Archive for August 2012

I lovEDM

2 Comments »

heartheadphones
    I adore electronic dance music. I usually write some snazzy introduction, somehow tying together the tracks I choose to feature. However, the past seven days have been filled with some of the best music I’ve heard in a very long time and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to share these with all of you. Consequently, I think it more appropriate to simply express the amount of affection I have for my beloved musical genre.  The next time someone asks me if I’ve ever been in love, all I can answer is “yes.”

     Despite his place amongst trance’s elite, I’ve never been a Simon Patterson fan. It always seems that he gets carried away with his melodies, producing overly elaborate leads that don’t translate well to ear buds or speakers. In addition, his build-ups normally remind me of those in an Axwell set, in that they are extremely lengthy and teasing: the musical equivalent of blue balls. It may work in a live setting, but it’s annoying elsewhere. His latest release on Night Vision, however, is different. Obviously distancing itself from the negatives I presented, “Here & Now” is a perfect example of how vocals can enhance an instrumental. Equipping the track with his usual attention-grabbing bassline, Patterson adds a growing white noise to nearly every section, making the track seem constantly on the rise. The tune hits its high point when the breakdown arrives to eliminate all sounds but that of a lone piano, a faint wind and Sarah Howells’ majestic voice. Patterson then gives a taste of the melody, and brings the shorter than usual build-up, transitioning well into the drop and the reverberating electro lead. A change of pace from his different stuff, Patterson succeeds in turning a few more critics into fans.

Simon Patterson ft. Sarah Howells – Here & Now (Original Mix)
Released on August 27th on Night Vision
Beatport
Simon Patterson Feat Sarah Howells "Here & Now" by SimonPatterson

     If you follow our blog at all, you’ve certainly noticed that we’ve slowly started moving towards a calmer, more progressive sound over the past few weeks. We are always looking to diversify our tastes and tracks like Beckwith’s “Craymal” make it very easy to do so.
         
     Originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, Paul Beckwith first fell in love with house music after attending a Red Barn party in Kansas City. Subsequently picking up DJing, ‘DJ Paul Wicked’ started spinning in and around town, later playing out of state parties in St. Louis and Chicago. After a 4-year residency at the Empire Room, he moved to Boston to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music where he met Anjunadeep regulars Andrew Bayer and Matt Lange. Years later, these friendships seem to still be intact, as Matt and Andrew both promoted Paul’s next track on their Facebook pages. Upcoming on Septmeber 10th, “Craymal” is the title track of a 3-piece EP also including “Birds” and “All I Need.” Typical of an Anjunadeep release, none of the clips play hero to the song, instead coalescing beautifully with their counterparts, as it seems that they are inherently complimentary. The melody/bassline and the clap, that Martin Roth-sounding synth and the sparse vocals, the resounding kick drum and the background synth that joins the fray at the end: these all intertwine to produce a faint modern disco vibe, a soothing end of summer feel and certainly, another Anjunadeep classic.
Beckwith – Craymal (Original Mix)
Released on September 10th on Anjunadeep


     It may simply be my personality, but I believe Madeon’s music to be quite polarizing. I warmed quickly to the French 18-year old’s remix of Martin Solveig’s “The Night Out,” but despised his follow-up single, “Finale.” “The City,” however, has swayed me back towards the positive. Released on his own Popcultur imprint, Madeon delivers another modern, yet retro fixing tuned to his unique brand of disco, french house and electro pop. Aided by vocals from Zak Waters and Cass Lowe, the fast-paced track features a prominent kick drum and a powerful bassline lined by a barely audible buzzing electro sound. In addition to the erratic melody introduced at the very beginning of the track, Madeon inserts what I like to conceptualize as structural chaos turned aural pleasure. It’s those few stretches where the song’s framework is thrown aside to make room for the overwhelming sounds that emerge from every which way and somehow deliver a nice result. If it wasn’t already apparent beforehand, Madeon is insanely talented and “The City” will do nothing but convince naysayers of his future in EDM.
Madeon – The City (Original Mix)
Released on August 27th on Popcultur in the US / Everywhere else on October 8th
iTunes


     This week’s last track is a remix from Sebastian Weikum. The aptly named “Astro Ibiza” makes me feel like I’m staring out into the Mediterranean from the shores of the White Isle. Populated by a number of soft synths, the body of the track is highlighted by a chord and flute hybrid, with a short attack and decay, rapidly moving from one note to the other. The melody is superbly complimented by a flurry of Latin percussion instruments, such as maracas and what sounds like a small cabasa, altogether succeeding in giving the track a sort of calming tribal vibe. Released back on June 25th alongside the original mix, Sebastian Weikum’s edit of “Astro Ibiza” is perfect for a last trip to the beach during the dwindling days of summer.
Gregory Esayan & Shinobi – Astro Ibiza (Sebastian Weikum Edit)
Released on June 25th on Colorize
BeatportiTunes


     Finally, here is the current events schedule through the month of September. Make sure you take advantage of your free time this weekend, as Piknic Electronik hosts some of this year’s marquee shows, Circus Afterhours hosts Subculture and Coldharbour nights and the Produktworld festival finally begins (set times for the latter below).
produktworld
August 30th – Maya Jane Coles @ SAT, $20
                    – Martin Solveig @ New City Gas, $20
August 31st – John O’Callaghan, Beat Service and Sneijder @ Circus Afterhours, $20
                    – Alesso, Mark Knight, Cogorock and Jaytech @ New City Gas, $30
September 1st – Dirty South, BT and Lazy Rich @ New City Gas, $20
September 2nd – Misstress Barbara @ Piknic Electronik, $12
                         – Markus Schulz and KhoMha @ BeachClub, $15
                         – Axwell, Stefano Noferini and Max Graham @ New City Gas, $30
                         – KhoMha and Mr. Pit @ CIrcus Afterhours, $20
September 3rd – Claude VonStroke @ Piknic Electronik, $12
September 8th – Sebastian Leger and Riva Starr @ Piknic Electronik, $12
                        – Steve Angello @ New City Gas, $30
September 14th – Aly & Fila @ Circus Afterhours, $20
September 15th – AN21 & Max Vangeli @ New City Gas, $15
September 16th – Oliver$ @ Piknic Electronik, $12
September 20th – Albin Myers @ Underworld, $25
September 21st – Max Graham and Protoculture @ CIrcus Afterhours, $20
September 22nd – Thomas Gold @ New City Gas, $15
September 29th – Joachim Garraud @ New City Gas, $15
Have a great weekend!

The Hawt Cinema Presents: “DJ Mag 2012”

5 Comments »

djmag videos

     It’s that time of year again. As EDM continues to spread its influence throughout the world, passionate fans ready their Facebook accounts to partake in DJ Mag’s annual popularity contest. While the limitations of this survey counterfeit its relevance, validity and integrity, it remains the best tool for measuring the ebbs and flows of mainstream dance music. Ever since its inception, the Hawt has greatly enjoyed belittling this farce in anticipation of arguable sell-outs–David Guetta for example–topping the list. Don’t get me wrong; the major role Guetta and those like him play in giving dance music the spotlight it deserves should earn him the first position. However, the rankings are supposed to reflect proficiency in DJing. Or is it production skill? Who knows, but one thing remains for certain: dabbling in mainstream will get you a significant amount of votes. So as EDMers everywhere argue about David’s upcoming repeat as DJ Map champion, we take a more light-hearted approach and countdown this year’s top 10 campaign videos.

     Before we begin, lets set one thing straight. Of the few artists trying to entice voters with moving pictures, we excluded all travel and live show montages. There are innumerable videos of this sort on YouTube, all more boring than the next. DJ/producers are supposed to have creative minds; why can’t they put them to use towards a different medium? We also pushed aside the mindless clips of artists simply asking fans to vote, or those that asked famous friends to do it for them. Note that we commend everyone who used a modicum of effort and originality, the order in which they appear is purely subjective. Let’s start the countdown, shall we?

T-10. Armada, Nervo and Miss Nine

armervine

     Handing out flyers, asking for a vote and a recycled ad for the 2008 US elections, respectively: these don’t really deserve a spot in our countdown. However, tall foreign women who use clothing sparingly.

9. Giuseppe Ottaviani

ottaviani

     Essentially, Ottaviani jokingly blames his difficult to spell name for his lack of placement in the poll. However, I think his video may be counterintuitive. What’s to stop voters from misspelling his name if they expect to get flashed by some MILF teacher? Nevertheless, simple, smart and humorous concept.

8. Dada Life

     Dada Life’s YouTube channel is notoriously asinine and their 2012 campaign video is no different. Speaking to the people of EDM as the “Ambassadors of Dadaland,” the pair give us a short State of the Union address, all the while looking uncharacteristically stiff and nervous. Sure, they are explicitly asking fans to vote and there is a short live show montage at the end, but Olle’s stammer is worth a inclusion in our top 10. '”Fucking bananas,” indeed.

7. Daniel Kandi

     This clip is the picture of simplicity and exactly what we mean we when ask DJs to be creative. Kandi’s live show montage is dubbed with vocals from himself, with lyrics that urge his fans to vote for him. Both reasons we used to justify excluding so many others combined in an original manner. Many bonus points to you, sir.

6. Nicky Romero

     This is what fans want; a glimpse into DJs’ lives. Nicky Romero paints a portrait of his of livelihood before and after his rise to fame. Where other producers try to make you laugh, the young gun gives viewers a frank look at the past few years and solemnly thanks all who support him. Concise, truthful and effective somehow makes for a decent clip.

5. Karanda

karanda

     How dare you play with our emotions! Karanda shows us a cute plush monkey, then puts it through unspeakable acts of torture and threatens to continue doing so unless we vote for him. The furry mammal is forced to listen to Justin Bieber, is dangled above a fiery pit and is targeted with a sniper rifle. Will you surrender to the blackmail?

4. Ferry Corsten

corsten

     Did you know that Ferry Corsten’s happiness in contingent on that of his fans? That’s the message he communicates as he performs usually pleasant activities alone. Bowling, backgammon, air hockey: nothing can get him out of his funk. That is, until he comes on stage and plays in front of a large crowd as the words “You Happy Ferry Happy,” flash across the screen. Who wouldn’t enjoy a Ferry Corsten set?

3. Marcus Schossow

paris facebneder

     We really like Marcus Schossow’s sense of humor. It’s profane, blunt and straight to the point in the best of ways. In continuing with simplicity, his video features prominent mock DJs Paris Hilton and DJ Facebender (the latter of Steve Lawler’s creation), who could both be in contention for this year’s Razzie awards. All he does is place a caption at the bottom of the screen that reads: “Don’t let this shit happen.” It’s that easy.

2. Arnej

arnej cooking

     One of this year’s lengthier videos, Arnej’s boasts the most creative concept of them all. As the clip seemingly prepares us for a movie trailer of epic proportions, we are suddenly transported to a kitchen for an episode of “Cooking with Arnej.” Dolled in proper chef attire, Arnej figuratively runs over Rachel Ray as he throws food out the window and instead teaches the audience how to cook a track. All the while, he is accompanied by little text bubbles that tell corny jokes, our favorite of which being: “For a blue ball, he sure looks happy.”

1. Steve Aoki

steve aoki

     Whether it’s his copy of 50 Shades of Grey, his love for tacos or his rocket powered shoes, Aoki’s video is packed with laughs for anyone who can appreciate non-sequitur. His calm demeanor adds to the hilarity of his head being attached to an eagle, or being zapped onto the Moai and the Sphinx with the help of his spaceship’s statue-morphing laser. To boot, Steve’s clip is the most quotable of the lot, with Lil’ Jon making an appearance to exclaim: “Wassup this is Lil’ Jon. I voted for Steve and now I’m in fkn space maan.” Brilliant all-around, Steve Aoki has this year’s number 1 DJ Mag campaign video.

Honorable Mentions: Tritonal, Mark Ursa, Bjorn Akesson, Marcus Schossow in Latin America and Sied van Riel.

The boobie prize goes to Sander van Doorn, who uploaded not one, but TWO travel/live show montages. Shameful…

     Being somewhat indecisive with who would get my fifth vote in this year’s poll, I told myself that the winner of our campaign video countdown would receive my seal of approval. And so it is decided, my 5 artists this year are: Eric Prydz, Above & Beyond, Mark Knight, Gabriel & Dresden and Steve Aoki. If you haven’t made your selections yet, make sure you do soon; voting ends on August 29th at 7:00 AM. Follow this link to vote.

Finally, here’s an updated events schedule, old-school Ellis-style. The links send you to the online ticket counter:

August 30th – Maya Jane Coles @ SAT, $20

                    – Martin Solveig @ New City Gas, $20

August 31st – John O’Callaghan, Beat Service and Sneijder @ Circus Afterhours, $20

                    – Alesso, Mark Knight, Cogorock and Jaytech @ New City Gas, $30

September 1st – Dirty South, BT and Lazy Rich @ New City Gas, $20

September 2nd – Misstress Barbara @ Piknic Electronik, $12

                         – Markus Schulz and KhoMha @ BeachClub, $15

                         – Axwell, Stefano Noferini and Max Graham @ New City Gas, $30

                         – KhoMha and Mr. Pit @ CIrcus Afterhours, $20

September 3rd – Claude VonStroke @ Piknic Electronik, $12

September 8th – Sebastian Leger and Riva Starr @ Piknic Electronik, $12

                        – Steve Angello @ New City Gas, $30

September 14th – Aly & Fila @ Circus Afterhours, $20

September 15th – AN21 & Max Vangeli @ New City Gas, $15

September 16th – Oliver$ @ Piknic Electronik, $12

September 20th – Albin Myers @ Underworld, $25

September 21st – Max Graham and Protoculture @ CIrcus Afterhours, $20

September 22nd – Thomas Gold @ New City Gas, $15

September 29th – Joachim Garraud @ New City Gas, $15

Lame Jokes are this Speed Run’s Collateral Damage

No Comments »

    n64
     Yeah yeah, it’s late, piss off. Another week, another post and I think this one is worth a celebration. For the first time since the Hawt’s return, all parties involved are either in work or school. However, this hasn’t stopped us from shining light onto tracks we like to brighten your week. Sure, it might be a little shorter than usual, but at least there is one. Remember those lengthy stretches during exam periods when you had no procrastination material? Gone. Our first post back clearly stated that the blog would be updated EVERY Thursday and we meant it. So enjoy this week’s journey though the EDM universe.

     This week’s first track comes from UK producer David Forbes. Here’s what you need to know about him: he’s been in the business for a while, his classics include “Questions Must be Asked,” He’s worked with superstar Alan Nimmo, he’s backed by all the big shots, he runs Aria Digital and all of his most recent stuff can be found on Andy Moor’s AVA Recordings. This track is fantastic, because it’s a weird sort of trance that a can’t quite put my finger on. I love innovation and this tune is certainly moving in the right direction: change.
David Forbes – Engage (Original Mix)
Unknown label and release date


     I’m going to take a shot in the dark and guess this gets released on Aria Digital on September 24th.
jochen miller
     In my opinion, there is a single producer that best embodies Trouse, Hance, or whatever you call the prevalent combination of house and trance. The mixing of these genres seems to fit brilliantly in live sets, which is why you’ll rarely see a trance DJ without some Jochen Miller in their record box. Miller’s latest, a big room number called “Nevada,” follows in the footsteps of “Zodiac” and “BAMM!” as a hard-hitting trouse track. The sectioned bassline, the short, fast-moving build-up, the melodic driving sound that’s so synthesized, it doesn’t even seem like it could have come out of an actual instrument; it all leaves a lasting impression that is sure to deliver another Jochen Miller hit. The YouTube clip below is an unlisted video, so you may want to bookmark this page until September 17th. Click HERE if you can’t see the embedded video.
Jochen Miller – Nevada (Original Mix)
Released on September 17th on Big & Dirty Records
Exclusively on Beatport

     Big & Dirty Records has the ugliest album art of any EDM record label. Michael J Fox could draw something nicer than that.
   
     April 2011 was an extremely happy time for EDM fans, as it marked the reunion of Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden. Better known under their pseudonyms Gabriel & Dresden and Motorcycle, these San Francisco natives have produced some of the most timeless songs in  trance history. I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, that is, use a sample from a live show. Usually, I wait for an actual preview to come out, considering the quality of the following video. However, I’ve been holding back posting this track for a while and I can’t wait any longer. And so, without further ado, here’s a collaboration with vocalist Betsie Larkin from their forthcoming album.
Gabriel & Dresden ft. Betsie Larkin – Play It Back (Original Mix)

     I LOVE me some Gabriel & Dresden. I voted for them in the DJ Mag top 100. Speaking of that awful excuse for a DJ ranking system, check out the Hawt this Sunday for a rundown of the best campaign videos for this year’s poll!

http://geo-media.beatport.com/image_size/500x500/5845914.jpg?standalone=1
     The last track this week comes from legendary producer Sasha. It’s a remix of ThermalBear’s “U Love,” out on Sasha’s label, Last Night On Earth. It’s a huge melodic tech house track that had me grinning like an American at the drive-through window the second I first heard it.
ThermalBear – U Love (Sasha Remix)
Released on August 20th on Last Night On Earth
Exclusively on Beatport


     We’ve learned during this week that the Josh Wink and Azari & III performances at Piknic Electronik are no more, although you can still see Danny Tenaglia at Stereo on Saturday the 25th. On the night previous, you can find youngster Jordy Dazz and Montreal’s own King Louis at Arena Nightclub for the extremely cheap price of $10. Check us out on Sunday when we countdown the top campaign videos for this year’s DJ Map top 100!

Discount Pork

No Comments »

https://twimg0-a.akamaihd.net/profile_images/2331390671/uocbbpdy2i99zhg52yqw.jpeg
     For as long as I can remember, music has been an expression; a way for an artist to evoke an emotion and put it in a way so that others may relate to it. Often times, these creative minds discuss their relationships en route to the most relatable human emotion of all: love. One of the things I admire most about EDM, or any genre that majoritarily shies away from lyrics, is the ability to conceal a specific meaning while opening a vast array of alternate interpretations, like this post’s title. It’s this inherent ambiguity that makes it possible for a track to feel deeply personal to many different people. Take for example this week’s first tune, the brilliant “Found” by Brazilian producer André Sobota.
http://geo-media.beatport.com/image_size/500x500/5677099.jpg?standalone=1
     If you have trouble finding any information about this South American, it’s because he’s relatively new to the EDM scene, his earliest release coming in 2009. Sobota is a versatile producer. His Beatport page looks more like the genre filter than an artist’s resume.  His songs range from minimalistic techno to the most progressive of house styles, with an odd drum & bass track occasionally following him out of the studio. “Found,” Sobota’s first progressive house release on Eric Prydz’s Pryda Friends label, has the soothing vibes and simple melody to back up it’s categorization. It’s hard to point out any clips as the hero of this track, because they all go so well together. At first listen, the always present wind sound and sharply echoing complimentary synth seems to overshadow the smaller elements. However, once the melody joins in with the bassline, both loops contradicting each other in pitch and direction, the tune really starts to take off. As for the percussion, the large kicks from the beginning are replaced by a loud clap with a delay on the 2nd bar and a more active cymbal than the first as the intro fades out. The song hits it’s climax at around 3:35, once it winds down and revamps all the previously mentioned loops. All the sounds come together, louder than before, every one trying to speak over the other. It’s this part of the song that feels insanely personal to me, as if the communion of elements were trying to tell me something. I sense nostalgia, guilt, redemption and a hint of forgiveness. Take a listen and let us know what you think the song is referring to by leaving a comment.

André Sobota – Found (Original Mix)
Released on July 9th on Pryda Friends
Beatport


     Podcasts are an important part of any dance music fan’s routine. Choosing which ones you listen to is somewhat like choosing which genres you want to stay most up to date with. Although it’s not where I found out about this next track, the Toolroom Knights podcast chose it as it’s killer cut (essentially the record of the week) on last week’s show, earning itself a new subscription in the process. The song in question is a bootleg of Stevie Wonder’s “Ma Cherie Amour” by Italian producing group CamelPhat. Like Andre Sobota, I can’t find any information on this collective, except that they are based in Milan. The song starts with a fantastic mix of percussion, with cymbals, hi-hats, bongos and a snair drum perfectly interweaving over a faint piano loop and a simplistic bassline. The piano disappears for a few lengths as some vocal bits are introduced, then resurfaces. The piano vanishes for a second time during the breakdown as whole vocals from the original song are played and the remix finally ‘drops,’ if you can call it a drop. The piano returns with a violin loop, a hard clap and a barely audible kick as Stevie’s voice emerges in all it’s glory. There’s no denying the power of the icon’s voice and although the track seems to be a vocal showcase, CamelPhat does an excellent job of putting a modern spin on this classic. Many thanks to my Italian brethren for this gem and please let us know if you have any information about this group.
Stevie Wonder – Ma Cherie Amour (CamelPhat’s Closing Party Mix)
Stevie Wonder - Cherie Amour - CamelPhat's Closing Party Mix (Full Vox) by CamelPhat

     Tommy Trash is on fire at the moment. The Australian-born DJ/producer has had tracks signed to the most prestigious of house labels, such as Musical Freedom (Tiësto), Axtone (Axwell), Refune (Sebastian Ingrosso) and Mau5trap (Deadmau5). His ungroomed, free-flowing locks are quite representative of his wild, bizarre and erratic style of music; he used a bagpipe sample in one of hits from last year. With his remixing duties being commissioned by talents such as the Swedish House Mafia and Steve Aoki, Tommy Trash is well on his way to surpassing his immensely successful 2011.

     This next remix is possibly my favorite from his so far. Set for release on Axtone later this year, it’s a reworking of The Aston Shuffle’s new one, “Won’t Get Lost.” It was premiered on Pete Tong’s weekly show which, that week, was broadcast live from Ushuaia in Ibiza. The man on the decks at that point was Axwell, playing lots of tracks from his own label’s catalogue. Following his own wildly overplayed remix of “In My Mind” was the Tommy Trash remix in question, which, by the faint sound of the crowd erupting, seems to have been very well received. The sample begins mid-song, with the vocals, strong hi-hats and feeble kick slowly being joined by a slightly modified reverberating synth reminiscent of the one used in Trash’s remix of Steve Aoki and Wynter Gordon’s “Ladi Dadi.” As the vocals fade and that synth is given more volume, the breakdown introduces a simple 3-note melody. The track then drops, eliminating the hi-hats and the kick and introducing a new, more powerful kick that goes perfect with the dark bassline. As is the case with the rest of his tracks, his remix of “Won’t Get Lost” is made for the dancefloor and I can predict a serious rush if I ever hear this one live.
The Aston Shuffle – Won’t Get Lost (Tommy Trash Remix)
Released on Axtone

    
     Apart from Blond:ish at Piknic Electronik on Sunday, there’s not much that appeals to us this weekend. Next week, however, is a big one. Piknic brings in Josh Wink and Azari & III on Saturday the 25th while the legendary Danny Tenaglia makes an appearance at Stereo on the same day.
     Finally, make sure you check out One Beat’s new series called “You Should Know Me By Now,” a online show that introduces talented producers to the more casual EDMers who might not know them. Their latest episode features LA Riots, check it out here.

Knocking on Elementary Dance Music

No Comments »

NY
     Although I’ve lived the majority of my life in Canada, the fact that I was born in New York gives me a false sense of allegiance to the Big Apple. This favoritism manifests itself most strongly with regards to the arts. Whether it’s Broadway, the avant-garde architecture, or the critically acclaimed filmmakers, the city has produced some of the most recognizable pieces and talents across the vast spectrum of disciplines. It’s never easy to follow in the footsteps of greatness, a notion that NY-based producing partners Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson know all too well.
the knocks
     The pair, better known as The Knocks, has seen a quick rise to fame since their 2010 hit “Dancing With the DJ,” recently sharing the stage with acts such as Chromeo, M.I.A. and Ellie Goulding. Veering off the path taken by today’s mainstream house records, these Lower East Siders aspire to  join indie and electronic, an endeavour which results in tracks that are often augmented by unaffected funk instruments and a traditional song structure. Their latest offering, a collaborative effort with French/German producer Fred Falke, is a good example of how they use these different elements. “Geronimo” starts with a rhythmic introduction where the kick drums and first synth are phased in. The song ensues with a light reverberating electro growl that leads straight into the short breakdown populated by a few syncopated beats. The lead synth entangles itself beautifully with the funky bass guitar and the “Oh Oh, Geronimo,” given during the chorus, where Fred Falke’s french house influence can truly be heard. This segment repeats itself after a lengthy bridge, as some pitch changes and scatted vocal cuts are strategically placed. Altogether, this track pulls from house, disco, funk, electro and indie influences and gets The Knocks well on their way to matching their artistic antecedents.
The Knocks & Fred Falke – Geronimo (Original Mix)
Release on July 23rd on Kitsuné Music
Geronimo (Original Mix) - The Knocks & Fred Falke by The Knocks

     This next artist needs no introduction. To say that Andrew Bayer is one of the most eclectic producers in dance music is an understatement. The 26-year old American is the unofficial usher for the next wave of innovation in EDM. From his work as half of the famed trance duo Signalrunners, to his collaborations with highly praised Norwegian producer Boom Jinx, his prestigious Fraction Records and his already superb solo career, the Anjunabeats signee lives on the border of progressive and cutting edge. Those who long for the trance and progressive of old have qualified his music as bizarre, refusing to acknowledge the possibility of change. His debut artist album, “It’s Artificial,” contained subgenres such as glitch hop, breaks and electronica, the likes of which many had never seen. I can only assume the complaints will continue as Bayer keeps on his trailblazing vision with “Floating Continent,” a demo of a current project he recently posted on his SoundCloud page to mark his 10,000th twitter follower.
bayer
     “Floating Continent” is vintage Bayer, in that the track’s direction is unexpected. The excerpt starts as a wind sound fades out, leaving a soft, lonely kick. An oscillating melody pad and bassline synth join the percussion, slowly gaining importance before their levels are reset and a clap is added. It all sounds quite minimal up to this point when the melody goes on a tangent, the wind sample returns and some distant sounding vocals are mixed in as the demo reaches its climax. Once again, the levels are reset, the vocals disappear and the wind fades out amidst the recurring clapping sounds. That description may not seem like much, but a new Andrew Bayer tune is always something to get excited about. As he warns: “[…] it’s probably going to change, so don’t freak out if it does,” it is after all, a demo. As long as the final version keeps its minimalistic tendencies while still giving off substantial amounts of raw emotion, I won’t nitpick.
Floating Continent (demo) by andrewbayer

     It’s been a while since we’ve mentioned this next producer. First posted by Fred during the summer of 2010, Skytech’s “Comet” was a much heralded trance find for The Hawt. However, it has been tough to find sign of life from this Polish artist in the past couple of years. After a release later in 2010, Skytech disappeared for a while as the man behind the moniker, Mateusz Dziewulski, focused on his Anguila Project alias. He managed to squeak in a Skytech release called “Intensity / Motion” in 2011, but aside from the rare remixes, he’s been pretty quiet. Fast forward to 2012, this week in fact, where his name reappears on Schulz’s Coldharbour Red with a release titled “What’s Wrong / Lights Out.”

     Of the 2 tracks, my obvious favorite is “What’s Wrong.” First premiered during the opening episode of this year Global DJ Broadcast Ibiza Summer Sessions, the original mix is a melodic, big-room, beast of a track. The tune truly starts in its breakdown, where the samples from the intro gradually fade out, welcoming a off-pitch sounding synth coupled with a growing wind loop. Then comes the build-up and the first taste of the complex melody and a barely audible bassline which comes in and out of hearing range. A wind sound and second synth are added as all the loops coalesce to create the drop, highlighted by the fat Coldharbour bassline we finally get to hear. As is the case in so many of the label’s releases, the bassline is absolutely massive and was created to be played live; just imagine what the stadium mix of this track sounds like. However, I think the melody is the loop that steals the show as it seems to hook the listener in and gives off a feeling of confident uncertainty. I’m not sure exactly how to explain that, apart from highlighting how well the name of the tune was chosen. All in all, this a great return to form for Skytech and we hope he keeps on offering up music as good as this.
Skytech – What’s Wrong (Original Mix)
Out on August 6th on Coldharbour Red Recordings
Beatport – Available on other portals on August 20th


     There are plenty of events going on these next few weeks in Montreal. This Saturday, BeachClub’s Ibiza Festival 2012 brings in Ummet Ozcan, RIchard Durand and Lisa Lashes, whom you can see for the meager sum of $15. That night, Circus Afterhours receives Heatbeat and Stoneface & Terminal, who you can see for $20. On Sunday, the Ibiza festival continues with appearances from Hardwell, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano and Étienne Ozborne. Day 2 will cost you $25.  I hope you know how loosely I’m using the term ‘festival.’ Click the links for tickets to these events. Have a great weekend and I hope to see some familiar faces at one of these spots this weekend!

EPIC is Eric Prydz in Concert

52 Comments »

Prydz Arena 1
      Image via Thorium Photography
 
     Eric Prydz has always been somewhat of a mystery to Americans, or for that matter, any non-European. While his productions travel to the far reaches of the globe, he does not, thanks to a bad case of aerophobia. Last week’s post’s highlight of his production talents left out those he has as a performer, a muscle he’s been flexing recently. On April 2nd of 2011, Prydz unveiled his new live performance concept named EPIC, or “Eric Prydz in Concert,” to a sold-out crowd at the Brixton Academy in London. The audio-visual showcase included both mobile and static structures, 3D animation, films and holograms, a combination that is pushing the bar for the next generation of  dance music production. Good news for Europeans, irrelevant for everyone else, or so I thought.
 
Prydz Arena 2
      Image via Thorium Photography
 
     It had been 4 years since Prydz last conquered his fear of flying, crossed the Atlantic and hallowed French-Canadian soil. Thrilled, jubilant, ecstatic, rapturous, overjoyed, elated, blissful, euphoric and down as fuck (props to my thesaurus) I was when I discovered he was to grace Arena Montreal with his presence on Sunday, July 22nd. While this wasn’t a formal EPIC show—he keeps those stocked for venues like the Brixton Academy—I was simply happy to have him play a regular set. You may think it sad for a handsome 21-year old guy to attend such a spectacle alone. Frankly, I’m the one who pities all those who missed the Swedish house master. My midnight arrival downtown gave me the 30 minutes I needed to judge my surroundings. Arena is a respectable club with a modern setting that unfortunately clashes with the exposed pipe that lines its ceiling. The area reserved for the DJ booth is backed by a large screen while a series of lights and a high output fog machine is set overhead. These elements were a welcome complement from the get-go, as the light changes went perfectly with the darker, techier tracks that Prydz opened his set with. The start of his show seemed to better fit Stereo Nightclub as he pulled out many new tracks from his Cirez D alias. In fact, the Mouseville insignia was shown on screen in between shots of Prydz’s usual split face logo.
 
prydz split
     Apart from “On Off” and an acapella from Danny Tenaglia’s “Music is the Answer,” I can’t say I recognized any of the tracks. Then he completely changed gears. Progressing masterfully from a tech house ID to his Pryda alias’ “M.S.B.O.Y.,” Prydz’s looped the early, genre ambiguous portion of the track and decided to give it vocals from Florence and the Machine’s “You Got the Love,” loosening a few of my screws in the process. A few more marbles were lost during the meshing of his “2Night” with vocals from Underworld’s “Two Months Off,” but the track that really threw me off my rocker was “Boothaus ID.” That isn’t the actual name of the track—it is currently untitled—but rather what it’s come to be known by after it was first played during Eric’s EPIC show at the Boothaus Nightclub in Germany. It’s been updated since the YouTube clip below, but the lead synth and vocals are intact.
 


     I was zonked out of my mind for the rest of the night. I’ve never taken any drugs at a live event, one of the reasons being that I don’t think anything can beat such a strong, natural high. And boy, was I up there. I’m pretty sure I found Amelia Earhart gyrating to Prydz’s remix of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” I really hope someone gets that reference. What ensued was a proper display of how to use crowd reactions to select what tracks to play, his classic “Pjanoo,” continuous encore screams that extended the set 40 minutes past Arena’s closing time, a mashup of Everything but the Girl’s “Missing” and Pryda’s “Europa” that nearly brought me to tears, a random facial laceration that didn’t keep me from dancing and a presentation of his album that included both singles, along with Eric’s personal favorite, “Leja.” At that point, the night was nearing its end, so the crowd didn’t mind the funky, groovy vibe and noticeably slower tempo of the track. The soiree was capped off by an impromptu autograph session, while everyone turned into a douchebag by wearing the glasses the attendants at Arena had given us at the door.
 
Prydz facial lacerations
 
     Eric Prydz is a special DJ. I may be saying this because I’m a huge fan, or because he never comes to Montreal, but it’s true. Throughout my love affair with EDM, I’ve never seen a better progression through a set than I did watching Prydz perform. It’s hard to believe how you can go from a bass-heavy tech house tune and end up with a funky, 119 bpm ballad without playing one or two songs that just seem out of place. Yet somehow he did it. His consideration of harmonic keys when he mixes, something few DJs seem to worry about, helps smooth the transition to the next track without displacing the vibe given by the last and puts him far ahead of others performers. Finally, the passion he has for his fans, while maybe not as overt as others, is extremely powerful and truly embodies the link a DJ is supposed to establish between himself and the crowd on a nightly basis. Do yourself a favor, if Eric Prydz ever comes back to Montreal, don’t miss out. Here’s where I plug our friend Samson over at Montreal-Nightclubs.com without whom, I would not have heard of Eric’s once in a lifetime trip to Montreal.
 

Eric Prydz Presents: EPIC Radio 002 by Eric Prydz Official

     Ok, so I might have been talking a lot about him during the past 2 weeks, but I promise the subject will be changed for next week’s post. Until then, have a listen to Prydz’s new podcast, EPIC Radio,  and have a great weekend!