Release Date: July 2021
XK025 sees a fresh label debut in the form of Cloudsteppers - a collaboration between Toronto based artists Ciel and Dan Only. Born out of an impromptu jam session at Dan Only's NDG 208 Studio in late 2019, the pair quickly hit it off. Ciel brought her trusty Korg ESX-1 sampler, and alongside Dan Only's arsenal of vintage synths and samplers, they quickly wrote the first two cuts of what would eventually turn into the first Cloudsteppers EP. After getting great feedback from playing them on tour and sharing with friends, the pair wrote the last two cuts when lockdown restrictions loosened during the summer of 2020.
Both artists are instinctively melodically-inclined producers, so for this release they tried to focus more of their attention on the drums and fx, while limiting the amount of melodic parts in each track. Working within those parameters resulted in what is now their debut EP.
Title track, “The Limit”, is a huge undulating cut of 160bpm energy - it shimmies effortlessly between skittish jungle, breakbeat and techno rhythms, centred around a tripped out sample of Manchester’s finest physicist, Brian Cox. “Slinky Bork” brings a distinctly UK Tech House flavour reminiscent of Housey Doingz, Get Fucked and others of the Wiggle/Euka House era - underpinned by a solid 4x4, subtle rhythms and spacey atmospherics abound.
On the flip, “Diva Loops”goes in hard with a pounding kick, warbling bass and some massive clattering drums before breaking out into a playful melodic refrain. Closing things out, “Trigger Happy” is another functional 4x4 club cut full of skippy tech styles and punchy rhythms. A dreamy melody floats along into a tension building crescendo, complete with massive reese-ish bassline. Big!
A1. The Limit
A2. Slinky Bork
B1. Diva Loops
B2. Trigger Happy
Release Date: 6th May 2022
Lewis “LT” Taylor returns to X-Kalay and follows up 2019’s “Staminize” with his latest effort, “Disc Trail” - two tracks of blistering proggy techno and hazy breaks backed with a remix from fellow label artist No Moon.
Spanning the full A side and cut to a crisp 45, “Disc Trail” is an epic 9 minute peak time destroyer. A huge proggy roller complete with trance inducing breakdown, it goes for days and absolutely slaps at 140 BPM. On the flip, Grain sees Taylor in familiar territory; lush enveloping pads cascade over a finely crafted breakbeat and pulsating sub - the adeptly syncopated percussion perfectly showcasing his first love and talent as a trained drummer.
Topping things off No Moon is on remix duty, reworking Grain into a chugged out 4x4 with some expansive arrangement and jacked up bass >:)
A1. LT - Disc Trail
B1. LT - Grain
B2. LT - Grain (No Moon Remix)
Release Date: 8th July 2022
Maara makes seductively uninhibited, proggy dance music. In fact, she’s quickly becoming one of its foremost exponents. Barely pausing for breath between releases, ‘Spiral 2 the Other Side’ finds the Montreal artist summoning divine feminine frequencies with a hypnotic, ritual-ready 4-tracker.
Some Maara productions are shot through with an almost radiant optimism, but here, darkroom throb prevails. Big on the gated vocals, ‘Spiral 2 the Other Side’ achieves cybernetic sensuality through trippy,
moiré-d electro, while ‘Take the Wheel Miss Sweetie’, with its driving, fathoms-deep approach, provides a direct take on the blueprint.
The Canadian assumes the role of high priestess on the flip. ‘Forget the world’ is a ritual incantation for bridging seen and unseen worlds; prog house magick with shades of ‘90s trance utopia. Rounding things off with a tunnelling electro tripper, ‘Doom Quest’ references the vortex-dwelling atmospherics of early tribal modes to mind-altering effect.
A1. Spiral 2 the Other Side
A2. Take the Wheel Miss Sweetie
B1.Forget the World
B2. Maara - Doom Quest
From the jagged electro tinged 'Seattle City Light', through the drifting hazy levels of 'Blacked' and 'Pisces' to the kicked back paradise of 'Untitled Monday', Rudolf serves up a masterclass in blissed out backyard house. Undulating Juno soundscapes and warbling 303s merge seamlessly with roughed up rhythms punched through the MPC.
This one's for the heads on the dusty trail, the midnight drive, and the pacific swells. Those in the back seat with the window down and the feet up...
a1. Seattle City Lights
b2. Untitled Monday
Hot off the back of his debut LP for Delroy Edwards' LA Club Resource as alter-ego Innyster, Seixlack serves up an EP of trademark, super raw, machine funk. Spanning the full gambit of dredged up acid, synth stacked daydreams and straight up 4x4, the breadth of this EP showcases a real talent.
'Taxes' opens the A side with some real Black Flag acid shit, it’s the crushed up remains scraped off the back of an overused MC505, super gnarled. Amolado is all cosmic melody, disco swag and a healthy nod to Fly-Lo with that kicked back groove - so good! Wintergreen recovers hi-hats and cymbals out of the mucked up remains of your dustbin before dropping into an infectious live synth jam, whilst closing things off, Sofazone is an emotive, lush, electro tinged cut with chattering robotic synths and mesmerising pads... This one takes you away.
Release Date: November 2016
Produced on an array of hardware in Slim Steve’s bedroom in Rome, this is a refreshingly honest EP and takes X-Kalay into somewhat nostalgic territory. 90’s ballads meet sampled Italo percussion, skittish pitched up vocals pierce dangerous basslines and lung busting breakdowns give way to searching lasers in smoke filled rooms. English born Italian Steve Langrish accomplishes all this with a level of effortlessness that belies his astonishingly young years.
a1. Sampling Morning Jam
a2. Sippin Beer and Rolling Joints
b1. The Rotel Recorder That Keep Stopping
b2. Finally a Good Jam With the New Sequencer