Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great electro, disco house, indie, deep, chill and vocal tracks.
Hi-Lo - “Renegade Mastah” - [HELDEEP/SPINNIN]
This is one I’ve been waiting for. A modern update of the '90s classic “Renegade Master” by Wildchild. Under the guise of Hi-Lo, Oliver Heldens does pretty much what you expect, taking ADOR’s classic lines from “One For the Trouble” and laying it over a pumping house beat with injections of speed garage and breakbeats to keep some of the original feel. This is a logical evolution of his sound, merging the vibe of the previous Hi-Lo track “Crank It Up” with his trademark future house grooves. “Renegade” will obviously be a big floor-filler, begging the question of what will come next. I would request “Higher State of Consciousness” or “Spin Spin Sugar”…
Nero - Two Minds - [MTA/MERCURY]
The British trio tease us with another taste of their forthcoming Between II Worlds album. While they are known for dark dubstep, electro, and drum and bass, the songs from the new album are exploring other genres while keeping their signature sound of dark beauty. “Two Minds” incorporates elements of future house, but the melodies and production are all Nero. The lush vocals are balanced by aggressive elements throughout the track. Then there is the song which is incredibly well-written, as catchy as a pop song you hear on the radio, yet still cool and edgy. We are still a month away from the release of "Between II Worlds” and can only anticipate what else they have in store for us.
Nervo ft Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears, & Nile Rodgers - The Other Boys - [ULTRA]
NERVO’s debut ’Collateral’ feels like a Greatest Hits album with all of their club hits from the past few years (“Reason,” “You’re Gonna Love Again,” “We’re All No One,” “Let It Go,” and “Hold On”) combined with their recent vulgar pop singles (the pseudo bitch track “Haute Mess” and the random male bashing “Hey Ricky”) and a few choice album cuts. Shining through is the discofied pop confection “The Other Boys,” where the twins enlist the production talent of Nile Rodgers and the vocals of Kylie Minogue and Jake Shears. The playful lyrics about lusting after someone else when you are already in a relationship seem a bit out of sync with the post-6/26 world but hey, this is pop and not meant to be overanalyzed. Kylie’s and Jake’s voices harmonize perfectly together- to the point where you can barely tell them apart. Hmm, maybe that’s an allusion to the string of “Other Boys” lined up for a busy summer of love.
Elliphant - Love Me Badder - [TEN/KEMOSABE]
When you think of reggae, Sweden isn’t the first country that comes to mind. Singer/rapper/songwriter Elliphant has a unique ragga-inflected flow that creates a unique vibe in all of her songs. You’ve probably heard her over the past year as she has collaborated with the likes of David Guetta & Showtek, Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, and Skrillex. For her big US debut, “Love Me Badder” is an addictively catchy pop song with hip-hop and reggae grooves, slickly produced for maximum radio penetration. Elliphant sounds like the offspring of Cher Lloyd and M.I.A, if you can imagine that, and the hooky chorus will be instantly ingrained in your head. On the remix front there are pop and house mixes with many different flavors. The poppy remixes go island reggae (Blender), epic (Broods), and Motown (Penguin Prison) while the house mixes go broken beat (Riddim Commission), bassline garage (Dale Howard), and classic (T Williams). Fans of pop and dance should definitely be walking with this Elephant.
Steve Powers and Vassy - Two Hearts - [UPPERCASE]
If there was ever a well-deserved award, it was when Vassy won Best Featured Vocalist performance at the IDMAs this year. Is there a harder working vocalist at the moment? What makes her even more amazing is how she not only works with the biggest superstars like Tiesto & KSHMR (“Satisfied”) and Showtek, but also seeks out work with rising talent like Steve Powers. “Two Hearts” starts with a gorgeous keyboard intro that builds into a dramatic progressive pop anthem. Vassy’s vocals mirror that rise as she goes from a lower timbre to a much higher range than you normally hear in EDM productions. The universal lyrics about “Two Hearts” colliding make it perfect for just about anyone who realizes they’ve found their soulmate. While the original version will sound great on radio, most DJs will probably reach for the electro and slightly harder remixes by Disco Killerz and Sevag.
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