Knocking on Elementary Dance Music

     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.
     “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!

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 9, 2012 and is filed under ,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

Leave a Reply