January 2, 2012

Music reviews, and writing for Surviving The Golden Age!

It's been a few months since my last review was posted for Avey Tare's melancholy, rhythm induced, watery solo debut, Down There. Since then, I have been active in my efforts to keep the music alive in the absence of my radio show, Adrift In The Airwaves. I have been producing dubstep mixes and mashups and have been trying to DJ in areas around CT where the underground electronic scene has been blossoming.
Very recently, I have been hired for a writing internship to write music reviews for Surviving The Golden Age, an eclectic music blog that specializes in DJ mixes, mashups, as well as hip-hop and electronic music. I decided that I will be posting my reviews for Surviving The Golden Age on Airdrift||Signals as well, and will be including a link to the original post. My first review covers The Nomad's sixth LP Perilous Times, a fantastic tribute to reggae, hip-hop, and dub music. The review goes live on Friday, so stay tuned, and keep on drifting.
DJ Dark Flow~

August 24, 2011

Avey Tare - Down There Review

There is not a moment to spare from the beginning of Down There. Instantly Animal Collective member, Avey Tare, pulls listeners into a swampscape of blurry voices and wet beats for his debut solo effort. Animal Collective are known to craft songs that experiment with the production and style of modern music, to such a huge extent, that their music has gained a considerable cult following. This steady rise in popularity has only since exploded by the time the group released their mainstream breakout album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, in 2009. Their music can be described as freak-folk, or neo-psychedelic, but that sort of statement might even be restricting considering the group’s constant evolution. The soundscapes and emotions that Animal Collective produce in their albums, such as their guitar driven, Sung Tongs, or sample based Strawberry Jam, make their records have a true cohesion and are a real treat to experience as a full album, and a journey into the minds of these awe-inspiring musicians. However, the exclusion of three quarters of the group does not stop Avey Tare with this brilliant, surreal escape of an album, Down There. This nine track solo release goes many places, and is best experienced as a whole. Starting off with “Laughing Hieroglyphic,” Down There takes listeners under, and it flows from one song to the next, just as Avey’s voice flows next to the beat. “Glass Bottom Boat” is a short interlude, which splits the album in a way, and sets the tone for the remainder of the tracks. The swimming and water themes, when combined with the musical instruments and electronic beats, which sound as if they are just under the surface of the lagoon, leave listeners in the depths of Avey’s mind. And when thinking back on all the popular music that is designed by the dollar, and made to follow all the rules, it surely is a joy to experience the real sounds and real emotions of Avey Tare, and descend into the vast world and whimsical madness of Animal Collective’s most prominent songwriter.

Rating: 8.9/10

Recommended Tracks: Oliver Twist, Ghost of Books, Lucky 1

August 22, 2011

Shabazz Palaces – Black Up Review

When Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler of Brooklyn, New York, worked as part of the jazz hip-hop trio, Digable Planets, their easy-going alternative rap rocked the 90’s, when hip-hop was still in its early stages and growing in popularity. Now more than a decade later, Butterfly is back with a new name, and a new group, pushing a sound that burns a new chapter into the history of hip-hop. Based out of Seattle, Butterfly, newly dubbed as Palaceer Lazaro, heads Shabazz Palaces. Many excited fans were already buzzing from the release of Shabazz’s first two self-released EPs, Of Light and a self-titled EP. If these two releases meant anything in the world of hip-hop, it was a sure sign of something else entirely. Come summer 2011 and Shabazz Palaces releases their first full-length, Black Up, a collection of spaced out beats that build up and dissolve several times over for each track, leaving listeners entranced by the album’s mystifying and near-flawless production. Boasting a record full of sounds that make no compromises for accessibility, Black Up contains no discernible radio singles. The last time a hip-hop record so blatantly left listeners to do most of the work was 2004’s hip-hop album, Madvillainy, now arguably one of the greatest hip-hop releases of the decade. Now it can certainly be a risk to leave a record absent of any standout hits, but with Shabazz Palaces, this is clearly not the case. Black Up transforms every couple minutes, and Palaceer Lazaro has a way to make it work in the best way possible. Only time will tell how well this record will be received, but perhaps time will catch up with the sound that is contained on this newly released LP. For now, Shabazz Palaces own a sound that hip-hop has never really heard before. Check out their new record to hear for yourself the future of hip-hop, and always support the artist. Buy their records, see their shows.

Rating: 8.9/10

Recommended Tracks: Are You... Can You... Were You? (Felt), Youlogy, Yeah You

April 12, 2011

Thank you, radio listeners (+5,000 podcast downloads!!), and goodbyes.

First off I would like to say that my time here at UConn has been some of the best years of my life. Getting into radio programming here at WHUS happened almost by chance, as members from the station came to my Culture Of The College Media class to give a presentation on UConn’s radio station... I was hooked from my very first semester, and have been at the controls for Adrift In The Airwaves for over three years now.

Early on, Adrift started out as a very different show than it is now. I started off playing lots of psychedelic music, such as Pink Floyd and Animal Collective, and branched out into other genres of alternative rock and post-rock, such as Portugal. The Man or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Since that time, my show has inevitably evolved and transformed as my musical interests shifted as well.

The springtime of 2009 was the first time that I was legitimately exposed to quality hip-hop music, as I started to get into the likes of MF DOOM, Common, Madlib, and Mos Def, and felt the need to start incorporating this into my show as well. I was also becoming more interested in electronic music, specifically that of Derek Vincent Smith, as his productions that he creates under the moniker of Pretty Lights baited me with their incredibly catchy hooks. I felt like my show was taking a turn to a more lively and energizing listening experience.

During the summer of 2010, I moved in to live with a few friends, including fellow DJ Daysix (producer name BEATGOSZIP), and that summer proved to change the nature of my radio show almost completely. Dubstep was the new music genre that I was exploring. After coming across this new form of music many times, it was this period that I lived the true life of a bass head. Going to DJ shows in West Hartford and throwing raves at our apartment only proved to me how fast this genre was catching on. I became hopelessly addicted to the earth-shattering bass.

Adrift In The Airwaves, as it is right now, incorporates all of these different forms of music, blending psychedelia with hip-hop beats, and electronica with dubstep. I am happy to announce that my radio podcast (which I started just over a year ago) has surpassed a whopping 5,000 downloads online! As of right now there are a total of 5,349 podcast downloads from all of you listeners! I could have never expected such a positive response to my show, which I have always put a lot of love into every week. I can only continue to work just as hard to deliver you loyal listeners the best music that I can.

Sadly, I will be retiring Adrift In The Airwaves from UConn’s “Radio for The People” in just a few weeks and Monday May 2nd will most likely be my last show. It is a bittersweet end to the very strong run that I have had as a radio DJ on WHUS, but I will always keep Adrift In The Airwaves alive and will keep the show up and running as often as I can.

Stay a fan of the facebook page, for future updates, and even go back through the podcast to listen to some of your favorite past shows. I really enjoyed my time on WHUS and I hope you did too.

DJ Dark Flow~

December 4, 2010

Easy Star All-Stars - Dubber Side of The Moon Review

Another Dub Side? Easy Star All-Stars, the same guys behind the reggae cover albums for Dark Side of The Moon, Radiohead’s Ok Computer, and Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, unveil a brand new release: Dub Side of The Moon, but remixed and reworked, and inevitably redubbed; Dubber Side of The Moon. These new tracks, redone with a more atmospheric and heavy bass quality, resonate proudly through any good pair of speakers, and you can tell instantly that these songs were meant to surround you, and pull you in. From the very start of “Speak To Me / Breathe,” it is obvious that this is a re-imagining of the classic Pink Floyd album. Synth programming and sound effects add all the more tribute to the intricacies of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece.

But all comparisons aside, was another Dub Side really necessary? As Easy Star All-Stars toured almost maniacally over the course of 2009, bringing their reggae dub music to 25 different countries across the the world, band members noticed the various styles and bass fueled sounds that have taken root in reggae, such as dubstep and the futuristic electronic elements that associate with this emerging musical phenomenon. The All-Stars responded to this new landscape of the electronic music scene by continuing to embrace and explore the heavier bass concepts of music rooted in reggae and dub. Lem Oppenheimer, of Easy Star Records, commented on this musical approach, saying that to hand over the tracks to some of the prominent electronic dub producers, "it seemed like a good way to bring some of this newly developing futurist reggae right into [the] music." Examples of this can be found in one of the most dubstep tracks of the album, “Money,” remixed by The Alchemist.

Every track has such an impressive production quality and tone that it is nearly impossible to not get lost while listening to these newly remixed dub tracks; their music, which explores many universal themes such as money, time and the descent into madness. Enjoy another engaging, space-dub extravaganza, and keep on drifting!

Rating: 9.4/10

Recommended Tracks: Speak To Me / Breathe In The Air, The Great Gig In The Sky, Money (The Alchemist Remix)

November 24, 2010

Teebs - Ardour Review

Teebs, a popular artist on the Brainfeeder record label started by Flying Lotus, releases his debut album and blows all other producers out of the water! His multi-textured compositions come to life in Ardour, arguably one of the best beat albums of 2010. His soft beats and melodic chimes have a fulfilling presence, and I cannot stress it enough that his work bears a therapeutic, healing power for any avid headphones junkie. From the very start, “You’ve Changed” comes in among fluttering flutes and a soft beat. Songs like “Moments,” “Wind Loop,” and “Gordon” are a few of the many standouts in this album, and they all offer something different to listeners looking for something fresh and new. “Long Distance,” the only track Teebs decided to allow vocals on, shows the incredible potential his music has for lyrics, even though every song really speaks for itself. The music he produces works really well as background music, and is even more of a treat for those who choose to actively listen to it, considering the very specific attention to detail. For the most part, it is hard to put into words the feelings that flow out of Ardour. A complex series of thoughts and emotions are captured here, and it is certainly a beautiful experience that shines all throughout. Try to throw on this album and not get lost.

Note: Teebs is also a visual artist, and does all of the artwork that’s attached to his musical releases. You can check out some of his artwork here.

Rating: 9.2/10

Recommended Tracks: Wind Loop, Gordon, Why Like This