Gabriel & Dresden have returned in a momentous way. Announcing their first album after eleven years with the release of their touching progressive trance record “With Closed Eyes,” the duo has released the next chapter in their forthcoming project in the form of Waiting For Winter/ White Walls.
Waiting For Winter/ White Walls induces bittersweet euphoria across two tracks. Its opener, “Waiting For Winter,” employs Jan Burton’s warm vocals within an sentimental underlay, carrying the listener in an upward direction with soft note progressions and happy melodies. “White Walls” takes on a similar tone as well, albeit just a touch more poignant. Sub Teal’s voice sings of returning home, flowing freely over twinkling chords and moving synth arrangement.
Both tracks are a reminder of Gabriel & Dresden’s unique sonic imprint, one that plants itself firmly in the human psyche as one to follow.
The illustrious Bicep is fresh off the release of a sensational, emotive dance record. In September, the Belfast duo released their self-titled, critically acclaimed record, only to return less than two months later with a brand new three-track EP titled Glue.
In light of the heaven-sent deliverance, Bicep has also shared a deeply personal, nostalgia-ridden video for the EP’s lead track, “Glue”, where they pay homage to the barren rave sites that influenced them and UK rave culture as a whole.
Directed by Joe Wilson, the video aims to, “reflect on the importance and idiosyncrasy of these locations,” while juxtaposing text from the YouTube comments sections of the abandoned rave sites.
Alongside “Glue,” Bicep’s latest EP sees two previously unreleased, vivacious, and yet blissfully concurrent cuts — “Metro” and “DLR.”
Hip-hop-turned-electronic producer JUDGE has released his first EP titled X, despite still being a lead producer in upcoming tracks with Marshmello, Migos, and Young Thug,among others. The EP features collaborations with industry mainstays Wax Motif and Graves, and the five-track compilation bridges the gap between urban/trap production and the current sounds in the electronic space. The Kansas City-born producer spoke with us about his venture into the electronic music scene.
“A lot of people know me from my background in hip-hop, which is my first passion, and where I started producing, but I have loved dance music since I first heard “Cross” by Justice. I love the range to experiment as a producer and the ability of producers to shine as real artists. After moving to LA and seeing so many of my insanely talented friends all carving out their own lanes in the world of dance music, I knew I wanted to do the same.”
X has a variety of sounds and tempos, coming together to create an intriguing and complementary collection of tracks.
“Bark” has a dirty trap drop with monster-like synths resonating throughout and transporting the listener to another dimension. JUDGE and Dylan Brady weave the song in and out of intense drops and builds — keeping the listener longing for the next chord.
“Blades” is an elaborate production in collaboration with X&G. The track has a slower BPM and a darker sound.
The following track, “Bright,” sounds anything but its title. Again, there are many dark elements to this production with the addition of ancient Egyptian vibes interlaced with hip-hop and trap synths.
JUDGE infuses his hip-hop roots with his Wax Motif collaboration featuring Malcolm Anthony and Lil West, titled “Lessons.” The track opens to rap and a steady beat, but then falls into a groovy electronic drop.
For the last track on the EP, “X” JUDGE teams up with Graves for a low-BPM track with an elaborate combination of synths, sounds, and instruments.
JUDGE speaks about his goals in releasing the EP.
“I am so happy to have X come together as a project and be able to share it with people. I feel like I’ve become friends with some of the most talented producers in the world, and I wanted to make this project with some of them – Wax Motif, X&G, Graves, Alexander Lewis and Dylan Brady – to show what we’re capable of with the future of production. No genre ever – no boxes – just the love and passion for creating. And hopefully it’ll make you dance.”
JUDGE will be on tour with Ekali this fall for those looking to hear X live.
The Russ Liquid Test‘s future-oriented funk and jazz stylings continues to gain momentum across the live jamtronica scene. The New Orleans-based trio — known for their clean fusion of live instrumentation, psychedelic visuals, and digital sound design — have just capped off a mind-blowing Suwannee Hulaween performance as one of the last stops along their extensive fall tour.
On Nov. 3, The Russ Liquid Test released their seven-track World Gone Crazy EP following a string of teased singles off the record, “Rise,” “World Gone Crazy,” and “Communication Breakdown.” The full EP instrumentation consists of live drums, guitar, brass, keys, and a number of digital softwares, resulting in a hybrid style typically unfrequented in dance music. As such, World Gone Crazy comes as a landmark release for the three-piece band, highlighting their evolution over recent years both on stage and in-studio.
From the funky, free lead-in track, “OMOP,” to the light-hearted vigor of the closing track, “Ruckus,” the entire EP is as fun and dynamic as it is robust, compelling, and vitally urgent. A stand-out track on the EP is “World Gone Crazy,” featuring Chicago-based rapper ProbCause, for how it perfectly encapsulates the overall ethos of the album with undeniable energy and a potent political commentary that is fitting for the current historical moment.
A diverse project comprised of hip-hop, liquid drum and bass, funk, and downtempo, The Russ Liquid Test’s World Gone Crazy EP remains true to the sound they’ve long-cultivated while proving their versatility knows no generic bounds.
Following up an impressive selection of tracks earlier this year, Notaker has released his biggest collection of music to date: his Genesis EP.
The five-track Monstercat EP shines a spotlight on all sides of the artist’s production skills. With each track, Notaker leads the listener through a complex, euphoric soundscape, beginning with a gradual build-up in the introductory “Just Close Your Eyes.” From there, the EP flows seamlessly through “Who I Am,” a lyric-centered track that features Karra’s mesmerizing vocals. “So Much Love” has a blissful underground vibe and appropriately clocks in at more than seven minutes. “So Much Love” adds another layer of depth to Genesis as it fades gracefully into “Wake Up, You’re Dreaming,” which was released on Monstercat in July. Delicate piano notes drift throughout the heavy synths, giving the track an almost fragile angle despite its bold synthwork. “Terra” makes for the perfect lead-out, closing the EP with soaring cinematic elements and dramatic breaks.
“Through the years I’ve always dreamed about putting out a collection of music that defines the artist I am, today I get to share a little piece of that with you. I’m proud to show you guys my biggest release to date, the Genesis EP.”
In addition to his EP, Notaker also did a Monstercat Call of the Wild takeover to celebrate Genesis’ release, which listeners can find here.
Fresh off their shared Grammy win last year for Chance the Rapper‘s “No Problem,” Brasstracks are looking to show the world how they’ve evolved stylistically, presenting a more refined and mature sonic landscape.
Now, the multi-talented purveyors of electro-soul have released a culmination of years-long tweaking and fine-tuning in the first of their two-part EP project, For Those Who Know. Featuring collaborations with Robert Glasper, The Underachievers, Fatherdude, S’Natra, and more, the six-track body of work pays homage to the duo’s proud NY roots — incorporating their classical jazz training, affinity for hip-hop, and new wave electronic sensibilities into a newfound sense of artistic self-awareness.
For Those Who Know Pt. 1 is — more than anything they’ve released prior — a comprehensive, stimulating, jazzy anthology of Brasstracks’ dedication to craft and coming-of-age. Having already released the project’s two leading tracks, “Those Who Know” and “Brownstone,” the remaining tracks rounding out the EP paint an abridged picture of what is to come — one that will leave listeners fiendish for part two.
“For Those Who Know is the first time we’ve felt comfortable in our own skin making a project. It’s a confessional, it’s a coming of maturity, it’s an ode to New York City. In Part I you get to know our roots. We poured our hearts into this, we hope you dig it.”
Maya Jane Coles shares yet another round of breakthrough releases, offering up several noteworthy tracks in the form of Darkside — her third official EP off her critically-acclaimed double album, Take Flight. Each work represents the producer’s magnetic ability to captivate truly independent and forward thinking sounds, sharing vocals from singer-songwriter Chelou on the newly edited track, “Darkside”.
Released via I/AM/ME Records, Maya chose an eclectic mix of different sounds that showcase a multitude of genres and sounds for Darkside, from the energetically-charged house anthem “Passing Me By,” to “Trails” — a lush, almost ambient piece laced with steel drums.
It’s clear that Maya Jane Coles only continues to thrive in her career, independently making her mark from all angles as she continues to demonstrate impeccable talent.
Jeremy Olander is one who manifests success for himself by sticking staunchly to his guns. Carefully biding his time after breaking out through Pryda Friends, the Swedish phenomenon grew into his true artistic self through a series of carefully-selected releases and through the foundation of his own imprint Vivrant in 2015.
His moves and undying passion have thus far brought nothing but success, with freedom to release as he pleases and nurture the next generation of progressively-inclined talent, and access to the top of the music industry with accomplishments like his own night at ADE’s 2017 iteration and also a residency at Sound Nightclub that will be wrapping up in December.
The blissful horizon that is 2017’s conclusion officially kicks off with the release of Gattaca, a four-track EP carefully compiled by Olander as the milestone tenth release on Vivrant. Gattaca opens with an impressive title track, which possesses a refined nature that is conveyed through gentle synth work and percussion. Its melancholic, yet hopeful atmosphere is one that Jeremy is expert at creating, and will easily lead to many hands in the air when rinsed on the dance-floor.
“Gaansvort” is even more poignant than “Gattaca,” raising goosebumps with a moving, almost trance-y progression and a soaring breakdown. Nine minutes seem to fly by as the body is quickly entangled in the piece’s intriguing layers and gripping notes.
“Galheera,” which closes Gattaca, is a veritable gem of the EP. Originally dubbed “Bahrein ID 02” by fans, “Galheera” is the type of production that pierces the heart with striking melodies and sweeping background notes that amplify the already heavily bittersweet effect. It serves as a catalyst to introspection and getting in touch with one’s emotional side, transforming dance-floors into deeply bonded communities.
Music made with the heart had a profound effect on the listener, and Olander’s deep process of writing songs translates into an infectious energy that captures hearts and leads to a committed fanbase of Vivrant soldiers. Luckily, the coming months will be bringing his gleeful spirit to many corners of the globe, including a Vivrant showcase at ADE, his final residency stop at Sound nightclub in Hollywood, and various stops across the United States.
The legendary Steve Angello has released a new EP on his fledgling label, Size Records. Titled Inferno, the EP explores the depths of the Swedish commercial house don’s musicality across two releases “Freedom” featuring Pusha T and “I Know.”
“Freedom” opens the two-tracker, and borrows elements from modern artists like K?D,Rezz, or JOYRYDE that fuse with Angello’s own style to create a unique sound. The slow-paced vocal verses atop the beat are something that catches the ear and balance out the almost-discomforting, bass-heavy instrumental. “I Know” lightens the vibe and brings forth nostalgia, showcasing an electro-house influenced synth where other instruments come on and off as each verse passes.
Pressing “play” on a Rinzen production can be equated to stepping into a different universe. From the first hit of percussion to the closing note, the LA-based artist effortlessly lures listeners into his domain and traps them there with distinctively brooding, cinematic soundscapes.
Creative to his core, Rinzen’s purpose as an artist is to venture beyond the realm of dance music. “From an early stage of the project, I realized I wanted to create entire worlds with my tracks. Almost like building a landscape or environment and then telling a story within it,” he explains. Furthermore, his overarching vision involves creating these worlds with a mélange of mediums combined into a single plane.
“I think there are enough artists making purely club music out there — and there’s nothing wrong with that. I see Rinzen as my opportunity to try and make something different: to integrate all my interests such as writing, poetry, film, and music into one creative pursuit.”
Forbidden City marks the first step toward manifesting his artistic purpose. Landing on Mau5trap, the trilogy tells a hero’s tale discovering a secret temple and facing multiple trials within, “the conquering of which leads to a new sense of self-knowledge.”
It begins with its title track, which courses through beds of dramatic, sweeping orchestral elements and a distinctive bass-line. A sense of longing takes over the beginning, before the track picks up pace to become bolder and adventurous in nature. Indeed, it is entrance to the “Forbidden City.”
“The title track best exemplifies the overall tone of the EP. It hints at feelings of awe and reverence, yet also features more ominous undertones.”
“Belly of the Beast” brings forth the next chapter of the saga, where the listener, or protagonist, faces their true test. Tension fills the air as roaring synthesizers belt out a menacing melody that is pierced by flutters of keyboard and crisp high hats. If there’s one thing Rinzen does well, it’s certainly conveying a message by clever sonic manipulation.
Finally, Forbidden City closes with the powerful “Triumph of the Human Spirit.” The “beast” has been conquered, and victory is communicated by way of pungent kicks and a soaring breakdown. Yet, a sense of darkness lingers within the piece’s confines, signifying with stark cello accents that the protagonist will never forget what they overcame.
“Triumph of the Human Spirit” was interestingly enough a triumph for Rinzen himself. He explains how it was the toughest track he had to wrangle with on the EP, and that “it took a marathon 50-hour struggle (over the course of a few days) to complete it.” The finished product ties Forbidden City up in a tidy fashion.
“I’m hugely inspired by Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey,’ which is basically the concept that there is one singular narrative which all our stories and myths are telling. I wanted the tracks, and the track order, to follow this framework.”
Despite the closure of one chapter, however, this is merely the beginning of Rinzen’s story. “If all goes according to plan, he says, “these worlds that I’m creating will just get bigger and bigger. Eventually, I plan to bring these worlds on tour and accompany them with film.”
May his own hero’s journey bring success and enlightenment.
Photo credit: Michael Drummond
If we’re not mistaken, Rinzen means “sudden awakening.” What are some awakenings you’ve gone through as an artist? From an early stage of the project, I realized I wanted to create entire worlds with my tracks. Almost like building a landscape or environment and then telling a story within it.
I think there are enough artists making purely club music out there — and there’s nothing wrong with that. I see Rinzen as my opportunity to try and make something different: to integrate all my interests such as writing, poetry, film, and music into one creative pursuit.
Give us the background story/inspiration behind each song on your Forbidden City EP. Also, get into why you grouped these songs in the way that you did. Is there an overarching story you’re looking to communicate? “Belly of the Beast” was the first song I ever wrote on my Moog. I finished it right after travelling in Japan, with the beautiful, mystic scenery of Kyoto fresh in my mind.
“Forbidden City,” the title track, best exemplifies the overall tone of the EP. It hints at feelings of awe and reverence, yet also features more ominous undertones.
I wanted a big climactic finish to the EP, and thus “Triumph of the Human Spirit” came about. It was the hardest track to finish. It took a marathon 50-hour struggle (over the course of a few days) to complete it.
I’m hugely inspired by Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey,’ which is basically the concept that there is one singular narrative which all our stories and myths are telling. I wanted the tracks, and the track order, to follow this framework. It’s the idea of being pulled out of your ordinary reality into the unknown and facing a series of trials — the conquering of which leads to a new sense of self-knowledge.
How do you go about choosing names for songs? I’m very specific about song names, and try to attach them to a concept portrayed by the track. Most of my track names come about from concepts I’ve read about in either fiction or philosophy texts.
You used heavy orchestral elements to help convey emotions in your EP. What draws you to such classical sounds in particular? There’s something really timeless and enduring about classical music. I find myself listening to it more and more these days. I wanted to incorporate a bit of that influence into the EP. I see it as something that will only become more prominent in my music throughout the years.
Any last thoughts/things you want to say about this EP? Ultimately, the EP is just the first step in my vision. If all goes according to plan, these worlds that I’m creating will just get bigger and bigger. Eventually, I plan to bring these worlds on tour and accompany them with film. Forbidden City is only the beginning.