Titling your sophomore release is almost as important as the music contained therein. Its purpose is to reinvent the persona without forsaking tradition. When mentioned, the follow-up name should take us to the same familiar feeling we came to know from the artist's first expressions, and hint at an approach that is new and refreshing.Jupiter Lion - Brighter Album ReviewFor the second album by Spanish band Jupiter Lion, the name Brighter is an emphasis on a highly synesthetic experience for their listeners. Of the many shapes and colors the band have put down on the record, it's safe to say that in comparison to 2013's Silver Mouth, Brighter illustratively self-explains that the band has intensified the metaphysical drift of their sound. But visualizing how their songs may appear as a picture on your mind is just a precursor; Brighter is also for those longing to visit the sector of outer space that you can only reach by surpassing five minutes in track length.

Kevin Martin has been at the forefront -- and the margins -- of extreme electronic music and bass culture for over two decades. He's worked in genres as diverse as jazzcore, industrial, grime, dub, and dubstep, while staying rooted in the punk/post-punk ethos, making some of the most adventurous and aggressive music across a staggering array of monikers, pseudonyms, and collaborations.The Bug - Kevin Martin Musician InterviewWith this year's Angels & Devils, the highly anticipated follow-up to 2008's London Zoo, Kevin Martin has resurrected one of his most beloved and influential projects, The Bug. London Zoo employed an arsenal of extreme bass weight, grime-y urban vocals, and abstract sci-fi electronic to reflect the paranoid, claustrophobic world of CCTV London, and the album caught the attention of the wider world at a time when the simulacrum of the internet and social media was really building a head of steam. This brought Kevin Martin's dystopian worldview to a wider audience than ever before, right in the midst of the dubstep explosion. While the rest of the world was busy subverting dubstep's militaristic potential into a formulaic commodity, The Bug sounded fresh, distinctive, weird, warped, and wonderful. As electronic music has become increasingly codified and quantifiable in the mainstream, this placed Kevin Martin in a precarious position and raised the question: just how would he build the follow-up to London Zoo?

 

Francis Harris - You Can Always Leave EP Album ReviewFrancis Harris You Can Always Leave Scissor & Thread (2013) Listening to the two tracks on the A Side of Francis Harris' new EP had me Googling the difference between deep house and dub techno, as I was unsure where to place it. If you keep up with the various microtrends of electronic music, you will probably understand what a vast range that spans. If not, then think of dub techno as listening to a rave in the belly of a Soviet submarine at 5,000 leagues, as opposed to the mechanical soul of deep house, which might sound like a wind-up jazz band. Boomkat, the Rosetta Stone of electronic music, also referred to A1 "You Can Always Leave" as trip-hop, with its chill vocals and distant trumpets -- and I can go along with it, although Gry Bagøien's singing is more Bjork/Karin Andersson (The Knife/Fever Ray) than Beth Gibbons (Portishead), making the album opener an interesting new kind of electrojazz. You can still hear strains of the dub, deep in the mix, lapping like dark waves, and preventing this from being an ADD-addled, genre-hopping exercise. "You Can Always Leave" is destined to score some desolate dancefloor at 3:30, or perhaps the drive home after, as the sun comes up.

The Pacific Northwest's premiere music festival, Decibel Festival 2013, has come and gone, with another half-week stint of dream electronic music lineups for all. The type of festival that non-Seattle music lovers drool over and Seattle music lovers take amazing late-night advantage of, Decibel has come a long way in the ten years since its inception... and with this review, we celebrate the best of year 10's acts, which include a party sounds by JETS, the collaboration between Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum, Machinedrum's visually-entrancing new live show, neo-classical-meets-electronic composer Nils Frahm, and goofy electronic pioneers, The Orb.
Photography by Lizzy Eve

JETS = Machinedrum & Jimmy Edgar

It can be a bit surprising how successful after-parties at Decibel Festival are -- especially considering they always begin at 2:30am, and sometimes on weekday nights. Thursday evening (or Friday morning at 3:30am, if you wanted to get all technical about it) was JETS' headlining slot at the Leisure System Afterparty, and it was my most anticipated show of Decibel Festival 2013. Still, I didn't really know what to expect from the duo, comprised of Machinedrum and Jimmy Edgar, since JETS is a relatively new project and the amount of material they have out in the world is quite tiny. I knew from their dearth of recordings that they know how to make bangin' party music and that they at least somewhat have metaphysical interests -- but it was only after seeing them perform at Neumo's that the tie between the two seemingly disparate elements actually began to make sense. JETS create a whipped-up blend of DJ sensibilities for the complex listener -- but their adept copiloting of an atmosphere filled with entrancing sonic trickeries also makes them appealing for the complex dancer. Upon first taking the stage, JETS reminded me of futuresonic explorers in electronic hyperspace, and I nearly expected the mixer that both Machinedrum and Jimmy Edgar laid their hands upon to turn into a brightly-colored glowing orb. Well, it didn't, and the sci-fi sounds soon faded, but what they gave way to was a challenging set that remained in a constant state of transition. Beats shifted again and again at perfectly-timed yet completely unpredictable intervals, and even better were the moments where JETS dropped down low -- sometimes obviously and sometimes almost imperceptibly. While beats continued, repeating vocal samples would brew up from beneath, bubbling up through otherwise dense layers of sound, in the form of subtle mind suggestion cues telling you to "dance", or some variation of the same. Such is a subconscious trick that JETS have mastered, with effects that one might not even notice immediately. When I go to electronic shows, I sometimes get bored of my own dance moves because the music remains so static -- or conversely, because the music changes with such a jitter that it loses momentum or leads to abrupt transitions between dance styles. Not so with JETS... and this, coupled with the sly vocal mind-control mechanism previously described, may be the most successful aspects of their approach. They are seamlessly dynamic -- to a point where it almost hurts because it is so good, and you're so tired, but you just can't stop dancing. The way in which JETS can inspire a melting away of a crowd, leaving only the purity of sound -- made their set godamn transcendent -- and that is not an adjective I use lightly. - Vivian Hua

Phèdre Golden Age DAPS / Discos Tormentos (2013) Blurred, mildly distorted, catchy and strange, like a reflection of the past viewed through a dirty martini glass, Golden Age is a collection of playful tracks from musicians with a clear idea of what they want to achieve. Inspired, loosely, by the Greek mythological story of Phaedre and the track “Some Velvet Morning" by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, Phèdre have produced a body of work that is often beguiling and sometimes enchanting. Incorporating a palette of sounds that is complementary and wide-ranging, this album is a kaleidoscopic journey into what is now possible and what was once probable. Reminiscent of the work of EAR PWR and Supertalented, you can also hear the electronic strangeness of The Residents coexisting alongside the rough cowboy and the vulnerable girl interplay of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. Add to this the San Francisco psychedelia of Fifty Foot Hose, one of the first bands to combine rock and experimental music, and you have an idea of what to expect from Phèdre.

Tripping over sonic palates with spacey, soaring melodies that embrace the essence of pop in all its purposely dated glory, British electropop artist Little Boots returned earlier this year with her sophomore effort Nocturnes. Since then, the record has run through a number of hands for raucous remix treatment, beginning with a wonderfully hypnotic and dubby remix of "Broken Record" by the record's producer and DFA's co-founder Tim Goldsworthy. "Satellite" followed, with an entire accompanying package featuring remixes by Escort, Lindstrom, and John Dahlback, thus beginning the exploration of all possible club-ready territories Nocturnes could possibly offer.
Fast-forward to today -- and in the name of helping out the family, DFA's Larry Gus has offered up his own take on Little Boots' latest single, "Crescendo". Highlighting the track's already unique sound, Gus transforms "Crescendo"'s original percussion and chord-driven foundation into a melty bed of synths, vocals, and tribal drumming, topped with cascading electronic sounds and -- of course -- re-tooled samplings of Little Boots' clear, sing-song-y vocals. The resulting track retains the song's original light-heartedness, while combining it with the vague, exciting feeling of a skipped record and an eclectic collection of regional sounds and styles. See more Little Boots media after the jump, or enter below to win tickets to see her live in Seattle and Portland this week!

Little Boots - "Crescendo" (Larry Gus Remix)

WIN TICKETS TO SEE LITTLE BOOTS LIVE IN SEATTLE & PORTLAND THIS WEEK! LITTLE BOOTS TOUR DATES 9/22: Costa Mesa, CA @ Constellation Room 9/23: Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour 9/24: San Francisco, CA @ The Independent 9/26: Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ MDNR 9/27: Seattle, WA @ Decibel Fest w/ Light Asylum, Young Galaxy, MNDR 9/28: Vancouver, BC @ Fivesixty 11/8: Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest

September 22nd officially marks the end of summer 2013 in the Northern Hemisphere — and to celebrate the passing of time, we’ve decided to create a timeline to forever remember the songs currently trending on our site, as well as take a look back on...

Forest Swords Engravings Tri Angle Records (2013) It's been three years since Forest Sword's beautiful EP Dagger Paths was released -- enough time for some of us to forget about how awesome those tracks were and to write producer Matthew Barnes off as an occasional dabbler rather than forceful new figure. Fortunately, he's used that time well. His first full-length, Engravings, takes airy vocal samples and spaghetti western guitars and stretches them out over an expansive skyline, evoking an aerial view of monochrome industrial landscapes and overcast rocky beaches long abandoned by human investment or presence. Engravings inhabits the spaces we've left behind, pooling the essence of detritus together in celebration of the act of being. Sampled voices, percussion, and melodies are scraps littered about the countryside and united in the single cause of radiating their true potential rather than their perceived obsolescence. It all culminates in an utterly gorgeous and unique vision that combines modern technology and organic material as both means and message.
"Obviously everywhere has history, but when you grow up [somewhere] it contextualises it a lot more. It’s a lot more impressive when you can see physically where those things are. Thor’s stone, for instance, is a place in a village called Thurstaston. Local legend has it that it was used as a sacrificial place for Vikings and settlers and stuff. So to find all these things… it kind of felt right for me. And it came at a time when I maybe wanted that connection with my home. You get to a certain age where you want to reconnect with where you were born and where you grew up." - Matthew Barnes on "Thor's Stone" via FACT Mag

On my way to see AM & Shawn Lee at Missisippi Studios, I really had to give myself a stern talkin' to. Despite the fact that I had muchos time to kill, I didn't really feel like watching that evening's opening bands. I've recently become kind of jaded about taking a chance on openers, because so very many are underwhelming. It's a sad truth. So, in defiance of my journalistic duties, I travel across town as lethargically as possible, but still arrive in time to catch the last few songs from the first opener, Adventure Galley. There's a lot that I might say about their set, including that the lead singer's pants are hyper-confusing -- but let's just keep it simple. With every song, Adventure Galley make me feel grumpier about my decision to come early. And though I'd heard good things about Seattle's Don't Talk To The Cops! from other REDEFINE writers, I vow that if they too offer up an Amateur Hour, I'll defect and gorge myself on Mississippi Studios' delectable french fries instead. Luckily, Don't Talk To The Cops! soon prove that they have the chops to save me from unnecessary fatness, as well as make me feel much more pleased about the state of music in general. Thank yorb.
June 13th, 2013 @ Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR