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
French house doesn’t get a lot of mainstream love these days, but it’s still my favorite flavor of house music. It’s a style that’s all about focusing on a catchy riff (either by sampling or by one’s own creation), adding effects, bending the pitch, and, most commonly, filtering the living daylights out of it (it has been described by some as “filter house,” after all), all while using a variety of looping sequences to keep the groove moving. The French house sound came into maturity at around the same time Daft Punk began to hit their stride; this was in the late ‘90s, during the “Homework” era in Daft Punk chronology. Not to mention that Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were true titans of the genre as solo artists themselves, using their own platforms (Roulé and Crydamoure, respectively) to dish out quality music with panache.
When I think Nero Essential Mix, I think “instant classic.” This Essential Mix from back in 2010 was undoubtedly the catalyst to Nero’s rising star in the UK dubstep scene and beyond. This was Nero pre-Welcome Reality. The mix starts off bass-heavy with the now hugely legendary Flux Pavilion remix of “Cracks” and their own remix of Plan B‘s “The Recluse” and moves into French electro like Alan Braxe, Kavinsky, and Thomas Bangalter. Nero sprinkle in many of their own originals and showcase basically every huge name in dubstep and DnB: Skrillex, Chase and Status, Netsky, Doctor P, Feed Me, Sub Focus, and Magnetic Man just to start. Kick start your Monday morning with this one and lap up one of the best Essential Mixes from any genre in recent years.