Monthly Archives: June 2013

Spaciously Heavy New Album From Portland’s Natasha Kmeto!

On a random whim today I heard about a brand new album release from an artist I’ve heard a bit from, seen a few times, and met once or twice: Natasha Kmeto.  I first heard about Natasha through a series of events from Live’n’Love Productions up in Seattle, run by an old homie, Kyle.  Somehow Kyle had stumbled across her (as she’s from Portland, OR), and started booking her at random L’n’L events.  Believe I eventually saw her at one of the Photosynthesis Festivals of years past, and I remember being fairly stoked at how avant-garde the approach was to her own music.  I’ve since moved to the middle of no where California, and only heard a tiny snippets about her, here and there, until today.

It’s not often I toss down $10 for a 30-minute album without having heard most of it, but knowing she’s in the extended Fam, I went for it – and I’m quite happy I did.  The album starts out with the title track ‘Crisis‘, potentially my favorite off the album after a few listens.  Synth heavy and semi-retro sounding, her gut-wrenching vocal pulses wash over you as a very minimal trap beat exercises itself beneath all the other layers.  If all trap sounded like this, I’d listen to a lot more of it.  The album progresses into ‘Idiot Proof‘ which brings to the table a more vocal oriented track, letting everyone know that she ‘needs peace from all the things she’s supposed to be’.  Not knowing Natasha well enough, I’m not exactly sure what she’s talking about, but she gets the point across easily in minor chords with a very distant house beat in the background, surrounded by heavily arpeggiated synths.

The album is very mature, spacing out the tracks where her voice is the focal point, with many tracks consisting of clever vocal layers without any real singing in between.  I rather enjoy when someone who does get into vocals, uses them in this way, so that the entire album isn’t dominated with literary opinion, allowing other tracks to emotionally speak for themselves, without getting the ego involved.  ‘Take Out‘ is another vocal heavy house oriented track that has a very spaced out 80’s synth-wavey atmosphere, again, politely spacious – making it is quite obvious that Natasha truly knows how to make sure her sound voids are never messy.  Though it seems strange to admit, the album really has a dark and futuristic R&B setting going on throughout, which turns out to be quite rather brilliant.  I can’t really say it sounds like much else I’ve heard, even lately.

Overall, the spaciousness, the darker tones, and the very minimal usage of many points in electronic music make this album quite a solid output in my book.  My one complaint – it’s just too short!  Multiple of these tracks have me going strong at about two and a half minutes, and then they’re done!  I’ve never understood why certain artists love to build people up, just to drop them…Mount Kimbie and Odesza are a few others to name randomly – the builds are there, it crescendos, and finishes.  Personally I enjoy more time inside these fantastic spaces created by the artists.  That said, it’s not my music, and Natasha has created a short, but incredibly solid LP here.  Highly recommended!

More info on Natasha and the link to purchase the album (on tape for $7 if you’d like!) below:

http://www.natashakmeto.com/
http://droppinggems.bandcamp.com/album/crisis

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Excellent News: A New Machinedrum LP On NINJA TUNE Is On The Way.

STOKE.  Checked my What.CD Top10 List before bed, and what did I see?  A new Machinedrum single?!  Well that’s about as good as it gets these days in the more progressive side of bass music as far as I’m concerned.  After “Room(s)“, his last major output in 2011 for Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu, I become completely infatuated with Travis Stewart’s Machinedrum moniker all over again (as I had once before in the Merck Records days).  “Room(s)” took a look at current bass music rooting itself in juke, and spashed elements of breakbeat, jungle, drum&bass, house, and dubstep all over itself.  There’s even a gorgeous pure ambient track to finish the album out – I’d honestly never heard anything like it!  The album got me into the whole juke/footwork sound, along with expanding my palate as a whole, surrounding my intellect with just where bass music was and could be headed at that point in time.

Back on track – so to see this new single pop up, and listed as being released on Ninja Tune (only one of the best labels of the past twenty years), you could pretty much say I had a minor freak out.  Downloaded it right quick, popped my Sennheiser’s on, and let myself bask in more glory.

Immediately something is different comparatively speaking against “Room(s)“.  The tempo is all the way up at 172bpm!  We could be looking at a drum&bass track here, but no, as the track unfolds, pitch-shifted vocal edits (most likely Travis himself as on “Room(s)“), and a very broken kick drum open the track up.  About two-plus minutes in, it fully let’s itself go into a whirling drum&bass backed juke oriented head bobber.  The drum work is excellent, of course.  Politely layered and spaced well, hi-hats and snare rolls float on top of the jukey kick drum.  The new speed doesn’t muck up at all where he has been on the last album.  After a solid minute of getting hit hard, the track breaks down into a beautiful and spacious forty seconds of bliss before dropping the broken juke oriented kick drum all over your ears again.  These broken parts I can see dancefloors having an interesting time with, but when he really lets the track go, it really is clearly made for some serious breakbeat style dancing – whatever your pleasure.

Suffice to say, I am extremely excited for this release – “Room(s)” was in my Top 3 of 2011, and I could place a safe bet that this may make that same list for 2013.  Here’s the track on Youtube for ya:

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