Complextro house isn’t dead — not as long as Wolfgang Gartner is around. The veteran producer’s name is synonymous with the complextro movement that sparked around a decade ago and helped boost EDM into the mainstream. While Wolfgang’s style has evolved considerably since the “Space Junk” days, young, fresh talent like k?d seem to be keeping him young on their new joint effort “Banshee.” Widely considered to be one of the sharpest prospects on the rise, k?d wraps his fluid production acumen around Wolfgang’s penchant for ultra-intricate, rousingly dramatic dance compositions.
“Banshee” packs in grainy, distorted piano chords and snappy percussive builds before breaking out into high-octane sonic mayhem. It’s aggressive yet calculated, vintage and futuristic all at once, and ultimately a flawlessly nostalgic return to the beloved Wolfgang Gartner electro of yesteryear, capped by a menacing contemporary flair with the addition of k?d’s forward-thinking production method.
Historically more of a lone wolf, Gartner has famously collaborated with deadmau5 and Skrillex on two of his canon’s brightest hallmarks, “Animal Rights” and “Devil’s Den” respectively. One listen through, and we can safely say “Banshee” is likely to join those ranks in time too.
French electro house stalwart Sebastian Akchoté-Bozovic — better known simply as SebastiAn — never seems to take his foot off the gas. The Ed Banger icon’s discography has gravitated towards cult acclaim over the last decade and, while his prominence isn’t quite as forthright as French colleagues Justice or Busy P, his releases are always a welcome dive into authentic French house.
Now, Bozovic is here to quench our French thirst once again with his latest release of Charlotte Gainsbourg‘s seminal track “A-Ring O’Roses.” Toned down, stripped to minimalism, and subsequently re-adorned with the dressings of French synths that veer towards heady futurism, the remix is a melodic build culminating in a melancholic tug.
Up and coming Finnish wunderkind Aaro is showing early promise with a new original release landing via European electro imprint Tasty. “Indestructible” takes evident influence from early works by Porter Robinson and Madeon and gives them a contemporary spin with the same keen, methodical production approach. The young beatmaker has clear potential, and his battering new setlist jump starter “Indestructible” undoubtedly shows off firmly planted roots in intricately designed complextro house.
Gritty and distorted while altogether melodic and anthemic, Aaro’s delivers a high octane burst of energy that, half a decade ago would have been punishing sprawling festival crowds. Complextro house is waiting for it’s new champion, and fresh, emerging talent like Aaro have the potential to repopularize the genre in a few short years.
Genres tend to come and go in popularity, and the complextro sensibilities of the later 2000’s are just waiting to have another moment in the sun. Championed by the likes of Wolfgang Gartner, Knife Party, and Porter Robinson’s early output, house music’s multi-layered offshoot is primed for another breakout moment, and producers like PrototypeRaptor will be there to set it all off. The veteran Texas-based DJ has steadily built a lengthy catalog of blistering complextro compositions, with his latest drop, “Midnight Hour,” falling right in line, available now via Tasty.
The track features rousing, syncopated vocals ahead of a barrage of growling synth arrangements and snappy percussion breakdowns. Reminiscent of a different time for dance floors, when electro house reigned supreme, PrototypeRaptor delivers a blast from the last decade’s popular dance trends with his own fresh spin on his latest, “Midnight Hour.”
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.
Complextro is all but dead. Quietly sitting in the shadows of the moment’s more popular “future” genres, the intricate house arrangements popularized by Wolfgang Gartner, Porter Robinson and Feed Me still remain enduring dance floor ignitors in clubs all over the world. One artist pushing fresh complextro compositions is Leeds-based Foxhunt, who’s latest piece, “The Undead,” is an intense adrenaline rush that demands stomping footwork from start to finish.
Foxhunt‘s latest, released via electro tastemaking imprint Tasty, rounds together the producer’s evident metal influence with snarling electro elements, making for a dance floor demolishing mayhem reminiscent of early Knife Party products. The Tasty recruit drops off “The Undead” just ahead of the slew of Halloween-themed lineups bound to break — expect this one to rattle a festival PA near you soon.
Masked mayhem maker and electro punk pioneer Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo has officially announced the release of the Bloody Beetroots‘ long-awaited third studio album, The Great Electronic Swindle. The new record will feature a slew of musical talent from outside of the electronic music spectrum, ranging from Aussie rockers JET to Anders Friden of In Flames to most recently, self-proclaimed EDM hater Perry Farrell on the album’s new single “Pirates, Punks, and Politics” released today with the album’s announcement.
Rifo, who is celebrating his masked moniker’s tenth anniversary in 2017, has always maintained a renegade association with electronic music, and his new album, loaded with collaborations, is expected to continue the artistic progression of the Bloody Beetroots’ rebellious relationship with dance music. Regarding the record’s unapologetic title, Rifo explains,
“The title is a tribute to the Sex Pistols and the film ‘The Great Rock and Roll Swindle’ directed by Julian Temple. It was a sign of the end of an era. The end of Punk. I want to reclaim that for electronic music because the business squeezed the genre so much that they delivered the end of electronic music itself. We are living in a great electronic swindle.”
The Great Electronic Swindle is due October 20 via Canadian imprint Last Gang. Stream the Bloody Beetroot’s latest, “Pirates, Punks, and Politics” here.
The 80s are back in Neon Tiger‘s debut album titled Paperback Sunset, as the album artfully combines Indie Rock with electronic music to create a unique blend of genres. Neon Tiger is an indie-electro hybrid spin off from Australian DJ/Producer Maarcos. Paperback Sunset brings lyrical emotion to the fore, with songs like “Neon Rose” and “We Can Run” telling stories of love. “Summer”, along with some other tracks on the album, also feature Neon Tiger as a vocalist. Other vocalists featured throughout the album include Coyle Girelli, Sunsun, CONWAY, Color Drive. Norman Doray, and Barbara Tucker.
Paperback Sunset features 14 tracks, and if you purchase the album on iTunes, you receive a free digital booklet as an extra.
“Fifty bucks? Are you crazy?” Walt Jr. incredulously asks his father after they sell their Pontiac Aztek to an auto body shop. Walt Jr.’s father winks in response, proud of his recent sale. Cut to the next scene, in which father and son pull into their driveway in the newly purchased Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger. Viewers can hear audio from a decadently audacious track, aptly fitting for Walter White’s newly found intrepid wealth. For those unfamiliar, this scene is from Breaking Bad, perhaps the greatest television show of the recent era. Fans will immediately recall the soundtrack to the end of this particular episode features “Bonfire” by Knife Party. One might go as far as claiming the cult-like idolatry surrounding Walter White is comparable Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen‘s veneration within the dance music industry.
“Bonfire” appears on Knife Party’s sophomore EP, Rage Valley, which was released half a decade ago. To celebrate this trend-setting, genre-defining work is not to simply listen to the record again, but rather to bask in the heinous sounds that amplified the then-growing dubstep and complextro house movements. To celebrate this EP is to lovingly embrace the absurd noises that terrify the Baby Boomers and shake their dwindling hopes in the artistic tastes of younger generations. To celebrate this EP is to understand where it comes from and who made it. Swire and McGrillen did not begin with Knife Party, and likely won’t end with Knife Party. Ultimately, this opportunity to celebrate Rage Valley is also an opportunity to celebrate these two creative talents producing at the top of their respective games.
Swire and McGrillen met at Scotch College, later forming heavy metal band Xygen – their first project together. The parallels between Knife Party’s tenacious output and lots of classic heavy metal, with distorted guitar riffs and belching bass lines, shine distinctly in revisits to their old material. After Xygen split, they formed Pendulum in 2002 with Paul “El Hornet” Harding. Pendulum’s creative contribution to drum & bass, live electronic music performance, and the electronic music industry as a whole cannot be understated. Elaboration here should be reserved for a post of it’s own.
Eventually the two split off from the iconic drum & bass trio to form their own offshoot, Knife Party. Their first EP 100% No Modern Talking leapt bounds with the uniquely terrifying, now-canonized “Internet Friends” as their breakout track. “Modern Talking” refers to a hackneyed preset in the Massive synthesizer used by many dubstep producers. The outspoken opinions of the artists behind the Knife Party project bleeds into their music. Their first EP was one of many jabs at their contemporaries inability to innovate beyond what’s already being produced.
Modern Talking is the Comic Sans of dubstep sounds.
A year after their first EP, Rage Valley was delivered. The opening track, the album’s title offering, “Rage Valley” is a teeth-grinding, anxiety-inducing electro house fire starter. The track is a searing, truculent whirlwind of artificial sonic screams, wails, and distorted bass riffs. “Centipede” comes second. After the unnerving vocal sample provided in “Internet Friends,” “Centipede” follows in its wake with an equally disturbing vocal sample seemingly repurposed from a dusty old documentary. Rather than four to the floor house, like “Rage Valley,” Centipede drops into a two-step kick snare familiar to the rising dubstep sound of its time, with melody and sound engineering that matches every bit of the haunting tone of the sampled centerpiece.
Next comes “Bonfire,” arguably the collection’s most popular offering, and perhaps Knife Party’s most successful product to date. The track unabashedly nurtures the nascent brostep sound brought on by the likes of early Datsik and Skrillex. As a poignant exclamation mark and the end of a caustic clause, “Sleeze” with vocals by Mistajam concludes the EP. A refreshing change of pace, “Sleeze” drops the tempo down below 110 drawing on the rising moobahton wave of 2012.
The Rage Valley EP set the bar for bass music in a number of different ways. “Bonfire” and “Centipede” fed into the dubstep canon, while “Sleeze” and “Rage Valley” into fed moombahton and electro house, respectively. The irony here is, while Swire and McGrillen do what they can to avoid sounding derivative and often go as far as satirizing music producers that cannot innovate, they themselves are often icons for imitation and derivation, and perhaps Rage Valley is the best example of this. The much-maligned “brostep” term sparked around this release surely inspired many a young producer to imitate such an iconic sound, though half a decade later, each track of Rage Valley has gracefully stood the test of time.
In a recent tweet, Porter Robinson announced that all but eleven of his tracks are now being dubbed “unofficial.” “This is the canon,” Robinson wrote. “I’ve been making music for 12 years and i only wrote 11 songs, wow.” He follows the tweet with a list of the eleven songs deemed to be a part of his “canon” in his eyes, which includes “Language,” “Shelter”, and “Sad Machine,” and is noticeably missing fan-favorites such as “Lionhearted” and “Spitfire.” Robinson includes one remix in the list as well – his spin on Nero’s “The Thrill.”
Whether Porter Robinson’s dissociation from his past catalogue is due to a disconnect with his recent aesthetic or a simple desire to start anew after the conclusion of the Shelter tour, we will continue to support Porter Robinson and his career decisions, and we hope him all the best.