Using Winter as Inspiration

With the overbearing mass of paid musical promotion that surrounds our poor little lives, it’s quite easy to become lost among the clash between your own original ideas, and those which other force upon you. Think about it: Good, tasteful music certainly exists in more than just a few small corners of the world. Considering you’re reading this page, it’s likely that your hard drive is filled with it. But despite this, the majority of music that succeeds on a more grandiose scale (especially in the states) is, to say it nicely, worthless. The success of artists like Soulja Boy (and his unfortunate little dance) is a slap in the face to those who pour their heart and soul into the music they make, as well as a testament to the fact that the eye of the music industry continues to be money. Why pay a talented musician to tire over an album for months when you can make exponentially greater sums of money off of a talentless artist with a face, and the ability to spit out a track every other day?

Greed keeps the good music away. Or rather, greed has the money to put the crap in the eyes of the masses, while the more worthwhile music is left buried, and waiting to be discovered by the lowly few of us who truly care about the noise which our ears are subjected to.

Twiggy Frostbite

So is there any hope at all? A few months ago, I did a post on the breathtaking soundscapes crafted by the Swedish group, The Deer Tracks. In that post, however, I failed to mention that it was that band’s record label, Despotz, that initially clued me in to their nearly unbelievable work. Needless to say, having been hit with another email from Despotz, I was more than eager to find out what this update had inside; Long story short, I can finally sleep soundly, knowing that there are indeed ethics left within a few shards of our shattering audio world. The email was about Twiggy Frostbite.

The band might sound a bit familiar: It “ironically” features the same vocalist as does The Deer Tracks, however, that’s not to say that the sound is pushing a perfect parallel. Where her other works feature largely an electronic arrangement, Twiggy Frostbite captures its sound from more analog than electronic sounds. But the real beauty of the work stems from its thoroughly sentimental sound. The melancholy soundscapes created by the haunting vocals and reverbed strings couldn’t be farther from the “one song fits all occasions” structure that so many labels are forcing upon us. Rather, the sounds make for the fabrication of new doors to open, and new buttons to push, all within the confines of our own minds. As such, it seems an almost perfect anthem for the new year.

In all sincerity, I advise that you keep your eyes closed before venturing into such a curious new world.

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Twiggy Frostbite – Heroes

What Might the New Year Have In Store?

Times are clearly changing. Our fellow bloggers at Missingtoof have lost their way, and it seems their last lonely post has turned into an enormous mob of angry internet surfers holding their virtual picket signs explaining that “Nu Rave is dead”. Personally, I never much appreciated the term “Nu Rave”, but the turn of events is nonetheless something to think about. Have people already become bored with the genre that was so impossibly popular not even a year ago? Or are the die hard electro addicts simply frustrated at the fact that a more extensive audience has begun to latch onto the music that once belonged to a couple hundred Roxy regulars?

TV Eyes


It was thinking about this that ended up throwing me into my own personal time machine through my collection of music from years ago. I’d almost forgotten that before 2006, electro, new disco, and “nu rave” were all simply lumped into the massive “techno” category, which basically served as the focus of all disrespect and contempt in the music industry. Such a reputation eliminated the possibility of fame in the industry, and certainly prevented the countless numbers of awful aspiring bedroom producers from drawing up a myspace and trying for success. It eliminated the fame, and the glory. And in its place, we saw producers who truly loved their music. To the point where every track was golden. In fact, flipping through this little collection of a time before Justice is making me nostalgic for a musical world that has, in the last three years, ceased to exist.

Seeing as I can’t seem to find any record of this particular artist ever having been blogged, I suppose it’s only fair to share with you, the musically cultured people of the world, the epitome of cool before it was cool, TV Eyes.

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TV Eyes – She’s a Study

Record! Record! Record! Record!

So I can usually restrain myself from spewing burning hot electro all over the internet when I’ve only got one or two tracks to hold back, but somehow over the last couple of hours, I’ve been put in touch with more fire than any one non-Jesus person can handle. If you’ve ever experienced any kind of allergic reaction from saw-toothed synths, please keep in mind that these tracks may serve to exacerbate your symptoms.

Don Rimini

As if his ridiculously infamous single “Let Me Back Up” wasn’t insane enough, Don Rimini (who’s name I still can’t quite figure out; It sounds Italian, but the guy’s French. Sometimes I wonder if electro names are designed to provoke confusion), has kicked the more melodic and smoother sounds, and locked the “I can’t figure out what the hell is going on”, loopy saw tooth synths into gear. Needless to say, this isn’t one to miss out on. Lets get ready to rummblllleee!

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Don Rimini – Intro + Ohow ?

Lazaro Casanova and Felix Cartal

While this next piece of madness isn’t as fresh out of the studio as Don Rimini’s track, it certainly packs more than enough punch to preserve it’s longevity and ensure that its going to be responsible for many a sweaty night to come. Felix Cartal has added his signature, sharp and dirty touch to an already amusing collection of sounds, which should be good news for those of you that can never seem to get enough smash and thrash out of your night. Major props to you if you aren’t promptly reduced to your knees.

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Lasaro Casanova – Venganza (Felix Cartal Remix)

Jakk Mode

Here’s an interesting little twist in the business. I don’t know what the general feeling is on the pushing of dominant labels in the disco scene, but personally (despite the fact that they do support some of the best music in the industry), I feel that hearing from the same companies (Ekleroshock, Dim Mak, I Heart Comix) over and over again tends to bring a bit more uniformity to the industry than I’m comfortable with. As such, it goes without saying that I was entirely thrilled to be presented with the opportunity to sit down and talk with DJ Marlon Fuentes, founder and owner of the Los Angeles label, Jakk Mode. Hoping to create a stronger and more united party scene, Jakk Mode has its goals set to form a sort of bridge between the divided hip hop and electro scenes in Los Angeles. In support of the cause, Fuentes was even kind enough to hook me up with a couple promo boots, both of which have some serious dance floor potential. Do I sense an LA revolution?

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Lil Wayne – Got Money (Jakk Mode Boot)

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The Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up (Jakk Mode Boot)

What’s With All These English Speakers?

There’s a certain aspect of the indie electronic scene that I’ve never been able to understand: Why is it that (in a large number of cases), the country that an artist comes from has almost nothing to do with the language in which they do their work? For a genre of music that holds some serious power in a huge number of countries around the world, it seems we’ve developed an overabundance of English speakers. I mean, obviously, there’s some sense in a British, Canadian, or American artist putting out an English record, but look at Daft Punk, Justice, Digitalism, and The Bloody Beetroots; All huge names from non-English speaking countries, and yet all of their albums, lyrics, websites, and promos are done in English.



In a certain respect, I suppose there is a bit of sense in the concept of “appealing to a larger audience”, but who’s to say that English speakers would not buy it if they couldn’t understand it? Justice doesn’t seem to have much trouble making their way throughout the rest of the European countries. And I realize that some of your minds are likely filling up with fury at the fact that I would think to complain about having so much music written for me to listen to, but personally, I feel that though it is indeed nice to hear and understand words in my native tongue, that I have lost a part of music that’s even more important to me.

Think about it this way. Musicians (and don’t hold me to this, because I’m sure there are several significant exceptions), do not become musicians because of their overflowing need to deliver their poetry; They would otherwise simply have become poets. Musicians become musicians because they want to create, feel, understand, and live for the music, and as such, I don’t believe lyrics need to be understood for the message in a song to be delivered. Sigur Ros, for example, chooses to make use of their native Icelandic, a language spoken by less than 300,000 people worldwide, for most of their music, and this has allowed us as listeners to devote attention to the emotion in their vocalist’s voice, without the worry of being distracted by his words. Needless to say, the success of the band has, in no way, been hindered by the choice.

I suppose my goal here was to address this matter, rather than to provide an explanation. Considering I don’t have any real evidence with which to draw conclusions, I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who’s got anything to say on the subject, however, before you go commenting, I should leave you with my latest discovery to ponder…

Familjen

I’m entirely thrilled that a simple stroke of luck put me in touch with Familjen, a curious producer and vocalist from Stockholm, Sweden. His work, though it makes use of the expected driving kick drum like so many these days have come to know, captures a style that I believe its fair to say has not been heard before. His tracks develop in a fashion that could be considered highly simplistic, and yet the huge amount of invisible detail in them gives them a bit of a spark that moves them into an unusually satisfying dimension. The best part about it, however: His vocals (and just about everything else for that matter) happen to be composed entirely in Swedish.

Quality beats, indeed.

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Familjen – Det Snurrar I Min Skalle