Music for the Masses

Music for the Masses

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
12.30.2016

A roundup of great techno, electro, drum & bass, house, progressive and vocal dance tracks.


Fjaak - Wolves / Pray for Berlin - [MONKEYTOWN]

2016 is closing with some really dark vibes and Berlin based techno trio Fjaak are serving up some intense music for us to work out our emotions with. “Pray for Berlin” is challenging lo fi break beat. It starts off with white noise building to random beats that grow in speed and intensity. At full velocity, the relentless rhythms pound you into oblivion. “Wolves” is the soundtrack to a hunt. Beginning almost reserved, the music is beat driven but seems to be meant to be played in the background as if the pack is surveying the territory. The energy builds slightly and then drops to complete silence. The pack has found its prey and is setting up the attack. Slightly audible sounds grow quickly into full throttle beats as if the pack is quietly signaling each other before attacking the target. As the preview for the forthcoming debut album, Fjaak shows that they can create drama and tell stories solely using beats without any lyrics.




Nervo & Askery ft Brielle Von Hugel - Alone - [SPINNIN]

At this point, we are completely confused by Nervo. The duo reportedly signed an exclusive label distribution deal with Armada yet here comes a new single on Spinnin. Wait, I thought they were on Big Beat or was it Ultra? As their labels change, their sound seems to be consistent with “Alone” sounding similar to their recent release “Forever or Nothing” which was sung by “Party Rock Anthem” vocalist Lauren Bennett. The radio friendly trop pop sound of “Alone” has more of an edge leaning more Diplo than Chainsmokers. Brielle’s vocals sound quite fresh and even with the layers and overdubs, there is raw sense of urgency. It will be interesting to see if “Alone” gets a massive remix package like their chart topping “People Grinning” had with more than a dozen producers reworking it.




Jax Jones ft Raye - “You Don’t Know Me” - [POLYDOR]

“House Work” is easily one of the biggest house tracks of 2016. To follow it up, Jax Jones followed a similar plan yet ended up going in a different direction. “You Don’t Know Me” is built upon a hooky bassline (just like “House Work.”) Borrowing Booka Shade’s “Body Language” bassline could have easily ended up gimmicky but Jax kept the vibe deep while building the track around it. Raye’s vocals are cool yet catchy, reminiscent of Tinashe’s performance on KDA’s “Just Say.” Blending the track, bassline and vocal yields a track just as much as an ear worm as “House Work” while sounding (and feeling) much more underground. We are also thankful that this wasn’t an Armand van Helden cover, because you know that will end up with a future house version in the next few weeks.




Rhodes vs Felix Jaehn - Your Soul (Holding On) - [B1 RECORDINGS/SONY]

On first listen, this song sounded really familiar. I mean like scarily familiar as I was singing along to the lyrics and I didn’t even know it. The original version of “Your Soul” by Rhodes is a folky ballad that was released more that two years ago. A friend of mine had it on a mixtape that we listened to on repeat while doing a road trip. Felix Jaehn stepped in and reworked the song into a mid tempo house track with a chilled and pretty vibe. This isn’t a banger by any means but has a mellow groove that will make you shuffle your feet without breaking a sweat. This new version makes a much better selection for a road trip mixtape.




Jude & Frank ft Toto La Momposina - La Luna - [ARMADA DEEP]

Something different always catch your attention. “La Luna” is a groovy house track with a playful latin vibe and a woodwind instrument playing the a hooky rhythm line that feels like it could be from a nursery rhythm. The origin is actual a bullerengue song “Curara” by Colombian singer Toto La Momposina. “La Luna” could be considered a remix similar to the Felix Jaehn update of the Rhodes song previously mentioned but the elements of the original (woodwind, vocals) are reworked so radically differently that it does feel more like an original production. The resulting collaboration is so unique that it will catch your attention when it ends up in commercials and movie soundtracks in the upcoming months.


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