England seems to be a constant hotbed for electronic music. Whether pushing the envelope stylistically or just making music that’s better than that of most of the world, the UK always seems a step ahead of the game. Multimedia arts collective Wizard Sleeve carries that heritage well. Hailing from Guilford and slowly having made their way toward London, the DJ/producer/visual artist unit started 2 years ago when the respective members met at university and realized that they were all making electronic music and joined forces. Since then, they’ve gone from house parties and live feeds to touring Europe with their visual installation project “PLYGN“. They host a regular show on KaneFM, run a record label and a party in London, and have just released this week the third installment of their free Beat Emporium compilation series.
Musically, they run the gamut of UK electronica–lying somewhere between house, bass and beats. Beat Emporium Vol. 3 is their self-described “downtempo” mix. Opening with Jasper’s “Zoom,” the listener is introduced to a breathy, stuttering sample-based soundscape as everything is woven tightly around the kick. Theoish’s remix of Portico Quartet’s “Steepless” keeps the tempo light, supporting a female vocal with a chest-rumbling bass line and airy atmospherics. Newcomer King of Hearts’ “Santa’s Techno Hornpipe” then shuffles in, with its swarm of percussion tied down by a mangled eastern-feeling wind lead. Tjorven’s “500%” cuts the album in half with an R&B influenced slow burner–the perfect soundtrack to summer’s fading.
The second half of the mix raises the tempo and leans more toward bass and house stylings. Kicking off with Happy Cat’s “Coffee Eyes,” you’re treated to an easy to swallow bass track with chopped up vocals, bubbling arps and quietly restrained chord swells. Lisson’s “Pesky” is an upbeat house number, driven by a playful bass line that flexes its muscles and gets your head bobbing. The always wonderful Capeface serves up the penultimate track “Treehouse,” a buoyant house shuffle that would fit easily alongside their Moda Black catalog. Finally Bodhi Glitch closes the record with the scatterbrained dreamscape of Â “As Quiet Will Form.”
Each track is distinct and easy to take in. There’s a darker air presiding over the record in comparison to past releases, and each member has improved their already top notch production quality. These are also some of the best songs released by the collective to date, and when available for the price of nothing, there’s no reason to miss out.