Ross From Friends has signed to Brainfeeder, with new film ‘Aphelion’ EP incoming.
The producer is part of a wave of underground talent loosely bracketed as lo-fi house, and has previously worked with labels such as Breaker Breaker, Lobster Theremin, and Magic Wire.
Snapped up by Brainfeeder, the move will be followed by a full EP release. It’s an incredible co-sign, with the Los Angeles imprint maintaining a reputation as a real electronic powerhouse.
“It’s honestly an absolute rush to sign to Brainfeeder,” he explains. “It has always been pushing such a forward thinking sound, one that constantly grabs my attention with every release. I put these four tracks together with Brainfeeder in mind; I wanted to explore the music that I’ve been developing over the past seven years as Ross From Friends whilst trying to explore the explosive sound that the label is best known for.”
New EP ‘Aphelion’ drops on April 13th, and it’s led by new track ‘John Cage’. All billowing synths, effects laden guitar lines and seagull cries, it has a Balearic air while remaining slightly unsettling.
“It originally began life as a tune for this goofy hip-hop project that me and my pal Guy from back home always do when he’s in London,” the producer explains “I’d be making the beat and he raps. It’s always a refreshing approach making tracks in that atmosphere because we’re both always on such a spontaneous tip. When I’m making music alone, I’m obsessive and everything takes hours, whereas with Guy, we’d try and get as many tracks finished as possible in like a few hours. That’s him freestyling a relaxation tape in the intro.”
Between 1992 and 1994, Warp Records released the Artificial Intelligence series of albums. Including key early work by household names in electronica circles – Aphex Twin, Autechre, Richie Hawtin – it was ostensibly home-listening music, all unfolding minor-key melodies, gurgles and washes of sound. But it was also bathed in the afterglow of the rave explosion, much more about bodily pleasure than nerdy detail-spotting.
Lately, the Artificial Intelligence sound has been bubbling up again all over the club world. Belfast duo Bicep, Siberian superstar Nina Kraviz and Berghain’s Ostgut Ton label have all channelled it; now, so is Londoner Daniel Avery. Where his hugely popular 2013 album Drone Logic was about big riffs and forward momentum, its follow-up’s mood feels more like loosened gravity: the acid house 303 synths go round in circles, singing sensuous songs to themselves; diffuse chords hang like clouds of morning mist around the beats, intensely reminiscent of early Aphex and Autechre at their dreamiest.
But this isn’t just 90s nostalgia, and Avery’s week-in-week-out training in seething techno bunkers is still evident. Tracks such as TBW17 and the album’s glowering centrepiece Diminuendo pummel hard. And even when it stretches out and slows down, its structures are based on relentless repetition, not relaxed meandering, and there’s a gothic grandeur to the churchy reverberations that speaks not of genial post-rave relaxation, but of being lost in cavernous Berlin dungeons. The old bodily pleasure is here, but it’s approached in altogether sterner, more serious ways.
Since he debuted in 2010, few artists have matched Pional’s style of easygoing and euphoric house music. Miracle / Tempest, Pional’s first release in over two years, shows that his studio touch is as good as ever. Blending trancey melodies with rolling grooves, the EP skews towards the dance floor and is better off for it. Housier than George FitzGerald and less in-your-face than Stephan Bodzin’s neo-trance, it’s a record for those who enjoy more subtle big-room music.
The “Open Up” version of “Miracle” is the EP’s best tune. We’ve heard this spacey synth arpeggio on dozens of tracks before, but it sounds especially nice here, snaking atop a tribalist drum pattern and chords that move across a few octaves. There’s an energy boost after the main breakdown but the smooth mood remains, helped by the sparing use of vocals. “Tempting” targets the same sound with more trancey melodies and a simple and steady rhythm. The original version of “Miracle” is the EP’s most ambitious tune. Pional’s attempt at an epic house ballad, it’s the EP’s least inspiring moment, full of weepy vocals and jarring synths. For more streamlined sounds, select from the other two tracks.
The time for Kali Uchis’s long-awaited album is finally here. After an astounding three years since her last effort, the smash breakthrough mixtape Por Vida, we’ve been blessed with that signature blissful, smokey soul from Uchis. The album is filled with a diverse palette of sounds, from silky bossa nova tunes to upbeat reggaeton, and collaborations with Steve Lacy, Thundercat, Bad Bunny, and Jorja Smith.