Welcome to the first submissions roundup of the new year, and, yes, we have some gems for you. To kickstart 2022, we’re showcasing music from far a wide: there’s some hypnotic filth from Miss Represented, a little-known Edinburgh artist, and also Discosexo a Miami-born artist, for starters. If this cosmic psychedelia is not for you, then Tima Fei has shared a sublime drum & bass mix and Driftwood., from Australia, has delivered a curious slice of R&B. Then there’s Verdance, the new alias of British artist Jake Brown, who has shared a glorious slice of cerebral electronics from his upcoming album. (If you like that, you might also like the submission by Marco Tracks, a DJ-producer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). We’d also like to give a shoutout to Asta Hiroki, the alias of Brighton artist Alex McCall, whose dreamy soundscapes continue to impress everyone the XLR8R HQ. We could go on, but needless to say you’re bound to find something to take with you. Please, dig in!
Editor’s note: we’ve made a point of linking each artist’s 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. There’s also exclusive editorial content, mixes, FREE passes to music festivals and events, playlists, and more. You can find out more here.
Susul “Where’s My Baby” (Demo Version)
Though he put out Contemplations, a deep, meditative journey through deep house soundscapes, Susul’s music is characterized by electro, breaks, minimal, and fun samples. This month, the mysterious producer, based in Berlin, submitted “Where’s My Baby?,” a recent studio jam that falls perfectly in this bracket. We suggest you check out his older work too.
Discosexo is a Miami-born artist known for her queer event series, Octopussy Lounge, but she’s also released a string of EPs, some solo and others with Gabo Rio as Mata & Mala. “Therapy,” a Bandcamp exclusive released last year, is currently her most popular solo track and we loved it, too—it has a sensual groove and atmosphere that will have you swaying in a dream-like state.
Marco Tracks “Tower“
Marco Tracks, a DJ-producer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has a deep passion for ambient, dub, and house music. “Tower” is one of his latest tracks and, with its low BPM, pulsating bass, and wistful melodies, it delivers a contemplative vibe. Drift off to this one if you’re traveling.
BEAT SICARIOS “Sabinin 101.1“
BEAT SICARIOS is a music production collective based in Houston, Texas. There’s nothing else known about them, but “Sabinin 101.1” is a dark techno roller that’s sure to have you shuffling.
Miss Represented “Leviathan“
Better known as Gayle Black, Miss Represented has, to quote Thomas Sontag, “lived her life on the dark side of Scotland’s acid house scene.” Nowadays, as a budding musician based in Edinburgh, she’s put out music on Canada’s Party Central and, more recently, Paradise Palms Records, a platform for emerging local artists. Disco Baws and Love is her latest outing and “Leviathan” is the standout, with its trance-soaked sequencers, hypnotic filth, and pulse-driven bass that hits you deep in the chest.
Driftwood. ft. Still Greedy “Bremfields“
Driftwood. is a rising producer and singer-songwriter from south Sydney, Australia. Since his debut release in 2015, he’s become known for his R&B and soul cuts, including last year’s “20 Blocks.” On “Bremfields,” his latest single, he has teamed up with London’s Still Greedy to craft a driving R&B song about “the idea that there could be subterranean energies and other factors operating within other paradigms of consciousness,” he says. The visuals are directed by Driftwood. and represent the “push and pull of energies which are manifested within the material world,” he says.
Elijah Nang “E C L I P S E“
Elijah Nang is a London-based experimental artist who, through his lo-fi hip-hop albums, pays homage to East Asian culture by incorporating Japanese influences. It’s a sound he describes as “Japtronica.” “E C L I P S E,” the perfect encapsulation of this style, is taken from Gaijin 3000, a sci-fi audio adventure he released last month that is an absolutely stunning merging of concept and sound.
AnnaOtta & Robin Flux “Don’t Complain” (Robin Flux Remix)
Robin Flux is a German DJ-producer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. In October, he prepared a remix package of AnnaOtta’s iconic tracks “What if” and “Don’t Complain,” turning the European duo’s originals into danceable versions of themselves without losing their distinctive and memorable sound. Expect two dreamy trips of deep house and UK-inspired broken beats. We’re playing the remix of “Don’t Complain” here, though we recommend them both.
Asta Hiroki “Double Rainbow”
Asta Hiroki, the alias of Brighton artist Alex McCall, has just recently presented “Double Rainbow,” a new single, on his own Folded Music label. Across its three-minute run-time, the track showcases what makes McCall’s dreamy soundscapes so absorbing, with its lo-fi aesthetics, heavenly vocals, and orchestral elements. At times, the textural interplay reminds us of Teebs, which is the biggest compliment we can give. Hiroki is writing his second album, which will follow on from last year’s Entropy.
Verdance is the latest project of Jake Brown, better known as Handbook. With his new alias, the British artist has made a swift departure from the comforting lo-fi hip-hop aesthetic he’s known for, to a sound that’s brimming with color and rhythmic flamboyance. After EPs of lush electronica on Stereofox and Aviary Bridge, he’s signed to Emancipator’s Loci Records for an album. “Takuu,” the lead single, is a glorious concoction of cerebral electronics, and we can’t wait to hear more. Expect soft synths, club grooves, and vocal snaps woven together into a melodic creation that reminds us a little bit of Bonobo.
Søulless “La Vie En Noir“
As Søulless, Francesco Presotto employs mangled metal percussions and harsh, saturated noise into unusual but lush electronic music textures. The music, Presotto says, is intended to target the listeners’ “wounds of trauma and sear them closed by offering a unique world of escapism.” “La Vie En Noir” is then from the Self Hatred EP on House of Reptile Records, released in October.
usr/friendly “Slice of Life“
Usr/friendly is the new iteration of Oketo, a creative collective consisting of longtime friends and creative partners Steven DeLair, Bradley Clevinger, and Karlee Reiss. On the delicious “Slice of Life,” taken from their This Is An Advertisement album, they exhibit their musical prowess and playful nature, but it’s even more enjoyable listened to as part of the full release.
WORLDLINE x MSTRBLSTR “INHALATION”
Through the 1990s, Toy Opulent label boss Worldline and MSTRBLSTR appeared many times on the same stage at raves and full moon parties in the Arizona desert. More recently, they’ve teamed up for “Inhalation,” a slice of breathtakingly intense and energetic atmospheric techno we keep coming back to.
Tima Fei “Insights (di.fm) Episode #218“
In January, Tima Fei, a DJ-producer based in Chicago, compiled a drum & bass set for Insights, a series tailored for those looking to escape into another realm with the finest progressive, techno, electronica, and house music out there. It’s a frantic, refreshing listen, filled with tracks that we’d never heard before. We highly recommend it.
Gabo Rio “Live Acid Jam“
As part of “Jamuary,” an annual tradition where producers share their latest jams across social media, Gabo Rio, a DJ-producer based in Miami (whom we’ve already mentioned in this feature), compiled a live set with a few machines. What he came out with was 40 minutes of acid in its rawest form.