Monthly Archives: July 2010

LexiconDon – December Sunset Remixes 2

Oh Shit!, comprised of producers Devoe and Dirty Seaner, are based out of LA and their label, Velcro City Records, is based out of Denver. Being from Colorado myself I’d like to officially claim them as ours…LA can spare the talent. Those of you who aren’t familiar with Oh Shit! from their collaboration with Nightdrugs on “Everybody Needs” are in for quite a treat. These guys rock.

LexiconDon – December Sunset (Oh Shit! Remix)

Oh Shit! were a great choice for this remix because they’re some of the hardest working producers pumping out disco oriented tracks. They were able to offer up something distinctive without deviating too far from the original. The Oh Shit! version of LexiconDon’s ‘December Sunset’ is faster with lots of dancefloor potential and a bassy bounce; you could call it the 6 million dollar remix. The changes to the melody are substantial enough to give the track the energy it needs to flourish with its new BPM, yet subtle enough to satisfy fans of the original. Still, I feel like this mix really shines in its quieter moments. Breakdowns let the song catch it’s breath a bit and give the vocals  some well deserved attention.

Lucas Smith aka Robots With Rayguns is one of my favorite up and coming producers in blog house – a term I’m shamelessly stealing from Electro Wars. Lucas has got this great way of mashing a Kavinsky-esque electropop sensibility with hints of late ’90s techno. ‘Sugarbaby,’ a track off his upcoming LP “Electro Isn’t Dead,” is a perfect example. The synth is reminiscent of ‘Better Off Alone’ but somehow there isn’t anything eurotrashy about the mix; that’s hard to pull off.  The album title scares me though. “Electro Isn’t Dead”? Are people saying it is? I want their names…

The Robots With Rayguns mix departs more from the original than any of the other remixes out there.  I’m going to try to limit my post to the one Kavinsky reference, but after listening to this you’ll understand why that’s not an easy task. Some songs just beg for a Testarossa soundsystem.

LexiconDon – December Sunset (Robots With Rayguns Remix)

RWR’s inspired rework on the vocals pairs perfectly with the dreamy quality of the instrumental, all the while preserving the spirit of the original. The thing I like most about this track is that it’s not particularly mixable. Sometimes it feels like everyone is producing within the confines of the same cliched chord progressions and formulaic bar structures. Anyone who can count to four can tell what will happen next. That’s what I like so much about this mix: no big builds, no self-indulgent intros, just delicate retro melodies and an understated sense of angst. Glorious work. Anyway if you like this, check out “Kimberly” by Good Luck at the Gunfight – it’s got a very similar feel to it.

Posted by: Evan

Synthia – 1981

Self-proclaimed “cosmic disco” duo Synthia have been making cutting-edge sounds from their labs near Manchester UK long enough to know when they’ve hit a sweet spot. Matt Hope and Angus Paterson’s nu disco retro tunes come from Leeds, where the two DJs have been splitting their energies between their active residency and producing new outside-of-the-box twists on the retro-electro trend. Synthia’s “cosmic” tone is defined by their superbly-timed synths and drum pads, leading the listener on an audio adventure of spacey 1980s proportions. Having performed with the likes of The Bug, Nightmares On Wax and Fila Brazilia (who created one of the best remixes of Radiohead ever), certainly Synthia knows the level at which the bar has been set for them. Thankfully, instead of buckling under the pressure, their creativity bursts through convention to set standards of their own.

Synthia – 1981

There is a silky undercurrent to their production sound that melts together in some sublimely-enjoyable way, like a grilled cheese made by grandma. All I’d need with it is a can of Tab and I’m set. Synthia lets the ’80s fun reign supreme in their wily dance groove. They stay charged within the bubble of their own innovative electricity with their club track “1981,” a song that combines a modern disco-electro element with their much-adored club beats of yesterday to produce a track that definitely lives up to its name. You can’t help but reminisce on the world of 29 years ago as “1981” ventures on. Heavily-immersed in reverence for the sounds of the past, the song begins with a sparse vibe and a lightness that layers itself towards its own core of being a total throwback track. As it drives onward, Synthia’s true potential shines through to reveal a high-caliber production of unique-sounding synths, delicately structured and lovingly crafted by skilled hands that know which of those musical spots taste the sweetest.

With this track the two astronauts of disco electro lay undeniable value on the table. Half-trained at Oxford, half-rooted in drum & bass, a solid comprehension of underlying beats and creative inspiration gives Synthia the sturdy foundation from which they launch their dance-inspiring grooves at us. “1981” shoots past like an arrow, inflicting its phonic damage on our brains before decelerating somewhere in outer space. The song is a bit like a dissection of itself, offering up sonic details in layers that sound individually isolated, but form together to give it the wide-open musical pathway it ends up following to its conclusion. You can hear the Tesla Boy in it; you can hear the ghosts of tunes from other trendsetters in the electro scene. Again we face remarkably-structured electronic craftsmanship.

Take the bridge for example, which starts just before the three minute mark. It builds itself into a happy funk which zaps the track into total 1980s immersion before the third minute has even half-passed. It seems mild and tame, but it isn’t. This hot iron will surely burn you. It demands us to respect the heat, get up and move; to dance to the beat with whatever we’ve got and show those nasty naysayers of ’80s revival what we’re made of. The fun of ’80s night culture is there. The Russian synth pop flavor is there. I’m not exactly sure what “psychobilly disco” is supposed to mean, but there is clearly some sort of uniquely-playful attitude that is also there, guiding their creative spirit. It will be interesting to see what these guys endeavor to come up with as time passes on.

Posted by: Paul

Rosanna – Runaway (Rocket Boy Remix)

As if there is not enough genius, glam, pop coming from Sweden, welcome Rosanna. The now 22 year-old was signed to Columbia Records when she was just 13 and spent the majority of her teen years in the girl band Play touring with acts like Destiny’s Child. All grown up and with years of music classes and festival performances behind her, Rosanna describes her solo sound as “big emotional, chaotic, beautiful pop.” Rosanna’s first single, ‘Waterfall,’ is being released August 22nd on Popjustice Hi-Fi and was produced/co-written by Jim Eliot. Any artist who has Jim Eliot on their side, such as Ladyhawke or Sunday Girl, is bound to have true talent and create some pretty eclectic jams. The ‘Waterfall’ Deluxe CD comes with a Fear of Tigers remix and the bonus single ‘Runaway.’

Rosanna – Runaway (Rocket Boy Remix)

Rocket Boy is a relatively unknown Swedish duo and there is not very much information out there on them. However, what I do know is they can take Rosanna’s ‘Runaway’ and breathe a whole different life into it simply by swapping out the original two chord piano chorus for a layered, synth keyboard sound. ‘Runaway’ transforms from a dance, pop song to an electronic ballad.

I love layers, especially soft layers that you don’t even notice unless you are listening for them; those are the songs that get me. Rocket Boy builds ‘Runaway’ to mirror the lyrics. Starting with the bassline and adding the kick drum, this mix always seems to have at least three layers. The last minute of chimes, just when the original would be ending, take you into the future, you can’t stop running and you have no clue what you are running away from or what you are running to.

“Runaway, don’t wanna get caught, don’t wanna stay, don’t wanna miss you so…”

“Runaway, get the best of me, don’t wanna stay, I wanna get it right,
gotta plan, you know what I’m about, try to go back to where we started out…”

All I think about when I listen to this song is disappearing. Running away and saying “I don’t care,” except really meaning it. It is almost impossible to just pick up and leave everything and everyone you know and never look back. I always wonder why people want to run away from their past…as if just being removed from it could help you forget. You can always move forward and move on, but your past has made you the person you are today and there is no running away from that.

Posted by: Kim

LBCK – Disco Thrills

The more I listen to LBCK the more embarrassed I am that I haven’t known about them for longer. With bloggers lavishing praise left and right it looks like this is just the beginning for Alex Nobel and Mike Lucas-the Long Beach City Kids. I think part of what makes this group so exciting is that while the group is primarily disco influenced, they’ve got a big range. You’d never think tracks like “Disco Thrills” and “Giallo” could possibly come from the same producers. “Disco Thrills” is like Bit Funk or Sidechains and “Giallo” is more like Whitenoise or Boys Noize. I’ll put it this way…I put on “Disco Thrills” and my dog ran up to me; I put on “Giallo” and it ran away.

LBCK – Disco Thrills

LBCK are doing the premiere  of the “Start” music video at Dragonfly Monday, July 26th with fellow DJs…wait for it…DCUP and Binary’s own, Fabian! Check out the event page here. Let me just say this, I live in Nashville, TN. If those three acts were playing here you couldn’t keep me away. Lightning would have to hit DCUP’s plane out of Atlanta for him to ever play here. LA, consider yourself lucky.

I always try to come up with my own descriptions for these songs, but Kick Kick Snare got it exactly right when they said “Disco Thrills” is “a fusion of late nineties French house vibes and disco touches without being overly reverential.” That’s more than just a clever way of saying it’s like Daft Punk, but not like Daft Punk. LBCK have something going on here that is thoroughly theirs.  It’s like someone threw an early 90s tv theme song, a silky disco track, and a glitched out LA banger in a blender and hit chop. I’ve got a set in the works for tomorrow and as soon as I heard this I ran to my tables to figure out how I’d get it in. The Ed Hardy peanut gallery might not deem it “fist-pumpable,” but they’ll deal.

Posted by: Evan

Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP – We No Speak Americano (Moonchild Remix)

Jumping on the gypsy-house bandwagon (or would that be gypsy wagon?) Yoland Be Cool and DCUP, two Australian producers, released “We No Speak Americano” in early March to an outstanding reception. Complete with a horn section, stomping drum lines rendering an “oom pah pah” (reminiscent of Balkan folk music) and a rousing sample of the classic “Tu Vuò Fà L’Americano,” it was an immediate club hit. It’s a fantastically upbeat and nostalgic song which evokes our grandparents’ generation in the old world. “Americano” is a celebration of an almost-forgotten style of music, with a delightfully fresh and club-ready spin. It incorporates traditional instruments and rhythmic patterns while still being accessible to the younger, electronically-minded. Due in part to its smash success, it had the potential to become a ground breaking catalyst for old-meets-new folk styling in modern dance music. It made us think, “Maybe Balkan music is ready to be mainstream?” That is, however, until Moonchild got a hold of the original and completely turned it on its head.

Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP – We No Speak Americano (Moonchild Remix)

Moonchild is an extraordinarily talented producer based out of Sydney, and is a quickly rising star on the nu-disco scene. His remix of “We No Speak Americano” was released in response to a contest sponsored by Sweat It Out! Records. His remix won the contest with 32% of the total vote, and it’s not hard to see why. Rather than incorporating the old world feel of the original song, Moonchild looks towards the future and reminds us that there’s a reason why gypsy music never caught on in the mainstream. With his remix he corrals the gypsies back into their wagon, and puts the disco back into the disco music. At the end of the day, we’re all better off for it.

Moonchild’s version of “We No Speak…” still retains a distinctly foreign feel, but it’s definitely not earthly. He gives the song an otherworldly twist with his heavy use of filters and spacey-sounding synthesizers; whereas in the original song the subtext to the foreigners’ lyrics seems to be “We No Speak Americano—so fuck you ‘cause we’re proud of our heritage!” Moonchild’s foreigners seem to cry, “We No Speak Americano…CAUSE WE’RE FROM SPACE!” Living in a world obsessed with modernization and globalization, it’s getting harder and harder to find a culture left untouched by the American hand. Consequently, it’s not so far-fetched to imagine that the next people we’re likely to meet who ‘No Speak Americano’ will be from outer space. Maybe we can play them this song to help ensure they’ll come in peace.

Posted by: Mikayla

LexiconDon – December Sunset Remixes 1

LexiconDon’s upcoming LP, Pink + Blue, is full of the warm summertime sounds and sentiments we’ve all come to love from them. Their first single “December Sunset” is a terrific example of the contemplative, smooth vibe of the album, with its layers creating the perfectly balanced synth pop song capable of standing firmly on its own and also lending itself to an infinite number of intriguing directions for a remix.

LexiconDon – December Sunset (LAZRHWK Remix)

LAZRHWK finds a way to take the latest vibe from LexiconDon one step further by wrapping the strengths of the original track in a blanket of faster grooves, feisty twists and energetic compliments. LAZRHWK tries to build upon “December Sunset” without overpowering it and it does so in spades. A lot of credit goes to Alex Koons’ vocals for being not only malleable, but retaining that chilled-out tone through all of the remixing. This one in particular has a distinctly pacific flavor (my favorite). It’s refreshing and dynamic. Strong songwriting and structuring is important; it allows an artist the freedom to create unique songs of character and still leave the door open for limitless potential in its subsequent interpretations. It’s inspiring to hear how LAZRHWK connected with that possibility and saw it fit to put a fresh, light, fizzing spin on it.

Posted by: Paul

I imagine that like some of you, I’m relatively new to Binary.  I didn’t even know of Keenhouse, Ken Rangkuty, until I heard “Civic Transit” last summer. That being said, it easily made my top 5 originals of 2009 and I’ve been a die hard fan ever since.  After playing his new remix of Housse de Racket’s “Oh Yeah” on repeat all week,  I jumped at the opportunity to review his contribution to our own LexiconDon’s “December Sunset.”

LexiconDon – December Sunset (Keenhouse Remix)

“December Sunset” feels like a heart wrenching struggle between joy and angst, between hope and despair.  The song’s unique blend of pop influence and meditative sensibility marries dance-ability with listen-ability for one killer dancefloor ballad.

When remixing a track like this one I think you want do two things: let Koons’ vocals shine through and make sure not to stray too far from the original. Why mess with a good thing? The Keenhouse remix is a great example. He mixes in elements reminiscent of steel drums with the brass from the original to give the chorus a twist of island flavor. Think nu disco with a little 311; think cocktail party meets beach party.  If you’re throwing a cocktail party on the beach you should be all set. Ah and of course no Keenhouse track would be complete without breaking down for a minute into synthy jam sesh. I just can’t seem to get tired of those soaring arpeggios or those funky hooks. This is one of his best, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love them all.

Posted by: Evan

Dax Riders – Show me ur Love + Heartbreaker

I’m so incredibly excited to finally post on these guys. I found Dax Riders while aimlessly bouncing from one myspace to another, a tedious task and one of my favorite ways to discover new groups. Dax Riders however are anything but new. This French synth-funk trio put out their first release in 1994 as participants in the then burgeoning French house scene. Their newest tracks sound like P from Chromeo went solo or maybe like a futuristic George Clinton. Obviously I’m in love with everything they do. It’s all very vocode heavy, but I’ve always had a soft spot for that sound.

Dax Riders – Show me ur Love

Dax Riders is comprised of Cédric Azencoth, Oliver Ruel and Nicolas Berger-Vachon. The former two are the original members and now the owners of indie, Subscience Records. The group is best known in France for their single “People,” released on Universal France in 2001.  I’d never heard “People,” but that’s the great thing about the French electro scene: it’s too good and too big. I’ve always wondered what it was about French electro that makes it so consistent, even among basically unknown artists. I think it’s at least partially due to three major things. First, the French public school system incorporates music classes at an early age so relatively few French producers play by ear . Second, France has been laying the foundation for a great EDM scene since the early 80s when space disco and p-funk became wildly popular. Third, and this is just a hunch, I think a lot of French producers see themselves as modern day composers, as much in the tradition of Chopin and Auber as Daft Punk and Cassius. Danger, Allure, and Justice are all solid examples of the kind of classical sensibility that permeates the production culture.

As much as Dax Riders are the conglomeration of an array of influences, their sound feels surprisingly unified. I like their style, but their songs are all pretty similar. This made picking songs to post  harder than usual, but that’s a challenge I can live with. The first moments of “Show me ur Love” sound a bit like Excision or Datsik, but it isn’t long before the song’s character reveals itself and Dax Riders start revving up the funk. A rising chorus of robotic vocode breaks down into a soulful falsetto with a lot of great 70s feel. Intentional misspellings aside, this is easily one of their best and most euphoric tracks to date.

Dax Riders – Heartbreaker

“Heartbreaker” has got to be my favorite Dax Riders song. It’s everything that makes French electro great: it’s sample heavy, filtered, and funky as hell. I could understand the opinion that all the vocode gets to be a bit much, but I still feel like it’s used tastefully and that their vocal edits keep the sound interesting enough for 3 minutes. With lyrics like “wanna see you dance” repeated over some seriously catchy melodies, people should be too busy moving to be critical.

Posted by: Evan

LexiconDon – December Sunset

You may have heard by now, but on August 24th LexiconDon will be releasing their highly anticipated, debut album Pink + Blue. It would be a vast understatement to say that the Binary crew is excited! “December Sunset” is the first single, and it’s a nice showing of LexiconDon’s diversity on the album. Pink + Blue is loaded with hits, but this song shows off the more organically soft side of our beloved Binary boys, considering much of their previously released material has been a bit on the faster, ‘heavier’ side. The song stands alone as a tasty little treat, and is packaged with a stellar gathering of remixes from the likes of Keenhouse, U-Tern, NightWaves, Oh Shit!, and Lazerhawk.

LexiconDon – December Sunset

The song starts with a clean, eerie landscape that immediately grips and pulls you in like a beautiful girls’ eyes on the dance floor. Strutting in ever so smoothly is the strong, distorted bassline which sticks throughout and carries the song. The ever-necessary tambourine pops in like magic to add a little glitter to the synthy atmosphere, followed by tambourine-man Alex’s vocals coming in at around a minute and sounding as good or better than ever. Not to take anything away from their past work, but “December Sunset” has more of a concentration and focus than ever before. Lyrics, vocals, and overall production are just more deliberate, precise, and smooooth. Get used to this level of quality, as it’s just a taste of what’s to come from Pink + Blue.

This is undeniably a song about heartbreak and heartache. It’s also a longing for the summer months that seem so far away in the dead of winter. Your summer sweetheart seems a distant memory now and your heart aches for your times together.  It’s December, it’s bitterly cold, and you’re finally getting hit with the realization that it was really just a summer fling-thing. “December Sunset” certainly has a  melancholy feel throughout, but there’s also an optimistic hint of hope for the future. At first listen you get the melancholy part, but it may take some time to feel the uplifting side… which is kind of the way it feels when your heart is broken. At first all is dark and gloomy, but in time you begin to see a little clearer and find hope in the future that lies ahead.

“Is this really over? You are my everything, my everything, my everything.”

Luckily for us, we’re not freezing in December, but rather find ourselves in the dead heat of the sweltering summer right now. Summer romance is in the air and we don’t need to think about what’s going to come from any of it. But when winter time rolls around, I imagine there will be plenty of lonely souls that make this their comforting theme song.

And even with all of that said, this song really does fit snuggly as a refreshing little splash of summer. Try it on… and get ready for a load of ear candy coming from LexiconDon in the coming weeks.

Posted by: Dillon

Michael Cassette – Moonlight Runner + Kilimanjaro

Whenever I feel completely overwhelmed, I run. I don’t mean this in a metaphorical sense, like that I’m incapable of dealing with my problems. Rather I mean quite literally that when I’m beside myself with emotion I lace my shoes, grab my headphones, and take off down the road running. These emotion-induced runs are more than energy exertion, they’re meditation. Really they’re like a cleansing of my spirit.

Michael Cassette – Moonlight Runner

Perhaps it’s a consequence of the name, but Michael Cassette’s “Moonlight Runner” makes me want to do nothing more than take to the streets. Michael Cassette is a progressive house trio from Finland. While two of the members are forthcoming about their identity, the third member, who serves as the innovator (the other two serve mainly as producers) prefers to be known by the pseudonym “Michael.” He is intensely secretive about his life and identity, but as far as I can gather, some early tragedy caused him to prefer anonymity. As stated on his website, “The music of Michael Cassette reflects…the distant memories and subtle sadness for the constantly vanishing times.” One can hear the ‘subtle sadness’ in all of Michael Cassette’s music, and “Moonlight Runner” is no exception.

It’s a beautiful—almost haunting—song. The music may be subtly sad, yet at the same time it’s undeniably hopeful. Its pulsating bass and kick pushes the listener towards some great unknown. Whatever the final destination may be is up one’s self to decide. For me, that final destination is psychological clarity, the kind I can only achieve by running. I hear the glittering synths of “Moonlight Runner” and picture myself flying over dark and empty streets, the sweat on my brow glistening in the streetlights.

Michael Cassette clearly understands pain, but his ability to harness its beauty sets him apart. “Moonlight Runner” is a testament to the driving power of hope in darkness, and the clarity that awaits at the end of the road. I understand this literally. When I run I forget everything about the world around me and all my earthly troubles. When I run nothing matters—there’s only my body, the street, and the music in my ears. The three of them combined allow me to reach nirvana. However even when immobile, listening to this song helps me to remember those moments; those painful albeit beautiful moments of clarity, when I’m running under a starry sky and my lungs feel like they want to burst, but I’ve left all emotional pain behind me with every step I’ve pounded into the pavement.

Michael Cassette – Kilimanjaro

And because one is never enough, here’s a second Michael Cassette track. It’s entitled “Kilimanjaro,” and it’s huge. These guys have quite the knack for creating music for the imagination; listening to this song I can perfectly picture the ethereal beauty of morning mists as the sun rises over the mountain. Is there such a genre as destination-house? If not, I’m coining that term and using it solely to apply to this song, because every time I hear it I feel like I’ve been transported to Tanzania.

Posted by: Mikayla

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The Emergency – Forever

The Emergency has always been a mystery band to me. Instead of seeking fame everything seems to have simply fallen into place for them. Especially evident in their 12” album Forever/Too Much, The Emergency is influenced by “banging pots and pans, footsteps hitting the pavement, disco, delay on everything, dark and cold city nights.” Lead singer Milo Kossowski and synthmaster Morgan McWaters ingeniously put their sedated vocals into the disco beats and incorporate cold, hypnotizing sounds that captivate you and take you to the future.

The Emergency – Forever

In the track “Forever” you have a subtle beat in the beginning, but as soon as it picks up you get pulled into a disco, grunge, electro party that makes you want to start dancing in a Gary Numan type of way. The lyrics in “Forever” definitely stand out just as much as the music does. As you listen to the words you start to picture a foggy vision of smoke and mirrors leading you into an array of neon lights.

“Switch it off…start the party.”

The Emergency is a pioneer in the Melbourne synth music scene and has influenced many successful artists in the genre. Their first release was in 2008, and their originality has kept them unrivaled in the scene. The Emergency has also managed to remain obscure to the mainstream media, which allows them to stay true to their original sound and continue to bring dance floors and people back together in their self-titled “tropical, psychedelic/concrete” movement.

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Posted by: Richie