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The Spotlight: James Zabiela

Posted on February 13 2015 by zacheser

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 so that you may join their journey in influencing the house music landscape. 

James Zabiela is a DJ who not only defies genre expectations, but he plays with them like it’s a game of chess. Having shared bills with contemporary legends such as Eats Everything, Paul Woolford, Carl Craig, and Huxley in addition to playing some of the world’s premiere clubs like the UK’s XOYO, Ministry of Sound, and Space in Ibiza, Zabiela is a force to be reckoned with. Having mastered the art of experimentation, no one DJ set is the same as he noodles with loops and beatmashing – oftentimes implementing homemade beats on the go – further solidifying his status as one of the most gifted technical DJs in house music. These facets, combined with his spectacular energy and love for rave culture, makes James Zabiela an unstoppable machine.

With influences that range from Chicago house to breakbeat and liquid drum & bass to tech house, this Southampton DJ/Producer, as a self-proclaimed “weirdo,” has never been the one to shy away from geeking out over really deep cuts or new, fusion styles. And with his nerdy obsession with new toys, whether it’s a new sampler from Pioneer or Ableton updates, James Zabiela oftentimes finds himself pushing the boundaries of the tools at his disposal. This wealth of musical knowledge has presented him with quite the mental databank to draw from which has led to credits on labels like Renaissance, Wall of Sound, and the legendary Global Underground.

More recently, Zabiela launched his own label, Born Electric, leading to the release of his track “The Healing,” a trance-infused, harmonious epic that saw love from Sasha, 3LAU, and remix treatments from Hot Chip and Doc Daneeka among others.

Tonight, you can catch James Zabiela in D.C. at U Street Music Hall with support from DJ Lisa Frank and Sumner. For more information, please visit U Hall’s official website.

OHLAYINDIGO – Heartbeat (Mas Tropical Remix)

Posted on February 5 2015 by zacheser
OHLAYINDIGO – Heartbeat (Mas Tropical Remix) Photo

Based partly out of sunny LA and partly out of D.C., Mas Tropical blends together future house, moombahton, and tropical house in a way that is wholly unique and satisfying. Their new remix, a rework of indie-electronica songstress OHLAYINDIGO from Liverpool, is an exquisite demonstration of their sound as it showcases steel drums, congas, fluttery pads and sawing synths, vibraphone, and a healthy dose of UK style breakbeat production. This version of Heartbeat is a four-course dinner crafted by the DJ equivalent of two world class chefs and is, therefore, a feast for the auditory heartstrings.

Check out Mas Tropical’s remix of OHLAYINDIGO’s Heartbeat after the jump.

Basement Jaxx – Unicorn (Man & Woman Remix)

Posted on January 26 2015 by zacheser
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By now, the D.C. music scene knows that the nudisco duo Man & Woman are a force to be reckoned with. Comprised of DJ Provoke and Eau Claire, Man & Woman has played alongside Chris Malinchak, Tensnake, and Duke Dumont in addition to carving a niche for themselves through their bright, elevated sound that’s synonymous with catharsis.

Their first track of 2015 is a remix of Basement Jaxx’s juggernaut, Unicorn, off his 2014 release ‘Junto.’ This edit is a far step away from the original which was more in the style of a 90′s throwback, but that’s not to say this take Unicorn isn’t a bonafide treat. Made up of layered pads and bells, the soundscape provided by Man & Woman is mellow, inviting, and soothes the same way a mug of hot chocolate does after a day out in the snow. Built from the idea of ebb and flow, the remix practically floats and entrances as the transient melodies are set to seduce us into shuffled feet (and maybe the hope of locking eyes with a mysterious, attractive stranger).

Poet John Keats once said, “Beauty is truth.” So if this is an indication of what we can expect from Man & Woman in 2015, this is the unabashed truth: they’re going to be a duo to keep tabs on because this edit is beautiful as hell.

Stream Man & Woman’s remix of Unicorn after the jump and visit their Facebook page for a free download.

Ozker – Skeletons Mix #1

Posted on January 23 2015 by Blisspop

Blisspop resident Ozker is starting up a new mix series, and there’s plenty of reason to be excited for it. Hands down one of the best and most enjoyable DJs in the district, Ozker’s work is always a treat to experience. This most recent series, is aimed to be a little darker, harder, and to have more attitude than his previous mixes. The result is an hour’s worth of deep grooves ranging from heady and hypnotic to gritty and jackin.

It also serves as the perfect primer to tonight’s party featuring Ozker, Will Eastman, Baronhawk and Caleb L’Etoile. If you’re in DC tonight, head to Velvet Lounge for Blisspop’s Together!

1. Daniel Avery – All I Need (Original Mix)
2. Amirali – Just An Illusion (Appleblim’s Black Mirrorball Mix)
Crosstown Rebels
3. Aiby & The Noise – Keep Your Head Acid
Justified Cause Recorthings
4. Alci – Rope A Dope (Original Mix)
Robsoul Recordings
5. Bashtone – Flirt Orange (Yaaman Remix)
Kiez Beats
6. Manu P – Radames (Original Mix)
Finish Team Records
7. Yeray Herrera – Dance To Death (Original Mix)
Select Case
8. NiCe7 – Bassline Soldiers
Noir Music
9. Kreature, Sizeup – She Freaks (Original Mix)
Kumasi Music
10. German Brigante – Right Now
11. Andrew C. – Dream (The Wize Guys Remix)
Happy Day Records

Wave Age – Currents #2

Posted on January 20 2015 by Blisspop

DC up and comer, Wave Age, has a big week ahead of him. He’s playing his first show, opening for techno heavyweight Kolsch at U Street Music Hall tomorrow evening (1/21). To celebrate, he’s dropped a new mix of deep and tech house jams. The second installment of his Currents series, the mix is a nice continuation of the sound Wave Age has been developing.

If you’re in DC, make sure to head to U Hall for an awesome evening. Tickets can be bought HERE

Gunnar Haslam – Demoninazione Version
Cajmere – Satisfy (Tiger Stripes & Pleasurekraft Remix)
Elderbrook – How Many Times (Andhim Remix)
Aaron Snapes – Open
Sonny Fodera – People Forget
Philip Bader – Funkey Feeling
Hermanez – Soms
Michael Bibi – Wave Rider
Montel – Brothers Sisters
Harry Romero – Get Get
Sidney Charles – Cave Rave (Kalyde Remix)
Breach & Cinnaman – Avocado
Joris Voorn – So Long (feat. Kid A)