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Morrow: Hailing from Athens, Greece, Keep Shelly in Athens (whose name is a play on the Grecian suburb Kypseli) is a down-tempo/chill-wave electronic two-piece that has garnered steady ‘Net buzz since last year. The hype, to this point, might be a tad undeserved, but the duo’s recent In Love With Dusk EP demonstrated potential across a spate of digitized genres, even if it was heavy on the Ibiza influence.
The major appeal here is the interplay between singer Sarah P and producer RPR (mysterious!), whose styles seem to be coming into their own. With Campus Martius, the duo’s first release on Planet Mu, there’s less of the beach-y nightlife and ’80s cheese; instead, there’s an urban, industrialized, and ambient vibe to better fit Sarah’s elongated and reverberated vocals.
Venetian Snares: “The Identification Circles Levitate”
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Hajduch: Electronic surrealist Venetian Snares (a.k.a. Aaron Funk) returns with his zillionth release for Planet Mu. Cubist Reggae has a title that gets right to the point: this is a four-track EP that deconstructs reggae samples down to a nervous, amorphous tangle of sound. Largely free of the jungle brutalism common to Snares’ sound, Cubist Reggae favors a (relatively) slow burn, with lots of space to breathe (when that space is not being filled with deep-voiced threats of violence).
Morrow: You never know what to expect from a Snares release; it could be something that he’s never done or something that he’s done a bunch. Thankfully, this falls in the former category, and it’s fun to hear what reggae and dub can become when in his hands.
Those deep-voiced rumblings make the first track much creepier than its otherwise benign (yet weird) structure would dictate. But that’s about the end of the creepiness, and the next three songs — though a bit eerie at times — are a challenging IDM take on a tired genre.
Chrissy Murderbot: “Bussin’ Down” (Feat. DJ Spinn)
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After releasing a number of mixes, EPs, and LPs on his own label, Sleazetone, Chicago-based footwork/juke DJ Chrissy Murderbot (a.k.a. Chris Shively) is set to release his Planet Mu debut this May. The record, titled Women’s Studies, comes on the heels of a whirlwind year in which Shively released a mixtape every week for one full year (www.yearofmixtapes.blogspot.com). Here, he highlights his Women’s Studies collaborators with a collection of 10 choice tracks.
My Collaborators and Why I Love Them By Chrissy Murderbot
On my new album, Women’s Studies, I work with a lot of guest vocalists, DJs, remixers, etc. A few times already, interviewers have asked me, “How did you find out about these people?” or “What made you choose this particular group of people to work with?” So I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you the songs that turned me onto all the great musicians who’ve contributed to my new LP.
1. Rubi Dan & The Heatwave: “Higher Heights”
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Rubi Dan is a British MC who performs on dancehall records, UK garage records, grime records, and pretty much anything else you give him. This is a dancehall tune from 2008, produced by UK bashment crew The Heatwave. I met the guys from The Heatwave in 2005, and after I heard this tune, I asked them to put me in touch with Rubi Dan. We’ve made two tracks together so far: “New Juke Swing” and “Pelvic Floor,” both of which are on the new album. For the record, I’m really glad I can say I’ve released a tune called “Pelvic Floor.”
Morrow: The Dissolve is the fourth full-length album by Boxcutter, a dubstep/IDM musician from Northern Ireland and a regular of the Planet Mu roster. Also known as Barry Lynn, he often takes a dance-influenced approach to his music, enabling an entry point for those who can’t handle thornier artists like Aphex Twin.
On The Dissolve, some of the dark dance elements remain, but by and large, this is a shift in a much funkier direction, with retro electronic sounds providing a much lighter and old-school feel.
Morrow: Rjyan Claybrook Kidwell has already spent more than a dozen years recording as Cex, his prolific electronic/IDM project. Begun in his teenage years, the music has been intellectual yet inconsistent, jumping from guitar-topped glitch beats to nasally, half-sung vocals and raps.
Regardless of the vocals, which some view as a distraction, Kidwell has always made great music. Whether it’s the purely electronic beginnings of 2000 album Role Model or the acoustically infused 2003 album Being Ridden, Cex has channeled the best of pioneering labels like Warp and Planet Mu.
Evargreaz is a four-track EP that was released in December. (We’d note that it’s in advance of another full-length album, but he’s already since released another EP [Megamuse] that’s a preview of said full-length on Tigerbeat6 [Tiny Creature].) It backs away from some of the dance elements of Bataille Royale, his 2009 album, instead offering more ambient IDM with overlapping time signatures and a solid blend of timbres.
Hajduch: Prolific breakcore wizard Venetian Snares (Aaron Funk) is back in 2010 with his zillionth full-length, My So-Called Life. If you’re a fan, you know the deal — furious breakbeats at breakneck tempos in unusual time signatures.
Lord knows that there are thousands of record labels in the world. So how does one go about separating itself from the rest (other than through awesome music)? That would be with a good name. Thankfully, these labels all have great music as well.