If Rob Threezy's membership in the Chicago's Ghetto Division isn't enough proof that his tracks represent the new vanguard of the Chicago sound, then perhaps this astounding remix from Finland's Top Billin' will convince doubters. Given the original's stems, Top Billin' somehow make "The Chase" even more of a Windy City club banger, channeling the monstrous kicks of Cajmere, the sampling style of early Larry Heard projects, and even a bit of Adonis' acid. In no uncertain terms, this is a perfect house track, and one hell of a remix.
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To call "Sandstorms," Christian Prommer's cover of the Carl Craig classic, ominous would be an understatement. A droning organ sound is the first and last thing heard in the nine-minute piece, and not once does it let up. Instead, elements are layered atop the pulsing drawl; pattering drums and percussion, subtle yet funky bass riffs, and all sorts of analog weirdness bubble to the surface. It's a little difficult at first to draw a direct line between Craig's original and this reinterpretation, primarily because the new version is made almost completely of live instruments and focuses more on atmosphere than groove, but that's how it fits so well onto the second installment of Prommer's project, a collection of jazz-influenced covers of electronic music icons called Drumlesson Zwei.
Over the past two or three years, plenty of ink, and even more blog space, has been devoted to documenting the international explosion of cumbia, particularly the electronic and/or experimental variety. Yet not everyone riding the cumbia train is trying to put a modern twist on the classic Colombian rhythm—take Los Angeles quintet Very Be Careful, who actually specialize in vallenato, another Colombian folk rhythm that's something like cumbia's cousin. Labels aside, these boys always keep it old-school, even when they're cooking up original, accordion-powered jams like "La Furgoneta." The track comes from Escape Room, the band's latest album, which will be released on April 13.
Next week will see the release of Triangulation, the second album from Scuba (a.k.a. Paul Rose). "Before" offers a smoldering glimpse of the record, which finds the Hotflush label boss dabbling in house, techno, and other styles while further pushing the boundaries of exactly what a dubstep artist is supposed to sound like. With its vinyl crackle and sultry female vocal, "Before" actually resembles vintage Massive Attack. Factor in the song's pensive synth tones and you've got some downbeat audio gold. Make sure to also peep the kaleidoscope-powered video for "Before," which was put together by director Sam Geer.
With a loose, frenetic synth line fluttering over deep, dry kicks and bass throbs, it is easy to compare the techno offerings of Baltimore's Graham Hatke's latest to the recent outpourings of Omar-S, or even a Theo Parrish joint from the early aughts. But there is an undeniable spaciness to Hatke's sound palette on "Miles Away" that brings Michoacan or even Idjut Boys to mind, which sets it apart from its American influences in an interesting way. Definitely an early evening floor-filler, Hatke shows a talent that we hope to hear more from soon.
The powerhouse duo of Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime (a.k.a. Dudley Perkins) join up with Kazi on this seriously funkified track. The Black Milk-produced track features a dusty, shuffling beat with an ethereal piano loop riding over it all, conjuring the sort of spacey hip-hop journey that has become Muldrow and Perkins' trademark.
In the fine tradition of remixing female singer-songwriters' lovely originals into club bangers, The Juan Maclean has completely transformed Via Tania's majestic "Fields" into a floor-filling, ass-shaking slice of tech-house gold. Using only the choicest stems of Via Tania's purring vocals, angular guitar work, and quirky percussion, there is certainly something of Radioslave here, and perhaps even a bit of Nima Gorji's "Hopp Hopp," a 2009 track which liberally sampled traditional gypsy music. Like all good techno, the changes are slight, unexpected, and completely mind-melting. It would behoove any DJ to play this if they want to see a dancefloor explode, especially given the piece's stunning, washed-out apex. If you're in the mood to see the folksy stylings of Via Tania with backing band Seabear, then head to SXSW this week!
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