November 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
Handbook is a UK based producer. His Loveless Records debut is Assortment and its absolutely brilliant. I tried to come up with some next essay about just how much of a PROPER hip hop record this is, but I was stumped. This is one of those releases you just need to sit down and listen to, seriously.
Think of some of the beats from Crooklyn Cuts, The Shining and Doughnuts and you’re heading down the right track. Slick, polished production reigns but still oozes ounces of soul and funk. Its like the calendar is stuck in a loop between 92 and 94.
(You can download the preview above for free!)
If you’re a fan of Kilamanjaro Studios/Dilla and Premier, you’re no doubt going to be in headnod heaven. This is a BIG big look for Loveless and a big look for UK based instrumental hip hop in general.
November 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
When you get a chance to pick the brains of someone who’s been involved with this scene for a lot longer than yourself, its always good knowing you can dig a little deeper into the history of things and have some genuine knowledge shared. After all, music is one of those things that is supposed to bring everyone together, is it not? With that in mind, myself and Guy bounced emails back and forth over a few weeks, with the end result looking a little something like this…
You’ve been around for a good few years could you shed a little light on what you’ve been doing since the Dubbed Out releases to now?
It might seem as if I have gone off-grid for the last couple of years – my last Dubbed Out release was ‘Herb Time’, in 2010 – but it was around that time that I co-founded ‘Cymatic’ (with Ruckspin and DLR initially, later joined by Octane), so I have been keeping busy behind the scenes. I’ve also done a few international gigs since then – in Germany, Belgium and Poland – and have generally been building up a wealth of new material with a view to releasing as much of it as possible in the near future.
Cymatic seemed to point the way forward for all involved, significantly raising the bar of what could be achieved sonically. We all wanted to go as deep as we could go without limits or extraneous pressures. Our first release was a drum and bass track on Shady Brain, followed by two dubstep releases on Boxclever in 2010 and 2011. Our latest batch of tunes have just come out on Octane and DLR’s album on Dispatch Recordings – something we are all really proud of.
Whilst all this has been going on I have been focussed on developing my own sound, continuing to push into areas that were hinted at in my earlier material. My interest in low frequencies, tribal rhythms and mystical soundscapes were all present from the beginning and are now re-emerging with more depth and power than before, and to a wider audience (thanks to the new social media which wasn’t around when I first released music back in 2007).
What does music mean to you in its base form? The same thing it did when you first got into it?
My understanding of music has changed a lot over the years, but my basic appreciation of it has remained more or less consistent: I’ve always been drawn to the immediacy of music, the raw feeling you get from it. Bob Marley famously said about music ‘when it hits you you feel no pain’ – I’ve always felt that. Music has always been a positive force that I could never find anywhere else. I have been drawn towards it all my life, and understanding it has become a passion of mine. Music has grown to mean much more to me over the 10 years or so that I have been producing it seriously.
What makes you tick sonically within films, for example?
I’m inspired by all kinds of sounds, but in particular I favour a balance of organic sounds and synthetic ones. I find the combination of classical elements such as emotive chord sequences with haunting vocalisations, are effective at producing a heightened emotional response, and world percussion with low end rumbles alluding to distant menace always do a good job of raising the adrenaline levels.
Are there certain sounds that still set your teeth on edge the same way they first did?
In terms of sounds that ‘set my teeth on edge’: sometimes a door might scrape and evoke a gut reaction. I find that raw, natural sounds evoke more of this visceral type of response in me than synthesised sounds. Well-produced ‘film noises’ always seem highly processed so as to rid them of their essential ‘rawness’, leaving a more clinical sound.
You mentioned the dabbling with drum and bass, could we expect to see more of that from you in the future?
I had a drum and bass release with Linden earlier in the year, on Horizon’s sister label Inside Recordings (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X326p4FE6RY), so I won’t rule out the possibility of more drum and bass releases in the future. That release showed me that, as a genre, drum and bass was something that I could contribute to. When I am fully happy with my solo material I will see about getting some released, so watch this space.
Could you ever see yourself going in the direction of many other producers/Djs, with a ‘live’ set/performance?
My DJ sets are representative of the spectrum of sounds I produce, and I see doing a ‘live’ set as a logical progression for me at some point. It definitely appeals to me as a way of taking the presentation of my music to a new level.
With what you said about new forms of social media not being around when you first came about, do you think too many people are way too open and overly enthusiastic to share everything they do and think these days?
Whether people can be too open or enthusiastic is a relative judgement, and it depends what platform you are talking about. Different media encourage more or less openness in my opinion, and it is up to each person to decide how much of themselves – there private lives, beliefs or opinions – they want to reveal publicly. The boundary between private and public is an important one to maintain, and people shouldn’t feel pressured to reveal more about themselves than they want to just because a medium facilitates it, or feel that they have to share everything they find on the internet just because they can. Discernment is more important than ever in the digital age.
Label wise, which is your current favourite, and which is your favourite of the past five years?
It’s difficult to choose one current favourite, as there are so many smaller labels coming through nowadays with strong rosters of artists, but Tribe 12 and Innamind get my joint current vote for their fresh and uncompromising approach. Over the past 5 years I have found Deep Medi to be the most consistent, holding true to its core values.
You’re given unlimited time in any studio, anywhere in the world with your choice of musicians alive or dead. Where would go and who would you take with you?
If we’re talking about unlimited imaginary scope here, then something like Real World Studios, only in the middle of the Pacific, with Pythagorus, Bach, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Sid Barrett, Miles Davies, Lisa Gerrard, Alice Coltrane, King Tubby… you get the idea.
Are there any production tips that you’d consider pretty essential or little tricks that have helped you out over the years?
– Learn to control the basics, don’t try to run before you can walk.
– Get a good set of headphones and monitors (or access to them at least) and compare your mix on both regularly.
– Mix down as much as you can as you go along – you save time at the end of the process if you learn this.
– Alternate between quiet monitoring when building a track, and loud monitoring when you want to check levels. You need your ears to last a long time, and constantly battering them doesn’t help in the long term.
– Don’t discard all your old projects – save some them for a few years down the line. You never know what your production capabilities will be like in the future: there may be gems waiting to be polished in those old folders.
1. Evocation (dub)
2. Xolotl (dub)
3. Dema Dub (dub)
4. Savage (dub)
5. Formation (dub)
6. Otherside (dub)
7. Jangala (Innamind dub)
8. Agora (dub)
9. Decypher (dub)
10. Incubate (dub)
11. Triad (dub)
12. Eschaton (dub)
13. Eye of the Storm (dub)
14. Warlord (dub)
15. Long Time VIP
Thanks again for doing the interview Guy, any shouts and thanks?
Thanks for the interview Ryan/45hz. I’d like to give a shout to Jack Robinson (Tribe12), Jeremy (Innamind), Brett and Alex (Perverse), AJP, Oli Gizzle, Wil and Olaf (FKOF), BunZer0, Syte, (SUBFM) Beezy, NType (Rinse) Joe Nice (Gourmet Beats), and all the DJs and promoters who have supported my sound to date. I’d also like to thank everybody worldwide who has shown support over the years, bought my tunes, been to my gigs, been in contact with me directly or helped spread the sound in any way, including 45hz, and all the blogs and people that support this scene, my music, and music in general.
Peace and sub.