Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews

Rad Releases 20 – Conius

December 20, 2020

Rad Releases 20 – Conius

It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2020 rapidly approaches and we quickly want to move away from this year- we take a personal look back on familiar names, labels, promoters, and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a challenging year for all, the one constant has been how artists and their labels have adapted and produced some of the best records of our time and it’s those releases that have the audience has depended on to get them through the year.

This year the Rad Releases special celebrates 10 years, to mark the decade-long feature we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have kept them going throughout this trying year. Telling us how they’ve adapted, if they’ve returned to a loved record and what we can look forward to from them next year.

Courtesy of Conius

Our next takeover comes from the newly established artist Conius. Conius is the work of musician Marcus Rodriguez, a friend of Circuit Sweet due to his previous work with North End. At the tail end of Summer this year, Conius emerged with their remarkable solo debut EP “Call and Response“, which showcases Marcus pursuing a distinctive take on electronic/ambient music manipulating minimalist moments and brooding dynamics, a must-hear. We handover to Marcus to find out more about his year in music… 

Top Releases

Plini – Impulse Voices

I understand this album just came out but I’ve run through it top to bottom so many times already. As always from Plini, the instrumentation is clever and the grooves are made up of intricate layers. It’s very fun as a listener to analyze what’s going on during the complex sections. The 9 minute finale is a doozy and I can’t stop listening to it.

Cloudkicker – Solitude

This album has become my go to while I’m at the gym haha. Unrelenting and fierce the whole way through, “Solitude” is progressive metal at it’s finest. A treat from start to finish.

Run the Jewels – RTJ4

I can’t think of an album that had a greater impact this year than this one. Released (for free) right in the midst of massive civil unrest and fear, this one hits on so many relevant themes. I also look up to the production style of El-P, the layers on the tracks hit beautifully. Really fun cameos on “J$ST”  with Pharrell Williams and Zack de la Rocha.

Benny The Butcher – Burden of Proof

This feels like an old school album from the 90’s, tons of hard hitting beats, clever sampling and wild stories told. There’s not a single track that I don’t bob my head to. Also it’s packed full of features from some of the best right now in hip hop, big mention to “Where Would I Go” featuring Rick Ross.

Machinedrum – A View of U

Perhaps 2020 is just the year of some insanely strong collaborations due to the climate we find ourselves in. Each track on “A View of U” features a different artist and the styles vary greatly. It’s really entertaining, one of my favorites is “Star (feat. Mono/Poly & Tanarélle).” The vocals are laid back and they cook behind the beat nicely, production quality is off the charts and the atmosphere feels like late night driving. I’m also a huge fan of the Freddie Gibbs track called “Kane Train”, hard not to groove to that one.

Honorable Mention 1 Snooze – Still.

This just came out but if there ever was a band that was the spiritual successor to “And So I Watch You From Afar” (with vocals), it would go to Snooze. My goodness does this album weave perfectly between heavy and melodic. Go listen to it now!

Honorable Mention 2– I had to give a shout to Stage Kids “Recess” which just dropped.

It’s essentially 1 song broken up into 3 sections, but I’m hard pressed to hear a better fusion of Jazz, Funk and Mathrock. It makes me so excited for what they’ll put out in the future.

The best show you have played this year / gig attended (if you had the opportunity at the start of the year)

It pains me to say that this is the first year since I was like 17 that I did not attend a single one. My band North End was supposed to play our first show in 3 years back in March, but that ended up being the week before the entire world closed up. Hoping for a better response to this question next year!

Has there been any record that’s got you through this year?

While I’ve listened to so much inspiring music this year, I’d have to say personally that the act of creating and collaborating with others has helped me get through it. There was certainly a time back in April where I hit a creative wall, but I now have so much time never there previously to really push myself musically. In the end it allowed me to release my first solo album, start tons of ideas for the next one and write new material with North End.

How have you adapted with releasing/recording/promoting during this year?

I think services like Dropbox and Splice are everyone’s best friend during Covid. I’ve found quicker ways to collaborate with others, and I’ve been able to streamline the way I write/record. The extra time also proved useful in building a marketing plan and distributing my album “Call and Response.”

Best discovery this year? 

Best discovery for me is that nothing will be worse than 2020, it’s only up from here.

As this is our 10th year of Rad Releases, we want to look back on your 10 years- has there been on standout moment/standout record of the past 10years for you?

!I can’t express how many hurdles I’ve run into trying to release my own electronic album. I probably picked up producing about 10 years ago, but the whole time I’ve mainly been battling myself. I was always creative, but it was a very long journey for me to be able to learn how to create a dynamic mix. I tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could in my travels – attend coffee shop meetups, Ableton seminars and pick anyone’s brain in the industry. This year on August 20th I finally released my own body of work, and I can’t express how much of a relief it was. I’m very motivated to release more material, along with everything else I do with my band North End.

Artist/Band to watch for 2021

There may be some exciting stuff in the pipeline for North End next year, keep your eyes open. Also expect fresh material from Conius!

Plans for the New Year

Staying safe! Hoping to put this year behind us and learn valuable lessons from everything that happened.

Thank you! So excited to hear more from both North End and Conius!

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