Monday Music: Alex H, Elephante, Virtual Riot, Fred V & Graffix, Jarreau Vandal

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This week is off to a rough start, so hug your loved ones, and sink into Monday’s new music. Got some choice uplifting cuts from the best in the business for you.

Kaskade’s not an easy guy to remix, but every once and a while someone manages to knock it out of the park. Alex H is a Zimbabwean producer who made it to Manchester, where he’s pushing out some of the smoothest, positivity-infusing tunes that I’ve heard in months. His remix glides along for nine minutes, a sonic odyssey that never clashes with Kaskade’s vocals. It freshly uses the original elements in a way that would find a home among many of NYC’s rooftop DJ events. I hope to hear it at a couple before fall.

Elephante has successfully transformed from Soundcloud superstart to emerging headline contender. After a string of dope remixes and originals, he’s taken the next step, remixing his own ish. This is a somewhat advanced move, usually only attempted by Daft Punk tier artists, but considering his success at reworking Closer, I can’t wait to see him drop live sets using an Elephant-infused pyramid. It’s a heavier electro remix than anything he’s done for a while, but it works perfectly. After hearing this track, I really want to see Elephante & TheFatRat tour together, because this could be the birth of a new style of electro-pop that could take LA by storm. This is top down, driving up the Cali coast music, so hop to it.

Virtual Riot has been a source of quality on the heavier side of electro, dubstep and almost-chip for years, but I have to say, I’m really digging this shift. The FutureLectro debuted by This Song Is Sick (Big Ups to Rishty) is an expertly executed example of the sweet spot forward looking production, anthem vibes and broken beat syncopated rhythmic work can be. The stuttering vocals compliment the bass perfectly, so rock this at high volume.

Fred V & Graffix continue to amaze me. While producing some of the best drum & bass found anywhere in the world, their new album shows a breadth of talent that even us die hard fans didn’t anticipate. Can someone classify this tune for me? Is it Pop & Bass? Indie DB? I don’t know how to label this, except as triumphant, euphoric and hopeful for a better tomorrow. Given the events of the weekend, it’s more needed than ever.

My girl numichuu made sure I didn’t miss this deep cut, and I’m so glad she’s keeping an eye out and yelling into the internet about dope tunes like this. Jarreau Vandal has an exceptional sense when it comes to understated deep house. It’s a subtle, funkily crafted tune with a lot of inventive tonality and sample use. Mr. Vandal is on my “to watch” list for 2016, and numichuu needs to be on your TL.

Monday Music: Adam Tell, Jaya Prime, Kove, Kaskade & Pantyraid!

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First non-tease warm weekday in NYC brings some bigger, happier, uptempo tunes for you. Carpe that fucking diem y’all!

Can’t say I’ve heard of Adam Tell, but this got recommended, and I’m so glad it was. Strong male vocals & oddly well-produced electro underpinnings give this an almost bohemian vibe. It’s plucky, chippy, almost indie. This fresh sound is what I’m hoping 2016 keeps pushing out, as fusion of genres like this is rare, and needs to happen way more often.

This is an older track, but I have been listening to it on repeat all week. Fusing the Ghost In The Shell theme with Nine Inch Nails, it’s massive, confrontational, heavy & dark. Motivating, while never pulling into abrasive territory. If you ever had a boss battle, or a training montage in Neo-Tokyo, this is the soundtrack to it. It’s one of my all-time favorites, produced by the fallen angel, Jaya Prime. While he no longer mixes/produces after an injury to his ear, his taste remains impeccable & he’s started producing visual art now that his audible art career is over. He releases a playlist of the best tracks of the quarter on his Soundcloud page, and you can bet your ass that’s gonna be my listening for the day.

Regular readers will know my love for Kove goes hard, and this is a great example of why. The D&B turned House sensation, this kaleidoscopic summer tune is deep, with a vintage feel, that wouldn’t feel out of place at Movement. It’s something to wear black to out of doors. Perfect for warehouse parties in Brooklyn and Sunday loft events. Enjoy the shimmering mid-tune build three minutes in, it’s one of the better ones I’ve heard this year.

Martyparty & Ooah don’t come together very often, but I’ve gotta make sure you know when they do. Pantyraid is an old school project showcasing the sexier side of the West Coast bass vibe that The Glitch Mob evolved from. This breezy, meandering bright tune has Bobby Saint hitting all the right notes in the half-R&B, half-bass track. Great tune for letting the coffee sink in. Ooah has always had a personal touch on social media, so definitely give him some love. Another tune from the upcoming pantyraid EP is up as well, and you can pre-order it here.

This is what you’ve been waiting for folks. Kaskade + deadmau5, and it may be so new deadmau5 didn’t even know it was coming out. This track is proof that the two of them could just tour by themselves and instantly sell out any venue in the world. The scintillating production chops we’ve come to expect from the both of them compliment Skylar Grey’s perfect vocals. Atmospheric, progressive, and apparently still a work in progress. If this ever sees festival play, people are going to lose their minds.

Monday Music: SunSquabi, Cignature, C.Z., Chahine & Mark Johns

The first snow of the season in Gotham, and with it, another round of Monday Music. Some funky, future, possibly even fresh tunes for you this week, so let’s get it started!

SunSquabi knows what they’re doing. This seductively funky tune is masterfully produced. Exceptional construction gives the track a Ratatat vibe, which is very high praise. This is a superb addition to GRIZ’s label, as this can find its home in the electro-soul universe that GRIZ has helped to build. There’s almost a touch of Random Access Memories to it, which is not easy to do. Can’t wait to hear this album.

Cignature is out of this world. The production on this side project is spectacular. It takes a singular vision to take Kaskade, Galantis, Fun, Calvin Harris & others and make them even more positive, progressive and euphoric. But that’s what we’ve got going on here. Scintillating vibes, so dive in.

I heard this over the weekend and knew I needed to share it with everyone that had ears. This kind of ambient/chillwave is really getting explored on the lighter side of Soundcloud. Artists like haven, glo, & now, dream beach, and a bunch of others have a newcomer to their ranks I’m a huge fan of. C.Z. creates a fun little soundscape over the first 2:45 then blows into future footwork. It’s not a thing…yet.

I wouldn’t have come across Chahine if it wasn’t for this dope collective I follow called Daruma Sounds. I’ve posted about artists from their stable like Enschway before, and on Vol. 005, a number of the tracks really nailed it. Chahine’s was a standout even among those. This deep, ebb & flow  Future vibe really hit home for me. It’s not wobbly, nor is it electro. The bass is almost syrupy, like molasses, a must listen if you want to hear where ish is heading, and the rest of the compilation is great as well.

Rounding out the pack, a fun vocal ditty by Mark Johns. The vaguely auto-tuned funky, soulful jam has a lot going for it. Flowing words orbit the guitar and seemingly effortless jam that is laid out. It’s not the most cerebral tune, but it hits right in the feels. Groove to it, and if you have off today, relax, kick back and enjoy. If you don’t, throw some headphones on and drift off with these as Monday smooths along.

Midweek Music: Otic, Dylan Reese, EDEN, Scott Bond & Kaskade!

Take It Easy

This sleeper hit from Otic is exactly what your pre-holiday jitters need. This low-key drum & bass is great to travel or prep to. Whether you’re heading out on the town or over to the parental situation. It’s unassuming and definitely not aggressive. Not a whole lot more to say except, let it smooth you out.

Dylan Reese blindsided me with this one. It’s a strong offering, not what I expected, especially given the look and production. Everything clicks together, with Dylan providing good flow and making the right choices about where to go hard, where to tune and where to push the melodic breaks back in. He’s got a tune coming out on Dec. 1st, so here’s to hoping he keeps the hit streak going.

EDEN can do nothing wrong. How many artists do you know that cover Billie Jean without embarrassing themselves? This Future Pop tune does a couple of things correctly. First, EDEN doesn’t try to outsing MJ, which is the dumb thing most artists try. EDEN wins on production here, and secondly, it feels a bit differently melancholy, as opposed to the pop anthem the original will always be. Splendid work, can’t wait to hear about live gigs.

I’ve written about Scott Bond before, but this most recent 138 trance anthem is welcomed during this week of family & traveling great distances. It’s got the energy you don’t hear very often anymore, with the 138 space being crowded by the bro-y end of electro & progressive. This racing build breaks into exactly the pumping, driving trance drop us hard house enthusiasts can’t get enough of.

Kaskade decided to take a walk through some legit house done by Thomas Sagstad ft. Wildo. This Burned remix has the signature positivity Kaskade brings to all of his work, taking great parts of the original and shuffling them around, adding a healthy dollop of anthem. The tune feels sun-drenched, which is definitely needed this Thanksgiving weekend for us Northern Hemisphere residents. Hope it gives you a minor urge to dance around in your chair during Thanksgiving feast. Or afterwards to help work off them calories! See y’all next week!

Playlist Of The Week: KSKD Radio By Kaskade (Spotify Win)

https://play.spotify.com/user/kaskadeofficial/playlist/6yNEIJWUoSvgsAFT60NRF5

Can Kaskade do for dance music & Spotify what Kanye did for Twitter & hip hop? I think so. This expanding/evolving playlist on Spotify is going to be watched as he adds more and more tunes to it over his touring and insanely awesome life. Keep this one as a favorite. With tunes from CASHMERE Cat, ODESZA, Yuna, Caribou, SOHN, Keys N Krates, and Ella Fitzgerald, it’s pretty obvious that Kaskade is even more awesome than we all thought he was. If this playlist becomes a space for Kaskade to feature his favorite new and upcoming tracks, in addition to peppering it with his own hits and new stuff, I think this could do a lot for Spotify as a listening platform for artist curation, not just “all the music forever.” This is critical for Spotify’s continued development, especially in America where people listen to what they’re told to listen to, instead of searching out their own deep dives for tracks (pop music spectrum, put down your pitchforks crate diggers).

Favorite it, and hit me up on Spotify if you’d like. Same Bat-name, Same Bat-profile pic.

(Picture via @EDMsassin)

Electric Zoo Cancelled! Third Day Shuttered Due To 30min Thunderstorm.

Electric Zoo Attendees Stranded
Electric Zoo just can’t seem to catch a break this year. After the huge controversy over Camelbaks, the last day of the Zoo was cancelled after a brief rain delay. Your phone has probably blown up with flash flood warnings at least once today if you’ve been in the area, which shook the leadership of Made Event enough to shut it down. While the storm didn’t last very long, it was severe enough to scare the organizers. The attendees huddled in the tents to keep away from the thunderstorm, but there, it didn’t take long for the crowd to start to get agitated.

By around 5/530, with the rain seeming to taper off, Electric Zoo was cancelled. Kaskade, Netsky, Seven Lions, Skrillex/Diplo’s Jack U, Alesso, & Dash Berlin were slated to perform, with Myon & Shane 54 interrupted 25min into the set. The kids were greeted with a seriously disorganized departure plan from Electric Zoo, with shoeless ravers walking across the RFK Bridge to get home. While the ravers lamented the overall disappointing experience of the weekend, artists were struggling to either lift moods or find alternative gigs. While we’re not sure what’s going on this evening, it seems that most venues are going to be mobbed with eager ravers trying to make up for the lost day.

Even before the rain, there were reports of attendees passing out in line before even entering, with people waiting anywhere between 30min to over an hour to get in. Overall, with the reports of abuse by the NYPD streaming in & the terrible way the attendees, press and locals were treated, I’m going to be hard pressed to recommend EZoo as a destination. While we can all be thankful no one died this year, the way this has gone down will seriously damage the relationship Made Event has with its fans here in the tri-state area.

Kaskade Is The American Champion Of Modern Dance Music.

(A month or two ago, I was given the honor of writing a long-form article about my favorite homegrown EDM DJ. Kaskade is an American hero. Peep the article and show some love to EDMTunes, who keep letting me yammer on about stuff that I love.)Kaskade - EDM

I was sitting there listening to MIA to LAS (a personal favorite off Kaskade’s Atmosphere), reading about all of his music disappearing from Soundcloud when it struck me. Kaskade is one of the only producers in the industry besides maybe deadmau5 who really gets it.  Soundcloud has been bent over a table by the labels when it comes to takedown notices, even when the original creators (i.e. Kaskade and 50,000 other DJs) want them to be available. While I’ve given it up to deadmau5 here before, I wanted to take time to write a love letter to Kaskade. He, in my mind, embodies the absolute best in American dance music, much more than just being America’s Best DJ (which, he totally won last year if you forgot). Not only has he been innovating both sides of the house coin, progressive & deep, but his embrace of the exploding dance music culture in the USA over the last 5 years deserves massive respect. His recent Redux 2014 tour is astonishing and he’s working on more crazy stuff in addition to ways to get his music to his fans directly.

While he grew up in Chicago, he attended university Utah. He took a break from spinning records to serve two years on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan. That’s right, he served as a missionary bringing His word to the people in Japan, before Kaskade was ever a thing. After being inspired by a waterfall, he thought maybe “cascade” sounded good, so he got to work.  In 2003, “It’s You It’s Me” with the debut album pushed out, creating an amazing, smooth sound that was signature then, even though we had no idea how far he’d go. Or perhaps you did, and I tip my hat to you, EDM hipster 😀

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