Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great drum & bass, trop, electro, house, progressive, chill and vocal dance tracks.
Spaces - Day Dream [DIM MAK]
Is it possible to be mellow and aggressive at the same time? Aussie producer Spaces blends ethereal ambient and future bass with melodic trap for his unique composition “Day Dream.” If that isn’t enough discordant sounds, there are also vocal effects, telephone rings, and rhythmic stabs that create a frenetic yet oddly soothing energy. “Day Dream” sounds like nothing else out there and since it’s available as a free download, you should click on the Soundcloud link right now.
Mixhell & Joe Goddard ft Mutado Pintado - Crocodile Boots (Soulwax Remix) - [DELAYED]
When creative people come together, magic can happen. “Crocodile Boots” is the glorious result of a jam session with Hot Chip member Joe Goddard, leftfield vocalist Mutado Pintado, and Brasilian duo Mixhell. Starting off with the beats of Nine Inch Nails “Closer” and a '90s synth, the song’s lyrics are a treatise on individuality and finding one’s way after years of struggle. The female vocals interspersed throughout add to the hallucinogenic and intoxicating grooves. While the musicians haven’t been together since the song's creation, Mixhell and Soulwax will be touring this spring with a live band. Based on “Crocodile Booth,” let’s hope they leave some time in their sets for jamming and impromptu creativity.
Barclay Crenshaw ft Lady Chann - The Real X Files - [STX and BRX]
Those hoping for an EDM track about Dana Scully and Fox Mulder might be disappointed. Anyone looking for a mix of fresh sounds will be adding “The Real X Files” to their playlist. Mixing old school drum & bass and the de rigeur sound of future bass is quite fresh. Adding the fiesty vocals of reggae/dancehall singer Lady Chann just takes it way over the top. The futuristic dystopian imagery of the video might be a nod to the TV show, but the focus is clearly on the vibrant performance of Miss Chann. Speaking of vibrant performances, Barclay Crenshaw (aka Dirty Bird founder Claude Von Stroke) will be touring with Low End Theory throughout February.
Seven Lions & Jason Ross ft Paul Meany - Higher Love - [ANJUNABEATS]
Two EDM producers collaborating over eMail and adding a male rock vocalist sounds so typical that it comes off as basic. Though when you hear “Higher Love,” you will realize that when the producers are the visionary Seven Lions and rising trancer Jason Ross, magic can possibly come from that formula. Yes, “Higher Love” does contain familiar elements that we’ve heard a million times - the pretty, progressive pop slow intro, the stabbing keyboard for the build, the double beat drop - but the way they are elevated with pristine production as well as quality lyrics and exceptional vocal delivery by Mutemath singer Paul Meany just takes the song to a whole new level. The Anjuna crew have a real corker here that will sound as great on the radio as it does in the club. Don’t worry, The Journey tour may be over for now, but Seven Lions continues to bring his insane live DJ sets to cities around the world.
Ruben de Ronde - Time Has Come - [Armada]
Trance producer Ruben de Ronde has released a new single each of the past four weeks. The titles tell a story in themselves - “Open Wide,” “All About You,” “All In,” and now “Time Has Come,” which is obviously referring to the release of his long-awaited ‘My Story’ album. Listening to samples of the remaining 8 tracks on Beatport, we can safely say that based on the first four that the album will be one of the highlights of 2017. Focusing only on “Time Has Come,” let’s just say that the lyrics are so uplifting and positive that the song would fit just as well on Radio Disney as it does peak time at a festival. The poppy, progressive production is perfectly executed with every pretty pluck precisely in place. (Yeah, that alliteration was intentional.) I can honestly say that after the number of times I’ve played Ruben’s new songs over the past month, I am planning to buy the rest of the album as soon as it is available. Seriously, how can you resist all the cute cartoon graphics?
Schwarz - Home - [SPINNIN]
Clubland is the place to escape the problems of the world to have a good time and let it all out on the dance floor. The last thing I would want to do is bring an overly political spin to club music (even though the history of dance music is intrinsically tied to the political), but if you are unhappy with the US political climate, listen closely to the lyrics of “Home” and use them as inspiration. “As long as we stick together, there’s a place to call home.” The lyrics are about belonging and finding your tribe. That’s the story of clubland and that’s what we need to do as a planet. Not quite what you would expect from a new track on Spinnin, but watch the video, based on the documentary “Meanwhile in Mamelodi” and it will all make sense.
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