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Caribou, “Can’t Do Without You (Manila Killa & Kidswaste Cover)”

Posted on August 31 2015 by Zach
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Can’t Do Without You” is a slow burner of a track that mounts into a euphoric exploration of emotion, youth, and beauty. It’s a palatial soundscape which folds and flows endlessly to the very nerve endings in our toes, fingertips, and the hairs on the nape of our necks. Caribou, upon its release, redefined his career as an IDM staple with the track becoming one of the dark horses of the 2015 Ibiza and festival season (especially after the release of the Mano le Tough and Tale of Us remix). These are mighty large shoes to fill. Ones that require craftiness, an urge to experiment, and an apparent love of the source material.

With Manila Killa, the track becomes a spectral, plush, ghostly floatation device: constantly lifting, warming, and pushing beyond the stars into the night sky. If there was a genre called “stargaze house,” this would be it. Borrowing elements of future bass, specifically the combination of kicks and snares, it would be unfair to call this version of Caribou’s classic a straightforward remix; it’s a cover that features new vocals from French musician Kidswaste as well as an entirely new musical structure aside from the main chord progression. The real star of the show is the use of ambience built from the use of pads, warm piano, and a symphony of strings so ornate they border on sinful. The ethereal, enveloping textures tie the song together like a pair of loved, worn in sneakers. There’s something about the track that just feels like home.

This is what it’s like to kiss in the rain. This is what it’s like to fall in love. This is what it’s like to look back at fond memories. Manila Killa knows feels – and we expect you to have them when you listen to this rework.

Baskerville – Times

Posted on August 28 2015 by Chris Kennedy

A little late on this one, but it deserves a post nonetheless. Dutch producer Baskerville released this bomb on MTA last month and has been gaining support from people such as Pete Tong, Tensnake, and The Magician, to name a few. It starts out as what seems to be an indie track, going half-time with some echoing anthemic vocals. Then Baskerville flips a switch as the breaks slowly enter and the acid (synth) kicks in. It eventually develops into an epic jackin’ style house track, similar to that of Boys Noize‘s productions. It may be classified as electro house, but it definitely can have its place in all sorts of situations. Get it while it’s hot!

Blisspop Daily News, 8/27/2015

Posted on August 27 2015 by Patrick Blinkhorn
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This is your dose of Blisspop Daily News for today, Thursday, August 27, 2015.

1. Jamie xx scored a ballet and it’s coming Stateside. The ballet, Tree of Codes, was inspired by a Jonathan Safran Foer novel. Incidentally, Jonathan Safran Foer was born in DC and went to the same high school that Yung Lotion and I went to, Georgetown Day School.

2. We Are Your Friends is out tomorrow – yay! Here’s a piece we wrote about it earlier this year. And here’s a review of the film by The Guardian. This is my favorite line from The Guardian’s review:

“The finale in which we supposedly reach the solution to this deeply uninteresting aesthetic crisis is so phoney, so facile and so cortex-clobberingly stupid that it will inspire audiences everywhere to reach into the screen, pull the plug on sensitive Zac’s speakers and pour his Pellegrino over his head.”

3. The German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk have a Blu-ray release of their 3D shows (the shows are done with surround sound + 3D imagery in synchronization with the music) in the works. Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter also said they are making progress on their ninth album.

4. DJ Snake’s new remix of Calvin Harris’ “How Deep is Your Love” is a flop. At least that how Miguel Tost at Your EDM feels. We’ll let you decide for yourself – skip to 43:30 to hear DJ Snake’s take on Calvin Harris’ hit:

5. SoundCloud’s user18081971, better known as Aphex Twin, uploaded nine new tracks to his page in the past 24 hours. Check out these modular gems here.


The Spotlight: Walker & Royce

Posted on August 26 2015 by Patrick Blinkhorn
Walker & Royce

This is ‘The Spotlight.’ Many artists pass through D.C. on a weekly basis, but this column highlights one specific artist/group who happens to be playing in the district during the week. That way, you may join their journey in influencing the house music landscape.

For four years now, Brooklyn based artists Sam Walker and Gavin Royce have been producing and DJing their emotive, subdued, and groove-heavy deep house as part of their Walker & Royce project. With global hits such as “Sister” and “Connected,” they have demonstrated their prowess in the studio. As DJs, Walker & Royce are equally capable – in addition to DJing shows across the US, they have played clubs in London, Berlin, and Brazil among other places. On Friday (August 28), Walker & Royce are returning to U Street Music Hall in Washington, DC to play alongside Maxxi Soundsystem, Jus Nowhere, and Jackson Ryland.

We had the opportunity to interview Sam and Gavin before their show on Friday. Below you will find the transcript of the interview along with selections of Walker & Royce’s music.

PB: I understand that Gavin is originally from the DMV – where in the area are you from? And you’ve both played Uhall before, correct? Where are you originally from, Sam? You met through your work with Nurvous Records in New York – what were you both doing with Nurvous at the time? Do you still have any relationship with the label?

Sam: I’m originally from the middle of NJ! I’ve actually known Gavin way before Nervous, from when I was coming in to help throw loft parties in Williamsburg. Later on we more or less reconnected at Nervous, where he was establishing the sublabel “Nurvous” and was just doing back office work. As time went on I began doing mastering and other audio work there and then we started putting songs out on the label.

Gavin: I grew up mostly in Vienna, Va! We are still on good terms with Nervous but don’t have any releases planned with them anytime soon. And we have played U St a few times, it is one of our favorite rooms to play in the world!!

PB: In a previous interview, you said that you reject formulaic music and want to carve out a new niche. What motivates you to carve out your own niche? Has this been difficult in any way? What makes the Cityfox / Mind Against sound an impenetrable sphere?

Sam: Well being original, or at least unique, is the only way I’d be satisfied with what we do. Not sure how to answer the second part of this question … Cityfox doesn’t only book artists that sound like Mind Against but … yeah thus far they definitely lean in that direction… but the reason is that they’re curating their parties to be techno/progressive rather than house! It’s a different vibe.

Gavin: I think we just want to have our own sound and make a difference, I think it has hurt us in the short term but hopefully it will be what defines us later, we will have to see. As for Cityfox, I don’t think its impenetrable at all. What they have created in Brooklyn is amazing, it just doesn’t fit our sound and we aren’t going to change what we do to fit in with it. I think that they were used more as an example of what is going on in NYC that is really dope.

PB: You’ve had at least two worldwide hits – “Sister” and “Connected.” Was it surreal to be thrown into the limelight with the success of these tracks or did you expect those two tracks to become popular? Also, what’s the deal with the video footage of bodybuilders in the “Connected” YouTube video? Do you have any idea why the label chose that footage?

Sam: Connected we really had very low expectations with, and didn’t take off until 6 months after it was released. Sister we knew we had something good. Re: the Connected video- are you saying you don’t see the relevance of documentary footage of body builders from the late 1970s to our 2012 deep house track “Connected”???? For shame!!

Gavin: The label used that sort of footage for all their videos during that time, they thought it was a funny thing to do and it was! As for being in the limelight, its really cool to have something you create get attention like that. It feels like a mission has been accomplished, but it also makes expectations of you grow and with that comes more pressure.

PB: Sam, you said in an interview that you studied music at Rutgers. How much do you think studying music at college shaped your musicality? Do you use what you learned in music theory courses in your productions with Gavin?

Sam: Probably not as much as one would think. Learning production and learning an instrument are wildly different and use totally different skill sets. I don’t refer back to music theory for anything we do.

PB: Gavin, in that same interview, you said that you were obsessed with dance music as a child. What music do you listen to casually? This question goes for you too, Sam. I ask because a lot of DJ/Producers I’ve spoken with told me that while they primarily produce/DJ dance music, they find themselves listening to and finding inspiration from other genres of music.

Sam: These days I literally have almost zero time to listen to anything else other than what I write or other dance music. If I need inspiration I can dip into a SoundCloud feed and listen to a snippet of something else and get an idea from it. I don’t listen to the whole thing. Casually I listen to nothing, lol. I think it would be nice to be able to do that but I don’t have the time.

Gavin: I was obsessed at a very young age with Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Prince. I am not being “cool”, I really had their albums on vinyl before I had a cassette player. I was also really into break dancing and hip hop, or at least I thought I was. I still to this day listen to a lot of 80′s R&B and Disco, artists like Hall & Oates, Alexander East, The Time…. all stuff I listen to when I am not listening to House, which is most of the time.

PB: Who/what would you consider your greatest influences? Besides music, are there any works of art (books, paintings, movies, etc) or people who have influenced you? What’s the most moving piece of music you have ever heard? What about it moved you?

Sam: Non-musically I draw inspiration from fashion and design, nothing in particular though. But when I see something that really affects me it definitely spurs on a certain sense in me to create, like, a creative freedom is prodded. The most moving piece of music for me would probably be Tchaikovsky 6.

Gavin: I am influenced by all sorts of things, it just has to be something that hits me. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe. It could be a movie or a certain artist or a piece of music. For example Purple Rain by Prince is the first song that I can remember that moved me. It had a lot do with the movie. I was only 6-7 but that song was the first song that I tried to truly understand…

PB: Besides the time that Sam got really drunk and/or roofied at Rebel Rave, are there any other experiences performing that stand out for you?

Gavin: Fabric!!!! and also the few festivals that we played in the UK over the summer, the Brits know how to do festivals!

PB: If you could see any two artists either play a back-to-back set or produce a track together, who would you pick and why?

Sam: Harold Faltermeyer from 1984 with Todd Terje now, I want to hear that collab!!!

Gavin: I want to hear a DJ set from Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis!

PB: Thank you for your time. We look forward to hearing your set on Friday at Uhall!


The Blinkhorn Batch #1

Posted on August 25 2015 by Patrick Blinkhorn
The Blinkhorn Batch #1

The Blinkhorn Batch is a deliberate and meticulous selection of new dark, deep, and occasionally sinister sounds followed by a classic production of the same style. This ongoing series of posts is curated by Blisspop author Patrick Blinkhorn. 

Hunter/Game’s rolling bass driven remix of Weval’s “Gimme Some” sets the stage for this post. Italian producers Hunter/Game add elements in a deliberate manner over the course of the remix. The result: an appropriate edition to the Kompakt Total 15 release that is perfect for building tension on the dance floor.

Bremen, Germany based artist Stephan Bodzin gave us his take on fellow German producer Marc Romboy’s track, “Hypernova.” Bodzin’s remix is full of dark timbres and builds in intensity as the track progresses. The track is out on Systematic Recordings on 8/28/15.

Next up is the Tallmen 785′s new Stead Fast EP on the elusive label, Rhythm Nation Records. Kansas born but now Berlin based, Tallmen 785 has more than twenty years of musical training. His productions are essentially techno, but they have a distinct Tallmen 785 flair to them. All four tracks on this EP are well done and one (“Frog Maschine”) was premiered on Boiler Room’s SoundCloud, but my favorite of the bunch is the earth shaking “Stead Fast Drum Machine.”

Swiss producer Bastian Bux gave us some deep house fire with “Tempus Fugit (Original Mix)” on Suara. The synths along with the melodic and rhythmic statements in this track will drive fans of the Cityfox / Adriatique / Tale of Us sound to dance.

Closing out the “fresh” section of this first edition of The Blinkhorn Batch, Brazilian artist Alex Justino gives us his take on deep take on Radiohead’s “Everything In It’s Right Place.” Justino uses vocal effects and synth design to a spectacular effect in what he is calling a Re-edit of the original.

Hold on to your seats, because this classic is a doozy. Max Cooper’s Remix of Pig & Dan’s “Tears of a Clown” is one of my all time favorite remixes. The track in its entirety is over ten minutes long, but Cooper still manages to captivate the listener’s attention for the duration. Perhaps the most impressive feat Cooper pulls off in this remix is the restraint he shows in the track structure. Cooper designed a face-melting bass synth and he uses a captivating distorted electric guitar sample, but he somehow manages to wait three and a half minutes to bring the bass in and then five and a half minutes to bring the electric guitar in. Cooper’s purposeful track design gives the listener an exquisite aural experience. Here’s a clip of the original remix, but I highly recommend you stream or purchase the remix via another medium for the full effect: