James Blake: “200 Press” + BBC Mix

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“Keep James Blake Weird”

James Blake is no stranger to eschewing expectations, moving from forward-thinking post-dubstep producer to more recent major-label backed successes that layer his enigmatic compositions with his surprisingly soulful croons. James’ strengths are many, but all remain firmly grounded by his ability to command emotion, rhythm, and melody in a way that feels very much his own. Straight to the heart, through a brilliantly cracked lens.

I have a soft spot for those who get a taste of success and continue to keep things jarring and new. And “200 Press” does just that. For this new tasty bit of filth, James affixes samples from an obscure Andre 3000 feature spot and Three Six Mafia’s “Late Nite Tip” to a clang of interlocked percussive rattles, sparse synth stabs, caterwauling vocal clips, and rumbling low-end. This slow burning sway builds into a claustrophobic climax before plunging back into the cold rhythmic refrain.

While James could be poised for serious crossover success on his next effort, his consistent left field bent is still obviously a central component to his works— a brief perusal of recent Harmonimix edits will provide additional confirmation of this fact. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier about that.

Look for “200 Press” to drop on 1-800-Dinosaur (yes, only 200 copies will in fact be pressed) and listen to Blake’s recent, eclectic mix for his BBC Radio 1 Residency show in its entirety over here.

Julio Bashmore: “Peppermint” (feat. Jessie Ware)

Julio Bashmore and Jessie Ware, who already have a number of impressive collaborative works under their belt, recently dropped a new addictive and dance floor-ready jam. “Peppermint” effortlessly fuses timeless house vibes with a decidedly contemporary UK-pop bend that recalls Brit counterparts Disclosure. That being said, this track is unmistakably Bashmore– the lush synths, pulsating sub bass, remarkable builds, those 909 claps and that groove. And, of course, Jessie Ware’s vocal work is as on-point as ever.

It’s also nice to see Bashmore recover from his previous single “Duccy”, which was one of the first tracks I ever saw roundly panned by the typically positive SoundCloud community. Perhaps “Duccy” was a failed attempt at minimalism, but “Peppermint” makes no such missteps. Expert production right here.

Watch the awesome stop-motion animated video for “Peppermint” above, which explores evolution, the cosmic (dis)order of nature, and creating infinitely from a small handful of building blocks as an allegory for house music.

ON REPEAT: AWE – “Crystals”

AWE - "Crystals"

ON REPEAT is a new feature at Chickens Don’t Clap! that draws special attention to my favorite, faaaavorite tracks. It’s all love here, but these jams are the cream of the crop in my world right now.

Young Los Angeles producer AWE has been compiling notable accolades since his debut EP Eagle Soul dropped on Terrorhythm last May. Though that release dipped a little too far into the hardstyle-trap set for my tastes, it remains an impressive collection of massive, genre-blending tracks that run the gamut from ice cold festival bro-bangers to warm, melody-driven vibe-out anthems.

More recently, AWE’s following has been losing its collective shit over his latest offering, “Crystals”, ever since Plastician premiered the track on his Rinse FM show last year. It’s been a long wait for its release in this Internet-defined epoch, but this bit of triumphant future-bass wizardry finally arrived in full 320kbps non-radio rip form this week. “Crystals” unquestionably finds AWE at his most Rustie; the builds, drops, breakdowns, layers of excellent melodies, serious low-end grooves, and then that lead synth that rides in at 4:17? Jeeeeeeez. It’s over. This is 2014′s walk-into-the-sunset end credit music for the 16/32-bit video game kid in high-fidelity.

It might’ve been best to strike when the iron was hottest, but this track is killer enough that AWE should find himself with legions of new fans. As an added bonus, we now also get Djemba Djemba‘s hyped up chipmunk-Jpop DnB remix as a companion piece. Well worth the wait, I’d say.

Disclosure: “F For You” (Feat. Mary J Blige)

Not to be so ALL THINGS DISCLOSURE, but there’s no way I could avoid posting this excellent reboot of Settle pop-house gem “F For You”, now featuring Mary J Blige. It’s safe to say that this version blows the original out of the water. Who knew Mary J could play that anthemic club diva role so well? Here’s hoping this track marks a new path in her career, because she absolutely slays it… wow!

Wandl: “Prunk”

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In 2014, it goes without saying that the average listener has an absurd amount of new music at their fingertips. Streaming services, music publications, mp3 blogs, artist uploaded tracks and mixes, exclusive LP previews, live concert streams, endless YouTube uploading, rampant piracy… all saturating the internet with music that’s free for the listening (or taking). For an obsessive like myself, just sorting through the amount of good tunes I come across in a given week can be a daunting task these days.

One of my favorites from the dozens of new tracks I’ve dug on recently comes from Vienna-based producer Wandl. At the forefront of this raw and sludgy little banger is a rattling bass-fuzz that would almost feel more at home on a moody post-punk jam. But Wandl smoothly folds this into an array of abrasive, yet melodic sounds– the rusty edges of this cut tempered by his keen sense of melody and the head-nod inducing swing of the rhythms.

Nice work, Wandl. Stream or download “Prunk” below.

Bishop Nehru: “You Stressin” [prod. by Disclosure]

Bishop Nehru - You Stressin' [prod. by Disclosure]

After their considerable success in 2013, it would have been an easy and lucrative move for Disclosure to go all Coldplay/Dad-EDM crossover on us. Luckily, the brothers Lawrence have instead decided to continue their constant evolution and growth by dropping a slick Dilla-influenced hip-hop scorcher with New York’s latest wunderkind up-and-comer Bishop Nehru on the raps. Equal parts back-to-basics boom-bap and forward-thinking future vibe, Disclosure’s production on “You Stressin” delivers in refreshing and unexpected ways while Bishop’s flow deftly glides in and out of the stuttering synth bubbles and drum slaps.

Look for this single to drop on Disclosure’s Method Records imprint soon. Also be advised that Bishop Nehru and the one and only MF DOOM will be dropping their collab LP NehruvianDOOM in the near future, so don’t sleep on this kid.

DJ ill spectre: “Astro Jump”

“Astro Jump” cover art by Sonny Romeri.

New post, old mix. Feels good to be back, though.

In case you missed it, here’s the first live mix I put together for Kill Quanti’s monthly “Astro Jump” night at The Whistle Stop. Good times rockin’ sets with Yung Satan, the homie Hghwnd (formerly Kynan) and of course the very talented KQ DJs. Much love to all y’all! ‘Til next time… vibe out to these #emotionaltrap vibes. <3 <3 <3

DJ ill spectre: “En Avant”

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I dropped this dancey blend a few weeks ago, but never posted it to the blog! So here’s my latest mix in case you missed it. Peep the tracklist after the jump. From my SoundCloud:

Originally crafted for the Sweat Lodge warehouse parties, “En Avant” is inspired by the liberating and uniting force of the dance floor. That moment in the late hours of the evening when your movements become one with the other sweat-drenched souls, shrouded in the exhilarating freedom of darkness and harshly contrasting light. Everything but the sounds and your body becomes irrelevant. I hope this blend of timeless house, bass, and extended disco cuts can transport you to that euphoria– or at least get you somewhere close.

For the art: Much love and respect to Keith Haring, whose works continue to inspire a similar euphoria in countless people across the world.

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We Gettin’ Wavey

Wave Racer - "Stoopid" / "Rock U Tonight"

Wave Racer’s SoundCloud artist statement: “I like vocoders and arpeggios”

Wave Racer is certainly a practitioner, if not upper clergy, in the church of Rustie; a deft maximalist dedicated to making huge, hyped-up ravey jams in a way that recalls contemporaries like 813, AWE, Alizzz, Cashmere Cat, and the aforementioned Pope of the Maximal. That’s not to say he doesn’t bring his own unique take to the style. Floating somewhere in the sonic netherworld between trap, rave, jersey club, and future bass, Wave Racer’s handful of tracks released thus far bear the marks of a producer that has nowhere to go but up.

From the clean production, tight drum sounds, slick sample work, massive energy, inspired synth tones, right on down to the little studio punch-ins that accent his excellent first single “Stoopid”, he’s pretty much hitting all points with pitch-perfect precision. And now you can download “Stoopid” and the also killer b-side “Rock U Tonight” for free. Peep the stream and download link below.

Bonus: Wave Racer’s remix of Ghost Town DJ’s immortal “My Boo” is also necessary listening. I DJed a party a few weeks ago and just had to this track back to back…. people went OFF.

Lapalux: “Moveoutofmyway”

LapaluxOn top of releasing an excellent EP (Without You) and LP (Nostalchic) in 2013 already, British Brainfeeder affiliate Lapalux has also taken the time to put out a few excellent one-off tracks this year. His latest, the ethereal “Moveoutofmyway”, features dreamlike vocal work from Pictures labelmate ShadowBox that is beautifully bent and manipulated by this beatsmith’s unmistakable touch. Stream and download the track below.