June 19th is recognized as the date of the official emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the United States. The milestone took place in 1865 in Texas, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is undoubtedly worth a song, or several.
If you’re looking for new sounds to celebrate, you have some great options. And to facilitate your soundtrack, Bandcamp is holding its third annual Juneteenth fundraiser from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday, PST. The music platform will donate 100 percent of its share of sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to support its ongoing efforts to promote racial justice through litigation, advocacy, and public education.
Here are some suggestions on what to purchase. Go fill up your carts and hit checkout on Friday, to ensure that your money will fight the power!
SHAWN PITTMAN, DREAMS (DARK ENTRIES)
San Francisco’s Dark Entries was created in 2009 to distribute out-of-print and unreleased underground electronic and post-punk music from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, as well as contemporary artists referencing similar sounds. They remain vigilant, dedicated to tracking the evolution of dance music.
Shawn Pittman’s 1989 Dreams, a rare and highly-sought-after private press treasure, produced and composed by Art Forest, details how 1980s R&B-modern soul, Detroit techno, boogie/freestyle, and late-night warehouse anthems all resided on the same piece of wax. All of the tracks here, remixed by the late George Horn at Fantasy Studios, are just waiting to hit your record bag. Make sure to play them out often. Others must bear witness to radio-friendly dance music, still built for the 5 a.m. warehouse habitat, that can rock any gathering before or after brunch.
rROXYMORE, “I WANTED MORE” EP (AUS)
It’s been much too long, and how I’ve missed the ambient joys that only the French-born producer rRoxymore can conjure. 2019’s Face to Phase, a long-player filled with muddy frequency, posed the question, “How do you enable noise to move you?”
Her love of blending acoustic music and raw noise, as well as charting out new coordinates for electronic arrangements, landed her on several “best of” lists that year, putting a lasting influence on many.
“I Want More,” Hermione Frank’s new EP on the AUS label, finds her once again forging divergent paths without explanations.
The nimble first song “Drunken Clouds” carries those downtempo moon stomper vibes, flush with ambient backstories and kick-drum realities. It moves unerringly and precisely, between the motions. Methodical tropospheres persist on the quasi-broken-beat thumper “I Wanted More,” outfitted with pleasant vocal snippets, soothing bass colors, and feel-good progressions. rRoxymore can do straight London heat—quite well, matter of fact—when she chooses the “banger” route. We hear that other rRoxymore with “Midnight Shift,” with her slamming the wheel headlong into those unexpected curves. Hopscotching lengths mixed with lighter accents, leaning into lovely, atmospheric cloud cover amongst drum and bass/grime-type grumbling.
My God, it’s great to see rRoxymore back, causing havoc as only she can.
ERIN BUKU, “LESSONS IN LOVE” EP (HOPESTREET RECORDINGS)
Erin Buku wields a five-track EP that reveals people all across the world have been keeping an iPad at the ready, taking notes on how to expand the base of hip-hop/neo-soul into quirky synth-based production. Erykah Badu’s and Georgia Anne Muldrow’s producing abilities have extended this legendary genre, which was first founded by Mary J. Blige oh-so-many Biggie Smalls ago.
“Lessons in Love,” Buku’s debut EP, has five songs from the multi-talented producer and performer. Melbourne’s Hopestreet Recordings have discovered their star for the next leg of this ageless musical genre that stays featuring fresh talent by drawing inspiration from modern jazz, hip-hop, and broken-beat.
Erin Buku, like Allysha Joy, is as real as inflation. When you get a Kaidi Tatham remix as a co-sign? Pay attention.
MARAL & LARA SARKISSIAN, “ENTROPY & KINDNESS” (POP CAN RECORDS)
According to the limited Bandcamp notes for this pick, “entropy & benevolence” symbolizes the brightness inside the turbulence. Veteran electronic musicians Maral and Lara Sarkissian combine their Iranian and Armenian cultures to produce this dubby, psychedelic sidewinder of an arrangement, which conveys compelling stories. Punk, dub, noise, experimental, electronic, folk, industrial, psychedelic, and shoegaze flow at half-time over these dizzying zephyrs. It is a really collaborative journey that you cannot afford to miss.
FULU KOLEKTIV, LUALABA (BROKEN CLOVER RECORDS)
One of the key things that drew me into drum and bass years ago was how the sound and arrangements were always changing. These ideas and notions were so liberating: drum and bass tunes on one side of the album and broken beat, downtempo, tech-house, or just plain WTF on the other. It’s all ready for you, the listener, to figure out. Even if the producers were tinkering with it on the fly, they trusted fans to make sense of the sound, or to simply enjoy the process of its creation.
Fulu Kolektiv, whose members also make up the psych-funk group Fulu Miziki, are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and their debut record Lualaba, mixed by Dave Aju, is defined as “12 tracks that may roughly be classified as experimental electronic music” by their label Broken Clover Records, an SF-based imprint.
True. It seems like a whirlwind tour through tech, house, breakbeat, and trance, with a slew of great leaps for humanity.
That kind of zeal blind jumps into the future, grabs your attention. It causes you to feel something. The less capacity you have to expertly define what the hell something is, the better. These arrangements are fueled by paying attention to what moves you, rather than a stuffy pattern or algorithm that snoozes every time. The atmosphere of the highlight tune “Nfuka” remains fierce and frantic. How do you label it? Determine that for yourself.