Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great techno, electro, future bass, house, progressive and indie dance tracks.
Kryder & Daddy’s Groove - Street Life - [CARTEL]
Deciding on a title for a track is often a challenge for producers. “Street Life” is perfectly titled as the track is a journey of different grooves that transition for a unique and lively vibe. Starting off as funky tribal, the end of each phrase is punctuated with a short horn rhythm. As the energy builds, a tribal chant comes in that might be hard to understand but the intonation is clearly celebratory. While many tracks have been dropping to trap, trop, or dubstep lately, the middle of “Street Life” is full-on '70s sitcom theme music. Seriously, that horn part that is teased throughout comes center stage and it feels like a ‘Love Boat’ revival is about to come on. However, it is not the least bit cheesy as it perfectly fits with the fun journey of the track. For the adventurous DJ who likes to throw curveballs in their sets, “Street Life” will be a brilliant secret weapon for months to come.
Amba Shepherd - Prelude (Rest In Peace) - [SUPERLATIV]
Just as “Street Life” is the perfect title for the previous song, Superlativ is the perfect name for Amba Shepherd's new label (and track). Similar to Vassy’s “Nothing to Lose,” the Australian chanteuse steps into the spotlight with sole credit on a solo record - not a featuring, not a vs. “Prelude” starts off with Amba singing acappella over light atmospheric pads and gradually builds into groovy progressive with a vibe similar to DJ Licious' “Calling.” The dropouts and nature sounds enhance the beauty of the lyrics and the vocals. If there was ever a song that sounds as good on the radio as it does in the club, “Prelude” is it. DJs wanting a bit of a harder big room sound will go for the The Dirty Code mix, while others wanting a summery sound will play the AXRG mix. Thankfully, both remixes keep the full vocals as the prime focus.
Robin Schulz & David Guetta ft Cheat Codes - Shed a Light - [PARLOPHONE]
“Shed a Light” is probably one of the most inspired collaborations of the year. The song doesn’t sound like something you would expect from any of the artists involved. It starts of slow, almost orchestral, and gradually builds into a massive pop anthem. The lyrics are hopeful but not overconfident about a love that isn’t perfect- yet could be. As a whole, it’s not as dark or depressing as a normal Robin Schulz track nor is it a big room banger that you would expect from David Guetta. As a huge fan of Cheat Codes, it’s great to hear them doing a completely original song with no samples. Pulled all together, it feels like the best Years and Years record ever made... hmm... maybe they should bring Olly in on the next collab?
Codes - Bumps - [PSYCHO DISCO]
The press release said “Brooklyn Bounce producer,” and the first thought was the German trance/electro duo behind the classic “Get Ready to Bounce.” Codes updates classic '90s house with heavy bass and electro while still keeping a groovy vibe. The groovy beats of “Bumps” are elevated by a '60s-sounding hallucinogenic tone that are punctuated with seemingly random samples. The video for for the song is a trip in itself, perfectly illustrating the journey. With the overabundance of future/deep house tracks, it is refreshing to hear Codes creating a unique vibe.
Watermat - Fade - [SPINNIN DEEP]
With the penchant for covers that Spinnin has demonstrated over the past year, on first glance I was fearful that the creative Frenchman Watermat had covered Kanye West. Luckily, he dug much deeper and found an obscure deep experimental record, “Again,” by Georgian producer Stimmhalt. The track is progressive and challenging, yet warm. There are elements of deep grooves contrasted with glitchy electronic noises that seem off on first listen but begin to blend into the mood as they develop. Oddly enough, the song sounds more like what a collaboration of Watermat and Tai would be than “Frequency” did. While “Fade” may not become a massive club smash, it shows how truly creative Watermat is.
Peking Duk ft Elliphant - Stranger - [SONY]
This is one of those songs that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, waiting for a remix to make it more club-friendly. “Stranger” was a buzz record during The Amsterdam Dance Event, with everyone talking about the inspired pairing of Aussie pranksters Peking Duk (“High”/“Take Me Over”) and Swedish ragga singer/songwriter Elliphant. Somehow working together, they’ve put a fresh spin on trop pop by making it more ethereal and trippy. (Should we call this trippy trop pop?) When Elliphant sings “I’m never gonna sleep alone,” there’s an emotional connection so often missing from pop music. Since we don’t have a club mix (aside from a few bounce bootlegs), check out the insanely creative music video about two dogs in love who go on a drug-induced journey together thanks to some chemically enhanced water spilled on the ground.
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