Signal to Noise: 10 Tracks from Forward-Thinking Local Producers
"2000 Plateaus," by Tristes Tropiques
A couple weeks ago I wrote an article about how Haçeteria has quickly become the nexus point for a newly emerging scene of outsider house producers. One of the guiding forces behind that party is Tristes Tropiques (aka Josh Widmann), a local DJ and producer who's spent much of the past year crafting a sound that incorporates his multiple influences into a cohesive whole. "2000 Plateaus" is his latest, and it sees him working towards that end with an insistent Kraftwerk-style bassline and bizarre industrial vocal samples riding over a four-on-the-floor that's stuck in a trance-inducing infinite loop.
"All That She Wants (Adeptus Instrumental Cover)," by Ace of Base
It all started in 2008, with a bizarre video that everyone on Facebook seemed to be tagged in. Two bare-chested weirdos freaked out polite society with an enigmatic but meme-worthy performance. That video gave way to the short and tumultuous run of East Bay collective Party Effects. Phil Holtzman (aka Dade Elderon and now Adeptus) was one of those bare-chested weirdos, and he's been doing alright for himself since his old group folded. Now he's made a beat for Kreayshawn and has found work with XL Recordings doing production for other artists. While that might seem to indicate a different direction, his recently released dubby instrumental cover of Ace of Base's "All That She Wants" ought to put any such thought to rest.
"Skype D8," by 5kinAndBone5
While only half of 5kinAndBone5 resides in San Francisco, we still feel the duo is eligible for this list. Rapidly rising stars in the world of UK (and UK-influenced) bass music, 5kinAndBone5 has garnered critical approval for an output that, at last count, spans across such labels as Unknown to the Unknown, Grizzly, and Fool's Gold. "Skype D8" is their latest release, and it sees them playing with sparse dubstep atmospherics while peppering the reverb chamber with screwed-up vocal samples and chords that seem to expand in impossible directions.
"Shakes (Devonwho Remix)," by Benito
Benito is the alias of Brian McNally, a local producer of forward thinking and bass-heavy tracks. The past couple years have seen him do work with Frite Nite and rap outfit Toast. Now, he's just dropped I'm Busy, a new EP on local label Brap Dem. To celebrate, he's enlisted the aid of recent transplant Devonwho to remix the fourth cut off the new release. Devonwho's take on "Shakes" is an effortless affair that seems to gracefully slide a popping and upbeat melody over warm Rhodes chords and a skittering breakbeat. This one's currently exclusive to XLR8R, so you'll need to head over there to hear it. Meanwhile, listen to the six minute sampler of the new EP embedded above.
"MG - VE," by Loren Steele
Fitting squarely into the current trend of more abstract house and techno is Loren Steele. A producer with ties to Donuts, listening to the tunes on his SoundCloud page is like accidentally receiving short snippets of transmissions from an alien world. The majority of his material clocks in at less than three minutes, a format that fits his particular brand of sonic sketch perfectly. "MG - VE" is one such short track, and in its 2:46 duration it manages to explore a blunted scene of abstraction that ought to be familiar to anyone who's heard the weirder experiments currently coming out of Detroit. Keyboards locked in a perpetually downward spiral intermingle with a steadily decomposing rhythm to create a track that imposes a bizarre headspace before disappearing suddenly.