It Took a Month, But It Was Worth the Wait

To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the way our generally insatiable electro community rang in the new year at the start of this month.  Seeing as a good chunk of the people that spend their daytime hours reading this blog are fanatically energetic partygoers who run around in colorful clothes screaming things like, “All I do is party, ha ha ha ha!” I expected that the opportunity to define the sound of 2009 would have had nearly every worthwhile producer scrambling to outcompete everyone else’s tracks, in what would–erm… should–have been a sonic battle of epic proportions.  Unfortunately, I was (for the most part) let down.

technique

That is until about two days ago, when, for some strange and completely unknown reason, the electronic anthems that should have been blasting at our new years parties started pouring into my inbox. I can only assume that the worlds most respected and admired producers were suffering from the effects of the same musical drought that I myself (and I would expect most of you would include yourselves as well) had been struggling through, and were therefor compelled to tap into their reserves and quench this unexpected and entirely unnecessary audio thirst, because after listening to a third consecutive sweaty, peak hour banger, I found myself struggling to convince myself that I was, indeed, at home at my computer, and not losing my mind on a hotly animated dance floor. (And no, Daft Punk was not playing at my house.)

Chewy Chocolate Cookies & JFK

jfk

Considering everything the guy touches turns to gold, I feel it’s quite unnecessary to have to comment on the quality and originality of JFK’s work, but may I say that when combined with the blurry confusion of Chewy Chocolate Cookies, it only gets crazier. In fact, placing this track first may have been a mistake, seeing as it’s a gamble as to whether you’ll be capable of reading any further once this smeared mess of sound has been rubbed all over your face.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Alexander Technique – Nightlovers (JFK & Chewie Chocolate Cookies Remix)

SPA and Steve Aoki

steve aoki

Now is definitely an opportune time to make yourself aware of Dim Mak’s newly signed artist, SPA, seeing as your failure to acknowledge their increasingly loud presence in this tightly knit community could result in a flat out slap to the face; You’ll be owned harder than the meathead in DJ Mehdi’s Signatune video. If you ever cared to know what the soundtrack to Steve Aoki’s life sounds like, here’s your chance to find out.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

SPA – Pets Dance (Steve Aoki Remix)

The Bloody Beetroots

You heard Cornelius. You thought it was a sick track. But you had no idea there was a music video coming, and you were certainly not prepared. The fact that the whole thing was filmed using the generic handicam seems to suggest that The Bloody Beetroots have keenly embraced Justice’s now notorious cinematography, however, the style with which it was put together is able to truly capture the sense of complete chaoss and loss of control far more vividly than either A Cross the Universe or Soulwax’s Part of the Weekend Never Dies even came close to delivering, and it’s only three minutes long!

This needs no further explanation. Watch the video, and trust me when I say you won’t regret it.


CORNELIUS from borntofilm on Vimeo

“Music magazines will never break another band”

Those words come directly from the latest issue of BPM Magazine. They know first-hand just how hard it is to be a print magazine these days. In fact, they seem to be slowly transitioning to be exclusively online. Their website is a little clunky and disorganized right now, but it gets better every month.  Two years from now BPM Magazine will probably be out of print.

A thing of the past?
A thing of the past?

It is not just music journalism that’s being eaten alive by the internet; newspapers and magazines everywhere are losing readership and advertising revenue. But music journalism seems particularly different in the Internet era because the entire music industry is changing, too. Not long ago, every garage band dreamed of being on the cover of Rolling Stone. Now, most musicians would gladly trade a magazine cover for another hundred thousand myspace plays.

But don’t mourn the death of the magazine. Even though print music journalism is barely hanging on, online music journalism has never been stronger. I use the term “online music journalism” to refer to anything written about music– a review, a full-length article, a blog post, etc. Never in history have so many people been writing so much about music.

It’s all for the better. The Internet simply provides a richer, more interactive experience than a magazine. When I read about music in a magazine or newspaper, I usually  put down the article halfway through and jump on my laptop.  Reading online is completely different– with a few clicks and a handful of new tabs I can download music, watch a live concert video and buy a pair of concert tickets.

All that being said, BPM is one of the few magazines left that I look forward to. Part of their appeal is the music they cover; but BPM also gives us crazy features like the one found in the latest issue: a half-magazine, half-comic book called “Revenge of the Rebel DJ” that chronicles the adventures of DJ Z-Trip, MSTRKRFT, and the Bloody Beetroots. The best part is that it’s all available online for free. Music journalism is changing; BPM is smart enough to change with it.

bpm-covers

Oh, and be sure to check out the new teaser mix posted by The Bloody Beetroots  on their myspace. But be warned: the teaser will leave you desperate for more. The Bloody Beetroots are currently opening for labelmate Steve Aoki on his European tour. If you can’t make it to one of their shows, here are a couple of tracks to tide you over:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Goose – Black Gloves (The Bloody Beetroots Remix)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The Bloody Beetroots – Mac Mac

You Are Just So Unbelievably Lucky

chromeo

Assuming you live near Los Angeles, and haven’t already arranged to spend this Thursday night refreshing The Hype Machine‘s “popular” page whilst looking to be directed toward the next obscure remix of some already over publicized track, you’ve probably set a course to somehow make yourself part of Chromeo‘s last US performance before their (and I quote) “hibernation” and fabrication of their next release. Unfortunately, your compass has lead you astray, considering these actions can only land you in either one of two places. You could:

A) Let Ticketmaster continue to take advantage of you by agreeing to pay those obscene “convenience charges”, and then proceed to attend the show, only to be disappointed by the fact that the Chromeo boys mysteriously disappear and leave you longing for more as the clock approaches 11.

or

B) Realize that this show is already sold out, and be forced to come to terms with the fact that your Thursday just got a lot more boring.

But wait! Don’t you start thinking about turning in your dancing shoes just yet. What kind of a blog would this be if all I did was inform you of your epic fail? I said you were lucky, and I meant it, for by simply stumbling across this page, you are hereby enlightened to the fact that our good friends at Dim Mak have once again acknowledged the plight of the musically starved, and have agreed to let you in on a little secret: While the poor concert goers who thought they were on top of the business are standing and waiting for a nonexistent Chromeo encore, you, my friend, shall be getting down and dirty to the funky fresh sounds of Chromeo’s afterparty set at the intimate Roxy theater on Sunset. Need I say more?

chromeo afterparty

Now, I realize you’re likely already feeling an unusually strong surge of adrenaline due to this remarkable turn of events, but in the spirit of the massive energy that you’re sure to experience, come Thursday night, it seems only fitting to provide you with a track or two to keep you dancing strong while you wait.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Surkin – Chrome Knight (Feat. Chromeo)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Chromeo – Bonafide Lovin’ (LA Riots Remix)

A pair of club bangers from Chicago

v2_chicagoskyline

 

 

One of Chicago’s best kept secrets is the remix/production duo of Paul Anthony & ZXX. While they have separate myspace accounts (and often perform separately), they release music as a team. The two of them keep reminding us that Chicago is still home to some of the hardest-hitting house music being made today. Their fool-proof formula goes something like this: 

 

  1.  Pick the hook from popular, recognizable song
  2. Set the tempo to 127bpm while looping heavy drums, synths, echos and other effects
  3. Repeat step two for eight minutes

l_2de23a558b26b83d047b89c282008a1c

Take a listen to the two remixes below. The songs here are “A Milli” (originally by Lil Wayne) and “Hustlin'” (Rick Ross). I know, I know– both of these rap songs are almost painfully overplayed at this point; both have been remixed at least a dozen times. Trust me, they’ve never sounded like this before:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Paul Anthony & ZXX – A Milli Remix (Lil Wayne)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Paul Anthony & ZXX – Hustlin’ Remix (Rick Ross)

 
Oh, and if anyone out there is going to be in the Dallas area on January 30th, make sure to check them out:

Los Angeles

For most of the “normal” people out there (and rest assured, the fact that you’re simply reading this blog hereby absolves you of the “normal” label), there are only seven days in each week.  Five of them are work days, and the remaining two, despite being defined as days of rest, are really just days where you can catch up on the ridiculous amount of chore that the previous work days bring forth, and thus, in my eyes, there’s no such thing as a weekend.  Erm… there was no such thing.
photoshop-disco-ball-hip-shiny

Fortunately for you and I, we are, as I mentioned earlier, a massive collection of very not normal people.  We listen to music.  And not because others tell us to.  We listen to music because we understand the power that it has to grab your hand, and show you the world through a different pair of shoes each and every day.  And this, my friends, is why our weeks are not, in fact, built around an ever present stack of unfinished papers;  Sure, there are days where we’ve got to earn the money to support the rather expensive habit, but (at least for the Los Angeles posse), rather than following a rigid seven day routine, our weeks are actually malleable, spans of time that derive their only structure around the most important day of the week: Amoeba Day.  amoeba[Should you be finding yourself confused, it is likely due to the fact that you do not live in California, and have (unfortunately) not been made aware of the world famous, “Amoeba Music“.  Not to worry; You need only to replace “Amoeba” with the name of your favorite record store (You do buy records, do you not? And Tower doesn’t count) to make sense of it all.]  

140637495_f58d96d902

Even if you were not previously aware, you’ve probably experienced this near holiday before.  It’s the day where you make an effort to gather up all of your most musically inclined friends, free your mind and body of all worry and angst, and promise yourself that you shall not leave the store until you’ve gathered enough beats and bangs to hold you over until the end of the next disco-week.

Yesterday was my Amoeba day, and for the first time in quite a while, it was nothing close to what I expected.  Indeed, I still came home with enough music to tide me over for a considerable while, but while this amount of music usually comes in the form of armfuls of cds and assorted records, this time it was but one album.

Flying Lotus

1231908329_l

You’d think that since I’ve spent nearly five hundred words explaining the backstory on this record, that it must have been a pretty significant one on my list, but in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. My familiarity with Flying Lotus until this point had been limited to a single EP, and the few tracks that the Lotus has licensed to for use on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and so my decision to buy a copy wasn’t even made confidently. (Especially because of the unholy prices established by our good friends over at Warp [Sony] Records) Now, at this point, you’re probably expecting me to explain how after listening to the first track off the album, I was thoroughly impressed and couldn’t stop listening and blah blah blah, but strangely enough, that is not actually what happened. Instead, I found myself confused, and stuck in a peculiar transition period, almost as though the standards I had previously used to judge good music from bad were being manipulated by Flying Lotus’s fist. And I started to hear crazy things; Things that I would never have dreamed could have found a rightful place in music, particularly the massive usage of seemingly misplaced beats, somehow worked their way through the tracks without causing the flow to choke up, and despite the fact that I knew it shouldn’t, it sounded fantastic.

To put it short, I’m shocked with the subtle power this album keeps hidden under the surface. I’ve listened to it multiple times over, and each time continues to be a completely new experience, in which the beats sound progressively more right.

If you’re only to read one thing in this entire, unnecessarily long post, it should be that you please allow yourself to listen to these tracks more than a couple times before deciding how you feel; Their potential to grow on you is undeniable.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Flying Lotus – Parisian Goldfish

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Flying Lotus – Breathe.Something/Stellar Star

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Flying Lotus – Beginners Falafel

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Flying Lotus – Robertaflack

Edit: Looking back on this enormous post, I simply must inquire: Does my excessive use of parenthetical asides and senseless background stories ever drive you crazy? I’ve realized over time that the writing style I’ve adopted isn’t exactly the most eloquent. Ha

Is anyone having more fun than Justice?

 


French electro/house duo Justice has given us just one CD and a dozen or so remixes, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming one of the biggest acts of the year. Their recently released CD/DVD A Cross the Universe is an audio recording of their March 2008 Show in San Francisco coupled with a self-made video of their North American tour.

 

Loud enough yet?
Loud enough yet?

 

The audio CD has one of the most intense sets I’ve heard from Justice. Every song seems to hit harder than the last. Listen to them play the MSTRKRFT remix of D.A.N.C.E. and then add even more drums over it. The original version of “We Are Your Friends” isn’t quite enough, so they play it over a Metallica sample for good measure. Justice shines by doing things like that to keep their music exciting– adding one more synth or drumbeat and completely changing the feel of the song. This CD is the best recording I’ve heard that conveys the energy of a Justice concert. And you won’t hurt your ears or go blind from the light show.

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

D.A.N.C.E. (Part 2) (Metallica Sample)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

We Are Your Friends (Reprise)

 

 

 

The accompanying DVD isn’t the standard concert DVD that I was hoping for, but rather a look at the backstage lives of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay. A handful of clips from live shows really don’t give us a good idea of a Justice concert.  Could any DVD, really? Even though the sound is bad and the camera a little shaky, looking at the passion of the crowd reminds the viewer that Justice has already achieved cult-status and are not far from the top. It’s certainly entertaining to see what the two members of Justice are like when they’re not performing. Daft Punk won’t even let us see their faces, these guys let us see it all– alcohol, chain smoking, fast food, a Las Vegas wedding, two arrests, and a lot of late night partying. Justice is out to prove that you don’t need to play an instrument to live like a rock star.