The Snowy World of Miike Snow

Little did you know, Miike Snow is not, in fact, the name of an individual, and though they do, in fact, meet the criteria that most would find suitable to deem them a “band,” I feel that labeling them as such would only serve to strip them of the audible colors that truly define them. See, the double ‘i’ says it all (and for those of you who are new to the name, go ahead, recheck it for the repeated letter you missed last time); Rather than existing as the result of a sticky keyboard (as was the case in The Faint‘s “Fasciinatiion,” for example), I feel that this particular repeated character could only have been added in an attempt to exemplify the beautifully unique, yet masterfully disguised subtleties that let this Norwegian collective stand apart from the rest of the world. And yes, I am aware of how needlessly confusing my language is, but before you give up on me, (as it would be among the truest of shames to let the tunes below go unheard) let me explain.

Miike Snow

I think it’s fair to say that the blogosphere thrives on what we like to call electronic music. The mere fact that you’re reading this text surely attests to that. However, what isn’t fair is that because of the relentless use of the word “dance” as a synonym for “electronic” we’ve all but closed our minds to the notion that electronic music might otherwise be home to an entire world of sub genre’s, many of which do not impose the “all songs must start with a minimum eight bars of empty drums to allow for conduciveness to dj’ing” rule. In such a scene, it’s often quite easy to forget that everything from Beck, to RJD2, to Justin Timberlake could be considered electronic by the truest definition of the word, and while I do agree that such artists would, in most cases, struggle to fit in among the eighties revival hipsters of our time, closing our minds to everything lacking a four on the floor beet is an undeniable mistake, and it is this mistake that Miike Snow succeeds in bringing to the attention our surprisingly stubborn scene. Where the flow chart documenting the mentality of all too many modern electronic artist starts at “make music,” and proceeds onward to, “make edited dj version of that music” –> “spin this version at gig” –> “chicks like me,” Miike Snow‘s version both starts and stops at “make music,” a philosophy which is embodied by a peculiar reluctance to tour, or even show their faces.

Like I said, they threw in the extra “i” on purpose; That is, much in the way that the name has a subtle, but noticeable difference to it, the music they put forth has a certain meaning and beauty to it that often requires more than a quick listen to fully grasp. However, once one knows it’s there, its impossible to forget.

Miike Snow – Animal

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Miike Snow – A Horse Is Not a Home

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Miike Snow – In Search Of

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For Those Insatiable Appetites

Despite what it would seem, I do realize there are indeed times that seem to scream for the energy of a packed dance floor, and I suppose it would be rather cruel to leave the winged creatures of the night with nowhere to fly, so rather then leave you to hit your head on the ceiling, I figure I should probably include a couple of the more energy draining heavy hitters as of late. I should advise you to be careful, however: with the wondrously attractive melodies of Miike Snow, as well as the power consuming tunes to follow at your disposal, there’s a good chance you might forget that food is also a necessity for life. It’d be a shame to end up like that World of Warcraft kid now…

Simian Mobile Disco – Audacity of Huge

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George Lenton – Cold Rocker

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Thoughts On a Needless Estrangement

It’s almost obscene just how long it’s taken for the electronic music scene as a whole (and I do, indeed, mean “as a whole” in the most enveloping of senses) to develop a universal umbrella under which all forms of dance (as extraordinarily different as they often time are) can feel at home. And while there was most certainly a point in time (namely the early 80’s) where the amalgamation of the considerably smaller number of existing electronic acts might have provided for some rather unsettling results (NWA meets Dj Pierre?), the speed with which our modern day hip hop and disco producers are adopting each other’s styles seems to emphasize the fact that times are indeed, a changin’, and that there remains no excuse for the separation of the many growing worlds within our collective parent universe. To put things a little more concisely (and to satisfy those of you who are probably at this very moment considering informing me of my ridiculous tendency toward needlessly long sentences): We all belong in this scene for the same reason, no matter the genre. We all like to party, and we all like to dance.

dancing

That’s not to say that we should feel the need to make an attempt to enjoy music that our ears have already warned us not to listen to, but rather that though there’s more than a subtle difference between the those out to see MSTRKRFT and those more inclined to watch RJD2 juggle his beats, there’s very little difference between our bodies’ natural desire to dance (regardless of what to), and the undefinable high that comes from being a part of the music that moves you. (Except in the case of those glow stick kids. That’s a scene I’ll never quite understand.) Truth? Truth.

Once this point has been addressed, the ridiculousness of it all becomes blatantly apparent; Why should we form cliques? Why should record labels, most of which are designed to represent a small group of similar artists rather than a larger, more encompassing motif, be the sole deciders in the formation and representation of musical groups? They shouldn’t; We should be united over the aspects of music that al genres share.

DBM Labs

DBM Labs

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Jonathan Cham, the man in charge of the Los Angeles based electronic music (and yes, that includes everything from the dirtiest electro to the chillest hip hop) apparel company, DBM Labs, and having been a fan of his mission statement for quite some time (one that is aimed largely at stitching together the above mentioned severance), I felt compelled to seek an interview. When asked to explain his company, Jon had a lot to say:

“When i first got into music, I liked everything dance, from, house to hip hop to trance,
so to me, there never really was a “genre” that I tried to be part of.
Whereas lot of clothing companies try to hit on a particular genre, DBM Labs is focused on the artist themselves, whether it’s hip hop, house, dance, electro, or whatever.
We take elements of art from different genres in our designs, sort of like how a producer might incorporate different genres of music into their productions, and in doing so, we’re hoping to build a community that really doesn’t exist right now.”

We had a long talk, but it basically all boiled down to us agreeing upon the fact that as long as these collections of sub cultures remain divided (and a lot of the time, strongly disliking each other), we’re missing out on a world of potential that could be derived from the unification of differing ideas and approaches. Considering DBM could vary well be teaching you lessons in dance floor methodology at some point in the near future (as well as the fact that a good 60% of the world we know revolves around who has the cool t-shirts first), you might want to check out DBM’s site, and get yourself straightened out.

disco

Though I can type out a thousand words (and probably have) in an effort to convince you, the disco fanatics, of my obnoxious perspective, I can be fairly confident that anyone motivated enough to reach this blog is a firm believer in the fact that a simple mp3 speaks considerably better English than I. I shall therefor, abstain from boring you any further…

Classixx

Here’s a weird phenomenon: Some particularly talented artist takes the initiative to pioneer his own, innovative and original sound, and ends up producing a track that’s exciting in a fashion that most producers had never before imagined. As a result, The Hype Machine becomes littered with strange artists with names like Telephone Sally, or some other contradictory and punny phrase, who seem to take pride in the fact that they are quite good at making exact replicas of that song. Are they original? No. Are they boring? Yes. What can we do? We can listen to Classixx instead.

Classixx

While there are, indeed, more than a few producers who break away from this obnoxious pattern, it’s a rare occasion that one manages to do it with the style and grace (and not to mention with the inclusion of a multitude of exotic influences that avoid the exclusion of any single genre) as Classixx. Their sweeping reverb (which is in no way trancy) accompanied with heavy, yet appropriate, beats and almost jazzy synth melodies embody a part of music that really, has not been enveloped before. In fact, it almost begs the question, “Do you like bass?”

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Classixx – I’ll Get You feat. Jeppe (Royal Rumble edit) (Removed by request)

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Classixx Cold Act Ill

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.