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Author Archives: Patrick St. Michel

AR30 Rings In 2019 With AR30​: New Year Compilation 2019 Featuring Yuichi Nagao, RieMellowJunk And More

New year (or at last new season) means new compilation from the electronic collective AR30. AR30​: New Year Compilation 2019 gathers nine tracks to get the Year of the Boar off to a strong start. The set gets off to a fast start with Yuichi Nagao’s “Light,” a rush of fuzzy vocal samples, car horns and percussion that makes a drastic switch-up midway through to become a more meditative, piano-guided number. RieMellowJunk’s “Past Mistakes” features beats stutter-stepping forward while strings play off around them, while Soshi Takeda takes everything into a more relaxed space with the glassy house of “Building Reflection.” Dig in to find the tunes that help make 2019 start off smoothly. Get it here, or listen below.

Psych, House: Tonbo’s Visions

Turns out we still have some late 2018 music to catch up with. Producer Tonbo’s Visions embraces techno and house elements, but with the edges frayed. This isn’t some massive innovation or anything, but at its best this short release offers up some of the more disorienting electronic moments we’ve heard in recent memory. In particular, whenever Tonbo lets vocals — sing-speak or straight rapped — sneak in, the songs start to get a little wonkier. That’s especially true on “Smokers Forest,” the stand-out track, which swirls around for nearly seven minutes, going absolutely bonkers when the warped rapping comes in and turns it delirious. Get it here, or listen below.

New Yunomi Featuring Rinahamu: “Fashion”

Yunomi’s colorful blasts of dance music rarely leave space for detail, but “Fashion” excels at the small stuff. It works well as a Technicolor rollercoaster ride too, with guest vocalist Rinahamu (from Yunomi-produced outfit CY8ER providing higher-pitched vocals) guiding the song from dramatic verses to ragin-out drops. But that’s also familiar — Yunomi has proven they can do this kind of song over and over again. The real thrill comes in picking up on the introduction of new percussion for brief seconds, or the way the beat flips into this reggae-grazed movement after the first chorus. Or just how much new stuff sneaks into the final rush of “Fashion,” new elements smuggled in right before the final synthesized string note. Get it here, or listen below.

Calm Time: Parmot’s If U R Near / Throbe

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: elevating simple beat music to something that can stand on its own isn’t easy, but doable. Producer Parmot manages it with this two-song release, a slightly fuzzy offering in the same avenue as the dizzying sample-twisters that ΔKTR specializes in. “If U R Near” takes squiggly synth-melodies and a jazzy beat to create something that isn’t quite laid-back, but approaches it, with some slight disorienting touches adding the slightest — like, barely grazing — tension to the song. “Throbe” does it one better, letting the faded atmosphere come through more clearly and give an out-of-time feel to what easily could have been sonic wallpaper. But in Parmot’s hands, it ends up being something to sink into. Get it here, or listen below.

New Koutei Camera Girl Drei” “Josephine”

Last year’s New Way Of Lovin’ wowed us around here, but the basic formula to its success wasn’t all that complicated. Basically, Koutei Camera Girl Drei scooped up electronic styles often passed over by the idol world and mashed them all together. “Josephine,” the first preview of the trio’s forthcoming full-length release, follows in this mold by embracing reggae-inspired sounds, along with elements that crop up in modern dancehall. I’ll tread carefully here because reggae is one of those critical blindspots for me personally, but where “Josephine” pulls me in is how it uses elements present in all these styles and plays around with them to create something familiar and off at just the same time (take the Auto-tune smeared singing…that’s plenty prevalent in those styles, but not like this). Listen above.