You can always tell when you’re listening to Denver EDM. It’s rough take on the mid-fi production with distant vocal samples is so distinct from the numerous other cities experimenting with the same thing. Listen to Lockbox, (older) Pictureplane, Alphabets, etc. It’s clear it is all coming from the same place. Ron Cole of Hollagramz has been kicking around Denver for a while now, and he’s another one of the big names arising from the city’s Rhinoceropolis venue/collective. Self-described as “Atlantean Techno,” the self-titled debut from this Western American producer will surely be another notch on the belt of Denver dance music.
Listen to the first track, “Corundum,” below, and buy the LP (limited to 300 copies) from Small Plates Records.
New York-based jazz quintet Black Host thrives on contrast, and “Hover,” the opening cut from debut album Life In The Sugar Candle Mines, is a prime example. In the version below — cut-and-pasted from the 10-minute original — the contrast isn’t subtle: it opens with dissociative, barely-there free jazz, before settling into a major-key uplift of sustained guitar, impressionistic piano, post-rock bass, and a 4/4 beat, courtesy of band leader Gerald Cleaver. But as soon as we start feeling comfortable, the vibe’s disrupted by a fragmented, “Lonely Women” melody, the urgency of which is punctuated by Brandon Seabrook’s fuzzy guitar and the aggressive saxophone articulations of Darius Jones. This musical contrast is complemented by director Mario Latham’s video, which features dirty stone sidewalks next to pristine cobblestones, urban decay foregrounded against a bustling city life, film sped up and slowed down, imagery from various periods of New York jumbled together to set the structural, claustrophobic elements of city life (signs telling you to do this and that) against the ecstasy of dance and the freedom implied in wide open skies.
Also be sure to seek out the original version of “Hover,” which features a stunning piano solo by Cooper-Moore and several dissonant buildups that showcase Cleaver’s intuitive sense of dynamics and rhythmic interplay. It’ll also show how the video’s version is a rare moment of clarity in an otherwise much more complex and penetrating exploration.
Life In The Sugar Candle Mines is out now on Northern Spy.
• Northern Spy: http://northernspyrecords.com
“Collard Greens” (ft. Kendrick Lamar)
Before we get to this new ScHoolboy Q track, let me give you a little cooking tip apropos of its title. When you’re making collard greens, be sure to add some brown sugar. I know obesity and type 2 diabetes are on the rise and that eating too much sugar is bad for you, but trust me on this one. Adding the unexpected ingredient gives the greens just the right flavor, especially when combined with ham hocks and red pepper flakes and all that good stuff. Man, I could go for some greens right about now…
Where was I? Oh right. I’m not here to talk about collard greens, the delicious, delicious side dish, but “Collard Greens,” the latest cut from ScHoolboy Q’s upcoming release, Oxymoron. The banger’s built around the pairing of a heavy, ticking drum beat with a sprightly synth line. ScHoolboy’s scruffy scowls aren’t a perfect match for the wintery beat, but he makes up for it with some creative boasts, like how he spends more on his daughter’s shoes than we all make in a year. *insert broke college student sob here* And then there’s K dot — C Monster’s favorite rapper of all time and the highlight of the track. He talks dirty in Spanish! He does that “doo doo doo doo” onomatopoeia thing he loves to do! His flow is on point! Nice to see the Black Hippy partners coming together — at the very least, they give me an excuse to talk about my favorite vegetable.
Joachim Nordwall (the one with the extremely penetrating stare) has crafted some quietly terrifying music from malfunctioning synths and malevolent maracas. Furthermore, he has sanctioned a video in which a body of leaves raves as if it were back in the day (skip to 2:06 for the real juice). This record will be especially enjoyable if you live in Belgium, as it will be marginally cheaper due to reduced postage and packaging costs.
“Kush Coma” [feat. A$AP Rocky] / freestyle on Crib Sessions
When we first heard Danny Brown’s new smash crowd banger, “Kush Coma,” it was a rough draft with a placeholder verse and a promise that A$AP Rocky would be on the final version. No one complained though; the more Danny, the better. Plus, the production by Skywlkr, fellow Bruiser Brigade member, is sooooo fucking great that the rapping’s like the blunt on top. In any case, thanks to Tim Westwood and BBC Radio 1 (via Hip-Hop Dons), we can now hear the version that’ll be on Danny’s forthcoming album, Old. While A$AP’s guest verse is indeed here — look ma, no triplets! — BBC Radio 1 unfortunately edited out every time the word “kush” was dropped, which is frequently since the chorus is about being in, well, a kush coma. Darn. I guess we’ll have to wait for Old — hitting stores in August via Fool’s Gold — to hear the full version.
In the meantime, check (“CHECK!!”) out Danny Brown freestyling over Pusha T’s “Numbers on the Boards,” courtesy of Westwood’s Crib Sessions. He looks like he’s possessed by Mr. Fox, but no bitch it’s Danny Brown, and he’s got some weed up in his sock. Dude’s going to die like a rock star.
Danny Brown updated his SoundCloud account with the full version, which includes another verse: