RAMjams is our streaming weekly roundup of remarkable underground electronic music you might have overlooked.
This week, Shit Robot and Guy Dallas return, Factory Floor continue a hot streak, and a new Tri Angle records signee keeps the momentum going.
"Years" already had a mournful tone, but now Tim DeWit, formerly of Gang Gang Dance, gives the song the rhythm of a failing life support machine and the sound of the resigned, fearful brain attached to it. The drums punch and hiss out of step like a punctured heart desperately trying to make up for lost rhythm, and as a piercing drone leans into the track Mas Ysa's vocals become a sort of narrator for someone being pulled into the light and offering clawing, futile resistance.
Guy Dallas, "Come Through"
A new Guy Dallas track doesn't happen very often, maybe because the Toronto musician is too busy with Cellphone. But when one like "Come Through" does appear, it's immediately apparent why we wish there were more. Raved-up stabs and hardcore unhTSSunhTSS get washed in distortion. You imagine it coming from the walls of some long abandoned warehouse that housed less wares and more parties. There's no Drake sample, though Ozzy's iconic yell from the beginning of "Crazy Train" gets pitched down into a more sinister invitation.
SD Laika, "Meshes"
The new Tri Angle Records signee came through earlier last month with a twenty minute mix. Like the initial releases of labelmate Evian Christ, the compositions were immediately seizing and intensely personal beats, though EC kept his hip-hop mostly stateside and SD is grime's Rosemary Baby. "Meshes" hijacks dollar store samples (brassy percussion, meditative chants) with avant-garde drones, and sets them to the beat of a Velociraptor in pursuit.
Two RAMjams veterans finally team up on an excellent remix to celebrate the post-industrial band's upcoming tour. Strains of Drone Logic, Avery's new album, attach themselves to Nik Colk Void's cold, repetitive syllables, blunting their impact, and cast it into a fog of gentle atmospherics and reclined bass lines.
Klara Lewis, "Shine"
The first track from Lewis' Editions Mego debut Ett isn't quite your average "dark ambient" track, though it is certainly a scion of Tim Hecker's Ravedeath, 1972 - beneath the track's dust-choked haze, like a million old Bibles slammed shut simultaneously, there lurks patches of sunlight, beamed through muddy stained glass windows and right into the rafters.
"NOmoreTIME" works like the little drum circle that could: waves of percussion snake in and around each other from a single, reversed warped-into-stasis loop. Despite the pace, its patchwork seems to summon the distorted notes at the end, extending out past your periphery like mountains jutting slowly from the sea.
Aaron Coynes of Peaking Lights forms one half of Leisure Connection. His predilection for rambling remixes led him to transform his last album entirely into dub, but here the new single from Shit Robot is taken down to the Copa, Copacabana. If you've ever seen a hotel's beach-side band play at 2 AM for almost no one, you know the kind of improvisation you're in for - not exhausted, but liberated, a real jam session that both loops along with the lapping waves and conjures the clear, starry night sky into a blast of warm, occasionally weird energy that feels like it could last till sunrise. (Also, the new Shit Robot record is called We Got A Love. It's out on March 18th via DFA Records.)
Last month letthemusicplay debut their new single "Bright" with The Horrors frontman Faris Badwan on deck, lending the hypercolour, synth-stuffed EDM single some nicely contrasting greys. Jakwob takes over the remix, and in place of cinematics that would have vaporized IMAX speakers, we've got a platter of London underground influences congregating (2-step, Ibiza-ready house, etc). It's not retina-melting, but its collage is overwhelming in its own right.
Wave Racer is one of a new breed of electronic producer who, while playing video games as a kid, probably paid just as much attention to the music as the Donkey Kong. Ryan Hemsworth is another one of these cats (he covered "Proto," a track by renowned video game composer Yasunori Mitsuda, for a tribute compilation from Lefse Records). The pace isn't as full-on here: we open with kawaii-as-hell vocal patches yipping away at each other, then a quick float through what could have been a rejected Sega Dreamcast loading screen into synth-lasers firing at a gatling gun rate. With all its highly ornate independent sections, think of it as the Olympic closing ceremony on that Avatar planet, sped up 75%.