ABOVE: MATT SHADETEK. PHOTO COURTESY OF KARLA XENO
These days, music truly lives online, with an infinite number of websites dedicated to hosting tunes for the laptop-wielding masses. However, the web’s bottomless pit of blogs isn’t the only place to troll for mp3 treasures—some of the newest and most exciting (Internet-friendly) artists can be sought out via Soundcloud, the online stage that allows musicians to promote and distribute their music to fans and friends across the globe. In this weekly column, expert Internet sleuth Alex Chapman goes deep into the depths of the music-sharing site, in hopes of shedding light on emerging acts, as well as sharing some digital diamonds in the rough.
The relationship between producer and vocalist can be something special—a song might seem to have all the necessary bells and whistles, but the right voice laid down on top of it can bring the track to an entirely new level. Much of the time, these pairings are fairly indebted to the magic of the Internet—artists find each other on a music blog, reach out to each other on Twitter, and next thing you know, a brand new hit. In honor of such connections, this week’s column highlights three new collaborations that do a great job of showcasing all parties involved.
Matt Shadetek: “Bout It Girl” (feat. Riff Raff)
Who: Matt Shadetek wears many hats—he’s known as a bass-music theorist, producer, and DJ, as well as the man responsible for the start of Brooklyn-based label Dutty Artz (along with co-founder DJ/rupture). Stylistically, Shadetek’s tunes are a smart, party-ready mix of international sounds—unique elements of hip-hop, dubstep, dancehall, and grime can be heard within the respected veteran’s repertoire.
The Song: “Bout It Girl” begins with a slinky, ominous bass and snap, accompanied by a punchy synth. The laid-back vibe drifts along nicely for a while, with a low-pitched, auto-tuned vocal that we assume is RiFF RAFF’s leading the charge. But it’s when the rapper lets loose with a loud, rhythmic flow that things really blossom. Although RAFF’s vocal is a stark contrast to Shadetek’s demure production, it’s this opposition that gives the song an exciting new layer.
Current Project: The album The Empire Never Ended, which features the aforementioned track as well as a collaboration with rapper Troy Ave (among others), is available now on the Dutty Artz’s Bandcamp page.
Cosmo Sheldrake: “Rich” (feat. Anna Roo)
Who: Based out of London and Brighton, Sheldrake is a wonderfully peculiar multi-instrumentalist, teacher (he runs vocal imrpov and beatboxing workshops), and loop extraordinaire whose music fuses together everything from blues to Balkan brass.
The Song: “Rich” is a hard-to-categorize track, as quirky as it is catchy. Anna Roo’s eerie vocal certainly adds to both aforementioned qualities; her singing sits somewhere between Joanna Newsom and CocoRosie. The song almost sounds fitting for a farmhouse, with its old-timey elements and slightly offbeat hand-claps—although there might not be an exact era to reference, the many influences that make up “Rich” give it a nostalgia that sticks.
Current Project: Find more info on the exciting artist via his website.
Who: Not much has been discovered yet about the producer LVH (an acronym for Lamping Vice Hybrids), but if tracks like the haunting and hot “There She Goes” and the reverb-heavy “Dharma’s Chorus” are any indication, the Brooklyn-based beatmaker has a knack for creating a creepy, cool ambient sound that some may consider a combination of trap and chillwave.
The Song: Steffaloo’s light vocals are distorted and stretched into a sort of echo chamber as “Separate Ways” progresses; and the drums shift from a subtle knock to a popping snare, pushing the track’s oscillating synth back and forth.