Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great electro, house, progressive, chill and vocal dance tracks.
Trobi ft Junglebae - In the Studio - [SPINNIN]
Here’s someone to watch for 2017. Signed at age 16, Trobi has crafted a sound that blends chilled vibes, trop rhythms, and mellow house beats. Before you start to think his music sounds like everything else, listen to it. There’s a freshness and a unique twist that makes it sound like a fresh voice. Teaming with Junglebae, known for last summer’s viral reggae house jam “Backwardz,” was a brilliant move. The 106 bpm track allows the female duo to slow down their flow but keep their playful rhymes and tongue-in-cheek humor in the center. With the wrong topline, the track could have come off as typical, but it's obvious that it was reworked to highlight the vocal. It’s also refreshing to hear horn samples, kick loops, and basslines that are different than what everyone has been using the past 9 months. Keep your ears on Trobi’s soundcloud, he might just be the young talent that follows the Martin Garrix trajectory.
Myrne - Altars - [MAD DECENT]
The amount of cultural co-optation in the music world is overwhelming at times. It is quite refreshing to hear traditional Asian sounds in a record and realize that it’s an Asian artist who created it. Singaporean DJ/producer Myrne is know for his dubstep and hip-hop tracks that come out on great labels like Mad Decent and Buygore. For his new tracks “Altars,” he fuses bass music and trap for a surprisingly soulful journey. Deftly weaving in stringed instruments and vocal samples gives “Altars” a unique sound and feel. Available as a free download on his Soundcloud, you should definitely go check it out.
The Black Madonna - He is the Voice I Hear - [WE STILL BELIEVE]
As I played her remix of Robyn’s “Indestructible” all summer, I wondered when The Black Madonna would be releasing a new original track. “He is the Voice I Hear” is gorgeously produced disco with classic strings carrying the melody and undeniable bassline. The string intro and the way the track progresses to Moroder-esque techno and cowbells at the end makes it feel like it is the introduction to a larger work - segueing from the beginning and gradually transporting you to a new place. The same could be said for Black Madonna’s DJ sets. Just like the way she brought together musicians with her co-producer to create such a masterpiece is a mirror to how she programs the underground and eclectic mix of talent as creative director for the legendary Smart Bar in Chicago. While it would be disrespectful to make a request to a DJ of her calibre, may I just ask that she not make us wait four years for another new original masterpiece like this one.
Mr Tophat ft Robyn - Right Time - [SMALLTOWN SUPERSOUND]
Speaking of Robyn and disco, the long-awaited Trust Me EP is due out next week. The three-song EP is a collaboration with Mr Tophat that was teased a few months ago when the title track - a lasciviously dark take on modern disco- was posted for all to enjoy. Throwing in tempo changes, interesting beat structure, and dissonant sound effects, it was disco reinterpreted in a truly underground context. “Right Time” continues the journey into reworking disco and focuses on layering many elements at once. Yes, there is a bit of clashing, but that kind of motion mirrors the effect of the tempo changes from the previous track. Robyn sounds truly inspired, going experimental with her phrasing, lyrics, tones, and vocal effects. It may not be the europop dance you might expect from Robyn, but the ‘Trust Me” EP is a unique journey of deconstructed disco that you will enjoy.
DJs from Mars & Robotronika ft Dani Galenda - Always There For You - [ETNA RECORDINGS]
In the '80s, there was this strange period when heavy metal bands would release power ballads to show their sensitive side (and get radio play) These days, the big EDM DJ/producers alternate bangers with pretty progressive pop songs for radio play. Leave it to those crazy DJs from Mars to poke fun at this trend. “Always There For You” starts off as a pretty midtempo love song and then breaks into melodic trap. The lyrics are about an obsessive love, or maybe a hardcore bond of friendship as the video shows. Two people alone in the world (we are so connected yet disconnected) find each other through a random computer app and realize they are soul mates. Realizing the camp value of two men wearing boxheads and playing mashups to screaming crowds makes you wonder if this video is really serious or just a satire of the other DJs they are on festival bills with.
Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano ft Clara Mae - The One That Got Away - [SONO]
When it’s too slow for deep house and too fast for trop pop, what are we supposed to call it? “The One That Got Away” is the new pop song from festival favorites Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano. It sounds like the next number one pop song for Selena Gomez, though Clara Mae sings it much better. The production is clean and crisp, with all the the expected tropes, effected vocals, trop beats, and that summery groove. Clocking in at 117 bpm, here’s hoping the guys go back and do an energetic version for their festival sets - maybe somewhere in the 128-130 bpm range. The song is clearly made for radio but with the right mix, I would play it in every club set I do for the next few months.
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