Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – April 5th, 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: Patrick Blinkhorn, Will Creason, Alex Rubenstein, Connor McInerney, and Aeron Premo. This week’s music includes tracks by American Pleasure Club, Christine and the Queens remixed by Honey Dijon, Loure, Paula Temple, and ROSALIA featuring J Balvin & El Guincho.

 


 

Christine and the Queens “Comme si” (Honey Dijon Remix)

 

Will Creason – Is it me, or are the drums really low in the mix here? The construction is good,  and the vocals are on point; it just feels like it’s missing some clarity. It kind of feels like a 90s 12″ house single where there are, like, 40 minutes of remixes on each side and all the drums get super thin as the grooves of the record are smooshed together. Is that what Dijon was going for? (6/10)

 

Patrick Blinkhorn – This is a solid remix all the way through. Good bassline, nice piano chords and the vocals sit well. The combination of the kick drum with the bassline sounds a bit stagnant to me, though. (7/10)

 

Aeron Premo – “Comme si” is a certified electronic-pop bop, so I was delighted to hear that it would be getting a remix package. Honey Dijon truly works her magic here, bumping up the BPM to provide some classic house energy.  She also adds some glorious synth pads, 90s synth stabs and Chicago style bass lines. This remix is just so energetic and filled with life! I am always looking for tracks that give off a natural high, and this one certainly does. You could play this track on loop in the club and I don’t think anyone would leave the dancefloor, it is that good. (10/10)

 

Connor McInerney – “Comme si” makes me feel like the heir to an enormous fortune, splayed out on my yacht, and also it’s the 80s. It’s got some classic synthetic elements, between the lead keys intertwining with noodling guitar accents and world beat, percussive samples. I’m hesitant to throw around genre descriptors like “yacht rock” (despite the previous anecdote), but Honey Dijon’s remix has embedded “Comme si” with a verdant, danceable energy that makes me very amped for summertime as I type this. (8/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – I’m pretty sure no one will argue with the talent of Honey Dijon, but this just did not meet my expectations. It is certainly catchy and has a fun, bouncy vibe, but all the individual elements sound muted. It’s as if they are waiting to pop, but it just doesn’t ever reach that level of fullness. The source material is great and the choice of remixer is on point, it just isn’t as good in actuality as it looks on paper. (5/10)

 

 

Loure “Hope Circuitry I & II”

 

Will Creason – This track is impeccably produced, getting a lot out of a tight group of parts. I do think the intro runs overly long; it doesn’t quite feel like it is interesting enough to justify its run time. The Glady Knight sample sounds good here, but it’s difficult not to think of “Pick Up” by DJ Koze, which sampled the same song just last year (and, uh, it was a big hit). (5/10)

 

Patrick Blinkhorn – Ahh, this is such a refreshing house track. It features a lengthy intro, but by 2:22, Loure gets down to business with a kick that eventually brings about a nice bass groove. This track is a jam alright. (8/10)

 

Aeron Premo – I love the piano lines in this track they lend an intimate feel to the point where it’s like you are in the room with the pianist watching them play. The vocal sample provided a Glitterbox-esque feel to the mid tempo arrangement. What really prevented me from enjoying an otherwise good track was that the intro was just too long. In a club setting, if a DJ dropped this mid-set as played and without cues, I would have walked off the floor. Thankfully, that is why cues exist. Aside from the intro, this is a pleasant, deep house track. (7/10)

 

Connor McInerney – I can get down with Loure’s vision of the second movement in “Hope Circuitry,” but its introductory sequence is rife with trope-laden production stylings; the attempt to build “drama” and tension is almost cringeworthy. That being said, part II’s massive bassline, chopped samples and background ambient noise contribute to a soundscape that, by the track’s eight minute, feels lived in. (6.5/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – It’s usually pretty hard to go wrong with sultry and soulful vocal samples coupled with glistening piano unfortunately, this track runs about 3-4 minutes too long. The second half is much stronger than the first, and by the time I got to minute five, I was a bit worn out. The bassline is nice and strong, it just isn’t enough to keep things fun or interesting for the whole track. This is well-produced, but it definitely could have benefited from brevity. (4/10)

 

 

Paula Temple “Joshua And Goliath” (Techno Version)

 

Will Creason – From the first blistering kick drum, you can hear that Paula Temple is back full force. As ever, the sound design is outstanding her trademark tightly controlled chaos. This is pretty much everything I could want out of a sneering, bad-vibes techno track. A great teaser for her forthcoming album! (10/10)

 

Patrick Blinkhorn – Damn, that kick drum slams proper! Leave it to Paula Temple if you want your eardrums pummeled properly. I love the synth sounds in here, but they really start getting interesting with some tangible melodic motifs after 1:54. The melodic elements contrast brilliantly with the battering of the kick drum. (7.5/10)

 

Aeron Premo – I recently read an article on Resident Advisor about how much current techno owes a debt to EBM, and you can definitely hear the influence on this track. Geez, those drum hits hurt my ears from beat one I felt like Jack Torrance or Michael Myers would jump right out of the speakers and come after me! The synths sound very cold and very 90s and this track could probably be a good fit for a soundtrack to some big budget cyber military or sci-fi movie. As with any track, there will be listeners that gravitate to this one, I’m just not one of them. (1/10)

 

Connor McInerney – RIP Headphones Users. This is massive. I can feel my teeth rattling. “Joshua and Goliath” reminds of Russian Suprematism in how almost square leads are front and center, how something that seems so basic can simultaneously be overwhelming and terrifying. It finds a primal, visceral quality in its deceptively simple presentation. Now that’s good Art. (8.5/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – I’ve never had the opportunity to use a jackhammer before, but now I really want to fuck up some concrete. I mean, that kick drum is absolutely massive. What a pummeling display of precision and power. This gets my certified banger stamp of approval: A+ would get my face smashed in again. (9/10)

 

 

 

ROSALÍA & J Balvin “Con Altura” (feat. El Guincho)

 

Will Creason – It’s great to see ROSALÍA back on Feedback Friday so quickly. She’s making it look pretty easy here, lacing a memorable chorus onto the earworm-y, hollow flute melody hovering in the back of this big, reggaeton riddim. From a production standpoint, this feels like a step backwards from her album. From a club standpoint, this will be undoubtedly be her most popular song. (7/10)

 

Patrick Blinkhorn – This is a really strong track, but I wish the drums changed up a bit more often. This would perfect for a club environment, though. (6.5/10)

 

Aeron Premo – This track utilizes a standard reggaeton beat, but I have to say that there is an intriguing minimalism about the arrangement. However, aside from Rosalia’s pleasant voice, this is the only thing that truly stands out about this track. I do like that the vocals are placed front and center and match well with the arrangement. But I’ve heard much better from ROSALÍA. (5/10)

 

Connor McInerney – This is a big departure from Alegranza and Pop Negro, the records that proved as entry points for me into El Guincho’s alt-pop, sun-dried world. Granted, I found it interesting that a Pitchfork poster boy would be doing something so commercial, but El Guincho’s cold, tactile production paired with Rosalia’s confident performance makes for an unexpected, energetic crossover. (7/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – I’m definitely throwing my next birthday party on an airplane. Coming from El Mal Querer, this is definitely a change in direction but in no way does it seem out of place or character. The reggaeton beat is fun and bouncy and  ROSALÍA is as effortless sounding as ever with her vocal delivery. Her voice just does something to me. J Balvin and El Guincho’s contributions flesh this one out to likely be her most successful track to date. (8.5/10)

 

 

 

American Pleasure Club “The Miserable Vision”

Will Creason – American Pleasure Club back again on Feedback Friday. I’m not really sure what to think about this one. The opening, plonky piano seems incongruent to the burst of noise rock “whatever” that punctures the mid section of this track. It’s kind of like the HEALTH tune from a few weeks ago except it doesn’t work here. Sorry, second hard pass on this act. (2/10)

 

Patrick Blinkhorn – The piano with the effected vocals is a nice touch. I love the repulsive noise coming in after the two minute mark. If you want to give your uninitiated friends a false sense of security and then relish in watching them squirm, play this track for them. (9/10)

 

Aeron Premo – This was certainly a very disjointed listening experience. The production is good for this style, but the melody erred towards the boring side. That jump into the distortion around 2:10 didn’t really fit. While it made an effort to breathe some life into the track, it just seemed like a huge misstep. It did have somewhat of a cinematic feel, but it just wasn’t something I could enjoy. (2/10)

 

Connor McInerney – Jesus, do I feel like a Debbie Downer listening to my pick for this week after everyone else’s fun, pizzaz-laden suggestions. Glad I can bring everyone down a peg. Sam Ray’s unapologetic, scorched cassette experimentation continues on their newest record, with “The Miserable Vision” as the ceremonial flame. The track reads as Crystal Castles by-way-of-post-punk (think Have A Nice Life or Giles Corey). It’s experimental electronic tinged with a depressing malaise in short, it’s fucking bliss. (9/10)

 

Alex Rubenstein – Hmmm. This kind of sounds like APC was crying while they made this track and the tears got into the gear which created the cacophony that comes in around two minutes. I’m all for bleakness in my tunes, but the despondency just feels forced, here. I’m sure this has an audience; I am just not it. (2/10)

 


 

 

The Results:

Christine and the Queens “Comme si” (Honey Dijon Remix) – 7.2/10 (TIE)

Paula Temple “Joshua And Goliath” (Techno Version) – 7.2/10 (TIE)

ROSALÍA & J Balvin “Con Altura” (feat. El Guincho) – 6.8/10

Loure “Hope Circuitry I & II” – 6.1/10

American Pleasure Club “The Miserable Vision” – 4.8/10

 



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