Percussion Lab News & Updates
Percussion Lab keeps you up to date with news, ramblings, and anything else music related from our sphere of artists, DJs, labels, friends and contributors.

DECEMBER 30, 2011

It's a tradition to make Year End Lists in an attempt to summarize the 12 month period that is coming to an end.  We've featured some amazing talent in 2011; see below for our 'staff' picks for top 5 mixes on Percussion Lab in 2011.  Some bass, some juke, some techno, some funk/soul, a dash of ambient, it's all in there cuz it's all on here, somewhere.   What were your favorite Percussion Lab sets from 2011? Hit us in the comments or on facebook...

Praveen Sharma

Falty DL: Mix for Her

Ital Tek: Summer 2011 Mix

Distal: Exclusive Mix

LDFD: Exclusive Mix

Sines: Exclusive Mix

Sougwen Chung

Mr Jaws: Visitors

Konque: CMKY Podcast 08

Mark Templeton: Winter Mix 2011

Ital Tek: Summer Mix 2011

Nihal Ramchandani: Inward

Nooka Jones

Konque: CMKY Podcast 08

Bruno Pronsato: CMKY Podcast 02

Background Sound: Exclusive Mix

Broodlings: Percussion Lab Mix

Mark Templeton: Winter Mix 2011

Brian Blessinger

Falty DL: Mix For Her

Captain Crunk: Percussion Lab Mix

Nooka Jones: Impulse Control

Jeff B: Dreaming Under a Tree

Saturn Never Sleeps: Exclusive Mix

DECEMBER 29, 2011

Year-end lists in the world of underground music are reaching a saturation point, as many have pointed out. But like the inexact science of genre-fication pioneered by many a music journalist/blogger/quibbler, the holiday season list-making is a necessary evil that may seem superfluous to the artists, but is the name of the game for those on the outside looking in.

Across the board people try and cut through the clutter of thousands of "releases," whittling down their personal favorites with a microscope in hopes of gleaning some kind of progressive understanding of why these bodies of music hit so close to home during the previous 12 months. And then, of course, we compare one list to another through incessant scrolling, commenting, and forum-baiting. The year-end list is an imperfect process at best, and flawed from the start. Taken as a whole, however, we can scan these lists and catch a crucial artist we may have missed, or give that one song another chance, having not implanted a lasting memory earlier in the spring or summer.

Most of all though, take a spin through these year-end lists while they are still available and try and pinpoint which of these artists' works will be relevant, or even revolutionary, when gazed upon from 10 years out. For all the controversy caused by this annual ritual, the issue of longevity and future "classic" status is certainly the most important part of combing through 2011's releases, and finding that one gem which will stand as a stepping stone for countless artists in years to come. There's always one, if not more... happy new year everyone, and before diving into January '12, check those lists twice.

- Cambo

Posted by Cam Curran | 1 comments

DECEMBER 22, 2011

Reading Ben Johnson’s diatribe against free music on the web left me with mixed feelings. His essay raises valid concerns over major corporations profiting through ad revenue at the expense of creative individuals’ content uploads and distribution, a reality that draws uncomfortable comparisons to record labels of yore, yet is supported and unintentionally embraced by contributions to such sites as YouTube, Spotify, and even Soundcloud. As more artists upload content, hosting sites profit by running ads against the content and give little back to the content producers.

Listen to the 9th WORTH THE WAX podcast here 

Because of this nefarious relationship, Johnson implores content producers to “think twice before you happily upload your latest masterpiece.” The unstated pay-off is then two-fold: 1) the Suits can’t whore your work - automatic win; and 2) proper dues will come to those who fight change and play the game the ol’ traditional way. In terms of music producers, this means sending off your demos to established labels, hoping for the best, and not distributing any unsigned content until then.

A fair claim, but an unproductive one. Producers continue to pitch their demos to established homes, but they upload and share because of creativity’s inherent push to be shared. (If I write a song and no one hears it, do I have a song at all?) So instead of decrying the state of distribution, let’s celebrate the positives that have come from it - in particular, dope net labels that curate as meticulously as the majors and stellar artists that have found their home in a self-released world.


Bad Panda Records: Started a little over two years ago, BP release a new song every Monday from various genres, musicians both established and new, from all over the world. I have discovered some brilliant new music through their Monday releases, and even picked up their debut vinyl pressing after streaming the record for free via Soundcloud - a psychedelic rock band from Italy, called Dumbo Gets Mad.

End Fence: Brooklyn-based baby label with just five releases under their belt, they have consistently pushed the expectations of bass music with each artist, be it Archie Pelago’s jazz infusions or kuxxan SUUM’s dystopian web of samples, glitches, and broken melodies.

Astro Nautico: Triple decker freebies from RAJA, The Range’s symphonic take on juke, and now youngteam’s inclusion has burgeoned my faith in this label’s trajectory. Any netlabel can churn out DJ tools, but Astro Nautico shows curatorial courage and that is how to grow a family.

Downliners Sekt: All of their releases, including their trilogy of bass indebted 12”s and their earlier post-rock material, can be downloaded for free from their main site. This led me to purchase all three of the 12”’s, the second of which made its way onto this week’s Worth The Wax.

datPiff: THE place to download free hip hop mixtapes. The Weeknd's Echoes of Silence dropped last night; guess where I headed to grab it this morning.

Foot Clan Collective: For when you need to hear some quality West Coast beats that aren't from Brainfeeder - these guys have consistently impressed me, and their output is relentless.


The above mentions do not scratch the surface of all the quality net labels and free releasing producers on the internet, so I encourage you to use the comments section to post your favorite places to cop free (and legal) music. The internet has changed how the industry works, for better or for worse; let's make the best of it and never stop supporting the sounds we love, in anyway possible.

DECEMBER 15, 2011

A question that is often lost in interviews, editorials, and critique of electronic music is what defines a musician, and what defines a producer? In the days when creating high quality recorded music was an expensive, privileged affair, the roles of producer and musician were quite distinct and separated (for the most part). Production took place on one side of the glass, and the playing/recording of instruments was done on the other. Sure, there was input from each side on the other's creativity, but in general, each person(s) had their domain and it was the relationship between the two that defined the end result. (continue below tracklist)


Stream our 8th podcast here, tracklist below...

1. Shlohmo - Sippy Cup 

2. Bullion - I Just Wasn't Made For These Times 

3. Illum Sphere - Medusa 

4. Flying Lotus - Tea Leaf Dancers 

5. Pariah - Detroit Falls 

6. Gescom - Seventh Ace Deuce 

7. 2562 - Aquatic Family Affair 

8. Andy Stott - Intermittent 

9. Pangaea - Coiled 

10. Mount Kimbie - Would Know 

11. Fantastic Mr. Fox - If I 

12. Burial - Southern Comfort 

13. Lurka - Stabiliser 

14. Zomby - Kaliko 

15. Space Dimension Controller - Journey to the Core of the Unknown Sphere


Of course in today's world of iPads, plug-ins, and MIDI, the producer and musician have become one. Whether this is to the benefit of recorded output and progression of original ideas is entirely up to one's opinion, but my question is, how to tell who is actually a musician, and who adheres more to the role of producer? Without any negative connotations, I would suggest that a producer is concerned more with sound design and stretching the limits of the technology at hand, whereas a musician will tend towards diligent instrumental playing and recording, constantly in search of that perfect melody or rhythm. 

Where does sampling fall in this equation? Surely synthesizers, drum machines, and writing music via MIDI information translated to a keyboard are the work of someone striving for melody and rhythm, but where to draw the line with sampling? Is Bullion's version of the Beach Boys' "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" the recontextualised work of a musician, or a producer? How about Pariah's "Detroit Falls", chopping and splicing fragments of a classic Motown soul number? This is where the line really gets blurry, as the choice of sample length, tone, and key all come into play. It's as if the traditional work of the producer is used as a means to achieve the result of the musician, without actually doing the tradtional "work" of the musician. 

This is not to say these are lesser artists or songs, by any means. Space Dimension Controller's closing track in today's mixtape is undoubtedly the work of a musician playing melodies on a synthesizer, but the rounded touch that allows his hardware to breathe and sound so enticing is that of a producer. The point is, it's important to recognise the gradual consolidation of these roles into a one-man job, but let's not forget that they are and always will be two distinct functions that don't necessarily melt into one, but interact on a number of different levels with each other to reach the recorded result. Just like the old days, it's this level of interaction between the two roles that really is what comes through in the output, and that is what can create an original sound for each artist.

Posted by Cam Curran | 1 comments