We’re All Moving, But I’m Not Sure Anyone Knows Where We’re Going

It’s strange seeing my so called electro world being split so readily in two like this. It seems the heavy electro sounds that brought the dance community so close together a few years back have progressed in such diverse ways that we’re no longer able to uniformly agree on what defines the most desirable new sound, and as such, we’ve been left with two entirely different genres of music that are both somehow still grasping to be considered electro. I suppose it is a bit strange, and almost a bit frustrating to think that there are going to be multiple tastes and preferences to satisfy along our future disco endeavors, but let me assure you, this can only be good: This may, in fact, require that a little effort be put back into the “job” that is Dj’ing, and as such, I feel there could be a massive drop in the number of freeloading blog abusers sometime in the very, very near future. The threat of required effort, my friends, is natural selection at its best. (That is, if natural selection were real, of course. But the earth is only 6000 years old, remember? Sarah Palin told us so.)

The Two Branches of Electro

That title made me feel like I’m writing a history book. Maybe I should make an outline due at the end of the quarter.

Anyhow, it seems the first half of the split electro genre has not only skimmed the fat, but it’s actually dumped a good 75% of its musical meal right out the window without losing a single bit of integrity. It’s like this: Rather than being served a burrito with everything that makes your taste buds get freaky, all crammed into one delicious dish, you’re now receiving a single bomb ass steak, and a baked potato. In the end you’ve only got about 10% of what you had before, but somehow it’s just way better. And steering away from this failed food analogy, I’d go so far as to say this musical sect could more easily be defined under minimal than under electro, although my opinion is likely to beg a rebuttal.

Bass Kleph

I suppose artists like DeadMau5 and his latest BSOD, The Royal Rumble, and even Herve (especially alongside Sinden), have all veered more toward this side of the argument more than the other, however, the audio craftsmanship of Australia’s Bass Kleph brings it all home. Presenting to you: The epitome of blip-tastic bounce.

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Twocker – Stitch (Bass Kleph Remix)

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Stupid Fresh – Get The Fuck Up (Bass Kleph Remix)

Part Two

As for the other side of our post apocalyptic electro world, well, that’s where I think all the Treasure Fingers, Twelves, Dangers, Van She Tech‘s and DatA‘s of our time fit in. They’re the guys who’ve taken the exact opposite approach to their furthering of electro, and have chosen to cram every last bit of harmonic Daft Punk influence into an already brimming sound, in order to create tunes that are nearly impossible to fully comprehend. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I don’t think I’ve ever heard the same song twice. (Figuratively speaking of course).

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Big Gipp – Hot (Treasure Fingers Remix)

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Rapture – House Of Jealous Lovers (Tenderlions Remix)

Digitalism’s Latest Release – Clearly an Influenced Sound

Hopefully your RSS feed doesn’t have an alert on it–I’m up far too early to be posting this, and I’d hate to subject all you nocturnals to undeserved daylight exposure, but I’m afraid the spirits of disco have spoken.

Digitalism

I was recently exposed to Digitalism‘s newly released (and quite under-hyped, if you ask me) single, entitled “Taken Away”, and have since begun to lose myself in the melting pot of sounds they’ve crafted. Digitalism has always been known for a sound that’s slightly more unusually influenced than most; Their initial fame came due to a remix of “The White Stripes”, and following the same trail, its clear that many of their original works (I Want I Want, Pogo) are almost more rock than electronic. However, upon listening to “Taken Away”, I’ll be honest and say that I not prepared for the thoroughly nostalgic and expertly blended sounds that graced my ears: More than anything, I am reminded of of the erie, melancholy chord progressions and echoey vocals of French experimental artists, Air; A breakdown toward the middle of the track will have every last hair on your body standing up on end, as if you were listening to Premiers Symptomes for the very first time. On top of that, a few quick arpeggiated synth licks are stimulating in ways similar to that of the Ekleroshock artists (Danger, Data), and if you listen close, you might even be able to make out sounds similar to that of The Alan Parson Project (or some similar 80’s phenomenon). The work is truly a well thought out and elegantly executed piece of imagination and influence, and to take such a step back through the history of electronic music is refreshing to say the least. In short, my expectations for
Digitalism
‘s pending album release have been pushed even higher.

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Digitalism – Taken Away

DatA – This Genre Meshing is Relentless

I know I’ve done a lot of eighties revival coverage in the last couple weeks, and I hate to keep poking at a topic that’s probably long been dubbed “old news,” but I feel that this latest development has once again made a bit of commentary necessary.

DatA

By now we’re all no doubt quite familiar with the distinct post-retro style of Ekleroshock giant, Danger, and therefor it probably isn’t all too shocking that the saw-tooth electro label mate, DatA, has adopted a similar style. What is surprising, however, is the fact that the French producer has managed to summon the likes of Sebastian Grainger (former vocalist and drummer for Death From Above 1979) to take part in his latest (available as of last week) single release, “Rapture.” Upon listening, I immediately thought it rather strange that both former members of DFA79 have now officially converted from their previous distortion-happy endeavors to poppy, synthy electronic music; fortunately, I was soon after presented with the opportunity to ask JFK of MSTRKRFT (DFA79‘s other member) for his perspective on the unusual conversion:

What do you think about Sebastian Grainger‘s teaming up with Data? It seems rather unusual that both DFA79 guys would quit rock and move to electronic. But then again, I suppose the genre is pretty irresistible as of late.

JFK: “rock music in its present form is dead. pounding away at it is like going to university to study latin. like, its fine if that what you want to do but what satisfaction can a creative person derive from doing something thats already overdone?”

As sad as it is to admit, I’d be lying if I said I could deny any part of that statement. It seems that the reason electronic styles have become so popular in recent years is not because of some sudden massive public discovery of the fact that dancing is fun. Rather, (and please, if you disagree, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on this one) I believe that the migration between genres is due to a yearning for new sounds. As epic and emotional as the wail of a crying guitar sounds, fifty years of repetition has proven enough to dry up the past. I see a day, not too far into the future, where the guitar that used to lay under the Christmas tree has been replaced by a stack of software and a copy of Pro-Tools.
Strange? Yes. Sad? Yes? Exciting? You betcha.

And as for the actual track that’s sparked this digression: It’s golden. As much as I hate to admit it, Grainger‘s vocals over DatA‘s vintage synth sounds and pumping compression are *grits teeth* quite possibly better than they ever were in DFA79. The original DatA track unlocks emotional tones in his voice that I had previously never noted, and on top of that, the remix gives the track a bit of an interesting indie feel. Needless to say, they’re both well worth your time.

Note: The original track has a strong reputation of being torn down pretty fast from the blogs, so I suggest you grab it while you can, and once you decide you love it, that you pick up your own copy from Fnac music.

DatA – Rapture

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DatA – Rapture (Pacific! remix)

A Bit of a Relief

There’s no doubt that nearly everyone that reads this blog is reading it for the same reason: we all end up at the same shows and parties, we all have friends that walk around wearing fedoras, Puma’s, rolled up jeans, and shirts with colorful drawings all over them that, for some reason, you just can’t seem to make sense of, and most importantly, we all can’t resist the lure of a shining, winding, grinding synth lick that’s just begging for some foot stomping. But on that note, I think it’s safe to say that there are definitely moments where the last thing anyone wants to hear is a 4-4 kick drum. I mean, yeah, a solid 90 percent of the time, it’s all good and well, but when you find yourself driving home at four o’clock in the morning after a solid six hours of turning vinyl, and not even that case of Red Bull in your trunk can sort you out, it’s always nice to treat your throbbing brain to something kind and (in comparison at least) gentle.

World Wide Renewal Program


If you’ve ever felt like the only thing that can really set your senses straight is a smooth ride through DJ Shadow‘s Entroducing or a bit of RJD2, you might be excited to know that you’ll no longer have to be limited by the fact that those two artists have only put out a combined total of about ten albums; Adult Swim has, as of last month, completed a solid project they’ve titled the “World Wide Renewal Program.” What are they renewing? Why, your musical stamina of course! The track list starts out with a bit of that smooth, media and ego free hip hop that both of the aforementioned artists have taught us to love, and then progresses into several quicker and choppier (although still very head friendly) beats that are in some ways strickingly similar to that of Germany’s Modeselektor. It’s the perfect sound track to your sunrise drive. You’ll find the entire release available completely free, compiled as an album with cover art and everything, on the World Wide Renewal Program site, so you’ll have no excuses. Go grab some goodies.
Here are a few of the dirtier sounds I found rather intriguing…

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Via Tania – On Sawyer (Agrape Dope remix)

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Push Button Objects – Breaker’s Delight

Of course, we all know that once you do make it home, you’ll hop in bed, and wake up at just about the right time to head out and start it all over again, and that being the case, you’re going to be needing a topping off in the Disco department.

Danger


I really did believe that when A-Trak released his remix of Boys Noize‘s Oh!, that there would, or rather, could never be a better remix of that lusciously vocoded dripper. I’m not one to say whether or not I should be taking that back or not, but what I will say is that Danger‘s taken a shot at it, and he’s come damn close. Sweeping side-chained synths: Epic, as usual.

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Boys Noize – Oh! (Danger NeOh!Pen remix)

Kitsune Tabloid Compilation


Also, it wouldn’t be very fair to give you something to listen to on the way home without giving you anything for the way there, would it now? No, it wouldn’t. Not only because you’d probably end up quite bored, but also because you’d be missing out on Kitsune‘s recently completed Tabloid Compilation. In short, the German revolution known as Digitalism has been called upon to create a mix that they believe “tells a story”, and the resulting album has, as of ten days ago, been released for your listening pleasure. I’ve been told the boys have infused an exceptionally summery story into their work, so expect to see more than a few sunroof-smiles on the road the next couple weeks…

You can preview the compilation on Digitalism’s Myspace, and once you fall in love, you can pick up a copy through Kitsune’s site.

Fresh Out of the Oven

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

I’m sure you all remember the first time you heard these guys, yeah?  It probably went something like this: “Chewie chocolate cookies, eh?  I wonder what these guys are all about.  (You feel a little hungry, and then you start to think about how much you miss your grandmother’s cooking, which leaves you feeling strangely disarmed……sucker.)  

WHAM!

The track finishes downloading, automatically plays in iTunes, knocks you over backwards in your chair, and before you can even consider how amazing that first note would have sounded had it not caused so much physical harm, you’re left lying helplessly unconscious on the floor.  

Now, I realize there aren’t very many people that actually appreciate being slapped in the face, but whether you like it or not, it’s about to happen all over again.  These yummy pastries have just released an even yummier debut ep entitled Pepites (There’s supposed to be an accent over the e, but unfortunately, that particular character has proven itself exceptionally difficult to find), and I’d suggest that if you’d like to have your brain stretched into dimensions that you weren’t aware existed, that you take a peek.  It’s crammed full of the familiar dizzying noises that seem to be exclusively licensed to The Cookies themselves, as well as some totally new techniques (some exceptional use of a vocoder) that, when combined, form a musical structure that is both relevant and unheard of at the same time.  Must I convince you further?  What have you got to lose?  All the support groups for Chewy Chocolate Cookies related musical trauma make recovery quick and easy.

I’ll throw up one of my favorites pieces.  (Has there ever been a track called “Time” that wasn’t damn near perfect?)

 

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Chewy Chocolate Cookies – Time
 

Danger

Pulling more from the French, Ekleroshock Records (Yes, it’s spelled right), remix master, Danger, has recently hooked us up with yet another epic remix,  this time drawing from the very ambiguously located producer SymbolOne.  I know I’ve said it before, but I just have to give Danger credit for his ability to fabricate such thick and moving soundscapes;  Don’t get me wrong, the original is pretty gosh darned good, but Danger just takes it to the next level. Everytime this track comes on, I get this sentimental feeling, like I should be watching some ridiculous Saving Private Ryan montage in slow motion or something. –Granted most of you are likely significantly more normal than I…  Anyhow, the man’s got talent, the manifestation of which will soon being filling that unexplained hole in your soul.  

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Symbolone – Love Juice (Danger remix)

 

Seriously, how cool are those spiderman masks?

The Bloody Beetroots

Killer Spiderman Masks

If you haven’t heard The Bloody Beetroots by now, don’t worry, I’ve already taken the liberty of devising a rather simple solution for you. It goes like this: Cancel your World of Warcraft account for just one month (If this proves too difficult to handle, you might want to look into Craftorette. It’s this really neat gum that supplies you with WarCraft replacement hormones and makes quitting easier.), and use that money to either buy their EP entitled “Let Your Washing Machine Speak”, or if you’d rather not be seen buying a somewhat old album, you can put that money in a jar and save it for the release of their full length, which I’ve heard is no longer too far off. In the mean time, you can check out their latest 2008 mixtape. The mix isn’t spectacular, but the sneak preview of their remix of MSTRKRFT’s “Bounce” will leave you anxious and frustrated at the fact that the next Cinespace Dim Mak Tuesday isn’t for 48 hours! 🙁 If, on the other hand, you have heard of these guys, you might be excited to hear that their remix of Audioporno’s “Choo Choo” is no longer an artifact that you have to go to a MSTRKRFT show to listen to. As of mid July the track, which was originally not intended to be released at all, will be available in 12″ format through the German record label, Exploited Records. Why’d it take so long? Basically, the band that produced the original track had not planned on ever letting that song out of their hands, which naturally led to difficulties getting the remix published. Needless to say, they’ve found a way around it. If you’d like to pick up a copy, you can grab it here. You’ll have to have it shipped from Germany, but hey, that’s a small price to pay to get your hands on a track that people have been after for more than a year, right?
If you’re still not convinced, you might have to listen to this little teaser:
Audioporno – Choo Choo (The Bloody Beetroots remix)
And here’s their mixtape:
minimixxxx-june-2008

And just for the sake of completeness, here’s one of their newer remixes. (You have to remember that the word “new” means almost nothing when it comes to these guys. By the time you finish reading this post, they’ll probably have put out another one)
Shit Disco – Virgins (Bloody Beetroots remix)

In other exciting news, the 80’s are back.

What!?

Yeah, they’re back. If Chromeo and Calvin Harris aren’t proof enough, you might want to check out the most recent remixes from the often overlooked French producer, Danger.

The guy’s a beast. I mean god’s sake, he’s managed to squeeze incredibly cliche 80’s pad synths into “American Boy” and it actually sounds damn good. Better than damn good. It’s most definitely worth the download, so don’t be shy. Use up my bandwidth and download that shit.

American Boy feat. Kanye West (Danger Remix)

And since we’ve briefly mentioned Kanye West, I figured this video is relevant and good for a laugh.

Kanye West gets way more respect than he deserves. His ego is disgusting.

One final note:
My roommate invented two new words recently. Normally this wouldn’t be anything to post about, but after hearing these words, I was almost angry that they weren’t already in the dictionary. If you have nothing to say about the rest of this post, at least tell me how awesome these words are, and how happy you are that they’ve been invented:

  • swervature – A unit measure of an object’s ability to swerve, usually a skateboard.
  • bomblet – A damn good omelet. The kind that leaves you feeling like the rest of the day doesn’t even matter, because your breakfast was enough to be able to tell people that you did something today.