Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great techno, electro, trance, house, progressive and indie dance tracks.
Martin Solveig ft Ina Wroldsen - Places - [Virgin/EMI]
“We Stand Up” was one of my biggest records this summer, so I got truly excited to see that the singer Ina Wroldsen was teaming up with Martin Solveig. “Places” is one of the most obsessively codependent songs of all time. To totally dissociate yourself in the absence of a loved one takes things to a whole new level. Allowing these special “Places” to help one find their way is just a new way of medicating without a prescription. These kind of deep messages sound more like a Dragonette song, which makes sense because Mr. Solveig has that uncanny knack of contrasting intense lyrics with quirky production. Surprisingly, the track shuns the quirky electro gyrations of previous tracks “Do It Right” and “+1” for a subtle house groove. We can be sure that there will be a sick remix package forth coming that takes the vocals all over the map.
Danny Dove - Everybody - [PORNOSTAR]
Speaking of Martin Solveig, one of his earliest tracks, “Everybody,” has been making the rounds thanks to a rework by British house producer Danny Dove. The lyrics, which seemed nonsensical back in 2005, make a perfect satire of the groupthink that we have been brainwashed to be part of. Danny keeps elements of the original rock production while adding a horn rhythm as the punctuation for this groovy house track. With the overwhelming plethora of cover songs floating around at the moment, it is refreshing to hear one that is so unexpected and relevant. After purchasing this new version, do take a moment and watch their original video. It’s all about the lady going wild with the lipstick in the elevator.
Plastik Funk ft Katt Rose - Sunrise - [TRICE]
When we interviewed the Plastik Funk duo recently, they mentioned how much they’ve enjoyed going back to their deeper house roots. Listening to their music over the past year, you can clearly hear the transition. “Sunrise” is disco-infused house with gorgeous strings and keyboards supporting a delicious melody. If you'd have told me that this was produced by Nile Rodgers, I would have believed you. It sounds lush and very well-produced with a truly vibrant sound, like it was done in the same session as the brilliant “Good For Me” by Giorgio Moroder and Karen Harding. The only thing that could make “Sunrise” better is a fully fleshed-out verse/chorus/verse topline. Katt Rose has the classic pipes for it and it's a shame that she isn’t being utilized to her full potential. As a club track, this is top calibre. It’s just one small step from a mainstream pop hit.
TheFatRat - Jackpot - [MELOFAKTUR]
Remember bit pop and chiptunes - electronic music based on sounds from 8-bit computers? Gaming Music is the logical extension, incorporating video game sounds in fully fleshed-out electronic music productions. Leading the charge is Alan Walker (“Faded”) and TheFatRat. If there is such a thing as a transporting gamer, then “Jackpot” is the perfect title for this song. Every element, synth, and rhythm sounds so familiar- but you just can’t place where it is from. Such evil torture is contained in this delightfully giddy electronic pop confection. Considering how quickly the Nintendo game systems sold out on Black Friday, we should expect to see a lot more Gaming Music on the horizon. Hmm, I wonder if Sia is working on a track?
Tai ft Hanna Iser - Paradise - [ARMADA DEEP]
On first listen, “Paradise” doesn’t sound like a Tai record. It’s a soft and summery track with a tropical groove and a bit of a classic house in the mix. It is when you focus on the details that you hear what makes it special. Tribal elements and steel drums in the melody, along with a ragga chant and some unique vocal effects, make the track stand out from other offerings in this genre. Although it is a mix of classic house and tropical sounds, there is more than enough energy to make “Paradise” perfect for a primetime set.
Rene Amesz & Ferreck Dawn - Rosie [SPINNIN DEEP]
If “Rosie” sounds familiar, it’s probably because David Guetta/Nicki Minaj/Afrojack/Bebe Rexha sampled the hook from the Alan Lomax original for “Hey Mama.” This new version by Rene Amesz and Ferreck Dawn is more of a sample track, using a few lines of lyrics repeated over a funky house groove. It works quite well, and of course will sound great in any club set, but you just have to ponder, should we really be dancing to remixes of “chain gang” songs? Something just doesn’t feel right, and this could easily be called co-optation. It’s the same kind of strange feeling you might get dancing to Bakermat’s “Teach Me,” that sampled the spiritual song from Shirley Caesar.
Betsy - Wanted More - [WARNER BROS]
To say that I am obsessed with Betsy is an understatement. She sounds like the offspring of Gwen Stefani and Kristine W singing torch songs over the best productions by Massive Attack. The instrumentation is so gorgeous and expansive that her husky deep voice sounds almost angelic as she sings lyrics that Adele could have written. While the RMS mix of her last song “Lost & Found” was quite good, it is the Steve Smart remix of “Wanted More” that will get her major attention in the commercial clubs. There is something about the way the drum fills carry the melody that leads to the ultimate hands in the air explosion. It is just so pleasantly camp that you can’t help but love it.
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