Music Submissions Roundup: March
A selection of our favorite music submitted by XLR8R+ members last month.
Music Submissions Roundup: March
A selection of our favorite music submitted by XLR8R+ members last month.
Let’s begin with a thank you—for all the submissions, and all the great music you’ve sent to us. We launched this submissions portal with one goal in mind: to provide a direct channel with musicians because we recognize that for independent, emerging artists, it’s harder than ever to cut through the noise and have your music heard. That being said, we weren’t sure what to expect—how much music would we receive; and how much of it would be of a high enough quality to feature across our platforms? The answers: lots; and the majority of it. We’re really touched by the depth and breadth of these submissions, and we’re grateful for your hard work and for supporting us. We’ve listened to every single submission more than once—and while we could have featured much more, these are the tracks and mixes that stood out this month. Please enjoy, and keep sending us your music.
Editor’s note: we’ve made a point of linking each artist’s name to their Bandcamp 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.
Edgar Mondragón “Rufugio”
Edgar Mondragón is an electronic musician based in Mexico City, Mexico. His sound blends ambient, drone, noise, dream pop, and techno, and his work has taken him across Latin and North America. With several EPs under his belt, he’s about to release his first full-length album called No hay recuerdo que no se apague, and this is the first single, a tense and immersive slice of ambient.
Finds Them And Thrills Them “Disconnected, But Connected” (feat. Ane Trolle)
Finds Them and Thrills Them is the project of Tyler Pope, from LCD Soundsystem, and Steven Jess Borth II (a.k.a CHLLNGR) alongside synth wizard Anders Dixen from the band AV AV AV and drummer/producer Stunn Gunn.
Although Pope and Jess Borth II had crossed paths in their hometown of Sacramento, California, they never formally met until a party in the Bedstuy apartment of M.I.A., where they talked about working together. It took another few years before they fulfilled their promise, finding time to meet when Pope was in Copenhagen, where Jess Borth II lives, for a series of concerts with LCD Soundsystem. They snuck away for a studio session and the funk-filled proto-disco cut “Disconnected, But Connected” is the first release to come out of those sessions. It features a Danish singer Ane Trolle on vocals and is available on Bandcamp now.
“Sleeper” is the first track from usr/friendly, an experimental group formerly known as Oketo, and it’s as beautiful as it is cerebral. The group is made up of long-time friends Bradley Clevinger, Karlee Reiss, and Steven DeLair, all residing in Washington, United States. Expect their debut album later this year.
Erik Strauss “Darkside”
Erik Strauss is a DJ-producer from Venice, Italy, who grew up listening to jazz and funk from his family’s vinyl records. Only later on did he begin digging into more electronic sounds. He’s part of French label Nuit Blanche but he also independently shares trip-hop and downtempo tunes like “Darkside,” a masterfully produced cut we keep on coming back to.
Toada “Brisas De Lisboa”
Toada is a producer born Valdir da Silva in Luanda, Angola but raised in Lisbon. He grew up around Sintra, a charming Portuguese town, where he discovered a “deep connection” with music. After lessons with electric guitar, he found himself performing in hard rock and metal bands, which developed his most basic musical instincts. These instincts took him away from metal and into alternative music, in particular bands like dEUS or even Flamenco music like Vicente Amigo, and he discovered electronic music, albeit only as an “avid listener,” he recalls.
In 2015, da Silva conceived Toada, an amalgamation of several other musical projects that began in Lisbon but matured in Berlin, Germany, where da Silva bases himself for personal reasons. Toada’s releases began in 2018, all of them through Plūma, his own label set up for his own work. We signed “Brisas De Lisboa,” his new work, to XLR8R+, and released it with tracks from Rob Garza and Mike Shannon. It’s a delicate slice of emotive downtempo electronica, much in the same vein as Rival Consoles, dedicated to the Lisbon community where he’s grown up.
Dawn Razor “Be As One 2”
Enigmatic Russian artist Dawn Razor has featured on R&S, A R T S, Anemone, and Hypnotic Room to name a few. His music comprises broken beat techno, electro, mutated bass, post-trance, and everything in between. “Be As One 2” is one of his latest works and its rolling breaks and low-slung groove hit us like a wrecking ball. With a huge catalog of unreleased tunes at his disposable, Dawn Razor is one to watch in the coming months.
C. Wendy “Fuckboy’s Rhythm”
C. Wendy is a London-based DJ-producer, and an affiliate of etiket records in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has released two previous tracks, both last year on the Tribute To Joshua Nolan EP. “Fuckboy’s Rhythm,” a new cut, is a slick house track that will certainly have dancefloors moving when they can be filled again.
Jean-Emmanuel Rosnet “General Updates”
Jean-Emmanuel Rosnet forms part of the French avant-garde music scene. Over the last 10 years, he has produced music under several different monikers from dance music to electronica. Under his own name, he delivers music that’s rich in field recordings, textures, and mineral chords with a heavy focus on ambient music. As co-founder of Mirage Festival, he’s also a recognized curator in the field of digital arts and new media art. The Distant Murmur of the City, his new EP, is out now, and we’ve picked beautifully subtle and calming “General Updates” as a highlight.
Sef Sung “PIT”
Sef Sung was born in Vienna, Austria in 1994 but moved to Ankara, Turkey in 2007. He’s a student of film who currently resides in his parents’ attic where he has started to make electronic music. His setup comprises a laptop and some basic music equipment he bought with money “extorted from his parents,” he says—and with it he’s made “PIT” a warped-out track that sounds like pop beamed from parallel universe.
Sour Gout “Pulses”
Sour Gout’s new album is out now on Absurd TRAX. Across the album, the Vancouver, British Columbia artist creates collages of organic and virtual intensities, sculpting them into a series of immersive soundscapes. The album combines digital, instrumental, and organic sounds into a wide array of abstract forms, taking influence from the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, Frank Zappa’s late synclavier compositions, and the apocalyptic healing manga of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō. The album represents a sonic shift for Sour Gout toward a more abstract space, and we’ve picked “Pulses” as the pick of the bunch.
Komarebi “Break Out”
Komarebi, real name Iestyn Jones, has been making music for nearly a decade but only recently has he been taking it seriously, and now he’s looking to get it out there. Based in Newport, Wales, Komarebi takes influences from house, techno, ambient, and slow jungle, but right now he’s feeling electro! His first album is due on Touched Music soon, and “Break Out,” with its lush melodies and tender grooves, is the first sign of what we can expect. Don’t sleep on this one.
Silene is a support worker and music therapist based in Bristol, UK. He produces music on the side and has released on Nous Disques and Mor Elian/Rhyw’s Fever AM, while also running his Energy Source label, which donates all proceeds towards East Bristol/Trussell Trust Food Banks. His new EP features “Reflect,” a world-class piece of left-field beat science that marks Silene as a UK producer to keep an eye on!
Nothing is known about Aestum other than that they’re based in Vatican City and they released the Blasted Heath EP last year, presenting five dedications to contemporary artists Asma, Kinke Kooi, Siggy Sekira, Zhou Siwei, and Viktor Timofeev. The whole EP is deeply moving and paints an exciting sonic world, and it should be listened to as a whole, but “Siwei” is the track we came back to.
Aspetuck “Into the Woods”
Aspetuck had never considered delving into the world of music production until fairly recently. Growing up in sleepy Vermont, United States without easy access to any inkling of a nightlife scene, the internet was his only form of musical discovery for those formative days. Years later, after living in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles, Aspetuck was drawn into the robust nightlife cultures of both cities that was so absent in the rural hills of the northeast. Immersing himself in both music production and photography, two creative outlets that seemingly complement and balance each other, he is quietly chipping away at developing his sound with the help of a broad range of influences to draw from.
Treehouse at Yuma Place is a collection of eight songs produced towards the end of 2019. They were all made in the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles, a place that is lush and serene just minutes up the hill from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. The songs reflect the closing of a chapter and the start of a new one. We’ve picked “Into The Woods” as our favorite, but the whole album, out now, is worth a dig.
Loxxe “Limit Break”
Loxxe is an emerging Toronto-based DJ and producer with a knack for finding the elusive middle ground between house and techno. Loxxe is a former bass guitarist and classical pianist, and took up DJing after living in Osaka, Japan, as she was “inspired by the city’s energy and intensity.” Her sound balances driving rhythms with subtle atmospheres and melodies, an ethos that is perfectly summed up in “Limit Break,” our favorite of her recent tracks.
Konrad Kujawa is a techno DJ-producer based in Kraków, Poland. After flirting with various musical genres, he settled on techno in 2015 and became SMTHN. He released his first EP for Dirty Stuff Records in 2017, and he followed it with a mini-album, l e s s, and his debut vinyl album, Disappearance of Peter Bergmann. This mix, one of Kujawa’s first to be published online, oscillates between techno and ambient, and it’s made with field recordings and live instruments. “I was trying to find the balance between 4/4, straight to the dance-floor cuts, and something more emotional and elusive,” Kujawa tells XLR8R.
Vers ‘Altijd Vers’
Vers made this mix in the run-up to an event hosted by Grid, the Ghent-based collective, which aims to tie together architecture, visuals, and cutting-edge club music. Headlining the party was Stenny, who fittingly features in the mix, alongside Aquarian, Deena Abdelwahed, Actapulgite, and many more. This one will have you dancing in your bedroom!
Lost Fx ‘Short Stories’
This mix by Lost Fx captures the “feeling you have when being in a big city you do not know, for the first time, but how you can take comfort in this,” they say. “Loneliness is something I like to explore a lot in my music, so when putting this mix together, instead of having tracks play one after the other, I wanted to create a narrative that could run alongside the music.” To achieve this, they used a variety of sound clips taken from various films and interviews. The music almost exclusively comes from XLR8R downloads, some of it going back to 2011. “This was a conscious decision, as I have a genuine love for XLR8R and the tracks you have highlighted over the years have turned me on to some amazing producers. So please enjoy.”