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Chrome Sparks kicks off 2019 with a new EP, Be On Fire. This five song salvo further cements Chrome Sparks’ position among the likes of Jamie xx and Four Tet in the producer’s ability to deftly combine sample-based production, vintage analog textures, and forward-thinking electronics into something altogether new. The track “Be On Fire” is a quick two minute excursion into crisp breakbeats, jazz fusion keys, and space-age synths. Power up your starship, this is the music of the future.

1.8.19

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Late in 2018, Swedish pop sensation and underground icon, Robyn, released her 8th studio album, Honey, and it’s a masterclass in pop songwriting and production technique. In other words, it’ll make you dance and also feel your feelings. Where most pop artists will embellish their songs with big, bombastic studio tricks, Robyn gracefully supports her songs with smooth, polished, and sophisticated production, letting her lyrics and melodies shine like a beacon of hope in this cold, dead, apocalyptic wasteland of millennial pop trends.

“Ever Again” is the prime example of this winning formula. It’s the last song on Honey, and it was also the last song written for the record. According to Robyn, the track came together very quickly during an impromptu studio session with co-writer/producer Joseph Mount (of Metronomy). Sometimes the best really is left for last. Defiance never sounded so groovy.

1.3.19

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Here’s a slice of sweet, sweet Caribbean boogie funk by the mysterious Junior Byron, primed and ready for the dancefloor, originally released in 1985, and reissued on Cultures Of Soul in 2017.

Germany’s Gerd Janson created the epic megamix version shared here using only two copies of the record and a DJ mixer, a testament to the funky mojo of the original vocal and instrumental versions. Drop the needle and watch the butts get moving.

12.26.18

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Patrick Cowley was an early pioneer in left-of-center disco, synthesizer experimentation, and hi-nrg. He’s credited with creating the “San Francisco sound” made famous most notably by the disco slammers he wrote and produced with Sylvester like “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Stars” as well as his notorious 16 minute remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.”

In the late 70s, Cowley was contacted by gay porn magnate John Coletti of Fox Studios in Los Angeles to score some upcoming films, one of which was Muscle Up. Cowley submitted a trove of early synth compositions from his college years as well as some rough demo tracks like “Somebody To Love Tonight” (later recorded by Sylvester). The resulting album is an otherworldly journey into cosmic funk, proto-disco, and exotic synthesizer textures.

Patrick Cowley tragically passed away of AIDS in 1982 at the young age of 32. Although his career was short-lived, his unique influence has reverberated through electronic music to this very day.

12.19.18

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Little Dragon’s first outing on Ninja Tune is a sublime slice of melodic machine soul. It’s a formula that the band has tweaked to perfection over the years, and it hits me right in the feels every time. Not much more to say, just press play :P

This release, along with some other recent singles and EPs, has me paying close attention to Ninja Tune for the first time in several years, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The label has gracefully transitioned from screwball breakbeat DJ arthouse to a global independent creative hub and umbrella for other forward thinking labels like Counter, Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder, and Actress’s Werkdiscs. Keep it coming Ninjas!

12.12.18