Back to reality, or so it seems, after another wildly successful Desert Hearts Spring Festival. The Gotta Dance Dirty crew did that dance floor dirty, with 72 hours of House, Techno, and Love, now in the rear view mirror. After several showers and a lot of naps, we’re ready to unpack the West Coast’s leading boutique festival. Noticeably warmer in the daytime than it’s Fall counterpart yet just as frigid at night, the Spring Festival celebrates the coming of the Vernal Equinox with larger than life day time vibes and interplanetary space travel by night. In other words, it was sprung! Below you’ll find our GDD™ Top 10 Moments (in no particular order) from the Desert Hearts Spring Festival that still have us reeling: Continue Reading
Xinobi, for me, was/is the master of synthesized sounds strung together in unusual and masterful fashions. No two songs really ever sound the same with him, a testament to his creative will at work. All of the above come together in full force for his first ever full length LP, 1975, with one added element: a bit of live instrumentation. Prolific guitar strums, punchy drum kits, and wandering vocals, fused with the familiar warps and wonks that make Xinobi the master of other worldly vibes, make this one of my stand out LP’s of the year. Personal standouts for me were “1975” and it’s vivacious guitar vibes, “Radio Radio” and it’s electronic arpeggio explosions, and “People” for it’s sonic oddities that stay true to the Xinobi way. A lot of western vibes emanate from this project as well as a bit of MGMT peeking in and out of hooks. It’s weird and wonderful and a major accomplishment for the Portuguese producer.. stream after the jump! Continue Reading
I have been an Aphex Twin fan for fifteen years. I was fifteen when I first heard ‘Come to Daddy,’ and it was my gateway drug into electronic music. It was him that inspired me to dive into the world that I now immerse myself in everyday as a composer and as a listener. His work has played a vital role in my musical education and formation.
I attended the preview Syro album listening event at Verboten in NYC Saturday afternoon and these are my thoughts.
It’s easy to get excited about a band like Jungle. Their sound is unlike anything else available at the moment, and that’s not to say it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve ever heard before. Their combination of tones and rhythms, though, makes this album an unusual auditory experience, and that’s something I can respect. It’s the funk and soul of our parents time, with their darkened chord progressions and soaring psychedelic vocals initiating their sound into the 21st century. At their core, they’re a collective, a troupe of funkadelic comrades led by members J & T, united by their groovy soundscapes. Continue Reading
It’s a bold move to release an album that was self-described as “cold, bleak, glacial” just after the summer solstice, but it appears as though Anticon co-founder Alias has done just that. Three years post-Fever Dream has put Alias in an almost inescapably frigid place, sonically. His new album Pitch Black Prism is unrelentingly ominous, its barren urgency takes shape in sharp, crystalline form. Truly a metaphorically glacial album – iced, structured, oddly beautiful, and with much to be seen under the surface. If you’re a Boards of Canada / Aphex Twin fan… you’re probably gonna like this one.
On Tuesday Los Angeles based creative genius Jerome LOL released his Deleted/Fool EP on home label Friends of Friends. Having previously released an album on FoF as the now defunct LOL Boys, Jerome’s new EP is his first official solo release. I could throw words around about Jerome being a sort of avant-garde musical and visual curator, or how his aesthetic bleeds originality in its cheeky complexities and colorful simplicities – but that would be selling him short, and missing the point. My lack of ability to really envelop Jerome LOL as an entity is precisely his appeal. The off-kilter balance of this ‘tumblr-era x internet 1.0 x 90’s branding’ visual mish-mash with the delicateness and deeper meaning of Jerome LOLs musical endeavors is in my humble opinion so cleverly curated that I am just consistently in awe. Jerome’s filtering and curating of a dizzying amount of visual and audio influences from everywhere across the spectrum into a concise and branded look and sound is something I’ve always respected. His DJ sets are interesting and fun, his label Body High is a wonderful homage to LA and dance music origins while keeping releases and artists fresh and cool, and his music videos are insanely unique and some of my favorites:
The four-track EP begins with “Deleted,” starts with Jerome’s signature swinging drums, in true-to-form fashion created by an antiquated and distorted piece, the DJX-2. The claps and swing fade as Sara Z’s cool and sensitive vocals come in, with clear cut changes in the cord progressions between each verse carrying the mood. It’s these subtleties in the undertones that reveal the emotional complexities of the track – doubling computer jargon with the destruction of a relationship (“we’re offline, no course of action” “control, escape, command, delete, it’s all in our hands”). The track evolves and grows in almost pop-song format with repeated choruses and verses, a bridge and an outro, which shuts off all the drums just before Sara utters her last line- printing the track in your head.
“Always” continues with the cymbal-heavy, swinging drum patterns, this time lighter in feeling given the faster pattern & more effervescent vocals. The keys in the chorus are touching and warm, and the various inflexions of Sara’s voice on the word “Always” is captivating and soulful. The heavy distortion on the bassline and clanging drums on “Fool” flip the EP from pop-leanings to a much more club/warehouse mindset, until Angelina Lucero’s melancholy and poignant vocals rip you off your shuffling feet and onto the floor. But as the heavy bassline fades, a glockenspiel-sounding bridge comes in before Angelina’s chorus comes in, aided by incredibly pitched-up echoes of her voice carrying each line. The clanging drums and garage moodiness are met by the pitch shifts and “this instrument can never sound sad” use of the glockenspiel – it’s this touch of color in an otherwise entirely depressing track that is a common theme in Jerome’s work. The EP closes with “True”, another considerably moody song from Angelina Lucero’s teethy and slow vocals and sort of rain-down-your-windowpane piano chords that rain so heavily on the track it nearly drowns out her vocals until the very end.
Like with all artists that have developed their own signature patterns and sounds, I see the argument from both sides on Jerome’s heavy use of jazzy/swing drums and pop-oriented progressions: on one side it doesn’t have an grand sense of variety, but on the other it’s clearly a sound and vibe that nobody else is really doing. You can identify a Jerome LOL track from just a few seconds of listening, but because of that the tracks can be considered to start sounding the same. I’m personally more drawn to the ‘Deleted’ half of the EP, which to me is an example of the vibe of work I enjoy most from Jerome; the ‘Fool’ half dives much deeper into a darker side of his music which I simply do not grasp as well – I think that’s a side he’s still sonically developing. But I do have to give props to Jerome for really nailing the structure of his tracks.
You can purchase the EP on Bandcamp HERE or on iTunes HERE:
A couple months ago I happened to catch a ridiculous set by Felix Da Housecat at one of Bang On NYC‘s legendary parties. As a budding DJ and self proclaimed tech geek I wanted to know what he was using to mix with and was pleasantly surprised to find that Felix has taken up Traktor. So when Native Instruments reached out to offer me a chance to check out some of their gear, you bet I said yes!
Only just a year old, and the Amadeus imprint has quickly risen above the fray in the ever evolving world of underground dance music. The Canadian powerhouse duo Prince Club teamed up with LA resident Steve Huerta on a wonderful two track EP called Can’t Let Go. The title track has a very clear sound design, with reverbed vocals floating around precise percussion and a thick, growling bassline before finally giving way to a euphoric breakdown. It’s a top track, and has been getting the nod from Catz N Dogz, Waze & Odyssey, as well as finding a place in my latest Kurtz & Bomber promo mix. You can pick up a free download over at XLR8R.
On Saturday, Smirnoff’s hotly anticipated Sensation event rolled into London for an unparalleled night of mischief in white. The setup – which drew together 22 fountains, 13 laser systems, 100 different pyrotechnic effects and 16 6-meter wide jellyfish – was like nothing we’ve ever seen. Following on from last week’s chat with the man behind it all, creative director Duncan Stutterheim, one thing he said resonated with me: “the show is close to perfection”. I’ll be the first to admit that the statement sounded a little arrogant initially, but after experiencing Saturday, I find myself in agreement.
The show was beautifully executed, and no expense was spared as the London crowd piled into the O2 Arena to be treated to a spectacle that incorporated performance art, installations, new technologies, and music from some of the world’s finest DJs. The DJs performed from a rotating booth in the centre of the dance floor, while legions of clubbers hailed them like gods dressed head to toe in white. This was a clubbing experience like no other.
The most enjoyable set on the night came from Joris Voorn and Nic Fanciulli, who really set the standard with some awesome techno and house, before Fedde Le Grand and Martin Solveig took the party to the next level with some huge big-room anthems. All DJs were really well received, but the night was less about the music than it was about the experience and overall staging of the event which was a total sensory overload. We had a great time, and would like to thank the Smirnoff team for their awesome hospitality.
On a night out, it’s always nice to hear praise for the work we do here at Gotta Dance Dirty, and when that praise comes from a world renowned DJ it’s even more flattering and lets us know that we must be doing something right. Getting kudos for our blog from Martin Solveig was a surreal highlight on Saturday night when we caught up with him before his headline set. You can read our exclusive interview with him after the jump… Continue Reading
On Sunday we were treated to a fantastic gig from Moby as London’s month long iTunes Festival drew to a close. Camden’s Roundhouse was packed to the rafters with special guests and competition winners being treated to a really intimate show that lasted almost 2 hours. Moby ripped through a set that included hits ‘Natural Blues’, ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?’, ‘Honey’, and the mighty ‘Porcelain’, while also showcasing a handful tracks from his new Destroyed record such as ‘Be The One’, ‘Sevastopol’, and ‘Lie Down In Darkness’. If you haven’t already heard Destroyed, I think it’s his most impressive work since 2002’s 18 album and one of the best records I’ve heard this year.
Sunday proved not only that Moby’s one of the most prolific songwriters and electronic producers of our age, but also that unlike so many musicians, his live shows are even more monumental than his studio work – His band were really tight, and the female vocalist who joined him had a sensational voice. Overall a great gig to be at, and you can stream the whole thing for free from iTunes here.
Special thanks to the guys at Isklar for having us along.