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  • Ink Project (London, UK)

    7 Ene 2011, 22:01

    Very interesting guests are trippin' the rift with us today, my dear friends. As announced in the previous post, Ink Project, a London-based electronica duo is introducing themselves and their music to our readers. To call them a "trip-hop band" would be accurate, too, since their sound is driven by darker rhythm structure and features beautiful female vocals, but squeezing Ink Project into just one category would not be fair - their music is very diverse and hard to capture with just one word. Or with any amount of words for that matter. You just have to listen to it. Melanie Dymond (vocals and production) and Jez Lloyd (electronics, keys and production) are here to provide some guidance.

    tipkin - Was there a particular moment for you guys when you just decided to go for it and start making music together? Or did you come to it gradually?

    Jez - We met around 2007 on the London underground house scene – at a legendary night club some people may have heard of called Wiggle run by Fabric resident Terry Francis, Nathan Coles and Eddie Richards. Having both grown up in South London, we were both regulars and had a lot of similar mutual friends so after bumping into each other countless times we soon discovered a shared love for music production; me more house and techno at the time and Mel was also singing on various records for well-known house DJ Asad Rizvi so it made sense to try and work on something together. We never really had a set agenda as we both like and listen to all kinds of music, from dark electronic stuff through to techno, indie rock, folk, blues and disco/funk/soul but we both agreed that it had to be electronic with a large soulful element, utilising traditional song structures. We felt that this was an avenue with the most scope to be explored…

    We’ve both always been heavily into trip hop and bands of the late 90′s like Tricky, Lamb, Morcheeba and Massive Attack but felt that scene died an early death in the UK after achieving so much, so we wanted to try and almost take that baton and run with it, incorporating more club grooves as well as jazz influences into our live shows especially. We pulled together lots of initial demo recordings with various other musicians including Colin Webster on saxophone and flute who now tours the world with Anthony Joseph and The Spasm Band and took the project live throughout the UK between 2007-2008, playing at venues including The Dogstar in Brixton, The Big Chill Bar in Kings X, Cargo in Shoreditch, Audio in Brighton, The Magnet in Liverpool and Timbuktu in Bristol. It was good fun and we developed a strong fan base but the electronic scene was suffering and we became a bit dis-illusioned with how live dance music was stagnating in the UK so took a break for a few years. I went on to produce with various other people and Mel moved over to Barcelona but we recently got back together and decided to focus on creating a more refined, electronic set of songs which have resulted in an album’s worth of material.

    t. - How would you describe your music to someone who hasn't heard it before?

    Mel - I would say it is electronic song based music, inspired by a variety of genres, including electronica, blues, soul, trip-hop, dub-step and early 80's electronic pop.

    t. - What is trip-hop to you? It's heartwarming for me to see that projects like yours are trying to revitalize it, but do you think people still care? Do you feel like the level of interest to trip-hop is different in the UK from the rest of the world?

    J. - I think people definitely do still care about trip hop! The genre may be considered a ‘has been’ sound by many of the snobby music press in the UK as passing trends come and go so quickly, but we know it still has a huge following worldwide with bands like Massive Attack, Lamb and Tricky being just as popular and relevant now as they were in the 90’s. In fact, I’d say Trip Hop’s even more relevant now than ever before! It didn’t progress as much as it could have in my opinion. Trip hop was always a very reflective, relaxing, introspective but future thinking sound and with the world in such an awful state, people have so much on their minds and like to relax when they go home so I think the genre caters so well for the times we live in now – especially in album format. In the US, France, Eastern Europe and Russia it’s huge and new acts like James Blake, Jamie Woon, Mount Kimbie have very trip hoppy sounds which are proving massively popular at the moment.

    We’re not consciously trying to revitalize trip hop as such but merely progressing that basic formula, updating it and taking it a new direction with many of our other influences mixed in.

    M. - To me trip hop is simply another musical genre and there are good and bad examples of it, but at it's best it encompasses many elements that I enjoy in music, fat beats, heavy bass, interesting electronics and vocals, often at a slower tempo than most electronic music which for me allows a lot of the sounds to breath, you get time to listen to them. I think the only thing that people care about is the quality of the music and whether they like it. There are obviously fashionable trends, but judging by the response of many of our fans on our Facebook Fan Page, people still enjoy listening to that type of sound, and we have fans from all over the world, including the U.K.

    t. - Is it hard to get noticed on the electronic scene in the UK? How do you keep up with all the new sub-genres and trends that are popping up faster than mushrooms after the rain?

    J. - The UK is so multi-cultural and overflowing with such a huge array of creative and talented people all trying to create something new and musically different that it’s always going to be competitive and tough to invent a unique sound. But whilst we try to keep a close eye on many of the different and revolving scenes, we avoid letting ourselves get swept away by one in particular and first and foremost, produce what we like. You have to be true to yourself musically or you won’t be happy with all of your hard work. For me, it’s personal soul food. If other people connect with it, great but ultimately it should be more of a personal discovery than anything else! We hope people into trip hop, dubstep, soul, jazz, electronic club music, indie and even pop like or at least understand our music.

    Soundcloud is a great resource for networking and discovering new music as is Facebook and Twitter and I’m a regular listener of Gilles Peterson and Benji B’s shows on Radio 1 who play everything from abstract jazz through to dubstep, house, soul and hip hop so I’m always discovering new music that way but I think having grown up in London and being exposed to so many different people, cultures, sounds and scenes from an early age, it makes you open your mind and ears to anything new and at least give it a chance. The quality will stay with you. London was a great place to grow up in musically and we’re only just starting to appreciate that now

    t. - You seem to cover lots of stylistic ground in your music. Are you trying to reach a wider audience or just cannot keep yourself within genre boundaries?

    M. - I think genre boundaries are made to be broken, no one really sticks within them which is why there are all these crazy 'post-blues-hard-step-rave-dub-core' mind-bending genre names. There is so much music to listen to in the world, but I'm more interested in listening to music i enjoy, rather than listening to a specific kind, so I guess that's why I'm interested in making music that isn't restricted by these boundaries.

    t. - How do you make things work with Jez living in London and Mel in Barcelona? Do you travel a lot or is it more of an internet partnership at the moment?

    M. - It works really well actually. We send tracks over to one another constantly and I think it's probably a successful working method because we worked so closely in the past together, know and understand each other already, and both have studios at home. We both develop new stuff separately and then send a rough track to the other. Then if the other one is inspired by it then we decide to develop the track together. What's great is that where as before when we were making music our recording period was restricted by paying for studio time and I had to perform vocally at a specific time and within a specific time boundary but now I can wake up at whatever time of the day or night, have an idea and record it… and can work on things when I feel inspired to, rather than when we have studio access and can all make it there... Jez came over to Barcelona to finish and mix the tracks and that was great, especially at that point in the process when you have to start being so anal about everything and constantly make minute adjustments.

    t. - Can you talk a bit about your upcoming album? Why should trippin' the rift readers listen to it?

    J. - Ooooh now that would be telling

    M. - They should listen to it because we think they will enjoy it!! If they like Trip Hop then they will find elements in the music that they enjoy, and they may be interested in how we've attempted to fuse elements of this sound with other genres.

    t. - Are there any tour plans? What else is planned for 2011?

    J. and M. - At the moment our focus is on finishing other new batch of songs for release which should be by the end of February if not sooner but sure, we’d both like to play some gigs this year to support our music so watch this space! Sign up to our Facebook Fan Page for all upcoming news, fresh music and free DJ mixes from us.

    Don't know about you, but I'm very curious about their upcoming album. Here's a little taste of Ink Project's sound, available for free download:

    Ink Project - Flicker FREE DOWNLOAD
  • What's up, 11?!

    2 Ene 2011, 19:12

    Greetings! I hope you all had recovered from New Year celebration and don't regret any stupid things you've (allegedly) done that night. It's all good. It's 2011, which promises to be an exciting year for trippin' the rift. These robo-alien-looking critters on the picture are in fact just the letters TTRR, standing for Trippin' The Rift Records (logo is subject to change), yep, that's right, our very own netlabel that we're hoping to launch by mid-January, with a couple of very promising releases already in the works. Let me know if you're interested in releasing some of your work on TTRR! More details (and dedicated page) to follow, so stay tuned!

    Huge thanks to all of you who still listens to trippin' the rift Shoutcast Radio, now playing only independent trip-hop/downtempo. New material is being added practically every day, I hope it helped some of you to make one or two interesting discoveries. In 2011, hopefully starting this month, we're planning to start podcasting. If you have any content suggestions for podcasts, they are more than welcome.

    And, naturally, more of the stuff that we've been doing already. Album reviews (first up - Frozen Memories by Danny Bow) - there are a few quite exciting releases on the way, I'm particularly pumped up about the new Red Snapper album, interviews (DJ Vadim is coming up) and, of course, my favorite (hopefully yours too) FEA(U)TURES - Ink Project and Josh Furey are ready to share their stories with trippin' the rift readers.

    What I'm hoping for in the year 2011 is feedback and more feedback from you guys. I'm not complaining, all those Facebook likes and multiplying flags tell me that you're visiting, reading, listening and possibly even enjoying some of this stuff. I just want to know if this blog is trippin' the rift in the right direction. I'm also hoping to find some new writers, especially for album and concert reviews. There's just too much music out there to keep up by myself and as far as concerts go, some of the artists never make their way across the ocean (or even across the country!), so a little help please! I promise the very minimal editing!

    I have a feeling that it's going to be a very successful year. Let's keep trippin' the rift together!
  • Tracing Arcs - Eye See You

    30 Dic 2010, 1:15

    When we say 'rich sound' it obviously doesn't have anything to do with wealth. Yet while listening to the new release by UK's Tracing Arcs I kept getting this strange feeling that this music is literally rich, as in 'you have to be filthy rich to be listening to this lush sound'. Not true, naturally, especially considering that Eye See You is available for free download at iD.EOLOGY. But it just has that feel of music that being played personally for you, that you somehow could control if you wanted to, but you don't want to, because you're a lazy rich pig and because the music is so good anyway. The album has only 7 tracks, but each song is its own little world and is long enough to provide you with a nice fulfilling trip into this world. Here lies the vulnerability of Tracing Arcs' music - it isn't something you just put on while folding your laundry or painting kitchen cabinets. It isn't suitable for background noise at a party. This is music you actually have to listen to. Otherwise you will probably miss the harmony entirely. And harmony is the most important part here. There are no supporting roles here, only leading ones. Vocals by Fran Kapelle (who also writes the lyrics) and Paul H. Addie's layered soundscapes are inseparable and irreplaceable. Whether it's the mellow psychedelic "Deep Breath", the gorgeous "Consequence of Love", fulled with clear sadness "Sheep & Tides (for Big Al)" or the unusually intense (but still gentle) "So Beautiful", - they work together creating these slowly progressing mini-trip-hop-jazz-operas that have to be thoroughly listened to in order to be heard. It doesn't seem effortless, because it isn't. It took a lot of effort to create and it requires some effort to appreciate. And this is why I cannot accept Tracing Arcs music 100% and it's entirely my fault - I just cannot put enough effort into listening to music. I hope that some of you do.
  • Josh Furey - Archaeology

    21 Dic 2010, 6:17

    I always find reviewing really good albums harder than really bad ones. While reviewing something crappy not so great, there's lots of room for your twisted brain to roam and lots of un-tasty nuggets for your dirty mouth to feed on. "This is a weak rip-off of that and this song belongs on John Voight-produced movie soundtrack". Hardy-har-har. But what do you say about an album that is nearly perfect? That it's coherent, but every single track holds its own ground? Duh. That despite it's 17-track length there isn't a single note I would leave out and there isn't a moment when you get bored or your mouse pointer is slowly crawling towards 'skip' button? Well, yeah, but you can figure that out on your own. I guess I'll just screw objectivity altogether and keep it personal. I'm a sucker for strings, heavy beat and eerie samples. And there is plenty of all of the above on Archaeology. It's the music angels would play if someone would take their horns away and replaced them with DJ equipment and a warehouse full of blues, bossa-nova, hip-hop (and whatever the fuck else Josh Furey is listening to) records. They would sing beautiful songs that kinda make the world seem like not too bad of a place but at the same time remind you that there will be time when you'll have to leave this place and that time may come sooner than you think. It's a perfect winter album - with enough cold and stillness to send shivers down your spine and make you think about futility of life (like that killer sample of Bob Dylan and Alan Ginsberg talking at Kerouac's grave on "Faders", one of my favorite tracks) and other existential junk and stuff, but with enough warmth (all those breathtaking female vocal samples and occasional piano) to make you want to appreciate your futile existence a bit more. It never turns sappy or preachy though, which to me is another huge plus when it comes to a piece of art. Josh Furey keeps it tight with those beats like a no-nonsense construction worker laying down heavy bricks that on their own could be a dangerous weapon of destruction, but if followed an elaborate architectural design may form something massive and fragile at the same time. And when the architect and the brick layer are the same person, you know that the execution will be perfect. And you don't have to be an archaeologist to dig out this album. It's right here (be supportive and donate some moolah).

    R.I.Y.L. DJ Shadow, Indigo Spirit, strings
    personal favs: "Covered In Dust", "Faders", "Sac Actun Submerged"
  • 100th

    14 Dic 2010, 6:01

    Here it is, my dearest readers and listeners. The 100th post. A micro-anniversary in trippin' the rift's mini-history. I want to raise this glass of this fine Oatmeal Stout to all of you, who's been reading these posts (not always inspired and almost never grammatically correct, but always honest), listening to my tiny radio station, watching videos and even going as far as leaving comments. Appreciations all around. There is iTunes Almighty, there is a mega-community of Last.fm and yet there still is this blog and there are those exceptional (and very attractive, I'm sure) individuals who keep checking it out every once in a while. Thank you.

    I wanted to make this post memorable. I could have made a compilation of my top 100 trip-hop tracks (hm... not a bad idea actually. How about a poll to pick top 100 trip-hop tracks ever?!), write a long boring "ass"-ey about history of trip-hop and "how Coldcut started it all" and how "Portishead, Tricky and Massive Attack made everyone care". But I'll save those novel ideas for the future anniversary posts. This very first one should be small and intimate, full of hope, love and good trips. And it kind of came out like that, despite its big topic.

    How do you get people to listen to your Shoutcast radio? Right, play what they want to hear. Trip-hop fans want to hear "trip-hop" - the Wikipedia version of it. And that's a pretty solid version, but built around the same proven names and with a devastating "post-trip-hop" ending. Nothing about the future. It's all in the "post-". It all starts with Portishead and ends with Morcheeba. If you don't hear either of those or anything in-between, then it's "not trip-hop", and you can enjoy your shitty radio all by your lonesome. Well, how about that - I'm listening to Josh Furey's album Archaeology available at Bandcamp for "name your price (no minimum)" and it doesn't sound even a bit like a fuckin' past. It sounds like a good fuckin' trip-hop and it's CC-licensed and that means that I can play it on my radio. And I do. With pleasure. And apologies to all you guys who stopped listening after I went 100% CC-licensed and thank you for being with us for as long as you did, but kudos to ones who are listening now. There aren't many (like, right now it's 0 as in "zero"), but just yesterday afternoon two dudes (or gals) from USA, and one from Russia, Germany, Brazil, Czech Republic and Chile were listening to (and I'm sure lovin' the shit out of) Josh Furey's (Canada) songs. Or Botany Bay's (Germany). Or KARIZZA's (Ukraine). Or Veell's (Russia), who isn't even trip-hop, but kicks major ass anyway.

    And that's the weirdness of it. Of the whole entertainment industry and us its consumers. We're still readily forking over 99¢ for a song (here in the US. Most of us do. I think...), but watching new Dexter episode on an illegal website without any hesitation or emotional discomfort. We're starting to realize that there's no actual need to pay for something when there's so much FREE SHIT out there. And that they apparently have no idea how to fight it. Or simply cannot fight it because how do you fight artists offering their music (ready for it?) for free? Willingly. Just so people (I bet you're not ready for this one quite yet) would listen to it. What's even scarier for them is the fact that people are often paying money for those artists' music even though they don't have to! Wrap your head around this one. I asked some of the people whom I interviewed or reviewed their music to shed some light on what the F is going on in the music industry today and what is poor little aspiring musician to do in all this craziness. Here's what they had to say. read more @ trippin' the rift