Monday, January 30, 2017

Why No Neon Was Perfect For The Hoxton's Finale

Credit: Stephen Kazumi (Instagram)
Saturday night saw a funeral of sorts, as people piled into The Hoxton for the final time. Fittingly, the Hunter Siegel led party, No Neon, was tapped to send the iconic club into the abyss. Despite being the host to countless epic parties and superstar DJs, The Hoxton has become synonymous with No Neon. They've combined to create utterly iconic images, showing the world the passion Toronto has for not only its Dark Plur host, but its numerous guests (AC Slater, Drezo, Dr. Fresch, Joyryde and others). No Neon has traveled, but its home will forever remain The Hoxton.

Of all the shows I've been to at The Hoxton, it's always No Neon that best illustrates what the 69 Bathurst venue had to offer. I'll always remember it for its tight, community feel as well as the unmistakable, rachet/lit party nature. What separates The Hoxton from the other venues I've been to is the closeness of the crowd and DJ; the connection and reciprocal energy sharing from DJ to crowd and back again is unparalleled. The stage was always packed with not only that night's DJs, there to support their peers, but others not playing that night, who couldn't help but take in the atmosphere.

This was only amplified when, after last call, The Hoxton's staff would join the hype crew on stage, giving back to the crowd, not just with their injection of energy but often pouring alcohol into their mouths. Ever since the party ended after 40+ minutes of encores, I've had perhaps the most iconic image of The Hoxton burnt into my head (the photo above): an overcrowded stage with Hunter in the middle commanding the decks, book-ended by Stephen Kazumi and two girls on either end of the yellow DJ table. Below I'll dive further into the night itself, with a chronological breakdown of events.
The night was billed as a Hunter Siegel open to close set, and that's essentially how it happened, although he did have help from a number of special guests. With the headliner also acting as the opener, people showed up early, sending the line outside around the corner shortly after 10 PM. It was noted by several people in line that it was especially dark, both because nearly everyone was wearing all black, and The Hoxton's neon sign was not lit. Whether this was done in light of it being a No Neon event inside or otherwise (it was not on for Joyryde the weekend prior), it seemed fitting.

Once inside I was greeted by countless familiar faces, both known acquaintances and unnamed revelers whom I had unknowingly partied with before. The scene was bittersweet, knowing that this would be my last time in such comfortable confines. The music in the early going was also easy and familiar, Hunter coming on the mic to say "I'm taking it easy right now cause we've got a lot left." The first few tracks I can recall include SNBRN and Sevenn's "What You Need" mixed into Hunter's "Bootleg Beat Control," shortly followed by his Wax Motif collab "All Night Man." Sometime later, after greeting more friends, Hunter dropped more of my favourite tracks including Wax Motif's "Krush Groove," and Gesaffelstein's "Control Movement" into the crazy good collab "OTF," which was birthed at No Neon early last year. It was at this point that I got close to the front of the stage, the floor felt like it was going to fall out from under us, and I began taking video after video (all on my Twitter, starting here).

Before the night began, Hunter tweeted about having "entirely new 6hrs" and while he proceeded to play a hell of a lot of new material, including his forthcoming remix of Grandtheft's "Easy Go," he also treated us to an onslaught of nostalgia. At once point he went from Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites," to DJ Snake's "New Slaves," to RL Grime's "Love Sosa" and Rusko's "Woo Boost."

Being so close to the front, I noticed my favourite spot at the left side of the stage was open and proceeded to take a couple videos that I hope encapsulate the connection between DJ and crowd, which made it my favourite spot to take in events at The Hoxton. While the view is occasionally obstructed by photographers, there is no better way to take in the interaction between DJ and crowd. The two videos (here and here) show the peak of Hunter's set before the special guests came out.

Hunter was joined on stage by Grandtheft, Sleepy Tom, Omar LinX, Zeds Dead and Keys N Krates. There was a lot of back to back action as Grandtheft dropped Gesaffelstein's "Pursuit," Sleepy Tom with Cesqeaux's "The Dopest," then Grandtheft again with Skepta's "Shutdown," to which Hunter clapped back with Klaxx's "Dead," which lead into the following video, in turn leading into Grandtheft's "Flying." Things started to get foggy for me following this, perhaps the party was getting too lit for me to handle. I also stopped tweeting for more than 30 mins, maybe because my phone was about to die.

By this time the crowd was starting to thin out, however I had promised myself I'd stay till the bitter end, wanting to see the lights come on one last time, wondering what the last track to come out of The Hoxton's speakers would be. Before the seemingly endless encores and outpouring of love from both the fans and the DJs, I was able to capture a couple more videos (here and here). Both came before 3AM while the final track, Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold," was dropped at approximately 4:35. Despite continued chants of "One more song! One more song!" "We're going till 6!" "They're going to have to drag us out of here!" the plug was finally pulled and The Hoxton was essentially no more. I leave you the image and video below, both from Stephen Kazumi. Here's to more No Neon's in the future!
Credit: Hunter Siegel via (Stephen Kazumi)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mary J. Blige - Family Affair (DJ Artist Remix)

Lately I've found myself getting back into Jersey Club, in part because of new releases from both DJ Sliink and Trippy Turtle. However, there are so many more artists in that vein worth listening to. Point in case: teenage producer DJ Artist. This past Tuesday, he dropped an absolutely unreal remix of the classic Dr. Dre produced, Mary J. Blige track "Family Affair." What makes this mix so good is Artist's use of the iconic strings riffs. He pairs them so perfectly with the percussion and the stabbing nature of Jersey Club. He's able to maintain so much of that delightful lick while upping the tempo and intensity, reworking "Family Affair" into an unholy club killer. It slaps you silly with all the additional effects and beats your brain into a pulp, bouncing relentlessly. It really has everything that I love about Jersey Club: sped up beats, DJ effects, incredible movement and snappy samples. Stream it below. If you enjoy this, I suggest checking out his latest flip, Ellie Goulding's "Burn." His soundcloud is littered with dope remixes so be sure to take the time to check out all 26 of his productions.


Friday, January 27, 2017

My Mixtape featuring RYME

  1. RYME - Let Me (SHHH! RYME Edit)
  2. Crowd Control - I House You
  3. Chad Tyson - Coochie Lip (RYME Remix)
  4. Poupon - Touch Me
  5. Gettoblaster - Bounce Dat Ass ft. Volsto
  6. - Jack That Body
  7. Cosella & Vanilla Ace - Funk To The Brain
  8. Weston & Teston vs. Marco Marz - Booty Bitches
  9. Vryko - They Try
  10. Asky - Lemme Put It
  11. Don Rimini - I Can Fix
  12. Ponsolo & Ledisko - Hurtin' Me
  13. La Touche Francaise - Do That House
  14. MAGNVM! - Oh Dear
  15. Tiga - Don't Break My Heart (Shiba San Remix)
  16. So Durand - Buttdial

Uncut Interview with RYME's Meech

My full uncut conversation with Meech of RYME, founders of BADLQQK. As recorded January 24th.

Topics include: Last set at The Hoxton. Favourite Hoxton memory.  The story behind the growing, nearly two year old, label. Fostering young, and often local talent. What's next for BADLQQK. The evolution of the Toronto scene. And of course, he sets up RYME's hour long mix for My Mixtape. Fittingly their remix of Chad Tyson's "Coochie Lip" dropped today and is also in the mix, stream it below or purchase here.
Catch My Mixtape live tonight at 11 PM EST on 96.9 FM Radio Humber, here. Download the mix, here.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bump In The Hump: January 25 (Season 5, Episode 15)


Bump In The Hump Sneak Peek: Basecamp - Ghostown (aiwake Remix)

Yesterday a remix of Basecamp's track "Ghostown" arrived in my inbox, but the remixer was one I was entirely unfamiliar with, aiwake. Since it is their first release there's almost no other information out there. However, I did my usual digging which has led me to some hypotheses.

Their soundcloud account is following only three others, Riggadale, Orphan Jr. and themightyberz, so perhaps they are somehow associated. It might also be valuable to note that both Orphan Jr. and Riggadale have blacked out profile pictures, the same as aiwake. themightyberz's soundcloud and facebook URLs both use the same phrase "almost art" as the track's genre tag, leading me to believe all three of the accounts are involved with aiwake. The final piece of information from their account that may be some kind of clue is the date "02/21/17."

Still what that means is beyond me, although my best guess is that something will be revealed that Tuesday in February. Will it be another remix? An EP? A concert date? Or maybe just a further reveal as to who aiwake is. Regardless, I'll be playing aiwake's touching and emotionally aware first release tonight on Bump In The Hump, which you can download free, here. Tonight's episode also includes an exclusive premiere from Fahjah, once again working with Mees Van Den Berg, Shaun Frank's VIP mix of "Let You Get Away," and three tracks honouring Saturday the 21st as one of the busiest night's in Toronto club history with A-Trak, Autoerotique and Frustra all spinning sets. Rounding out the episode is my conversation with Meech from RYME, ahead of their set for My Mixtape, airing Friday the 27th at 11 PM EST. Stream tonight's episode live from 6-7 PM EST, here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Squired & Minit - Awake

A cross continent collab from New York's Squired and Korea's Minit, just arose on soundcloud less than an hour ago. "Awake" is an awesome future bass track that hits on all cylinders. Despite using tried and true styles and sounds, it's not generic in any way. Rather it uses the foundation of future bass to paint a beautiful picture and engrossing story - best encapsulated in its name, "Awake."

The percussion and uplifting vocal strides propel listeners into an upright position. "Awake" then wavers and wobbles, wiping the grogginess from your vision and the crust from your eyes. It's a fight we all undertake everyday; getting up and out of bed is not an easy task, either physically or mentally. The struggle doesn't get easier until you get a little bit of extra help and inspiration, in this case the jolt of energy of your morning coffee is illustrated as the soaring synth solo starting at 2:59. It's as potent as double shot of espresso right into the bloodstream, perfect for your morning. "Awake" will have you empowered and ready to conquer the day, inspired by Squired and Minit's heart-palpitating beauty. Wake up your senses with "Awake" for free via ToneDen here.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Lolica Tonica - Eyes On You EP

Japanese duo, Lolica Tonica just released their first EP since 2015. Eyes On You features two new original productions as well as a VIP version of their single "Luv Sick." As established by the only line in their bio, they "just make you feel so high," through their frantic 160 bpm style. As I was scrolling through my soundcloud feed as I usually do, I found myself particularly picky today; I seemed to be looking for a very particular sound and feel, something out of the ordinary. I think I found it with Lolica Tonica. I'm definitely partial to kawaii and 160 stuff, but the quality of Eyes On You is unavoidable. The EP starts with the title track, "Eyes On You" and sets the mood brilliantly. It's glittery, upbeat and exciting. It's the musical equivalent of a confetti explosion. It's almost impossible to focus on one thing. There's so much going on, but every note is perfectly placed, its never discordant or out of step. There's so many layers of harmony, the best example of which is the numerous vocal elements and their incredible interplay. Even the bird chirping sound effects play perfectly alongside the piano.

"Luv Charm" takes the rapid fire groove established in the first track to a more dance friendly locale. It maintains much of the video game sound effects and styling, while focusing more on the voice of Yura Mari. And where "Eyes On You" runs at an incredible pace adding layer after layer, "Luv Charm" takes a more subtle approach, many times stripping back layers, standing strong underneath its portentous piano and percussion. As you'll hear, it is the most balanced track of the EP, with the VIP an all out blitz.

Once again, the track is lead out with a groovy drum rhythm accented by vocal chops. Before long Ina's voice picks up gliding along the track, contrasting beautifully with the breakneck speed and intensity of the rest of the production. And it's precisely Lolica Tonica's use of her vocals that make this track such an epic stunner, they transform the chops into an instrument of its own. The chord progression in the atypical drop is simply stunning, it's playful and full of emotion, leaving you utterly breathless.

Eyes On You is the kind of EP that leaves me in awe, wondering how so many sounds can be put together and sound so perfect; it just seems to good to be true. It makes me believe in magic, and that's exactly what I want in music, a suspension of disbelief, taking me away for at least a moment. Give your brain a holiday and download Eyes For You for free, from Maltine Records, here.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sliink Drops Jersey Club Remixes of Kanye West and Ariana Grande

Jersey Club king Sliink has finally dropped his Kanye West "Wolves" remix. Entitled "Love You" and featuring Gutta, the track was first heard last March in a guest mix he did for Thump (here). It's a classic Jersey Club cut with relentless bouncing, clapping percussion and old school rave vibes. His treatment of the vocals is as strong as ever, not only maintaining much of the integrity of the original, but commanding enough to have the dance floor in a full on frenzy. Like the lyrics the mix is "too wild," and you can pick it up completely free "right now" with a direct download here. Eleven minutes after sharing the Kanye flip, he uploaded his mix of the Cashmere Cat aided Ariana Grande track "Be My Baby." This too has been around for a while (here), although we're finally gifted with the full version. This one is crazy beautiful. From the get go, we're treated to an awesome display of vocal and percussion interplay. It really shows why Sliink is perhaps the premiere Jersey Club producer out there. From the bed squeaks to the drum fills and the vocal chops, everything is on point, proving impossible to avoid Sliink's pulsating power. "MY BAE" is also available for free download, here.With Trippy Turtle making a comeback earlier this week, remixing 50 Cent and Nate Dogg, it seems Jersey Club is back in the forefront. Stream "21" here.


Friday, January 20, 2017

My Mixtape featuring 404

  1. 404 - X
  2. 404 - ID
  3. 404 - Bar 416
  4. 404 - Ghost Pirates vs Deadmau5 & Kaskade - I Remember (Acapella)
  5. 404 - Long Time Ago
  6. 404 - ID
  7. 404 - In The Galaxy
  8. Jesse Zimmerman - ID

KOTP - Keep On Top, Please

I always love discovering new artists, especially when they immediately break barriers and conventions with their first release. That is exactly the case with newcomer KOTP, who just released their first production "Keep On Top, Please," which is also the long version of their name. First appearing on social media December 19th, there is almost no information about who KOTP is, but what we can glean from this introductory track is that they are highly capable and creative. To be honest, I had decided I would write about this track before knowing any of the above, or even having listened to the whole track; a quick scan had me believing this was a future bass track, with some beautiful sounds and fun rhythms. And while that is true, it is much more than that; at the two minute mark the track dives and heads in a completely different direction. For me, this is precisely what makes "Keep On Top, Please" such a stellar first release. It shows that KOTP is well-versed and cognizant of the style of the moment, future bass, and while it's a strong and well crafted future bass track at its core, they flip convention on its head, turning "Keep On Top, Please" into a rapid fire, electro grinder. I'm truly in awe of this first production, and cannot wait to hear what they do next. Grab the free download from Hypeddit, here. FOLLOW KOTP: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Noble - Fight Night

The world continues to search for Grime, as evidenced by Google Trends, here, and just about everyday I find a quality a new track. Today I happened across "Fight Night" a track from Noble, who as you can imagine hails from the heart of grime country, the UK. "Fight Night" is both the perfect name for the violent bass driven track, as well as a great example of the hallmarks of grime production. Its got strings that stab so savagely, setting up the ominous anticipation of whats to come. Then there's the wobbling and diving garage-esque bass, that oozes with a subdued yet ready to explode intensity. And finally, the percussion which not only drives the track, but brings together the other elements in a syncopated storm of salaciousness. "Fight Night" is as hard hitting as Clubber Lang and as well designed as Ivan Drago. As you can tell, it is available for free download via The Artist Union, here. FOLLOW NOBLE: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Bump In The Hump: January 18 (Season 5, Episode 14)


Bump In The Hump Sneak Peek: 3 New AGNO3 Remixes

Here we are on the 18th day of 2017, and already we've received 3 brand new remixes from AGNO3, one of which I'll be bringing to you tonight on Bump In The Hump. First, just over a week ago he dropped a remix of Drake and The Weeknd's "Crew Love," now yesterday he released two more classics, his takes on Linkin Park's "Numb" and Blur's "Song 2." Each track is more than just a remix, it's a stamp of AGNO3's signature sound, repositioning the tracks from rock or RnB to gritty electro. You can even see AGNO3 live after nearly a year off, he'll be spinning at Club 77 in support of Rezz, January 28th. Get your tickets here, and do it quickly as AGNO3 promises "a ton of special tracks."Stream each of AGNO3's remixes above, message him if you want the downloads, and find out which one I play tonight on Bump In The Hump. Also on tonight's episode a track from Bobby Jay's debut mixtape Way2Amazing, a deluxe mix of Robotaki, the latest from A-Trak and Phantogram, and a chat with 404 ahead of his exclusive laden set for My Mixtape. Listen live from 6-7 PM EST, here.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Yelle - Ici & Maintenant (Kane West Remix)

This past Thursday, French group Yelle had their track "Ici & Maintenant," Here & Now in english, remixed by Londoner, Kane West. The originally bright, playful movement, has become an acid tinged, techno bump and grinder. Many of you know Kane West from PC Music, and you can hear some that in this mix, but this is a different kind of computerized production. It's both analog and completely inorganic, but that doesn't mean it is liveless and stale. Rather, it is vibrant, bubbling over with playful activity. From the youthful drum fills, snappy samples ("get down"), and spunky scratching, there's countless processes in this program, "Ici & Maintenant," that combine to not only bring it to life, but to give the track a life of its own. Get it via Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, Deezer and Google Play, here. FOLLOW KANE WEST: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Grimecraft - Lavender Town

If you ever played Pokemon, you were, no doubt, struck by the incredible soundtrack. Other than the theme song, there was no more meme-friendly than "Lavender Town." The creepy soundtrack has, unsurprisingly, received countless remixes, but none can hold a candle to the latest from Grimecraft. Known for his work in and around video games, there is perhaps no one better suited to give such a sacred/unholy track a proper remix. He's turned it into a true trap stunner, maintaining a clear connection to the original, while adding numerous additional elements and trap twists. He's created a cinematic piece that will not only have you overflowing with nostalgia, but also shivering as the creeps rush up your spinal cord. If you're a fan of video games, you'd best check out Smooth McGroove Remixed 2, the album from which this is taken. It also includes remixes from Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country and more. Buy from iTunes, Google Play or stream on Spotify. FOLLOW GRIMECRAFT: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Switchfoot - Float (JMFS Remix)

Switchfoot just got a buoyant mix from upstart Denver producer, JMFS, reworking "Float" into a future bass, power ballad. As he says in the track description, he loves Switchfoot, and that passion is easily identified in the mix. Where some mixes seem forced and sonically disconnected, JMFS innately understands the original, which allows him to maintain its integrity, while adding numerous elements. He in large part constructs his own track, however his knowledge and love of the original shines through with perfectly placed call backs.  From his treatment of the vocals, adding depth by playfully pitching them up, to his diving yet weightless work in the drop, the synthesis of his remix is brilliant. Not only does it maintain the original's integrity, it plays with the theme of floating. It feels effortless and easy, washing over your ears with a sublime serenity. The ebbs and flows of the low end are just like laying back, riding an inner tube in a wave pool. Grab a ride youself and pick up "Float" entirely free, here. FOLLOW JMFS: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bump In The Hump: January 11 (Season 5, Episode 13)


Premiere: Den Solo - Mana Mountain ft. VDG

Earlier this week I posted about, Cologne based producer, Den Solo's remake of a popular mashup Flume's been playing live, one I've dubbed "Insane Heater." Now he's enlisted fellow German, VDG, to craft an electronic orchestral piece called "Mana Mountain." Den Solo says the inspiration for the track came from a combination of two of music's most demanding personalities, Kanye West and deadmau5.

With Kanye, it was a clear vision for the production, reaching out to the best producers in the desired field to bring his vision to life. VDG served that role for "Mana Mountain," as Den Solo had him play countless melodies, until he found the perfect five bar foundation to build upon. Add to that, Solo's recently honed sound design, courtesy deadmau5's Razer tutorial series, and you've got the uncompromising production that is "Mana Mountain." And the deadmau5 connection doesn't end there.

More than just the sound design screams deadmau5, truly the overall structure, the manipulation of each five bar loop, and each lilted note, is reminiscent of the masterful mau5. Not a bad comparison for an upcoming producer. Den Solo is able to imbue his track with an analog warmth and playful, yet refined, liveliness throughout. This is only amplified by the track's sweeping, atmospheric movements. It is strong and unyielding in its presentation, giving off an aura of security. As "Mana Mountain" rises out of the technological turmoil, it stands proud jutting above the clouds, courtesy through Solo's thunderous drop. That is until the end of the track, where it becomes obfuscated in the effervescent twinkling of the clouds and snow capped peaks, beautifully illustrated by delicate piano in the outro.
Get the energy "Mana Mountain" is giving off for free via The Artist Union, here, and stream it via Apple Music and Spotify.


Bump In The Hump Sneak Peek: Coldplay - Sky Full Of Stars (Fahjah Bootleg Cover ft. Mees Van Den Berg)

Today marks the first episode of Bump In The Hump of 2017, back in its regular time-slot, Wednesday at 6 PM EST, on Radio Humber. As mentioned during last week's episode, I had too much new material for the regularly allotted hour, even two hours wouldn't suffice. I opted to go to house heaven last week, and save the trance tunes for this week. With that in mind you'll be treated to 15 minutes of uptempo tracks to kick off this week's episode. As a teaser of what's to come tonight, it's my pleasure to show off another killer cover, in a long line of bootleg remixes, from friend of the show, Fahjah. This time he's taken his talents to Coldplay's "Sky Full Of Stars,"reworking the Avicii aided production to great avail.
Pick up your copy of the cover free, and tune in to hear it alongside an hour of the best new Canadian electronic music, including new Kaytranada and Lambo edits, the latest from Ekali, and Autoerotique's take on "Ocho Cinco." The music starts at at 6 PM EST and can be streamed live, here.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Missy Elliott - GET UR FRK ON (Indiginis Re-Fresh)

You may already know DC's Indiginis from their numerous remixes, or even from their original collaboration with Blu J, as heard on Bump In The Hump, but if this is the first you're hearing of them, buckle in for some sexy sounds. Their latest, a remix of Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On," may be their deepest cut yet. You would never expect to hear Missy as a jazz club stunner, but that's just what Indiginis have done with it. They deliver drums that cry out their creative groove, playing perfectly with the emotionally involved piano. It twists your insides making you feel so many unexpected emotions, especially when you consider Missy's lyrics. It's simplistic enough that it could be preformed by a four or five piece band, yet each element plays such an important role, combining to create the jazz group of the future. I've written about future jazz before, specifically Luca Lush and Bishu's remix of "Alaska," and this one fits that mold just the same. It's alive and full of feeling, and gives me hope for the future of music, specifically the genre of the moment, future bass. While this isn't exactly future bass, that's the way some of the fills, breaks and certainly the drop lean. This is truly unique, and undeniably awesome.

UPDATE: the re-fresh was taken down, however you can stream the instrumental below, renamed brilliantly with Missy's lyrics. The download link still works, and includes the original vocals, as intended. You can "GET UR FRK ON" for free via ToneDen, here.


Full, uncut interview with ClassyVlassy

Last week ClassyVlassy, aka Colin Vlasak, took over the reins of My Mixtape on Radio Humber. As usual, we did an interview ahead of time and despite thinking a half hour would be more than enough time to chat and sort out all the details of the mix, we ended up speaking for over an hour. As you may know, he's the editor and co-founder of FUXWITHIT, which means he's got a wealth of knowledge, well-founded opinions and ideas about the scene. With that in mind, I decided I just had to share our full conversation, in all its unedited glory. We spoke about his role with FUXWITHIT and its inception, their upcoming third anniversary, his introduction to electronic music, the Toronto scene, some of his favourite artist and of course his set for My Mixtape. Stream the interview below, follow FUXWITHIT, and be sure to check out his excellent episode of My Mixtape here. FOLLOW CLASSYVLASSY: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Monday, January 09, 2017

Flume - Heater x Insane (Den Solo Live Remake)

German producer Den Solo, has made Flume fans worldwide happy, releasing his live remake of viral mashup of two Flume tracks "Heater" and "Insane." There are at least two video clips of Flume playing out his version. One from a show in Queens, New York (here) and another, much longer clip, from Red Rocks (here). The live Flume mashup even spurred several reddit threads, all of which I imagine are rejoicing after Den Solo dropped a version that you can download for yourself. Although the soundcloud version has been pitched down to avoid copyright detection, the download is available in the original key. Stream it to your pleasure below, and grab the download via the Artist Union, here. FOLLOW DEN SOLO: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Skrillex & Team EZY ft. Njomza - Pretty Bye Bye (Rell The Soundbender Remix)

Rell The Soundbender has been killing it lately, dropping tracks on an almost monthly basis. His latest, a mix of Skrillex & Team EZY's "Pretty Bye Bye" takes his mechanized diablo sound and slaps it on top of Njomza's vocals, converting the easy going original into a haunting menace. The contrast between Rell's revision and the original is breathtaking. Where the original floats along effortlessly, the remix fights back with each subsequent stride. Rell makes the laid back track into a street fighter, standing its ground, ready to take on any challengers. Njomza's voice becomes an echoing evil god, narrating the nightmarish battle. The additional strings set an ominous atmosphere ahead of the grinding, gut-wrenching drop. Each hit in the drop is like an explosive punch straight out of Mortal Kombat. Despite being dark and malicious, Rell's remix is a beautifully orchestrated fight scene. It's remixing at it's best, re-purposing and re-positioning a track so much so that it's sounds like an original not a different version. Not to take anything away from the original, but this feels like the way the track ought to sound. Pick up Rell The Soundbender's version for yourself entirely free, via ToneDen, here.

Take/Five - After Life

UK trap producer Take/Five has just released his 3 track EP, After Life. The lead, and title track, is rife with imagery, painting the picture of a rise towards the heavens. The slow rising beginning illustrates a burning effigy, punctuated at the 0:28 mark with the soul being launched into space. The drop signifies the soul breaking in a new plane of existence, the "After Life." However this afterlife isn't infinite bliss, it's a mélange, in constant flux and unrest. And that's the beauty of Take/Five's production, it doesn't rest. It pits opposing elements together, yet finds a way to mix them so that the combination feels like home. He uses trap sounds in a thought provoking way, as opposed to the typical turnt, lose your shit, style. It's a breath of fresh air to hear trap done like this. "After Life" and the rest of the EP are available for streaming via Spotify and Apple Music, and download via Google Play and iTunes. FOLLOW TAKE/FIVE: FACEBOOK SOUNDCLOUD TWITTER

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Arnya - Voices EP

Soundcloud is a strange place. It's brought about countless careers for bedroom artists, and fostered a wave of one off producers. These so-called "soundcloud producers" can rack up plays, likes, reposts and followers, but unless they've got proper direction and representation it often amounts to nothing more than internet metrics. One of the hallmarks of a soundcloud producer is spur of the moment, viral remixes of whatever the hottest track is at the time, not directed creativity, and especially not a wide, yet cohesive range of tracks. And that's exactly what makes this almost entirely unknown entity, Arnya, so interesting. With over 3,500 followers and a staggering 1,795 accounts followed, there is little that can be gleaned from Arnya's account, save that it's been in use for 4.5 years as evidenced by their comments, reaching back to Sept 2012. It certainly seems true that Arnya is, as they say in their bio, "a passionate music fan." However, despite the age of the account Arnya has not reposted any tracks. This seems to me to be a concerted effort to start their career off on the right foot, clearing the way for their only five tracks, all part of the freshly minted Voices EP. I should note that I had to put the tracks into a playlist, so I'm not sure what order they were intended, nevertheless stream the EP below. Despite his/her/their large number of followers, none of the tracks have broken the 50 play milestone. That being said, I fully expect those numbers to rise, and rather quickly once people find Arnya. I'm truly fascinated by the breadth of sounds and styles, and their cohesiveness as an EP, especially given the fact that they seemingly come from nowhere. It's definitely an EP for the mid 2010s, and would be out of place 10 years ago, however it's not just future bass, meme music or soundcloud click bait. There's a certain level of substance, quality and promise in Voices.

First, the title track "Voices" sets the stage and foundation for the rest of the EP. It lays out the elements, future bass stylings, vocal manipulations and propulsive percussion guiding soaring synths. "Be Happy" was the track that lead me to Arnya, as it appeared in my stream, reposted by Adam Pearce. Fittingly titled, it is bright and bouncy, yet a little bit ballsy, adding a shroud of darkness to the low end. For my money, this is the best of the bunch; it's well designed, packs a punch and progresses perfectly. "No Rules" sets the mood for the rest of the EP with fearsome flourishes and evil vocal chops. The next track is where the lack of rules comes into play. "Happy" isn't even an Arnya production, they are just a featured artist. It's also unique in that its downtempo and emotional, yet for some reason it feels just as much a part of the EP as the heavier tracks. "Fearless" marks another exception from the future bass backbone of Voices; it jacks up the intensity through hard hitting bass house.

Voices is an intriguing introduction to Arnya, and sets him/her/them up for success, whether it be through, future bass, future house or bass house. Each track is available for free via The Artist Union.