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Leven Kali, “Bruce Lee (Keylow & Lean Quatifah Edit)”

Posted on August 27 2015 by Zach
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Gospel vocals are firmly rooted in house music thanks to the genres deep connective tissue to the black community. Much of the genre’s emphasis on theatricality stems from this feature and has allowed for many young producers in the game to elevate their work by finding the right vocal to instill a sense of uplifting spirituality in their work.

This is the key ingredient to Keylow and Lean Quatifah‘s edit of Leven Keli’s sensational “Bruce Lee” from earlier this year. The Proper Vibes’ residents’ edit reworks the original into a thematic, masterfully crafted orchestration of southern roots and trill electronica that reaches high and doesn’t miss any of the paces. With each subsequent departure into snare and clapped breakdowns, the collaboration puts the soul front and center; as the choir sings “You’re lifting me up / to a higher ground / You’re lifting me up / I can’t come down,” the sense of the remix’s weightlessness overwhelms and calms. It’s soothing and cajoling and goes hard.

It’s a lot like watching Bruce Lee in action.

Stream Keylow and Lean Quatifah’s edit below and hit them up for the free download.

CULTURE: Why ROAM is the Best Thing to Have Happened to DC Dance Music

Posted on August 24 2015 by Zach
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“No one man owns house because house music is a universal language / spoken and understood by all.

House is a feeling that no one can understand really / unless you’re deep into the vibe of house.”

‘My House,’ Rhythm Controll, 1987.

The above lyric is the “be all, end all.” House music, from the beginning, was about the desire to be free: free of restraint; free of societal baggage; free to be whomever you wanted to be whenever you wanted to be it. House music used to be about therapy, about shared experiences, about finding the things we have in common with those whom we’re not common with. And, at some point, dance music lost that energy.

Thanks in no small part, however, to the dedication and perseverance of some, the dance music community seems to be back on track with a newfound desire to reach deep and rediscover the roots of house music and its very nuanced, colorful history. One of the many ways this is occurring across the world is through the carefully plotted implementation of the warehouse rave: a type of event popularized in the 90′s during the first major wave of dance music which was largely underground, grassroots organized, and resourced mainly by – and for – DJs and hardcore dance music fanatics. In recent months, artists like Hot Since 82 have been making headlines for throwing things back to the heyday of techno and trance by holding secretive warehouse raves as a means of trying to recapture some of the magic that has faded since the explosion of EDM (and of major, soul sucking festivals such as Ultra, TomorrowWorld, and Electric Daisy Carnival to name a few). But, more importantly, these parties have started to make their way into D.C.’s own backyard.

Inspired by their experiences in club culture, and a life-changing trip to Movement Festival in Detroit a few years ago, a group of friends – Morgan Tepper, Chris Nitti, and Sami Yenigun – decided to start making waves in the burgeoning music scene which had begun blossoming in Washington. Together, they forged ROAM.

A party founded on the principle of sharing underground music in secret locations throughout the city, ROAM has quickly become a much gossiped about, cultural cornerstone in D.C.’s dance music community as its growth has started bleeding into Washington’s mainstream nightlife scene. A safe space where things like gender, sexuality, or walk of life are inconsequential and all that matters are the music and the vibe, the ROAM crew are painting an eclectic portrait for people to cherish and enjoy. By and large, it’s a party that offers a unique experience you can’t find in the city organized by the hip kids who can tell you the difference between techno, grime, deep house, and everything in between.

In other words, this party is nothing like the raves one could expect at a venue like Echostage because the types of events at Echostage are, frankly, more about money than the actual shared experience of being united through music. On the contrary, ROAM is thriving because it is 100% about the music, the community, and the legacy of dance music and sharing those things with the uninitiated.

At any of these parties, be prepared for a sea of writhing bodies packing the dancefloor, Solo cups in hand, feet pounding into the concrete and sweat causing clothes to stick to skin like marshmallow on hot cement. The DJs play house music for house music’s sake; not because it’s popular, but because it’s a lifestyle and a mindset worth preserving. The venue, if you’re lucky enough to get an invite, is announced 24 hours before (and surprisingly well-guarded given today’s reliance on social media).

This attention to the purity of the experience is what makes ROAM so refreshing because there’s no room for irony, condescension, or baggage; it’s all about being at a place at a time to be yourself without a care in the world. It allows for sexual, ethnic, and cultural diversity – something which the mainstream EDM culture sorely lacks. And by packing house time and time again, the event displays a real hunger for something with more substance and intellectual panache than $30 tickets, a light show, bottle service and a dress code. In many ways, this is house for the masses: the experience which those in Chicago and Detroit and the gay community and the dirty discotheques probably intended before it was raped by capitalist enterprise. Obviously, the scene is different and broader than it was 25 years ago, but events like ROAM are the baby steps the current generation of ravers should be walking in order to comprehend the power, and rich legacy, that dance music has to offer. A power which, for a long time, was obscured by the biggest bang you could get for your buck.

That’s not to say big, loud, and obnoxious can’t be fun. It can be. But if dance music wants to evolve and pay tribute to the house that built it, we need more parties with the intricacies and love for the lush cultural backdrop. We need more love for local DJs who are in the game because they feed off that love. We need more focus on history. We need more animals, more geeks, more weirdos, more rough edges. Thankfully, Washington, D.C., our home, has all of that. And you can find a lot of it at ROAM.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Trillectro 2015 at Merriweather Post Pavilion 7.29.15

Posted on August 21 2015 by Zach
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A couple days ago, we covered the 5 tracks we expect to hear at Trillectro this year. Well – we have some big news for you. If you want to see a stacked line-up of artists ranging from Chance the Rapper and Masego to RL Grime and Cashmere Cat, but you wanna do it on the cheap, we’ve come to the rescue. We’re giving you the opportunity to score two General Admission tickets to one of the biggest dance parties in the DMV this summer.

All you have to do is the following:

  1. Follow Blisspop and Trillectro on Twitter.
  2. Send an e-mail to blisspop@gmail.com with the header “Trillectro 2015.” In this e-mail, include a caption for the photo of Chance the Rapper we’ve provided below. The deadline is Friday, August 28 at noon EST. That’s a week from today, biddies!
  3. Be at the edge of your seat: we’ll contact the lucky winner on Friday, August 28.

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Godspeed, children. We wish you the best of luck. And we expect to see you at Merriweather Post Pavilion on August 29!

IN THE MIX: OUTPUTMESSAGE, “Origins V”

Posted on August 20 2015 by Patrick Blinkhorn
Origins V

DC-based artist Outputmessage (aka Bernard Farley) is no stranger to dark techno and house. For more than ten years, he has been involved with the dance music community and has graced us with classic tracks such as “Bernard’s Song,” “Goldilocks Zone,” and “Alley Cat” as a third of Volta Bureau. His newest mix, “Origins V,” is a preview of what you can expect from his set at The Honcho Summer Campout this weekend in West Virginia. “Origins V” starts off with tech house and gets into the weird, sweaty side of techno as the mix progresses – in other words, we absolutely love the mix here at Blisspop. The set list is in the track description on SoundCloud. Listen to and download “Origins V” for free:

5 Tracks We Expect to Hear at Trillectro 2015

Posted on August 19 2015 by Zach
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For the past few years, Trillectro has managed to keep its block party vibe intact despite showcasing major draws like Goldroom, Migos, Gent & Jawns, The Jane Doze, and Schoolboy Q. The festival, which is now in its fourth year, intends to take the event to the next level as it premieres at Merriweather Post Pavilion on August 29 with a line-up boasting appearances by Chance the Rapper, RL Grime, Cashmere Cat, Chris McClenney, Ayes Cold and more. Whether you’re on the lawn or in the pit, these are the tracks that are gonna slay the crowd – and we expect to hear every single one.

1. JMSN, “Alone” 

By way of The Weeknd, JMSN‘s “Alone” is an electronic, downtempo slammer disguised as R&B which combines sultry falsetto with ambient production that calls to mind artists like Panda Bear and James Blake. It’s sex with a drum machine, and with the heat of the lawn and the pit in the pavilion, it’s going to be an invitation for those in attendance to feel themselves.

2. Benny Benassi, “Satisfaction (RL Grime Remix)” 

This is a crowdpleasing, fist pumping, bro-dawg magnum opus that is just screaming for an insane hands-in-the-air moment. A trill rework of one of dance music’s most memorable tracks, this remix takes the familiarity of the original and flips it into a Machiavellian ground plan for optimum levels of catharsis with each drop. This is an electrifying track – and one that RL Grime knows exactly when to play to its maximum, heat seeking potential.

3. Chris McClenney, “Best You Got”

Chris McClenney is one of the most interesting choices to go see at this year’s Trillectro festivities. With a dynamic range as a producer, he’s swung through house to down-tempo smoothness to hip-hop influenced beats. So whether he’s channeling Kaytranada, Jamie XX, or D.C.’s indie dance vibes, McClenney’s set is going to be a perfect soundtrack to a sunny afternoon on the lawn. This track, “Best You Got,” is arguably the most straightforward house he’s ever gotten, but it gushes positive energy and will make hips swirl like bubbles in a tub.

4. Cashmere Cat, “Mirror Maru”

This is the song that put Cashmere Cat on the map. After features on Grand Theft Auto V, support from Hudson Mohawke, the 2012 EP catapulted the Norwegian tastemaker and DJ to public consciousness here in the U.S. where his stylish take on futuristic hip-hop and bass genres lit up the blogosphere and college party crowd. It’s a no brainer that this track will get its time to shine at the Pavilion, it’s just a matter of when the Cat decides to share his catnip.

5. Masego x Medasin, “Sunday Vibes”

Experimental is definitely the right word to describe Masego. As an artist who has dabbled in future bass, hip-hop, and other genres that blend together on the electronica spectrum, the young producer never seems to run out of steam or eclectic, joyful ideas. “Sunday Vibes,” a track recently released on the EP Pink Polo with collaborator Medasin, is the kind of cookout vibe that lays a foundation for good times and memory making. Featuring a sax pattern that takes cues from OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson,” this track – if played – will absolutely stun and shock and put the crowd in a state of starry-eyed awe.

Trillectro Music Festival will be on Saturday, August 29 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Please visit http://www.trillectro.com for more details including a full line-up, tickets, and more. ALSO: if you want 20% off on your Trillectro ticket, use the promo code “blisspop” when you’re checking out (because we just love you so damn much).