Best of the blogs – Mix 1: Sept ’08

Finally, back with a mix after a longer than expected hiatus from posting. A couple of reasons, really – making the transition from France to San Francisco took it’s toll (compounded by the interminable wait for our shipment) and my big idea of going all digital. Getting Ableton to play nicely with my USB soundcard and X-Session Pro mixer was more effort than it first looked on paper. But now I’m all up and running and pretty damn happy with the setup, if truth be told.

On the music front, there’s more than enough to keep the feet tapping. Dubstep reached these Californian shores sometime back (albeit with not quite the same depth of penetration you might find in South London) and the electro scene of mainland Europe has blended with booty bass and the LA party vibe to great effect. And that’s where I end up on this, the first mix in the Best of the Blogs series.

I should make it clear that this title is perhaps more sweeping than the content. My interest is in the new dance music that many fine blogs are showcasing. If the Indie scene rocks your boat, then I’d suggest Hype Machine, and if it’s pan pipe versions of Gregorian chants, well, then as far as I know you are on your own. What I’m concentrating on are the tracks I reap using this little custom application I’ve pointed primarily at dance music blogs. Also, although I ramble on about being based on the West Coast, the blogs I track are pretty well spread out, from the newly-designed Nialler 9 in Ireland to the Parisien Fluo Kids.

So, without further ado…

Best of the blogs – Mix 1

Yelle – À Cause Des Garçons (Tepr Remix): Dancefloor Mayhem
This track truly stomps. Straight four-to-the-floor thump with a clean snip of snare. Reminiscent of the take-no-prisoner shuddering bass that was ubiquitous prior to the beat fracturing tech revolution. The difference is now we have access to the massive tonal separation possible with modern production techniques.

Sharam – Get Wild (Steve Angello Remix): Shot Callin’
Steve Angello is a key figure in the Swedish mafia posse. Here he gets his Scandinavian mitts on Sharam’s ‘Get Wild’, layering the vocal with a textured groove that drifts in and out of his trademark dubby arrangement.

Justice – D.V.N.O. (LA Riots remix): Dancefloor Mayhem
The LA Riots crew have really made a name for themselves lending a West Coast party flavor to a slew of Euro electro-tech classics. Drawing on one of Justice’s finest moments, they loop quirky vocal snippets into what can only be described as a high-energy monster.

Yelle – À Cause Des Garçons (Tepr Remix): Dancefloor Mayhem
Here it is again. This time featuring Yelle’s ethereal lyrics.

Afefe Iku – Mirror dance: Fluo kids
An African element has been introduced into the vibrant techtonic craze that has gripped France for some years (with a gusto I’ve only previously seen when breakdancing first hit). An infectious rounded bassline permeates this number, warranting its inclusion despite the poor quality of the mp3.

Samim feat Big Bully – The Lick: ?
Grinding techno and deadpan vocal delivery hark back to a time when Chicago ruled.

Afrojack – Hard Love: Fluo kids
El guitara loco.

Naucca – Lights: ?
A prog masterpiece (apologies for the cliche, but it is really true)… lilting harmonies and a fine example of Naucca’s deft control of energy and suspense.

21st Century Life – Sam Sparro (DJ Mehdi Secret Disco Dub) (Kiterae re-edit): circle.square.triangle
DJ Mehdi pulls off something cruelly infectious on his treatment of a Sam Sparro track (a guy apparently shooting up the charts in the UK). I say cruel, because this verges on being horribly pastiche – it’s not exacly the most poignant critique of our times.

Digitalism – Idealistic (A-Trak Remix): Dancefloor Mayhem
A-Trak string out a stand-out anthem from the last year. Beware – if the chopped vocals and filtered punk riffs don’t string you along then I suggest you check your pulse.

DJ Sneak – Acid Talks: Fluo kids
The Toronto veteran throws down some gently cantering bubble-funk.

Arkid – Fancy Fugee: Dancefloor Mayhem
I can’t help but feel this track owes a huge degree of homage to the wonderful Vernon’s Wonderland (I guess now a decade old). I do mean that in the most flattering light.

Basement Jaxx – Rendez-Vu (The House Moguls Re-Work): Dancefloor Mayhem
Another oldie gets new socks. The chunky beat with a sliver of the melody keeps you gasping for eternity until the inane lyrics finally drop. Oh, and then, just quickly as they appeared, they are gone.

That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings (LA Riots Remix): Dancefloor Mayhem
I had to. The Ting Tings wound up by LA Riots. Almost a touch Arabic at one point. Only with music can you find a connection between the grimly recalcitrant English town of Sheffield and effusive, flamboyant LA. One of the most spectacular non-chemically derived highs you can ever hope to achieve. I promise.

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