By: Kyle Rutherford
Whether it’s downtempo, chilled out music you want to vibe to, or upbeat, spirited music that makes you dance, Transcendent Tunes really has something for everybody. The artists they work with and the compilations they release are a mind-boggling exposé into some of the most creative and exploratory realms of electronic music. Their November compilation, Redemptio(N), was more of a look into the serene sounds of psychedelic electronic, while Sublimatio(N) has more emphasis on stronger, more danceable tunes.
What’s great about these Transcendent Tunes compilations is the fact that they seems like they are produced and compiled like a full album, right down to the track placement. The release begins with Denver-based producer Antandra’s “Take It Higher.” It’s a nice, chilled out string heavy tune with a nice, deep low end. It sounds like it was produced to be the opening track because it’s a really nice ease into the release.
Orchestrobe’s “Odyssey” leads straight out of the latter track with a cross between his chill, downtempo sounds and his crunchy, bass heavy sounds. He fuses a variety of both into this song, with relaxed, light string and synth sounds complemented by gnarly, trancey, dubstep-esque bass tones.
The danceable music begins with “Star Stuff” by Caelis. It’s an upbeat glitch-hop tune with a simple groove layered over spacey background soundscapes. It’s followed by Jake Walker’s “FrizzleFried,” who impresses with a sound that takes us back to the UK dubstep we heard in 2011, such as Gemini’s “Blue.”
Brooklyn-based hip-hop/bass producer Jackson Whalan’s “Dollar Slice” combines small amounts of world music styled percussion with some gritty bass performers and very slight vocal samples and soundscapes. There isn’t a lot to the track in general, but it’s simplicity is what makes it great to listen to.
Colorado producer Pocket Rocks keeps the downtempo groove going with “Hedspace,” a track with only subtle melodic/harmonic writing, but still a delightful combination of many eclectic sounds. Boston-based Smigonaut combines decades worth of inspiration for “Esacapegoat.” This gorgeous track is constructed with a 4-on-the-floor beat that we see all the time in house music, combined with the simple percussion of old school house, bass tones of techno, poppy/disco vocals and more modern synths and soundscapes. It’s definitely something that the new rave kids and the old heads could all get down to.
Boston-based Subcreature decided to hit up Transcendent Tunes founder/OG Heiss to help him create “Trankappe,” which for all you etymology nerds is the “cloak of concealment” from German fairy tales. The bass groove on this tune definitely engulfs you as any cloak would, especially since it’s extremely consistent throughout the track. Every few bars the tune changes up it’s percussion pattern, background soundscapes and synth sounds to completely different. It’s definitely best to this song with your eyes closed, swaying to the ever-changing melodies and sampling.
To put it lightly, Zoo Logic’s “Pyramids, Schemes” is a downright mind blowing. It’s a sonic combination of psychedelic soundscapes and future bass inspiration. The beginning synth sounds makes you think it’s about to drop into some Excision brand dubstep, but they only add a slight touch to this otherworldly song.
Michigan-based live electronic group Ascentient gives us one of the most exploratory songs on the compilation with “Retrograde.” The duo combines the adds shredding, Papadosio-esque guitar sounds to an ever-changing assortment of electronic sounds and tempos From a glitch hop groove to an upbeat drum n bass sound, the song goes all over the place with a vast array of strings, low end, piano and quirky synths.
Denver producers White Rabbit and Oomah take us back to the trippiness of the Redemptio(N) release with “Neon Soul.” It’s an eerie downtempo bass tune with great low-end sounds and a middle eastern feel. It’s definitely the textbook definitely of transcendent electronic music in the most wonderful way possible.
For the end of release, Sacral Crown takes us into dreamland with “For Progression.” As was the opening track, this is the perfect was to end the release, with a relaxed and chilled out vibe, drawn together by similar instrumentation.
Please keep these coming, Transcendent Tunes. These compilations are such a great eye opener into the different reaches of the experimental electronic music spectrum.