Tag Archives: Ras G

Brainfeeder Has Come to Bandcamp

Kamasi

In 2008, experimental producer Flying Lotus launched his Brainfeeder label as a means to release sonically challenging music coming from the Los Angeles beat scene. This was two years after Lotus released his impressive debut album, 1983, which introduced the world to his own blend of jazz-inspired hip-hop and electronica. “As a kid I always thought about starting a label,” Lotus told The Fader in 2015. “I was always interested in the business side and I thought it could be a plan B if things didn’t work out.”

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The Best Beat Tapes on Bandcamp

beat tapes

Ideally, this column is diverse and inclusive in every way. That said, your humble columnist is from L.A. So it’s with little shame and much pride that I selected three releases from Cali-based artists, all of whom put a distinctive spin on the sounds emanating from the city’s perennially talented beat scene. The other tapes come from producers working in locales as disparate as Wisconsin and Germany. You’ll find everything from breezy boom bap to noir-y trip-hop and deftly chopped R&B. Ideally, many beats will align with your tastes, and many more will expand them.

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Leaving Records is Dedicated to the Art of Curation

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In 2007, Matthew “Matthewdavid” McQueen was sitting in the studio of dublab radio during a Ras G show, when an artist named dak took over the session with an original beat set. McQueen, at the time an intern for both Plug Research and dublab, was blown away by the music he heard coming from the speakers. Dak’s unconventional sound, which blended glitchy syncopation with murky low-end production, got McQueen’s wheels spinning. As he listened, he began to realize that artists like dak were making music that was too experimental and adventurous to find a home at most record labels.

“Dak was a diamond in the rough,” McQueen says. “It was clear that if I did gain his consent and permission [to sign him and release his album] that it would be a very strong, new sound, from a new artist, to help launch a new label.”

That moment in the dublab studio marked the beginning of Leaving Records, a label rooted in Los Angeles beat music and ambient, but which has grown to become a sanctuary for musical free-thinkers. Co-founded with visual artist Jesselisa Moretti, Leaving calls its ethos “all-genre,” which indicates the label’s openness to the possibilities of music, and its aim of knocking down genre walls so that all sounds are permitted. Leaving is a place for Ras G’s Afro-space age beats, the innovative percussion techniques of Deantoni Parks, Julia Holter’s art pop, Laraaji’s ambient zither meditations, and Knxwledge’s dusty soul breaks. The label has few hard rules, but one of them is that Matthewdavid doesn’t sign artists that he has not befriended first.

In that way, Leaving is an expression of both Matthewdavid’s expansive taste and his social circle. The label’s first release was technically Matthewdavid’s Disk Collection, but the catalogue began in earnest with dak’s standthis cassette—a format that, in 2009, was still thought to be archaic. After that initial dublab session, McQueen and dak quickly became close friends, hanging out at dublab and trading beat tapes. McQueen says that dak, like many artists he knows, “doesn’t let everyone in his head” which he associates with the mark of a genius.

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