The duo Sepalcure – Praveen Sharma (aka Braille and PRAVEEN) and Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) – have already, as solo artists and as a duo, been a big part of the vibrations of so-called Bass Music. Originating from New York, the duo now champion their taste in sounds on two sides of the globe. Travis spends a lot of time in Berlin while Praveen anchors a scene that spans Brooklyn and the Internet in the form of Percussion Lab, with that group’s events, Web downloads, and Monday night live streams. (In fact, if you’re up against some deadlines or feeling blue on some Monday evening slash early morning European time slash Tuesday morning over in Asia and Australia, I highly recommend tuning in. Or go and grab one of the downloads, which cover Bass Music but also ambient, experimental, techno, and other sounds.)

Crisply soulful, “I’m Alright” is a perfect single to introduce you to the upcoming full-length. It represents the comfortable, relaxed collaboration between Travis and Praveen, from its lush production quality to heartwarmingly-grooving rhythms. It speaks to a hunger for danceable music that tracks closer to its history in House and Chicago sounds, to me, a sound that is as much about the roots and tradition of the music as any one place or time.

But I don’t have to really tell you anything; you can grab the single for free and exclaim, yeah, “I’m alright.” And I’m sure we’ve all had days where we were ready for a song to make us feel that way. In fact, I’m fairly surprised this is a b-side; having heard the album, though, the self-titled “Sepalcure” will deliver more of this manner of goodness.

Have a listen, grab the download, via CDM and Hotflush:
02 AA. I’m Alright – Sepalcure (promo) by cdm

Sepalcure promise “extensive touring,” but if you’re around New York, you can watch it all get rolling. After appearances at Unsound Festival Krakow and, this week, MUTEK Mexico City, the duo’s new live AV show will debut November 10th at Le Poisson Rouge. I believe visuals will come by way of another Friend of CDM, the awesomely-talented artist and designer Sougwen Chung. See her design from a previous release below, just because it’s too pretty not to include here. We’ll be due for another catch-up with Sougwen, but read our previous Create Digital Motion profile of her work for US label and tastemaker Ghostly International:

Visuals for Shigeto Full Circle, and Reflections on Drawing by Hand [Create Digital Motion]

Release details:
“I’m Alright” is the B Side for the single “Pencil Pimp,” November 7, Hotflush Recordings
Self-titled full-length, Sepalcure will be released November 22, Hotflush

And let’s give you some more visuals via Sougwen, inspired by the duo’s debut EP, Fleur:

I normally wouldn’t do this, but I know Gamail from Backspin Promotion, and his analysis – clearly written here with the duo – tends to be right on point, so I really like his track-by-track description:

Opening with ‘Me,’ a clear statement of intent that brings to mind early Metalheadz-era Alex Reese and Waxdoctor tunes within a fresh 2011 beat dynamic, the album continues its rhythmic and soulful attack on ‘Pencil Pimp’ which drops abandoned melancholic soul into a burnt out etheral city that isn’t Detroit. The Bronx? Brooklyn? Queens? New York while we waited for Hurricane Irene? No surprise then that this is slated to be the first single from the album. Tribalisms on ‘The One’ echo Zanzibar-era New Jersey Black House before it came over to Madhattan and stormed the world. On ‘See Me Feel Me’ you can hear Sharma’s IDM roots but Stewart has clearly helped him take a trip down to Philly for a bit of what can only be dubbed as an East Coast urban love fest. With Hip Hop mutating towards electronic music it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear a big league rapper biting this soon. ‘Eternally Yrs’ continues what is surely a romantic core in this album – it’s a burbling update of the ravehouse sound, with processed vocals rubbing up against woodblock beats and a relentlessly bouncing bassline. ‘Yuh Nuh See’ takes a bite out of juke’s trademark staccato bass and looping vocals, washing the tension away with lush melodies and dubbed out atmospherics. ‘Breezin’ indicates an ease but is in fact one of the more bass-heavy tunes on the album, bringing to mind a crowded beach in the Bronx where everyone is playing something different on their boombox – it’s Nigeria, Harlem and other undisclosed sources of wonder trapped in summer heat. ‘Hold On’ gets even more Jamaican – did we just enter a Soundclash? if so, this one is especially blissful. ‘Carrot Man’ lets us know Model 500, UR and Carl Craig’s dystopian landscapes still continue to inspire. while the finale ‘Outside’ sounds like the duo captured the elation of finishing the album and walking outside after weeks in a dark and sweaty studio. Sophisticated, yes, but accessible too. Emotional, yes, but fun as well. Simply titled ‘Sepalcure’ this album is a bold statement from two artists rising to the top of their game.

I’ll be interviewing Travis and Praveen, so if you’ve got anything you’d like to know about them, music they like, process, etc., let us know.

  • Bendish

    I'd like to know if Travis still kills it with milky tracker? And also whether footwork is just a massive insider joke secretly fooling hipsters into thinking its good. His first three albums as machine drum were total classic.

  • I would like to know about their collaborative process, actually. Do they start the tracks on their own, or together at the studio, or in jam sessions? And then what happens to bring song sketches to completion?

    Do they have a somewhat unified DAW setup, or do they spend time moving sketches & ideas across DAWs and/or gear (e.g. grooveboxes)?

  • Korn

    It seems pretty clear that at a minimum footwork isn't a joke to the guys in Chicago who are making it for the people there who dance to it.

  • Bendish

    True with regards to Chicago dancers. However I'm mainly referring to the new found trend for footwork influenced electronic artists. Rooms is a good example. 

    Planet Mu related releases especially, due to Mike P's strange fascination with the genre. 

    Personally I don't get the appeal. 

    When it is divorced from the dance aspect it loses it's raison d'être and becomes a repetitive nightmare of looped hooks ad infinitum and pitched tacky drum machine sounds. 

  • Korn

    The easy answer is that some people like it. Just like some people like brostep, noise, 8bit, etc. I'd hardly call the Paradinas connection strange. Who else would compile and push that music to a wider audience if not him? He's been chasing extreme incarnations of dancefloor music through his label and his productions his entire career. Whether or not you think much of the tunes, footwork blatantly ties in with the UK hardcore tradition of repetitive nightmare loops and tacky drum sounds that feature in a huge percentage of other Planet Mu releases. Not to mention the rarity with which completely-formed, but mostly unheard subgenres of electronic music pop up. I don't like every footwork tune I've heard, but I'm glad the DNA of the style is being injected into the broader consciousness. Seems like a win-win to me. Artists (and dancers) outside of Chicago now have a better chance of responding to that style and flip it in their own productions, and the originators get invited to play overseas and take what they experience back home. What's the downside?

  • Korn

    I didn't finish one of my thoughts in my previous post. When I said "Not to mention the rarity with which completely-formed, but mostly unheard subgenres of electronic music pop up." I meant that the Chicago scene bears highlighting because, otherwise, North America arguably isn't up to much in terms of startling originality on the electronic music front these days. I'm setting aside the incorporation of electronic elements into bands which goes on a lot, obviously. But we don't often get a localized thing like grime or dubstep, which are London's expressions of some of the same cultural and artistic motivations that drive the stuff coming out of Chicago.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Korn: Right, no, I don't think Sepalcure have invented a new genre. But as I said, I think this is about tradition, and maybe that's where some of the best American music is at at the moment. On the other hand, I'm not sure we'd be able to extrapolate the new anywhere until after it isn't new any more. That is, you can typically find originality, but you may not know that it's the tip of a new genre until you have the benefit of hindsight.

  • Bendish

    Reminds me of the recent 'Tweenwave' South Park episode.  

    I must be getting old. 

    Seems like the evolution and cross pollination of genres and sub genres can result in some heinous specimens but also some beautiful ones.  

    Thank 'God' there is a Space Dimension Controller for every Skrillex out there. 

  • I think we're mostly talking about Machine Drum and his recent releases on Planet Mu in regard to his take on Chcago footwork (juke music). Personally, I like the frantic energy of it, and the mix of influences & sensibilities… it's far from a strict, academic genre exercise.

    A lot of what's happening in electronic music lately brings to mind something Praveen (of Sepalcure) once said, "We're all just making emo IDM again".

  • Peter Kirn

    I'll end Praveen's statement with,

    "…and I feel fine."


  • Peter Kirn

    Anyway, yes, we're side-tracking onto Planet Mu releases from Machinedrum. They're great, too, but the Sepalcure full-length sounds different. Interview and music coming to you very shortly.

  • Bendish

    Yea true. Didn't mean to detract from the focus on the duo's work. I enjoyed the Sepalcure releases. Look forward to hearing what they have to say. 

  • Not far from the full quote:!/praveensharma/status/79241

    "We're all just making emo IDM again and I like it."

    But yeah, Sepalcure always struck me as a softer, dubbier "UK garage", but again far from an academic genre exercise.

  • paradiddle

    The drums never really pickup.

    I like the rest of the instrumentation though.

  • Wallace Winfrey

    I consider Sepalcure to be part of the post-dubstep bass movement that includes future garage (anything on L2S, but especially Submerse), uk funky (LD), juke (Andrea), footwork, 140BPM hardcore rave revivalism (Pirate Soundsystem, RRRitalin & Coin Operated label), church of 808 electro worship & sometimes jungle revivalist Dark Sky and then stuff that's really in between everything else, like Littlefoot not to mention weirdo post electro-house from the likes of Fake Blood.

    Exciting times for fans of mutant music, at any rate.


    new genre?? stuff like this is derivative in the extreme, so wrapped up in referentiality, it's just stuck, going nowhere, it actually sounds dated, which to me is indicative of the general lack of genuine innovation in EDM: despite claims to the contrary.

    We read all these fawning reviews about guys like this but when we get to the actual music, it really isn't that special relative to the stand out works of the last 25 years.


  • Peter Kirn

    @TUMBA ISLAND: Interesting comment, given all the above comments and my own commentary specifically say this is rooted in past styles and no one claimed this was a new genre. You don't have to like it; I just wonder with whom you're arguing.

  • abluesky

    Where is the distinction between being "rooted in past styles" and "sounding dated?"

    I'm reminded of Darren Price's endorsement for maschine where he says that he "updates" the classic underworld tracks.  I can here some of that happening here.  Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't.  I kind of like the track and I admire the production and talent it took to create it, but to me its forgettable.

    The thing is – being rooted in past styles often turns into an academic kind of experience, for both the producer and the listener.  The producer is "going for something" and the listener (if their old enough) can't help but being reminded of the "roots" and start making comparisons.  Back when these roots were just seeds, the producers weren't trying to sound like something rooted in the past because there was no past, and for the listener everything was new and fresh.   

    It's more than just genre-breeding tough.  It's production techniques too – sounds start sounding dated because technology makes it too easy and too cheap nowadays for artists not to bite each others style.   Occasionally, some amazing music come out of that, bust mostly its derivative and referential.  Witness the LA beat scene, of which I am a huge fan.

    Electronic music eats itself.  

  • Wallace Winfrey

    Honestly, I think worrying about whether or not music is "derivative and referential" is in itself, an academic exercise for some listeners. Personally speaking, I love new twists on old ideas, and truth be told, it's pretty much impossible at this point to come up something entirely new. Even the theoretical producers you cite who "weren't trying to sound like something rooted in the past" (and I'm assuming you're talking about folks like the Detroit innovators) were actually taking their cues from disco, Kraftwerk, etc. Electronic music eats itself, indeed, but only because it tastes so damn good.

  • abluesky


    Definitely tasty. 

  • hydroid

    i like machine drum's stuff a lot but i would expect to hear this track in the mall.

  • Ned

    Good track but they couldn't find a more ambiguous term to explain a style of music that's existed for several decades now?

    Way to re-invent the wheel.