Here is the page presenting all of my reviews on various musical works for RelentlessBeats.com:
Snow Tha Product: A Strong-Willed Rapper’s Worldview Through Biting Lyrics
Do you need us to “Snow Tha Product?” Meet Claudia Alexandra Madriz Meza, AKA Snow Tha Product. Over the last few years, she has solidified herself as a rhyme-spitting, no-nonsense verb slinger who takes no prisoners along the way. Before her landmark show at the Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff on November 17, and again at Goldrush 2017 we are going to take a look at the historically short-but-pertinent catalog ‘Snow’ has accumulated for herself.
Although we mentioned her catalog is short, it can only be viewed that way at first glance. Just like street rappers of the past and signed artists of the present, Snow only has one full-length LP, but a slew of mixtapes to look back on her progression as an artist. Ten years ago, Snow debuted with Verbal Assault Vol. 1 and the effects on the music industry have never been the same. While some international artists do go between English and their native language, Snow Tha Product seamlessly weaves through both languages in her verses like nobody’s business.
Snow Tha Product – Gimme Sum (2007)
One of the tracks found on her first mixtape follows the trends of early gangsta rap, and her attitude is definitely derived from that era. Although now she follows styles similar to the production style of Future, her roots have clearly not softened along the way.
Snow Tha Product – Waste of Time (Official Music Video)
When listening to one of her newest tracks, “Waste of Time,” it’s obvious her lyrical style has become less about making a reputation, and more about focusing on personal aspects. Letting her shortcomings as a human shine, she takes part in a music video which displays the vulnerability of dating in the 21st century. Through her lyrics, you the walls of her performance tumble down as she divulges into some emotional diatribes.
Both of these musical examples show the true hustle she is bringing to the rap game. Just like the rise of other artists who began on the mixtape circuit, it should be only a matter of time when she claws her way into the mainstream and changes the game forever.
Listen to Apollo’s Debut LP ‘Skydive’
Skydive is the latest banger in the catalog of the Vancouver-based multi-instrumentalist, Apollo. This new full-length album is the first LP to come from the chops of Josel Jasper, AKA Apollo. From working in the industry as an event organizer in Toronto and opening for the likes of Hot Chip, Darius, Pomo, and both 2015 and 2016 Vancouver New Year’s Eve, Apollo built his brand from the ground up to the multi-genre music he makes today.
Skydive is a practice in experimentation; Apollo utilized production techniques from not only house, but sci-fi esque elements, trance, and funk. While most artists draw inspiration from specific artists and genres, Apollo presents to us a space-like implosion which somehow developed into a fantastic first-out-of-the-gate LP.
While most artists have to find their sound, tracks like “Arrival” and the title track bring the listener into his electro world. FYE even contains a little bit of Hip-Hop influence mixed in, which could satisfy trap fans just as much as it satisfies trance fans.
For a first-time full-length album, Apollo transcends the industry by not exposing his talent as a way of overconfidence but displays his production in a way that explores unique melodies without any hint of pretension.
Put on your headphones, put on your seatbelt, and prepare yourself for one of the most sobered hallucinogenic tunes out on the market.
Album Review: First Landing – Moon Boots
First Landing is an objective piece of work his fans have been waiting for. Moon Boots had always been known for banging club beats and unconventional production stylings, but his first full-length album is a true testament which matches his ability to craft his sound.
Listening to his entire catalog will always bring alternate moods arriving from his diverse musical background, but First Landing proves itself to be the culmination of club, minor disco elements, and cooing vocals from a slew of features.
Starting with the muted melancholy track “Fortune Teller,” Moon Boots meshes what seems like a hip hop beat with a simple melody crooned by guest vocalist, King Kona. Much of the album follows the format of electronic innovation through the tapping of the offbeat.
Unlike artists who rely on the trend of using organic natural sounds, tracks like Keep the Faith and Never Get To You blur the lines between reality and fantasy. Gone are the usual 2017 trend elements of household sounds, and back are the traditional pieces of the puzzle which brought our love of house back in the first place.
Whether it was intended or not, the latter part of the album finds itself presenting darker moods than the beginning half. In each percussion element and synth, the labor of love can be felt all throughout the album. Noting the complexity of simple beats, most tracks will deceive you with the seemingly simple beats, only to bloom into a bouquet of mixed influences.
Moon Boots’ first full-length album is a treat for any fan looking to satiate their palate with some good ole’ fashioned house with an M. Night Shyamalan twist. First Landing is a wake-up call, telling the house genre to get out of bed and begin making great music again.
Check Out Cashmere Cat’s New Video For 9 (After Coachella)
Cashmere Cat has entered the industry as a saving grace to those who like our electronic production elements a little weirder than usual. With his anticipated debut, Magnus August Høiberg is bringing not only unconventional sounds to the industry but features drops that almost make our ears burn with joy to display how much our “normie” ears aren’t accustomed to such musical diversity. Although we have gotten to know Cashmere pretty well as an outlier in an industry of sound-alikes, his audience has morphed from those who experienced his style on Wolves, by Kanye West, which he explains as music for people who like to sit in their rooms and vibe out to the music.
There’s no question that much of this industry that we exist in bases itself around live performances, and while live performances are indeed vital to Cashmere Cat’s career as well as a slew of other producer/DJ types, Cashmere Cat’s new album, 9, seeks to combine mainstream figures we know and throw a wrench in the gears by hiding surprises around every metaphorical corner. Today, we are taking a look at the recently released music video for 9 (After Coachella).
Cashmere Cat – 9 (After Coachella) ft. MØ, SOPHIE
Now, we all know that music videos haven’t turned a profit since the advent of Youtube, but we do know that many artists in the electronic genre are still churning out visual aides for their sick beats at every turn. Cashmere Cat brings his song to life by splicing together clips from his personal life, as well as his professional. With the intro and storyline following the most honest video his coffers could offer, Magnus splices together Super-8-esque cuts of him that reminisce to the days of film, while including the customary crowd-and-singer shots from our friend, MØ.
What separates Cashmere Cat from his contemporaries is more than just his odd production style, but his aim to change the image of what makes a DJ. We can already name a few DJs who have used their hetero-normative frat-boy status to launch them into party culture, but Cashmere Cat stands for all the introverts in this world who enjoy electronic music just as much as our partners-in-crime who go to every show. From what we can muster, this music video was a complete act of love and shows that while Cashmere is serious about his image and his career, his lack of pretension helps the listener absorb his good-time vibes that don’t always have to reflect a crowded club-dancefloor. This video also reflects heavily on Cashmere building his image as someone that you could possibly have a drink with after his set, instead of a character who would intimidate his audience musically.
A Woman and A Robot Fall in Love with Keys N Krates Latest “Love Again”
Although we have witnessed robots and other automatons gain sentience in various films like 2008’s WALL E, as well as dating back to 1927’s feature film, Metropolis, but somehow the world of Sci-FI took a longer time to reach the world of EDM. While of course we have been treated with various technological marvels and visuals that push the limits of what we can do on a physical stage, the sometimes-too-geeky-for-us Sci-Fi fans as well as the rave community truly haven’t found a middle ground until now; a peculiar topic has arisen in the form of a music video by Keys N Krates. Among the rippling synths and trap-esque progressions that would expect Danny Brown to come out of the woodwork instead of what transpires, leads us into a much darker story that follows the Greek tragedy of a homeless woman who falls in love with a robot. You might be thinking of a film with a similar moniker or storyline, but Keys N Krates portrays the story in a way which hasn’t yet been covered until the moral enigmas presented in Sci Fi TV shows like West World.
Keys N Krates’ music video entitled “Love Again” featuring Ouici presents itself in the mold of a homeless woman finding a robot who brings her riches, a friend and confidante, and more importantly, a close lover. Although we see the robot meander around like Iron Man and engage in very small interactions, the interaction lies more in the woman’s reaction to the robot in which the then-formally-homeless woman then paints onto the robot herself, which is a simple camera as its head. Beyond that, the storyline moves itself forward by presenting the adversity of the woman dating a robot, and those around her who disapprove and belittle her efforts in leading a productive life.
Keys N Krates “Love Again (feat. Ouici)”
We cannot ignore the fact that this is a potentially breath-taking melody. Just like the perfect medium between dirty beats and fluid house synth-action, but the message of the music video holds up just as strong as the composition itself. It begs us to ask the question: at what point does love between a robot and a human become legitimate, and at what point does the robot also begin to feel sentience? While the robot’s actions are very mundane and rather choppy compared to what we view as the future, you witness the robot learn over the short course of the music video, and almost feel hints of pity for the woman, and itself.
The video hits its pinnacle when at the end, we see another Woody Allen-esque twist as we see the robot slowly die and reach its product expiration date, and the scene slowly fades out as she faints and becomes slightly humorous when you first view. The last scene in which we witness comic relief truly does not account for the rest of the video: Keys N Krates not only present a sick tune with as much Trap as the average listener would need, but also presents a truly introspective experience on what we may experience with “robot” love in future events. Never before has our science-fiction future seemed so close, and “Love Again” by Keys N Krates only cements that notion.
Adventure Club’s Debut Full-Length Album Denotes Division but Preaches Synchronicity
With all the hubub around new album releases coming this December, Adventure Club is also debuted their new album with a legion of EDM superfriends. With simply listening to the introductory song, “Without You” (featuring the very charismatic Hunter Siegel) that throws high-pitched synth mixed with older-sounding autotune that delivers — again — a grit we have been missing in the house department. Now, before you get on our case, you genre-name-dropping crazy should know that I do not mistake my ears when I mention the house influences that reflect on their album. While it does have a foundation of house, one of the singles, “Dreams” (With ELEA) features a more ambient dreamscape that parties just as hard as it calms you down.
For those who might not be completely familiar with the work of Adventure Club, this might be an album your hard dubstep friends wouldn’t get along with. Instead of gritty, electronic soundboard elements, we are treated to a feather-light electric symphony that eases some of the “harder” tunes we heard over the summer. Take a listen to Adventure Club’s Firestorm (With Sara Diamond) and pull up a hammock for one of the most aesthetically pleasing winter albums of 2016. Now, although our two Canadian counterparts haven’t been around as long as others, you may remember them from their earlier-released E.P., “Calling All Heroes.” We did joke earlier that your dubstep friends wouldn’t like this, but to be quite frank, this album is a completely standalone effort on terms of production. The sleek and clean tracks like Limitless contradict the dirtier sounds found on “Ghosts.”
- Without You Featuring Hunter Siegel
- Dreams Featuring ELEA
- Firestorm Featuring Sara Diamond
- Forever Featuring Ben Stevenson
- Limitless Featuring Delaney Jane
- Breathe Featuring Sondar
- Reaction Featuring Leah Culver
- Crash 2.0 (Adventure Club vs. DallasK)
- Save Me With Terravita
- Fade Featuring Zak Waters
The year of 2016 has been such a prolific time in dance and music in general that we sometimes want to latch on to one thing at a time. By doing that, you’d one of the most fascinating albums of December, 2016 as well. Adventure Club’s Red // Blue denotes division in the title, but preaches nothing but synchronicity in its lyrics and production style. Although their production credits may be smaller than others’, Red // Blue is putting them on the map and sounds like they took ten years to make this sexy piece. Take a chance, and definitely pick up a copy of Red // Blue, because the trance and ambient elements so masterfully crafted are the perfect antithesis to some of the “dirtier” trap and dubstep tracks out there. With most albums in the realm of EDM, you do face the issues of continuity, but Red // Blue with Adventure Club shines through as cohesive as ever. It can be sometimes be naturally overwhelming when looking at the tracklist, and seeing so many guest-artists giving their fill, but it is clear that Adventure Club had no issue letting these artists know the direction they wanted to drive the album. If there were any creative differences, none are apparent on tracks like “Reaction,” “Save Me,” and the slew of other album tracks featured with guests who have yet to make a solid name for themselves.
Sam Feldt’s New Mixtape Brings Out Insanity To Deep House
Something cold came at the beginning of this month besides the weather, and we believe the forecast might be coming from the Netherlands — specifically, the sick and “ice cold” mixtape released earlier in the month titled “Droomvlucht,” by the diverse deep-house producer, Sam Feldt. Regardless of title that escapes westernization. The title, which means “Dreamflight,” not only invites us to the surreal landscape that lives in the mind of Feldt, but pulls out all the stops in making it not only a satisfying house experience, but one that tells a diverse story through the use of some solid work behind the boards that exceeds the genre.
Throughout the intro, ambient sounds are combined with soulful vocals, as Sam Feldt manages to cram all of the most relevant Calvin Harris-esque production values, while maintaining a sense of solidarity. When listening to Droomvlucht, it is fascinating to note that the global influences that are combined within the seamless mixtape remove any notion that it is combined with continental sounds. Take heed, readers, for you aren’t going to find many tribal sounds that have been popular in all realms of house, but sounds that inspire a “Jungle Boogie” throwback that hasn’t left our systems since Kool & The Gang came onto the scene.
Yes, we hear your pain, trap fans: this is not a trap album, nor this is a “back to basics” album of deep house. This is what house should have been the entire time: not a stagnant collection of sounds, but a reinvention of sorts that is revolutionizing what we know as the genre. Sam Feldt’s new mixtape has just enough qualities to please a new listener, and also pulling in the old-school peeps by providing enough straight-out-of-the-package sounds that doesn’t make it sound like a 2008 Timbaland album.
Throughout the mixtape, you are going to hear an opera of house that does not follow “en suite” the trends other producers are trying to reinforce, but by using the tools he already has to make something better. It is sometimes a frightening event when an artist wants to revolutionize the genre, because birds of a feather, flock together; in Sam’s case, he is taking this revolution step by step, and Droomvlucht is an example of that dedication to the progress of what we know as deep house.
Progressive Past: Looking Back At BT’s ‘These Hopeful Machines’
To mention even a sliver of BT’s career could be dangerous to anyone’s journalistic integrity: in order to even mention a percentage of what he has done would require a complete authorized non-fiction biography that could go over his entire discography involving film scores, video game soundtracks, compilations, extended plays, and numerous studio albums containing diverse production with the “BT” stamp of approval. Unlike many artists on wikipedia, he even has a separate discography page because his original article could not contain it all. In honor of his show on August 13th at Monarch Theater in Phoenix, we will be taking a look at one of his most cohesive pieces of work, the Grammy-winning These Hopeful Machines. As the All-Music publication review states, the album is not meant to convert the non-believers, but is focused on “rewarding” the faithful for their dedication. These Hopeful Machines possesses forward-thinking elements that were unprecedented in dance in 2010; during this time, ‘EDM’ was just becoming an umbrella term and entering the mainstream, while house was trying to sanctify its connection and hash it all out with old-school techno.
What we hear on These Hopeful Machines is indeed someone who surpassed their genre with clever production values that could get cozy with the year of 2016 than many popular artists who were attempting the same elements currently, and in the past. “But RB, what about the lyrics?” Let’s not kid ourselves: dance music has truly never been completely reliant on possessing heart-wrenching lyrics from its originators, and relying on what makes those lyrics fit into the sound of the production. You are correct, hypothetical reader! You will find some lyrics that might not be Shakespeare, but what truly makes THM a masterpiece, is the careful attention paid to the inclusion of trance mixed with house, that makes it honestly, progressive.
These Hopeful Machines (Full Continous Mix)
There are some tracks like “Forget Me,” which almost appear out of nowhere, combining an intro-guitar riff that gives it a modern, sophisticated pop vibe than anything else. The male vocals contributed almost reflect a Jared Leto type of vibration that almost would seem out of place in something with any less maturity. What makes this album polarizing, isn’t certainly the genres being explored on paper, but the final product to what the album would become. These Hopeful Machines could be best described as “adult contemporary dance music.” Take away the blaring synths, the coo-ing vocals, and the genre similarities, and with that, we are presented with a very musically mature artwork that will please older music-goers with complicated riffs and a musical growth that was definitely unprecedented in an environment where sounds get old a little too fast. Be sure to catch BT on August 13th, 2016, at Monarch Theater. BT, or be square!
Ross Mintzer & Adessi Debut Strange-tastic Music Video for “Breathe”
What happens when the stereotypes of EDM music videos are thrown aside? Well, Adessiand Ross Mintzer happen. Since 2007, the cash flow that has been fed into artists featured on a label, as well as the events themselves have doubled up to the current year of 2016. Statistics are not necessary to display how the community has grown into something bigger, but even my own writing position at Relentless Beats is an example of the supply-and-demand concept as readers/listeners alike want more content. Who and what are we to fill with that creative vacuum of power that has opened the doors to smaller artists and veterans of the genre alike? Well, with bad-ass music videos of course.
The history of the music video predates the current incarnation of the house genre, but artists like Ross Mintzer and Adessi are leading the charge in not only quality music, but are dipping their creative paws in creating a music video that psychedelically challenges the mind as well as our ears. Fear not, that is not to say the output of EDM music videos have been slacking, for we have had various examples of artists who have formed their reputation on also having sick visuals; what separates these New England guys from their teammates and counterparts? Well, check out the video for yourself:
Ross Mintzer – Breathe (ft. Adessi)
Director Aiman Hassani calibrates the music and his use of Dutch actors, Max van der Toolen, Antoinette Hoogendijk, and (the dog) Cameron Burgemeestre van Panhuys to create a visual journey that is just as unsettling as it is exciting. Using visuals that prey on our weakest senses of sensuality as well as the “gross-out” factor, Hassani accesses visuals like overflowing liquids, pained facial expressions, and a slew of disconnected clips and movements that come together to speak on human instinct. The seemingly random clips thrown in give a vibe that Hassani wanted to speak below the pretense and highlight the lack of vocals, and provide a visual semblance, that upon closer inspection, everything you thought to be true, made sense; even the scene of Max van der Toolen sniffing a sneaker with his snide expression seem to push the limits of our inner comfort as he also licks the sole.
Musically, Ross Mintzer and Adessi do not disappoint; unlike the Scott Isbell/Adessi collab, Adessi shares the production reins with Ross to create a blend of Kenny-G brass mixed with the culmination of a sick drop that fades in and out of your subwoofer. Although the piece is indeed short clocking in at 3:04, the “soundalike” syndrome we find in some brands of house does not suffer the same fate in “Breathe.” There almost seems to be no colliding artistic factors on the track, for the blending of Adessi’s more progressive melodic style is expounded upon with Ross Mintzer’s use of odd instrumentation choices with some Middle Eastern and brassy sounds scattered about the track.
Check out the visual spectacle that is Ross Mintzer and Adessi’s “Breathe,” and if you happen to get a little queasy, you reminded Aiman Hassani that he did his job.
Above & Beyond Strips Down For Avant Garde “Acoustic II”
Above & Beyond, as a group that identifies themselves as “progressive trance,” have been quietly transcending the scene without anybody’s notice. While we were preoccupied with sub-genres like trap, drum and bass, as well as chasing the next “hard” drop like it’s a high our life has depended on, Above and Beyond have been hard at work for years and building the legacy behind their genre that has become relatively quiet on the mainstream front due to the frenzy of “harder” sounds that have been trademarking the last few years. Do not misinterpret, because trance is far from dead: it is a genre tied to the ubiquitous term, EDM, that has survived its transformations since the 1990s. Even in the “harder” compositions of music in the genre, artists are still including elements of the trance genre into their modern sounds whether they realize it or not.
“Acoustic II” comes at a pivotal time for our brothers-in-trance, for when an artist looks to fully experiment with a genre that has not been tapped into themselves, it is always an exciting time for fans and onlookers to view them as they mix a culmination into everything they know, into a territory not fully explored. Yes, we have had artists likeDido who have incorporated trance into their music in the early 2000s, but Above and Beyond are attempting a piece that is not only modern, but melodically innovative at best. As their “About” page reads, “Where do you go after you sell 12,000 tickets in Sydney in one day, 12,000 tickets in Amsterdam on another day and raise over £200,000 for charity at a sold-out Wembley Arena show? After you’ve headlined stages at festivals everywhere, from Glastonbury to Creamfields, from Electric Daisy Carnival to Pukkelpop to Lollapalooza?”
The only way to go from there is back to basics: Acoustic II is the follow-up for the 2015 release, “We Are All We Need,” which presented itself as a fantastic return to form after 2011’s Group Therapy. Acoustic II is in no way the first entrance into a more organic sound, or even acoustic, but what it does present itself as a deeper revamp of some of the former’s tracks as well as reworking new compositions to present something more heartfelt.
Acoustic II is another piece of work that would be hard to pinpoint certain tracks that make the album: this is in no way an “electronic free” album, for Above and Beyond still makes great use of synths, but in ways that present the tracks in ballad form opposed to more upbeat tracks.
Above & Beyond – ‘On My Way To Heaven’ feat. Richard Bedford
“On My Way To Heaven” is another track off of an earlier album that is reworked with orchestral elements reminiscent of non-trance elements like Elton John, or dare I say,Diana Krall. Although slower tunes are presented, don’t judge a book by its cover, because this level of sophistication isn’t attempting to mimic your parent’s record collection; Acoustic II is a 00s retrospective effort that stretches beyond the trance genre to use their knowledge of musical composition to reinvent the tracks they have already made. It is an ode to the instruments that came before soundboards, synthesizers, and artificial percussion: Above and Beyond’s Acoustic II is an example to how far the electronic genre has come, and a shining example of the sophistication behind the switch boards.
Sources: Above and Beyond
Irish DJ Sh*t Robot Releases Third Sh*t-Proof Full-Length Album
Career ups and downs are relatively prolific in the limelight, but what is to say about those gems you find scouring the internet that have been making quality music for a few years, but they managed to stay under your radar? Shit Robot is a DJ/Producer straight from the Emerald Isle who has been continually revitalizing techno beats into original house music, and while he did gain fame by meeting with and befriending James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, he later moved to rural Germany to chase after and foster his ability to make sick beats. Not to mention, the name Shit Robot gets your attention by just being freakin’ hilarious.
Although he has released two full-length albums in the last few years, 2016’s “What Follows” counts the first time Shit Robot has been featured in the Itunes New Artists section this month, as well as gaining serious traction in both the United States and Europe with the boom of the genre. The opening track “In Love” takes a Donna Summer-esque turn in which a bassline similar to “I Feel Love” is behind a modulated stream of vocals fading in and out, all backed by diverse percussion interludes. “What Follows” indeed follows en suite as the album is dominated by eight other techno-smashing tracks that bring a genre born out of the past into the limelight again under the guise of house elements.
Shit Robot is an enigma, for the beats he presents gives you the impression that he has been in the limelight more than others, and while he has spent what seems like a good time in rural Germany, that did not stop him from putting his ear up to the stereo and keeping an eye out for what is hot and what is not. “What Follows” acts as the perfect bridge between old and new as very familiar techno beats face a revitalization in a genre where creativity is booming.
“Lose Control” is another highlight of a track that features a 90s-esque vocal line that complements the backbeat and is one of the trademark tracks of the album that dictates the direction. “What Follows” is an album made by an artist who definitely is comfortable in the shoes he is in, and has a definite trademark sound, but isn’t afraid to dip his feet in some of the newer production trends. Blast some of Shit Robot’s new album if you’re looking for a breath of fresh techno-house air.
Get a Handful of M83’s New Album, “Junk”
French electronic band, M83, best known for making use of their keen ear for musical instruments infused with a smack of an artificial orchestra that comes warmer than a French croissant. Having a consistent career over the last decade, M83 has been fairly regular with releasing a full-length effort with a few E.P.’s sprinkled here and there. From their full-time contribution to 2013’s Oblivion soundtrack (the film, not the Bethesda game, sadly), to their “nostalgia-done-right” album, entitled “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming,” there’s truly been very few bumps that have affected the quality and output of their music.
Almost acting as the closest thing an electronic band can get to being classically trained, their new 2016 effort, entitled “Junk,” could definitely be considered a misnomer. Although this album marks the departure of Morgan Kibby, their longtime associate in keyboards, their newest effort possesses the party they need to keep people interest. Many of their work is highlighted by the foreboding tones and instrumentations that tell a story far deeper than the lyrics, but “Junk” is the perfect answer to an enjoyable album that has just enough bells and whistles to make it a respectable, seasoned effort, yet not associate the word “party” with “careless.” “Junk” is another example from M83 that displays how seriously they take their production and final product, for there is not one track on the album that sounds unfinished.
M83 – Go! Feat Mai Lan (Audio)
Released on April 10th, 2016, one of the signature highlights is the Indie-infused funk track backed by female vocalist, which combines Rock’N’Roll instruments and George Michael-inspired brass foiling the backbeat to give you a track that an EDM fan would almost rather not like. While it possesses a rock/EDM infused drop, a damned good guitar solo, “Go!” is an infectious, sugary track that has enough electronic influence to make it fit into the album creatively, but separates itself as a key track that shakes the foundations of what our favorite genres are. To give the album a specific description of sound would almost be impossible, for the genius riffs and offbeat tonal colors make the work a consistent effort, while all of the tracks are tied together by the acoustic piano that creates a memorable line from each track. If you are looking for a new non-genre album that brings you back to the days of M83 being the “theme song” of sorts for millennial TV, you will be seriously blown away by the proportion of infectious hooks on this latest electronic banger.
Let’s Get Weird: Soul Clap’s Funky “Clap-Back” Hits All the Right Spots
As we all remember from our very recent millennial youth, R+B/Soul is a combined genre that once dominated the mainstream airwaves pre-2008; starting in the late 90s with the mainstream transformation of hip-hop, and eventually combining itself with R+B/Soul. That is not to say that R+B and Soul are to be considered dead genres, and the mainstream effect of rap is still strong today as we hear our favorite rappers still collaborating with pop artists and DJs alike, broadening the genre’s spectrum. While the aforementioned genre might not be completely deceased, we no longer hear of the Mariah Careys of the world on our radio unless its mixed with a thumping beat, or completely strays away from organic instrumentation and either loving/inspiring lyrics that R+B once embodied in the mainstream. Even modern R+B heavyweights like Ne-Yo, Usher, and a slew of other artists who existed famously pre-2010 has thrown away their older mainstream sensibilities of crooning, balladry, and R+B production in favor of softer vocals, working with DJs in the dance world, and less of a pressure to belt those famous notes.
We at Relentless Beats are here to tell you that R+B, while not as prevalent as it was in our childhood, is not dead, but molding itself into something bigger. “Soul Clap” has the exact clap-back answer to the current climate in music that truly doesn’t know what the hell is going on. “Soul Clap” is gaining traction as an act that is not only serious about implementing R+B-infused and cocktail-type beats, but is incredibly serious about not taking themselves too seriously. Hailing from Boston, Soul Clap makes an effort to let you know in their bio that everything that has been culminating up to now has made them into who they are today. Eli “Elyte” Goldstein and Charles “Cynce” Levine met in high school in 2001, and began a musical friendship that produced the 2012 first-full length effort of “EFUNK: The Album.” Soul Clap has provided a “clap-back” of sorts to give us almost a musical storyline of “the missing link” during the time when R+B was making its final bows in traditional form, but also the birth of our current edition of what we call EDM. While throwing away the 2000s sensibilities of traditional R+B that reminds us of that time in pop, Soul Clap combines strange vocals and samples, cool lounge-y back beats, and a perfect soup of dance and funk that will make any average listener raise an eyebrow.
With the future in sight, Soul Clap has begun to collaborate in a holy union of souls known as “Crew Love,” formed with Wolf + Lamb and Double Standard Records. Their newest effort, “Crew Love: Based On A True Story” combines the fresh minds and album-cover stylings expected from a Chevy Chase movie or National Lampoon. This album is in no way a pure “Soul Clap” effort, but they are given more than enough opportunities on various tracks to make this funky collab fluid and seamless. This full-length effort is a true testament of artists coming together to not only get their name out there with common-placed “features,” but to provide a product of bad-assery that fits into a specific brand — they’re own brand. Even with the presence of other artists who have their distinct sound and techniques, “Crew Love” could be the display of a prolific bromance in music. If you are looking for a funky bromance between not only EDM, but also R+B, Funk, and Soul, listen to a few buds who you’ll take more seriously than they take themselves.
Connect With Crew Love: Official Website
Moderat: Episode “III:” Revenge of the Synth
Hailing from the streets of Berlin, on-again-off-again German trio Moderat finally released their third full-length album, which ends the short two-year dry spell that marks a relatively sporadic career. Regardless of their musical quality (which the bar is quite high on “III”), there could be a very good non-musical reason for the strange gaps in their releases coming from 2003’s Auf Kosten der Gesundheit, to six years later when they released their first full length effort. With a slew of regionally successful E.P’s, the gap this time between works is only two years before their last E.P. on Monkeytown Records, entitled “Bad Kingdom Remixes.” “III” definitely hits its mark on terms of timing, for the interest in non-genre electronic music has never been higher.
“III” features a collection entirely made of non-sensical household sounds that come together in a symphony describing a dreamlike state, backed with ethereal vocals reminiscent of a 60s singer-songwriter. You won’t find much crooning on this album, but you will experience a full tracklist that tells a story built around the instrumentals, while the vocals act as the cherry on top. While the vocals are sometimes centerpiece to almost all of the tracks on the album, what takes center stage are the production values comparable to putting the program Fruity-Loops through a wash-and-dry cycle, and then subsequently having it chopped and screwed by Dr. Dre.
Tracks like “The Fool” and “Ghostmother” provide a narrative of the random scenes and interspersed memories that sometimes can be the foundation of the dreams we experience in our deep sleep cycle. Although it is the artist’s secret whether or not real percussion instruments were involved in the making of “III,” the work features natural sounds that would make any good drummer raise an eyebrow upon first listen. To describe the album track by track would be difficult, for, like any good primarily instrumental EDM album, it flows as a seamless work, with certain reprises of sounds coming in and out like the tides.
Moderat – Eating Hooks
To name a bad track on “III” would be extremely difficult, due to the fact that the work fits together extremely well, and there are almost no incidents in which the work feels choppy. What can be said about the album is its effort to not fit in with any sort of current genre, but instead pioneering new sounds. You won’t find any drops, you won’t find any “hard” moments, but you will find parts in the piece that takes your breath away with the surprises hidden in the production that you would normally never expect.
The gaps between their work are undeniable, but this album shows no reflection of band tension, label issues, and the very average problems an artist can encounter when dealing with the brand of their music. “III” reads and sounds like an album in which the trio locked themselves in a bedroom and didn’t come out until they had their final product. Moderat is in no way moderate in form, and if you’re looking for a musical dime-piece that will take your ears for a ride and cook you breakfast in the morning, “III” is an album that has what you need.
“III” Track Listing:
- Eating Hooks
- The Fool
- Animal Trails
Potential: The Range’s New Album Fights EDM Status Quo
The Range’s new album “Potential” was released on March 26th 2016 with almost little to no fanfare, except for a featured spot on Itunes, with only a few websites giving their opinion on his second full-length album. “Potential” comes in at an odd time for Electronic Dance Music, almost ignoring complete mainstream sensibilities by keeping in favor with sampling random YouTube videos and unearthing the weirdest sounds from the corners of the internet.
Coming from the days of early hip-hop, sampling in 2016 has almost become an art, and, as EDM merges even closer with pop radio in 2016, The Range’s new album is a rebellion piece that embraces sampling concepts from a decade ago, and has never felt more out of place in a world where producers have created a formula for creating only the most catchy EDM-influenced beats in the pop world. That merging of genres have also affected some of our more well-known DJs and electronic music artists, as the market has begun its stages of over-saturation, with newer DJs and acts forced to bleed every inch of their creativity to not only produce something fans will cling to, but what also may get them a record deal.
“Potential,” from the very first track, plays like The Range has been living in his girlfriend’s walk-in closet for a good year; gone are the tropical Dance Hall-esque beats that are starting to attach themselves to remixes and exploding drops, you won’t even find remnants of 2008’s “Dubstep” buzzword production craze the pop world made such a big deal about. Making chords out of sounds you would find around the house, “Potential” should not be read track by track, but as a proper ethereal full length experience. With these ordinary sounds, The Range has produced an album that when listened to each sound individually, you hear almost no musical semblance or chord structure at all; Potential’s chord structure stems from the simple concept of mixing it all together. “But Relentless, isn’t that what music is? Random sounds put together to make organized sound?”
Yes, reader, you are right, that is quite the lazy description to bestow upon a really good piece of musical ass. The Range’s debut plays in such a way that sounds so tribal, that it seems the purpose of the individual songs probably came out after he had finished them. While “Potential” is a highly sophisticated collection of songs, there is a gritty non-genre texture to the album that makes it feel you are in the studio with him experimenting with samples and sounds you never even knew could fit into the song. That is not to say that vocals don’t exist, for they do, scattered and broken mixed with the melody that doesn’t get in the way of too much like some songs in the EDM world can.
“Potential” by The Range is an album that, even if you don’t feel compelled to buy it, gives it a proper listen and experiences the odd production values for yourself. You might be surprised by its obscure beats, but it’ll definitely be a breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for.
Eat, Play, Love: Cheat Codes’ Sexy Culinary Masterpiece
Cheat Codes’ and Kriss Kross Amsterdam’s music video for “Sex” has been making splashes on the internet recently for its modern gritty take on the rock’n’roll fantasy of banging your teacher in high school. Even with its February 19th release, “Sex” still is gaining traction as a track on Soundcloud, but also its use of very attractive leading lady,Hayley Ambriz (San Diego model) who makes only the best sexual innuendos to the apparent group of older-looking high school stoners using basic fruits and household items (stuffing the taco, anyone?).
While Sex is a great tune, it definitely isn’t for the more conservative listener, not to mention the music video’s racy nature and clever use of the Salt N Pepa “Let’s Talk About Sex” sample scattered among the song. The music video may be simple in nature, but has a no-holds-barred approach to the theme of the song. Even with its naughty background, there is actually nothing in the music video (aside of innuendos) that would force it to succumb to an 18+ rating on streaming sites.
Cheat Codes x Kriss Kross Amsterdam – SEX (Official Music Video)
The song itself lacks the R+B touch that Salt N Pepa once gave it, but instead makes use of popular jungle beats that have been popping up in different genres in recent times. Cheat Codes has covered up that fact for the sake of a lot of their pieces using vocalists who favor melisma and vocal runs that hasn’t been prevalent in music aside from Ariana Grande on the pop side, and some dance artists are starting to bring back that belted chest-voice approach to the dancefloor. “Sex” is an extremely sensual and pulsing jungle mix that definitely will romance your sweetheart for the April blues, or keep you entertained as the temperatures in Arizona get hotter.
“Sex” is not only bound to be the spring pounder as summer comes around the corner, but speaks to that tribal instinct inside of us that just wants to get it on. Throw all your reservations out the window, blast this video, and talk about it already!