Hijak Special Bios #4 – Aoi

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Coming live with brand new material debuting exclusively at Hijak is multi-skilled b-boy and Melbourne underground sensation Aoi.

This guy is on a quest to be the best where it counts for things hip-hop.  His portfolio is impressive to say the least.  eight albums (many of which are free at his Bandcamp), the Spotwelder remix tapes, a couple of other mixtapes, seven MC albums under his now-deceased alias of Prince Mackerel (who died in a terrorist attack on Disneyland), spittin’ bars under his new moniker of Slums Mack for a host of single tracks with rap group Stonecuttaz, and beats maker for TMFSE (as part of a whole album on US label Smoker’s Cough), Jak Tripper, Lukey Cage, Noemotion Goldmask and The Baroness (w/ Class A).

His appearance at Hijak will cement his position as one of the most solid acts you should be following in Melbourne’s matrix, with a live set performed without screens, utilising his self-professed caveman technique using a pair of samplers and turntable to work his magic.  Do not miss out on this one if you know what’s up.

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Aoi Bandcamp:  aoibeats.bandcamp.com
Aoi Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/aoibeats
Aoi Facebook:  facebook.com/aoi3000

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HIJAK – LABOR DAY SPECIAL – SUNDAY 15 MARCH @ GRUMPY’S

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Review: DOS4GW – Drones (L-Burn Illuminati)

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L-Burn Illuminati’s analog-grind hip-hop instrumentalist DOS4GW presents something a little different with his latest release – Drones. It is exactly as the title suggests, it’s drones.

The release itself isn’t anything new and represents an entire concept to chat about here and fill people in here who might not know about the idea of Drone. The concept of drones in music is to carry a harmonic or monophonic effect of accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded through most or all of a piece.

In a recent chat we had with DOS4GW, he told us that “the idea was to record something really spontaneous…just put [Drones] online pretty much as it was recorded.”

“I thought it could be a synth drone with some limitations, only Korg sounds with some little accompaniments carried through a OP-1 to constrain the sound and make it stick together. After I recorded four or five of them i thought “damn, these could work as tracks”, so i tried playing two back at the same time and it worked great.”

“I thought about how to present it. Youtube was by far the easiest way because you can just open however many windows you want, and have however many tracks going at once, kinda like Zaireeka (ed: eighth album by the Flaming Lips).”

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Drones are interactive, and you can play the drones in any sequence you want, thus adding a human element that juxtaposes the purely electronic element of the relentless droning.

DOS4GW’s production methods and sounds have always been highly envied in Melbourne’s electronic music with his grinding horrorcore beats. Now his percussion, harmonies and melodies have been cut to show you the barest bones of his analog sounds, which modulate and undulate in a relaxed or apocalyptic fashion.

In our test run of the product, we opened up all eight tracks at once in Youtube. This created a dense texture of electronic babbling that made me wish I had taken some psychedelics or smoked some weed to really get immersed and mentally isolate the drones. I then started taking away sounds one by one, which helped me identify certain sounds and then wish I had put other ones back.

I was really happy with the interactivity of Drones and could stuff around with it for hours. It’d be great to have venues out there playing these sort of soundscapes, and have patrons all getting immersed together. Drone as an objective sound also opens up possibilities for other producers to contribute their own drones, and create a pool of sounds together.

I enjoyed the experience thoroughly, and it’s great to hear niche producers expanding their horizons to embrace electronic sound as an objective concept.

Could you conceive what Melbourne would objectively sound like if people and producers were creating new monophonic resonances all over the city? If life was to be viewed as an organic lifeform, we would be making a nose not unlike cicadas in a rainforest.

**** Drones Give-Away!!!! ****

We have included some FREE Bandcamp vouchers for DOS4GW’s Drones, which can be redeemed by clicking here. Please use the voucher codes below to redeem and get in quick, as each voucher is good for one use only.

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http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=656211268/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

Tigermoth – Traversing Karma (Sinister Jazz)

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As seen this week, Australia has many formidable hip-hop instrumentalists who have established their own individual identities through beat signature.

Former Brisbanite Tigermoth aka Tim Paterson has been producing hip-hop for a relatively short time since 2009 after an inspirational short time living in Japan, and has a background in professional jazz and film soundtrack musicianship.

He has released three previous albums, a bunch of B-sides and EPs, has collaborated with vocalists like Ektoise and Georgia Potter, and recently released two tracks on compilations by French label Dezordr.

Since coming to Melbourne, Tigermoth has become involved with hip-hop collective L-Burn Illuminati, releasing a collaboration with fellow 90s boom-bap head Aoi in their twelve-track album Kendo, as well as sharing remixes with other producers like DOS4GW

Traversing Karma is laced with Tigermoth’s signature Japanese hip-hop psychedelia, laden with flute loops (such as in tracks like ‘Far Flung’), oriental strings and chimes, sinister tones of interlaced mid-range bass frequency, off-beat keys and eerie synths. 

There’s a foreground of spoken word samples ranging from the inspirational in songs like ‘Theodicy’, to the slightly dark in ‘Analog Dreams’ which compliments the instrumentals with a form of narrative.

Stand-outs include ‘Africa’ with warped tones of sampled morning birds (presumably magpies?), ‘Sorcerer’ featuring Stylemaster – A rapper from Atlanta featured on Darkstarz Records, and the eerie atmosphere of ‘Space Ghosts’.

The mixdown for this album is exceptional, probably due to the mastering talents of one Dave Cooley. Cooley is involved with Stone’s Throw Records, and has mastered for such greats as Quasimoto, Ghostface Killah, Madlib, Prefuse 73 and the legendary J Dilla (amongst many other greats), so Tigermoth is really quite privileged to be amongst artists on Cooley’s portfolio of work. One may hope more may come of this connection for Tigermoth.

The album as a whole floats sublimely through the senses, hits solid with Detroit-style boom-bap percussion, yet conversely without being overstated or hectic on the nerves. The overall sound of Traversing Karma is original and fresh, and I found the listening experience to be relaxing and enjoyable, something not often accomplished in the execution of hip-hop production. 

I would prescribe Traversing Karma for home listening to those who wish for immersion in a mystical journey, and this album stamps Tigermoth’s trademark sound as one of Melbourne’s most accomplished in hip-hop.

Real talk; it can’t be faulted.

8.5 out of 10 Haarp Strings.

‘Traversing Karma’ is available at Tigermoth’s Bandcamp site, in a variety of formats for $7.77.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2055718776/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

Written by Kristian Hatton.

Merc Swazey X Nettsmoney – Cash (self-released)

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Kiwi Melbournites – MC Merc Swazey and producer Nettsmoney – combine forces to create an album in the semi-satirical vein of such artists as Odd Future.  Both rapper and beatsmith come from New Zealand, and Nettsmoney has a history of working with other Kiwis such as label Breakin Wreckwordz and Jay Roacher. Swazey is also known as rap-battling Hash, and slayed many rappers on the NZ battle scene.

Cash has been described by Nettsmoney as “tropical traphouse/genius rap”. His production focuses more on electronic elements influenced heavily by trap, and is one of Australia’s finest examples of emulating the genre with his own unique and humorous twist.

It’s already surprised me that many people out there haven’t realised that this is intended for paradoxical purposes. However, this misunderstanding could be understood, as the satirical element isn’t established that strongly with tough-starting ‘Cash’, which may be a bit subtle for some listeners to realise that Swazey is sending up rather than advocating materialistic and shallow American trap culture.

The album really comes to its own on the second track. ‘Stupid’ holds no mystery that Swazey is taking the piss with hooks like “my girl’s ass stupid and her brain’s retarded” and spitting lines within his tight and breezey structures like “I like my shit real ig’nant (turtle tank stupid)”, and then flexing his abstract and self-effacing humour with gems like “…my name’s so hot, I’m gonna say it a lot (Swazey). I wear it out like a sweater, I should wear it out on a sweater…”

This is continued with Swazey continuing to unleash his comedy flamethrower in more complex yet simplistic potty-mouth form in ‘Timmy Two Times’ with lines like “what the fuck wtf would you know about knowing ‘bout shit that i know about? Bitch, you don’t know about that, ima throw out her back when i throw her out back, tryna let her mouth flap, i dont know about that, picture me with a talkin trophy

This is one of the finer moments of the album with its catchy “something something, my swag” quite clearly making a statement of much trap music not really having that much to say, it’s all about the style.

‘Roll the Dro up’ didn’t really sustain my interest, although it’s in fine form. My ears perked back up again with Nettsmoney’s immaculate production in ‘Most Breezey’, which really highlights Nettmoney’s strength within the realms of original trap beats. ‘Tim Dunkin’ also showcases Nettsmoney’s production to maximum effort, but rapper Young Lean (no, not Yung Lean, this guy was apparently around before the latter.) ruins the satirical effect of Swazey and makes the track seem all a bit too serious and tough.

Swazey shines in ‘Head on the Phone’ with catchy hook “I got my purple drank sittin’ by the turtle tank…” and tight and quick staccato rapping style flowing effortlessly through his bars. ‘Sleepin Like a Baby’ would be regarded by Swazey’s finest moment on Cash, with his lazy drawling bars in regards to the finer points of Xanax, Valium, sleep and smokin’ weed.

Cash is effective in what it intends to do, but there were elements of it that could have been tightened in regards to introducing the trap satire theme strongly, and some rather average tracks amongst the stand-outs. Merc Swazey X Nettsmoney are a strong pairing who show creativity, originality and flair in what they do, and I’m sure more people will catch onto their humorous craftsmanship soon.

7 out of 10 Haarp Strings.

‘Cash’ is available at Bandcamp on a pay-as-you-please basis in a variety of digital formats.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1455371388/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

Written by Kristian Hatton.

Aoi – IXHA-94 (L-Burn Illuminati)

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Australian instrumental hip-hop producer Aoi has self-released a number of albums and mixtapes in his short career from 2008, collaborated with American underground rappers like Jak Tripper, TMFSE, GDP and Noemotion Goldmask, released a vinyl edition of LP Funnelweb on Melbourne label Wax Museum Records, and is inspired by dead things and David Lynch.

Aoi has a number of other projects ranging from bass music project Kitburner to DJing techno as Sarah Quill at local cult night Trans Melbourne Xprss, to his recently revealed enigmatic MC persona Prince Mackerel aka Slums McKenzie. He is also a part of rap and beats crew L-Burn Illuminati, whose MCs and producers include Class A, Mr DNA, Epps, Tigermoth and DOS4GW

Aoi’s latest offering – IXHA-94 – was produced in less than 24 hours. It’s a refreshing back-to-basics take in an era packed with VSTs and synthesis. The raw sample-based method of production reminds one of golden-age times of east coast hip-hop production. The sixteen tracks – with the exception of ‘Black Roses’ – are all less than three minutes in length, and stand well as complete individual works, rather than as Zomby-like sketches.

My first couple of listens were difficult for me to review, as the album can float easily like air into the sub-conscious. You could also have a lot of fun trying to identify the myriad of both samples used from Aoi’s extensive vinyl collection. We won’t spoil the mysteries by identifying them for you, and plus I’ll admit my knowledge isn’t anywhere near his encyclopedic knowledge of music.

‘Super VHS’ utilises Aoi’s sci-fi and anime sampling, laid with other vocal samples before laying a steady boom-bap loop complete with vinyl crackling and eerie strings. IXHA-94 then jumps into soul-funk track ‘Pre-Bumps’, which has a sensual undulating bassline laid with seductive guitar licks. ‘Work yr way backwards’ paces menacingly, and the drums patterning in this touches nicely on the ears.

‘Korx beat’ carries on in bare-bones minimalistic fashion, and then the album slows down in ‘Phalanx1’ which goes back to the grimey trademark stylings reminiscent of Aoi’s earlier work in album Funnelweb. After freeform interlude ‘Constellation’, things get more hype with Kool G Rap-influenced upbeat drum breaks in ‘Nilpoj (for Percee P)’, and then slow back down into the sleazy and funky guitar-driven ‘Drugpunk’.

The album continues in Aoi’s token lo-fi hissy drums and menacing overlaying, with stand-outs in the jazzy drum breaks of ‘brdcrmbs’, the vocal whimsy of ‘octwv/As it was meant to be’, and the vintage hype of ‘gateway drums’.

In summary, IXHA-94 is for those who like their beats OG, those who like sample spotting, and for those who like “real hip-hop”. It’s a refreshing glimpse past steroid-pumped and ultra-clean contemporary electronica, and relieves nostalgia of vintage beats still ever-present to diggers and producers of foundational hip-hop.

You can’t really fault this album for sheer speed of time in production. Less than 24 hours?! Wow.

8.25 out of 10 Haarp Strings.

IXHA-94 is available in a variety digital formats from Bandcamp for $6.66.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1664703040/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

Written by Kristian Hatton.

Friday 7 March – BOOM! Level 3 / DnB / Dubstep / Bass / Future

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BOOM! is a relatively new night pioneered by DJ Hellraiser and The Engineer at the CBD Nightclub in Melbourne city. The aim of the game is a diverse range of engaging electronica for y’all to get wide to.

This week’s BOOM! sees a bass music takeover from DJs like Token, Baddums, J:Nitrous, Disrute, Bee Ampersand, Zayler, Asylum

..and L-Burn Illuminati? Okay, I never knew they were classified as bass music. Well, I guess there’s bass in hip-hop beats.

Epps, Mr DNA, Aoi and Prince Mackerel (who has actually admitted he is Aoi this week, so therefore doesn’t exactly count?) will be performing some HUGE BASS MUSIC for your delight, along with the other guys, and definitely receives our Haarp Media stamp of approval.

10pm-5am. CBD Nightclub, Level 3, 12 McKillop Street, Melbourne CBD. $15/25.

FB Page: facebook.com/events

Written by Kristian Hatton.

Sunday 23 February – Tonic feat. Aoi, Ruffles and 2fuddha @ Loop

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A quick mention on this experimental electronic event. It’s a great option for those dining in the city on a Sunday evening, and should compliment your headspace in the wind-down to a busy week ahead.

It features Aoi, Ruffles, 2fuddha and Div, so you can expect a loose session with a lot of hip-hop instrumentalism, inovation, MIDI controllers and DJing. There’ll also be some visual shenanigans performed by Zeal.

9pm-1am. Loop, 23 Meyer Place, Melbourne CBD. Free!

FB Page: facebook.com/events

Written by Kristian Hatton.

Hi-Five: Melbourne’s Producers/DJs and Their Current Favourite Track – Part 5

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Selector #21 – Lysdexic

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Lysdexic is one of Melbourne’s hardest working label managers, owning glitch-heavy Hopskotch Records, which has helped Australia discover some hot new and alternative electronic music talent, as well as helping enlighten listeners to the exciting and hidden possibilities within glitch and bass music.

Hopskotch Records has currently released a total of 38 releases, and show no sign of stopping soon. Lysdexic represents the Hopskotch sound as not only a DJ, but as a producer of dark and heavy cyberstep/dnb.

Track Selection: Anodyne Industries – Deep Dive (Hopskotch Records)

“Deep, atmospheric heavy halftime dnb. Definitive Anodyne Industries, my pick from the Decoder EP. (They will be) touring Australia in Feb/March 2014.”

Selector #22 – Gingus Khan

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Gingus Khan ventured to Melbourne nearly a decade ago, and was drawn to how our city was pioneering bass music with crews like Heavy Innit. He has stayed on and is well-known around town as a hilarious and boisterous, non-stop party animal as a punter, and a menace to all turntables when playing dubstep, grime or UKG.

You can see him regularly playing out with crews like Onepuf and other sectors of Melbourne’s post-Heavy Innit scene in the CBD.

Track Selection: Amy Winehouse – Stronger (Moony 2013 UKG Remix)

“Moony’s making some proper nice tunes at the minute, how can you go wrong with a tune that makes me dance to Amy Winehouse, innit.”

Selector #23 – Aoi

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Aoi is a member of L-Burn Illuminati, a group of MCs and producers more interested in making good music they like, rather than constantly marketing to a fickle modern audience. His back-to-basics approach to sampling, scratching and digging for records and drum breaks is reminiscent of the original approach to hip-hop production.

He has self-released multiple albums of instrumental hip-hop as Aoi, and also makes forays into drum and bass music as Kitburner, MCs as Slums Mackenzie, DJs techno as Sarah Quill, and produces juke as DJ Lamborghini Asshole. He will be shortly releasing seperate albums with American MCs and cult heroes Jak Tripper and The Man From Somewhere Else.

Track Selection: Peter Sellers – “Auntie Rotter” (1958 Parlophone)

“Parents are strange creatures. While speaking about life, music, comedy etc to Ma Dukes via the link frenzy conventions of the internet, she sprung this number on me. Apparently this was her first 7” single as a kid and made quite the impact. basically Peter Sellers intones the base sentiment of “Kill yr parents” with a jovial frivolity reserved for that early music class teacher you had when they passed out the triangles. Something we can all relate to, cut your loved ones up with a hatchet and get that paper. “here is your stabbing music.””

Selector #24 – Dubfonik

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Dubfonik aka Joel Klease is another young producer who started traversing electronica through UK dubstep, and released many tracks on Sixbux, Hopskotch and Bassweight. The last couple of years has seen Klease expand his horizons and start to take preference to the techno sounds of Berlin.

With his current deep and youthful repertoire of sounds, there’s a lot to look forward to from this producer that should expand upon preset atmospheric tendencies.

Track Selection: Maya Jane Coles – Burning Bright (Dense & Pika Remix) (I/AM/ME)

“As I have been focusing on techno a lot more lately (and a new alias in the works), tracks like this are the ones that make a dancefloor crazy and take me back to Berghain in Berlin.”

Selector #25 – Gelido

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Gelido is already a prolific and complex producer aged only 19 years of age, and is originally from Western Sydney. His production is unique and intricate, inspired by glitch, breakcore and other more experimental aspect of electronica.

He has a number of self-released albums at his Bandcamp (five), an ambient album on Communication Records (Sydney), a gabba ep on Bleemo Music, and a number of other single releases on his Soundcloud.

Track Selection: Badun – Ef10 (Rumprecordings)

‘“Badun is a group from Denmark that I stumbled upon about six months ago. They are an experimental, electronic jazz band that have a unique flavour of acidic jazz along with glitch that keeps my brain happy! Perfect for sleeping, drinking red wine (preferably something vintage) and the day after.”

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2681205930/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/t=11/transparent=true/

Compiled by Kristian Hatton.

Monkey Marc’s DIY Sound System to be used at Horse Bazaar this Friday

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Hot off the presses, kids, confirmation has been given that we will be using Monkey Marc’s super awesome happy DIY sound system!

This fantastic system boasts a unique and full sound, and is carefully hand-crafted with love to bring magic to your ears! It’s also run on natural juice from the sun, i.e. solar power.

Monkey Marc and the Combat Wombats have used this system whilst trekking over the country through deserts protesting on human rights and environmental issues, so you can feel the revolution in the basstones.

Something like this is bound to make the Friday night line-up of Aoi, Ghostsoul, Titus12, Kayhat and U-Wish sound even more spectacular.

The Neigh-bours events are a collaboration between Uncomfortable Beats, L-Burn Illuminati and Haarp Media, three of Melbourne’s finest smaller beats crews. The DIY system is now a regular institute at the Neigh-bours events.

The Neigh-bours team will operate on a pay-as-you-please basis, and all donations of five-plus dollars will also recieve a chance to win a double pass to REDSQ at the Royal Melbourne Hotel on Friday 28 February, featuring Berlin techno artist Redshape.

8pm-1am. Horse Bazaar, 397 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD. Pay-as-you-please!

Written by Kristian Hatton.

Friday 24 January – Neigh-bours feat. Aoi @ Horse Bazaar

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Our next installment of Neigh-bours is a real treat and insight into the insane store of talent fostered locally in our fair city, Melbourne. Neigh-bours is a communal friendship of local beats crews Uncomfortable Beats, L-Burn Ill – and of course – Haarp Media. We also accredit Horse Bazaar as our home for this event, as we see this place as being a place for locals – especially those within hip-hop and bass-oriented music – to network and support each other.

Headliner and L-Burn Ill affiliate Aoi is possibly Melbourne’s most unique and talented producer of instrumental hip-hop beats. Starting from punk origins playing in bands in Cairns, Aoi was drawn to original hip-hop luminaries like Public Enemy and Kool G Rap because of their raw sampling and drum patterns.

He has attempted to emulate this production by utilising a “caveman” approach in digging for old cuts of jazz drum-breaks, and combining this with a dank basement vibe. This is then interpolated with cuts of sci-fi, anime and other rare oddities within his massive record collection.

Aoi’s live performance involves little in the way of digital usage, and has him drumming his arsenal of drum-breaks and other samples in true contemporary hip-hop instrumental fashion through his array of controllers.

Supporting Aoi are trip-hop revolutionary producer Ghostsoul, UK bass music creator Titus12, and Haapy Mondays duo Kayhat and U-Wish.

Make sure you make it down, because Horse Bazaar has been popping big time lately, as exhibited here at the 397 Massive party last Saturday…

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8pm-1am. Horse Bazaar, 397 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD. Entry by donation!

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/190685147793929/?fref=ts

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1664703040/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

PRIZES!!!!!!111!!!

Also Neigh-bours isn’t Neigh-bours without our fantastic and free prize draw. Last time we gave away two tickets to Let Them Eat Cake. This time we will be drawing a double pass to REDSQ (on Friday 28 February), featuring Redshape. All you have to do is show up, donate to our event, and hopefully win!

For more on the RESQ event, read here.

Written by Kristian Hatton.