Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – January 18, 2019

Feedback Friday 37 Artwork
Here at Blisspop, we aim to show our audience who’s making their mark on music today. In our Feedback Friday series, we bring you the latest sounds, sorting through the good and the bad. This latest edition of Feedback Friday features music by Alexander Vincent, Dreamcast, Satoshi Fumi’s remix for Ken Ishii, Taso X Fracture, and Vacant. Blisspop contributors Patrick Blinkhorn, Marshall Stukes, Justin Barini-Rivers, Will Creason, and Jake Ramirez selected and reviewed the music this week.


Alexander Vincent “Everything”

Will Creason – Great surprising twists and turns in the backing track here but I just can’t vibe with the vocals – they take me out of the track entirely. The vocals are my only complaint but they are the focal point here. I expect this to be a divisive track on FF or maybe it’ll just be me. (3/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – Alexander Vincent is giving me serious Bob Moses vibes with his track “Everything.” The haunting vocals, resonant arpeggiated synth line, and melodic motifs throughout the track make this a satisfying listen for me. (7/10)

Marshall Stukes – This is a nice track. I enjoyed the simple arpeggio synth and the use of the instrument behind Vincent’s vocals outside of its accenting use, specifically at 2:48. My only gripe is that it ends sort of abruptly (I wish I had a bit more time with the outro), and the vocals are a bit louder than I like. (7/10)

Jake Ramirez – Structurally, the song feels heavily inspired by In Rainbows, but even if the influence feels pretty stark, it’s not a bad target to shoot for. The synth lead feels too prominent for my liking, but when it fades out, the track feels much looser and airier in a way that I like. The atmosphere is a highlight of the song, and the sections in which it is allowed to shine are the best. (6/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – I am impressed with the composition and especially with the articulation of the drums. There are so many subtle touches and moves that push song from good to greatness. Alexander Vincent is telling me a lot about himself from this song and it’s amazing. The production has so much depth and style hidden beneath the surface. Although this may not be my favorite style of music, it is good music. Truly talented people created this gem. The production value may be lost on some but not me. (8/10)

 

Dreamcast – “Used2”

Will Creason – The ecstatically uptempo, yet blurry production from Max D really shines here. The beats create a propulsive walkway for Dreamcast to strut across. Bonus points for Dreamcast’s website having a .moe domain extension — that’s DC down to the bone. (8/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – This is not what I normally listen to, but I appreciate the instrumentation and drums. Still, I didn’t really connect with this track. (4/10)

Marshall Stukes – I couldn’t get into this song. Though it ties into the lyrics, the dial tone-esque lead doesn’t do it for me. The guitar sample is great, but that’s all I focus on during the song. I was wishing for a tad more percussion sounds in the beat, though the production mix itself is good. (5/10)

Jake Ramirez – I struggled to pick a song from this album to highlight, but I ultimately decided “Used2” did the best job of marrying left-field sounds with engaging pop melodies. The interplay of the main synth line and the skittish percussion is hypnotizing on its own. When you add in the woozy vocal performance, plus the best video of 2019 so far (I know), you get a song that digs its hooks into your brain. (9/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – I am in love with the wah guitar. The overall pace of this track is lovely; it really sucks you in. Overall, I am so pleased with the whole song — I don’t have much to say. This is a clean track with just enough weird sound design to keep me happy. I am usually obsessed with immaculate mixes, but this track does a good job of doing enough and worrying more about the vibe. I would say this is my new favorite track by Dreamcast. (8/10)

 

Ken Ishii – “Malfunction Manipulation” (Satoshi Fumi Sequential Mix) 

Will Creason – The string arpeggio sequence here is awesome and the build up that leads out of the breakdown is intense. A very precise control of energy all the way through, this is prime peak time material. An unfortunate point deduction for Funk D’Void having previously remixed this track last year (boo!). (7/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – This is a really well produced track and the arrangement makes sense. The build up lasts a bit too long for how I’m listening to it right now. If I was on the dance floor or doing work this would be the perfect track, but when I’m putting my full listening attention into it, I need something to engage me for the duration. That being said, this is clearly made for the club and I think it would do well in that setting, so it earns fairly high marks from me. (7.5/10)

Marshall Stukes – The constantly evolving arps and timing sets this remix out on its own. The accompanied house pads, cymbals and snare build ups only make it better. However, it is a bit on the long side (and this is the shorter of the two remixes off of the release). I wouldn’t mind if it were played on the dancefloor, though. (7.5/10)

Jake Ramirez – This is so clean! Except when it isn’t. I love the way the graininess fades in and out of the mix and how smoothly the different segments of the song build. All the percussive sounds are highlights. It’s about as engaging as an eight-minute track can be, with each moment really adding something to the song’s overall progression. The big peak just before the five-minute mark is especially dazzling. (9/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – The artist and remixer are unknown to me, yet the vibe of the song still feels reminiscent. The uplifting arp can become repetitive, but I feel the use is perfect for building the momentum. The song may seem long, but the arrangement’s pace keeps it moving and it passes before you know it. This reminds of the house I used to listen to in the early 2000s. It’s an anthem that I will be playing for years to come. (7/10)

 

Taso X Fracture – “Lose You”

Will Creason – I pitched a Fracture track for Feedback Friday last February and I couldn’t resist pitching him for another FF team review. For the recently released Gradients Vol. 2 compilation, Fracture teams up with Teklife secret weapon, Taso, for a slick roller that deftly bridges drum n’ bass and juke to create a lurching, half-step monster. The entire compilation is a treat, but this one in particular is a gem. (9/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – I love the energy that this track brings, but the arrangement is a bit too all-over-the-place for my taste. I love that the breakbeat drum pattern that it starts off with and the four-on-the-floor beat that it morphs into even makes sense, but starting with that low bass at ~0:48, I’m lost. (6/10)

Marshall Stukes – I never listened to footwork before, but this track makes me want to pay attention. The song kept me engaged with so many different genres, yet it still felt cohesive. The first drop is a bit quick, but after a minute thirty, the track settles into itself. (7.5/10)

Jake Ramirez – Not really digging this. The vocal sample doesn’t do anything for me. The breakbeat, the bass tones, the mini-breakdowns — this song is doing too much. I do like the last minute of the track where each element has a little more room to breathe. (This feels like a theme for me this week.) (4/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Anything with chopped breakbeats is always going to get my full attention. The pace and drum programming is top notch and has got me taking some notes. The arrangement controls your energy and emotions in the best way. This is aggressive but efficient and not over the top. The last section really brings it all together for me when you get hit with a lovely finale. (6/10)

 

Vacant – “Over You”

Will Creason – Wow, this track is great. This darkest-moment-of-the-night style of music is deceptively hard to get right, but Vacant really nails it here. I know there is an easy comparison to make with another more well-known producer but, bottom line, the world needs more music like this that is produced this well. (9/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – I’m getting a sense of Burial inspiration with the effects on those vocals. There is beautiful synth work here. The percussion takes up a bit too much space in the mix I think, though it fits pretty well with the sound of me typing on my mechanical keyboard. All-in-all, this track made a strong showing. (8/10)

Marshall Stukes – This track is so smooth. The use of reverb with the bass and sample sets the mood perfectly. I like how the simple percussion allows you to focus more on the ambiance produced by the strings and pads throughout the song. (8.5/10)

Jake Ramirez – I have a soft spot for slow developing, repetitive tracks like this one. The vocal sample does most of the work on the song, but there’s an art in creating a pocket for the melody and just getting out of the way. The further the elements stray from that root sample, the less interested I am, but I’ll definitely check out the rest of the EP. (7/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Vacant is an artist I found in the Burial threads on Reddit. I will preface this with the fact that I am a huge fan of Burial. The immediate feeling reminds me of the god himself, William Bevan. I don’t say this lightly. Vacant is carving a style of their own but truly showing respect to the roots of the genre. Burial united the UK underground and this style of music is as timeless as Detroit house. Show your respect. (10/10)


The Final Scores

Vacant – “Over You” — 8.5/10

Ken Ishii – “Malfunction Manipulation” (Satoshi Fumi Sequential Mix) — 7.6/10

Dreamcast – “Used2” — 6.8/10

Taso X Fracture – “Lose You” — 6.5/10

Alexander Vincent – “Everything” — 6.2/10

 



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