By: Sanjay Gopal
Danish drum and bass master Alexander Skjold has been at the top of our minds, recently, not least of all because he is one of our marquee picks for Phase 2 of The Untz Festival. While drum & bass and halftime are his hallmark flavors, his latest offering is decidedly more boom-bap, hypnotic, head-nodding hip-hop, though his signature sound creeps in around the edges.
Shield's exciting new album, released late last month, is the aptly titled Airports; nine tracks inspired by never-ending layovers in various airports around the world. Coming from an artist who has the jovial swagger of one who has been around the block to spread their sound, his tiresome layovers reap rewards of delightful audio nuggets for those of us who don't have to spend as much time stuck in interminable security queues behind crying, snot-nosed toddlers.
These swanky travelers' tales transcend time and space and boldly take you places with a devious, cheeky confidence. Intricate, yet memorable melodies lead the listener into a labyrinth of colorful samples and funkily arranged beats that signify longitudes of displacement across the globe. Moments of mystery, playfulness, frenzy, goofiness, bewilderment, aplomb and amazement run amock between slick glitchy laid back beats, with a backdrop of industrial grunge. A strong recommend for fans of Rumtum, early Eliot Lipp, or a hi-fi version of Mux Mool.
While the entire album is a masterful representation of what Skjold can do, standouts include “Slavik,” the pulsating, bumpy, matrix of masses of machinery that surrounds us in “Vatos,” and the unapologetically quirky “Gospel Glitch.” And good luck getting that “Horrormovie (Shuffle Edit)” out of your head.
A piece of sonic work that captures the thrill of traversing unchartered territory, some of the tracks may invoke images and cut-scenes of moving through large crowds of people and automobiles, or modern computerized travel. Feel free to play all this music in clubs, mixes, cars, and of course bumming around the international concourse and airport gift shops.
Shield is the latest international addition to our now consistently cosmopolitan cadre of artists which includes Germany's Bukez Finezt, Canadian Goopsteppa, UK acts Kursa, Seppa, Mike Wallis, and Thelem, and Space Jesus, who is from another galaxy, altogether. They join us June 1-2 with an Early Arrival Party on May 31st in Mariposa, California for our fourth annual bass family reunion. Tickets, amenities, and more information can be found at www.theuntzfestival.com.
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