The Groove Seeker: Slugabed’s Sun Too Bright Turn it Off

On a biweekly basis, The Groove Seeker goes in search of killer grooves across rock, funk, hip hop, soul, electronic music, jazz, fusion, and more.

Slugabed: Sun Too Bright Turn it Off EP (Ninja Tune, 11/8/11)

Slugabed: “Sun Too Bright Turn it Off”

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It’s appropriate to say that London is a breeding ground of zeitgeist-changing musical talent when it comes to the instrumental beat scene. In the city, you’ll find dubstep, grime, and drum-‘n’-bass nights every day of the week. And like many other UK cities, including Brighton and Bristol, London is on the forefront of current styles and approaches to beat-making. It’s also the residence of DJ and producer Slugabed, whose new EP, Sun Too Bright Turn it Off, sounds like the East London and Los Angeles beat scenes coming into one.

The new release marks back-to-back EPs for Slugabed, a.k.a. Greg Feldwick, as he makes a strong and steady buildup to his debut album for Ninja Tune. Parallel to the Moonbeam Rider EP, Sun Too Bright Turn it Off builds a spacey, multi-dimensional soundscape filled with chopped-and-screwed break beats, wobbly bass drops, and wild 8-bit synths. But the two releases are unquestionably different in terms of spacing and pacing. Sun Too Bright is a substantially more down-tempo affair, which in fact better establishes Feldwick’s ability as a composer.

Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Grand Pianoramax’s Smooth Danger

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Grand Pianoramax: Smooth DangerGrand Pianoramax: Smooth Danger (ObliqSound, 5/3/11)

Grand Pianoramax: “Roulette” (radio edit)

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Morrow: Conceived as something of a live piano-and-drums experiment, Grand Pianoramax is the principal project of pianist Leo Tardin.  Once “a New Yorker from Switzerland” and now “a Berliner from America,” Tardin uses a small arsenal of instruments — grand piano, Fender Rhodes, K-Station, harmonium, Phillichorda — to achieve a diversity of sounds for his duo’s spacey, funky, classically infused music.

Smooth Danger is the duo’s third and newest album; released overseas last fall, it sees a US release in a few months.  Though it doesn’t depart much from its predecessors, it cuts back a bit on guest vocalists, allowing the duo’s music to better stand on its own.  And it deserves to, thanks to its combination of killer melodies, synthesized grooves, and classical piano that overlay tight, rapid rock and boom-bap beats from new drummer Dominik Burkhalter.  (The former drummers, by the way, were no slouches: Deantoni Parks [The Mars Volta, Meshell Ndegeocello] and Adam Deitch [Talib Kweli, John Scofield].)