Breakthrough is the debut full-length album from the Gaslamp Killer, a manic and mystic trip through the mind of a madman. Resident DJ and co-founder of the mythic Low End Theory club night in Los Angeles, the Gaslamp Killer is known across the globe for his impeccable turntable skills and high-energy performances. He delivers the same fire to Breakthrough, a project pulled from within his soul that is his strongest musical statement yet.Blending California-inspired psych with widespread global influences, Breakthrough is a musical anachronism, an unconstrained compilation from a wandering spirit. Finding new clarity through human connections after years on the road, the Gaslamp Killer’s evolution as an artist continues with Breakthrough. Overcast with ominous tones, loose drums and contorted sounds, Breakthrough is much more than a collection of beats, it is a musical project that reflects the culmination of almost a decade’s worth touring and performing around the world. Laying his hands on production and live drums, the Gaslamp Killer brings together a potent cast of friends to contribute to the album. Featuring guest appearances by Gonjasufi, Adrian Younge, Dimlite, Daedelus, SAMIYAM, Computer Jay and more, Breakthrough is a journey of creative connection, a tribal ceremony loaded with a sense of fellowship that reflects the Gaslamp Killer’s devotion to the collective experience.Lacing the album with ancient dust, Gonjasufi lends his gritty voice to instantly grasping “Veins” and the easy, grainy groove of “Apparitions.” Finding a frequency of high-strung horror, “Flange Face (with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson)” drops with a feeling of impending doom, a heaving monster with cinematic strings and meteors falling from the stars.“Impulse (with Daedelus)” immediately descends into madness, spinning out of control amidst wicked sound contraptions and a blurry, bass-driven melody. Named after the Gaslamp Killer’s grandfather, "Nissim (with Amir Yaghmai)" travels through a host of emotions, evolving from the solemn strums of a yiali tambur into a sunny tune that instantly transports you to Istanbul.“Seven Years of Bad Luck for Fun (with Dimlite)” slices the spine down the middle with chills, a cold-blooded tremor that congeals as it crawls through the shadows. Grabbing your breath through your guts and flinging off into the ether, “In the Dark”, is an encompassing track whose twisted strings and heavy horns overtake the album’s denouement with a shuddering glimpse of the end of the world.To his ever-expanding fanbase, the Gaslamp Killer is much more than a DJ or producer, he is a master crafter of the collective experience, a shaman of spiritual escape found by following the beats. The journey continues, turning 30 this year, the Gaslamp Killer has only scratched the surface of himself as an artist and a person. Resonating on a deeper level, Breakthrough is the Gaslamp Killer’s spirit shining through the haze, breaking through the foggy veil of singularity to find the human connection.
Stuart Howard aka Lapalux has come up with something special for his first release with Cali's finest, Brainfeeder. Having made his name with his cassette-only "Many Faces Out Of Focus" and acclaimed bootlegs and remixes he returns with a seven track EP of such poise and beauty, one listen is enough to know you're onto something special.
Lapalux bathes your brain in lush textures, surprising and explosive atmospheres set in unencountered, unearthly spaces, all somehow perfectly set against catchy rolling choruses informed by pop and commercial R&B. On the "When You're Gone" EP he channels and refines his sound and shapes it into hazy, woozy emotion. Whether working with a singer like Py (on "Moments"), or deconstructing found samples and his own voice, Howard stretches, bends and warps sound to make soul - not plastic posturing but real emotion made of synthetic sound.
1. 102 Hours of Introductions
2. Moments (Feat. PY)
4. Yellow 90's
5. Construction Deconstruction
6. Gutter Glitter
7. Face Down, Eyes Shut
If indeed "you blows who you is," as Louis Armstrong once famously said, then Stephen Bruner's bass is a mainline to the soul of a man whose DNA was transcribed from the stars onto staff paper. His Flying Lotus-produced debut, The Golden Age of Apocalypse, offers both stone-cold skill and uncanny astrality, picking up where the pair left off on 2010's Cosmogramma and further distilling the jazz current running through that landmark Lotus release. A longtime contributor to others' albums, Bruner, aka Thundercat, is accompanied by an impressive cast ranging from Erykah Badu to members of Sa-Ra and J*DaVeY, to pianist Austin Peralta and his own Grammy-winning brother, drummer Ronald Bruner, Jr. Still, the end result is unmistakably a Thundercat record -- a lush and magical document combining classic jazz fusion, futurist electronic strains and timeless musical seeking.
A native of South Los Angeles, Bruner found his instrument at the age of 4. That made him a late-bloomer in the house of Ronald, Sr., who drummed with the Temptations among others. His first bass was a black Harmony, and he practiced to the Ninja Turtles soundtrack until pops played him Jaco Pastorius. School was a blur of lessons, sessions and waking up for zero periods. At 15, he scored a hit in Germany as part of the short-lived boy band No Curfew. At 16, he toured Japan with soul man Leon Ware and joined thrash legends Suicidal Tendencies (he's still their bassist). More road and studio time followed, with everyone from Stanley Clarke to Snoop Dogg to Eric Benét. Eventually the name Thundercat stuck, a reference to the cartoon he's loved since childhood and an extension of Bruner's wide-eyed, vibrant, often superhuman approach to his craft. As one writer put it, he's "a mutant jazz cat," nuff said.
Spanning a cosmic stew of players, locations and times, The Golden Age of Apocalypse was years in the making even though Bruner had never planned on releasing his own music. But Lotus spurred him on, and each song became a journey. There's the ebullient "Daylight," a soft whirl of bluesy piano, New Age synth, snapping beats and warm bass. There's "Walkin'," an upbeat soul strutter powered by Bruner's digitally distorted plucks. There are raw, improvised numbers like "Jamboree" and virtuosic bass pileups like "Fleer Ultra." One of the album's most stunning moments arrives with a spacious cover of George Duke's "For Love I Come," a taut beauty spangled with crystalline harp and keys. Bringing this string of divinely unexpected moments to a moody and cinematic close is "Return to the Journey." There, Bruner sings, "Time will pass us by," but listeners needn't worry. Inside of this space, time really isn't a thing.
03. Fleer Ultra
04. Is It Love?
05. For Love I Come
06. It Really Doesn't Matter to You
08. Boat Cruise
12. Mystery Machine (The Golden Age of Apocalypse)
13. Return to the Journey
Blazing back onto the radar with one of the most anticipated and long-awaited albums yet on Brainfeeder is SAMIYAM. Sam Baker's Album is 40 minutes of deviant listening pleasure, a series of woozy, off-center hip hop instrumentals drawing heavily on Baker's love of electronic funk but never obligated to it.
Intensely detailed and carrying considerable emotional weight, this is not Rap Beats Vol. 2, but rather an album of fully realized tracks that stand on their own, knee-deep in the groove and bent to the side. Sludgy, chunky beats mesh with organic sounds and fractured stops and starts, all coming together like the pieces of a demented dream.
SAMIYAM moved to Los Angeles from Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2006; in his short time on the West Coast he has become one of the city's most progressive and recognized producers, a man who has helped spearhead the revival of interest in instrumental hip-hop music. His album Rap Beats Vol. 1 was the first release on the Brainfeeder label, and SAMIYAM's raw hip hop sound with a psychedelic edge and off-kilter beats could be called quintessential Brainfeeder style.