Leftereis Kalabakas aka Lee Burton is part of the new wave loop-based contingency of producers. And for the diehards out there, they get it right 99 percent of the time. $50 2-side EPs on Discogs are quite the norm. Tasteful yet groovy, the sound is typified by its ease of mixing in and out of practically any track. Part of the fabric, Sakro’s ‘No Time to Explain‘ was a bomb when it came out. Lee Burton has certainly fanned the flames of such sound with his cracking releases on John Dimas’ Elephant Moon and Dorian Paic’s revered raum..musik. Things weren’t always like that for the Greek producer, being first a guitarist and bassist for progressive rock and jazz-rock fusion groups. His debut LP, ‘Busy Days for Fools‘, was a rock/house/experimental mash-up where his musicianship truly shone. Matthew Dear and Bob Moses would approve. Such meticulous craftsmanship can be heard on his naughty downtempo track, ‘NDN’.
‘NDN’ featured on the 2017 ‘Various Artist’ EP that was released by DisDat, a New York based label owned by Elon Admony. Drawing experience from being an instructor at SAE Institute, Burton’s track is a masterclass at making so many elements sound so nominal. Speaking with Clubber Greece, Kalabakas claims his must-have machine has to be the Roland Juno 106. ‘It was the first analog synth I took since 2008 and I think I’ve used it I think it what I’ve written ever since’ he tells the magazine. That Roland minor synth line is heard from the start with a minor keyline oozing opulent class. This is music primed for The Ritz as much as a Williamsburg’s pop up bars. As a breakbeat drum pattern adds swing, tumbling triangle percussions provide that nighttime feel. This track is a funk lover’s delight. There is a G-Funk element to the bass, with real playfulness in its intent. The end result is very reminiscent to one of our other tracks we loved, The Abstract Eye’s ‘Nobody Else‘. Stringed synths overlay, whilst additional alien sounds thrown into the mix add to the after-hours sound.
Lee Burton has truly found his sound with feel good-bangers such as ‘15 30 (The Jam)‘ and the heady-tripper ‘W.S.Y.A’. Despite this, we would certainly not get in his way if he wished to release an LP of downtempo bangers equal in quality to ‘NDN’.
You’ve got to hand it to those YouTubers who are the heroes we need but do not deserve. A vehicle for upcoming artists to get their music promoted, it certainly has its uses on the other side of the spectrum. Frontleft365 covered some of these in their fantastic feature that included interviews with Houseum, Slav and CMYK. Growing in number, such channels have offered not only exposure for those looking to get their name out, but also serving as inspiration to fellow producers. These have been in particular rich in genres of early 90’s IDM, ambient, breaks, jungle, techno and trance. Thessa Torsing aka Upsammy’s 2018 Dekmantel set was a beautiful, meandering sound safari covering the aforementioned genres with a retro tint. Hailing from the Netherlands, her ascendency has been no short of paramount, rapidly moving from playing in local clubs to nights at Panorama Bar. Her productions have been cherished and treasured, bringing a mix of breaks, Techno, IDM, ambient and Trance. Releases on Whities & Die Orakel gathered great attention, called upon by Mr Fingers for a remix alongside Joey Anderson and Kode9. ‘Another Place’, the titular cut on her 2018 debut EP on Rotterdam Label Nous’Klaer, is a mutative beast that is utterly mesmeric.
In conversation with DeSchool, Upsammy recalled her father having “loads of electronic mix CD’s, like Tiësto’s Forbidden Paradise, so [Torsing] listened to those.. growing up. Another major influence was MTV Lounge Vol. 3, with artists like Moby and The Future Sound Of London‘. ‘Another Place’ is an emotion-led, retro futuristic track, cut with a different cloth that uses the same blueprint. Pick any track from the nostalgic YouTube Channel, 2trancentral and you’ll find the same esoteric tropes written all over. Indulged in delay from the off, chimes and a bleep knock echo and streak through both ear canals. An drum pattern that goes into double-time on the second 4/4 beat keeps things off kilter. This all happens before a razoring dubstep & techno hybrid bassline, akin to one found in A Made Up Sound‘s (aka 2562) ‘Crisis’ enters. It also carries the same urgency as of Shed’s ‘Wax 1001B‘ acid lick. Blissful and alien synth-lines supersaw and oscillate, sounding straight out of a Roland J-8000 or Access Virus A/B textbook. Droplet sounds play out in assorted patterns in the background, before a minute long breakdown set ups the most euphoric of atmospheres. The bass then drops combined with the precision of the cymbals to truly transport the listener to a place far distant. Continue reading →
Scorched Earth (Barac’s Interpretation) – Konrad Black
Released on the more minimal minded Berlin based Meander Label, Romanian producer Barac delivers a delicious dancefloor ’Interpretation’ of Konrad Black’s Techno, Breakbeat and IDM concoctions. And that’s the thing – it seems to be an interpretation of the 3 tracks on the EP, making it extra special. The final result as deejay.de says is ‘ a deep and hypnotic journey through space’. If you like hypnotic minimal, you will love this track.
Barac is one for using experimental sounds and still keeping them dancefloor ready. Streamlining and refining the grating low end of Sycho Te Alyn, on top of this a lot goes on. There are harpy charms, cricket noises, 16-Bit video game alarms, zips and bongos amongst other mystical noises. It’s packed yet all played in synergy and at the at the right time. It’s an incredible trip ‘down the rabbit hole’ kind of experience. All the while keeping in line with the original track’s experimental sounds with their use of field recordings. On top of this the epic cinematic strings from Sycho Te Alyn that seem to blanket all these noises. As though they descend from high to conduct the symphony, reminding it to keep in order with it’s restrained nature. Continue reading →