Nguzunguzu

TELFAR X Future Brown

12 September 2013

In a match made in utopia fashion designer Telfar Clemens and our favourite ‘fake capitalist’ Babak Radboy echo the mainstream fetishism of the day by introducing the forthcoming TELFAR line. It’s a collection of customizable sportswear that they describe as neither conceptual nor practical; “highly polished, eminently accessible, yet stranger than any underground production”.

The backing instrumentals come from a track called ‘Marbles’ by none other than 2020 hyper-stars Future Brown. As a band named after an inorganic colour, its an ideal complement to the creepy grins reminiscent of Shanzhai Biennial‘s Yue Minjun-inspired branding campaign, as well as DIS’ ‘Watermarked I Kenzo Fall 2012′. Mind is blown.

See the video below and read a recent interview we did with Radboy. **

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A look into NA, Fade to Mind and the future

3 September 2013

Releases from Fade To Mind, the US sister of the Night Slugs label, manage to be both perfectly contemporaneous and yet simultaneously futuristic, at least in the classically dystopian sense of the word. Absolutely now, they present a music which is overwhelmingly born from, fed and fuelled by information noise. This refers equally to the genre-transcending sounds and also the way they are presented: released in byte-sized chunks – single tracks, remixes, EPs at best, and revealed via SoundCloud in rapid bursts, a swarm of inspirations that result in a high-speed, vertiginous club mix built from grime, garage, hip hop and bass music components. It’s a music born of contemporary modes of exchange and diffusion – Fade To Mind displays an extraordinary level of collectivity and osmosis between the artists, who often tend to team up or remix each other. And yet in the work of Kingdom (the label’s founder), Nguzunguzu, Fatima Al Qadiri and others, there also hovers the older conception of dystopian future; the sense of stimulus-fatigue, the friction of co-existence with alienating mass technology.

Forthcoming weeks bring new additions to the Fade To Mind catalogue. The first of these will be by NA (Daniel Pineda), half of label leading-lights Nguzunguzu, whose ‘sad, sexy, scary’, RnB-meets-footwork sound quickly became a point of reference rather than, as is usual, being compared to other artists, after the duo emerged in 2010. As if Nguzunguzu’s works weren’t foot-friendly enough, Pineda announced that the upcoming EP ‘Xtreme Tremble’ will be more ‘dancefloor oriented’. Listening through the three impactful tracks resolves this seeming-paradox: compared to Nguzunguzu, NA’s solo recordings are further stripped-down, confronting the listener with a sound hi-tech, heavy and minimalist at once, thus moving Pineda closer to the territory usually occupied by Kingdom, and thereby cabling another connection between the Fade To Mind roster.

Meanwhile, yet more osmosis occurs beyond the label – for instance, Nguzunguzu have produced two tracks for Kelela, she’s collaborated with Kingdom and will be dropping her Vocalist mix on Fade to Mind soon, while the spirit of cooperation extends beyond the limit of the label itself. Future Brown –a collective project consisting of Pineda, his original band mate Asma Maroof, long-time collaborator Fatima Al Qadiri, and J-Cush of Lit City Tracks -have released just one track so far (independently from Fade To Mind). The surprisingly simple, hooky, club-friendly ‘Wanna Party’ features Chicago rapper Tink and production from (inevitably!) another Fade To Mind artist, vogue/ballroom-house DJ and producer MikeQ. The slightly trappy track provides a sneak-peek of Future Brown‘s full album, which will also feature Shawnna, Maluca, Ian Isiah and Kelela. Even though there has been little revealed about the project (and the record itself is still in the making), what we know about the project so far suggests it will function as a summary of a certain aesthetic: unashamed genre cross-pollination, a collaborative working policy, and the implicit idea of Web-driven club music.

The imagery Future Brown choose to employ reveals the latter explicitly: they share both their initials and their logo font with Facebook, reinforcing the fact of the Web as an environment in which their brand of music thrives, as much as it does on the dancefloor. The aesthetic employed by Fade To Mind-related artists seems to acknowledge the point that, no matter where the artist ideally imagines their work being played out, in reality it is all-too-often heard through ubiquitous white ear buds or tinny laptop speakers. This may actually have informed the label’s signature sound palette; as per Kingdom’s work, his label’s output teems with the nag of ringtone-synths, a hyper-bright, brittle 8-bit aesthetic and a certain plasticity, which can evoke a Fisher-Price version of Raster-Noton.

Future Brown’s forthcoming LP will most likely be an interesting detour taken by these artists, both when it comes to sound (more hip hop-influenced), as to the shape and length of the album. Fade to Mind’s policy, on the other hand -small doses of singles, EPs and unaccompanied tracks -may have yet more method to it, understood after an extended encounter with their output: whilst many of them are thrillingly heady, attention-grabbing and intense, sometimes their chiptune-on-steroids, cropped and distorted edges make them easy to overdose on. The future, unless taken in moderation, is (as it turns out) a disorientating place to be. **

NA’s Xtreme Tremble EP is out on Fade to Mind September 2, 2013.

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Kingdom – ‘Bank Head feat. Kelela’.

Kingdom - 'Bank Head feat. Kelela'.
28 March 2013

Sometimes the art work of the Fade to Mind aesthetic threatens to overshadow the work of its artist, almost. As part of that LA/ New York based world of excellent electronica melting RnB, dub and pop into an exquisitely contemporary sound for the body, it’s artists like  Kingdom whose output is frustratingly sporadic. But it makes the music all the more thrilling when it does finally drop. So, following the New York producer’s 2011 Dreama EP and an intermittent record of dub reworks, VIP Edition, a new EP titled Vertical XL is due for release on Tuesday, May 28.

Adding to the new music credentials is that Kingdom actually runs the Night Slugs sister-label and is responsible for putting out a stable of excellent outfits, from Fatima Al Qadiri to Nguzunguzu and ‘Blank Head’ featuring vocals from LA-based RnB artist Kelela is no exception. See the EP track list below.**

TRACK LIST:

1. Bank Head (feat. Kelela)
2. Zip Line
3. Corpse
4. OG Master
5. Viper Lash
6. Takedown Notice
7. Viper XL

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Like Leaves

Le1f. Like Leaves.
13 November 2012

The day after Halloween and in the wake of hurricane Sandy, New York rapper-producer Le1f’s first, free appearance at London’s Birthday’s is teeming with implication. It’s as if, with only a month to go before Apolcalypse, weird things are happening. Weather patterns, government and public opinion is changing. It’s as if the world as we know is in a state of transition that is equal parts liberating and disconcerting.

Le1f.
Le1f.

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