Music Submissions Roundup: May
A selection of our favorite music submitted by XLR8R+ members last month.
Music Submissions Roundup: May
A selection of our favorite music submitted by XLR8R+ members last month.
Another month means another round of submissions, and the quality is as high as it has been on our previous editions. In the midst of this pandemic, and ongoing global protests in support of Black rights, the world continues to spin and new music is coming thick and fast. We opened our submissions portal with the goal of capturing some of this, providing a direct connection with artists to facilitate the presentation of their work, and we’re delighted to publish it each month, bringing new names to the fore. May’s submissions cover afro-funk, straight-up techno, and jazz, mostly coming from Europe, Australia, and the Americas, but there’s something new in there for everyone. Thank you to all those who sent us your music. We’ve listened to it all, and these are our picks.
Editor note: we’ve made a point of linking each artist’s name to their social media page, or a place where you can buy their music, and we encourage our readers to support these independent artists by buying their music. Let’s keep independent culture alive.
For those unfamiliar, XLR8R+ is a member-supported music community and curated music experience. Every month, you will get three exclusive tracks—sometimes more—by a wealth of amazing artists that XLR8R has supported over the years, as well as access to the member’s area where you can submit tracks and DJ mixes to be showcased in this feature series and to the XLR8R+ community, as well as exclusive editorial content, mixes, FREE passes to music festivals and events, playlists, and more. You can find out more here.
Autow Nite Superstore “Go Home Now”
Autow Nite Superstore is an electronic music DJ-producer based in Athens, Greece. After a dark period, Autow Nite Superstore decided to focus on new music, crafting Conversations, an album available now on Klik Records. The nine-track long-player is rich in color but it’s also melancholic and moving. We’ve picked “So Home Now,” a gorgeous cut reminiscent of electronic crooners such as James Blake, but the whole album really deserves a listen.
Trevor James Tillery “Stolen Thoughts”
Trevor James Tillery is an artist based in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been releasing music for four years, including two EPs and Together. Alone, his debut album. Tillery plans to release several new singles this year and he began with “Stolen Thoughts,” released May 8. It’s a deeply emotive and poignant piece of pop music that has us hanging for more.
Small Circles “Trying”
Small Circles is an electronic music act based in Dublin, Ireland. Originally intended as a solo project, it has evolved into a larger ensemble featuring guest vocalists and instrumentalists, inspired by producers like Lindstrøm, Todd Terje, and George FitzGerald. The goal is to create a good mix of beats, synths, and live instruments, and “Trying” is their latest work—a slice of dancefloor euphoria.
Mystics “Temporal Paradox”
“Kinks In Time” comes from Mystics‘ debut on SRIE Records, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it lands with a remix by Divide. All four cuts on the EP are full of energy and feature complex sound design, sculpted for the techno purists. Of the four tracks, the title track caught our ear for it’s galloping rhythms and head-swirling synth lines—a sure-fire way to warm up the dancefloor and push the limits on any set.
León & Sayed “Valentine”
Peering through a warped lens of psychedelia, León & Sayed (real names Andrés León and Harrison Sayed) are inspired by artists like Jack DeJohnette, Mongo Santamaría, Miles Davis, and Ricardo Villalobos. Stemming from Ecuador and California, the duo blend their personal perspectives with their worldly visions, exploring Afro-Caribbean, jazz, and house music in their work. “Valentine” forms part of their new EP, available now, and it’s as fun-loving and colorful as you’d expect, inciting a delirious and euphoric dance experience.
Lukas Oppenheimer “To Have You Here”
Lukas Oppenheimer is an American-German musician and digital artist living in Berlin, Germany. There’s little known about him, other than that he released abstraction, a new EP, in May, following on from Patterns in 2016. “To Have You Here,” taken from this new release, is a slice of deeply emotive, downtempo techno, with luscious vocals.
50,000 Dinar “CRISPR baby”
A fine piece of up-tempo, pop-infused house, “CRISPR baby” is a song about hubris in our final hopes, as exemplified by our desires to alter the fundamental elements of life on this planet. Behind it is 50,000 Dinar, real name Elliot Smith from Salt Lake City. “L’impermanence,” which accompanies “CRISPR baby” on an EP is a fun listen, too.
Afar, from Australia, is the alias of Matt Gibson. Gibson is a fan of many styles of electronic music but uses the Afar name for his deeper, heads-down productions. “Division,” a killer dub-house cut, is among his first batch of public productions, and if it’s anything to go by then we’ll be seeing plenty more of him in the near future.
Navigateur “Commit Revert”
Navigateur is the alias of multi-instrumentalist and producer Carlos R. Andujar. Originally hailing from Florida, Andujar has made Atlanta his home base of operations for the past eight years. Taking cues from his childhood in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Andujar crafts lush, synth-driven sounds that dance around steady, often polyrhythmic percussion.
Having released a number of singles, EPs, and a full-length album, Andujar attempts to maintain a thoughtful pace of producing music while balancing his time as a professional designer. From his early roots in the chillwave and vaporwave scenes that exploded starting in 2010, Navigateur’s music has evolved, with each new release experimenting with and borrowing new sounds from genres like new age, footwork, and new jack swing. “Commit Revert” is the first single taken from an upcoming album, with details to come soon.
Yavor Zografski, or SMYAH, is a music producer and filmmaker based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Being hugely inspired by the drum & bass, dubstep, and soundsystem culture, SMYAH’s sound fuses those worlds, swinging from broken beats to left-field bass and eerie, cinematic elements. He’s released three EPs and is currently working on his first full-length album, scheduled for an Autumn release. “Lithium” is the first taste of this new album and is a sonic embodiment of its artwork—a twisting wormhole of sound design and bass pressure. Available now alongside a previously submitted cut, “Event Horizon.”
Damien and Mattieu Bregère began making electronic music after discovering Warp Records, having spent their preceding years in various band projects. At the time, they’d just moved to Lyon, France, and found themselves shaped by Nuits Sonores, then in its early years but bringing techno music to them. “This resounding slap to our ears was too physical to be true,” the brothers explain. “We were immediately conquered by the hypnotic side of things. Without a band, we decided to swap our guitars and drums for synthesizers and computers. Just the two of us, just to give it a try.” Spitzer was launched, and their work is now found on InFiné, Entreprise, and Parlophone, purveying a dark, hypnotic form of techno. “Shipstern,” a deep and twisting piece of warped, slow-mo techno, is a new track made especially for XLR8R+. You can download it for free here alongside another slamming cut “Ventura.”
Safe Jazz “Good Vibes”
Safe Jazz is a group formed by producer and bassist Jesse Schuster, who in 2018 released the exquisite Joy, etc., comprising 17 tracks of electronic composition and live instrumentation that make you feel all warm inside. Schuster handles sampling, programming, and bass, but also featuring are Arlen Peiffer on drums and percussion and Eric Mayson on piano, Wurlitzer, and synths.
“Good Vibes,” a new track available now, and a taste of what’s to come, is in the same vein, intended to soundtrack to a sunny day-off in Los Angeles, as Schuster explains: “You wake up, the sun is hazily shining through your window. You look at the clock and it’s later than you expected. But it’s cool. It’s your day off and you’re alive. You slip some shoes on to take a stroll to get a coffee and a taco. You slip your headphones on, maybe you get a little high. The vibe is good. You love your neighborhood, you love the morning, you’re taking time for yourself. Good on you. Spread your simple joy.”
Daft Punk “Da Funk” (Rory Marshall’s 909 Re-Rub)
Rory Marshall, an Australian DJ-producer, has reworked one of Daft Punk’s many legendary tracks “Da Funk,” and one of his all-time favorite records. “I have always wanted to have a version that suits my style so I got to work and this is what was born,” Marshall tells XLR8R. As the name suggests, Marshall refits it with a slamming 909 framework, resulting in a face-melting edit that begs to be played on a club soundsytem. He’s offering up as a free download.
eego “BACK 2 BED”
eego, real name Antonio Castellano, is a Milan-based songwriter mixing vocal samples, IDM atmospheres, and experimental sounds into what he labels avant-pop. “BACK 2 BED,” a more recent single, came out in February on local label doubledoubleu, and it features ARUA across three-and-a-half minutes of beat-driven pop. Check out “Rubber,” Castellano’s debut, too.
Stereo 77 “The Twitch” (feat. Wanda Raimundi—Ortiz & Jorge Collazo)
Stereo 77 is Alejandro Ramirez, a DJ-producer born 1977 in Puerto Rico. He’s recently presented a new collection of productions in the shape of four intimate tracks titled Consider Time. Expect an adventurous, late-night, post dance-floor assortment with hints of ’90s deep house, sampled drums, and live recordings. “The Twitch” reunites Stereo 77 with painter, professor, and human-rights activist Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, who turns her original spoken-word piece into an ambient and cinematic call to action. It’s an affecting and achingly beautiful piece of music.
Paul Vinsonhaler “Fermi Paradox”
Paul Vinsonhaler is a film and media composer living in Memphis, Tennessee. He has worked on films and various media projects for the last seven years, and his work includes the original score for the award-winning short films “Space Licorice” and “Muddy Water.” Vinsonhaler’s musical work focuses on sound design, dynamics, and sonic experimentation, and it blends the lines between classical minimalism and modern music. “Fermi Paradox” is a tense cut that blends his score work with beats, forming a stand-out release of horror-inspired instrumental hip-hop with a layer of industrial.
Tbilisi, Georgia-based party series Pluto’s Plan has launched a new label of the same name. To kick things off, three local producers collaborated on the Starship of Charon EP, a groove-filled collection of house cuts, and B2 is a smooth slow-burner for early, warm-up hours from Hamatsuki, real name Mamuka Tskhadaia, called “Erius.” Hamatsuki is a resident of local club Bassiani.
Albion “Air” (Nick Stoynoff’s Warped Summer Boot)
Nick Stoynoff has remixed Albion’s “Air,” an ecstatic, timeless trance track written by Ferry Corsten. Stoynoff, from Chicago, morphs the original into a driving, late-night cut, adding some real punch to the drums without compromising the majesty of the original. Available now as a download.
Anechoic “Ellipsoidal Variations”
Anechoic is a Parisian producer and hybrid live performer that uses a combination of synths, drum machines, and modular equipment to produce and perform his brand of hypnotic and dark techno. His latest EP, Hyperspectral, draws on these qualities and is a collection of true wormhole techno. From the EP, our pick is “Ellipsoidal Variations,” a punchy cut that wouldn’t sound out of place at Japan’s psychedelic techno mecha Labyrinth Festival.
Highway 307 ‘MIXCAST 1101 Acid Rain’
Influenced by wonky bass music, acid, hip-hop, breaks, classic house and techno, Highway 307, from Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, creates a powerful retro-futurist and danceable sound. His “MIXCAST 1101 Acid Rain” mix is supposed to be a coming out of sorts, marking a new release on 1101 Records with fellow Mexican producer Groove Killah. Fittingly, the mix opens with “Moonrock,” taken from the EP. Expect driving dancefloor house, with no rest.