By Stef Siepel
The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.
Track of the week: ‘The Outcast’ by DJ Tennis feat. Pillowtalk
I feel like I’m seeing quite a bit of “featuring Pillowtalk” recently. Now I’m aware of that, I also get quite excited when noticing it. Pillowtalk’s aesthetic, apparently, is close to mine. So if he works on it, chances are that it has the kind of sound I like. This one, too, is very nice indeed. It’s got some nice, light keys which are contrasted by a deep bass sound. After two minutes the vocals come in, which are lovely. I also really like that these vocals get the room to breathe. They are way out in front, with just some minor sounds in the background to throb it forward. Even when the heavy handed bass comes in it seems that these, by comparison, light vocals weave through it perfectly so the vocals and the bass don’t get in each others way. If I have to complain about something (and bitch I shall) is that the vocals sometimes kind of stop, and it goes on instrumentally for a prolonged period again. Now, that isn’t bad, but it is kind of abrupt. From the delivery, you wouldn’t assume a prolonged instrumental period would be coming. Aside from that minor (minor) point, just a really lovely song this. It’s going to be out on Kompakt in September.
‘It’s My Love’ by Bit Funk
An original tune by Bit Funk, of whom I believe I have an edit of a Talking Heads song on my computer somewhere. That one starts slightly more subtle than this one, which starts pretty, ehrm, bold, with screamish sounds. But also a nice and funky bass, and after half a minute the thing gets a better balance and we’re off and rolling. After a minute we’ve got some keys and some big female vocals, which I like when they’re singing, not so much when they’re booming. That’s when you get that squealish effect of the start of the song, which I don’t particularly fancy. In the mean time, the instrumental side of the song has taken flight in the background and has gone funky, and by now its perfectly danceable and catchy. The halfway mark gives you some time to breathe with some light keys and handclaps, and after that it gets going again. The blueprint Bit Funk follows is just something I really like. Good bass, light keys, diva-ish vocals, and a nice flow with different parts in the song having different sounds taking prominence. I don’t think this is his ceiling though, as there are some things that could be a bit smoother and just some individual elements (like the start) that are not really my personal preference. But follow this blueprint and at one point this kid’s going to strike gold. For a FaceBook like it’s a free download, by the way.
‘Magic Castle’ by Havana Candy
I love the start with that simmering sound to accompany that simple beat. It immediately creates the atmosphere that the track is going to be featuring. Around 54 seconds in you’re getting the techno sounds in there, and at 1:10 you get some deeper elements to help this song throb forward. These are alleviated by the cymbals (that’s what they’re sounding like to me), and whilst that is going on in the background the track keeps plodding along nicely. Two minutes in you’ve got another moment of no beat, instead it only features some of those dance sounds. Obviously, soon enough the beat returns, and it now is even more prominent and dancey than before. It is a rather deep track and a rather slow beat though, so this is not something that is going to set the dancefloor alight, but it’s more of a late-in-the-set kind of thing. Minimal and deep I would say, which is kind of not how I remember their Antarah EP to sound like. This is deeper, but also perhaps a bit more atmospheric, and it is a nicely polished track to be sure. So if you like your house a bit on the minimal and deep side, then you’ve got a smooth and polished ride waiting for you right here.
‘House Track One’ by Moon Runner (Pete Herbert Version)
It’s got this deep, hard beat going on right from the start, but from the get go you also hear some house and disco elements in there. Those vocals that pop up on occasion especially bring out that vibe, but also that major synth thing that cuts through everything helps getting you in the right mood. That change-up at 1:44 is outstanding, really love that. I also really like it that this track keeps on rolling, there’s not a moment in there it lets up or would make you want to stop dancing. Big build-up and go through at 2:20 or thereabouts, that is also a little trick in the book to create that dancing momentum. 3:20 sees another change-up that I really love. 3:50 sees just keys for a moment, and with still two minutes to go you know the beat will be returning and those beautiful dancers will be getting it on again. A track you can just throw into any set really, bordering on disco and house in terms of vibe, and it will make sure you get a prolongation of people having a little dance, doing a little boogie.
‘One With a Star’ by Idris Muhammad (Pied Piper Fused Jazz Dub)
Idris Muhammad is one of those guys you just want to make a remix of, so good pick by the Pied Piper. He is known for his jazz and disco sounds, and Pied Piper uses both influences to make a nice and dancey thing out of it (with emphasis on the drums). Rolls along nicely this one, love the vocals on it, and it is just so catchy with the chorus. From about the three minute mark it goes a bit instrumental jazz like with some jazz solos in there, which he breaks up at around 4:40 to return to the beat again. Personally, it is a bit light on the catchy stuff and a bit heavy on all those instrumentals that, for me, kind of take the flow out of it (though if you are a fan of good mucisianship you might think I’m crazy). I just think there are so many nice elements in there (and in fairness, he does return to that six minutes in), which kind of get cluttered by all those other sounds. Not a bad remix though, and it is always nice to hear Muhammad, but I personally would have emphasized different aspects of the song. What I do find pretty terrible is that pause near the end and just whatever comes after. That’s no good whichever way I’m looking at it.
‘Congo Bongo’ by F3
With a name like that, you would expect some heavy African rhythms and influences. When the song starts, that sound reminds me kind of like Michael Jackson though. Not that the rest of it sounds like a Michael Jackson tune, and those vocals that come in do feel like something that could’ve come out of the Lion King (though, you know, that is Elton John more than anything else), even though it still isn’t straight out of the Congo to be fair. Kind of a summery pop tune with some African elements. Or rather, what collectively is perceived as African sounds, as it feels more like mainstream sounds with African influences than genuine African sounds, though I’m surely not an expert on that. By the way, when I said vocals, it’s not real singing that is going on here. The song is really driven by these summer pop sounds and synths. Some strange transitions from one part to the next though, where they really seem to just turn a knob or push a button to unmute a certain sound. It’s a poppy, catchy affair, though a bit clunky at times, and not something I would really be partying to even if the weather is decent.