Drum & bass duo Ulterior Motive announce split after 11 years

The pair have said they intend to focus on individual projects

Christian Eede

Thursday, January 7, 2021 – 18:07

Drum & bass duo Ulterior Motive have called time on the project.

Announcing their split on social media, following 11 years together, the pair said a “challenging” 2020 had made them decide it was time for a change, following releases for labels such as Teebee’s Subtitles (which put out their debut record), Metalheadz (which released their debut album ‘The Fourth Wall’ in 2014), and Shogun Audio. The duo also launched their own label, Guidance, in 2017, which will continue to put out records following the end of the Ulterior Motive project.

The pair say they intend to focus on individual projects now Ulterior Motive is over, with the duo’s James Davison continuing with his Submotive project. 

“Thank you to everyone who has followed and supported us, helped us, played with and partied with us along the way,” their statement said. “It’s been an amazing journey that we will never forget.” 

You can read the duo’s full statement below.

We have some news….

Posted by Ulterior Motive on Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Four Tet and Madlib drop next cut from joint ‘Sound Ancestors’ LP, listen to ‘Hopprock’

Four Tet and Madlib drop next cut from joint ‘Sound Ancestors’ LP, listen to ‘Hopprock’Four Tet Live At Funkhaus Berlin 10th May 2018 Live Album Photo By Ellie Pritts

Madlib and Four Tet‘s joint project, Sound Ancestors might be one of the most anticipated records of the year. The union of one of rap’s most venerated, enigmatic forces matched with one of dance music’s most intriguing experimentalists and esteemed beatsmiths should prove to be one of the most enticing crossover works of the year. Now, the first cut from Sound Ancestors, titled “Hopprock,” is giving fans a glimpse into what to expect from the rest of the album.

With Madlib at the helm and Four Tet managing the musical arrangements and sample work, the album promises to deliver the best of both worlds from both producers. So far with the pair’s first two singles, the joint album already proves to be delivering. A walking guitar lick drives the “Hopprock” beat, chopped up by stirring sample cuts across the track’s duration. Similar to its predecessor, “The Road of the Lonely Ones,” the appeal of “Hopprock” relies on the track’s effortlessly immersive simplicity, signaling to some incredible instrumental work on the way.

Featured image: Ellie Pritts

Excision’s Subsidia Records starts off 2021 with ‘Dawn Vol. 2’

Excision’s Subsidia Records starts off 2021 with ‘Dawn Vol. 2’59929596 2284683811592471 5273804753062166249 N

Though unable to tour or play any live, in-person shows for the better part of last year, Excision still managed to make 2020 bow down to him. Alongside the unveiling of his own label, Subsidia Records, the headbanging honcho revealed a mix as well as three new compilation albums. Since unveiling Subsidia in late September of 2020, Excision and friends have released the first and second volumes for all three compilation albums, Dusk, Dawn, and Night. Dawn is the latest of the three to get a follow-up, with Dawn Vol. 2 formally opening Subsidia’s 2021 release catalog.

Although Dawn Vol. 2 boasts established names including Excision’s own new single “The Last Time” with WHALES and RIELL, as well as ARIUS, yetep, and Computa, many of the other featured artists are relatively up-and-coming, like Shyloom, OMAS, and Jorge Toscano. Subsidia Records is oriented around artistic diversity and inclusion, and Dawn Vol. 2 evidently extends this trend into the new year.

Featured image: Jake West

Festival boss launches plan for music venues and crew to aid in UK coronavirus vaccine rollout

Isle Of Wight Festival boss John Giddings has shared tentative plans for the UK music and events industry to assist with the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

Taking to Twitter earlier this week, Giddings suggested that the UK Government should put the skills of the thousands of event and live crew unable to work at present to use in helping to coordinate and administer the vaccination programme. He also suggested that the many music venues across the UK that are currently unable to open their doors due to coronavirus restrictions could be used similarly in helping to speed up the rollout of the vaccine amid an increasingly deadly third wave of the virus. 

“Dear Boris Johnson,” Giddings wrote on Twitter. “We are the music business – we have thousands of skilled people capable of running events and empty theatres/clubs/arena. Give us the vaccines and we will work 24 hours a day to sort it?”

Speaking in more detail about his idea to NME, Giddings said: “I was lying in bed last night thinking: ‘Fuck all of this for a game of soldiers – why don’t I do something as opposed to waiting for people to tell me what to do?’ I sent out a tweet saying that I’ve got thousands of people who know what they’re doing and hundreds of empty venues and it’s created a snowstorm.”

He continued: “We’re all sitting here moving tours left, right and centre, employing people for a year without any income, and everything I’m reading gives me less and less confidence in this vaccine being rolled out in time to make things happen. It’s a very selfish thing – I want to make the Isle Of Wight Festival happen. The only way it will happen is if we get enough people vaccinated and we’re capable of doing a test very quickly.”

Giddings added that he believed it’s only by casting the net as widely as possible in dealing with the rollout of the vaccine, that the coronavirus can be defeated in the UK sooner rather than later.

“All these people know what they’re doing, they’ve worked with large crowds in venues hundreds of times before,” Giddings told NME. “With all due respect to the British Army, they don’t know the inside track on The O2 or Hammersmith Apollo. I don’t want to vaccinate people, I just want to set it up for people to be vaccinated easily over a 24-hour period. Why can’t we do that?”

Asked if he’d been seriously pushing this idea with those in power, Giddings told NME: “I’ve already had a call. I can’t go into details. Getting a call and something happening are two different things, but I’ve had interest already. We are at war with an invisible enemy. Why doesn’t anyone take it more seriously?”

Jeremy Joseph, owner of London’s G-A-Y and Heaven venues, took to Twitter to share his support for the idea, writing: “G-A-Y & Heaven have already offered all its venues to Westminster City Council. Heaven dance floor [has] already been split into social distancing booths, when [we] made our venues COVID safe. We have for over 10 years worked with NHS to do HIV Testing, so we are ready to go.”

Calls for the vaccine to be rolled out as quickly as possible have come alongside news that a number of summer festivals remain in doubt for 2021, due to the uncertainty of the months ahead. Emily Eavis recently said that Glastonbury was “a long way” from being able to confirm if it will go ahead this summer.

Stocks in live music soared late last year following a breakthrough in discovering a vaccine for COVID-19 in November.

There’s a new guide on short-term EU work permits for UK musicians

UK nationals seeking to work in the EU will be considered third-country nationals

DJ Mag Staff

Thursday, January 7, 2021 – 13:49

There’s a new guide on short-term EU work permits for UK musicians.

In December, the UK and EU agreed a new Trade and Cooperation Agreement, designed to govern the future trading and security relationship between to the UK and Europe following brexit.

It had been hoped the final UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement would include special consideration for touring professionals — including free, longterm working travel arrangements for artists and crew. As it stands, the current deal imposes new regulations, tariffs and visa requirements that will make such tours far more expensive and complicated. It raises further fears over what this fresh blow could mean for the recovery of a UK music industry, which was worth £5.2billion before the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) have since released a guide on the permits which need to be obtained for performances in Europe, with countries like Belgium, Cyprus and Italy requiring documentation to allow performers into the respective countries.

In countries like Poland and Slovakia, permits are only needed for artists if their stay in the country exceeds 30 days in 12 months, and in Norway, police must be notified of an arrival to work in the country.

You can read the full guide from ISM here.

Take in an ultra-chilled live ambient set by Nairobi’s KMRU, and learn technique, too

Let’s give New Year’s Day one more try. Over three hours of live-streamed pristine ambient delicacy from rising star KMRU should fit the bill. Immerse yourself, and then if you feel the need to make your own sounds, catch a workshop or other inspiration, too.

Joseph Kamaru has been making waves all year with a real rise to international prominence, particularly after a debut on Editions Mego in 2020. But these exquisite textures have been flowing out of his machines for some years, in an elegant, fragile beauty of loops and layers.

On New Year’s Day he did a full 3 hour-plus live set, which gives you a sense of how he improvises – and comes with some gorgeous visuals, too (which he likewise performs simultaneously live). No embed link, so just click through:


We are very happy to present a New Years Day live stream of KMRU playing live at Salon Oblique streaming all day from 16:0004:00 CET

Camera and edit : @woloban / woloban@pm.me
Direction : @bread6k

Joseph Kamaru (KMRU), is a sound artist, and producer based in Nairobi. He is notable for making intelligent atmospheric and emotionally experimental music, giving a personal touch using everything from gritty indigenous sounds to field recordings and synthesis to create intricate sonic soundscapes. Made possible by Pankow Amt für Weiterbildung und Kultur

I see a Russian Soma synth in there, too.

And another live performance, a live AV from fall 2019, played simultaneously at Klub Kegelbahn in Luzern, Switzerland and on Dublab radio:

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Even as Peel is featured again and again on year-end lists – and it is great – I really enjoy the gems Joseph keeps cranking out on Bandcamp. It’s funny, I see resistance from critics about artists being prolific, and I definitely feel it’s bad if artists feel obliged to be prolific. But there’s also something wonderful about just getting expressions out there. It results in a different kind of work, music that can be personal and take different shapes and forms and not always wind up on year-end best lists. And at least in the case of KMRU’s Bandcamp stream, there’s just always something new and wonderful to hear. So I think it’s a good reason not to be afraid to put things out there. (But then, my perspective is always as a producer before it is as a critic.)

Anyway, let’s enjoy this:

I should add, I’ve watched Joseph build up that fanbase on Bandcamp first, and just getting sounds out there. And that’s wonderful, not necessarily because it’ll work for everyone, but it’s great to see listeners just find actual music.

For added inspiration, there are some great behind-the-scenes videos talking about how Joseph works:

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Broken machines! Ableton has a quick hit, too:

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Look forward to seeing you back in Berlin, Joseph.

More – and this is definitely the best way to discover his work (old-fashioned websites over Instagram, every time):


We’ve talked about tradition and newness before, so this is a must-read from his writing:

Kenyan musician facing traditions: “the old ways were once new”

And I appreciate long-reads. Here’s a terrific interview and proper deep listening from the aptly-named A Closer Listen – a site that’s a gem in itself, and a welcome throwback to the days of deep dive blog articles that care about music:

Photo courtesy the artist.

Thousands attend music festivals and events in New Zealand

Thousands of festival go-ers attended live music events in New Zealand over the new year.

While most of the globe remains on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, festivals and events during the festive period took place across New Zealand, with 20,000 people attending Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vine Festival alone.

The country closed its borders and adhered to strict lockdown measures early on in the pandemic, and currently have fewer than 100 active cases of COVID-19 nationwide. 

Elsewhere in NZ, another non-socially distanced, 10,000-person event took place in Wanaka on NZ’s south island, featuring performances from Chaos in the CBD and Six60, with a festival in Mangawhai also holding a three-day celebration across the New Year period.

Following the border closures back in March 2020, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said the extreme measures had been taken “for the health of the country, and our people.”

(Pictured: Rhythm & Alps Festival – ingmar wein photography)

In the UK, the organisers of Glastonbury Festival have called for “direct financial support” from the government amid ongoing difficulties in obtaining live events cancellation insurance for this summer’s event.

Last summer, a documentary about the impact of coronavirus on electronic music was produced and released by Pioneer DJ.

Juelz follows through on memorable 2020 campaign with four-pack of charged trap revisions

Juelz follows through on memorable 2020 campaign with four-pack of charged trap revisions83502954 179082600095039 1573136695398264549 N

Bringing the towering “Formula” momentum beside him into the new decade, Juelz doubles down on a well-rounded 2020 campaign, wrapping up his year with a concluding present. The Sable Valley signee has handpicked four of his favorite releases from the last 12 months and called in backing from three allies to piece together the perfectly branded remix EP, it’s the 2020 bbjuelz remix tape for me.

Juelz has already proven his worth in directing trap’s next generation time and time again, and the four-part delivery overpoweringly stretches that claim. On each of the four remix release sections, Juelz outdoes himself with one charged revision after another, bringing in RemK to adapt Ty Dolla $ign’s “Ego Death,” Heimanu to help flip Baauer’s “Aether,” spinning Playboi Carti‘s “No Stylist” by his lonesome, and calling on Anti to rework Flo Milli’s “In My Party.” Juelz shared a heartwarming message alongside the EP’s release, stating,

“It’s the 2020 bbjuelz remix tape for me – a collection of remixes of some of my fav songs to come out this year. Big love to RemK, Heimanu & anti for helping me make this happen and just wanna say thanks to you all for supporting me this year, doesn’t rly feel like it but the stats say this was my biggest year.. so thanks gang.”

Stream Juelz’ it’s the 2020 bbjuelz remix tape for me in full below.

Featured image: DNZ Media

London Grammar share new single ‘Lose Your Head’ ahead of upcoming album [Watch]

London Grammar share new single ‘Lose Your Head’ ahead of upcoming album [Watch]London Grammar Credit Ale Waespi E1609996347153

London Grammar have shared their latest single, “Lose Your Head,” from their anticipated third album, Californian Soil. “Lose Your Head” marks the outfit’s third release following the announcement of their new LP, originally set to arrive February 12. Californian Soil will be available April 9 via Ministry of Sound.

The English indie pop band resurfaced for the first time since their 2017 album, Truth Is A Beautiful Thing, sharing their song “Baby It’s You” in August 2020 before unveiling the album’s titular track “Californian Soil.” On the British trio’s most recent track, front-woman Hannah Reid said in a press release,

“‘Lose Your Head’ is about power and control in relationships, the lyrics are quite dark, but I wanted to show the song in an upbeat way.”

The George FitzGerald-produced track is accompanied by an ethereal music video directed by Zhang + Knight. The cinematic audiovisual delivers a transcendentally empowering ballad, intensified by synths, drums, violins, and horns, in a graceful juxtaposition of Reid’s lucid vocals.

Watch the official music video for London Grammar’s “Lose Your Head” below.

Featured image: Alex Waespi

Alice Glass prepares debut solo album with lead single, ‘Suffer and Swallow’ [Watch]

Alice Glass prepares debut solo album with lead single, ‘Suffer and Swallow’ [Watch]Alice Glass E1609998782866

Alice Glass has shared the first single, “Suffer and Swallow,” from her forthcoming debut solo album due later this year. The new track arrives with a stop-motion animated video directed by Lucas David and features the former Crystal Castles front-woman as a villainous doll in an array of nightmarish shots.

Glass’ peculiar talents culminate in the self-produced track as her empowering lyrics, distorted vocals, dark atmospheres, and grim pop-electronic production offer a taste of what’s to come for the singer’s anticipated album. “Suffer and Swallow” follows Glass’ brief two-year hiatus break, which concluded with the release of her track “NIGHTMARES,” on Sermon 3 Recordings’s, Sermon 4 Anniversary compilation, as well as her nefarious remix of Pabllo Vittar’s “Rajadão,” released in December 2020.

Featured image: Cara Robbins