Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – March 22, 2019

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. We’re back at it again with the latest edition of our series, Feedback Friday. This edition features our contributors: Lu Makoboka, Alex Rubenstein, Jake Ramirez, and Will Creason. This week’s music includes tracks by Perc, Erol Alkan remixed by Matrixxman, Secret Attraction, and DJ Jenifa.

 


 

Perc “Toxic NRG”

Lu Makoboka – I’m not usually into this, but honestly, the repetition of the bass captured my attention. Although the build is long and I could imagine one would easily lose interest, eventually the drop comes in and hi hats are introduced, and my body starts moving. I can’t see it being a club banger nor something I’d listen to in my spare time, but I could appreciate the sound design and movement. (6.5/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – Perc is back with some truly hard-hitting, techno bombs on his latest release for his own label, Perc Trax. After listening to “Toxic NRG,” I was able to skip my morning coffee altogether. This sounds like the direct result of the Chernobyl reactor gaining sentience and producing techno. Whether it’s 8 AM and you’re just waking up, or 6 AM and you’re still dancing, this is just what you need to get the blood pumping. Stripped back, brutal, and thumping – this is Perc doing what he does best. (8/10)

 

Jake Ramirez – This song feels like waking up at 7 AM when you fell asleep at 3 AM. Is it interesting? Does everything feel really loud? Does it fill me with unease and a hint of dread? Yes. Do I want to not be experiencing it? Also yes. The back half of the song feels like getting a weird second wind in the early afternoon, though. I love that section, I just wish it was more representative of the whole experience. (6.5/10)

 

Will Creason – Perc is the don; no one is as consistently, ruthlessly heavy as him. “Toxic Nrg” gives you another granite slab of hazmat techno – it’s rolling kicks pummel to the point of disorientation. A late switch up in the second half reveals a counter rhythm that progressively gets denser and harder. Pure hellfire! (9/10)

 

Erol Alkan “Spectrum” (Matrixxman Highway Remix)

 

Lu Makoboka – This is dope! It has a great groove and my foot just keeps tapping away for this gem. I really appreciate the repetition in the arp and the build up. The sharp, spacey synth that shows itself about half-way in creates this psychedelic effect, and the switch up near the end is something I found really pleasing. (7/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – Now That’s What I Call Clean Production vol. 69. This is one seriously smooth tune that is a shining example of “less is more.” When the hi hat eventually comes into play, all bets are off, and the track steamrolls its way into your head and heart. This track will definitely be on repeat for a while! (9/10)

 

Jake Ramirez – I love how funky this is. The name really fits – there’s only one main sonic theme, but you get to hear every shade of it possible. As a small note, I love when artists play with polyrhythms and desyncing/resyncing different elements of a song (like what happens around 5:15). (8/10)

 

Will Creason – I’m already a fan and, honestly, this is the best Matrixxman production I’ve heard in ages. This track greatly benefits from relying on just a few really good, well balanced elements. The looping melody and deeply filtered drums ratchet up intensity that’s released with an open hi hat. When is the last time you got hyped on a hi hat coming into the mix!? This one is a total masterclass in keeping it simple – a banger from edge to edge. (10/10)

 

 

DJ Jenifa “MLL”

Lu Makoboka – Arrrrrrgghhh! The intro is so standard and I feel like I’m about to waste my time going into this track. The violin sample is cute and distracts me from the lack luster drums. There’s a point where I keep asking myself, “Is this is going anywhere?” The reverse effects are cool, and with those, I actually want to hear what’s more to come; sadly, it’s not much. (3/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – I enjoyed the hip-hop swing that DJ Jenifa, aka Gold Panda, brought to his new project, but other than that, this release felt a little lacking. “MLL” went on a bit too long and didn’t really have enough variation to keep things interesting. The strings were a nice touch, but this one falls just a bit flat for me. (5.5/10)

 

Jake Ramirez – The concept behind this tape is that the songs were designed strictly as driving music, songs to be blared as loud as possible in a Jaguar. As someone who loves to make playlists for mundane tasks (e.g. ‘grocery store tunes’) and loves blasting driving music, this song captures a perfect atmosphere. The tracks aren’t edited, but it just adds to the charm. (9/10)

 

Will Creason – Gold Panda is unquestionably a solid producer, so perhaps my expectations for this one were a little too high. There isn’t anything wrong with this tune, the vibe is mellow and the melody is soothing, it just doesn’t feel like it goes anywhere new after the first 90 seconds. It’s as pretty as one would expect, just not all that exciting. (6/10)

 

 

Secret Attraction “All Night”

 

Lu Makoboka – This track is perfect for those late nights drives; it’s 80s influence is one of the reasons I connected with it. I like the fact that I could barely hear the vocals since they’re so drowned in reverb; it truly adds to the atmosphere of the track. The bells and piercing synths also infect the track with a spark of gloss. (7/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – The 80’s have come alive here with Secret Attraction. I wish the vocals had been a bit more prevalent in the mix, but otherwise, this song sparkled. This is definitely music to wind down your night with and maybe seems a bit low energy only compared to the other picks this week. Overall, not a bad effort. (6/10)

 

Jake Ramirez – This song feels like waking up at 7 AM on a snow day and knowing you can go back to sleep as long as you want. I’ve been listening to Neon Indian’s VEGA INTL. Night School album on repeat recently, and it’s interesting hearing similar sonic themes explored in very different ways – also off-kilter, but in a sunbaked way rather than a neon way. I’m definitely listening to the rest of this album and daydreaming the perfect retro, horror movie it could soundtrack. (9/10)

 

Will Creason – This one is a big vibe. Great, even production work that expertly walks the line between hazy and sharp, there isn’t an instrument out of place here and every riff feels vital to the full track. Pretty bulletproof work here! (9/10)

 


 

The Results:

Erol Alkan – “Spectrum” (Matrixxman Highway Remix) – 8.5/10

Secret Attraction – “All Night” – 7.8/10

Perc – “Toxic NRG” – 7.5/10

DJ Jenifa – “MLL” – 5.9/10



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