drwex: (Troll)
I keep accumulating music tabs as I'm trying to get work done between the multitude of meetings this week. Let me try to close a few here since I have no idea when I'll get time to do another music post. Five entries, five different music styles, GO.

I found Fort Knox Five originally through DJ Steveboy who uses their stuff a lot in his sets. Here they're bringing a "Latin Funk" track, a concept that I had no idea existed and am immediately in love with. "Cinco to the Brinco" bounces back and forth between Spanish and English and across a variety of musical styles - there's obvious Latin and funk and some glitch and some electro thrown in. Nice bass, nice horn bits, very much my kind of thing.

Rage Against the Machine takes me back to a period of my musical past when I was listening to a lot of harder-edged stuff. RAtM, Rammstein, Godsmack, etc. This is a modern electro-fuzz remix of "Wake Up" done by someone calling themselves Machete. Like a lot of modern reworks it doesn't quite seem to know what to do with the vocals which is a shame, I think because although the intense drums and screaming guitars are key features of this genre so are the intense vocals. RAtM were particularly known for anti-establishment lyrics and you can't just ignore that.

For contrast, here's a doube-shot of RAC. First up, a remix of Gwen Stefani's "Make Me Like You". The music in this one is almost disposable pop - what matters are Stefani's vocals and they're front-and-center in the remix. For contrast here's the original - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uljUDtv1Kw - and I think the remix is significantly better. The original has a tamped-down pop beat bouncing around; the remix has more of a dance beat and it's layered underneath the vocals rather than mixed side-by-side with them. Second is RAC's take on "Victorious" from Panic! at the Disco (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUChk0lxF44). Again, it's fundamentally pop, and the remix doesn't change that, but it does separate and amp up the vocals, giving it a dance slant.

I had to investigate something with the label "panda funk" and I'm not convinced it was a good idea or a good label. There's a pandafunk.com that appears to be the label behind this, but the track is less funk and more electro-bounce. If that's your thing, Dirty Ducks & Luca Rezza have a stomp-inducing example of the genre for you right here. I'm still on the fence about this one.

I've been meaning to post this since I first heard it a couple months ago and it kept getting pushed off. So let's close out this set with an awesome track from DJs from Mars. "Varanasi Ghats" takes its name from the stairs (ghat) constructed specifically so people can go down to holy rivers. This track steals liberally from Indian celebratory music both in the beats and the sampled vocals. These elements are assembled with the DJs traditional stompy style and the result is awesome. There's an invitation to remix that comes along with a purchase of the track but I'd be surprised to see someone outdo the original.
drwex: (VNV)
I'm having a hard time categorizing this set of links. It's been a month since my last post (forgive me Father) so the links have rather piled up.

Two interpetations of a mash-up, which give you a sense of how song interpretations work. The first link is a pretty nice DJs from Mars mash-up with all their trademark elements - good respect for the initial tracks, good use of the vocals, and then that beat. It's using good source material and just amping up the dance elements. Then Rudeejay goes back and redoes the track, toning some elements down, mixing in a few new things. It's a kind of musical improv theater.

I found this in a DJs from Mars set and had a heck of a time tracking it down. This is a zooming prog-house mashup that shifts gears several times along the way. I like the source tracks and the mix does a good job of steering away from trainwreck territory (which often happens with these rapid-shift mashes).

I feel like I've heard "Get Ready Now" in so many forms already but somehow haven't blogged the original. It's been heavy mash-up fodder for the last couple months at least, which is not surprising considering it's got a straightforward and easy house beat and simple lyrics. It's catchy, I'll give it that.

It's closing on Valentine's day so here's something for the romantics in the audience...

DJ Ema Stokholma gives us a hot electro-house remix of a nice French pop love song from mid last year (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TpyRE_juyA). Maitre Gims has a fabulous voice, though I think the track is overtuned. The remix is obviously more dance and it roughens up some of the smooth edges of the original. I've been going back and forth on which I like better - what about you?

Last month I found Frida Sundemo fronting someone else's track. This is her doing her own music. It's soft, orchestral slow-dance - the sort of thing I expect to hear in movie soundtracks. Not normally my thing, but I like it enough to want to check out more of her stuff.

And what would a drwex music post be without a little funk? Here, have a double shot...

GRIZ posted this as a teaser for his Mad Liberation album. "Smash the Funk" is funky, groovy, and also quite modern in its loops and breakbeats. It's a bit more electro-soul than I'm used to on a funk track and that might put some people off, but I like about 4/5 of it and that's a good start for someone new to me.

Speaking of funk and 80% here's Angelo Ferreri's fast funk take on Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust." It's a little bit repetitive and uses less of the vocals than I'd like, but it's an interesting take on a classic.
drwex: (VNV)
I have two half-formed posts in my head and am not having much luck fully baking them. So like I do when that's going on, I listen to music. This set of links isn't planned out so much as "a set of musical coincidences".

Florence is coming to town. I was a big fan when she first got played on this side of the pond and have dropped off considerably since then. It's not like Infected Mushroom where the music has changed. Nor, I think, is it the old fogey of I-can't-like-anything-once-it-gets-popular. Florence is still doing her thing, except with a big stage now, bigger budget, and the trappings that come with that. In this live recording from last year you can hear her with a big-stage quality drum kit backing, two backup singers, a harp, and a full live horn section. I'm left wondering if that makes her (act) better or not. What attracted me to her was the combination of her voice and the deep weirdness of her lyrics. It has been a very long time since I've seen a show at a place so big they needed Jumbotrons - I forget what stadium-concert sound is like. She's very clearly having fun, though, and that's a strong incentive to try and see her when she comes around. Of course, the ticket price is likely to make me balk, but it's a thought.

Also coming to town is Bob Mould. I've written about my admiration for him a few times in the past. Going to see him would be a no-brainer except it's at the Paradise, a venue I despise. Their sound quality is uniformly terrible, sight lines are mediocre, and it's never comfortable. But it's Bob Mould, and I'm going to go in part because we've lost some great talents recently and I feel like I want to appreciate the really great gray-haired performers who are still with us. And because, duh, it's Bob Mould.

This was one of the fine tunes in the New Year's Eve party soundtrack. The host who had programmed that night's set has different musical tastes from mine, but there's a fair degree of overlap to the point where it's enjoyable for me to notice something they've picked and inquire, or to suggest something they can check out. Here is Melosense with a deep chill track. Very 'night music' and slinky acoustic sounds.

While we're still in the mellow part of this post, let me also introduce you to Phutureprimitive. This track came off Pandora's recommendations from my modification of [livejournal.com profile] sweetmmeblue's Glitch Mob station. The resemblance should be clear - bass electronica, with a strong beat and some stutter programming. "Kinetik" is also an acoustic-only track.

Vicetones continue to supply me with lush, sweet club sounds. It's a house track, like their other work, but it's also uptempo and melodic (despite the title). As so often happens I wish to complain that the track clocks in at under 3 minutes - feels more like a teaser than a fully developed track.

Back in 2014 I noted that RAC mixes have this habit of slipping by unremarked. And somehow I managed to go all of last year without blogging any of his work. My bad - I do follow it but don't always notice and mark his entries in my stream. This one reaches out and grabs you (well, if you're me) entirely because of the vocals. Frida Sundemo fronted this track for Morten originally and this is RAC's mix. Her voice is excellent - I particularly like how she handles the minor-key bits without sounding whiny.

I hope you've had enough of relaxing because the last two items are going to break that mode. First up is DJs from Mars' year-end megamash. This is the extended mix - I linked the original when it came out last month but I like this better. You get an extra minute and a half of ear teasers as a bonus and where I thought the end of the original mix was kind of a letdown, this one goes strong right up to the last 20 seconds.

About a decade or so again there was a thread in club music that was just generally called "hard". It featured very fast beats, electronica with distorted edges, insistent repetitive phrasing, and a lot of the tropes of club music at that time - sound samples, manga or Japanese animation elements, using horns or whistles as found sound, and simple message-oriented vocals. The first link is a recording of Marco V doing his hard anthem "Godd" recorded in 2005. I had forgotten all about this track - and really never was much of a hard fan - until a version of this got sampled in a DJ set I was listening to last week. I have no idea where the memory is from, but I remember thrashing to this track until my shirt was soaked with sweat. (I believe the track first came out in 2001 which only broadens the possible places/occasions - my best guess is one of the poolside parties that used to happen at Disclave.)

The second link is the V-Dubb remix of "Godd" and it's what started me on this as it was sampled in the DJ set and something in my brain pinged. This mix has some of the elements of the original but I think I can see how the edges are starting to soften and evolve into what house music would become in the years after. If you don't like hard techno you're not likely to enjoy this mix any more than the first, but for me it's a nice reminder of where EDM used to be when I was first dipping my toes into the waters.
drwex: (VNV)
Did actually intend to get this written last week but it didn't happen for a variety of reasons. I also didn't manage to write more serious entries so there's that. I'm hoping this entry will get done soon and give me some kind of impulse to write the other stuff, which is much harder to formulate.

So we've reached that time of year - the end - when mashup DJs put together their "best of..." mashes. I probably won't review most of them, but two names put out entries I have to cover, so we'll start with those. Next up (probably next week) we'll have some long-form pieces.

DJs from Mars, 40 songs in 3:30. What else do you want to know? It doesn't have exactly the classic DJfM stompy feel, but it's definitely framed as a dance banger, though the ending slides a bit. I think it's positioned as the sort of thing you'd play for a set finale - at least, that's how I would use it.

DJ Earworm's "United State of Pop 2015" uses 50 tracks in a 5:15-long mash that is much less intense than the DJfM's entry but still gives a good sampling of what's been pop this year. Earworm's take is still danceable but not a house banger by any means. As with so many of these year-end things I feel like there hasn't been a ton of great new things to carry the mix. Most of what I'm liking in mashes these days mixes new pop with older classics, which these best-of obviously can't do.

In case you are somehow unfamiliar with the basic form of the house dance banger let me link you one. I don't link most of these because they're all pretty similar. Triton here turns in a perfectly serviceable entry, with minimal vocals and maximal house beats. I can't put my finger on precisely why I like this one and not other standard bangers, but this one sticks well with me.

Remember a couple months back when I claimed Avicii had giant brass balls for (daring to) remix/update "Insomnia"? Well stand down, Avicii because here comes the unknown Sash, doing their remix/club mix and it's really damned good. It's got the same basic feel, vocals, and builds as the original but with more BPM and some up-to-date electronica. Clocking in around 6 minutes feels better, too.

"Colors" is nowhere near the classic level of "Insomnia" but it's a well-loved club anthem and seeing it get a touch of new life is nice. Vicetone's version is sweet - nearly love-song levels - and I like the lush sounds.

Speaking of sweet, Patrick Baker's "Gone" was a gently breathy summer night track from a few months back. Now comes Vijay and Sofia remixing it. I still think the autotuned strings bit is a little saccharine but I like the basic rhythm of the track and Baker's voice is pleasant.

Chasing some old links I came across this and thought "How could I have missed a DJs from Mars doing Deep Purple mash?" Turns out I did spot it back in July but that link is now dead so I'm going to give you this, the updated version that they did for the Bootzilla compilation. I hope this one survives because it's got so much of what I love about the DJs' work. Good stompin' beats, and a nice mix of the modern vocals with the classic backing guitars. Like all DJs from Mars tracks the key question is "Are you chair-dancing now?" Um, yes.
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: (VNV)
Bootie Blog continues to publish best-of lists infrequently and mostly I am not that fond of what they pick but there are good things now and then. Herewith a pretty random selection from the last few months of "Bootie Best-of" lists. All these are direct MP3 links and being Booty they tend to be pretty direct mash-ups. Still, a good sampling of styles here.

Wax Audio gives us two music icons - Led Zeppelin and Madonna - in an interesting mix, particularly if you think of Madonna as being mostly pop and uptempo. The original of "Justify My Love" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np_Y740aReI) is not your typical pop by any means.

DJ Mario Santiago does a great job picking the best bits of two fine tunes and putting them together. I enjoy the RHCP track and the Lilly Wood track is one I thought was underrated when it came out, largely because the mixing is so spare and thin. The mash does a little better but I still feel there's more to be done with this material.

The DJs from Mars take the much-used "Lean On" and run it through the blender with some more RHCP and a little leavening of Tears for Fears. What comes out is a chop-mixed chair-dancing piece of ear candy. As you'd expect with the DJs it rocks pretty hard, but only near the end. I would rather have had the full energy throughout.

If you've had enough of "Shut up and dance with me" then you should skip this one. I'm not done with it yet and it's interesting to see how much my subconscious remembers of Bryan Adams and how well Ryson makes the two fit together. They really are kin, however many decades separate them. Like most of the mixes in this post, this one is short and I really notice it here.

It's really hard to go wrong with a "We Will Rock You" mash and it's also hard to something even a little new. Here I think we have something at least a bit new, as Queen appears against three other tracks. It's mostly Nicki Minaj but you can hear other bits here and there. Still, any WWRY mix rises or falls on the signature boom-boom-clap and this one works exceptionally well.

Another DJs from Mars entry (the Booties like them as much as I do), this one built around Hoobastank's "The Reason". I had fairly completely forgotten about the innocent male-rock track until I heard this and it's fun to hear how it's powered up to modern EDM speeds.

And finally, one I promised Otherjill (who has no LJ): Placebo doing Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" versus Marilyn Manson doing Eurythmics. Yeah, I have no idea who thinks this stuff up, either. In this case it's LeeDM101 but I have to wonder what he was on at the time.
drwex: (VNV)
Going to try something different this time - a post just based off one set list. If you want things in the order they were originally arranged, start here:

This month's "Alien Selection" mix from DJs from Mars ranges from OK to excellent, as do most of their mixes. There are one or two skippable bits and the DJs have provided a handy timestamp-encoded track list to let you do just that. That said, I didn't find a lot to dislike in this mix. It has a great deal of the DJs' trademark stompy house going for it and a lot of variation. Some of the tracks used are mixed and updated versions so the links below won't be 100% accurate to the full set but they're the best I could find.

In case you're new to this, the "Alien Selection" podcast is their monthly best-of, with a heavy dose of their own work thrown in.

If you want (what I consider) the highlights first, try these:

Ah, Annie. For a while one could hear remixes and mashes of Annie Lennox or Eurythmics tracks all over. But it's been a while since I heard such and now we get not a use, but a straight-on updating of the iconic "Sweet Dreams" into CALVO's deep house style. The song has always had a strong electronica element to it, but this is pushed up several notches into house tempos. The kick-bass is also amped up, giving it a bit of chest impact. I agree with one commenter on Soundcloud who objected to the initial drop but other than that one bit I think it's an excellent take on the original.

Ed Sheeran's "Photograph" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSDgHBxUbVQ) is another lovely tune that's been mixed a lot the last few months. This is Angemi's mix, and it's a gorgeous EDM love song. It's got Sheeran's vocals front-and-center but the core melody is backed with some electronica. What makes this work, I think, is that it's almost a duet between the original and the remix, which you can see about 2 minutes into the track when the electronica really kicks into high gear. As with so many of these things, if you don't like "Photograph" to begin with you're not likely to enjoy this mix, but I like it a lot.

A mostly instrumental drum-heavy dance remix from Massivedrum. The style is pretty standard house but I like the banging essence of the track. This is one of those that was remixed a bit differently in the DJ's set and I think their version is better but this is still pretty good. My main complaint is that the track's interesting complexity doesn't come out until about 3:20 in. I would've liked it more if the whole track had that much variation and layering.

Finally, I want to close with two entries from the DJs themselves, one new and one old but both holding strong in this set.

The first one is a heavy Nicki Minaj mix. I'm not all that fond of the scratch-mixing in the middle of this track, but I adore the second half where Minaj is fronting for Run DMC. The second one is something the DJs did back in 2011 that I'd somehow missed (at least, I think I missed it. As I write this, the LJ tag pages are broken so I can't quite check). The remix uses Evanescence, and it's totally a reminder of why I loved their flash in the music pan. "Bring Me To Life" was played and overplayed to death in part because it was a damned good track with amazing vocals and a haunting air. The DJs take that and speed it up to 11. The result still soars, but it also proves it can dance.
drwex: (Troll)
It's been hard listening to music lately. I can't tell if it's what's come up in the stream or my nerves being jangled but I find myself clicking off most tracks before they're a quarter done. So here's what survived:

Will K gives us an hour-long set of ... I'm not sure what. I left a comment asking for a track list because there are some really nice house, bounce, and generally fun EDM pieces in here. One thing nerds do is look at the shape of the sound profile and if you look at a lot of DJ sets the profile is remarkably uniform. The peaks and valleys you can see in the profile here are indicative of the changes in tempo and style within the set. It's a hot mix, suffused with good energy and not overrun by the latest pop confections.

I mentioned Baile two entries back. This is another track off his Souncloud page and it's similar: minor key, somewhat downtempo instrumental work. I picked this one because it's got an interesting mix of glitchy squelch sounds with the sort of clear smooth harmonics you find in a lot of trance music. I plan to continue listening to his stuff and thought you might like to as well.

This track started out with two marks against it: first, it's remixing one of my favorite tracks of all time, probably, Massive Attack's "Teardrop". Then the track starts off kind of monotonously and I'm all "c'mon, do something." Then the mixer - Rick Roblinksi - finally starts working with Elizabeth Fraser's vocals. And I remember why I fell in love with it the first time. It's a different tempo and it feels like the track could be tightened up, but I've not heard a better remix of Teardrop in a long time, if ever.

I've been keeping half an ear out for more Angelika Vee work and here she is again fronting for Andrew Bennett on "Fall Out", a classic summer trance-dance anthem. I wish there was more room for the vocals - I think those are the strongest parts of the track, particularly the builds. The electronica is OK but nothing spectacular.

It's DJs from Mars. It's a Deep Purple "Smoke on the Water" mash. Do you really need to know anything more? I could wish they'd done more with the vocals - those are definitely the best parts of the track. But dammit, this is stompin' good.

The Lazer/Snake/M0 track is getting a lot of use these days. This one from Dean Belz keep threatening to descend into trainwreck and somehow does not. How you use "Lean On' to tie together Tears for Fears and RHCP is... well, listen for yourself.

I've always been a believer in the power of music to make and reflect moods. In the trance community there's a stream of things that go as "uplifting mixes". They're deliberate attempts to use the tropes of EDM - particularly high-energy, high-BPM trance music - to inspire positive moods in the listener. I can't say I'm "uplifted" but listening to RAM's uplifting mix did put a good end note on my day.
drwex: (Troll)
I don't feel like posting an update because it's too depressing. Soundcloud was down for a bit last week, which caused me to wander over to Bootie Blog and check out some of their monthly listings. Lots of pop stuff, but it's not bad for all that.

Warning: all of these MP3s tend to start playing LOUD. If that's not what you want, tap the volume slider or download and playback through another device. There's also a ZIP file link that gets you all these tracks and the other Bootie Top 10 for June.

Lobsterdust doing what he does, a technically proficient A|B|C mash with Montell Jordan's classic "How We Do It" updated and modernized with a nu-disco feel.

Maya Jacobson who goes as DJMaya is an Israeli mash-up DJ, new to me. Here she's got the Major Lazer ft M0 "Lean On" that I mentioned in last week's music post going up against some old Back Street Boys. My biggest complaint is that the track is short and ends abruptly. Seems like more could be done here.

DJs from Mars with one of their standard high-energy dance tracks built around Alesso/Tove Lo "Heroes". It's interesting for the number of styles they mix into it. There's still a basic dance feel but it's got a lot of different tempos and sounds going on.

Kill_mR_DJ has a nice summer nostalgia mix of five favorites. It's bouncy and trippy but also a bit on the short side. I know pop songs aren't supposed to be much over 3:30 but who said mash-ups need to fall into that same creative sinkhole?

I keep think I'm going to get tired of the "Shut up and Dance" mixes but it's a damned catchy hook. Here Cream & Gary W use a couple of minor supporting tunes to play around with the basic "Dance" elements but it's still largely the track you expect.

Amoraboy, a French bootlegger, gives us what's listed as a simple A|B mash but I think at a minimum he's using versions of these tracks I haven't heard before. The components are Charli XCX's "Break The Rules" that I heard a lot last fall and an old track by Antares called "Ride on a Meteorite" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fA05D5rkHFA I think) but this mash has a level of profanity I didn't hear in either of those source tracks. I'm betting it's someone's remix but I haven't bothered to sort through all the options to figure out which one.
drwex: (Troll)
This post keeps getting delayed by all the interruptions ever so excuse me if I'm a bit brief. Three URLs but all give you more than the usual sounds to groove with.

There's a new EP out (and the guys are on tour again). Here are three tracks that hit my favorite spots from the Mob and I cannot wait to see them done live. The first one, "Head Full of Shadows" is a really interesting example of how their style has evolved. It's drum-heavy but much less bombastic than I expect for them. The drumming is more earthy, almost tribal-feeling. I adore Glitch Mob drumming more than anything since Concussion Ensemble ceased to exist.

The second track (Better Run, Better Hide) is strongly rhythmic but the beats are there to support almost-trancey vocals. Very movie-soundtrack material. I particularly love the drop to vocal around 1:20. This track says "featuring Mark Johns" and I'm wondering who that is. The only musical Mark Johns I know is a well-respected and long-practiced session guitarist and not someone I'd associate with this style.

The last track, The Clouds Breathe For You, again subdues the beats, this time behind smooth electronica with echoey minor-key chords and a scratch-pop edge that I wouldn't normally associate with these guys but it works well.

X-Ray Ted presents about 45 minutes of old school, which means some beautiful brass horns, some classic rock beats, a lot of hip-hop snippets, and a lot of rethought gems. There's no track list so I can't give you precise pointers, but the reworked "Praise You" sticks with me as particularly good.

Another hour-long mash mix from the DJs from Mars. I've listened through twice and haven't had anything particularly leap out at me as a notable favorite but then again I've been really distracted. I'll probably highlight a couple tracks in the next post.
drwex: (Troll)
I've been hit with some serious emotional dips lately, like I haven't had in weeks. So I do what I can to equalize and turn my mood upward. Right now that means some high-energy get-your-body-moving dance tracks. Also, modern love songs and nostalgia.

Raise your hands if you can still remember MTV playing Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" on heavy rotation. Yeah, me too. The jeans-and-tee-shirt band seemed to be mocking everything MTV promoted. Here is a bit of awesome where DJs from Mars mash four tracks but mostly it ends up being Ariana Grande fronting for Dire Straits. If I win the lottery I'm going to throw a private party with these guys DJing.

Imagine Dragons is one of those things that gets stuck in my head, so I'm not sure why I like this mash so much. It's I.D. versus Radioactive, another catchy pop tune.

Here is Ben Gold, one of the ASoT stable of trance DJs, doing a set in Buenos Aires. It's a fun mix featuring a lot of his stuff and he does a decent AVB impression on stage. Like any set there are high and low points and I want to pull out three tracks he uses because each is interesting.

Here's Ben Gold's remix of Andrew Rayel's "Goodbye". The original track features Alexandra Badoi a Romanian singer-songwriter. I love that her site lists it as her song featuring Rayel whereas ASoT lists it the other way around. Regardless it's a good collaboration and Ben Gold's remix is a cleaner and punchier take on the track.

This is a Ben Gold trance original, featuring Christina Novelli on vocals. Ms. Novelli is herself a DJ out of the UK. She looks to be fun and I intend to check out her stuff. This track caught my ear for her voice, obviously, and the piano bits. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a love song. In another genre it'd be a singer (usually a woman) and a piano. This here is just the EDM version and I freakin' adore it.

And finally another Ben Gold love song. I liked this one in part because it's featuring a male vocalist, Eric Lumiere. I've been skimming some of what Lumiere has posted, and he seems to be very much in the vein I travel - listen to what makes you feel better, giving away his first album for free, etc. Like many of these folk you can get their stuff on Beatport, which I'm told returns a larger percentage to the artist than most comparable sites. If you love it, buy it.
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: (VNV)
I've gone through the Best of Bootie 2014 mixes and have four to talk about. If you just want to stream or download the whole thing you can get it at that link. Fair warning: the Bootie links are MP3s that will probably start playing on click.


DJs from Mars make several appearances in the Bootie list and I think I like the first in this pair best because the source material is James Brown and Bob Marley. Kind of hard to go wrong with that, and this mix doesn't disappoint, mixing soul and reggae and the DJ's signature stomp beats.

The second track is pure fan service, putting together Queen's beloved "We Will Rock You" with Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name". That itself is well done, but then the DJs reach again into the popular closet and come up with some Prodigy and some Skrillex to give everything a racing fast harder edge. It's still a love anthem to rock, and when it kicks into high gear around 2:35 it's a hard rock on meth mix.

Loo & Placido have two entries in the set and this one is the better of the two for my money. It's a high-energy bounce-and-rock opening that has some real surprise change-ups in it. The transition from piano to piano-and-vocals caught me by surprise and actually made me laugh out loud at its cleverness. This is the sort of track I'd open a club set with - enough energy to get people moving and enough variety to catch attention.

Lobsterdust makes an appearance with an eight-way juggernaut of a mix. This one is clearly done for the humor value, as there are both lyrical and musical juxtapositions that are done just to say "isn't that funny". I suspect if you don't like the humor you won't like this mash, but I don't recall Lobsterdust ever doing a humorous mix before so I flagged this one. His other entry is a standard A|B pairing that's fine but unexceptional.

I can't remember the sequence that landed me on Eelke Kleijn (http://www.eelkekleijn.nl/) but his compositions are an interesting atmospheric palate cleanser. They're mostly instrumental, or use voice-as-instrument, and his work has started appearing in media such as TV/movie trailers. His style, as here, is often ethereal and I like it as background while I'm working on other things.

You know there are going to be any number of end-of-year mashes and I'll probably blog the ones I find interesting, but I wanted to pull this one first as it's something I've not seen before. Dzeko and Torres have put together not a single mash track, but ten full minutes showcasing EDM tracks - 62 to be precise - of 2014. There are some big names in here (Tiesto, Hardwell) but the majority are lesser-known producers doing interesting things. At 600 seconds to cover 62 tunes you're rarely getting more than a tiny snip of anything before the track moves on, but there's a listing you can use to track things down (if you're crazy like me).
drwex: (Troll)
Had to leave work early on Friday to pick the kids up from camp. Thus, music today. Two fantastic long-form listens and a couple favorites.

Beats Antique are going on tour again. (This fall in Boston with Shpongle at House of Blues - I have my tickets, do you?) This is the first single from what I expect will be their new album and it's classic Beats. Strong percussive Middle Eastern-influenced dance sounds with a good dash of crunk thrown in for variety.

Mashup Germany did this excellent complex mash about a year ago but I just found it. This one feels largely like a "Men at Work" mash even though the vocals are primarily P. Diddy/Skylar Gray's "Coming Home" (with a nice appearance from Sting). It's low-bpm and relaxed - feels like an end-of-summer thing to me.

Two very similar remixes by Rey & Kjavic of Katermukke tracks. Both are heavy electronica, with a slinky twang throughout. I like the "Black Cat" one better because the sound really reminds me of a black cat prowling. Yes, really, this is how my brain works.

OK, time to get your SERIOUS NERDGASM on. Here is a set of nerd-themed, nerd-inspired, geek-tastic remixes from DJ BC's Dragoncon set. It includes favorites DJs from Mars, Deadmau5, DJ Schmolli, G3RST, and Party Ben. Ben's "Dr Who on Holiday" is hilarious fun but for sheer nerdy goodness "We No Speak Cantina" from G3RST takes the prize. I also have to mention "Haunted Bela" by DJ Fnord because I love "Bella Lugosi's Dead" so much.

Saving the best for last, here is Bootzilla Volume Two from DJs from Mars. Nineteen tracks of absolutely fantastic electronic dance fun from the Martians and friends. I'm on my fourth listen through of this and I can't pick one favorite. The lead track is an AC/DC mashup that rocks SO HARD and it keeps on giving from there. I suspect people will like various tracks based on the source material; for example, I love the "Depeche Doors for Fears" (track 4) because I'm a big "Personal Jesus" lover - I've always thought that was a song about phone sex. Anyway, let it play and tell me what rocks your world.
drwex: (VNV)
AudioPorn Central and Mashup-Industries are both down for the count (though M.I. may be back again) so I'm using SoundCloud more for new sounds. However, this post is brought to you by two words:


Let's get right into it. These here are the preview stream and first single off the upcoming VNV Nation album, called "Transnational." It drops in the US Nov 19, but the earliest we're likely to see them over here is Spring, since their posted tour has them in the UK/EU through February. So yay, and boo.

The single and preview sound like much the same as we've heard from them, with strong vocals, rock- and metal-infused electronica, and intense emotional/political lyrics. What makes VNV, though, is the live experience which I've tried to describe before and mostly failed. If they do come around I'll be there and be looking for people who want to go see them with me.

It's always a risk trying to remix a beloved classic, but I think Gigamesh pulls this one off. It's his take on the Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" (sometimes referred to as "Letting the Days Go By"). The remix keeps the surreal feel of the original, with Byrne's vocal assertions featured prominently, which is what made the original so good. It's a little more electronica, a little bit sped up, but overall a wonderful homage.

Goldroom (http://goldroom.la/) is a new-to-me producer of lush electronica. This piece is really evocative of end-of-summer to me, and features great vocal work by Ariela Jacobs (http://www.triplejunearthed.com.au/ArielaJacobs) another new name to me.

Mashup Germany continues to give me the best kind of whiplash. I start playing one of his mixes and find my head snapping around, going "he did NOT just..." Here he's mashing four main tracks, all of which I need to check out on their own. The whole thing makes a great track, so it seems a shame to pick one or two of the transitions or drops, but check out how he changes up the tunes and if you like it check out the extended mix (second link).

DJs from Mars. Extended mash-up set. What more do you need to know? Features some of the Mars's own mixes but mostly it's other peoples' original tracks, mash-ups, and remixes in a delicious hour-long set. Go listen; I can't possibly do it justice in a few sentences.
drwex: (pogo)
I'm sitting around waiting for the guy who is only in the office today to follow through on his email saying we should meet. This is Important, and I started it, so I'm going to wait. And meanwhile I'm going to talk about music. I realize I've blogged a lot of musical things lately but I'm off for a bit starting tomorrow and I've had some amazing stuff cross my path recently. I care, so I share. Two excellent mashes, two good covers, and something new from a name I haven't mentioned in a long time.

First, up (courtesy of DJ Purple) a fantastic metal-meets-metal-meets-metal mashup from Mashup Germany. Oh, yeah, theres's some Robyn and Blink 182 in there, but if you don't start grinning hugely around 2:40 then I'll be surprised. It's a brilliant cut.

Speaking of brilliant, DJs from Mars are BACK! The first is a Soundcloud lift of one of the tracks you can get at the second link. It's the DJs doing Zedd vs U2. The build through the first minute of the track is outstanding. On first listen I thought they were doing a transition, but when I re-listened with headphones I realize the tracks are all laid in from the start, and it's building up slowly enough at first you don't realize what's coming until BAM there it is.

And then you can go to the second link and get an entire new album, Bootzilla, with the DJs and a lot of talented friends. I'll probably have more to say about that after I've had time to listen.

This is an edit by Jamie xx (http://jamiexx.com/) of the band's tune "Sunset" (nice live version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2JrAhmZmpM). To call The xx spare, haunting, and eerily melodic is sort of definitional and this track captures all of that. The edit is a little more drum-heavy and plays down the electronics and guitars a bit. It also has some extra pauses added, which I guess are for a purpose but I don't think they enhance the base track.

Royksopp covers the Depeche Mode b-side "Ice Machine". I've read the track was popular in Europe but its minor-key electronica never caught on much in America. The original has some odd harmonies, too. Royksopp updates all of this, giving the track a dark throbbing Euro-underground feel and lots of extra instrumental bits as well as cleaning up and strengthening the vocals. It's still recognizably the D.M. tune, but it's also very much its own thing.

Finally, if you're tired of all that modern electronica, take a trip back in time to a steampunked Victorian era with Abney Park. This is the first single, "The Circus At The End Of The World", off their new production. They've teamed up with a talented set of circus performers from the Wanderlust Circus (http://www.wanderlustcircus.com/) to create an atmosphere and show I would love to see.

I was not that enthralled with Abney Park's previous sea shanty-themed creation. This, however, seems to be a return to their roots and a leveling up of what they do best. The album (same name as the single) will be on sale first week of September.
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)
That plus the fact that I've spent a silly number of hours figuring out what I can and cannot do within the constraints of the new work firewall, which overtly blocks Pandora and Soundcloud. We'll start and end this group with mash-ups and along the way visit a trio of interesting sounds.


DJs from Mars are back with a fantastically hilarious 4-way that mocks the recent will.i.am/spears pop-club hit. It's still a bit of a rough mix but the concept is brilliant. Time for another fat-ass drop indeed!

Fenech Soler are a UK electro-pop quartet that have been locally popular for some time and are starting to get more widely noticed. The first video on this page is for their new "Maiyu" track and it's strong. The mixing and dubbing are somewhat heavy but they work well, combining their standard synth-house stuff with more tribal and complex beats. Compare with the fan footage below, which is a more raw version of their sound - these guys really benefit from the work of whoever is producing them.

I think I first bumped into SubSoul on Twitter - they're a UK collective that's promoting local EDM artists so it's kind of hit and miss. This one - Kidnap Kid's remix of Rudimental's (http://www.rudimental.co.uk/) "Waiting All Night". It's a little choppy and a little wub, but it's interesting to compare with the original, which is on their home page at the moment. I think I like the original slightly better, but the two approaches have such very different feels it's hard to compare them.

I got hooked on this track immediately because of its interesting and complexly syncopated percussions. Then around 0:50 the vocal starts and I'm like... waitaminnit, I know that voice. Go ahead and listen, I'll wait. Yes, that's Fever Ray, more properly known as Karin Dreijer Andersson, who is half of this Swedish brother-sister duo that record as The Knife. I think the easiest way to put it is that if you like experimental music and/or Fever Ray you'll like this. If you just want to relax to some easy 4/4 stuff then skip this one.

Sometimes a mash-up can't help. I'm sorry, people, but Katy Perry just sucks and no attempt to rehabilitate it is going to help. So I approached this mash-up with some skepticism. Can you make something good out of Alanis Moreupset and everyone's favorite Justin, especially by using some standard David Guetta? Well, give it a listen, but Israeli DJ Maya Jakobson gets my two-thumbs-up for pulling off a remix near-miracle. The track captures what's really good about Morissette's angry and hurt lyrics and uses that to drive what turns into a high-bpm dance-floor destroyer.
drwex: (Default)
Some old favorites are back this week in new contexts.

In 2010, Skye Edwards rejoined Morcheeba. She's still working on her solo projects. This is the first single from her upcoming solo LP. It's got her voice, but it's more fast-paced and less bluesy than I'm used to hearing from her. She's still very talented and even with all the electro in this track I'm liking it a lot.

Lobsterdust turns in his latest banger, a six-way mash. He's still very good at what he does, but he's not doing anything new here. It's a high-energy party track, as you'd expect. If you like his stuff this is a good track; if not, you probably won't like this one either.

This one you should watch if you can. The video is a really fun stop-motion animation tribute to music video images that have been popular at one time or another. It's neat to see how many you can identify. Some I got even though they're just on for a few seconds; others I'm still scratching my head over (the solo guitarist in front of the church - help!).

The track is a fun collaboration between DJs from Mars and Fragma. I have not been that fond of Fragma's solo stuff but her voice really works well here, over the strong techno beats that the DJs provide. It's a fun track through and through.

MIA's "Bad Girls" has been remixed a hundred ways by now, so it's rare to find something new/interesting/unusual done with it. Surkin scores a hit here, though in part because he's pulling from so many influences. As Carter Maness says in the blurb you can clearly hear African rhythms in the remix, and also high-speed street-dance sounds. That kind of thing can easly turn into a mess, but it's kept tight and the sound layers are managed well. Check out the bit starting at 1:50 where it drops to solo flute and then slowly builds back up over the next minute.

I had forgotten how much I liked Public Enemy. Every time I listen to a new rapper I hope I'll hear someone who has Chuck D's ability to sling words and mean something without every fifth word being 'nigger', 'bitch', or 'ho.' The man was - is - an amazing vocalist/lyricist. Featurecast (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Featurecast/8844117036) gives us his vision of what those words would sound like above some slamming techno dance rhythms and phat horns. I've had this on frequent repeat for most of the past week and been missing P.E.

Well, if you're like me you can do a little searching and find that Chuck is still out there doing his thing. The second link is to "I Shall Not Be Moved" and just appeared last month. He's slowed down a bit - he's joking about "the senior circuit" now - but it's still that style and that voice. He hasn't lost any of his political sensibilities either ("What good is doing some record/ When y'all only listen to fifteen seconds?").
drwex: (Default)
The reason I wanted to clear the decks yesterday was to talk about the hour-long best-of mix I've been listening to much of the past week.

DJ Morgoth gives you 61 minutes of good-to-awesome. This is a best-of set, but unlike most of the others I've listened to in the past couple weeks it's got a number of things I hadn't heard yet or hadn't appreciated on first go-round. Twenty-two tracks in all, and if you've been reading me this past year you'll know most of the names. My picks for the best of the best are:

MashMike builds a Sak Noel mix that stands out from all the others for inventiveness. It helps if, like me, you actually like Eminem when he's not being a raving asshole. Extra bonus points for the Yello samples.

DJs from Mars are (in my book at least) the best in the business right now at producing fun party banger mixes. And I've been tagging Mashup Germany all year as a great mega-mixer. So put the two of them together and you can guess what you get - a long-form banging mega-mix with lots of great samples and hair-turn transitions. I've listened to this at least half a dozen times and I can't help bopping along each time.

Kap Slap puts together a fun and funny mash that makes me think about giving Britney the Bad Touch and how awesome that would be. And yes, it's another Journey-covering mash and yes I'm still rocking out to it 'cause I'm an ancient fogey who saw them way back when, not when Glee re-made them popular.

Finally, this is a Skrillex mix called "Dubsex" so you've got to have at least some wub tolerance here. But it's not too heavy on the wub, and really it's mostly a Nero/Alana Watson remix. I really liked the original track and it's kind of fun listening to 3LAU and Skrillex dub up Daft Punk.


drwex: (Default)

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