Mengzy Selects - 009 / February
Mixmag Asia's bass purveyor Mengzy shares her musical discoveries from around the region
Welcome to ‘Mengzy Selects’, a monthly column which features eight recently released tracks by producers and labels in Asia and across the Asian diaspora. Your host is Mengzy: a Hong Kong-based DJ and producer, academic, music journalist and co-founder of Feed the Dragon.
1 Fellsius ‘H U M A N’
Welcome to the lab, the ‘Fellsius Rhythm Lab Vol. 1’. That’s the name of the EP from which our first February pick is lifted.
‘H U M A N’ is one of three new vehicles on TREKKIE TRAX that showcase Fellsius’ mastery of rhythm and percussion. It’s dynamic and creative leftfield bass music that will add flair and discernment to any 140 set.
We’re also chuffed that the EP’s title (i.e., Vol. 1) indicates that there’s more to come from the Japanese producer in this vein.
Listen to ‘H U M A N’ here.
2 TrinhNu ‘Tu Nay’ (Liquid Earth Remix)
February 3 saw Vietnamese producer TrinhNu drop his debut release on Hong Kong imprint 宀 with three originals accompanied by a remix. The EP is an ode to 90s dance aesthetics and the original ‘Tu Nay’ plays with an acid bass, M1 pads, and snappy percussion to deliver peak time rave throwback energy.
On the other hand, Liquid Earth’s remix of ‘Tu Nay’ takes those vibes deeper with a slower BPM and samples floating in lower frequencies. The bassline takes centre stage in the American producer’s rework to great effect.
Listen to ‘Tu Nay’ (Liquid Earth Remix) here.
3 Entrañas & WRACK ‘Tanabe’
‘Tanabe’ is the new and moody collaboration between Entrañas and WRACK, a pair of Ecuadorian and Japanese producers who share a love of club, bass, and global rhythms that go beyond the 4x4 realm.
Released on C.T.M (aka CUMBIA.TU.MENTE – a play on words where “cumbia” is the Latin American folk genre and the ‘cumbia tu mente’ means “changed your mind”), the single explores dark textures and atmospherics amid Latin-influenced drums.
‘Tanabe’ is not WRACK’s first time collaborating with artists and labels in the Americas; he has previously released on Mexico City-based label, N.A.A.F.I., namely with an EP in 2019.
Listen to ‘Tanabe’ here.
4 Sarayu ‘E30 Track’
In between co-running More Rice Records, performing at Wonderfruit, and much more, it’s hard to imagine that Sarayu has time to make his own tunes. Thankfully, he does, and ‘Intelligent Jump Rope Music’ is the latest proof of that from the Thai producer.
Beyond the title track and its remix (from none other than Berlin-based Locked Groove), ‘E30 Track’ is the production that really grabbed our attention on this EP, released via Boiled Wonderland Records.
Bathed in minimal tech aesthetics, ‘E30 Track’ pairs brooding pads and synths with crisp drum work built over a subtle 2-step pattern. A few times in the track, unexpected metallic samples that shimmer with brightness and clarity ring out as an auditory surprise. Oh, it’s ‘Intelligent’ music, all right.
Listen to ‘E30 Track’ here.
5 Mr Ho ‘Angel Number 909’ (ACIDHOUSE MIX)
Klasse Wrecks can do no wrong, it seems. Take last year, for example, that saw the imprint publish DJ Steve’s stellar ‘Reality’ EP, Luca Lozano’s ‘Man of Science’ LP, and Hans Berg’s euphoric breakbeat single, ‘A Floor of Stars’, among more quality releases.
To kick off 2023, label co-head Mr. Ho has dropped ‘Angel Number 909’, a new acid-washed dancefloor weapon, in three versions. Now, if that’s not a blessing for the rest of the year, we don’t know what is.
It was a struggle to choose between the ‘US BREAKS MIX’ and the ‘ACIDHOUSE MIX’, so do yourself a favour and listen to both!
Listen to ‘Angel Number 909’ (ACIDHOUSE MIX) here.
6 La Roux – In for the Kill (ming. Bootleg)
The first time this late noughties bootleg got on our radar was as the attention-grabbing opener of Justin Lim’s set at the launch of Feed the Dragon back in January.
La Roux’s 2009 pop smash ‘In for the Kill’ hasn’t aged terribly well, if we’re being honest, but thanks to the efforts of Chinese-Australian producer ming., it’s been given a new lease of life.
In his rework, ming. weaves together 2-step garage and breaks influences with “hyperpop synths”, in his own words, to craft a roller that draws out a previously untapped haunting quality in La Roux’s vocals.
Listen to ‘In for the Kill’ (ming. Bootleg) here.
7 Hamza Rahimtula ‘Disco Dada’
Hamza Rahimtula’s productions have been truly international recently with excellent releases on Russian and Lebanese labels just before the New Year.
This month, the Wind Horse Records founder joins Dynamite Disco Club in his native India with a nuanced nu-disco offering that features a wide range of timbres across a lush instrumental palette.
Rather than grabbing the dancefloor with a heavy hand, ‘Disco Dada’ takes its listeners on more of a disco cruise along the scenic route…
Listen to ‘Disco Dada’ here.
8 DJ Mitsu the Beats ‘Way’
DJ Mitsu the Beats is a familiar name to hip-hop heads in Japan – and to the nearly 700,000 people around the world who have watched (and enthusiastically commented on) his 2014 Boiler Room set on vinyl.
The respected crate digger and producer recently dropped a gem of an LP via Jazzy Sport that pays homage and is dedicated to the late J Dilla. Part-conceptual album, part-love letter to a musical idol, ‘Celebration of Jay 3’ is required listening for 2023.
‘Way’ closes the twenty-one track album and is appropriately nostalgic, with orchestral samples evoking old Hollywood and 1930s-era jazz held together by a loose, Jay Dee-inspired beat.
Listen to ‘Way’ here.
Want to be featured on ‘Mengzy Selects?’ Email promos to [email protected].
[3D cover art by Daniel Stiensmeier]
Mengzy is Mixmag Asia’s Music Culture Columnist, follow her on Instagram.