Social media makes it easy to see when artists are friends, but when artists are actually big fans of one another — not as much. Insights into artists’ real personal rotations aren’t always as publicly accessible to fans, though artists like Sweater Beats still manage to show love to their favorite musical talents, and this time, it’s with actual music.
Dropping off an addicting new remix of Kiiara’s hit “Messy,” the Los Angeles-based producer detailed how he gushed when he first heard the track and was immediately set on showing his admiration for it by doing a remix of his own. After Sweater Beats finished his spin on “Messy,” he messaged Kiiara to demonstrate his respect and she asked him to release it as soon as he could too. With one listen it’s easy to hear the love that went into this remix — a claim Kiiara herself experienced as well. It’s dynamic in its intimacy, seamless in its incorporation of Kiiara’s vocals, and showcases what Sweater Beats is really digging on his new production.
Norwegian natives and duo Lemaitre shared their latest single, “Rocket Girl,” to a series of collaborative tracks with fellow LA-located migrant musicians. The electro-pop track is bolstered by Betty Who‘s momentous Katy Perry-esque vocals and lyrics — “Watch me fly across the universe”— as well as abundant, astral instrumentation.
The emboldening song received lots of loving back home in Norway, as it has been deemed the official theme song for X Games Norway in Oslo May 16–20 of this year. The Lemaitre boys will also be giving the track its live debut May 19 at the Games, in a four-track set that will be aired on ESPN in the US.
Real name Jay Donaldson, Palms Trax’ ubiquity in the dance world is becoming increasingly deserved as time carries on. He has bold sonic inclinations and an unabashed M.O. where he moves between genres and decades with ease — rare for someone as young as he. Despite being just 26-years-old, Donaldson’s encyclopedic musical expertise has situated him as an artist who’s talented beyond his years, if one were to see age as but a limit on such a thing.
Donaldson’s Essential Mix is steeped in a resplendent arrangement of classic dance tracks, from Angela’s 1984 “I Gotta Little Love,” to hidden gem house tracks from World Building records’ “Paraíso ’89” by Azura. His splicing of Azura’s track alone is a testament to his adroit crate digging, especially considering that Azura’s breezy Balearic business was extremely short-lived in the Italian house realm, she’s an act who’s slipped through the cracks for most.
Palms Trax has expressed he’ll be working on material for Dekmantel throughout the beginning of the new year and after listening to his deliverance of just the second Essential Mix of 2018, just following Carl Cox, one can only hope to see big things from Donaldson in the new year.
Guillaume Teyssier- Vortex Disco (Murray Lake Remix) Lord of The Isles- Geek Chic (Kuniyuki’s Journey Remix) Toulouse Low Trax- Second Trip JC Project- Andromedia Nicole Willis- Heed The Sign (Jimi Tenor Remix) Plus Instruments- Love Is Enough (Jamie Paton Remix) Angela- I Gotta Little Love Tony Moore DJ- Tonight Salentino- You’l Be In Paradise (Instrumental) Lemonade-Dancer On The Shore (Jex Opolis Dub) Collins- Autophobia Mario Moretti- In Love With Nebula Passarini- Wonky Wonky Wonky Uabos- Mystic Force Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft- Brothers (Mix Gabi) Lipelis- Children Song Colm III- Take Me High (Mansion Mix) Virginia- Blue Pyramid (Khidja Remix) Azura- Paraiso ’89 The True Underground Sound of Rome- Sonic Crystals Mr Raoul K- Africa (12″ Version) Ess O Ess- Cantillate (Chida Remix) Pussycat- Le Chat Lucy Montenegro- Lucy In The Sky The R- Higher Jeff Mills- Imagine DJ Normal 4- Purity 0% Thursday Club- Westway Bushwhacka!- 4 Da Night Jackson Changura- Niyekele Bob Holroyd- African Drug (Rhino Mix) Lars Bartkuhn- Elysium Nu Era- Octahedron Shokazulu- Part 4 Brown Sugar- I’m Going Through Changes Now Philip Balou- Ain’t Nothing Like The Love
On her latest single “Drain My Love,” LA-based singer/songwriter Kaerhart’s velvety voice glides over electro pop production courtesy of Dead Robot. The multi-talented artist first sparked the collective interest with writing credits for the likes of Vic Mensa.
After a spiritual awakening that inspired her to exercise her vocal talents, Kaerhart creates a space to open up about past trauma on “Drain My Love.” “My hope is that the song provokes others to do the same,” she says.
The single acts as a catharsis for the artist, whose impassioned vocal shines atop a bed of future pop synths.
Not only is Kaerhart a talented singer/songwriter, but the spiritually inclined artist also spearheads her own apparel brand Mystic Tribe. All of Kaerhart’s creative endeavors uphold the same mission: to create a safe environment for women to express emotion and have their voices heard through consistent activism.
Tomorrow marks the exact three-year mark since ODESZA released their second LP, In Return. Today, September 8, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight have stepped out of the woodwork for their third full-length album, A Moment Apart,out on their Foreign Family Collective imprint.
The relentless touring that followed ODESZA’s sophomore LP gave way to rainy Seattle studio sessions in the winter of 2016, with finishing touches being made earlier this spring. The result is a 16-track treasure trove of indie-electronic gems that represents ODESZA’s artistic evolution and their penchant for raw experimentation.
“This newest album, I think, is a lot more about growth and progression and maturity. I don’t think we’re trying to reinvent the wheel, its really just about us pursuing our sound to the fullest,” Mills revealed in a recent interview.
Building upon their Pacific Northwest folk-inspired sound, ODESZA’s A Moment Apart plays with weighted atmospheres and shimmering synth lines while invoking familiar feelings of nostalgia, optimism and hope. “We kind of rediscovered [our] sound, in a sense, and reconnected to it,” says Knight, “It has flavors of what was, but is also something new and progressive.”
Photo courtesy of Avi Loud.
The album, is without a doubt, a statement that ODESZA’s dynamic range is worthy of pop mainstream attention. Only time will tell, but there are two thematic qualities as to why the LP works so seamlessly: close attention to form and genre, and a dedication to organic experimentation.
What is immediately evident off the Seattle-based duo’s humble masterpiece is its stunning ingenuity and its delicate balance between the ebullient and ethereal, from it’s dreamlike melodies and glitchy sun-kissed vocals to it’s crunchy drums with their large sweeping bass lines.
Take the album’s first couple of instrumental tracks, “A Moment Apart” and “Boy,” which ODESZA has been teasing in their live sets since early spring. The tracks stand as the instrumental launching pad for blasting off into ODESZA’s rich, corporeal sound – one which collapses both time and space dimensions – wrapping the listener into a cocoon of emotional longing for what was, what is, and what has yet to come.
As the album progresses, a clear picture is painted. A story begins to emerge in sound. Rather than making a statement of longing for summer, as with their previous Summer’s Gone LP in 2012, Mills and Knight bring listeners with them on an emotive, cyclical journey through the four seasons.
The album’s twelfth track, “Thin Floors and Tall Ceilings,” resembles the dark, rainy winters of the Pacific Northwest, while, at the same time, expressing a longing for summer, all packaged into one chilling ballad. With indecipherable synthesized vocals, which sound as if they’ve been rinsed through an old phonograph, the top lines slowly building over a powerful string section and pulsating timpani drums.
“Cuidad,” the following track, carries with it the warmth and glowing fervor of summer, with it’s more scattered tempos and upbeat appeal. The result is a playful track that is simultaneously lighthearted and fun while being both dark and daring, uplifting and, at times, melancholy.
Speaking to Dancing Astronaut on the LP’s development, Knight referred to A Moment Apart as the full embodiment of the seasons in Seattle, noting how location has an immense impact on their sound:
“Seattle is known for it’s kind of rock and folk and kind of indie scene so a lot of those elements make it into [our] music. And this album specifically is very organic and I think we were trying to hold on to more organic instrumentation and I think that is due a lot to where we come from.”
A Moment Apart is chock so full of rich narratives, and pulls from so many complimentary genres that one can easily see how they all come together into a seamless story arch. Chalk it up to Clay and Harrison’s expert understanding of form as well as their dedication to integrating live instrumentation while on tour, which includes their Northwest-bred band – complete with a crisply rehearsed drum line, a horn section, and lead guitarist and old college buddy, Sean Kusanagi, who also doubles as their filmmaker.
The album’s very organic, very introspective nature actually belies the raw energy of ODESZA’s consistently sold-out live shows. This live ethos cuts across the new album in dynamic, layered songs with raw overtones and cinematic appeal, such as the RY X-assisted track, “Corners Of The Earth,” the instrumental track “Meridian,” and the all-Spanish ballad featuring The Chamanas “Everything At Your Feet.”
Time and again, Mills and Knight have shown deep drive and humility for working with others. Indeed, the entire assemblage of work is filled with radio-ready hit collaborations with the likes of Russian pop-folk sensation, Regina Skeptor, and the reigning “King of Soul,” Leon Bridges.
Clay and Harrison have admitted that they prefer to work with lesser known names for how they aren’t tied down to one specific sonic direction and thus more often willing to experiment with their organic soundscapes. Yet, perhaps the album’s most captivating song is the haunting Regina Skeptor ballad, “Just a Memory,” which the boys revealed, after an intimate hotel rehearsal with Skeptor, they completely stripped down the instrumentals to capture the raw energy with which she imbued the hotel room.
Leon Bridges performs with ODESZA at Bumbershoot. Photo courtesy of Eric Tra.
While it has received mixed fan reviews, the album’s fourteenth track, “Falls,” is an inspirational, uplifting ditty which fuses dream-pop ingredients with elements of world. With anthemic lyrics that are as palpable as it’s sound design, the track spotlights the smooth, soaring vocals of Sasha Sloan over a gentle horn section and the electronic duo’s signature drum work. Each added sonic layer becomes a new piece of the story that wraps the listener up into new plot lines rooted not in words and lyrics, but inside musical form itself.
A Moment Apart stands as a nostalgic and spiritually-adept magnum opus of lyrical and instrumental sound. It is a collection of tracks that are as euphoric and expressive as they are evocative and substantive. One might, therefore, go as far as to call the album a crowning achievement of ODESZA’s career, in its commitment to both musical convention and organic experimentation as well as in how it ventures to piece together spatial and temporal layers into a larger sonic storyline. Certainly, it is ODESZA’s most narrative endeavor to date. Or, in other words, it is the most nuanced, intentional, and fully-fleshed out project on their resume.
What stands out most about the album, however, is how it is overwhelmingly corporeal. A Moment Apartis, more than anything else, an immersive, embodied, all-consuming exploration of the inner self, one which begins at the ears and delves deep into the psyche, catapulting its listeners into both the happy and hard times, while tapping those universal memories to remind us we are both one and the same. The album reminds us that the human experience is as joyous as it is painful. It is both gritty and soft, both bleak and wildly colorful, cinematic and emotional, imaginative and real, raw, organic, and profoundly resilient.