Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday

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: Alex Rubenstein, Aeron Premo, Kristina Westernik, and Connor McInerney. This week’s music includes tracks by Medlar, Deadboy, TT, Death Grips, and Baba Stiltz. Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.


Medlar – “NRG”

 

Alex Rubenstein – From the opening notes this song screamed SUMMER more than any other track this week.  Did Todd Terje take ayahuasca in Peru and then make this? Seriously though, every element of this song works and even better, they all work together. The elastic bassline coupled with the hats create a really lovely groove that will absolutely keep you locked on the dancefloor. (8.5/10)

Aeron Premo – I discovered Medlar through his edits of some classic West End Records tracks and it is clear that he knows his stuff when it comes to house and disco music. The opening didgeridoo sample sounds like it may run a tad bit too long in the beginning, but the effects that pop up add a nice touch. I love the synth stabs as they pay tribute to one of my favorite eras of house music – Italo house from the late 80s/early 90s. I would score this track a bit higher if the tempo was faster, but it has some great elements in it. This is definitely a track that was made to wind down the party. (7/10)

Kristina Westernik – This is a solid nu-disco house dance track. It has a consistent groove that could hold its own on the dancefloor. I am especially drawn to the percussive elements. The only thing I believe it lacks is a top-line melody. Why not try adding a lead synth or a soulful vocal? That would take this track to the next level! (6/10)

Connor McInerney – “NRG” makes me feel like I’m window shopping in the future, but capitalism somehow hasn’t collapsed on itself and I’m purchasing things I actually need. I’m big on the dynamic range on this track, the interplay between the staccato bass backbone and sonic pulses at various frequencies. Plus I respect Medlar’s resistance to get comfortable in any particular percussive pattern. Overall an excellent track. (8.5/10)

 

 

Deadboy – “R-less”

 

Alex Rubenstein – I feel like I should throw a rave in the basement of an old church just so I can hear “R-Less” reverberate through its halls. Did not expect this one from Deadboy, but he’s delivered a smasher here. He’s really got a killer bassline too. (8/10)

Aeron Premo – If house music was created for horror movies, this track would be a prime candidate for a soundtrack. It is very minimalistic in its arrangement and unashamedly so. I would say it is about 90 percent beats and 10 percent creepy synth patches that pop up here and there. Not exactly my vibe, but it is well produced and will surely receive an audience. (6/10)

Kristina Westernik – DAT BASSLINE IS MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS TRACK- it totally envelops me into a groove. The drum programming also screams originality with a blend of different drum styles such as trap hi hats meets “housey” rides. I appreciate the vocal processing and automation in the track. This is a total club banger! (6.5/10)

Connor McInerney – Damn, dunno what it is about the vocal sample modulated throughout “R-Less” but when I heard it, the spirit moved me to say, “oh shit, let’s get it popping.” I feel like Deadboy could’ve done more with the more ethereal, experimental elements of the vocal samples, plus the introduction of the synth leads feels a bit scatterbrained. Overall, the separate elements of “R-Less” are solid, but their simultaneous execution feels lackluster. (5/10)

 

 

TT – “The Dream”

 

Alex Rubenstein –  TT is new to me, but what stands out immediately is the rawness of the instrumental. The vocals I could take or leave, but definitely digging the hazy, organic sonic feel going on here. (5.5/10)

Aeron Premo – My favorite part of this track was the piano line. It really elevated the arrangement and had a beautiful chord progression. The harder edged beats also provided a welcome contrast to the soothing vocals and piano. I thought the vocal was a bit one-note – I usually prefer a soaring vocal over downtempo arrangements. Again, I’m not completely feeling this, but it has some great qualities. (6.5/10)

Kristina Westernik – This track has all the feels with intimate lyricism and crafted songwriting. This track is a total genre bender reminiscent of Sleigh Bells, Friends, Lykke Li, and Massive Attack. Is it destined for some sort of dramatic movie soundtrack? Time will tell… (9.5/10)

Connor McInerney – The track layering of “The Dream” creates a feel that very carefully treads the line between electronic and acoustic – specifically there’s a certain feel to this track’s drums and piano lines that retains a semblance of its original, organic sound while sounding distant and melancholy. It’s almost as if TT is playing music in a foggy memory. It’s a certainly an interesting sound – I’m curious to how they’ll develop it further. (7/10)

 

 

Death Grips – “Black Paint”

 

Alex Rubenstein – Full disclosure, Death Grips could produce a song that somehow gave you a tumor after you listened to it and I’d probably still fuck with it. Ride is angry here, you can feel his vocals tearing through this impossible wall of guitar, gnarled electronics, and drums that you can be sure caused Zach Hill to tear his scrotum while playing (again.) I’m ready for Year of the Snitch though I still have no idea what to expect even with 2 singles out already. (9/10)

Aeron Premo – There is a lot of attack, an atmosphere of doom and not much of a melody line. The spoken word parts and the looping guitar synth added a nice touch, but nothing else really grabbed my attention. I like my hip-hop/rap to have melody and a good backbeat, so I admit that I have not been drawn into the universe of Death Grips. Maybe another track will change my mind, but it is not this one. (4/10)

Kristina Westernik – This music is not for the faint of heart. It rages and moans with anger! While I can appreciate the thrasher rock vibes, this song is comparable to the experience of getting sucker punched in the face while stumbling around in a stupor of shock and confusion. While it might be cathartic for some to experience this music, I’d rather not. (1/10)

Connor McInerney – I want to get off Mr. Grips’ Wild Ride. Even with Death Grips dive into more accessible, driving root-rocks influenced choruses, the return to a consistent, lo-fi square lead during the verse of “Black Paint” helps to retain the raw visceral sound that established Death Grips as being in a league of their own. It’s what makes this single so evocative, the elements that feel foreign and dangerous presented in a format rife for headbanging and wilding out. (9/10)

 

 

Baba Stiltz – “Maze”

 

Alex Rubenstein – Normally if I hear the terms “bedroom pop” or “lo-fi house” I start to cringe a bit so it really pains me to say that this sounds like a perfect amalgamation of what I envision both of these genres to encompass. Most times when I see that XL records cover and I get excited and again they have delivered with this Swedish teenagers debut. The effortless sounding combination of the barely-there drums and processed, melancholy vocals all while still being entirely danceable is quite the feat. Great work here. (8/10)

Aeron Premo – I got a Hot Chip meets Frank Ocean vibe from this track – I am a huge fan of both, so this track was a clear winner for me this week. The synth bass synced well with the indie dance-meets-house beat and paired with the introspective lyrics, created a nice happy-sad atmosphere, which is a favorite vibe of mine. This was my first foray into the music of Baba Stiltz and after hearing this track, I look forward to hearing more. (8/10) 

Kristina Westernik – I greatly enjoy the music production! It’s minimalistic and clean. To me, the only complaint is the auto tuning on the vocals. I think auto tune ventures into juvenile vocal processing. I understand that it’s is a stylistic decision to do that, but to me, this ain’t 2008-2009 a la “808s & Heartbreak.” (4/10)

Connor McInerney – Is this Daft Punk’s janky cousin? Lyrically Baba Stiltz walks the line between earnest contrived pop and self-aware autotune – I dig it because it creates a space to enjoy his darker, colder vox in a way that is both celebratory and hypercritical of electropop. Whether we’re in on the joke or the subject of it, “Maze” is a good time regardless. (7.5/10)

 


 

The Winners and Losers:

Medlar – “NRG” – 7.5

TT – “The Dream” – 7.1

Baba Stiltz – “Maze” – 6.8

Deadboy – “R-less” – 6.3

Death Grips – “Black Paint” – 5.7

 

 

 

 


 

Aeron Premo is a Staff Writer for Blisspop who focuses on covering disco, house, edits and indie dance. She is also a singer, songwriter, synthesizer player and DJ who records and performs under the moniker Rose Corps. Follow her @rosecorpsmusic

Kristina Westernik is the Chill Out Writer for Blisspop. She is also a classically-trained violinist and produces downtempo chill music as electronicviolinist. Follow her @electro_violin

Connor McInerney is a music and culture writer based in Washington, DC. He has frequently entertained the idea of getting a Death Grips tattoo. He urges you to follow him on Twitter @b_ck_tt

Alex Rubenstein is the manager of Blisspop.com and lifelong Washington, D.C. area resident. Follow him @chiefmoonrock

 

 



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