drwex: (VNV)
I have to keep doing music as part of my long-term self-care and I would love to share more of it with you. I still don't have a good solution for dealing with the tags/searchability problem, though, so I'm still very limited. Today I've got two long-form sets that ought to keep your ears happy and your butts chair-dancing for a while. (Also you're gonna need it for the political spam that comes next.)

It's been a long time since DJ Steveboy put out a straight-up funk mix. The idea of "new old funk" was what started me listening to Groovelectric years ago and though I enjoy a variety of his sets nothing is as consistently satisfying as the funk. Here we get nearly a full hour of lush horns, rhythms and vocals, plus a cover/remix or two that got my attention (and I promise not to spoil).

I have not been happy with most of the last few weeks in Innerstate Radio-land. Frankly too much glitch and wub, I find myself turning it off halfway through. This episode avoids that for the most part. There are also a couple of really nice summery tracks such as Ozcan's own take on "Everything Changes" with Chris Crone. I can't recall any other time I've heard an Ozcan track with simple naked guitar chords. Others, such as "Lady" are more dance-y but still leaning toward the full house sound rather than the edge-y glitch pop.
drwex: (Troll)
All my meetings today got cancelled (madness!) so let's see if I can turn out a music entry or two. I'm still hurrying so apologies if the research isn't as deep as at other times. I have both massive amounts of excellent funk and some long sets marked but I think I'll put the other things in here and save that for another entry.

Grooevelectric's "Resplendent" is a lovely prog-house hour-plus with a strong electronica influence. I ended up playing this first time through one one of my late-night work sessions and I think it's perfect for that kind of thing. It's generally faster-paced than most prog-house stuff and the lack of vocals through most of it makes it good working background for me. Of the selections here I think I like Exoplanet's "Crystal Garden" best (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqQwt8SMtI8) - here in its Mindaugas Jax remix form. I still think of this kind of music as the spiritual children of Jan Hammer, which is OK with me.

ANILAH gives us an extended interpretation of a medicine chant. In several Buddhist and Native American traditions a musical chant can be used for medicinal purposes. Some of them are mental - healing the minds of the chanters - while others are more literal prayers for healing of the bodies of people over whom the chant is performed. This particular rendition is more highly produced and has additional layered voices compared to chants I've heard before. Still a very deep and rich set of sounds.

Bridging back toward my more traditional sound selections, here's Steve Aoki's bouncy and energetic remis of AWOLNATION's "I Am" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLZkf6HvO2Q). The original is a low-key, vocal/piano-centric piece from which only the key vocal chorus survives in this remix.

I'm continuing to follow Angelika Vee in hopes she'll break out with something massive. In the meantime she continues to do reliably excellent work like this one. Here she's fronting for Sons of Maria on their "Sweet Madness" track. The Sons are a pretty traditional deep-house/prog-house act and as a result the track has a heavy production hand on it. Vee's vocals still shine through, but it doesn't have the raw quality of her live-with-piano tracks. Still waiting.

I knew I'd blogged about the Maitre Gims "Est-ce que tu m'aimes" a while ago, but hadn't properly tagged it. That entry has DJ Stokholma's electro-house version of the original. This time we have DJ Dark and DJ George A going at it with a cover that has a female vocalist and is much more of a techno-dance-style mix. VERY different feel from the original, which is almost a lover's lament. To make matters even more confusing, they've retitled their version "Je t'aime" which got me confused with the (in)famous Serge Gainsbourg track (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp7mamCpdcc). That one I remembered from back in the 1970s when I listened to a bit of psychedelic pop, and then ended up reading its interesting history. It's interesting diversions like these that make these music entries take a while to write.
drwex: (Troll)
I have a surprising number of sets in my open tabs. Usually I listen to a set a couple times to decide if I like it, because every set is going to have better and worse bits. That's true here as well. Not only are the sets quite varied in style but some of them contain a variety of EDM and related modern tracks that I'm sure won't be to everyone's taste. The first person who implements a "skip forward" button for streaming music is likely to make a substantial sum of money. That said, though, these are solid sets from familiar names and well worth your time.

Defunk's "Stepping Out" EP is a glitchy, thoroughly modern, interpretation of classic funk and mid-80s hip-hop ideas. For my money, "Fire in her Eyes" is the best for its melodic pieces and rhythmic variations around a common theme. Defunk is still somewhat new on the music scene, having debuted last year. If, like me, you missed his earlier work I recommend going back and picking that up, as well. I love how he drops in little samples of this and that. Some are sufficiently close to original that I can recognize them but I'm sure there are many more I'm missing.

This is DJ Roast Beatz's actual set from the Shindig weekend. You may recall my adoring the warm-up set that he did. This one is not bad but it is more hip-hop and glitchy than the other set. It's OK, but I think I had my expectation bar set pretty amazingly high by the last set.

DJ Maya Jakobson put out her summer pool party set and it's worth a listen. To be honest I don't think of deep house or electro-house as particularly pool party music but maybe that just means I go to the wrong pool parties. (different pool parties?) I'm on my third listen-through and I still haven't picked out a specific favorite from this set. I'm leaning toward the Aretha Franklin remix from Sam Halabi - I'm sure you're all shocked, but I love the way she snaps that "Aye" (I) and the remix supports the vocals quite nicely.

This is exactly what it says on the label - a set of European house sounds. Micha Moor is from Cologne and this set gives his take on what's hot in the house right now. I like most of what's in this set and I like getting a non-US-centric view of things but I'm unlikely to link many of these sets unless something comes along to set them apart from the standard. On this set my favorite is "Fearless" from Matt Nash, despite the annoying promo in the set. If you want to get it without promo (and with bonus lyrics) go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eE63jg9Y2A

DJ Steveboy is back with a so-called "drone" mix. I wish he'd pick a better label because drone isn't something I'd normally like listening to, but here we have about an hour and 20 of very relaxing aural wallpaper, mostly prog-house. Because the point of a drone mix is to keep the tempo and sounds similar it's hard to pick out one favorite. In addition, I've learned over the years that Steve mixes the tunes as he builds his sets. He's not just playing one track after another. You can find most of the component tracks on Beatport, but don't be surprised if they sound subtly different there.
drwex: (VNV)
I've been struggling with emotional downslides most of the week. Had something bad stuck in my head and went to get it out. Somehow this was sitting in my listening queue - so very appropriate with Passover starting this week:

drwex: (Troll)
Having placed all the other things in the other post, this will be a collection of ... well, mostly house. But not entirely. If you're not in the mood for house you might want to skip to the end.

First up, DJ Steveboy offers an hour-long sampler of some of his favorite house styles. There's prog and electro and deep all mixed in here. It's a fun mix, though I didn't pick out any specific tracks as particular stand-outs. It did inspire me to find some other things, which I've collected into the links below.

Tommie Sunshine gives us his remix of The Chainsmokers' "New York City". I liked the original (https://soundcloud.com/thechainsmokers/new-york-city) when it came out last year but I thought it was kind of repetitive in the middle. This remix is less repetitive and more dance-y.

Ah, the queen of disco. GVRV's "I Feel Love" is a very standard house take on the track, kind of. It doesn't use as many elements of the original as one would like, but it's a good try.

Another straight-up house dancer from PBH & Jack Shizzle, remixing Alan Walker's "Faded" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60ItHLz5WEA). The original is a female-vocal-and-piano pop track with glitch electronica wrapped up in heavy production values. Despite the massive autotune it's not a bad track. Likewise the remix is not bad if you're in the mood for some straight-up house.

Still in the classic house vein, but with better vocals (I think) is Djenergy's "Compass", a remix of the EC Twins track (http://www.blackholerecordings.com/music/albums/ec-twins-compass/). The original is a feel-good dance banger - the remix keeps the power vocals but puts it over more thumpy beat lines and electro sounds. Both are not bad if you're in the mood for that sort of thing.

OK so I promised you all one thing that wasn't house and here it is. An utterly hard-rocking turbofunk track from Msystem. This has so many good chair-dancing things about it I had to include it. It's fast, hot, good horns, funky beats, and bad-ass stuttering electro-funk. What more do you want?
drwex: (VNV)
Right, I have these long-form sets around for you. Hopefully they'll ease some of the effects of going back to work. I've only listened to these a couple times and haven't had a chance to pick out favorite tracks. If something you hear really catches your ears leave a note in the comments.

Yes, another DJ Steveboy Groovelectric set. Partly it's that I'm catching up on some of his back work (I'm on his mailing lists but don't listen immediately when new sets come out) and partly it's that he's had some really good work lately. This one, "Imminent Dark" is deep, somewhat tribal, and kind of intense in places. It does feel like the kind of music you'd be playing or dancing to late at night - some noir but with considerably lighter stretches.

DJ Maya Jakobson (who I started following after stumbling over her work back in July) put out this screamin' hour-long end-of-year party mix last month in collaboration with fellow Israeli Yair Raviv, whose remix works appear often in the set. I find myself liking almost every track in this set but if you push it, I think Maya's work comes out on top - either the "How Deep Is Your Club" mix or the "I Love Sax" rework she did. I had a link to the DJs from Mars version she's using but that link went dead and now I can't find the track again.

Vicetone also did a year-end set mix of their own work and others' work they remixed. Obviously if you don't like Vicetones you'll want to skip this one, but I do and I particularly like how they've worked a variety of styles in. It's all house, with strong electro and techno influences and definitely geared to the kind of thing you'd play at a bouncy party.

Just out a couple days ago is another Ummet Ozcan Innerstate mix. I haven't even done a full second listen-through so I don't have a lot to say except I think he's doing a good job of picking and promoting interesting new artists. Looking at the setlist I recognize fewer than half the names, which is always a good sign for a new year.

Unlikely to be most of my readers' tastes but it's part of mine and my LJ so here I blog it - an hour set from Cheeba & Moneyshot with a lot of great hip-hop, rap, scratch, and funk. Definitely somewhat old-school emphasizing the fast word-slinging and less of the things I don't like in more modern hip-hop.
drwex: (VNV)
While I was doing all that Serious Writing(tm) I accumulated a lot of interesting music. I'll split it up for now into two bits. This one is the long-form pieces.

DJ Steveboy's "Pastorale" mix is one of his drone mixes. I never liked that moniker because 'drone' has negative connotations for me and music. They're not quite easy listening either, but that's closer. These mixes are mostly deep house, so they're relaxed, often fewer BPM and sometimes down-tempo. They also have a more even feel throughout. I find them to be very good writing background music for just that reason - they don't call your attention with big crescendos and epic drops. The bad part is that there is rarely a stand-out track or two to talk about. So put this on, let it play, and get relaxed or focused as suits your needs.

New (to me at least) producer Gryffin has a gorgeous set up as their "Winter Solstice Mix". I'm having a hard time characterizing this style - it's labeled as "cloud house" and yes it's house music of various sorts. It does have a lot of airy, dreamy, ethereal bits. Like the drone mix above, it tends to have a fairly even tempo but it's much more a set of songs than a continuous mix. I'm only on my third listen-through and nothing has jumped out at me as much as The Him's remix of "To the River" by Causes. I'm fond of the original and this remix is beautiful, a little more bouncy, and is one of the deepest pieces in this mix.

And what would a set collection be without some DJs from Mars to pick you up? Trust me, if you've been lulled into calm by the previous two sets prepare to get jolted awake. The set starts with the heavy metal "Apocalypse Now" and continues extremely strong. JapaRoll's reword of "Knas" leads into the Klaas remix of "Can You Feel It" that then goes into a nice bootleg of "Star 69" and Bisbetic's remix of "Bang My Head" from Sia/Guetta. I could keep linking tracks or you could just listen to the set; I recommend the latter. Never fear, the DJs will appear in the next entry, too.
drwex: (Troll)
And I have these open tabs. There's not much coherent about them, so I'll just dump and let you guys pick and choose.

Two very good but very different mixes from DJ Steveboy. The first is funk, funk, and more funk. It's the kind of thing that got me listening to Groovelectric in the first place - old funk, new-style funk, and funk-influenced things. I'm on my third listen-through and I still think my favorite is the 'regrooved' James Brown track.

The second mix, Slow Lightning, is a chill mix with a definite night-time feel. It's not, per se, slow - the BPM are high enough to keep things rocking along, but it has a lot of soft sound effects and sinuous beat lines.

This is a bit experimental for me and I'm still not 100% sure I like it. Maceo Plex brings in a deep, groovy house track that is at the same time urgent and understated. It's posted as a "techno" track and I can see why but what made me pull it out is the second half, which starts around 3:45 in. The track is called "Conjure Floyd" and this is where you really hear it. It reminds me of how creepy-as-hell I found The Wall to be when it first came out and how I liked listening to it with headphones so I could get all the stereo effects.

OK, let's get back to more traditional A|B mashes. This one from DJ Energy mixes Rihanna and Marilyn Manson. It's an interesting concept and it mostly works. I like both of the original sources but I could've done without the long stutter build between the intro and main sections of the track.

I haven't heard anything new from Maya Jakobson in a little while despite adding her to my Soundcloud "following" list. This one popped out at me and now I share. It's an 8-way mash mostly built around two versions of "How Deep is Your Love" from Calvin Harris. I love the blend of the Harris track with 50 Cent's fast-talking rap even more than I love the base track which is my metric for a good mash.

While we're on the Calvin Harris thing, here's another (very different) mix built around "How Deep". I particularly like the way DJ Trademark slams over to Tove Lo's "Talking Body". Sure, it's pop-on-pop and balancing the strong female vocals on both tracks is not easy but I think it mostly works.

I think we'll break here and pick up next week with some turbofunk. Yes, that's a tease, but it's a good one I promise.
drwex: (Troll)
Some overflow from the last post. Here are three long-form mixes that will occupy your ears for a while. All three in very different styles. The usual caveats about sets apply here - none of these is perfect. I have not had the time to listen through two or three times as I usually do to pick out my favorites so if something particularly strikes your ears leave me a comment.

I'm starting to try and catch up on accumulated backlog and one of this things are DJ Steveboy mixes. This one actually came out in the summer and it's a lovely (if slightly dark) deep house set. The mix has a deliberate rainy-day vibe to it, which fits well with our usual late-October weather. I liked the mixing on this set - it ends up feeling seamless and well planned.

If you are in a less chill mood, DJ Roast Beatz has 85 minutes of funk, hip-hop, rap, soul, dub, and associated fun things. Although there's a tracklist you will likely hear different versions if you chase individual tracks because this set was live-mixed so there are overlaps as well as spontaneous adds and fades. I like that the set has a lot of acapella pieces as well as some serious instrumental breaks, several of which show how influential the jazz riffs of the last century have been on the hip-hop of this century.

Just use your imagination - yes, Ummet Ozcan is back with another of his Innerstate set mixes. An hour of fun dance, trance, vocal trance and other club tracks. This set includes both the Avicii "Faithless" remix and several other good items. The set is less coherent than either of the previous two, but that also makes it easier to skip over tracks you don't like.
drwex: (pogo)
One of my favorite DJs - Steve Boyett, who spins music as DJ Steveboy - recently lost his mother. He put together a playlist that I've been trying to listen through. It's hard, and crying at work is frowned upon, but here you go:

drwex: (Troll)
Two weeks since I did a music post and I've got a weird assortment of stuff. I'll try to cohere it a little but this is likely another one of those "something to appeal to everyone" situations.

In this post I give you some long-form listens. I have a hard time putting these into the regular music posts because they tend to unbalance things. Click these links when you have the time to enjoy, or when you need a soundtrack to move you.

DJ Steveboy put together a delicious collection of deep house/electro house tracks. It's fast and energetic and it mostly avoids the dull repetitive bits that electro-house can devolve into. I was listening along and suddenly went, "Wait, I know that sound." A little research and it turns out I remember Moguai from a couple years ago. The track is called "Monkey Business" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMikf0KNMkw) a track I used to put on when I had to power through something boring. I find it impossible to be bored while this is playing.

Raggabreaks is 35+ minutes of funky, reggae-inspired hip-hop. It's got scratch, rhyming, and as advertised it's all done in a ghettofunk style. That means it's a little more sped up compared to your traditional reggae/ragga rhythms but it also means you get more funky horns and uptempo jazzy pianohall bits thrown in. I think the combination works well. Unfortunately there's no tracklist so I can't name/link my favorite.

If I have to explain DJs from Mars to you at this point I suggest you start with my previous references to them. This "Alien Selection" is a collection of a couple of the DJ's own works and a lot of awesome mashing goodness from other names. As with any selection, there are going to be things that appeal more to one listener than another (I can't stand Katy Perry, even heavily mashed). The overall style fits with the DJs usual "fun party" approach.

(I think the next post is going to be delayed while I re-listen to this set again.)
drwex: (Troll)
OK, right, Friday. Lots of music tabs to close so hold on tight. The first section is heavily funkalicious; the second group are remixes of favorite tunes.

If more aerobics classes had soundtracks like this I might do some. It's Father Funk doing 37 minutes of funktastic remixes. It's all here: phat horns, electro-fuzzy bass lines, and solid beats. Oh, yeah, and free downloads.

Don't sit down just yet - Loo & Placido have another funk-dancing mix for you. This one is largely a Duck Sauce remix but it's got all kinds of goodness. It starts off fast, builds for a couple minutes, then has a nice brass + vocals interlude in the middle before thundering off again.

Oh yeah. Sexy, sweaty, core funk. This is why I first started listing to Groovelectric many years ago and I love when he comes back to his roots. There's so much to like here but my favorite bit is definitely the Beatangers' "Get Up Everybody." Unfortunately it's not online (except a randomly chopped sample) so I can't link it for you, but if you can piece it out of this mix you can get it on Beatport.

This is "No Man No Cry" from Oliver Koletzki (who is German so most of the info I could find on him is not something I can directly read). I like the track and it's a great example of how modern music is still being influenced by funk. This track also has some heavy electro-disco and obvious 90s-era electro-pop influences, but that's not always a bad thing.


OK switching gears now

Sedrah (or Se3drah) brings a very modern take on the classic "Jump Around", largely by mashing it up with another classic, the Chemical Brothers' "Galvanize". This ought to be a trainwreck, but it works surprisingly well, bouncing back and forth between the two sources.

I could have sworn I was All Done(tm) with Adele remixes. Not that they're bad - it's just that when she burst into popularity you couldn't turn around without stumbling over three remixes and two mash-ups. This one is using her popular "Rolling in the Deep" but mashes it with the Alan Parsons Project. If you have no idea who that was, well, you're not as old as I am. Suffice it to say Alan Parsons and his partner created some of the weirdest and artiest output of the prog rock genre. Rems79 uses the Adele vocals over Parsons electronica in a stroke of genius.

Speaking of things I was Done With, here's Rems79 again with a Mackelmore mash. Except it's using Queen's legendary "We Will Rock You". It's almost like a cover version, very true to the original vocals, but with this unusual backing track.

Another Loo & Placido entry, this one falls on this side of the divide because it's built around AC/DC's awesome "Thunderstruck," which is one of those great tunes I never seem to get tired of hearing. (If you're like me, check this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2AC41dglnM - a vid that went up a couple years ago of a 1991 AC/DC performance of the tune; man, they were young back then!)
drwex: (Troll)
Looking back in LJ it seems like I only managed one music post in September. I lost a week to travel and have been catching up on my podcasts so there aren't a lot of open tabs to work with. Let me see what I can share with you.

How this avoids being an epic trainwreck mix is beyond me, but Luckyexplorer pulls it off. It feels mostly like a Genesis remix because the consistent vocal is "Land of Confusion" but in fact the music is all other samples, including a brilliant in-mix of "Last Night a DJ".

Bob Mould's new album shows he's still got it. Here's this bald, gray-bearded man rocking hard on stage with guys half his age, sweat soaking his shirt just like it did 20 years ago. I still love his voice and the drive of his music. When he sings, "Listen to my voice - it's the only weapon I kept from the war" I get chills. I heard that Mould absolutely killed it as a dance club DJ; I'm just glad he's found a way back to his roots as well.

DJ Steveboy's "Spacebreaks" is psy-trance based but infused with funk, breakbeats and some lovely vocal bits. It also has a couple of surprises at the end that I didn't think would work but he pulls it together nicely.

Digging through links I found this from three years ago. Mashup Germany taking a P!nk track and laying it over 9 other elements, including a favorite Daft Punk.

Another oldie that I just found: two years ago DeeM & Mister Nono did a nice three-way mash-up based on the music Tomoyasu Hotei did for the Kill Bill movies. I loved those movies and the soundtracks were excellent so it's fun to hear the music being used for other things.

Blogging this almost entirely for the novelty. Kate Bush remixes are rare; mash-ups nearly un-heard-of. I'm not sure this one entirely works, but it's not awful either. Johnny Mashits is working with one of Bush's best-known and most pop-friendly tracks and he seems to understand how her voice works - the mash preserves that. Waddaya think?
drwex: (VNV)
A couple new items appeared in the stream today prompting me to do this overdue post. We've got a couple of things you don't hear often and some long-form listening to get you over these rains (or whatever the weather is doing when you read this). There's also a lot of really good old-style funk in here.

For a while Joan Jett was a popular remix source then she kind of fell out of favor. DJ Moule brings her back in a mash against Led Zeppelin that hovers on the edge of trainwreck but ends up holding together. This comes out of the Fissunix Whole Lotta Mix set, linked below.

Father Funk gives us an old-school style of ghetto funk with this "Get Up!" remix. This track is about a year old and they've got a bunch more stuff up on Soundcloud now that I plan to check out.

Speaking of funking, it doesn't get a lot better than this. The original is at the first link: "Bouncy Bouncy" by Stickybuds & South Rakkas (featuring Rage). One of the best hard-edged electro-funk tracks I've heard since the style hit the dance floors. Lots of fuzz, some scratching, and some definite reggae influences. The second link is Slynk's remix, which is surprisingly toned down. It's a little faster and a lot more melodic, with less of the hard edge that the original has.

It's been WAY too long since I heard a really good "Fat Bottom Girls" remix. It's one of my favorite ignored Queen tracks. Mashing that up with Major Lazer is surprising, and it works, though I wouldn't necessarily listen to this outside of headphones at work. I know Lazer isn't to everyone's taste but I think it really works here. Fast-paced rap, Queen's harmonies, and... yeah, it's a concept I found myself grinning along with.

If you ever thought to yourself "I wonder what it would sound like if Phil Collins sang for Kraftwerk" then you are not me. Also, you're not DJ Schmolli who has produced this brilliant weave of two sources that don't get mashed approximately ever. Bonus points for choice of media samples that all us geeks will recognize.

RESET did this summer festival dance set and it's a pleasant surprise. It's less turbofunk than some of their previous efforts, but it's got definitely funky moments. Italy is kind of ground zero for nu disco and you can definitely catch some of those influences here but damned if this isn't some seriously great wailing horns.

It's been a while since I linked one of DJ Steveboy's Groovelectric mixes. He's been experimenting with a lot of different styles and like any experiment there are some good and some bad. It's hard to recommend an entire set that's sort of 50-50. Steveboy also does a lot of his own mixing and alteration to the tracks he puts into his sets. You can usually pick up the originals on Beatport (and I urge you to do so - it pays the artists) but that's not necessarily going to be the exact sound that you get in the mix. Here, however, Steve has gone back to Groovelectric's "new old funk" roots and this one really rocks along.

Fissunix has assembled ten tracks, all of which are based off of "Whole Lotta Love". There are some really good takes on this - I pulled out the Joan Jett mix above but you can sample for yourself. Of course, if you don't like the base track I advise skipping this one entirely.
drwex: (pogo)
Trying to keep my stress at a reasonable level, music helps. It helps if you can dance to this stuff.

Doing something he said he'd never do, and with a large helping of sarcasm, DJ Steveboy has finally put out a trance mix on Groovelectric. His subscriber newsletter was more snark-full than the Web page, so I can't resist posting this one bit:
Trance became the elfie sword-and-sorcery fantasy of dance music. The Stevie Nicks of electronica. It could be downright embarrassing. Then came Tiesto, and, well, let's move on, shall we?

Well, with all that said, he did find some trance music he liked and put together a highly listenable, relaxing, and yes "feel-good" set. Check it out.

I was surprised that these two items appeared almost back-to-back in my stream. Both are reworks of older, popular tracks and both infuse new life into the older items.

The first one is by the excellent Mashup Germany, putting Peter Fox's "Schüttel deinen Speck" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTmf11OxOYc) a bebop-inspired dance-hop tune against MC Fitti's "Whatsapper" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxb2A4uASqc), which is in turn based on the Ini Kamoze reggae fusion classic "Here Comes the Hotstepper". It's a brilliant combo, executed with Mashup Germany's flair and brilliance.

The second one is SPL (https://www.facebook.com/TheSPL) touching what has to be one of the classics of trance, Underworld's "Born Slippy NUXX" (Wikipedia has an excellent discussion of the two versions of the track and why they're often confused.) SPL borrows tropes from dubstep and d&b for this rework, but does a decent job of staying true to the original.

Kavinsky, a French electro-synth producer, is at it again. This is his latest EP, with three mixes of the same track. The styles are so different, though, that if they didn't come labeled you'd be hard-pressed to tell they're the same. The first one features The Weeknd and it's a very disco styled Michael Jackson-esque vocal piece. The second is A-Trak with some deep dub house sounds and breaks, and I think I like this one best. The third is a hand-clapping/feet-stomping fast remix from Surkin, which sounds the most like the movie soundtracks Kavinsky is known for.

Divide and Kreate has been working hard putting pop sounds into dance shapes. Here he's got Christina Aguilera's 2012 vamp-trash track "Your Body" and he makes it so much better than the original. He's cleaned up the sound, tightened up the vocals, and build a comfortable electro-pop backing for it. C.A. clearly needs a good producer and when she gets one she can sound really good.

This is utterly brilliant, even if it's Lenny Kravitz. DJ Schmolli did a mash-up called "Are You Gonna Change The Way You Kiss Me" for the second Pirate Nation compilation. Then DJ's from Mars got ahold of it and put their signature heavy stomping production touches on it. Pure gold.

Speaking of DJs remixing DJs, here's Dan Mei mashing up Armen van Buuren's "This is What It Feels Like". The original is a feel-good bit of vocal trance, which Dan Mei slams up against Zedd's "Clarity." The mash is tricky because both tracks feature high-quality strong vocals. AVB is featuring Trevor Guthrie and Zedd has Foxes doing the signature female voice for his track. The result is something of a vocal duet/duel and I really like it.
drwex: (pogo)
Lots of good and interesting stuff here, but damned if I can figure out a theme.

MS MR (http://www.msmrsounds.com/) are a new New York-based duo whose first full album isn't due out for a bit but who are already getting a fair bit of airplay due to an EP they released last year that charted well in Europe and got some MTV airplay in the States. The sound is pretty pure electro-pop but with a nice edge to it that reminds me of early Florence or the XXX. This track has been remixed a fair bit but I haven't found a mix I like better than the original.

Speaking of remixes, here are two takes on Rudimental (http://soundcloud.com/rudimentaluk) tracks. The first is Skream's take on "Hell Could Freeze" and the second is Andy C doing "Right Here." I didn't like the Skream track on first listen but it's been growing on me, providing you're in a sufficiently disco-tolerant mood. The mix of rap and disco electronics is... odd. Takes some getting used to.

The second track is more house-influenced and more vocal centric, with high BPM and a strong beat track laid in. It's an interesting example of how mixes are being influenced by dubstep without themselves being dub. This is good "getting things done" music for me.

Speaking of dub, here's another track off thissongissick.com, an instrumental mix by Pegboard Nerds & Tristam called "Razor Sharp". It's fun to read the labels producers put on their Soundcloud tracks - you can see the real-time evolution of styles as DJs grab, tweak, and republish. This one is labeled (among other things) "moombahcore" and "drumstep". I long ago gave up trying to keep track of this stuff - it's definitely a case of not drinking from the firehose. I just pick and choose stuff I like and this one I very much like, as you don't get this kind of floor-clearing bass mixed with melodic stuff often enough.

Armen van Buuren put out a bunch of things promoting some of the new trance artists he's bringing to his label. I thought most were OK, but this one stood out. It's someone calling themselves Airbase (http://airbasemusic.com/) who has been working around Scandinavia for a few years. AFAICT this is their first big US release and it's a sweet piano-centric extended trance track.

DJ Steveboy's post this time is a salvage job. It's two hours out of a longer party set he DJed back in November of last year. Sadly there's no track list, because there are some real winners in here. I got to dance at a party he DJed at Worldcon a few years ago and it was a blast. He's got a huge library he draws from and although I recognize a few of the tracks there are a couple more I don't and would love to look up.
drwex: (pogo)
Some seriously funky stuff in this batch, plus a surprise or two.

One of the things I like best about modern electronic dance music is that deep in the genome is funk. Sometimes it has to pass through disco to get here, but even that can be tolerable. This groovy funky dancey track is a collaboration of two UK-based artists who go by the names Blende and Surrender!. They have an EP coming out next month and this "Circus" is the first single off it. Boppin' good.

Last time I promised you TURBOFUNK and here it is. I do not believe it's possible to listen to this without turning it up loud. The track is by Reset! (http://soundcloud.com/reset-1) who are a new name to me but definitely now on my to-check-out list. There are two other mixes available, and of the three I think I like the original video version best. That's a narrow win, though, because both the vocal mix and the Monique Autoerotique remix are pretty good. Three times the turbo!

DJ Steveboy's latest mix, "Chimera", is one of his funkiest, and finest in recent memory. It's got some good vocal bits, but the real win for me here is the middle acoustic sections, which spread across a variety of modern styles, all of which have some connection back to the base funk roots.

Mashup Germany continues to surprise and delight. He may be the most underrated mash-up DJ working today. Here he tosses off a casual 11-track beauty that I can't stop dancing to. This is a traditional dance-floor destroyer done beautifully. One of the things I like about his productions is that he's not afraid to let them be quiet for a bit. Listen from about 0:45 here to see what I mean. Then he starts to pull in "Kids" and the whole mix takes off. The bit up to 1:05 where the mix hits full stride is just brilliant, and who else would think of using "Tom's Diner" like that?

I continue to think that one way to make the world better is to have more Tegan & Sara in it. This cover of the Rolling Stones' "Fool To Cry" was put together by RAC and it's a surprise and a delight. I'm not that fond of the original but the harmonies in this one really do it for me.

This one I'm blogging because it took me by surprise. It's Heart, doing "Stairway to Heaven" as part of the Kennedy Center Honors Led Zeppelin. That's not hugely surprising, as Heart have done Zeppelin tunes for many years as part of their regular sets and the Wilsons have been forthright about how much Zeppelin influenced them. It was somewhat surprising to see them doing it with Jason Bonham and also how much I liked the orchestral arrangement. True, prog rock has a long and storied history of orchestral arrangements but part of what makes "Stairway" is its sparsity. The choral bits here just... work. The guest guitarist (unnamed here) is really good. And the bowlers are a nice touch.
drwex: (pogo)
I've had most of this hanging around for a while, but doing these posts requires a lot of link-following and that's hard to do when on a crappy wireless and then LJ was DDOSed which makes posting tricky and I hate losing mid-post and blahblahexcusesexcuses OK enough, just listen to this. Bonus: a story at the end!

DJ Steveboy's last mix of 2012 was an extremely solid deep house mix, with several tracks showing the new/old funk influences that first got me listening to Steveboy's sounds. His output last year was somewhat inconsistent and I didn't link to mixes that I thought had weak sections. This one is an hour of great background/dance/get-stuff-done mixing.

Beats Antique put out the video last month for their latest single, "Skeleton Key". The vid is a delightful, if slightly creepy, stop-animation cross of steampunk and Dark Crystal. The song is pretty much in their traditional instrumental vein, though with somewhat more orchestration and a richer mix than you tend to expect them to have.

Lots of people linked to the first one, which is DJ Earworm's traditional year-end mash-up. Frankly I'm underwhelmed. I get that he's limiting himself to the Billboard top 25 list but the whole thing feels technically proficient yet uninspired. You can hear around 0:55 he's sort of built to the peak and then it kind of limps along from there.

I vastly prefer the second link, which is Mashup Germany's year-end mega-mix. It's 33 tracks (!) and it's a much better effort. It builds slowly up to about 1:22 and then you get several treats of sliced, sped-up, and interlaced bits that you're likely to recognize if you listened to pop music in the past year and then there are little ear-teasers that leave you going "wait, what?"

Another new-to-me find picked off the SoundCloud dashboard this chop-step remix by Thissongissick of Krewella's "Killin' It" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ9-1WD-rBA) is awesome. The original is kind of frenetic and seems unable to decide whether it's hip-hop or dubstep. The remix is like "f all that; throw some electronica in there, smooth this out, and scratch the vocals all up". It's totally stomp-dancin' good.

You really don't see a lot of BNL mash-ups, so this one stood out from the start. Frail Limb Purity pushes it almost over the edge but if you can make it to 1:45 the mix really takes off. It helps if you like the underlying tracks (which I do) and feel like getting up and dancing (which kind of gets me odd looks at work, but who cares).

----- Story time -----

People think I know a lot of music, but mostly I listen to a lot and look up things when I am curious about them. Sometimes, though, I forget to be curious. For over two decades I've been listening to TGU - Trans-Global Underground - and you should, too. They were one of the first to do world fusion, and they've been wild and fun and experimental and different every time. It was through TGU that I found Natacha Atlas and Fun-Da-Mental, among other things.

For a long time one of my (our) favorite tunes of theirs has been "Nile Delta Disco" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XnEP-mzv90&feature=youtube_gdata) which is a fantastic mix of jazz, swing, and African-inspired beats under some psychedelic vocals. It begins with the invocation "Hipsters, flipsters, and finger-poppin' daddies..." which amused me but I didn't think much about at the time. After all, the song's main refrain includes the line "Egyptian pharoahs fell from the sky/ fell from the sky and played the blues" and it assures us that "...the River Nile is like a disco." So, y'know.

Scroll forward to the long weekend just past in which I'm catching up on my back reading and I come across this piece on Boingboing: http://boingboing.net/2012/12/24/lord-buckley-meets-groucho-mar.html

That is Groucho Marx so you should not be drinking anything while watching it. I love all things Groucho, so I'm merrily listening along when HOLY CRAP WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?!?
Go on, listen to it, I'll wait.

Of course, I then have to search out Lord Buckley on the Web and be ashamed that I've managed to be ignorant of this corner of high American weirdness for so long. I tried to make up for it in a small way by adding this reference to his page on Wikipedia. And now I know a bit more about music and music history and how influences can travel than I did before. Maybe you do, too.

If you made it this far here's a little reward: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfgdjfgtJw4
This is Natacha Atlas and TGU doing what they did best together - song and sound and drums and oh the beauty of her voice.
drwex: (Default)
Due to holidays and absences and associated business I haven't had time to put a music post together. This time I want to bring to your attention two long-form listens that I haven't done in a while and talk about some new things as well. Plus there's the return of two long-absent voices you absolutely should hear.

I used to blog DJ Steveboy's sets regularly, then stopped for a variety of reasons. With any long-form set there are many chances to dislike it and I've felt that his sets haven't held together completely. There are good tracks and bad tracks and often I found myself stopping or skipping. Not this time. This is deep house done to perfection. The set is called "Roll Program" and among other things it's a tribute to the late Neil Armstrong, featuring samples of NASA audio and giving you that feeling of deep expanses of space, without drifting into annoying spaciness or irrelevance. I found this set immensely comforting for the moods I've been in.

Featurecast (http://soundcloud.com/featurecast) are offering a free stream of their first album and it's funkalicious! It's also got a wide mix of styles (electro jump around anyone?) and a lot of good featured performers. One of the best things about this album is that its variety exists not just for the sake of difference, but to promote the different styles. Within each style, though, there's solid funk and soul groundings and rapid-fire vocal expressions that tie the whole thing together. I'm only on my third listen-through and it's really hard to pick out a favorite track - they're all good.

Reset (http://www.wearereset.com/about/) are a five-man Italian music collective that nevertheless manage to give us an absolutely splendid fast-paced reggaeton track. My only complaint is that the version rendered for the video is too short and sort of broken up. It could easily stand to be a 4:30- or 5-minute track.

Ruinmytune has been doing a number of mash-ups lately that I haven't been all that impressed by - he hasn't seemed to be adding anything to his excellent starting tracks. This, however, is a hot exception and worth a listen. I admit to a personal weakness, as I really like the Blur tune he's working from ("Boys and Girls" - does anyone NOT like this one?). The mix is four main tunes plus samples and it's got depth and you can hear the main tracks all the way through. Really a nice mash.

What do you do when one of your favorite acts goes on hiatus for 12 years? You move on, of course, but you also remember how the music affected you and changed you back then. I remember in 1987 when their third album came out and a friend brought it over - they were hard to get in the US back then. When he found out I'd never heard of them he sat me down and had me listen all the way through the first three. It was intense and he never quite understood why I loved Lisa Gerrard's singing and really just tolerated Brendan Perry. If I'd heard this track, which is classic-style Perry at his best ever, I might have had a different opinion. The music is also classic DCD, with sweeping orchestral themes and tribal percussion, intensely layered and richly produced.

Bob Mould is another one that lots of people haven't heard of and that's really a shame. Husker Du were one of the first bands to evolve a punk sound (which I didn't like) into an alternative approach (which I adored). They never lost the thrash and drive of that early music but they stopped being afraid of melody and harmony and Mould's voice grew to equal his guitar chops. His project, Sugar, first hit the air 20 years ago (man, I'm old) and in my opinion there aren't any hardcore alternative albums as good as Copper Blue. This is the first single off Silver Age, a new album that's said to be in the old style. Yeah, Mould still has it, despite the balding and the gray beard and the glasses.
drwex: (Default)
A chance to get this week's post out on time, I hope...

I didn't like this remix the first go 'round, but on re-listen it's growing on me. Goapele (http://goapele.com/) has one of those beautiful melodic voices that comes across tinged with gospel and soul flavors, but isn't using either of those styles. The first link is to the original, which is a little thin-sounding. What Los Rakas (http://losrakas.com/) have done is add Latin vocals and played up the snap beats to make the whole richer and more energetic.

Another original-plus remix comparison. "Love You More" is itself a cover, (of Sunscreem - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4MPPOTarDM) by Sunday Girl, like the other track I found of hers last year. And also like that track this one is autotuned and has a heavy producer's hand in it. Once again the remixer - RAC (http://remixartistcollective.com/) in this case - has stripped down to the vocals and then rebuilt it entirely. The result is more bouncy and, I think, a much better use of her voice.

DJ Steveboy's latest is a house tour de force (see what I did there?). He puts together 11 tracks sampling a variety of things that get called "house" music these days in a mix called "Open House." It's fun to listen to the variety, though no one of the tracks really leaped out at me as particularly noteworthy.

Kraddy has put up the entirety of his new remix album for free download (and you can buy a copy, which I intend to do). I love reading the story of the album on his site. I think he's done a really good job of recreating much of the feel of 70s anthem-rock but with a modern, electronic feel. In particular I commend to your attention his take on the Sabbath classic "Iron Man".


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