Leo Messias is the rhythm behind Free the Wax and together with Katrina Lui, his partner in crime, started this adventure more than a year ago. Their movie nights at Kat’s place, what became known as “The Rooftop”, became a Free the Wax classic, and a refreshment for the music here (you can read more about their beginning and motivation in this interview we published last year). They set on the music scene with a great concept: to bring creative and talented electronic musicians, providing us with the quality sounds that have helped to build a smarter and more interesting music scene in Shanghai.
Leo is an always smiling and kind guy, a positive person with a deep knowledge of the world of music and always happy to share it when it’s time. And this is one of those times. We asked to Leo to do a playlist for us, and he did this beautiful collection of tracks, each one belonging to one of the great musicians Free The Wax brought to China, of course including his own story for each. We are very proud to bring to you this little piece of an anthology of the music that we have experienced in Shanghai because of Free the Wax.
02. Onra “My Comet”
04. DJ Vadim “Skit”
Leo comments: “Since I don’t DJ and am not musically gifted in any way, I, completely lacking in originality, decided to present some tunes from artists that we have brought to Shanghai in our little-over-a-year of FREE the WAX existence. It just kind of made sense, aiight? It’s supposed to work as a kind of mix, with a certain progression. It’s a Sunday rainy day mix. It’s also a goodbye mix. Goodbye Shanghai.”
01. James Pants (November 2008) – James Pants is one of the most underappreciated producers of quality 80s-infused sonic niceness among many other things. This is an appropriate starter, I think, for a mix with nothing but one goal in mind: chill. It’s a chilled tune dressed up in dance lingo. And James likes Bruce Haack, which makes him a friend.
02. Onra (July 2009) – Onra has an incredible ear for choosing the right samples to make beautifully atmospheric songs. Be it sampling Chinese and Vietnamese tunes, Indian nuggets or 80s disco-ey funk, he has an indubitable penchant for suspending us in time, like this tune does.
03. Samiyam (September 2009) – A killer tune that would be a soundtrack for my life if we were all like, stoner zombies who didn’t have jobs and had nothing but hash brownies to live on all year. Samiyam is keeping it real on the sloppy THC side of things, and he’s all the better for it.
04. DJ Vadim (January 2009) – I like this tune cuz it sounds like a bunch of other things that I like (David Holmes, Medeski Martin & Wood, Angelo Badalamenti) and not really like Vadim which, for the sake of this mix, works better. It has a predominant keyboard leading the way, hammering that sexy funky lick over and over again.
05. Free the Robots (March 2009) – By now you should have realized that I like synths. I can listen to a tune with moogs all day long. Moogs are the juice of life. Buy a moog, shut yourself in your room, forget about getting drunk at Logo trying to find any girl scraps to sleep with, slash your penis off and change your name to Wendy Carlos the III, compose an awesome moog-centered 12-minute piece that no one but music nerds will listen to, make the world a better place. There are no moogs in this song by the way, but fuck, it’s just girlfriend music to help you have that last wet goose action before becoming a Moog God! And it’s got keys anyway…
06. Harmonic 313 (December 2008) – In my worthless opinion, one of the most gifted producers of all time, Mark Pritchard simply knows what he is doing. He talks music all day long too, which can sometimes do your head in. He’s a studio rat, and you can hear it in this song. Listen to all those textures being juxtaposed one on the other, synths smoothly coming in and out of your speakers and you will know what I mean. Beautiful vocals from his long time collaborator Steve Spacek. This is pure headphone bliss, love in a bottle.
07. Hermitude (October 2008) – These Aussies are pretty much the best guys in Australia playing electronic/instrumental hip hop cinematic-ness for the good people of the Earth. Never broke out of Australia, though. This one sounds like Bonobo or Cinematic Orchestra. Look them up, buy their albums. House pets tend to like their first 2 albums best.
08. Nosaj Thing (April 2009) – Aaaaaaah ooooooooh uuuuuuuh. This makes the hair on my back stand up in excitement. Like being hit by a thousand giant bubbles blown up by a blue whale swimming just beneath you. Just fucking beautiful.
09. Dorian Concept (February 2009) – I love his weirdness. He always has a way of playing a tune which doesn’t sound quite right, like things don’t belong. The drums are always out of place, the synths over-layered to an almost uncomfortable dissonance, the atmosphere is spacey and his stuff can sometimes be super noisy too. And this dude is like, a 15-year-old Austrian Lang Lang drunken on good beer. Respect.
10. Eliot Lipp (November 2009) – This tune is weird. I don’t know why I like it. Maybe it’s that falling bass drum going bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum and that vocoder singing thing, the electro distortion and, well, the synths.
11. Daedelus (September 2008) – My favorite Daedelus tune. It’s everything alternative Brazilian music should be sounding like in the 21st century, but instead we continue doing cheap bossa nova renditions of old dinosaur tunes people who hang around Glamour Bar get jiggy with, doing hip hop with samba samples from the 70s (so 90s!) and making baile funk booty tunes for opportunist gringos like Diplo and Shanghai circuit DJs who can’t make people dance by any other means. Thanks, Daedelus. Your music sounds nothing like Brazilian music.
12. Gaslamp Killer (November 2009) – Man… listen to this… man… you wanna be this guy’s friend after you listen to this. You wanna hang out. It’s 1950s science fiction flick soundtrack meets the Beach Boys meets Beyond the Valley of the Dolls meets Bruce Haack on an electrified Serge Gainsbourg trip, the latter sleeping with underage girls to make an album later, desperately trying to make sense of this mad, mad world. Genius…
Catch FREE the WAX’s last show this Saturday at The Shelter, 10pm, 50 RMB. FREE the WAX and Subculture present: GASLAMP KILLER – Brainfeeder Showcase Vol 2.