Teebs & Jackhigh: The Tropics EP
Svetlana Industries

Piece of Shh…: Diablo Riddim EP
Svetlana Industries

Inhabiting some fresh middle ground between hip-hop and electronica lies Teebs & Jackhigh's The Tropics EP. Issued on Belgrade, Serbian imprint Svetlana Industries, the seven-track mini-album is the product of an eighteen-month collaboration between LA-based beatsculptor Teebs and UK producer Jackhigh. Legend has it that after Teebs, then ensconced in LA with Flying Lotus and Samiyam as flatmates, heard a snippet of a tune Jackhigh had uploaded to MySpace, Teebs asked him to send it across the Atlantic (Teebs is also part of Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus's hand-picked crew of artists and producers). Files were flipped back and forth, until the files gradually crystallized into the woozy jams collected on the EP. Though Flying Lotus included “Clutch” as part of a BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix, many of the other tracks would have made equally good candidates. With their time-transcending blends of tribal patterns and hazy swirl, “Clapstick,” “Untitled,” and “Tropics” would have been particularly apt choices, given how close in spirit they are to Flying Lotus's own mind-melting productions. In Teebs & Jackhigh's universe, kalimbas, bells, and bleating horns swim through tripped-out soundscapes emblazoned with shimmering string washes and low-end rumble. If their next-level tracks aren't quite as galaxial as Cosmogramma, they certainly make a natural complement to it.

Svetlana Industries' third vinyl release features an original by Serbian producer Piece of Shh (real name Goran Simonoski) plus remixes by Zomby and Hektagon. Though Piece of Shh's dubstep-inflected raver “Diablo Riddim” begins with a stiff robotic thump, the track abruptly explodes into a tightly wound, hammering funk thrust strafed by splattering synth figures and dashes of acidy squelch, with its elements propelled relentlessly forward by the urgency of racing hi-hats and stabbing beats. “Zomby's Acid” finds the Hyperdub artist weighing in with a predictably forward-thinking remix where the beats seamlessly alternate from smoothly flowing to android-like hiccupping, while burbling synths, bleepy motifs, and siren calls resound in the shadows. Credit London-based Spanish producer Hektagon with bringing the most dancefloor-oriented vibe to the release. His “Hektagon's Shuffle” treatment of the original is a deep banger whose jacking beat shuffle brings a raw and earthy quality to the material while the recurring interjection of a wiry synth motif prevents the tune from splintering into pieces. Wholly unlike the other three tracks, the vinyl exclusive “Acid Loops” is an experimental outro that banishes the beats for two minutes of whirring synth squelch and splatter.

Needless to say, both EPs represent strong coming-outs for the recently established Svetlana Industries. There's certainly nothing tentative about the dynamic cuts included on the releases.

November 2010