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

Disco’s Nooks and Crannies

If this post were an animal, it’d definitely be a mouse.

Somehow, in the last five days that I’ve gone letting myself become consumed by every possible distraction, I’ve somehow still managed to stumble across some of the most fascinating, imaginative, and ever so incredibly fresh tracks that I’ve heard in quite some time. It’s almost like finding cheese in a little nook in the wall. I do think that most of us are, by now, probably at least a little turned off when a so called “new” track starts off with the oh so familiar:

– Kick
– Snare/Kick
– Kick
– WeirdNoise/Snare/Kick
– Repeat…. for four minutes

Son of Dave

With this in consideration, I’m genuinely proud to say that this next tune, which is presented to you through a tag-team effort between London beatbox-blues/former Crash Test Dummies member Benjamin Darvill (working under the name Son of Dave), and Michel BoomBass, the French mastermind notorious for his work as one half of the the Cassius duo, is extraordinarily new, in the true sense of the word. It does indeed fully qualify as a part of the disco genre, however, the blues-heavy sounds of the original track are left undistorted, and are used as the backbone of the remix, which slides the overall impression more towards the dance-rock type tunes that we’ve been hearing recently from artists like DatA, VHS or Beta, Klaxons and Digitalism. In short, you likely won’t be spinning this track for a club full of electro-heads, but that’s not to say you won’t feel like buying yourself a pair of green American Apparel underwear and dancing around your room for a good long while.

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Son of Dave – Hellhound (BoomBass Jack on the Rock remix)

And just incase that didn’t do you in, here’s a little toss in that’s sure to push you over the top. Clearly, Mr. Darvill has some class in his taste of music.

Black Holes

Having deviated slightly from the usual disco theme, I must now overcompensate with a couple producers from nearly the opposite end of the spectrum: Having recently been called “the next Crookers” by Hot Biscuits, it’s kinda difficult to deny that Chicago’s Black Holes probably have less than a month or two before they’re throwing all that anxious youth to the floor at Cinespace. Black Holes […edit…] have adopted a certain style (one that I’ve been calling Minimalectro) which certainly does give them a Crookers-ish feel, but more than that, it’s got that bit of a spark that one tends to notice occasionally; The one that, for some strange reason, keeps you looking for more, despite the fact that you can’t quite figure out what it is that you even like about it in the first place. Point being: you’ll soon be hearing quite a bit more from the windy city.

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Black Holes – I’m a Beast

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

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.