The debut EP from E.R. AKA Ethiopian Records AKA Endeguena Mulu is a real breath of fresh air.

Deep and vivid basslines encase absorbing pulses of thick house beats, as skillfully arranged samples of traditional vocals and instruments lend the tracks a refreshing authenticity.

The record, titled Qen Sew ቅን ሰዉ,  is on digital release from independent label 1432 R. This isn’t the first time these guys have sought sounds beyond oceans and deserts for their releases – such is the digital age.  Mikael Seifu, another Ethiopian producer based in Addis Ababa, treads a similar path to E.R. having also released some stellar pieces with the Washington-based label.

There’s a real future in electronic sounds from leftfield & “exotic” sources, i.e. other than the western standard. And E.R. produces them fantastically well. This fusion of traditional timbres and styles with the world of electronic production opens a whole new spectrum of contemporary sound. It sticks two fingers up to an increasingly homogenised global electronic scene, but also draws enough from it to seem familiar and approachable – as well as a rich cultural history of music.

E.R himself lists Amon Tobin, J Dilla and Kode9 among Francis Bebey, Mulatu Astatke, Asnaketch Worku and Alemayehu Eshete as heavy influences on his work – as well as collaborators Mikael Seifu (above) and the Zion Rebels. Qen Sew ቅን ሰዉ, which translates as “good-hearted” or “kind-hearted person”, is dedicated to Mulu’s father. It also makes for excellent listening.

Stream the first two tracks below.

Check out Ethiopian Records via…

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REVIEW: Limalo – Oasis of Days

Limalo - Oasis of Days (Album Art)

An unremitting tide of dreamscapes realised through sound

Dreams and surreality go hand in hand. Both catalyse mind-bending creativity in the world of visual art, which undoubtedly carries through to the field of sound and music production. Electronic duo Limalo capture the intangibility of dreams with aplomb in their latest release, a vignette of the ever-shifting dunes that surround the Oasis of Days. Each track blends seamlessly with the next, forming a ceaseless and unremitting tide of dreamscapes realised through intelligently composed sound.

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VIDEO PREMIERE: PADDOX – Live at Ovada Warehouse Gallery

Abundant in creative energy and captivating resonance, the beautiful ambient-electronic pieces of PADDOX are nothing near as they may seem on the surface. They say that hearing a band’s recorded work and seeing them perform live are two wholly different experiences. This could not be more true for this Oxford-based outfit.

Their upcoming debut release, Aphrodisiaque, sees them paint a series of tracks with broad strokes of pulsating melody. It is a rare fusion of blissful colour with disquieting undercurrents of industrial sound, complex and spectral drones that kindle excitement and curiosity. Their intentions were for Aphrodisiaque to become ‘a genre in its own right’, encompassing ‘any piece of music sympathetic to an ambient vision of the act of love’.

Imagery conjured through personal interpretations of sound cannot, however, compete with the experience of seeing it performed in a live space. While I could write for considerable time describing the many extraordinary ways that PADDOX create their pieces, the words would not do it justice. So, without further ado, here is their live performance at the Ovada Warehouse Gallery.

If this has provoked an insatiable interest for you, make sure to join PADDOX for their LP launch on Saturday November 29th at The Old Fire Station in Oxford. If you can’t make it, be sure to pick up their six-track LP Aphrodisiaque - though not just for the sounds within.

Limited to 100 pressings, the 12″ vinyl comes in concrete-clad packaging co-designed with Francesco Miniati,  uniquely crafted by PADDOX using 3D printed silicon moulds and weighing a total of 3 kilograms each. If there were any vinyl to finally break the shelves housing your collection, it should be this one.

PADDOX’s Aphrodisiaque LP is out on December 1st
via One Note Forever and Bear on a Bicycle Records.

You can grab yourself a copy of the limited release here.

Check out PADDOX via…

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There are, undoubtedly, many amazing things about the communication age. Though we are better connected than ever before (and arguably less anonymous), it’s still quite easy to conjure an air of mystery. All it takes is a few well placed bits of content and some sparse tidbits of information to pique interest. There’s a certain allure to the unknown as well – you only have to take one look at the hype that has surrounded UK duo Jungle over the last year to see how successful it can be.

Case in point: while absent-mindedly ear-browsing SoundCloud earlier today, I had the chance to stumble across this excellent piece from Aela EzctBubble Tea Tree. It’s wonderfully composed; a shimmering lo-fi warmth to the melody with a simple slow-paced array of beats, interspersed with powerful arrangements of strings and glitchy texture.

There is, however, little to no information surrounding the artist(s) beyond the computer-generated avatar and the strange ‘description’ that says nothing more than “█▄█▐▀▌▀▀▄▄▌█▄▐█ – open beta”. There’s also mention of Niue on the SoundCloud page – a small island in the south Pacific with a population of 1,400.

Perhaps this is a red herring, or perhaps this is an example of the pervasiveness of modern culture; one can only speculate (and wildly at that). One thing’s for sure though, Aela Ezct‘s creative pieces (totalling three) are engaging, strangely tactile and have a surrounding air of mystery that only serves to intrigue further. Definitely a producer to keep a close eye on, that’s for sure.

Check out Aela Ezct via…

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TRACK: Temple Invisible – Collide

It’s kind of weird to discover a unique and progressive track that evokes such strong feelings of nostalgia. The latest release from Romanian outfit Temple Invisible does just that, rekindling through discordant tones a phase largely soundtracked by Trent Reznor, Maynard James Keenan and the whole slew of artists that comprise Massive Attack.

While comparisons can always be drawn and categorisations ever attempted, these guys are very much a sound of their own making. A trio of multi-instrumentalists, they fuse heavy alt-rock-inspired guitar riffs with a savage array of viscid beats, guiding all the while with twisting electronica and unsettling wispy tones from vocalist Irina Bucescu.

Their distinct sound combines a nebulous darkness with psychedelic luminosity; energised, horrific and absolutely compelling. I highly recommend having a listen to their other track Disappearance as well. Both and more are set to appear on their debut EP Enter_, out on December 15th.

Check out Temple Invisible via…

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You have to put an ungodly amount of hours and effort in before you reap anything close to serious reward in life. Unless, of course, you happen to be an abnormally gifted genius, in which case I’d get on developing high-grade weapons tech and powered iron suits.

Marvel-inspired digressions aside, this is certainly the case in the world of music production. It’s refreshing to see then, that London-based producer Encym has spent plenty of time on his craft, with heaps of work up on SoundCloud and new pieces appearing almost every couple of weeks – if not more. He has so many pieces in fact, that he has a separate profile that acts as an overflow.

The first time I heard Encym‘s work wasn’t over the internet, as most new discoveries are these days. Scintillating details amidst ear-rumbling bass wove their way across the darkened floor of Plastic People one Sunday evening, at one of CDR‘s regular producer-oriented nights (more on those in a future post) . The sounds, quite rightly, were nothing short of captivating – thus I was excited to see his work included in Antwerp‘s recent Soniscope guest mix.

Passion clearly fuels his work. He seems to remix anything he can get his hands on, infusing pieces from the likes of Plaid and Nils Frahm right through to Hans Zimmer with his unique experimental tech/ambient sound. His original compositions are nothing to shake a stick at either. Rich, cinematic and resplendent in atmosphere, they exhibit real attention to detail. In his recent piece Foretold, for example, ebbing distortions and delicate guitar in the upper layers offset the more sunken, aqueous bass and percussion. Another track, Concrète, showcases his ability to read and place samples for a distinctly immersive listening experience.

With material so varied in style and texture, it’s hard to select only a few tracks for this post. I highly recommend basking in the familiar orange glow of SoundCloud to trawl through his vast collection – social links below. If you feel like supporting, there’s plenty enough on BandCamp as well. For now, have a taste of what his sound is all about:

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INTERVIEW: Chapelier Fou [Ici d’ailleurs]


“Great things always come from chaos”

Ever since his debut EP release five years back, Louis Warynski – otherwise known as Chapelier Fou – has wowed with his distinct fusion of contemporary classical sound with intricate electronic beats, bass and melody.

Hailing from the city of Metz in north-eastern France, he studied violin among other instruments at the Conservatoire de Metz from the age of six. Combine this with an insatiable thirst and obvious affinity for electronic sound equipment and you get compositions of great depth and contrast, engaging and cerebral. More recently he’s composed film scores, put together art installations and has even brought inspiration to the classroom with his vegetophone project, in collaboration with Ableton.

For the past year or so, Chapelier Fou has been working solid – and the end isn’t quite in sight yet. His third full LP Deltas is due to hit the UK shores on November 3rd, shortly followed by the man himself who will be playing at London’s Southbank Centre on November 4th. I recently caught up with Louis to discuss his new album , his inspirations and production techniques – and managed to clear up a few misconceptions in the process.

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