My favorite album of the year thus far is Portland trio Bruxa‘s new album Victimeyez. It’s an occult informed dark hip hop album, with tastes of electro, chopped and screwed, witch-house and dubstep thrown in. They call it witchstep.
The digital version Victimeyez is free to download and was released by Mishka, a streetwear company in New York City that also puts out some Pyschic TV merch. A cassette release will follow from Sweating Tapes, the label that released their debut EP Eye On Everybody last year.
They’re from Portland, but I have no idea who they are. I randomly stumbled across their first EP on Bandcamp and was hooked — it was my second favorite album of 2011 (after Zomby’s Dedication). Discovering Sweating Tapes set me down a rabbit hole of Portland-based dark electronic scene that I had no idea existed.
Flexing (aka “bone breaking”) is a fusion street dance style that incorporates contortion with various other styles. The dance group in the video is the NextLevel Squad, and the music is by B’zwax. It was filmed by Yak Films, who have done hundreds of urban dance videos.
The hardcore continuum’s claim to pre-eminence has always been that it’s not just dance music. That’s no slight to dance music, but the truth is that there’s tons of it in the world, all different flavours, and if you fancied shaking your stuff in the noughties then you’d probably have been better off with hip-hop, or dancehall, or that hardy perennial house music. With jungle/garage/grime/dubstep, there’s always been something extra, an X factor that made it “dance music + _____”. The two main things that filled the blank were a) innovation, the idea that no other music around moved faster or mutated wider, and b) a relationship to “the real”, whether that was coded as “street knowledge”, “the dark side”, late capitalism/post-socialist Britain, etc. In the noughties, the danceability element even slipped somewhat: grime was more moshable than groovy, while dubstep could be a bit slow-skank sluggish and head-noddy. But more relevant to this survey is that the pulse of those X-tra factors seemed to grow fainter as the decade proceeded, or at least more indistinct and muddled. [...]
This year’s array of post-dubstep sounds are no longer chained to realness but are much more about garish hyper-reality. “Purple”, the buzz-term for the Bristol-based micro-genre created by Joker, Guido and others, is colour rich in psychotropic associations, from Jimi’s Purple Haze to the “purple drank” cough syrup that Dirty South gangsta rappers love to sip.