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The Weekly Froth - 20160708

  • Published in Columns


The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the Week: ‘Augustine’ by Blood Orange

Blood Orange is back, and we can rejoice. I’ve become a convert ever since seeing him doing an amazing live show at Primavera Sound a while back, and can’t wait to repeat a visit whenever he’s gonna be close by. This track starts slow and like a ballad, but then the quick turn around, the beat and bass combo providing the funk, which then gets the extra flavour from his guitarmanship. Then, after about 1 1/2 minute, the piano and the vocals coming in, first doing the talking, and then, when the chorus comes in, showing off the pretty, higher pitched vocals. Almost choir like here, interspersed with deeper talking. At one point we just get some (ace) vocals, and then the drumpad charges back in to provide us with some rhythm. A real ace track, can’t wait to listen to the entire album.

‘Life is Good’ by Get Down Edits

Get Down Edits start of with the disco sounds, but soon the heavy bass comes in to make it work and to get the whole thing really going on. Then the piano comes in, the little riff, bringing you way back down into that New York scene right there. The heavy bass keeps it modern though, even when the vocals come in for the first time, first doing a Hmmm-hmmm-hm to get acquainted, though slowly but surely they really start coming in with the help of some male vocals there in the background. They make sure you understand that, you know, it’s a Good life, and that Love is shining. And even moreso when you get the jiggy on with this one (As she is doing what you want her to do). At about the four minute mark they dial it down, giving the vocals all the time and all the space to get you on board, and I love that they first bring in the percussion on top of the deeper vocals singing Good life, then the piano, all before they really bring it all back in again. Some tuneage for the dancefloor, bringing the diva vocals, the disco sounds, but also deep bass sound to make sure no one has to miss a beat.


‘Oh Honey’ by Delegation (Poolside edit)

This one starts slow and sultry, bringing the warm tones first. Then, just before the minute mark, the slow bass comes in as the synthesizer and horns give you the exotic, really getting that cocktail and Poolside (…) vibe going. Then, the vocals, singing that They know where to go, as she is their Inspiration. It’s got those amazing, old school soul group vocals, those four boys doing that one mic thing. In the mean time the bass keeps the slow-to-mid paced rhythm burning, with the higher key sides giving the holiday vibes. Then, the solo male vocals, making it work for a minute, before bringing it back down with the bass and the group coming in, doing their Ooooooohhhh, honey to great effect. It is a lovely slow burner, ideal for some beach side consumption I reckon.


‘Flee’ by Crayon feat. Ann Shirley

You get the irregular beat going, doing that R&B thing over the Ann Shirley vocals, which coincidentally are also doing that R&B thing. So that vibe is set from the get go, for getting up close and dirty around midnight. I love her voice, singing You’re so cold when we are apart, giving it a fitting turn for this kind of track. In the mean time Crayon knows when to dial it down and dial it up, putting in a nice deeper bass sound as well to contrast the harsher ones. It is a nice, three minute piece where Crayon rightfully called in the Ann Shirley help, giving it that little something something that is a good fit for the track.


‘Way Back Home’ by Kraak & Smaak feat. Ivar (Tiger & Woods remix)

I love the percussion that comes in at about the ten minute mark, giving it this nice vibe as it contrasts with the more mechanical sounds in the back. Then, more rhythm sounds come in, with at the minute mark the bass barging forward full throttle when it enters the scene. They build it up nicely, always seeming to add one more thing to keep that forward momentum going as they loop the mainstay for a while (like Tiger & Woods always do so masterfully). At the two minute mark the track opens up a bit when the piano sounds come in, taking it away from the more club heavy feel of the rest of the instruments, and the lads make sure that this sound, too, gets some of the rhythm right. At the three minute mark, for the first time, the vocals, nice and soulful, singing that he hopes You understand. And those vocals won’t let up from that point on, even if it sometimes slides back a bit in favor of some of the other instruments. It’s got a real festive tone this one, a track I see doing well in festival sets because it mixes the more club elements with some of the more open, poppy sounds without replacing the former.


‘Satin Kimono’ by The Beat Broker

The Beat Broker gets a nice, funky loop going, also courtesy of that guitar sound, adding some disco sounds and the soul vocals even before the clock strikes a minute. In the mean time, in the background, the rhythm keeps rolling on, with some of those drums, a slow bass sound, all culminating in a good canvas for the vocals and that guitar to keep running on. At the two minute mark he dials it down a bit in the loop, letting the vocals do some of the work, but soon the bass comes back in to make sure the rhythm and the funk don’t get completely lost. Against the canvas The Beat Broker starts working some more sounds now, making sure to add some variety as, as far as looping goes, you do have some of that necessary repetition going on, obviously. Next to these new touches, the ongoing vocals (that aren’t repeated in that same vein) make sure you’re never going to find a dull moment. At the 4:20 mark some of that funky business in the solo instrument right there, perhaps providing a perfect summation of what this track is all about.



Primavera Sound 2016, Barcelona - Day 3

  • Published in Live

The sun is still blistering as Dam-Funk brings in da funk, brings in da noise. There’s a two tier set-up, one with the decks, another one with a small synth and a set of mics, and he alternately plays some records and plays some music. A constant there, they all are funky as heck, some on the disco side, others going all out house music. So we get the Detroit, the Chicago, the NY (Dam-Funk helpfully guides us through all that), and he’s sure not to forget to honour the late Prince, doing a couple of his songs.

So, in the sweltering heat, we are dancing. It’s real disco and real house, so it might be too slow for some who like dance music, but it’s my sweet spot, and evidently that of the people behind me as well. So at the front the people are swinging, singing, movin’ and grooving to the house beats and the disco divas. And to Dam-Funk, who, when he takes the reins, shows us the prowess of his own vocals, and who brings the wobbly with his synthesizer as well. A little bit of that Warehouse and Studio 54 in bright sunlight, but in the end, it’s the music that makes the dancing, and this set/show certainly delivers right there.

On that very same Pitchfork stage, just a little bit later, it’s Jenny Hval who does right what Holly Herndon, in my opinion, didn’t succeed at. Yes, it’s experimental, and it is perhaps closer to performance art than it is to music, until you hear the singing and the music, and then it’s a combination between both that downright works. She and her two companions all don wigs with long, blonde hair, and throughout the show they cut in it, use some of it as pubic hair, and rub it all over their arms before finally, for the last two songs, discarding them completely to unveil, for the first time, Hval without mask. Just to, for the last song, quickly throw on a cape for some dancing in unison with one of her partners on stage.

It’s not only that, clearly, she has something to say and, clearly, she isn’t afraid to get in there and get messy in order to convey her message. It’s also that her voice is absolutely beautiful, both in spoken word and singing, and that near the end she even goes for all out party with a nice, catchy beat and the aforementioned prolonged dance routine. And, when she takes off the grotesque mask that she’s been wearing all day, what she unveils is the beauty of womanhood underneath. Which, surely, can be decoded as some sort of symbolism in a performance that’s full of it.

Chairlift gives it the good ol’ dancing try with their set, mixing some of the older, more dreamier work with some of the new, more punchier singles. Personally, the dreamier work does it for me, and you can do a little dancing with your eyes closed on those ones (though at the risk of missing the entertaining and energetic lead singer). The audience, though, goes berserk especially for their single ‘Ch-ching’, which they save as last and which, for most out there, seems to be the right choice.

To end the festival we take a seat at the Ray Bans stage to see Julia Holter and band doing their thing. Her voice sounds good, and you can see these are the pros at work there, with the whole performance oozing with professionalism. Holter is just the latest strong female performer that performed at the festival this year, and she, too, gives the gathered crowd a reason for why they might join her in her European tour later on this summer.

After this seated show we take one more look at all of it all from the top end of the festival site. One more time, the city lights, one more time the throng of people, even though at that point we are seemingly by ourselves in the room upstairs. As the city is prone to do, we become voyeurs, witnesses to life or some sordid thing like it, disconnected yet surrounded by those that at least come close to being similar. Combine this mood with the perfectly eclectic soundtrack throughout all the three days, and it’s just the right darn place to be.

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