Monday, 31 January 2011

Blog Burner: Encore - Wind Up (2000F & J Kamata Remix)

photograph by Théo Gosselin


As vocals reminiscent of 90's RnB command your attention from the very start of this dub-laden love song it is hard to notice the growling 808's which rumble away underneath. By half way through however, it's a different story. With a beat which could very easily slay the darkest of underground parties, swelling sub-bass envelops the listener, drawing them deeper into it's vibrating foundation. We know nothing of Encore , 2000F or J Kamata so if someone wants to enlighten us that would be great....

Encore - Wind Up (2000F & J Kamata Remix)

This has been threatening a leak for a long time now, and why it wasn't included on the remix EP is beyond us, but finally we have a full length copy of Villa's remix of Adele. Possibly one of their finest remixes to date, the mix retains the powerful vocals of the original, welding them to a solid undertow of elastic basslines, big chords and classic strings. Keep an ear out for their Yeasayer remix as well, it's a beaut.

Adele - Rolling In The Deep (Villa Remix)

Next up, that rather annoying wee pleb by the name of Chris Brown has gone and enlisted Diplo to produce his next single 'Look At Me Now'. The beat is of course straight heat, with Diplo's trademark 'bounce n' bleep' making this accessible to the hip-hoppers and dub-skankers alike. Pity Chris Brown got there first, we really don't want to hear about your dick mate. Thankfully Busta & Wayne rip it...

Chris Brown ft/ Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne - Look At Me Now (Produced by Diplo)

It's been a while since we heard anything from Style Of Eye, last year's 'Puss Puss' ruled a good portion of 2010 and it's nice to hear his manic production back in full swing. As you would expect it's all about disturbing twitches and noises which could induce sporadic sectioning on the dancefloor. With Harvard Bass providing a perverse original, this remix was always going to come on like a post-apocalyptic, war-anthem.

Harvard Bass - Pruno (Style Of Eye Remix)

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Synth Winter 10/11 pt1

I'd love it if we could simply just get our bi-monthly mixtapes out on time but apparently it's not that easy - better late than never though eh? So this is a selection of our favourite worldwide cuts from the first half of Winter 2010/11. It's been a mighty cold few months, but the tunes have been hot, hot, hot and more than enough to keep us warm on the dancefloor! We're currently in the process of getting a mix together with just local talent so look out for that soon but in the meantime this will hopefully keep you moving.

Mixed by our in-house resident vianassa, it begins with the grooving disco house of Jesse Rose, Fred Falke & Treasure Fingers before gliding into some deep moving house from the likes of Broke One, Ramon Tapia and Riva Starr. The Boys Noize squad quickly move in with some squelchy electro-tech before finally finding ourselves two-stepping with new and classic garage. The mix culminates with the utterly beautiful 'Getting Nowhere' by Magnetic Man, followed by Skream's digital love song, 'Where You Shold Be'. Download via the small black arrow at the side of the player...

Oh, and play loud!

Synth Winter10/11 Pt1 by vianassa

1. Jesse Rose & Riva Starr - Start The Weekend
2. Alan Braxe & Fred Falke - Intro
3. Burns & Fred Flake - Y.S.L.M (Treasure Fingers Remix)
4. Treasure Fingers - Lift Me
5. Reset! - Sabrage
6. Evil Nine - Auto (Broke One Remix) (Edit)
9. Ramon Tapia - You Got To (Keep Movin)
10. Riva Starr Presents Star Traxx - More
11. Tom Staar - It Excites Me
12. Coin Operated Boy - Trust Me (Clouds Remix)
13. Rusko - Feels So Real (Douster & Savage Skulls Remix)
14. Boys Noize - Nerve (Hey Today! Remix)
15. Jan Driver - Gain Reaction
16. MJ Cole & Wiley - From The Drop / Zombie Nation - Overshoot (DJ Mehdi Remix)
17. Mumdance ft/ Esser - Battle
18. Zed Bias - Neighbourhood
19. Emalkay - Crusader
20. Subscape - Just Coz
21. Taz - Gold Tooth Grin
22. Sbtrkt ft/ Jessie Ware - Nervous
23. Magnetic Man ft/ John Legend - Getting Nowhere
24. Skream - Where You Should Be

Friday, 28 January 2011

Local Hero: Dirty Basement ft/ Baby Taylor - So Cruel (Dubstep Mix)

So Friday rolls round again, and here at Synth we're getting all hyped up about a night at the Sub Club with A1 Bassline & Tomb Crew for How's Your Party? It's shaping up to be a very messy night indeed and with Boom Monk Ben on support you know shits going to get naughty...

Anyway, time for this week's Local Hero.


We featured these guys on our 'Get To Know...' segment last week and after tearing down Subcity's 'Who Da Best?' party last week, the promo release of 'So Cruel' couldn't have been better timed. Enlisting up and coming vocal talent Baby Taylor for a heart wrenching tale of love and lost, 'So Cruel' strikes deep in the soul with an emotional edge which engages on so many levels. There is also an Electro version of the track, but we feel the Dubstep mix perhaps captures the raw emotion of Baby Taylor's vocals on a higher level. Either way, quality stuff.

Dirty Basement ft/ Baby Taylor - So Cruel (Dubstep Mix)

Next up, it's time to get that Friday feeling as Dave Cuthbertson gives Steve Lawler's recent smash 'Gimme Some More' a tasty re-lick. Rotating around a solid groove which carries you effortlessly through seven minutes of pure dancefloor delight, Dave has manged to surround those instinctive vocals with an elevating, party vibe which will take you far beyond the wee hours.

Steve Lawler - Gimme Some More (Dave Cuthbertson Remix)

We know nothing about our next featured artists other than their debut track makes us want to get batty in a dark warehouse somewhere. Bodymilk are from Glasgow and they've just made this track, 'Bad Ascii' available for free download. Slamming you in the face with a heavy-hitting, Acid-Electro flavour for a full seven minutes, the only let up comes from a rather dreamy breakdown. Download it, NOW.

Bodymilk - Bad Ascii (Free Download)

Finally, mega-pal B-Tone of Spectra sent us over this slice of metallic Electro-Tech earlier in the week and it featured right at the top of our most recent show on Subcity Radio. With a fairly industrious lead hook helped along by bubbling bleeps and a hard-hitting kick, this is aimed staight at the floor with a roaving eye for devastation. Synth resident Vianassa will be joining B-Tone and the gang at Spectra on Feb 20th.

B-Tone - A Rat (Free Download)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

VillA 'in the mix' January 2011

It would appear that if you want to stay prominent in the ever-expanding, mirror-ball movement of current Disco, then you have to release a monthly mix of your favourite tracks to showcase your sound. And hey, we're not complaining! Receiving impeccable mixes from the likes of Aeroplane, Mighty Mouse & The Magician are a welcome fixture in our inbox.

Here, Belgium duo Villa give us an hour of smooth-grooving, mid-tempo delights which delve deep through sparkling synths, moving piano chords and funk-frivolous basslines. What seems to be the current trend in 'Disco' at the moment is the exceptionally broad range of sounds & styles producers are adapting to it. In this mix, we hear everything ranging from eccentric, future soundscapes (Acid Washed & Etienne De Crecy), dreamy, floating pianos (Chilly Gonzales & Black Van), plus super fresh, sophisticated power-pop (Adele & Lykke Li). Villa are perhaps two of our favourite producers in this constantly developing genre and we personally regard their work as utterly mesmerising (look out for their forthcoming remix of Yeasayer - it's astonishing). 2011 is undoubtedly going to be a great year for them, and what a way to start...

P.S Enjoy the current simplicity of Soundcloud streaming while you can, by all accounts the company is currently harvesting copyright violations.

VillA 'in the mix' January 2011 by VILLA Soundcloud

-Acid Washed: Acid Washed (Danger rmx)
-BooBy: Moobeech
-Andy Ash: Freak
-Metro Aera: RMM (special dub)
-Jay Shepheard: Parallel Perc
-Golden Bug: Do the Washing Machine (C90s rmx)
-Black Van: The Calling
-Etienne de Crécy: No Brain (Serge Santiago rmx)
-Lykke Li: I Follow Rivers (The Magician rmx)
-Gonzales: Knight Moves
-Adele: Rolling in the Deep (VillA rmx)
-Jackos: They Live We Sleep
-Lindström: The Contemporary Fix
-Queen: Cool Cat

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Subcity says: 'Who Da Best?' - The Aftermath

It never fails, if you want a general rule of thumb for a night which is going leave you 4 pounds lighter from sweat and suffering a permanent screw face then it's a Subcity party. Having a rosta which includes some of Glasgow's most talented DJ's and visualists is a recipe for unwavering quality and last Friday night Subcity once again produced a classic.

Transforming Stereo's basement into an arena of noise, DJ's had only half an hour to prove their worth as a big projected clock counted down their set in front of a baying crowd. When we arrived at 11.15pm, the cue was already stretching far up the stairs and the night would later go on to sell out completely - such is the popularity of Subcity's notorious events.

Musically the night took in everything from pounding Electro, driving Techno, jumped-up Garage, devastating Dubstep & classic Hip Hop, culminating in a clash of the titans with Mixed Bizness head honcho, Boom Monk Ben and Subcity legend, Shaun Fae Solar. We were even treated to a guest apperance by Cloudo (of Cloudo & Gobo fame) who'd apparantly jumped a taxi straight from the estate. By 3am, the floor was rammed and people jostled for space infront of the decks, the atmosphere fully energised by the sound of Cloudo's back catalogue of Hardcore anthems. Not one person left dissapointed that night and needless to say the party continued well into Saturday morning...

Subcity, you da best!

Check out photos by Sean Anderson of the event below:

While we're on the subject of Subcity, you can catch our own radio show on the station tonight between 6-7pm. We have new music & mixes from the likes of James Blake, Djedjotronic, Hudson Mohawke & Skream, Mia Dora will be providing our Tea Time Rave Off and Dave Cuthbertson, Dirty Basement & Bodymilk will be battling it out for our Local Hero award. Listen live or check out last week's show HERE.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Get to know...Barrientos


Who: Ivan Hall Barrientos
Sounds: Deep House, Tech & Progressive flowing with continental flavour

Glasgow has a great heritage in the more sophisticated avenues of dance. Nights and events like Pressure, Sensu & Sunday Circus which promote the deep & driving are perhaps what the city is still most widely recognised for, emblazoned by local heroes such as Slam & Optimo. While Glasgow has now flourished into a scene which supports every conceivable strand of modern dance, the 4/4 will always be a key component in the city's development & notoriety. That is why it's reassuring to find this young producer sculpting a sound which will not only carry on that great tradition, but perhaps reinvigorate it as well.

Member of the ever expanding Heartbeats collective and regular guest at some of Glasgow's freshest club nights, Ivan Hall Barrientos is undoubtedly one of the city's finest up and coming talents. Having spent many years of his childhood being classically trained before discovering his love of dance at the now legendary Daft Punk performance at Rockness in 2007, his influences have come from far and wide. Born to Chilean & English parents his sound sears with an irresistible Latin flavour which captures the imagination from the very first note.

After spending three months in China last summer and drawing on his many musical influences he released perhaps his most accomplished collection of music to date - The Nightlife EP. An enveloping listen from start to finish, it's clear to see how his colourful past has manifested itself in his music, with deep, involving grooves and synths bathed in splintered sunlight. As a whole the EP is of a quality to rival that of even the most accomplished artist and will quite possibly be recognised as a pivotal moment for the producer in year's to come. As we know, it can take a long time to really get anywhere with production and truly create that name for yourself, but if we were placing bets, it would be sooner rather than later for Barrientos...

Check out the lead tracks from the Nightlife EP below as well as two of his Progressive remixes (all free downloads):

Nightlife (Original Mix) by Barrientos

Santiago (Original Mix) by Barrientos

Sleeper (Barrientos Progressive Remix) - Peace by Barrientos

Teenage Dream (Barrientos Club Remix) - Katy Perry by Barrientos

We of course wanted to delve further into the aspiring producer's story, so here come the questions:

S: Ok, so let’s firstly talk about how you got into production and where your influences lie. You obviously have roots in classical music, so how did your love for dance come about and do you think your classical training helped?

B: In terms of getting heavily interested in dance music, I think it first happened when I went to Rockness back in 2007 – I was just out of school and a bunch of us were going purely to see Daft Punk. It was there that I saw DJs like Erol Alkan, Tim Deluxe and 2Manydjs (these were guys that I had never heard of before) and right then I remember thinking how incredible it was what they were doing. The idea of building the crowd up then dropping a bassline just completely blew me away and I’ve been in love with dance music ever since… I definitely wanted to try it for myself!

With the classical training I did, I really do think it has helped for producing music. The combination of musical theory, composition and performing can obviously do no harm but I think after nearly 10 years of training on the flute, the idea of trying something like electronic music, which is a big contrast, definitely motivated me into venturing into the dance music scene.

S: Last year you spent a whole summer in China & Asia, did this experience have any effect on how you approach your music with regards to the sound & style? Did it open your eyes to any other musical avenues?

B: The summer I spent in China was insane – it was an opportunity to take me outside of my comfort zone and experience something entirely different. I basically spent 4 months without any of the gear I use back home, the only thing I had with me was my laptop, Logic Pro, hard drive of samples and a pair of headphones. Aside from the fact I was working full time, I made sure I found time to produce some new music. I ended up writing a fair amount when I was in China (a lot of it just unreleased) and I felt I had this opportunity to just experiment with any sounds/styles that I wanted. Naturally with the limited setup, I had to work a lot harder to get a good sound, and it really helped with my mixing and awareness of the sounds I was using. The Chinese dance music scene isn’t exactly world renowned, but from what I saw and heard, there is a really decent minimal house scene. I wouldn’t particularly say the club scene opened my eyes to anything new, but I did have some more time to listen to a lot of new artists (that I hadn’t heard before) over the summer – artists like Ricardo Tobar, Mendo, Carlo Lio, Danny Serano, Robert Babicz etc.

S: Last year you released the exceptional ‘Nightlife EP’, which has a Deep House & Minimal flavour while also dabbling with progressive for some of your remixes. How do you see your sound developing over time? Can you see yourself choosing one particular path?

That’s a difficult one to answer, because I have too much fun working on different styles! It’s taken me a bit of time to get where I am at the moment in terms of production quality, and trying out lots of genres helps with this. Ever since I started production, I reckon my sound has now started to incorporate a lot of percussion and rhythm to it, and now I’d like to begin to start working on the melodic side of things. I’m not sure if I can see myself choosing one particular path of dance music, because I think music shouldn't be about setting yourself a boundary but should definitely be about being open to new styles and challenges. Although having said that, I’ve been doing a lot more electronica-based music the past 2 months or so, so I’ll maybe see how that pans out.

S: With regards to your set up at home can you tell us a little about the processes you go through to create your productions? What software you use, sample banks, plug ins, synths etc?

My main DAW is Logic Pro 8 – don’t think I could ever see myself moving to another piece of software. The built-in plug-ins are perfect, the compressors/reverb/delays/distortion all do the job for me so I don’t need to spend money on expensive external plug-ins. The initial investment is very pricey, but definitely worth it. I’ve used Ableton Live before, and I think it’s a great program, but it’s not for me unfortunately. I only ever use Ableton for warping any samples for remixes, and I’m happy with using that alongside Logic. I also occasionally use Audacity to chop anything up because it’s simple and easy to use.

Samples: one of my favourite things in the world! Over the last few years I’ve bought/downloaded/recorded/collected thousands of samples, which has just resulted in me having to buy yet another hard drive to accommodate it all. I enjoy using some of the samples that Loopmasters provide, but in particular I love using raw, live recordings that people give out for free. I spend a lot of time editing and using these samples in the majority of my productions.

I still love owning hardware, and I’m currently using a Roland SH-201, Waldorf Blofeld and Korg MicroKorg. They are all reliable synths, and no matter what sound I’m looking for, I can always rely on them to create that particular sound I’m after. I also use a variety of software synths, such as the Arturia vintage mocks, NI’s Kore player and a lot of the TAL synths, which are available for free. Logic’s built in plug-ins such as the EXS-24 are always open on Logic for me because they can virtually be moulded into anything I like. Finally, I do a lot of processing to samples/sounds and plug-ins like the GSi WatKat, Togu Filters, Jasuto Pro and Brainworx are definitely among my favourites.

S: You’re also in a production duo called That Dirty Latino which is more electro orientated, have you any plans to develop that further or are you just concentrating more on solo work at the moment?

B: That Dirty Latino was the first thing I ever did in dance music, with my best mate Divers. We’ve played a shit load of parties, and they’ve been the best fun I’ve ever had but we haven’t done anything in so long due to other commitments. The last production we did was probably about a year ago, and I personally can’t see any more productions happening in the near future. We’ll obviously DJ at any party we’re asked to do, but that’s probably as far as That Dirty Latino will go unfortunately! I’ll definitely be concentrating on my solo work, but I’ve got a few collaborations on the go, which could yield some interesting results.

S: Finally, following on from the last question, what have you got planned for 2011? Any DJ dates we should be looking out for or production work in the pipeline?

B: I’ve got a long list of remixes that I’m working on and some that just need polishing. Expect a lot of remixes! I’m putting together a few EPs of different styles, with the first one of the year a tech house number called ‘Los Sonidos’, which should hopefully be done and dusted in the coming weeks with some remixes provided by local producers. After that I’ll gradually keep putting out more original pieces of work – try and keep a consistent flow of work in 2011. Also keep an eye for some collaboration work, which I’m pretty excited about but I won’t say anymore than that…

Barrientos Website
Barrientos on Soundcloud
Barrientos on Facebook
Barrientos on Twitter
Barrientos on Myspace
Barrientos on Youtube

Monday, 24 January 2011

Blog Burner: Alex Metric & Steve Angello - Open Your Eyes


Well, it could only really be one thing this week I guess. If anyone has gone near a radio in the last seven days you will more than likely have heard this already. Sometimes a track materializes which is just so big that from the very opening chords you know it's going to be a BIG part of your life over the coming months - and this is a perfect example. Ex Radio 1 DJ, Alex Metric & Stadium-House superstar, Steve Angello come together for 'Open Your Eyes' - a seven minute masterpiece which will undoubtedly go all the way through to Ibiza. Expect a big name, ex-band member vocalist on this soon as well...

Alex Metric & Steve Angello - Open Your Eyes

I'm not going to lie, this week's Blog Burner title was exceptionally difficult to decide, and after hearing 'Open Your Eyes' your probably wondering just what could compete with it. We've already blogged David Lynch's 'Good Day Today' twice in as many months, and here it comes again. This time it's Underworld who give it the remix treatment, transforming it into an 8 minute epic which echoes '2 Months Off'. Deep & Balearic this is Underworld at their very best with the stems of an incredible original.

David Lynch - Good Day Today (Underworld 'Classic' Remix)

It was always destined to be a single, the stand out cut from Magnetic Man's debut album and a certified 'moment' during their live sets, 'Getting Nowhere' features John Legend crooning over a beat reminiscent of Massive Attack's seminal 'Teardrops'. Here Skream maintains the ethereal quality of the original, dubbing it out with a Burial esque drum-pattern and icy synths.

Magnetic Man ft/ John Legend - Getting Nowhere (Skream Remix)

Finally, Holy Ghost! prep the release of their debut album with this rather colourful, 80's inspired Disco number called 'Do It Again'. Available for free download from their website they've managed to melt the buoyancy of Orange Juice with the eccentricity of Prince, creating a mid-tempo groover which is essentially a DFA wet dream.

Holy Ghost! - Do It Again (Free Download)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Subcity says "Who Da Best?": Preview

It's human nature really, competitive spirit, the desire to be the best there is at anything and everything. Subcity have pulled together some of the station's finest DJ's and shows for a royal aural jousting tonight where we will finally establish who really is 'DA BEST?'

Subcity is perhaps the UK's finest student radio station, known city-wide for throwing some of the best damn parties Glasgow has ever seen over the past 16 years. From capacity crowds at The Arches to compact sweat-fests at the now sadly defunct Research Club, Subcity has the best soundsystem, finest local talent & the most imaginative promoters going. We at Synth never get more excited for a night then when Subcity decide to get jiggy with it.

And being the first party of 2011, you know tonight is going to be something special. Taking hold of the increasingly popular Stereo basement down Renfield Lane and ramming it with Cheesy & Zambo's legendary soundsystem you can expect to hear everything from skank-fresh Dubstep to driving Techno & jacking UK Funky.

The line up looks a little something like this and to be quite honest it has our knickers in a full blown Axle Hitch (that's a real knot - look it up):

2300 – 0000 // House & Techno:
Roll & Square vs No Sleep

0000 - 0100 // UK Funky & Garage:
Theez boyz R Athletes v BRAILLE

0100 - 0200 // Dubstep & Grime:
Al(Itch) v Digital Dust

0200 -0300 // No holds barred:
Shaun & Sam (Vitamins) v Benny Boom (Mixed Bizness)

For a sample of some of the testosterone charged postering that will be going down tonight check out a pre-fight warm up with all the DJ's involved in this special 'Subcity Presents'...episode:

Who Da Best?> Warm Up On Subcity

Further to having some of Glasgow best DJ's going toe to toe for our sweaty gratification local beef cake Joe Crogan & friends will hosting the party with their Hunks Hunks Hunks entourage. Expect rippled man-pecks and some harsh but fair scrutiny of the disc-jockeying super gladiators.

WHAT: Subcity says "Who Da Best"?
WHO: See above
WHERE: Stereo, 22-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow
WHEN: 11-3am Tonight
TAX: £6/7
VISUALS: Joe Crogan/Visual Aids

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Local Hero: Daniel Donnelly - 'Playing Serious EP'

I have to say, choosing this week's Local Hero was exceptionally difficult, we had three incredibly strong contenders last night on our Subcity Radio show but it was a track from Daniel Donnelly's latest EP that pipped it. If you want to listen to the show again you can do so HERE. I often wonder if we're one of the only blogs in the world that has a radio show as well...


So we first played Daniel last year when his progressive sounds induced some serious hands-in-the-air moments at Synth HQ. Unsurprisingly his tracks have been gaining some very positive attention and he now has a new EP scheduled for release at the start of February. Title track 'Playing Serious' is a techy roller which sweeps you into a climax of unnerving tension while our personal favourite 'Ljus' builds with a subtle confidence that lifts it high off the ground. Quality Stuff.

Pick up the Playing Serious EP 8th of Feb on Muchiq Records

Daniel Donnelly - Playing Serious

Daniel Donnelly - Ljus

Next up, a new Synth favourite by the name of Raksha has produced something truly inspiring with a new dub fixture called 'Feelings'. Using a rather clever vocal sample of Junior Jack's 'My Feeling' and perfectly melting it into a Burial-esque urban soundscape, he's managed to create a sound which is utterly mesmerising from start to finish. The perfect soundtrack to a rush-hour with no where to be.

Raksha - Feelings

Hahaha is quickly becoming one of Glasgow's most inventive producers, and with Raksha teaming up with him for this gorgeous slice of nostalgic House, we can see this partnership seriously going places. With vocals reminiscent of late 90's Garage and some seriously slick synths to accompany them, this is the product of two forward-thinking producers with a passion for the past and a vision for the future.

Hahaha & Raksha - Running (Free Download)

Finally, Kid Robotik has released a free re-rub of 2011's most hyped talent, James Blake in support of the launch of Subfriction, Glasgow's hottest new dub night. Beginning with Blake's feathery vocals wrapped in cosmic synths, the track soon develops into a liquid soundscape, nailed down by a trademark Robotik bassline which hypnotises from the drop.

James Blake - I Never Learnt To Share (Kid Robotik Re-Rub) (Free Download)

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream

Do you remember the first time you heard 'CMYK'? How utterly fresh and original it sounded? How it had a feeling of commercial readiness but felt equally comfortable in a sweaty basement through a stack of subs? James Blake is special, his sound is one that can float effortlessly between the corporate sheen of Rhianna & Willow, yet provide the soundtrack to a comedown from Rinse.

Last night, Zane Lowe debuted his new single and following on from the great success of 'Limit To Your Love', it didn't disappointed. With a delicate purity and an angelic grace which washes over you like a downpour in the desert, 'Wilhelm Scream' sucks you in from the very first note, refusing to let go until the each second of it's four minute length has struck deep within the soul. Quite how the BBC saw it fit to make a posturing would-be American rapper the Sound Of 2011 is beyond me. Here we have an artist who is on the very edge of contemporary music, melting the foundation of Dubstep with digital Soul and taking it to inspired new levels.

James Blake's self titled debut album is released on February 7th. Check out 'Wilhelm Scream' below:

James Blake - 'Wilhelm Scream'

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Blog Burner: Maxxi Soundsystem - Criticize & Zed Bias - Salsa Funk

Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg

Sometimes you just know when your going to have a good week, granted it's only Tuesday and I could get find myself being set upon by a gaggle of homicidal loonies tomorrow but when you start the week with not only the return of Zed Bias but also the hottest slice of feel-good House since 2009's 'Rushing To Paradise' you can't help but get excited. Add to that the impending Subcity 'Who Da Best?' party on Friday and we're practically verging on Mardigras at Synth.


So this week's first Blog Burner comes from Brighton duo Maxxi Soundsystem. As soon as I heard the opening synths and glowing vocals of this seven minute ode to summer sun I knew it was something special. Although an edit of Alexander O Neal's 80's classic of the same name, what the boys have done with it goes beyond measure. A throbbing Paradise Garage bassline, those irresistible House keys and that immediate sense of uncompromising quality. This will go right through to Ibiza....

Maxxi Soundsystem - Criticize


Zed Bias could perhaps be regarded as one of, if not the Godfather of modern UK Bass music, his seminal Garage classic, 'Neighbourhood' is still utterly essential and even now in 2011 he's churning out fire like we're heading into the next Ice Age. 'Salsa Funk' is an exclusive cut from his forthcoming album 'Biasonic Hot Sauce' due out in June and it's certainly got our attention. Pick it up for free on Annie Mac's blog (link below) and prepare yourself for that bassline.

Zed Bias - Salsa Funk

You may not like this, but Example is already eyeing up his return to the charts after releasing his pop-riddled second album 'Won't Go Quietly' last summer. Thankfully (or unfortunately for the purists), he's enlisted Skream to produce the new single 'Shot Yourself In The Foot Again'. With a surprisingly hard bassline cushioned by Example's bouncy vocals this will undoubtedly fuel Dubstep's current domination of the top 40.

Example & Skream - Shot Yourself In The Foot Again

Finally, one of our favourite UK producer's, Foamo, has come good with a dancefloor-battering remix of the new Breakage single 'Fighting Fire'. Taking the quite strangely progressive bassline of the original and disfiguring it into a mutated monster which has just seen itself in the mirror for the first time, this twisted beast comes on like 'Centavo's' evil twin. Nasty.

Breakage ft/ Jess Mill - Fighting Fire (Foamo Remix)

Monday, 17 January 2011

Get to know...Dirty Basement


Who: Chris Williams & Hamish Louttit
Sounds: Grinding Electro, Wonking Techno & Liquid Dubstep

With little over two years production experience behind them, Chris Williams & Hamish Louttit aka Dirty Basement have wasted no time in getting things together. With releases on R&S, Crux & Atomic Zoo, regular DJ slots, plus two exceptional singles forthcoming in 2011, the duo are making confident strides to becoming one of Glasgow's finest electronic exports.

With the humble beginnings of a high school band and perhaps too many hours spent in the music department it was that most legendary of Glasgow institution's, Optimo, which digitised their hungry souls. Inspired by the pounding bass of the Sub Club & that special atmosphere only Twitch & Wilkes could generate, the inaugural Technic 1210's followed, later leading to numerous DJ gigs and a live set up which included Hamish on drums. Dirty Basement was born.

Two & a half years later and the duo are regular fixtures on the Glasgow scene, admired for not only their exceptional skills behind the decks but also in the studio. With a sound which is as filthy as their name suggests, they craft everything from razor sharp Electro to pulsating Techno, jump up Disco House to heart-aching Dubstep, choosing to explore new sounds as apposed to staying within their comfort zone.

Dirty Basement - Oh What! by dirtybasement

MC Freeflow - Shoes On (Dirty Basement Remix) by dirtybasement

With gigs at both the Sub Club & a debut for Subcity Radio at Stereo this week alone, plus their first live set of 2011 at the launch of Dirt Box next week, we caught up with the boys to get the story so far and what the New Year holds for them:

S: So it appears Dirty Basement is really taking off at the moment, with numerous bookings and some incredible productions stealing our airtime. What initially inspired you to get into production and how did Dirty Basement as a production duo come about?

DB: When we left high school we were both already very into music, we had both spent a lot of time in the music department and covered some songs as a band with Chris on guitar, Hamish on drums & other friends singing, playing bass & 2nd guitar. We both were very into band music rather than electronic music. It wasn’t till we turned 18 and started going to Optimo regularly that we really got into dance music and purchased a set of Technics 1210’s. We started off as a DJing/Drumming duo, Hamish would set up his drum kit and play live drums over some records then take a break from drumming every now & then and put on some records. We were dubbed “Dirty Basement” by Stevie West when he gave us our 1st gig at The Brunswick Hotel. We needed a name & as our tunes were dirty but there were also some classic records in there you’d probably find in your parent’s basement he suggested “Dirty Basement” & we went with it. We didn’t move into production till about 2 & a half years ago, it just seemed to be a natural progression given our musical background, I guess it was inevitable as we had talked about doing so since we learnt to mix.

S: With so many people involved in production now it’s obviously quite important to develop your own sound and stand out from the crowd. What do you think defines a Dirty Basement production? You obviously dabble with different styles; do you think it’s important to branch out in numerous directions?

DB: As a duo our DJ sets have always been eclectic & electro (Eclectro) so we like to be the same in our productions. We like all sorts of music, and have found we enjoy making all sorts of music also. What defines a Dirty Basement track is a hard one seen as we do make various genres but we like good melodies, big bass, swinging hihats & a bit of fun.

S: One of your most recent tracks ‘So Cruel’ features Baby Taylor on vocals and is getting a lot of attention on Soundcloud. There is also a dubstep version of the track, can you talk us through some of the processes you went through to arrive at the finished article? What software you used etc?

Dirty Basement & Baby Taylor - So Cruel E.P by dirtybasement

So Cruel was an exciting track to work on. We had a few rough drafts worked out that we thought would be good to try a female vocalist on, as we had never tried working with one before. As it turns out Chris’ little sister had a friend who is an up and coming acoustic singer/songwriter. Chris suggested to his sister about writing a song together and Baby Taylor got in contact. A few draft songs were sent to her to write to and she got to work. A while later she came round and let us hear what she had got so far, we recorded some parts and discussed some ideas. After this session we let her hear our most recent draft and she instantly got excited about it and took it away with her. The next time we met up to do some recording she had switched to working on the new track and written the whole thing. Soon as we heard what she had written we instantly thought this would also make a cracking ‘pop-step’ tune, so we set to work on creating a dubstep version also. Dubstep was something we’d play around with in breakdowns in some of our tracks/remixes but we thought we'd go for it and give making a full dupstep track a try. We finished off the dubstep mix before coming back to finish off the original version and re-recorded some small sections of the vocal parts.

For the bulk of our production we use Logic Pro & its library of plug-ins/FXs but Ableton also gets used to warp samples and has even been used to make entire tunes on occasions. We are proud owners of a few synths now too; Virus TI Snow (‘Frosty The Snow Bitch’), Korg R3 (‘Ronnie Korgbit’) & a Roland Juno 106 (‘Juno’). For recording vocals we have found the cupboard in Chris’ hallway makes a cracking vocal room.

S: Over the next month you will be appearing at IAM, Subcity’s 'Who Da Best?’ and the Dirt Box launch party with a live set. How does the live session differ from your DJ set’s and what should we expect from Dirty Basement live?

DB: The live set is a selection of our originals & remixes performed live as an electronic band. Hamish bangs out beats on his V-drums while Chris makes the rest of the noise in Ableton and mixes it down on a 4 channel mixer & midi-controller. The live set is quite interesting as we have all our tunes broken down into their key elements, this means we can mix parts from different tracks in different ways; vocals & drums from one tune with perhaps the synth and bass from another etc. It takes a lot of work to prepare for a live set, we have regular rehearsals in the lead up to doing one. The live sets are pretty energetic so you can expect a lot of energy, a lot of bass & a pretty sweaty Hamish by the end of it.

S: You recently joined Subcity Radio with a new show called ‘Roll & Square’, how have you found adjusting to the airwaves and for people that are yet to hear the show, what should they expect?

DB: We do the show with our friend Peter Collins, we DJ regularly with Peter at a certain underground after party, our show is a similar music ethos to that. A good mix of House, Electro, Techno, Breaks, Rave, Italo, pretty much anything. Don’t expect much chat though, you don’t wanna hear us talk rubbish anyway. We try to keep the music constant as we only have an hour but we will still try to bring you updates on upcoming gigs and competitions. We also are lucky enough to be on some promo lists so we bring you some exclusive tracks & of course new Dirty Basement material.

S: Finally, as we’re only one month into 2011 what have you got planned for the rest of the year? Any exclusive news you can share with us?

You can expect more originals this year & probably less remixes, we also have a few tracks & remixes we wrote last year that should be due for release on various labels, 'Talent By Association' and 'So Cruel' being the main two to keep an eye out for (release dates still TBC). We have already started on more tracks with Baby Taylor, a track for the next Heartbeats Compilation and a remix for a German label. We’re also considering a side project, we’d like to form an Italo/Electro band with some friends but we’re still in the process of figuring out how we’re gonna go about it, but it’ll probably included Hamish on drums/vocals, a heap of synths & someone on bass!

Dirty Basement - Talent by Association ft. MC Freeflow(HD Version) from Joe Crogan on Vimeo.

Dirty Basement Website
Dirty Basement on Soundcloud
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Dirty Basement on Twitter
Dirty Basement on Mixcloud

Friday, 14 January 2011

Local Hero: Simon Bryan - 'Intersect'

I have to say, starting off in 2011 I've never felt so excited about Glasgow producers and local music, there's just so much quality going about from such a broad spectrum of genre's. This week Synth returned to Subcity Radio for our first show of 2011, and hearing these tracks from local producers next to music from around the world just felt really right, this is definitely an exciting time for G-Town!


So without further a do, this week's Local Hero award goes to Simon Bryan for his new track 'Intersect'. A grooving, minimalistic roller which captivates from the off, this is finely crafted techno for the more sophisticated dancefloors. Revolving around a simple hook, you'll find yourself hypnotised by its quite soothing charms. For more like this check out Simon's show, Beat Beneath on Subcity Radio every Wednesday at 7pm (straight after us actually).

Simon Bryan - Intersect

We continue in the techier corner of the dancefloor next with a new mix from Dersonna on fellow Glasgow producers Worx. As we've come to expect from Dersonna, this is sheer quality Techno designed to get your pulse racing and your body sweating. With driving energy, a menacing bassline and a vocal sample which beckons you deeper into the song's fiery core this will undoubtedly leave you dazed and begging for more. Pick it up 26th of January on Mu.Too Records.

Worx - Funk You (Dersonna Remix)

Ok, I think it's time we put the spotlight on this fantastic and exclusive Donnell Jones edit Slow It Down gave us for their feature earlier this week. Focusing on that utterly smooth and irresistible bassline, we find ourselves engrossed by a groove which has that classic RnB flavour. Only when a beat is so lovingly refined do we recognise its true genius and that's what Slow It Down specialise in.

Donnell Jones - U Know What's Up (Slow It Down Edit) Free Download

Finally, we're loving Mia Dora so much right now we thought we'd feature the other side of that 'Random Romantics' cut that’s going about at the moment, and to be quite honest, its just as big. 'Baby I'm Bored' harmonises a heavily vocodered vocal sample over tribal drums and a deepening bassline, creating a sense of quite dramatic tension throughout. Future Dubstep for an apocalyptic wasteland.

Mia Dora - Baby I'm Bored

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Subfriction Launch Party: Preview

As we know, Glasgow is a truly exceptional party city, every weekend we're spoiled with some of the biggest name's in dance music at some of the best clubs in the world, we're treated to off-the-wall raves in disused warehouses, over-flowing parties in West End flats and we revel in a community which is so tight-knit and welcoming that you ALWAYS find an afterparty. But we perhaps suffer from a hunger to party which can't always be satisfied, so many nights offer that promise of the 'finest Electro, House & Tech' that the sheer volume of such similar propositions mean many usually fall by the wayside in the first few months, unable to compete with the bigger, more established clubs.

It's refreshing then to find a night which offers a cacophony of bass in it's more unrestricted form. Subfriction, launching this Friday at Blackfriar's Basement is bringing you the cheapest, dirtiest skankathon to hit Glasgow's heaving weekends in a long time. Offering up a steaming hot (dub)plate of underground bass and served by some of the most talented local DJ's and producers going, Subfriction is bringing you nothing but the filthiest Garage, Dubstep, Grime & Bashment.

Born out of a love for underground UK Bass and a passion for igniting dancefloor devastation, the Subfriction guys realise that running a club night is now more than just offering the same residents every month so expect a healthy roster of G-Town talent on a monthly basis. This Friday sees the likes of All Caps Radio, Kid Robotik, Sub Terrain and Floyd on the bill, all vying to move your feet and turn up the heat. Check out the Subfriction podcast below, a recent mix and one of our favourite Kid Robotik cuts 'Exit'.

Subfriction Launch Night Podcast by Subfriction


Exit by Kid Robotik

We also recently caught up with Kid Robotik to hear more about the Subfriction launch & their bass-driven motives...

S: Ok, so Subfriction launches this Friday at Blackfriars basement, let’s firstly talk about the concept behind the night. What sort of vibe, music and energy can we expect and what motivated you to start it?

KR: "Basically the idea we had was to put local dj's on with some big names for some exposure. At the moment we're concentrating on pushing the deeper side of dubstep, with a twist of modern garage and general UK Bass music. The night was originally started by a friend of my girlfriend, and I started out as a resident. After the night fell on it's arse I just kinda took the name and ran with it. Since getting my brother Conor involved, the idea of Subfriction has became so much more than it was. He brought in the idea of having all flyers designed by local artists and visuals done by local media students. These ideas are still in work but they are looking like they will be ready to go by the 3rd night."

S: You’ve enlisted a number of talented DJ’s for the launch and there seems to be a prominent theme of low-end distortion & heavy bass! What should we expect from each performer and what do you think they’ll bring to the night?

KR: "Awww man, for the launch we just had to get one of the All Caps boys involved. I've been mates with Matt (Acto) for a while now, we used to make a few tracks together. At the moment the boys are really making moves, so getting him on board was just a must (and his sets are outstanding, blending soo many genres in such a short time). Then we came to Skinny Rufftracks. Every set I've seen the lad play left my jaw tickling my toes. I love his passion when he plays, the way he just throws himself into the music is inspiring, to dj's and the listeners. It's good to see someone so passionate about the revival of smooth basslines and funky breaks. Basically, what you can expect from the launch from these lads is a fusion of old post garage dubstep and some vocal housey grooves."

S: Being a Dubstep producer yourself, what do you think about the current scene in Glasgow? Do you feel it’s represented well or do you feel it’s still to really announce itself on the club circuit?

KR: "There's not really a scene at all in Glasgow to be honest, its pretty dry. Well, I play more Jump Up dubstep and it seems all the Dubstep heads in Glasgow are too "old school" to pay attention to it. I was a drum n bass kid so i go for harder drums and bigger basslines. The scene in Edinburgh is big at the moment, and i think its brilliant, but its long overdue in Glasgow. I'm sick of techno, house, techno, house, techno, house everywhere i go, i think its about time people put all those pills there dropping to good use and burn off that energy throwing your arms and legs about to some fat subs!"

S: Your own productions have been garnering some quite positive attention recently, for people that might not have heard yet how would you describe your sound and what do you have planned for 2011?

KR: "My sound? It's like the product of too much weed, too much time, and not enough samples to keep making hip hop haha. I like to bass my tunes around sub and repetitive drum loops and synth lines. Lately I've been moving in some new directions, into a more garagey zone really. BUT, I've been making some shit I've been keeping quiet but seeing as its Synth I'll spill the beans. In 2011 expect to hear Kid Robotik push out some Electro, Drum n Bass and Uk Funky as well as the usual heavy dubstep and deep garage. Also look out for my first release on Massive Music in a month or two!!"

S: Finally, what would you describe as your ultimate vision for Subfriction? I know it’s early days but do you see yourself being a dedicated supporter of local talent or making some outside bookings over the coming months?

KR: To be honest i think we may have already planned the ultimate vision, all we need is the funds. So if you tell a friend to tell a friend to tell a friend to come to Subfriction, buy some cd's and t - shirts, you might just see two big names in the dubstep scene at the moment on the same stage, first time in Glasgow for both of them ;) I wont name drop but all i can say is, it's gonna be big.

There waiting on the money, we're waiting on you ;)

WHAT: Subfriction Launch Party
WHO: Kid Robotik, Acto (All Caps), Rufftrax (Subterrain), Floyd (Bangers & Mash Up)
WHERE: Blackfriar's Basement, 36 Bell St, Merchant City
WHEN: 11-3am // Fri 14th January
TAX: £4
VISUALS: Diana Edwards

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Kanye West & Jay Z - H.A.M.

Not satisfied with having arguably the album of 2010, Kanye West has joined forces with Jay Z to create a new project for 2011 and an album called 'Watch The Throne'. The first offering is a street single called H.A.M.(Hard As A Mother F****r apparently), and with two giant egos going full throttle on one track, it was of course bound to be full of fire.

Produced by Lex Luger, the song begins with menacing synths before a bouncing 808 drops hard with an apocalyptic choir. The beat may be meaty but lyrically I find this really quite uninspiring. Essentially we find the two rappers boasting rather predictibly about clout, girls & money, which let's face it we've all heard before. If two Hip Hop heavyweights are going in on one track I'd prefer to hear something constructive rather then childish postering. Anyway, that's just my opinion...please feel free to tell us yours. Check out the track below, but be aware that it contains very strong language.

'Watch The Throne' is scheduled for release on March 1st

Kanye West & Jay Z - H.A.M.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Get to know...Slow It Down


Who: Jamie Gardiner & Ralph Thomson
Sounds: Mid-tempo Funk, sublime Disco & grooving Hip Hop

So, in the first of our new features for 2011, we're going to be shining the spotlight one particular Glasgow artist, producer or visionary who we feel deserves some extra coverage due to their inexplicable talents. And what better way to begin then with masters of the bomfunk re-edit, Slow It Down...

Born out of a love for pioneering Hip Hop breaks, irresistible 80's grooves and searing Soul samples, the production duo of Jamie Gardiner and Ralph Thompson have been claiming a lot of attention recently. With thousands of plays a week on Soundcloud, mixes comissioned by Radio Magnetic and more blog love than we care to mention things look set to get quite hectic in 2011. Taking classic tracks from by-gone eras, stripping them back and re-building them as the embodiment of turbo-funk is how we like to describe Slow It Down, but what makes their tracks so damn popular?

For us it's their ability to source out forgotten gems, the record collecting dust in the corner, the songs you know, but never really took the time to love. It's these perhaps overlooked classics which Slow It Down really make their own. Forgive this 23year old writer for never having heard early 80's Soul-funkers 'Change', but after hearing Slow It Down consolidate the groove on 'Change Of Heart' - one of the first edits they sent us - they never sounded so relevant. With Disco reaching new heights of popularity with the likes of Azari & III, Tensnake & Aeroplane reclaiming BPM's in the low 100's it's not surprising that these classic records that Slow It Down have so masterfully reincarnated are now gracing the cooler dancefloors of our fair city, not to mention claiming attention from the likes of Q Burns, Sleazy McQueen and Social Disco Club.

Check out a few of our favourite edits below as well as their recent mix for Radio Magnetic:

Lowrell - Mellow Mellow (Right On) Slow It Down edit - 6A - Warped to 88BPM 320kbps by SlowItDownGlasgow

Orlando Johnson and Trance - Turn The Music On (Slow It Down edit) - (Final) 112 BPM - 320kbps by SlowItDownGlasgow

Bob Sinclar - So High (Slow It Down Rework) 113BPM - 320kbps by SlowItDownGlasgow

Slow It Down - Radio Magnetic Promo Mix - Winter 2010 by SlowItDownGlasgow

We recently caught up with Jamie, one half of Slow It Down to discover more about the origins of the project and where they plan on taking it. He also dropped us a little present in the form of an exclusive free download of their latest edit which you can find after the jump....

S: Ok, so let’s start with how this project began, what initially inspired you to start creating these incredible re-rubs and edits? Was there a particular tune or era of music which really got you excited?

J: "I grew up listening to black music, in particular hip-hop and always admired the way guys like DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Just Blaze took snippets of obscure funk and soul tracks and made it into something fresh and exciting.

My idea to start producing was to really showcase a lot of the 'breaks' that these guys used and incorporate into my own productions.

I went to Croatia's amazing Garden Festival this Summer and was blown away by the sounds I heard; really soulful edits but with that modern edge and I started to put together edits pretty much as soon as I got home.

I've dabbled with the the Tech House sound and landed some pretty decent gigs out of it but it lacks the soul and that good feeling that the oldies do, so the 60's to 80's soul and funk era inspires me for sure."

S: What would you describe as the concept behind Slow It Down, the majority of your tracks are edits of classic soul, funk & disco, but with the production skills you have are you not interested in producing your own material?

J: "Slow It Down is myself and Ralph wanting to drop the tempo and get away from that 126-128 techy sound that's dominating Glasgow at the moment and make our on mark on the local scene and hopefully beyond.

We do have plans to produce our own tracks from scratch but I have an incredibly short attention span and the idea of starting with a kick and snare bores me to tears.

We want to wait until our production skills are to a level where we are confident that we can approach labels knowing that they stand up to what else is out there."

S: Production wise, what set up are using to create your edits and could you give us a brief insight to how you approach a song and some of the process you might go through to create the final cut?

J: "I spend maybe 6-8 hours of digging for each track before I decide to use it, I only want to mess with an old track that I'm sure no-one else has edited and put my own stamp on it - there's 40+ years of classic tracks out there so I don't see the point in rehashing what's already been done.

We start off using Audacity which is a free audio recorder that I record my dj sets into, drop the full track in there, and chop it into as many as 30 loops, and pick the best dozen or so that we want to use.

From there we warp my loops in Ableton and arrange the warped pieces in Logic Pro, EQ'ing and smoothing out the sound as we go along before bouncing down to the finished track.

A lot of people add heavy delays, reverbs and filters but we want to maintain the integrity of the original where possible.

I hate Ableton for anything other that warping, the layout is backwards to me, although loads swear by it."

S: You also started a club night last summer called Slow It Down. With your own edits gaining wider recognition, do you intend on developing the night further in 2011?

J: "Yeah we have plans to host a handful of off the radar free parties in Glasgow and beyond this year. We're enjoying having the time to get into the edits at the moment - but we will get some parties arranged for the not too distant future."

S: Finally, is there one edit you’ve produced which you are particularly proud of and who do you site as your current musical influences, is there anyone we should keep an eye on?

J: "We like them all for different reasons but the Orlando Johnson one was the first to really get attention from guys who we look up to on the scene like Q Burns, Sleazy McQueen, Social Disco Club, Bicep, Rayko and closer to home Solardisco, One More Tune and Thunder Disco Club.

People from all over the world are playing the track out and it makes the hours spent in front of my Mac worth it!

We're working on an edit at the moment that's going to be exclusive to the Thunder Disco blog that I think is the best yet, It has that Italo sound with a bassline that will rattle your teeth out, I think it will really work on the dancefloor.

I would definitely be looking out for Fantastic Man (Wolf Music) who I think will be huge this year, his 'Look This Way' track with the Erkah Badu sample is a breath of fresh air on the house scene, also Brightons BlackLodge, who as well as incredible edits has some great slo mo house tracks and remixes that are getting better with every release.

My friend Dean Smith who plays a big part in the Croatian festival scene is also knocking out some really respectful edits and original tracks which are coming out in the Summer, plus guys like Ooft! and Craig Smith continue to put out amazing tracks and I'm sure they will keep raising the bar in 2011."

So, now your on a first name basis with Slow It Down, how about a slice of their sexiest, slimline edit yet? Exclusive to Synth, here is their take on 90's RnB classic 'U Know What's Up' by Donnell Jones. Oh baby...

Donnell Jones - U Know What's Up (Slow It Down edit) by Synth.

Slow It Down On Soundcloud
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