Scratcha DVA has always situated himself at the stranger end of UK funky, which explains precisely why he’s been snapped up by Hyperdub, persistently the hub for the dance-floor eccentrics. When not hosting Rinse FM’s formidable grimey breakfast show, he piles sickeningly shifty drums and sugar-coated synths into an occasionally confusing cacophony. He also steers clear of the brooding, bass-heavy productions of his contemporaries and even employs Vikter Duplaix’s extremely silky vocal cords.
DVA’s sound is captured perfectly in the video for “Madness,” where a mildly depressed man walks around the backstreets of London with an utterly bemused look on his face, as his senses are invaded by the night’s neon palette (and obligatory octopus). It may be a little saccharine for some, but for me it sits perfectly on the line between kitsch and paranoid, if there ever were such a thing. Look for his debut album, Pretty Ugly, next year on Hyperdub.
“No Matter What”
We all remember the absolutely huge Onra/Washed Out sample clash when this song sounded like this song, which both took their samples from this song. Wait, you don’t recall the apocalyptic war of words that took place? Well, that’s because they’re both far too nice, saying things like “It appears that we sampled the same thing.” How very amicable. In any case, the Parisian beat maestro that is Onra has already released one album of oriental sampling oddball hip-hop, but it appears that his treasure trove of “Far East” samples is simply too deep for one collection. Thus, Chinoiseries, Pt. 2 has been released on All City Records, with warbling instruments, vinyl crackles, and soaring vocals. It even features an absolutely mental sampler video.
Apologies are in order: Scroll’s self-titled debut cassette is already sold out, so we’re getting word to you, faithful & forgiving readers, altogether too late. But nevertheless, listen to Scroll. The album cover features woods. So does the affect of the album within. It’s just how black metal should sound, which is to say with effective moody drawl and shroud, and without histrionic lyrics or brain-bashing punishment. The sound is well-layered and balanced, even when the pummeling drums kick in. “Algol,” Scroll’s opener, featured here, wastes no time in letting the noise go to work, with background roar and a palette of scrapes and squeals. Scroll knows what he wants to do, and does it well. (Thanks to omgvinyl.com for pointing us in the right direction.)
• Scroll: http://scroll.bandcamp.com/album/scroll
Japanese new age ambient label Ginjoha has packed up tapes by the likes of Innercity and Mark Bradley in wonderful brightly-colored, digitally-rendered, weird-shit artwork over the past year and has just topped off its catalog with a step in a slightly different direction: a new album of electro-acoustic drones from Norway’s Andreas Brandal. Starting Parts of the Puzzle with a foundation of field recordings — atonal plucking, shaken glass — Brandal slowly cakes on the layers of cold, sophisticated electronics for which he’s known.
DJ Manny & DJ Rashad
I’m on SoundCloud a lot these days. Not only because I have absolutely 0 friends (well, you’re kinda my friend), but also because you can hear some of the best footwork tracks on SoundCloud, released almost as soon as they’re created, a good option for those outside of Chicago. Thankfully, Lit City, a brand new label, is just starting up. Lit City has several releases planned in the near future, including one by up-and-coming footwork artist DJ Manny. Check out the video for “Ooh Babby” — a collaboration with footwork/juke god DJ Rashad — which features Tribe National dancers Khalil, Supah, King Rashad, Chief Von, and Jeff footworking at the lakeside in Hyde Park. The track is off Manny’s full-length, Teklife Vol 2: The Sound, due January 2012.
“Scorpion Immobilization Sleeve”
Just try to stop John “Avalanche of Noise” Wiese from putting out another album. You can’t. So someone just go ahead and secure him more record releases and accompanying art books, because he’s got some shit you need to hear and then stare at. Oh, thanks PAN, the classy label that puts cool pictures with colored geometric lines on their covers! Way to be on top of this with Seven of Wands, a selection of conceptual compositions dredged from recordings Wiese made while on tour with Liars and No Age. An excellent addition to a metamorphic, rock-solid solo discography, on top of his work with Corydon “Obstacle Corpse” Ronnau in Sissy Spacek (the original celebrity band name) and a multitude of other collaborations. Onward to infinity.