As trap comes into its own, its trajectory is in some ways mirroring that of tech house. Given the genre’s relatively straightforward core ingredients, trap tracks are proliferating rapidly as more and more producers hop aboard the burgeoning bass-heavy bandwagon. In an increasingly cluttered sea of copy-cat tracks, it takes innovative sounds and memorable sampling to rise to the top.
Brooklyn-based producer Dat Beat has achieved both of these aims on his latest original offering “Meet Me in the Trap.” While wisely incorporating a prominent Yung Joc vocal sample, Dat Beat eschews the genre’s more overplayed elements, opting for church bells over air horns and modular bleeps over squealing saw waves. By avoiding unnecessary inclusions, he’s given himself the luxury of focusing on the well-executed vocal variations that carry the track. Dat Beat saw fit to release the track as a free download through Kathaus Records, so meet him in the trap at the link below.
It’s no industry secret that the addition of anthemic vocals can propel a dance track from appreciated instrumental to crossover commercial bomb (see “Fade into Darkness” and “Calling (Lose My Mind)”). Michael Woods’s latest offering ”Platinum Chains” certainly qualifies as the former, and Starkillers & Dmitry KO have arrived with a soaring edit to try and achieve the latter.
By infusing Woods’ already dynamic production with Amba Shepherd’s lovely vocals from their own “Let the Love” release, the duo have successfully married two musical concepts in a decidedly Kaskade-like fashion. As a thank you token to the fans who supported them in Miami this year, Starkillers & Dmitry KO are making the custom edit available for download on the latter’s Soundcloud page below.
Free Download: Soundcloud
Bowling may seem an odd choice for an extra-curricular WMC outing given Miami’s reputation for glamour and hedonism, but not so for the lovable mess of misfits at San Francisco’s tech funk label Dirtybird. A sacrosanct safe haven for eclectic personalities and sounds, the label is known for being just as forward-thinking as it is, well, fun. On WMC Wednesday, a local Lucky Strike became ground zero for the label artists and lucky attendees aboard the MOX Bus, which featured such daily “takeovers” by various labels throughout the week.
If musical terrorists existed, Grand Central would have been swarming with Secret Service agents last Thursday.
It’s not often that the bosses of arguably the three most forward-thinking dance music labels on the planet convene under one roof. With surprise special guest Boys Noize joining an already loaded lineup of Bromance buddies Brodinski and Gesaffelstein and Dirtybird owners Claude VonStroke and Justin Martin, Hard Miami’s second night was akin to a diplomatic summit between techno, electro and tech funk pioneers. At least throw Kavinsky in a bomb shelter or something so dance music can soldier on in case of catastrophe.
While Oliver and Destructo did a fine job warming up the room before a surprise disco-house set from Skream, the energy understandably escalated as Brodinski took the stage against a flickering blue LED backdrop. The Bromance label head really has a way of moving with his music, twisting his frame and gyrating with each audible effect. With quick cuts to filtered-up fake-outs, the artist thrilled the sellout crowd with his unpredictable energy. On his deliciously dark single “Let the Beat Control Your Body,” Brodinski delighted the audience by looping the vocals of Louisahhh!!! and pitch-shifting them down and up, building slowly into a shrill wall of sound before letting the twisted synth drop take over. His set careened through a staggering number of tracks, including label-mate Jacques Lu Cont’s electro-laden “In the Night,” before the ambulance siren and raspy whisper of “Nobody Rules the Streets” announced its end.
As dance music enters a new era of global prominence, its first magazine pin-up seems well situated in his elder statesman role.
There’s not much that hasn’t already been written about Sasha and the enduring impact he has had on the scene. In headier days with partner John Digweed, the Welsh DJ/producer pioneer paved the road to dance superstardom with his iconic albums and marathon extended sets, conquering America during its first rave wave in the process. The blueprint he helped establish remains revered and replicated by a new crop of artists who are far too young to remember the rise of Renaissance Records. (more…)
With an upcoming collaboration with Swanky Tunes on the Spinnin Records books, one could hardly fault Toronto duo DVBBS for easing up a bit in the lead-up to Miami Music Week. But that’s not the Canadian way! With Ontario overachievers like deadmau5 and Richie Hawtin to live up to, DVBBS has teamed up with LOVEHAUS to remix a laid-back Cider Sky song into a simple yet soaring big-room anthem.
With an understated approach to melodic elements and a compelling pre-drop vocal (“Every color in the world is in your eyes”), this remix was clearly calculated to do Kaskade-like things to female hearts. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and the producers ought to be commended on their effective use of a relatively minimal number of elements in an oft over-cluttered genre. The stripped down ending gets a bit weepy for my tastes, but any DJ worth listening to would have already mixed out by then anyway. DVBBS were generous enough to give this one away free, so pick up a copy on their Facebook page.
Free Download: Facebook
Ahh March. That lovely time of the year when all eyes are on Miami, and all ears are deluged by a veritable tidal wave of strategically timed compilations. With all the sonic selections floating around, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaffe. Luckily, there are some labels one can always count on.
Boys Noize Records showcases some of the most exciting and innovative talent that the electro house genre has to offer, and its Winter Music Conference compilation is no slouch in representing it. Its 2013 installment ranges from groovy helpings of electro funk from such usual suspects as Bart B More to grittier growlers like Etnik’s crushing “Celsius.” Given the idiosyncratic brilliance of its owner, it’s no surprise that the label includes some some wonderfully weird tunes as well, from the modulated throbbing pulses of Housemeister’s “Discoknutschen” to the ambient schizophrenia of BS1′s “Mists of Time.”
Dutch tech house outfit Redondo seem to have multi-tasking down to an art form. In addition to running one of the groovier underground tech house labels Witty Tunes, the duo’s recent collaborative Tattoo Girl EP with Ferreck Dawn shot up the genre’s Beatport charts, with its title track peaking at #9.
Their latest EP offering on Younan Music builds on that momentum with three tightly coiled tech house tunes aimed at moving primetime dance-floors. Title track “The Flow Must Go On” sets the tone with its prominent groove and patiently introduces elements through winding breakdowns and smooth builds. ”Walk the Talk” is a no-nonsense, bass-driven bumper with a hint of tribal flavor in its prominent percussion. Redondo closes out the EP in a decidedly classy fashion; layering an understated humming lead beneath crisp snares and throbbing pads. Quality tech house tracks strike a delicate balance between repetition and variation, a mature middle ground that Redondo can clearly call home.
French electronic mainstay Alan Braxe is no stranger to melodic success. After emerging as one of the architects of Stardust’s seminal 1998 hit “Music Sounds Better With You” alongside Daft Punk‘s Thomas Bangalter, Braxe hit the remix circuit hard in the following decade, lending his emotive touch to tracks by artists as varied as Björk and Britney Spears. After a handful of releases on his own eclectic Vulture Music label over the past couple years, the versatile veteran has returned with a dreamy synth-pop EP that is a clear reminder of the full range of his production prowess.
On standout track “One More Chance,” the Spimes’ deliciously off-kilter vocals flit above a ponderous beat and distant ambient swells. “Time Machine” finds Braxe collaborating with the Spimes once more. The producer layers throwback synth progressions and organic drum rhythms behind an abstract yet strangely soothing vocal line before veering off into percolating arpeggiators in advance of the final chorus. The pleasant plodding of “Voices” yields to the stuttered synth flourishes of the ethereal closer “Daydreaming” to cap off a fitting return to form. Moments in Time is a lush analog listening experience in which yesterday’s sounds take on oddly refreshing tones within intricately restrained arrangements. Music simply does sound better with Alan Braxe, so don’t miss the free download of his EP and its seven associated remixes at Scion AV.
Free Download: Scion AV
Hot Since 82 is certainly living up to his name. Before the dust had begun to settle from last week’s rework of Thomas Schumacher’s “Every Little Piece,” the Leeds-based deep house sensation gave fans a preview of his forthcoming collaboration with Noir label member Habischman. “Leave Me” sports an edgy bass-laden groove churning beneath droning deep house chords with delayed vocal meanderings. Despite its brevity, the 54-second snippet manages to establish a foreboding tone while still enticing curiosity with its lilting synth stabs and varied singers. This track boasts all the trappings of an after-hours gem — keep an ear out for its upcoming release on Moda Black.