As we enter another new month it’s time for a fresh installment of Focus Five. This month we are highlighting a Brazilian Baile breakout, a melodic mastermind, a gritty deep dubstep standout, a funkified glitch producer, and a stellar future beat creator who we hope is back for good. Get familiar with all five below.
With all the buzz surrounding Baile Funk at the moment, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that this month I’m taking you to Brazil. As we see more and more producers getting their hands dirty with the sound, I believe it’s important to become familiar with those who have lived and breathed this culture all of their lives. Having run into KARAN! twice in the last few weeks, I took it as a sign that he could be the ideal starting point. I came across this 17-year-old producer first through his edit of ‘Get Low‘ (while curating the latest volume of Bootleg Business) and then following the hype sprung around his ‘XENA’ flip (played by the Pangbourne Mafia at their Coachella set and by Skrillex at Red Rocks). Two perfect assists. From dunk to Favela bass, from drum & bass to hybrid heavy hitters, KARAN!’s discography is a fun-filled babel. As he says himself, he “gosta de misturar muito do Heavy Bass com a cultura brasileira em suas músicas para representar seu país,” translated, he “likes to mix heavy bass with Brazilian culture in his songs to represent his country”. If you are here for the culture and not just for the clout, get comfy because you are in for a treat.
koi sum‘s poetic power through melody and overall structure never fails to impress or inspire. Each of his works is a world not yet discovered. Full of colorful resources and a feeling of home to make anyone feel truly welcome. His style can literally captivate all who listen no matter where they are. From cosmic self-releases to teaming up with wonderful labels such as The Arcadium Project, Interval Audio, and more, the possibilities are endless thanks to his fluent techniques and passion within production.
‘kyōshin’ released not too long ago shows the artist’s pure talents under a bright spotlight. His careful attention to detail really makes this tune pop from beginning to end. The elements of each sound correlate entirely with one another in beautiful harmony. Each section delivers a different emotion as it traverses through a portal of time. Nurturing your hearts through impactful drums, soul-wrenching melodic designs, and a breathtaking environment to tie it all together in a fluorescent bow.
His most recent single, ‘taieki’ takes you by the hand and dives down a glistening typhoon of dreams. Melodies swirling through your minds as it slowly takes over your attention in the best ways possible. This specific track really eases your mind with its healing stasis through sonic poetry. Not stopping for a second as the track grows stronger and more diverse with its soothing drums, bubbly sound design, and wonderful attitude. Giving off a sense of rebirth and hope from beginning to end. koi sum’s discography is full of gems such as these and we’re excited to hear what else he’s cooking.
Leo Cap || Black Barrel
We’ve seen the resurgence of 140/deep dubstep happen in front of our eyes over the past few years, and it would be criminal not to mention Leo Cap at this point. Hailing from Russia, Leo Cap has become a true culture pusher over the years. First releasing all types of drum and bass from jungle to neurofunk under his alias Black Barrel, the Russian native then unleashed his 140 sound with the Leo Cap project only four years ago. Since then his sound has become one of the most sought-after in the whole genre. Recent releases like ‘Free Your Mind’ really showcases what Leo Cap and 140 is all about, with a heavy focus on percussion groove, creative sampling, and wicked sound design all lending a hand in making Leo Cap an artist we just have to watch.
Beyond the music, if you’re reading this as a producer or a DJ, subscribing to Leo Cap on Patreon is a must. With Leo Cap’s dollar dub package, you get multiple Patreon exclusive tracks every month for only a dollar. After reading this make sure to check out his recent mix for Deep, Dark, & Dangerous.
I don’t quite remember how I got to following Ooga on SoundCloud and on Twitter, but boy am I glad I did. Boasting a sound that, as he describes, “fuses funky rhythms and soul-satisfying instrumentation,” Ooga’s brief yet impressive discography makes him an artist that I am excited to continue following. Since his earliest works, such as his remix for Mirror Maze’s ‘Isekai,’ the Bay Area-based producer has shown a knack for groovy riffs and catchy bass, giving hints of the early works of Koan Sound and Culprate. More recently, Ooga shared his debut What Make It Work EP, where each track further displays his keen attention to detail in balancing funk and electronic music. A personal favourite from the collection is ‘Rawthentic,’ as the artist dives deep into neuro vibes without omitting a natural musicality. Be sure to keep an eye out for Ooga.
Illusive and relatively unknown, Los Angeles-based orange tales is one of the few artists in recent times to convert me to fandom off a single track. The melting colors in the artwork and the fact that it lives on the always impressive Destinuna made ‘like that’ an instant play. Utilizing familiar grime vocals, an effortlessly smooth bounce, and euphoric textures makes the cut feel like an elevated day party amongst the clouds. It’s beautiful, banging, and addictive. What more could you want? A deeper dive into the artist’s back catalog shows a major gap in release spanning back almost 4 years. Don’t let the time off discourage you, the Bloom Child released ‘Dream Bells’ is a summer-ready bop ripe for the picking. Melodic and fun-filled, the track plays like a summer daydream, where life is just too easy. If you’re looking to truly drift away ‘calm skies’ plays out like a melancholy lullaby. With a strong back catalog and a stellar release marking their return, we’re hoping orange tales is back for good.
Words by Alessio, Colin, John, Steph and Victor