Techno

Enveloping Insanity – Hard Hop Tricked Out

Posted on 29 January, 2009. Filed under: beats, Breakbeat, breakbeat hardcore, breaks, broken beat, Dance music, Electronic Music, Hardcore, Music, rave, rave music, Techno |

I was lieing in bed, listening to my iRiver, one of my favourite songs came on and I just HAD to get up and post about it.

I think I’ve written about this song/style before – if I haven’t, I’ve most certainly meant to!

If you like heavy, broken beats, the feeling of utterly absorbing insanity but with a driving rhythm, you NEED the Wizard of Oh’s mix of  Bronco by Tanith.

If you like Tipper (his old rave-ey stuff) you’ll LARV this.

I start listening to this song and the rhythm just gets me straight away. Then there’s a couple of synthy space sounds, the vocal sample and then… *shudder* the deep crumply whiney run and then… *holds breath* the drop in to the main body of the song.

The sound literally pours in to your ears, runs down the back of your throat, down your spine and makes the hair on your arms and legs stand on end.

I’m going to have to post about this style (and this specific album) again soon.
Though right now I’m going to get back in bed, let my eyes water and roll with it.

Track details: Tanith – Bronco (Wizard of Oh Mix)

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Music in Movies not on the Soundtrack (or “gaaaaah!”)

Posted on 17 August, 2008. Filed under: Dance music, dark electro, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Music, rave, Techno |

Don’t you HATE it when you’re watching a movie, you hear this awesome piece of music in the background of a scene, you start hyperventalating (cause it’s just so awesome), you immediately go and find the soundtrack to the movie, only to find the pièce de résistance of the whole soundtrack isn’t there?! Well, all I can say is “THANK GOODNESS FOR THE INTERNET”!

A couple of weeks ago I went and saw the new Batman movie – The Dark Knight. About half way through is a scene in a nightclub with some awesome dark electronic song in the background (total goosebump moment). Anyway, having learnt from my mistakes, I went straight to the internet and did a search for “club scene song Dark Knight Batman” and voila! Some gorgeous person had already discovered what it was and posted about it!

Finding a song you’ve been searching for for ages can be one of the most rewarding experiences – the moment the download clicks over to 100% and the sound of the song you’ve dedicated hours to searching for starts flowing through your speakers can be quite a tear-jerker (for this girl, anyway).

Fortunately, with the internet, we can start to benefit from other peoples tireless searches, and reap the benefits more quickly. Next time you get stuck on a song you’ve heard randomly in the background of a movie, have a quick squiz at ReelSoundtrack.com or google-it.

Track details: Boom Boom Satellites – Scatterin’ Monkey
Boom Boom Satellites – A Moment of Silence

If you like that, try: Crystal Method – Trip Like I Do

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Educational Remix

Posted on 13 May, 2008. Filed under: chillout, Dance music, dub, Dubstep, Electro, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Genres, hard trance, house music, Music, Music Genre, rave, remix, Techno, Trance, Uncategorized |

Understanding the unique components of a style of electronic or dance music can be pretty hard, especially if you aren’t familiar with many (or any) other styles of electronic music.

For me, one of the easiest ways to figure out what makes a particular style is by comparison. I listen to a song I know well (particularly something not electronic or dancey) then listen to a remixed version of it.

For example, one non-dance song I was really into in the mid-90’s was a song by Arkarna, called ‘The Future’s Overrated’. Due to my lack of fundage at the time, all I could afford was the single. A few singles of this song came out, each with a few different remixes – my favourite being Amethyst’s Past, Present and Future Mix.

Around this time, I wasn’t particularly familiar with many styles of electronic music. I knew basic tech and listened to the more commercial stuff like Snap, C&C Music Factory, The Prodigy etc etc. I hadn’t come across much progressive electro trance stuff. This remix was a great intro. It helped pique my interest in those styles and was the start of my journey in to chill-out and trance.

Knowing the original version helped highlight the slower, more atmospheric sound of trance, as well as the synthetic beat/tune sounds and resonating, floatey vocals. *sigh* Beeeeyaddaful…

Track details: Arkarna – The Future’s Overrated (Amethyst’s Past, Present and Future Mix)

Also have a listen to:
Justin Timberlake – My Love (RYF Dubstep Remix)
Beverly Hills Cop – Axel F (Hard Trance Remix)

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What is dubstep?

Posted on 20 February, 2008. Filed under: ambient dub, chillout, Dance music, dub, dub techno, Dubstep, Electronic Music, Music, Music Genre, sub dub, UK Garage | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Last year I came across some music that quite caught my fancy. I’m not sure if it was the smooth hypnotic feel it gave me or the waves of bass, but I LIKED IT! It had the smooth, sustained feeling of dub-ey reggae but with bass lines that couldn’t help but evoke  a little movement of the hips.  The sound was Dubstep… makes sense really.

Dub is a form of Jamaican music, which evolved out of reggae in 1960s Jamaica. The dub sound is usually accomplished by removing the vocals from an existing music piece, and adding extensive echo and reverb effects, and occasional snippets of lyrics from the original version.

Dubstep is a genre of electronic music which has its roots in London’s early 2000s UK garage scene. The genre’s name was coined by Ammunition Promotions. Musically, dubstep is distinguished by its dark mood, sparse rhythms, and emphasis on bass. In late 2005 and early 2006, dubstep steadily became more popular, expanding beyond small, local scenes thanks to coverage in music magazines such as The Wire, as well as the internet. Interest in dubstep grew after BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs began championing the genre, devoting a show to it, entitled “Dubstep Warz”, in January 2006. By October 2006, the genre was being covered by the Daily Telegraph, which wrote of “the latest development in British dance music… yet another sound stemming from London’s garage scene, a bass-heavy instrumental form rather confusingly known as Dubstep.”

Big thanks must go to radio program RTR FM, Underground Solution. Without shows like this we wouldn’t have exposure to so many awesome and ear-opening sounds. It’s programs and radio stations like these that make for a richer, more rounded community.

In general, these ‘alternative’ radio DJ jobs can probably seem a little thankless, so THANK YOU to all those guys who sit behind a mic, in often cold and empty radio studios, at excessively random hours of the night, talking to no-one yet sharing their fantastic love with so many people.

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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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Intelligent Dance Music?

Posted on 17 May, 2007. Filed under: braindance, Dance music, DJ, Electro, Electronic art music, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, experimental, glitch, IDM, intelligent dance music, minimal, Music, Music Genre, Techno | Tags: , , , , , |

Who coined the term “Intelligent Dance Music”?
(sidenote: and what do coins have to do with words?!)

Personally, I think it’s a bit of a misrepresentation of the style.

“Intelligent dance music (commonly known as IDM) is a genre of electronic music derived from dance music of the 1980s and early 1990s which puts an emphasis on novel processing and sequencing. Music referred to as IDM is generally abstract, and may range from soft ambient textures to more abrasive noise.”

What is the “intelligent” part referring to? I’ve seen one definition of it saying that it’s music that moves not only the body, but the mind too. I’ve also read within a sentence of that quote that IDM is “typically, very difficult to dance to”. So it doesn’t move the body, but it does the mind?

This style of music is often very difficult to process by mainstream listeners. I know the first time I heard Aphex Twin, I was kinda freaked out. And Bjork (both of whom were once or are placed within the genre of IDM).

Actually, I think I just answered my own question.
If we look back over the artists who were placed within the IDM genre, you see that alot of them pioneered new styles and/or techniques in the electronic field.

Also, the term ‘mainstream’ usually refers to something that appeals to the lowest common social denominator, so it makes sense that ‘mainstream’ listeners would find it difficult to listen to.

I liked this quote…

“A loaded term meant to distinguish electronic music of the ’90s and later that’s equally comfortable on the dancefloor as in the living room, IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) eventually acquired a good deal of negative publicity, not least among the legion of dance producers and fans whose exclusion from the community prompted the question of whether they produced stupid dance music.” — All Music Guide

Alot of the IDM I’ve heard over time has been quite ‘avant-garde’ – something new and a little… out there? Maybe the original IDM-ers used the term IDM as a protection when first releasing their music to the electronic massive.

“Man, that’s some warped, mixed up sheet right there.”
“Nah man, that’s Intelligent Dance Music.”
“Oh, then that was well wikkid brah!”

“As the idiom developed, the music became more and more about the novelty of certain sounds and treatments, ridiculously trivial aspects like tempo and choice of samples, and the public personae of the makers. It became a race to novelty. I find that kind of evolution beneath triviality. It is a decorative, not substantive, evolution.” — Journalist and Electrical Audio recording engineer Steve Albini

IDM has also been referred to as “Braindance”, and I think that kind of fits the style more. Or maybe “Brainseizure”.

But then again, it could just all be down to marketing.

“I hate IDM and its elitist champions. It makes the music sound so much more than it actually is. It’s a label invented by PR companies who need catchphrases. I like sounds, but hate what people attach to sounds.” — Kid 606

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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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Elgar Gets a Make-Over

Posted on 8 May, 2007. Filed under: beats, Dance music, DJ, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Artists / DJs, Music, remix, Techno |

On the weekend I went to a symphony with my Dad. The main attraction for me (apart from one of the cellists – teehee) was Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis’.

The “headlining” piece was actually Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’. This was, ofcourse, towards the end of the concert, and by that stage I was getting a little drowsy. Well, did that change when they started this!

If any of you are familiar with the first movement of ‘Enigma Variations’, you’ll know why my interest was piqued.

If any of you are familiar with Rob Dougan’s ‘Clubbed to Death’, that’s why my interest was piqued!

The string theme used in the beginning of (and throughout) ‘Clubbed to Death’ is none other than the ‘Enigma Variation’ theme. Rob D just added some sexy bass lines and synthetic sounds.

Why I didn’t pick this up before the concert, I’ll never know. But I’m glad I didn’t, as it was a great suprise! I’m sure there were lots of other under 35yo (or Matrix fans) in the audience who agreed.

Anyway, hearing this piece got me thinking. Out of all my favourite classical pieces, which one would be most awesome to remix?

And how does one go about remixing an old song? Do you take out the theme from the original, think of a beat you like, then work it in? Or do you think about how you want the song to feel and then go from there?

Another question, is it harder to remix an established piece of music (particularly if it’s well written), than starting from scratch? The style and movement of it is already so intrenched by it’s genre, wouldn’t it be difficult to break away from that?

Track details: Edward Elgar – Enigma Variations
Track details: Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death

If you like that, try: The Prodigy – Mozart Remix

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Wisp-ey atmospheres

Posted on 24 April, 2007. Filed under: Ambient, Electronic Music, Electronic Music Genres, Electronica, experimental, Music, remix, Techno | Tags: , , , , |

Even when I need to relax, I don’t like listening to ‘technically boring’ songs. By that I mean, songs where very little happens, there are very few layers, there are no rhythmic changes etc etc.

But every brain needs a little down time. Or, in my case, something to distract it enough to be able to wind down and rock it gently in to (hopefully) some form of temporary oblivion.

A song that does this really well for me is the Wisp remix of Aphex Twin’s ‘Rhubarb’. It’s an awesome mix of relaxing, atmospheric ambient with an Omni-Trio-esque jungle rhythm mixed in. There are no sudden loud noises to jar you back in to reality, just smooth, groovy ambience.

Track Details: Aphex Twin – rhubarb (Wisp 1159 mix)

If you like that, try: Aphex Twin – lichen (Wisp 1136 mix)

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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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