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

Royal Rumble Owns Los Angeles

Here’s one we’ve all been waiting for for a while. I’m pretty sure the Los Angeles trio known as The Royal Rumble have somehow managed to purloin a book of trade secrets from Steve Jobs, because it seems to me that the manor in which they release their tracks is strikingly similar to that of Apple: They keep you wanting more than you can have, by releasing a single incredible (and may I emphasize incredible) mix at intervals far longer than you’d prefer. In short, if the Royal Rumble three happen to read this, let me assure them, their techniques are proving quite fruitful, seeing as each of their releases leaves me both incredibly satisfied, and yet itching for more at the same time.

This latest track, a remix of Graveleaf’s “The Crusade” continues to embrace the familiar Royal Rumble sound (which, for those of you who’re finding yourselves a little confused, consists largely of whoops, whops, and other loopy and almost [pardon me if I’m overstepping my boundaries here] minimal sounding noises) but that’s not to say that it has, in any way, become repetitive. In fact, for those who’ve found themselves reading my lengthy trains of thought in hopes that you might find a few solid tracks to throw in your next set, the smooth transitions and gentle progression that tie this thoroughly bouncy track together will likely prove to be exactly what you’re looking for.

Go ahead. Indulge yourself.

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Graveleaf – The Crusade (Royal Rumble remix)

What’s this!? It looks like electro is… evolving!

It’s quite strange, and to a certain extent, sad, that the fresh, hard-hitting, revolution-starting electro of only a year and a half or so ago has so quickly turned on itself. Nearly everything that, in the beginning, assisted the style in its rise to fame has essentially become it’s enemy. Blazing, distorted synths and an overall crunchy sound (perhaps the most prominent facets of the genre) have become a cliche, and despite that fact that last year was praised as “the best year in electro since 1998”, the people who are dropping the heaviest beats at this point in time are those who are steering in a direction as far away from last year as possible. But what on earth might that direction be?

I must emphasize that, though I am, indeed, sad to see the sounds that renewed the heart and soul of dance music become a bore, the usurping styles are really quite intriguing (and potentially already quite familiar). Artists like Australia’s Aston Shuffle and the Los Angeles Royal Rumble have begun to sacrifice the slap-you-in-the-face, bitcrushed noise that we’ve become accustomed to for a lighter, blippier, and powerfully bouncy sound that has, as of late, surfaced under the name mnmLOL, a term who’s origins have been traced back to the Acid Girls (No, I don’t know what they were thinking, but at least now it has a name. I was calling it “frumpy”). I hope I’m not thinking too far into the future in saying that the style seems to be catching on.

SupaBeatz


I’ve grown particularly fond of the Italian, SupaBeatz, who seems to be incorporating the minimalectro sound reminiscent of fellow Italians, Crookers, with the clicky cowbells, woodblocks, quick and funky Kid Sister-ish vocals, and 80’s esque blips that one would find down the mnmLOL alley, in order to forge a trail that’ll get you to work up a refreshing sweat. The point is, if you’re looking to impress, I suggest you get walking.

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MP3: SupaBeatz – Dope

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MP3: SupaBeatz – Alchemy

Buffet Libre! Again!


It’s strangely ironic that I decided to mention the Buffet Libre 80’s Rewind project yesterday, because upon opening my email this morning, I was surprised with a little note explaining that our Spanish friends have decided to release Part I of the bit today. Now, if only I’d waited a day, my thoughts could have been neatly organized into one concise little post, however, it’s looking like you’re just going to have to bare with me and my less-than-psychic intellect. But hey, you’ve got something new to listen to. A grand total of 57 artists were chosen to participate in the project, and thus, there are 57 collar-poppin’, mullet-wearin’, synth-sweepin’, crotch-grabbin’ brand spankin’ new tracks up and ready for you to download, absolutely free. You can check check them out at BuffetLibre.net. And since 57 tracks apparently just wasn’t enough to satisfy to hungriest of dancers, both Parts I and II of rewind are to be accompanied by their own respective Buffet Libre mixtapes. You can expect to see the first on July 15th, and the second (apparently as a bit of a kicker to keep the party going) on September 1st.

Now considering you’ve probably, within the last fifteen seconds, decided that you know exactly what it is you’ll be doing tonight, I’ll post a few of Rewind’s highlights and get out of your way.

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NWA – Fuck tha Police (Trash Yourself remix)
I’ve been looking for a way to throw NWA into disco sets for quite some time, and oh God did I find what I was looking for. Not only has Trash Yourself shown us some incredible mixing skills, but they’ve also picked quite possibly the best song to demo them on.

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A Ha – Hunting High and Low (Louis la Roche remix)
Glitch meets 80’s. Give it a minute, and boy does it get heavy, thanks to Loui la Roche. If only A Ha had known…
(And don’t worry. I know how disappointed you were when you saw that the A Ha cover wasn’t the infamous “Take On Me”, and I’m glad to assure you that that particular song, has also been given special attention. All the more reason to check out the Rewind site.)

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Adam & the Ants – Stand and Deliver (Royal Rumble remix)
And finally, a bit of that frumpy ‘ol Royal Rumble goodness. (Yes, I think that’s what I’m going to call it from now on .. frumpy… there just isn’t a better way to describe their itchy skippy style)
Children, this is only the beginning. ‘twould be foolish not to scramble for every last track.

 

Bored on a Saturday Night?

Just thought I’d toss out a little info for those of you that have been sitting at your computer, double clicking the same four tracks in iTunes for far too long: If you’re down to get hard and heavy, and if your ears have had way too much time to heal since their last good bleed, you might want to hop in the old shaggin’ wagon, shell out the five bucks a gallon to fill her up, and head down into LA to check out tonight’s Blow Up LA event. The lovable threesome, Royal Rumble (the prodigy behind the infamous Kid Sister – Damn Girl remix), shall be headlining, and will be preceded by several other Los Angeles tableists, all of which are more than noteworthy. (Did you check out LAZRtag’s “Don’t Stop the Music” remix covered in the previous post? *sees the look of disbelief on your face* Yes, my friend, they will be there, and they will knock your funky little hipster socks off.)

Here’s the full lineup:

Admission’s only five bucks if you check out the Blow Up LA site and send an email for a guest list request, however, at this short notice, I can’t guarantee that you’ll still make it on. But don’t fret! Even if you don’t, you’ll only pay ten bucks, which, in a better light, means that all you have to do is put two less gallons of gas in your car and drive at the incredibly fuel efficient speed of 45mph on the trip down to make up the difference. Sounds like an offer that can’t be beat…

And in case you’re somehow still unfamiliar with the by-now-notorious Royal Rumble, here’s a couple appetizers that’ll help you lace up the disco shoes:

Kid Sister – Damn Girl (Royal Rumble Hall of Fall Remix)

Soulwax – Miserable Girl (Royal Rumble edit)