Posts Tagged ‘planet mu’

Review: Falty DL – Phreqaflex (ZIQ277)

Large new rhythms again from NYC-based producer Falty DL on the long-time trendsetting label Planet Mu. This release comes as a three track 12″ and digital released a few weeks ago. I have been following Drew Lustman’s work under the ‘Falty DL’ since discovering his Bravery EP last year, and being enamored by unique sounds atypical of most stateside based producers. It is quite logical that a majority of his releases have found a home on the renowned Planet Mu label, seemingly always one step ahead of the curve in underground electronic music.

The title track ‘Phreqaflex’ opens the release with an unrelenting garage drum pattern underneath smooth keys and two distinct yet similar bass rhythms in a style that is undoubtably a head-nod to unmistakable shuffle of Horsepower Productions. Lustman makes the production clearly his own through the use of melodic off-kilter rhodes and rave-pianoesque stabs throughout the tune, providing a more light-hearted feel than the sheer darkness typical of much of Horsepower’s catalog. Continuing the first side is the even more soulful “My Friends Will Always Say” expounding on the mood set forth by the first track, adding a smooth sexy dancefloor vibe on top of the shuffled beat and pulsating claps that would undoubtedly fill any floor that has any semblance of a pulse. The release closes with the b-side’s single track “Because You.” a keyboard driven garage tune with spaced out vocals and heavy employment of reverb to provide a warm soundstage to juxtapose the unmistakably sharp cold drum patterns that are the hallmark of the UK Garage sound.

Phreqaflex as a release is no disappointment, continuing high expectations set from Lustman’s previous releases. Clearly Falty DL’s  sound has grown and “found it’s niche” so to speak. Drawing heavily on the influences of the darker sounds of UK Garage, Falty DL continues to provide us with refreshing modern interpretations on the Garage sounds that served as the building blocks for much  of today’s “bass music” movement. The tracks here are quick, and to the point which seems consistent with the clear coherence of Lustman’s recent productions.

A must-bag for any fan of the El-B, and Horsepower Productions, Phreqaflex is available in all fine shops as a 12″and digital release.

(Reprinted from


Starkey sends audio into Ear Drums and Black Holes

Starkey has been perfecting his style of synthesizer gymnastics for years and it culminates in “Ear Drums and Black Holes,” his second full-length solo album released next Monday on Planet Mu.  The sound on this album shows a maturity that is easily predictable given the quality of his recent singles (Rain City/Beatingz, Stars/Millenia, Ok Luv/Multidial).  A few of these singles are included on this album, but for the most part it’s new material, and damn is it tasty.

I always am interested to see how people that produce music built for DJing put together album material.  In some cases it’s just a collection of tracks, some offer so-called “gapless” versions which are minimally mixed (Scuba), some truncate the tracks on the album gearing it for casual listeners and not DJs (Caspa).  It’s rare in electronic dance music to have an album that feels like it has emotional progression, which I get while listening to this album.  Feelings range from the gritty sounds of “Spacecraft and “Fourth Dimension” to the hiphop club feel of “Club Games” and “Murderous Words” to the emotive and lovely sounds of “Stars” and “Neck Snap“.  The album weaves in and out of these different styles keeping it varied while listening and contrasting moments of intensity with mellow segments.

A number of tracks stand out on this album, distancing themselves from cookie-cutter dubstep/bass music and expressing the “street bass” sound of Starkey and Seclusiasis.  Hard hitting beats, deep basslines, expert synthesizer melodies and hiphop/grime vocals form the mainstay of the album.  The top tracks for me are the playfully melodic song “Neck Snap” that I still say is a robotic Grover Washington Jr. on the e-soprano sax, P-Money’s excellent flow over top “Numb” echoes my own desire to “zone out to the kick and the drum”, the build and drop into complete insanity on “Fourth Dimension“, and the combined outro tunes of “Pleasure Points” and “Fidelio“.  I did a feature on this two weeks back, but here’s some more audio samples to whet your appetite:

Starkey – Neck Snap

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Starkey ft P-Money – Numb

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Starkey – Fourth Dimension

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Starkey – Fidelio

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While this album has some of the top tracks so far this year personally, I also feel like some selections were a bit of a let down.  The intro tune “OK Luv” has a ridiculously excellent vocal version with Badness on the mic, but for some reason the instrumental was selected for this album which to me sounds a bit barren, but maybe I’ve just been listening to the vocal version too much.  The second track “Murderous Words” features Vortex on the mic, but I really don’t find that he adds much to the track, the subtle echo effect on his voice and midrange synths make the lyrics sound a bit muddled, and grime MCs really have perfected rapping over beats around 140 bpm far better than most US vocalists have (contrast this track with the Badness version of “Ok Luv” or P-Money’s masterful flows on “Numb“).  The breakdown in “Spacecraft” with Starkey’s autotuned vocals guiding listeners on a spacecraft voyage is ethereal, and the build into the second part is nice, but getting through the first section to the breakdown is a bit rough.  These are the minority though.

On the whole, this album is a very strong entry from Starkey and the Planet Mu crew.  Definitely recommend picking this one up, it’ll be out next Monday digitally, and is shipping tomorrow on CD and 3x 12″.  Get after it.


Eskmo – Let Them Sing / The Standpoint out now

Out yesterday on Planet Mu is this big release from SF’s Eskmo aka Welder.  These two are done in the typical Eskmo style (that is to say, excellent) and fit nicely into the Planet Mu catalog.  Eskmo always comes with a fresh sound, this time using all sorts of sounds in the tunes including camera shutters.  Futuristic vibes in a half-step style, been waiting for this one to come out for time now.

This one two A-sides, get to listening:

Eskmo – Let Them Sing

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Eskmo – From The Standpoint

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Get it here:


Dubstepped Radio 005 featuring Distal

Dubstepped Radio

Oh gosh!  This episode is off all chains and hooks.  Introducing here Atlanta producer DISTAL with a boatload of unreleased tunes and the standard complement of fresh releases and unreleased tracks.

Not gonna waste any time on the intro, get this in your ears:


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01 – FaltyDL – Must Sustain (Planet Mu)
02 – VVV – Linder Years (unreleased)
03 – Nate Mars – Higher to the Bass (forthcoming ‘Concentric Circles’)

– Distal Feature (all unreleased) –
04 – Distal – Attempt at Yellow
05 – Distal – Post-Soul Persona
06 – Distal – Heaven’s Blowback
07 – Distal – Serengeti
08 – Distal – Speed of Right
09 – Distal – Gun Confetti

10 – Vaski – Get Down (Rottun)
11 – NTRLD & Thurgood – Ghetto Fabulous (unreleased)
12 – Kid Simple – Fresh Like (forthcoming Double Drop)
13 – Dev79 – In Ya Face (Pharoah & Peach Remix) (Seclusiasis)
14 – EZ$ – Iron Breath (Get Money)
15 – Playdoe – Freeze Step (Starkey Remix) (Rwina)
16 – Sainttex – So Many Bits (unreleased)
17 – Zeno – Reboot Funk (unreleased)
18 – Jaybird – Work Dat Box (Kraken)
19 – Marcus Visionary – St. Vincent (forthcoming Liondub International)
20 – Noah D & Roommate – Street Sound (Thought)
21 – Jahdan Blakkamoore – Get Hustlin (Gold Dust)
22 – Heavy Heights ft Gina – Want and See (Intager Dubhouse Remix) (unreleased)
23 – Marcus Visionary ft Liondub & Johnny Osbourne – Coffee or Tea (forthcoming Liondub International)

Download (m4a, enhanced with chapters & art).

Download (mp3).

Subscribe in iTunes.

Introducing: Distal

I first heard Distal tunes a bit ago on the Sub.Traction radio show on Dubstep.FM and when I finally got around to checking out his tracks I immediately contacted him.  The production quality on all the songs is really high, from sound design to mixing to rhythm and diversity.  Detailed in the interview below he has extensive musical experience so in retrospect this makes sense but you can hear it even when you listen to the tracks for the first time.

If you want to learn more about Distal check out this mini interview:

snf: First off, where are you based now and what’s going down that people should know about?


Atlanta, Ga.

Atlanta Dubstep was formed 1st quarter of 2009, and has consistently been doing big things for the city. We have a monthly even called “Sub.Traction” at El Bar , and for the ‘recession proof’ price of 200 pennies you can catch local dubstep acts. The best part of Atlanta Dubstep is that we run in a very large group, so we are able to cater to everyone’s tastes whether it be more house influenced stuff or tear out wobble. We also host a bigger one off night once a month at various venues featuring international and domestic talent. We’ve had 2562, Appleblim, Ramadanman, and Noah D through so far; all have done exceedingly well. Atlanta is starting to make a ruckus!

Be on the lookout for Embassy Recordings, a forthcoming Atlanta based label run by myself, and partner Mite ( Our main goal is to build a bridge between slow Southern Crunk , the plastic-like drums and lush synths of Techno, and also the twisted bass of early Jungle and Drum & Bass. We just got a distribution deal with ST Holdings, and our first release should be out shortly.

Lastly I’m involved with a smaller promotion group ‘Heat Promotions’ run by Matt “Inferno” Heat’s goal is to bring up and coming international minimal and techno artists to Atlanta.

S: Tell me a little about yourself, how did you get into production & music in general?

D: I started dj’ing about 10 years ago when I was 16 under the alias ‘Proximal’ At the time I was playing Hardcore / Freeform. It was a very niche market, so I actually had a lot of opportunities stateside, and in Canada to do my thing. That’s where I picked up the etiquette of the beast. Later on in my dj’ing career I started getting into breakcore and the creative possibilities that came with breaking the formula. I began to mash everything I enjoyed (acid techno, jungle, rap, bmore, old country) into one set, and my mixtapes became a novelty act on the Internet.

I also spent a good deal of my time in college studying music theory and classical piano with other musicians. I studied the science of music, and its effects on sensation and perception. My senior research inolved the study of synesthesia or ‘the confusing of the senses’; specifically how pitch / timbre effected your visual perceptions of the world.

I first heard dubstep back in 2005 while shopping for breakcore; sites selling breakcore always carried an eclectic supply as long as it was quality. And more eclectic labels like Planet Mu started to put out dubstep. I began to notice. I bought Darqwan – Stargate 92 on vinyl in 2006, and I fell in love.

It’s cliché I know, but its true 140bpm was the perfect median to experiment and keep the audience. The sound is so ambiguous you can go in so many directions.

Something clicked like it never had before. I looked at all the ammo I had collected throughout the years, the theory I had learned, the science I had learned, and realized how expansive the canvas now was at 140bpm. I opened my laptop, got serious, and haven’t looked back since.


S: There are elements from all sorts of music in your songs.. hiphop, Berlin techno, reggae, 8-bit nintendo riddims, maybe even indie pop..what are your musical roots?

D: I’ve been influenced by a wide array of sounds throughout my life. I love good melodies and grooves no matter what they are. Last ride in my car I remember hearing Tammy Wynette, Project Pat, Fugazi, David Pajo, and 808 state. Being able to appreciate and understand other and all works for what they are helps you grow as an artist, and along the way you’ll notice it leak into your output. Now the challenge is ‘how do I use what I love and turn it into what I am doing’? Computers and software definitely make the process an easier one.

But I must say I have a soft spot for early acid techno and breakbeat hardcore. It doesn’t get much better than 4Hero, Mr. Fingers or sleezy D (anything off Trax records) from the late 80’s. Hearing dance music that early on always brings a smile to my face. That analog sound has so much warmth and depth to it, it’s like looking at an old photo. Plus you have to admire those guys making it back then, they were doing something big, and they didn’t have it as easy on any front (communication, process, tools, digital distro etc.). They are the real explorers.

S: You tend to produce both more aggressive tunes and deeper ones, do you find it hard to go back and forth between the vibes? This is something that happens often in good DJ sets, mixing all vibes of music, but what’s it like from the production perspective?

D: It all depends on my mood really. I think I’ve found the aesthetic I want to get down for ‘Distal’. I want people to know it’s a Distal tune regardless of the style its in. We’re humans, our emotions and actions change constantly, but it’s always US at the controls, the same applies with the creation of sound.

But I definitely have a sound I’m leaning towards at the moment. Some people are calling it ‘future garage’ some people are calling it ‘future step’. The sound is characterized mainly by its slightly syncopated rhythm, and influence from garage, house and soul music. I know it’s just human to want to categorize things like were on the Galapagos, but at the end of the day it’s all just good mid-tempo bass music.

S: What producers are on your radar that people should know about? What future things are coming from you?

D: Right now I’m ALWAYS happy to hear a new Untold tune. When Hessle Audio released ‘Kingdom’ last year it changed the way I think about music. It challenged me. I love it when a producer successfully challenges the dance floor. Secondly MAYHEM, another ATL homie is just cranking out excellence. He’s making more crunk-influenced stuff. Guaranteed a rewind. His engineering skills are air tight, check out “4th of July Jam” on my latest mix !Embassy Recordings

Anything off of Apple Pips is also going to be a treat. Those guys know how to do things proper! Their quality control bar is set so high! I’m also feeling a lot of stuff from ‘Shortstuff’ his release on Formant Recordings was huge, every time I play ‘Relapse’ people run to the laptop to see what’s going on. I’m also big on DJG right now, his tunes have so much tension behind them; it’s like a good thriller film. Joy Orbison… enough said. Lastly SINES from Texas … he sent me this new bit the other day ‘gravity’ wow so funky and smooth. Def. check him out. So many others I can list right now I could do this all day.

Be on the lookout for a few of my plates to be released on Embassy Recordings by 1st quarter 2010. I also am working deals out at the moment to sort out a good portion of my catalog with a few big labels. Wish I could say who, but I can’t at the moment !


I.D. – Exclusive September Promo Mix

I.D.I just got sent this mix this morning from Manchester-based DJ I.D. (Earwax, Enchufada, Heavy Artillery) and I’ve been rinsing it all day.  It’s exclusive to the site for the time being and heading to more places soon.  I.D.’s releases recently (especially the Earwax one) have been stellar, take note.

Back to the mix – it’s got forthcoming tunes from Gemmy, TRG, DJ Madd, Toasty, and more.  What REALLY got me was the Baobinga & I.D. remix of the kuduro artist DJ Znobia out on the Portuguese label Enchufada which broke the kuduro legends Buraka Som Sistema.  I am such a fan of kuduro it’s irrational, here’s a mix or two to check out the style.  It’s basically Angolan music fused with Portuguese urban rhythms and it’s one of the most danceable genres of music that exists.  This mix from I.D. has a section in the middle that’s heavily influenced by kuduro that starts with the DJ Znobia remix and is the highlight of the mix for me.  Big respect on this sound, I really need to hear more.

The mix starts with futuristic off-key or wonky sounds, moves into some deeper vibes with a touch of wobble, the kuduro segment, and maintains intensity to the end.  Solid mixing, solid selections, put it on your mp3 player now.

San Franciscans need to check track 3 in this mix titled “Rainbow Road” by Gemmy and then come see him along with Mary Anne Hobbs, Akira Kiteshi, and loads more tomorrow night.

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Rossi B & Luca – Don’t Cry Soundbwoy (I.D. rmx) – Heavy Artillery
I.D. vs Skinnz – The Blues (Earwax)
Gemmy – Rainbow Road (Planet Mu dub)
I.D. – Leaves (Mata Syn dub)
Relocate – Origins (Iberian Records dub)
TRG – New In Town (dub)
F-Word – Death Valley (I.D. remix) (Dusted Breaks dub)
DJ Madd – Wot 2 Play (dub)
DJ Znobia – Me Batem (Baobinga & I.D. remix) (Enchufada)
Baobinga & I.D. – Tongue Riddim (Build dub)
L-Vis1990 – United Groove (Baobinga & I.D. remix) (Mad Decent dub)
I.D. – Clipper (dub)
Viper Corps – Overclocked (I.D. remix) (Lucky Break dub)
I.D. – Tell Ya (dub)
Toasty – Lickable (dub)

Download this mix.


Mary Anne Hobbs – Wild Angels

Mary Anne Hobbs has a new compilation album coming out on Planet Mu on September eighth and man are the selections excellent and diverse, as expected from both MAH and Planet Mu.  If you aren’t familar with Mary Anne Hobbs then get to know: she runs a hugely influential radio show on the BBC’s Radio 1 and has been called the modern day John Peel.  Forward-looking beats from artists like Hudson Mohawke, Brackles, Untold, Starkey, Nosaj Thing, and many more come together yielding an excellent compilation of 2009 dubstep/hip hop/wonky/robot music.  Exclusive tracks from Gemmy, Teebs, Hyetal, Darkstar, and Floating Points should cause even the most well-educated to take note and Planet Mu nailed it by pressing all of those to 12″ vinyl for the DJs.

Surefire sums it up excellently:

This album represents emerging new Transatlantic sounds progressing
future-forward from dubstep, hip-hop, soul and electronic centered in
Glasgow, Bristol, London and on America’s West Coast. The album
displays many tiers of sound, embodying the best from the artists
often featured on Mary Anne’s esteemed BBC Radio 1 show.

It features pioneering tracks, such as Hudson Mohawke’s ‘Spotted’ and
Rustie’s ‘ZigZag’ which have been highly influential in the
evolutionary process, underground dancefloor anthems such as Starkey’s
‘Gutter Music VIP’, devastating cerebral pieces like Mark Pritchard’s
‘?’ and exclusive tracks from next generation artists such as Teebs’
‘WLTA’ and Gemmy’s ‘Rainbow Road.’

The title ‘Wild Angels’ comes from an expression that Mary Anne used
to describe the crucially influential work of the late Alice Coltrane
on her BBC Radio 1 ‘West Coast Rocks’ special. She said: “Alice
Coltrane plays her harp like a wild angel.”  Planet Mu label head Mike
Paradinas loved it so much he suggested it as a title.

Dom Sum of LuckyMe produced an excellent video to go with an abbreviated mix of the tracks on the comp.  Very nice visualizations here that blend superbly with the audio.  Great package here all things considered.

To accompany the compilation release Mary Anne’s doing a US tour north, east, south, and west.  I hope there’s one in your area:

Thursday, September 10 Smartbar (DubFix Party) – Chicago, IL
Friday, September 11  103 Harriet St, (Afterburn Party) – San Francisco, CA
Saturday, September 12 The Cellar at Agenda – San Jose, CA
Wednesday, September 16 Holocene – Portland, OR
Friday, September 18  Love (Dub War Party) – New York, NY
Saturday, September 19 Shadow Lounge (SubDivision Party) – Pittsburgh, PA
Sunday, September 20  Barcelona (MadClassy Party) – Austin, TX
Wednesday, September 23 Low End Theory – Los Angeles, CA
Friday, September, 25   Cervantes (Bass Invasion Party) w/Skream – Denver, CO
Saturday, September, 26 Decibel Festival – Seattle, WA

Here’s the full tracklist with exclusives in bold – mouthwatering!  Audio previews available thanks to Planet Mu.

01 Mark Pritchard – ?
02 Hudson Mohawke– Spotted
03 Gemmy – Rainbow Road
04 Mike Slott – Knock Knock
05 Brackles – LHC
06 Teebs – WLTA
07 Nosaj Thing – IOIO
08 Untold – Discipline
09 Tranqill – Payroll (Paul White’s Clean Dub)
10 Architeq – Sleeping Bear Lament (Take Remix)
11 Rustie – ZigZag
12 Mono/Poly – Red And Yellow Toys
13 Hyetal – We Should Light A Fire
14 Starkey – Gutter Music V.I.P.
15 Darkstar – Videotape
16 Floating Points – Esthian Three
17 Sunken Foal – Of Low Count And Light Pocket
18 Legion Of Two – And Now We Wait

Keep your ears open – this drops September eighth.


Dubstepped Radio Episode 002

Dubstepped Radio

I’d like to start off this week with a new episode of dubstepped radio.  I’m really excited about this episode, it’s got five styles of dubstep from jazz saxophones to hiphop to wobbly tunes.  It’s a pleasure to discuss tunes in a genre as diverse as dubstep, always keeps you on your toes.  This episode clocks in at just over 74 minutes with 23 tracks.

There’s a bunch of free music associated with this episode: Juju – Young Girl, Mastodon Tricycle – Lead Chips EP, Kid Simple – Ruthless (promo for Seattle Selections), Dumbsteppaz – Southern Fried Dub, and Elucid – My Mayor is a Billionaire plus Laser Days.  Get after those, some serious tunes.

Next episode should be up early July.  Send promos to snfdubstepped on aim or and I’ll give ‘em a listen.  I’m also open to including guest mixes so if you’re a DJ/producer and want to add your own flavor to the program contact me.  Bigup all involved.

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DS Radio 002 Tracklist:

01 – Yong & The Widdler – Cloudchaser (unreleased)
02 – Kial – The Skywalker (unreleased)
03 – Murderbot – Crowd (Dead Homies)
04 – 12th Planet – Be Blatent (Smog)
05 – Dubsworth ft Bakir – Dirty Suthin (Dubs Alive)
06 – Rumblejunkie – Training (Dirty Circuit)
07 – Kid Simple – Body Slam (Shift Digi)
08 – Decree & Enuf – Auto Motive (forthcoming Stupid Fly)
09 – Dumbsteppaz – Sho Nuff (unreleased)
10 – Starkey – Creature (Planet Mu)
11 – Sloppy – Pony Organ (unreleased)
12 – Mastodon Tricycle – Bullshit (unreleased)
13 – Eskmo – I Dream I’m Flying (Ancestor)
14 – FBOM – Got to Get (unreleased)
15 – Svpreme Fiend – Colors (unreleased)
16 – Zeno – Dub no. 9 (Trillbass)
17 – Joker – Digidesign (Hyperdub)
18 – Elucid – My Mayor is a Billionaire (BBC) (forthcoming Sub Bass Diet)
19 – Jahdan Blakkamoore – The General (Liondub International)
20 – Jahdan Blakkamoore – The General (Noah D Remix) (Liondub International)
21 – Juju ft Don Carlos – Young Girl (bootleg)
22 – Mochipet ft K. Flay – Lazy Day (memes Jazzy Day Dub Wobble) (unreleased)
23 – Overcast Radio – Vendetta (Surface Tension)






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