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Introducing…Moving Castle

Written By Sam Murphy on 09/09/2014

Introducingthe interns’ ‘Introducing’ series is a new segment focusing on labels and collectives who are making the music world infinitely more interesting in 2014. Each fortnight we’ll look at an individual or group of people that are spicing up their particular field starting this week with American collective Moving Castle.

It may seem lately that there’s been so much talk about PC Music on the interns that we’ve made it sound like a major label. It isn’t, in fact. In the grand scheme of things it’s very small and, while its cultural indent is progressively widening, there are plenty of other labels out there pushing the boundaries and churning out phenomenal music.

The collective in question today is Moving Castle. Run by four producers, Robokid, Hunt for the Breeze, AO Beats and Manila Killa, the label embodies a lot of what is exciting about dance music right now- it’s born in the heart of the internet, it’s culturally aware and most importantly, innovative. While together, they are being called a kawaii bass collective, their individual musical output is strikingly different. Between them, they oscillate from the kitsch, to the industrial with trap influences peppered in between. AO Beats puts it best when he says, “All of us have pretty similar taste in music but all have some unique stylistic characteristics that I think make the collective work well.”

Between them they’ve remixed Tinashe, Foster The People and Mariah Carey, predominantly reliant on the ever-changing trends of Hype Machine and a well kept SoundCloud. In a year they’ve released two compilations that gather together the group’s favourite producers including Dave Luxe, Vices and Ba-Kuura.

While the lack of information on Moving Castle may make it seem like they’re trying to be enigmatic, it seems rather that their existence is quite simple. As AO Beats put it to The Ripe, “We just wanted to create a collective of sorts that would allow us to support each other and our friends who all made similar kinds of music.” Their first step was gathering together their favourite producers for their first compilation which features tracks which have now had upwards of 80,000 plays on SoundCloud. Word of mouth travels at the speed of sound when the internet is involved and as such, in a very short period of time, Moving Castle has attracted many eyes and ears.

The feel of Moving Castle echoes that of physical music communities like the London grime scene or the rising Australian electronica scene, except the community is born online. Once, you’d start your career through hitting the clubs and getting your name out there by word of mouth but Moving Castle are proving it can be done the opposite way round. The four creators made their name online and have only recently started putting on club nights as Moving Castle and coming together as a tangible entity.

Their approach to releasing music feels as modern as their sound. Just by looking at their SoundCloud you can gauge a feel for how entrenched in music they are. Rarely, does a week go by where they are not reposting music or releasing some of their own. Each pushing the boundary just a little further whether it be by speeding up the tempo, tampering with the pitch or experimenting with beats. Their manager Brett Blackman seems to be drowning in new music. His Soundcloud is a goldmine of new electronic music, each week releasing a weekend playlist in excess of 30 songs. Given the fast-paced nature of new music online, it’s impressive to see a collective deeply aware of what’s going on around them and yet still boundary-bushing in terms of their individual output.

Below we have a look further into the sound of each of the four creators of Moving Castle.

Manila Killa

manila-killa

Born in the Philippines, Manila Killa is making the most easily digestible music of the four. He’s remixed the likes of Lana Del Rey, Wet and The xx, keeping the melody intact but laying down twinkling beats and turning the vocal upside down. His knack is in taking nostalgic RnB tracks and flipping them, either slowing them down or speeding them up to reveal another dimension to the track. For Mariah Carey’s Shake It Off, he starts with a moody atmosphere before putting down that future bass sound that’s identifiable over the four Moving Castle artists. Away from Moving Castle, he’s part of the duo, Hotel Garuda, who are making brass-laden, funky remixes that are closer to nu-disco than future-bass.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/manilakilla/shake-it-off-manila-killa-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/hotelgarudamusic/sets/lana-del-rey-ultraviolence[/soundcloud]

Hunt for the Breeze

huntforthebreeze

Hunt for the Breeze is a 22 year-old American producer who intertwines best with Manila Killa, stylistically. Sonically, he’s the more relaxed of the four. His originals are atmospheric and full of delectable sounds, more focussed on detail than working you into sweat. His latest track, Aquanaut, is built from a sunshine-induced synth and lightly tampered beats that effortlessly carve out a Summer groove. One of his finest releases is his remix of Mariah Carey’s Your Mine, which sees him collaborate with Manila Killa for a track that is constantly slamming its foot on the accelerator and releasing it suddenly. We imagine HFTB is the man making sure it doesn’t speed. The restraint combined with the anarchy is what makes the coupling of the two producers so intriguing. Hot tip: Hunt for the Breeze’s Soundcloud is a treasure-chest of new music as he regularly reposts the tunes piquing his interest.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/movingcastle/youre-mine-hunt-for-the-breeze-x-manila-killa-edit?in=huntforthe/sets/remixes[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/huntforthe/aquanaut?in=huntforthe/sets/originals[/soundcloud]

AO Beats

aobeats

Speaking of anarchy, enter AO Beats. The New York via Massachusetts producer knows how he likes his bass and it’s throbbing. His tracks are characterised by high-pitched, kawaii vocals alongside cascading beats with thumping bass. He effortlessly speeds right up before laying right back in the beat and letting things move along at their own pace. One of his finest moments is his remix of Foster The People’s Best Friend with Jai Wolf. He uses Mark Foster’s psychedelic chorus and candy-laden hook to stir the beat into a flurry before dropping an almighty wave of synths and percussion. The sped up instrumental hook makes the track sound even more enticingly melodic than the original. The same can be said for his original tracks, although they tend to sit more on the side of RnB. His original, It’s Okay was one of the standouts of Moving Castle’s first compilation, spurred on by a delicious vocal sample that single-handedly drives the melody.

Robokid

robokid

Robokid is a 22 year-old Boston producer who has his hands in a number of different collectives including Peachboiz and Lifted Contingencies. His music combines the kawaii aesthetic of anime, sprinkles in RnB with a touch of Sad Boys to it. His releases alter through each different collective. Through Peachboiz, he’s serving up candy-filled tunes born from video games while for Lifted Contingency he’s just released Panther- a mature, restrained cut that’s dark and introspective. His tracks through Moving Castle sit somewhere in between. Hyper Beam, for instance, is characterised by perky, striking synths and down-trodden beats that mix a cloudy atmosphere with a sunny disposition. It seems Robokid is a man with many different modes just like any product of the internet.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/movingcastle/hyper-beam[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lifted-contingency/robokid-panther[/soundcloud]