With an array of aged, battered machines, Kevin Palmer aka Best Available Technology orchestrates live improvisations in a dub-controlled environment. Over the last three decades, Palmer has been experimenting with how to express a deep affection for a sound that was always thousands of miles away growing up, and this is his distinctive vision of the golden age of New York hip hop. Palmer's abiding love for a specific moment in New York's musical history is also riven with a looming anxiousness, as if he's unsure of how best to act as a conduit for a time he experienced by proxy.
Certain Creatures is multi-instrumentalist and producer Oliver Chapoy. Drenched deep in the murk of Miami's underground electronic & hardcore scene in the late 90's, Chapoy has become New York City's best kept secret for modular techno experiments, live and otherwise.
Certain Creatures - The Suffering Seas (ft. ShadowBox)
Certain Creatures - In Safety Of Cold Light (feat. Jon Philpot)
Certain Creatures - "Sparkle" (feat. Ike Yard) [Teaser Video]
Before Clay Wilson started making techno, he studied improvisation at music school in upstate New York. Wilson played bass, studying with noted jazz musicians who had worked with Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and many artists who recorded for the ECM label. He counts Coleman, Coltrane, and Art Ensemble of Chicago among his major inspirations. You can sense the subtle traces of Wilson’s avant-garde jazz training in his techno. You can hear the shifting layers of intriguing textures in the music, his deep understanding of the low end, of arranging and composition, of form. “Understanding the foundation of form has allowed me to not worry so much about putting loops into a full ‘song’, which seems to be a common thing with electronic music,” he says. “I think the textures kind of come from trying to get away from standard musical ideas.”
Denitia Odigie is a singer, songwriter, producer, and musician based in New York City. She has gained critical acclaim as a solo artist (Denitia, ADESUWA) as well as for her work with her indie R&B duo, denitia and sene. Rolling Stone has described her as having “ice-cutting vocal skills…an evocative range of emotion…” while The Fader has insisted "her music is something everyone needs right now."
Born and raised in Texas, Denitia stumbled upon the opportunity to move in and join an artist collective residence, shortly after arriving in NYC. The Clubhouse, a 4-story Victorian house in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of South Brooklyn, was home to anywhere from 8-11 musical and visual artists, and Denitia fit right in. It was in the The Clubhouse that she learned new methods of self-production and it's also where she met future collaborator Sene. The meeting of denitia and sene was an understated one; both had a mutual admiration for each other's music. Rapper, sene, invited Denitia to sing a hook on a track for LP to be leased on Plug Records. They both were happy with the results, so they continued to collaborate. One song led to another, and what seemed like overnight, their debut EP, blah blah blah was featured on Okayplayer, The Fader, and Indie Shuffle, amongst many other tastemaker blogs. In the spring of 2013, denitia and sene.'s first LP, his and hers, debuted in the Top #10 on the iTunes R&B charts. A swift sensation, the effort was a pleasantly unexpected success. The years that followed found the indie R&B duo headlining a tour in Western Europe, touring a great part of the states, and supporting artists such as HAIM, Jessie Ware, Mikky Ekko, Chet Faker, Jessie Boykins III, Lianne La Havas, Big Freedia, and Earl Sweatshirt, amongst others. The denitia and sene project has since been covered by press outlets such as Vogue, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, Fader, Nylon, NPR, Interview. Their videos have enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV2, MTVu, BET, and Revolt TV. After dropping a handful of singles, and then aligning with first Red Bull Music and then Rinse FM (UK) for successful releases, d&s has established themselves as early pioneers of what may now be considered in the realm of future-soul and new-wave pop.
In early 2016, Denitia created ADESUWA, a solo alias co-produced by Brad Williams (Jose James, Cory Henry). Combining flavors of dream-rock, retro soul, drum-machine driven R&B, ADESUWA has been compared to the likes of Beach House, Sade, Blood Orange, Little Dragon, and Cocteau Twins. The debut EP under this moniker has been hailed by mags and tastemakers, with Earmilk quoting "Adesuwa's strengths lie in her angelic vocal harmonies and how her croons interplay with her band's hazy arrangements."
In late 2016, denitia and sene. followed up their debut success with sophomore LP, love and noir. A darker, more abstract effort, love and noir. was called by The New York Times, “a tightly edited collection of bedroom jams, dialed up by Odigie’s soulful vocals and the duo’s perfectionist production values.”
Denitia’s Ceilings (SUS023) is a portrait of an artist awakened. After moving to the Rockaways, an isolated, beach-side Queens community, Odigie found herself turning inward for inspiration. She set out to shed the protective layers her career had imposed and rediscover what songs and sounds came naturally to her. She also wanted this story to have her name on it: no more aliases, no more hiding.
Introducing singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and native New Yorker Gabriel Garzón-Montano. Born to a Colombian father and a French mother, Gabriel spent his early years mastering the violin, guitar, and drums, before turning to the piano and bass guitar to better complete his compositions. By the time he graduated from Purchase College's Conservatory of Music, the foundations for his debut EP, Bishouné: Alma del Huila, were already laid.
A heartfelt tribute to the role of family, love, and the City's unavoidable lifestyle, Bishouné: Alma del Huila collects six songs performed and recorded at Henry Hirsch's Waterfront Studios. Renovated from an old church, Henry's home provided Gabriel with the right tools and environs needed to realize his demos to the songs included on this EP.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano - "Everything Is Everything"
Gabriel Garzón-Montano - 'Keep On Running' (Official Video)
An out the box New York native, Gut Nose been making electronic music since he was a young, voracious lad. A hardware obsessive and crate digging fanatic whose been sampling fuzzy disco and freestyle records from his parents' giant collection as long as he can remember.
Manipulating & molding sampled sounds grew not a love for machines, channeling the various mediums into live renditions of tracks until a bona fide, gutter groove emerges. There's plenty of painstaking, waveform-drawing music that takes place these days, and so instead of obsessing about perfection, Gut Nose just run with what gets recorded: live jams implanted to cassette through an ancient, '80s Sony mixer and various old effect boxes.
A recent graduate of Red Bull Music Academy New York and British ex-pat marooned in Melbourne for the past decade, Andy Donnelly distills the urban groove and bucolic mood of his heritage through the vibrancy of his new environs into a wholly unique soundscape.
Following a narrative of apocalyptic tides and the oceanic sublime, Sea Levels, his first release with Styles Upon Styles, sinks into the ambient, house, and techno realms with flashes of two-step, hip hop and dub. It's an idiosyncratic take on British electronic music viewed through the lens of relocation, aided by an arsenal of analog synthesizers, drum machines, and psychotropic effects.
Shot by Jordan Levie (http://www.jordanlevie.com/)
Kloke - Deep City (Official Video)
Ohal is a pianist, a collaborator, an activist, a writer and engineer. Her music is a collage of synthesized sounds, field recordings and voice. Fusing the logic of contemporary composition with the sensibilities of pop songs, Ohal builds narrative and pathos out of soundscape and abstraction.
Born and raised in Ashkelon, Israel, a seaside town tucked amongst sand dunes, Ohal left Israel for the dune-less landscapes of Omaha, Nebraska and New York City in the summer of 2001. An accidental train ride to Williamsburg spurned a decade of collaborations and friendships. She worked on music and film with Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio, collaborated with Tyondai Braxton and toured in Kyp Malone’s Rain Machine. As her collaborations in the indie world flourished, she became more interested in electronic music and noise, eventually leaving King’s County for Tel Aviv to recharge and refocus.
On returning to her native Israel, Ohal joined a direct action group called Anarchists Against the Wall to protest the systematic oppression of Palestinians and reactionary Israeli culture that grows with it. She later moved to London to pursue an MA in Anthropology, where she contributed to and edited a book about Anarchism in Israel for AK Press. She remains involved with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, recently collaborating with Brian Eno on an article urging musicians to boycott Israel.
Her music has been a constant throughout these various moves. During her time in Brooklyn, Tel Aviv and London, Ohal built a plethora of her own theremins and synthesizers. She accumulated an unique sound library from these instruments, a library tapped extensively for her solo recordings. Her first solo pieces were born out of a collaboration with Berlin-based filmmaker Lior Shamriz on his feature, Cancelled Faces.
Comprised of acclaimed producer Rusty Santos and renowned singer Mina Ohashi, The Present formed in NYC with the goal of melding mind, body, and soul into a chameleonic exploration of the dancefloor. Soaking in sounds from every corner of the globe, The Present is a shape-shifting exercise in past and future club dynamics, offering a kind of digital absolution in the information age.
Launching the project to critical acclaim in 2008 with a series of heady, ambient-inclined compositions, the duo proceeded to dismantle their original vision in the hopes of uniting the intellectual with the physical. Following years of experimentation and collaboration with global dance scenes (check their work with DJ Rashad), The Present re-emerged in 2015 with their third album, FSG. Elements from Chicago house and juke, UK jungle and Southern hip hop now constitute the duo’s polychromatic DNA, with a successive series of EPs entitled Energy & Sound further mining this promising new territory.
Brooklyn's Quincy Vidal boasts two unique personalities behind the mic: Le'Asha Julius and Caleb "CE" Eberhardt. The duo met in the acting department at Purchase College before descending on Brooklyn with the intention of composing day-in-the-life odysseys through a fiercely modern take on Golden Age hip hop.
Following three self-released albums since 2010, QV set forth in 2016 with a different kind of release: the wolf boy hoodie with accompanying download of their new EP, Chi'ren. The pairing of Chi'ren's playful artwork and intentional lyricism blazes through each song, as Le and CE weave through tales of love, anger, sex, betrayal and ultimately, the loss of childhood innocence.
Chi'ren features productions from both CE and Space People, whose beat tape, SHMM (SUS012), dropped in December 2015. Their work draws from 90’s and 10’s inspiration with crucial abandon - no style is more present than the singular, alive and confident voices of Quincy Vidal. Brooklyn, stand up.
A capable multi-instrumentalist and native New Yorker, Space People builds frenetic, funk-laden tracks using digital and analog synthesizers, drum machines, and an expansive sample library. His two releases for Styles, SHMM (2015) and Wet (forthcoming, October 2016), showcase a signature sound that is just as likely to recall Charles Stepney's cinematic arranging or Giorgio Moroder's harmonic palette, as it is J Dilla's poltergeist trying to skype you through your home appliances. His career as a collaborator has been unusually fruitful. He's maintained a decade-long partnership with songwriter Gabriel Garzón-Montano with several releases to date, most recently the official remix of Mayer Hawthorne's "Lingerie & Candlewax." He has garnered critical acclaim for his production work on Chi'ren, the 2016 EP from fellow Styles artists Quincy Vidal, and remains an indispensable part of their live performances. Most recently, he served as music director for the debut live performance of Latasha Alcindor’s B(LA)K at National Sawdust.
Thaddeus Nelson Jr conjures memories from samples to dress his compositions in a dusted glow. His first release, “Out Of The Night”, emanated dusk in hip hop constructions and dubby house for Other People Records in 2014, Issue #17. Thaddeus co-wrote “CF01” as Soul Project on the compilation disc, Furnace Series 1, from Montreal’s Booma Collective. A year on, he returned to Other People for an ambient piece entitled, "Nah", as Issue #156, before completingDance Record, a three track 12” that bounces stereo light across disco shadowplays for Styles Upon Styles.
Vorhees is the nom de guerre of New York City-based audio engineer and composer Dana Wachs. Vorhees embraces ambient form and pop structure in equal measure within her compositions. Live, her guitar tones are processed and extracted through a haze of vintage gear, conjuring dulcet riffs to aggressive, sneering fuzz over muted electronic beats. Her lyrics explore intimate observations with vocals alternating from alien to heartbreakingly human.
Dana studied cello and electric bass from an early age. At nineteen, she joined the Holy Rollers (Dischord) and dove deep into a world of touring and live sound. Audio engineering would define the following twenty years of her life while working at Greene Street Recording NYC and touring the world with St. Vincent, Grizzly Bear, and many others. In 2009, she debuted her solo compositions at Death By Audio on the evening of Alice Coltrane’s passing, a continuing musical influence. From that performance, Dana continued to work on her own music, releasing her debut 7" The Orchard (Peoples Club, 2012), composing for modern dance, film, and commissioned performances and recordings for fashion designer Rachel Comey. Live performances during this time included support for Cat Power, Matmos, and Dum Dum Girls, invitations to perform at Basilica Soundscape 2013 and Iceland Airwaves 2014. Her methods have always relied on improvisation, whether in studio or on stage, forsaking formal education for a natural and visceral response to what inspires her.
Hailing from Mexico City with a sharply-defined approach to techno and house music, Nicolas Guerrero's sinuous tapestries asWhite Visitationfirst attracted our attention with his deft use of acoustic samples and patient, innately focused style. WV joins Styles Upon Styles for his debut vinyl release, Ancestors.
Born in Illinois and based in Sacramento, Zac Nelson cultivates a daunting discography of pop experiments across a myriad of personas, collaborations and solo affairs. A feral drummer, versatile vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Zac performs with ALAK and Biosexual, recorded as CHLL PLL w/ Zach Hill of Death Grips and maintains a steady output of solo material. His past excursions in leftfield rock (Charbroile [Debacle, 2012]) and blasted sound design (Exis [Further, 2013]), meld into one beautiful orgy of sound in his most idiosyncratic album to date, 2015's New Once.
After escaping the the savage clutches of his native NYC, Zach Cooper retreated to the warm slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina like so many New Yorkers before him. While he continues to develop his primary musical projects, among them King Garbage and kuxxan SUUM, Cooper has been keenly focusing the aperture of intention behind his music.
Cooper has performed in various capacities with bands King Garbage, (the) Mel Gibson, Mr. Shopping, SNOUT, STENCIL / MAGIC and other ensembles and orchestras. His music has been featured by XLR8R Magazine, The Fader, Ibiza Space Magazine, The 405, and more; and released on Styles Upon Styles, South Fork Sound, Last Night On Earth and Slanted Black. In 2010, Mr. Cooper launched end fence, an all-digital free-label specializing in undiscovered high-quality electronic music. End Fence has featured such artists as Archie Pelago, Doctor Jeep, Create Her and Mr. Cooper's own kuxxan SUUM moniker.