Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great electro, indie dance, trop house, future bass/house, deep house, electropop and progressive tracks.
Damaged Goods ft Jesse Boykins III - Where Do You Go - [FOOLS GOLD]
Future house has become such a singular sound that it is now a misnomer. Let’s call “Where Do You Go” futuristic house, since it feels like it came from outer space with its backing textures reverberating around, simulating a dense atmosphere. That whoosh is as much of a hook as are the chilled yet soulful vocals from Mr. Boykins. It is house and it is soulful- but it definitely isn’t soulful house. Rather than try to categorize it, let’s just call it a cool and quality track that reimagines familiar sounds and transforms them into something you’ve never heard before.
Borgeous & 7 Skies ft Neon Hitch - Lost & Found - [GEOUSUS/ARMADA]
What makes Borgeous special is the way he can take an aggressive or nontraditional beat and transform it with a pop sensibility. “Lost & Found” is trap pop with pretty dropouts and a contrasting rough beat. While I never thought that squelching sea animal noises could sound fresh again, somehow he did it. From the first time we heard Neon Hitch sing “Get Over U,” her quirky and exotic Roma vibe captivated us. With the unique track from Borgeous & 7 Skies, she was able to create something truly magical. It’s easy to see why two songs with her (this and the French house “Wrong Places”) are featured on Borgeous’ forthcoming album. Borgeous has found a muse that will help him re-envision and re-invigorate contemporary club sounds.
Tom Swoon & Dank ft Belle Humble - Phoenix (We Rise) - [ULTRA]
In all honesty, I’ve been smitten with Belle Humble since her songs with Lexer “Feels Like This” and Qulinez “Body Dancing” dropped on the same day last year. Belle has a way of working with rising producers and helping them make something magical. “Phoenix (We Rise)” is an uplifting future/progressive hybrid track supporting a story about taking risks and being strong enough to find your own path. The song couldn’t be more perfectly timed as many of us are facing challenges that require us to rethink where we are going. I’ve seen it called an “empowering summer anthem” and yeah, that sounds about right.
Ansel Elgort - Home Alone
If there was a poster child for DJs with multiple personality disorder, it just might be Anser Elgort. To say his musical explorations are divergent would be a bad pun but quite accurate. As Ansolo, he is fun and frolicking, making festival-friendly electro house, be it bangers (“Yin and Yang” with Maxum) or modern interpolations of Jewish drinking songs (“To Life”). Paired with Pierce Fulton as Shirts & Skin, the music is much funkier and groovier (“Then Came You"). With his debut under his own name, he seems to be going for mainstream pop crossover with oddly desperate lyrics about finding a hookup at the end of the night sung over a fusion trap/future house track. It seems a bit depressing, if not disinguenious, because when you’re as good-looking as he is, you aren’t going to have any problems picking up someone to bang (literally or figuratively) at a bar. Though with some editing (bleeping the word bullshit), this could launch a Top 40 pop singing career for the DJ/actor/singer/songwriter. All those different roles might just be the cause of his MPD.
Allie X - All The Rage - [UNIVERSAL]
Canadian synthpop singer Allie X has been a guilty pleasure of just about everyone. Her string of singles “Catch,” “Old Habits Die Hard, ” and “Too Much To Dream” are intelligently written with a poppy, CHVRCHES feel. She also cowrote just about all of Troye Sivan’s album, including the hit “Youth.” “All The Rage” has Allie upping the tempo and the energy with what could have been Charli XCX’s biggest hit. It has an aggressive groove and a powerful raspy sound that shows a new side of her. With this song she is taking control of her destiny and we should all be grateful. For clubland consumption, Cahill turned it into a raucous girl twirl that will bring you back to the days of Crush.
Lifelike & Kris Menace - What Time Is Love (Live at SSL) - [SPINNIN]
If you look up the word meta in the dictionary… Leave it to the crew at Spinnin to unearth another '90s dance classic. KLF were talented producers and brilliant pranksters who achieved success and notoriety making acid house music based on samples and twisted ideas. Their Wanda Dee-sampling “three note warhorse” (as member Bill Drummond called it) “What Time is Love” achieved pop success internationally with its warehouse techno feel, most notably in the Live at Trancentral mix. Fast forward to 2016 and the French/German duo Lifelike & Kris Menace modernize it with a bit of a subtle electro take. All of the original pieces are there - horns, vocal bits, bassline with a hint of glitch to give it a bit of a modern feel... That’s not to say the humor is lost. The live elements are completely removed, hence the subtitle - Live at SSL - secure sockets layer, as in all digital and computerized - no human interaction needed.
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