For this week, I wanted to spotlight two mixes friends I don’t get to see very often released in the last couple of days. These two are interesting ghost talents in their respective cities, and I couldn’t choose between them, so you’re getting them both. Don’t ever say I don’t give you things. First up is Existential Frequencies by D:[JR]. He’s one of the most technically skilled & thoughtful DJs I’ve ever encountered. The first time I saw him spin live, it was the kind of night that involved watching very fucked up people attempt to fix a gas leak. All things were ok, and he spun a set I’ll never forget. This one is ridiculously well mixed, with seamless transitions & track choices that make me go and spend many dollary doos on things from his track list. It’s soothing, if not a bit dark. I’ve always thought that this guy was just as competent of a selectro as most of the talent working in NYC. He’s got a dope day job and living the life, so I can’t blame him for not showing up on more billings. This is another understated talent here that keeps me grooving as much as I would in the lounges & bars I orbit. The mix is uptempo but takes its time getting there. It’s almost as if he’s not trying to impress anyone, and just building for the listener who is in it for the long hall. An admiral goal, and one that he pulls off. It’s the slow builds that do it for me in this kind of house, and he doesn’t disappoint. It stays techy, but has spasms of soul & funk that are most welcome. Great work by the former president.
Canadian stunner & wunderkind Tennyson has put together a stellar little EP for us all. Trust that this kid, can produce beyond his years. This kind of stuff has bedroom phenom written all over it. The flowing bass work lilts along with a soothing melodic sunrise synths. You’re Cute starts quietly, but pulls into some fun breakbeat & originally composed rambling bass. This shuffle & whine works and got me interested for where the rest of the EP was going. For You has a little bit of that indietronica vibe to it, but with an almost West Coast feel layered on top. The dreamscape breaks through and the tune saunters along with some clutch & well recorded vocals while Tennyson does work on the keys.
No Answer is a future funk chip extravavangza. Moody bass & keys work is unmatched by people 2 & 3x his age. Smoother reminds of some Homework era Daft Punk meshed with some Air, two of my favorite French artists by the way. And yes, I don’t make the comparison lightly. Aphasia Rewinding gets into a bit more of the experimental realm with the synth work and walks a fine line between funky & IDM. Violet Alturas finshes out the EP with some rounded sunny beats. They make me think I’ve just beaten a game for the Sega Genesis and am walking away on the beach at sunset as the credits roll. The tonality & the attitude is powerful, but he’s got so much damn potential. This is textbook potent composition, and what this kid needs is production assistance, and good mentorship. Does Monstercat give scholarships yet?
I had the chance to hang out with this DJ for a couple of days back when he lived in Amsterdam. One of the most humble & quietly talented DJs I’ve ever met, he’s done us all a favor, and posted his latest from his new home base out on the Best Coast. The Rev was one of the beat wizards at the loft warehouse I cut my teeth on in NYC way back in the 00’s. This set features some of the vibes, groovy tempos, soulful selectro work and a classic attitude that a lot of house dance floors have forgotten as of late. I could listen to this stuff for hours, like, if they could pipe it into my job, I’d probably be 30-40% more productive. But enough of me yapping, take this Sunday that’s hopefully brightening for you, and let this mix wrap around it for you. Show my man some love so he makes another one soon.
Ferry is one of the greatest trance legends still innovating & still climbing. Up there with PVD, Tiesto (before the fall) & Armin, he’s been consistently generating dope trance since before I graduated from high school. This quick 30min mix he did for Above & Beyond is framing his latest EP, of which was my soundtrack for the month if you missed it. The mix is a refreshingly non-anthem trance set, with one unidentified track that I now can’t wait to identify. If it’s snowing where you are, hopefully this helps you warm up a bit.
This weekend, I’ve got a delightful future/space bass mix for you from Tinker. This dope creator not only drops sick beats, but she’s one of the few DJs across the world that are really trying to incorporate future bass & hip hop. This gargantuan task is one of the real issues that EDM needs to negotiate to really integrate within the larger global music universe. To put it another way, the first person to mix hip hop & EDM correctly wins a billion dollars, as Avicii proved with mixing bluegrass & EDM. She’s on her way, as this mix proves. If you need more proof, just check out this tweet charting her among them DJs to watch in 2015 😀
— Tinker (@TinkerBeats) March 9, 2014
This mix is definitely higher energy than most of the attempts I’ve seen to fuse the two. The track selection is flawless, with crucial tunes from TroyBoi, Wave Racer, Mr. Carmack, Modeselektor & Aztek being highlights. All in all, it’s a groove-filled 30min that is exactly what you need in your life now that you’ve chased the hair on the dog & realized you woke up too late for brunch. Put it into your face & show my girl Tinker some love!
Demented Sound Mafia, besides being a dope name for a music production group, has actually impressed me with this project. I don’t usually go in on this kind of stuff, but I have to make an exception for Inspired. This is a compilation of soundscapes, cinematic offerings and tracks that need to be in your next extreme skiing video once you figure out how to get the GoPro off your helmet. The tracks are soothing, ambient & perfect for your student film, skateboarding/surfing video or generally as a downtempo soundtrack for life. And just in case you think this is a random CD from a random outfit, you’d be wrong. They’ve had their work in soundtracks for Captain Phillips, Divergent, Paranormal Activity & a number of other movies. That’s right, you’re hearing them here before they even make it into the movie trailer you’re going to hear them in 6 months from now. Some of my favorites include I Conquer, Within My Reach & Earth From Above, but throw this on while you’re driving, getting things done, or winding down from a long night of partying. You’ll be thanking the global (literally, one from Oklahoma, one from Tel Aviv) pair of composers before the first track finishes up.
Sometimes a track stays with you for a little while. Sometimes, you go back to a track and you find more to like about it. This is one of those tracks. Ferry Corsten has been in the trance game longer than the term EDM has existed. This original track, featuring the soaring vocal work of Haris. These kind of euphoric vibes & soulful lyrics don’t come along very often, and when they do, they’re usually saccharine or idiotic. The build is powerful, with a drop a friend of mine labeled as shockingly chill. I couldn’t agree more, and I hope this starts reminding people that breaks can sound like that. No need for the trouse or trancelectro that we’ve become used to. It can just be smooth, joyful & rambling on, like the morning sun. This is a must listen and Ferry deserves your undivided attention for this.
Bruh. This is the anthem for 2015. Granted, it’s some anthem trap so I know not everyone may get down to this entire track. However, the build, the anthem break and the auto-tune game is on point. It’s weird to think of auto-tune as something that can be right, but when you hear “Bitch, we Still in this” you’ll know what I mean. I’m kind of amazed “& the B-Sides” hasn’t ever been used before, as it’s a fantastic way to end a band name. The track is massive, and is the closest thing to a diss track I’ve heard in EDM. I would love to hear some more big room “We’re gonna kill it” faux-motivational tracks. Could be great for working out, and this one definitely helps me rip it up at the gym. This needs a rambling crazy trance remix ASAP.
Something like this doesn’t come back very often. My boy Agent Orange found this & it’s crazy good. This was recorded at one of the dopest places to exist in NYC. Twilo will never come again, and with the current legal infrastructure in NYC, there is very little any of us can do to change that. However, we can enjoy two hours of some of the best music spun on the island of Manhattan, ever. This mix spans easily a dozen subgenres, with some great gems that will bring you back. If you’re a geezer like me, this mix is going to bring you back to a simpler time. And if you’re a youngling, this is what music sounded like when people could still acquire MDMA in pill form. It was still cut with stuff, but that stuff was like, Stacker 2 & Dexatrim, not Methylone & Face Eating Salts.
via Agent Orange
So, the progressive wonder Steve James has once again decided to go the Indie route and we are all the better for it. Pulling down a fun little tune called Karaoke by Smallpools, he puts his signature, yet evolving style on it. The infectious beat combines with some excellent re-working of the vocals to make this just as anthemic as we need right now in gray January. Apparently this tune was started in my city, so you know it’s got a bright future. I’m gonna keep saying it. This is what you’d expect to hear halfway between the indie & dance stages at Governor’s Ball. Like, if you stood in the exact right spot. The break at 3:40 is everything that post-big-room can be. Can’t wait for people to complain of how tired they are of this sound. (via the always on point Michelle Chu of EDMTunes)