Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great future house, tech, electro, trop and deep tracks.
Nora en Pure ft Dani Senior - Tell My Heart - [SPINNIN DEEP]
To say we are fans of Nora en Pure would be an understatement. No one else is consistently releasing such quality deep house tracks with that cool chill vibe while maintaining a fresh take with each one. Her music is definitely identifiable, but not everything sounds alike. Her new single “Tell My Heart” reaches into a new world of pop with a slightly more uptempo and energetic groove and a vocal topline seemingly aimed at Top 40 radio. It’s as if they told Dani Senior to use Tove Lo’s “Talking Body” as the template for her topline vocals. “Tell My Heart” works incredibly well on many levels - it is authentically Nora en Pure with the cool chill vibe, but sweetened up with a pop vibe for a big commercial crossover. It’s no wonder why the song was chosen as the title for her fall tour.
R3hab - Icarus - [R3HAB/360]
Earlier this year, the release of “Freak” with Quintino marked a radical change in R3hab’s sound. The king of “chainsaw” softened his trademark big room, aggressive electro to embrace the future house grooves that had taken over. Followup track “Sakura” bridged his electro sound with some new elements that softened things up a bit. His trop/trap pop remix of Chainsmokers “Closer” saw him jump all the way into the new sound. With “Icarus,” it sounds like R3hab has completed the transition. A full-on hybrid of trop house and future house, complete with the dolphin vocal effects, it is a vocal pop record aimed as much for Top 40 radio as it is for clubs. The lyrics are catchy and the beats are solid, but like “Freak” earlier in the year, it bears no resemblance to anything R3hab has done in the past. “Icarus” is quite strong and could be the record that crosses him over to the pop world, but we must stop to wonder why he decided to make such a radical change? Is someone trying to remold him à la Calvin Harris circa 2010?
Funkerman ft Enlery - Lovely Day - [FLAMINGO]
“Lovely Day” is quite a unique track. It blurs the lines between tech house and deep house, basically merging the two with subtle transitions back and forth. As an instrumental track, it would be an incredible DJ tool. The addition of the vocal chants and the breakdown to broken beats give it a soulful feeling which is so often missing in the purist subgenres. It feels warm - which is an odd way to describe a track - but that is the emotion it conveys. Funkerman bounces back and forth between genres and sounds, and “Lovely Day” demonstrates that he is a talented producer who can create superior productions in any style.
A-Trak & Tommy Trash - Lose My Mind - [FOOL’S GOLD]
We’ve been digging this track for a few months. “Lose My Mind” is a refreshingly modern take on disco. The beats are slowed down and some classic instrumentation is there, but the grooves are reimagined with a completely modern aesthetic. There are hints of electro and grime, as well as a repeated vocal which numbs your brain so all that you react to is the pulsing beat. The video is one of the most artistic visual presentations of recent memory. Although it is a literal representation of the song title, the graphical effects are so creative and unexpected that every frame could be printed and hung as modern artwork.
Don Diablo - Cutting Shapes - [SPINNIN]
This is not a rant against Don Diablo, a producer that has inspired me to be the DJ that I am today and whom I absolutely adore more than you can possibly imagine. There are simply a few things that are bothering me. How can someone release a cover version and completely change the title? Or if they are changing the title, why would they call it something that isn’t even in the lyrics? While it is strange to title a cover of Mariah Carey’s song “Someday” as “Sublime,” at least it is a mondegreen of “So blind.” Nowhere in the lyrics of Aaron Smith’s “Dancing” will you find the words “Cutting Shapes.” Phew... I feel better now. Back to the song at hand. “Cutting Shapes” is a quality, if not expected, future house cover version of Aaron Smith’s “Dancing.” It is well-produced, creative, and the vocals are effected as expected. Most importantly, “Cutting Shapes” has an exuberant energy that matches the original version. Compared to those laconic and depressing Krono remixes that surfaced back in 2013, Don Diablo created a far superior version that will work on dance floors for many years to come (in addition to the classic JJ Flores/Steve Smooth remix.)
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