Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great house, electro, drum & bass, indie dance, trap, and progressive tracks.
Just Us - Everytime It Rains - [WHITE]
Calling this a cheeky bootleg is an understatement. Sampling vocals from Kate Bush’s classic “Cloudbusting” is hardly a new idea, especially since the Utah Saints had a top 5 pop hit with their techno version called “Something Good” nearly 25 years ago. The new version, credited to Just Us, is a melodic house production using the original instrumentation and the full chorus. The song is timelessly optimistic and Kate’s vocals sound just as mesmerizing as you might remember. The promo has two mixes labelled as “Original” (credited to Carl Kennedy and Steven Lee) and a slightly toughened up “Club Mix” (credited to Kaz James & Ivan Gough). Both mixes are quite wonderful and makes us wonder if there is a Kate Bush remix project coming or if this is going to get revocalized for a commercial release as a cover. Let’s hope the former is the case.
Hitchhiker - $10 - [SM ENTERTAINMENT]
“$10” is one of those glorious tracks that make you wonder what the heck your are listening to. Imagine if Major Lazer were inspired by traditional Indian/Punjabi music instead of dancehall and reggae. Hitchhiker modernizes these classic sounds with elements of trap and moombahton, so you could call it the 2016 version of “Mundian To Bach Ke.” The results are spectacularly weird and wonderful with a video that perfectly captures that vibe. Hitchhiker is even more interesting is that he is part of the SM Entertainment conglomerate which makes a huge volume of catchy k-pop music. Don’t be surprised if “$10” ends up being the backing track for a boy band/girl band pop hit in the very near future.
Mat Zo - MAD EP - [MAD ZOO]
Mat Zo has outdone himself creatively with his new MAD EP. Troglodyte starts off sounding like holiday music from a circus before slamming into glitchy broken beats. Surprisingly, the sounds of the pretty intro are reinterpreted and incorporated into the second half, making it sound like one of the coolest video game soundtracks of all time. The intro of “Take It Back” does what the title says, transporting you back to the early days of jungle/drum & bass. The beats transition to trap and then go back and forth to the D&B beats until the two dissimilar sounds blend together into a fusion that is not for the faint of heart. The title track keeps with the hybrid D&B / trap sound, but increases the intensity and speed to become both grating and beautiful at the same. If you look at the cover artwork, that might be your facial expression if you were dancing to this at a club. While the Mad EP is embracing the '90s vibe that has been so prevalent the past few years, reinvisioning drum & bass gives it a fresh and unique feel that stands out from all the soundalike future and deep house that is out there.
Two Friends & Exit Friendzone ft Natalola - Overdose - [ARMADA TRICE]
I first discovered Two Friends when I heard their remix of Tori Kelly’s “Expensive.” A few spins in my club sets and it instantly became a massive request record. Their next track, “Forever” with Ktpearl, was a summery pop confection that meshed classic house production with an incredibly catchy vocal hook. “Overdose” ups the energy while blending acoustic guitars and trop house elements with more aggressive beats and powerful synths. If you pay attention to the lyrics, you will hear how Natalola compares her obsessive love with possible self-destruction. That’s kind of intense for dance pop but these Two Friends seem to enjoy pushing their limits. If you aren’t already following these guys, check out their Soundcloud and enjoy what is probably the best remix of a Blink 182 song ever.
Rhythm Masters vs Klangfabrik - Dayhunter - [ARMADA]
These can’t possibly be the same Rhythm Masters who were the kings of speed garage back in the day. If they are, they’ve definitely gotten groovier with the recent house track “Be Good” and their lounge house remix of the Murk classic “Been A Long Time” by The Fog. Collaborating with Klangfabrik (the in ear monitoring company?), they’ve chilled out even more to create the late night grooves of “Dayhunter.” The song has the beachy balearic feel of Watermat with a touch of ambient atmosphere reminiscent of classic Orb tracks. If you are looking to chill to after a night of clubbing or some wonderful soundtrack music for the day, “Dayhunter” is a great add for your playlists.
Audio Bullys & Surge - “It Was A Very Good Year” - [SPINNIN]
The Audio Bullys must be huge fans of the Sinatra family. Their biggest pop hit was a club-friendly update of Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” using her original vocals. Teaming with Surge, they’ve turned Frank Sinatra’s “It Was A Very Good Year” into an electro-tinged future house track ready for primetime play. Singer Simon Franks sounds quite good. He isn’t imitating Ol' Blue Eyes, but his vocals do a have a pronounced old-school feel to them. While the endless stream of future house covers of pop songs has become unbearable, choosing Frank Sinatra as source material seems incredible fresh and just strange enough that it might crossover to pop as a left-field WTF record.
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