This is an overview of the music that the 909 crew are feeling this month. Not focused on new releases, it serves as an insight to our musical journeys and the discoveries we make on the way.
DJ Guy – Metal XR 993 Side B Trk2
In some ways, this song is a bit all over the place. It combines oddball ambient droplets, dreamy atmospherics, some old school rave spirit and a flute (!!). But somehow, it just works. If I try to dissect it, I would argue that the rave spirit works because it is authentic, and this is because this song was made in the 1990s. My research skills cannot confirm what exact year but if you put a gun to my head I would say 1992, which was the time when the Hacienda reigned supreme and rave music was the heighth of fashion. This song channels that spirit and provides a solid backbone for this song to build upon. The flute I have less of an explanation for, but it sounds really cool and melancholic and adds an interesting dimension to the song. Is it meant to be happy, or sad? It’s almost impossible to place, and that conflict makes it intriguing. Then, there is that bassline, which is excellent and most probably the highlight of this song. Again, it is a bassline that you typically would never see matched with a breakbeat (albeit a very lukewarm one), but here it seems natural and flowing. The cherry on the cake is obviously that vocal sample, which encapsulates the rave spirit perhaps better than anything else in this song. It is a difficult song to compartmentalise, because it doesn’t really have enough energy for the club, yet it isn’t really listening music. It could work at somewhere like Brilliant Corners when it gets vibing, but equally the bassline could come across as too aggressive for those mellow atmospheres. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter if you can’t put something in a box. All that matters is that this is definitely touching brilliance, and it deserves to be heard and appreciated.
Reptant – Lizard Theme
This has probably been the song I’ve had on rotation the most this month, and it has been a very enjoyable love affair. I feel like if you know me, you would know that this absolutely pongs of something I would love. As I’ve no doubt mentioned dozens of times, I’m a sucker for a glossy, cheesy melody, and especially when it’s combined with a gritty 4×4 or electro beat. Well, here you have Exhibit A. I really rate that this was released on Craigie Knowes, as I didn’t think they focused on anything beyond their raw, aggressive electro, and it instantly showed a range that complemented the energy and attitude that it is known for. There’s nothing wrong with being typecast, but diversification is always welcomed in my view, and this has paid off here in my opinion as this is the best thing that they have released. That melody is so beautiful, and the key is its simplicity. All it is is an 8 bar loop, but it really sinks its hooks into you and drags you on its journey. It is so shamelessly optimistic and euphoric that you can’t help but love it. I’m going to play it at Griessmuehle next week and see what the Germans think about it. They will either be putting their arms round their mates’ shoulders and telling them how much they mean to them or they will throw tomatoes at me. There’s no in between, but that’s the risk I’m willing to take with this song because I have that much faith in it.
Nemo Vachez – Autopilot
I’m a little bit triggered that I can’t actually use this, as it’s still unreleased, but it came across my radar and it was an instant obsession because it’s just SO GOOD! Does Nemo Vachez not know the pain and anguish he is causing by dangling the carrot so close to my face without me being able to take a bite?! The cheek. Maybe I’m getting a little bit excited, but as they say you always want what you can’t have, and I’ve been dreaming of how effective a dancefloor steamer this would be. The 8 bar melody line is so perfectly built for parties it’s a joke. It seems destined for Ibiza terraces, dingy basements and everything in between. The curious and slightly menacing synths that intersect these sections are also really cool, and give me serious Nicolas Lutz vibes. It has that wedginess that he seems to love in his (dare I say it…!) tech housey sound that he occasionally draws upon. Kudos to DJ Paramedic for finding this, and my message to Nemo Vachez is simple, HURRY UP AND RELEASE THIS MONSTER.
Placid Angles – Earth And Everything
I’m trying to commit to featuring some more of the 160+ music that I’m listening to more and more nowadays. I can definitely see the scene moving in this direction. 2 or 3 years ago electro was king, but now the ability to seamlessly flit from techno, electro and breaks to jungle and IDM is the norm, and dare I say it is almost expected now. It probably started with Objekt and Ben UFO, but now when you look at who’s absolutely slaying at the moment (think Roza Terenzi, upsammy, CCL etc.) they are all playing these genres alongside your traditional breaks and techno. It is probably quite important to clarify that I am not simply trying to jump onto the next hypewave of music, but rather that I am only beginning to be exposed to the variety of music that these genres have to offer… as well as being surrounded by friends who are absolutely addicted to drum n bass and jungle. This is probably too mellow for some and is far too euphoric for any heads down rave, but I think this song is excellent. It’s sort of drum n bass with stabilisers on I know, but then I guess that’s where I’m at right now. Not sure if I’m quite ready for the wrath of Bassman’s finger just yet… But until then, this is the sort of thing you’ll find me jamming to. A lovely vocal, atmospherics that tug the heartstrings and an organic drum beat. It’s all very pure and proper, and forms part of a rather beautiful album by Placid Angles aka John Beltran. An impressive array of different moods, speeds and genres on display, and this probably isn’t even the best song off the album. If that’s not enough to provoke your curiosity then I don’t know what is.
Four Tet – Dreamer
I actually pondered for a while about whether to include this. In some ways, it seemed a little bit easy. Four Tet has an air of predictability about his music in that you just know it’s going to be great and that it will be accessible to a wider variety of people than most electronic music ever will. But, this still hits home particularly hard. Even with this cynical mindset I was floored by its quality, by the purity of its innocence and by how it so cleverly entwines a dizzying array of different components into such an expertly delivered outcome. It is almost surgical in its precision, and this is why this song works. It marries cloying emotion with subtlety by having quite blatantly euphoric chords masked by complex melodic patterns, which makes the song seem more intelligent and less kitsch. I think the real reason I hesitated over choosing this song is that it was made by Four Tet. If it was anyone else there would be no question that this would be the highlight of my month, but because of the name I thought twice. Well, I made the decision to choose what I truly felt were the best songs I heard this month, and this is absolutely one of them. It might seem an obvious choice but every time I’ve listened to it, it has brightened up my day and I cannot ignore that. Also, it’s a great excuse to use this rather wonderful artwork…