It was actually a comment from a green-eyed Soundcloud user, namely ‘FoxMind’, that got me thinking about how good Berlin-based, Devon-born producer Circula is:Of the 10 tunes on his account, 6 are on free download, often wav quality. Besides the fact that the actual music is brilliant, it is always a delight to see a new Circula track feature on your stream, cos you can bet your bottom dollar you’ll be able to own it a minute later. It’s as though, much like Murlo, he honours his supporters with a reward. But don’t get me wrong - I would happily pay for any of these beats..I stumbled across Circula last year while perusing the ever trusty pre-order section of Redeye Records. Consequently, I discovered his first single ‘Blunt/Salt’, along with Chubba’s ‘Kode 6’. Both were on the Disco’s Dead label. Circula’s tunes were skippy with a lot of focus on the baseline; they felt really fresh, back to the heads down, bassbin garagy flex. Similarly, Chubba provided a deep vibe - if you need any clue as to the basis of the percussion, just check his description:
For me, they were an instant grab. There’s nothing more exciting than finding these new producers, especially when the label is still in its infancy.
A month ago, we were blessed with two new free tracks. Totally different to the Disco’s Dead material, more sparse (in a good way) and such a mature sound. The harmonies that seep through his music are so rich, so well placed. Neither the beat nor the melody seem to take precedence over one another - that’s refreshing. An equilibrium that is almost Classical. Check this out:
Circula’s collaboration with London producer Rommek was dark, deep and thought-provoking with eery synthlines pon a subby undercurrent. Hear this…
…and you might well agree with one user who said:
All these great giveaways bring me to my main reason for posting; “Lost”. And before you ask, yep - it’s free for all, like Art Blakey:
The initial 30 seconds sound like early Mala or Digital Mystikz - those ominous, anxious shuffly drum kit sounds (nicely mixed with a bit of vinyl crackle n reverb for that analog feel) set the pace. Then we get a brief piano lick, trickling keys, that somehow made me think of the French Connection II score by Don Ellis. But when the melancholic muted jazz trumpet swooned in, I just thought to myself, this guy is on something else! Circula reminds us that he is still a serious bass mechanic and nothing to be trifled with - the bass tone at the drop is silly.
Same goes for ‘Digits’. Jazzy licks combined with dirty bass. Free download, naturally. My face screws up at that drop around the 3 minute mark. Every single time:
This sort of experimentation and genre shifting is a bit like that which was seen on the Mala in Cuba LP (also on Blue Notez back in 2006), but not quite as explicit:
From the label ‘Push and Run' that brought you Tings In Boots Vol. 1, 2 & 3, the ‘B-side’ on this handout, ‘Baduladu’, is more of a simple beat piece, reminiscent of the older 2013 work.
Free is great, but if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a limited vinyl pressing, this can also give you that special feeling, that you have discovered a gem. Your bank account might suffer a bit, that’s all.
$ $ $
It does seem to be a current trend (but by no means a new concept), possibly in an attempt to inject a bit of panic buying into the followers and DJ’s alike, with labels only doing a one-time-100 batch. It also maintains that pride of ownership, a level of exclusivity.
Two recent imprints (and I will limit myself to recent things, otherwise I’ll be here all day digging out those dusty hand-stamped 12’s) that come to mind are ‘Drumworks/Moonlight’ by Phrex & Cutkachi on the Swiss label Re:st. Only 113 made, and it seems I wasn’t alone when it came to tracking down a copy.
I was also chuffed when I received my copy of Flaccid Ashback’s latest on Visceral Vibrations (a 100 deal) - he, in fact, sent me two because I was the only customer in Taiwan! The A-side, ‘Proletarian Blues’, without a DOUBT the darkest tune I’ve heard this year. Bigups to Kyle on that.
The split Wen/Facta single on Facta and K-Lone’s brand new label Wisdom Teeth is also a very special affair. Although it is by no means a ‘one per customer’ situation, I very much doubt there are an inexhaustible amount. Their mission is to:
"Trace sonic connections between different new artists making varied but similar strains of soundsystem music”
When you listen to the results, you can see where they are coming from:
'Late Night' contains Wen's signature grimey vocal snippets and has such an addictive flow. You can't help but get a bit tripped out by those Arabic-style 'dangerous flutes' accompanying the tribal syncopations.
On the flip, ‘Poliwhirl’ is an unstoppable heavyweight roller, with some subtle, rich samples and well-placed, reverberating snares.
It’s nice to see a 12 with two such contrasting tunes and different palettes of sound. Bring on WSDM002!
As a final word, I don’t want to come across as a pretentious prick who only finds satisfaction in the ‘underground’ - there are still plenty of great things coming from the bigger, more established names out there..
…and just now from the UK Funky master himself, high pitched bird calls reminiscent of Roska’s Squark (or submarine sonar if you prefer) with ground-swelling bass…
Did I hear a Mosca break somewhere in the mix? :p