On ‘First Landing,’ Moon Boots looks to the past to build towards the future

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Music, dance music especially, operates on emotion and intuition, it exists to generate reactions that writing and rhetoric cannot. Music, again, dance music in particular, is also profoundly contextual. A record that is written for loud clubs and late night dance floors may not exactly click when heard through earbuds on the subway, but, when listened to in its proper context, feels like a masterpiece.

Most of the time, when we at DA are reviewing an album, we listen to it alone, through headphones. sitting at home. Listening to music in this context invites analysis, invites rationalization, and can trick us reviewers into thinking that it is our duty to explain an album. We mention this because First Landing, the debut LP from Ajunadeep star Moon Boots, is an undeniably accomplished piece of music, but a difficult one to write about. It’s an album that isn’t looking to be explained. It’s meant to be danced to.

Moon Boots 2017 headshot purple

 

First Landing, although decidedly its own entity, is rooted deeply in the long disco tradition, and its greatest strength is its ability to deploy the techniques of old school disco, R & B, and soul, without losing its contemporary, current sound. Moon Boots demonstrates a prodigious understanding of tonality on this record, evident everywhere from the lush, complex chord progression that introduce the first song, “Fortune Teller,” to the melodic runs that bridge phrases in the album’s closer, “Red Sky.”

Like all great songwriters, Moon Boots both upholds and subverts our expectations of musical convention to maintain interest and hold our attention. Note the stair-stepping bass line that propels the verses of “Keep the Faith,” its elliptical syncopation, the way it runs through scale tones without ever settling on the note it seems to be leading to. Then, when the chorus hits, it gets right in step with groove, emphasizing chord roots and giving the choruses a richness and fullness that contrasts wonderfully with the counterpoint of the verses.

The album is full of deceptively clever uses of counterpoint, of divergence, that pervade it with a dynamism and complexity that more than make up for the predictable schmaltziness of the written-for-radio lyrics. The cast of guest vocalists all do a fine job, but it doesn’t really matter what they’re saying. Moon Boots treats the vocals as just another instrument in his arrangement, and seems, above all, interested in the timbre of the voices, in their harmonies and phrasing.

In its own way, First Landing is dance music at its most elemental. its interest lies only in its pure sound, and the response that sound evokes in the listener. It’s rhythm and melody, point and counterpoint, not in the service of something greater, but for their own sake.

First Landing is worth a listen, even if it’s through cheap headphones on your commute. But we think that a better way to listen to it would be somewhere you can dance, somewhere with lots of people, and speakers loud enough that you can feel the beat in your core. In that context, it might just sound like a masterpiece.

Read More:

Moon Boots gives his steps to success on the heels of his debut album, ‘First Landing’ [OP-ED]

Meet the underground talent of CRSSD Fest: Moon Boots

Neon Tiger releases debut album Paperback Sunset

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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.

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Patrick Baker covers RY X’s ‘Only’

REZZ flouts convention and asserts her musical dominance in ‘Mass Manipulation’ [Interview + Album Review]

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How does one define REZZ?

It’s a question that musicians, critics, and fans alike have pored over throughout the artist’s brief, but momentous musical tenure. Once dubbed by the masses as the “female Gesaffelstein,” Isabelle Rezazadeh has since transcended this reductive – albeit, highly laudable – characterization, to create a style that is entirely her own.

“People used to compare me to Gesaffelstein, but we don’t sound alike at all in my opinion,” REZZ told us in a conversation earlier this year. “There are some similarities… we both make dark music.” The 22-year-old producer further noted that she’s outgrown the phase of her career in which it is necessary, or even accurate to liken her music to that of other artists: “I find that as of late, I’m the one being compared to. I find that lately people are saying, ‘You sound like Rezz.’”

“I like simplicity in everything.”

Today, August 4, marks the biggest milestone of Isabelle Rezazadeh’s career to date, as she releases her debut album, Mass Manipulation. And, while she’s far past the point in her career when she was consistently – and inaccurately – referred to as “dark queen of techno,” the eight-track mau5trap LP puts forth her innate, authentic sound with greater strength and clarity than ever before in her career.

“I make this music in such a pure, real, could-not-be-more-authentic of a place in my brain and so it’s so natural and real for me. so for people to be saying it sounds like me means a lot to me because… it’s literally a part of who I am.”

Like any true artist, REZZ arrives at her signature sound through adhering to an intangible, but indomitable vision – one which comes from a psychedelic headspace that she describes as “almost inhuman.”

“It’s this part of my brain that I just can see and hear a certain vibe of music and sounds… and I’m really inspired by that,” she asserts. “I want to get as much music out of that part of my brain as I can.”

To attempt a reduction of REZZ’s music into typical genre stereotypes is to wallow in futility. In the producer’s own words, her music is “all very slow paced and chill and vibey, and [it] sucks you right in. It’s almost like a [hypnotic] void… you’re gone, but you’re all there, all at the same time.”

“That’s how I feel, that’s how I want other people to feel, and that’s what I’m inspired by,” she continues. “That’s the main thing i’m super inspired by, just getting my vision out there in the most accurate way possible.”

In terms of her modus operandi, it still makes sense to liken REZZ to Gesaffelstein. The vision which drives her necessitates that she integrate her authentic musical inspirations with her live show and overall aesthetic – arguably, her own sort of Gesamtkunstwerk. And, like Gesaffelstein, a major way through which REZZ achieves this mission is through an emphasis on raw minimalism.

“I love simplicity in music. I think it can be very heavy hitting and to the point… obviously complex tunes can be cool too, but I like simplicity in everything,” says Rezazadeh. “Simplicity in mindset, simplicity in clothing, simplicity in the way you present yourself. It’s totally a lifestyle.”

rezz exchange la 2017 4 rukes

“ I feel like I’m making music that is telling people how to feel.”

Throughout Mass Manipulation, REZZ achieves her vision, in part, by channeling her passion for psychology. The artist acknowledges that her interest in cognitive science has made her “aware of [her] feelings, why [she reacts] to things a certain way, and why other people react to things a certain way.” A knowledge which, when harnessed properly, has allowed her “to evolve as a person and a producer, stay focused and motivated, and not lose track of [her] vision.”

Thematically, Rezazadeh’s album pinpoints the nexus between expressing her own feelings authentically and determining her audience’s reaction to their musical manifestation on a visceral level. “ I feel like I’m making music that is telling people how to feel,” she says. “I just want me, my music and everything about my brand to be based around hypnotizing the masses through my music,” she says. And, from the album’s hauntingly mesmerizing opener, “Relax,” the artist successfully endeavors to do just that.

When prompted to tell the story of Mass Manipulation in her own words, REZZ states, “It’s more of a reaction or commentary to modern consumption habits. We trade more in ideas and media than tangible things, so this is my intangible idea of how existence looks – or could look.”

“I just want… everything about my brand to be based around hypnotizing the masses through my music.”

Those who follow REZZ religiously are already well-versed in the canon of her debut album. In a fervently-followed album rollout, the artist provided her first impressions on “how existence looks” by released the first half of her album.

Over the course of the past month, Rezazadeh’s newly-released album singles – “Relax,” “Diluted Brains,” “Premonition,” and “Drugs!” – have become as important a facet of her musical catalogue as any other songs released in the past three years. Meanwhile, hitherto unreleased songs such as “Green Gusher” and “Synesthesia” have been staples in her sets for quite some time.

As a whole, the album traverses REZZ’s aforementioned musical vision, from the sinister psychedelia of “Drugs!” and “Green Gusher,” to the quaking minimalism of “Ascension” and “Diluted Brains.”

Additionally, the album plays host to what very well may be the most virulent production of Rezazadeh’s career thus far, “Livid.” In this maniacal, menacing track, REZZ has arguably achieved her most memorable output since 2016’s “Edge,” and has, once again, demonstrated the true breadth of her abilities.

With the thoughtful construction of Mass Manipulation, and with the visceral draw of songs like “Livid,” Isabelle Rezazadeh has proven that she’s far past the leap from “rising star” to dance music icon. Yet, despite her swift evolution to this artistic phase, the artist’s recruitments on the album indicate that she is still in touch with her inner bedroom producer.

More vocally than most of her peers within the industry, REZZ has used her highly-publicized album as a platform to highlight dark horse producers. She invites up-and-comers Knodis, 13, and Kotek on “Premonition,” “Drugs!,” and “Ascension,” respectively. By prominently including the aforementioned as collaborators, rather than featured (or uncredited) artists, Rezazadeh aims to offer these artists a similar opportunity in their nascent careers to that which deadmau5 provided her in the not-too-distant past.

In stark opposition to the “ensemble cast” collaborations which permeate much of today’s dance music climate, REZZ states, “I don’t care how big or small artists are, it’s all about the music to me.”

“People would be surprised how many talented unknown names there are out there,” she coyly adds, though she is quick to dispel any rumors of creating her own imprint in the near future. “I have thought about it but I’d rather put all my focus on my own music as that’s what keeps me sane & what I’m most passionate about.”

rezz exchange la 2017 3 rukes

 

After full consideration of Mass Manipulation and Isabelle’s inspirations, we get a better sense of the previously-posed question, “How does one define REZZ?”

The Canadian producer can’t be defined according to her connection to a specific style or sect of ancestral artists. Nor should she ever again be lauded for being a tremendous talent “at her young age”; indeed, Rezazadeh is far past the stage of her career wherein focusing on her precocity doesn’t inadvertently detract from her deeply-conceived trajectory.

REZZ is at the forefront of a new movement. Hers is a mission which bridges the gap between commercial and underground dance music, and one which eschews formulaic success strategies for unique concepts and authentic sounds.

There’s a reason that hundreds of thousands of fans fervently flock to their fondly-dubbed “Space Mom.” Infiltrating an industry in which commodification strengthens its grip every day, REZZ is one of the rare producers who is strictly putting forth art.

And, in doing so, she’s creating an alternative blueprint for the new age of dance music

This story features additional reporting by Alexandra Blair.

All photos are by Rukes.

Slushii showcases ability to produce multiple genres in debut album, ‘Out of Light’

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Many artists are focusing on releasing singles as opposed to full albums, given the shift away from CDs toward radio hits and streaming. Slushii has decided to go all in and released a 13-track album, Out of Light, on Aug. 4.

Slushii experiments with multiple genres finding a way to infuse his signature style with each experimentation in his debut album. Not only does he show the breadth of his production abilities in the 13-track compilation, but the producer himself was the vocalist for the entire album. Slushii fans have heard a few of these tracks before the album’s debut, including “I Still Recall,” “Dear Me” and “Step by Step.”

A few highlights:

“Someone Else” is a groovier housier sound that is a new vibe compared to Slushii’s previous releases.

“Melting Over You” verges on Moombahton with a beat sure to take over festival and club sets.

“My Senses,” while not Moombahton, combines pop lyrics with a Caribbean drop to give the album another track out of Slushii’s usual style.

“Out of Light” is the title track of the album, beautifully combining sounds, synths, and Slushii’s vocals for a track sure to become his next big hit.

Read more:

Slushii announces debut album details, new tour dates

Slushii drops new single ‘Step By Step’

Slushii enters Pewdiepie’s sample contest, hilarity ensues

Slushii Bares His Soul With The Release Of His Debut Album – ‘Out Of Light’

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Slushii has just released his debut album, ‘Out Of Light’. The news of his freshman album came suddenly, amid news of an emergency appendectomy. The shock and scare of Slushii’s emergency surgery abroad almost drowned out the news that his first LP was right around the corner. Now being able to hear the massive album

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Rezz Has Propeled Electronic Music Forward With The Masterful ‘Mass Manipulation’: Listen

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I have just finished my first in depth listen of Rezz’s debut album and to say that I am blown away would be an understatement. I had a good idea from the singles which were released leading up to the debut of ‘Mass Manipulation’ that we were in for a treat, but to hear Rezz’s

The post Rezz Has Propeled Electronic Music Forward With The Masterful ‘Mass Manipulation’: Listen appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Thomas Jack Continues To Successfully Reinvent Himself With His New EP – ‘The Versus’

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Thomas Jack rose to fame with his gorgeous tropical house sound. His live instrumentation made his live performances both fun and memorable while instilling an instant special quality to his releases. Recently though Thomas has been straying away from the sound which he found initial success and exploring other styles and genres. We are happy

The post Thomas Jack Continues To Successfully Reinvent Himself With His New EP – ‘The Versus’ appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Every song on Calvin Harris’ feature-filled ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1,’ ranked

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Calvin Harris has taken the latter part of the decade to solidify himself as one of dance music’s crossover kings. From dominating the progressive house scene into radio, to becoming Coachella’s first-ever Sunday DJ headliner, the Scottish producer is certainly at the pinnacle of mainstream electronic music. For his fifth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, Harris decides to continue looking for the next frontier of dance-pop and lands in a space that converges funk, disco, urban, pop, and dance all in one.

The album recruits a plethora of radio champions like Nick Minaj, Katy Perry, and Migos; rap royalty like Future, Snoop Dogg, and Schoolboy Q; as well as rising newcomers Khalid and Jessie Reyez. Overall, this album screams moods of summer and, for many, could be the album of the summer, but here is a ranking of each track on the LP.

10) Prayers Up (feat. Travis Scott, A-Trak)
Upon first listen, Calvin Harris’ only dance collaboration, “Prayers Up” with A-Trak and Travis Scott, has two overarching problems that lands it at the bottom of the list. Fist, Calvin Harris and A-Trak’s production is not any better than any of the other tracks on the album if not below in standard. Second, Travis Scott’s verses rely on taboo rap lyrics to try and be relatable but miss the mark.

9) Heatstroke (feat. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande)
As the sophomore single off the album, “Heatstroke” represents Harris’ effort to flex in his ability to attract A-list stars with Young Thug, Pharrell Williams, and Ariana Grande, however, the overall product does not live up to the hype behind the four names. While Young Thug may hold his own and the production is solid, Pharrell’s hook is trying too hard to be a summer pop anthem and Ariana’s lyrics seem lackadaisical.

8) Hard to Love (feat. Jessie Reyez)
For “Hard to Love,” Calvin Harris strides in shining a light on Jessie Reyez’s sonic identity as well as creating a great acoustic pop instrumental to showcase his calculated yet creative production abilities. However, the track will seem to steer a little too pop for dance fans.

7) Faking It (feat. Kehlani, Lil Yachty)
“Faking It” is an incredibly well produced R&B-meets-pop track with impressive appearances by Kehlani and Lil Yachty, however, it doesn’t bring more to the table than any of its fellow pieces.

6) Skrt On Me (feat. Nicki Minaj)
“Skrt on Me” earns its spot in the top 5 for its ability to still embody the aura of the entire album whilst leaving the disco elements at home for more a more island-leaning ensemble. Nicki Minaj does an unexpectedly stand up job at not trying to go over the top, and overall, this track will be rinsed its fair share through the summer.

5) Holiday (feat. Snoop Dogg, John Legend, Takeoff)
The best choice Calvin made with this record is having Snoop Dogg as the introductory voice to flood listeners with nostalgia right when they press play. Had John Legend played a bigger role and really brought his A-game, this track could have cracked the top 3.

4) Rollin’ (feat. Future, Khalid)
For “Rollin,’” Calvin Harris taps one of rap’s hottest commodities at the moment, Future, and one of R&B’s fastest rising star, Khalid, to produce a smoothly cruising piece of California ear candy. Instead of trying to be a hit, the song brings together two of music’s top talents for a great piece of funk, landing it towards the top of the pack.

3) Cash Out (feat. Schoolboy Q, PARTYNEXTDOOR, D.R.A.M.)
“Cash Out” is probably the most urban-leaning cut from album with SchoolBoy Q instilling an edgier atmosphere right out of the gates and PARTYNEXTDOOR bringing a likable hook to the table. “Cash Out” is the type of track many will call a favorite but its fate on radio is still yet to be decided.

2) Feels (feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean)
“Feels” is what “Heatstroke” attempted to be in by uniting three hit-level singers for an undeniable radio-ready combination. Pharrell shines in operating as the bridge between Katy Perry’s short but sweet hook, Harris’ reggae-inspired instrumental, and Big Sean’s applause-worthy appearance.

1) Slide (feat. Frank Ocean, Migos)
The lead track of Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, “Slide,” not only marked an introduction to the Scottish trailblazer’s sonic pivot, but it also set the tone for the star-studded cast he would be employing for the album with Frank Ocean and Migos as collaborators. Whether the listener is in it for Ocean’s unexpected appearance on the track or Migos’ smoother than velvet verses, “Slide” is engineered to be a summer hit and Harris made the right call leading the charge with it.

Every song on Calvin Harris’ feature-filled ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1,’ ranked

This post was originally published on this site

Calvin Harris has taken the latter part of the decade to solidify himself as one of dance music’s crossover kings. From dominating the progressive house scene into radio, to becoming Coachella’s first-ever Sunday DJ headliner, the Scottish producer is certainly at the pinnacle of mainstream electronic music. For his fifth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, Harris decides to continue looking for the next frontier of dance-pop and lands in a space that converges funk, disco, urban, pop, and dance all in one.

The album recruits a plethora of radio champions like Nick Minaj, Katy Perry, and Migos; rap royalty like Future, Snoop Dogg, and Schoolboy Q; as well as rising newcomers Khalid and Jessie Reyez. Overall, this album screams moods of summer and, for many, could be the album of the summer, but here is a ranking of each track on the LP.

10) Prayers Up (feat. Travis Scott, A-Trak)
Upon first listen, Calvin Harris’ only dance collaboration, “Prayers Up” with A-Trak and Travis Scott, has two overarching problems that lands it at the bottom of the list. Fist, Calvin Harris and A-Trak’s production is not any better than any of the other tracks on the album if not below in standard. Second, Travis Scott’s verses rely on taboo rap lyrics to try and be relatable but miss the mark.

9) Heatstroke (feat. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande)
As the sophomore single off the album, “Heatstroke” represents Harris’ effort to flex in his ability to attract A-list stars with Young Thug, Pharrell Williams, and Ariana Grande, however, the overall product does not live up to the hype behind the four names. While Young Thug may hold his own and the production is solid, Pharrell’s hook is trying too hard to be a summer pop anthem and Ariana’s lyrics seem lackadaisical.

8) Hard to Love (feat. Jessie Reyez)
For “Hard to Love,” Calvin Harris strides in shining a light on Jessie Reyez’s sonic identity as well as creating a great acoustic pop instrumental to showcase his calculated yet creative production abilities. However, the track will seem to steer a little too pop for dance fans.

7) Faking It (feat. Kehlani, Lil Yachty)
“Faking It” is an incredibly well produced R&B-meets-pop track with impressive appearances by Kehlani and Lil Yachty, however, it doesn’t bring more to the table than any of its fellow pieces.

6) Skrt On Me (feat. Nicki Minaj)
“Skrt on Me” earns its spot in the top 5 for its ability to still embody the aura of the entire album whilst leaving the disco elements at home for more a more island-leaning ensemble. Nicki Minaj does an unexpectedly stand up job at not trying to go over the top, and overall, this track will be rinsed its fair share through the summer.

5) Holiday (feat. Snoop Dogg, John Legend, Takeoff)
The best choice Calvin made with this record is having Snoop Dogg as the introductory voice to flood listeners with nostalgia right when they press play. Had John Legend played a bigger role and really brought his A-game, this track could have cracked the top 3.

4) Rollin’ (feat. Future, Khalid)
For “Rollin,’” Calvin Harris taps one of rap’s hottest commodities at the moment, Future, and one of R&B’s fastest rising star, Khalid, to produce a smoothly cruising piece of California ear candy. Instead of trying to be a hit, the song brings together two of music’s top talents for a great piece of funk, landing it towards the top of the pack.

3) Cash Out (feat. Schoolboy Q, PARTYNEXTDOOR, D.R.A.M.)
“Cash Out” is probably the most urban-leaning cut from album with SchoolBoy Q instilling an edgier atmosphere right out of the gates and PARTYNEXTDOOR bringing a likable hook to the table. “Cash Out” is the type of track many will call a favorite but its fate on radio is still yet to be decided.

2) Feels (feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean)
“Feels” is what “Heatstroke” attempted to be in by uniting three hit-level singers for an undeniable radio-ready combination. Pharrell shines in operating as the bridge between Katy Perry’s short but sweet hook, Harris’ reggae-inspired instrumental, and Big Sean’s applause-worthy appearance.

1) Slide (feat. Frank Ocean, Migos)
The lead track of Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, “Slide,” not only marked an introduction to the Scottish trailblazer’s sonic pivot, but it also set the tone for the star-studded cast he would be employing for the album with Frank Ocean and Migos as collaborators. Whether the listener is in it for Ocean’s unexpected appearance on the track or Migos’ smoother than velvet verses, “Slide” is engineered to be a summer hit and Harris made the right call leading the charge with it.

Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 by Calvin Harris Has Arrived: Listen

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It has been one of the most anticipated releases in years but finally the Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 stream is here. Calvin Harris has promised music that will make you feel absolutely spectacular and we are happy to say – he has delivered. After months of waiting you can now listen to the compilation

The post Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 by Calvin Harris Has Arrived: Listen appeared first on EDM Sauce.