EP Of The Week: Tennyson – Tennysongs <3

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?

EP Of The Week: Allume – 3 [Soulful Vocal Bass]

Allume - 3

This week, I’m really excited by the EP I found digging around on Stoney Roads. The pop vocal + indie bass pairing is something I’ve been going on about for months, and it seems with the Australian summer almost upon us, we’re about to get an earful of that sound. This 3pack by Allume & 3 Aussie producers, by the names of Valleys, Oscilla & Souda, makes for some fun, dance poppy listening. I really do hope this gets the attention of LA talent scouts, because this kind of vibe is totally necessary at bars, clubs & lounges all across the country. Plus I’d say this kind of sound has huge potential for marketing, cinema & television soundtracking.

Valleys mixes in some fun backing to the dance pop that Allume rolls through with, creating an almost indie feel that introduces the concept delightfully. Oscilla keeps the party going at a medium pace, keeping the vocal work and the beat almost restrained, letting the emotion ooze out from it in a masterful way. Control, ft. Souda, finishes out the trio of Allume pairings wonderfully, using a broken beat backing her melancholy vocals, given a vintage feel this time. It ends out the EP in an old school way, making me excited to hear more from everyone associated with this project. Definitely keep an eye on these producers coming in from the land down under. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Midnight Music: Vauns – Sidelines EP [Dark Drum & Bass/Chillstep]

This Sidelines EP is one of the more high quality offerings I’ve heard from the darker ends of the chillstep universe as of late. Circles by Vaun is a smooth, vintage feeling track that makes excellent use of noir trumpet. I didn’t think noir trumpet was a genre, but after this, I may need to reconsider. That moody, retro trumpet seeps into the lush, almost steamy tune, that would be at home in any darkened lounge around 3 AM. Into The Night features seductive vocals by Animai, accompanied by UK bass & step’y beats that I’d definitely prefer to the remaining bastions of Michael Baystep at parties. Kismet solidifies Vaun’s position as maestro of dark, alluring, yet mysterious bass that I really want playing during the scene transitions in the eventual movie that’s going to be made about Gotham underground nightlife. There’s a potent focus to the sounds, without any sense of rushedness or aggressive bro bullshit. One Touch rounds out his solo offerings on the EP & does so in hushed, Burial-like tones, that we’re all better for hearing. The more artists doing this kind of quiet, garage’y bass, the better I think

Knowledge finds Vaun accompanied by Ill Chill, and as expected, the collab adds a layer of spoken word flow to the relaxed, irregular bass. I can’t wait for chillstep to ally with spoken word & hip hop to unseat trip hop as the genre of choice for rhymes that doesn’t involve gold chains & gun violence. The finale is where the EP gets its title, with Sarah Zad adding some ethereal humanity to the broken bass that Vaun lays down. Her stellar voice is a perfect match for the production choices Vaun adds into the mix, especially 90sec in. This tune screams for dance videos & pop/lock demonstrations. So, b-boys & liquid dancers, get on this. Your YouTube page will thank me.

Hometown Fire: The Adversary

Since this came on at the exact time I needed it during Gratitude, I’ve been meaning to update everyone on The Adversary. I first covered this sound almost a year ago, and he’s been fighting the good fight. The combination between live sounds & electronic elements is perfect for what people are looking for in Brooklyn these days, and the video is a whole lot of fire & attitude. The video work is well done and the bass is fun as hell to groove to. Ritual Dream is one of the tracks off a new EP that’s pretty quality, so I’ll be discussing my ambient thoughts about it below of course 😉

Surprisingly funky & rock filled, with a voice that needs to get more attention. The combination of strong driving chords & the sly lyrical work create a memorable sound that I’d probably expect at a bar where people cooler than me hung out.

Top Of The World pushes in a little deeper into the realm of Indie, but remains a stompy, soulful tune. The synth, reverb & delay are used appropriately here, and it gives me hope for how he’s progressing, as this is definitely more technically complicated than the EP he released last year. The vocal work is more daring, while the ideas are getting bigger and bigger. Kudos to this guy for dreaming big and swinging hard.

We Need makes me wistful thinking about a group called InnerPartySystem. The more artists that try to straddle this “live vocal + garage house bass” style, the happier I will be. This is what I assume my night will sound like if I ever have to chase a quirky exotic photographer through a crowded series of bars & parties. Or at least, what the cut montage of it would be of course.

Yoshimi is an interesting track that I’d mentioned before, but it’s quite nice. It’s essentially a Boten Anna that doesn’t suck (for anyone into Basshunter). There’s a streak of alternative vocals here with some fun anthemic guitar work that are totally welcome here. Check the thing out & hit him up if he’s in town. It’s a fun show, trust that if he earned a slot at Gratitude 2x in a row, he’s doing something right. The Adversary is performing at the Museum of Sex for their “Sex on Fifth Avenue” series on Nov. 1 at 11pm. Get tickets here since you’ve obviously been won over by this feature 😉


Rameses B Week Continues With Moonlight!

We’re over the hump! To celebrate, enjoy this classic Rameses B track from 2012. Moonlight was one of the first tunes I’d ever heard from him, it was one of those tunes that got me through a really bad place in 2012. You know those songs that find you in the darkness and remind you there’s still light in the universe? This is one of them. It makes you stop, listen, and remember. The crescendo build reaches a dizzying height at 3:44 and pulls you back into the crushingly beautiful chillstep that we’ve grown to love and expect from Rameses B. Enjoy the tune, grab the EP here,  and see everyone tomorrow for more Rameses B week!

EP Of The Week: Voyager By Minnesota [Dream Bass] Free Download!

One of my first review gigs was Minnesota at Brooklyn Bowl (check it here if you like text), so I’ve been watching his ascent through the ranks of selectros for years now with much delight. Not only did he kill it opening up for Shpongle (When you’re awesome, you find yourself at Red Rocks Ampitheater in Colorado), but he’s obliterating Webster Hall with Koan Sound on May 23rd. The new EP is lush & gorgeous, like a forest made of bass. Voyager, Golden Era & Sail Away are personal favorites. They’re excellent examples of what can be done with a good understanding of what new bass music should sound like, especially when you’re trying to showcase a unique sound and ensure you don’t get pigeonholed into a genre. Put all 6 tracks in your face and hit up the comments with your favorite. It’s out & it’s Free on his Facebook page. Hit that up, because that’s a no-bullshit sextet of quality tracks into your face. What else do you want?

EP Of The Week: The Blancos – Heartless Romantic

I can’t say I’ve ever heard of these guys before, but I’m a serious fan. Fresh New Tracks pushed this EP this week the day after 420, and I’m sorry it took me so long to get to it. I’ve not heard quality grunge in years, and the combination of indie vibes, hip hop lyrics, a dash of blues and some competent/inventive beat work really got my attention. Check it out, and make sure to hit The Blancos up, because any band claiming to rock out from Gotham City will get infinite props from me.

Midnight Music: Seven Lions – Worlds Apart EP

Stop what you’re doing and listen. Ellie Goulding, Myon & Shane 54, Kerli & Tove Lo provide backup. This is massive epicstep with a dash of the fantastical. I’m so glad there’s more Seven Lions, and that he’s obviously been training for this moment. If you haven’t heard of this guy before, educate yourself. Right freaking now.

EP of the Week – Anybody Out There by Stan SB

This week, I’ve got this tight little EP that I am kind of excited about. I am a big fan of non-EDM genres pulling in beats and other elements from trance, drum & bass, techno, dubstep, etc, but I get very sad when I hear good beats being wasted on bad pop. This kid got dropped on me by MrSuicideSheep, and I dashed for the EP. I wasn’t really sure if the single was just a random track or the sound. Boy was I in for a treat.

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EP of the Week – Altered States by Minnesota

https://i0.wp.com/i1.sndcdn.com/artworks-000034770472-un1aae-original.jpgTo The Floor starts out with heavy synth work giving an already gangsta-sounding sample an even harder, west-coast edge. 45 seconds in, this triumphant, sunny bass hits, adding to the modded vocals an even more interesting spin. The track is everything an Usher track aspires to be, especially when the really danceable beat ninety seconds in hit and sticks around for just long enough for you to find a deep groove. To The Floor seems to be an instant mixable hit for a number of different genres/set styles. It’s a strong leading track for the EP and definitely allows Minnesota to introduce himself and his signature sound.

Yoga Pants starts off with another LA-infused beat to bang in your car while (ostensibly) ridin’ dirty (the lack of g is important for some reason). The production value is impressive, and connects vaguely of EdiT. Not for any bad reason, but there’s a distinct nerdcore vibe that Minnesota brings to some of his work that makes me wonder if he’d ever been to an MC Frontalot, Y2Kracker or Glitch Mob show. And to emphasize, I like those artists, and have paid to see them all. I like what I hear, and this track combines a calm understanding of West Coast Hip Hop sounds and some clever usage of bass & kick drum. The vocal is used only when needed, and the final rhythms/chords after 3:30 are massive and triumphant, besides being most welcome.

Tokyo is my second favorite track on the EP. The continuing tradition of melding slick vocal samples and some chilled out bassy beats takes on an almost chiptuney vibe on this offering. There’s a sparkle to the tune that reminds me very strongly of Mega Man music, which, again, is nothing but the highest compliment. The addition of excellent bass & vocal samples of Snoop Dogg to this ethereal chippy track is something I didn’t know I wanted out of the Mega Man games I played for the NES more than a decade ago. Four minutes in, the West Coast bass comes back in and gives the chiptuney sparkle some muscle to really give the sound a little punch before it fades out.

Many more people think they can rhyme over a bassline than actually can these days. Zion I can. Float allows the very hip hop friendly beats that Minnesota drops to feature some excellent vocal work by his partner on their recently completed Shadow Boxing tour (that I reported on a while back). This very well made match takes the camera off of the beats and lets Minnesota’s work compliment the good flow & lyrical choices that Zion I makes, which, is hard to come by these days, especially if you’re getting your rap from the radio or some chucklehead rhyming over a drum & bass DJ.\

I’m not really sure how else to emphasize how much I like Indian Summer. Any single usage of anything remotely connected to Chrono Trigger (the SNES RPG masterpiece for those of us that don’t have “Video Game Nerd” stamped on their foreheads), whether it’s a sample, a game mechanic, the characters, or  the music make something a thousand times better in my mind. The soundtrack to this game was absolutely breathtaking, and the track that was chosen is the theme of the tragic sorceress you meet super late in the game in the Kingdom of Magic (OMG SPOILERS!), Schala. This is my favorite track off the EP, but let’s be real, this would’ve been my favorite track if the four previous tracks drove me to work in the morning. The production value on the sounds, bass, kick drums and ambient sounds is fantastic, and IT JUST KEEPS HAVING CHRONO TRIGGER IN IT. I’d say more about it, but then you’d be reading this and not pressing the button the soundcloud widget below this paragraph. Which you should do. Right now.