Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great techno, drum & bass, electro, future bass, house and indie dance tracks.
Garmiani ft Walshy Fire - Voodoo - [DIM MAK]
Garmiani is one of the most creative and inventive producers. While his tracks never sound the same, you can always clock a Garmiani track from his unique sounds. Teaming up with Walshy Fire from Major Lazer, Garmiani created “Voodoo,” a fresh take on big room bangers. It isn’t the generic basic banging beats with an expected drop, it is a fusion of classic Prodigy-era techno samples and jamaican inflected riddims with the energy amped up to massive levels. Walshy’s ragga toasting keep the flow going with a bit of a “Pon de floor” vibe. The only critique with Garmiani’s music is that he keeps us waiting so long between releases.
Sigma ft Birdy - Find Me - [3BEAT]
Listening to a mixed set, I heard “Find Me” and thought how cool it was that Above and Beyond and Zoe Johnston were experimenting with drum and bass. Unsurprisingly, it ends up that d&b duo Sigma is preparing a new album and the first single is just as magical as their past releases. A love song about desire, “Find Me” showcases Birdy's emotional vocals just as much as the gorgeous synths and drum and bass beats. The elephant in the room is the “effected male vocal” which has become trite with its overuse in deep/future house tracks over the past few years. Though reimagined in this context, it surprisingly sounds quite fresh. “Find Me” is so magical and amazing, I can only wait in anticipation for Sigma’s forthcoming sophomore album.
Beatz Freq & Krischan - The Bass (VIP Edition)
Calling “The Bass” a sick track is simply an understatement. This duo of Dutch guys are going right for the jugular with intense, aggressive beats that speed up with every segment. Starting off with a jump-up beat that transitions to old school drum and bass, the syncopated rhythmic samples become shorter and quicker with each phrase until it simply sounds like hardstyle, but sped-up even faster. Sped-up hardstyle, now there’s a description that I never thought I would use. “The Bass” breaks the sick barrier and goes right into insane and since it’s a free download on Soundcloud, you should embrace the madness.
DJ SKT - Where You Went EP - [LOVE & OTHER]
There’s this incredibly sad narrative that underground DJs often fall victim to. They work years and years to build and share their unique sound until the magical moment when they mysteriously get a hit record out of nowhere. Unfortunately, this hit marks the end of their artistry as they often sign away their life, water down their style, and succumb to remixing pop artists until they become a mockery of who they were. When I first saw the title “Hot Tainted Love” on DJ SKT’s ‘Where You Went’ EP, I was scared for a moment. Did he really do a cover of the Gloria Jones classic that Soft Cell made famous? Thankfully, the answer is no. “Hot Tainted Love” is sexy, groovy house, and dare I say it, truly underground. It’s dirty, grimy, raw, sexy, and NOT slickly produced for radio consumption. If the sexy spoken word bit in the drop doesn’t excite you, then consider yourself a cyborg. The title track has the garage house vibe of something you would have danced to in an underground house club in the early '90s - and that is a compliment. Retro and fresh at the same time - DJ SKT - please never change who you are.
Jimmy Roqsta - Healthy - [INTRICATE]
Skip ahead two minutes into “Healthy” and you will hear some of the prettiest electronic music this side of euphoric trance. Gorgeous synths, uplifting waves, and effected vocals that are just so heavenly that you might feel a visceral emotional release. The vibe continues as the beats come back and a guitar part adds a new dimension. Listening to the track is so refreshing that it feels like your soul is cleansed and you can take on the world. Jimmy Roqsta is an Estonian producer, and in a perfect world he would connect with Kerli to sing gorgeous lyrics that would elevate this spiritual track even higher.
Grouplove - Welcome To Your Life - [Canvasback/Atlantic]
Indie pop band Grouplove is no stranger to dance music ever since their sleeper hit “Tongue Tied” was remixed by Gigamesh and played in clubs around the world. For “Welcome to Your Life,” Gigamesh is back with quite a feisty play on the trop pop sound that is dominating pop radio airwaves. The slight problem is that Taylor Wise and Sweekuh got the same memo and their remixes sound almost identical. Lucas Nord’s mix is not dissimilar, but the addition of a funky disco groove and bassline makes it stand a bit apart. Welcome To Your Life is a cute and catchy indie pop song and the mixes are nice, but a bit more diversity in sounds would have really made this project go through the roof.
T99 - Anasthasia 2016 - [ARMADA]
The flashback '90s meme has overwhelmed us with so much house (both future and deep) that it feels like the perfect time to switch gears and go techno. And by techno, I mean rave music. The fun and cheesy explosive sounds which evolved from acid house and brought PLUR to the US. “Anasthasia” is a great place to start, actually it was one of the first techno CD singles that I bought. The new “Out Of The History Rework” sounds pretty much exactly as I remember, maybe sped up a bit, but that original feeling is there. Pure energy with big synths, explosive beats, and effected vocal samples that just reverberate in your head. There are remixes coming from the likes of The Freestylers, Friend Within, and Kevin Sanderson & Dantiez that will no doubt reshape the track into creative directions. Two small requests to the record labels and artists: if you are going to rerelease these techno classics, please include at least one version which is similar in vibe to the original. Furthermore, can we agree to skip over the naff cheesier novelty tunes? Do we really need “Sesame’s Treet 2016”?
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