There’s nothing quite like the sound of heavy hitting, delicately melodic synth. The Brighton duo, Mao Ra Sun, kills the production on this track, colliding a whirlwind of bright beats and darkwave sounds. Teaming up with neo-pop goddess Marin, Mao Ra Sun mixes shoegazey r&b with lush soul vibes and drenches the song with a dreamy dose of melancholic melodies. Marin provides the most beautifully sultry vocals to top this percussion driven track. Since her “Day 42″ single dropped, I’ve been waiting to see what she’ll do with the limitlessness of her vocals and she does not disappoint on “Miscommunication”.
Listen to Mao Ra Sun’s “Miscommunication”.
Human Movement, the house duo out of Sydney, Australia just released a new original titled “Stranger” yesterday. These guys have a knack for having bass lines in their tracks that flow and sound so good and they showcase that in their most recent release. They also utilized some pitched down vocals and a synth that gives this house track some techno flavor. If you like this then you should check out the remix they put out last week: Sweetland – Solanum (Human Movement Remix)
This is ‘The Spotlight.’ Many artists pass through D.C. on a weekly basis, but this column highlights one specific artist who happens to be playing in the district during the week. That way, you may join their journey in influencing the house music landscape.
Moombahton is partially responsible for the resurgent, diverse dance music community we see today in Washington, D.C. and no act can lay stake to that claim as much as Nadastrom. The duo, comprised of DJs Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom, has been on the forefront of the scene since its inception: at a party in 2009, Nada made the career defining choice to blend house and club tracks with dancehall. And while he wasn’t the first artist to manipulate club music with Latin and reggaeton influences, it didn’t take long for the mash of genres to spread throughout the underground community in Washington. Fast forward to 2015, Nadastrom is easily one of the biggest electronic acts to arise out of D.C. having played all over the world including dates at Electric Daisy Carnival, Fabric, and Electric Zoo as well as featured spots by the reigning Queen of BBC Radio One, Annie Mac.
The group, along with frequent collaborator Sabo, is also a driving force behind the Moombahton Massive parties thrown regularly at D.C.’s crown jewel of the underground dance movement, U Street Music Hall. These parties, which have also lead to the group’s involvement in curating stages for HARD, are notable for bringing in some of the hottest talent from all over the world – such as Toddla T and Munchi – as well as consistently being on the cutting edge of the subgenre often employing unique visuals and killer audio to complement the freshest sounds in the movement. These parties continue to sell out venues worldwide as well further proving that Nadastrom’s imprint on tropical bass is becoming deeper as time rolls forward.
But while they’re presence moombahton is still incredibly strong, their 2015 self-titled release on Friends of Friends sang a very different tune as it featuring soundscapes and character from a wholly different sonic catalog; an album which saw the duo experiment with what was already considered, by them, as an act of experimentation. This shift in direction marked a breakthrough for the group, and moombahton, as it allowed for a new ebb and flow showcasing a welcome branching out that connected the subgenre to many of the other molds featured in the canon of house music. In regards to their self-titled LP, Nada described it as a project where he and Nordstrom wanted “people to get lost in the tunes.”
Nadastrom’s mentality and overall approach as a group towards music has always been one about inclusivity and allowing the positive energy in a room to grow to its furthest, and most instinctual, potential; they have always seemed to find that balance between going full-on rager and blissed out commune which is not only a testament to their talent as tastemakers, but also as individuals who understand music is an experience which requires feeling. And as they begin to tread new ground as their sound evolves alongside the very subgenre they helped christen, the only thing we have left to say is, “Rock on.”
We slept on this for a while, but it keeps creeping back up on us. Our good friend Brennan Bryarly, better known as Colorado’s option4, put together a phenomenal track with underground tastemakers TNERTLE that bumps, breaks, and rattles the dancefloor. The track, “All On the Floor,” makes fantastic use of a vocal sample that has a gritty, G-house swagger reminiscent of what artists like Hannah Wants and Preditah have been cooking up recently while containing a crucial, expert level balance through the use of horns, a stellar sub bass, and a pitter-pattering percussion combo that adds a funky Latin beat vibe.
The best part of the track, however, is it was produced with giving back in mind: for every download, a donation will be made to Cadence & Cause which will provide clean drinking water to those in need. Bryarly, who is easily one of the house game’s biggest team players, believes that music should be used to connect each other and improve the lives of those around us and by putting out this track, he’s making an effort to give resources to those less fortunate. A killer track for a killer cause.
Stream “All On the Floor” below and visit Cadence & Cause for more details.
The vocal snippet by Simian is possibly one of the most – if not the most – recognizable sample in electronic music. “We are your friends / You’ll never be alone again.” It’s the kind of message that unites fans of dance music regardless of their race, creed, or social make-up. And while many of us still subscribe to the ideology that makes that lyric so compelling, mainstream culture has bastardized the purity of dance music so much over the past 5 years that it now resembles a husk of what it once was; now it’s some kind of deranged art form built around making the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time in the fear #EDM is some kind of fad about to get kicked to the ground.
Warner Bros. and Studio Canal are now in the boat trying to capitalize on the #EDM machine.
The film, We Are Your Friends, stars Zac Efron, Wes Bentley (that guy who always plays the creepy supporting character), and The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal and presents #EDM in a manner which tries to imitate the purity and simple rush that many of us experienced the first time we were exposed to dance music. Efron plays the male lead, a kid with high hopes of becoming a renowned DJ who gets to go from 125 BPM to 128 BPM all over the world. Along with his buddies, a ragtag group of party promoters, he navigates through California’s electronic music community to follow his dream of making it big, meeting a various array of characters who will serve as bumps in the road ahead of him.
And seeing as it’s a big budget, Hollywoodized version of the struggles DJs go through, he’s more than likely going to rise above it all: just as the hero would in any other underdog story.
The trailer presents a pretty picture for sure: parties, a thumping soundtrack, and tongue-in-cheek sensibility litters the preview like wristbands on the ground at Coachella. However, while the trailer makes the movie out as seeming to try and understand the ethical code of DJs - including a Hallelujah inducing, snarky clip where a female partygoer requests a song which the DJ swiftly shoots down - the filmmakers seemed to have overlooked a major opportunity. The initial trailer gives the impression that much of the idiosyncrasies of dance music culture will be washed away for the sake of fine tuning the film for the basic, modern moviegoer.
In other words, while it may have unique, spot on moments throughout, the film looks like it could be in danger of dumbing down the history and cultural resonance of dance music in order to spoon feed it more easily to a specific demographic; I wouldn’t be surprised if they wind up targeting the 20-something festivalgoer versus the nerdy house fanatic. And while it’s exciting that dance music has gotten to a level which has prompted filmmakers to make a film to join the countless others about hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll, and the blues, it’s still a tad disappointing to see the struggle of becoming a renowned DJ mitigated to an underdog story (especially one that takes place within the world of the big room, major league, festival #EDM circuit).
Thankfully, the movie is directed by relative unknown director Max Joseph who, in addition to being the man behind the camera for MTV’s Catfish series, he also was the documentarian responsible for 12 Years of DFA, the incredible, introspective documentary about DFA Records from 2013. Hopefully the same regard and respect for the music is a common thread in his big screen debut as a director but, again, seeing as it’s still an initial trailer, we will have to wait and see.
That said: reading a room can be extremely difficult and if Zac Efron can do that as easily as his character can in this movie, kudos to him.
Watch the first trailer for We Are Your Friends below. The film due for release on August 28.