BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.
METAFLOOR realizing the power of his sounds Metafloor’s latest release Fish Fruit is his strongest yet. It’s been two years since we last spoke with Metafloor, a.k.a. Blaine Kingcott, a producer, DJ, and promoter behind local crew Sub Chakra. It also has been exactly two years ago since we reviewed his then-new EP Stronger. Metafloor has now returned with stand-out EP, Fish Fruit, fresh out on Aufect Platinum, the brand-new sister label to Vancouver’s decade-strong Aufect Recordings. “Stronger featured some tunes that I had been sitting on for a while and just wanted to get out,” says Kingcott. “This release is similar; some new, some old but it’s more focused and in line with the sound I’ve been trying to hone in on the last couple years.” Describing his music as “minimal, bass driven, steppy halftime, footwork-jungle sounds,” Fish Fruit demonstrates a progression from his previous work. While he still excels in the 140 b.p.m. range heard on previous release Stronger, Kingcott now exhibits a talent and comfort with the increasingly popular genre of half-step drum and bass. Herein, deep, smooth, rolling basslines are often punctuated by reggae and jungle vocal samples, and driven forward by skittering percussion. The track “Mo Power,” which appeared alongside several other Metafloor originals in Doctor Jeep’s Bass Coast promo mix, appears on this EP. As do remixes from prolific French producer Moresounds and London’s Fixate. “The remixes are what really bring that release together,” says Kingcott. “Which is amazing because sometimes the remixes on any release are what stands out. I 36 | MARCH 2018 • BEATROUTE BY PAUL RODGERS photo: Michael Benz think it really works in this case because Moresounds and Fixate are some of my absolute tip-top favourite producers — very lucky to have their support.” Gaining support from artists that helped inspire his own artistic progression is just one of Kingcott’s accomplishments. He cites Bass Coast (where he feels at home and hopes to soon return) and the thriving of Sub Chakra as his crowning achievements, as well as touring to places like Vancouver and Portland. Currently, Kingcott has a remix for Vancouver d’n’b duo Levridge set to be released in March and simply plans to keep experimenting to see what will happen next. “I want to do more of that and see if I can come up something profound, something that makes people feel versus get hype. I like the idea of making music that can make people cry because it’s so beautiful, it really puts emphasis on how powerful music is,” he explains. “I feel like this is how I would be able to write something that is ‘timeless,’ which I believe is a great way to measure whether a piece of music is quality work. Music is subjective, but if you can push play on what was made 10 years ago and it’s still great to listen to, that’s something to truly be proud of.” Metafloor performs alongside Dubconscious and Bag-O-Beetz at Sub Chakra’s Dubfounded residency at Habitat on March 8 [Calgary] and opens for D Double E at HiFi on March 31[Calgary]. CARTEL MADRAS uprooting a narrative while bringing sexy back Formed in 2017, sisters Priya and Bhagya Ramesh make up Calgary’s newest hiphop group, Cartel Madras. Taking turns writing, singing, and rapping, this Indo-Canadian duo have a mission to shake things up. “We’re always trying to uproot the current narrative, in Canada, where coloured women, we’re not that visible,” begins Priya. “Then in hip-hop, there aren’t many women, so we’re trying to uproot that narrative; and then in India, we’re from South India, that’s not really present either in the Indian narrative, it’s always North India. So it always feels like we’ve been disrupting whatever space we’re in.” They started releasing music as Cartel Madras in the last year, but Priya notes that the familial rap-project has always been bubbling beneath the surface. “Growing up we were always performers. We were dancers, we were singers,” she says. “The heart and soul of [Cartel Madras] was born way before us, with women in our family, generations ago, who were feminists in the 20th century, asking all these questions.” Carrying their feminists roots into their music, Cartel Madras emphasizes the female perspective in their songs. “Anyone can listen to our music, but when you’re a girl and you hear our music, you know. You know exactly what we’re talking about,” comments Priya. “It is incredibly male dominated, and we do really try in our lyrics to point that out. We do write very explicitly from the perspective of a woman.” “Using hip-hop as a tool to give those Creating party rap with perspective. BY MORGAN CAIRNS people a voice and agency is something we’ve always seen as a good idea. A really cool way to allow people to exist, to feel better, and to help make change,” adds Bhagya. Party rap with perspective, these slick beats are punctuated with lightning-fast raps and smooth-as-silk vocals. Riffing off real life experiences, the duos lyrics veer towards the anecdotal, such as the summertime jam, “17th Ave.” With shoutouts to The Ship and Anchor and Ricardo’s Hideaway, this retelling of a rowdy night out turned one-night stand. “We want people who aren’t in Calgary to listen to us and talk about Calgary and be like, “‘Shit, I want to go to there,’” says Bhagya. “We want to make Calgary sexy.” And if you can say one thing about Cartel Madras, is that it’s damn sexy. “If you listen to hip-hop by men, I think the grand narrative of hip-hop is being badass, getting chicks, and winning,” notes Priya. “As women, we can also say all those things. We can objectify men, and we should. We constantly should, and that’s something we’re really trying to do in our music.” With a spot opening for Toronto pop-duo Too Attached in March, and a mixtape with a soon-to-be-announced release date, you can bet Cartel Madras won’t be slowing down anytime soon. “Hip-hop has kinda felt like final frontier,” muses Priya. “Like, if we can make it in hip-hop as coloured, ethnic, women from Calgary, that would be incredible.” Cartel Madras will play at Nite Owl on March 8 [Calgary] with Too Attached, presented by Femme Wave. JUCY
MATT & GILL a DJ journey full of unsung heroes Meet Matt and Gill. They host a new DJ-band night every Thursday at Broken City. A night that showcases their exquisite record collection as they segue playing before, in between and after bands take the stage. Matt Robinson is originally from San Francisco and Gill Crosley from Calgary, one of Broken City’s friendly and familiar bartenders. They first met each in 2012 at the Austin Pysch Fest, drinking beers backstage at a Brian Jonestown Massacre show. A romance quickly blossomed with back and forth visits between Calgary and San Fran. Matt then moved a year later to Calgary exactly when the flood hit Sled Island. A guitarist and singer as well as DJ well-versed on the decks, he brought 300 pieces of vinyl, a mix of LPs and 45s, that were stuffed into various bags of luggage leaving little to no room for clothes. “He didn’t even bring toiletries!” recalls Gill. “But!” chirps in Matt. “I brought a little of every genre. Down tempo, chill electronica, psych, atmospheric house.” In San Fran, Matt says, “My initial focus on DJing was down tempo – DJ Krush, DJ Shadow, atmospheric stuff with dark breaks. As I became more connected with other like-minded DJs, I moved into other areas of atmospheric house that had BY B. SIMM Latin beats and ‘70s psych. I became much more eccentric and intereted in more of the unsung heroes of every genre instead of just playing the typical hits.” Sharing DJ duties, Matt explains, “Gill’s enterprise in the set is more psychedelic, and when it moves uptempo we agree I’ll play more atmospheric deep house, but no clubby stuff. And the hip-hip is sophisticated, smart, spiritual. Tribe called Quest, Buck 65, along those lines.” Their sets will also compliment whatever style the artists booked on that particular night have. “If it’s an electronic artist, then more electronica. If it’s a rock band, then maybe more pysch or different types of rock,” says Matt. “We’re not just playing left-field stuff. It’s not about playing what we want. It’s about the curating the night with the archive we have. And our archive is pretty good!” Gill adds, “But it will still be all over the place. You can walk in and we could be playing psych rock. You can go out for a smoke, come back and we’ll be playing hip-hip, and then we’ll switch over to Latin jazz. It’s a little journey that morphs from one style to another.’ Matt & Gill DJ the night away every Thursday at Broken City. LET’S GET JUCY! Skratch Bastid will grace the wheels of steel at Commonwealth on March 7 [Calgary]. Here we are with another edition of Let’s Get Jucy. Apologies for my lack of a column last month, my section was filled to capacity with a great array of local stories and I relished the opportunity to lighten my own workload. Anyways, there’s lots going on in March, so I’ll quit justifying my negligence and get into it. Dubfounded, the residency committed to servicing all of Calgary’s reggae and dub music needs, returns on March 8 at Habitat [Calgary], with this edition featuring Nelson’s Dubconscious and Spain-born, Kelowna based Bag-O-Beetz. The former is extremely active in Canadian scene, performing at Shambhala almost yearly and working with their nightclub Bloom in Nelson, while the latter grew up in in Venezuela surrounded by reggae, calypso, salsa, soca and more. This duo plus locals Syntax and Metafloor, will be sure to deliver a well-rounded night of music. Turntablist extraordinaire, and the man behind festival Bastid’s BBQ Skratch Bastid will be at Commonwealth on March 7 [Calgary]. Truly a “DJ’s DJ” he has been rocking versatile sets for many years, and his skills are a serious sight to behold. One of Canada’s premier hip-hop artists Atmosphere returns alongside Evidence, of Dilated Peoples fame. The gig is on March 9 at MacEwan Hall [Calgary]. On March 10 Flava D will tear things up at The HiFi [Calgary] with support from all-star locals Slim Pickins, BB Mars and Franky Dubs. This London DJ, producer circumnavigates numerous regions of house music, playing garage, bassline and jackin’ and definitely knows how to devastate dance floors. Stanton Warriors will come out and play at Nite Owl on March 16 [Calgary]. Since emerging into the limelight with their award-winning Stanton Sessions way back in 2001, the Warriors have remained a consistent fixture in rave culture, continually amping up their sound while staying true to their breakbeat origins. This next one was a huge announcement from the True Rhythm crew: DJ Yella of NWA and Lil Easy E, eldest son of the late Easy E and CEO of NWA entertainment, will perform at Dickens Pub on March 27 [Calgary]. Tickets for this are already flying at time of writing, and True Rhythm is also offering VIP meet and greet packages giving fans the opportunity to connect with two of hip-hop’s prolific artists. Closing out the month of March on the 31 is a warm-up party for Vibrant Music Festival, which takes place in June in the Columbia Valley in British Columbia. Never to early to gear up for festival season, so head on down to The Nite Owl [Calgary] and catch Molly Fi, Funkin Right, Ninjette and Robbie C. Attendees will get the chance to buy discounted tickets for the festival and two passes will be given away to the person with the most colourful outfit. Despite taking last month off, I resolve to continue consistently with my monthly musings and assure you I will be back again next month with my picks of some noteworthy Calgary happenings. As always please hit me up if you have some listings in mind. paul@ beatroute.ca • Paul Rodgers JUCY BEATROUTE • MARCH 2018 | 37