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On Rotation 064: MK by Mixmag

MK, the legendary house producer and DJ, stops by Mixmag’s On Rotation podcast to talk about his thoughts on today’s dance music trends, his approach to DJ sets, his connection to Ibiza and his newest release that’s topping charts around the world.

Later, co-hosts Harrison and Valerie discuss news from the world of dance music including Carl Cox’s plans for a new Space Ibiza, Daft Punk and The Weeknd being sued for alleged plagiarism and a prevented terror attack on a gay nightclub in Germany. 

Later, you’ll hear exclusive premieres from PILO remixing Justin Jay, OC & Verde, Apparel Wax and Ataxia.
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Thalia Zedek, Underrated Indie Rock Hero

Thalia Zedek

Photos by Naomi Yang

“Writing music is something I do all the time,” Thalia Zedek says when asked about her phenomenal creative wellspring, now many decades deep. “It just kinda comes out, and I try to keep a tape recorder near at hand, and I just record ideas which hopefully I go back to.” Her matter-of-factness and humility belies her place in underground music history; when we talk about guitar gods, Zedek should appear more often in the pantheon. The Boston musician has been an indie tentpole since the ‘80s in bands like Live Skull (where her raw and vulnerable vocals took center stage) and Come, as well as with her solo project, the Thalia Zedek Band, and her newest combo, E.

She’s versatile; her leads, more obviously indebted to the blues both structurally and melodically than many of her indie rock contemporaries, can either sizzle against a heated and insistent rhythm section or wrap themselves around her vocals like wiry vines. Both E and the Thalia Zedek Band have put out new records this year, Negative Work and Fighting Season, respectively.

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Zedek chalks up this year’s hectic release pace more to circumstance than profligacy, and she also acknowledges that she’s had to sometimes give herself spaces of many years between albums, and that writing lyrics as intense as hers can be difficult. Her work, with its tone both blunt and slightly oblique, is full of lingering senses of foreboding and traces of everyday traumas—lovers leaving, long-dormant addictions leaving reminders that they’ll never be truly gone, faulty communications, restless spirits, lusts sadly fading or never consummated. (On “Bend Again,” the roiling and cathartic opener to Fighting Season, she sings, “Leave what you believe / Hide from everything you need / Don’t try to rescue me / You are not the one.” That last line in particular sounds like a poison arrow in her mouth.)    

“I think I always kind of write as the protagonist,” she says, “but it’s definitely not always about me personally, even if [the song’s written in] the first person … putting myself in other people’s shoes. [Right now I’m] writing about the same stuff that everyone’s going through right now in this country.” By this, she elaborates, she means economic pressure, the opiate crisis, immigration and trade issues, and so forth—everyday political concerns. We spend a significant part of our conversation discussing Narcan, or naloxone, a lifesaving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. We also discuss being gay and out at this moment in time and during other LGBT-hostile presidencies, and having lost some of our ancestors to the Holocaust; the stories of our forebears, both blood and chosen family, seem awfully immediate at the moment.

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When one’s career is the creation and performance of such sharp but tender-bellied music that touches such personal pulse points, one also has to have some levity in one’s approach. “I’m a pretty hedonistic type of person,” Zedek laughs. “I do a lot of fun stuff. I hang out a lot. I’m not a super serious person… I really, really enjoy playing music and touring, so that’s a lot of fun for me, and I have a good time when I’m doing that as well.” (She’s been playing Europe a lot lately, and has particularly enjoyed recent shows in Berlin and throughout the Czech Republic.) Throughout her career she’s enjoyed such fruitful working relationships, too, which makes things easier; her longest-running such relationship is with Chris Brokaw (of Come and Codeine), with whom she’s enjoyed several decades of friendship and co-writing—playing in one another’s bands, working together when it feels right. “I feel very lucky to know Chris,” she says. “He’s someone who’s known me for such a long time, and he also happens to be, I think, probably my favorite living guitar player. So just to be able to have him as a friend and say, ‘Hey, will you play slide on some song on my record?’ And knowing he’ll be there for me.”

Zedek and Brokaw are about to embark on a tour together of the eastern and southern U.S., playing living rooms—an appropriately intimate setting—doing both individual solo sets and performing together. The tour is booked through Undertow Music, an independent collective; their operation is smoother than DIY, but built firmly on its principles. “I usually book all my own stuff, so actually it’s nice to have someone else doing it, you know,” Zedek confides. She’s looking forward to playing places she and Brokaw haven’t been recently, forging new connections, and honing her skills as a solo artist. “I did a solo tour with Damon & Naomi earlier in the year, and that was really fun, and I think it was really good for me,” she says. “That’s just me getting on stage with an electric guitar and just sort of playing the songs by myself. It felt good to be able to do that. It’s something I’ve been wanting… working towards but hadn’t [mastered]. It’s a very different thing than performing with a band, so it’s a pretty big learning curve. But I feel like I kind of have gotten a bit better at doing that and that’s also interesting to explore that way of performing a bit more too.” For someone who writes about loss so often, she’s, perhaps unsurprisingly, full of hope.

Jes Skolnik

Thalia Zedek, Underrated Indie Rock Hero

Premiere: Jonny Cruz & Cali Lanauze ‘May The Wind Always be At Your Back’ (Moscoman Remix) by Mixmag

Puerto Rican talent Cali Lanauze has joined forces with Jonny Cruz for a tasty four-track EP titled ‘Flyg’ on Lanauze’s freshly minted Opulence imprint.

Ahead of its release, we offer up Disco Halal boss Moscoman’s remix of ‘May The Wind Always Be At Your Back’ – a strapping and colorful disco tune filled with both stamina and optimism.

The ‘Flyg’ EP drops on October 1

Pre-order: https://bit.ly/2QLRDHZ
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Packed Rich – Dreamin’ (feat. Fraeuleinastrid) [Ornithology EP out September 27] by SVNSET WAVES

SVNSET WAVES is pleased to announce Ornithology, a six track EP by the young Munich based beatmaker, Packed Rich. The collection is filled with natural sounds and textures that put you deep within a jungle, where every sound works together to create an absolutely breathtaking atmosphere. Ornithology drops on all platforms on September 27.

FOLLOW PACKED RICH:
@packed-rich-instrumentals
facebook.com/Packedrich/
instagram.com/packed_rich/

FOLLOW SVNSET WΛVES:
@svnsetwaves
facebook.com/svnsetwaves
instagram.com/svnsetwaves
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CRVCK JVCK – Think About by Wonderlust

🔊 YouTube Live Stream: http://aia.ag/Chill-Radio 🔊

🎧 Spotify Playlists: spotify.aia.ag/AIA_Spotify 🎧

💥Stream Here: https://fanlink.to/27J

-> Submit Music: aia.ag/Music-Submissions
-> Feature Our Music: E@ArtistIntelligence.Agency
-> Business / Licensing Inquires: licensing@artistintelligence.agency
——————————————————————————–
➥ Follow CRVCK JVCK:
@crvckjvck
https://facebook.com/crvckjvckmusic
https://twitter.com/crvckjvck

➥ Follow AiA:
@aiapresents
https://facebook.com/aiagency

https://instagram.com/aiagency
——————————————————————————–

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Jake Jude – Go Back Home by Ivory Oasis

🔊 YouTube Live Stream: http://aia.ag/Chill-Radio 🔊

🎧 Spotify Playlists: spotify.aia.ag/AIA_Spotify 🎧

💥Stream Here: https://fanlink.to/27F

-> Submit Music: aia.ag/Music-Submissions
-> Feature Our Music: E@ArtistIntelligence.Agency
-> Business / Licensing Inquires: licensing@artistintelligence.agency
——————————————————————————–
➥ Follow Jake Jude:
@therealjakejude
https://facebook.com/therealjakejude

https://instagram.com/therealjakejude

➥ Follow AiA:
@aiapresents
https://facebook.com/aiagency

https://instagram.com/aiagency
——————————————————————————–
[Verse]
Here I am,
Know it’s been a while
I was in denial about my love,
Here I stand,
I know I walked away
Had to find the person I’d become;

[Pre-Chorus]
I was high and I was low
Moved through mountains, rain, and snow,
But I felt that I was further from the truth,
On one dark and stormy night,
Rolling thunder, flashing light
Heard a whisper in the night, and it said;

[Chorus]
You should go back home, go back home, go back home, go
It’s been there all along,
You should go back home, go back home, go back home, go
That’s where you belong;

[Verse]
Here I am,
Know it’s been a while
I was in denial about my love,
Here I stand,
I know I walked away
Had to find the person I’d become;

[Pre-Chorus]
I was high and I was low
Moved through mountains, rain, and snow,
But I felt that I was further from the truth,
On one dark and stormy night,
Rolling thunder, flashing light
Heard a whisper in the night, and it said;

[Chorus]
You should go back home, go back home, go back home, go
It’s been there all along,
You should go back home, go back home, go back home, go
That’s where you belong;
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PREMIERE : Moff & Tarkin – Lakkrís by Bolting Bits

* Read more : boltingbits.com/moff-tarkin-lakkris-laggafe-tales/
* Watch on YouTube : youtu.be/CDdyiY82EXQ
* Pre-order : bit.ly/2PQiDVn

Last week, we published a premiere of Kemback’s ethereal remix of Kim Brown, a Berlin duo with a name that one would think belonged to one person. This week, we have the exact opposite – a scenario where we are premiering a track from Moff & Tarkin, a group that sounds like a duo but is actually just one person.

That one person turns out to be Magnús Felix Tryggvason from Iceland. When he’s not busy using his name to make references to fictional Star Wars characters, he spends his time DJ’ing around Europe and releasing music on taste-making labels such as Neovinyl Recordings and Lagaffe Tales. His latest track titled Lakkrís (which means licorice in his native tongue) is set to come out on the latter at the end of October as part of Chapter 3 of the Tale of Tales compilation series. Featuring originals from Neovinyl Recordings label head Carlo, Ari Bald from the Swedish Klubbhuset and their very own Jonbjorn, the theme of this compilation is a farewell wish to the summer, a sort of reminiscence of the good times, with good friends and summer grooves.

Therefore, it’s only fitting that Moff & Tarkin’s contribution to the EP is named after something that is so bittersweet. Throughout the piece, the producer utilizes divergent elements of laidback disco and acid house to create a tune that sounds as if two forces are colliding – one that’s warm and welcoming and another that’s cold and subdued.

A proper track for the upcoming fall, make sure to grab yourself a copy to combat your inevitable seasonal depression.
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TRAX.312 BUDBURNERZ by TRAX MAGAZINE

Exclusive podcast from BudBurNerZ for Trax Magazine !

Tracklist:
BudBurNerZ – Silentstorm
BudBurNerZ – Family Affair (Weapons of Mental Destruction remix)
BudBurNerZ – Family Affair (Matt Green’s Step ‘N Smoke Mix)
BudBurNerZ – Death
BudBurNerZ – Violon Malsain (Drokz’ Remix)
BudBurNerZ – Budfuk
BudBurNerZ – Trubblzzz (Raw’s Remix)
BudBurNerZ – Suggestion
BudBurNerZ – Overdoze
BudBurNerZ – Vomit
BudBurNerZ – Watatekoku (Epsilon’s Remix)
BudBurNerZ – Destroy The Evil Power !
BudBurNerZ – Witchburner (Xylocaïne’s Remix)
BudBurNerZ – Fuck The World

Artist: @https://soundcloud.com/budburnerz
https://www.facebook.com/BudBurNerZ-93617999334/
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On “A Man + His Plants,” Chicano Rapper Speak Finds His Identity In A Self-Created Eden

SPEAK

Speak’s place in Mexico City is very chill. Three years back, the East L.A.-born rapper Anthony Negrete moved to the metropolis from whence his father had emigrated. He lives alone in a fifth-floor walkup—an add-on roof unit, really—that’s so filled with light he refers to it as a “solar flare” on his latest album, A Man + His Plants. He proudly introduces me to his potted friends, which inhabit a balcony that faces the city’s largest park. Before heading back inside, Speak (who also goes by Speak! and Speakz) lingers over the lovely view of a castle that peeks up over the trees. Once home to New Spain viceroys and Mexican presidents, the building now houses the National History Museum. The rapper’s small sanctuary, which is itself far from ground level, may well be the castle’s closest proximate neighbor.

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For a person who spent many of the rough transitions of his young adulthood couch-surfing his way through the shark-filled waters of the L.A. music industry, all this is just fine, thank you. “I live in a cool apartment in a city that I love, with my friends,” Negrete says. “What is ‘making it?’ I made it.”

This vision of domestic idyll is a bit deceptive. Last year, Negrete and fellow residents had to be evacuated for a month after a frightening 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City. Though his building was eventually deemed sound enough for him to reinhabit, the experience was unsettling. The floor in Speak’s bedroom now features a strange curvature with which he finds hard to reconcile. “I think about that a lot,” he repeats twice, his gaze resting on the wave in the wood alongside his frameless bed.

Having some geographic distance from the U.S. may be helping to unburden Negrete. He moved to Mexico City in late 2015, during a time when then-primary candidate Donald Trump’s arenas full of wild-eyed xenophobes were becoming common on TV. Negrete had been evicted from his recording space in a classic Downtown L.A. artists’ building when its owners sold to Soho House, the upscale global chain of members-only social clubs. The rapper was in ill health due to a period of overindulgence in clubs, drugs, and toxic relationships, which is commemorated in a video of a heavier-set Speak in a white suit on too much cocaine on Sway’s radio show Sway in the Morning. He was promoting an album called Sex Quest 3, and delivered a powerhouse freestyle, vitriolically upbraiding label executives. Soon after, Negrete was booked in Mexico City to play a Red Bull event and opted to stay put, to become a refugee or an expat or a multi-generation returnee.

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The album’s lyrics speak on his departure from the U.S., and the dichotomized Chicano identity he developed as a result. Contrast forms the backbone of his autobiography: scenes of the young Chilango growing up alongside Norteños in Southern California; hearing gunshots break up suburban house parties; navigating L.A.’s creative industries; spending his adulthood in one of Mexico City’s richest central boroughs. (“Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to do? If you came up in that murder-murder, you would feel me too,” he says on album opener “This (Mexican) American Life.”) Elsewhere, he addresses the absurdity of paying his rent in Mexico City with the royalties from “Gucci Gucci”—a 2012 viral pop-rap behemoth he penned for Kreayshawn, which started Negrete’s songwriting career (and for which he still receives royalties)—and of course, the complexity of being a U.S. citizen in Mexico (“Pocho, pinche L.A. Chicano / I don’t give a fuck just call me icono,” he raps on“Super Chaka Jr.”).

This mix of beauty, introspection, and disease is reflected in A Man + His Plants, though fans of Negrete’s self-questioning and defiantly narcissistic verbal talents will find much to love here: Mexico City slang, shout-outs to self-care, and strident post-relationship accusations pop off over easy-riding beats cut with quirky, on-topic samples. The driving “Perico” opens with a litany best understood by capitalinos (people born and raised in Mexico City): “No mames, no manches / ¿Qué onda? ¿Qué pedo?” The lo-fi “Skid” files in with a snippet of a soft-voiced woman sharing her plant-tending expertise, and Speak has mastered her soothing tone by the time we get to sing-song closer “Plants Fill The Room.”

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The project is not political, though on “Red Leather” Negrete references his queerness on-record for the first time—a declaration he says he never considered necessary before his big break. (“I feel like I still don’t have to [address my sexuality],” he contends, “but I should, because it could help people, you know?”) Mostly, though, A Man + His Plants was made to deal with the chaos inside Speak’s own head, almost entirely on his own terms: the album’s sole feature is a wistful hook on “Breaking Out,” courtesy of Negrete’s friend since high school, fellow Art Goon collective member Pheo. “This album is more a cathartic thing,” Speak declares. “I’m talking about me, trying to stop myself from jumping off the cliff.”

Though he’s got nothing but love for his ever-growing fanbase, Speak still considers himself an industry outsider, waging an incessant, uphill battle for recognition: “No one is interested in the long-haired, light-skinned, effeminate Mexican,” he quips cynically of the powers that be. While the mainstream sleeps, he’s blazing his own path, one that eschews “rap-rap-rap-rap,” as he puts it—a freedom he largely credits to friend and collaborator Sydney Bennett (known to most as R&B futurist Syd, who records solo and fronts the alternative group the Internet), and who mixed Speak’s 2011 debut Inside Out Boy. “Syd was like, ‘You know, there’s no rules,’” he remembers. “‘You could sing if you want. Even if it’s bad. Just do it.’ So that was the changing point.”

Wider perspectives seem imminent in a dark club-facing EP with another innovative ally (producer Lao of Mexico City’s NAAFI electronic music collective) who has been encouraging Speak to sing in Spanish. But first, he laughs, “I want to thrive and be healthy like that monstera over there,” pointing to his plant in the corner. Call it symbiosis, a return to roots, a circular system—but Speak seems to be learning about his own optimal growing conditions.

-Caitlin Donahue

On “A Man + His Plants,” Chicano Rapper Speak Finds His Identity In A Self-Created Eden