A selection of our favorite music submitted by XLR8R+ members last month.
Welcome to the roundup of May submissions from our XLR8R+ portal. Needless to say, we’ve listened to the hundreds of submissions you’ve sent in and compiled a list of the tracks that we’ve been going back to over the past few weeks. As usual, we’re happy to welcome back a handful of artists already within the XLR8R universe, including Aspetuck, whom we featured and released with recently, and Stature. Many readers will also be familiar with Dawn Razor, the Russian artist. But that’s not to say this month is at all short of new discoveries; the blissful electronica of Jerry Folk, the rugged minimal of Bearface, and the deconstructed pop of Saint-Idiot are particularly refreshing. And if you’re looking for something even more chilled, the new instrumental hip-hop EP from Maryland’s Saharas Greenery & NOTHINGISREAL is almost impossibly smooth. 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.
Stature is the alias of Connor Harrison, a producer based in Nottingham, United Kingdom. An avid musician since a young age, he makes high-energy beats with a focus on dance. Recall, his latest EP, marks a progression in Harrison’s productions, comprising three funky, garage-infused jams. We featured “Racks” in our September roundup, and now we’re presenting “Graded,” the EP’s second track. It’s astounding that Harrison released Stasis, his first proper release, no more than a year ago!
Lewis33 “Der Kampf Gegen Mein”
Krater Music is a label based in Guadalajara, Mexico, focusing on what they call “mind loops.” In May, they put out a mesmerizing slice of electro from local artist Lewis 33. There’s nothing else known about the artist or the track, but it’s certainly worth your time.
Jerry Folk “Everything”
Jerry Folk is a producer based in Oslo, Norway, but he’s enjoyed stints in London and Los Angeles. His music began as bright, buoyant electronica, but he’s recently launched what he calls a new chapter with “Everything,” a single that showcases an atmospheric, neo-soul sound inspired by FKJ, Kaytranada, and Toro Y Moi. He made the single a couple of years ago after locking himself in the studio to escape a feeling of “overwhelming sadness.” It’s the first taste of his debut album, Fengsel, which we’re told is coming soon.
Mattia Cupelli “MONOLITH“
Mattia Cupelli is an ambient-electronic producer from Italy who draws inspiration from what he calls “the classics,” namely Nils Frahm and Ryuichi Sakamoto. By blending his neo-classical influences with modern concepts, he blurs the line between electronic and organic, creating “fantasy worlds” akin to the work of Tim Hecker and Ben Frost. Bold and dark, “MONOLITH,” his latest XLR8R+ submission, conjures a mythical land of untold tragedies. The video delves further into the dark world, revealing a maze filled with ominous statues of a bygone era. The single is the first taste of his upcoming album, RUINS, to be released on MC Records.
Raj Panasa, born in Bristol but raised in London, is the man behind Bearface. His love affair with house and techno began in the club Plastic People, and he’s since put out music on Stealth Records, Vatos Locos, and his own Beartone Records—which is where you’ll find the Shikazu EP, released in January. Expect three original tracks of trippy, minimal techno, with a remix from Vlad Caia, which is always worth your time. The title-track is the pick of the bunch—just imagine that bass on a soundsystem!
Canilla “Life Without The Human Look”
Canilla is the work of Norwegian sound artist and instrument builder Camilla Vatne Barratt-Due, who composes for dance and theatre productions. In May, she put out you always wanted more in life, but now you don’t have the appetite, a collection of “love ballads” that originate from an installation she made for Kontakte Festival in 2019. “Life Without The Human Look” is the EP’s weirdly wonderful fourth track.
Vibenacci is a mysterious artist based in Jakarta, Indonesia. They don’t have social media presence, and they’ll never reveal who they are because their focus is solely on “creating interesting music that has never been heard before.” What we do know is their sound is built around dark atmospherics and a downtempo hip-hop beat, and it’s inspired by nature and cosmic vibes. “Immersion,” a moving slice of piano-led breakbeat, surfaced six months ago, but this is the first time XLR8R has heard it. We’re excited to hear more!
Aspetuck “The Bees Came Back”
Aspetuck, real name Griff Fulton, is a DJ-producer from Vermont, northeastern United States. Cut off from nightlife, he and his younger brother, Pierce, jammed together on guitar and drums in their basement, encouraged by their music-loving parents to pursue their wildest musical whims. While he never took drums seriously, Fulton developed an “obsession with rhythm,” he says, which has influenced the way he relates to music. He’s recently released his second album, The Bees Came Back, a collection of music made at the beginning of the pandemic. He describes it as a “continuation” of his debut album, Treehouse At Yuma Place, released in March last year. We’re streaming all the album tracks here, and if you want to read more on the gear behind Fulton’s work, check out his Studio Essentials feature here. Fulton also delivered two Aspetuck tracks to last month’s XLR8R+ edition.
Saint Idiot “Talk”
Saint Idiot (a.k.a Tomáš Andel) is a Slovak-Canadian musician based in Edmonton, Canada. His music sits broadly within the realm of deconstructed pop, and his inspirations include Björk and David Bowie, plus deep-listening ambient music. “Talk” is the third single from his upcoming album, Alternate Utopias from a Nostalgic Future, which is about healing in the age of isolation. It’s carried by guitar, harp, clarinet, and a host of gauzy synthesizers. The end of the track features an excerpt from interviews titled Conversations With Young Men, a work in progress from documentary-maker Laura La France.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCT “Dance Punk”
ABOUT THIS PRODUCT, real name Jonathan Barber, is an artist based in Texas, who in 2010 released the Trash Art album on Phthalo Records. Since then, he’s used his music to express his feelings towards mental illness, as a long-time sufferer of OCD. His most recent work is called Technoise, and it’s available now on Bandcamp. “Dance Punk,” the album closer, is an outing in harsh noise, industrial, and techno, which pretty much sums up the full release.
Nils Frahm “Because This Must Be” (Christopher Ledger Edit)
Christopher Ledger has put out music on Dana Ruh‘s Brouqade Records, DeWalta’s Meander, and Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia’s Amphia, plus his own imprint, CL Series. But this month, he did something a little different: added a sublime house beat to Nils Frahm’s “Because This Must Be,” originally released on 7fingers with Anne Müller. Adding something to such a beautiful piece of work is never easy, but the Italian producer does it with aplomb.
Dawn Razor, real name Adam Antine, has featured several times on XLR8R+, with solo submissions featured in our March and June roundups, and now the enigmatic Russian producer is back with a new EP, this time in collaboration with Hatewax and ArcheTech. United Minds comprises four tracks, but we’re featuring “Pitch Shift Case,” a glorious slice of warped melancholia, here. It’s out on Polish label OtakeRec.
In June, Maryland-based artist Saharas Greenery followed up Science Of The Formless Self with a collaborative album alongside Sunday Dinner Records label mate NOTHINGISREAL. NOTHINGISGREEN is another expansive yet meditative collection of sublime instrumental hip-hop, filled with percolating synthesizers and disembodied voices. We’re playing the whole album here, because it’s at its finest, nodding best when listened to in full. (And we couldn’t settle on a track!) Go order it here.
Italian drummer Stefano Milella introduced his Nother project at Silent Festival in 2020, and he’s now preparing his debut album, Future Is Bright. “The Distance,” a gorgeous slice of melancholic electronica, is the first track he’s released, and it features the surreal vocals of indie-pop songwriter Matilde Davoli. If you like this, check out the Matteo Gamba remix, available now too.
Loxxe ”XLR8R Mix”
A former bass guitarist and classical pianist, Loxxe took up DJing after living in Osaka, Japan, inspired by the city’s energy. She draws inspiration from 8-bit retro gaming culture in her selections, and currently hosts a monthly online radio show featuring downtempo and ambient. But the mix she’s submitted to XLR8R is more in line with what she normally plays: techno, but with deep house, trance, and minimal jams too. Across its 80-minute runtime, you’ll hear tracks from ItaloJohnson, Kelly Lee Owens, and Special Request. It’s a wonderfully diverse mix to close out our favorite submissions from last month.