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Spotlight: LuQuS & RIT


Upon joining forces, LuQuS and RIT are capable of great things. Though the former resides in London and the latter in Paris, they’ve collaborated on numerous emotionally-driven arrangements to great effect. The duo contributed a beautiful track to our Lost at Sea compilation in January, and we’ve anticipated their joint material ever since. Take a listen to a few of their collaborations below — all of which are available for free download.

Spotlight: Aeron

Aeron is Wyn Evans of Aeron Valley, Wales. He produces beautiful stripped-down ambient compositions that bring to mind the vast, serene landscapes of his Welsh homeland. His songs conjure up a range of emotions through quiet details and sweeping synths, lush progressions and faded melodies. His cinematic, rousing catalogue could easily score films and television. When he’s not producing music, Wyn also captures some pretty spectacular photographs of his surroundings, which we recommend you browse right here. Please enjoy a few of Aeron’s lovely (free) compositions below. Follow the talented artist on Soundcloud for more.

Spotlight: Different Sleep

"Be My Center" is the latest tune from San Diego native and Chicago resident Different Sleep, one of our favorite emotionally-inclined dorm room producers. You can find “Be My Center” at the bottom of this post— and as it’s the reason we’ve compiled the following retrospective words, we highly recommend you give it a listen below. In the meantime, however, let us reflect on our experience with Different Sleep to date. 19 year-old Rafa Alvarez first captured our attention this spring with his affectionate and hopeful downtempo track “Next Time I See You”. We’ve since indulged in his Soundcloud catalogue on countless occassoins, reveling in old tracks and anticipating new material with appreciation as our constant companion. You might recognize Different Sleep from his collaborations with Mister Lies, as they’re both members of the talented SVENGALI Collective

Rafa possesses an excellent combination of musical range and emotional depth. He is an expert at melding complementary layers of melodies into sparse percussion, a style that engages without overwhelming when executed properly. No Different Sleep track is complete without gorgeous riffs interacting cohesively with a lush bout of synths. Below, Different Sleep’s surreal remix of “Charlie" by Town Hall will situate your mind in a wistful daze. If Rafa’s talents fail to stir you, you’re probably visiting the wrong blog. 

In a PORTALS interview this spring, we were impressed with Rafa’s thoughtful, on-point commentary. He comes across as particularly observant— an attribute reflected in his emotional command of electronic production. On SVENGALI’s role in the Chicago scene, he offers the following: 

"As of right now… it’s basically just us making beats in our dorm rooms, with the Internet being our only connection to new music. It seems like the majority of Chicago’s population is more interested in getting drunk at a Dubstep show than checking out something new and different (and just as hype as a dubstep show). Hopefully once we start doing shows here in Chicago, people will begin to see what were all about."

These are sentiments we’ve echoed on numerous occasions, and it’s producers like Different Sleep and Mister Lies that keep our hopes for the EDM-crazed American scene alive. On that note, please direct your attention to Different Sleep’s latest track below. “Be My Center” is arguably my favorite Different Sleep track to date, so waste no time in grabbing the free download below. Be sure to follow Different Sleep on Facebook for updates and new music. 

Spotlight: Natal Zaks

Aebeloe may be Natal Zaks’ primary alias, but this 20 year-old Danish phenom has produced under countless monikers since 2006. Considering how little information is available on him, I’m still quite taken aback by the quantity and quality of his catalogue. I haven’t been this impressed by a producer in awhile. In addition to Aebeloe, Zaks has released music as Tzara, Mislyd, Mekanik, Averos, and Brio— all of which I highly recommend. He also founded Farver Music earlier this year, and it’s already stacked with an impressive roster. Take a look at Farver Music’s website to see what I mean. 

The following tracks should explain why I’ve chosen to spotlight Mr. Zaks:

Tzara Tzara - Goat by thesoulelectronic
Zaks grew up listening to post-rock, an influence that is entirely present in Tzara’s music.  As he puts it, Tzara is an “alternative interpretation of orthodox dubstep-elements”, and "Goat" is very much indicative of the dark, moody dubstep he branded with Tzara. 

Mislyd MISLYD - MARLBORO by MFM 2010
Mislyd was the fantastic electronic trio Zaks, Theodor Clausen, and Jens Holmberg formed in 2008. Though Mislyd unfortunately disbanded a few years ago, we can still revel in their soundscapes today. Their sound is reminiscent of Trentemoller, which is the highest of compliments one could bestow upon an electronic group. 

Aebeloe Aebeloe - Nom by Aebeloe
Zaks released Farver for free in 2009, which is ridiculous, considering the EP is just about flawless. As Tzara and Mislyd have already demonstrated, there’s really no point in classifying Zaks’ music, as he’s clearly occupying a planet in which genre and structural norms are of little importance. Instead the focus is musicality, depth, and the most emotive of compositions. You’re a fool if you fail to download Farver, which Zaks was kind enough to release for free. 

Piro - Aebeloe

Farven Stumt - Aebeloe

Aebeloe’s Agnes dropped in October, and my god, it’s a breathtaking release if I’ve ever heard one. I know I’m listening to a profound artist when I’m in awe of each track’s intro, which is especially true of “Farven Stumt”. In addition to three gorgeous Aebeloe originals, we’re also treated to remixes from Nocow, Mig Dfoe, Dawad, and Res Es. Mig Dfoe’s energetic take on “Elliot” might be my favorite. He gives the track a serious jumpstart as glitchy riffs carve into a vibrant, chaotic 2-step backbone. Again, I cannot stress enough how seriously loaded this release is. Please consider purchasing Agnes, one of my most cherished EPs of the year, and share it with your friends. Tis the season. 

Elliot (Mig Dfoe Remix) - Aebeloe

If Natal Zaks is not one of the scene’s iconic figures by the end of 2012, I’ll be severely disappointed. This guy is the real deal and more. 

Spotlight: Inkarv

I will admit to having just watched the live stream of Swedish House Mafia at MSG, which more or less consisted of an absurd amount of lights, lasers, and commercial bangers. That being said, I’m in need of a serious detox, and Inkarv has provided me with exactly that.

Kieran Inkarv is yet another young unsigned British producer worthy of your attention. His style falls within the jazzy, soulful end of the UK bass spectrum, as his songs consistently dazzle with layers of pulsing percussion, gentle synths, and the occasional soft R&B horns. Inkarv is very much up-and-coming, so please refer to his Facebook for news and updates. He’s certainly a producer from whom we anticipate great things.

Inkarv delivers a soothing, introspective track. Wishful vocals paired with an infectious melody. Let your mind wander.

Here we get a taste of the aforementioned horns, as Inkarv’s musicality truly shines on “Modern Knowledge”. The track presents listeners with a cohesive blend of jazz and breakbeat. The percussion at 2:03, in particular— such a beautiful, worthwhile detail. 

Calski - We Can See (Inkarv RMX) by Inkarv - ICU:AUDIO
Finally, we bring you a preview of his soon to be released Calski remix. This track is a stunner.

Here’s hoping 2012 will mark a breakthrough year for the talented Inkarv. Please check out his Soundcloud for more music. 

Spotlight: Christian Löffler

Christian Löffler recently announced the March 2012 release of his debut LP, A Forest. He has since provided listeners with a preview of his next single, a sumptuous track by the name of "Aspen". Of his debut album, Loffler offered the following:  

"I am continuing to experiment on my approach of combining emotive and physical elements – I particularly intensify the work with my voice. There’s no other instrument that can be more direct. I try to forge a bridge between more dance floor oriented tracks to calmer, more classical sounding tracks."

I stand behind my conviction that Löffler is wildly underrated; the producer, visual artist, and co-founder of Ki Records deserves accolades for the creativity he so diligently outputs. Let us pay homage to Löffler and indulge in a handful of his standout tracks:

Download: “Heights”. Löffler’s Heights EP debuted in 2009, marking Ki-Records’ first release. Comprised of resonating synths and precise percussion, “Heights” is progressive tech-house at its finest.

Download: “Raise”. Löffler flexes his range with the free-flowing “Raise”. Things get interesting around 3:45, at which point the track expands into a myriad of gorgeous, swelling measures. I very much encourage you to purchase the Raise EP.

Download: “Hirsch Effect”. “All my music is connected by a gloomy spirit, which is minted by a warm sincerity,” says Löffler. “Hirsch Effect” deviates ever so slightly from the aforementioned gloom in favor of an equally thoughtful, albeit playful crescendo of glitch, minimal, and deep house aesthetics. Beautifully executed.

These should hold you over til the next Christian Löffler release. In the mean time, be sure to keep your eyes and ears on this renaissance man.