Ain’t Nobody Fucking With My Clique, Vol 6: Fade To Mind

Fade To Mind is what happens when you take the sounds of UK bass music and stretch them across the entire United States. The label’s affiliation with the British club kings at Night Slugs is important (who better to learn low end from than friends like Bok Bok, Jam City and L-Vis 1990?) but their aesthetic is just as informed by the LA beat scene and the recent boom in Brooklyn-based dance music. Back at the imprint’s founding in 2011, XLR8R suggested that Fade To Mind might hold as the center of a new breed of US-born bass music – after 2 successive years of solid output, we’re inclined to agree.

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Kingdom is the Fade To Mind founder and chief curator. His style is probably most closely associated with the Night Slugs team and although he’s a head relative to some of the label’s newer talent, his recent output has been fresher than ever; very few producers could mesh the disparate sounds of grime/jungle and R&B as well as he did on this year’s Vertical XL EP

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The first thing you’ll notice about Nguzunguzu is their crazy-ass name; the next thing you should recognize is that they’re  some of the most exciting producers coming out of Los Angeles right now. First gaining notoriety as part of the production team behind Le1f’s early records, the duo’s sound has always been indebted to the dark and heavy side of hip-hop. The Skycell EP, which came out just last week, is apparently some sort of concept album/trip to another terrifying dimension according to an official description on the Fade To Mind website – that’s actually a pretty apt way of putting it.

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One of the most talked about Fade To Mind releases of 2013 was Kelela‘s Cut 4 Me, the label’s first full-length. Drawn from a stable of Fade To Mind and Night Slugs producers, the 13 track LP is possibly the fullest realization of dance music’s latest obsession with contemporary R&B. All of this to say nothing about Kelala herself, whose great range and affected vocals unite a variety of different styles and BPM counts into a single cohesive piece of work.

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Fatima Al Qadiri‘s Desert Strike EP came out in 2012 but it still resonates in considerations of contemporary grime. Genre clichés like “gloomy, apocalyptic soundscapes” and gun cock samples take on a whole new meaning when filtered through the context of Al Qadiri’s personal experiences. For anyone complaining that electronic music lacks the partisan edge it carried in the early days of Acid House, Desert Strike is a reminder that synthesized sounds can still make a statement.

Last but not least, Future Brown – a collaboration between Al Qadiri, Nguzunguzu and J-Cush from Lit City – provides a nice bit of insight into what’s next for Fade To Mind. The couple singles we’ve seen so far are trans-Atlantic party starters, showcasing hip-hop vocals from Bow (Prince Rapid & Dirty Danger of Ruff Sqwad) as well as back home (Chicago’s own Tink G). Expect a few more big features (Shawnna, Maluca, Ian Isiah and, of course, Kelela) when the album drops sometime next year.

Follow Fade to Mind on Twitter and Soundcloud to keep up-to-date on the latest.