After not listening to How To Destroy Angels for a few weeks, I gave their full LP a listen from start to finish. Still holds up very well; it’s very dark but distinctly different from Nine Inch Nails.
In a way the whole HTDA concept reminds me a bit of a film director like Nicolas Winding Refn; extremely stylish and very evocative of this unsettling mood that really no other album so far this year has come close to touching.
Disclosure have blown up over in the UK and gotten big critical praise here in the States (well, at least from Pitchfork.) Frankly, I find the hype a bit overrated. Great beats, but I find them heavily following that late 90s/early 00s two step garage that Basement Jaxx helped popularize.
Yet Settle is a really fun album on a surface level. One of my favorite tracks comes early: “When A Fire Starts To Burn”. Great samples.
Kompakt is all about smoothness. Especially when you look at a guy like Kompakt frontman Michael Mayer, there’s such a precision and cleanliness to his mixes.
When I thought of that smooth sound, Maya Jane Coles debut LP really had that same feel. Really solid production and this overall murky, dark vibe consistent throughout. I was a bit surprised she went with so many guest vocalists, but they work well.
Still Maya excels best at vocal, highly rhythmic house music; the fairly straightforward “Easier To Hide” exemplifies this.
Another big Kompakt artist is Kolsch; he hits big, and epic pretty much all the time on his tracks. Almost at times there’s a refreshingly 90s trance throwback vibe to some of his tracks.
Kolsch’s strength is in the details: On “Goldfisch”, an otherwise pretty straightforward pumping techno track, there’s all these odd flute sounds that pop in at off beat moments. Even the the counter beat to the bass has this unique, “pop” sound to it.
Sometimes guest vocalists, producers and other personnel slip in unnoticed. But Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails, How to Destroy Angels) has a voice that’s unmistakable in this song’s first chorus. Like almost everything else on this album, it’s an excellent hard rock track.
Unsure that this very TNGNT/trap-esque Mohawke remix of a Disclosure hit fully works. Disclosure is a group on paper that lends itself nicely to hip hop remixes given its early 2000s 2 step garage influences. But so far, haven’t heard many that have struck gold; this gets closer than most.
This is Mohawke firing on all cylinders; those crazy horns, high hat and vocal clips all working together so well as a single unit. If you’re into trap, you owe it to yourself to check out this now two year old release.
Revisited The Weeknd’s Trilogy this morning, and even as so many other R&B artists have added in darkness, electronic influences et al, Trilogy really holds up well. I especially enjoy this cut off the final LP in the trilogy Echoes of Silence. Really crazy pitch warping here that works nicely.
On the much more maximal side, Araabmuzik transitions an already over the top Wolfgang Gartner original with lots of beats and hip hop swagger. Fun, and like most Araabmuzik remixes rarely wears out its welcome.
Here’s something clearly influenced by red-hot trap in a much moodier, darker direction. Cult band (and destined for constant misspells) oOoOO delivers something that really sticks in the back of your mind.
This track is pretty clearly a step down from TNGHT’s self titled debut EP. But there’s an element of crazy, hands in the air style sirens that make this track kill in a live context. Already saw Flying Lotus drop this one in the middle of a live set. People went nuts.
Yeezus is a problematic album. West is up to his usual impeccable production work, and he’s shifted much of his backing work to an electro, Justice-esque wall of sound with bracing synths. But the lyrics get old really fast.
That said, this track is a masterpiece. Give it to Kanye to come up with a mashup of Nina Simone’s 1965 classic and TNGNT’s “R U Ready”.
I keep on putting this track on rotation during work. More than anything, it’s got bounce. Just the main baseline that opens the track could be enough, but then they keep on layering on synth after synth. The rapping suits the frantic nature of the song perfectly.
Lindstrøm may still be somewhat running in circles with his space disco motif…but so what? You may think you understand the beat, but wait until the 3:30 mark where the synths start getting really crazy.