Two by Two

     Last time I took a shot at predicting the outcome of a sporting event, I was incredibly wrong. How can someone be incredibly wrong? Aren’t you either right or wrong? Is there such a thing as degrees of wrongness? When I wrote that the Habs would defeat the Senators in 7 games, not only had the Canadiens lost 2 in a row, they were losing at the end of the first period and were on the brink of elimination. In order to better focus on completing that Thursday’s post, I installed a media blackout: I turned off my phone, I disconnected from Internet and I let my family know not to disturb me with any news from the game. When I finally completed my work and uploaded those hopeful writings to the website, we were losing by 4 and were virtually out of the playoffs. Did Lars Eller make a miraculous recovery like I had postulated? No. Did he teabag Eric Gryba at center ice and score a triple hat trick? No way, Jose. Did Montreal defeat Ottawa in 7 games? Not even a little bit.

spurs heat

     The reason I am writing this is that tonight is the final game of the 2013 NBA Championship. While I don’t have an emotional stake in this game, I do have a small financial one. I’m rooting for the Spurs, so please do so for the Heat, as my prediction will certainly turn out to be false and the Heat will win. It seems a bit silly now, but I wrote all that just so that there would be a tie-in to this week’s theme, which is pairs: two songs from a single artist or from a single release. Bla bla bla, on with the music.


     Today’s first subject is a couple from a recent release on Kraftek entitled “Pleasurekraft presents: Kraftek Villains Vol. 1.” The first track comes from Canadian trio Return of the Jaded whose first professional output meshes elements of deep and tech house, resulting in a distinct sound and fitting well with Kraftek’s thinking outside-the-box image.

Return of the Jaded – Lolita (Original Mix)


Released through Kraftek on May 20th, 2013

Return of the Jaded - Lolita [Kraftek] by pleasurekraft

     The first pair of songs is caped by an edit from label boss Pleasurekraft. Sitting comfortably at number 2 on Beatport’s deep house chart is their latest rework, a piece of music whose dark instrumental seems at odds with it’s title and lyrics. The duo’s binational background is at work, as the influences from both Swedish and American house scenes sound great side by side.

Josh Butler – Got A Feeling (Bontan Remix) [Pleasurekraft Edit]


Released through Kraftek on May 20th, 2013

Josh Butler - Got A Feeling (Bontan Remix/Pleasurekraft Edit) [Kraftek] by pleasurekraft

     The next twosome comes from Raneem who is still our favorite Circus Afterhours resident. As I’ve seen written many times across many different social networking platforms, his latest trance release on High Contrast sounds a whole lot like Shogun’s “Skyfire.” In other words, the vocals are spoken, not sung. That’s the only commonality I hear. While Shogun’s epic drop may be better than Raneem’s, the Montrealer’s lead up to the climax is far superior. At the 1:39 mark, he introduces a seemingly unimportant 3-note synth that gestates for 30 seconds before taking over the track, carrying the bassline into an unexpected direction. This leads into the vocals, a soft-spoken recitation aided by sweeping synths and lovely lyrics. Then comes the peak of the tune, where the softer drop overwhelms with a relatively complex melody.

Raneem - Ray of Sunshine (Original Mix)


Released through High Contrast Recordings on June 17th, 2013


     The 2nd Raneem track is his inclusion on “The Sound of Garuda: Chapter 3.” Like “Ray of Sunshine,” the 130BPM track “Carousel” is one you’d most likely hear him play in the beginning or at the tail-end of his sets, since Raneem reserves his peak-time for 140BPM. It seems as though for this production that Raneem slightly adapted his style to fit the compilation, as it carries more of a Garuda sound (hence the compilation title) than his usual work. Nonetheless, you can still hear his distinct touch and the tune pairs well with the other Montrealer’s production, Rob Naylor’s “Yes.”

Carousel (Original Mix)


Released through Garuda on May 20th, 2013


     STYLSS is a boutique electronica label based in Portland, Oregon. As you  would expect from a hipster label, they house lots of experimental electronic music, as well as songs from lesser known subgenres. Chill out, or “smooth electronica,” is the subgenre that encompasses the following tracks from San Franciscan artist Howlings, a virtuoso with vocals. First up is “Hold Me Close,” the title tune from his latest 4-track release on STYLSS. The main voice in his song plays the role of structural background synth and is so prominent that it seems to battle the bassline to see who is the true backbone of the ballad. The other vocal cuts are manipulated so that they don’t really sound like voices at all, but rather in-program instruments just like the drum and cymbals that they accompany.

Howlings – Hold Me Close (Original Mix)

FREE from BandCamp

Released though STYLSS on May 20th, 2013


     While still a masterful display of vocal manipulation, “Let Us Be” identifies as its leaders the piano loop and the purely digital kick drum that permeate the 2nd track from the EP. The other percussions in this track are quite bizarre: I can make out the sound of a racket making contact with a racquetball from a distance, waters droplets falling into a sink from different heights, hi-hat hits that are so tightly spaced that I’d liken them to cranking a wind-up toy car, and heavily reverberated sleigh bells. It reads weird to have all those sounds enumerated, but they are fantastic put together. All Howlings releases are free, so make sure to grab these two and check out his SoundCloud page for more goodies.

Howlings – Let Us Be (Original Mix)

FREE from BandCamp

Released though STYLSS on May 20th, 2013


     The amount of Disclosure we’ve been including in our recent posts is coming dangerously close to that of Eric Prydz. Regardless, the English duo recently released their debut album, “Settle,” and to call it an artistic success is an understatement. In very Prydz fashion, one of my favorites from the album straddles the line between mainstream and underground. Add to that the great voice of Eliza Doolittle and you’ve created a sure fire hit.

Disclosure ft. Elliza Doolittle – You & Me (Original Mix)


Released through Universal Island Records on June 4th, 2013

You & Me ft. Eliza Doolittle by Disclosure

This week’s video is the 2nd track from Disclosure and in my opinion, one of the strongest tracks from “Settle.” Watch as they perform live their collaboration with Jessie Ware called “Confess To Me.”

Disclosure ft. Jessie Ware – Confess To Me (Original Mix)


Released through Universal Island Records on June 4th, 2013


     Make sure you click those iTunes links for Disclosure and check out the rest of the album, because it’s an exceptional one. Have a great weekend and bonne St-Jean!

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