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Mengzy Selects - 012 / May

Mixmag Asia's bass purveyor Mengzy shares her musical discoveries from around the region

  • Mengzy
  • 29 May 2023

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.

GoodMostlyBad ‘Pum Pum City’

We’re not even halfway through the year yet but GoodMostlyBad has blessed us with a second spicy self-release after kicking off the year with her ‘Shawty 3.0’ EP on Scuffed Recordings. Following March’s ‘Safe Word’, the Indian-born producer dropped ‘Pum Pum City’ last Friday, and it’s a doozy.

Blending bass, breaks, and 2-step garage, the single opens yet another window into GoodMostlyBad’s eclectic multigenre sound. ‘Pum Pum City’ also cheekily samples Nimay Ndolo – a famous TikToker and prolific mentioner of “pum pums” (look it up, you won’t be disappointed).

Listen to ‘Pum Pum City’ here.

Jacotanu ‘Roughing Up The Rink’

Spraybox has been going from strength to strength recently with a string of great EPs, including ones by Tokyo-based Guchon and Spraybox co-founder Oblongar (whose track ‘Edgerunner’ featured in my March selects).

Fellow label co-founder Jacotanu is set to release a three-track EP titled ‘Power Play Jam’ in a couple of days, on May 31. While the title track serves up vibey bassline, it was the EP’s two breaks tracks (‘Rattle Roll’ and ‘Roughing Up The Rink’) that really piqued our interest with their darker atmospheres and rave-readiness.

Listen to ‘Roughing Up The Rink’ on May 31 here.

Archipelago Soundsystem ‘Tracks of Elegance’ (Hizuo 2step Remix)

Arkuda’s latest release is an all-Japanese affair starring Osaka-based Archipelago Soundsystem’s ‘Tracks of Elegance’. Three remixes also feature on the EP, spanning progressive, techno, and 2-step garage by Paperkraft, label head Lewo Chyba, and Hizuo respectively.

Hizuo, who is fast becoming a favourite here on Mengzy Selects, strips things back with his contribution, keeping the drum work sleek with dub effects added sparingly. The more liquid melodic elements of the original are tastefully carried over and a sprinkling of added soundsystem samples round things off perfectly.

Listen to ‘Tracks of Elegance’ (Hizuo 2step Remix) here.

Aexion ‘Still Funky’

The devil works hard but Neoncity Records works harder. The Hong Kong-based label has been killing the game ever since 2017, serving a niche yet growing and global audience enamoured with its brand of future funk, city pop, and other nostalgia genres like nu disco and synthwave.

Indonesian producer Aexion joined Neoncity’s international cast of producers this month with the ten-track LP, ‘Dream Fantasy’. Opener ‘Still Funky’ lives up to its name, playing with filters, 80s synths and an unforgettable hook.

Listen to ‘Still Funky’ here.

Saiful Idris ‘In Transit’

Inspired by airport hopping, ‘In Transit’ is the latest new single by Saiful Idris on Singapore-based SRNDR Records. ‘In Transit’ sees the label founder as polished as ever delivering tech-meets-funky house.

The track’s defining feature is a step-ladder arp that sweeps across rich synths and a sassy bassline. It’s the type of track you can sing along to even though it’s got no lyrics. Smooth, catchy, and fun.

Listen to ‘In Transit’ here.

Prizna ‘Fire’ (Humb’s E3 Jazz Bootleg)

Döner Beat Records’ Humb resurrected a thirty-year-old jungle track this month with a fantastic bootleg of ‘Fire’ by Prizna. Weaving grime elements into a 160 BPM bass lover’s jungle workout, his bootleg actually only features a single vocal sample from the original – you guessed it: “Fire”.

It is (deservedly) the first bootleg to release on the Hanoi-based label, which primarily focuses on UK-bred genres like garage and jungle but also ventures into the 4/4 realm from time to time with house and techno. Since launching in September 2020, Döner Beat has already had contributions from artists like Denham Audio and Zed Bias, making it a label to watch…

Listen to ‘Fire’ (Humb’s E3 Jazz Bootleg) here.

Savage States ‘No Gravity’ (feat. Catarhh Nisin) (Midnight Runner Remix)

Osakan Savage States’ drum ‘n’ bass single ‘No Gravity’, featuring home-grown Japanese grime MC Catarhh Nisin, dropped recently on Trekkie Trax, along with two remixes, an instrumental, and an acapella.

Tokyo-based Midnight Runner’s remix is a real standout this month, taking the track on a more 90s, jungle-inflected route with organic breaks and atmospheric pads. For those seeking a more tear-out interpretation, check out Masayoshi Iimori’s remix on the EP, as well.

Listen to ‘No Gravity’ (feat. Catarhh Nisin) (Midnight Runner Remix) here.

Finding Mero ‘In Loving Memories’

The hauntingly beautiful ‘In Loving Memories’ ends this month’s Selects on a more solemn note. As its title suggests, producer Finding Mero shared with us that ‘In Loving Memories’ is a tribute to a lost loved one. The two-track electronica and melodic house EP is the third outing on Monstercat for the Shillong-born artist, who has also released on Mumbai’s Export Quality Goods in 2022.

Gentle piano chords combine with dense synths on the title track to give a real sense of fullness, even as the energy remains calm and introspective. It’s an incredibly moving track that deserves concentrated listening, and it would surely be magical as part of a sunrise set, as well.

Listen to ‘In Loving Memories’ 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.

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