A beat legend in Groovement’s eyes (we still savour some of his Breaking Bread vinyl in a special place), NATURAL SELF’s pounding breaks are deep and soulful. We were lucky enough to receive an exclusive mix from him for the site a few months back. ‘Ice’ is a track suitably named and made for the UK’s winter cold snap, melancholy and despondent. Download it for free at his Bandcamp.
No, Bjork hasn’t jumped on the show as yet, but Ryan Hunn aka ILLUM SPHERE just recently put her through the hoya grinder for this remix. Ryan and Jonny Dub run hoya:hoya, a club night which has had the foresight to book guests which the world and its mum now want in their own gaff. Tight links with Groovement have seen many guests come through solely because they played hoya the night before, so a massive thanks to the lads for that. Illum Sphere himself has seen releases on 3024, Fat City Recordings, Tectonic and now their own hoya:hoya record label and continues to be raved about as he ups sticks and throws down in clubs from Melbourne to Hamburg.
Seeing Suge is a collaborative alias of Manchester-based producer STAR SLINGER (together with Blackbird Blackbird and Emay), who dropped an awesome MPD set for us in November, and conveniently lives down the road. Star Slinger’s the remix don to go, having recently refixed Broken Social Scene amongst others. February 2011 sees him tour the states with Anticon’s star pupil on the back of LP ‘Celurean’, BATHS.
Probably Groovement’s album of the year, ‘Nothing Else’ was released in June as the first album on the Brainfeeder imprint, newly distributed by Ninja Tune in the UK and Europe. Lorn’s layers are dark, no question, but the raw emotion that powers his work is consistent throughout each and every track. The melt-your-brain and all too brief Soft Room is a non-album track from the Ninja Tune XX celebrations.
Another Manchester beat head (does North Greater Manchester count?), BREAK NEXT BEAT is an alias of hip hop head KUARTZ, half of Big City Beats with NYQUIST (below), who produced one of 2009’s killer independent hip hop albums, ‘Aquarian Prophecies’. Being a rapper as well as a producer, BNB’s 2010 journeys are full of potential for vocal interpretation but stand mesmerisingly on their own too, most prominently in tracks like ‘Autumn Skies’ that layer up into blissful plateaus.
Lando Kal of LAZER SWORD was over in Manchester to play for This City Is Ours and they very kindly arranged for him to record a Groovement mixtape. Shucks! The self-titled album was lauded everywhere and sounds like it was sent from the future.
Look out for a Blessings x Groovement mix in 2011.
8. Krystal Klear – Greensilver
From out of nowhere Krystal Klear emerged, like the lady from the boogie lake with a keyboard instead of a sword (erm, but a bloke), to take on all comers with the sheer feelgood audacity of his DJ sets (he became resident at hoya:hoya over summer) and production. ‘Greensilver’ is our personal favourite so far, and was the first release on the brand new Dub Organizer label run by Cooly G.
Blue Daisy jumped on Groovement at the beginning of the year (shortly after he fell off the hoya stage), and what a lovely bloke he was too. These guys are his next project – he’s managing them and their tunes are ILL.
WOLI WOLS is resident DJ for the Mind on Fire collective, who were blessed with a grant from Umbro Industries this year to kick off their own record label, a physical outlet for the immense amount of work they’ve put into pushing good leftfield music without compromise over the past few years. Their first vinyl release is a powerful collection of tracks in a beautifully screenprinted sleeve.
2010 was a shiny year for DANNY DRIVE THRU as word spread about his beatfinery. He received great props for Virtua Rap when it was included on Kutmah’s Stones Throw mixtape, and had Virtua Ante Up feature on Radiohead.com in Thom Yorke’s top 5. He’s recently remixed Fingathing’s Sneaky and has been busy working with London MC Chima Anya, plus has a plethora of remixes and original work up his t-shirt sleeves for 2011. Onwards/upwards.
Straight outta Shefeeeeel the city of steel, the Colonel can be found wobbling the concrete with his subsonic baselines and catchy hats. He’s been out on vinyl this year with a remix for Freesytle’s Phuture Motion and continues to wreck the airwaves on Burngreave Community Radio of a Tuesday night in addition to making people’s faces go funny with various DJ gigs across the city.
Spearheading their own little niche in the Manchester hip hop scene, PLATO is super-talented MPC head Pitch and In The Loop (live hip hop night) host Bedos – partly based on the strength of their first EP (of which this is the title track), the middle of the year saw them join illustrious multi-instrumentaled (?) band The Mouse Outfit.
IMAKEMADBEATS and Midaz the BEAST, aka BlakOut: these cats are doing it for independent hip hop over in Orlando, where they’re part of the Doxside Music Group. ‘Flyers’ laments lazy-ass promoters who can’t be arsed looking up the proper spelling of acts they’re putting on – a niche nark but a good one. It’s taken from the Nightlight EP, which is linked below. Like so much of their output, it’s free and made with passion.
What a monster this one is – you’d expect Jim Coles aka Om Unit to be some sort of masked avenger type, but he is one of the warmest people in beats. ‘Neptune’ signifies his city-stomping bass led future spaceship funk, also exemplified brilliantly on EP ‘The Corridor’ from September this year.
I didn’t know much about Mount Kimbie when Mind on Fire shuffled them through the door on a Groovement Sunday afternoon, and to be honest was more worried about keeping an eye on Borland and their stallionesque antics. The tunes they laid down were sublime, and but a few weeks later their LP ‘Crooks and Lovers’ was released to a world awaiting a warm post-dubstep comedown. Look how many top ten lists it’s made at the end of 2010 and you’ll realise you need to go and buy the album, now.
Here they are, stallionesque residents at This City Is Ours (which has played host to the likes of Ikonika, Slugabed and Lazer Sword in Manchester), they are creators of stoned soundscapes par excellence. Mystery X-Ray jollies along and can be downloaded as part of the EP Quantum Woman at their bandcamp
Just the nicest man in the world. He’s toured the world non-stop as usual, making friends as he passes through like some sort of Miyazaki-esque spirit… this is from the All City LA EP series, number 6.
19. Caroline et les Mocambos – Toujours Lui (Demo)
Right at the beginning of the year Manchester was blessed with soul sister Gizelle Smith playing with Hamburg’s Mighty Mocambos for one of Band on the Wall’s funk sessions. Mocambo is a funk label in its own right, definitely one of the main players on the scene, and the house band have recently branched out with a new vocalist and persona in the form of CAROLINE ET LES MOCAMBOS – here’s a demo version of their first tune, ‘Toujours Lui’. If you never grabbed Gizelle’s album when it was released, have a listen here, for some none-generic true funk.
Andreya finally dropped her debut long playing record in 2010, together with remixes spreading the word from the likes of Flying Lotus (with whom she has made ‘Tea Leaf Dancers’) and Mount Kimbie. She continued to tour and sing all over through the rest of the year, and it was a real pleasure to sit down with her when she hit Matt and Phred’s in Manchester. A true jewel and warm stage presence.
Let’s not even mention the video for this… just watch it. Fulgeance sent us over a fresh mix a couple of months back and it hasn’t left our earphones. This is the lead track from his latest EP on Parisian label Musique Large, also home to Debruit and Charles Trees amongst others.
The Hidden Orchestra toured in support of their first album ‘Night Walks’ and landed in Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club in Manchester’s Northern Quarter – I’ve been there quite a few times this year and they’ve made some top quality bookings (not least in the lovely forms of Lizzy Parks and Andreya Triana) but the audience was completely mesmerised by the soundscapes and next level bizness of these guys and their invisible – or hidden, natch – orchestra.
Stig’s been a fixture on the UK scene for time, mostly earning his wider rep through YouTube shenanigans, and finally released his debut long player ‘Mood Swings’ on the fiercely independent Lewis Recordings label. ‘Back’ is one of the more old school efforts on the album – read the interview below, it’s real.
NYQUIST (aka Two/One) threw this onto Soundcloud a few months into 2010 and it has not left my brain since. He continues to develop his sounds and make shithot beats, and is a damned gifted lyricist too.
Manchester’s Rupert Taylor, aka xxxy (all lower case, blogs!), is on the up and up and seems to be popping up everywhere… This one’s from the Every Step Forward EP on Glasgow’s Fortified Audio, four tracks of techie brilliance.
A look to early 2011, when we’ll be dropping an interview with this guy and a mix later in the year. He’s just released an album’s worth of his tunes for free download (use the Groovement search box) and shows a real scope in creative sound use and sci fi squelches.
Pat D has long been doing his thing as a beatmaker and has branched into live recording with THE BROKEN ORCHESTRA. The beautiful first 45 was released on Pat D’s own A Bridge Too Far Recordings and there are a lot more to come.