Hol’ up, hol’ up, sit down. Skrillex just dropped “Humble.”
First unveiled at this year’s FORM Arcosanti festival, Skrillex teased a menacing bootleg remix of Kendrick Lamar‘s summer-dominating hit, “Humble” and fans have been, in a word, shook since. Following the track’s first public rinsing, the hype surrounding the OWSLA head honcho’s K-Dot remix has reached a fervent high. Now, with an official endorsement from the Top Dawg Entertainment camp, Skrillex’s remix of “Humble” is available to stream in it’s full, tenacious glory.
Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is a serious contender for rap album of the year, and the LP’s lead single has undoubtedly lead the campaign as arguably the most ubiquitous track of 2017. Now Sonny has stepped up with his stomping rendition of “Humble,” pairing the original’s sinister keys with pitched down vocal chops and swooping, thunderous bass jabs on this supreme elbow-throwing hip-hop/trap hybrid. Injecting Kendrick’s chart-topper with his unmatchable bass treatment, Skrillex drops off a quick reminder that even if he quit this season, he’d still be the greatest, funk.
Dutch duo DubVision know their way around the block, having been one of Netherland’s staple big room acts for the past decade and one of the spearheading acts during the Dutch big room invasion in 2012-13. Although the EDM scene has undergone some massive changes, the duo has successfully altered and evolved their sound—managing to stay in the limelight in the process.
Their latest track, “Paradise” exemplifies how far the duo’s sound and the progressive house genre have come. Gone are the rolling chord progressions from their tracks of yesteryear, replaced instead with pitch warped vocal and piano samples, aided by their timeless drum samples and big, airy synths.
“We spend some of our in between gig days in and around Miami,” said the duo of the track. “Everybody knows this place because of MMW and Ultra. Its super hectic then, but Miami is actually very chill and super tropical and relaxing later in the season.”
“We stayed there for a couple of days, swam with sharks, kitesurfed, ate cuban food and drank the most tropical cocktails you can imagine just walking around in flip flops and listening to the ocean. We stayed there in our own little paradise. That was when we came up with the melody one night. It was only logical to name this track ‘Paradise’”
“Paradise” is more than just a regular track, it is a statement that DubVision are truly all in on the new era of EDM.
Spinnin’ Records has been known for developing off-shoot labels that lean into different label spectrums than the mainstage cuts released on the brand’s flagship imprint. Congo Records, a new joint venture of the Dutch dance authority, launched only a few months ago and is carving its way in the dance-pop space but with its own flair. It’s latest release “Driveway” is from LA newcomers culpriit. Sporting an upfront alternative outer coat that is supported with a dance backbone, culpriit shine in their debut offering that sports a melting pot of genres and creatively balances both left-of-center and accessible moods.
Ever since the success of their EP New World Part 1, released back in June, Krewella has been flirting with the idea of releasing a follow-up. While talks of a potential New World Part 2 remains pure speculation at the moment, the duo have released a new single to satiate their fans.
The new track, a collaboration with Amsterdam trap trio Yellow Claw, is titled “New World” — a title certain to cause speculation — and is a dramatic collision of the groups’ versatile, bass-heavy production styles. The track starts off with the Yousaf sisters’ familiar vocals, ably complemented by a hip-hop inspired rolling drum sample and eerie background synths. The intro soon melts into the scintillating bass drop, which features Yellow Claw’s typical chaotic style — making this bass-monster ideally suited for large, open venues and heavy duty sound systems.
As Ajuna family worldwide ascends onto the Gorge Amphitheater this weekend, Sept. 15-17, those not lucky enough to be inside Central Washington’s picturesque venue can now live vicariously through their computer screens. Above & Beyond has partnered with Live Nation to bring ABGT250 to a live stream on Twitter, featuring line-up support from YOTTO, Lutrell, Seven Lions, Oliver Smith, Moonboots and many more.
The global trance gathering features on-site camping and music from deep within the Ajunabeats and Ajunadeep vault. Saturday’s live stream featured an 8-hour radio broadcast with a tantalizing climactic Group Therapy set c/o Jono, Tony, and Paavo; while Sunday kicks off with a special Above & Beyond yoga set followed by an Ajunadeep stage takeover from 16 Bit Lolitas, Jody Wisternoff & James Grant, and Eli & Fur.
German rising stars, BUNT., have been quietly bubbling with their signature sound that they call “folk house.” Blending bluegrass instruments like banjos, harmonicas, and horns with dance percussion patterns, the genre-breaking duo have remixed heavy hitting acts like One Republic and ARIZONA.
Releasing their single “Take Me Home” two months ago, BUNT. taps fellow European act Tungevaag & Raaban to put a spin on their original and provide the ultimate back-to-school playlist addition. Applying a summer-tinged overcoat of shining vocal chops and crashing chords, the Swedish pair maintain the rustic nature of BUNT’s sound whilst flipping it in a more international direction.
Daniel Goldstein, the man behind the subtle and yet complex Lane 8 sound, has just released a new two-and-a-half hour long mixtape as the 18th installment in his seasonal mix tape vault. The San Francisco-based producer’s “Fall 2017” edition is an eclectic, relaxing, and wildly colorful deep/chill accompaniment, with it’s long build-ups, budding bass lines, and playful tempos. If one listens closely enough, you can even hear the trees turn their colors, the temperatures drop, and the days fade earlier into nights.
Lane 8 has one more stop along his “This Never Happened: Summer Gatherings” tour. Tickets and information can be found via his website.
Every year, artists of every genre and every level of fame make the pilgrimage out to Black Rock City to take part in the creation of the pop-up community on the playa. They do this by bestowing Burning Man with their varied talents in DJing, playing sometimes into the wee daybreak hours. Producers like Skrillex have made high-profile appearances, while older veterans like Bassnectar were bestowing as many as 5-6 sets per day, for as many as six days straight.
This year, Diplo made the journey to Black Rock where he played at the legendary Camp Questionmark. The Mad Decent label head recently uploaded his live set to Soundcloud, an hour-long session filled with classic Diplo tunes mixed with a fun, freestyle appeal.
Tim Penner has had nothing short of a monumental year thus far, and his momentum is showing no sign of slowing down. He returns to his breakout label of JOOF Recordings seven months after his last ethereal release, The Temptress, with yet another stunning two-tracker.
The Gatekeeper sees Penner exploring new realms of sounds and breaking away from the status quo. Its eponymous opener is indeed multi-dimensional, opening with subtle, haunting melodies that line a prominent bass-line and cheeky percussion before blooming into a celestial masterpiece pumped with futuristic synth-work. It beauty lies in its development, which twists and turns through never-ending peaks and valleys that keep the ears engaged through its entirety.
Where “The Gatekeeper” is euphoric and emotional, “The Keymaster” offers a counterbalance of brooding intrigue. Simple, yet dynamic, the composition creates a tense atmosphere with gritty bursts of notes that are underlined by almost sinister arpeggios. Penner ensures this sentiment is carried on in greater degrees with each tier, building “The Keymaster” into a multilayered roller built for the darkened, afterhours’ dance-floor.
It’s safe to say the burgeoning Canadian act will only continue to build strength as his tenure within the underground realm lengthens. Having cultivated his Slideways label and podcast into a successful entity, he’s fully primed to take on the progressive scene as its next major talent.
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.