Q&A: Kidkanevil [Project Mooncircle // Flau Records]

“I think it’s important to be inspired by a place and culture in the right way, with respect and honesty and curiosity”

It’s arguable that a person’s roots aren’t explicitly tied to the physical time and place in which they grew up. Globalisation allows the pervasion of culture through entertainment, and oftentimes it’s our experience of this  – along with a vast range of other factors – that shape who we are.

Yorkshire-born London-based producer Kidkanevil is a prime example of this rather crudely made point. Since the tender age of sixteen, he’s busied himself by experimenting with beats – spurred by the creativity in his family, a passion for hip hop and, of course, his life-long relationship with the land of the rising sun, as experienced through the many windows that popular culture can afford.

Since the release of My Little Ghost earlier this year to great critical acclaim, Kidkanevil has been hard at work playing with sounds, travelling to/from Tokyo, collaborating on new releases and generally honing his craft. More importantly, he’s been hard at work answering the questions I decided to throw his way last weekend…

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TRACK: Saxsyndrum – Maceonectar (Johnny Ripper Remix)

With the days short as they are and the cold creeping in to chill bones indiscriminately, tracks like Saxsyndrum‘s Maceonectar provide a necessary warmth. The beautiful piece (from SXD_EP out via Art Not Love) came about from a seemingly uncomplicated concept. It’s put together using saxophone samples, captured and reconstructed by drummer Nick Schofield and saxophonist Dave Switchenko – the instrument fuelling the track’s organic air through its rich and distinct timbres.

Step up serial remixer and fellow Montréal sound-sculptist Johnny Ripper, who incidentally topped Chapelier Fou’s recent Tea Tea Tea remix competition. As part of an upcoming remix-centric release, he adds tonal synths and kick drums into the mix – augmenting Maceonectar‘s depth without detracting from the original composition. With driving thumps atop subdued saxophonic samples, the piece becomes an uplifting glow of staccato sounds – a quality that anyone familiar with his work will recognise.

Stream the Johnny Ripper remix of Saxsyndrum‘s Maceonectar below and stay tuned for news of the release…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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