Music for the Masses

Music for the Masses

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
05.20.2016

A roundup of great electro, indie dance, future bass/house, deep house, glitch, and progressive tracks.



Will K - Hakai - [DOORN]

2016 seems to be the year for talent from down under to make their way up to the festival circuit.  While tracks like “Banzai,” “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Marsch” got played by some of the biggest DJs, it sounds like “Hakai” will be the the one that launches 19 year-old Will K into the stratosphere.  Translated from Japanese, the title means destroy, yet the track isn’t as aggressive as the name implies.  The discord between two competing chants - one could be Indian and one could be African - set an intense vibe.  The beats are banging but the hollow drum loop gives it space to breathe.  The structure is quite unexpected, since the track doesn’t do exactly what you expect.  Yes, this will be a festival banger for the summer, but it also sounds remarkably fresh and a bit different than what you will hear in most big rooms.  



Danny L Harle ft Caroline Polachek - Ashes of Love - [COLUMBIA]

Broken Flowers was quite a sleeper.  With each listen you would get seduced into the repeated verse and the creative effects used to manipulate the vocals in unique ways.  For the follow-up, Danny L Harle decided to take all of the elements of Broken and amp them up to command your attention.  The swirling keyboard intro goes right into a '90s dance beat and you hear Caroline Polachek’s voice sing the beginning of the verse.  Within ten seconds, different effects come in with glitched noises and digital noise adding additional rhymes as the emotion and emphasis of Caroline’s voice changes with every line.  She sounds almost robotic as her staccato notes are punctuated with computerized tones. It goes right to the edge of dissonance, yet keeps a singalong vibe that feels almost like a Disney song.  There is so much going on that you will either interpret it as sheer madness are maddening brilliance.  The video succinctly matches the song with layers of human and digitized images layered for a multidimensional hallucinogenic VR experience.  



Ashworth - A Thousand Miles - [HAYDEN HALL]

As much as I moan and complain about the overabundance of '90s songs covered in a future/trop house style, there is something really fresh about this cover of a song 2001.  Vanessa Carlton broke onto the scene with “A Thousand Miles,” which showcased her magnificent piano playing skills and equally wonderful expressive voice.  Fast forward fifteen years and an electropop singer/producer updates it with a fresh summer house style complete with fresh synth lines and just enough of the original piano hook to show respect.  Flipping the gender of the vocal also lends a real modern vibe.  If you aren’t following the native New Yorker on Soundcloud, you don’t know what you are missing.   Think about it this way, if he is able to create a sickening electro mix of the “Meow Mix” theme song, he really is capable of just about anything.



Robbie Rivera vs Tom Staar - The Funkatron - [AXTONE]

Speaking of songs celebrating their 15th anniversary, this new version of “Funk-A-Tron” was heard all over Miami during music week in March. Always a massive floorfiller, the energetic track and the sheer catchiness of the hook grabs you.  Actually, if you listen closely to the original version, you will notice a similarity to the atonal noise that Benny Benassi used a year later for “Satisfaction.” Teaming up with buzzing London producer Tom Staar, Robbie updates the track with a modern electro tribal feel and adds a male vocal saying the title.  This one small detail will insure that the people packing the dance floor know which track to download on Beatport.



ETC!ETC! & Tighttraxx - Trompa - [DIM MAK]

Maybe it is because RuPaul just crowned the winner of Season 8, but listening to “Trompa” has me imagining Shangela doing drops at a festival.  The 150 BPM hardstyle monster is unrelenting, save for the trap-styled breakdown.  The track is so agressively energetic and addictive that you can almost look past the overused vocal samples.  Actually, could you imagine if they enlisted Shangela to do a topline for it?  “Call Me Twerqin’ Girl” sounds about right.



MNEK - At Night (I Think About You) - [VIRGIN]

One of the many wonderful things about Zara Larsson’s breakthough US hit “Never Forget You” is that MNEK is finally getting some love on this side of the Atlantic.  MNEK is responsible for writing (Oliver Helden “Gecko (Overdrive)"), Duke Dumont “Need U 100%”),  producing (Karen Harding “Say Something,” Little Mix “Wings”), and singing (Gorgon City “Ready for Your Love”)  some of the biggest UK club and pop hits.  “At Night” might be the song that launches him as a pop star in the US.  Elements of Diplo and Drake mixed together with broken beats and MNEK's incredible vocal range make the song fit what is currently popular but with enough uniqueness and creativity that it will stand out as something different and special. It simply is the perfect Summer pop song for 2016.  It makes you wonder if the American radio jocks will butcher the pronunciation of his name as bad as they have with Tove Lo.

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