Dirty South shows his dark side on brooding ‘darko’ LP [Album Review]

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Dirty South shows his dark side on brooding ‘darko’ LP [Album Review]Dirty South Darko Album Review

Dirty South is a man of his word. He promised fans two albums before the year was out, and suddenly darko arrived right in the nick of time. Just a month after releasing the stunning XVthe cinematic house titan submitted yet another chapter to his long player history – and it’s unlike any project the producer has helmed to date.

For some, it may have made sense to release both fall albums as a double LP. Yet Dirty South’s decision to separate the two projects makes perfect sense when listening. Both are worlds apart in feeling, tone, and flow. XV was brilliantly bouncy, often bursting with waves of elation; darko, on the other hand, is something different with a more anxious mindset all its own. The mournful synth swells of “Temps” announce the project’s ethos immediately, and the feeling of unrest permeates throughout the rest of the journey. On “Cassetta,” the intro burns slowly before ascending chords spread the tension on thick. “Piksi” follows directly behind, which is shaping up to be one of the darkest tracks in Dirty South’s repertoire.

Despite the unity of darko‘s world, trademark Dirty South touches abound. While the beaming brightness of past hits like “If It All Stops” is nowhere to be found, the “Kino” shuffles and grooves as undeniably as any of the artist’s dance floor weapons. “Lava” is a rhythmic tour-de-force, despite snarling horn-like synth blasts tethering it firmly into the album’s aesthetic. But despite Dirty South’s mastery of vocal-infused efforts show in past releases on labels like Anjunabeats, darko remains starkly instrumental. The move feels calculated as the arrangements ebb and flow freely, leaving the listener to wonder if any lyrics could speak single-handedly for the soul of the record.

The producer admitting the record is his favorite to date could indicate this new sonic direction — also showcased in songs like his recent remix of Lane 8’s “No Captain” — is settling in to stay awhile. The relentless cohesion of darko is something Dirty South had yet to do at this level. As “Corda” looms into sight to cap off the album, it sets the mind on fire. There’s a sense that the gravity of the sum of its parts has seeped in, and the effect after listening to the LP’s entirety is vivid. It’s gripped in an atmosphere of anxious and electric yearning, soundtracking a feeling of introspection and raw hunger. Beautiful but stark, dark but restrained, mournful but energized; whether or not these tracks invade the same playlists and dance floors Dirty South has presided over all these years is irrelevant. For a statement as nuanced and unified as darko is a triumphant highlight in and of itself.

Axis 205: Lost Frequencies drops off fresh mix, talks touring with The Chainsmokers & more

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Axis 205: Lost Frequencies drops off fresh mix, talks touring with The Chainsmokers & moreLost Frequencies Ais 205

Past hits like 2014’s “Are You With Me” have made Lost Frequencies a certified star in his home country of Belgium. Stateside, the melodic electronica virtuoso has dazzled crowds opening for heavyweights including Don Diablo, and more recently The Chainsmokers. Releasing a steady stream of wistful deep house cuts through Armada and his own aptly named Found Frequencies imprint, Lost Frequencies is carving out his own four-to-the-floor formula with lethal crossover appeal.

This year has been another big one for the producer, with high profile slots at festivals like Electric Zoo, and infectious singles like “Melody” and “Like I Love You” leading the way. On the heels of a standout remix of the newly formed LSD’s “Thunderclouds,” the Lost Frequencies dropped by to look back on his whirlwind year and talk what’s next – and drop off a textbook feels-inducing journey for the 205th edition of our Axis series. In typical form, the one-hour ride blends anything everything soothing and uplifting, spanning recognizable hits and some of some juicy IDs from the artist and his label mates.

You were recently listed on DJ mag’s top 100 DJ list at #17. What are your feelings about making it, and the recent online backlash to the list? 

It felt amazing to hear that I reached #17, I climbed 9 places which I certainly didn’t expect and I’m very thankful to all my fans and friends supporting! I think with a list, poll, or anything that “ranks” artists will always face backlash, there is always someone, or another scene, that doesn’t agree! But overall, the response has been very positive and I’m grateful to be recognized alongside so many leaders in dance music!


Last year, you were able to join The Chainsmokers on tour. What are some personal lessons and takeaways from the experience? 

I did, it was crazy! I learnt; pranks can bring you all together and keep you sane on the road – it was one of my favorite memories in such a huge year, Alex and Andrew are so much fun and the vibes were crazy! It was amazing to be able to take my sound to so many huge arenas in the States.


Outside of your own music, what can fans expect soon from your recently revealed Found Frequencies imprint? 

We’ve just released remixes from of ‘Like I Love You’ but for me, it’s also important for us to help introduce new artists that are making music we think is really cool! We have new music from Pretty Pink, Jameson and Mordkey next month, get ready!

The Lost Frequencies catalogue is stuffed with vocal features – Who’re some artists on your wish-list to collaborate with next?

I would love to work with MØ, her voice sounds so fresh, different and exciting on every release.

What’s next in the evolution of the Lost Frequencies sound?

My recent remix for LSD’s (Labrinth, Sia & Diplo) latest track I really enjoyed but I have already started working on new tracks – they may appear on my next album but nothing is set in stone yet, my calendar is super busy but new music is something that is definitely on my mind. You’ll be able to keep up to date on anything and everything across my social media!

Axis 205: Lost Frequencies drops off fresh mix, talks touring with The Chainsmokers & more

This post was originally published on this site

Axis 205: Lost Frequencies drops off fresh mix, talks touring with The Chainsmokers & moreLost Frequencies Ais 205

Past hits like 2014’s “Are You With Me” have made Lost Frequencies a certified star in his home country of Belgium. Stateside, the melodic electronica virtuoso has dazzled crowds opening for heavyweights including Don Diablo, and more recently The Chainsmokers. Releasing a steady stream of wistful deep house cuts through Armada and his own aptly named Found Frequencies imprint, Lost Frequencies is carving out his own four-to-the-floor formula with lethal crossover appeal.

This year has been another big one for the producer, with high profile slots at festivals like Electric Zoo, and infectious singles like “Melody” and “Like I Love You” leading the way. On the heels of a standout remix of the newly formed LSD’s “Thunderclouds,” the Lost Frequencies dropped by to look back on his whirlwind year and talk what’s next – and drop off a textbook feels-inducing journey for the 205th edition of our Axis series. In typical form, the one-hour ride blends anything everything soothing and uplifting, spanning recognizable hits and some of some juicy IDs from the artist and his label mates.

You were recently listed on DJ mag’s top 100 DJ list at #17. What are your feelings about making it, and the recent online backlash to the list? 

It felt amazing to hear that I reached #17, I climbed 9 places which I certainly didn’t expect and I’m very thankful to all my fans and friends supporting! I think with a list, poll, or anything that “ranks” artists will always face backlash, there is always someone, or another scene, that doesn’t agree! But overall, the response has been very positive and I’m grateful to be recognized alongside so many leaders in dance music!


Last year, you were able to join The Chainsmokers on tour. What are some personal lessons and takeaways from the experience? 

I did, it was crazy! I learnt; pranks can bring you all together and keep you sane on the road – it was one of my favorite memories in such a huge year, Alex and Andrew are so much fun and the vibes were crazy! It was amazing to be able to take my sound to so many huge arenas in the States.


Outside of your own music, what can fans expect soon from your recently revealed Found Frequencies imprint? 

We’ve just released remixes from of ‘Like I Love You’ but for me, it’s also important for us to help introduce new artists that are making music we think is really cool! We have new music from Pretty Pink, Jameson and Mordkey next month, get ready!

The Lost Frequencies catalogue is stuffed with vocal features – Who’re some artists on your wish-list to collaborate with next?

I would love to work with MØ, her voice sounds so fresh, different and exciting on every release.

What’s next in the evolution of the Lost Frequencies sound?

My recent remix for LSD’s (Labrinth, Sia & Diplo) latest track I really enjoyed but I have already started working on new tracks – they may appear on my next album but nothing is set in stone yet, my calendar is super busy but new music is something that is definitely on my mind. You’ll be able to keep up to date on anything and everything across my social media!

Fehrplay puts on deep groove masterclass with latest EP, ‘Zeitgeist’

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Fehrplay puts on deep groove masterclass with latest EP, ‘Zeitgeist’Fehrplay Zeigeist Ep

Fehrplay is back with a fresh dose of analog cinema from his Zeitgeist EP. The two-track effort the latest from the techno and deep house mastermind’s own Mood of Mind imprint. The producer’s already turned in a busy 2018, splitting EP and single releases across his own label and Above & Beyond‘s mighty Anjunabeats. Fehrplay’s latest two-track sees him unleash his creativity with two unique compositions, each one a dark and twisting journey.

The EP’s title track kicks thing off with a bang, as a wall of buzzing synths collapses into a driving bassline. Synthwave-esque pads fade in and out as the breakdown arrives. A majestic, brassy lead rises behind bright strings and carries the energy over the kick before that secret agent soundtrack bassline returns. “Fantome” abandons the driving four-to-the-floor feel, opting instead for a thundering breakbeat while signature Fehrplay plucks and atmospherics tie it all together. Zeitgeist’s world is futuristic and dystopian, but its grooves are powerful enough to uplift listeners in any environment.

Yotto releases uplifting new single ‘Walls’ from forthcoming LP

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Yotto releases uplifting new single ‘Walls’ from forthcoming LPYotto Walls Hyperfall Single

Yotto has graced deep house fans with another stellar cut from his upcoming Hyperfall LP called “Walls.” The track is the third single from the album, which is out on Anjunadeep on September 7. “Walls” is a bit different from previous singles, going brighter than Yotto has gone since his 2017 track, “Edge of Affection.”

The intro beams in like rays of sun, immediately invoking a sense of elation and peace. The beat ushers in a surge of adrenaline, but the track’s light doesn’t dim. A rich, saturated bassline evolves from the driving percussion, as a hypnotic melody rises to meet it. The breakdown takes the melody solo, before a triumphant second top line somewhere between a vocal and synth takes over. The song’s climax is a majestic rush of glowing pads and flickering chord stabs.

Yotto has said his upcoming album will contain “drama, distress and deep, profound contemplation mirrored with relief, and relentless joy.” This latest single unquestionably and beautifully represents that last ingredient to the fullest.

Photo credit: Luke Dyson

Lipless turns in rooftop-ready deep house cut with ‘Stranger’

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Lipless turns in rooftop-ready deep house cut with ‘Stranger’Lipless Stranger Patrick Baker

Lipless is back for an end of summer stunner called “Stranger” on Thrive, featuring gorgeous vocals courtesy of recent Lane 8 collaborator Patrick Baker. The new original is just the latest delivery in a handful of tracks the Los Angeles-based producer has released in 2018, having last stepped out with a remix for The Driver Era‘s indie pop anthem “Preacher Man.” After catching ears with remixes for Kaskade and multiple releases Arkade, Lipless has been poised for takeover.  But while quantity has been scarce from the deep house artist lately, his quality is as consistent as ever.

“Stranger” sets the mood immediately with raw piano chords and twinkling marimba. Baker’s voice emerges drenched in reverb, and leads into a silky beat topped with echoing strings. The track is wistful but never gloomy, with a glittering melody that’s as catchy as it is emotive. The mood is primed for the waning days of summer, as fans hope this latest single is a sign of more to come from the deep house producer.

Photo Credit: HaF Media

Bobby Nourmand crafts cavernous remix for New Mystics’ ‘Sparrows’

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Bobby Nourmand crafts cavernous remix for New Mystics’ ‘Sparrows’Bobby Nourmand Sparrow Remi

Bobby Nourmand‘s dominance of the dark and deep continues with a rumbling remix for indie artist New Mystics‘ mournful crooner, “Sparrows.” Nourmand expands his recent streak of haunting releases via his own freshly unveiled label Deep In The Night with the new remix. The producer has demonstrated a deft touch where vocals are concerned, but the lush bed of layers he crafts for New Mystics’ voice this time around may be his one of his best efforts of the year.

The mood immediately turns wistful, introducing “Sparrows” in a wash of vocal ambiance and bass as sounds of nature echo and swirl. New Mystics’ verses float lightly over a thudding kick and a warm sub bass, that seems to surround the ears from all angles. Dusty percussion rolls join the arrangement in the latter half, but the track’s appeal lies in the atmospheric intrigue until the very end. The result is an introspective blend of deep techno, dub, and texture making for another aced piece from Nourmand.

Tiësto remixed Ed Sheeran’s ‘Happier’

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tiesto ed sheeran

Tiësto remixed Ed Sheeran‘s “Happier,” off his 2017 best-selling album, ÷. This is a massive collaboration and the result is no surprise: it’s amazing. Tiësto sounds like he’s flexing his Kygo muscle, as the producer’s light, deep house cuddle’s Sheeran’s folksy voice with melodic, rumbling synths.

The king of trance kept to Sheeran’s minimal vibe, adding euphoric builds and a driving house beat to an originally somber vibe. The bed of ambiance hugs the track, letting listeners know, everything will be okay.

The remix was released off Tiësto’s AFTR:HRS label, which is his deep house imprint. The label boss has been producing vibes recently. His last release was an uplifting, hip-hop, pop track, “Jackie Chan,” with Post Malone and Dzeko. “Boom” featuring Gucci Mane is techno fire. Watch out 2018, Tiësto is out to have another stellar year.

Photo Credit: @tiesto/Instagram

Oliver Heldens delivers a deep house remix of Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa’s ‘One Kiss’

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oliver heldens calvin harris

Calvin Harris dropped three remixes of his most recent Billboard success “One Kiss,” with Dua Lipa. Oliver Heldens, ZHU, and Jauz each had the pleasure of remixing the Scotsman’s production.

Heldens gives the original his signature deep house, murky melodies. The distorted bass creates a stark contrast between Lipa’s optimistic, top-end pop vocals and the body-trembling, low-ends of the hook. With a bed of organ synths, Lipa’s voice produces that giddy anticipation of attraction while the drop pulls the rug out from under the listener, falling deep in love on the dance floor.

 

Monolink describes growing into his musical self and the inspiration behind ‘Amniotic’ [Q&A]

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In recent years, a new type of artist has been developing in Germany, one as unique as he is talented. This artist is called Monolink, and his music is a blend of his own voice, his guitar, and craftily arranged, satisfying electronica. His music has been so well received, in fact, that some are pointing to him as one of the most innovative new artists on the scene. After several years developing his  project and building out his repertoire, he released his highly anticipated debut album, Amniotic, on the boutique German imprint, Embassy One Records. We caught up with Monolink to see about getting a better understanding of who he is, and from where his music comes.


Amniotic is an interesting title for your debut album. Tell us about what that word means to you in this context, and why you chose it.
The title came to me when I was writing the lyrics for the opening track, which is also called “Amniotic.” Amniotic fluid is the liquid that an unborn baby lives in, and for the first months of our lives, it is the only reality we know, where we only float in our subconscious. The song is about being born, or maybe the moments right before, and I felt like it suited the whole idea of the album very well, since it’s my first full body of work.

You have such a unique sound. Who are some of your musical inspirations?
I always felt very much inspired by Nicolas Jaar and his approach to electronic music. For a long time, it was mostly based on sampling and editing old songs with new sound elements. To me, that sounded like the future, and a dystopian one, due to the quality of the old samples. When I heard Darkside’s (one of his side projects) first EP, it was unlike anything I had listened to before, and I knew this was something I’d want to do as well.

I was also always really interested in stories and lyrics. During the time I was playing as a singer-songwriter, my main inspirations were Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and all those old masters of words. So the whole idea for this project was to bring those two worlds together.

Tell us about how you got started making this form of live electronic music, coupled with your voice and your guitar. What lead you to start this project?
I guess moving to Berlin in 2009 had a strong impact on me. I was really inspired by the music scene here. The first years, I was playing in bars and on the streets, and I was all about folk music. I was then drawn into the world of electronic music, the clubs, and the whole community around it. It was completely new to me, and unlike anything I had known before—a different way of listening to music. There were still stories being told, not with words, but with energy and repetition. You would listen with your body, and not so much your mind. That fascinated me, so I soon started producing electronic music, taking material from the songs I had written before. I also realized I could play my songs live instead of just sampling them. I still wanted to play concerts and create a live music experience, but I also wanted to add a new layer of sound, letting people feel it and dance to it.

We know you’ve been out touring around the world for quite some time already. What’s one of your best stories from life on the road?
I once got to play for the queen of Thailand! After I finished school, I was traveling in Southeast Asia for some months, and I joined a Thai band in a little town close to Bangkok. We played cover shows in clubs and bars, until one New Year’s Eve, when we were booked to play the queen’s party, at her summer residency. It was a huge, beautiful place, all surrounded by a national park. When the queen arrived, the band had to stop the music, and we all got on our knees to pay respect. The queen, for some reason, was dressed up in a cowboy costume and walked right up to me (I was the only foreigner there). She asked me where I was from, and when I said, “Germany,” she laughed and replied to me in German, telling me that she studied in Switzerland. She then, for the rest of the night, made all her announcements in German, with me being the only one in the room who could understand her. It made me smile. This was long before I started Monolink, but still a story I like to remember.

After releasing a full-length album like Amniotic, what comes next for you?
I’m working on a full concert show with a band at the moment, which is really exciting for me. As much as I love playing at techno events, playing shows in concert venues will open up so many new possibilities: working with lights and visuals, creating a full body experience. We’re going to start touring in fall, and after that I want to start working on my second album.

We’ll close with a fun one. If you could have one artist remix a track from the album, which artist and which song would you choose? Why?
I would love to have David August remix. I can really relate to the music he makes; I feel like we have a very similar view on sound aesthetics. Which song is a difficult one, though. Maybe the opener, “Amniotic?” I don’t always like the way my vocals sound on record, but in that track, I love the way the harmonies work together. I think he would like it, too.

 

Feature Image Credit: Hailley Howard