beyond hope and fear


Benjha | Palpitations [004]

“This track does not have a steady heartbeat, it is not lead by a steady pace of percussion. The real leader here is mood–palpitations.

On “Palpitations,” Nikos Vezanis, a.k.a. Benjha, takes us on an unpredictable evocative journey from melancholia through boredom and resignation and then finally settling into simmering anxiety and discord. “I wrote this while settling in London, after leaving SF due to my visa expiration… Could be the frustration of having to start over in a new city for the second time in two years… or just the shitty London weather, which has been exceptionally shitty this year.”

He cites fLako as an inspiration for the track: “I was probably listening to a lot of fLako at the time, and was influenced by his classical instrumentation and how he lets the track ‘breath’, so to speak. There is no rush to keep the pace continuously elevating; you can have a pause or change of pace in the middle of the song.”

Vezanis paints with a palette of lush organic samples. Upon a bed of chaotic unquantized percussion, he layers interlocking plucked string melodies, staccato stabs and washed-out piano chords. Another factor that contributes to the distinctive texture of Benjha’s sound is his integration of field recordings–finger snaps, keychains, cutlery, bubble wrap, the blowing of the wind etc…

Hailing originally from Athens, Greece, Nikos Vezanis is a talented young producer currently based in London, UK. He anticipates the release of his Ataxia EP on Nicolas Jaar’s Clown & Sunset label in late 2013.

Alexander Wolfe

[June, 2013]

Download the full release:

Benjha – Palpitations

You can follow Benjha on SoundCloud as well as Facebook.


8prn | Over It EP [003]

Following up his debut EP Time Waste (Jellyfish Recordings, 2012), young Vancouver-based producer Patrick Holland, a.k.a. 8PRN, has crafted this smoky soulful brooding beat-tape entitled Over It. The record is cheeky, dark, and intoxicating, but also souful and sincere.

On this project, Holland draws heavily on hip-hop and R&B for the rhythmic framework, which was constructed using a Roland SP-404 and Ableton Live. Holland’s chopped re-pitched vocal snippets, skittering swung hats, and weighty morphing analog bass synth tones (courtesy of his Dave Smith Instruments Mopho) on “Running” and “Over It” are reminiscent in some ways of the work of Henry Laufer a.k.a Shlohmo.

“Late 2012, with the whole new age trap thing going on, I kinda wanted to dabble in it a bit, so I went for a heavier sound, 130-140 tempo and all that. Artists like Bames, Falcons, Lunice, and Sango were references for that feel. The distorted analog bass synth sound comes from my love for garage punk stuff like Ty Segall and Dead Meadow. I also got into some old Triple 6… pre-Three-Six Mafia, like Koopsta Knicca, DJ Paul, and Juicy J… So, that old southern triplet hi-hat and deep sub rubbed off on me.”

“Like any music, there are things I’ve heard while out and about that I like and that I find way too cheesy and over used–certain vocal processing and pitching, drum machine samples and song structures. I feel like I’ve taken the things that I don’t like, and morphed them into a sound that I enjoy–not quite a mockery or parody of shitty club music, but definitely a cheeky rip into it.”

“I made ‘runnin’ a week before opening for UZ , in December, so that I could have a track of my own to play out. So when I started making ‘over it’, I was going for the same feel. Then I realized that I didn’t want to make ‘certified club tracks’, so I added the guitar, vocals, odd percussion, and a chill bassline to wash out the trappyness of the piece. Like many people, I was over it.”

[Patrick Holland a.k.a. 8prn]

The Over It EP was put together in a small bedroom studio in a basement suite on the east side of Vancouver. It was mastered at Transition Studios in London. The artwork was created by Devin White.

Alexander Wolfe

[March 20th, 2013]

Download the full release:

Over It EP – 8prn

You can follow 8prn on SoundCloud as well as Facebook.

Grey EP | Atem. [002]

The world has become terribly monotonous. Everywhere there are unchanging streets and appalling housing. The same tired uniformity exists all around- horribly nauseating and sterile… People have grown dreadfully cruel. There is a chill on kindness. Certainly humanity does not know how to live. It has degenerated terribly, and has sped toward the abyss.

Atem.’s Grey EP evokes a sense of disillusionment, struggle, and isolation in the midst of the deterioration of the world around us.

Musically, he cites Burial as a major influence. This is particularly evident in the dark UK Garage flavour of the rhythms, and the crackle and chill of the title track. He also identifies Nine Inch Nails as the source of inspiration for “Nearly There.”

Atem. weaves in snippets of bittersweet mournful re-pitched R&B vocals from the likes of Diana Ross, and other, more obscure, sources. (He explained to me that his mother was fond of Motown music).

At the heart of this record are washed-out soulful chords and delicate piano melodies, which can be heard on “Plaster,” “Nearly There,” and “Hanna.” (Atem. has been playing the keys since infancy.) The melancholic piano reflects a period of imbalance and frustration experienced by the artist during this records construction. While composing the Grey EP, he moved away from his hometown, ran out of money, went through periods of withdrawal from creativity, and faced the disappointment of a consuming romance that ultimately never got off the ground.

In the German language, “atem” means “breath.” And so, we might interpret his moniker,“Atem.”, to signify the cessation of the breath. As the artist related to me, “the period signifies a stop; hence- stop breathing.”

Atem. is Keith Stewart; a young artist based in Vancouver, B.C.

The Grey EP was mastered at Transition Studios (London, UK). The artwork was created by Brian Harries (Vancouver, CAN).

Alexander Wolfe

[June 24, 2012]

Download the full release:

Grey EP – Atem.

You can follow Atem. on SoundCloud, as well as Facebook.


Sleep Country EP | Wolfey [001]

With this project, Alexander Wolfe (a.k.a. Wolfey) aimed to capture the fear and uncertainty that hung quietly like a shadow over North America in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.  Musically, he draws on a diverse array of influences ranging from artists such as Burial, DJ Shadow, and early James Blake to Radiohead, Boards of Canada, and Miles Davis.

Wolfey re-contextualizes classic soul vocals from the likes of Nina Simone and Billy Withers, whose mournful performances compliment the ominous vibes established by his use of atmospheric field recordings, and speech samples taken from Harmony Korine’s films Julien Donkey-boy and Gummo.

This is Wolfey’s first release on Blenheim & Celtic (Montreal, CAN).  He originally planned to include four tracks on this release; however, upon the recommendation of a friend, (LA-based beat-maker & mc, Jonwayne), Wolfey decided to withhold the fourth track from the release in order to develop it a bit further.  It may or may not be released in the future–

The Sleep Country EP was mastered at Transition Studios, (London, UK).  The artwork is by Lincoln Clarkes (Vancouver, CAN).

Wolfey is an electronic musician based in Montreal, Canada. He studied electronic music production through Berklee College of Music (Boston, US). He is currrently finishing up undergraduate work in philosophy and history at McGill (Montreal, CAN).

[December 25th, 2011]

You can follow Wolfey on SoundCloud as well as Bandcamp.

Download the full release:

Sleep Country EP – Wolfey