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The Weekly Froth!

  • Published in Columns

The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the Week: ‘Fight’ by Nicolas Jaar

It’s always brilliant to hear from the talented Nicolas Jaar, and if you didn’t manage to get in a listen on that first album of his, definitely still worth your while. Here he starts with a piano that, to me for some reason, indicates something not quite right (maybe it’s the contrastive aggressiveness of that last note he hits, or the industrial and increasingly more distorted sounds that float underneath the piano). At 2:10 he starts using his voice, trying to get through, and even when all the instrumentals are stripped away, they still they can’t quite manage to convey what is on their mind, settling for a rhythm role as the bass-functioning synth sound drags it all along with it. Constantly he goes from a relatively clean rhythm sound (albeit already slightly menacing) to something more distorted, to the weird, the flailing, until at one point it arrives at a point of nothingness, which is then picked up again by, first time around, the vocals, and second time around, the vocals preceded by footsteps of him, Him, or anyone coming. Then it settles for the nocturnal peace again, in this case with the voice finally able to utter some words, namely Select your fight. This song is, again, quite the construction, so expertedly put together to tell a story through sounds and soundscapes that one could almost put it in a museum by itself or to go with some video installation of something (of urban unrest, perhaps, or one of the other ideas floating in my mind at this point). Definitely up there with Circlesquare’s ‘Fight Sounds’ in terms of evoking a hazed and dazed night of disobedience out under the city lights.

‘Rockets’ by VYD (Xinobi remix)

Och, that percussion to go with that simmering synth sound, how lovely. Just that woodwork sound is amazing to bring the rhythm in there a bit as well. The atmosphere is expanded by the almost ghostly vocals at the start (which then normalize a bit, as they almost go at it spoken-word), and a sort of trombone sound which is just perfect for here. The vocals, in the mean time, sing that they dance alone Far away from you. After which, perfectly timed, a beat comes in to underscore that dancing. More percussion is added to help the rhythm a bit, though the trombone and the new female vocals make sure the atmosphere is still put in there. In the mean time the male vocalist seems to lose it, almost panting and heavily breathing as he sings No questions baby, as the beat is slid back in to dance on his demise, which is further expanded on by the haunting synth sound, followed by a lovely clear rhythm piano line to round it all off. Love how he strips the beat about one and a half minute before stoppage time, that’s a beautiful moment, and then he brings in the beat and percussion again to get it to the end. Definitely a beautiful remix from Xinobi, who knows how to deliver some quality.


‘Sisters’ by Tweaks

Tweaks released their first single ‘Sisters’ not too long ago, going for the nocturnal with the melancholic piano and the deep, male vocals singing on top of the sparse keys. That sole piano gets more and more help, first adding more orchestral sounds to it, then coming in with the drums for the extra oomph, eventually settling for a little military drum roll to stay as the vocals return. Those vocals tell us to Love your sisters, after which a nice little piano squeaks through in between the different drum and percussion sounds. At 2:30 they dial it back down, amongst some heavy breathing, laying down the percussion for a few seconds to just give the vocals and piano some focus, though soon the drum sounds are back. At about 3:10 we get some haunty female vocals doing a sort of opera ghost-from-the-lake kind of thing, which fits the tone of the track I’d think. Not too shabby a debut I reckon, hitting the nighttime vibe with ease.


‘Dig It (It’s Time)' Young Pulse edit

This one sure starts with a pulsing (ha!) rhythm, getting the drums and beat in early, and after a few seconds they go for the wobbly bass sound. They go a-glitchin’ a bit, doing a little sample over and over with very clear cuts in between, letting us know that we’re rolling the same thing for a while. After a bit of guitar the vocals come in, giving us the whole disco works, which is added to by the horns that also enter the scene. That little bass that gets it on at 2:10 to move it forward underneath the vocals is quite lovely, and the female vocalist sure works for it, as they are singing if it Isn’t time, time, time, time, to change your mind, come to me. At about the 3:20 Young Pulse lets the rhythm do their thing a bit, to which he adds first a guitar, later some other instruments to (including the bass making its comeback). I love the old school disco works of the girls in the back basically telling the tale, and with the main vocalist really going at it. It’s a lovely, funky edit of the 1982 Kasso song, with the clear sampling at start and finish giving it a bit of a modern slant as well.


‘Killer’ by Beato Cozzi (Magic Feet remix)

There’s a hard hitting drum that makes up the first thirty seconds or so, with after that the bass taking over and giving it this slow burning house feel. The grainy sounds give it this modern, industrial touch which is then juxtaposed by a clear piano, almost veering to the disco side of it all. At about 1:45 the clear piano changes its sound, and it gets some help from some tropical percussion, with the distorted electro sounds still running in the back until they aren’t anymore, as  at one point it is just the bass and a singular beat. This soon gets the clear piano added to it, giving it this uplifting rhythm sound that nicely balances the track out. Drums indicate the upcoming change-up, with some extra instruments (including the electro sounds as well as the tropical percussion) there to lend a hand. It’s a nice track where the balance between the modern grittiness versus the clear dancefloor sounds in terms of the piano is just about right, with the bass leading this one to its eventual end.



‘White Horse’ by Shit Hot Soundsystem (rework)

I’m sorry, but whenever I happen to come across a rework of this ol’ tune I just have to post it. Shit Hot Soundsystem ride the cowbell for this one, getting the funky dirtiness of it quite right. After the minute mark they punch it up a bit, and at 1:18 you get that beautiful sound of the original, indicating that, Yes, this is that tune, and Yes, lets get this party on, with all the rhythm sounds doing their thing for the dancefloor. They ride and expand that little horsey (ha!) for a while, and at 2:20 you get the vocals, delivering us the line that If you want to ride, don’t ride the white horse. In the mean time there’s still the drums, percussion, and bass to keep this one going for the dancefloor, with at 3:20 the guys taking a break from the vocals, focussing on that disco&funk dance sound for a moment. Then the lads of Laid Back come back in to warn about riding that white horse, with at 4:20 them returning to that iconic sound of this track. After that some echo laden vocals bring us to the next bit of the track, singing that Riiide, the white pony. It’s just a lovely, up-tempo, funky remix existing to let any disco dancer get down ‘n dirty to. And a free download of 9 1/2 minutes at that!



The Weekly Froth - August #2

  • Published in Columns

The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the week: ‘TNR’ by Kasper Bjorke feat. Jaakko Eino Kalevi

Kasper Bjorke is readying a new album, and for this song he has enlisted Jaakko Eino Kalevi, who recently released an album of his own. I happened to catch him not too long ago live as well, which was well fun. Here he lends his dreamy, airy vocals to Bjorke’s equally dreamy, yet darker arrangements. Especially the part after the vocals, like the one just after the minute mark, has a sense of deeper trouble. And not only the synth tapestries cause that, but also the way the drums are used. When Kalevi sings there’s a deeper bass sound that keeps the balance in those moments, and the synth and Kalevi seemingly reverse roles in the verse thereafter where he drops his voice and where Bjorke ups the synth. I really like Bjorke, his singles are always pure ace and as always I’m curious to see what the album is going to be like. Here you just see his ear for sounds, the way he alternates the deep sounds with the higher pitched ones, how he switches things up, and how he manages to create a mood through all of that. He’s doing some London DJ dates in September, around the release date of his album, which will also feature, amongst others, Nomi Ruiz on vocals.

‘Tiny Stars’ by Leo Zero ft. Candi Godbold

Leo Zero is coming with a new album, and this is a new cut off of that. It starts with a nice bassline and, what seems to me, plates that are being shattered. The rhythm builds, the synth comes in, and all of this is happening as the backdrop for the vocals of Candi Godbold, which have this minor Bjork quality to them, very atmospheric and whispery. When the vocals get a rest you really notice the bass that effortlessly gets this track to the next vocal bit. During the vocals you get loads of synth sounds to assist her, and for the parts without the vocals Leo Zero lets the rhythm do the talking, with the bass as his main priority. So if you like your bass sounds, this one is there for the dancing. I also like the deeper vocals going ooooohhh-hooooo-ahhh-haaa for the atmosphere, though the bass takes the cake in this seven minute affair, with Godbold’s voice giving it extra uniqueness points.


‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ by MJ (Young Pulse Rework)

Never not a good time to bust out an MJ (as in, Michael Jackson) track, as it is something that gets everyone dancing. Young Pulse takes an oooooldie, with MJ’s voice still oozing innocence over a plethora of strings. Young Pulse knows when to take back some sounds and just make it some conga’s as rhythm, because at times you just want to make sure that MJ gets the room to shine. At about 2:40 there’s a break in the action in terms of the vocals, and there’s a jazzy interlude that Young Pulse has decided to throw in there with some solos and stuff. It’s a pretty smooth ride, no huge drops or anything like that, which is probably the way to go. All the transitions seem natural, and with the percussion and extra keys in the interlude parts it gives it something festive and holiday like. So happy vibes all over, which I guess is the right kind of feel for an early MJ track, even if the King of Pop sounds a bit shout-y at times. Young fellas need to get heard though, right?


‘Party Lights’ by Jam Master

Jam Master immediately gets the funk and the handclaps out on this one, with the old school build-up arriving at about forty seconds in. That one ends, fittingly, with some horns, after which that typical bass sound takes over again. He lets those ride for a while before returning with the horns and, this time, the vocals. They’ve got a nice soulful ring to them as they ask you to boogie along with them as they “turn those party lights on”. I love the transition into the chorus, so smile-inducingly old school, after which they immediately announce they are going to boogie. At about 3:10 there’s this break in the action, with just some handclap sounds basically, and what I guess is the horn section who collectively shout out to “turn up those party lights”. I mean, it has that kind of vibe, three-man horn section in the back, playing those damn things to boogie the place up, and then during the drop they have their horns by their side as they sway back and forth and yell in the microphone to get those party lights on. The title says it all, it’s a funky party track with some delicious old school happiness to it.


‘Everything We Are’ by Slow Hands

Slow Hands will release a new EP through the Wolf+Lamb label, and this is a luscious track off of that. It’s got some nice, incessant drums that pop up on occassion, and that whispery voice certainly adds some mood to the whole thing. In the mean time something is going wrong in love country, with the lads singing that There’s nothing left to say and that you are The one that got away. I really like all those additional sounds they put in there at exactly the right moments, like that high synth, and those drums do give it a nice tinge of immediacy that go along well with the dramatic reading the vocalists give. Wolf+Lamb records always manages to churn out some quality, and this EP surely will be no different. Also comes with a Cameo Culture remix of this tune.


‘Got Me Moving’ by Sinden presents The Crystal System feat. SYF

"Party track!", that’s what this one screams right out of the gates. It’s got a punchy beat and some wavy, deep synths that the lads throw out there, though it are the piano and those vocals that are this track’s biggest strengths from the get go (even if I do think there’s something to that wavering, deeper synth that seemingly just lives on its own). That 1:30 momentum builder is build for the masses I do think, and SYF starts repeating the line “you got me moving” quicker and quicker before the track returns to normal again. This all is quickly followed by another drop, after which the track picks up some pace to give a bit of a jolt to those on the dancefloor. I would be lying if I said this is my favorite track SYF has worked on this year, but those vocals can get me to listen to an oral history of the aubergine on tape if that’s what he puts out. Sonny Fodera is one of the guys doing a remix on this though, and it seems like an album will be coming out some time, some place, so there you go.



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