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: ‘I’m Dancin’ by Kotey Extra Band (Max Essa remix)
I love Max Essa, and this one slipped under the radar for me, but I happened to come across it, and it is pretty funkilicious as far as I’m concerned. It isn’t really disco funk though, that synthy sound that comes in about 40 seconds in gives it a certain city vibe me thinks. Essa does keep it rolling with the main sound, but it is not like this is one of those straight dancefloor cuts (perhaps more of someone dancing through the city even, if you’re brave enough to do that sort of thing). The vocals (Kyle Chandler’s work) come in at 2:50, and they fit that synth sound perfectly if you ask me. Just before the four minute mark Essa goes bass, and he can do that, just see his Jan Ken Po album he released this year. It really sounds like an entity this track, not one of those remixes that gets a beat slapped on it, but it just is a smooth ride that rolls along. Essa delivers again.
‘Crimewaves’ by Matthew Dear
Last week Matthew Dear was featured in this column with the awesome (AWESOME) ‘Her Fantasy’, and I believe this is the B-side to that. This one starts much more ghostly and with a barrage of noise, which only lasts for about ten seconds and then Dear channels it into a wicked kind of sound I haven’t come across that often I must say. Again, like with all Dear’s work, it has that mixture of dancey and dystopia, and I just love it how some artists just manage to create this universe in which they operate. Those vocals (though no one will ever really mistake it from singing, in all honesty) are a tight fit for what he wants to do, and it adds narrative and rhythm more than it emulates Patty Labelle. Slowly he speeds it up, and when you are at 2:30 for example you hear that the song has picked up quite a bit of steam. For a moment I’m afraid that he is going to start some sort of terrible noisy fade out with over a minute left (What?!?), but quickly he returns to a more minimalized beat accompanied by his vocals, (Phew) which bring the song to a much better ending.
‘Bear Cubs’ by Museum of Bellas Artes
I remember hearing a release by them quite a while ago (like, years, probably) and quite loving it. It starts really angelically and even classical music like, though when the vocals come in I kind of have the idea that I’ve already heard this schtick before. Luckily some additional instruments enter, which make sure that it is not just another minimal thingy relying on some strong vocals. I would’ve loved to hear more of that flute (or whatever), as that lends a kind of unique character to it, which the rest to be honest really doesn’t have. There are some hints of beauty in there, and it is not like this is a bad song especially with the vocals being really strong. However, aside from some glimpses here and there it just doesn’t carve out an identity of its own in my view.
‘2AM’ by Hiem and Phil Oakey (The Heels of Love remix)
A The Heels of Love remix I missed the first time around, which is quite a hard thing to do because this one does really start from the onset. After ten seconds they get the bass rolling, after seventeen seconds the beat comes in, and let’s ride this horsey! At forty seconds you get the handclaps, ten seconds later you’ve got the synth to give you some atmosphere with that dance, and by adding layer after layer (like those vocals at 1:10) you just keep giving this thing momentum. I love those vocals, I really do, they’re like these nice and deep vocals with a slant of darkness to it. Like these eighties voices, but now they’re not just accompanied by synth but by some bass and beat as well to get the dancefloor going. After three minutes they really put those vocals on the foreground, with some evil church-like backing voices to accompany it. Obviously, it is a prelude to getting back to business (i.e. the dancefloor), and duly they do. The Heels of Love know how to craft a song and not make it boring or monotonous as they just keep the new stuff coming. Perhaps I miss some sort of pay-off somewhere, but that’s just me nitpicking really. In the end it goes a bit spacey, if ya like that sort of thing.
‘House’ by Kindness (Them Jeans remix)
I love the original by Kindness, and Them Jeans is trying to give it a touch of their own. It starts patiently with some snapping of the fingers, after which they go drums and vocals, then piano and vocals (though mostly vocals), and then the pay off should come, but instead they opt for a more restrained sound. That this is a remix doesn’t mean it is for the dancefloor, and Them Jeans are surely not aiming for that as they keep the song at a lower pace, trying to make the most use of the vocals and build something around it that fits. It makes for more of a feet shuffling affair, which is fine by me. The tag says “vibes”, which perhaps is the thing it is trying to convey most of all, in which it succeeds. Its quite an elegant, vocal heavy remix of the original (which in itself was plenty of elegant, that whole album in fact). Plus I like the lightness of the ending.
‘Shut the World Out’ by Lo-Fi-Fnk (Mitzi remix)
Mitzi (who was on a tear last year), gives this one a nice little beat to which one can dance in a similar manner as one dances to Roxy Music, that kind of fragmented, artsy idea. After 45 seconds it tries to evoke some of that original lightness of the song in the chorus, but it kind of feels muddled, with several things running right on through each other. The songs strength definitely lies in the not-chorus parts, which are clearer and more minimal, with just the vocals of these Swedish lads and that artsy beat that one can do the Fandango to. I really like Mitzi, I really like Lo-Fi-Fnk, but this is perhaps neithers best work. Despite the parts where Mitzi strips it all away and has this clear, channeled thing going on, this is simply let down by the cluttered choruses.