Tag Archives: beats

Lifetime Achievement: ShunGu


“I wouldn’t be making music if it wasn’t for J Dilla,” says ShunGu, a hip-hop producer based in Brussels whose music hooks post-Dilla beats around the head-nodding combination of woozy, melodic synths and thumping drum patterns. “For me, in hip-hop, Dilla’s like what John Coltrane is to jazz. Dilla’s choice of samples, his choice of drums—it all comes from Dilla for me.”

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: May 2019


May’s best beat tapes include a collection of dust-kissed samples from Turkish records, a retrospective compilation of lush and soulful beats from one of Spain’s most gifted producers, loops and chops from a revered Beat Junkie, minimal and downtempo beats featuring heavy blues/funk guitar, and more.

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp: April 2019


This month’s installment of Best Beat Tapes showcases several records that challenge the traditional definition of a beat tape, skewing closer to jazz and soul than traditional hip-hop instrumentals. We’ve also got an incredible batch of skull-cracking instrumentals from one of the greatest hip-hop producers of the 2000s, electronically-inclined beats that incorporate everything from samba to cumbia, and a tape full of brilliant chops and dynamic percussion from a rising Bay Area producer.  Continue reading

The Mythology of Telemakus


Photos by Khushal

When 19-year-old Bay Area pianist and producer Telemakus began composing his Calantha series late last year, he had a specific concept in mind. “Calantha is an off-world colony in Blade Runner,” he says. “In each volume, I’m getting closer to the planet. I’m being transported there sonically.”

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Flow Fi Records is a Hub for Forward-Thinking Beatmakers

Flow Fi

“I’m sick of working different jobs,” Ananthu Nair explains on the phone from Sydney, Australia, where he’s currently based. “I want to be my own boss. I want to call my own shots. I want to be the Malayalee Jay-Z.” Better known as enigmatic producer aywy, Nair is soft-spoken—and reluctant, at best, to chat about himself. He’d rather talk about Flow Fi, the label he co-founded in 2014, and currently leads as creative director. Since gaining attention from publications and audiences in 2014 and 2015, Flow Fi has found itself at the forefront of the experimental beatmaking and hip-hop underground, offering sounds that swing confidently between genres like alt-pop and bass-heavy trap. It’s less a label than a vehicle for unfettered stylistic experimentation, with Nair at the helm.

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Monte Booker’s Hip-Hop & Soul Productions Are Based in Found Sound

Monte Booker

In February 2018, Chicago producer Monte Booker posted a Snapchat story in which he created a beat using the noises made from items in his old home. Using his trusty Tascam DR-44WL recorder, Booker recorded himself shaking a bottle of water, a pepper grinder, and an empty box of crackers. He also recorded the sound of the faucet running, the two glasses clinking together, a faulty radio transmission, and the sound of his finger tapping a bongo. Then, he loaded the clips on his MacBook Pro, reworked them with his OP-1 Synthesizer, and made a beat from the collection of ordinary sounds. This is part and parcel of Booker’s work—other producers use drum kits and synths to build songs; Booker uses the sounds around him. That unique approach has made him a valued member of the Soulection community, and a critical part of Chicago crew Zero Fatigue’s success. Continue reading

Album of the Day: Various Artists, “Brainfeeder X”

Without Brainfeeder, the Los Angeles beat scene may have never achieved its enduring, international level of fame. If the fabled Low End Theory nights were the scene’s terrestrial home, Brainfeeder was the spaceship sent around the world, blasting the innovative, genre-bridging music created by Low End’s attendees and headliners. Founded by Flying Lotus, the label captured the magic of those Wednesday nights at The Airliner for posterity in one groundbreaking release after another, always searching for sounds as boundless as the cosmos. After a decade of altering the course of music history, they deserve to dock the ship and celebrate their journey.

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A Guide to Breakbeats on Bandcamp

breakbeatOn November 20, 1969, a 25-year-old drummer from Chattanooga, Tennessee named Clyde Stubblefield was seated behind the drum kit at the King Records studio in the Evanston section of Cincinnati, in the midst of a scorching hot jam. His boss and mentor, James Brown, the Godfather of Soul himself, was in top form, casually freestyling a string of intense, surrealist lyrics about a party gone awry.

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