February Dispatch \ Don’t Die Wondering mix

Merok's blog chooses some tunes for the first of their monthly mixes.

24.02.11

Words by: Zara Wladawsky

Text: Noam Klar

Hi and welcome to this first of monthly mixes summing up tracks I’ve been particularly feeling the last month.

The proceedings kick off with Skin Fox by Mane Mane, taken off their recently released debut album on NY tape label UUU Tapes. The label is also host to the a few others of what is often referred to as the Peace Age collective which Mane Mane is associated, basically a loose group of friends and artists coping with 21st century data overload through various brain fried musical manifestations and identities. Mane Mane specifically is comprised of London maker of psychedelic beats C Powers and similarly warped Atlanta producer HeRobust.

Next up is a track by an American rapper who I don’t know too much about except that he was once shot 18 times in the face or something similar. I came across it eating a burger somewhere, and amidst the brain-numbing humdrum of the restaurants shuffle playlist it came on, and as soon as it did I was instantly overwhelmed by an engulfing flame from within, which turned out to be heartburn. The song is nice though.

E&E is an LA-based artist which I’ve had an ongoing fascination with since I heard his Untitled album that came out last year on Deathbomb Arc. I recently got sent a bunch of his new demos which offer a twisted mix of cuban rhythms, gothic lullabies, foreboding drones and cheap movie samples, that for me paint a wholly unintentional but entirely relevant contemporary American portrait, one that is more engrossing and thought provoking than most artists trying trying really hard to achieve the same thing.

Velour is a duo comprised of Bristol garage, dubstep and house producers Hyetal and Julio Bashmore. On this occasion I should mention that I don’t think I’ve heard a single track from Hyetal that didn’t blow me away on the spot. I caught this one on the Night Slugs Allstars Volume 1 compilation, which is great in its entirety, but this one quickly climbed to the top of the pile to become my favorite, due to it’s understated sleekness and uncharacteristically bitter-sweet chord progression, giving it a subtle undercurrent of romance.

With the next one I can’t decide what I like better, the Kim Carnes-esque original by Romanian pop singer Loredana or this remix version by synth pop and R&B reconfigurer Autre Ne Veut, or which one comes off weirder for that matter. I wouldn’t recommend playing the Autre Ne Veut version at a party because the high frequencies can be quite piercing and unpleasant at high levels, but that’s also what makes it great, 3 minutes of ear-blinding glitterball pop majesty.

“On My Own” is the first single from UK DJ and songwriter Yasmin who recently supported Example on tour, whose Kickstarts was incidentally one of my favorite pop songs of the last few months. Just one of those cases where simple, familiar lyrics acquire a force and significance of higher order through a beautiful melody and masterful production. This chorus cuts deep.

Mi Ami is a band whose output is pretty impossible to predict, their previous work ranging from world-tinged krautrock to abstract dance sprawl (such as their re-working of Telepathe’s Devil’s Trident which stands as one of my all time favorite remixes), to straight up proto-punk. “Hard Up”, their latest single on Thrill Jocky, is pure DFA, with it’s dance-punk swagger counterpointed by those tinglingly sedating synth bubbles.

The Blondes “Synthesist” remix is part of a recent Harald Grosskopf re-issue and remix compilation of the same name by veteran and forward-thinking NY electronic label RVNG Intl. It’s one of those tracks that are great to play to warm up a party kicking into gear or slightly after it’s pinnacle has passed, when people start to sway more out of the force of inertia rather than directed movement.

As for the closing track, it was announced this week that Tyler the Creator from the OFWGKTA hip hop collective is due to release an album on XL Recordings. Listening to this closing remix of Lykke Li’s recent single “I Will Follow”, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that this will be something worth the wait.

Tracklisting
1. Mane Mane – Skin Fox
2. E&E – Track 04
3. Velour – Booty Slammer
4. Loredana – Rain Rain (Autre Ne Veuts’ Robin Goodfellow Edit)
5. Yasmin – On My Own (Burns Remix)
6. Mi Ami – Hard Up
7. Harald Grosskopf – Synthesist (Blondes Remix)
8. Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers (Tyler The Creator Mix)