Wizard Sleeve, a multimedia arts company made up of 8 DJ’s, 2 VJ’s, 1 artist and a cunning entrepreneurial spirit, may leave you wondering what they have up their Sleeve next. The collective run a fortnightly show on Surrey’s KaneFM, Nottingham’s RogueFM, regular UStream house party’s (with their own custom built system) and a website/blog.
With bass, beats and boat feet, Wizard Sleeve bring us their first release: ‘Beat Emporium Vol. 1.’ Coinciding with the launch of their new website, the Wizards offer us a welcome diversity of music from accomplished beat makers within the electronic/dance music field. Made up of friends, music undergraduates and the collective’s musical family, the love is not only felt within the music but between the producers themselves.
From the first crackle of Theoish’s fruits of crate-digging labour Wizard Sleeve draw us into a world of serenity and textural bliss. The delicately bit-crushed synth line leaves me in a state of reflection further supported by Oli Slack’s ‘Wonderland.’ Spurring a nostalgic eye shift to the far left, ‘Wonderland’ leaves a contented smile on my face. The obvious Disney comparison can be made but the piano and harp-sounds work so very well with the childlike vocal snippets.
A transfer of energy to a more club friendly angle comes in the form of Lisson’s LFO chordal roller ‘Let Go’ and Sizlak’s ‘Chicago, New York.’ Ramadanman-esque shakers, gloopy clicks and fluttering flick book percussion sounds make ‘Let Go’ a perfect example of the compilations attention to textural interest and forward thinking production values. I would normally stray away from the chordal LFO sound in vogue, but Lissons take on the sounds use within the structure and format of the track is commendable. Thick and crispy hi-hat textures, a surgical attention to frequency, and incredibly tight production, make Sizlaks ‘Chicago, New York’ a dance-floor contemplator to be reckoned with.
With the summer in full swing Okota’s ‘Run the Rhodes’ is a perfect soundtrack to the festival fuelled summer. The tune is centered on a garage aesthetic with an organic time feel and a wonderfully engineered double bass and Fender Rhodes. This is supported by the original and imaginatively edited versions of the vocal, sharing similar levels of artistry with Thology’s re-fix of Caribou’s ‘Lalibela.’ This is a great example of an effective re-work largely made up of the vocal breakdown three-quarters of the way through the original. Perhaps my favourite musical element to this is the tender side-chained chords loosely following the chord pattern of the original.
In the compilations penultimate and somewhat humorous production, Zak Christ presents an alter-ego through a voice generated cow. At 2 mins 35 the square wave padded, dense and warbling climax gives the track a moment of semi-seriousness; Christ is ‘master of cows.’
Wizard Sleeve’s Beat Emporium Vol. 1 is concluded tastefully with the deep sounds of Kinlyf. The Schaefferian soundscape took me down a clicky and cinematic route with the use of camera sounds and eerie shakers. ‘Protean’ would be both a place of solice on the dance-floor and a proficient soundbed for a crime thriller.