Brainfeeder Label Sampler (and why freebies are cool)

It’s all starting to seem rather impossible to avoid now: THE INTERNET IS CHANGING!!

Alright, I’m probably doing a bit of tabloid-style scaremongering there. But with the dust only just settling on Megaupload’s dramatic demise, the news that BTJunkie have decided to shut up shop and take the money and run, opens the creeping likelihood that the world of torrenting will soon be under severe attack. I find my morals getting rather tangled in any attempt to get too outraged about all of this (although it’s a different story when it comes to SOPA/PIPA). But it does beg the question: what does the future hold for music and the internet?

One thing that would certainly be worth stopping and considering in some more detail is the impressive amount of free, legal music downloads available out there on the interwebs. I’m always impressed and surprised by the amount that can be directly downloaded on Soundcloud, which seems to be finally be taking up reign as a rightful successor to MySpace as an online hub for emerging artists to get tracks heard. And while most normal mortals don’t have the time in their busy lives to scour endless obscure music sites, the more obsessive among us will often find a plethora of mp3s, podcasts, mixtapes and more out there after some hard graft and investigation.

One such excellent free download was last week’s release of an album sampler for Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label – recent deserved winners of the ‘Label of the Year’ award at the Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards. Although mostly featuring work from the label’s back catalogue, what’s noticeable is that this works well as an album in it’s own right; it also perfectly evidences the rich diversity of sounds and textures Fly Lo has gathered at Brainfeeder. From the insistent, staccato beats of TOKiMONSTA, to the organic euphoria of Thundercat, to some blissed out bars from rapper Jeremiah Jae, the collection includes some excellent work from the label’s emerging artists. These tracks nestle alongside better-known names such as Martyn and The Gaslamp Killer. ‘Viper’ appears from Martyn’s 2011 album ‘Ghost People’, and it’s a menacing piece of electronica with sparse percussion and a gnarly, unforgiving synth line. The ‘Killer’s contribution is the meandering rhythms of ‘When I’m In Awe’, featuring Gonjasufi at his shamanic, spiky best.

Speaking of free stuff, if you’re yet to do it go and bag Dizzee Rascal’s Dirtee TV mixtape HERE, while it’s still floating around. It’s the freshest, edgiest work he’s done in ages, and a strong reminder of why he remains grime’s golden boy.

It seems 2012 is shaping up to be the year the debates about internet piracy really start exploding into some direct action. Presumably the likes of Spotify (whose new ‘App’ update I’m really starting to make the most of) still offer the best indication of what the future of legal music streaming may look like – but it still feels a little hard to tell at this point. So in the mean time, why not get searching for some of those excellent freebies out there? 


  1. Interesting article! We're actually putting together a conference this summer in Maastricht, Netherlands, about the future of music distribution. Hopefully our discussions will "explode into some direct action" as you so nicely put it! If you're interested, you can check us out at

  2. Thanks for the kind words. Sounds like a really interesting conference, certainly feels like a moment in time where questions of music distribution feel more important than ever! Good luck getting the conference together, I'll be sure to check you guys out.