Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great moombahton, electro, house, progressive and vocal dance tracks.
Armin van Buuren & Garibay ft Olaf Blackwood - I Need You - [ARMADA]
If you are expecting the new song from Armin van Buuren to be an epic big room trance masterpiece, you might just have to wait for the remix. Clocking in at 107 bpm, “I Need You” is a lushly produced midtempo pop dance record. You can hear the influence of Fernando Garibay with the tropical vibe and the vibrant instrumentation. Jamaican singer/songwriter Olaf Blackwood contributes an emotional vocal performance with lyrics that could be framed as the male response to Everything but the Girl’s “Missing.” What makes this an Armin track is the somber yet pretty tone, reminiscent of “This is What It Feels Like.” Actually, don’t be surprised if “I Need You” becomes a massive crossover pop smash, because on first listen you will be totally enamored.
Cult 45 - Body Talk - [ZULU]
Someone has been listening to Inner City. If the keyboard hooks of “Body Talk” aren’t lifted directly from “Good Life,” then they were clearly inspired by it. That actually isn’t a bad thing because those classic house rhythms are infused with a hint of old school techno and some modern electro for an energetic main room club track. Vocal bits are sprinkled throughout, but it is the keyboard hook which you will be humming along with. The track has such a great groove that it makes you wonder what it would sound like with a a Rihanna or a Beyonce topline on it. Though I am wondering if the artist name is inspired by the cult of vinyl or of a certain adult beverage.
Dirtcaps & Gianni Marino - It’s About to Go Down - [KLASH]
Music for the ADHD generation. As attention spans get shorter and DJs are changing songs every minute, the rise of ADHD electro brought that idea to the track level - something different every 16-20 seconds. With “It’s About to Go Down,” Dirt Caps and Gianni Marino bring the ADHD sensibility to moombahton. Seriously, the vibe changes every 16 seconds. If you don’t like this vocal bit, don’t worry, coming up next is screeching trap and then a mellow groove and then a random effect — and that’s just the first minute. This kind of vibe really stands out as something wonderful as we continue to be plagued by an unending deluge of soundalike trop pop. “It’s About to Go Down,” yeah, that’s the perfect title for this refreshing hybrid track.
Blyne ft Melisa Whiskey - Maybe Now [BLYNE MUSIC]
Though I am often quick to slag off trop pop (see previous review), every so often a song comes along that shines above all the others. “Maybe Now,” the debut single from duo Blyne, is a mix of trop pop with elements of bass and trap to rough it up a bit. As cool as the track is, it is the voice of Melisa Whiskey that will capture you. I remember when I first heard her voice last year on the Redlight track “Threshold” and thought, wow, she is one to watch for. Sounding like a hybrid of Becky Hill and Paloma Faith, Melisa sings from her soul with a deep tone and rasp that elevates the song from good to incredible. Easily one of the best songs of the genre, “Maybe Now” should be an immediate add to your playlists.
Tom Misch - Watch Me Dance (Crackazat Remix) - [BEYOND THE GROOVE]
When I saw the name of the remixer, I just knew I was going to like this song. Singer/songwriter/producer Tom Misch is gaining notoriety around the world thanks not only to his playfully seductive soulful songs but his original productions and remixes for other artists. The original version of “Watch Me Dance” melds interludes of '60s pop and shuffling dance beats with live instrumentation and synthesized beats existing in perfect harmony. Swedish producer Crackazat (say his name out loud) speeds it up a bit for a house remix with a unique vibe. You can hear elements of jazz and old school musicals interwoven into the midtempo beats. The mix isn’t aggressive, but rather energetic and sexy as hell. Tom Misch and Crackazat are two artists you should be watching for in 2017.
Ferreck Dawn - Higher - [SPINNIN DEEP]
Ferreck Dawn is one of my favorite producers to follow. Whether he is making fun vocal pop songs (“Heaven Sent”/“Spiritual Dawn”), going deeper (“Ritmo Latino”/“Superman”), or even making cheesy house covers (“Sublime”/“Man Enough”/“Jolene”), Ferreck’s tracks are impeccably produced with grooves that you feel. “Higher” is quite deep on many levels. While it fits the modern definition of deep house, the lyrics are even deeper and darker than you might realize on first listen. The tone and overall feeling is reminiscent of classics like Kings of Tomorrow’s “Home” and Narcotic Thrust’s “I Like It.” “Higher” may not grab you on the first listen, but keep it playing in the background and you will quickly get addicted to its dark beauty.
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