Quick Mix: The Knux, Oceanlab, Tommy Sparks, Basement Jaxx, and Delphic
Electronica is a vague term on purpose. While you might hear all manner of bucket defining name tags thrown around like: “House”, “Trance”, “Electro”, “Electro Pop”, “Deep House”, “Dark House”, “Experimental”, “Trip Hop”, “Ambient”, etc… the reality is that just about every genre of music now a days is dabbling the computer driven back room art of music making. This collection of songs illustrates this infused trend from a variety of perspectives including hip hop, classic trance, and pop. As you’ll hear the combination’s are infinite in direction and in most ways an even collaboration between influential roots and a desire to sound new. Music catalogers around the world should prepare for the future, because the days of cleanly defined separation between guitars, turntables, and computer aided MIDI pads are over.
“F!re (Put It in the Air)” by The Knux
One more thing New Orleans can throw on to the pile of losses thanks to Hurricane Katrina is brothers Kentrall “Krispy Kream” Lindsy and Alvin “Rah Almillio” Lindsey. Born and raised in the crescent city, after the storm the duo moved to LA where they’ve built a following, thanks to their skateboard infused Outkast-esq style. In this single worthy track, “The F!re” ‘s woozy introduction compliments punctual bass chords and light drum in a way that stands far removed from recycled Lil John fare and autotuned nonsense, while still maintaining a decidedly radio heavy appeal. Though in the end their verses may lack the tight composure of more renowned word smiths currently topping the charts like Jay-Z, it’s hard to not to draw comparisons to Andre 3000 after hearing “Rah Amillio’s” particularly absurdest and seemingly disjointed statements come together to make strange yet undeniably catchy hip hop. Lil Wayne may have marked New Orleans hip-hop with his own brand of crazy, but clearly there’s still room here for The Knux.
“If I Could Fly (Jaytech Remix)” by Oceanlab
While dime a dozen dance compilations with title adjectives like “Pure”, “Ultimate”, “Dream” and “Euphoric”, may have doomed the entire Trance genre to forever be associated with ecstasy fueled raves and nimrods with glow sticks, that doesn’t mean everything falling under the umbrella should be written off the books. Oceanlab which is basically another production guise for Above & Beyond, has ruled European dance charts with their escapist, high energy tracks, craved and remixed by DJ’s around the world. “If I Could Fly” is another success born from their hit factory formula, and in the remixing hands of Australian dance prodigy Jaytech, a.k.a. James Cayzer, the song reaches new heights. Though stylistically, it remains firmly in the narrow predictable boundaries of everything else out there, this particular cocktail of expansive effects and the lovely Justine Suissa’s skin deep yet mesmerizing vocals, exemplifies why this genre is the aural transportation method of choice for clubbers world wide.
“She’s Got Me Dancing” by Tommy Sparks
Why the Swedes seem to consistently have their pulse on hip is a mystery that may never quite mesh with the Nordic country’s other reputation for civility and stoicism. It is the birth place of IKEA and the Swedish Chef though and thus it’s only fitting that native Swede Tommy Sparks recent hit “She’s Got Me Dancing” should obtain the high honor of Apple “cool” approval by accompanying commercials touting shiny new iPod Touches. Ear perking from the moment the first pitch bent notes start the song, suppressing a mild foot tap with this in the background is nearly impossible and Tommy and Steve Jobs knows it. Why else would he mention the word “dancing” over 20 times in a three and a half minute song if he wasn’t scheming to get you moving from the get go? Pop in this evolution past boy bands has officially been ripped from the death grip of teen girls, and given back to all ages with a new corporate sheen, yet my foot still keeps twitching.
“My Turn” by Basement Jaxx
Hot off their newly released late September Album “Scars”, “My Turn” is one of many audio counterparts to the album’s chimera cover art. Mixing the poignant distressed vocals of singer Lightspeed Champion with modern club thumping bass and high pitched do-dads, a beat per minute count would be an inappropriate measure for the pace of this track. Sentimental and warm, “My Turn” could just as easily be played during a picnic bound drive through the country side or a sushi dinner date in the West Village. Rarely does this Grammy award winning South London duo ever hesitate to mash genres wildly and flamboyantly with tremendous results. “My Turn” is no exception and one of the best tunes to leap from their latest full length album.
“This Momentary” by Delphic
In this second single by emerging English electro pop band Delphic, a slow harmonious chorus builds and builds to utter frenzy before reversing through a calm introspective plateau. Lyrically simplistic, and packed with syllable driven rhythms, it’s hard to nail down what this song stays closer to; a dark house track amped and ready for awkward moments of dance in between still parts, or a too cool for school and sulky “meaning” packed tune that only truly deep souls could possibly understand. Either way the group’s decision to step in a darker direction compared to happy go lucky emo schmaltz makes for note worthy track and we’re curious to see what they still have left up their sleeve.