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Category: Music

Avicii – Stories, album review: ‘aims squarely for the Ibiza mainstream’

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Tim Bergling’s latest offering has an awkward heart underneath the whomping house beats

Avicii is Swedish whelp Tim Bergling, whose canny ear for a sample and irresistible feel for dancefloor dynamics have made him a superstar DJ in the league of David Guetta and Calvin Harris.

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He has made bluegrass house a thing and successfully reprogrammed Coldplay on Sky Full of Stars. And yet he affects a weary disdain for his $250,000-a-night Las Vegas stands and complains that electronic dance music has lost its soul. “I’m from a place where we never /openly show our emotion” he laments on the surprisingly brittle Somewhere in Stockholm.

Most of the tunes on his second album aim squarely for the Ibiza mainstream – oontz, oontz , oontz, etc – but still sound like they come from an awkward heart.

Broken Arrows allies a melancholy synth riff of the We Found Love school to a ballad by country superstars the Zac Brown Band; Touch Me feature a bassline so alive, you fear it will lurk under the sofa and jump out at you once the song ends; Sunset Jesus twinkles beguilingly. It’s been emotional, as they say when the lights go up.

MUSIC | Album of the week: Madtech 02 – Ibiza

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Artist: Kerri Chandler
Album: Madtech 02 – Ibiza
Label: Madtech
Release date: 11th May (Beatport) 24th May (general)


Madtech was founded by Kerri Chandler in 2012, ten years after he first launched Madhouse Records. Musically guided by the legend himself, the label prides itself on launching the careers of the hottest new artists on the house music scene. At the end of last year Madtech 01 was released, a compilation of some of the label’s best hits over the previous two years. After this success comes Madtech 02 – Ibiza, designed for the summer parties and released in May to coincide with the start of a new Ibiza season.

The compilation welcomes the likes of Josh Butler, Alexis Raphael, Leftwing & Kody, Cera Alba, Max Chapman, Celsius and Jonny Cade delivering exclusive content, as well as some promising up and comers early to boot; namely Black Girl/White Girl, Howson’s Groove, Simba and Cristoph – all packaged into a neat compilation with a cool exploding yellow and green paint cloud on the cover.

Whilst this very much a case of your typical four-to-the-floor house, some tracks are real standouts: Alexis Raphael’s Fire Burning is characteristic with its syncopated stabs and diva vocals set against a bouncing bass line and tones of a subtly blowing wooden wind chime in the background. Elsewhere, Christoph proves why he’s become a DFTD mainstay, with Don’t Go adding a touch of something deeper to this compilation – a deep, reverberating bassline coupled with the repeated refrain of ‘don’t go home baby’, whilst undoubtedly designed to reverberate out of the world’s best sound setups, has a touch of melancholy about it.

Obelisk by Black Girl/White Girl is a pleasant surprise – the up and coming duo from Tel Aviv and Amsterdam’s love for old-school Chicago sounds is reflected in a hard hitting bass line, almost industrial drums and a breakdown around the four minute mark featuring plenty of keyboard chords. Finally, Josh Butler’s Captivated is a real standout – it’s a slick production that shows just why he has so rapidly risen to become one of the UK’s most hyped house DJs. Part echoey Ibiza terrace hands-in-the-air moments, part grooving bassline and percussion, it’s the vocal that really shines through: the deal is cut for y’all to dance… the captivating Madtech manifesto.

Madtech 02 – Ibiza is effectively over two hours of straight-up unapologetically solid house grooves. There’s not much that’s quirky or unusual about it, but it showcases the label’s talents doing what they do best very well – a totally beach party-ready album.

WORDS | Miriam Johnson


Tracklist:

01 Human Life – Moment
02 Fabricio Peçanha – Push It
03 Holt Blackheath – The Snake Charmer
04 Bontan – Activated
05 Phil Gerus – Ain’t Nobody
06 Max Chapman – Inside
07 Alexis Raphael – Fire Burning
08 S. Jay – Wait A Minute
09 Third Son – Sirens
10 Jonny Cade Ft. Aisha Zoe – Save The Records
11 Simba – Haunted
12 Cristoph – Don’t Go
13 Leftwing, Kody & Cera Alba – Rupture
14 Samm & Fresque – Glitch
15 Luvstuff Ft. Nastaly – Feelings
16 Rich Wakley – Serendipity
17 Stefano Esposito & Timmy P – Fkin MIDI
18 Black Girl/White Girl – Obelisk
19 Ben Mono – Gamma
20 Josh Butler Ft. Marck Jamz – Captivate
21 Howson’s Groove – Hold Back
22 No Twin – Chatterbox
23 Waifs & Strays – Running Dat
24 Ten Story – Something Happens
25 Copy Paste Soul – Mistical
26 Celsius – Depletion

Philip George – Wish You Were Mine (Official Video)

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Single on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/PhilipGeorge
Remixes on iTunes: http://smarturl.it/philipgeorgermx

First discovered via SoundCloud, Philip George is the 21 year old British house DJ/producer who’s just been signed to leading independent label 3 Beat for the world, with his debut single, ‘Wish You Were Mine’, set for release in the US via a partnership deal with Motown (with Stevie Wonder’s blessing).

Currently playlisted at Radio 1, Kiss, Capital and beyond, ‘Wish You Were Mine’, is tipped to be the first UK No.1 of 2015, based on pre-order figures, Shazam data (No.1 on both the UK Top 100 and the Future Hits charts), over 1 million SoundCloud plays (currently hitting 80,000 plays per day) and over 1 million YouTube views.

Philip is part of the ‘SoundCloud generation’ of new artists who are discovered online and achieve global recognition within weeks. Hailing from Nottingham, he’s been obsessed by music since the age of 7, when he first learnt to play the piano and drums – a musical grounding that you can hear throughout his productions.

Like many, Philip’s love of house music stems from his first visit to Ibiza. An ‘epiphany’-filled trip with parties at DC10, Sankeys, Space and Amnesia, that, he says, “changed my life”. He returned home, stopped making drum & bass, and began making house to play in his DJ sets.

‘Wish You Were Mine’ cleverly uses a familiar vocal from Stevie Wonder – ‘My Cherie Amour’. Combined with Philip’s house bassline and melodies, the track immediately became popular, and quickly took on a life of its own via his SoundCloud, blogs and tastemaker YouTube channels.

3 Beat (home to Sigma, Fuse ODG, Stylo G), have signed George for the world, with a partnership deal for the single in North America via legendary label, Motown. The US interest came about after the label and Stevie Wonder became aware of ‘Wish You Were Mine’, subsequently gave him their mutual blessing, and have now offered him the keys to the Motown vaults for future productions.

Now with major support from traditional media, and a rapidly filling DJ schedule, Philip George is set to become one of 2015’s biggest electronic music stars.

#Album – #Music For Dreams #Copenhagen 2015

Artist: Various (selected and mixed by Kenneth Bager)
Album: Music For Dreams – Copenhagen 2015
Label: Music For Dreams
Released: 12/01/15

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Kenneth Bager has been producing, promoting and performing his distinctive brand of eclectic house music for several decades now and, with this latest instalment to his well-respected series, shows no signs of slowing down. The founder of the legendarily hedonistic Coma Club parties, in his home city of Copenhagen, and Music For Dreams label boss presents us with his latest compilation, and like the man himself, it’s fun, a little eccentric and well worth paying attention to.

As with all compilations, individual listeners will pick out their own personal highlights. In this case, a lot will depend on their mood as chilled tracks are accompanied by much more dance floor friendly cuts. However, a notable strand running throughout is Kenneth’s interest in different and eclectic instruments that make welcome appearances: saxophone solos, guitar strums, piano tinklings, even a Gallic-flavoured accordion all add a richness and variety that keep you engaged and looking forward to what’s coming up next. Repeated plays are warranted to pick up on something that may have been missed first time around.

Those who are familiar with Kenneth’s laid back, Balearic-bliss selections from his radio show on Ibiza Sonica may be a touch surprised at some of the tracks showcased here, for example, Serge Devant’s deep and dark remix of Hess is More’s Yes Boss. Whilst it’s a compilation, rather than a mix, there is a definite progression that takes the listener from the beach, in opener Total Blue by Bonnie & Klein, onto late-night dancefloors, climaxing with James Moor’s Spirits and back again to a delicate piano on closer Birdy by Troels Hammer. It’s ambitious certainly and perhaps a stretch at times as syncopated bongos and funky guitar licks are replaced quickly by big, rolling basslines and thumping kick drums.

Music For Dreams – Copenhagen 2015 is therefore a tricky one to nail down; if anything, it reflects those glorious sunsets at Café Mambo (who hosted Bager’s residency in 2013), where the descent of the sun beneath the horizon signals a prompt, breathless start to the evening’s festivities. It sits in that hinterland between bar and club, where the drinks are being poured and anticipation of the adventures ahead are being felt, and sometimes that is the best place to be.

Tracklist:

1. Bonnie & Klein – Total Blue
2. Bjarno – Factor 30
3. Emil Germ – Giv (Original Album Mix)
4. Coyote – Gitarra
5. Dj Pippi & Kenneth Bager – La Serenata (Sandro S Dub Mix)
6. The Kenneth Bager Experience – Premiere Classe (Beat Mix)
7. Jacob Gurevitsch – Lovers in Paris (Tonovi remix)
8. Mads Dalholt & Zimino feat Djek – Balearica
9. Tuccinelli – Tempo Libre
10.Peter Visti – Wanna Dance
11.Al Jawala – Go East – (Mads Dalholt & Zimino Remix)
12. Dj Mam – Sambarimbo (Deeplick Remix)
13. Landers & Dalholt – Zengo
14. James Moor – Spirits
15. Hess Is More – Yes Boss (Serge Devant Remix)
16. Laid Back – Fuck (The Kenneth Bager Experience Remix)
17. Valentin Huedo – Running On Grass
18. Lucci Capri – Kilimanjaro (New Mix)
19. N* Grandjean – The First Picture (RockNRolla Sound System )
20 – Troels Hammer – Birdy

WORDS | Andrew Fulker

Tunes from the pros

Throughout January music lovers have been treated to a sudden surge of new work from some of the most established industry giants in the biz. We give a short analysis of three such releases to see how the music lives up to the name.

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Paul McCartney, Kanye West and Rihanna – Four Five Seconds

Taking a direction that has surprised many (The Prodigy please take note), the unlikely trio of Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney has produced a subtle and simple acoustic pop song which finally gives Rihanna’s voice some room to breathe after several years of crowding out by over-production. It’s stripped back, honest and strangely satisfying to hear McCartney take the considerable talent of both these younger artists and steer them firmly away from lascivious lyrics and abrasive EDM hooks (sorry for sounding like my mother). Once the vocals have had their moment to shine, my attention drifts to the modestly evolving instrumental tracks beneath, expertly layered by McCartney with a few more unusual chord progressions and instrumentation (is McCartney fronting an organ come-back?) that in my opinion save the piece from the fate prescribed by one Pop Justice reviewer of sounding “like track 9 on a Pink album”, heaven forbid. Let’s just be thankful West didn’t spill his supersized cup of autotune all over the track like he did on his McCartney collaboration Only One. Yeesh, Yeezus, what were you thinking?


Giorgio Moroder and Kylie Minogue – Right Here Right Now

Though I absolutely love the title and its originator, I fear Giorgio Moroder’s forthcoming album ’74 Is The New 24′ may disappoint. The two singles revealed so far are expertly produced, fun, pop songs with a gurgling, analogue synth grind that acts as a Moroder signature. But in both cases the melodies and chord progressions seem to only graze the surface, lacking the depth or hook that makes a classic. Even as I write I listen to Kylie Minogue’s shiny treble in the chorus and realise it will probably work for many, but for me the step-touch, step-touch up the Major scale of “right here, right now” is all cheese. I’m in no way adverse to sparkly pop music, but with echoes of Kylie’s ancient collaboration with Nick Cave in my ear, I kind of expected a Minogue/Moroder alliance to be, well, cooler.


The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy

Gutsy thudding and a low growl opens The Day Is My Enemy with promise; the sultry female vocal hook intrigues, and even the hit, though familiar, is deliciously meaty. But as the track rolls on, and raspy squawks of ‘get down’ reveal themselves to be the extent of the lyrical prowess, one wonders what it is The Prodigy are actually shouting about this time. The time has come and gone for The Prodigy to evolve, and put their considerable musical talent and subversive sentiments into a project with a new sound. No one is asking for a predictable ‘I’ve mellowed with age’ album but, after The Prodigy has spent the last five years touring excessively, we desperately need something different. If you like The Prodigy, you’ll like The Day Is My Enemy, but if you love The Prodigy, you’ll feel that it’s missing soul.

MUSIC – Album of the week: Nina Kraviz ‘DJ KICKS’

By Ibiza Spotlight

Artist: Various (selected and mixed by Nina Kraviz)
Album: DJ-Kicks Nina Kraviz
Label: !K7
Released: 26/01/15

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First off, an admission: I was sceptical as to how Kraviz’s late-night/early-morning techno would work when listened to on headphones rather than a booming Funktion 1. Her sets are deep and layered; they undulate smoothly and carefully and invite clubbers to get lost in their depths as bleeps and beats emerge from the void then graually disappear again. With all the right elements in place and working this can be a very hypnotic, trippy experience and a real treat lately with Kraviz hitting a rich vein of form in the last 12 months or so. Well, her form continues, as my misgivings as to how this would sound at home quickly proved to be unfounded.

This mix must be listened to in one go to be appreciated; the individual tracks complement and speak to each other effectively and reveal themselves thoughtfully. In fact, thoughtfulness is evident throughout, as is Kraviz’s assured confidence in the mix. Snippets of tracks appear fleetingly to help transition between the longer players – case in point the beautifully subtle movement from the underwater alarms of Area’s Broken Glass Everywhere, through Prototype 909’s Atma, to the haunting David Bowie vocals (oh yes!) of Goldie’s Truth.

This means that the at-first-glance daunting 29 tracks are condensed into just over an hour but also makes it difficult to pick out highlights as individual tunes rarely stand alone (a definite bonus that makes the listener appreciate the mix as a single piece of work rather than just a beatmatched series of tracks in a similar genre). There are standouts moments though, the giddiness of Freak Electrique’s Parsec and the haunting fragility of Polygon Window’s Quino-Phec offer exciting changes of pace and mood in the mix whilst remaining true to it as a whole.

This isn’t just one for the DJ Kicks completists (of whom there’ll be many) or Kraviz die-hards. It’s a powerful, at times bewitching trip down into the icy depths of techno and another chapter in the inexorable rise and rise of one of dance music’s most original minds.

WORDS | Andrew Fulker


Tracklist:

01. Egotrip – Dreamworld (Acapella)
02. Nina Kraviz – Mystery (DJ-Kicks)
03. Area – Broken Glass Everywhere
04. Prototype 909 – Atma
05. Goldie – Truth
06. Bjarki – Revolution
07. Nina Kraviz – IMPRV
08. Bjarki – Polygon Pink Toast
09. Population One – Bonus Beat
Flatner / Ingram Project – Da Comin’ (Jay Denham RMX) Acapella
Parrish Smith – 1.0 / 8.0 Afrika Genocide Acapella
10. Breaker 1 2 – In The Distance
11. Steve Stoll – Pop Song
12. Bradley Strider – Untitled
13. Stanislav Tolkachev – I Will Not Pee In The Pool
14. Armando – Pleasure Dome
15. Nina Kraviz – Prozimokompleme
16. Baby Ford – 24 HR
17. Fred P – Higher Mentalism (edit)
18. Exos – Nuclear Red Guard
19. Steve Stoll – Corona
20. Freak Electrique – Parsec
21. Population One – Out Of Control (Vocal Mix)
22. Exos & Octal – Grow
23. Porn Sword Tobacco & SVN – Complaints A
24. Plaid – Oi
25. DJ Bone – The Vibe
26. Adam Beyer pres Conceiled Project – Pattern 1
27. Polygon Window – Quino-Phec
28. Nikita Zabelin feat. dBridge – So Lonely
29. Rhizome – Corridor

Steve Aoki To Start Producing Deep House Music Under New Name

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Steve Aoki is known for his big club anthems and throwing cake on his fans, but it appears he will be trying out a new style in an upcoming project. He revealed to MixMag that he has started working on deep house tracks, though he won’t be releasing them under his own name.

He told them he became inspired to move into house music after playing Cafe Mambo in Ibiza this summer.

“That kind of environment, the banging stuff just doesn’t work, so I was playing house: Maceo PlexTen WallsTiga‘s collaborations, Duke Dumont and some more underground stuff,” he explained. “I won’t release it under Steve Aoki, it’ll be under another name. I don’t want to confuse people who associate me with my usual sound, and I want it to be judged on its own merits. We’ll see how it does.”

Under his own name, Aoki recently released Neon Future 1, the first part of his two-part album, via Ultra Music/Dim Mak. It is the DJ/producer’s second studio album. The second part of the album is scheduled to drop in the winter of 2015. Part one contains more party-themed/club-style songs while part two is said to have a darker, more emotional vibe.

In an interview with Billboard, Aoki described what the phrase “Neon Future” means for him.

Neon Future is, in short, a positive outlook on human progress and technology, looking forward to a bright, colorful utopia,” he explained. “It’s embracing the future, and looking toward the future in a more optimistic way. I like looking at a future where we’re expanding our creativity and brightening our lives. I believe that eventually we’ll get to a point where we’ll be able to live indefinitely through our technology. That concept of futurism is underlying the full process of the album.”

Would you like to see deep house from Aoki? Sound off in the comments section below!

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