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Worldwide Awards Focus // Brainfeeder

January 25, 2012

Thundercat performing at the Worldwide Awards

Label of the year was awarded to Brainfeeder – the Los Angeles based brainchild of Steve Ellison, a.k.a. Flying Lotus.

Brainfeeder was formed in 2008 following the rise of the seminal ‘Low End Theory’ club night, held weekly in downtown LA. Initiated by Daddy Kev in 2006, Low End Theory served as a platform to showcase the progressive underground sounds sculpted by a group of DJs and producers inspired by a golden hip-hop era and many strains of electronica. This renowned night soon attained cult status among the musically conscientious and mirrors the label’s ethos: an “anything goes” attitude whereby creativity and experimentation are of the essence.

Low End Theory established Flying Lotus as a pioneer. A forward-thinking and original producer whose hazy and highly swung beats drew inspiration from J Dilla to Alice Coltrane and anything in between, but with a more cosmic, psychedelic outlook. Listen to ‘Sangria Spin Cycles’.

The label itself is the vanguard of the Californian underground music scene; a collective of musicians who seamlessly collide electronic beat music with jazz, soul and heavy doses of bass. Brainfeeder’s sounds are difficult to pigeonhole, but easily identifiable.

Teebs is a fine example of the label’s approach. His production is both beautiful and intricate, combining elements like chimes, bells and warm synthesis to form a multilayered melody harnessed by a solid beat. Have a listen to ‘While You Doooo’

Twenty eleven saw the release of seven albums for Brainfeeder, including the Worldwide Award nominated Thundercat’s ‘Golden Age of the Apocalypse’ – a stunning piece of work that transcends genres with rich, bass led voyages, warm piano riffs and smooth vocals. ‘Is it Love?’ Samiyam’s ‘Sam Baker’s Album’ is a more typical Brainfeeder release of highly compressed and infectious instrumental hip-hop with layer upon layer of obscure rhythms. ‘Escape’ is worth a listen. Austin Peralta’s album ‘Endless Planets’ is Brainfeeder’s jazz offering, a dazzling coming of age for the 20 year old maestro. His ‘Capricornus’ sums up the strength of the album. Martyn’s second album ‘Ghost People’ released in late 2011 is a far more dance floor oriented affair. See ‘Masks’. The differences between ‘Golden Age of the Apocalypse’ and ‘Ghost People’ signify the label’s diverse and formative vision.

What began as a small club night in Lincoln Heights a few years ago has evolved into a global juggernaut of inspired, modern and powerful music that continues to innovate.