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INFLECTMIX 007 - Thelem


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Among the new wave of producers to emerge through the dubstep legacy, few can match the craftsmanship of Thelem's meticulous attention to detail and stunning sound design. Thelem's music combines the sounds of dubstep, drum n bass and techno, with deep sub heavy flavours, intricate but bold drum programming and intense atmospherics to produce radical and innovative compositions, experimental in nature, but powerful on the dancefloor. Also included in his artistic skill set is a mean hand at graphic design, having designed artwork for, amongst others, a number of the labels to have seen his releases, including Osiris Music and Innamind Recordings.

Thelem has come a long way in a short space of time. He first launched onto the electronic scene by starting his own imprint Orientis Records, a label which made a stir in the dubstep scene irrespective of it’s short lifespan. Featuring as it’s second release was his debut, the “Lucid Dream" EP, which included the still requested, atmospheric and gritty dubstep track "Drones”. He continued to develop this aesthetic with his release on Loft Party Recordings, the even deeper and shadowy tracks “Distilled" and "Waiting Hour”. Within a year Thelem had come to the attention of the much respected Osiris Music and Chemical Records own label Black Box, with his productions for labels such as these showcasing the continued development of his unique sound, a stunning mix of haunting atmospherics, powerful low end, and finely tuned synthesis. He has also shown his ability to work strongly with vocals, with his debut release on Innamind Recordings, including “Bring Me Down" featuring vocalist T-Man, promptly selling out.

Having refined his production aesthetics, 2014 has seen Thelem spreading his wings into new territorities, experimenting with bringing influences from other genres into dubstep, and putting his own stamp on the ever evolving uptempo rhythms to masterful effect. His last release on J:Kenzo's Artikal Music with tracks “Grainform" and "Petrichor" plus his forthcoming release on said label, the "Haunted Harmonics" EP, available for pre-order now and released on Monday 28th April, should not be missed and are an enticing view of things to come.

With all this in mind we are very happy to have Thelem present the next episode in our mix series. We got together with him to ask him a few questions about his approach to production and working with vocals, his influences, and his not so secret love of the world of celebrity cats.

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You have recently been mixing up your production and DJ sets by playing and making music at around both 140bpm and now 170bpm, both in your signature style. What has prompted you to work more at higher tempos? Are there any particular labels or artists that have helped to inspire you in this? Also what do you enjoy and find beneficial about working with each tempo range?

 I think listening to more higher tempo music inspired me initially to start producing it, I found I was sometimes getting stuck in a rut with constantly making 140.  As a producer it was refreshing to work at a new tempo and opened up a whole new world of inspiration for ideas. There are lots of artists that constantly inspire me in all genres across the board, I like to try and take influences from all sorts and twist it into what ever music I’m making at the time, weather it be slower or faster bpm’s. As for labels I like the diversity of Exit right now in the higher bpm range, allot of the music coming out on there seems really fresh. I also love what Artikal is doing in 140 along with Innamind, It’s also really nice to have the chance to release some of my DnB on artikal on my most recent EP. What I enjoy most about working in different tempo ranges is the having the freedom to experiment more and not get bogged down in one sound or style. Also the lack of restrictions in rhythm’s and grooves is great, for example what might not work at 140 so well or sound too sluggish slower can sound cool at 170 or higher.

You’ve worked with a vocalist (T-Man) on your track Bring Me Down for which you had a video produced as well, and we’ve heard you’ve worked with him on another tune that we should be hearing more of soon. How did you come to be working with T-Man, what’s your approach when putting together a tune for a vocalist, and what do you enjoy and find challenging about working with a vocalist and vocals? 

I was a fan of T-man for a while, I first heard him on a Dub Phizix’s and Skeptical release and really digged his style. I looked around on the Internet and found some freestyles on YouTube he had done, I really liked his style and flow and thought it would be sick to get him on a 140 tune. I didn’t really think anymore of it till I had a gig up north and T-man was hosting the event, we got chatting outside in the smoking area and it all went from there really. My approach to making the tune was try and leave a bit more space in it for the vocal, I wanted something pretty gritty with quite allot of drive that would compliment a vocal well.  “Bring Me Down” was my first ever vocal tune and yeah it was pretty tough to be honest, I didn’t really have a clue about processing vocals or how it should be done, so it was allot of trial and error in getting it all balanced. I was lucky enough my mate Alex had had previous experience in vocals so he gave me a few good pointers, it doesn’t sound the most professional listening back but I’m happy with the overall outcome.

The sound design, atmospherics and soundscapes in your introductions and breakdowns have incredible attention to detail and a sound that would not be so out of place in a Hollywood movie. How much does film influence you creatively? Are there particular movies and movie styles that inspire your soundscapes, and do you sculpt them as if producing for a particular film or style?

I think film influences me more subliminally, recently I don’t really pay a huge amount of detail to the sounds being used within films and trailers when I watch them, sometimes the odd sample stick out which I will make note of. Although saying this sometimes I will watch films/movies just for samples I could possibly use, I’ll go on the hunt for certain sounds, from spoken word to pad / atmospheric sounds. I am a huge fan of Sci-fi films and I think this really does influence me in certain aspects of my tunes, however when making a tune I don’t really go in with the mind-set of producing In a particular film style.

There are many intricate rhythmic sounds weaving in and out of your beats that sets them apart from the rest in terms of style and originality. What’s your starting point for production and how do such complex parts come together as a whole, do you have ideas about these in mind when you start producing a tune or do you introduce them as you go?

To be honest Sometimes I go in with an idea for a bulk of a tune, sometime I go in empty headed and see what materialises. I always start my tracks with drums and get a basic groove, then go form there. The complex and intricate details are usually allot of trial and error in seeing what sounds good or works well in the mix. I never really sit and think the minute details out; usually I play around for a long time with sounds and see what happens. I probably spend to much time on the little things people wont even notice sometimes lol.

Quick fire round (one word answer):

Kebab or Pasty?  Pasty

Batman or Superman? Batman 
Lil Bub or Grumpy Cat? Lil Bub
Metalheadz or Exit? Exit 
Toastyboy or Vex’d? Vex’d
Hip Hop or Reggae? Hip Hop

Any forthcoming releases or projects you can give us any information on? 

I have some a couple bits forthcoming later on around summer, which is on the down low for now. I’m also still working on this LP, which I’m trying to aim to get done for Christmas time this year.

 Finally, can you tell us a bit about the mix you have recorded for us?

The Mix is a little random, there quite allot of different sounds crammed in the short period of time. Tempo wise it ranges from 140 – 170(ish) and features a variety of beats and styles I’m currently feeling and influenced by. Hope you enjoy!


Tracklist:

Sorrow - Murky Lurker
Piezo - Blaster
Zomby - Strange Fruit
Vex’d - Angels
D Double E - Frontline
??? - ???
Jubei & Consequence - Black Hornet
Skeptical - Tundra
Thelem - Obsessions
Thelem - Forces Of Nature
Thelem & Gremlinz ft. T-man - Mind Games
Alix perez - Gully Halves
Two Fingers - Fools Rhythm
Stray - Eazy Boy
Alix perez - U
Tmsv - Respite
Tmsv - Sundown
Quasimoto - Greenery

Thelem Soundcloud, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy the Haunted Harmonics EP from the Artikal Music Surus store here.

 

Inflect Audio label launches with Coleco’s Spatial EP


Having spent nearly two years running club nights in Bristol pushing fresh uptempo music, featuring artists such as The Host aka Boxcutter, Ital Tek, Om Unit, Alix Perez, Fracture, Danny Scrilla, Deft, Fanu, Thelem, EAN and many more, and starting our music site with mix features from artists as unique as our bookings, Inflect is now branching out into label territory with the launch of Inflect Audio. 

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Today see’s the label’s first release, a digital format EP from co-organiser and long standing producer and DJ Coleco, the “Spatial” EP. With a background of producing dubstep for labels such as Bristol’s Soul Motive, Thelem’s Orientis Records and more, Coleco in recent years has turned his attention to the unique rhythms blossoming in the 160-170bpm tempo range, colouring them with his own aesthetics. His recent work has led to releases on labels such as Hospital’s label off shoot Med School and Chrissy Murderbot's Loose Squares, and received support from scene leaders such as Rockwell, Sam Binga, Kode9, dBridge and more. 

Within the four track EP, title track “Spatial”, plus “Expanded Awareness”, combine powerful, militant trap-like beats together with the bass heavy, gritty and shadowy atmospheres of dubstep and grime, adding a distinctly UK underground flavour ideally suited for big soundsystems in dark rooms, whilst “Black and Neon” takes this style and adds haunting chimes and duduk melodies. All is rounded up by “Prime 2”, which rhythmically rolls along with a skittering beat surrounded by swirls of percussion, a punctuating melody line all cushioned by an eery flowing pad.

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The “Spatial” EP is available in all good digital music stores now and is set to pave the way for future releases drawing from Inflect’s varied musical focus, so watch this space!

Buy now from stores below and more:

Juno Download

Beatport

Digital Tunes

Coleco -“Spatial” EP

Coleco on Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Exit Records: Pushing Boundaries, Celebrating Record Stores and a Meeting of Titans


A lot has and will be going on for dBridge’s Exit Records recently, a lot which has continued to prove it’s place as one of the flagship labels of exciting new uptempo styles of late.

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First Alix Perez made his debut appearance on the label with the “U” EP, which continues in the darker, more argueably “underground” pure beats and bass aesthetic of his sound, as opposed to the slick liquid drum n bass he has also made waves with. Featuring collaborations with Stray, and also with Chicago footwork producers DJ’s Rashad and Spinn, the melodic aspects may be stripped back, but the bass comes in rich and powerful, and the rhythms intricate and punctuating, with half step elements surrounded by a multitude of fast paced percussion, that leaves the attention jumping dynamically between elements, perfect for getting lost in on the dancefloor.

Following on quickly, next Monday (or likely in many record stores for Record Store Day this Saturday 19th April) see’s the release of Stray's second EP for the label, the “Chatterbox” EP. Chatterbox bounces around between jazzy jungle, glistening and joyous such as in track “Award Tour” and title tune “Chatterbox”, through the seething mass of sound punctuated by skittish elements reminiscent if jazz improvisation in “Fragile” to the schizoid and slightly unsettling effects of “Eazy Boy” in which roomy, almost industrial sounding drums, and crazed chopped up non-sensical vocal cries dance wildy over sliding pads, at once elating and eery.

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These two great releases have come at an ideal time, in which celebrations for the long bank holiday, and international Record Store Day, collide in one weekend, and Exit have more than taken the chance to celebrate with their fans. This Saturday, as part of Record Store Day celebrations, the first ever collaboration release between the two mammoth drum n bass labels Metalheadz and Exit Records, the mysterious HEADEX001, will be released in those record stores that have placed an order, an exciting prospect for the many fans of both long standing labels. The release was announced by both labels yesterday with little information, except that 200 copies with stickers will be available especially for Record Store Day, with copies without stickers following after this on surus, preorder links to be announced first on both labels Facebook pages as above. However avid fans can find further clues in the last Metalheadz podcast (number 45). BM Soho will have a larger number of copies with Exit Records doing an instore showcase for them on the day, free to all, with free coctails, and a chance to catch dBridge, Fracture and Stray in the mix, among many others, details here.

Exit fans who can’t make it down to London this weekend don’t have to miss all the action either, as the label will be taking over the DJ Mag offices tomorrow for a live streaming back to back showcase to kick off the holiday, from 4pm GMT, featuring dBridge, Alix Perez, Stray, Fracture, Skeptical, and Mark System with SP:MC as host. We have a feeling it’s going to be a good weekend!

Alix Perez - “U”

Stray - “Chatterbox” EP

Buy/preorder Exit releases at their Surus store here.

 

INFLECTMIX 006 -Thing


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We first mentioned Estonian producer Thing when we covered his recent "Future Roots" EP, released through Doc Scott’s newly returned 31 Recordings. Following on from the re-release and Om Unit remix of the dark drum n bass classic Shadow Boxing, you could say Thing’s productions were well placed stylistically, continuing the theme with broody, sparce, dub-like drum n bass, complete with fresh, uptempo rhythms.

These aren’t new paths for Thing however, as besides releasing on Blu Mar Ten’s label last year, he has infact been releasing on his own imprint Dubthing Records since 2012, to date totalling 37 releases in his signature style. We particularly recommending listening to his last LP “Footworks" if you haven’t already, which see’s Thing really flexing his style as he fuses a host of suspense-filled atmospherics, and warm, deep basslines with intricate, percussion laced drum work, bringing rhythms and styles from drum n bass, dub and, (though not as much as the name might suggest to some) footwork.

With all this in mind we are excited to have him on board, bringing us a deep, drum n bass guest mix and answering a few questions about his influences and music.

Read more >>
 

Otherworldly Machine Girl WLFGRL Gets the Remix Treatment


London’s Dred Collective, a label that continues to surprise with their ability to hunt out quality music influenced by footwork, jungle, drum n bass and more, giving away a large majority of it for free for their regular “Free Track Thursday” (now at number 78), released the Machine Girl LP “WLFGRL” back in February, and have now released a two part collection of remixes to join it.

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Machine Girl is quite an enigma, with a mysterious persona based around an anime like story, and music featuring samples from horror and sci-fi films, the WLFGRL LP seemed to play well upon this saga. The Machine Girl world is depicted as an alternation of urgency through acid lines, alarms, glitched noise and buzzing bass, with soundscapes conjuring images of dark, industrial futures ruled by machines or, on the flip side, joyous spacey synth work alluding to interstellar journeys and fantastical lands. All this is driven along via powering hardcore, footwork, juke and jungle influenced breakbeat and drum machine rhythms.

A big success for the new releases for us is that the producers on remix duty have almost amplified the fantasy-like aesthetics of the original release, both sinister and utopian, taking the picture given and repainting it in their own unique colour pallettes. ZSonic, for example, has taken the original “Ionic Funk“‘s forboding technological feel and emphasised it with drums like stomping machinery in an angry waltz, sounds as if of pistons firing and chains rattling, and a wailing “get down” sample that is simultaneously fearful and ecstastic. Footmerc takes the fluttered vocal pads of “Ghost”, draws them out, chops them up, and combines them with skeletal 808 hits, accentuating the ethereal but energetic qualities of the original, whilst Nonfuture's remix, beginning with a warning about the dangers of technology, proceeds in theme like a great machine awaking from slumber, jump starting with synth growls, warm, deep bass dives and computerised blips, finally leaping into smart, snappy breaks. Other highlights of these releases include Sinistarr's hyperactive juke take on “Ghost”, DJ Earls remix of “Ginger Snap” with strong dancefloor footwork and jungle rhythms overlaid by futuristic synth bleeps, The Renegades take on the feel-good “Hidden Power”, an urgent, frantic track complete with a chaotic Amen break and stabbing acid lines and Crown's remix of “Out by 16, Dead on the Scene”, taking the drifting dreamy synths of the original and bringing in bubbly footwork rhythms with a swaying half step emphasis.

Both the original and the remix release are available now on Dred Collective’s Soundcloud below, or via their Bandcamp, free or pay what you like, a good deal for sonic journeys as original and varied as these.

Machine Girl - WLFGRL Remixes A

Machine Girl - WLFGRL Remixes B

Buy the Machine Girl WLFGRL LP and Remixes A and B via the Dred Collective Bandcamp here.

 
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Mixes

007: Thelem

006: Thing

005: Moresounds

004: Chrissy Murderbot

003: Deft (Inflect Live)

002: Fanu

001: Adam Elemental