[Audio] Ben Macklin’s ‘Think Of Me’

 

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We reckon you’d all know London based producer and all-round nice guy Ben Macklin by now. Not only one half of the UK’s answer to Chromeo, Cassette Club, but label boss and particularly talented producer in his own solo right too. Ben delivers the sound of the summer each and every time with warm, laid back tunes that draw on the wealth of Disco, House, SynthWave and SynthPop. Ben’s tune are just…nice. we’re not sure of there’s a better word to describe them, like a sunshiney afternoon spent with good friends and good drinks, for four minutes a Ben Macklin production can make you forget your worries and let you sink into the comfortable groove.

The man is pretty prolific these days, even if there isn’t nearly as much new Cassette Club material as we would like going around. Regular releases have been coming out on his Modal label over the past year and a half or so. Barely a month goes by without a new single and, surprisingly these days, this hasn’t for a second translated into a drop in quality. Take his latest offering, Think Of Me. The track’s release has been perfectly timed to coincide with a break in the UK’s bizarre gloomy mid-summer period and as we write this piece the sun is blazing down and Ben’s new single is the perfect soundtrack. The release sees him once again teaming up with fellow Londoner Emma Brammer (of Dare and It’s Over fame) on vocal duties who’s smoky croon lends an air of enigma to the track.

For such a cosy tune, the bassline in Think Of Me is pretty spikey. A razor sharp digital Funk bass that would impose a robotic dominance over any other track, but Macklin tempers it with washes of glowing and intimate tones that breeze between lush pads and starlight chimes, all rolling over a solid, but unobtrusive House beat. Leading the way on Think Of Me is a soothing electric piano hook and Emma’s enticing vocal. As Ben peppers her voice with the occasional Dub-like effect to weave it in and out of the tune, Emma’s slightly melancholic holiday daydreaming carries you away as much as any element of the music. In the car, in the headphone, on the boombox, DJ’ed by the pool; this one should be enjoyed in the outdoors in good company.

If Think Of Me makes you want to relax in the sunshine, then AIMES stellar reMix of the track will have you heading straight to the dancefloor. injecting the tune with a little Boogie, a little Italo and a little vintage Disco; one of Brooklyn’s finest, AIMES, hits the end of those big snare rolls running with orchestral stabs and the unrelenting machine Funk of the reMixes’ machine gun bassline. Mid-way point the reMix explodes in a symphony of strings and intertwining synth lines, all perfectly crafted to keep the dancefloor energy at it’s highest. Hold tight for the killer synth solo! Likewise, German synthesizer head Final DJs (‘Final DJ’ goddamnit!) delivers a densely layered electronic odyssey.

♫ Ben Macklin (Feat. Emma Brammer) – Think Of Me

♫ Ben Macklin (Feat. Emma Brammer) – Think Of Me (AIMES reMix)

♫ Ben Macklin (Feat. Emma Brammer) – Think Of Me (Final DJs reMix)

Ben Macklin’s Think Of Me is out now.

Buy Ben Macklin’s music from:

[Site News] Everything’s changing. Everything’s staying the same.

 

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Picture of me ‘cos this is just me talking now…

I don’t know what the point of writing this post is. To the casual reader there isn’t going to be that much difference in their visits to electronic rumors; but for me it’s big change.

I’ve been feeling (increasingly, but a lot of the past couple of years) that the site has strayed so far away from what I wanted to do when I started ER almost seven years ago, to be honest I’m not sure it ever was what I wanted it to be, and I need to do something about it before I just want to call it quits entirely.

People have been writing about music on the internet since…well, the internet; but when I started electronic rumors music blogging (as opposed to blogging about music) was a relatively new ‘thing’. Written by passionate music fans who felt the need to express themselves and enthuse about the sounds they loved, new or old; rarely was music sent to them by PR people, only occasionally by musicians or labels themselves and never ever by majors. They would spend their days hunting down new music (not necessarily to blog about, but because it’s what they did anyway) or re-discovering old favourites and expressing to the world about what was exciting them at the time. That artist got a tiny bit of free promotion was a happy side-effect, there was a fire in these writers belly that compelled them to talk about music. These were music nerds. These were fanzine writers before the internet (as was I for years). These were band obsessives. And through these people I discovered an outlet for my own mania.

There was, briefly, a golden age of music blogs. A scene had formed of ardent writers. Music blogs were always well worth a read (yes, read!) whether the author was writing about their latest discovery or a classic album, their favourite band’s new single or an obscure nostalgic gem. These are the blogs that inspired me to start writing (also, it was either that or continue to bore my mates down the pub about whatever new music I had come across that week). These are the blogs I wanted to be like. Shamefully I have never achieved that ideal.

If you’ve ever read any interviews with me on music blogging you’ll probably know I’m weirdly self-hating about music blogs in general. Perhaps disappointed that I never achieved what I set out to I hold everyone to the standard to which I held (and failed) myself. Which is pretty self centred of me; but let’s face it, a lot of music blogs are utter shit. Posting music with no commentary at all, or posting music with the barest of sentences about release date and who the track is by, or just setting up an IFTTT recipe to automatically post any track you favourite on SoundCloud to a Blogger blog and calling yourself a ‘Music Blogger’…I mean, really, what’s the point of any of them? What do they really add to musical discussion? Just curate a playlist on Spotify and be done with it!

I think the slippery slope from passionate and articulate music fans shouting into the void about their audio loves to “look at me, I post SoundCloud links and that makes me part of the music industry!” began with HypeMachine, particularly their (now rescinded) policy of only featuring the first blog to post a particular track on their homepage. This fostered an atmosphere of competition in the music blog world. Those petty blogs that concerned themselves with traffic (often to bolster their meagre advertising earnings) had to be the first to post a new track or they could kiss their traffic goodbye. Obviously this meant people began posting without taking the time to comment on the music, without taking the time to offer their opinion and in extreme cases without taking the time to actually listen to the music. No time to listed and absorb, it was all about being first.

And those that were first got the traffic, which meant they could start talking about premières (which make for more ‘firsts’) which meant that other bands wanted premières on the site that X band was on, which meant that music PR now had a free way to accommodate the bands who paid them. And thus, the music blogging industry was born.

I’ve long been of the opinion that the main audience for music blogs is other music blogs, along with bands and PR people. I have never met a person in real life who used HypeMachine, and very rarely meet anyone who reads music blogs (who isn’t in a band or a producer).

PR people love blogs because it’s free coverage for the artists who pay them. Premières make bands especially happy for the bragging rights. Bands, musicians and producers love blogs because it’s coverage they can talk about, premières can be particularly boasted about. Blogs love PR people and bands because they get free music from them and, when they are courted for coverage, they get to feel special (more-so if it’s a band the are a fan of) and feel like they are part of the music industry, an insider. It’s intoxicating. So this little circle of everyone making each other happy forms, blissfully unaware that what they are doing has most likely next to zero affect on the consciousness of the general public, even music fans in general, or anyone outside of the circle.

Before anyone indignantly comments; yes, obviously there are exceptions. There are blogs (mostly not like the ones I am talking about) who do have influence on radio programmers, and promoters, and can do real good. And artists who have really benefited from blog coverage (Little Boots and Ellie Goulding spring to mind, but not really anyone new for a long time), but there rare cases where the right artists, the right writers and the right people paying attention just happen to be in the same place at the same time. That’s not how it works out for most people.

Don’t even get me started on blogs who end up posting laughably un-researched gossip rather than music. Seriously, what are they for?

And in amongst all this sycophancy, throwaway posts, fast moving updates, and premières the passion for music has been lost amongst the self-importance and bragging rights.

Not by everyone of course. There are still those pillars of music blog integrity that don’t play the game and still compose posts with passion and humour. Breaking More Waves springs to mind. Robin has been a constant inspiration to me in terms of his writing considered pieces and not caring what anyone else is blogging about. He, and a handful of other ‘good guys and gals’ have kept the spirit of music blogging alive; but they are the exception, not the rule.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a go any anybody without having a go at myself. For one reason or another; insecurity (“I want to be relevant too!”), hubris (“I’m an important part of the music industry!”), obligation (“I’ve made a lot of good friends of artists I have featured, I don’t want to let them down!”) or whatever other reason, I am as guilty as the worst of them (well, maybe not the worst, I have always at least tried to write something considered, even if I am a shit writer who is strapped for time), but at least I’ve largely always acknowledged how shit the whole circumstance was.

Returning to the point of this post. This has to stop. It doesn’t make me happy.

What makes me happy is writing about music that excites me.

Not being a news outlet.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Essentially it’s going to boil down to ‘write more, post less’. Currently, and shamefully to me, the thought process is to write about everything I hear that I really like. A catalogue of music I dig. Sometimes, though, I can like a track sooooo hard, but just struggle to find the words to write about it.

From now on I’m only writing about music that seriously compels me to hit the keyboard, music I can’t help but say some words about. Music I actually have some words to say about. Rarely will I post a track on the day it’s released (unless I’ve had a promo copy in advance) as I’m going to want to spend more time with the music I write about; to gather my thoughts. It might not even be new music at all, I might be listening to an album from decades ago, or from earlier in the year, and just want to say something about it.

I want to be like the music sites that inspired me in the first place.

Those who know me know that this has been a long time coming.

I’m sure this is going to piss a few people off, and for that I’m sorry. I know there are artists out there that rely on electronic rumors for coverage and there may be times that I’m just not that outlet anymore (there may also be times that I still am that outlet; depending on the track, my mood, my schedule etc…), there’s even PR people who know they can come to me for coverage, and that may not always be the case moving forward. There may even be readers who come to the site for certain genres latest releases, and I’m sorry if we’re not always up-to-date in the future but hopefully the posts themselves will be a more satisfactory read.

In the end, I’m not happy with the site, so I’m changing it. If you don’t like it you can fuck off (or start paying me) ‘cos its my site.

The label side of electronic rumors will be unaffected by this shift in attitude, except maybe I’ll have more time to devote to it (and possibly get less coverage from music blogs after this post….).

So that’s that then. You know what music I like, if you’re into it keep coming back for more of my bullshit…but about less music…but more choice music maybe.

Sweet Raptor Jesus, do you remember when I was posting, like, ten posts a day! What a twat!

See you tomorrow for a post about some music I like.

MUSIC BLOGS ARE DEAD! LONG LIVE MUSIC BLOGS!

Laterz

Clive.

P.S. Synthesizer Zen isn’t going anywhere.

P.P.S. I might still throw up quick Video and Mixtape posts occasionally. Haven’t decided yet.

–Update— Not really an ‘update’ update as I’m posting this at the same time, but I wrote this on Saturday and over the weekend showed a draft post to a few select artists, PR people and bloggers. Interestingly, in private, every single one of the agreed with me 100%, and supported both my decision to change attitude and my decision to say this publically (which I was a little worried about). Thanks guys!

[Audio] Chvrches’ ‘Never Ending Circles’

 

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Whoop! It’s the second new tune, following Leave A Trace, from universal ElectroPop overlords Chvrches forthcoming sophomore album Every Eye Open. We’re fast approaching the mid-September release date and so expecting to hear one or two more new tracks int eh coming weeks. this new one, Never Ending Circles, does even more to dispel our fears of a synthesizer abandonment as the Glaswegian trio go stratospheric with three minutes of chirpy SynthPop.

Revolving around a brittle and piercing hook, Never Ending Circles is a resonant, emotional anthem in that particularly spikey Chvrches vein. Robotic tribal percussion rolls over a solid kick to clear the path for those Scottish crisp clean keys and Lauren’s multi layered, modulated backing vocals; on top of which she belts out another spine-tingling lament. Roll on September 25th!

♫ Chvrches – Never Ending Circles

Chvrches’ second album Every Open Eye is released 25th September.

Buy Chvrches’ music from:

[Video] Vogue Dots’ ‘Way With Silence’

 

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Awesome Canadian experimental Pop outfit Vogue Dots do like a good song with ‘way’ in the title, eh? Following on from their shockingly good single for Cascine’s CSCN single imprint, Way Out they are continuing along their…way…with this luscious new release, Way With Silence. It’s a gloriously rich and emotive slice of smokey SynthPop. There’s a video for the track too! Check it out here for the first time (premiére stylee) below.

Jon Eisener steps up for directing duties on this clip; a clam and still video that really should be boring, but somehow draws you in with a restrained beauty that seems to curl around the song like the smoke it is very very full of.

Vouge Dots are on the tours; see them at the venues:
Aug 15 – LONDON – The Waiting Room
Aug 16 – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store
Aug 19 – LONDON – Bedroom Bar
Aug 20 – BOURNEMOUTH – 60 Million Postcards
Aug 21 – SHEFFIELD – Picture House Social
Aug 26 – BERLIN – Berghain / Panorama Bar
Aug 27 – BERLIN – Berghain / Panorama Bar

Vogue Dots’ Way With Silence is out now.

Buy Vogue Dots’ music from:

[Mixtape] Ronika’s ‘HEY ME… This One’s For You’

 

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Ronika – HEY ME… This One’s For You Mixtape = Ron can be super selfish. She’s gone and made a mixtape just for herself without a though for whether we would like a mixtape too. What make it worse is the she likes all the same music as us, just look at the tracklist she’s put together for herself. We wish we had a mixtape like that to carry us into the weekend…

♫ Ronika – HEY ME… This One’s For You Mixtape

The tracklist;
01. Krystal Klear – One Night Only
02. Toby Tobias – In Your Eyes (Tensnake reMix)
03. Alex Metric & Oliver – Galaxy
04. Portland – Deezy Daisy (Oliver Nelson RMX)
05. Gigamesh – Don’t Stop
06. PWNDTIAC – Ready
07. Charli XCX – Boom Clap (Aeroplane reMix)
08. Alison Valentine – Curious
09. Neptune Safari (Feat. Clara La San) – Morning Sun (Funk LeBlanc reMix)
10. MiGHty mOUse (Feat. Ronika) – See Through You
11. Julio Bashmore – Rhythm Of Auld
12. BB Brunes – Stereo (Jupiter reMix)
13. Justin Faust – Girl Talk
14. DropOut Orchestra (Feat. Ronika) – Dream Denial (Husky reMix)
15. Lucy Pearl – Don’t Mess With My Man (Le Marquis Mix)
16. James Curd (Feat.Yeah Boy) – Lets Bounce (Miguel Campbel Mix)
17. Glen Check – Pacific (Justin Faust reMix)

Buy Ronika’s music from:

[Audio] Julio Bashmore’s ‘She Ain’t’

 

Julio Bashmore shot by Spiros Politis

Bristolian House master Julio Bashmore’s eagerly awaited début artist album, Knockin’ Boots, is out right now if you fancy the vinyl, or on the 7th digitally. We’ve already checked out bits and bobs from it; Simple Love, Kong, Holding On, and now we’ve got another new one in the lead up to Friday’s release. Most of Julio’s tracks are solid House tunes peppered with a little extra genre spice and She Ain’t is no different,. Listen up.

Flinging the French Touch, She Ain’t is a pounding House tune that revolves around a cheeky Disco loop. Riding the vintage hook is a juggernaut kick drum and chopped up vocal samples either spitting a mantra or having their warbling turned into a hypnotic drone. This one nicely straddles the line between infectiously funky and compellingly stompy. The frantic hats just add to the track’s forward momentum. The album should be cracking!

♫ Julio Bashmore – She Ain’t

Julio Bashmore Knockin’ Boots is released 7th August.

Buy Julio Bashmore’s music from:

[Audio] MiGHty mOUse’s ‘Dusk’

 

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One of the UK’s finest, MiGHty mOUse, promised us a string of new dancefloor juggernauts recently with the first in an apparent long line of new single, Luna. And now, true to his word, here’s the second in the mOUse’s Summer series. This one’s called Dusk, it’s out now, and it certainly lives up to it’s name as it brings the easy twilight grooves, ushering you into the night.

A laid back beach House tune with a hint of Cosmic Disco and a hint of a Balearic vibe, Dusk actually takes you on a journey much more intelligent and complex that first appearances would suggest. Powerful and ominous synths growl moodily over a chilled rhythm section, utilises deftly not to suggest darkness, but to build an exciting tension. The track continues to build in this was with hazy vocal samples and droning, but uplifting synths until the breakdown; after which the tune truly explodes with all the anticipation and mystery of night awaiting you. Emotional stuff.

♫ MiGHty mOUse – Dusk

MiGHty mOUse’s Dusk is out 17th August.

Buy MiGHty mOUse’s music from:

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[Audio] Black Magic Disco’s ‘Break It Down’

 

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London based House master Black Magic Disco recently released his long awaited new single, Break It Down, after what seems like quite the holiday. Oh sure, the man has steadily released a stream of killer mixtapes and reMixes, but it feels like it;s been ages since we were treated to a brand new original. Break It Down slipped out over a week ago to slightly less fanfare that we would have expected, but hear it is featuring some lovely vocals from Aussie Amber Maxwell.

Break It Down is set to carry you off on waves of enchanting nostalgic bliss. If you know Black Magic Disco you know warm and inviting Chicago House and with this new single he truly delivers. Easing itself into your life with a shuffling drum pattern and a classic piano hook, Break It Down soon ramps up the good vibes with a Deep-y hook and Maxwell’s chopped up vocals. It’s got a touch of London club scene about it, keeping the historic House sound contemporary; but more than anything, this one is just about pure good vibes. Sink into this!

♫ Black Magic Disco (Feat. Amber Maxwell) – Break It Down (Original Mix)

Black Magic Disco’s Break It Down is out now.

Buy Black Magic Disco’s music from:

[Video] Kate Boy’s ‘Midnight Sun’

 

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Midnight Sun, the first single from Australian/Swedish ElectroPop overlords Kate Boy’s forthcoming new album, The One, has only gone and got itself a shiny new music video hasn’t it. Listen with your ears and see with your eyes below.

Directed by the band themselves and actually partly filmed in Kate Akhurst’s apartment. The girl is getting down!

Kate Boy’s Midnight Sun is out now.

Buy Kate Boy’s music from: