Breakbot - Still Waters: This record is very, very well produced. Breakbot is an artist whose work I've never interacted with or heard of before this week and I've sort of lumped him under the French Electro-house umbrella that represents Ed Banger. But, it's worth noting that's he's a standout artist in those terms: he produces the tracks and and acknowledges his predecessors (most notably Duran Duran & Depeche Mode) with Irfane featuring all over the album. It's certainly grown on me, and I'd encourage you to check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqPczNfNQec. SEAN
RIYL: Anything on Ed Banger, 4Trakz, French electro-house, fancy dinner parties.
Recomended Tracks: Get Lost, 2Good4Me
Junior Boys - Big Black Coat: I'm gonna be frank with this one -- this record didn't really interest me at first. I had no idea that this record was great. It's synth-pop, which isn't something I'm normally interested in, but in my opinion, when it's done right, it's spectacular. And this record is done right. These guys have been all over and are quite excellent at making backing tracks without the archetypal 80's cheese which seems to come laden with every synth-pop record out nowadays. If I can say anything about the singing, it's that it's far more similar to that of contemporary R&B artists (The Weeknd being a good example), as kind of breathy and not totally upbeat, but certainly moving. It pays good tribute to synth-pop as a whole, but certainly stands out from it; Love is a Fire emphasizes this particularly, as a sparse love song with just a simple drumbeat and song layered over it, until it morphs into something completely different. TL;DR It's a great and innovative synth-pop record, cop it if you like that kinda stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFGa1JeTI8A. SEAN
RIYL: Ford & Lopatin, Chromeo, Stepdad, driving down PCH with the top down at sunset
Recomended Tracks: Over It, And It's Forever
TB Arthur - Acid Artifacts EP: TB Arthur used to be an enigma, and somehow gained quite a bit of attention from that fame. Thump did a whole article about it which I'll link at the end of this, but the backstory goes that he was a 90's acid techno producer who ran into financial troubles and dropped out, but years later, someone at Hardwax unearthed his tracks and found out that they were pretty great, and decided that they'd release his material via his former partner. What's now apparent is that T.B. Arthur has played at the Smart Bar in Chicago and at Berghain in Berlin, still hooded and for all intents anonymous, but a little less apocryphal than he used to be. Whether he actually is this man, or whether this is an elaborate ruse remains to be seen. But, now we're on to what we can hear. These tracks are pretty lush and this whole EP sounds like it was made with a TB-303, a classic drum synth closely entwined with acid techno's past. 1A starts us off with a sub-bass wobble that sounds much like a laser-gun type kick, but goes on to drop a mesmerizing arpeggio that warps along with the track's movement. 1B is an interesting take on the classic 4/4 hard techno, and layers acid licks over an aggressive baseline, but 2A's where things start to get funky. It whips and wobbles and demonstrates sparsity, but has crazy amounts of syncopated beats to get you movin'. TL;DR it's great acid techno, and if you like your music with no frills but lush overtones, this is for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB21rnKf5fc. SEAN
RIYL: Ceephax Acid Crew, Phuture, acid techno, acieed, rollerblading on Venice wearing an 80's Tacchini tracksuit and Geordi La Forge sunglasses.
Recomended Tracks: 2A, 2B
Soichi Terada - Sounds from the Far East: "When I perform the crowd gets warm and excited and it makes me feel happy and full of joy." - Soichi Terada, 2016. I guess I should start off with a disclaimer that this probably has a million and a half plays on my media player. And it's increasing. Suffice it to say this compilation is fantastic. It's perfect for me specifically because it hits all the right spots: upbeat and weird samples, 90's house vibes and samples from that era, video gamey sounds and just an overall uplifting feeling that's nigh-indescribable but goes well with a sunrise and a fresh pot of coffee. Soichi was a stranger to US/EU house for a long time: Larry Levan and others played his tracks fairly often, but he was ostracized in the 90's because apparently he didn't have that "New York/Chicago sound" which everyone was so desperately chasing after. He moved onto other things, mainly sticking to releasing music on his own label and composing music for video games, which is how I got to know him: by playing Ape Escape and Fantavision when I was a lot younger. Although I didn't know him at the time, I loved the soundtracks for those games, so much so that I'd leave the menu music playing when I went off to do other things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le8TD6XxUjM <--- cool #rare Soichi video game banger. There's just no denying that this guy's music just straight up makes me happy. It has a miraculous power of bringing me joy, no matter what the circumstances. It's why I was so jazzed about seeing him live, and let me be be the first (if not the last) to tell you: it was incredible. Please do go see him if you haven't yet, I know I will be doing so again. But, again, back to the music. There's not a track on this compilation which I think could be improved, mostly because it's the creme de la creme of all his material (which on the whole is great). Crazy tunes all over this record, and while tracks like Hohai Beats, CPM & Rising Sun Up really emphasize the Japanese aspect of this comp, Saturday Love Sunday & Purple Haze (Edit) are more floaty and representative of the more relaxed stuff he does. Essentially, I'm very happy he's getting his dues as a producer and has the opportunity to be recognized for the amazing work he's done releasing music for not only house aficionados, but also for gamers & casual listeners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZNgKZMRps. SEAN
RIYL: Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, that Alix and Brawther compilation, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, happiness itself, love.
Recomended Tracks: there is not a track on here which I do not recommend