Jazz has enjoyed one of the smoother forays into the electronic production spectrum. With soulful catalogs from the likes of Gramatik, GRiZ, and Haywyre gaining popular traction year after year, the crossovers between jazz and soul’s inherent room for improvisation and rhythm continue to be explored in exciting new ways. One such explorer, Netherlands-based producer Inverted Silence has dropped off a playful new electro-soul cut titled “Fusion” that wraps together funky bass licks, swelling drum kicks, and impressive key work. Proctoring a multi-layered DJ tool perfect for live settings, Inverted Silence delivers one of his most impressive singles to date on “Fusion.”
The emerging artist, real name Midas Klare, grew up with a background in both computers and music, making his production style a natural extension of his comfortable strong suits. Evident inspiration from 8-bit game culture, matched with a fine-tuned ear bring about Inverted Silence’s latest “Fusion,” available via Tasty.
Katdrop may not be a household name quite yet, but with the release of his latest product, the emerging Chilean beat maker may have found his stride. Dropping off a melodic new dance piece, “Holding On,” Katdrop ropes together evident sonic influences from Porter Robinson and early Skrillex house fare on his latest single. The track brings emotive house elements together into a dance floor designed, radio-ready electro cut polished by infectiously catchy vocal arrangements.
“Holding On” comes by way of European house imprint, Tasty, which has proven to be a fitting home label for Katdrop’s growing catalog. Recalling the progressive house that dominated main stages at the turn of the decade, Katdrop’s newest piece suggests the young producer will be ready to ride the genre’s immanent resurgence.
With art and technology being at the forefront nearly as much as the music, Downlow’d gradually rose to become a staple in the up-and-comer scene. His latest, “Well Connected,” marks a self-proclaimed end to a hiatus, rebooting his alias with a bass house-influenced track that mixes up catchy live drums with electro synths that come in at just the right moment. From once appearing in DJ Mag‘s Top 100 to garnering support from some of the biggest acts in the U.S., Downlow’d is showcasing serious development in 2017.
The Sex Pistols are undeniably one of the greatest punk rock bands in history, as their influence on both contemporary music and pop culture is inarguably ubiquitous.
While punk counterculture seeped into nearly every cultural crevice of the United Kingdom in the late sixties, it had yet to ooze into the streets of the United States for some time. Of course today, punk rock is a seemingly omnipresent cultural phenomenon in the US’s rock culture. This is not to say the counterculture was non-existent in the US before bands like the Sex Pistols’ sonic shipment overseas, but rather, full-blown anarchy vis-à-vis music was simply offset.
Certainly, as any punk pundit knows, it wasn’t just the music that catapulted bands like the Sex Pistols to the top of the industry or allotted for punk music to see the light of day. Rather, it was the movement’s ethos, specifically punk’s raw propensity for authenticity, its attacks on social conformity, and actions like the Sex Pistol’s continually neglected deference to the Crown.
Formed in London in 1975, the band initially lasted just two and a half years until 1978. They produced four singles and one studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, during that time. Following this breakup, three band members went on to record songs for their manager Martin McLaren’s film version of the Sex Pistols’ story called The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, which depicts the journey of a band that went from fighting systems of oppression to one who had traded a pursual of “cash for chaos.”
It is with the Sex Pistols’ unfortunate demise — and opening up of a counterculture to the public eye that musical composer Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo found inspiration for his latest album under his Bloody Beetrootsmoniker. In it, he has cultivated an effervescent punk endeavor over the last decade that is explored deeper with each individual release.
Surely, it is with The Great Rock N’ Roll Swindle in context, that Rifo contextualizes the modern space electronic dance music resides in, too.
“I am absolutely defeated at defining any aspect of the EDM cauldron – at the moment, electronic music seems to be rather reductive and poor. EDM has become a useless and empty acronym. It deserves a deeper cultural structure and it is time to start working on it.”
Rifo has expressed a belief publically that punk died in 1977. This was the year the Sex Pistols attained mainstream popularity, and thus lost their edge in the process.
Rifo challenges EDM The Great Electronic Swindle (TGES),an industry he very much believes has lost its edge, too — much like the Sex Pistols sought to do during their time as an institution.
Rifo himself embodies much of what the early Sex Pistols encapsulated, with his boundary-less lifestyle and a long list of musical achievements, and it is through The Great Electronic Swindle that he asserts his demeanor.
Rifo may argue punk died in 1977, but for an artist to refuse to adhere to a genre by way of their outpouring, and to have managed to collaborate with legendary acts like The Cool Kids, Peter Frampton, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, and not to mention The Beatles’ Sir Paul Mc Cartney along the way, he’s about as punk as they come.
“I believe we’ve been experiencing parallelism at the same time: much of the electronic music we hear has become flat and those who often occupy the stage are just ‘figures’ and no longer ‘artist’,” Rifo asserted. From my point of view, I saw the emergence of electronic music from a very strong underground scene where there was a lot of real stuff and way less money than today. Knowing that the artists who are on the stage NOW are not the authors of the piece they are ‘playing’ – I think it’s a big scam.” Presently, as his music evolves to a higher sonically communicative niche, language — in all its gravity and fluidity — plays a pivotal role in the Beetroots’ furthered deliverance.
“The album is my way of alerting people about this scam, about these people who are not artistically legitimate. It has often happened to me, especially during the years of the SBCR project, to know about DJs and producers and to congratulate them on their respective hits and to hear that the piece in question wasn’t produced by them or even written by them. ”
Certainly, the fluidity of the Italian-born artist’s own outpouring hasn’t stopped him from connecting with audiences worldwide over the years. Almost immediately after he unleashed The Bloody Beetroots in late 2006, Rifo’s vision was amplified. Inspired by a lifelong love of comics and punk rock, the visceral kick of the Beetroots’ sonic outpouring has been featured prominently in pop culture.
The Bloody Beetroots discography features a dizzying array of successful EPs and two full-length albums: 2009’s Romborama and 2013’s Hide. Indeed, clubs, theaters, and festivals around the world have willingly laid host to The Bloody Beetroots’ incendiary live show. Between Coachella and Lollapalooza to Governor’s Ball and more, The Bloody Beetroots’ lively dance-punk has enthralled millions.
But Rifo’s tantalizing vision extends far beyond the sonic space. Rifo strives to engage his listeners; rather than veering towards singularity, or struggling to find the balance that pleases his audience on a multitude of fronts, his work is challenging—both intellectually and emotionally. TGES serves as an epitome of his means.
Fans are ensured the induced-introspection and extrospection is respectively cyclical. In turn, this degree of expectation, from both his listeners and himself, has enabled Rifo to work closely with a myriad of artists on his latest album.
“I had not planned to have so many singers on TGES but the story I wanted to tell required a broad range of nuances…above all, empathy. So I turned to friends who introduced me to friends with whom we developed this fantastic adventure called TGES. Each and every one of them tells a piece of my life story of the last four years, it was a long and arduous experience that made me grow a little more,” Rifo explained.
Frontman for the alternative rock band Jane’s Addiction and the creator of LollapaloozaPerry Farrel is just one of the standout acts that join Rifo on the album. Certainly, fundamentals of melody, harmony, and classical music theory are present on the resulted collaboration “Pirates, Punk, & Politics.” These elements were internalized for Rifo at a young age in his classical training and on TGES, they’re incessantly tapped into.
“As an artist I need to see the music as my primary element of expression, which takes time and can not be artificially reproduced,” he states.
Doubling down on the extensive body of work and pulling in an opposite sonic direction are two tracks from the Swedish songstress Greta Svabo Bech, known best for her deadmau5 collaboration “Raise Your Weapon.” Bech joins The Bloody Beetroots on two tracks, “Invisible” and “The Great Run.”
Ultimately, Rifo sought out artists he felt would create a challenging body of work. Henceforth, Rifo incorporated his collaborators’ ideas into the work, too. Often on the new record the working and re-working of numbers has become one with managing a sole vision.
“My Name Is Thunder,” released as a double-single with Rifo and Australian rockers Jet prior to the record, serves as a prime example — after all, there are two versions of the track.
“I knew this song needed a certain rock tone… a tone like Nic Cester of Jet had. We thought instead of someone ‘like Nic Cester,’ how about we get the real Nic Cester! Thinking he would be in Australia, it was fate that he lived just a couple hours away from me in Italy. I found him,” says Rifo. “We worked together, ate together, drank together and created something very powerful together. Around this time the Jet guys started talking and thinking about getting back together when Nic shared this with his bandmates, the idea came up to have all of Jet involved. Because of our different influences, we had different ideas on the mixing and from that, we came up with two versions.”
Of course, this expansive, genre-crossing creative body of work requires immense amounts of work, but such is Rifo’s M.O.
“You have to take the time to create something consistently relevant,” he stresses.
In an era of seemingly mind-numbing and instantly-gratifying tunes, dumbed down pop culture, and situational fleeting relevancy of hot subgenres, Rifo strives on The Great Electric Swindle to create a true counterculture — much in the spirit of the Sex Pistols, who inspired him.
TGES is thus a thoughtful investment of musical pieces, scraped and re-scraped, even lacking concise direction at times. It’s a record that gives way to a palpable culmination of energy, and it lends way to where things can be taken with a widespread re-integration of the underground.
“I want to open a little window onto the meaning of freedom, and what art and music should be in a society,” concludes Rifo.
“I’m convinced that a new, completely rational counterculture is emerging and it will rethink all the choices of artistic growth out of every music business rule. TGES will hopefully be an example for other artists who will make the choice of bringing back quality to electronic music. The more we are – the more we will take control!” he continues.
The Great Electronic Swindle doubles down as a celebratory round for the tenth year of The Bloody Beetroots and it is with Rifo’s continuously effervescent attitude that he delivers his most expansive, challenging music to date. And yet, candidly unsurprising, Rifo hints that this is only the latest chapter in a story that has just begun. “Anything is possible!” he ensures.
Ephwurd has once again made a statement with their brazen brand of bass-heavy house with their latest tune, “Phunky Beats” — the type of track that makes you grab your favorite dance partner and get to shufflin’.
“Phunky Beats” is the ideal song for bustling clubs and packed dancefloors. When all hell breaks loose towards the end of the track, listeners can clearly feel Datsik‘s imperious bass heavy influence. Ephwurd perfectly embodies the anything-goes style of production that is currently reimagining the world of dance music.
Voodoo Nation, a brand new electronic music project of 10 producers, melts elements of dancehall, moombahton and trap together for a diverse, multi-faceted sound. This impeccable build of cultures and genres makes for a versatile project, with their first collaborative piece of work out Oct. 4.
“Hold Up (Your Light)” energetically fuses pop and electronic elements throughout the length of the track. KG Man’s powerful vocals penetrate and complement the catchy melodies. With this inaugural piece of work, Voodoo Nation invites listeners to hold up their light while the nostalgia and inspiration flow.
New York City saw yet another successful edition of Electric Zoo pass through it in September. The weekend was a particularly monumental one for the East Coast institution, which saw the reunion of both Deadmau5 & Eric Prydz as well as Sasha & John Digweed within its confines. Furthermore, 2017 was also the year in which Electric Zoo continued its overseas expansion to Brazil, locking it in as one of the premier global festival brands.
Another duo sought widely within the festival’s New York iteration was Tritonal, who graced their festival audience with a jubilant blend of electro house, big room, and sentimental emotive pieces. Luckily for those wishing to relive their magical moments with the outfit, Electric Zoo has kindly uploaded their set up for personal enjoyment.
Brooke Forman’s flowing vocals complement the retro electronic chords and heightened synths in Neon Tiger‘s latest release “First Sight,” the Aussie producer’s take on Kylie Minogue‘s hit “Love at First Sight.” Neon Tiger is Australian DJ and producer Maarcos‘ moniker for a new indie-electronic hybrid project where he infuses sounds and synths of past era and gives them a modern electronic feel. “First Sight” was originally meant to be featured within Neon Tiger’s recent album release Paperback Sunset, however the producer explained that due to sampling and copyright holdups, the track was not cleared on time to be included.
“First Sight” was very much a track that was meant to be a part of my album “Paperback Sunset” that I released last month. I loved the original Kylie Minogue song “Love at First Sight” that came out over 10 years ago. She’s an Australian legend, which obviously means a lot to me as a fellow Aussie. I was just fiddling around with re-working it one day during the album creative phase, just for fun. I try not to sample too often, but this was just too good. This new version has a modern touch with a bit of 80s arcade feel to it, which is kind of cool. You can listen at home quite comfortably or hear it out at a club or festival and it works.
Unfortunately, these kinds of things take ages to clear, even with the talented Brooke Forman singing on it instead of me sampling directly. We missed the cutoff for Paperback Sunset but Kylie, her team and fellow writers were kind enough to get it done, and in the end it’s out now as a single not long after.
While it didn’t quite make the album cutoff, the single speaks for itself with its retro vibe and enthralling vocals.
CID has debuted on Don Diablo‘s iconic HEXAGON label with “Creepin.” The track has been a highly anticipated after being played in Diablo and CID’s sets over the past few months.
CID’s infectious sound won him a Grammy award back in 2012 for his remix of Cedric Gervais‘ “Summertime Sadness.” That remix skyrocketed his career, allowing for even more success with chart-topping singles like “Secrets” featuring Conrad Sewell and “Believer” featuring CeeLo Green. He’s built up his notorious sound over the years and has caught the attention of music lovers and key industry players around the globe.
“Creepin’ has been a staple in my DJ sets for months. I am very excited to finally be able to share it with everyone as an official release. Don Diablo was one of the first people I played it for, and I’m excited about releasing it through HEXAGON.”
Ever since being named Annie Mac’s Future Star 2015 on BBC Radio 1, Florida-based producer Henry Fong has lived up to the hype, as his young career has already seen him collaborate with high-profile producers such as Zedd and Skrillex while becoming a mainstay producer on Spinnin’ Records.
Henry’s latest release on the esteemed label is dubbed “Bubblin’ Anthem,” created as a tribute to the “90s-2000s era dancehall” which is his “biggest inspiration in production.“ The single embodies Jamaican vibes, powerful riddims, and enrapturing drops, the producer pulls out all the stops with Bubblin’ Anthem — a high-energy track with undeniable danceability.