Thursday, 27 August 2009

Andres Reyes

Andres is a major reason for my trip to L.A. It was the Beat Generation issue of Shook Magazine (and in particular Andres piece on L.A. Beats), that helped me join the dots between a lot of artists I had previously listened to (from Madlib to Ras G to Take). I already knew there was a lot of collaboration happening in L.A. but it took Andres' article to really open my mind to there being such a thriving community of talented producers in one place.

Andres is an inspired individual intent on sharing his keen ear for innovative future sounds. The classicdrugreferences blog is still the best possible example of a music blog; introducing the world to unique music and its creators (Jay Electronica!!!!!), reliably always one step ahead. 

With Andres on board now at Plug Research records, alongside such forward thinking folks as Andrew Lojero- the label is at the most exciting point in its' distinguished history. Indications of this include the upcoming albums from super producers Shafiq Husayn and Om'Mas Keith of Sa-Ra fame.

In my interview with Andres, we discussed all of the afforementioned projects as well as reflecting on the L.A. movement of Beat music right now and its seemingly limitless potential.
These are very exciting times and Los Angeles is what's happening!


I've been following the online radio station Dublab for years; personal podcast highlights including Terry Callier's acoustic session a few years back, Egon's high school funk mix and Count Bass D's MPC jam session. They have provided such amazing and diverse (and free!) music to the internet since 1999, largely due to the extreme dedication and innovation of co-founder Mark 'Frosty' Mcneill. 

The interior of the Dublab offices are highly reflective of the colourful imaginations behind the company. It was a pleasure to meet Frosty and chat about the Dublab mentality of Future Roots Music (progressive, forward thinking music) and all the innovative past present and future projects they are involved in.

They have an incredible output of music, art and film. We touched upon a few projects; including  Dream Scenes (imaginary concert posters), the Secondhand Sureshots documentary, Up Our Sleeve (record cover art project) and Into Infinity. To find out about these projects in more detail people need to simply visit the website!

Dublab is approaching its tenth anniversary and is as strong as ever. It is so refreshing a presence both online and as part of the L.A. community due to its constant exposure of diverse and brilliant music and art. I can simply state the website is one of the most important music portals on the entire web. This is a sentiment clearly agreed upon by many as Dublab continues to be a non-profit organisation, funded by donations. Quite simply it is there because the people love it so much.


This is the first of a number of overdue updates backtracking the L.A. interviews. I first heard Devon's music on Kenny Fresh's supreme Fresh Selects blog a while back. I instantly engaged with the hazy warmth of his layered keyboard sounds and the off-kilter funk of the drum programming. 

His name has been on heavy rotation in my itunes library, yet before my L.A. trip I knew nothing of the guy. So meeting Devon in my first week at Low End proved to be one of many great surprises. The fact that he only relocated to L.A. from Portland early this summer speaks volumes about the vibrant community of gifted producers present in the area.

Devon's ability to conjure seriously heavy, often- nostalgic beats on a basic backpack setup of ableton live and a midi keyboard demonstrates a raw talent and a producer utilising his tools to the fullest. It is also testament to his finesse on the keys that he crafts such emotive, vintage sounding compositions through the software at his disposal. This natural talent is evidenced in the video interview we conducted where Devon built a track from scratch in 5 minutes. It encompassed all his signature styles of beat creation combined with impressive improvisation. 

Devon also opened my ears to the multi-talented Klipmode crew he is a member of alongside Suzi Analogue, Knowledge and Mindesign. Devon's Thumbtracks recent release is the first official release from the camp yet these guys are bringing some serious heat, believe me!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Nosaj Thing

A few weeks back I caught up with Nosaj Thing at Low End Theory before he rocked another incredible Ableton set. His production and live set eximplify a producer utilising the software to the fullest. Although Nosaj could deemed to be part of the L.A. 'beats scene' his sound is instantly distinguishable in his spatious electronic compositions. His music clearly has a unique set of influences and it was interesting to touch upon them; from Boards Of Canada to Bach. We also discussed the development of his production techniques. The guys at Low End Theory have been great in assisting my project and I'd like to thank Kev and Marcus in particular for helping set the interview up.

Journey To Viberia: Jneiro Jarel

L.A. was full of surprises. One of the best was finding out Jneiro was in town. Discovering his Three Piece Puzzle LP back in 05' was like unearthing a next generation leader of the Native Tongues with a new range of futuristic production sensibilities. A big record indeed! Since then I've kept a track of his various projects such as Dr Who Dat?, Capital Peoples and Shape Of Broad Minds to name a few.
Something major setting Jneiro apart from any producer scene is his added assets of total mic control, multi instrumental abilities and very soulful singing voice. The dude really encapsulates Hip Hop. When people cite Dilla and Madlib as major players in influencing the worldwide Beats scene, Jneiro is that big too.
Catching up with Jneiro in the studio was a great experience; I got to delve into a whole range of subjects including the origins of the name (Supermans dad!!), his multi-sided musical personas, a strong intent to stay independent from any 'scene' and his villainous connections. Big shout to J5 too!


I first heard Pudge's beats in the travelling bass machine that is Dibia$e's jeep. This was a cool experience as Pudge was also riding with myself, his sister, D and Devon on a trip to Santa Ana. What hit me on first listen was some emotive classic hip hop production with very nice MPC piano chops.
 I have since had a chance to delve deeper into his catalogue courtesy of a beat cd, a recent Mary Anne Hobbs mix and through Pudge playing an endless array of exclusive beats off his laptop for me. This guy really has got every style from some huge Radiohead remixes to the upcoming Dibia$e collab Chopmasters- absolutely destroying all kinds of 80s movie, TV and pop tracks. Always coming correct with the dirty ill drums. Oh and also he's making beats one-handed right now and as prolific as anyone-truly ridiculous and inspirational!


Dak's recent StandThis EP is my favourite music release in a long while. There is a freeform nature to the beats that depicts a producer with very open ears, unafraid to experiment while still rooted in classic hip hop influences. After meeting Dakim, I found it crazy that this has been his first widely available solo release from around 12 years dedicated to the craft. 
Leaving Records is an exciting home for his music as Matthew David is definitely tuned into Dak's genius and overdue time for major recognition. It is also clear that Dak has embraced his move from Detroit to L.A. and become an influential figure in the community of producers. 
Interviewing Dakim proved to be very enlightening. It is fair to say his music merely indicates at the fascinating personality behind it. I won't get into the details now, I'll wait till the documentary for that. 
During the space of 2 weeks I caught 2 very different live shows of his- the first playing beats off the MPC and SP404 at Low End and the second playing just a keyboard and creating live loops at Echo Curio. Each set was utterly compelling, with Dak equally at home playing for the art gallery crowd as in the club. He maintained a consistently sublime and personal sound whether manipulating samples or creating freeform keyboard compositions. His adeptness at completely switching up his live shows demonstrates a producer unwilling to be constrained by genre or tradition.