Underground Essentials

Underground Essentials

 The world is full of radio stations blaring out the likes of Katy Perry and Beyoncé, but the world of music is so much bigger than mainstream pop. This week, we take a look at some of the more eclectic musical styles to grace the charts. Ranging from garage to retro house to glitch, these three tracks will have you appreciating the finer side of sound. The producers mentioned here are among the foremost sonic wizards in the business, so you can expect their productions to have a far “cleaner” sound than most of the pop and rock records we’re used to hearing on a regular basis.

Underground Essentials
Underground Essentials
 
Leeds-based Joe Cowie, who goes by the moniker Kahwe, is among the most talented garage and house producers currently in the industry. With the Anjunadeep label having taken a more versatile turn since mid-2012, he’s found his way onto the imprint with his Driving Me Wild EP. A three-track offering that blends elements of garage, 90s house and underground progressive, the release has gone on to a storming reception. “Yew”, the final of the three tunes, is the deepest and the shortest. Starting off with faded beats and atmospheric elements, it builds on the percussion before a small break, finally dropping into a deep garage bassline. What strikes you the most as you listen to “Yew” is the crisp equaliser work, letting each sound and sample stand out while still blending with the others to create electronic harmony.
 
If you enjoyed the music of the 80s and “Miami Vice”, you need to check out the Hot Creations label. One of their more recent releases, “Benediction” by Hot Natured & Ali Love, is a tribute to the synthesiser-heavy music of that glorious decade. The song begins with a retro melody and fat bassline before Ali Love’s silky, soulful vocals take you on a journey to a time when Crockett and Tubbs were Miami’s top dogs. One could make the argument that the vocals dominate the song, but that is easily defeated with the logic that the quality of production in no way hinders the track’s overall composition. And there are plenty of instrumental breaks, so you really can’t complain.
A more liquid offering is the Vexisle remix of Flatmate’s “Hot Ball”. Glitch hop at its finest, veteran producers Asa and Kursa joined forces under the Vexisle alias to create this monstrous underground anthem. One of the more popular genres of electronic music, glitch hop enjoys a relatively small but encouraging following. The “Hot Ball” remix combines a melodic intro with a gritty electro bass, crisp percussion, semitone synthesisers and wacky effects to create one of the toughest glitch hop tracks in recent memory. Don’t miss this one.     - Ashwin