We’re all big fans of the more established acts out there, but some of the most exciting music being made today is produced by DIY artists and offered up for free listening on distant corners of the internet. On Bandcamping, we dig up a couple of gems, old or new, released and streaming for free on the online platform.
XXYYXX – XXYYXX
Artist: XXYYXX Album: XXYYXX Released: March 2012 Free To Download?: Yes Style: Electronic, Downtempo For Fans Of: James Blake, TNGHT, Clams Casino
16 year old Orlando beat-maker Marcel Everett, better known as XXYYXX, has gained attention as of late for his use of pitch-shifted vocals, downtempo beats, and ambient textures. Sound familiar? It probably should, considering that this is becoming almost a clichéd formula for electronic artists in 2012, but there’s a little more going on here than there is with your average bedroom producer. On his self-titled album, XXYYXX displays a good ear for composition and deft approach to beat-making that gives his music a distinctive enough style to separate him from the pack. His songs generally convey, as his label puts it, “images of peace and still sadness,” but that’s not to say he doesn’t already know how to run the gamut of emotions that it’s possible to create with such tools, as demonstrated by the range that XXYYXX displays. He’s also a signee to upstart Orlando electronic label Relief In Abstract, and if the maturity he’s already shown at 16 is indicative of anything, there’s a good chance we’ll be hearing about him from a bigger platform soon.
Choice Cuts: “About You,” “Set It Off,” “DMT”
Quiet Evenings – Transcending Spheres
Artist: Quiet Evenings Album: Transcending Spheres Released: May 2011 Free To Download?: No Style: Ambient, Drone For Fans Of: Emeralds, Motion Sickness of Time Travel
If nothing else, Rachel and Grant Evans are busy. Between Motion Sickness of Time Travel and Nova Scotian Arms (their respective solo projects) and Quiet Evenings, they’ve put out nearly 50 releases in the last four years alone. They’re a prolific pair, to say the absolute least. Their Quiet Evenings work is, in most respects, the least assuming of their recorded output. There are no 90 minute polptychs here, only song-length explorations of largely improvised synth-based ambient music. It wasn’t until this year’s Hopscotch Festival that this project real sank in. The Evanses took their brand of drone to the Longview Center, and sitting in the pews it was hard to not be overcome by the pastoral mix of Rachel’s synths and Grant’s meandering guitar arpeggios. Transcending Spheres more than any other release most evidently replicates the live experience of the Evanses slowly evolving synth travels. “Relativity” and “Fog Hammers”, the obvious standouts, eschew Motion Sickness of Time Travel’s epic soundscapes in favor of something smaller, more insular, more intimate. The Evanses say they chose the name because it was like what they might like to listen to on a “quiet evening,” and I’m quite inclined to agree.