My dude Flamingosis is like, a fucking savant or something. His latest album, Newski, is full of unreleased tracks and they’re all so damn good – LAWWDDD! Hit play on the first track, “Holiday,” and I guarantee you’ll be hittin’ that download button before the track even ends.
Two Chicago crews, Teklife and Treated, came together in the name of the late DJ Rashad and their city’s thriving footwork scene to bring us “Live From Your Mama’s House.” The EP originally came to life through the efforts of Mic Terror and DJ Rashad, but was ultimately placed on hold after Rashad’s untimely death in 2014. “Live From Your Mama’s House” utilizes both soulful R&B and hip-hop vocals to drive its signature fast-paced tempo making it an incredibly engaging listen. It’s a must-have, y’all!
Brick Bandits, the legendary Jersey club crew home to DJ R3LL, DJ Sliink, UNiiQU3, and Nadus to name a few, have upgraded their status from energizing party crew to official label imprint. To celebrate the occasion, Brick Bandits have released their very first EP, DJ R3LL’s Directions.
Five energetic tracks deep, Directions is a perfect entry point not only for newcomers to the Jersey club sound but veterans of the movement as well. And instead of offering up overplayed remixes of memes and severe sensory overload, DJ R3LL crafted one of the most intelligent and palatable Jersey club EPs I’ve heard in a while. He capitalized off of the signature hype of Jersey club and all of the amazing textural effects of the chopped vocals without making something that was too overbearing. In fact, any track off Directions could not only be played during an underground club night but even at an afterhours house music event. It’s levels to this shit!
Man, I couldn’t wait to let y’all know about this one. Hesk, Toronto-based footwork and club producer, dropped an EP this week aptly titled Deeper. (IDK – boasting ten incredible tracks, it’s quite long for an EP. I don’t think he’s giving himself enough credit here. Deeper sounds like a full effort to me. But anyway!) Expect to hear a lot of expertly manipulated R&B samples in the distance, like Alicia Keys and Robin S. as heard above, but Deeper really shines when it flaunts all of the intricacies and textures of Hesk’s production. Stream the whole thang below, my favorite track above, and buy it here when you know you love it.
This week, SPZRKT and Sango of the Soulection crew delivered on their promise of a collaborative effort in the form of a free-for-download EP, Hours Spent Loving You. In an attempt to explore “how relationships are viewed both earthly and heavenly,” Hours Spent Loving You has created an impenetrable take on futuristic R&B. It’s sexy and heart-warming all at the same time. “How Do You Love Me” & “JMK”, two of my favorite tracks, are streaming above, and you can hear the entire release below.
For the fifth installment of the Teklife and TAR label collaboration, special attention goes to Chicago-based footwork legend, Traxman. The way this dude manipulates different sounds is just so fascinating to me and in this EP, you’ll hear that in his footwork, hip-hop, and drum and bass demonstrations. There’s a free download over at TAR’s website, so make sure you don’t sleep on this one.
At only 23 years old, Aaron Velasquez, aka Flamingosis, has been producing some of the most incredible electronic music in the game right now. He’s been at it for the past seven years now, curating the silkiest smooth jazz, nostalgic hip-hop beats, and uniquely refashioned remixes of popular artists like Kanye West and Rich Boy. His productions are expertly created with so much emotion that it literally gives me the good kind of chills that run right down my spine.
Velasquez actually grew up surrounded by family with eclectic taste in music and who also fostered an environment of creative innovation. Velasquez’s father and uncle were both five time world freestyle Frisbee champions and Flamingosis, the name Velasquez eventually adopted as his DJ and production alias, was actually the name of a unique freestyle Frisbee move that was created by his father. In an interview with Artistic Manifesto, Velasquez explains “I guess there’s a parallel between music and freestyle Frisbee. My dad would see a trick and would then try to master that trick and make it his own, so you could say that’s like my approach – I’ll hear a sample, take it and make my own thing.”
For a really long time, I thought Velasquez hailed from somewhere in California. I mean, he had to, right?! His sound is way too breezy to not be from a state where there are palm trees lining every block, every day is warm and sunny, and everybody has a laid-back, endless summer kind of vibe. But he currently resides in his hometown of Morristown, New Jersey. Go figure.
Today when you think about New Jersey’s presence in the music world, Jersey club is often considered one of the state’s main musical exports. It’s a super bombastic, hyperactive sound and if a producer has any decent skills in the studio, he or she could potentially produce a few relevant remixes and put themselves on the map pretty easily. When I asked him why he took the road less traveled, Velasquez admits that he “didn’t even know Jersey Club was a thing here ‘til a year ago.”
And it makes sense. His dad owns a solid record collection that spanned genres from funk to soul to rock to reggae, further compelling Velasquez to collect influences from alternative styles of music rather than the mainstream. In high school he mostly listened to hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and electronica from artists like Daft Punk, Common, and Mos Def. And as he graduated to his college years, he moved on to include expert beatmakers like J Dilla, Flying Lotus, and Mad Lib. So in his productions today, you can absolutely hear where he’s worked in the styles of his favorite influences.
Judging by his consistently impressive output, where quality and quantity have a direct correlation, Velasquez has no problem getting down to business when it’s time to create. Working with just a laptop and a midi controller, he currently has two avenues he takes when he constructs a song. “Sometimes I’ll hear a song I like and then [I’ll] take certain sections of that tune and build around it with my own production,” he explains. “The other process I have is make a drum loop and go through trial and error with a bunch of different samples until there is a sample that I think clicks with my drum loop.”
Even better, Velasquez now has a myriad of worldwide platforms through which he can release his productions, hone his craft, and network with other like-minded individuals. Rootnote Collective released Brother, his collaborative EP with A Sol Mechanic; Keats Collective is home to Flamingosis, his very first LP, and his latest, Kahunastyle; and he’s recently started collaborating with The Freq Show, which promises to showcase New Jersey’s finest producers.
Velasquez claims Kahunastyle, his latest full-length album, is his favorite album he’s made so far. “Expect Kahunastyle to be a very eclectic record,” he promises. “It has hip-hop, disco, funk, trap, footwork, and Jersey club influences.”
After Kahunastyle drops on 2/16 via Keats Collective, Flamingosis and Moon Bounce hit the road for a six-date winter tour spanning locations from Providence to Indianapolis. Expect Velasquez’s live performance to be just as transcendent and unique as his Flamingosis productions. “I usually start off the show with some beat boxing, and then I transition into my electronic set,” he explains. “I try to make my live sets really eclectic, too [and] throw in down-tempo stuff, hype and upbeat stuff, dancy stuff, [and] funk. Hopefully I’ll throw some live visuals into the mix soon as well.”
The hype surrounding the release of Kahunastyle has been vibrant and well-deserved. With Flamingosis, Velasquez has already successfully created a style of music that is so craveable that the time elapsed between releases never feels short enough. It’s been just over a year since Flamingosis has been released and with a ton of singles and a collaborative EP already under his belt since then, I asked Velasquez how he feels he’s evolved since then. “I think I have become more versatile. I have produced a wide range of tunes [of] different styles and BPMs, and that’s what I wanted to accomplish with this record.”
This is how to finesse a proper remix. In fact, here are six incredible examples that you can listen to (and download for FREE) from K-Rec‘s latest EP, The Hit-Pop Remixes. Featuring remixes of our favorite R&B queens like Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, and Rihanna, The Hit-Pop Remixes isn’t some basic, “DJ tool” throwaway. K-Rec, the Vancouver-based producer, totally switched up the style on us, creating completely different moods to classic tracks we already know and love. Ciara’s “Body Party” has been transformed from a nostalgic R&B seduction into a deep, somehow sexy depression with the help of Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song”. Next’s “Wifey” (from 2000! Remembah? *Drake voice*) is now a pitched-down, syrupy footwork exploration.
My favorite part about music is the sense of exploration and adventure it can provide us as listeners and K-Rec just nailed it here. His unbounded sense of creativity and the way he masterfully manipulated these R&B hits is just super impressive to me. This is how you do remixes, yall.
Ever since I heard Oceaán‘s “Veritas”, I couldn’t wait for the complete EP to drop. His sound is so intricate and textural – unlike any run of the mill production. In fact, with The Grip, Oceaán claims his “main aim was to investigate the effectiveness of songwriting within the electronic plane – whether it be marrying a lyrical concept with similar tonal aspects (inherently present within the production), and more importantly, creating and displaying disparity between them.” The Grip whirs, scratches, and spins its way between your heart and soul. And within every nook and cranny of Oceaán’s productions lies an immeasurable amount of effort and precision and here I am, hanging onto every word.
The Grip will be out on 12/8 via Chess Club Records.
Last week I fell in love with JMSN’s “Street Sweeper” remix and this week, we’ll all see the release of his second album, JMSN (The Blue Album). Seriously, guys – I can’t get over how well he has mastered that classic R&B vibe. It’s that ultra smooth, ribbed-for-her pleasure kind of R&B that I can totally get down with. JMSN, also known as Christian Berishaj, packed all those sensual beats and his signature crooning into a hefty fourteen-track EP, which you can stream here!
JMSN (The Blue Album) will be released on 12/9 via his own White Room Records.
Rhythm and grime meet again as another incredible fusion on Gundam‘s latest EP, Flirtation. In an interview with FACT, Gundam plays it cool and says he’s just fucking around with his scissor tool in the studio, but with tracks this complex, well, color me impressed. I admit – I’m new to the rhythm-and-grime genre (late pass!), but Gundam sounds like he’s mastered it as he harnesses the sexy side of R&B and expertly chops, loops, and distorts it into glitchy electronic music you could actually deem sexy.
If trap music could be sexy, fwdslxsh totally nailed it on his debut EP, The Fall. The London-based producer told The Fader he was trying to capture the pure essence of his current emotions with this EP, so by the sounds of it, I’m pretty sure he’s in love, or something like that. With sensual vocals and a dominant R&B feel, The Fall successfully creates a late night, suggestive atmosphere that seems to harbor those kinds of emotions quite well. But then again, it’s all relative. The skittering hi-hats and distant synths might be a comforting cure for heartbreak.