Monday Music: Clinton Sparks, Monoverse, Overjoy, Robotaki, Kristen Zwicker & James Blake!

1296946500426

Time for your next dose of tunes! I’m all over the place this week, lots of different stuff to get into. Plus, I had to break my 5 tracks a week rule to make sure to include one off of my dear friend Kristen Zwicker’s new EP. Also known as Dopeshoes, she does some great work in Brooklyn, so you’re getting that plus the other 5 tunes I got into over the last week.

Clinton Sparks did some great work on this song and lyric video. For anyone not in the loop, tunes are frequently given lyric videos before the real music video is released, and they are usually phoned in. Picking up Joey Bandz and pushing the pop indie vibes, we can see Clinton Sparks is really taking a swipe at that LA universe. Honestly, with offerings like this, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be there. This is weapons grade easy listening indie pop that I’d much rather hear on the radio than a lot of other artists. The lyric work stays intelligent, the guitar and synth work halfway through the tune separate it from the middle of the pack where it would be forgotten. Keep going Clinton, they’ll give you your Chainsmokers moment soon.
Monoverse releasing an original on Future Sounds of Egypt? Yes please! Quintessential trance from the NYC native, well executed and impeccably mixed. Monoverse is one of those low-key heroes of the NYC dance music scene that I am really hoping finds all the success he deserves. His mixes are second to none, he graciously opens for the best Trance acts in the world, and produces compelling originals. The break at 2:32 is spectacular and should already be popping up on Trance podcasts all over the world. Play it over something other than Bluetooth.
Overjoy came out of nowhere and shook me. Don’t let the hipster-y opening throw you. Get to 1:45 however you can and enjoy the muddy bass & vocals. This is a deep, deep track that has a crazy video to match. Float along to the groovy indie bass work, drift off and relax. Great work by the trio from LA.
Keeping the “dope video” theme going, Robotaki knocked this track out of the park. I found it in a Gifs With Sound YouTube video, then proceeded to listen to Robotaki for the rest of the day. The fusion between J-pop and potent electro works perfectly, and I want more of it. Like, can we get Robotaki to do some Babymetal remixes with Black Tiger Sex Machine or something?
Oh yea, and James Blake did a new thing. Like, I’m not even sure why you’re reading these words instead of hitting play and letting the 2:47 wash over you. It gets somewhat intense in his smouldering, poetic way, but still shimmers throughout. It’s raw, gets intense and almost dark. Amazing, as always Mr. Blake.

To cool down from some of that heaviness, Drift by Kristen Zwicker is just the thing you need. It’s got a Buddha Bar meets Brooklyn feel to it, which, is both inspired and meditative. Throw this on during the morning after, when you get home, or while you’re trying to not choke someone on the train. Use good headphones that have bass. It might save their lives.

Monday Music: Alexander Popov, Makam, SG Lewis, Renard & Norfair!

downloadfile
Now that we’ve finally reached summer proper, we can push into the perkier, punchier side of the music spectrum. A bunch of genres are coming your way, so get your office dance party shoes ready!
Alexander Popov is one of those gems east of the Danube that the West desperately needs. His masterful use of anthem elements in his hard trance create a post-big room feel that has already found a home in A State of Trance & other trance podcasts. I’ve blogged about him before, and I’ll totally be blogging about him again, so strap in & enjoy the ride.
Stamp The Wax coming at you with a low-key stunner of a tune. This slow-building, simmering house track never gets in your face, but delivers, especially if you’re the type of dancer who picks up the beat minutes before the rest of the crowd. It pulls into a delightful, uptempo jam that would feel at home in dozens of venues across the city. Prime DJ material by Makam.

SG Lewis is slowly getting the attention he deserves, and after collabs with people like Gallant, that climb should accelerate significantly. Shimmering vocals support a groovy, upbeat bassline, funky guitar work and strong indie sensibilities. It breaks into a gorgeous, disco-infused indie track that should get quite a lot of love in the coming weeks. You heard it here first!

This retro track got stuck in my head over the weekend, so I had to share it. Renard, now LapFox reworked this with another artist, and I gotta tell you, I can’t get enough of this sound. It’s terrifying to music newbies, but the fusion between chiptune & breakcore will always bring a smile to my face. The nostalgia is in full effect here, but the broken bass & beats give it a totally modern vibe that only the best of the Mega Man X soundtrack came close to approximating.

Norfair comes at us with a nightcore remix of Above & Beyond. Remixing AvB is not easy and if you mess it up, you’ll have their legions of fans howling for blood in between bouts of crying over AvB feels. However, I think this re-work has enough going on with it to earn respect. This uptempo remix celebrates the original AvB elements while pushing it into more rave friendly territory. Which gives all of us without room for a piano on stage next to the decks a chance to get those AvB feels into the crowd without reducing them to a whimpering mess. Great work by Norfair, can’t wait to see what he does next.

Monday Music: Greyhat, Ghostchant, Mickey Kojak, SBTRKT & Bobina

Freeman KittyThe last Monday in March will be celebrated with Morgan Freeman, a black cat & 5 of the most legit things I heard last week!

Greyhat coming at you from Maine, with some soothing, almost vaporwave chillout. I say almost because there’s an indie punch to the track that’s much appreciated. It’s got a Blockheads classic psychedelic rock feel to it. Never too overpowering, but most certainly guitar-focused and liquid. Speaking of liquid, it pulls into a breaking, almost d&b tempo, before melting back into this lush indietronica that deserves roaring congratulations. It feels like driving through one of those rainbow 80’s videogame .gifs.

Ghostchant is one of my favorite UK artists. His fusion of garage, ambient, downtempo, trap & ethereal beats is second to none, and this kind of remix needs to keep coming. Pulling even more echo & melancholy into The Weeknd, this six minute rework is a giant made of clouds. So much work went into creating the atmosphere that The Weeknd’s vocals soar through, I hope he sees in. Ghostchant is one of the best producers in the game, and totally needs to do some work for huge pop artists. Bieber remix next perhaps?

I mentioned Mickey Kojak a little while ago, and when I said I’d keep my eye on him, I meant it. This one is hard to classify but makes me happy, a track that gives me hope for the future. Forward looking, while almost paying homage to Disclosure, this funky house track hits all the right notes. On point vocals, a surprisingly round & well produced bassline, decidedly non-tropical sounding pad work, and melancholy come together wonderfully. As it fades away, I’m left wondering, just like the last time I wrote about him, what’s coming next from this guy.
 Hadn’t anticipated new SBTRKT, but it’s always welcome. THE-DREAM shows up to provide some euphoric hip hop fusion with potent indie bass. It’s a frenetic, tense build, but that makes the drop/chorus even more gratifying. Well put together, with all of the elements playing their position, as it were. The auto-tune is minimal if used at all, and the almost euphoric break rounds out the 3:48 nicely. Quick fun & unassuming.
 This is dope. While it’s the most festival ready shit I’ve ever posted on this blog, I have my reasons, those being, Trainspotting. Any track that uses samples from Trainspotting doesn’t get turned off immediately. And I’m glad I didn’t. The first build is EDM as fuck, but the 2nd, real build is euphoric trance that we need more of. The samples remain useful throughout, and the music video is well edited. The build puts you in a crazy, serotonin filled place, which I hope to hear more of as the US festival season warms up. Bomp this ish loud, your music junkie friends will thank you. Big ups to Bobina for making this happen.

Bonus! A friend’s tune that he only hinted at existing, one of my tracks of 2015, is finally seeing official release! Yellow@TheLight has been killing it in the whispered quiet spaces of the Lower East Side and Bali, strangely enough. His vibe can’t really be described, so I’ll just let the track speak for itself. Metal drums, deep vibes, and a techno back bone come together to feel like a beach party from the X-Files. Half deep, half almost metallic, it really shows off the breadth & depth of the production competence Yellow@TheLight brings to the table. So hopefully you & I can convince him to do it more often. If you’re feeling this, he’s got a new mix out of similar depth.

Monday Music: Seven Lions, Jazzinuf & Keeno, What So Not, GRMM & MUTO

1264936304509

In case you hadn’t heard, it’s Monday, so here’s the Music! New hotness from Seven Lions & Keeno, chilled vibes from Jazzinuf, liquid D&B from Keeno and two surprises from down under, so let’s get into it!

Seven Lions is back! He brought it back to his roots, with this trancey, dubby delight for ASOT 755. This remix of Illenium ft. Joni Fatora is exactly what made Seven Lions one of my favorite emerging artists in 2013. Thise
Old school representation with this chilled out funky gem is Jazzinuf. I stumbled on this artist on a sprawling playlist that someone put together years ago. I don’t know who you are Kev Ken Shibayama, but blessing to you for this 443 song playlist.

Coming at you with a full hour of liquid drum & bass delights, Charlie Tee featured Keeno, one of the superstars of Med School Records. Cinematic, Symphonic, liquid gold is what he’s bringing you. No stupid MCs, no dubstep, just perfect fast slow & funky vocal work when there’s even words at all. Glide away on it.

What So Not came out of nowhere on this one. Innerbloom, the well-received single by RUFUS has earned its share of remixes, but I can’t say I expected the Flume compatriot to be anywhere near this. The re-work has a bit of that Aussie Chill Trap feel to it. Spacey instrumentals, stuttering bass, and a dollop of syncopation gives the tune a decidedly off-kilter feel. Great work from What So Not as usual, and can’t wait to see this style of production sink into LA & NYC so peeps like Louis The Child & others can get better bookings/more ticket sales.

Last but not least, a stunner from GRMM & MUTO on Of Leisure. This forward-looking electronica label from Sydney is launching a new compilation called Game Set, Match Vol 1: An Of Leisure, and using this single to promote it. A leisurely stroll it is, but produced correctly, to whet my appetite & peak my interest when it comes to this new label. New tracks coming soon & you can sign up for a free DL here if you’re so moved.

Monday Music: Tristram, Mauro Picotto, Kim Brown, Zed Bias & Boombox Cartel

12688233_1686565634952720_445355936491730263_nIt’s March, it’s Monday, so let’s get to the music! A couple of UK releases, dopeness from Monstercat, and a blast from the past awaits!

It’s been a pleasure to keep tabs on Tristram for the last three years. One of the first post-EDM producers I discovered, his work is always top notch, guaranteeing he got picked up by Monstercat in short order. After a brief hiatus, he’s back and we’re all better for it. This deep indietronica cut reminds me of Innerpartysystem & a number of fusion acts I’ve seen over the last couple of years. Superb composition and sharp execution as always.
Millions is a gorgeous, understated tune that builds into an exceptionally minimal crescendo. It’s a 6min experiment in what can be done with almost nothing. A couple of piano chords, a dope house beat, and a driving tempo.Kim Brown making it happen, thanks to Stamp The Wax for making sure I didn’t miss it.

Boombox Cartel came out of nowhere with this one. Stalking Gia & Boombox Cartel need to collaborate way more often if this is the product. Front & center is the Stalking Gia vocals, showcased & tuned perfectly. The Future Bass vibe that follows is a great one. Massive, optimistic & just a touch of a west coast to compliment the bass. It’s way too synthetic to be Indietronica, but seems too anthem-y for Future Bass. Either way you slice it, great tune & great work by Boombox Cartel.

When some think of garage, they think of Zed Bias. This footwork-y/garage-y tune features hypnotic vocals by Zoe Violet, and gives the footwork fan a lot to work with here. Issued by dBridge’s label Exit Records, the fast/slow melody pulls you along, as the chord work & soothing undertones help you drift off. Great work, definitely something to pick up if you’re a vinyl or dBridge enthusiast.

Rounding out the group is something wonderful for all you classic Trance fans out there. Mauro Picotto was essentially a household name in the 2000s (if your household had the entire In Search of Sunrise compilation set by Tiesto and remember when Sensation had a White & a Black). I don’t know if he’s come out of retirement or if he just never went away, but this is vintage as all get out. Passion has a classic piano vibe and there’s even an extended classics mix on the EP. Turn it on, and let the nostalgia wash over you. If you try really hard, you can almost hear the Y2K fear mongering.

Monday Music: Geo, Kaptain, Endemic, Filous, James Blake


It’s Leap Day! This day doesn’t exist, most of the time, so here are a couple of tracks you might not be sure are real until you listen to them again. Genre mixing, ethereal rhythms and a larger than life trance tune in the middle. That one’s not for the faint of heart, but the rest are totally for general consumption. Enjoy the 29th, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all those Leap Baby mutants out there!

Officially the smoothest Jackson 5 remix I’ve heard in a while. The upbeat tropical vibe would be annoying if it wasn’t almost driving and progressive. The vocal modulations give the track an interesting twist, that keeps me from hating on their presumptuous Jackson 5 choice. I don’t know where this geo came from, but I’m a fan and can’t wait to see where they go next.

Kaptain is a new arrival on the scene, but already making huge waves. With production like this, it’s easy to see why. That Future Funk vibe is melting the cold we’re all currently dealing with. The bassline synth is impeccable, and the tune swings like Uptown Funk. Grant Genske & Willdabeast (great name) add some extra layers of dopeness, giving you a solid six minutes of jazzy wobbly vibes.

Endemic! The off the wall potent hard trance producer that fell off the map a bit back is back. If you’re not into hard dance, run screaming from the room on this one. However, if you’re into punchy bass, heavy trance and old school UK vibes, you’re going to LOVE this track. It’s got a classic drop that’s positively frenetic for 2016. However, if you close your eyes, you can almost hear 2004 in it. Have fun ravers. #PLURLife

Slowing way, way down, filous brings his global bass feel to the Gorillaz classic. LissA joins filous to rework the song entirely, and we’re all better for it. Peaceful guitar chords, positive vibes, and a whole lot of relaxed competence flooding the original. Not a lot to say besides sit back and enjoy.
James Blake continues to be able to do whatever the fuck he wants. This Modern Soul hits all the right notes. Blake’s melancholic vocals fuse with the lilting piano and chord work to great success. But, that’s because it’s James Blake, who could probably make a room weepy with a Kazoo and an 808 if he wanted to. Great work as always, can’t wait for the next collab with Chance The Rapper.

Midweek Music: Viticz, Milwin, Varien, Mr FijiWiji, BLNDSGHT, Dan Thompson & Ron Alperin!

MM VarienProduction from artists all over the world today! Lots of great stuff coming in, so let’s get right to it!

Viticz did something special with this tune. While Electro as a genre has been pretty stagnant over the last couple of years with the Big Room genre wilting, the producer from Singapore has pushed it in a totally needed direction. It’s got a touch of future, a touch of garage, a dash of chip and two scoops of anthem. This is a great effort by Viticz I’d never heard of but will definitely be keeping tabs on in the future.

Jumping from Singapore to Uddevalla, Sweden, Milwin pulls us into that Future House territory with a soothing tune. I have a pretty low tolerance for most Future House, but this one silences the usually annoying throbbass while featuring Blest Jones. This focus on a soulful, blues-oriented vocal line gives the track a more of a melancholic, autumn feel. Surprising, but great work from Sweden & Milwin as always!

Varien & Mr FijiWiji are two of the best knights in the court of Monstercat Castle. They’re production geniuses in their own rights and this collab could not have come at a better time. They can learn a lot from each other as the melodic bass shows. A truly future tune, they’re able to make even a rift of sexy sax work in the context of this chilled out, starry-eyed 4min. Silky, progressive, with just a dollop of euphoric above and bass under it. Really great work gentlemen, can’t wait for the next one & the Monstercat tour.

And now for something completely different.

BLNDSGHT is some wavy shit. Well produced, with some eccentric choices that the Cali producer has ensured almost have no choice but to work together. It’s got this groovy, spacey feel to it. Can’t say it’s dancey, but it manages to be downtempo without being too minimalist or droning. The low end is surprising and it would fit nicely into a side room or fucked up afterparty set.

Finishing out with some great trance. I’m going to make a concerted effort to post at least one trance tune a week, because I think the genre still deserves ears. Some cool stuff happening in it even outside of the juggernaut of quality that is A State of Trance. Coldharbour Recordings is Markus Schulz’s label & it’s been growing on me. Classic trance vibes & deep/energetic modern tunes from artists I’m not familiar with as an American trance family member. Have I ever heard of Dan Thompson & Ron Alperin? Nope, couldn’t pick their music out of a mix if you paid me. They sure can make a good mid-set trance track though. Go swim around in it & I’ll see y’all next week!