Always Never label head Le Castle Vania is firing up the label (cheesy pun well intended) with his latest EP, Feels Like Fire. In it, Le Castle Vania continues to explore re-evaluations of his old records, as well as showing off more collaborations and vocalists from artists we’ve seen him work with in the past. It’s clear Le Castle Vania puts a lot of time into his tracks… the finesse in his technique is noticeable with the structure and engineering of every track on the release. The EP is noticeably less dark and aggressive than his previous work on mau5trap, the signature is all still there but Feels Like Fire makes more of an adult, emotional statement.
The EP begins with “Nobody Gets Out Alive Part II” – where Le Castle Vania revisits one of his older hits (previously with “Through A Keyhold Part II”). New synths, melodies and breakdowns on the track see Part II with an even clearer focus and an amplification of energy and aesthetic. “Come Together” is the second track and lead single for the EP, instantly enticing you with a haunting yet simple synth line. The track then tunnels into a high-speed adventure with a jumpy and pitched drop. At this point in the EP (and in general) it’s quite clear that Le Castle Vania sonically lives in a super-future universe, it’s TRON with all of the bad-assery and none of the cheese. The third track, “Moving In Time” sees Le Castle Vania collaborating with longtime friend and fellow producer MUST DIE – it’s a thrill ride of saw synths and gut punches colorfully strung along by hollowed piano melodies. Then we see another friend and fellow Always Never associate Crywolf on “Part Of Me” – Crywolf making a prominent appearance here with his signature and poignant piano work. The closer track, “Driving Away” is very appropriately titled, as the mood of the track fits perfectly with the movie Drive‘s theme.
All in all, Le Castle Vania continues to show he has not strayed far from his original sound, but instead progressed to his best form yet within it. These are pieces of work that are intricately and carefully made – every sound and layer tweaked and adjusted to peak form. He’s a master of his craft – and it’s nice to see an artist dust off a major track from their catalog and shed the dead weight off it and polish it to a nice sheen.
Play It Down, the house music label from Jesse Rose, has been churning out records over the past year and a half, when Jesse decided to take his other label Made To Play a step back to give Play It Down some shine. Since then, we’ve seen one of the label’s most frequently released artists bud and blossom into quite the producer: Christian Nielsen. His latest work, the Late Check Out EP, follows through on his previous double sided release with tropical touches on infectious grooves.
It’s prime Ibiza season, which Christian definitely shows off in the title track, “Late Check Out.” Combining beachy horns with a deep and dark rolling bassline, this fits right in with the summer heat… whether you’re sweating at Cafe Mambo by the ocean or in the dark depths of a club. Carrying on, “Can You Hear Me?” is noticeably more light… this is definitely a track where you can see the sunlight while you’re dancing. And then with the flip of a switch, the closer track “Drongo” takes you back to the night time, heavy reverbs and synths that echo and tunnel between your ears taking over as the prominent driving forces in the track. Little bit of something for everyone here. A nice little variety pack from Christian, who’s definitely coming into his own as a producer and delivering solid pieces of music that will definitely get bodies moving from AM to PM and back again.
Last week I caught up with Different Sleep, a Chicago-based producer who first came on my radar with his very like-able, sun-rays-on-my-bed type track “Get Ahead” which obviously stole my heart with the Drake sample. In a happy not-so-coincidence, Different Sleep signed his latest release over to LA-based Friends of Friends, who aside from being teamed by a few particularly awesome people are just generally releasing cool, interesting, and unique material.
The Conflict EP is a definite shift for Different Sleep, and heads in a more moody direction than his previous works – aided by the first time with his own vocals. There’s a predominant sense of heartbreak, but as many of the world’s favorite films have managed to do time and time again, the EP lends itself to a beautiful and dreamlike state. The opening track manages to take a shuffled drum pattern to an effortless, transient place, where Different Sleep’s own vocals appear for the first time. “Slow Things Down” strips the drums away for an achingly wonderful piano-driven piece. Vocals from Dirty Gold on “Cold” put everything into slow motion, and the closer track “Damage” picks up where “Conflict” left off, bringing back the shuffled drums and truncated synths that weave through each ear with a graceful and slight sense of urgency. The EP is as if you were to fall through the various stages of heartbreak with an airy and enlightened sense of being… it rises above anger and aggression to a tender and yet still aching bubble.
You can read my chat with Different Sleep after the jump, where we discuss everything from Justin Bieber to the importance of understanding the music business and why everything from Toronto is better. You can check him out tonight at The Echo with Jerome LOL (who’s premiering his new live setup) and tomorrow when Friends of Friends does their takeover of Low End Theory.
Bixel Boys are E V E R Y W H E R E, currently getting their #FREELIFE merch donned by the “swaggiest” of music folk from Lil Jon to TJR to Baauer and everyone else you follow the Instagram of. Well… good news: the much coveted merch is finally available for us #normies to wear via a very clever contest which you can read about on their website: bixelboys.com. Oh and by the way you don’t WIN it you EARN it because this shit is made of 100% bonafide Bixel magic thread AKA if you wear it you will probably become famous or a unicorn or both I don’t know you should probably just try EARNING it though right? I mean.
As if that weren’t enough for you to get excited about, das brüder bix have also remixed Thomas Newson on the famous Armada Music imprint, it’s their perfect and saucy little recipe:
Heap of Techno Leanings
Scoop of Big Room, cheesiness removed
100% Pure Vibes, for coating
You can listen to the track below and obviously go Follow Bixel Boys on Social Media if not for any other reason than they’re really good at it: BB on FB / BB on IG AND if you want to settle for a little less than a rare #FREELIFE jersey you can buy their other merch here: BIXEL BOYS MERCH
Most Los Angelians know Mike Brillstein as a legend. Whether consciously or not, anyone who’s ever been to a club where any good music was played has likely, nay definitely vibed out to one of Mike’s sets. With fine taste and a penchant for house music, he’s finally made a serious foray into the production world with his new alter ego “Brillstein“. After his two collaborations with Jesse Rose last year, he’s venturing off on his own with a six-track mini EP, Back To Bed, which sees its initial release on Play It Down next week.
Friend of GDD (actually who am I kidding, friend of near every music person ever to do anything in Los Angeles) Mike Brillstein, known to many as Thee Mike B, has been making house music. And it’s f**king good. Over the past year we’ve seen him foray into a new moniker as Brillstein, collabing with Play It Down boss and house champion Jesse Rose on tracks like “Shuffle The Paper” and “Good Wife”. I was hearing big dudes like Loco Dice slamming Shuffle The Paper in sets for months. As Brillstein, Mike B is a heavy-hitter, keeping elements in his tracks that punch you right in the stomach and leave a mark. This year he announced his debut LP on Jesse’s label, which gets released at the end of the month. For now, he’s dropped off a new original for free download. Should be a clear indicator of the smashing direction that the LP will head in – the first track of which just premiered over on Pulse Radio.
Get the download above, and be sure to nab your copy of Brillstein’s Back To Bed LP, which comes out on Play It Down on April 29.
Last year Perera Elsewhere dropped her debut album on FoF Music, a compelling 13-track EP of ‘off-kilter pop’ laden with vocals and minimal production that both seem heavily influenced by a yin and yang of moody and dream-like states. Now the Deluxe edition of her venture has dropped, this one containing all the original tracks as well as a brand new selection of remixes from the likes of Shlohmo, Benjamin Damage, Kyoto, and more. Each track from the album got a revisit, and cleverly enough FoF have put Shlohmo’s remix of “Light Bulb” up for stream on Soundcloud. Considerably more urgent sounding than the original, Shlohmo’s remix takes the track to his signature dark place – this time with a grinding repetition and siren-sounding synths.
I had the real pleasure of hanging out quite a bit with the gLAdiator boys last week in Miami, and after knowing Ian (readily donned with glasses and at least one bucket hat) from our original industry trench days I have to say I’m quite pleased to see how far they’ve come. April 1st marked the release of their gettup / party-burner EP Assembly Line on Fool’s Gold and I think they kinda nailed it with this one. gLAdiator’s honest approach to just having a genuine GOOD TIME is tangible from their presence on stage to the structure in their songs.
The EP begins with “Work” – a record set at the perfect pitch, tempo, and range to easily launch this into a category with other big festival anthems… “Sweat” takes a heavy nod towards A-Trak’s production style, with stuttering reverb toppling itself over disco-oriented chords. Then you have “Assembly Line” which is almost exactly what you’d expect it to be… a drippy and rolling track with various leads and growls, chants and twangs… you can tell the guys had fun with this one. Or it took them like six months. Who knows. Unsurprisingly the EP continues it’s well-structured progression and you dive right into “230 Feeling” which with a militant drum intro and whooping sirens inevitably means you’re not really going to bed til the sun comes out. And finally, “Weekend” takes trap music canons of hollow eastern-european influenced bells and chants like “Where my white girls at?” and cuts them into something interesting by the aid of a perfectly chopped vocal synth cry.
Overall I have to say a valiant effort from the guys, they cover a lot of ground here and amongst the heavy midst of various trap artists who’ve found solace in the super low-end or rampaging horns of the genre, gLAdiator take a welcomed seat right in the middle. It’s neither completely cheesy nor over-saturated, which is a simple nod to gLAdiator just having fun making what they want to make. Their honesty and effervescence as musicians will assuredly be what sustains them on the ever-changing map of dance music. Nice one, guys.
You can go buy the Assembly Line EP on Beatport or iTunes or wherever music is sold, and you can stream it below.
The Brothers Bix are back with their sophomore video from their sophomore EP, and in the true style and embrace of the #FREELIFE culture they so cheekily broadcast, it’s SPORTS. To be more specific, the video revolves around the Fab 5, who in their own way embrace the #FREELIFE style by being the Freshmen who champion their way to the top of everyone’s ‘talking about’ list. I see what you did there, Bixel Boys.
In true honor of #SPORTS and #FREELIFE, Bixel Boys have created a bracket competition for the NCAA Tournament. Top 3 winners of the bracket get a nice lil swag pack of merch, show tickets, and some super secret unannounced items. YOu can join in to the “Bixel vs. The World” over on ESPN.com here: Bixel vs. The World NCAA Tournament Bracket
It seems as the time has finally come; Jesse Rose‘s massive undertaking of his 12×12 series finally ends with The Whole Twelve Remixes, a selection of (you guessed it) twelve brand new remixes from a grand selection of talented musicians in the game like Guti, Sebo K, Matthias Tanzmann, Ardalan, Doorly, and more. Each track from his album The Whole Twelve Inches got a nice little revisit from legends and newcomers alike, thickening the remix roster for Jesse’s label Play It Down by a hefty amount.
You can listen to all the remixes in the handy Soundcloud package below, preorder the album on iTunes by clicking HERE, or straight up go buy it right now on Beatport HERE.
As an added bonus, two new remixes are available for free downloads via their premiers on THUMP and XLR8R. Symbols’ angel Jaw Jam puts a softer edge on the bass-heavy ‘Underbelly’ and Blaine Lake takes Love The Feeling High to booming techno levels. Big.
Download Jaw Jam’s remix here: via XLR8R
Download Blaine Lake’s remix here: via THUMP