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The Weekly Froth! - 20161118

  • 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: ‘Walls To Build’ by KLLO (Mall Grab remix)

I love the vocals, which are right there from the start. The rhythm that’s put underneath is nice and bouncy, and it’s stopped for a moment just after the minute mark, where the vocals are put in the spotlight with only a small percussion element. Then, the rhythm is thrust right back in there, and this time around the vocals are clearer and cleaner, which is a nice effect, a nice change-up for the track. They still are lovely and dreamy though, a bit apathetic, a bit removed; a tone that fits the deepness of especially the synth sound that works in conjunction with the beat. At about the 3:30 mark, again, a short stop, this time accompanied with higher pitched synth sounds, though quickly the deeper ones return to help the transition to the bass and beat again a little while later. Released on the Ghostly International label in America, which says it all, really.

‘Is There No End’ by Shit Robot (New Jackson remix)

New Jackson gets this one going with a beat to do some of that House club jackin’ to. The atmospherical sounds give it a slower, more melancholic feel, whilst the clean beat design also shows off some of the intricacies in the drum pattern. At 1:40 there’s a wobbly synth sound that arrives in there, though the big shake up comes after the two minute mark, when the bass takes over. The tone of the track stays intact though, even when the talking vocals come in. These are alien, from outer space (or from out-er-that-vocoder-thingy-over-there), and New Jackson subtly shifts in the rhythm department underneath all that talking. It’s a lovely, hypnotic track, of which the original was part of Shit Robot’s What Follows album, which was released earlier this year.

‘On Hold’ by The XX

This track, really, has all the hallmarks we have come to know from the band. The somewhat detached vocals, the melancholic sound, and the interplay between the male and female voices. Building up to the chorus though, they bring in the more orchestral, the bigger sounds, with the chorus getting a helping hand from a more punchy, rap like male vocal. The sounds underneath are also a tad trippier than I remember from when I saw them tour their debut album, which seemed to have a more minimalistic approach to it. The core sound though, the essence of the band, that’s still there, and it still has that little something something that made them go from 0 to 100 in 60 seconds.

‘Disco Child’ by Sean Sounds

How about that riffin’ to start this one off nastily, along with the bass and, immediately, the female vocals taking you right into that Disco Queen party. And why not, as we are all disco children, really, aren’t we? And this one gives you the riff, the bass, the percussion, and, of course, those horns (ah, the horns!) to get some dancing done to. With the vocals leading the band, talking about how in the ye olden days she was already imbued by them dancing sounds, and now she’s quite hooked. Given how Sean Sounds picks up that rhythm after she finishes her choruses, no wonder, because that just makes you want to boogie down, now doesn’t it? At the three minute mark we are treated to some percussion and some of that disco innuendo (Take that beat, now, why don’t ya?), after which the horns are put to some good use before la diva returns for the next chapter in her disco origins story. It’s got the disco flavor down pat, and the euphoria is as addictive as the riffs at the start.

‘Trust Me’ by Mr. Tophat feat. Robyn

Mr. Tophat is about to take you for a ride, giving you those house club sounds with that deep, rich beat as his base for (at least part of) his ten minute extravaganza. To juxtapose that, just listen to those sounds way back in the mix that are there even before he picks up the pace with some extra percussion just after the minute mark. Near the two minute point Robyn comes in for her first set of vocals, which also seems to be the cue for Mr. Tophat to move a bit more into the space territory. At about 3:05, again, a little pick-me-upper in the percussion, with Robyn helping out, her vocals becoming more pronounced and tied in with some disco inspired sounds. And after Robyn and the disco, the space and the deep rhythm sounds come back in, which apparently is so shocking to Robyn she gives out a few good yelps on top of a galloping rhythm that moves into some slick bass action. Mr. Tophat does that so well, keeping it weird and quirky, but also grounded in the origins of the genres on display. The rhythm in there is diverse, but all the transitions work well (although the real shocker at about the six minute mark is another thing yet again), and then there’s Robyn to add some of that typical vocal work that befits the tone of the track. It requires some trust (…), but the result is an eclectic funbox with the first part taking on the classic dancing genres and bringing it home.

‘That’s What You Told Me’ SR Edits

SR Edits adds some percussion, adds some drums, though already from the start we hear some of those original sounds right back in the mix, slowly moving forward, waiting until y’all on the dancefloor are ready for it. And a good minute in, they decide you are, as the beat takes over and the horn and piano sounds come in a bit clearer than before, giving you that good ol’ disco feel. At 1:40, the female vocals come in, quickly followed by their counterpart, as they sing about how the other is going To be loo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ne-ly. Just before 2:30, the male vocals, super silky smooth, giving you all that sweet soul and a bit more, giving you that whole Motown thing that Ashford & Simpson are known for (albeit, admittedly, this was a track released after). It’s a sweet soul disco track, and this edit highlights the latter, the dancefloor part, for some of them good times.


The Weekly Froth! - 20160429

  • 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: ‘Mastermind’ by Roisin Murphy

Miss Roisin Murphy is back, starting this one with some lush synths through which we can slowly hear a rhythm synth emerging. After about thirty seconds we get the vocals, almost narrating a story in a mysterious, near menacing vocal turn. She says she is Scared out of her mind, she is Petrified, and that she Has been waiting for too long, for something wrong. So no pop diva vocals here, but a sort of performance poetry, though at 2:20 she strips the gadgetry, some of the music as well, and from that point on we get a very clear vocal, also with lighter sounds surrounding it, this for the full immersive experience. From the moment her vocals start, by the way, the track gets a little pulsing beat underneath, and from the three minute mark that one is also helped by some of that bass. Later that minute we get another change up in the form of an instrumental interlude, harking back to some dark italo bass synths coming from some soundtrack or another from the 80s. It is a really theatrical piece this (especially hitting home when the backing vocals hauntingly appear as well), and shows that Murphy still has plenty of creative juices left in her.


‘Lose Control’ by Shit Robot

Shit Robot leaves no moment unused, immediately getting that bassy vibe in there for some getting down to. At the thirty second mark we get the lighter percussion sounds to juxtapose the heavier rhythm line, and half a minute later we get even more drum & rhythm to shake our bootie to. It’s got this forceful feel to it, a nice pounding it gives you. At the 1:30 mark, the DFA go-to vocalist appears, with Nancy Whang singing that Every day I’m waiting for, you to wake up, wake up, wake up. The great thing about Whang is that she’s got a nice, rhythmic voice for this sort of work. In the mean time Shit Robot keeps it all rolling down, adding all kinds of drum and rhythm elements to the core that is always present, really making sure this is a dancing tune (and don’t you forget about it!). Whang’s vocals return, singing that she Can’t fight this feeling, Lose control, which are dancing words. After that, Shit Robot takes the beat away for a moment, just going with the rhythm synth, and then bringing it back in for that little push. Lovely dancefloor tune, as we are accustomed to from anything that has to do with either DFA, Nancy Whang, or Shit Robot.


‘Under One’ by Toomy Disco

Toomy Disco starts this one with a hard hitting beat, doing the glitchy a bit as well. After the thirty second mark we get more of a thudding main hitter to get that rhythm right, and a minute in we also get some diva vocals. At least, for a moment, soon traded in for the bass sound. But not too much later they show they can co-exist, with the bass still rolling, and the vocals urging you to Bump (pump?) the party. And this definitely is a party track, no bones about it. After the two minute mark, suddenly, it opens up, getting some of that piano in, stripping some of the rhythm sounds for a moment (and at about the 4:10 mark doing a similar thing as well). But Toomy Disco soon works its way to the beat and go, giving the people on the dancefloor not too much of a rest as they need to keep a movin’! And it certainly pounces that home, doing the party vibe and the hard going with this one.


‘Long Water’ by Wilson Tanner

Wilson Tanner is a combination of John Tanner and A.R.T. Wilson, giving us a peaceful moment at the start, with some piano and a little bit of that slow guitar to really set the tone. Then, to add, a bit of those sad & jazzy horns, putting us in that particular state of mind. And so, slowly, it adds certain sounds, but without any form of clutter. It is a real clear cut song, getting everything out of all the sad notes for all the sad sacks to reminisce and reflect to. It is an instrumental piece that would not be out of place at a Jazz festival, and definitely it gives you all that a good jazz tune is able to give you as far as I’m concerned. The atmosphere is constant, the sounds clean and packing the emotional feel they want to exhume, and that for a good six minutes straight on. A feat they pull off with confidence and skill.


‘Pleasure’ by Formation

Formation are a young British band putting the bass full in at the start for this electro track, one with a little bit of that punk intensity in there as well. The bass is really the main rhythm, but drum rhythms help to give it the dance vibe, while the punk-ish delivery and a certain rawness provide that intense quality. The drums and vocals, for the most part, give each other a moment of rest, and at the two minute mark there is a full stop. Just some vocals before, first, the drums come back, and after that, the whole works, but a little more upbeat and with a bit more air than at the start. Trading in the basement for something with a bit more sunshine.


‘Do I Believe In God’ by Prince (LNTG Muscle Mix)

After Bowie now Prince has left the building as well, but that doesn’t mean we cannot funk to either songs like ‘Fame’ or tracks like ‘Controversy’, a classic Prince tune where he talks about people wanting to know about other people and, Oh lord, is he gay or straight, is he black or white, and does the man Believe in God? Controversy! One of my favorite edits is the Late Nite Tuff Guy mix (which I was fortunate enough to dance to live when I saw the man perform behind the decks). Starts out with a lovely beat, but also already the guitar riff, building up the familiarity until, after a good minute and a half or so, it dives headlong into the track, giving us the funky to do the sexy to. The vocals come in, the rhythm is spot on, and you can get crazy to Prince saying that I just can’t believe the things that people say, as people are getting down on the dancefloor doing things that might give people actually something to talk about. There’s plenty of the guitar, plenty of the vocal work, and enough funk and catchy stuff to really get it going on too. One of my favorite mixes of an artist who has influenced many.

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