An Artist’s Proof of String Theory

Remember that movie Cloverfield? The one that caused such an extraordinary disturbance due to its having seemingly no plot or any alternate intention? Well it turns out the entire film is just an attempt to metaphorically describe the process by which dubstep is invading the disco world.

Think about it. If you run a side by side comparison on the two, they’re strikingly similar. Both are sources of an extraordinary amount of bass, which is arguably scarier than the monster (track) itself, and both are caught on tape entirely through the use of awful handicams (cell phones) that simply fail to capture and to do justice to the true excitement of the moment. One could even go as far as to say they both live underground, however, I prefer not to lose an unnecessary number of friends in a debate over what is and isn’t “underground.”

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Long story short, the question of whether or not dubstep is going to share the stage in the future of disco is no longer debatable. Thanks to producers like Hervé, who’ve taken the initiative to draw connections between the (if you will) “mainstream” electro and dubstep, the risk of heart attack during the transition to half tempo has been greatly reduced, and thus, the floodgates rest in the open position. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before Simon Cowell is scolding pretty, young girls for their lack of bass wobble. *shudder*

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Hervé – Science of Fear (Hervé Dub Remix)

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The Count and Sinden – Stinging Nettle

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Kid Sister – Pro Nails (Rusko Remix)

George Lenton

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The Rusko and Hervé tracks require essentially no explanation, considering their blatant prominence in the dubstep scene, however I feel the need to comment on the work of the UK’s George Lenton, which undoubtedly brings new meaning to the word “multitalented.” Having heard his work for the first time
on Radio 1 in the form of a poppy (and certainly not dubstep-y) remix of a Yelle track, it goes without saying that I was quite surprised to be knocked to the floor by the wall of bass that was his subsequent release. I’ve since heard everything from alt rock to electro to the heaviest of “wWOOWw”s from this producer / purpose-bread disco manufacturing machine, which is nothing less than impressive coming from someone who has little more to say than “I was doing band stuff, now I’m doing this stuff.”

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George Lenton – Jungle Whomp

Electro-sprawl

One of the best parts of the electronic music community of ours is the international reach. I’m constantly amazed at the amount of talent spread across so many different areas of the world. North America and Western Europe are the two most obvious “hot spots”, but other areas of the world– like South America and the Middle East– are catching up quickly. Why the international appeal? I’m tempted to make a sort of “electronic music grew up with the internet” argument. It’s certainly true too a large extent. With blog aggregators like The Hype Machine bringing some sort of order to a global community, all an aspiring musician needs is an internet connection and a killer tune to get noticed. But there are certainly types of music that remain popular only in specific countries. And electronic music is not the only genre being downloaded and e-mailed around the globe. In this case, the most obvious answer might be right: people everywhere love dancing to hard-hitting house music.  It’s that simple.

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Even better is the fact that most moderately successful DJs now travel all around the world. It’s a breeze when all you need to bring is an external hard drive and a laptop; no more heavy vinyl to carry through airport security. So even though the music is being made around the world, one can see it performed live locally (at least near any major city with enough dance clubs.) Additionally, music festivals increasingly include some sort of DJ or dance area. Take a look at the big names on the recently announced  lineup for Lollapalooza:  MSTRKRFT, A-Trak, Crookers, LA Riots, the Bloody Beetroots and Boys Noize. For a long time, you had to travel to Europe to find this many big electronic acts playing at the same festival. Not anymore.

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 In fact, great music is turning up in some unexpected places. It isn’t just big cities anymore. Take The Yank, for example, an unsigned DJ from the state of Oklahoma (normally not considered a hotbed of dance music.)  If you’re wondering about the name, it’s lifted from an old 1940’s comic book hero named “The Fighting Yank,” a patriotic vigilante whose outfit includes a tri-cornered hat and an American flag logo across the chest. The Yank’s signature tune, “We Can’t Be Stopped,” is guaranteed to get people dancing. It’s perfect tune to get things started on a Friday night. And his Gutterpunk remix is a catchy blend of a funky bassline and scattered vocals.

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The Yank – We Can’t Be Stop’d

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Gutterpunk – Up 2 11 (The Yank Remix)

A Collection of Beautiful Mistakes, Captured From the Aural Ether

It’s funny how the human mind works. Each new day for every one of us (though many would argue differently) seems to be nothing more than an attempt to separate ourselves from the masses and to become unique in our own right. And it’s not like we’re being self motivated in doing so either: the world we know–every magazine, website and television show– encourages it, or rather, discourages the contrary. Take Apple for example: Here’s a company that gears it’s entire ad campaign toward emphasizing the different ways that you can express your own personal feelings and be unique by using their products. Everything is customizable, and the iPhone does indeed, “have an app for everything.” However, there’s one thing that Apple fails to acknowledge, despite the fact that it contributes enormously to the success of their products, and this is the simple fact that every single one of the products looks exactly the same.

nano ad

Like I said, it’s funny how the human mind works, for our drive to be unique and independent seems to have lured us into a giant black pit of uniformity. And it not just within the corporations that this type of trickery (although I do have a hard time calling it trickery seeing as we’ve elected into it) occurs. Think back to high school, and take a look at the punk movement. Punks seem to thrive off the notion of anarchy, because it is a concept that is quite the opposite of what the mass majority of people are interested in. They want to be unique and to avoid letting mainstream culture influence their lives, but again, the failure to be unique can be seen in this attempt to be just the opposite. Punks started dressing the way they did (tight black jeans with floss stitches, patches, odd hair colors and styles, and such, to place their image as far away from what is generally excepted as possible. Why, then, do they continue to dress this way, despite the fact that a Google image search on the word punk yields this picture? Though their mission statement may indeed be antiestablishment, punks are really just appealing to a different establishment, so that they might fit in among this other group of people. The put things concisely, they aim to be defined as punk.

The list really does go on forever, and while it would be quite feasible to write a book containing purely the instances in which this trend is followed, it seems much more proper to decline this challenge and skip ahead to an extremely rare find that recently poked its sleeve out from the bottom of the stack: an artist, who truly embodies the uniqueness that most only think they have.

Emancipator

Having spent an unusually large amount of time simply tracking down this Oregon producer’s album (which I can only assume was distributed by dropping jewel cases from an airplane out over the pacific and letting them do their thing) I had prepared myself for something out of the ordinary, however, what I received upon placing that album in my cd player made my expectations look like a hipster without a fedora: very, very wrong.

emancipator

Though they certainly are not the kind of thing you’d throw into a dj set (or at least the kind we’re familiar with) Emancipators beats come from a different world, and could very likely be the perfect cure to your post party depression. For an electronic musician, he uses surprisingly little synthesizer, and replaces this absence a mastery of unlikely string instruments and natural sounds, and though there are clearly roots that stretch from deep in the realm of hip hop, many of his tracks also convey influences as obscure as the drill ‘n bass of Aphex Twin. All things considered, however, I feel nothing contributes more deeply to the sound of Emancipator than his refusal do be what has already been. His un-doctored ideas have an uncanny ability to make even the most restless child open his eyes wide, sit still, and listen, and that talent, in my opinion, is the rarer than a golden 8 track.

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Mobb Deep & Sigur Ros – Shook (Emancipator Remix)

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03-Emancipator – First Snow

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Emancipator – Wolf Drawn

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10-Emancipator – Good Knight

The proper way to listen to your music collection

I‘ve always been a big proponent of listening to music through headphones. No, not those ubiquitous little white earbuds that came with your iPod. I mean real headphones: over-the-ear, noise-cancelling, high-quality. While they’re usually pretty expensive (any halfway decent pair will set you back at least a couple hundred), the difference is incredbile. Simply put, if you’re not listening to your music with quality headphones, you’re missing out. Do yourself a favor and go buy a pair.

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Good speakers are imporant, too. They’re a necesity at any party or if you just want a little background music. But heapdhones offer a more personal experience than speakers. The music is literally blasting right into your ears, so you hear tiny sounds that speakers never pick up. Every song sounds better coming through a pair of good headphones. There’s a reason DJs use them for performing and producers use them in the studio: you hear everything much clearer and cleaner. And when wearing headphones, you can really tell who the top-notch producers are. The artist below is a perfect example.

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Besides having one of the best names of any musical act in recent memory, the Disco Villains have been making hit remixes for some time now. These two get everything right: seamless beatmatching, perfect basslines and polished drums.  I’ve never seen these guys perform live; but if they’re half as good in person as they are in the studio, I’m sure they put on a killer show.

The production quality is some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. I especially love that these guys mix the left and right channels differently. You won’t be able to hear the intricacies of their production if you use speakers. But thrown on a pair of high-end headphones and you’ll see what I mean. It may seem like no big deal, but it adds another dimension to the music. So turn the volume up until it hurts and get ready for pure bliss at 130 beats-per-minute.

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Justice – We Are Your Friends (Disco Villains Remix)

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50 Cent – In Da Club (Disco Villains Remix)

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Ludacris – Move Bitch (Disco Villains Remix)