Monthly Archives: December 2010

Oliver – All Night + Stevie Wonder – Do I Do (U-Tern Edit)

These days, it seems that Mr. Vaugn Oliver of British Columbia can do no wrong. Everything U-Tern touches seems to turn in to a shiny, twirling disco ball. He’s a superb DJ, producer, blogger (who isn’t?), web radio DJ , and now part of this disco powerhouse that is Oliver. Oliver is the combo of producers Oliver Goldstein (Oligee) & Vaughn Oliver. This first song that they’ve released, ‘All Night,’ is a fine piece of smooth disco goodness that doesn’t fall an inch short of tremendous. Take a solid listen.

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Oliver – All Night

‘All Night’ is well suited for a late night/early morning drive after hours of bowling with friends on a warm Saturday night. It’s mellow, but still contains the builds and peaks to get you excited. Some friendly vocals splashed in here and there add that human vocal touch that so many really good disco tracks lack. It’s close to 7 minutes long, and all 7 of those minutes are filled with slow motion disco bliss. Put this on for those borderline sober car rides home when you probably should have called a taxi.

You love Stevie Wonder; I love Stevie Wonder; everyone loves Stevie Wonder. He’s a music legend, and when U-Tern got ahold of his classic hit ‘Do I Do,’ a fantastic piece of funky disco magic explodes like the grand finale of a firework show in 1982. If you don’t already know, well here you go.

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Stevie Wonder – Do I Do (U-Tern Edit)

My levels of excitement were through the roof when I saw this song pop up on U-Tern’s twitter a few months back, and I still get overly giddy every time I start listening to it. Congo steel drums, driving bass, funky bassline, and the cowbell of course. The smoothness kicks in strong just after a minute, and then the horns take the whole piece to new heights. Stevie Wonder’s easily recognizable vocals and lyrics make this highly accessible for all. The original is a great pop tune, but U-Tern turns it into to a DJ friendly, disco dancefloor pleaser. U-Tern really nailed it on this one. Try not to smile and dance when that chorus kicks in. MY GOD… it’s just so GOOD. Resisting the urge to jump up and move should be impossible with this song coming through the speakers.

Oliver has one more song released on Pulse Recordings, and Vaughn is always churning out apocalyptic disco jams. Keep a close eye on him… but you probably already know that. Also, be sure to check out U-Tern DJing out in Santa Monica with Cassian on Jan 14th… details here on Facebook

Muffin

Muffin has been at the very top of my ‘artists to watch’ list since I first heard “Beach Road” back in February. He’s also been near the top of my ‘to be blogged’ playlist on iTunes since I heard Astronaut Candy this summer. Muffin is my secret weapon when I DJ and he’s my go-to guy when I need some extra epic motivation music. His tunes are like cocaine for emotions, they amplify whatever you’re feeling 1000x. They can take you pretty much wherever you want to go. I would rank him as one one of our genre’s great hopes for 2011.  We’ve got a couple of originals and a brand new remix to share today.

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Muffin – Astronaut Candy

“Astronaut Candy” starts off with a pan swirling synth pad that most Frenchman would drool over. As the chords filter towards the inevitable bass drop, its hard not to picture someone like Alan Braxe behind the keys. Only the French touch legends make stuff that sounds like this… Muffin, is not French though. The 20 year old Aussie just borrows from the French, adding his own brand of Aussie Touch. His greatest asset is his ability to keep things simple. He isnt the kind of producer that hits you over the head with complex production skills. He writes beautiful chords and executes buildups flawlessly.

To say “Astronaut Candy” is epic is a vast understatement. You wouldn’t be doing the song justice if you didn’t take the time to put on some good headphones, close your eyes, and let the song dictate what happens next. For me, when the song finally drops at 0:48, I feel like I’ve just jumped off a cliff. The remaining three and half minutes are a prolonged swan dive towards the water. The wind, the waves, horizon, all crystal clear; slowed down into a cinematic experience that literally makes my stomach drop a little.

Around 2:45, when the final drop breaks, its like hitting the water. His Chimes-ian lead synth soaring to new heights. It gives me shivers in the same way the cold water would. Music can be so purifying right?! Listen to this song when you need to forget, or when you need a jolt, or when you just need to feel something. I can promise you’ll get something out of it.

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Radio INK – Physical (Muffin Remix)

Given how late we are on writing about him, it came as a nice surprise yesterday when Muffin’s brand new remix of Radio INK in my inbox. I can’t say this song ties me up emotionally like “Astronaut Candy” does, but I’m amazed at the amount of energy that Muffin packs into this mix. Radio INK’s ode to pure lust is well suited to a frantic, almost confused remix. Its as if this was written to be the soundtrack to the wildest night you can imagine. Have you ever been out, made new friends, and somehow ended up on an adventure that couldn’t have been scripted better? This song is the soundtrack to that night.

I don’t want your baby. I don’t want your surname. I don’t even want to be your girl. I just want your physical.

“Physical” is right! Bordering on a jumbled mess of synths, the songs structure itself almost feels like an intense tryst in some back alley. Somehow all of the parts find their way together and the result is an energetic ball of physical energy. We’ve all felt it before, and you’ve got to give Muffin credit for capturing that moment so well.

To finish this off, grab my other favorite of his originals, “Seagulls”. He channels Lifelike to the core and pulls it off with a bit of Aussie Touch. The biting, driving bass puts you on train tracks that wont let you off until the last snare.

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Muffin – Seagulls

In the wake of Evan’s post on Madeon, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to write about Muffin. Not to speak negatively about Madeon at all, who I think is quite the talent, but I think Muffin is an equal talent receiving much less praise. Its interesting to observe the blog elite wrap their hands around a new artist and anoint them as the next thing while other artists, often more talented, struggle on in relative anonymity. Muffin deserves all of the praise we can give him. If he can deliver some more Astronaut Candy, we’ll be all set in 2011.

As a last quick aside. I’ll take this opportunity to announce that we’ve been re-accepted to the Hype Machine aggregator. We’d love for all of you guys to head there and subscribe to our feed so that you can always keep up with our latest posts. We can always use the support from you guys!

Binary On Hypem

Written by – Josh (Binary)

Hey now, what’s that sound?

I want to address what is becoming an increasingly popular style of electro house. Unfortunately, as far as I know, it doesn’t have it’s own name. I’ve heard a few attempts at coining one and none of them sound quite right. If you’ve been on the Beatport electro house chart in the last six months, trust me you’ve heard it. Think Dirtyloud, Porter Robinson, Alex Mind, Spencer and Hill, Skrillex, and -to a lesser extent- Wolfgang Gartner and Pance Party. I can totally understand how some of it might seem like an amateurish and exceedingly ironic attempt at “innovation,” but some of these ADD melodies are by no means worth writing off entirely.

I decided to go gonzo for this assignment. I went to a Skrillex show. It’s been days since then and I still can’t totally describe how I feel about it. The entire thing was pre-programmed in Ableton, which was made all the more obvious by the lack of headphones. Aside from that my only objection to the actual music was that his stuff has a hint of happy hardcore influence that offends me to my core as it attracts a lot of people with backpacks.

I’ll give him this: the set was probably one of the most entertaining I’ve seen in Nashville. It switched between hip-hop, dubstep, and electro like nothing I’ve ever heard. I’d like to say he could have just emailed the club a copy of his set and not even come, but he was actually a big personality by DJ standards. He really had the audience in the palm of his hand. I’ve never seen so much crowd surfing at an electro show. The whole thing was like a big budget action movie with great effects and a slightly questionable plot. At a certain point,  it’s hard to care.

On the other hand, the set left me seriously worried about the state of popular electronic music. Instruments are expensive to move around the country so I get the convenience of a DJ set, but would it be too much to ask to hear DJs actually spin? What’s worse is that after hearing a set like the one Skrillex did I began to question whether a more artificial set could somehow yield a better overall listener experience. Yikes!

I settled on the idea that there is obviously a place for everything and that hopefully this new generation of electronic music fans will explore a bit and eventually get to the good stuff. My snobbery solves yet another problem.

As for this whole trend of ADD electro house music, it all starts sounding similar after a while. There are obviously producers that do it better than others. Check out Zedd’s ‘Dirty Bit’ remix for example of something that moves beyond your typical call and response samplegasm. My general feeling is that this style can inhibit the creation of a memorable melody as it often seems to be more concerned with form rather than substance- which is usually comprised of an array of Mau5trap samples.

Here’s why it’s not all bad. For all you disco fanatics, meet Madeon. You might know him from his big win in the Pendulum’s ‘This Island’ remix competition. And guess what? He’s only 16! He’s French though so really he should have been on Hypem years ago. Can you imagine how good he is going to sound with a fully developed prefrontal cortex?  I liked the New Pornographers when I was 16 and I turned out fine. Clearly anything is possible.

There isn’t anything more progressive about  Madeon than some of the artists named above. But again, it’s all about the substance. This is disco. And it’s a 16 year old kid producing in a style of electro that presents a clear departure from that which launched the subgenre into American music culture 3 years ago. Don’t get me wrong this track is Justice all over, but Madeon’s work is such disco crack it’s hard to deny it’s progressive elements. He sounds like the illegitimate, albeit physiologically improbable, love child between Wolfgang Gartner and Bestrack. I was hooked instantly. A few seconds into that euphoric intro of  filtered micro-cut craziness and I knew I had struck gold.

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Pendulum – This Island (Madeon Remix)

And if you were feeling that remix check out Madeon’s equally impressive original track, ‘Shuriken.’ It’s been on solid repeat for me since I first heard it last month. Be sure and take note of how well he dials up the energy in the final chorus.

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Madeon – Shuriken

Bonne Chance Madeon!