[Audio] Soulwax reMixes Hot Chip’s ‘Huarache Lights’

 

Hot Chip

Soulwax have reMixed Hot Chip.

We could pretty much just end the article there really. That initial sentence have got everything you need to know in it, but we made a big deal about writing more and whatnot so strap in; words to follow.

It’s not the first time this awesomeness has happened of course, the Belgian live dance music dominators reworked Hot Chips Ready For The Floor back in 2008, now a classic track. Although having been quite, to the point of retirement, in recent years when it comes to original material, Soulwax/2 Many DJs have been knocking it out of the park recently on the reMix front and with their plethora of side-projects (Klanken, Radio Soulwax,the Deewee label, Despacio nights), so it makes sense that they would return to their Chippy chums for this killer mix.

Hot Chip’s Huarache Lights comes from the Indie-ElectroPop experimentalists sixth studio album, Why Make Sense?, released earlier this year. This particular exclusive reMix is taken from the forthcoming deluxe edition of that album, dropping later this month. The new album collection will also feature Hot Chip’s live favourite cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In the Dark.

Pushing the tune’s synths to the point of distortion, Soulwax deliver a reMix that tires, and reasonably successfully succeeds, in capturing their live ‘lightning in a bottle’. The beats are a hypnotic expanse of vintage drum machines, ushered along with one of their trademark EBM-lite juggernaut basslines, gruff enough to be powerful, but emotive enough to carry the song. Spikey and immediate, the synth riffs tower over the track, like a repeated mantra. The all perfectly contrasts with Alexis’ soft spoken vocals, which takes this abundance of sparse and abrasive electronic and brings them together in a song. Top stuff.

♫ Hot Chip – Huarache Lights (Soulwax reMix)

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[Audio] Maya Jane Coles reMixes Nimmo’s ‘Dilute This’

 

Nimmo

Nimmo And The Gaunttlets are now just Nimmo, although the gauntlets appear to still be around. Confusing, right? We thought Sarah Nimmo might have gone solo, but nope the gang’s all there, Reva Gauntlett is still around. This crew are one of the best live outfits in the UK right now. We’ve been lucky enough to catch them a few times and they have an odd introspection onstage that, rather than alienating a crowd, seems to draw the crowd in and their high energy, upbeat Indie-Electro anthems definitely keep an audience rocking.

Their intense, but fun, ElectroPop seems like a pretty good match for the reMixing talents of Maya Jane Coles, who we’ve made no secret of the fact that we think she is one of the best producers of the last decade. Coming from Bristol we do have a soft spot for our electronic music being bassy and mysterious and Maya superbly wraps that Sci-Fi Dubbyness into infectious House tunes in a way that is just intoxicating; and when she weaves vocals through her tracks the results are right up our street.

Nimmo’s infectious and edgy ElectroPop single Dilute This was released late last month and has been swiftly followed up with a small collection of reMixes featuring Maya’s track, a mix from David Mayer and an Extended version from Nimmo themselves, the Nimmo Night Edit.

MJC’s reMix keeps that enigmatic vibe while introducing the track to a nice peak-time House flavour. Maya’s undulating and shifting beats keep things steady without loosing it’s little Garage skipping. Cole’s premiére talent is her user of atmospheric sounds and pads to create unique grooves. Many people can utilise moody tones to create an ambience, but MJC builds those soundscape layers into something darkly funky. Here that deep and intoxicating pallet turns the sections of Nimmo’s vocals that Maya chose to use from energetic IndiePop hollers to smokey and haunting croons. The perfect lazy afternoon listening that would work equally as well rocking an enchanted dancefloor.

♫ Nimmo – Dilute This (Maya Jane Coles reMix)

Nimmo’s dilute This is out now.

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[Audio] Chvrches’ ‘Every Open Eye’ album

Chvrches

It’s with caution that we approached Glaswegian ElectroPoppers Chvrches sophomore album, Every Open Eye. It cannot be stated enough how much we love their début full length records, The Bones Of What You Believe; it was our album of the year in 2013 and for a long time a whole day didn’t go by without us listening to it at least once. We believe the words “fucking stunning!” were used.

Difficult second album syndrome may be a music industry cliché, but not without cause. A band’s first record is usually made up of tracks they have written along their entire career to date, usually honed my touring and rehearsing with the best of their best making up their premiere collection. The follow up, however, most likely has to be written from scratch. Touring the first album can give new songs some road-testing, but it really does put a band to the test, coming up with the same amount of material as they have in their entire career to date in just a year or so. Some rise to the challenge and prove their talent, some fail miserable.

Thankfully Chvrches fall into the former category.

That said, Every Open Eye is a widely different album to The Bones Of What You Believe. Sure, critics not so in deep with SynthPop are probably saying it’s more of the same, critics with narrow views of synthesizer music are probably saying Every Open Eye is straight-up ElectroPop; but they would both be wrong. It would be far too easy to say that this is Chvrches flexing their tried and tested formula, that it is a return of vintage electronic music (which was always an odd comment, there’s very little vintage in Chvrches crisp electronic sound. There has been SynthPop since the 80s y’know!) but all that would be to miss the real beauty of Every Open Eye, and album teaming with contemporary influences (it’s an incredibly Indie album, there are flairs of R&B too) to be spotted by the electronic music aficionado..

We’ve been living with Every Open Eye for a couple of weeks not, and one of the biggest things that struck us about it is the notion that this is an album written by a band that has been touring pretty heavily over the past couple of years. This is a album written by a band who plays live to play live. Loaded with bombast and big crowd pleasing moments, Every Open Eye revels in anthems and chants in a way the more introverted The Bones Of What You Believe didn’t. If the previous album was singer Lauren Mayberry’s exposed raw nerve, Every Open Eye is a defiant manifesto. Mayberry’s lament replaced with an invitation to join in the anger and euphoria of the eleven track contained within.

Every Open Eye really does hit the ground running. The opening salvo of Never Ending Circles and Leave A Trace is one of the best album launches in recent memory. Never Ending Circles is pure anthem material. A lurching bassline drives forward a symphony of all those elements that make Chvrches Chvrches. Sampled and chopped up backing vocals, thunderous drums, Lauren in optimism lined with bitterness mode, massive chords and sweeping choruses. Never Ending Circles, combining these elements, could have quite easily turned out to be Chvrches-by-numbers but the trio manage to avoid the formulaic trap with stellar songwriting. It’s a superbly spine-tingling opener who’s elevation is continued in the album’s lead single, Leave A Trace. A impassioned, and personal, song that combines Lauren’s proud opus with a soundtrack of emotive electronics that melds atmosphere with a rock solid groove.

Keep You On My Side is the first of many tracks on Every Open Eye that seems to be written with live performance in mind. It’s high BPM and frantic arpeggios complement the chant-a-long vocals will no doubt become a Chvrches live set highlight, but in a listening scenario gave us our first frown of the record. Highlighting a rawer production style that is present through the album. At times the sparse, upfront mixing style of Every Eye Open works well to convey this live energy contained within so many of the tracks, but at times we did miss the more cohesive, more comfortable, production style of The Bones Of What You Believe. This continues into Make Them Gold, and Indie anthem made synth that sees the first appearance of Iain’s chugging bass, here underpinning Every Eye Opens most euphoric and rousing refrain.

Which brings us to Clearest Blue, another of the album’s standout tracks. Revelling in the history of SynthPop (particularly early Depeche Mode), Clearest Blue serves up a high-energy and heartfelt track that seems to be one big build. Again, this is a song crafted for live enjoyment featuring a couple of moments that were surely written for their ‘crowd going mental’ appeal; when the drop comes, it comes hard.

No Chvrches album would be complete without Martin stepping up to the mic. This time High Enough To Carry You Over comes thick with a synth-Funk as Doherty croons, strangely like a Scottish Dave-1 from Chromeo. It seems more relatable, and to our minds slightly better, that his outing on The Bones Of What You Believe but after this quick aside where dropped straight back into the live focused monster tunes with Empty Threat. More of Ian’s powerhouse bass, more of Lauren and the kind of massive vocal performance that has no business coming out of such a small frame. Empty Threat is possibly the best of the crowd-pleasers, it’s resonant lyrics and crisp vocals being something to shout about.

Moody Future R&B infiltrates the record in one of Every Open Eye’s quieter moments, the smokey sweet Down Side Of Me (a personal highlight) as waves of Lauren’s (in this instance) gentle vocals intertwine with pinprick synths and warm keys to provide a little respite amid the juggernaut numbers. The following tune, Playing Dead is the most The Bones Of What You Believe track on Every Open Eye. It’s melancholy optimism, both vocally and musically, would have actually made an excellent album closer with it’s (again, live focused) but stuttered sample breakdown providing a stark contrast to (what we think is) Mayberry’s best performance on the record. Before the sweet and calming exit of Afterglow, Comes Bury It, perhaps the album’s lowest point, a barrage of synths and chants that is exciting in it’s own way but feels slightly like an afterthought.

Is Every Open Eye as good as The Bones Of What You Believe.  Well…no. But just saying “no” without explanation seems unfair. Taken out of context Every Open Eye is a fucking amazing record that we could not recommend enough to everyone. We’ve been listening to it almost non-stop for the past two weeks and loving every second. The Bones Of What You Believe is such a legacy to live up to, I’m not sure anyone could have done it. Every Open Eye just isn’t quite as great as it’s predecessor, but don’t think for a minute that that doesn’t make it one of the best albums of the year. It really is. Top five. It beats the crap out of almost everything released in 2015…it’s just that in 2013 Chvrches released something a tiny bit better.

That’s not a dis though. You need this album in your life right now.

♫ Chvrches – Leave A Trace

♫ Chvrches – Never Ending Circles

Chvrches’ second album Every Open Eye is out now.

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[Audio] Jordan F’s ‘Mesmerised’

 

Jordan F

There are a few artists who have been with us since the beginning. Starting out not long after electronic rumours was born and we’ve follow their careers as they have progressed. Some flee by the wayside, never to be heard of again, and some went from strength to strength. Australia’s Jordan F is one of these artists we’ve been with since day one, and he’s definitely one of the strength to strength-ers. Starting out at the beginning of the second wave of Dreamwave artists (the scene have just come off MySpace) Jordan quickly rose through the ranks; showing himself as a producer enhanced musicality and a knack for retro flair without the constructions of genre.

He was quickly picked up by the elite best-of-the-best of the Dreamwave seen, Rosso Corsa Records (home to Mitch Murder and Miami Nights 1984) and, after flexing his musical muscles on numerous EPs, his début album Slipstream was finally released last year.

It’s a surprise, then, to learn that he’s following up with a sophomore long player so soon afterwards having recently announced that the sequel he’s coming soon. The announcement came with the Album’s premier single, Mesmerised.

Mesmerised comes equipped with vocal stylings of Canadian SynthWave scene hired gun Dana Jean Phoenix, a singer whose look and sound delivers an authentic 80s pop sheen to the tracks she collaborates on. Mesmerised might just be her finest appearance to date as she and Jordan tread the lilting, laid back, hazy nostalgia path laid by the likes of Electric Youth.

These two are a match made in vintage heaven as Jordan’s restrained and mature soundtrack of tight digital bass, understated drums and a sea of lush pads is prefect for Dana to weave a delicious and gentle 80s Pop ditty throughout. As with many of Jordan’s tunes his soaring solos steal the show infusing Mesmerised with the fluid excitement that plays with Donna’s vocals like a call-and-response. It looks like, with his new album, Jordan F be taking them to school once again.

♫ Jordan F (Feat. Dana Jean Phoenix) – Mesmerised

Jordan F’s Mesmerised is out now.

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[Video] Romuald & Madji’k’s ‘Fastlane’

 

Romuald   Madji k   Fastlane  feat Stanza   Official Video    YouTube

The awesome Continental Records (Jerry Bouthier’s baby) have just released their second single from French producers Romuald & Madji’k, a collection of reMixes following up their Stanza featuring Fastlane single. (check the MiGHty mOUse reMix for greatness). Alongside the release comes a brand new video for the track.

Directed by Romuald Lauverjon, the clip is a swirl of colourful retro imagery centred around a gorilla in a Porsche 911. Yup, a gorilla.

Romuald & Madji’k’s ‘Fastlane reMixes’ are out now.

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[Audio] DNKL’s ‘Otherside’

 

DNKL

Some days we feel like we might as well just stop trying to fight it and become a publication that solely focuses on Scandinavian music, seeing as we spend most of our time listening to, and writing about, it anyway. The Scandinavians really have nailed it where it counts. They arguable produce the finest electronic Pop music in the world, they pwn the world of Cosmic Disco, their experimental electronics have a tundra soul that raises it above the rest and they can take Teutonic EBM and somehow make it less embarrassing. Even more amazing is when they blur the lines between styles. DNKL do that. DNKL do that, like, all the time.

Swedish trio DNKL take a frigid, icy SynthPop sound and warm it up with some bass heavy dance music grooves. For the last few years this outfit have been releasing complex and beautiful dark ElectroPop tracks, heavy with atmosphere, but with foundations of tight and intricately crafted synthesizer Pop.

Their new tune, Otherside, comes following up on their début EP, Wolfhour, which received a fair amount of praise on it’s release last year. Since then the guys have been holed up working on new material (we hope for a forthcoming full length release) of which this is the first taste. It’s a departure from their previous offerings, but at the same time not; and not just because contradictory statements are fun. Listen up as DNKL weave a solid Techno groove through their haunting Pop Noir.

Otherside has a cheeky little early/mid-90s feel to it too, with snatched drum rolls and a spiky digital bassline giving the track an unusually (for DNKL) funky flavour. Woozy side-chained pads ensure that DNKL’s trademark haze is not missing while the synthesized sax-a-like lead flits between smokey & urbane and slightly otherworldly. Otherside’s mystery tour through moods lends itself to concrete jungle adventures as much as it does to arctic wasteland contemplation, and is perhaps the first original DNKL song that you can get up and dance to. The understated and heartfelt vocals serve as a guide through DNKL’s world, their ebb and flow rushing in and out of the track in ghostly swirls.

The more we think about it, the more we’re sure Otherside would have gone down a treat in the Indie clubs of our youth.

♫ DNKL – Otherside

DNKL’s Otherside is out now

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[Audio] Leo Kalyan’s ‘Get Your Love’

 

Leo Kalyan

Is Get Your Love the most straight-up SynthPoppy think that Leo Kalyan has ever done? Very possibly. The Londoner has been slowly gaining traction with his R&B infused Pop track that have run the gauntlet of the slickest current styles from PopDeepHouse to FutureSoulDisco and every three word compound genre in-between. At it’s core, though, Leo’s tunes are smooth and soulful Pop songs that are as much for the heart as they are for the feet.

We were first introduced to Leo Kalyan way back in 2013 when our favourite ever PR person said “you have to hear my neighbour’s music” while drunk. Which is an odd bit of promotion, but it turns out we did have to hear their neighbours music, ‘cos it was very good and we’ve been following him ever since. It was actually a while, full of reMixes and mixtapes, before his first proper release; the Silver Linings EP in July this year, but now it seems tracks are coming thick and fast. Hot on the heels of said EP Leo is keeping the momentum going with Get Your Love.

The new single is out at the end of next month, which may be a little too close to to the tail end of the summer for a song who’s first line is “Summertime heaven…” but with it’s laid back sound and carefree vocals maybe, just maybe, it can keep the sunshine feeling going a little while longer.

So, yeah, Get Your Love is less R&B and more pure Pop than Leo’s previous offerings. Don’t get us wrong, the tune definitely has a soulful swing to it, but the toasty synths and solid 4/4 beat  make it the most accessible track he’s released to date. The catchy and upbeat chorus doesn’t hurt either when it comes to a certain sing-a-long quality Get Your Love has. Leo lays out the tale of a youthful summer day and night with his love interest to a soundtrack of relaxed keys that are dragged along by shuffling hi-hats and a strong bassline. We could quite easily imagine Get Your Love getting a bit of radio play. And it it did happen to come on the radio, while the sun was shining; well that would be just fine with us.

♫ Leo Kalyan – Get You Love

Leo Kalyan’s Get You Love is released

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[Audio] Chad Valley’s ‘Seventeen’

 

chad-valley

Oxford’s Hugo Manuel A.K.A. Chad Valley is not a go-to artist for us. Which is an odd way to start talking about him, we know. We absolutely love pretty much everything he’s released, we happily fork out the cash for lovely Chad Valley vinyl (we’ve even pre-ordered the new album) and spent hours and hours chilling with his début full album, still a killer after a couple of years. But whenever we’re sat around thinking ‘what to listen to?’ we never go straight got Chad Valley. Which is a shame as whenever Chad Valley pops into our head (and subsequently our speakers) we’re always like “oh shit! fuck yeah! Chad Valley!” Too much music, too little time we guess.

Chad Valley is the shining light of the label that other labels wish they were, Cascine. Since releasing his first EP back in 2010, at the height of the birth of Chillwave, he has steadily offered up a plethora of sunkissed and deeply emotional synth music that draws on everything from Shoegazing Indie to Funk fuelled R&B to weave his densely layered musical tapestry. Haunting and enigmatic at the same times as irresistibly groovy, all the time Hugo’s soft, heartfelt vocals never letting us forget that he wears his heart on his sleeve. His first full length record, 2012’s Young Hunger was a well rounded slice of intricately crafted left-field Pop that really showed off how much Chad Valley’s sound had matured.

This emotionality and sonic maturity is set to continue on his recently announce sophomore record. To be titled Entirely New Blue, the new album is due out in October and sees Joel Ford, of Ford & Lopatin, alongside Yung Ejecta on co-production duties. Largely produced during the break-up of a long-term relationship, we’re likely to see Hugo’s passionate lament taken to the next level. In-fact, Hugo himself calls the album’s second single, Seventeen, “the most deeply personal song I have even written”.

Seventeen takes it’s time to get started, spending over a minute purely on a gentle piano and Hugo’s sincere and regretful croon. Just when you think the tension will never break, Seventeen splits to reveal a shuffling beat and warm, swelling keys. The track build a musical and vocal mantra, undulating sounds tumbling around each other as Hugo’s effect laden voice swings from an narratively emotional centrepiece to another instrument in the tracks swirling finale. We were quite excited about Entirely New Blue when it was announced last month, Seventeen has assured us that our excitement is justified. Hugo truly is a master at his craft, we can’t think of anyone who serves up this kind of hazy, sentimental synth music as well as he does. Just sink into this one, put it in your headphones and lie back. Stay in that warm place until Entirely New Blue drops next month.

Hopefully we can remember lo listen to Chad Valley from now on.

♫ Chad Valley – Seventeen

Chad Valley’s Entirely New Blue is released 2nd October.

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[Mixtape] Tensnake, Little Boots, Goldroom & Le Youth in Mixmag’s Lab

 

LITTLE BOOTS disco house set in The Lab LA   YouTube

For today’s mixtape offering we’re presenting something a little different. Mixmag’s In The Lab videos on YouTube have been smashing it recently. You don’t have to sit there for an hour watching someone mixing (unless you really want to). Just stick them on your big TV and listen to them like you would any other mixtape, only now you get to occasionally glance across at the little DJ playing live in the corner of your room.

We’ve got three for your here, all three we really enjoyed and can highly recommend, especially for pre-going out this weekend revelries. Check out recent live sets from Tensnake, in Mixmag’s London Lab, along with Little Boots and Goldroom & Le Youth B2B from Their Lab in LA.

[Audio] Tove Styrke’s ‘Kiddo’

 

Tove Styrke

We may be a little obsessed with this album right now.

We came across Tove Styrke a few weeks ago while browsing the Local paper. Checking, as we tend to do, local gig listings we see Tove Styrke is playing at Start The Bus (a once amazing music venue that has gone somewhat downhill after a failed attempt to go ‘gastro’). The listings include the words ‘Swedish’ and ‘ElectroPop’. We immediately buy tickets. Then we figure we should check out some of Tove’s music. Her just released sophomore album was out first port of call. But before that, some backstory…

Ms. Styrke was runner up on Swedish Pop Idol in 2010 and hastily afterward released her self-titled début, a perfectly enjoyable but slightly bland (although even when bland the Swedish do Pop better than another else) album that Tove herself has since admitted was rushed and that she wasn’t happy with the results (despite going platinum). Fast-forward to 2014, after taking some time out of the limelight Tove returns with the Borderline EP, a preview of the follow-up album to come. It’s was a brash, left-field take on Pop loaded with personality. This wasn’t the work of a post-TV show puppet, this was a self-assured artist grabbing Pop music with both hands and shaking it down.

A year later and this summer Tove released Kiddo, a twelve track musical manifesto that swings between the empowerment of an ex-teen star and outright vitriol against anyone who won’t let her be herself. Tove’s playful and soft vocals comes across as all sweetness and light but with a knife behind her back; and it’s this underlying antagonism amid a sea of perfectly crafted Pop music that gives Kiddo it’s edge. Tove seems to lay out her grievances with the music industry, grievances with anyone who doesn’t like her new music and grievances with anyone who doesn’t understand her new direction and, basically, tells them to fuck off. All to some particularly Scandinavian and eclectic Pop sounds .

Kiddo hits the ground running with opening salvo that kicks off with Ain’t Got No…, a left-field opener that sways to woozy basslines and a juddering beat while Tove croons her policy statement. It’s on Ain’t Got No… that we are introduced to one of the surprising musical themes running throughout the record. Big, dirty, 303 Acid hooks; the album is packed with them. You’ll be settling into a smooth Pop tune and suddenly, from nowhere, this gritty, distorted TB-303 line with inject itself into the track, cutoff and resonance tweaked to the max. It’s one of the many unexpected teats Kiddo has to offer.

Snaren shows off Kiddo’s other musical motif. On more than one occasion Tove weaves a Dancehall flavour into her songs, bringing Dub spaciousness and rolling snares to the mix. Snaren delivers a ballsy party tune with a comfortable Tropical House vibe to the chorus. A vibe that continues into the single Ego, one of the albums more traditional chart friendly moments with it’s big R&B-lite sing-a-long chorus (and , oh look, a burbling Acid line). A mood that is mirrored on the tongue-in-cheek album closer, Brag.

The likes of Samurai Boy and Walk The Line provide typical ScandiPop fare. All crisp synths and thick production while the Dub-Pop of Burn and the majestic anthem of Decay delve deeper into the album’s physiological dark side (and Acid lines. Seriously, they just appear from nowhere!). The height of the Island influence comes on the single Boarderline, a headstrong hymn that mixes aggression and a Dancehall patter with a oddly Folk like elements which contrast nicely with the Pop ballad turned ominous dark SynthPop of Who’s Got News.

Of the album’s other two singles, Number One feels like the earliest track on Kiddo, maybe Tove shedding her former self? while Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You, the records biggest hit, is a crazy, chanted, literal “fuck off” to anyone pretentious to think themselves above Pop music. Possible the most infectious song of the decade.

Sometimes political, sometimes social, always feminist, Kiddo is not just a coming-of-age for Tove Styrke, but the freeing of someone tired of industry manipulation and has zero fuck to give if you like it or not. Which makes for a supremely confident record which is not-at-all hurt by the fact that it is loaded with infectious, expertly crafted, diverse, perfect Pop.

 

♫ Tove Styrke – Snaren

 

♫ Tove Styrke – Decay

Tove Styrke’s Kiddo is out now.

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