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.
Aqua Matrix – Diagonal Lilac Font
This is what the new Blade Runner soundtrack should have sounded like. There’s nothing more befitting to its neo-futurism than this slow, power synth jam. Considering Vangelis’ original score is untouchable, and something urgently relevant and suitably retro was needed, this would have been perfect! Instead, they used the most boring play from the Hollywood Playbook, and got Hans Zzzzzzzzimmer. Anyway, this song is delicate, ethereal and super cool. Anything with those kind of chuggy italo synth lines is like catnip for me, and the slower the better. Italo is kinda like trance, in that when you slow it down it becomes a bit less cheesy and it forces you to take it a bit more seriously. Similarly, as the songs are usually very well produced, the musicianship really shines through when you slow it down and in this example, you can really pay attention to the different dynamics at work. The music video in this instance is almost as good as the song itself. I’m not even going to try to unravel what the hell it was about, but it’s pretty wicked and perfectly fits the retro-futuristic nature of this song. Big tip for a home listening session.
Frank Ocean – Moon River
Just like Midas, everything that Frank Ocean seems to touch turns to gold. The original song, a classic cut from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, is adequately charming, with achingly powerful strings and a folksy main riff. The vocals sound like something from an old Disney film, which makes it very nostalgic, but I feel that they let the overall song down somewhat. Enter Frank Ocean. A minimalist, stripped-back version of the original, it puts the sole focus on Frank’s vocal, with just the subtle electric guitar chords playing in tandem with him. It is a massive juxta-position from the original, but it feels far more intimate and immersive. Frank’s voice is also wonderful, as ever, and the crescendo of the song is just an absolute heart-melter. This is much more Blonde than it is Channel Orange, and it shows that Frank has perhaps taken a permanent step towards this realm of R&B (if that’s what you can even call his music). This confirms to me that he is still one of the freshest and most exciting talents out there. Simply gorgeous.
The Cover Girls – Show Me (Extended Version)
I’ve noticed that over the past year I have somewhat neglected the more disco-ey side of my music collection, and I thought that this should abruptly come to a halt. Although some of the production elements of this can be credited as electro, its glossy disco charm simply cannot be overlooked. Absolutely killer big vocals, a hugely catchy and accessible chorus and irresistibly danceable, it is almost hyperbolic in its enthusiasm. However, this is by no means a criticism, and on a dancefloor this translates into a huge wave of positive energy that would flood the room. Annoyingly, most of the copies of this are over in the U.S. so I’m struggling to find an affordable copy. Please hit me up if any of your weird uncles used to be soul-boys back in the 80’s, cause I’ll most likely want all of their records.
Orson Bramley – Then Again
DJ Paramedic and myself are playing for Unbound this weekend, in our first gig as their resident DJs. They are a super solid crew, and we’re expecting big things for the night. They’ve got man like Simo Cell gassing up the ting and the electro zulu that is Galaxian playing live. Considering the dude regularly rubs shoulders with electro royalty such as DJ Stingray and Beverley Hills 808303, this is a huge gig for us and we’re fully bringing the heaters. Expect to hear ya boi Dr. Blowfin playing this. Released quietly at the back end of last year, it combines Detroit-esque strings with a heavy-hitting electro beat and some quirky acid lines. I just love the start of the track, the clicky electronix feel so intimidating and ambiguous, and when the beat kicks in it will guarantee to cause absolute murkage to the rave. Pree the music video as well, it’s an absolute madness. It comes as no surprise that Orson Bramley is an alias of Transparent Sound, who was responsible for potentially the biggest electro tune of last year. I hope that he continues to utilise this alias to good effect because I’m an addict and I’m continually desperate for my next fix of electro this damn fine.
Traumprinz/DJ Metatron – Love (What That Feels Like)
In what was perhaps the best news of the last month, a mysterious ambient tune popped up on Soundcloud from Planet Uterus. To those that know, this would signal apoplectic excitement. Perhaps, the unspeakable has happened, and the Prince of Denmark was still alive… Just like Gatsby reaching out for the green light, it felt like an unattainable dream for more music from the Prince to appear, after he all but confirmed his retirement last year. Lo behold, Interior Renovations popped up and brought back all of those feels. Alongside my orgiastic excitement, I felt betrayed and hurt. How could you do that to us? How could you just disappear and then come back just like that? We’re human beings you know?!! While some of you may think I’m overreacting here a bit, I’m basically trying to say that Prince of Denmark/Traumprinz/DJ Metatron is simply one of the most remarkable producers of enigmatic, deeply emotional and wondrous electronic music there has ever been. His return to the scene should therefore be celebrated. What more (and evidence that PoD knows how to employ the hype machine), not long after he posted that song a mix appeared that was subliminally advertised as a Traumprinz b2b DJ Metatron set. Excuse me for a second while I turn to goo… While some have dismissed the mix as dull or a disappointment, I disagree. I thought there were a couple of outstanding tunes, this being my favourite. Considering the more overt emotions at play in this song and the breaks, this all but confirms that this is from his DJ Metatron alias. I’m not usually a fan of drum n bass, but this is just fantastic. The drum production is absolutely world class, as the breaks feel as clean and sharp as anything Objekt has ever produced (which is basically as big a superlative as I can give). The atmospherics are also great, perhaps not his best work in this regard but solid nonetheless. The vocal is also fairly effective, but again, not his best. However, this does not mean that I don’t love this song. I absolutely do. It has made me love a genre I have typically turned my nose up at, and it signals the return of one of the most mysterious and exciting producers in the game. The Prince has returned.