Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great house, electro, indie dance, trop house, trance, electro and progressive tracks.
Octave One ft Ann Saunderson - Just Don’t Speak
Gorgeous and epic don’t even begin to describe how amazing this record is. Techno duo Octave One have constructed a house track that transcends the house genre, mixing orchestral strings with a throbbing bassline in a way that we haven’t experienced since Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Symphony.” No, it’s not a cover or a rework, that is simply the only song that possesses a similar musical theme. Longtime collaborator Ann Saunderson contributes a multifaceted vocal performance that sounds as if she is playing different roles while she sings her story. This is one of those rare times where the track stands on its own as a stunning piece of music, yet sounds just as good with a dynamic vocal.
Dany Cohiba - The New Mohican - [GROOVE SOCIETY]
Speaking of great string work, how about an update of the ‘Last of the Mohicans’ theme? Spanish producer Dany Cohiba turns “The Gael” into a chugging house track complete with a pretty progressive drop. It might not be a prime time floor filler but it’s quite creative and would make a great end of night track, or at least a great track to chill with while smoking cigars.
Ovion - On My Way - [PROTOCOL]
A pair of fresh ears makes a difference. French newcomer Ovion will make a splash with his sophomore track “On My Way.” He effortlessly combines emotional synthwork (like deadmau5 tracks “Veldt” and “Brazil”) with future house groovex (a la Tchami) and robotic voice production (similar to Daft Punk). It is the production equivalent of a mashup - creating a new, unique sound by reinterpreting the sounds he was raised on. The results are quite brilliant and it’s easy to hear why Nicky Romero is mentoring him as the next big talent for his label Protocol.
Speaker of the House ft Nefera - Wide Awake - [THRIVE]
After a string of solid remixes (Rebecca & Fiona, Galantis, Dada Life) and original tracks (I Know You, Redwood), the Speaker of the House is another rising talent to watch for. His sound is neither deep house nor trop, but an amalgamation of the two. Definitely danceable, “Wide Awake” also has a bit of the lounge vibe that keeps it quite it chill. Nefara’s vocals take the song in a '90s r&b pop direction and you could hear someone like Monica or Rebekah Ryan having a major hit with this. “Wide Awake” might not grab you on the first listen, but give it a few times through and you will be singing and bopping along to the groovy beats.
Sander Van Doorn & Chocolate Puma - “Raise Your Hands Up” - [MUSICAL FREEDOM]
With a title like “Raise Your Hands Up,” you might expect another disposable mindless banger. Then, when you see the producers are Sander van Doorn and Chocolate Puma, you know there is going to be so much more. The festival ready track is an amped up, electro-fueled take on future house. Imagine if Oliver Heldens in his Hi-Lo guise had decided to mash up Fedde Le Grand’s remix of Camille Jones “The Creeps” with the Freaks song of the same name. The expected vocal sample repeats over a massive build that crescendoes to even more energetic electro. No, it’s not Mozart, but of all the festival tracks released this summer, “Raise Your Hands Up” is easily in the top 10.
Moby - The Remixes EP - [REVEALED]
It looks like people are getting the same inspiration. Just a few weeks ago, we were all atwitter about Oliver Heldens’ Hi-Lo remix of Moby’s “Go.” This week Revealed drops a trio of Moby remixes that will garner a lot of attention. Hardwell transforms “Go” into a full-on festival banger that will drive any big crowd crazy while keeping the original elements in focus. Reworks of “Porcelain” and “Natural Blues” by Sick Individuals and Bali Bandits are similar in that the original elements are used as a dropout for the banging productions you world expect. They are well done and have the feel of a very well-executed hybrid. While we anxiously await a follow-up remix EP, let me just nominate Don Diablo to rework “Next is the E” and SNBRN to transform “South Side.” Or how about Soundprank taking on "Help Me To Believe," someone doing a nasty Moombahton mix of "Drop a Beat," or even 2Symmetry getting wild with "God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters."
House of Wallenberg ft JWL B & Lady Bunny - Keep on Dancing [MUMSMUMS]
When there is a tragedy or times are rough, music and dancing is the release that people often seek. In response to the Pulse Orlando shootings, several dance artists have released songs in response to raise awareness and funds for charity. The song that has captured our hearts is “Keep on Dancing” by Swedish producer House of Wallenberg. The retro/future house production is truly unifying by embracing the diversity of the LGBT culture to create one of the hookiest singalong songs you could imagine. The message about coming together is clear with rising singer JWL B (from Yo Majesty) singing the gospel-like verses and drag icon Lady Bunny bringing her sweetness to the verses. Every element from the samples, keyboards, and even the visuals combine historical elements (piano hook, oh-oh-oh chants, Basquiat-esque doodles) with modern flourishes (future house grooves, digital manipulation) for a sound and feel that everyone can relate to.
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