Read every word. Take it to heart. Brian Eno knows what he’s talking about.
New week, more music! One classic, couple newbies, all quality & no bullshit. Wide variety this week, so let’s get into it! DZZ came out of nowhere on this one. With a premiere on Nest HQ this week, DZZ is going places. This tune is at once chippy, future and melancholy. The production values are off the charts on this & the drippingly synthetic vocals are stupendous. This is my sleeper hit for the week, so get into the whole EP here.
Collectives are so hot right now. The Kairi Collective dropped this release and I couldn’t be happier that they did. This chilled vibe is unmistakeable. The glitchy, dubsteppy sounds work perfectly with the classical violin, piano and shifting chords. Really looking forward to where Pensees, Quok & Jan Amit are going with this as this effort is tremendous.
I’m so glad Tropical has turned into an element of music production, instead of a genre of music. Just like dubstep before it, people are realizing that steel drums & sexy sax do not a song make. You still need a hook and possibly some catchy lyrics. Win & Woo have a great little ditty here, and have a soaring mainstage career in front of them as long as they do the work.
This one takes a minute to get going, but you want to give it the time it deserves. Like a girl who knows what she wants, this track takes its time and really explores a sound that’s both future & 90’s vintage. I don’t know how to describe this, except maybe if Cyndi Lauper did some K & then took some allergy meds. And I mean that in the best possible way. It’s like if The Eurythmics had a Macbook to produce on. Trust me, you want to hear this. Priscilla Sharp knows what she’s doing so don’t disappoint her.
Classic trance vibe right here, and it’s from 2013. This really doesn’t need any further introduction besides it being euphoric trance that needs to be played on high volume. Mobil does amazing work here, so show it some love. And if someone can clue me into where I can get more full-length mixes of this style of trance, hit up the comments.
August is almost done! Have you done all the brunch into day drinking & Sunday night partying you needed to get done before September arrives? Never try and put Seven Lions in a box again. After many blogs have tried to pigeonhole him as a dubstep or hard edged DJ, he pushes out shimmering sunshine melodic house for your patio drinking pleasure. Off Casablanca Records, this tune must have Vitamin C in it, with Lights lending her stellar vocal stylings to the track. Great little gem for your midweek slump.
Wax Motif has been making waves slowly, burbling up from the depths of Soundcloud & YouTube music channels. This is his debut release on Mad Decent, so you know that it’s going to be a massive banger. The R&B infused beats fuse with the Mad Decent party vibe really well on this, so I hope someone takes notice and starts booking this cinematic trap sound out into more festivals. I think it could do quite well with a greater audience, so let me know if you agree in the comments of course. (via This Song Is Sick)
KASBO is a name you should know by now, as I’ve mentioned him more than once around these parts. The urgent progressive vibe combined with the future style we’ve grown to love from him works perfectly here. Out on Monstercat, the track shines & deserves your actual cash. (Via Stoney Roads) REZZ is back! The heir apparent to Gesaffelstein, there are very few doing techno the way she is, and I couldn’t be more proud of her earning a Nest HQ release. Getting a single on Skrillex’s label is big, and she should be very proud of herself. We certainly are! This techno is not your friend. Though REZZ might be, if you ask nicely.
I freaking love Louis Futon. I think he’s got the perfect vibe for this era. Like, his soothing, but anthemic future sound probably couldn’t have worked in 2010, or even 2013. But right now, it’s exactly what I need in my remix work. He’s killing it out there these days, and his skills are in full effect 3min in. This is my midweek jam right here, and it’ll be yours by the time the track is over.
So, this is wonderful. I’d been wondering where my favorite multi-genre artist had gone. Collin McLoughlin is one of the most versatile & talented producers out there right now. To prove it, he put the decks & launchpad controller away, sat down with a guitar and knocked out a fantastic cover of Trap Queen. You heard me right. The Fetty Wap hit has been reworked, with Collin’s honey voice not only elucidates lyrics I never actually understood listening to the original, but is also a really legit cover. Can’t wait to hear the dance remix & some more general awesome from Collin. Go encourage him on Twitter. (via Fresh New Tracks)
Tarro, brought to us by MrSuicideSheep, serves up some wavy chill trap for your day. This is total hammock music. Tarro’s remix of IDFC by Blackbear works on a couple of levels. It’s relaxed, true to itself, and not trying to prove anything. Great work and this kid’s definitely got my attention now.
Feint‘s back with something incredible. I’ve come to love the inventive and heart-amplifying drum & bass that Feint seems to brush off his shoulders. There’s an effortlessness to this that makes me want to go fly a kite this weekend. It makes me hopeful for a better world. Yes, it’s that good.
Blackmill is finally back! He was a legend 3 years ago, for his unmatched melodic dubstep skills & he hasn’t missed a step. The ethereal, soaring melodic wobble vibe that he puts out makes you wonder when someone introduced Sigur Rios to Skrillex. It’s such an authentic, unique sound, that’s been copied, but never duplicated. Turn it on, sit back and let it wash over you.
This one is my favorite hard trance track ever. Seriously. I heard it in 2005 and nothing has come close to surpassing it. The hard house feel to it provides a level of brutality that you just can’t find in Trance anymore. This was back during the era where Sensation was actually 2 parties. Sensation White & Sensation Black. 3:40 provides the high water mark for electronic builds in the entirety of my listening history, with the break at 4:15 being what drops sound like in my fondest dreams. This is not for the faint of heart, or for people who think that trap remixes of Lean On “go hard.” This is one for the record books kids, blast it at high volume and watch those electrostep punters melt away.
See you next week!
Thrilled to bring you the debut album from a stupendously talented Brooklyn producer. This effort is a departure from his previous work, so I’m delighted he spoke to me first about his new project, that drops TODAY, Escher Beat.1. How did Escher Beat come about? Escher Beat has been this nebulous concept in my head for a long time now. It’s hard to define when it was born- It’s like how some cultures consider the birth of a child to be when they first had the thought of creating one, as opposed to copulation, or the release of it into the real world. A lot of the stuff on the album has been in my head for ages but only now have I had the skill to get it written down and expressed in a somewhat proper form.
The album (and thus project)’s “copulation” began in 2012, when I was shying away from “23” as a project. I made the intro of the opening track (“Inter-Universal Transmission No. 2”), trying to make music that I thought I truly should be making. It was a good start but I found I did not have the skills to keep going forward. I also had a busy life finishing school and starting my career in NYC. But in the 2-3 years since then, I’d practice sound design, practice alternate forms of music, small things to up my skill set.
About 9 months ago, I said “alright, it’s time to actually try this again”. Over the course of 8 months, I wrote the album in a concerted effort. The last thing I wrote was follow up to the intro in the first track, which I thought was a nice conceptual way of completing the circle/journey.
2. What is it like being a closet producer living in Brooklyn right now? Depends what you mean by closet producer! Technically I work in a DIY-level dedicated studio. The room isn’t huge but it is covered in a professional level of bass traps with a properly set up and calibrated monitoring system, instruments, synths, etc. But in the sense that I just sit down and woodshed production for hours on end alone without telling anyone, you could say I’m a closet producer. It’s hard not to talk about what you’re working on. But it’s for the better because the more you talk about it, the less likely you are to complete it, I think. Less talk, more do.
Brooklyn is great because of the sheer number of musicians and artists around. I hope to take advantage of that in future work!
3. You had some success a couple of years ago producing dubstep under the alias 23, why did you decide to switch projects? I’ll try to keep it concise. I think 23 blew up faster than I was ready for. I was a one trick pony, and I painted myself into this dubstep corner. I began to become disillusioned with the progress of dubstep, and came to hate it. What happens when the only music you can reliably make is music you hate? That’s where the track “Fuck You (If You Like This Song)” came from; it was a frustrated irony.
I still consider my name to be the person named 23, but the work associated with it, I no longer identify with. It was a natural progression to make a new project for a more evolved sound.
4. What would be the ideal setting for listening to your music? Any altered state is a good start. The album isn’t just sound. There’s multiple layers of head-fuckery going on. I’ve used psychological setups and traps to influence the effect of sections of music based on the previous sections. There are sounds that bend and morph, and some things are so subtle, you need that altered state to obtain the perspective necessary to perceive it. These are some of my favorite moments in music, realizing the album you’ve been listening to for years had some hidden aspect to it you hadn’t unlocked.
I think a good stereo setup with a sub, with a bed in the center is a nice way. The album has very danceable moments, but they’re never too intense, so I think they’re still relaxation-worthy if you’d like to do home listening.
For dance purposes, I really want to see how it does on a big sound system with people who are really into dancing. There’s some funky grooves and heavy syncopation that, at least from my perspective as a dancer, lends its self to some really fun times dancing.
Without a doubt though, the album is best listened to all the way through. When you take the songs out of context, you begin to lose some of the “magic” so to speak.
5. How do you produce these incredible tracks? Can you give us any peaks into the method to your madness? I constantly have general ideas in my head about stuff I want to try. For example, in the second track (“James Brown…”) there’s this build up to this complete breakdown of the sound all together that then filters up and becomes a completely unique element of a completely unrelated beat. THAT kind of stuff is the essence of an “Escher Beat”. I had that concept in my mind for a long time, and that wasn’t even my first attempt at it.
After a concept is decided on, if any (sometimes things begin with a sound test or a jam) the writing process its self can be very…. automatic. There are times where I feel more like the music is written through me, or that I’m merely writing down what was already supposed to come next. My best music just happens, it becomes obvious to me. Sometimes, especially with long studio sessions, I’ll come back in a week later and forgot I wrote entire sections of music.
I guess that’s expected when you stay up for 24-48 (on rare occasion, 72) hours in a room with no windows. Definitely gets weird by the end of a session.
6. Do you have any preferred medium for performing live or strong opinions on the whole vinyl/laptop/cdj wars? Right now I work off Traktor cause that’s what I’ve always done. For someone who produces music, it can be a bit limiting, but I’m so familiar with the limitations and how to get around them that it’s a good old standby.
In the future I’d like to do Ableton live stuff. But I’m busy as fuck so that learning curve has kept me at bay for now. I’d really love to be able to re-fuck, re-mix, and re-contextualize things on the fly.
As to opinions on live mediums, I don’t think the medium matters at this point. Does the music sound good? That’s all that matters to me. I don’t go to shows to watch guys idly spin knobs or pretend they’re busy looking through a record bag. If the music is good, it’s good.
7. Are there any cool things happening in electronic music that you’re really into at the moment that our readers may not be aware of? A sub-genre or a new party or thing the kids are doing under the cover of darkness that you’re into? Honestly I hear good, new music every damn day. I love some of the more down tempo neuro stuff going on like Aio – Steam Prism, and also a lot of chill wave, and other really trippy beats. People are constantly putting out cool shit and a lot of it gets little to no attention.
I’d like to see this more progressive music at events. You’d think in such a forward city (when it comes to things like art and fashion) you’d see more interesting music at big events, and it certainly exists, but not at a reasonable scale. Like anywhere else, it seems most people in BK and NYC want that familiarity. Few people REALLY get into dance (dance, not dance music) and I think that’s a big reason why. When you have a strong dance vocabulary, new kinds of music means more ways to express yourself, as opposed to non-dancers who want to jam to familiar tunes (typically).
8. If I could wave my magic wand and get you a headlining slot anywhere in the world, where would you like to spin? I’d want to spin somewhere that has both a dancefloor, and places to relax, with lots of interactive and immersive artwork. Maybe something like DJing to people wandering a technological hedge maze/hall of mirrors that leads to different dancefloors with different art installations. I’m not sure it exists, at least all in one event. What I’m trying to say is the idea of me headlining a big crowd isn’t what I’m after. I’m about unique experiences and immersion, which have functional limitations in regards to scalability. I hate the idea of exclusivity, elitism, etc, but practically speaking, immersion isn’t possible when you have too many people. Except immersion in a crowd, but that’s why Big Room House came out. No thanks.
9. Any favorite plug-in’s, programs, pieces of hardware, or other music creation tools that you couldn’t have created the album without? A lot of the edits are by hand, and just layers upon layers of sound, with pretty basic plugins most of the time. When it comes to synths, if I didn’t have one, it’d be another. Most common VST is probably just my EQ. It’s less about the tools and more about the vision.
10. Are there any sonic influences that you couldn’t have arrived at this point without? Favorite producers, musical teachers, life-changing parties, etc? There have been a lot of nights at Burning Man where I heard music that I have never heard again that just blew my mind. I didn’t know how to classify it. But it was groovy. And when the DJs were done, they disappeared. Only recently have I been seeing music *similar* to this hitting the public sphere. Maybe it’s there and I just can’t find it. In a sense, this album is my version/interpretation of that hard to classify, but groovy vibe.
More often than not, people have been comparing the album to people I never listen to. A lot (not all) of my strong musical influences either have little to do with modern electronic music, or aren’t even music related at all. I’ll leave it at that because I want the album to be understood personally, not directed by me. I’ve done enough direction by writing the music its self.
You’re going to like what’s up today. Especially if you’re a fan of the more meditative, less bro-infused beats of the chillstep, chilltrap & downtempo universe. Two of my favorite new acquisitions this season, Haven & glo, are here. There’s an original from unforseen, another artist on this tip. This is the opposite of the rampaging armies of EDM out there. Take a minute, sit, relax, breathe & enjoy.
This is my jam right here. Trap Nation picked it up, you know it’s not like me to sing the praises of trap too loudly. This kind of shimmering chilled but massive vibe is where I think that genre needs to go, hard and fast. Haven proves his chops as a producer with impeccable timing and wonderful execution.
There really is so little like this out there. Haven & glo working together on this one, building a soundscape that shines through the clouds. A muzzled backbeat, soaring vocals and a tempo that never rushes. What more could you ask for?
This, actually. Haven teamed up with glo again recently and this track is the softest fire I’ve heard in years. The subtle intensity of the production almost overwhelms the chillness of the tune, but it never quite gets there.
A gorgeous piece in its minimalist build, sweeping vibe and entire lack of a beat. That’s right folks, there’s not one here. “i never meant for it to end like this” with a picture of driving away in the rain tells quite a story, as I bet a lot of these songs do. It’s wistful & never meanders into hatred or love. Just a light, sad grey. Because it’s Wednesday right?
While I’ve been on the glo train for a while, the addition of Trap Lord & the smooth melodic stylings of Madi Larson make for a gigantic trio. The track could find itself in a movie sequence, with Childish Gambino rapping over it, or just the soundtrack of my life as I walk through the hot summer nights.