Real Scenes: Los Angeles

The latest entry in Resident Advisor’s Real Scenes brings us to the City of Angels and features the likes of Matthewdavid, Dam-Funk, Sun Araw, the Dublab crew, Camella Lobo of Tropic of Cancer or M. Geddes Gengras as our guides through the city’s night life and music scene. What makes this rather interesting is the absence of certain artist you’d expect to appear in this video, diversifying and expanding one’s image of the city – after, what, four or five documentaries on the L.A. beat scene.

Thundercat – Them Changes

It was a bit of short notice, just before the weekend, that Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label announced the release of a new mini-album by fellow bass player and singer Thundercat. Among the six tracks on “The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam”, there is the wonderful track you can hear above.

So, if you’re not madly into Thundercat’s work already, this should serve as an excellent appetizer. Available from the NinjaShop, Bleep or iTunes. Digital only from what it looks like — sad face.

Kamasi Washington & Miles Mosley – MK 1

It’s amazing to see what Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder label pulled off with the release of the Kamasi Washington debut album. When was the last time someone made the kids listen to a jazz album?

With “The Epic” finally available, the guys at Kinda Neat put out a new podcast episode talking to the L.A. saxophonist and the video above features a live improvisation that serves as a great teaser.

Kamasi Washington – Re Run Home

Like with his own music, Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label avoids being stuck into a particular box. It has never been the L.A. beat scene thing that some people might have hoped for (and others might have feared.) The Martyn album seemed like an unusual choice at first, and definitely the jazz record by the late Austin Peralta. In retrospective it all makes sense and it’s exactly what makes good label great: to avoid the obvious and to surprise its listeners, helping them to think outside the box.

So here we are, less than two months away from the Brainfeeder’s second jazz record, the debut album by saxophonist and You’re Dead collaborator Kamasi Washington. This first track from “The Epic” was revealed to the world today and there’ll be 16 more when it drops on May 4th, 2015. And that’s far more than it might sound like, as the album stretches over three discs and runs for 172 minutes. Watch out!

Update: Also, don’t sleep on this video from a live performance by the Kamasi Washington Octet in L.A.

Looking for the Perfect Beat

In summer 2014, a first trailer for Looking for the Perfect Beat surfaced, yet another documentation about the Los Angeles scene centered around Low End Theory. Unlike The Beat or All Ears, this film was actually completed and was shown at various festivals around the world. The documentary follows the likes of Teebs, Daedelus, Ras G, Tokimonsta, Jonwayne or Matthewdavid, giving insights into their creative process.

If you’re living in LA, you have a chance to watch it at the Downtown Independent over the next couple of days. Everybody else needs to keep an eye out or wait for some kind of digital release.

February 24, 2015 You can now watch the full documentary on Vimeo On Demand

Introducing The Gaslamp Killer Experience

Already famous for his wonderful work with fellow Los Angeles natives including the extended Brainfeeder family, Stones Throw Records, or Low End Theory, photographer Theo Jemison produces this video about Gaslamp Killer. Starting with an interview clip with the parents, the video centers a live performance at LA’s Mayan Theatre with a line-up including the likes of Dexter Story, Kamasi Washington, Amir Yaghmai and the Killer himself.

You’re Dead in 77 Tweets

Flying Lotus told the story behind each track on his new album You’re Dead! on his Twitter feed:

Theme” was really what led to following through w the concept (1). Originally called “Jodorowsky” (2). Kamasi and me really built this one (3).

Tesla”. Was so much fun cuz it was when Herbie [Hancock] and me and Thunder started things up (4). This moment spawned the rest of it (5). This song was the spark of the album. Which is why I wanted it close to the front. Most of this album feels like it’s chronological (6). For the most part everything was recorded separately n my home. I’d work w musicians like samples (7).

Cold Dead” started from a iPhone voice memo. I sang the ideas and Thunder helped me bring it to life (8). All those operatic voices n this are me singing thru some toys (9).

Fkn Dead” was the hardest to make. Trying to find the balance of live drums and sampled drums (10). Me singing textures again on this. Brandon Coleman killed it (11). None of this album would be possible without Thundercat (12). He and I came up w the concept (13).

Never Catch Me“. Kendrick came thru and recorded to this song at the crib. Came alone. With a hoodie over his head. Ready to work (14). He wrote it on the spot and laid it down (15). I sang this part to him and he recorded it. He killed it (16). The second half of this song was called “Ramen Wars” (17). One of the most fun days ever (18). All these layer vocal ideas at the middle and end were inspired by Queen (19).

Dead Man’s Tetris”. This might be the oldest beat on the album (20). Hard for me to write to my own beats. This was the hardest (21). That’s Earl Sweatshirt saying shit n the background sometimes (22). Snoop’s part almost didn’t work so I had to rework the beat at his moment (23). He was really into the concept. He was like. “U know I made a song like this called murder was the case” ummm. Yea I heard of it (24). Joker cameo (25).

Turkey Dog Coma” is the most complex arrangement I’ve ever made (26). Another one made with me and Thunder. I sat next to him and we sang all these moments part for part (27). Miguel wrote some strings. Brendan Small does this Brian May like riff around this part (28). There’s so many recordings in this song (29). There was a point where this was the last song on the album (30).

Stirring” I made with a friend named Jeff Lynne he and I went to high school together and we reconnected and did this song (31). A friend of ours had passed away recently and it made me want to do something dedicated to him. Rip Nick Terry (32).

Coronus, The Terminator” is special to me for so many reasons. First song I made in my new home. First song I really went for the singing (33). Niki Randa always makes me sound good tho (34). Mac Miller came thru when we were workin on this beat. He wanted it for himself. Almost considered that (35). I literally wrote this song off top. About the Terminator (36). It’s playfully serious (37). The ending part is so coo (38).

Siren” song was originally intended for Pharrell. I imagine the pocket still (39). I love the way it worked out tho. Angel Arlene and Niki worked this one out really fast. I wrote the draft and it just blossomed (40). I have trouble opening up this session now. It’s corrupted. So. This is it (41). This part is Thunder’s fav part of the album (42).

Turtles” was the one that almost didn’t make it on the album (43). Such a big Morricone. Sample. I thought it would be more trouble to keep it than it was worth. I’m glad I did because I really do like it (44). People keep telling me they love turtles makes me die laughing. (45). I almost had Laura Darlington sing on this but I think there’s charm in the simplicity of it (46).

Ready Err Not” is my mischief song (47). There will be a video for it from one of my favorite animators of all time (48). There’s a version of this song with Chance the Rapper freestyling on it it was real dope too. I sometimes play it in my live show (49).

Eyes Above” was made in a funny situation (50). I made this beat with FKA Twigs and Niki Randa in studio (51). Kendrick has a verse on this song that can’t come out I guess (52). “Eyes Above” without Kendrick still breaks my heart (53).

Moment of Hesitation” was started with me and Kamasi. He’s a horn player but had him on the keys with Herbie too (54). Herbie just came thru and killed it (55). It was dope to introduce him to Dilla’s music/sample flips (56).

Descent Into Madness” was Thundercat’s song I hijacked (57). He started it and I begged him to let me finish this song. I had visions instantly (58).

The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep” Was gonna be on the Cap album (59). I tried to my best Dr Rockso impression (60). I never had a drug overdose by the way. Re: That Fader story (61). Vicodin is the new heroin (62). Austin. . . (63)

There’s a version of “Obligatory Cadence” with me singing about a dream I had once about a deity who took me into the clouds and showed me.. (64) a world without darkness (65). All my fam and friends were there. Watching me being taken into the sky. The deity shed it’s light on the earth. The light was almost silver (66). She told me that I’d never ever die (67).

The Beyond” is dedicated to an unborn child (68). A light (69). Fantastic Planet [La planète sauvage] inspired this song. Musically (70).

The Protest”. Is the most important statement of the record. It’s the spirits gathered. Remembering we never die (71) Our influence lives on forever. Our love lives on forever (72).

I knew that when I set out to make this record I’d lose some people with the concept but I didn’t do this shit to be crowd pleasing (73). What ever happens, I know I did what I set out to do (74). With minor heartbreaks (75). Truth be told going the ‘easy way’ is tempting sometimes but I was like fuck it I’m gonna make something only I can put together (76). A lil self indulgent? absolutely. Thats kinda the point. If you ask me. I had to tell my story! (77)

Mndsgn – Yawn Zen

Not too long ago, Los Angeles-based producer Mndsgn released Breatharian on friendly blog and label Fresh Selects. Fast forward nine months and he landed a deal with Stones Throw to release his new album Yawn Zen. My first impression is, that it sounds an awful lot like an old Dimlite record, maybe even a bit too much at times. But then again, that’s not exactly an awful thing, especially while still waiting for the Dim Grimm “debut album” to arrive.

Well, you can listen to the Yawn Zen in full on Spotify. It’s available on all sorts of formats via Bleep, HHV and just about every other good record store on Planet Earth.

Seven Davis Jr. – One (Live Edit)

Last year’s One EP was the first music by Los Angeles-based Seven Davis Jr. that caught my attention and eventually made his P.A.R.T.Y EP came out on Funkineven’s Apron Records an instant buy record. Earlier this week, the Classic Music Company released the follow-up, the Friends EP, which features the live edit of “One” you can hear above. Available in all good record stores!

Looking for the Perfect Beat

From All Ears to The Beat, we have already featured several trailers for films documenting the Los Angeles beat scene. To be honest, I haven’t heard about any of these since their announcements, so you might ask why bother writing about another one? While my personal interest in this so-called beat scene has continuously been fading since its peak in 2009 or so, Looking for the Perfect Beat seems to be the one documentary on the matter that has been completed and documents a relevant part of the movement.

Filmed by Matthew F. Smith, it centers around LA’s Low End Theory club night features interviews with the likes of Thundercat, Gaslamp Killer, Teebs, Matthewdavid, Daedelus, Jonwayne, and many more. The premiere takes place tomorrow at the Downtown Film Festival and will hopefully be followed by more screenings or even on-demand stream.

February 24, 2015 You can now watch the full documentary on Vimeo On Demand

Matthewdavid – Perpetual Moon Moods

Despite having posted a track before, I almost forgot there’s going to be a new Matthewdavid album on Brainfeeder, his second album on the label since 2011’s Outmind. Well, to get you over the next couple of days until its release, the LA-based producer shared a new track on his SoundCloud page, a cover version of the Mary Jane Girls’ All Night Long.

Titled “In My World”, the album will hit your favourite record store on July 1st, 2014. Pre-orders available on the NinjaShop or Bleep.

Frankie Reyes – Technoindigenous Studies EP

You might not have heard about Frankie Reyes and neither have I. Turns out it’s one of the many monikers by Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, also known as Gifted & Blessed. So, I obviously came across this by pure chance and I’m glad I did, for I’m a sucker for handmade things like this 7-inch record of Technoindigenous Studies. For now you can listen to one of the two tracks on the record and pre-order your copy from the GB store. Out on June 3rd, 2014!

Matthewdavid – In My World

Shouts to @tedikuma for sharing a new tune by Leaving Records founder and dublab radio-host Matthewdavid. Apparently, the Los Angeles-resident is working on his second album for Brainfeeder, titled “In My World” and due for a release on July 1st, 2014. Fans of James Pants, Bullion or Jonti: this is one for you!

Also, make sure to check out Matthewdavid’s previous album on Brainfeeder, 2011’s “Out of Mind” (Spotify link).

Roland Radio presents Ras G and GB

Roland Radio is a monthly webcast presented by Los Angeles online station dublab and Roland, manufacturer of electronic music instruments. In their latest session, they invited Brainfeeder associate Ras G and GB aka Gifted & Blessed, among others.

For more of these, check out previous sessions featuring Dâm-Funk, The Egyptian Lover, or Daedelus.

Teebs – Holiday (feat. Jonti)

I wasn’t too convinced after hearing the first track from Mtendere Mandowa’s new album on Brainfeeder, but this new one featuring Jonti I like much better. Looking forward to hear what Teebs has come up with on the entire record. Titled “Estara”, the album is available for pre-order and will be in stores worldwide on April 7, 2014.