Zion I & The Grouch – Rockit Man Single
Tracklist – Rockit Man (feat. Silk E), Instrumental, Drop It On the 1, Instrumental
These tracks are solid.Â I don’t mean that just to be nice, either.Â Zion I has had my ear for a while and his vocal style is top notch, but The Grouch completes this duo’s collaboration with Silk E for some seriously strong presence.
But I’m hugely, and I mean HUGELY impressed that they’ve basically imported the UK Dubstep-based sound for these tracks and even tossed in some chopped and screwed Houston style for good measure.Â The instrumental versions of these alone are seriously radio-worthy.
The Electric – Life Is Moving
A project involving DJ Vadim, probably the only Russian DJ anyone has ever heard of.Â It’s a R&B/Hip-Hop flavor.
The album starts out a little flat for me, and We Rolling, track three, is a skipper, but Sometimes and So Now You Know are both a compelling mix of restrained vocals and driving, snappy beats.Â It’s hard to ignore Beautiful, as it’s a track I’ve heard before as a single, but it’s a bit repetitive and chatty.Â Kinda wish for an instrumental version of this.
The next set of tracks gets tiring, though a few of them I would prefer as instrumentals.Â Let’s call this the R&B section.
Did I mention that many of these tracks would be best as instrumentals?
This could have been a much better album for me, but I’m pleased that there are two or three tracks I feel good about.
Paris Suit Yourself – Sometimes
Hmm.Â Let’s not mince words: the base track kinda sucks.Â The Micachu mix doesn’t do it any favors, but the M.E.S.H. remix brings a new wardrobe to the equation and I like how it’s dressed.Â Victor Tricard tries hard, and does a good job making a miserable track fun.
The Qemists – Take It Back (EP?)
This track, Take It Back (feat. Enter Shikari) was one of my favorites on their 2010 release, Spirit In the System.Â I spun that one like mad and included it on the Nerd New Year broadcast.Â This is the original track, a remix by The Prototypes, a VIP remix, and Drity Words, a track I’ve heard twice before, strangely with differing guests, but with another go at it with the VIP remix.
The original cut is a classic for me, and The Prototypes made their interpretation beautifully. The VIP mix is a complete rebuilding of the track, and it’s somewhat unrecognizable, but certainly moves its appeal a bit wider because it’s less of a pounding.Â Really nice, too.
Dirty Words, well, no thanks.
The Death Set – We Are Going Anywhere Man
I don’t like The Death Set.Â Nuff said. Deleted.
Chilly Gonzales – You Can Dance EP
Nine remixes of the track You Can Dance.Â The original is, well, not bad. It wasn’t even near one of my favorites on Ivory Tower.
It kinds sounds like he gave the track to a bunch of his quasi-disco mates and had them remix it.Â Mostly it sounds like music for bellbottoms and cocaine.Â Not into that, thanks. Edwin van Cleef and Max Tundra make a few decent remixes, but they are still working hard against the base track.
Blueprint – So Alive (remixes)
The track So Alive is very good, with compelling vocals that don’t overpower the excellent backing band beats.
The Budo remix is a stripped-down version with a Casio-like beat, guitars, and a progressive introduction of bass and horns.Â Very interesting interpretation of the original with its own merits. X144’s interpretation is a bit more bombastic. innerpartysystem remakes the track to the point it’s unrecognizable save for the vocals. The instrumental version might be the best of them all.
Stateless – Matilda
As a fan of Stateless from the Bloodstream EP, prior to their first, self-titled album, I had high expectations for the full release after getting a few singles with remixes.Â I’m not disappointed.
There’s a cohesive aural element throughout the album, something very important to a release with the track diversity Matilda has.Â Curtain Call, for example, gives you a full three seasons, if you will, by the time it’s halfway finished, and you know you’re in for a bit of a ride.Â Ariel, one of the two singles widely played, is a dynamic, questioning, accusatory track that would give any listener familiar with their older work a bit of a breath of relief 25 seconds in.Â Yeah, they still have it.
Miles to Go makes you realize that, given the same elements, SO MANY groups would get this wrong. Blending a piano, heavy beats, spare percussion and haunting vocals is not easy.Â Great track. Visions carries on this delicate blend with some guest vocals that just work. Assassinations is the second single released beforehand, and it fits right in beautifully.
Red Sea begins a more ponderous stretch in the album as almost a two-minute interlude. I’m On Fire carries the theme onward. Ballad of NGB is, for lack of a better term, a romantic songÂ Very neat. Song for the Outsider might very well be a reference to DJ Shadow.Â Chris James, lead vocalist for Stateless, worked on several tracks for DJ Shadow’s The Outsider, and his mention of Stateless in his blog years ago helped promote the group in many important ways. Junior earns it keep here with rich vocals and a simply lovely beat.
I Shall Not Complain finished the album with another brilliant display of melding Chris’ vocals with percussion, electronic beats and synths, and even an accordion.Â Again, it would be so easy to get this wrong, but they don’t.
Austra – Beat to the Pulse
Interesting little EP here.Â Beat and the Pulse has some neat instrumentation with good beats and synth work, but I’m a bit tired of the chorused, subdued female vocals.Â I’m feeling it a bit more with another listen, and I’m going to give this one a chance.
Energy disappoints me with some decidedly lo-fi sounds, as if they’re hiding the vocals.Â Bjork would be blowing this the hell out, but Austra are not. Young and Gay is interesting, and a decent track. I look forward to some more material from Austra.
Return to Mono – Frambreaker
One of the few CDs I got this week, this one was out of the blue.Â That’s led to some bad results in the past, but not so today.
Song of the Beast was good enough that I wasn’t ready to write it off.Â How many of these artists I’ve never heard of, given the same tools, would make a mess of it?Â You’d be surprised.
Framebreaker, Doomsday Device, and The Promise make for a great trio of tracks.Â Great vocals that make me respect the talent, and a genuinely interesting beat and synths.
XRUST and Nightfall are the other highlights of this solid album, with Black Swan being the only disappointing track on this album for me.Â Impressive work, going to have to play these tracks for a while.