DnB

Dance the new Pop?

Posted on 26 January, 2009. Filed under: Dance music, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, electropop, Music, Music Genre, synthpop |

Today I listened to Triple J’s Hottest 100 – basically an Australian radio show where they play the top 10 “alternative”  songs of the previous year as voted by the public.

Previously, the top 100 was predominately rock and alternative – it was the staple alternative to mainstream commercial radio.

This year, not only were a large number of songs in the top 100 pop, but a large portion of them were electropop or some variation of electro/hip-hop.

For examply, artists that featured (sometimes multiple times) in the top 25 included Cut Copy (electropop), The Presets (technopop), Pnau (electronic/pop), The Herd (electro/hip hop).

Why does there appear to be such an increase in the mainstream/commercial appearance of electronic artists? Have artists like Pendulum and Fat Boy Slim crossed a divide?

Or has the separation between the worlds of commercial and electronic music just been a figment of my imagination? Maybe I’m harboring some sort of elitist ideals when it comes to electronic music and the commercial tainting of it.

Hmmmm – maybe I need to work on that…

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Dance Music Streams

Posted on 17 August, 2008. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breaks, chillout, Dance music, Disco, DJ, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electro House, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, eurodance, funky house, Goa, Goa trance, Hardcore, hardcore music, hardcore techno, Hardstyle, House, house music, lounge, minimal, minimal electronica, minimal house, Music, Music Genre, progressive, Progressive House, Psychedelic trance, psytrance, Trance, tribal house, Uncategorized, vocal trance |

Listening to radio streams of the latest music is a great way to discover new songs and artists. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be a little difficult to figure out the name of a song in a big stream, particularly when there is no compere involved.

Well, to solve that problem, I recently came across a site that streams radio stations from around the world AND provides a full listing of all the tracks – it’s called 3FL Radio.

The section I am most interested in at the moment is the list of Digitally Imported streams. Digitally Imported is a site that streams electronic dance radio music from around the world. It has different streams for different styles, which makes it great for both getting to know a style and for listening to what’s currently happening with a particular style. Some of their streams include:

  • Breaks
  • Chillout
  • DJ Mixes
  • Drum and Bass
  • Electro House
  • Eurodance
  • Funky House
  • Goa Psy Trance
  • Hardcore
  • Hard Dance
  • Hardstyle
  • House
  • Lounge
  • Minimal
  • Progressive
  • Trance
  • Tribal House
  • Vocal Trance
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The GodMOTHER of drum & bass?

Posted on 22 May, 2007. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breaks, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, Hardcore, jungle, Music, Techno | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

You know, the more you delve in to the history of different electronic genres, the more suprises you’re likely to find. I love it!

As with most things, electronic music genres are dominated by male artists. I can think of only 4 female’s right off the top of my head, and only 1 of those is probably known throughout the majority of dance music circles (excluding hip hop, rap etc, not that I’d class those as dance).

But I would just like to make special mention here of one. One that has had much more of an impact on electronic music (particularly jungle, drum’n’bass, breaks) than most realise.

The thing with DJs is that they can be hard to keep track of. Particularly in jungle and drum’n’bass, few DJs use their real names. And if they happen to partner up with someone else or enter a new genre, they’ll use a new name (check out the AKA’s for Roni Size and Dillinja, for example).

ANYWAY! The person I want to mention is none other than DJ Rap (aka. Charissa Saverio). If I could be anyone, this is who I’d pick.DJ Rap
Not only is she beautiful (so much so she was approached by CK), but she’s also a fantastic muso, is quite intelligent (almost became a lawyer) AND can sing!

Under her own name (well, the DJ Rap name) she’s produced lots of fantastic music. But under OTHER names, she has produced some tunes that have come to represent a genre and an era.

Anyone who’s had any contact with jungle or oldskool will recognise the tune ‘Spiritual Aura’ (if the name doesn’t ring a bell, the tune certainly will). Remember ‘Tibetan Jungle’? ‘Digable Bass’?

All of these songs are seminal works within their genre, all produced under DJ Rap or the artist name of Engineers Without Fears, of which DJ Rap was half of.

Who was the other half? Well, it was another top talent in their field, Aston Harvey (half of what is otherwise known as The Freestylers).

So next time you’re listening to a track, and something about it reminds you of some other artist, take a squiz at who actually wrote it, and you might just discover yet another alter ego for your hero.

Track Details: Engineers without Fears – Spiritual Aura

If you like that, have a listen to: DJ Rap – Tibetan Jungle
Also try: DJ Rap – Good to be Alive

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Come to Aphex Twin!

Posted on 17 May, 2007. Filed under: Ambient, beats, breaks, chillout, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Down Tempo, downtempo, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electro, Electronic art music, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, experimental, House, house music, IDM, industrial, Music, Music Genre, Psychedelic trance, psytechno, psytrance, rave, Techno | Tags: , , , , , |

Have you ever had one of those days, where everything that comes up on your playlist reminds you of one particular artist? Like…
“oh, that beat reminds me of artist X”.
“Hey that sound reminds me of artist X”.
“Wait, I’m sure artist X has a few tunes like that”.

Well, over this last weekend alot of the tunes I’ve been listening to seem to remind me of (that wacky Irish camper himself) Aphex Twin. Yet I haven’t listened to one actual Aphex Twin song in months!
Richard David James - Aphex Twin

What I have been listening to though is a variety of jungle, hardcore, drum’n’bass, ambient and psytrance. Could it really be that Aphex Twin sounds like all of these?

One of the artists I listened to was Boards of Canada. They have that kind of ambient, IDM, experimental feel to them. And they are all words that you can definately apply to Aphex Twin (Selected Ambient Works?).

I also listened to some of The Knife, that Swedish synthpop pair who have some pretty warped sounds, with hints of mainstreaminess. Hmm, also Aphex Twin-ey (Richard D. James?).

And finally, there was some good ol’ Infected Mushroom. To me, there are some very similar beats, rhythms and mix-ups between the two.

You know, I think I may even go so far as to say, a journey through Aphex Twin is a journey through a vast array of electronic music styles.

Track Details: Aphex Twin – Window Licker
Track Details: Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy
Track Details: The Knife – Like a Pen

If you like those, try: Aphex Twin – Digeridoo
Aphex Twin – Polynomial-C
Boards of Canada – Music is Math
Boards of Canada – Kid for Today
The Knife – We Share Our Mother’s Health
The Knife – Heartbeats

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Minor – the key to my heart

Posted on 16 May, 2007. Filed under: dark ambient, dark electro, dark progressive house, dark psytrance, darkcore, darkstep, darkwave, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music |

I adore minor keys. They’re not discordant or jarring. They’re just… more melancholy? Darker?

I’ve been trying to quantify what it is that gets me about them. I studied music for almost a decade, but I still can’t say exactly what it is. So (as per usual) I went snooping around the net looking for someone else to say it for me.

“In the German theory by or derived from Hugo Riemann, the minor mode is considered the inverse of the major mode, an upside down major scale based on (theoretical) undertones rather than (actual) overtones (harmonics).
Minor scales are sometimes said to have a more interesting, possibly sadder sound than plain major scales. The minor mode, with its variable sixth and seventh degrees, offers nine notes, in C: C-D-Eflat-F-G-Aflat-A-Bflat-B, over the major mode’s seven, in C: C-D-E-F-G-A-B. The interval strength, or lowest possible location in the harmonic series, and thus consonance and “stability”, of minor triads is less than that of major, which interprets major as more “stable”, a major triad being found in the 4th, 5th, and 6th harmonics of a pitch, while the minor being the 10th, 12th, and 15th. This may explain the Picardy third, the use of a major tonic chord at the very end of a composition in minor, since it would be more stable and thus conclusive.”

Yes, couldn’t have put it better myself!

I will make one generalisation though. The majority of dark-genre songs (ie. dark drum’n’bass, dark breakbeat etc) are based on minor keys. The majority of happy or uplifting genre songs are based on major keys.

I’ll find some and show you soon!

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Calyx – Moving through the Shadows

Posted on 24 April, 2007. Filed under: beats, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum&Bass, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Music, Music Genre, Techno |

If you were hanging around the drum’n’bass scene around 05-06, you more than likely heard a couple of songs by Calyx. If you were listening to the darker sounds in drum’n’bass, it’s even MORE likely that you heard some of his tunes.

Personally, I love the stuff this guy (Larry Cons) has been putting out. I don’t think I have found one song I don’t like. Sure some are better than others, but on a whole, it’s a hearty two thumbs up from me.

What I love even MORE though, is Moving Shadow. They are one of the record labels that have truly done a massive favour for the drum’n’bass and jungle collective. What I’m talking about are their MS sampler series. It is through these that I have discovered numerous new (and fantastic) drum’n’bass artists and been able revisit old ones. What makes them even better is that they’re SO CHEAP!! On average, you pay around AU$12 per CD, and they are top quality production-wise.

It was through MS05.2 that I came across Calyx. At the moment, I would say this album is one of my all time drum’n’bass favourites. It’s got everything I love about drum’n’bass in it. The sexy rhythms, the dark deep and grumbly bass lines, the occasional vocals, the industrial grunt that is still smooth and groovable. GAH! I’m gonna need a cold shower soon.

Track Details: Calyx – Tearing Us Apart

If you like that, try: Corrupt Souls – Trioxin
Or have a go of: Future Prophecies – Concrete Combat

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Just Noisia?

Posted on 9 April, 2007. Filed under: beats, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, happy hardcore, Hardcore, Music, remix, Techno |

I laaarv dark drum’n’bass. The more industrial-ey, grumble-ey, yum-ey the better. Especially if it uses a nicely broken beat (not just a slow doof-doof-dah-doof).

I ALSO love 80’s music, so when I came across this song (Eurythmics rmx by Noisia), I got excited.

At first, it just sounds like the original has been sped up. Enter the chipmunk vocals (aah dear, here I was expecting tasty dark drum’n’bass Noisia-styles and I’ve got a happy hardcore rmx).

FLASH BACK NOTE: remember those days when you’d put a record on your parents turntable and switch the speed up, just ’cause it sounded so funny and cool? Those Chipmunks could sing everything!

But that was just the intro. At 1:08 it fades back and you get ready for the wind-up. And at 1:29, well, that’s where my hair stands on end. THAT’s where the drum’n’bass kicks in… and boy is it tasty. Up and down synth-ey winds and thick drum beats… eek…

Not sure if I’d say this was a fantastic assimilation of the original though. You kind of get the feeling he just sped up the original, then put it together with a relatively generic dark dnb backing. But who cares?!?!?!?! I LIKE IT!!

Track Details: Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Noisia Bootleg Remix)

If you like that, try: Jesus Jones – Zeros and Ones (Prodigy rmx)

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What makes a Junglist Mun…

Posted on 8 April, 2007. Filed under: beats, Dance music, DJ, DnB, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, jungle, Music, Music Genre, Techno |

Dragged out ‘Even Angels Cast Shadows’ (Omni Trio) this evening. Wow, did that bring back memories. So beautiful. I used to listen to this sort of stuff lying in bed after a rave, pleading with my ears to stop ringing (doesn’t silence scare you?). It was like being grooved to sleep. It didn’t sway you from side to side, it just kind of ‘flowed’ you around.

Anyway, I have a question. How would you describe a jungle rhythm? It’s the sort of beat you need only hear a couple of seconds of and you’ve got it picked.

It’s kind of a busy rhythm, without being jarring. Kind of focuses more on the high-ends usually, and the tune is built around it. The tune’s the pretty skin of the body rhythm (in my opinion). It’s kind of a broken beat (the grandpa of many other styles). If anyone can think of a way to define it (to someone who has no musical knowledge), that’d be awesome.

Junglist Movement

Anyway, listening to Omni Trio also reminded me of when I used to fiddle with an old synthesizer. You’d pick the rhythm (usually samba or tango or something like that), then the tune would work around which ever note you played. I remember wanting to show everyone each new song I’d “written”, just by playing a new combination of notes with one of the different preset rhythms.

Aaaah, those were the days. All I needed was some sampled blues-ey female vocals and I would’ve had a hit album down in less than an hour! Well… a top 10 on the ‘Kate’s Family Charts’ anyway…

Track Details: Omni Trio – First Contact

If you like that, try: Omni Trio –  Artificial Life

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Killa Kella – Beatboxing Bruvva

Posted on 28 March, 2007. Filed under: beatbox, beats, Dance music, DnB, Drum'n'Bass, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Music, Music Genre |

Being able to sing is a pretty impressive talent. Out of all the people you know, how many can actually sing on key? Maybe half, or 3 in 5… max.

How many people you know can keep a steady rhythm? Hit the symbol or block at the right time, each time? Someone’s always speeding up, slowing down or getting just off tempo.

Imagine being able to do one of those really well. Sing like you’ve had training, play the drums like you have an inbuilt metronome.

Now imagine being able to do BOTH of those really well and AT THE SAME TIME. “She’s talkin’ crazy talk!”

Well, I’m gonna go really loco here…
What about doing BOTH of those things, at the SAME time, with NOTHING but your voice and a microphone.

Beatboxing is one of the most amazing skills I have ever come across. And seeing someone do it right in front of you is even more impressive. I was lucky enough to see Killa Kella when he came to Perth a few months ago and he totally knocked my socks off. My lower jaw has never hung so close to the ground.

Some of my fave beatboxing tunes are:
Killa Kella – Check One
Rahzel – If Your Mother Only Knew
Roni Size – In Tune With The Sound (feat. Rahzel)

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