A roundup of great house, electro, progressive, pop and vocal dance tracks.
Wolfgang Gartner & Aero Chord - Borneo - [MONSTERCAT]
Monstercat is a label to follow for interesting artists and tracks that don’t really fit of the established genres or dominant sounds. “Borneo” is a mixture of sounds perfectly representing the many nations and people who live on the Southeast Asian islands. Elements of Tamil gaana, aboriginal chants, and West Indian soca blend with tribal, electro, and glitch for an energetic musical journey unlike any other. That these LA-based producers/DJs were able to channel such a diverse range of influences is quite impressive. It will probably be just a few days before M.I.A. calls them to sing a topline for it.
Lil Jon X Made Monster - Snap - [WHITE]
Having worked with DJs like MAKJ, Borgeous, Hardwell, and W&W, Lil Jon is no stranger to club music. Then there is also that drinking game where you take a shot every time you hear his “Put Your F*king Hands Up” chant sampled during an EDM DJ set and end up hospitalized with alcohol poisoning. What you don’t often hear are his original songs remixed. Made Monster rectify the situation by modernizing “Snap Your Fingers” with G house / future house beats. The vocals fit so well that Destructo might hit up Lil Jon for a G-house side project. Check out the free download on Soundcloud.
Clean Bandit ft Zara Larsson - Symphony - [ATLANTIC]
The moment I heard “Symphony” on Zara Larsson’s album ’So Good,’ it was love at first listen. The emotional lyrics instantly reminded me of Martin Solveig’s “Places,” and upon researching, the link was songwriter Ina Wroldsen. Sung by Swedish pop tart Zara Larsson with the gorgeous orchestral strings of Clean Bandit, the uplifting “Symphony” is pure pop and a fitting followup to “Rock a Bye.” For clubland, MK houses it up with a jacking vibe similar to his mix of Rihanna’s “Sex With Me.” For underground DJs who throw in a pop vocal remix from time to time it works, but the vocal effect on the word “Symphony” is a bit disconnected. Though not official, the remixes by Country Club Martini Crew and Amice pump up the tempo and add EDM and future house elements while keeping the vibe and original instrumentation. Just a warning, the music video goes in a completely unexpected and quite heartstirring direction.
EDX - All I Know - [SPINNIN DEEP]
Here’s another track from Miami that I’ve been searching for. What caught my attention with the way it blended a jacking house beat with a chilled groove. I couldn’t ID the song, and Spotify was no help, so all I had in my notes was “All I know is midnight.” Listening to new releases, the mystery is solved. Italian DJ EDX gives us another great track to add to our DJ sets (or playlists) that flows with his recent gems “Dharma,” “My Friend,” and “Omertà.”
Martin Garrix & Brooks - Byte - [STMPD]
Martin Garrix is becoming a master of playing the fence - alternating major pop records with storming club jams. Following up his songs “In the Name of Love” (with Bebe Rexha) and “Scared to Be Lonely” (with Dua Lipa), Martin teams up with Brooks for a club stomper. Premiered at his Ultra Music Festival set, “Byte” is a mashup track that mixes elements of electro, progressive, future house, and EDM. It sounds familiar yet refreshing, the way the different sounds meld so well together. It manages to be high energy but not overbearing, another fence that many DJs don’t seem to master. Teasing his fans with the binary code for the word “Byte” on his twitter was a nice, geeky touch as well. Here’s hoping that as soon as the chart dominance of the Ed Sheehan album starts to wane, he and Martin Garrix finally release the long awaited “Rewind Repeat it.”
Seven Lions ft Skyler Stonestreet - Freesol - [SEEKING BLUE]
While “Freesol” might not be a massive club anthem in its original form, the song is a sign of where pop music might be morphing to next. Starting with dreamy and ethereal yet wobbly rhythms, it builds to a downtempo hybrid of future and rhythmic bass. The climactic chorus could be the next iteration of trop/trap pop sounds that the Chainsmokers have been topping the charts with for the past year or so. Then when you listen to the lyrics, you realize that they are as deep and moving as the track is. Seven Lions has succeeded at creating a gorgeously epic song that is as groundbreaking and pristinely produced as it is commercial and memorable. The only question is whether Sia or Selena will be the first to sing on his next release.