Posted by: Dominic Umile | 06/19/2009

June Commutes: Nosaj Thing, Flea Market Funk, Jon Hopkins

Jon HopkinsFinding solace in sunshine and breezy summer days has been pretty difficult of late — since the clouds part as frequently as I win the lottery, warmer climes seem distant. By the time I got home the other day after getting off the train, it looked as if I’d taken a shortcut through the East River. In my jeans. Here is what I’ve been listening to on the morning commute, in between finishing this essay/review of that new Cheney book, which I’ll probably get and then feel awful about the irreparable damage that’s been done to our country at the hands of the previous administration and their complacent friends in the media. Happy Friday. Downloads after the jump.

DriftYou’ll see more from me on Nosaj Thing in the coming days/weeks, but I’ve grown very close to his Drift LP, and I wanted to mention that up front. He’s an L.A.-based producer, and part of the whole West Coast “Low End Theory” regulars/alumni — an arty beatmaker bunch whose distinctive imprints include tastes of dubstep, soul-steeped hip hop, and meandering electronica. Drift pulls from a variety of musical locales, and Nosaj Thing’s “Coat of Arms” serves as a good primer for the brand of dizzying instrumentals he deals on his full-length debut. Get “Coat of Arms” here, and check back for more on this new-ish talent.

InsidesJon Hopkins’ Insides is almost too clean for my ears. Its precious piano pieces, its sterling synth lines — it’s a very tranquil album, a blend of live and electronic pieces that suits the morning commute well, until the skull-rattling, crunchy scattershot percussion sets in, along the lines of Aphex or Chris Clark’s Clarence Park. Hopkins does the sub-bass thing, too — the title track’s micro chimes practically crumble to bits when of a gritty, monstrous undercurrent barrels through. This is a fascinating album from him. In recent grey mornings, Hopkins’ “Wire” has been more my speed — its glassy melody and entering-and-abruptly-exiting swirls are very comforting, even as it’s probably the most upbeat track on the record. Check out a few tracks here, and download his “Wire” here.

Volume 33I found DJ Prestige’s thankfully verbose blog when I was reading/writing a bit about Lee Felds & the Expressions a couple weeks back. Prestige is an Asbury Park, NJ-based soul & funk DJ/collector and unapologetic obsessive — his extensive, informative posts and thoughtful mixes could provide a great deal of insight to the dullards who commandeered a “soul DJ night” I checked out a couple of weeks ago in a neighborhood adjacent to mine.

Devoid of style, energy, and sadly, volume, the “party” I went to fell short of being even mildly entertaining. Between cheap beers (a plus), I concluded that events like these follow a pretty disappointing recipe: usually the hosts with the largest array of digital friends and snazziest retro MySpace flyer art subsequently demonstrate an astonishing ability to celebrate themselves, focusing more on their on own vain parade while allowing superfluous dead air to slip between poorly chosen records. I missed my living room that night, but I really missed Philly. That said, Prestige’s nights probably offer loads more in the authenticity department. Go check out Flea Market Funk now — have a look at what he is up to over there, and download one of his billion spot-on mixes. I’m just getting through the searing organ licks and plentiful breaks of Flea Market Funk Vol. 33, so I’m recommending that one. Prestige is at Mattison Park and the Annex in Asbury Park this weekend, and if you’re in Philly on July 4th, check out my friends’ selections (rocksteady, northern soul, and more) at their Ten Commandments night.



  1. Thanks for the shout out. Much appreciated. It’s nice to hear great things about something you love to do. Keep on keepin’ on.


  2. Thanks, Prestige — keep up the good fight o’er there at Flea Market Funk. Looking forward to catching your selections live sometime!

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