RAMjams is our streaming weekly roundup of remarkable underground electronic music you might have overlooked.
This week, Kingdom remixes CHVRCHES, Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard remixes Neneh Cherry, and other, non-remixed stuff.
1. Lone, “Dream Ache”: Like a good deal of the Nottingham producer’s work, “Dream Ache” sees Lone in the tropics, specifically the ultra-detailed retina display resolution image of the tropics. Trap drums sync with bongos, and rising beds of chords are a dance floor for arpeggios that take on the rhythm of the electricity ping-ponging around your brain, delivering the track to whichever part processes lovely electronic music.
2. Datassette, “Helvetica Calcium”: From the jump, “Helvetica Calcium” insists that it’s both a child of the Com Truise school of archaic synth noodling and in thrall to its own schematics. The ambience here is a difficult one: we’re both positioned inside an ’80s virtual reality racing game and in your grandparent’s garage, playing drums on the mason jars full of keys.
3. CHVRCHES, “Recover” (Kingdom remix): Kingdom has reconciled his Fade To Mind label around dance musics that offer up several complimentary visions of the future. However, his beat on the remix of Scottish synth-pop stars CHVRCHES may be one of the most immediately accessible production he’s made. It retains the titanium-cut minimalism of his Vertical XL record, while graciously ceding centre stage to the original track’s vocals. The result – stabbed with rave headed creepiness and the nutty kit of a Neptunes track – is easy to imagine a wide audience vibing to.
4. Tom Demac, “Linda’s Theme”: In flipping a psychedelic rock sample into house music, Tom Demac compresses the gap between flower child and PLUR in a way that’s totally seamless. The two bleed into each other, naturally, but for the most part are clearly demarcated by their thudding drums and third eye mystique, respectively.
5. Neneh Cherry feat. Robyn, “Out Of The Black” (Joe Goddard remix): Four Tet‘s production on the original “Out Of The Black” wasn’t exactly cheerful, but at its heart there was more than enough to trigger head nodding. On his remix, Hot Chip‘s Joe Goddard gives it the claustrophobia of a multi-tiered prison, occupied by distressed acid house and ghostly gasps. There’s a massive world created in all the song’s layers, but it spends all the time pressed against the borders, pleading for a way out.
6. Ahnnu, “Arena”: There’s a sound designer’s touch all over “Arena,” a brief track from Ahnnu’s latest mucky collage Battered Sphinx. A series of haunting drones connects each section. On the intro, it’s a field recording on the River Styx, then scrambled radio transmissions and one hesitant, looped piano chord both increasingly fretful and buzzed. Film art students, put it into your next project and tell me it’s not vastly improved.
7. Alan Watts, “Ara”: On the new, troublingly-titled GODMODE compilation tape Common Interests Were Not Enough To Keep Us Together, the Brooklyn label has described Alan Watts as a “techno supertroupe,” and I hear no reason to disagree. The bass on “Ara” plods and stalks like a particularly menacing first-person shooter soundtrack, but it’s not long before your body is thrown into dance resembling death spasms by a wide range of ghastly sounds: cycles of shredded alarms, shards of black crystal synths needling, and a four on the floor resembling the heartbeat in your ears after getting locked in a basement.