Fancy Mike and some of his friends bring us Sigma Chi Primavera, a companion piece to December’s Madison Square Gardner. Through a series of twelve collaborations and remixes, we pick up where his debut left off, and travel in some exotic new directions.
With us are an impressive cast of producers: Pixelord, Bugseed, Alphabets Heaven, Stephen Farris, Montgomery Clunk, Satanicpornocultshop, Constrobuz, Jack Contra, Starfawn, and ages. Each with their own take on Gardner’s themes.
Artwork by Austin Breed (image) and Erik Kirtley (colours/textures)
On 19 April 2011, 21-year-old Midwest-native beatmaker Fancy Mike released Sigma Chi Primavera, his follow up to last year’s Madison Square Gardner on the Canadian label King Deluxe Records. Thumbs up to Fancy Mike and King Deluxe for gathering so many great collaborators and remixers, incl. Pixelord, Montgomery Clunk, Alphabets Heaven, Constrobuz, Jack Contra, Sephen Farris, ages, Bugseed, Starfawn. As a whole a very interesting and eclectic album. As usual with this type of multi-genre, collaborative thing, diversity is the key here. Cosmic mutant beatz and a kind of lo-fi aesthetics seem to be the leitmotive of all tracks, as well as absolutely impeccable production quality. The rest is just an orgy of forward-looking, unrestrainted, contemporary sonic explorations served by Fancy Mike and his talented young friends. I can easily imagine powerful Adult Swim with its bright neon synths and great samples storming any dancefloor, just paving the way for my favorite banger of this release i.e. Pixelord’ tron cat remix of Ramachandran #011010. 8-bit sound has never been more appealing than under the buttons of this Russian guy, he really knows how to achieve more with less. Whereas Captain Nero featuring Romanian wizzkid Monty Clunk is a kind of modern tribal psychedelia mixing tambourine and heavy drums with crazy synths and all-encompassing voice drifting in the background. Other tunes on this amazing EP tell their own story. Sometimes it is just pure beauty like in Swan Swan (oh boy this female vocal turns me on) or off-kilter experiments in Alphabets Heaven’s Mephistopheles Mix of Ramachandran or Ninja Tune’ish broken beat in satanicpornocultshop’s bleep bloop blorp refix of the same tune. Jack Contra’s Pagliacci Reprise of Lazer Opera, reminding me of Kid606 and other artists from Titerbeat roster, is a real slap in the face of any classic Opera fun :)) Well, f..k them, I still love his lazers and heavy guitar riffs. The rest is equally good, so don’t hesitate and load these sonic bullets to your player and deliver some fresh energy to your synapses. Highly recommended by Doktor Krank!!! – Doktor Krank
Late last year, Midwest producer Fancy Mike released the great Madison Square Gardner EP on King Deluxe, full of thick programming and effervescent synths. One of the most notable aspects to his music, though, was an affinity with orchestral sounds and composition. While the music had its heart in hip-hop, the underlying structure was in the symphony. It lends his music a weight sometimes not found in the bright, spastic beat constructions that circle the globe today. Not one to rest on his laurels, the new Sigma Chi Primavera EP is a varied and complex collection of remixes, collaborations, and new tracks.
One of the standout tracks from Madison Square Gardner, “Ramachandran,” receives no less than five new versions here, starting with Russian beatsmith Pixelord’s “Tron Cat Remix.” Pixelord transforms the psychedelic synths and languid rhythm into a cinematic car chase, chopping the beat and stretching the melodies into 8 bit swirls. “Ramachandran #666 (Alphabets Heaven’s Mephistopheles Mix)” is not only a giant title but a large reinterpretation of the original, eradicating the original beat and replacing it with a slow thump and adding in frenetic squalls of noise between the kicks. Another remarkable remix comes with Satanicpornocultshop’s take, with light and happy keys dominating the sound before distorted breakbeats come in for contrast.
While remixes take up about half of Sigma Chi Primavera, some of the best moments come from new collaborative tracks like “Captain Nero” with Montgomery Clunk. A voice tone is stretched and looped over clipped synths and some very lively drum programming. While coming in at a short 2 minutes, the song nevertheless maintains a focused momentum, with the second half breaking into a triumphant theme, harkening back to Madison Square Gardner’s epic feeling. Starfawn collaborates on “Swan Swan,” with gentle twinkling frequencies and a thick low-end, while textural voices and distortion twists and turns throughout. “Goblin” features Constrobuz on a bluesy, swampy electronic beat, with swathes of synthesized grit bobbing slowly over top, feeling like an inevitable avalanche.
Fancy Mike closes out with the “Ages Film Suite” version of “Ramachandran” and a new track called “Superman.” Including the words “film suite” in this version is no coincidence, as this final version of the track could easily be soundtracking a heady science fiction movie. The beginning abstracts the original into a grainy rhythm, while the drop midway through pulls out the stops and launches into a pulse pounding train ride backed by swelling synths. “Superman” is purely devoid of beats and ends the Sigma Chi Primavera experience with a slow meditation on a warped vision of a solo string performance, like some new type of creature pouring out his emotions on stage, attempting to communicate for all it’s life. – Keith Pishnery
21-year old beat-maker from the Midwest. Still can’t seem to find much about him. Offers some crazy Flying Lotus-like/Mr. Oizio-sounding/Justice-inspired lo-fi future synth beat-music. Kind of impressive, actually, to hear everything he’s doing with this album sonically, given his young age. According to his Last.fm bio, he works for the fashion industry as a visual artist but still goes to school… okay.
With this second release, he’s already working with the likes of pixelord, Montgomery Clunk, Starfawn and Stephen Farris. Seems to be buddies with Dem Hunger and Lorn too. There’s a lot happening on this record and it all sounds rather cohesive; very forward-thinking stuff. Really digging the cover art, too. – We Fucking Love Music
We’ve been big fans of Fancy Mike here ever since we were first sent a promo of his Madison Square Gardner album (which I’ve just found out was also a free download so grab that too, here) it’s pure heat!
King Deluxe, a relatively new label based in British Columbia who have put out a few nice releases, are giving away the 192 version of the album for free but there is also a320 for purchase if you’re feeling it and want to play it out!.
The album features remixes and collaborations with other YSK favourites such as Pixelord and Constrobiz. I know Tim is a particularly big fan of Pixelord’s remix of Ramachandran so much so he had to rewind it at the last Streets of Beige and has gone on record as saying “BIGUP TO PIXELORD AND FANCY MIKE! OM GOMG OGMGOGMG”. But yeah, both his albums are bloody good so go and grab them, you wont be disappointed.
One of the most friendly labels King Deluxe today released Fancy Mike‘s collaborative album “Sigma Chi Primavera” with lots of gems in it! Journey beginning track “Twin Peaks” feat. Constrobuz is the one that catches me the most, maybe it’s because of summer-smelling-dreamy sunlight that shines straight on my desk or it just has a great musical wave. Montgomery Clunk collab. is also breathtaking and those are just a few gems to mention! Be prepared for wide variety of rhythm structures, distinctive compositions and mood changing melodies. – Perf10
Fancy Mike officially drops the new release on King Deluxe and it delivers as much as the preceding. songs are touched by pixlelord, montgomery clunk, jack contra, constrobuz, and my internet pal under his Starfawn moniker. All in all its a wild good release. Out there and in control. Great shit cop the crazy frat fun… – All Fer teh Lulz
This is the true craziness here. Everyone is going to like different parts, but my own favorites definitely go to “Captain Nero”, “Swan Swan” and “Lazer Opera”. – Jaya Prime
Fancy Mike is here with a free album [edit: partially true] that’s full of glitch, beats and whatnot: it’s like it’s made for turning up the volume and not giving a damn about anything. – Musigh
On “Adult Swim,” Fancy Mike and Stephen Farris hit a great groove with some friendly textures and skipping vocals samples. Reminds me of Crystal Castles in a way, for sure. – The Needle Drop
Fancy Mike & Friends over at King Deluxe Records just dropped this beast of a record today.
We definitely recommend you give it a listen.
Bangers all the way through. – We Fear Change
Fancy Mike disappeared into the synthed-out mist of his debut album Madison Square Gardner and came back with a few accomplices and one hell of an EP. Sigma Chi Primavera is a set of collaborations and remixes that all revolve around the titanic melodies presented on Madison Square Gardner. The sounds are familiar but the execution is nothing short of unique, it’s an album that re-envisions while also crafting a piece of work that is entirely new. I found myself wanting to say so much about this project but I finally narrowed it down to one thing; it’s an album glittering with moon beam synth in a familiar lo-fi landscape that is not only comfortable but intriguing. – HeadNodz
I don’t really know much about this guy, other than this album is super fresh. Real good glitchy beats and samples that border on sounding like NES/Gameboy music, but never quite crosses that threshhold. A surefire headnodder. – Gunshot & Left For Dead
No cabe duda que la escena de los future beats se encuentra en pleno apogeo, y promesas comoFancy Mike son los que prometen mantener la escena un buen rato. Fancy Mike en compañía de algunos amigos de distintas partes del mundo han fundado King Deluxe, especializado en dubstep y wonky beats. “Sigma Chi Primavera” es la referencia que consolida su nombre en el mapa, ya que colaboran con gente de Error-Broadcast como Montgomery Clunk, Pixelord o el productor Constrobuz. Aquí te deleitarás con beats llenos de sintetizadores, 8-bits, líneas de bajo y buen boom-bap. Uno de los mejores releases que he escuchado últimamente. – Ruido Fino
Fancy Mike grew up without the means to make his own beats, despite his love for instrumental music. His own sound is cinematic, as dark as it is sentimental. The beats don’t mince around trying to throw you off. Instead they plow forward with on-the-beat precision at BPM counts high and low.
Sigma Chi Primavera, Mike’s debut, just dropped a week ago. The track list shows off some of his collaborations; guys who are pretty obscure, unless of course you’ve been following Iggy’s taste in electronic music. Pixelord, Montgomery Clunk, and Bugseed are a few familiar names on the album. – Mtv Iggy
This is super ridiculous…I am, of course, talking about the name Fancy Mike… haha kidding! Dude could be called DJ Little Lord Fauntleroy and I would still crank it. This track has been bouncing around my pute for a second(a week) and it is the mutt’s nuts. This beat just kills. It is chockful of electro-synthy glitchtastic goodness! – Seizure Chicken
Un proyecto un tanto bizzarro, les hablo de Fancy Mike un joven músico de 21 años de edad, quién lanzó bajo el sello King Deluxe el album “Sigma Chi Primavera”, un álbum de colaboraciones, en las que encontramos Stephen Farris, Constrobuz, Montgomery Clunk, Starfawn así como remixes de Pixelord, Bugseed y Alphabets Heaven. Sigma Chi Primavera está llena de beats rimbombantes, toques de chiptune y electrónica experimental dificil de clasificar. Estén preparados para un gran variedad de sonidos, estructuras ritmicas, distintivas composiciones y melodías que te pueden cambiar de un estado a otro. – Súper Machín
If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’ve probably figured out by now that I prefer tripped the fuck out drum beats and awesome synthesizers over most other sounds out there. One of my newest obsessions in this realm is from Minneapolis and goes by the name of Fancy Mike. In December he released the excellent “Madison Square Gardner” and just last month released the “companion piece” that is the feature of this post. “Sigma Chi Primavera” features, as far as I can tell, six new tracks and six reworkings of tracks from “Madison Square Gardner”. Being from Houston, I was immediately drawn to “Adult Swim”, which features Spaced City native Stephen Farris. I immediately loved the track, and by the end of the day I was playing the whole album for anyone that would listen. This album hits a lot of different speeds and areas of the electronic realm and captures the attention of the listener throughout. Fans of anything from Cosmic Sound to Com Truise will dig this for sure. – Spaced City
The dust has barely settled on Fancy Mike’s previous outing, Madison Square Gardner, and already we’ve got another one burning up the tarmac. As before, Sigma Chi Primavera’s tracks hit hard and fast, with Mike Kleine managing to pack a dozen of’em into a forty-minute set. Using analog-driven gear, the twenty-one-year-old Minnesotan beat-maker (and current French History and Literature student) excels at spinning tripped-out variations on lo-fi, synth-based instrumental music and takes inspiration from soundtrack music, electro, synth-pop, crunk, and retro-futurist hip-hop, though not necessarily in that order. Perhaps he’s trying to make up for lost time, given that he’s only been producing music under the Fancy Mike name since 2008.
The release sets sail with a starry-eyed reading of a theme from Angelo Badalamenti’s “Twin Peaks” but not all of the material twinkles so beatifically. With its frenetic 8-bit synth noodling and beat blaze, the second cut, “Adult Swim,” situates us in more familiar Fancy Mike territory, the somersaulting track the aural equivalent of an out-of-conrol carnival ride. An early high point arrives when Pixelord brings the bass thunder and blaze to a crunk-styled “Tron Cat” remix of “Ramachandran,” and beware as well the lethal bass-drop of “Ramachandran #666 (Alphabets Heaven’s Mephistopheles Mix).” Not everything hits the bullseye—the mid-album cut, “Lazer Opera #58008 (Jack Contra’s Pagliacci Reprise),” threatens to go off the rails when an opera singer forces his way into the already overloaded mix—but all’s forgiven when something as sweet as “Ramachandran #323 (Bugseed’s Sequel)” enters the picture. Its generally languorous vibe is the exception to the rule on this oft-frenzied collection, which makes the song’s serenading swing all the more appealing. A number of guests join Kleine on the recording, namely Stephen Farris, Montgomery Clunk, Starfawn, and Constrobuz, but the album ends up sounding very much like Fancy Mike’s show. – Textura
We would run, hand in hand, giggling in giddy abandon. As the earth crackled beneath our feet, our speed would only increase. Our lack of inhibition was the fuel to our adventures. Away from the eyes of our parents, our peers, and all people, we would meet in secret only to reaffirm our adoration of one another. Playful teasing, light nudges, knowing glances that soon turned into full blown smiles – covering and swallowing our faces. Our hands would grip tightly as we would stare at what was below us. Every day, little by little, we would work up the courage to inch closer towards that ledge. Toes digging in dirt, we would inch further and further over the set boundary. Given our bravery, our declaration, we would determine to spend the rest of eternity with one another. Tangled. Intertwined. Endless youth forever clasped in the throws of the other’s warmth and acceptance.
Fancy Mike’s follow up, “Sigma Chi Primavera”, is a kaleidoscopic, intergalactic beat buffet that will you send you reeling. Sparkling samples, meet with harmonious, percolating, and often, flickering instrumentation. From super blipped out tracks to the twinkling, undulating synths, it will satiate your craving for melodious, lush beats. – Unholy Rhythms
I have really been digging Fancy Mike’s Sigma Chi Primavera. It reminds me a lot of Motoro Faam’s faster, less ambient beats. Just a lovely, crunchy, synthy mess. – Come On. Let’s Go.
Sigma Chi Primavera is another truly progressive electronica album. Inspired by hip hop beats with added robotics, every song belongs. Nothing feels out of place on this widely schizophrenic electronica download. – Dingus
To understand a little bit of what could be Mike’s own world you just have to know, as you can read on his label’s profile, that he is also a visual artist (he worked for haute-couture designer CHRISTIAN DIOR) that spends his days managing a biannual literary and fine arts journal and “at night, he makes beats and e-mails famous people so they’ll listen to his music”. – Slang