War of Affection

     My brother and I have yet to outgrow our sibling rivalry. After 19 years of tumultuous co-existence, arguing over such trivial things as which one of us drinks more tea is beginning to feel increasingly childish. One of our more recent disagreements involves the songs we have chosen to feature in our respective summer playlists. While there is noticeable overlap, it seems as though my brother’s is populated with his favorite tracks at present, as opposed to the summer soaked sounds that comprise my own. 

siblings

     Since summer is a season of partying, poolside lounging and short-lived romance, its soundtrack must be able to energize, relax and arouse. Although personal taste plays a huge role in communicating these feelings, there are sound parameters that can be manipulated to extract certain moods from a piece of music. In order to find the desired tracks, my focus was directed towards upbeat tunes with a warm groove and either a soft or bright timbre. Without further ado, here are a few of the tracks that are included in my summer playlist.

     I get a big surfing vibe from this song. At the 3-minute mark of “Talk Torque,” Paul Rose, better known as Scuba, breaks down his 2012 hit into a fit of white noise, soft piano synths and surprisingly calm vocals. The impressive portion of this tune begins when it builds itself back up and rides the wave created by the breakdown for a full 5 minutes. Obviously an uncommon placement for a track’s climax, this ballad relies heavily upon Scuba’s ability to combine banal sounds and succeeds in staving off repetitiveness with frequent hand claps, wind noises, something that sounds like storm clouds, short-lived synths and varying emphasis on all these elements.

Scuba – Talk Torque (Original Mix)

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Released through Hotflush Recordings on October 29th, 2012

Scuba - Talk Torque by Luffy

 

     As a huge fan of anything having to do with Eric Prydz, it was with jubilation that I welcomed the long-awaited 8th episode of his EPIC Radio podcast. Unfortunately, the hour of music did nothing but awaken my hunger for Prydz, and I proceeded to go through older episodes of his popular radio show in order to get my fix. It was at the 37-minute mark of EPIC Radio 3 that I fell upon this gem, his edit of Adrian Lux’s '”Teenage Crime.” Manipulating the song’s layers to perfection, Prydz begins by isolating and slowly growing the lead synth, giving it importance for it to better accompany the pulsating bassline that he introduces soon after. This high-energy combination leads beautifully to the breakdown, where an acoustic guitar plays alongside the vocals from the original mix, setting the stage for the arrival of an admittedly happy 4-note melody that becomes emboldened when Prydz fades all other clips at the very end of the tune.

Adrian Lux – Teenage Crime (Eric Prydz US 2012 Edit)

 

     What screams summer more than a track named “Sun?” Hailing from Denmark, Kenton Slash Demon’s rare productions are precisely what makes them so valuable. This deep house and disco medley from 2010 straddles the line between soft and bright so well that I’m uncertain whether to feel tenderness or happiness when listening to this fantastic piece of music. The bassline plays hero in this track, with vocal cuts, hard claps, wind sounds and sparse buzzing noises conglomerating to form an admirable accompaniment that succeeds in transmitting a wonderfully ambiguous feeling.

Kenton Slash Demon – Sun (Original Mix)

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Released through Tartelet Records on August 2nd, 2010

SUN by Kenton Slash Demon

 

     “She’s up all night ‘til the sun, I’m up all night to get some. She’s up all night for good fun, I’m up all night to Get Lucky.” The lyrics do all the talking for me. Besides, after all the analysis I’ve read on Random Access Memories, I don’t think I can write something that hasn’t already been written.

Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky (Original Mix)

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Released through Columbia Records on May 21st, 2013

 

     Before you press play on this next track, close your eyes and imagine yourself alone on a white sand beach in Maldives, staring far across a vast stretch of ocean. That’s the impression I get from this piece with my eyes open. Flavio Acaron and Z Boys surprise with an unusually active bassline that sometimes changes harmonic keys and occupies short spurts of syncopated beats. Like “Talk Torque,” this kick drum is wholly digital, yet somehow sounds quite nice next to what I perceive as real maracas. This song’s genius is in it’s rationing of bright sounds. Completely run on percussion and bass, the synths in “No Limitz” are extremely simple and appear for very short periods of time, reinforcing the mood of relaxation set by the main elements, as well as the soothing vocals.

Flavio Acaron & Z Boys – No Limitz (Original Mix)

BeatportiTunes

Released through Electronique Digital on June 30th, 2012

 

     Essentially Internet’s equivalent of Zooey Deschanel’s wardrobe, there is no online destination that better embodies hipster culture than Pitchfork. It is plausible then, that the idea for Fred Armisen’s “Portlandia” may have arisen from his bizarre fascination with the website. In this week’s video spotlight, watch a hilariously committed Armisen interview SNL co-star Andy Samberg’s comedy music trio “The Lonely Island.”

 

     Easily the most disappointing moment of 2013 thus far, Sasha’s cancellation of his Igloofest appearance was a truly awful way to begin the festival. His return to Montreal on Grand Prix weekend is sure to be a sound for sore ears, as he has made it clear via his social media pages that he intends on redeeming himself. With his fantastic releases from 2012, the emergence of his Last Night on Earth label and his latest mix compilation, Involv3r, this event receives the Hawt’s seal of approval. The show will take place on Friday night at Stereo Nightclub and is relatively inexpensive at $35 a ticket.

Click here for tickets

     Have a great Grand Prix weekend and don’t forget to come back next week for another batch of finds from the expansive world of electronic music!

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