Thursday, 26 December 2013

Disclosure 'Latch' (DJ Premier remix)

‘Latch’ is just one of those songs which seemed to follow me out every time I left the house this year– in the car, at the shops, in the club – and now it’s just one of those tracks that I will forever associate with 2013.

Lucky for us, producers from all around the world have put their own take on the track and we can now hear it in all sorts of non-dance floor situations. Dj Premier– aka producer extraordinaire, also known as Primo / Premo / Preemo is the latest to rework Disclosure.

He has worked with all the big guys in hip-hop – Kanye, Snoop Dogg and Biggie Smalls just to name a few and so it’s no surprise that he’s added the R&B touch to this track. But he keeps it relatively minimalistic and the song begins to sound more like a serenade than a crowd dance hit.

All of which means that it does not completely overwhelm the senses. The one-handed piano melody keeps it sweet (until those rhythmic breaths come in, haven’t heard those in a while) and for those of us familiar with the original, it actually does justice to the vocals from Sam Smith. The mood sits somewhere in between the original and the acoustic version which the singer put out earlier this year.

DJ Premier’s remix joins the work of Kaytranada and others on the official album Settle: The Remixes. For a different take, check out the Frenched-up edition from Stwo & Phazz. The two said that they worked on it over Skype, and while there are different feels between verse and chorus, it works well. It’s also up for free download.

Published on PurpleSneakers.

Artists to watch in 2014: Heartbeat(s)

For all the jokes over the years in the media about Canada, there has been some very slick music coming out of the maple country in the past year. Ryan Hemsworth, Kaytranada and Azari & III have already caught our attention with their free-flowing music, innovative beats and remixes.

Now we’re looking at Heartbeat(s), aka Markus Garcia, to carry the torch of chilled electronic music from the region. This time last year he was part of the duo LOL Boys (alongside Jerome LOL), the duo have since parted ways to pursue individual solo projects.

What Garcia says that he kept from that partnership is his knowledge of Detroit and Chicago house beats. His solo work also features 80s synth pads, R&B beats and pitch-shifted vocals, which seem to elongate the length of each track. His sparse use of vocals also create a sense of timelessness, which means that you can get lost listening to a four-minute track.

Otherwise, for something more classic check out his latest remix of Francesca Belacourt’s ‘Tizzy’ – very, very smooth.

Published on Purple Sneakers.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Anna Lunoe 'Breathe' remixes

We like to claim Anna Lunoe as our own, but the fact is she’s now part of the worldwide dance network. Especially if you consider her recent signing to Fool’s Gold record label and soundtrack mixing for international fashion week shows.

Having just completed a support slot with The Weeknd, Lunoe has put her solo hat back on for ‘Breathe’ and producers both Australian and American have taken on the single for their own.

Two other Fool’s Gold signups feature on the remix set, and while Sleepy Tom chops up the original straightaway, Treasure Fingers echoes freestyle music with syncopated beats and his own keyboard melody added in. They remain strong slick dance tracks with enough irregularities to keep it interesting.

And then some of our Australian friends feature, with Danny T transforming 'Breathe' into something of a noughties house track and Wordlife using their hip-hop beats and vocals as instrumentals to create a sound eclectic and hypnotic.

If you haven't already had the chance, check out the video for the original. Directed by Cara Stricker, it flicks across futuristic basements and dark clubs, strobe lights galore, and girls in latex. You can catch Anna herself dancing in there as a hologram in braids.

Published on Purple Sneakers.

Artists to watch in 2014: Basenji

Are you into electronic music but not monotony? Prefer a happy tune to a dark one? Enjoy making faces to surprise quirks that pop up in your dance music? Chances are then that you’ll enjoy the work of Basenji – one artist we’re keeping tabs on for next year.

This young producer goes by the name of Sebastian Carlos and he comes from Sydney. It’s already a well-known fact that he’s buddies with Wave Racer and Cosmo’s Midnight (dofflin dofflin) who coincidentally also make feel-good electronic music.

Basenji only has three tracks out online but they've just been picked up by triple j, so best to get amongst it now and claim you knew of him before the hype. His latest single 'Dawn' is one Nina Las Vegas' picks for December.

His work shows us that a drop doesn't have to mean a louder version of what came before, handclaps are still cool, and that it's totally acceptable to have a sense of humour about it all (re: throwing in dog barks and dolphin squeaks.)

Basenji has already booked his first show (as a local support for XXYXX, who we actually featured as an artist to watch last year) but we can see him gracing the summer festival circuit any time now.

Published on Purple Sneakers.

Pond at the Metro Theatre

Pond has built themselves a reputation as one of Australia’s top live acts, and it’s not hard to see why, delivering a whole lot of noise on par with the depth of the album recordings.

Support band Doctopus did a good job of warming up the crowd - with plenty of electric guitar, stage banter and garage attitude. Front man Stepen Bellair threw around his messy Kiedis hair while playing guitar on his back, moving around stage and hollering at the audience: “Byron was chill but Sydney, you guys are ready to party!” By the time they played their final song ‘I don’t wanna be here anymore’ the mood in the room was getting manic.

And then Pond took to the stage. Immediately the crowd released any pent up frustration at waiting (the band was only about ten minutes late) and it evolved into one big mess. This lasted right up until the end of their performance when the setlist (a scrap of paper) was thrown into the crowd causing a rupture not unlike seagulls chasing thrown chips.

But while disruptive, everyone there was very familiar with the Pond catalogue and was singing along (even to Nick’s intermittent screams).
Nick Allbrook takes on his role as front man passionately - dancing in between vocals, walking (bravely!) right up to the barrier for ferocious grabbing by the crowd and connecting his craft entirely to the audience. While there was a whole lot of crazy going on, Allbrook remained in control.

Keeping the crowd in check meant playing a mix of popular singles, old favourites and slower tracks. The second song up was ‘Xanman’ off their latest album Hobo Rocket and showed already that the best part of seeing Pond live is when their instrumental jams are brought to the fore. Later, they played "O Dharma" and the mood hung heavy as layers of instrumentals developed into a trance.

For the encore there were about 20 people on stage, friends and crew jumping on stage to dance together, shake tambourines and create a general ruckus. Doctopus returned and Bellair took it upon himself to crowd surf before putting Allbrook - who was playing the flute - on his shoulders for a final triumphant hurrah.

Published on theAUreview. 

Fitzroy 'Noah EP'

Paris is not the first place you think of for Jazz inspired, hip hop infused electronic music but alongside it’s classic dance scene there has been a rise in producer collectives like we’ve seen in the US and Canada. Fitzroy is one such artist, as part of the Cosmonostro record label, which set up only earlier this year.

The label is big on cooperation among its artists as well as graphic designers. We love that they’re generous on the free downloads.

‘Noah’ has quietly emerged on the net, a two-track release (or petit EP on the French blogs). It’s just over four minutes – but four minutes of vintage funk and chilled out sound. Perfect to add to our summer playlist on this side of the globe.

‘Philosophy’ is a downtempo daytime lounger, where old and new worlds meet among hip-hop beats and jazz trumpet adding to the soulful feel of the music. And just when you’re sinking into the loops, there are vocal interludes playing on the title: “Don’t just sit there thinking.”

Then Fitzroy changes the feel on ‘Cabriolet’ and manages to make an R&B track which sounds even smoother than Drake. Yes – snares, a shimmering opening and scratches. Add in the rap vocals dropped in pticeh and it does start to feel like you’re driving along coastal cliffs with the top down. (Or at least having a drink at the end of the day for those of us without convertibles.)

Published on Purple Sneakers.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Purple 'The Club' (Shlohmo Remix)

When Shlohmo lays his hands on a track, he tends to bring out a rawness and melodrama that might not have existed before. ‘The Club’ was already dark and brooding, but this remix enters a sci-fi or non-human existence.

Shlohmo takes the abstract vocals from the original, distorts them even further, completely slows down the tempo and reaches a vampiric sense of evil in the process. It doesn’t sound quite like anything else out there, and we have got London-based producer Purple to thank for the eccentric production in the first place.

Already skilled at working with subtlety, he’s freaked up the percussion and if vampires aren’t your thing then think witchcraft. At least it’s attracting comments such as “majestic,” “DEEP” and “this got that salem vibe.”

And in keeping it all within the family, both artists are part of the LA-based WEDIDIT collective. When Liam Neeson said, “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you,” this is what should have been playing.

Published on Purple Sneakers.

Doldrums 'Dive Deep Pt. 1'

While we’re proud of what Australians have contributed to electronic music in 2013, we’ve also been keeping tabs on our Canadian counterparts. Doldrums (aka Airick Woodhead) can say that he shares his home city with Tiga, A-Trak, Lunice and Chromeo.

‘Dive Deep Pt. 1’ is equal parts soothing and chaotic. While Woodhead’s airy vocals and zen lyrics swirl into a trance, the rusty percussion jangles overhead and the mood unfolds into something haunting.

Doldrums also reminds me of free-flowing music from The Antlers Undersea EP, with tracks starting off with solemn melodies before plunging into a shady instrumental jam. 

All of which creates sensory overload – this is not a carefree summer track. Nevertheless, it’s pretty impressive that he mostly uses analogue equipment to create his music.

And we’re yet to know if there’s pt. 2 on the way.

Published on Purple Sneakers.