Tag: dance music

New Audio: Australia’s Mildlife Releases a Shimmering Club Friendly Jam

With the release of 2017’s full-length debut Phase, the Aussie quartet Midlife — multi-instrumentalists Jim Rindfleish, Adam Halliwell, Kevin McDowell and Tom Shanahan — exploded into the national and international scene. Phase was released to critical acclaim from Resident AdvisorResident Advisor, Uncut, The Guardian and airplay from BBC Radio 6 — and the album helped the band garner several award nominations including Best Album at the 2018 Worldwide FM Awards,  Best Independent Jazz Album at the 2018 AIR Awards and Best Electronic Award nomination and win at the The Age Music Victoria Awards. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Midlife have opened for the likes of Stereolab, JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Harvey Sutherland. Their first national headlining tour was sold out, and the immediately followed up with a ten-date UK and European tour, which was culminated with a homecoming set at Meredith Music Festival. 

The rising Aussie act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Automatic is slated for a September 18, 2020 release through Heavenly Recordings and the album reportedly is step-change from their debut with the material being much more disciplined, directional and more danceable but while continuing their unerring knack to let a track luxuriate and stretch out without ever being self-indulgent. “The recorded songs kind of become the new reference point for playing the songs live,” Midlife’s Kevin McDowell says. ““They both have different outcomes and we make our decisions for each based on that, but they’re symbiotic and they both influence each other. It’s usually a fairly natural flow from live to recorded back to live.”

“Vapour,” Automatic’s second and latest single is centered around a shimmering, cosmic groove featuring glistening synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, a fluttering and expressive flute solo, shuffling four-on-the-floor, a euphoria-inducing hook and McDowell’s plaintive falsetto.  While sonically the song brings Fear of Music and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and DBFC to mind, it conjures memories of carefree dance floors of pre-COVID quarantines, lockdowns and isolation. “Vapour is a dance mantra with enough weight to blow the cobwebs off your tired mind and snap you out of your endless feed scrolling rituals,” the members of Midlife say of the song. 

JackLNDN is a rapidly rising London-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer. who can trace the origins of his music career to when he was a boy: he grew up in a hone in which his family almost exclusively to jazz, funk and classical music in equal measure. When he was 7, he sang in professional choirs — and by the time, he was 10, he had met Queen Elizabeth and recorded material at Abbey Road Studios.

With the release of attention grabbing tracks like “The Feels,” “Never Get Enough,” “Start Over Again” and “All I See,” the British electronic music artist and producer firmly established a unique sound and approach in electronic music/deep house: he frequently pairs his own vocals with productions that are simultaneously indebted to jazz and house music. Along with a series of successful remixes, JackLNDN’s work has amassed millions of streams. Adding to a growing profile, the rising British artist and producer released his self-released full-length debut Thoughts last year.

Since the release of his full-length debut, JackLNDN has followed up by enlisting two of his favorite electronic music artists, electronic music producers and fellow Brits — Fluida and Frameworks — to remix two of Thoughts songs. Album single “With You” is a sultry and summery track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, the British producer’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and a sinuous yet crowd pleasing hook. Sonically, the song — to my ears, at least — brings Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves and Giorgio Moroder to mind.

Clocking in at a little over seven minutes, Fluida’s remix is centered around propulsive tribal beats while retaining the shimmering synth arpeggios, the gorgeous melody and sinuous hooks of the original; however, the remix turns the song into a euphoria-inducing drum ‘n’ bass meets tribal house instrumental.

 

 

 

Comprised of singer/songwriter Aluna Francis and producer George Reid, the renowned London-based electronic music duo AlunaGeorge can trace their origins back to 2009 when Reid remixed My Toys Like Me‘s  “Sweetheart“. And since their official formation in 2012, the duo have developed a reputation for a sound that slickly meshes 90s and 00s R&B, synth pop, house music and EDM inspired by the likes of Flying Lotus, Chris Clark, Hudson Mohawke, Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah and Mariah Carey among others.

The duo has spent most of the past year working on new material — but in the meantime, AlunaGeorge’s Aluna Francis teamed up with young, up-and-coming Liverpool-based electronic music producer, songwriter and electronic music artist SG Lewis on the house music club banger “Hurting,” a track centered around shimmering arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Francis’ sultry vocals singing about the raw, sexual yearnings of the post-breakup blues. Sonically speaking, the song is a slick and modern take on the classic house music sound, while revealing a careful attention to craft.

As Lewis says of the track, “Aluna and I met for the first time in LA earlier this year, and I was talking to her about the album concept, and in particular, Dark. Aluna has been a part of so many dance records that I love, so I knew I wanted to make a club track with her! After we ate burritos and hung out, we made ‘Hurting’ super quickly – the whole process was super natural between the two of us, and she has such an amazing ear for production.”

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Largely centered around the production and multi-instrumentalist duo of Josh “J” Lloyd-Watson and Tom “T” McFarland, the London-based neo-disco/funk/dance music collective Jungle released their breakthrough, self-titled, full-length debut to critical and commercial success back in 2014, thanks in part to album singles “Platoon,” “Busy Earnin‘” “Time,” “The Heat,” and “Julia” — and it all happened much to the surprise of the collective’s founding members.

After a lengthy two plus year period touring to support their debut, the collective’s much-anticipated sophomore album For Ever is slated for a September 14, 2018 release through XL Recordings, and as Watson and McFarland note, while their full-length debut was conceived as a sort of imaginary soundtrack to the places they had never been, For Ever is reportedly inspired by the real life experiences of seeing and being in the places they had dreamt of for most of their lives. As the story goes, Watson and McFarland set up camp in Los Angeles to write and record the material that would eventually comprise their sophomore album, and over time their long-held romanticism of California and the Californian Dream clashed with the reality of actually living there, feeling adrift and alone — and the sensation was compounded by the the breakups of long-term relationships. Returning to London, they teamed up with well-regarded, up-and-coming producer Inflo, who helped them create an album devised as a “post-apocalyptic radio station playing break up songs.”

For Ever‘s first single is the glittering and stomping “Heavy California,” which features a club rocking production consisting of a sinuous bass line, a boozy and expressive guitar line, soaring falsetto vocals, shimmering synths and an infectious hook  but underneath the breezy, strobe light and dance floor friendly vibes, there’s a mix of heartache and defiance — the sort that comes up after a breakup, where you may say to yourself “well, fuck them, I don’t need them!”

With the release of the album’s first two singles, the act announced a lengthy world tour throughout the Fall and Winter. Unfortunately, at the moment they don’t have any New York area dates but check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
Sep 19Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg, Germany
Sep 23Life Is Beautiful, Las Vegas NV, USA
Sep 25The Majestic, Ventura CA, USA
Sep 26The Glasshouse, Pomona CA, USA
Sep 28The Black Sheep, Colorado Springs, USA
Sep 29Aggie Theatre, Fort Collins CO, USA
Sep 30 Boulder Theatre, Boulder CO, USA
Oct 03Auditorio Blackberry, Mexico City, Mexico
Oct 05Austin City Limits, Austin TX, USA
Oct 07Republic, New Orleans LA, USA
Oct 08House Of Blues, Dallas TX, USA
Oct 09House Of Blues, Houston TX, USA
Oct 12Austin City Limits, Austin TX, USA
Oct 14Treasure Island, Oakland CA, USA
Oct 31Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway
Nov 02Noisey Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nov 03Vasateatern, Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 05Tavastia Club, Helsinki, Finland
Nov 06Rock Cafe, Tallinn, Estonia
Nov 08Palladium, Riga, Latvia
Nov 09Compensa Hall, Vilnius, Lithuania
Nov 10Progresja, Warsaw, Poland
Nov 12Roxy, Prague, Czech Republic
Nov 13Majestic Music Club, Bratislava, Slovakia
Nov 15Muffathalle, Munich, Germany
Nov 16Les Docks, Lausanne, Switzerland
Nov 17Kantine, Köln, Germany
Nov 19Gibson, Frankfurt, Germany
Nov 20Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Nov 21Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov 22Trix Hall, Antwerp, Belgium
Feb 13UEA, Norwich, UK
Feb 15Academy 1, Manchester, UK
Feb 16O2 Academy, Leeds, UK
Feb 18Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
Feb 21Alexandra Palace, London, UK
Feb 23Aeronef Club, Lille, France
Feb 24Olympia, Paris, France
Feb 26Stereolux, Nantes, France
Mar 01Palladium Los Angeles CA, USA
Mar 07Roseland, Portland OR, USA
Mar 08Showbox, Seattle WA, USA
Mar 09The Vogue, Vancouver BC, Canada
Mar 12First Avenue, Minneapolis MN, USA
Mar 16Danforth, Toronto ON, Canada
Mar 20Union Transfer, Philadelphia PA, USA
Mar 21930 Club, Washington DC, USA
Mar 22Orange Peel, Asheville NC, USA
Mar 23 Marathon Music Works, Nashville TN, USA

New Video: Congolese DIY Collective KOKOKO! Returns with a Raunchy Club Banger

Bordered by Central African Republic and South Sudan to its north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to its east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo to its west; and the Atlantic Ocean to its southwest, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country by area in Africa and the eleventh largest by area in the entire world — and by with a population of 78 million people, the most populated officially Francophone country in the entire world, the fourth most populated nation in African and the seventeenth most populated country in the world.

Humans first settled within the expansive territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo roughly 90,000 years ago, although various Bantu speaking tribes began migrating into the region in the 5th century and again in the 10th century. From the 14th to the 19th century, the territory was split into three different territories — to the West, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled for close to 500 years; while the central and Eastern sections were ruled by the Luba and Lunda kingdoms, which ruled from roughly the 16th century to the 19th century.

In the 1870s, European exploration of the Congo region was first carried out and led by Henry Morton Stanley, who was sponsored by King Leopold II of Belgium and by 1885, Leopold had formally acquired the rights to the Congo territory, making the land his private property. Ironically naming the territory the Congo Free State, the colonial military unit the Force Publique forced much of the local population into producing rubber and from 1885-1908 millions of Congolese died from exploitation and disease. Despite initial reluctance, the Belgian government formally annexed the Free State and the territory became the Belgian Congo.

Between the late 1950s and mid 1960s, revolutionary movements swept much of Africa, reshaping the map; in fact, The Democratic Republic of the Congo achieved independence in June 1960 as the Republic of the Congo, with Patrice Lumumba, a Congolese nationalist, becoming the country’s first Prime Minister and Joseph Kasa-Vubu, becoming the country’s first president. Within a few months, the provinces of Katanga, Moise-Tshombe and South Kasai attempted to secede and by September 1960, Lumumba was dismissed from office by Kasa-Vubu with encouragement by the US and Belgium after Lumumba sought assistance from the Soviet Union with what has since been known as the Congo Crisis. By mid September of that year, Lumumba was arrested by forces loyal to Army Chief of Staff Joseph-Desire Mobutu, who gained de facto control of the country through a coup d’etat. By early 1961 Lumumba was executed by Belgian-led Katangese forces.

In 1965 Mobutu, who later renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko, officially came into power through a second coup d’etat, running the country, which he renamed as Zaire as a one-party state, with his Popular Movement of the Revolution as the country’s sole legal party for more than 30 years. By the early 1990s, Sese Seko’s government had begun to weaken and by the middle of the decade, growing disenfranchisement among the country’s eastern Congolese Tutsi population led to Zaire’s invasion by their Tutsi-ruled neighbor Rwanda, which began the First Congo War and eventually led to the end of Mobutu Sese Seko’s 32 year stranglehold on the country.

In May 1997, Laurent-Desire Kabila, a leader of South Kivu province-based Tutsi forces became President of the country and reverted the nation’s name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately, tensions between Kabila and the Rwandan and Tutsi presence led to the Second Congo War from 1998-2003, which involved nine different African nations and 20 different armed groups and eventually resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people. Naturally, the decade long period of civil war and instability devastated the country and the larger region. And if you add several centuries of commercial and colonial exploitation, which continues to this very day, extreme poverty, inequality and inequity and a lack of infrastructure, you understandably wind up with a population that’s desperate and struggling to survive.

Led by Makara Bianco and featuring production from prolific French producer débruit, KOKOKO! is a pioneering Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo-based DIY electronic collective inspired by a growing spirit of protest and unrest among Kinshasa’s young people, who have begun to both openly question centuries-old norms and taboos and or openly denounce a society that they perceived as paralyzed by fear. In fact, the collective’s name literally means KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK! with the collective viewing themselves as the sound of a new generation boldly, loudly and defiantly banging on the doors and walls, yelling “OUR TIME IS NOW!” The members of the collective operate in a wildly inventive DIY fashion, creating self-designed and self-made instruments from recycled junk and claptrap — and they built a recording studio out of old mattresses, found wood and a ping pong table. (If that isn’t punk as fuck, I don’t know what is.) Fueled by the underlying notion that desperate survival fuels creativity, the collective received international attention with their Tokoliana EP, an urgent, forward-thinking, way out in left field effort featuring a sound that nodded at disco, post-punk, hip-hop, reggae, retro-futuristic funk, Afro-futurism and traditional regional music — but from a sweaty, grimy, post-apocalyptic future in which the ghetto and club are one and the same. 

ICI released the Congolese collective’s second EP TONGOS’A late last year, and the EP finds the collective further exploring themes of survival in the desperate and uneasy political and social climate of their homeland — sometimes focusing on small, deeply human pleasures and concerns; in fact, the EP’s first track, title track “Tongos’a (which translates roughly into ’til the morning light”) is a sweaty and raunchy club banger on the necessity of getting laid properly, rooted around skittering drum programming, thumping beats and a looped guitar and bass line that’s derived from the Mongo tribe repertoire, making the song a mischievous mix of the old and the new. 

Directed by débruit, Markus Hofko, Renaud Barret, the recently released video for “Tongos’a” stars a local dance act “l’homme capote” comprised of Mbuyi Tickson, Makoka, and Riyana sweaty and grinding seductively to the song, capturing the song’s raunchy, club-friendly vibe. 

New Video: The Sensual Visuals and Sounds of French Electro Pop Act Juveniles Latest Single “Someone Better”

With the release of their 2012 debut EP We Are Young through renowned French electronic music label Kitsune Records, the-then French electronic production and artist duo Juveniles, which featured Thibault Doray and its sole remaining member Jean-Sylvan Le Gouic, best known as Jean Sylvain quickly received attention for slick, hypermodern, super-computerized, dance floor-friendly productions. Building upon a rapidly growing profile among electronic music circles, the duo released their 2013 Yuksek-produced full-length debut, which expanded the then-duo’s profile across the European Union, Southeast Asia, China and South America.

Since the release of the project’s full-length debut, the project has gone through several significant changes — Doray left the project, leaving it solely under the helm of Sylvain and his sophomore full-length effort Without Warning, which officially was released today through Paradis/Capitol Records finds Sylvain releasing music on a new label after several years with Kitsune Records. Produced and recorded by Joakim at Crowdspacer Studios here in NYC, Without Warning finds the French electronic music artist going through a radical change in sonic direction and approach as he abandons the fully computerized sound of his previously released work to embrace a much more human approach, complete with organic instrumentation, featuring contributions from The Juan Maclean’s, Holy Ghost!’s and Yeasayer’s Christopher Berry (drums) and Big Data’s Ben Campbell (bass), along with pre-digital and traditional mixing and production techniques.

Without Warning’s latest single “Someone Better” features a sinuous and propulsive bass line paired with blocks of arpeggio organ and synth chords, four-on-the-floor drumming, and Sylvain’s sensual and seductive crooning with some of the sharpest, most dance-floor friendly hooks I’ve heard in quite some time. And while arguably being one of the warmest, most soulful, the French electronic music artist has released to date, the song clearly draws from classic disco, bearing a resemblance to Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real,” Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” but with a subtly modern production sheen.

Produced by Rodrigo Huarte, the recently released music video for “Someone Better” is comprised of a behind the scenes look at anti-hero cop movie in which its main character has a highly-stylized and dramatic love affair with a presumed “hooker with a heart of gold” type character and while the actors “on screen” play up a steamy relationship that they clearly don’t have — at various points, you can tell that both actors are wondering when they’re getting paid or thinking about what they’re doing once the scene is finally over — behind the scenes, two members of the crew, discretely hook up as the rest of the crew films the movie’s key love scene.

New Video: Acclaimed World Dance Music Act Balkan Beat Box’s Swaggering Hip-Hop Influenced Visuals for “Chin Chin”

Currently comprised of founding members Ori Kaplan (saxophone), Tamir Muskat (production, percussion) and Tomer Yosef (vocals), the Tel Aviv, Israel-born, Brooklyn-based world, dance music trio Balkan Beat Box can trace its origins to Kaplan and Muskat meeting as teenagers in Brooklyn. As the story goes, both grew up immersed in music; Kaplan had been a klezmer clarinetists while Muskat was a drummer in a punk rock band — and the founding duo began collaborating together on a project, which would mesh the styles and sounds of Mediterranean and Balkan folk music with dub and thumping, club-banging hip-hop and dancehall beats. This is largely inspired by the fact that both Kaplan and Muskat had long felt that the traditional music they were long familiar with was a bit stodgy and outdated and didn’t adequately reflect the experiences of living in an increasingly globalized culture; however, fusing it traditional sounds with contemporary sounds was a way of bringing new relevance to old music, as well as a way of introducing old dance sounds to contemporary audiences. By 2006, Tomer Yosef was recruited as the group’s frontman and the lineup was completed.

And since their formation over a decade ago, the Brooklyn-based trio have maintained a long-held reputation not just for their wild genre mashing, deep digging in the crates grooves, but for a enormous club-banging beats paired with incendiary flows that call for riots and demonstrations in the streets and a for getting sweating on the dance floor — or perhaps suggesting that dance music and funk can fuel and inspire the next revolution. Interestingly throughout the course of five full-length albums, the trio have collaborated with a group of frequent and trusted collaborators and associates — and to add to a growing profile, the act has had their material sampled by Jason Derulo, Diplo, who used a sample for a Mac Miller song, had their music appear in FIFA ’17 and in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and have collaborated both as a unit and individually with platinum-ceritifed selling artist Asaf Avidan, Yemenite pop trio A-WA, Stargate and Fifth Harmony. But no matter what their work is rooted in a political urgency and authenticity; however, the band’s most recent effort Shout It Out finds the trio expanding upon their songwriting and creative process. As the members of the band explain in press notes when the members of the band gathered in the studio for the Shout It Out sessions, they played freely with collaborators for several days straight and then sampled what they felt was the best and boldest grooves, much like a DJ digging in the crates for the most interesting, weirdest material they could find. “A lot of weird things came out,” Kaplan exclaims in press notes. “We wold listen to jams and go ‘oh, here’s a moment, let’s sample it!” and they would build a track up from four bars or so.” And as Muskat explains of the material on the album “We are known to be that band to shout out things that bother us, but this time ew went inward and more personal. This album is us revealing who we are as people and what’s going on in our personal life.”

Shout It Out’s latest single “Chin Chin” has the trio pairing a slick, dance floor friendly production featuring looped klezmer-leaning, horn sample with stuttering drum programming, tweeter and woofer rattling 808 beats, distorted vocal samples and an enormous drop with Yosef rhyming about money — from the violent and desperate things people would do for it, the expensive and glittering possessions people buy with it. And in some way thematically and sonically, the song sounds as though it draws from M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” as it points out that money is what makes the world go around, while also reminding us that we live in a world in which people will sell themselves, their children, their children’s future’s for short term gain.

The recently released music video visually draws from crime movies like Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and hip-hop videos, and as a result, it further evokes the swaggering, stomping groove of the song.

 

Over the past two years or so, Vancouver, BC-based producer, electronic music artist, Pat Lok has quickly built an international profile. Lok’s 2013 remixes of Cashmere Cat and Justin Timberlake, along with his own original single “Remember” received BBC Radio One airplay – and an AlunaGeorge bootleg, which was praised by the renowned electronic act received over 300,000 plays. Original singles like “Move Slow” and “Same Hearts” were released to critical praise from the likes of Vice’s THUMP and iTunes — and at at one point, the Canadian electronic music artist received over 1 million Soundcloud plays. Adding to a growing international profile, Lok has played clubs across Canada, Western Europe, Mexico, Columbia and the US.

Lok has been rather prolific this year, releasing a number of high profile singles that have captured the attention of this site and other blogs — and he ends the year with the release of “Your Lips” feat. Dirty Radio, a single that has seen airplay from BBC Radio 1Xtra, as well as spins by a number of renowned DJs including Tensnake, Moon Boots, Goldroom, Just Kiddin, Nick Catchdubs and others. And when you hear the song, you’ll see why it’s received such attention early on as the song pairs layers of cascading synths and skittering drum programming with Dirty Radio’s sultry vocals to create a song that possesses a seductive and dance-floor ready groove — while nodding to synth pop and R&B. Sonically, the song reminds me a little bit of a house music-version of Michael Jackson‘s “I Can’t Let Her Get Away.

The Vancouver, BC-based producer and electronic music artist recently announced the release of the “Your Lips” remix package, which features remixes from Dutch producer Tony Tritone, Leeds, UK-based artist Crvvcks and renowned Chicago-based duo Christian Rich.  The Tony Tritone remix (below) retains the soulful vocals but pairs them with hard hitting drum and bass and atmospheric synths to give the song an airy and  funky soul-leaning feel that makes the song sound as though it were drawing from Dam-Funk and 80s synth R&B — all while remaining dance-floor friendly.