Archive for April 2013

Stressful mud


This week was relatively "muddy" for me. In other words, the entirety of my attention span went towards making clay bowls, mugs and bottles in order to obtain a passing grade, consequently granting me access into my university of choice, that is to say Mcgill. The Cegep system is not my preferred educational system of choice, and the mere fact that my transition towards learning lies in the hands of a pottery teacher is laughable at most. The week prior actually made sense, from a logical point of view, for I was scrambling for the exams that were held last week. My clay quagmire is only the eye of the storm, the quaint calamity that is found before the end of semester crunch.

As most of you may already be able to tell, there are no words to describe the stress I feel. Nevertheless, the Earth continues to turn, and A$AP keeps appearing in new magazines. The only thing saving me from a great depression are drugs, women and the inherent feeling that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, i.e. a full-time summer job where my sorrows will continue to grow strong.

Enough with the banter, shall we talk music? I believe so. Unfortunately for you readers, we are nowhere near the end of the depression train. In fact, we have just gotten started. Heading towards suicidal tendancies, the good fellows of Tri Angle records have displayed their musical talent, and have most definitely set the scene for a hanging, for the Haxan Cloak has released his awaited LP, Excavation. The better-than-me writers over at Pitchfork describe it to be about a journey through the afterlife, stating it to be more soundtrack than album itself, due to the very ambient nature of it all. Delve into the darkness, I will be seeing you on the other side.

Whoa. Although a few of you might not have made it through, safe to say our readership is intact. In contrast to this, I have stumbled across an XLR8R podcast from the wonderful Ejeca, recorded April 9th. Filled with unreleased songs from the artist himself, it suffices to say that this 46 minute ear tear festival is more of a showcase than anything else; either that or he is completely narcissistic about his tastes in music.

Moving onwards, here is a track which was included in my previous set. Coming to you from Manare, this tune is to be found in a collective release from ClekClekBoom, entitled "Paris Club Music vol. 1". Although you might have to search, it is the 5th piece in the teaser, and is named "Riddle".

Before the end of the EDM segment, it's time for a throwback. I must show you a song which has been the soundtrack to my nights the last few weeks. Coming to you from Burial & Four Tet, this is Moth. Produced in 2009 and released on Text records, there is nothing much else to say than the fact that this symbolizes the progression of Four Tet, amongst others, due to his tremendously lengthy stay within the industry (14 years in EDM is to years in jazz what dog years is to human years). 

Unfortunately for you guys, I am uninspired and nothing else really seeps to mind in the world of EDM. For those interested in hip-hop, I stumbled across an unreleased Danny Brown tune produced by Rustie, and it is quite "dope" to say the least. This is the best quality you can find, so expect nothing better resulting from further research. Patience is a virtue, most of the time. 

Your video of the week comes from the likes of Jon Hopkins, a video where a kid just skateboards for a really long time.

Random factoid: for those of you who live in Montreal, Lunice and Tommy Kruise will be performing a free show tonight at the Phi centre presented by none other than Vice. Be there, you know I will. 

Bal en Blanc 19, Recapped

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     I meant “Bal en Blanc 19’s Trance Room, Recapped.” I didn’t spend much time in the main room this year, what with Cosmic Gate’s and Armin van Buuren’s set times overlapping with that of David Guetta and Calvin Harris. Luckily, the Hawt was able to gather information from some of the most unapologetically Guetta-crazy fans in Montreal. In other words, the minuscule contingent of commercial house followers who read this blog have something to look forward to in this review. Don’t worry techno crew, I’ve got you covered too, with more jabs at Nicole Moudaber’s hairdo. Yeah, that rhymed.


     I wasn’t able to catch either Mike McCarthy’s or Offset’s sets, but luckily, they both uploaded them to their SoundCloud pages. Click on their names to find their performances at Bal en Blanc 19.

    I applaud myself for timing my entrance to perfectly coincide with Cosmic Gate’s. It was not more than 15 minutes after I had step foot inside Le Palais des Congrès that Playground technicians queued the transitional audio-visual montage that preceded a switch in artists throughout the event. Off went Van and Nick and on came Nic and Bossi. The set began with a mashup of their “Wake Your Mind” and Porter Robinson’s collaboration with Mat Zo, “Easy.” Equipped with the knowledge of Emma Hewitt’s advent, my brain decided to ditch all information gathered between that song and the Australian singer’s arrival onstage. The trancefamily favorite joined the German duo with a multi-colored, color variable microphone stand. She added eye candy and live vocals to “Not Enough Time” and “Be Your Sound” before taking a break to let Cosmic Gate occupy the middle of their set by themselves, with tracks like Omnia’s “The LIght” and Audien’s “Wayfarer.” Hewitt returned near the end of the two-hour timeslot and sang along Cosmic Gate’s remix of her own “Colours,” as well as “Calm Down.” Leaving to a sea of cheers and roars, Nic and Bossi eased Emma’s departure with their last tracks of the night, both the “Back 2 the Future” and original mix of “Exploration of Space.”

     Meanwhile in the main room, David Guetta was treating his admirers to a set that is best described as mechanical:


     Somewhat veering away from his top 40/commercial image, the French superstar spun a set that his fans from 2004 would agree with. Utilizing tempo changes and many recognizable vocal cuts from his catalogue, Guetta pleased with mashups, as well as his confident onstage attitude. Completely spellbound, the crowd was more than happy to hear him finish with Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child.

armin beb19

     Back to the trance room, next up was AvB. I can’t prove it, but I’ve got the feeling that David Guetta’s one year holdover as DJMag champion frustrated Armin. Knowing Guetta was playing opposite him in the main room, he sought out to prove it was a fluke and brought out his A-game in the process. He opened with the second play of Omnia’s “The Light,” followed by the brilliant “Sinai” from ilan Bluestone. Soon after came an exhilarating mashup comprised of Broning’s “Smash!” and AvB’s and Ana Criado’s “Suddenly Summer,” paving the way for many more musical medleys, like the meshing of “Airport” and “Shivers,” as well as a mix of “Not Giving Up On Love” with another I can’t remember, a track that had the entire room singing aloud. It was with roughly an hour left that Armin reminded everyone that it was our [Montreal’s] night and asked us what a nice time we were having, before dropping the illegal drum edit of his Ferry Corsten collaboration, “Brute.” The way in which he brought the room from 128BPMs to 140BPMs was magical and at the apex of his set, I felt as though he alone was worth the $150 ticket.


     Electricity was in the air when Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten emerged, their bratty New World Punx logo flashing onscreen. They took the energy level Armin left and ran with it,  spinning an artistically scattered set with tracks that were both slower and fast-paced, melodious and percussion-based and dark and uplifting. For example, they played their collaborative revival, “Loops and Tings,” as well as one of the most live show-friendly tracks from Corsten’s WKND, “Not Coming Down.” After they had offered their official New World Punx mashup of “Mammoth” and “Live Forever,” the night hit its highest point. First, I met the hairiest, most Sasquatch-like individual I had ever seen in my life.


      There was a solid 10-minute period during which I couldn’t help but stare at this shaggy guy, so entranced was I by the overwhelming amount of fur he carried on his body. The most bizarre part was, when I approached him to ask if I could take his picture, I noticed that his chest was completely bare, as if he had just shaved it with the sharpest of straight razors. My gaze was broken when NWP selected the Alex O’Rion remix of Ferry Corsten’s and Betsie Larkin’s “Stars.” I was entranced once again, this time by the sheer beauty of this wonderful piece of music. I’m not embarrassed to say that I adore this song so much that I almost shed a tear, while I pitched my arms up high and let my sobbing voice join the cries of the Bal en Blanc faithful.


     This is when I scurried over to the main room for the first time of the night. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about Nicole Moudaber. For those of you who don’t follow this blog, we’re not big fans of techno, so I can subjectively say that the music sucked. Her hair, however, did not. I soon as I laid my eyes on those beautiful tresses, I was entranced once more. Hers is not a typical afro, but rather, the kind curly-haired folks grow when they’re awesome. She can tie it up and make it look like it’s twice as voluminous, let it down and completely hide her face, or ruffle it up to make herself look like a mad scientist. Needless to say, I’d buy that wig.


     Then came the night’s final act, for me anyways. W&W’s set was populated by mashups, a bootleg of Zedd’s “Clarity,” the second play of their remix of Armin’s new one, “This Is What it Feels Like,” an awkward change of pace that unexpectedly brought the BPMs from 130+ to about 80, then back up again, the passing out of two wide-eyed ravers that the paramedics had to aid, and a play of the very latest out on their Mainstage label, Mark Sixma’s “Requiem.” I only stuck around for Andrew Rayel’s first few tracks, but I heard that his set was one of the best of the event, so joke’s on me for leaving early.

zebra balloon

     Altogether, Bal en Blanc 19 was a success. From a production standpoint, the onscreen visuals in the trance room were never stagnant and often switched up to keep the eye guessing, the balloon and confetti drops were well-timed, the sound quality was great and the laser light show was also well-done. One thing I could’ve done without was the insect dancers. Bal en Blanc’s theme called for it, but the insects were far more distracting than anything else. Luckily, they only occupied their position for short spurts throughout the night. Other than that lonesome gripe, the team at Playground Productions did a great job and I can only hope they do the same next year!

*Insert offensive title here*

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     Let's be honest, there is nothing seemingly refreshing in the new wave of music. Maybe I am out of my mind due to sleep depravity, but I believe that my itunes selections always revert back to the previous year when everything was new and wonderful. Have there been any amazing EP's that have released this year, not to mention albums? Sure, magazines such as Pitchfork still have their archives full and the list keeps on coming, but is the quality still there? Obviously, this is not to say that the scene is not satisfyingly pleasant, yet I find an inherent lack. Nevertheless, I am ambivalent. On one side, why does the arrval of a new year need to coincide with a drastic movement in the industry? Why fix what is not broken and what has stood the test of the previous year? On the other side, I see a lack of new creativity. However so, the show must go on, and new music will still be causing ear tears, no matter how original/unoriginal the content. (Insert tree)

     Earl Sweatshirt has released a new song by the name of "Whoa", which is of course self-explanatory following the viewing of the video. Ever since his visit to Samoa for rehabilitation purposes, it seems as though every one of his releases are viewed as his return into the hip-hop scene. In fact, prior to his absence, Earl was quite a prominent part of new-school rap due to his affiliation with the OFWGKTA crew as well as the sheer excellence of his lyricism, not to mention his young age. Being a teaser for his full-length upcoming album entitled "Doris", we can expect quite a lot from the quirky young lad. Additionally, Tyler the Creator came out with his second LP, entitled 'Wolf'. Although I am not much of an Odd Future follower, I must say I enjoyed listening to his album, and it is a great improvement over his previous LP, 'Goblin'; the numbers seems to agree, as his first week of sales are predicted to at least double those of his prior work (95 000 copies to 46 000).

     On another note entirely, Mount Kimbie released a song which will be featured in their upcoming album, entitled 'Cold Spring Fault Less Youth'. With a relatively military tonality at the very beginning of the song, emphasized through the use of a trumpet and dampened snare rolls, the long synth pulls begin their crawl into our cerebral only to evolve with coupled bass thuds. In my opinion, the vocal samples, while they are present, are seemingly too defined for the genre, and fill too many gaps, leaving me with a sentiment of musical overcrowding. 

     A noteworthy EP that has struck my ears this past week comes from a producer named Atu. In all honesty, I have not heard anything about this person, which means either I am ignorant as fuck, or that he is 'the new kid on the block'. Do not doubt me readers, your ears are safe in my hands. Entitled 'Pictures on Silence', this collection of tunes brings together many genres such as hip-hop, r&b, soul and chillstep in order to pave his own way in the vast universe of music. Here's a little teaser for you audiophiles. 

      The new Romare EP has finally been released, and it is quite something. The 4 track collection goes by the name of 'Love Songs:Part One', and this only leads us to believe that there will be more parts to the denunciation of his love for afrocentrism, amongst many other things.

     Would you guys like an in-depth review of the new Bonobo album? Well you won't get it, because I am too tired, and I did not enjoy it enough, to be frank. Although it started off promising, with the first 5 tracks providing me with an enjoyable bus ride home, the rest of the LP seems to lack any form of percussive rhythm, which seemed to bother me; although this might not be tangible, I felt a lack of soul, as though he fell out of the audible world he sought to create.  In brief, it was 'Emkay'. I normally only give a thorough review of music I absolutely adore, which is absolutely nothing. Call me lazy, I call it having extremely honed taste (in other words, lazy).

     The video of the week comes to you from Slava. If you enjoy virtual realities with hot european women, then you are in luck.