Of Codes Off Course – Piotr Sobolczyk (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

3b375cf585ccba145e153cd3d66b1233b7f557f1If the worlds of EDM, dance and electro-pop have always been seen as a place where style over substance is the norm, where the shallow and shiny out ranks the deep and meaningful, where the quick fix is preferable to music which makes you think, then Of Codes Off Course is something that you need to listen to. Opening with an intense and industrial-electro reworking of Bowie’s Hallo Spaceboy might, to many, seem like a clever and revolutionary move, but in light of all that is to follow, this seems like one of the albums less astonishing moments, relatively speaking.

Face Different shows just how widely referencing and deeply thoughtful Sobolczyk’s music is, taking fragments of a letter from William Blake, a constant source of inspiration, and turning them into a strange musical theatre soundtrack for a futuristic avant-garde production complete with a small sampling of Kate Bush as the song draws to its conclusion. More literary references abound with T.S. Elliot being the starting point for Smitten Kitten and more contemporary samples littering the tracks, from John Lennon to Tim Burton and from Jake Shears to cult group Maanam.

Living By My Flow is a beguiling reinterpretation of Freddie Mercury’s Living on My Own and Adamski’s Killer and if you are going to head into the mash-up/re-work territory you might as well end up with something new and radically different to offer. And this is certainly that. But despite the re-works and references, the samples and source material, Of Codes Off Course is nothing if not highly original. From the growling grooves of Rebel Swine to the compelling and creative Codes of Victim Behaviour suite of songs, it is an album that is ever musically shifting, that is chameleon like it its nature that apart from fleeting points of comparison to early post-punk electronic pioneers, alternative classical composers and off the wall soundtrack creators, it is hard to easily sum the album using generic labels or soundbites.

But that has to be a good thing, right? Music that hard to pin down is moving everything forward, taking radical new ideas and running with them into uncharted territory of potential and creativity. It also means that if you really want to understand what is going on in this gloriously uncompromising music, then you will have to go and listen to the album. Something that you should do right now.

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Two Things –  Cloud Daddy and the Kingston Big Smokes (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

33059611_209580179770974_7350744597623996416_nIt isn’t often that a record confounds me, but Two Things is a strange track to get my head around. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing, after all who wants to be writing about yet another bunch of charisma free guitar slingers trying to be the next Foo Fighters? And why would you want that anyway? But I digress. Cloud Daddy and the Kingston Big Smokes make fascinating music and Two Things is a strange blend of wistful dream-pop, glitchy electronica, spoken word and cannabis infused ambience.

It meanders along on a chilled beat and a blissed out philosophy. This is music made by stoners for stoners, the sound track to the simple things in life, the warm glow of love and a righteous buzz. It comes as a double track release accompanied by Elizabeth, an even more scratchy and warped take on their brand of ambient stoner pop. Both tracks are as brilliant in their originality and non-conformity as they are in their strange in their beguiling addictiveness. If ever there was a hippy music revival you can forget all those nostalgic notions of folk singers and psychedelic wig-outs, Cloud Daddy and the Kington Big Smokes is exactly the musical heart that such a movement would beat with today. Make love not wardrobes…or something. 

Scene and Heard – CCCXXXVI : 100 Steps to the Shoreline – Dr Optimiser (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

22489846_10154756428242015_1397146505708562180_nCombining futuristic jazz vibes, ambient EDM washes, alt-pop beats, electro-classical and film soundtrack riffs and motifs, it is hard to pin down 100 Steps to the Shoreline to any one genre but I always see that as a test to be passed for the best music. Why sound like what has come before when you can be the answer to the question, “So, what next?” Why follow and repeat when you can lead and instigate? 

This trippy instrumental runs along on a collection of confident beats and bass pulses and seems to evoke future Day-Glo dance visions just as much as the descending riffs seem to take a leaf out of 60’s TV drama theme tunes, a cyclical musical machination that paints contemporary dance music with nostalgic vibes and which then sets out to see what might be just around the corner.

It wanders a world lit by the argon soaked glamour of up-market night clubs and neon glare of illicit, down town, basement parties, a world where the fashionable and the favoured dance side by side with the cult clubber and the discerning dance floor diva. It’s a world where many roads cross, where futuristic beats weave through early house music, where the seasoned electronic music fan embraces the hedonism of rave culture, where rhythm isn’t just a dancer, it is the very heart beat of the artists making such music.

100 Steps… is a wonderfully minimal, slow-burning and hypnotic EDM blast, it never strays too far from its beguiling singular vision, it draws its electronic trappings around it, slowly layering up beats and grooves and sauntering its way towards its final destination, a destination which if it was a physical place could equally be a late 80’s Manchester happening, a 90’s Ibiza beach after-party or even a cutting edge Euro dance club of the here and now or the near future. That’s the charm, it bridges gaps between the past and the present whilst looking to the future and that’s a great thing for music to be able to do.

Scene and Heard – CCCVI : Double Happiness –  Mr. MooQ (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

bd66efcd3d57e5525f0e83901d9eb57fefa247bb_phixr.jpgI didn’t know people were still making music like this, but I’m glad they are. Double Happiness reminds me of that time when a horde of disaffected post-punks rewired the keyboards they had stolen from music shops to make apocalyptic, futuristic pop in direct defiance to the Leg Warmer and Shoulder Pad Bye Laws of the spring ’83. But it isn’t so much that the song sounds like those new-pop pioneers, more that it fulfills the same role. They sounded futuristic, ahead of the curve, alien even, and so does Mr. MooQ.

It’s a celebratory piece, the title tells you as much, an ode to togetherness and both the song and the video positively snap, crackle and fizz with pop perkiness, a jaunty slice of electronic dance that despite its low BPM when compared with your average clubland banger, packs real punch through its staccato grooves and sheer infectiousness. And unlike most if its dance floor rivals this has the potential to burst out of the dance scene and become an anthem in the fullest sense of the word, the soundtrack to every summer barbecue, wedding reception and event across the globe. Don’t be suprised if you hear it as the theme to TV adds too, its that damn addictive there probably isn’t anywhere it can’t go.

Break Once Again – Blacklight (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

30595173_2323508384333345_5133804486564773888_nBlacklight wanders a world lit by the argon soaked glamour of up-market night clubs and neon glare of illicit, down town, basement parties, a world where the fashionable and the favoured dance side by side with the cult clubber and the discerning dance floor diva. It’s a world where many roads cross, where futuristic beats weave through early house music, where the seasoned electronic music fan embraces the hedonism of rave culture, where rhythm isn’t just a dancer, it is the very heart beat of the artists making such music.

Break Once Again is a wonderfully hypnotic EDM blast, it never strays too far from its beguiling singular vision, it draws its electronic trappings around it, slowly layering up beats and grooves and slow burning its way towards its final destination, a destination which if it was a physical place could equally be a late 80’s Manchester happening, a 90’s Ibiza beach party or even a cutting edge Euro dance club of the here and now. That’s the charm, it bridges gaps between the past and the present whilst looking to the future and that’s a great thing for music to be able to do.

Scene and Heard – CCLXIII : Live it Up – DJ Rebel & Nick Dillinger (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

MxGsy_i4_400x400Even though dance music might be compartmentalised into numerous sub-genres, those smaller musical territories still cover a broad range of sounds. House music wanders widely between pumping and vibrant techno driven beats and the more progressive and often intricate and ambient sounds. Released after a year long hiatus and working with Nick Dillinger, DJ Rebel’s latest single seems to combine the best of both worlds, walking a fine line between dynamic drive and smoother sound washes.

At its most vibrant the beats are the perfect clubland pulse, groovesome, confident and full of energy, at the other the breakdowns and builds are spacious and exotic, sketched only lightly from modern electronica, chilled sound washes and reserved beat. It is this ability to switch between the dance floor drives and the sultry spaces between that creates a wonderful play off of musical light and shade and the perfect song to bridge the gap between the nights main event and the start of the more chilled early hour vibe.

Evolution EP – Charzrd (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

artworks-000282045236-h9e7nu-t500x500Right from the off, there is something of the 90’s Rave scene about Kingdom, the opening salvo of this collection of largley instrumental dance tracks, but the way those high octane beats are balanced by wonderfully chilled dynamic lows is what marks this out as something wholly new. And as if to show that you shouldn’t judge a book by a cover, or at least an album by its opening song, Wake Me Up skitters along more ambient and chilled lines, for the most part, offering the laid back Yin to the previous full on Yang.

So with those two extremes marked out, the album is free to wander between the two taking in strange blends of trap-rave experimentation, mutant deconstructions of urban grooves and found sounds and wrapping things up with Feeling Low and its mercurial mix of dance floor beats and broken rhythms. It may start out in the neon nostalgia of rave culture past but for the most part this is the sound of Electronic Dance Music of an era still to come. A future where genres have become irrelevant and the rules are there to be ignored.

Scene and Heard – CCLIII: The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow –  Luke Spillane (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

19989524_1444290395661168_3092464873242156346_nThis is the logical point of destination if you draw a line from the late 80’s Manchester baggy and rave scene, through the birth of affordable technology, 90’s acid house, euro disco and on into the modern age. The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow is a high energy, euphoric musical high, an onslaught of addictive beats and high octane grooves as relentless as it is infectious.

It is built on a beat of fractious urgency, tension and paranoia, where the clinical cold synths of the dance floor are mixed with white hot rock muscle to create a blend of the futuristic and the primordial, the industrial and the elemental, a neon wasteland that leads to oblivion. It also has a brooding presence, far from the euphoric and joyous nature of the uptown club music, it feels as if it has been fashioned from the scattered musical trappings and attitudes that the techno-punks, ravers, misfits and speedfreaks left behind after their bubbles burst and they either went underground or learnt to conform.

I like music that I can’t just hang a simple sound bite or label on, can’t kick into a well defined generic drawer, music that I didn’t see coming. Well, I didn’t see this coming. I feel like I have been run over by rave, experimented on by extra-terrestrials, have stood on the edge of the end of the universe itself, been attacked by cyborgs and had an electronic music shop collapse on me. What a way to spend a morning. And the weird part is…I can’t wait to do it all again.

Drama –  mentalEscape  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a0611767782_16I spend a fair portion of my time wandering the EDM new music pathways, I will be the first to admit that it isn’t really my “go to” music but modern technology and current fashion means that it is probably one of the fastest growing musical genres and a jobbing review must go where the work is. Now having admitted that most of my time spent in those sonic realms relate more to work than pleasure, every now and then you stumble across a real gem and Drama by the wonderfully titled mentalEscape is just such an album.

Whereas so much music in the realms of Electronic Dance Music feels the product of would be DJ’s focused more on the beat than the melody, Drama is the sound of someone taking those same studio technologies and using them like any other instrument, exploring their possibilities and taking things to their extreme. In the same way that all music played on a guitar doesn’t sound the same, all music created using synths and samples doesn’t have too either, something that mentalEscape knows all too well.

What I’m saying is that where most of the competition is merely playing with beats and blips, mentalEscape is playing with moods and painting scenarios, where they are rooted firmly in an enclosed EDM world, mentalEscape instead explores wider world and merely uses EDM to translate what it finds into a common language. If there is such a thing as progressive EDM then it surely sounds a lot like this.

The gloriously named Elephant Stomper plays with industrial grit and skittering back beats, a dystopian, glitchy and warped centre-piece to this mercurial album. This is dance music built from the detritus found scattered across an industrial wasteland, all sharp edges and jagged design and driven by a relentless powerhouse of bruising beats and searing sparks. It is the white-hot groove of factory noise being rendered onto the night club floor, but not the night club that just anyone can find. This one is probably in a decaying warehouse or dead car plant miles away from civilisation and possibly even in some sort of parallel universe, and as the clock strikes thirteen this is the sound which hits the sky for probably the last party before the apocalypse.

Mrak is the sound of computers having bad dreams, all robotic grooves and sweeping synthwave melodies, the REM dream-state of the circuit board and Rebuild is fashioned from high drama and futuristic Wagnerian electronic backdrops. But it isn’t all dark and intense, Not This Life (Van Sebe) is a techno-reggae workout and Betty Elms is a minimalist electro-pop soundtrack and album opener, Storytelling is doom-pop at its finest a mix of vibrancy and visceral virtuosity.

Drama is a perfectly named album being built on a beat of fractious urgency, tension and paranoia, where the clinical cold synths of the dance floor are mixed with white hot rock muscle to create a blend of the futuristic and the primordial, the industrial and the elemental, the pre-determined and the organic. It also has a brooding presence, far from the euphoric and joyous nature of the uptown club music, it feels as if it has been fashioned from the scattered musical trappings and attitudes that the punks, the goths and the garage rockers left behind after their bubbles burst and they either went underground or learnt to conform. Only this time it seems as if there is something only half human conducting the orchestra.

I like music that I can’t just hang a sound bite or label on, can’t kick into a well defined generic drawer, music that I didn’t see coming. Well, I didn’t see this coming. I feel like I have been run over by demon-possessed truck, experimented on by extra-terrestrials, have stood on the edge of the end of the universe itself, been attacked by cyborgs and had a music shop collapse on me. What a way to spend a morning. And the weird part is…I can’t wait to do it all again.

 

Rad Science  – Eleventyseven (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

22860073_10159511871290223_3324345195166671554_oF. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that there were no second acts in American lives. He also said a bit about trombone players and jazz music. He also predicted that pop-punk has had its day. Maybe. He was wrong about a lot of it. Eleventyseven are not only back after a three year hiatus, with a new album, but Rad Science is their fifth to date and their first on their own label. This feels very much like a second act to me and pop-punk certainly isn’t dead, it just needed a bit of a polish, a re-tune and is ready for another spin round the block, leaving tyre tracks on the street and the smell of burning in the air and Eleventyseven have proven to be just the people for the job.

But enough of the tenuous car analogies. The band’s chosen moniker for their music is neon-punk and as journalistic labels go it is pretty much spot on capturing their blend of vibrant pop sensibility and punk energy, old-school guitar muscle and cutting edge electronic futurism and Rad Science is neat slice of sassy accessibility and clever genre-splicing.

Holding Out, the current single, leans heavily on the EDM side of their signature sound, weaving together dance vibes and big choruses, a surefire winner with the dancefloor set and compare this with the slick but visceral punk urges of opening salvo New Rock Bottom and you have an idea of the limits of the territory that the band work in. And these limits are wide enough to encompass Kicking The Habit’s futuristic electro-rock, Inside Out’s skittering pop, the hat tip to pop-punk past of New York Minute and the more balladic dance grooves of Microchip.

It’s safe to say that there is plenty going on here, but then again this is a band which has more than earned their stripes, know a thing or two about writing songs which are both commercial and immediate but which also appeal to a more discerning musical palette, and who are about to embark on a really exciting second act. F. Scott who?

Darkness  – RaR ft. Elizabeth Robinson (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

RaR2_previewThis may be the sort of music that the likes of David Guetta can write in his sleep, but sadly, more often than not David Guetta sounds like he is writing in his sleep. Maybe it is time for him to move on and hand the euphoric dance floor torch to the next generation and on the strength of Darkness it sounds like RaR already have one hand firmly on it. This Sydney duo, Raymo and Rich, hence the name, create discerning Ayia Napa style EDM, euphoric and dynamic clubland cuts which, whilst built on fairly straight forward lines, is a mix of old school familiarity and a new wave of energy that is not only keeping the scene alive but seeing it thrive once more.

Solid beats are the main platform onto which they hang glorious synth upswells and a hypnotic and effervescently relentless drive but the secret weapon, as is often the case with such creations, is the vocal icing on the electronic cake. Elizabeth Robinson is truly breathtaking here, an almost classical voice is quickly subsumed into the heady world of dance culture and the result is a glorious roller coaster ride of shimmering highs and subtle breakdowns, glittering crescendos and supple deliveries and it is these elements which move the song way ahead of the pack.

It wanders between the now and the near future, both recognisable and exploratory, a blend of the slick dance floor sounds of past and present and helping to push the electronic boundaries into fascinating new forward thinking techno-concoctions. And that is always the place at which  EDM finds itself, constantly tumbling forward into new possibilities, never staying still long enough to sound dated or retro, a punk ethic in a digital age. The genre is nothing if not an endless quest for a new vision of itself, whilst of course achieving the ultimate goal of having a great time whilst doing so. Not only is RaR at the front of this trail blazing expedition, you can’t tell me that they are not having a blast along the way!

Scene and Heard – CCXXX :  My Infatuation (Love Vibration)  – Andrew Farstar (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Album CoverWhilst knowing where you come from is important as where you are going, any release manifests itself as just one waypoint along that musical direction of travel. Or as one famous game changer put it “it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at” and musically where Farstar is at is interesting indeed. Having come from a more contemporary jazz and pop place, My Infatuation, from his second album Metamorphosis sees him heading into a more alt-pop, chilled EDM zone, one which combines deftly wrought dance vibes with a mellow delivery and as such appeals not only to the obvious clubland set but will find favour with a slightly more mature audience.

Many working in a similar field are happy to create fast and furious beats, “banging tunes” as the youth call them, I believe, but as in all things speed is easy to achieve, slower, more controlled, spacious and subtle music is a harder trick to pull off, but pull it off he does. Skittering dancefloor beats carry a smooth and sassy R&B groove and it has enough cool pop sensibility to break out and appeal to a wider audience. That’s a lot to fit into one tune.

And if My Infatuation contains the required groove and pace of a midnight dance floor or a mid set festival track, it also is sassy and sultry enough for the more laid back dance experience. It is built on confident beats and airy electronica but allows enough space between that the music never becomes claustrophobic or cluttered.Not everything has to be the fastest, the most intricate, the most driven; we have matured enough to get beyond that. What Andrew Farstar offers instead is solid and sexy, and when has that not been more than enough for a good night out.

Scene and Heard  CCXXII : Stay – Prilho (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

prilho-bioAlthough only a couple of years into a career as a DJ and producer, Prilho has quickly become one to watch on the EDM scene, not only in his native Portugal but across the European dance scene as a whole. Stay is a song which pulses with the positivity and euphoria of the contemporary dance sound, it glows with great vibes and even though it is built on a fairly mid-paced tempo, its clever use of dynamics, its ability to build musical peaks and sonic troughs means that it is packed with punch, but it is punch which comes from clever craftsmanship rather than just putting the foot on the gas.

Of course music is all about context, understanding the purpose it serves and the context here is as a sassy dance floor filler, and on that level it works perfectly. It weaves together tight beats and slow burning synths into waves of anticipation, building the excitement and atmosphere before the chorus releases the power. And if that build and drop is pretty standard fare in the clubland game, Prilho still has a few tricks up his sleeve. Drops don’t always come quite where you expect them, the builds often don’t resolve quite how or when they should and it is this ability to keep the audience guessing that sets him apart form the rest of the circuit.

Stay is set to become a favourite of modern club culture, it is as simple as that. It delivers all the goods, all the expectation and fever that a dance floor classic needs, but it does so on its own terms, it doesn’t pander to the audience, it toys with them and teases them and for those reasons they will remember it long after the dance by numbers tunes have be dropped into the musical landfill site of history.

Under My Skin – Kendra Erika (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

tn-kendraeika-undermyskin-1200x1200bb-590x590Just how do you get ahead of the competition in the mainstream electro, dance, pop market? That’s the trick isn’t it? Pitch a sound and a style that is too radical, too out there and whilst you will pick up a few new fans from the fringes and underground scenes, you risk loosing the main target audience. Create a sound which is too similar to the centre of the fashion curve and you risk being lost in the noise of the competition, or worse brandished a copycat act trading on a sound already associate with more established artists.

The clever thing about Kendra is that whilst she very much appeals to the late evening, high – octane dance groove set, she also manages to bring something new to the sound. That the song is infectious goes without saying but with its soulful break downs and wonderful use of dynamics to shift the pace and control the mood, it displays a subtle and supple quality that many of her peers lack. Put it this way, in a busy club land district of the hottest scene in town, with music blasting from the venue doorways out into the night time streets, the streets filled with the young, hip and fashionable, this song is going to be the one that draws the coolest movers and shakers to that club’s dance floor. No so much a song, more the soundtrack to a new scene just waiting to happen.

 

Outcasts – Ezla (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

ezla1I guess anyone who moves to Nashville, the home of rhinestone infused country music, to build a career in edgy, sultry, underground pop, is obviously someone who sees beyond the veneer of the music industry and knows how to find her musical allies in the less obvious places. And it is an attitude that certainly runs through the music that she makes. Pop it may be but it is pop coming from a very different, very literate, very original place.

Outcasts manages to combine compelling, slow dance grooves, hypnotic electronica and a dark lyricism which not only speaks to the fractured and contested issues surrounding the identity problems of modern society but also echo’s her own place running at a tangent to the mainstream. It is this compelling lyricism coupled with an alternative pop sound, one that seems to emanate from a more intense, thoughtful and intriguing place, that makes Ezla not only something apart from the usual pop fodder, but also the genres best hope for an engaging future.

Philly To Long Branch (part 2) – Untitled Art (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

a3734845346_16Being a reviewer of pretty much any genre that comes at me, obviously there are strengths and weaknesses in my arsenal of scribbled thoughts. Particularly when I see those three little letters in close proximity, E, D and M, I automatically worry about how I am going to find something new and convincing to say about a wannabe DJ remixing the same tired and over-used bass burbles and glitchy beats, enough to fill the allotted space anyway.

Five seconds in to the strange and evocatively titled Philly To Long Branch (part 2) and I realise that I actually have the opposite problem, that EDM is just one small part of this heady, high-octane, electro rock hybrid and that trying to explore, capture and describe the music in mere words is not only going to be a longer job than I anticipated, it is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Philly… is built on a beat of fractious urgency, a frenzied, adrenaline fuelled headlong rush where the clinical cold synths of the dance floor are mixed with white hot rock muscle to create a blend of the futuristic and the primordial, the industrial and the elemental, the pre-determined and the organic. It also has a brooding presence, far from the euphoric and joyous nature of the uptown club, it feels as if it has been fashioned from the scattered musical trappings and attitudes that the punks, the goths and the garage rockers left behind after their bubbles burst and they either went underground or learnt to conform.

Those who insist on labels might like terms like Stygian dance music, industrial groove, darkwave, techno-goth, well goth, always a misunderstood term, was very much built on dance grooves and whilst the term now seems to have been re-appropriated into just another sub-genre of metal by a generation who want to live in the Sunnydale of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, this gloriously grim groove manages to pull referential strands from the older, darker heart of the punk-gothique and industrial genres. Knowing where you come from has always been as important as knowing where you are going. But the more you listen to the music, the more labels it manages to conjure, thus reminding you of the limitations of such attempts at pigeon-holing.

This is dance music built from the detritus found scattered across an industrial wasteland, all sharp edges and jagged design and driven by a relentless powerhouse of bruising beats and searing sparks. It is the white-hot groove of factory noise being rendered onto the nightclub floor, but not the nightclub that just anyone can find. This one is probably in a decaying warehouse or dead car plant miles away from civilization and possibly even in some sort of parallel universe, and as the clock strikes thirteen this is the sound which hits the sky for probably the last party before the apocalypse.

We are continually told that “rock music is dead” but maybe, like everything else subject to evolution, it has merely changed and is no longer recognisable to those who still think it is all about long hair and a guitar riff. If we ignore what you actually use to make the music and what you happen to wear whilst you are doing so, then Philly…actually ticks more rock boxes than you might think in terms of power, drive, intensity, groove, ferocity, weight and sensibility. AC/DC it obviously isn’t but in many ways a new form of rock music it certainly makes an argument for being.

I like music that I can’t just hang a sound bite or label on, can’t kick into a well defined generic drawer, music that I didn’t see coming. Well, I didn’t see this coming. I feel like I have been run over by demon-possessed truck, experimented on by extra-terrestrials, battled with denizens of the night, have stood on the edge of the end of the universe itself, been attacked by cyborgs and had a music shop collapse on me. What a way to spend a morning. And the weird part is…I can’t wait to do it all again.

Playground – Rick Tibbe (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

19148978_1235567596553928_5013852739640565032_n-1If EDM has a sonic range that wanders between high-octane, adrenaline soaked, incendiary beats and chilled, after hours come downs, Rick Tibbe walks a path between the two. But this isn’t compromise, actually the total opposite, the perfect merger of the infectiousness of the former and the lazy grove of the latter. The best of both worlds.

For whilst Playground contains the required groove and pace of a midnight dance floor or a mid set festival track, it also is sassy and sultry enough for the more laid back dance experience. It is built on trippy beats and airy electronica but allows enough space between that the music never becomes claustrophobic or cluttered.

Not everything has to be the fastest, the most intricate, the most driven; we have matured enough to get beyond that. What Rick Tibbe offers instead is solid and sexy, and when has that not been more than enough for a good night out.

More information about Rick Tibbe HERE

Caballero – Santos Noyakuk (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

C9AdOizV0AAahXNChilled beats from the chilly north! That in a nutshell is what Santos Noyakuk is all about. If you associate classic EDM sounds with the warm west coast, azure blue washed Mediterranean or ultra-chic underground German basement clubs, Noyakuk’s shimmering northern sound will remind you that dance music is no longer driven by the limits of culture and geography. It is everywhere you look, the modern expression of the primal urge to dance, to break free, and to express yourself just for the sake of it.

Caballero is built on a mixture of chilled, sultry grooves and high-octane dance beats, the journey from one to the other often being the structure that the track is built on. It wanders between the now and the near future, both recognisable and exploratory, sometimes opting for the slick dance floor sound of today, sometimes pushing the electronic boundaries into fascinating new forward thinking techno-concoctions.

And that is always the place that EDM has to sit, constantly tumbling forward into new possibilities, never staying still long enough to sound dated or retro, a punk ethic in a digital age. The genre is nothing if not an endless quest for a new vision of itself, thankfully Santos Novakuk is at the front of this trail blazing expedition.

 

Stop Pushing Love Away – The Pete V Project (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Pete-V-Project-Publicity-1400x1400We all know that music is cyclical in nature and that there isn’t too much that exists in the present that doesn’t have some sort of root in the past. Even with that in mind it isn’t often that a song manages to sound both backward glancing, forward thinking and completely relevant to the present day all at the same time. The Pete V Project’s latest single does just that.

Once underway the song is driven by a happy hardcore beat, all urgency and adrenaline and wonderfully at odds with the restraint and soulfulness of Marie Virginie Pierre’s sublime vocals and the woozy, sultry late night, jazz bar vibes of Antonio Campbell’s sonorous saxophone. But that is the art of it I guess, it may be easy to drop this track into a box and label it EDM, but it references as many past sounds as it does offer new musical benchmarks.

It’s a straightforward and unfussy song; it does what it sets out to do with a minimum of fuss, that is, build a clean-limbed and eminently danceable track. But even with the simplest of lines, most easily recognisable of beats and very few extraneous details or musical embellishments it still manages to find somewhere new to take the genre. EDM soul? Happy jazz-core? Don’t worry about it…just dance

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