Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – July 27, 2018

Here at Blisspop, we aim to show our audience who’s making their mark upon electronic music culture today. We sort through the good and the bad, bringing you the latest sounds. Back at it again with the latest edition of our series, Feedback Friday. This week, our group of Blisspop contributors includes: Justin Barini-Rivers, Patrick Blinkhorn, Michael Khalifeh, Jonathan Sherman, and Lu Makoboka . This week’s music includes tracks by Black Asteroid, Galantis, Qrauer, Paranoid London, and Darkie Fiction. Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.


Black Asteroid – “Slam Dance”

 

Patrick Blinkhorn – “Slam Dance” is an industrial techno track that has a menacing kick drum-bass drive combined with a robotic-sounding vocal clip that sounds very dark. Probably not the best track to be listening to while driving down I-66 in the rain as I was, but it’s a strong track nonetheless. (7/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Notes of industrial, techno, and some hardstyle vibes. This is best served at night. Deliciously metallic timbres coming off of the vocals is one of my favorites in the track. I love the distortion as well as the driving nature of the track. I am saving this track for a rainy day when I have to destroy something. (7/10)

Michael Khalifeh – Wow this track came from a really dark and evil place. This is some Chernobyl techno. It’s one of those tunes that just takes you where it wants you to be right away. The pounding rhythm and sinister vocals of a big brother voice repeating “SLAM” over and over again makes me feel like I’m a slave in some dystopian future. While this was an interesting experience, I wouldn’t neccessarily say I enjoyed it. But I can see that it is something that deserves the right live setting. (6/10)

Jonathan Sherman – This week appears to be Berlin techno week on Feedback Fridays, and I’m loving it. I really enjoyed this track’s effective use of the bit crushing on the vocals, and the bounciness of the kick matched against the aggression of the hats. I also enjoyed how the beat fades in and out in the middle of the track and all that is heard is a raw vocal saying “slam dance.” It’s airily unnerving, yet also innovative and shows Black Asteroid’s unique use of vocal instrumentation. Can’t wait to see more from Black Asteroid! (7.5/10)

Lu Makoboka – I found this track to be real let down. For a good 5 minutes our ears are bombarded with repetition, and even with the elements that are added here and there, it still doesn’t do justice to giving the track more life. The sound design elements that were incorporated within different intervals was interesting as the bass morphed in a way which brought out the various frequencies within it. (3/10)

 

 

Galantis – “Satisfied” (Feat. MAX)

Patrick Blinkhorn – This is a fun pop track that reminds me of a mix between Bruno Mars and Martin Solveig. While it’s not what I normally listen to, it has its place and time. (6/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – This is pop all over. This is a Maroon 5 track with electronic risers. I am having a hard time connecting to this track.  I got about a minute in and couldn’t really think of anything I enjoyed so here we go. I don’t want to sing along with the vocals. The vocal chops feel lazy. This feels dirty like most designer pop does. (3/10)

Michael Khalifeh – Ahhh I don’t want to rip too much into this track because my prediction is the other guys will haha. Here’s my thing, this isn’t even like an EDM track with pop potential; this is a straight up, hardcore attempt to make the Billboard 100… and it fails. Aside from the fact that it kind of goes away from what Galantis does best, it’s also a pretty poor imitation of a Chromeo/Bruno Mars sound. I like some good sugary EDM once in awhile but this is just lacking anything to distinguish itself from so much other good, basic pop/EDM music. (1/10)

Jonathan Sherman – One of the things that makes Galantis such a fun EDM group to watch is their dynamic sound. The group that has captivated audiences with EDM anthems like “No Money,” “Runaway,” “Love on Me,” also has a knack for pushing forward the post-EDM movement with Nu Disco hits like “Peanut Butter Jelly” and “Tell Me You Love Me.” Their latest track “Satisfied” follows this same pattern and is sure to be a major reason why Funk and Disco makes a comeback in 2018. (9/10)

Lu Makoboka – The first thing that came to mind was Maroon 5. Very funky and groovy track. Literally sounds like everything out there in terms of bass and lyrics. (5/10)

 

 

Qrauer – “Mulchen”

Patrick Blinkhorn – There are some really great sound artifacts in this track! The track reminds me of something I might hear on an older Alle Farben mix — it’s very deep, and while the genre says techno, the drums are speaking some variation of house to me. The synth work is really good. My one critique on the track is that the different sections of the track are a bit disjointed. (7.5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Discovered this gem on an everlasting journey into dark house music. Released on Nonostar Records this is a smooth and dark house track. Full of the most tasteful tech glitches and eerie fx sounds. The main section comes in after about two minutes and it is well worth the wait. Pushing some interesting sound design all around, but the bassline in particular is what caught my ear. This track is unique and special and I hope you like it. Looking forward to more releases from Qrauer. (10/10)

Michael Khalifeh – This isn’t even my selection and it’s by far my favorite of the week. Never heard of Qruaer but it seems like he must have been around for a minute because this song is impressive in both sound design and its approach over 6 minutes. It’s a slow burner, and continually keeps this interesting, not bound to conventional production progressions or formulas. This track could’ve stayed comfortable where it started, but keeps taking risks and getting better as it goes on. For a first listen, there’s nothing better than switch ups you don’t expect, and this one is full of them. Good stuff. (10/10)

Jonathan Sherman – I really enjoyed this track because of its collage of sounds wrapped into a traditional techno beat. First, the track provides a unique blend of melodic house influences with techno, which gives audiences some indication for where the genre may be headed. Second, the drops and transitions on the track provide really deep and impactful statements in the flow of the track. And finally, the soft vocals encoded beneath the track’s harmony provide unique character for the future bass elements of the track. Look forward to hearing more from Qruaer! (8/10)

Lu Makoboka – Throughout the track I found the soft synths rather pleasing and they assisted with creating an atmospheric environment. Although its only near the end where we see this track come to life as the synths move across the stereo field, with the ghostly vocal samples interjecting at the appropriate times just before and after pauses. The sound design is definitely flawless here, it’s more so the progression of the track that is a matter of concern. In the beginning stages Mulched fails to grab the attention of the listener since for the first couple of minutes. (5/10)

 

 

Paranoid London – “The Boombox Affair”

Patrick Blinkhorn – Love the vocal sample in here!! I’d like to hear more motion in the acid arp line and the drums though — by the 2 min mark, they feel really stagnant. I get that this music experiences very subtle changes over time, is meant to be mixed with other tracks in a club, etc, but as a sober listener at home, the track is too repetitive, even for dance music. (5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – There is something about acid that is really powerful. The hypnotic aspects of this track are magical. You just get lost in this rolling synth. Pure old school production prowess being flexed on this track. The vocals from Bubbles really tie it together. This is a throwback jam if you like house music. I am gonna go make some acid. (8/10)

Michael Khalifeh – While there is a never ending list of meta-rave music out there that tries to capture the energy and culture of sections of dance music culture, nothing really ever hits home like story-telling acid tracks: Cajmere “Acid House”, Fatboy Slim “Eat Sleep Rave Repeat”, etc. Chalk this tune up as another one of those classics. The track uses audio from old footage of legendary San Francisco LGBT character and DJ, DJ Bubbles, who was recently murdered by some within that scene. With the cyclical nature of Paranoid London’s acid loops, we get a peak not only into the person that Bubbles was, but how it might have been like to be around him at an actual rave. (8/10)

Jonathan Sherman – I really enjoyed this track because of its ode to traditional Berlin techno. The beat and harmony provide a smooth techno progression while velocity variation in the modular synth act as a transitioning tool. I also enjoyed the rawness of the vocals as both a means of commentary and comedy. To my Blisspop colleague who submitted this track, thanks for giving me a reason to day dream about being in an 80’s techno rave, and I will definitely be following Paranoid London’s future success! (7.5/10)

Lu Makoboka – Just from the start the track has a great energy behind it, primarily because of the bounce in the percussion. Man oh man the voice recording also is quite humorous, definitely vulgar as it sounds like a drunk Steven Carrel. which makes up for the lengthy intro. Four minutes in though, and it’s still hard to tell if it’s the intro or if the whole track will run with its monotonous repetition. I guess it’s great to play in the background or maybe in the early stages in a party, but it seriously gets boring rather quickly… eight minutes of the same melody and drums. (5/10)  

 

 

Darkie Fiction – “Malibongwe”

Patrick Blinkhorn – Nice vocals in here and very pleasant instrumentals. While I don’t normally listen to music of this style, it made for an enjoyable listening experience. (6.5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Smooth arrangement filled with South African vibes. This is a very solid track on the pop line for sure. The arrangement really allows the artists to shine. It’s simple and perfect for something in the background to keep the mood chill. The engineer kicked ass on this track and it’s just something clean and solid. I look forward to hearing more music from the South African duo. At three minutes long it’s a nice interlude to any playlist you have rocking. (6/10)

Michael Khalifeh – So I had to look up what Malibongwe meant, and it’s Zulu for “blessed.” There probably isn’t a more fitting name for the energy and vibe of this track. It’s very airy and rich in its lyrics and melodies. While I do love hearing music outside our conventional western sounds, this song was just a bit too self-indulgent for my taste. I honestly feel like it has the vibe for something like a musical, rather than just a standalone piece of music. It feels like it’s more about telling a story than making something for casual listening. I like the switch up, it’s just not quite for me. (4/10)

Jonathan Sherman – After listening to a few of Darkie Fiction’s tracks, they remind me of a South African version of ODESZA. Their unique use of tribal afro house influences with melodic notes and choral vocals is very reminiscent of some of the techniques ODESZA and Flume use in their future bass and electropop tracks. The steel drums used in the intro to “Malibongwe” remind me a lot of some of the production techniques used by Mura Masa. I also like the dynamic relationship between the hip-hop lyrics and soulful choral verses of the female singer. Look forward to hearing more from Darkie Fiction! (8.5/10)

Lu Makoboka – The duo tagged what they are doing as Kwaito (a South Africa style of popular music similar to hip-hop, featuring vocals recited over an instrumental backing with strong bass lines.) On Malibongwe, it’s not exactly that but how they’ve given the genre a different spin with soul and electronic influences is truly impressive. The city lifestyle is decorated and the singer welcomes all to its experiences. Her voice harmonizes so well with the synth strings in the background, and the rapper’s lyrics are very relatable, particularly for those that grew up in designated areas in South Africa. This really sounds like a hit. (7/10)

 


 

The Winners And Losers:

Qrauer – “Mulchen” – 8.1/10

Paranoid London – “The Boombox Affair” – 6.7/10

Darkie Fiction – “Malibongwe” – 6.4/10

Black Asteroid – “Slam Dance” – 6.1/10

Galantis – “Satisfied” (Feat. MAX) – 4.8/10

 



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