débruit - Separated Together
I'm going to open the first column of the year with our very first LNFN premiere- the remarkable new video for débruit's track Separated Together. Every element of this is winning for me - the tune itself is a melancholic spiral of rattling Congolese guitar riffs (reminicscent of Konono No 1's joyous discord), cycles of chanting vocals, droplets of bass, and sharp, splintering claps. Anyone who's ever loved a Four Tet record should be instantly smitten. It's accompanied by a video shot by Markus Hofko, a video that on first watch appears to be a feat of intricate CGI manipulation. However, according to débruit, the smoke-like shapes running through the forest are, in fact, the result of a video feedback technique Markus has pioneered; they're completely analogue, and all the more haunting for it. As I said, remarkable. Separated Together is taken from débruit's 2015 album Outside the Line, a record worth every minute of your time - listen and buy it over on Bandcamp.
10th Letter Ensemble
Another day, another Atlanta heater. The first I saw of 10th Letter was this amazing 2011 video of him performing in the Awful Records house. I'm not sure what to call the music, but seeing as it flits between jazz, electroina, noise and hip hop, it’s tailored made for this column. With his latest release 10th Letter – or Jeremi Johnson to drop his government name- is ramping up the jazz side of things; he’s leading a five piece playing live interpretations of tracks from previous albums Portals & Compasses and Seasons. Recorded live, the drums are satisfyingly loud and stop any descent into jazzy over-smoothness; if you’re looking for any Hed Kandi ‘chill jazz’ nonsense, this isn’t the record for you. At times the tunes delight in head-fuckery–Spice Runner collapses into a free jazz freak out, synths sprawling all over the pace with the louche manner of an elegant drunk. Further in Falling Planet teams glittering synths with a drum pattern that’s half Kraftwork, half footwork. So, yep, it’s tricky, but also, as with so much coming out of the ATL right now, it’s effortlessly cool and extremely rewarding.
Boxed/ JT The Goon
Back home, and it’s worth noting that Boxed, champions of the furthest reaches of grime, have got their 3rd Birthday coming up (here’s the facebook event page for the party)
What better time to note that long time Boxed affiliate JT the Goon has got a new 12” coming out through Keysound Recordings, and quite wonderful it is too. I say new, but in reality Oil on Ice has been hovering around on dub for around two years – and time hasn’t diminished its impact. I’m going to jump straight in with the cheap shot comparisons; it sounds like JT has tried to rewrite Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks theme for a remake set in the empty, soon to be demolished estates of Elephant & Castle. As that suggests, what you’re getting on the Oil on Ice EP is big 80s synth strings interplaying with cascading square waves and saw tooth bass. It’s dark, graceful, and sad as London.
Earl Sweatshirt – Wind In My Sails
Earl Sweatshirt was always the most promising of the Odd Future kids – and he’s just dropped another 3 tracks to prove he’s not anywhere close to dropping off yet. Wind In My Sails is the biggy: Mad Lib and Fly Lo are on production. No prizes for guessing it jams; the end result is an unsurprisingly accomplished piece of Soulection ready, introspective hip hop-soul. Equally interesting however, are two instrumentals produced by Earl himself. Skrt Skrt is a stop-start horn led beat that’s rough, mournful, and dope. Bary finds Sweatshirt taking the axe to Kanye’s Barry Bonds and coming up with another jittering, dislocated groove. Boith suggest that the Earl has got chops on the mixing desk as well as the mic. Listen quick – the last Sweatshirt track that went up online was gone within a couple of days…
Niagara - Beto
I’ve gotta shout out the Soundcloud algorhythm for putting me onto this cut. I’ve no idea what I was listening to before Soundcloud started playing – whatever it was was completely driven out by the joy of Beto. 7 minutes long, the track starts with 3 chords looping over and over in a gleaming plastic funk. Further synths layer up reaching further and further aloft, each new melody clambering over it’s brethren to attain new heights. It’s a glorious piece of house/techno/funk, and it’s little surprise Niagara are Lisbon alumni of the Principe label; their synths share more than a passing similarity with the Batida sound of the likes of Marfox and Mabouko. In all honesty I’ve slept on this track, it’s been out for 2 months now – get it in your life and feel that little bit happier.