Music for the Masses
by DJ Ron Slomowicz
A roundup of great house, electro, hardstyle, progressive, chill and vocal dance tracks.
Quintino - Carnival - [SPINNIN]
Don’t be afraid to let your freak flag fly. Starting off with a subtle half-step beat, “Carnival” quickly builds in energy to an almost hardstyle tempo before dropping into a marching band drumline playing at an insane tempo. Imagine drag queens and cheerleaders performing on crystal meth for an idea of the insanely frenetic energy. It subtly slows down and goes very dark and evil, with a freakish, devilish feel. Just as you are acclimating to the groove, the tempo speeds up again and takes you on the same journey again. Easily one of the most original tracks released in recent memory, “Carnival” is not for the faint of heart as it is more freakshow than a family circus.
Nihil Young & Wolf Story - Voice of Reason - [YOSHITOSHI]
There are so many tracks mislabelled as deep house that when one comes along which actually fits, it seems like a miracle. “Voice of Reason” is dark and sexy, with a gurgling bassline that draws you in. The hazy grooves are almost narcotic - so much so that the effected vocal is hard to follow. It floats in and out, making you feel that you are on some sort of drug trip and are lost in physical space. As the first taste of Yoshitoshi’s upcoming Deep End Miami set, “Voice of Reason” sets a high bar for what’s to come.
Monsieur Adi ft RED - Stay Up Late - [ROBBINS]
The trainspotter in me has kept this track on replay all week trying to identify every element. The midtempo electropop track is so well-produced that every synth, hook, and kick sounds familiar and possibly sampled from a major hit. One bit seems like it is pulled from Prince’s “Kiss,” while another is very reminiscent of Kelis’ “Trick Me.” It’s a perfect blend of Monsieur Adi’s brilliant “Fire Fire Fire EP” with MNEK’s pop songwriting. RED sings both a playful verse and a singalong chorus perfect for clubkids who are planning to “Stay Up Late.” Though it clocks in at 118 bpm, the energy is there for a massive club anthem, all DJs need to do is pitch it up a bit.
Gramercy - Changes (Curbi Remix) - [ARMADA]
British DJ/producer Curbi exploded on the scene last year with “Discharge,” a fun and bouncey track which defined his sound. You can always tell that Curbi is behind a track whether its a solo or collaboration, because the elements he uses are just that distinctive. Gramercy’s “Changes” is a darker song which is completely transformed when Curbi injects his happy and energetic sounds. The vocals are still the focus, but the contrast between the phrasing and the melody elevate the song to a new level. This is a really special remix which might just be the gateway for Curbi to progress from doing mainly instrumental tracks to full-on vocal-based songs.
Tensnake - Machines EP - [TRUE ROMANCE]
Tensnake tells a story more vividly in a three-song EP than many artists do in a full album. “Machines” is dark, lo-do, and almost evil, sounding like an electro soundtrack for a nihilist science fiction movie. “1975” is the first step into the light with a nod to filtered disco and a bit of the menacing haze still floating around. “All In All” is the celebration of joy, a frolicking disco house track that symbolizes the escape from the machines of evil. Each of the three tracks are strong and vital on their own, but when listened to in sequence share a narrative that we can all identify with in this modern technology-controlled world.
Moby - Go (Treasure Fingers Remix) - [FOOL’S GOLD]
Over the last year, there have been a slew of Moby remixes released. The labels Revealed and Drumcode both did EPs with various remixers reworking several of Moby’s classics, yet one song seems to get the most love - “Go.” Oliver Heldens, Hardwell, Tiger Stripes, and Loco Dice are just a few of the producers who gave it a go, literally. For the new Black Lacquer EP on Fool’s Gold, Treasure Fingers updates “Go” with a bit of modern electro and funky house but lets the Twin Peaks-y elements of the original stay in the focus. It is a bit similar to the Oliver Heldens take, just a little bit more restrained. The other mixes on the new EP are worth checking out as well: Nick Catchdubs transforms Porcelain into a soundtrack soundscape, High Classified gives Natural Blues a chilled broken beat feel, and Madeaux replaces the bluesy vibe of “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad” with angsty rock.
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