’s no chance on earth we’re gonna be friends.

Music In July, The Month Gone By

First up, big love to the readers. Was playing a show in Kolkata a couple of weeks ago and two dudes showed up just to say they read the blog and wait patiently for updates. I guess I might as well keep going right?

Pan Daijing – Lack
Pan Daijing’s full-length debut cuts deep with the kind of subversive electro-histrionics guaranteed to ward away lovers of easily-digestible computermusic fare. It’s a beautiful, impactful record, one that you know took her a lot of time to put together, and also the kind that lingers in your mind long after a listen. S/O to Rashad Becker for an incredible job on the boards making the whole release sound otherworldly.

Bola – D.E.G
Incredible, incredible, incredible release from Bola after almost a decade. One for the heads. I’d say ‘Evensong’ is one of my favorites on the record right now, but that probably has to do with my mood as I’m writing this. Every other track seems to grow on me more with each subsequent listen. Out on Skam and fatter on wax.

Earthen Sea – An Act Of Love
Half ambient-half dubtechno release with both styles balancing each other out expertly. The techno bits are essentially utilitarian – not something I would play out, but I’m a sucker for contrasts and you’ll rarely find something so thematically sound that fuses the two genres.

Emptyset – Borders
An album’s worth of low freq delights, all mostly under the 3-minute mark and treats for DJs who hate the rules. Another cracker of a release from the Bristol duo.

Caterina Barbieri – Patterns Of Consciousness
Not quite like me to spend $40 on a new record but I’ve been lapping this up since the first wind of its release and I’ve had the chance to play it out on a recent Mindcast for Mindwaves-music in Berlin and often during the first hour or so of longer DJ sets. Admittedly, I’m a bit obsessed for it’s some of the finest work I’ve ever come across in synthesizer music. Just listen to all of it top-down, and if you don’t dig it you might as well stop reading this blog.

Alessandro Cortini and Merzbow – Alessandro Cortini and Merzbow
Juicing the legendary EMS Synthi, here’s a collaboration between two established legends that you could argue sees Alessandro taking a bigger leap into Merzbow’s world of dissonance rather than Merzbow going more melodic. That said, major props to Alessandro for sort of anchoring the boat before it hits the choppiest of waters. Then again, you can’t help but imagine what a full-blown freak-out the two would have conjured up if they’d have approached this record with more than just the Synthi as the centrepiece. I, for one, would take the leap blindfolded. Very, very satisfying nonetheless for fans of love and noise. Out only on wax AFAIK.

Jana Rush – Pariah
The future of footwork will no doubt see more experiments in rhythm, and often enough, it’ll see a leap into the delightfully unknown (see: Jlin). However, there’s plenty of reason to believe much of it’ll remain fun with an allegiance to the dance floor. Jana Rush’s first release in more than a decade on Dance Mania arrives at a time when footwork is having a bit of a resurgence and its reach being felt as far as even India. Pariah makes for an expressive and wildly fun listen from top to bottom not to mention a DJ’s delight.

Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson – Negative Chambers
Awe-inspiring sound design and instrumentation through and through. Thank you, Internet, for one of the best listens of the year. Best consumed (like everything else) on decent cans or speakers. Even better with SubPac if you want to close your eyes and imagine this being played live in concert.

Wolf Eyes – Undertow
A bit annoyed to know I slept on a new Wolf Eyes record from earlier on in the year, but better late than never. There’s a lot to love here from the prolific Detroit noise trio, from the draining, emotional appeal of ‘Thirteen’ to the idiosyncratic vocals of the title track and much in between. Of course Aaron hasn’t been part of the picture for some years but that’s done little to dim their shine. Purists can fuck off please.

Damien Dubrovnik – Great Many Arrows
It was at a Demdike Stare concert a couple of months ago in LA where I was introduced to the genius of Danish power electronics duo Damien Dubrovnik. Waiting in the wrong line for the show for about twenty minutes in the rain begat a conversation with a Varg fan who “just had to” play me some of DD’s past work through her Apple earpods. Thank you lady whose name I’ve forgotten. Great Many Arrows is a stupendous piece of work out on the increasingly prolific Posh Isolation in Denmark. Obviously not for fans who just like saying “power electronics” ’cause it’s an admittedly cool thing to name. Listen in one go, then buy it. It’ll age beautifully among your collection of music only you dig.

Cornelius – Mellow Waves
Cornelius album releases are grand affairs and the hype around Mellow Waves was justifiably no less. It did help that the initial song releases were gorgeous pieces of work that kept listeners pining, and boy did Cornelius NOT disappoint. Accomplished work in the highest sense of that word that effortlessly blurs the lines between organic, electronic, acoustic, electric, downtempo and funky and gives new meaning altogether to pop music in 2017. Easily in the year’s top 10. P.S. My obsession with Mellow Waves is dangerous so please tread carefully.

Laurel Halo – Dust
Laurel’s third outing on Hyperdub is easily her most accomplished. There’s stuff in here to last the end of the year and I know I’ll be banging it out come December. ‘Syzygy’, ‘Jelly’, ‘Moontalk’, ‘Who Won’ are all strong contenders for favorites, but it’s the equally great ‘Sun To Solar’ that has a convenient YouTube link. Buy it or forever hold your peace.

Strange U – #LP4080
Between the various GxFR releaess and this Strange U record, you’ve probably got my favorite hip-hop music of 2017. Nothing else even threatens to come close.

Royce Da 5’9” – Bar Exam
If you like rap music for the bars and don’t believe in the hype, you can’t deny Royce is one of the greatest to have ever stepped up to a mic. Bar Exam is yet another masterclass, the kind that makes most rap look piss weak in comparison. Waiting impatiently for the Book of Ryan.

Feelings and Sh*t…

Sprained my ankle Tuesday morning so I’ve been a little out of commission. Normally, I’d be pretty sour and shit, but I have a lot to look forward to that’s great and a lot to look back on and be thankful for. Ever since Magnetic Fields Festival last year, things have kinda been on the up-and-up. I didn’t think I’d play the festival but to have been asked to really helped refresh my attitude towards what I do for a living. Then to find out I’d play right before Call Super at the RA afterparty at the certifiably cracking time slot of 4:45am made it just so much sweeter. And since then, that Boiler Room thing’s come around, plus shows and radio appearances around the world not to mention the honour of working at boxout.fm since its inception. And shit, July 2017 has been especially rewarding in terms of gigs and travel. 

I have nothing but respect for DJing as an art form and I’m lucky to be able to do it week in and week out. That people have been able to recognize that commitment and have allowed me multiple opportunities to entertain them is certainly a privilege I don’t lose sight of. It perplexes me sometimes when I think I’ve been doing this for just a little over three years but the fact that I’m in a position to be able to do this for the next twenty is frankly, exhilarating.

So thank you, really. Doing music for a living is nothing short of incredible but to have your support alongside it means the world to me. An extra special shout out to Pavlina, Yohann, Kunal, Munbir, Erin and my folks and brother without whose support none of this would have been possible.

The monsoon is well upon us now and I’ve found some fine company in the new Cornelius album. Here’s a taste.

Monsoon Music – June 2017

Was forced to take a little break from writing here primarily because of DJ stuff, radio shows and a house renovation, but sh*t, I suppose I’m really not a music journalist anymore, especially when it turns out that being a music journalist in India means being part of an ongoing rat race to be the first to introduce new Indian music to a niche audience of Indian music consumers, and presenting it without criticism all the while assuming your audience needs to be spoon-fed cliched muso adjectives to keep them interested. The last thing I want in my life is to buddy up to musicians. In fact, a bunch of them hate my opinion and I find that very satisfying. So, fuck it all. Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately.

Conway – Reject On Steroids
I fucking told you 2017 was the year of The Machine. And BTW FYI ICYMI, I’m also calling the winner of the McGregor – Mayweather bout. Daringer. Yes, Daringer will win that bout and just about every other bout henceforth.

B L A C K I E – Remains
M E T A L R A P N O I S E S Y N T H S W A R P E A C E A N G E R R A G E C O N T E M P T S E X L O V E H E A T S W E A T D E P T H S P A C E L I F E D E A T H S L U D G E D I R T W E I G H T G R I M E K N I V E S B O M B S G U N S C R I M E
R E S T I N P E A C E D E A T H G R I P S

Kool G Rap – Return Of The Don
You could argue that the irresistibly braggadocios GxFR “sound” (if ya wanna call it that) is an almost direct descendent from the style Kool G Rap and a number of other ‘90s New York rappers made famous. You could argue that Kool G Rap at 48 is somewhat past his prime. You could argue that Childish Gambino is great (fuck that – please do me a favour and stay quit, “Donald Glover”). But here’s something you can’t argue with – the eternally humble Juice crew alumni and mafioso rap God can obliterate a generation of opportunistic rap kids by just being himself. And that, my friends, is what you call being a REAL don.

The Sine Painter – URL Utopias
Jayanth Ramachandra’s switch from melancholic mid-tempo house music to experimental club traxxx couldn’t have come at a better time. URL Utopias arrived in May with the added weight of a Red Bull Music Academy co-sign. That put aside, it’s just plain firepower whichever way you wanna look at it, and above all a taut package of four club-ready bombs tailor-made for risk-taking DJs. I had the additional honour of receiving one of the EPs earliest mastered copies back in January of this year and played part of it out during a radio show at dublab in Los Angeles. Preview all of it on SC below but it’s definitely best experienced in glorious A/V format over here

Career Crooks – Good Luck With That
There’s a fair chance I won’t be digging this come December but for right about now, I think this combo of laid-back Small Pro beats and Philly native Zilla Rocca’s inward lyrics is extremely dig-able. Most of all, it’s fun.

Okmalumkoolkat – Holy Oxygen II
WOW. Heavyweight sh*t like this makes a strong-as-ever case that gqom, unlike all this “wavey” shit, is here to stay. Bump this over and over again. And then buy it.

Jlin – Black Origami
Black Origami, just like Dark Energy, will go down as an absolutely essential part of the Jlin catalogue, even more so knowing that LP number three will by all means help complete a trifecta of futuristic electronic music that goes miles beyond club-oriented footwork. You could argue that Teklife have taken the style to the masses, but there’s nobody on earth as dedicated to pushing it into the depths of outer space than sister Jlin from Indiana. I feel privileged to be listening to something as beautiful, as complex and as deep as this.

Varg – Nordic Flora Series Pt. 3: Gore Tex City
In my most humble of opinions, Gore Tex City showcases Varg’s best work in a number of years. This longplayer has everything from warehouse bombs to fuzzy EBM to modern-classical collaborations with the like of Alessandro Cortini. 100% for drone enthusiasts and fans of slower (not always) and brooding techno. Not recommended for slick technobois.

Anthony Linell – Consolidate
Absolutely cracking LP and another feather in the Northern Electronics cap thanks to Anthony Linell, much of which is tempting me to move to Scandinavia and bathe in all of this music 24/7.

So. Much. Music. – April 2017

While my listening over the last few weeks in Berlin has been mostly in the weirdo techno space since I’m at the record stores multiple hours a day, I’ve made it a point to listen to an album’s worth of different music every other morning while I drink my coffee and plan out my day. Might not have as much time to pen another set of recommendations with my schedule considerably tighter over the next few weeks as I head to LA for meetings and the upcoming slot at dublab so here’s my highlights from the month (almost) gone by.

J.I.D – The Never Story
Reminds me a little of Wayne and that’s primarily why I decide to bite but shit, if you aren’t bumping this real fucking loud at home, in the car, in the shower, something is seriously wrong with you. Do yourself the honor and stream it in full here, then proceed to buy it.

Westside Gunn – Hitler On Steroids
I will stop talking about Flygod and The Machine when the time is right but for now, this Shady Records release aimed at those who just got word of the GxFR is something you need to wrap your ears around ASAP. Watch out for some of Benny’s verses plus some older cuts.

Insight & Damu The Fudgemonk – Ears Hear Spears
Bars, bars and more bars over old-skool beats. Decidedly not for people looking for theatrics in their rap (“Atrocity Exhibition was AOTY, B”). This one is all meat, fat trimmed, expensive sh*t from the churrascaria.

Arca – Arca
Best experienced loud and on big speakers as soon as you wake up for an incredibly satisfying day; you’ll be humming some of the melodies in no time. 10/10 from Arca following up Entranas from last year and DJ-crack Mutant from the year before.

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
More like Pure Sh*te. Tillman wanting to take on the role of cultural commentator in the age of Everyone-Is-A-Cultural-Commentator is neither new, revolutionary or art. And for an album named Pure Comedy this pile of A-grade, organic, farm-raised dung takes itself way too seriously until you finally realize it’s actually targeted at music writers – the kind who enjoy the bar being set so low just so they can revel in sounding half-intelligent while talking about it. Maybe I’m just a sucker for misery, but I would rather dial back the years to my emo-folk phase and listen to Conor fucking Oberst than spend another minute listening to this pretentious fluff for millennials who don’t watch the news. Thanks for ruining a great day you pompous w****r.

Clark – Death Peak
Okay I’m cheating because this is more artillery for DJs but it’s a Clark album that’s and it’s fucken brilliant. Easily the WARP release of the year till date.

Actress – AZD
This is Actress on Ninja Tune and not Werk Discs so it’s quite a different listen top-down. Minus a lot of the jarring (read: great), exploratory moments that have earned Actress his own bubble, AZD is a superlative LP that you can actually play without your friends asking you dial it down. Too bad a Ninja Tune release also means a copy on wax costs around $30. I think the fact that Spacehall really bumped this all-day-long was great, but I still can’t afford to drop that much on a wax version so digi via Bandcamp will have to do.

Brian Eno – Reflection
Thoughts of time now passing fast enough, of ELO, and sleep, and why some weissbier needs a good shake before a pour; thoughts of shrill ’50s Bollywood singing, of drones, of sitting in my bed as a 15-year-old and my mom complaining about how my dad rarely takes anything seriously; thoughts of being electrocuted by a pair of Sennheiser headphones at a Sandunes concert, thoughts of a friend coming over just to eat all the ice cream in my freezer, cheesecake brownie Ben & Jerry’s, and I’m crying, for ice cream, interminable sadness, manageable short-term grief; thoughts of my music listening being interrupted by real-life versions of Internet pop-ups, I can’t get rid of ‘ em. Mom’s here and I’m listening to her still. All of this and more while I listen to Reflection with my eyes closed, eye mask on, mid-air, around some 27 hours through a fucking never-ending journey to Las Vegas from Berlin via Dubai. Eno calls this an “internal conversation” which, to me, is as scary as it is essential. Highly recommend if you’ve got the time to sit still and take it in
.

March in Music, Don’t Refuse It

Summer is here. Turn the volume up up up.

Your Old Droog – What Happened To Fire?
Bars, bars, bars hittin’ hard hard hard. Doesn’t hurt to have the major chops of Black Milk, !llmind and Statik Selektah on the desk either. Quite accurately tagged “outsider music” i.e. you probably won’t be obsessing over this if the new Kendrick joint is the greatest shit you’ve heard lately.

Oh No & TriState – 3 Dimensional Prescriptions
Oh No is back with a fucking doozy, with TriState on the assist. Essential listening from front to back. You won’t regret it.

fly anakin & koncept jack$on – Chapel Drive
BigFat put me onto this on the drive from Bandra to Sewri over the weekend. Been hooked ever since. Best $5 I spent all month.

Locust Leaves – A Subtler Kind Of Light
Voidhanger’s catalogue feeds directly into my thrashy, proggy Slayer/Sepultura/sludge/doom cravings. A Subtler Kind Of Light dropped last week and its combination of new and old hit the kind of spot I didn’t know existed. Can’t tell whether I’ll hate this record by the end of the year or not but I love each of these four tracks equally; right now though, this is the one.

Strategy – The Infinity File
Sort of falls between ambient and noise and glitch music with very little in way of beats. The kind of record you let wash over you; meditative almost. Ends with about 11 minutes of this.

Blonde Redhead – 3 ‘O Clock
Been a while, eh? This is quite addictive, especially on those rare days I’m not in the mood for anything heavy.

Depositos Noturnos Vol. 1 – Meia Vida
VA album shining a light on some fantastic Brazilian talent across industrial electronics, acid and dangerous club music. Not for the faint-hearted or and especially not for the technofuckbois who prostrate themselves in front of Geigling’s discogs page. Be gone you twats.

Teengirl Fantasy – 8AM
Worth it for this track alone and it doesn’t get more 8AM than this. If you never knew before, now you do. Eat it up, hipsters.

Welcome to THE MACHINE

March was a monumental month for rap music seeing as one of hip-hop’s biggest labels (Shady Records) signed two of hip-hop’s greatest underground rappers (Conway and Westside Gunn). And I celebrated. I celebrated because while the duo would have lit up the underground hip-hop scene for years, it was about time they got their recognition. Their output across multiple mixtapes and albums over the last few years has been nothing less than phenomenal and heads in the know have lapped all of it up. Flygod was my album of 2016, and Conway’s Reject 2 narrowly missed out on sharing that honour because it dropped near the end of 2015. In the weeks following and preceding the Shady Records signing, the two brothers were all over YouTube doing interviews and freestyles and getting all the attention they rightfully deserved. In the midst of all that, I happened to chance upon this UNREAL Statik podcast (a ‘signing special’) featuring Westside, Con, Benny, their fucking amazing producer Daringer, Prodigy, Just Blaze and more.

Listening in, all of what I’d imagined over the last couple of years began to fall into place and I realized why Conway is on track to be the most memorable rapper of this generation and also why Griselda is the greatest gift to the rap game in many, many years. By all means, listen to the whole podcast, it’s 100% worth your time, but if you want to have a tiny example of what can only be described as greatness, cue up to 5:50 and play till the end. 

Long live Conway and Westside Gunn. Long live GxFR. Welcome to The Machine. 

No Hero Radio #003 <> brnsctr’s coarse grind

I had two very basic ideas for this blog when I started out. First, I’d hoped I could introduce anybody who cared to read to music both new and old without having to pitch pieces to newspapers that I knew would never be green-lighted. Second, I wanted it to be a world separated from “scene” stuff because music writing in India was becoming bleak to the point that a handful of writers were vying to write about the same albums as expediently as possible after their release, engaging in what was essentially another form of PR minus using the letters ‘P’ and ‘R’. I desperately wanted to sidestep that trend, and well, so far it hasn’t fared too badly.

I also wanted to feature mixes under the ‘No Hero Radio’ banner but strictly not DJ mixes that stuck to the standard DJ mix script. Conscious and careful selection of music would be an absolute priority, or at the very least there would need to be a theme or a story attached to the music being showcased. Otherwise, what’s really separating a No Hero Radio show from the thousand of mixes already out on Soundcloud and Mixcloud? In my search to look for literally nobody to contribute towards this, along came brnsctr, somebody many of you know as the person behind ARTLESS and the King Brain Mixtape (both available on Bandcamp). I plugged brnsctr’s last DJ mix on the blog because it did the kind of job in 30 minutes what many mixes fail to do in a couple of hours – it kept me actively engaged. I then urged brnsctr to send me something more expansive because by then I was rather fond of his selections that dug deep into soul, hip-hop, psychedelia and the electronic abstract – the kind of music that soundtracks most of my days. It’s no secret that I’m 100% for mixes that feature perfect tunes rather than perfect blends, mixes that really strike me as more relevant to the art of DJing (research and contextualisation) rather than the technical aspects of the craft (blending and beatmatching).

So, this the third No Hero Radio show featuring a guest mix by brnsctr. In its 1 hour and 13 minute runtime, you’ll find an exemplary selection of material by Gigi Masin, Li’l B, Sun Ra, Barrington Levy, James Brown, Mac Demarco, Marvin Gaye, YG, and more. Make no mistake, this is the best mix of music you’ll hear all day and perhaps all week. Essential listening. I also asked brnsctr a few questions, answers for which you can check out below the mix.

What have you been up to lately?
Living. Trying to keep occupied with positivity.

Do you have new music coming out soon?
Hopefully. The answer to that question changes on a weekly. Between King brain and artless I had 1800 plus beats / loops / tracks… It’s more about why. I would like to be so close to the truth as possible. A theme that can get me going. That’s all. That’s what I aspire for (at least right now).

I don’t want to do something just because I can. It has to be a little more than that…

Buy Moire’s No Future Right F**king Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Do you remember Shelter,  Moire’s 2014 record on Werkdiscs? Yeah that was a trip and if you weren’t banging any of that shit out in your DJ sets “Mr. Successful DJ”, please stop reading right now. I’m kidding, you can read ahead. It’s your life, do what the f**kever you want with your time.

Admit it though, you fuckin’ missed the guy, didn’t ya? You missed all that smoggy, jittery house and that raw-ass techno that was infinitesimally more real than the soft-on-the-edges garbage your local club circuit loves. And you fucking love all that distortion and shit don’t ya? You love “the noise” and “the noise scene”. I mean before all this electronic shit came to town, that’s all you listened to – shitty-ass guitar solos on worn-out solid-state amps. And I mean, look around you, step outside your house – it’s all you fucking hear and see, isn’t it? Noise and dirt and grit and dog shit on the sidewalk and rich Bandra aunties nearly stepping in it while jogging and texting and drinking Raw Pissery.

And then you go back inside your house and you open the refrigerator, which is empty by the way, and you think to yourself – “Wow. What the fuck has my life become? I have to hustle all day to pay the bills, can’t catch a break anywhere. The government’s checked out basically and now I have to pay ATM fees. The only way I’m paying ATM fees is if at the end of the fourth transaction of the month, a hand comes out of the money slot and jacks me off right there. Right there in the fucking ATM, in front of the security guard. There’s no other way I’m fucking agreeing to an ATM fee. What is this? The Developed World? Fuck. That. Shit. AND they turned your neighbourhood flunky into a demigod… the music scene that is. Why? ‘Cause he’s popular. He’s fucking friends with everybody and backslaps even the cunts he actually hates. You can’t do that. Fuck that. You can’t not be real. I mean you’ll die a fucking hater and a recluse before you ever ever ever go to an afterparty that resembles a pageant for Mumbai’s finest twats sponsored by Old Monk and the shittiest weed on earth. There’s no chance you’ll ever…”

You stop yourself right there. You aren’t alone right now and you’re actually thinking out loud. Your forehead is tensing and your partner is looking at you from like seven feet away wondering if it’s time to, you know, make a run for it.

Well chill the fuck out because I’ve got GREAT news for you. Moire is back with the soundtrack to your misery, and like your misery, it’s an absolute blinder. It’s even called No Future, which is what your parents say all the time when they’re referring to you. How uncanny is that? Well, I hope you hear it in a club I’m playing at and start a moshpit and scare some people with man-buns because really, what the fuck else did you pay to enter the club for?

Dig in. Buy it when you’re done. If you aren’t gonna support local music, you might as well buy the imported shit and then tell all your fake friends on the Internet how much money you spend on music every month.

New Music – January/February

With a pretty full schedule over the last couple of months (NAMM + Los Angeles + Indonesia + touring), I’ve had little time to reflect on the music I’ve really been digging since the new year began. I’ll try my best to publish one of these every month, but to start (and square) things off, here’s my pick of albums from January and February.

Steve Roach – The Passing
This one has actually moved me to tears a few times already. Already a contender for AOTY in my opinion.

Visible Cloaks – Reassemblage
This time with Visible Cloaks, something different happened altogether – I ended up giving more of a shit about the music than the art and the animations. Lovely record here. No, not everyone’s cup of joe, but a lovely record nonetheless.

Baseck – Erisfall
Derrick Estrada has milked me for a lot of money, mainly because of his uncanny ability to make complex eurorack synth modules more fun and intuitive. We had a chat at the Malekko Heavy Industrial booth at NAMM in January where he sold me on their new sequencer in about five minutes flat. I also happen to love his music, and his latest tape released in support of his ongoing tour with clipping. is the real deal.

Mutual Intentions – Mutual Intentions #2
Super funky collection of beats with some bars thrown in for good measure. Extra-easy listening from the Mutual Intentions stable in Norway.

Roc Marciano – Rosebud’s Revenge
35-word review: To be real with you, I was looking forward for this album to drop last year but Roc Marci was like “wait”. Out now, it’s smooth as expected and easily his best since Reloaded. Buy it.
2-word review: Future?… lol.