Nudisco is not dead. Indie dance is thriving. This new track by Germany’s Animus Volt is proof. “Come Around” is a bright, poppy, exuberant joyride through the island countryside with the top down and your Ray-Bans on. It’s a familiar tune which quickly supplants itself into the fiber of your soul and has you two-stepping at a moment’s notice; the best nudisco tracks take the form of an inviting friend you haven’t seen in ages, but you immediately reconnect with as if no time has passed at all. Animus Volt understands this theory cherishing the opportunity to build a comforting landscape with shimmering synths, sweeping melodies, and 80′s pop vocals.
This is hands in the air, kissing in the streets, gin and tonic by the beach music. Get your hands on it while you can.
Notorious B.I.G.’s “Goin’ Back to Cali” has been referenced, sampled, flipped, and remixed more times than the Spider-Man movies. It’s not a bad thing: Biggie, as far as East Coast hip-hop goes, is a God and his verses about lounging in the California vibes are legendary. That’s why whenever a new remix comes out from Christopher Wallace’s very familiar catalog, there’s an air of skepticism. In all honesty, despite how much we love Biggie Smalls, how many other ways can we hear his unique voice before in a new light?
Enter Chris Bushnell. An artist we’ve covered in the past, he’s a young DJ and producer whose approach is very dynamic and draws from a wide basin of ideas having influences in deep house, grime, progressive, and even harder electro styles. Needless to say, Bushnell – an artist who knows all about the sunny lifestyle – leaves a nice thumbprint on Wallace’s legacy with his recent edit “Cali.”
“Cali,” which marks his first official collaboration with Los Angeles future house producer Cory Enemy, is a high octane, fist-pumping banger that uses Biggie Smalls’ voice as a compass. Allowing the vocal hook to punctuate the beat versus just having his verses dominate the track as a whole, the remix draws more comparison to tracks like Tazer’s “Wet Dollars”; it’s not there to say, “Hey – this is Biggie Smalls. Look how *hip* we are.” The use of Christopher Wallace is delicate and sparing. This gives life to the track and lets it breathe on its own. Yes, it pays homage, but when combined the future house bass line, which is flangered and rough and grooving, and the subtle touches of piano and sax, the edit demonstrates a level of intricacy that goes beyond a simple redux designed for blog hits and Hype Machine hearts. This is a track designed to tell us there’s still new ways to pay respect to an icon like Biggie; to re-think the structure of played out genres like future house; or, quite honestly, to evaluate the quality of a banger.
Listen to Cory Enemy and Chris Bushnell’s “Cali” below.
New York City’s Junior Prom, after a short dry spell following the release of “Let’s Make a Lot of Money,” have finally announced their latest single. In a move that lines them up with alternative-synthpop groups like Miami Horror and Capital Cities, “Stand” is a summery, powerpop cruiser perfect for reminiscing about the warmer months and sitting poolside with a frozen cocktail.
A song ostensibly about being young and reckless and living in the moment (“Drink it up / Let the fever fill you like a Dixie cup”), these are themes explored and discovered and repurposed in pop music for years. It’s nothing new. The track delivers, however, with its raw, upbeat, catchy approach crafted through bouncing bass patterns, classic rhythm guitar, and lyrics that are easy to memorize and even easier to sing along to. This is where pop music makes the leap to the cool kids’ table in the cafeteria.
Listen to “Stand” by Junior Prom below.
Fucking pop music. Some of it is great, some of it not so much. Fortunately for our ears, Kids Want Techno understand the difference between ‘pop for pop’s sake’ and ‘pop that’s executed well.’
Their recent remix, while it skews more mainstream than what’s typically covered on Blisspop, isn’t one to overlook. An uplifting, progressive house take on Jessi Malay’s “Summer Love,” it looks like the DMV based tastemakers decided to look at what makes Top 40 work and used that as a backbone for their remix which feels like the best parts of Calvin Harris and the beachy guitar notes from Robin Schulz mixed with the fabulous parts of Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2015 LP Emotion. The vocals are sugary sweet and bubbly, the synth melodies are colossal, and the builds are effective giving the remix a level of sheen that elevates it above traditional Top 40 fodder. It’s cute. It’s happy. But let’s be clear – it’s not stupid.
Listen to Kids Want Techno’s remix of “Summer Love” below.
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.
Now that the colder months have struck us, it seems that many producers are hunkering down in their studios to produce quality tracks. The amount of good music that I come across on my Soundcloud stream these days has become so overwhelming, it’s almost a relief every time Soundcloud goes down and I cannot listen to new music. That said, I’m very grateful for all the top-notch music that is uploaded – please keep up the good work, artists.
I start this edition of The Blinkhorn Batch with Paul Leary’s beautiful rendition of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.” An Oswego, NY based composer and SUNY Oswego music professor, Leary is no stranger to songwriting and composition – he teaches a course on it. Leary takes Pharrell’s acapella and gives it plenty of room to breathe in a musical atmosphere filled with a piano, strings, and other instruments that will take your breath away. This remix is the perfect introduction to any DJ set or blog entry. Listen:
While deadmau5 has gained notoriety over the years for various reasons, he remains one of the most creative and talented producers around. Even before he acquired his armada of hardware synths and plugins, his skill as a sound engineer was evident. “Imaginary Friends” is a testament to deadmau5′s sound design prowess – his distinct, well crafted synth sounds are present throughout the track. After the track progresses through two pairs of builds and heavy sections, deadmau5 ends the track with what sounds like wind chimes that he put into a sampler. Listen to “Imaginary Friends” here:
Now back to our original programming: deep, dark techno. First up in this section we have the techno giants and my favorite producers at this moment, Tale of Us. Since my last post about their music, they’ve put up to new tracks: “North Star” and a remix of Kiasmos’ “Swept.” While both tracks have the distinct Tale of Us sound, “North Star” is a peak time jam and you’re likely to find the Kiasmos remix in the build of a Tale of Us DJ set. Listen to them both here:
Next up we have Daniel Avery’s new record on Phantasy. Avery went in the dark and atmospheric direction with Sensation / Clear, his first solo work since Drone Logic. Out of the two tracks on this record, our top pick is “Sensation” – listen here:
Pisa, Italy based techno duo Undercatt remixed The Temper Trap’s “Sweet Position” for Diynamic Music. The remix possesses deep house/techno qualities that made many of us fall in love with the music. Listen to Undercatt’s gorgeous rendition here:
Toronto’s Carlo Lio put out a free edit of Chicago house icon Derrick Carter’s “Where U At?” with Only The Dopest Techno. With a warehouse feeling kick and a driving bass line, the vocal sample from Carter’s track is given a new spin. Listen here:
Techno hoss Alan Fitzpatrick is no stranger to tracks that bump in the night, so we aren’t surprised by his on point rework of Mister Woo’s “Black Eyes.” Fitzpatrick keeps the energy high yet not over-the-top for the duration of the track. Check out Fitzpatrick’s Loft Rocker Rework of “Black Eyes” here:
Jens-Uwe Beyer is a Cologne based artist who has a brilliant forthcoming release on MAGAZINE, a label he co-founded with Crato. “White oversized flame yarn bolero with John Stanier” starts off with an eerie high-pitched sound reminiscent of something you would hear in an X-Files episode. When the kick comes in shortly after the 45 second mark, it’s apparent that we are dealing with some form of techno. However, Beyer introduces a snare drum during the breakdown to spice things up. Listen to Beyer’s brilliant piece here:
Venezuelan duo Fur Coat remixed Stephan Bodzin’s “Singularity” to great effect. They give Bodzin’s beautiful, ethereal techno more drive and grime. Keep an eye on both Bodzin and Fur Coat – they will continue to go places from here. Check out the Fur Coat Remix of “Singularity:”
I will close out the new track section of The Blinkhorn Batch #5 with Dusky – “Parakeet Feet (Hodge Remix).” Hodge takes the “talk to me” vocal sample from the original track and builds a techno peak-time jam. Listen here:
I know I primarily post dark, sexy techno and deep house tracks, but I used to be a trance addict. While classic trance will always have a special place in my heart, both the genre and my taste have changed substantially over the years. And I know that my taste changing from trance to techno is not unique – many trance fans have gone through a similar metamorphosis.
Before he crossed over to Club Life and the other music he DJs now, Tiësto was known as DJ Tiësto, and he was trance’s ‘it’ DJ. This week’s classic, “Lethal Industry,” was first released in 1999. “Lethal Industry” is a prime example that not all trance is unicorns and rainbows. I refer to “Lethal Industry” as dark trance. Listen to the original “Lethal Industry,” and hear for yourself why it is a classic dance music track and why I call it dark trance: