drwex: (Troll)
Sense8 seriously music virused me last night (yes, I'm late to the game, yes I'm only a few episodes in - if you spoiler I will cut you). So, much as I like 4 Non-Blondes I'm going to try to scrub this out with other music. Turns out I have a lot of tabs open so I'll split this into two posts.

I know I've talked about Reload Sessions before but I haven't explicitly tagged them as such so I can't back-link. They're an occasional video series of talented but usually not-widely-popular vocalists doing mostly acoustic covers of pop tunes. This time it's Stephanie Rainey (http://stephanierainey.com/) with a single guitarist covering "Running" from Naughty Boys (and Beyonce). The original is a much more dramatic piano-heavy power ballad. It's always a risk covering a track done by a powerful vocalist and this track really polishes Beyonce's powerful voice to a fine sheen. The Reload obviously is a lot simpler and carries its emotional load differently. Both are excellent.

I've posted a lot of EDM here but there are variations and variants that I don't often cover. This is an old track that popped up in a recent set and reminded me how much I love the crossovers between Euro-American club music and traditional middle eastern styles. There's a swath of music that usually gets lumped under "world" or sometimes "bellydance" that starts on the west somewhere in Algeria, spans northern Africa and most of the modern Middle Eastern states (not excluding Turkey), ending up somewhere in Pakistan and western India - all of which I love. This is "Sandstorm" from Naked Rhythm, a track that's about 10 years old now but used to be a staple of my listening sets. Still love it.

In the same general vein but more modern here's "Selardi" from Sikada, which appears to be a stage name for one Leo James from the UK (https://soundcloud.com/sikadaofficial). The music is undeniably Middle Eastern-influenced as you can hear in its percussion, though the track notes claim it uses a guzheng - a traditional Chinese instrument. Despite those older influences this is still a high-BPM modern dance number.

Another of my favorite non-mainstream styles - reggae - gets front and center here in Featurecast's "999". It's labeled as both glitch hop (which it is) and ghetto funk (which it's not so much). Rock, dance, and reggae have traded genes back and forth since at least the 1950s so you'll find most any permutation that pleases you somewhere. This one is high BPM, electronic, and still something I expect Bob Marley would recognize.
drwex: (VNV)
I'm not at work tomorrow so there won't be a music post. Also, my mood has been terrible and there are few better ways for me to go on the good-mood-by-force-of-will tip than funk. So here's a fast Thursday double-shot of excellent funk.

First up, Basement Freaks do their tribute to the groundbreaking first generation of funk with a cover of "Booty Shakin'". I remember Parliament being so very deeply weird that their style, costumes, and visuals burned into my then-young brain in a way almost nothing else did. I mean, seriously, check out the bearded dude in the white ?wedding? dress playing guitar. Parliament always had the baddest horn section, an element I consider essential to good funk, and that's on fine display in this tribute.

And then we have Krafty Kuts doing a mash-up against Featurecast in a video that makes me sorry I don't have long hair anymore (though I really like the two bald guys). This is an excellent example of modern funk, very danceable and sharp with higher BPM than the classic Parliament but with the same brass aesthetic. I can't help grinning along while I'm chair-dancing.

Moo zik!

Mar. 20th, 2015 01:42 pm
drwex: (VNV)
With all the travel and such I haven't had time to listen to a lot of the stream, but I do have an assortment of tabs to close. A good helping of funk then some varied offerings.

First up, Father Funk's latest piece makes me nostalgic and excited at the same time. There's so much in here - from the finger-snaps to the soul-inspired bass track - that reminds me of the early days of funk and then it's clearly built up with fuzz, electro, bits of hip-hop and other very modern things. I need a wide-brim hat.

Stickybuds and Featurecast give us another very modern take on old themes, here using funk and do-wop stems to build up a glitchy, dubstep-influenced dance track. Totally dope and totally groovy.

Another entry from Stickybuds, this time a remix of a classic, "Hard to Handle". Stickybuds credit it to Toots and the Maytalls and their version is excellent (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5oANHA8wxE) but I believe the song originated with Otis Redding. Regardless, it's great source material and this remix has the trademark glitch and electro notes you heard on 3-6-9, assuming you click the links in order.

Nas was an influential rapper and hip-hop artist but I never got into his music the way I did others. Here Nas is mixed up against Flume's "Holdin On" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aynV4UOU-As) and the contrast is interesting and unobvious and it works. The Flume track is interesting itself - a skinny white kid playing obviously black gospel-influenced music - and the mash replaces most of the originals distorted vocals with Nas's raw lyrics.

--- I can't think of a clever transition from the previous track to this one so just imagine a set change happened here ---

Cosmic Gate has a series of vocal trance "sessions" out and if this is representative of what they're doing, I want more. It has the earmarks of great trance: high BPM, subdued but urgent, and fantastic vocals. Listen around 1:50 when she does the first "Here we go again" - it gives me spine tingles. Sadly the track doesn't feature as much vocal (or as much length) as I'd like, but you take what you can get.

Sander van Doorn is someone I've listened to off and on for some years. I got re-interested a couple months ago and have been trying to find that stood out from the typical house sounds. I think "Rage" fits the bill nicely. It starts off the way you'd expect, kind of pulling in various musical threads to the point where it has your attention and DROPs hard with an unashamed electro bang.
drwex: (VNV)
There is some chance that I'm caught up on reading back LJ. If you posted something you wanted me to see and I did not comment on it please note it for me and I shall.

Tomorrow I shall be home from work with children who shall be home from school. Gods willing we will retain power; if not, the basement has a fireplace. Sufficient supplies and medicines are in stock. If I can manage it I'll do a health and mental update - much is brewing there. I am sad that we've made the "mature adult comma dammit" decision to skip the London Grammar show tonight. Driving downtown at 7 might be feasible but driving home at 11 or midnight seems a little crazier than I want to be. The cost of the tickets is a lot less than the cost of even a minor fender-bender if someone skids into me. I'm a little peeved that House of Blues isn't cancelling the show but I guess if you're downtown and can take the T to and fro then it's not a wholly bad move.

Meanwhile, allow me to give you things for when you need help getting moving again.

A little glitchy, a little dance-y, a little bouncy. Featurecast and WBBL remixed Rockwell's "I Need U", a frenetic electro-glitch number that I wasn't very fond of in the original. This remix smooths things out and gives us something you can really move with.

I have a sort of morbid fascination with mixes that teeter on the edge of trainwrecks but somehow pull through. Honestly, the idea of putting together the intense melancholy of Portishead with the angry energy of Linkin Park is near genius and Neash pulls it together by not overdoing it. It's almost a simple A|B mash, but with subtle timing and tone changes to get the tracks to match up. (Advantages of tagging my music posts - I didn't realize I'd heard anything from Neash before, but there was one thing last year.)

Happy Cat Disco is the mixer name of an LA-based person who self-describes as a game-sound designer by day. This track takes two versions of one song and mixes them against 0neRepublic (with a zero) or OneRepublic (with an O)'s "Love Runs Out" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-j-n-XJ-Tg). The original is a fun stompy rock-and-roll track that reminds me of the house bands I used to hear in Austin, TX - good vocal harmonies, good piano, and a kick-ass beat. The remix is definitely more dance electronica but it keeps the same fun energy - both are worth your time.

Danihel gives us another "get up off your ass and move" dance track. There isn't one thing that stands out for me, but the whole thing holds together nicely - vocal bits, drops, builds, beats. It's one of those tunes that I find myself just bouncing along with and wanting to hear again when I need to get myself motivated.

Following Kill_mr_dj on Soundcloud has produced a number of interesting items. Here he takes a Coldplay track we've all heard a million times and merges it with one of Florence's best. I think it starts off too slowly - the first 1:30 is really just Coldplay slightly modded but once "Shake It Out" kicks in the mash gets more interesting. That may be because I'm way more fond of Florence - you can judge for yourself.
drwex: (pogo)
I have some updatey things to post, but first closing out a group of music tabs on a rainy Friday. Hope some of this gets you dancing. Several are old links that only recently drifted into my hearing and then there's one new awesome thing at the end.

When I posted a Featurecast link back in January I also started poking around the things he'd uploaded to Soundcloud and this one - despite being a year old - stood out. It's funky and danceable built mostly around the Isley Brothers classic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMimqfJVedE) but sped up and spiced with breakbeats.

One of the things Armin Van Buuren is best at is finding different voices. You rarely hear an established name fronting his tracks but you should pay attention to who he picks. This one caught my ear - she just doesn't have a typical voice. The singer goes by Fiora - that second link is her site - and if you go there you can see why. She's a classically trained vocalist. Sure, the track has good production values behind it, but her voice has a strength and clarity that stand out.

I'm trying to remember where I first ran across Betoko (https://www.myspace.com/betoko). This track is far and away my favorite of his though it's almost a year old now. Betoko is Mexican by heritage but clearly London styled. This is some deep electro-house, a style he seems not to hit on his other posted samples.

DJ Schmolli has been posting some sweet tracks lately. This one is mostly an A|B mix of the 1970's soul act People's Choice and (yes, really) Justin Timberlake. Fortunately for us all the soul wins out and the track feels like a modern update of the classic "Do It Any Way You Wanna" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTKGbTGaMJY).

I stumbled on this a while back looking up some other track. Turns out this track is like the first 10 hits if you search on 'Spector Ryan Gosling'. It's a remix of Florence's powerful "No Light, No Light". The question with any remix is whether the remix adds something or shows the track in a new way and here I'm... unsure. Gosling has done a lot of stretching and warping starting around 2:40 that I just don't think works. The rest of the remix is pretty good, but probably not better than the original track.

Speaking of remixes, you can't turn around without tripping over a remix or cover of Daft Punk's new single "Get Lucky". It hasn't quite reached Gaga or Gotye levels, but give it time. I don't much like the original nor most covers, but then there's this guy, a picker named Charles Butler who's doing the entire song on banjo. That's kind of amusing.

Why do I know about this cover? I know because this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zAEBE2DQbI
That, dear hearts, is Beats Antique's cover of Charles Butler's cover of "Get Lucky". And it is an awesome thing. It's got Beats Antique's patented crunk rhythms under Butler's banjos and it makes me smile every time I play it.
drwex: (pogo)
I found two links that I meant to put into the last post and a bunch of good new stuff has streamed past recently, so it's time for another collection of aural goodness and one video I think you should take the time to watch.

I meant to put this into the funk section last time. This is four funkalicious tracks from Featurecast (http://www.featurecast.co.uk/) featuring four different remixers. All four tracks are excellent but for sheer bebop mothership madness I have to go with "Jump", though "Get Lovely" is a close second for its authentic Motown feel.

Also missed is this cutie of a floor-smasher from Titus Jones. It was listed on Bootie Blog's "Extra Tracks" and I forgot to mark it last time around. As usual, Jones is mixing pop female voices from Nicki Minaj and Carly Rae Jepsen to Britney Spears. What saves this mix from being just another pop confection is what he salts the mix with, including some Etta James.

This one I think you should watch because, hello Dita Von Teese! Also, the video is a really mind-mess thing. It's clear that some of it is in her brain, but how much? It's an interesting example of female gaze, which you don't see often. All the writhing figures are male, this time. Monarchy (http://soundcloud.com/monarchysound) have a number of remixes up on their Soundcloud so that's on my to-listen list now. I do like Dita's voice and the basic beats of the track so it'll be fun to see what the remixers do.

I'm normally not a huge fan of either Boys Noize or Van She but somehow this disco-y remix works if you're in the mood for a heavy dose of chop-mixed electronica. I know that's not everyone's thing, but that's OK.

Speaking of electronica, this "Wolf" track is an intense bit of electronic rhythm structuring. It changes complexion several times, which makes it more interesting than usual. Pyramid (http://soundcloud.com/pyramidhall) is a French remixer. I'm starting to feel like most of the really interesting non-vocal remixes these days are coming from France.

Arlissa is a new vocalist who's just dropped her debut EP full of mixes. The page lets you listen to four of them as well as a snip of the original. All the remixes are OK, but to my mind the Friction remix is the clear winner because you get a much better feel of her vocal skills from it. I think it's a little frenetic, but not bad. The single won't be out for several weeks so I may go back to it in March and see how it holds up.
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.


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