“The Official Schwarz Sample Pack”

Baltimore producer/DJ Schwarz is equal parts high energy hype man and motivational speaker. His Thunderzone trilogy, including the 2k13 anthem “U R Beautiful,” lifted me out of some dark places. The Schwarz persona, which at first seems like a complete joke, becomes all the more endearing when you realize that all of this is dead serious. Schwarz is making positive club anthems to which the ravers, the weirdos, and, dare I say, the entire world can lose their minds.

Thunderzone just unleashed the “Schwarz Sample Pack,” which includes all of the man’s “catch phrases” that you’ve heard in his songs, mixes, and live sets, all collected in one place for the first time. Juiceboxxx writes that the pack is good “for all your club music and prank call needs,” so sift through these twenty-four samples. I’ve embedded my favorite below, and you can DL the whole thing, for whatever amount you want, right here.

• Schwarz:
• Thunderzone:

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

“Love After Love”

A Year With 13 Moons, the upcoming album by the now Brooklyn-based dream brutalist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, is intended to be a continuation of the themes from 2010’s Love Is a Stream. And “Love After Love,” the single from the forthcoming album, is accompanied with a video by Paul Clipson, and it’s as blissfully crushing and heavily magical as we should expect from Mr. Root Strata. Influenced by arthouse filmmakers, the hyper-distorted dream pop of “Love After Love” is saturated with tape hiss and static while achieving an elevating potential through the sheer power of sound.

A Year With 13 Moons is out February 10 on Mexican Summer.

• Jefre Cantu-Ledesma:
• Mexican Summer:

Ricardo Donoso


Boston-based, Brazil-born electronic composer Ricardo Donoso produces monolithic technoid nocturnes uniquely fit to soundtrack your solitary reveries: in the throes of slo-mo underwater drift; in the light cast off of a film projector; in the post-rave self-assessment undertaken before sneaking back into your dreary apartment. His compositions thrill and awe us by way of finely sculpted synth details, overlapped rhythmic grids, and dramatic upward trajectories, as each piece spirals off into the darkness with the certainty that something, however grisly, will be uncovered out there among the steel and the fluorescent haze of the city.

On his upcoming album Saravá Exu, due January 30 on Denovali Records, Donoso forsakes the certainty of resolution and tips the scales in the opposite direction: the descent into a pandemonium of one’s own devising. He lays out the album as a variation on the rituals of the Quimbanda belief system practiced in Brazil. The called-upon Exu guardian spirits share human vices, human needs, and human struggles. If asked, they can curse enemies or bewitch objects of desire. Donoso sonically summons his Exu in a trabalho ceremony. He alights at a crossroad. He lights a white candle. He sips rum. He writes a name in the earth. He incants a melody.

If we glimpsed some hope in the streetlights before, “Gallicinium” brings the chaos to extinguish it. As the track spreads reverbed click patterns and thundering toms out over choral synth pads and bursts of bass, we inhale deeply, unsure when our next opportunity for oxygen will arrive. We know that the descent into madness is necessary to truly understand every corner of our self. We know that the climb out of the pit will restore us.

• Ricardo Donoso:
• Denovali Records:

Uncommon Nasa


Fun in the Kunduz: This laid-back soundtrack, laid-back like Lateef’s Eastern Sounds, is centered around the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Maybe the liner notes would help align the sounds with the historical context / concept, but “KUNDUZ,” as a stand-alone piece, is giving off nothing but good and weird vibrations rich with vitamin D. No conflict in sight, as the tempo leans back and sways, dropping red Solo cups in the aftermath of a beer commercial shoot. Measured intervals of single note stipples accent the arrangement. One note clocks in faster than the others, paced like an automatic rifle. A weird, slightly neurotic and humorous baritone “voice” groans, mumbles, and wobbles in backdrop of the mix. Live left-and-right-panned wind, with dynamics preserved, puts the human mouth and touch in the otherwise machine-repetitive and sample laden track, and assists in bringing the track to an aurally and emotionally satisfying climax.

• Uncommon Nasa:
• I Had An Accident:

Dr. Dundiff

Frenemies with Benefits [preview mix]

Always going deep with the beat, Grand Garden Records is starting off 2015 on the path of glory with Dr. Dundiff’s first solo album Frenemies with Benefits. In the little [preview mix] below, y’all can tell the doctor when through some ivy league times on old vinyls for loops and samples, while studying some heavy discographies of beat surrounding the scene. Feel cured? That’s because Dr. Dundiff knows what to do in the [preview mix] to get you feeling ALMOST right, but the antidote is in the entirety of Frenemies with Benefits. Thus, the Benefits are an insatiable feeling of being bullet proof and trill, same-time. No, you can’t snag Frenemies with Benefits at your local pharmacist. Actually, I’m sorry to disappoint, but Grand Garden is still gripping these tapes from the dubber and the pending release of Dr. Dundiff’s all-cure album is mid-February-ish. Though, impatience isn’t something the [preview mix] protrudes because of that uplift. It’s practically like a mix-stream of what is to come! Shit, for nearly nine minutes you get pure beat glory. But get this, sucka: Frenemies with Benefits is going to be about 40 to 60 minutes long. I can’t remember because it’s at my work computer with another rough-draft of this post, but Dr. Dundiff inevitably goes in, and Grand Garden followed. You can follow a taste below, but keep on the look out for Frenemies with Benefits SOON:

• Dr. Dundiff:
• Grand Gardens Records:


CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.