Being that this is my first installment for this column, I wanted to introduce the vision I have for it, and then cross my fingers this vision jives with readers. When Metro Times approached me about covering "electronic music," my head swam with ways in which to do this. After all, electronic music is an extremely broad category.
For the past seven years, I've covered electronic music for one of the most popular blogs, Indieshuffle.com. My ears sift daily through such a wide and wonderful variety. I've come to love all of it, in all its forms. I'm no purist when it comes to genre conventions. That said, it's important to pay massive respect to the bare bones of a few categories: techno and house. These two genres are where we get out roots.
We're also possibly the most informed city by way of electronic music — the classic styles and the new styles — and that's just what I hope to bring to this column: a tastefully catered spectrum of electronic music, both locally made and from afar. The idea is that DJs and regular listeners alike should all find something to love here. I'll do my best to intrigue you enough with words alone so that you're compelled to search and discover these releases for yourself.
Artist: DJ 3000/Mazepa
Title: Until It's Gone/MOIA LP
First on the list, we're going local, with a bold and fervent release from Motech. Label owner and legend DJ 3000 splits the record with Mazepa, a raw, new talent with a keen sense for what makes techno great. DJ 3000's dark and rolling "Until It's Gone" and fatalistic "Delray" complement Mazepa's atmospheric "Anathema," and give breath to the exotic undertones of the standout tech house rumble of "Moja." It's a solid release that's available on vinyl and digital via Motech.
Title: Feelings EP
Citizenn was one of the first producers I latched on to as far as my own electronic exploration went (except that back then, the U.K. native only used one "n"). Along with his name, his style has also developed. It's deeper, darker, and ice cold. The Feelings EP then seems an interesting dichotomy for what it is, seemingly lacking of. "Story So Far" and "Feelings" are highly urban developments suitable for damp basement parties and dark room warehouse gatherings. The remix from Harvard Bass rounds out the release with a stripped down, bass-heavy edit of "Story So Far." Caution applies — this release is hard techno, i.e.: it's not for the casual listener. Feelings is out this week from Kaluki Musik.
Artist: Sam Weston
Title: Never Been In Love EP
There's nothing I love more than warm, classic house. Australian native Sam Weston might be a bit rough around the edges, but his latest release is nothing to scoff at. Melodic chords jump their way through "Never Been in Love Pt II" like an overly excited kid losing their shit over that first crush. And then like taking a deep breath, Weston reels it in with tasty vocal stabs and minimal exotica sounds in "Never Been in Love Pt III." The 12-inch vinyl is out this week, and it's released digitally on Dec. 2 via Soothsayer.
Artist: Ama Lou
Title: TBC LP
Genre: Future R&B, Future bass
Ama Lou's music is a great example of where avant-garde pop electronic is headed. Wherever it's going, it's safe to say it's future oriented. Ama Lou is a righteous artist whose work refuses to be boxed in. At 18, one imagines she's still got a whole lot more up her sleeve. Her video for "TBC" premiered via I-D magazine and has been making waves based on cool factor alone. But it's the whole package that hits "TBC" home. The music is like minimal U.K. bass: subtle, yet lush sounds strengthened by a poignant lyrical message which references minority issues as well as standing together, fighting against stagnant social norms. With only 294 followers on Soundcloud, you're getting in on the ground floor with this one.
Title: Madhouse Records 2016
Genre: Deep house
Rounding out the column this month, we have a compilation from one of my favorite labels, a concern that's been waving the flag for soulful house since 1992, Kerri Chandler and Mel Medalie's aptly titled imprint, Madhouse records.
The honey smooth grooves of The Mekanism's "Sweet Monday" will add a bit of sugar to any day of the week. You'll be buzzing with good vibes in no time. Voyuer's "Rain Away" hits you low in the throat, makes you feel like the secret to life is a smooth glass of scotch and a tailor-made suit. Making good on the remix tip, Copyright adds a fresh spin to Tony Lionni's track "Take Me With" and Rachel Fraser's vocals add just enough swing to have you swaying to the rolling house beat. The release is a highly sophisticated party for the earlobes. The compilation drops Dec. 16 via Madhouse (of course) so put it on your Christmas list.
If you have a demo or release you'd like me to check out, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.