Black Van is: Kris Menace and koweSIX. Kris Menace has a list of artists remixed that is so extensive it seems ridiculous, in a good way, and KoweSix is half of the group Moonbootica and a renowned remixer in his own right. Together these two create music that is immediately gratifying and undeniably dope. Black Van is one of those duos that I am always checking for and with each post/release my adoration and fanatic jocking just gets more intense. I sincerely like everything that I have heard them do, all of it. Every song. The production has an almost Tim Goldsworthy feel so it is no big surprise that they are down with the DFA family. Solid, quality music. As a side bar, I recognize that I always say the same shit about everybody that I write up and the reason behind that is simple. This is what I like, well done, finished seeming grooves that get you moving and stay musical. Creative elements that move throughout and keep the listener interested and a sound that’s smooth but not boring or tired. Black Van consistently delivers and their music speaks for itself. Check it out.
First we have a Black Van original “Yearning” As soon as I heard this song I thought of Binary. It just fits so well with what we do. Basic beat banging, each aspect that gets added helps create a groove that is body moving but not too busy. This is a DJ’s favorite type of track as it has a wide appeal and all but coaxes you into dancing, one minute you’re listening, the next you’re moving around a little bit and by the 4:00 mark there is no option other than to get loose. It would be futile to resist. Impossible. Senseless. Nice work. Throw this on at your next house party and watch the way people respond. It is happy and straight forward. A winner.
Next we have “Moments of Excellence” (featuring Holy Ghost!) Thank you DFA, again. Sure fire track. A feel good cut, the vocals fit perfectly, the groove bounces along and builds… then drops… then builds. Subtle shifts, synths slowly creep in and shimmer, the bass steps up and an orchestral peak climbs to breaking. At 5:15, when the drum solo/break kicks in you’re double checking the info for a possible Sheila E. cameo ala “Sign O’ The Times”. Loving it. Smashing.
Munk-“Mis Labios”(Black Van remix) The track enters with some sexy whispering, the beat drops and sustains, keys, synths..accents…I love the way Black Van creates a soundscape. Gently adding until you are surrounded by sensuous sound. This song has a hypnotic element, dreamy and dark. We can’t say enough about Black Van. Be sure to check them out and keep an eye out for upcoming projects. These guys seem to be getting some solid momentum going and we expect nothing short of perfection. No pressure though guys. Keep up the good work.
Straight out of The Hague, Netherlands comes Topless, an exciting new duo turning out electronic-pop and italo disco gems. Their music, although limited and relatively hidden, is funky, tropical, and quite beautiful. There’s pretty little info available about these dudes, making it all the more intriguing and mysteriously fun. ‘We Both Know’ is a delightful piece of synth-driven, late night drive listening, and comes off of their self-titled debut EP, which is a really good collection of tracks with a sound that falls somewhere between Chromeo, Empire of the Sun, and Phil Collins. Here’s a little taste.
Leading in with that car swooshing by your ears, this song immediately transports me to a foggy land of dramatic contemplation, driving down an empty, muggy highway in suburbia or caught in the lights of a big city. With “June gloom” in full effect in Los Angeles these days, it really fits my current mood real well. “So many questions that I had, let’s keep it all the same” starts off the spoken words, which are entirely captivating in their own right. Maybe it’s mostly due to the vocals here, but I feel like this song is so very Phil Collins… and that’s pretty much always a good thing for me. The song picks up and slows down, grabs your attention and swings your emotions around. It’s one of the most perfectly crafted 80’s laden dreamwave tracks I’ve ever heard, inciting nostalgia and visualizations of an 80’s movie that I can’t name. I want to put this on repeat, head down to the beach late at night and hang under the pier, thinking about all the craziness in this city. The emotions here are strong, the song really grabs you and sucks you in.
We both know how we feel
The Topless EP is pretty great itself. There are seagulls, synths, congo drums, well crafted lyrics, and a whole shitload of funk. I’m talking enough funk to make you feel on top of the world, walking around your block with a little extra pop in your step. With song names like ‘Vamos a Bailar’ and ‘Saint Tropez’, you can sort of get a sense of how fun this EP is gonna be. ‘Say You Love Me’ falls much more on the electro-pop, upbeat side of things, with ‘We Both Know’ slowing things down and forcing you to reflect. I’m not so much a fan of the freestyle EOTS rapping stuff, but I could probably get into it at the right time/mood. Not sure if the EP has been officially released and I couldn’t find it anywhere besides their soundcloud, but this Topless EP should be in your car all summer, all year, and maybe even for the rest of your life.
Here’s a bit more of a taste, ‘Saint Tropez’. Let it take you away to a Caribbean paradise with a mojito in hand, feet dangling in the water.
This week’s On Repeat features tunes from all over the globe. Some of the songs are dark, some are sunny. Some will make you nod your head, and others will force a lil booty shimmy. It’s a funny time here in LA because we’re firmly entrenched in June Gloom, the time of year when summer is really here, and yet it somehow seems to be gloomy everyday. We know the hot, sunny days of summer are on their way, we just haven’t quite reached them… Summer is like the girl on the crowded dancefloor that you keep catching eyes with, but no matter how hard you try and dance your way over to her, the crowd keeps pushing you away… alas, we’ll get to her soon.
What better way to kick off this week’s tracks than with Might’s gem of a kickstarter “Continental Breakfast”. Just like a continental breakfast tends to do, its the perfect song to take you from a standstill to a run. Its not the flashiest of breakfasts… we’re talking grapefruit and raisin bran here, but man, by the time it hits your gut, it does its job proper. (PS… the slowdown vinyl spin buildup is one of my favorite tricks, LOVE THAT)
A joining of Binary artists seperated by 5,000 miles sees Short Circuit taking on Joypopp’s “Volupte”. Where the original is dreamy and a bit nostalgic, Short Circuit turns the vocals on their head. Joypopp sounds vindictive, angry, and murderous. Its a genius spin and it makes the song come off the speakers with a kind of energy and emotion that the original didn’t have.
Shazam takes his remix for Sander Klienenberg in a direction that I’ve been noticing a lot of producers going, leaving bigger buildups and hectic overproducing behind in favor of really working on creating a great groove that sounds organic. This is something we’ve been trying to encourage since day one, so to see so many producers going in this melodic, groove oriented direction is really promising. This remix feels dreamlike and a bit hazy, like a lazy day filled with a couple xanax and a bottle of wine. Thats the highest compliment I can offer it.
I see a face, in a mask of sunshine… what if it was yours?
With the temperatures rising, the clothing coming off, and the city flocking to the beach, I figured I had to post this song. It was written with all of those things in mind and I just can’t help but wish I was at the beach today as well. With this Goldroom song, I did my best to capture that moment when you first get to a pool party, so I hope it makes you feel the way it made me feel when I wrote it.
I call you down like I know I should…
If Morgan’s Bay was the first song played for a pool party, Barretso’s remix for Gemini Club is the one that sets off the afterhours basement party. Pulsing bass and an emotive chord progression make this song the soundtrack to the kinds of searches that happen at 4am when you’re not even sure where you’re going. Sometimes it can be cold out, and yet you roll your windows down anyway. Biting air and icy tendrils whip around your car, but for some reason, with a song like this playing, it all makes sense. Its a soundtrack to a mission that probably won’t mean a thing in the morning… but for the moment, its the most important thing in the world. Barretso, for better or worse has taken Russ Chimes thrown with this kind of emotive frantic Nu-Disco, and this song cements him at the top of that micro-genre. (For what its worth I’m not saying Chimes has gotten worse or anything, just that he hasn’t made a song that I’d call ‘emotive-frantic-NuDisco’ in a long time. He’s leaning more and more towards commercial house music with every song, and he’s doing a great job in the process).
Kartell’s ‘Get Down’ is an older track. In fact its the first one on their soundcloud. It’s the perfect song for ‘On Repeat’ though, because well, I rediscovered it recently and its been on repeat for the last three weeks. Its a perfect little filterhouse track that fits pretty much any occasion. I can imagine playing this at a pool party, in my car, or in a peaktime situation at a club. It has those qualities that make it listenable in any situation. To me, thats a mark of a great song, and I think Kartell really pulled through with this one.
For O’Spada, this is our second time writing up this Swedish five piece band and it may not even be the last. From the falsetto, anthem-ready vocals of front woman Julia Spada to the groove heavy synth pop, disco, funk band backing her up, this crew was made for soundtracking good times and thus made for Binary. Their music has an eclectic mix of elements that stays cohesive while incorporating elements of many genres. The sound is solid, a throwback to sunny days filled with laughter, smiles and enjoyable company. Just good music with a broad appeal. That retro feel is in full effect but in a genuine way, you don’t feel like there is any hidden agenda. O’Spada is just doing what they do and we are big fans.
First off is “Time” (Daktal Remix) Melbourne brothers Jacob and Jerome Farah A.K.A Daktal, take the splendid original and turn out a piano tinged almost Kanye West circa “College Dropout” flavored version that bounces oh so beautifully. The smile starts forming as the song begins to build and is accompanied by an almost involuntary head nod as the beat drops and makes the song whole. Sampled vocals at an accelerated pitch, in and out of the mix and quietly chopped in the background, a soothing upbeat serenade for a glorious celebration. Loving this remix.
Next up are two remixes by none other than Binary Dreamwave impresarios and stone cold pimps (too much?) NightWaves. The song is “Ten Strikes” and NightWaves have approached/tackled the sweet original with two different but equally awesome treatments.
The first is the “Ten Strikes” (NightWaves Sunday Morning remix) the track opens slowly, synthesized sweetness, a clap and straight clean beat, the bass line drops, the vocals drop; just an atmospheric, groovy mid tempo jam. NightWaves has a knack for developing a song. Like a photo in the darkroom slowly changing form and design. First the basic shapes and outline appear and gradually the entire picture is readable. Complete and so much more than it originally looked like it would become. Great original, supreme remix.
I’m going to try to get back on your track. I’m never going to straighten up my act.
The next selection is “Ten Strikes” (NightWaves Midnight Fire Remix). Up the tempo. I am feeling this one as well. Conjuring…summoning?…visions of dance floor tomfoolery and debauchery this version hits the club. The Binary flair is noticeable and it is fun to hear NightWaves approach this territory so directly and with such a straight forward but classic outcome. Somehow the tempo and arrangement transforms the vocal track, shifting R N’B Julia Spada into Diva songstress Julia Spada . Studio 54 finesse with a Dreamwave flair. It’s the synth work, an underlying feeling like something is about to happen, a new beginning, a pleasant introduction. Good work Guys, on the pimping and the remixing respectively. Well Done. Check out O’Spada and their terrific “Pay Off” album as well as NightWaves. Diverse quality sounds from some talented musicians. Enjoy!
We’re back with another week’s worth of ‘On Repeat’. Today we’ve got six songs that’ve been stuck in my playlists. Actually, I’m going for a theme of driving music this week. Everyday when I leave the Binary HQ to drive down Melrose home, I roll the windows down, enjoy the views of all of the shoppers going about their business, and put on the songs that just feel right for that moment. Invariably once I’m actually in the car, my opinions on these songs change. You need just the right kind of coolness and energy to make a driving song feel right. You don’t want tons of noise or anything too hectic. It has to have a good groove, but also have the kind of punch that makes you want to hit the gas a bit harder. These are 6 songs that make me feel that way. There’s no real unifying musical theme between them, except that they make that drive home a lot better. On to the music.
Working on a night shift…
I can’t overstate how Oligee and U-Tern have become to me personally as an inspiration and hope for dance music in the future. In my mind, they’re one of a small group of producers (Gigamesh, Plastic Plates, and a couple others) that are taking pop-tinged disco in a whole new place. They’re not taking straight up 4 bar disco loops and laying bass and drums over them. They’re creating disco vibed songs, using the latest modern production techniques to make songs that sound fat, crisp, punchy, and melodically fulfilling. The thing I find most interesting is that these producers are starting to really embrace some of the sounds from the early nineties. More than anyone else right now, these guys are making tunes that have heavy R&B, Freestyle, and New Jack Swing influences. This is a GREAT development in dance music. I think Oliver, Gigamesh, and Plastic Plates are three of the great hopes for dance music. This remix is a great example of the style I’m referring to. Just listen to those drums!
This one falls into the category of a track thats a bit more laid back, and yet has that certain feel that makes driving to it perfect. The pulsing bass line just sounds especially good with a bit of wind flying through your hair. Joypopp’s EP Ecstatic came out on Binary just a month ago, and if you haven’t had a chance to grab it, you can check it out here. This remix, done by the fantastic Sferro is like instantly travelling into the darkest romantic thriller movie you can imagine. Every moment of the song is full of tension and it’ll make you grip the wheel with a bit more urgency.
I wanna getcha, I wanna teach ya, I’m gunna get this beat to hitcha!
Just a straight up perfect kickstarter song in HITCHA, by GonzO. Try and listen to this without making your head bounce all over the place. I really like the vocal chopping in this song. Tastefully done GonZo.
You’ve got the best of me… You’ve got the best of myyyyyyy love
Xinobi’s track “The Best Of Me”, is a song thats been stuck in my head for the last couple of months. There’s something special about any song that manages to be so emotional and heartfelt, while doing it within the dance genre. In the same way that Daft Punk made me realize that electronic music was capable of being communicative pop music, Xinobi nails it right on the head with this song. I’m also very enamored with the bass tone in this song, and I have no idea how they did the horns in this track, but they’re sublime. When I hear this track, it just makes me want to call my girlfriend and tell her I love her, its just that good.
Blood Diamonds’ song ‘Heart’ is the kind that just makes me depressed as an artist. I don’t think I’m capable of writing or making this song. The person that wrote this song is just coming from an entirely different angle of consciousness and I’m quite jealous of that. When the halftime chorus rolls in, it instantly brings a smile to my face. This song manages to sound like dark britpop and Delorean-like tropical disco all at the same time, its amazing.
Voices are going away…
Ford & Lopatin (formerly Games) makes intellectual, multi-layered, 80’s inspired pop tunes. At times its hard to imagine this music being made in 2011, its almost too good. While 80’s inspired members of Valerie and others tend to sound like modern versions of 80s movie soundtracks, these guys write songs that make you swear you’ve heard this song in some long lost teen romance John Hughes flick. Emergence Room is the first single from their first release as F&L. I’m in awe of the songwriting here. I love the vocal melodies and their ability to work such quirky synth patches into such a nice sounding song. This is one of those rare-cases where you’ll find us co-signing with Pitchfork, who love these guys. Guess it has to happen sometimes!
Johan Agebjorn is a Gothenburg based Swedish electronic music producer/composer and part of the collaborative “neo-italo disco” group Sally Shapiro. Getting started, lets address the confusion surrounding Sally Shapiro, Sally Shapiro is not only the alias for the vocalist of the group Sally Shapiro. Sally Shapiro is the name of the project formed by Johan and the pseudonym of his “muse”, an anonymous and intentionally unnamed singer. Therefore, when you see a track that says (featuring Sally Shapiro) like the brilliant : “Casablanca Nights” off of the album with the same title or this spectacular Holy Ghost! Remix, who is featured on the song is actually both Johan and the singer contributing under the collective name Sally Shapiro…enigmatic…mysterious…Moving on.
“Casablanca Nights” has such a gloriously authentic retro feel. With so many bands and producers looking to capture that Late 70’s / early 80’s style it is notable when someone not only pulls it off but does it in a way that shows you just how weak some of the other attempts really are. The balance of instrumentation adds a dreamy ethereal quality without shattering the illusion of a familiar and haunting song from the past and adds validity to the title ‘composer”.
There’s just an elegant quality to the craftsmanship behind this composition. Beautiful vocals recounting heartbreak, love, missed opportunity…Can anybody relate? Casablanca Nights also grows on you. It’s a rarity that can be played on so many different occasions and hold a different meaning in relation to the surroundings. Poignant and transportive. A new favorite!
Instantly loving this song. Usually it can be challenging for me to erase the impression of a often played original version, this song started off with quite a bit to prove as both the original and Wolfram version had preceded and set the expectation level dangerously high. The tempo, the synths, the wailing background and shimmery keys/strings, the perfectly pitched bass line.. So well done. Part dance floor motivator part sing along pop gem ala Phoenix. When everything drops out and the strings and vocals sustain you are magically swept away and gently released. Tender and bouncy. Great song. Johan Agebjorn makes music that feels thoughtful and deliberate. Orchestral with out seeming pompous, disco without feeling empty or shallow. Binary approves.
Check out Johan Agebjorn on his soundcloud and support the artist by picking up the “Casablanca Nights” cd, it is gorgeous and full of great songs. Also this year Johan has a release of his “arctic ambient” work titled “The Mountain Lake.”Check it out!
All too often great songs are remixed, terribly. The Remix Artist Collective (RAC), a crew of three member DJs, has been spreading their remix magic on an array of original tracks since 2007. RAC restores faith in the remix almost as a public service. They’ve remixed tracks from Chromeo’s “Fancy Footwork” to the 80’s Super Mario Bros. theme song. Following their March release of RAC Volume 2, the collective has been on a roll so far in 2011.
Tonights the kind of night, when everything could change…
Today we’ve got four of their latest remixes for you. All four are credited to RAC member and founder, André Allen Anjos, beginning with his most recent shaping of Noah and the Whale’s “Tonight’s the Kind of Night”, released this week.
What makes RAC stand out is their (in this case, Anjos’) ability to uphold the integrity of the original song. Rather than indiscriminately throwing hard-hitting club beats on every track, RAC remixes can lean in any direction.
The beauty of Anjos’ Noah and the Whale remix lies in its core of indie-vibes left over from the original, making it one of my favorite RAC remixes. This indie “coming of age” song is mixed with softer electronic tones and melodies, the perfect song for a cool Southern California morning.
Lets make this happen girl. Lets get this started girl.
One of the most remixed songs to come out in the last couple years, it gets better with each new remix. Anjos took the reins on this remix as well, transforming the upbeat guitar of the original into the lighter chime-tones and clean bass in the RAC mix.
It’s difficult to name the genre of the original song here. “Houdini” is like a funky, acoustic song with synthesizers, trumpets, and a choir-like vocal chorus thrown in. Ambitious to say the least. RAC’s revision simplifies the bulk of the song into an electrified version of the original tune. At 2:30, the song abruptly cools down for about 40 seconds and picks up again. RAC took the song in a whole new direction, without completely erasing the groove of its original vocals
This song takes me back to those boring days of high school when there was nothing to do but drive around, hoping to find a friend’s house, parking lot, anywhere to hang out. Majority of those days were spent cruising in the car or sitting in someone’s garage listening to chill music like this. RAC took a very laid back song here, and made it the funky and chill track you see here. Proof that slow doesn’t always mean boring.
A couple of weeks ago we released Joypopp’s EP, Ecstatic. A 4 song exploration of lust and smokey taboos highlighted by breathy female vocals, from the moment we heard the songs, we knew it was meant for Binary. The French duo decided to give away the first single, “Volupte” for free, and a month later, we debuted “Desire” right here on the blog. Today we have 2 special treats for you guys.
First up, here’s a standout cut from the EP called Nostalgic. Probably my own personal favorite from the EP, the title says it all.
When I hear this song it immediately takes me back to my first time hearing what we would later call dreamwave coming from the French collective Valerie. I suppose its no surprise that Joypopp resides in Paris, but what I hear in this song is a well-developed sense of songwriting and mood. The frantic, almost pleading lyrics expounding on a couple’s torrid past fly through the speakers and take me back to times I once forgot. I find the outro to be the best part of the song, almost asking you to ‘remember’ in your own way.
Now, up next we have the big treat of the day. If you’re a regular reader of the blog, then you’ll certainly be familiar with the legend of TNUC. He’s graced us with his video prowess not once but twice in the past, and if you haven’t seen his artistry before, be sure to check out those links. So what has he done today? Well, he’s taken Joypopp straight to the erotic thriller section of your video store. By the time you’re done with this you might need a cigarette.
TNUC is also doing a special contest surrounding this video. We’ll let him explain it in his own words, but you should visit his blog to find out all of the details.
“Disciples, this is the TNUC TANTALIZING TAGLINE CONTEST. Everyone knows theres nothing like a provocative, tantalizing tagline placed so gracefully on the cover of an erotic thriller VHS box to lure you in and make you bravely go up to the store clerk and hand over your chosen rental. This is where TNUC needs your help! If you have what it takes to come up with the sexiest, beastiest tagline for his new video, YOU win yourself a TNUC T-Shirt + DVD copy of all TNUC video paraphernalia ever released!
Do you have what it takes? Watch the video, multiple times if needed, then submit your tagline entries to the official TNUC Facebook page by June 7th, 2011 to win!”
We’re very proud to debut TNUC’s video for you here today. If you like what you’re hearing and what you’re seeing, you should support Joypopp by buying their EP, which you can do here.
Summer does indeed bring that party vibe, people are smiling a little bit more and attitudes seem more relaxed. It is time to enjoy life and there is something about that hopeful expectancy that has everyone looking around for something to get into. Something fun. I have to say that part of that to me is the discovery of new music. I can also say that if the colder weather has me looking towards a more introspective sound the warmer weather brings the good times anthems. Just on cue for that transition we have some great remixes and originals from one of our favorite producers, Justin Faust.
Faust is one of the best producers operating within the Nu-Disco circle that has exploded over the past 3-4 years. He first jumped onto our radar in early 2009 with his original track “Revenge”, which you’ll find below. In any case, this post is long past overdue. Allow us to introduce the man, they myth, the legend, Justin Faust.
First off is The Phantom’s Revenge track “Mr.Farenheit” remixed by none other than Faust himself. The Phantom’s Revenge brings a roughed up spin on the French house vibe direct from Nimes, France while Faust adds the elements of his Munich, Germany surroundings to create a collage of sounds that range from French touch to dreamwave and back to French house all within the structure of one composition. These top notch producers are both ridiculous and matched together they bring the sick, high energy, disco, funk, and house vibes that get all of the ladies moving. In case the guys have any question about what our goal is as DJ’s in regards to rocking the party…that’s the goal.
This track comes right in, driving beat, swirling strings, vocals jump in and out, everything seems to be dangerously on point. Faust takes the great original and adds all of the joy that goes along with a filtered bass line, drops, builds and a steady groove that will shake the neighbors ceiling fan loose , beautiful. By the time the track hits 2:55 all pretense of not being entirely swept away is long gone.
Next up is a Faust original “Witty” How Binary is this song? Welcome home Mr.Faust. Clearly this is a sound we love, the melodic highs, perfect synth work and steady, clean beat make this track as relevant now as it was almost year ago when Faust unveiled it. Almost more so, that’s vision. This is a song that keeps the party moving, getting in my car and heading out for a day of sunshine and relaxation, this song is at the top of my playlist.
The next one up is another original by Justin Faust. The track is called “Revenge”. It’s light but the groove has an elegant feel. Mature and solid. Perfect for almost any part of the night, full of optimism and emotion. Be on the lookout for his stellar Remix of Binary artist Fabian’s upcoming single, “Last Flight”. We are expecting big things from The Phantom’s Revenge, Justin Faust and Fabian in 2011 and beyond. Go check these guys out on soundcloud and support the artists you love.