The 20 Best Music Videos Of 2018

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vidsIn the early days of this century, you could still turn on your television and, every so often, catch a music video. It didn’t last. Music videos still exist on television, but niche ventures like the MTV Jams Channel only exist in the shadowy nether reaches of cable subscriptions, and that’s not where music videos … More »

Stream The Blaze’s Debut Album Dancehall

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The-Blaze-DancehallThe Blaze, the duo of French cousins Guillaume and Jonathan Alric, stand out for a very particular reason. They’re filmmakers as well as producers, and their dizzily gorgeous videos for tracks like “Territory” and “Heaven” play out as shockingly lyrical and moving mini-movies. Part of me wishes they’d sideline their music … More »

The Blaze is both moving and transitory on new track ‘FACES’ from forthcoming album ‘DANCEHALL’

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The Blaze is both moving and transitory on new track ‘FACES’ from forthcoming album ‘DANCEHALL’Screen Shot 2018 08 22 At 10.37.57 PM

As with any genre, there are catchphrases that are unique to it and it alone.  Emotional dance music is one such phrase that comes to mind. It’s one that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and certainly, it’s one that can be overused and overstated. Is this music actually saying anything, one might ask. But more importantly, does it matter? Opinions aside, the question of substance matters greatly for the French electronic duo, The Blaze.

In the duo’s cinematic breakthrough, their video for “Territory,” they challenge the concept of male fragility. The video opens with two men in tears, hugging, and it’s a reunion so pure that even its viewer, a total stranger, might too be moved to tears.

Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins, another challenger of the aforementioned, recently went on to tell The New York Times Joe Caramanica that the first time he watched the video he “had an experience.” Jenkins continued, “It’s almost like a ballet in a certain way, the camera is so active. It’s participating in this dance,” — and there is actual dancing in The Blaze’s music, plenty of it.

As the duo’s fully embraced the musical project and used it as a means to challenge perception and the world we’re living in, they’ve announced their debut album DANCEHALL, named for the social space — not to be confused with the reggae sub-genre. DANCEHALL, instead, is a tribute to the birth of the spaces in the 1940’s. On “FACES” the two capture the fleeting, simpler moments on the dance floors, when the only way to listen to your favorite artist was to come together — bodies moving together as one.

“FACES” follows The Blaze’s “Heaven.Alongside their first releases “Virile” and “Territory,” the sumptuous video, completes a triptych. 

DANCEHALL is out September 7 via Animal63/Sony Music U.K./RCA Records.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Loyseau

The Blaze release mesmerizing new track, video: ‘Heaven’

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French house producers The Blaze have returned with a theatrical music video and an innovative approach to production no less entrancing than a Steven Spielberg feature-film.

The video captures — in mesmerizing fashion — kinship and the innate wonder of existing in nature. Complete with sweeping landscape shots and breath taking aerials, the track’s expansivity matches the video to perfection.

Primavera Sound drops spectacular 2018 lineup

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The vibrant affair Primavera Sound has announced a stunning 2018 lineup. Over 200 artists across a bevy of genres front the eighteenth edition set for May 28–June 3 in Barcelona.

Primavera Sound lends a glimpse into generational references with a pulse on contemporary music. The bill presents a push towards comprehensiveness, grrrl power, and once in a lifetime experiences in the live event sphere. With zero small print in the eminently danceable lineup, attendees can look forward to performances from Four Tet, French duo The Blaze, Chromeo, Jlin, Mount Kimbie, and Peggy Gou.

Hunee will go b2b with Antal. Both Seth Troxler and John Talabot have their own disco sets. Björk will perform her resplendent new album Utopia. Floating Points will perform both live and a six-hour DJ set. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein from S U R V I V E will perform the entire soundtrack from Stranger Things. Discwoman‘s Umfang and Volvox will go b2b. Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, DJ Koze, Lindström, Dekmantel Soundsystem, Palms Trax, The Black Madonna, Daphni, the killer DJ Shanti Celeste, and many more will see that euphoria and sweat reign supreme on the dance floor.

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More information can be found via Primavera Sound’s website.

Photo Credit: Stuart Philkill

The 50 Best Music Videos Of 2017

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In this space in past years, I’ve usually written about which music-video directors had the best years. It’s a variation of the auteur theory, as visionaries like Nabil and Hiro Murai have used artists as vehicles for their ideas and approaches. This year, though, it feels like the artists themselves who are driving things, and … More »

Sunday Morning Medicine: synthwave, dreampop & deep house to bliss out to

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Sunday Morning Medicine is an eclectic playlist for the chill at heart. Curated weekly, chillers of divergent tastes Alexandra Blair and Michael Cooper bring you a selection of tracks to relax to. Our editorial feature highlights the cream of the crop, but you can follow the official playlist on Spotify

At the top of the deck for me this week is a melancholic offering from Christian Löffler‘s incredible second studio offering Mare. In many ways, the Mohna featuring “Haul” represents the best of the album—at once gloomy and optimistic, sparkling with an organic effervescence, and layered with an endlessly repeatable texture.

The track sees Löffler build a nuanced soundscape out of tediously tweaked samples over a solid deep house framework in what has become his signature style. Impressively, many of the sounds used to create the album were field recordings from a retreat the producer made to a coastal cabin near the Baltic Sea where much of Mare was conceived.

 

Body of Light’s “Light Is Gone” is a standout from the group’s 2013 LP Volanta Di Amore. The restrained, almost unfeeling vocal betrays the core of the track which pulses with a melancholic romanticism. This atmospheric offering flexes in the space between our narrator’s yearning and his seemingly unshakable sense of inevitable disappointment.

Perhaps it’s telling that the track ends in an ascendant, almost hopeful synth progression. Then again, a full listen of the LP sends this gorgeous tangle right into the supremely sinister gothic-inspired sound waves of “Watch Your Back,” so maybe not.

 

The Blaze, cousins and producers Jonathan and Guillaume Alric, have gained a serious cult following for their genre-defying and often cinematic music. “Territory” is one of the duo’s finest works to date with a captivating narrative video and a song that fully embodies the term ‘slow burn.’  The track’s synths at times nod to French electro—particularly around the halfway mark—but the track’s overall ambiance subverts expectations with spare deep house melodies, subterranean interludes, and a syrupy-slow, pitched down vocal hook.

While their hypnotic videos feel integral to contextualizing their music, “Territory” is a beguiling effort that holds up through endless repeat plays.

 

Los Angeles based duo Ardency seem to turn everything they touch into a lush, synthy dreamscape and “I Saw The End” is one such gem from their latest EP Honeymoon. Crisp vocal phrasing slices through the track’s wavy atmosphere, a duality echoed in the visceral lyrics—like when our narrator’s companion lurches out of reach, before turning back for one final disclosure.  Shimmering, ambient sounds cushion the titular, gut-wrenching end times which, in Ardency’s expert hands, is somehow equal parts gorgeous and devastating.

 

Stream the official Sunday Morning Medicine playlist below and hit follow on Spotify for updates in real time.


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