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: ‘Headbands’ by Free Magic & JKriv
JKriv has made some excellent disco tunes already, so naturally I’m hoping for more of the same with this one. Immediatelly you get everything you’re hoping for: percussion, a tingling piano already laying the emotion in there, and the new instruments just keep building this lovelorn disco aesthetic. At 0:35 the beat comes in, so you know you can do a little dance to it as well. They show a bit of patience by not coming in with the vocals at directly the next opportunity, but after the minute mark there they are for the first time. A good half minute later the female vocals remind someone that they “can be the perfect combination”. I loved to hear that, not because I think its taken from some of Gertrude Stein’s best work, but because it lyrically fits with the atmosphere the sound was creating. After the female vocals have had their turn, some male vocals come in, talking about how he “really needs you”. After this first round of love making, they strip down the sounds and put the female vocals back in. Again, slight patience as they don’t bring the beat back at the first possible moment but drag it out a little bit longer (even throwing in some keys in there at the second option). Then, when the beat does come back, the female vocals are replaced by the male vocals telling her that it’s such a feeling, when she touches him. That vocal change was absolutely the right thing to do in my book. Just an ace disco song with all the trademark characteristics you want in there.
‘Mohead Go Away’ Ilya Santana remix
Ilya Santana can throw down some balearic, and whenever he’s got something out I’m always hoping for just that hypnotic vibe he does so well. He starts it out a bit spacey with that typical synth sound, but soon it’s the bass that takes over and you just know he’s going to ride that thing like there’s no tomorrow. Those female vocals are a nice surprise so early in the song and they certainly have the strength to not let that bass hold out the emotion she is putting in it. It’s not quite like his hypnotic instrumentals, leaning slightly to a more “traditional” structure perhaps with the vocals and the stop and go in terms of the bass sound. But these disco/house influences suit the track just fine, and there’s still plenty of Santana quirks in there. That beat after the three minute mark, though, not precisely one of his best I would say. But at 3:50 that bass is back again, and then the track hits its strides again, so nothing but love from that point on until it ends.
‘Power’ by Pompeya (Zimmer remix)
I remember Zimmer from some nice stuff he did last year, so naturally curious about this remix of his, which apparently only features the (dreamy) vocals of Pompeya, and the instruments are all Zimmer’s work. I love the vocals, especially in combination with the piano, which together define the vibe. Zimmer picks the pace up at 1:40, and you saw that one coming from a mile away so good that he does it, otherwise it would’ve been slightly screwy for some reason. Then in 2:30 he strips the vocals and puts it back a gear. When he then brings back the vocals it feels like they’ve got more punch because it has less to combat with, and I like that effect. In that regards Zimmer nicely plays with all the elements to constantly have the same things sound slightly new. It’s just a lovely, catchy tune with some nice dreamy, at times ’80s-esque vocals that are lovely to listen to.
‘Parasol’ by MANIK feat. Jeremy Glenn
Jeremy Glenn has been lending his vocals to some nice productions, so when he adds his stamp to it you know it is of a certain aesthetic quality. At least, one hopes so, but for me personally this one doesn’t quite work. It already starts with these strange, spacey noises in the first half minute of the song, and before it settles down it kind of feels skewed, the percussion. After that you get this lazy house beat with these deep (deep) male, talky vocals. Vintage ’80s house that, but I would never have guessed that was coming from the first minute, which didn’t exactly set it up. After these deep vocals you get the soulful and more emotive Glenn singing, after which you kind of get this sharp percussion sound which to me is too big a contrast with the deeper bass sound you get with the other male voice. Talking about contrasts, the deep male vocals do make Glenn’s voice sound more effeminate than probably was the idea. For me there is just a disbalance between some of the elements, and I do feel that throws off the song for me a bit.
‘Breathe’ by Tronik Youth
I do like that ’80s kind of sound at the start of this track. Bit of synth-pop going on there, though the change of pace after half a minute already ensures that this isn’t going to be any ol’ Human League knock off or anything. The vocals are jam packed with atmosphere. This kind of understated, deep sound that makes me think of these French films for some reason. They are juxtaposed nicely by the keys, which make sure there are also some lighter elements in there that keeps everything balanced. The whole thing just fits together and exhumes a certain aesthetic that I really fancy. Definitely on par with their better releases from last year, and one surely worthy of a listen.
‘Kate Moss’ by Brett (Mike Simonetti & Chris Burns edit)
I’m not sure who Brett is to be honest, though I am pretty confident in knowing Mike Simonetti’s italo house sounds. This, however, is deeper than what I’m used to hear from him, as it starts with a really hard hitting beat that I personally could have done without. Especially when it has to carry a track that, otherwise, is dreamy enough that you could’ve contrasted that with something less punchy. Luckily the bass that comes in is already a step in the right direction in that regards, despite that even that one is deeper than what I personally would have liked. I like the vocal change around 1:40, that’s a nice moment, and there are a few change-ups here that are really nice and which will get you through the song no problem. However, for me the bass and beat are just a bit too deep, and they are so different from the other elements of the song that instead of it all gelling together, it kind of feels like too much is separate for it to be a great and engaging whole.