Atmospheric

September 30th, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Kaskade, Atmosphere

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

It’s been two years since the release of Kaskade‘s career-defining Fire & Ice, so the anticipation for his follow-up, as you can imagine, has been at fever pitch. Now the wait is over: Atmosphere dropped September 10 on Ultra Records. And the verdict is … well, read on and see. Here’s the track-by-track rundown:

(1) Last Chance: OK, here we go. The drop at the 1:45 mark doesn’t really wow me, to be honest. There’s nothing unexpected about it. The vocals mesh nicely with the music, but the lyrics — usually a cut above on Kaskade’s records — tend to the repetitive and lack any real flow. All in all, it’s a weirdly unimpressive choice for an album opener — one that made me impatient to move on to the next track. A bad omen? Let’s see what’s next before jumping to conclusions.

(2) Why Ask Why – Personally, I would have made this the album opener. It’s got the euphoric energy of Kaskade’s best tracks, and the intriguing lyrics (“Love has the time to change your mind”; “I’ll soon be far away — you can watch me go”) have a “classic trance” feel to them. For the casual listener, this is the place to start.

(3) MIA to LAS – Um, what? As confusing as its title, this track means to summon the mood of a journey from Miami to Las Vegas — but mostly what it evokes is the beginnings of a migraine. Can’t say I made it all the way through this one. Next!

(4) No One Knows Who We Are (Kaskade’s Atmosphere Mix) – Better. A tranquil beginning, similar to “Why Ask Why,” as a soothing piano melody ripples below and the vocals by Canadian chanteuse Lights dance across the surface. (Gotta say: Kaskade has a knack for choosing the voice that compliments at tune.) As someone with a passion for classical piano, I heart this track to pieces. But Atmosphere‘s frequent shifts in tone are, frankly, a bit bewildering. It’s very … well, let’s just say diverse.

(5) Feeling The Night – And then: a monster anthem. (The title is self-explanatory.) It’s your basic floor-filler, precision-engineered to be played at big festivals like VELD and UMF and to send the crowd into a dancing frenzy. It would be almost uncharitable to point out that, not unlike “Last Chance,” it’s just a wee bit predictable.

(6) Take Your Mind Off – This is one to play when you need to calm your mind and body after a stressful day. Clamp on the headphones, clear away the distractions, lie back and listen. Just you and the music.

(7) LAX to JFK – I like to try to visualize what an artist is thinking when they conceive a track. In this case, I got the mental image of a commute to the airport, followed by a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to New York. More intriguing than compelling, but it has enough of a kick to make me press repeat.

(8) Atmosphere – Again with the classical influences. Personally, I’m a sucker for a piano, so this track — the album’s first single — pulled me in right away. The lyrics are the most autobiographical he’s ever written, as Kaskade (a.k.a. Ryan Raddon) draws us into his life and gives us a glimpse of his younger self: “with visions of worlds that were all my own.” Judging by the sonic evidence here, those visions must have been pretty awe-inspiring. Easter egg time: Guess who’s singing the vocals on this track?

(9) Missing You – More stylistic mix-and-match, as Kaskade teams up with indie rockers School of Seven Bells on this alluring track. Whoever the lyrics were written for, I hope that person realizes just how special they must be.

(10) Something Something – The indie feel continues here, and I’m sold on it — enough, anyway, to press repeat several times. The lyrics sound like a continuation of “Missing You,” making me think that Kaskade is really trying to send a message to someone with this album. I hope it reaches the intended recipient, because I’m not sure — what with all of Atmosphere‘s restless genre-hopping — that Kaskade’s fans are going to have the patience to try to figure it out.

(11) SFO to ORD – A suitably funky house sound for a track meant to evoke a journey from San Francisco to Chicago. Could’ve used some soulful vocals, though.

(12) Floating – And we’re back in “Take Your Mind Off” territory, with another relaxing chill-out track. Maybe too relaxing: I was fighting to stay awake at this point. It’s Kaskade’s EDM lullaby.

(13) How Is It – And finally, this. Soothing, mellifluous, with stunning vocals by Debra Fotheringham. Atmosphere may be a work of decided highs and lows, but to Kaskade’s credit, it ends strongly.


Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.

 

Miss Kittin: the bpm:tv Interview

December 20th, 2012

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

Vive la france! bpm:tv blogger Gosia Mrugala goes tête-à-tête with Parisian producer/DJ MISS KITTIN (a.k.a. Caroline Hervé).


GOSIA MRUGALA: Hey, Caroline Hervé! what have you been up to lately?

MISS KITTIN: Playing every weekend, Christmas dinner at my place with my Parisian friends, and working on the future live show that will follow the release of my new album.

GM: Where did the name “Miss Kittin” come from?

MK: An illegal party we organized when I was at art school, in a military fort. I was asked to play in the chillout area. They needed a name for the flyer. I said “Kittin,” like “Kick into something.” It has nothing to do with “kitten.” Later on, all promoters started putting “Miss” in front, because it was more fashionable. I could never get rid of it.

GM: How would you describe your musical style?

MK: “Diverse.”


GM: Who would you say have been your biggest influences?

MK: Life in general.

GM: As in “Life is My Teacher.” What are some things you’ve learned from life?

MK: It’s all said in the song.


Miss Kittin – Life Is My Teacher (Original Mix): BUY IT ON BEATPORT

GM: Your top three tracks at the moment?

MK: 1) Nick CurlyUnderground (Dennis Ferrer Remix) | 2) George FitzgeraldUnilateral | 3) Maxxi Soundsystem feat. Name OneRegrets We Have No Use For

GM: When you created your label Nobody’s Bizzness, you said it was about maintaining the maximum freedom with your music. How would you describe the relationship between a label and its artists, and what kind of influence do labels have on an artist’s music?

MK: I always think it’s better to be a label manager if you’re not a DJ or a musician, to avoid ego fights. I’ve seen that a lot. That’s why I don’t release other people yet, because I don’t have time to take care of them properly. I will do it when I am 100% available for them.


GM: Do you prefer playing at clubs or festivals?

MK: Both — good balance. You can experiment in clubs, and throw the big show in festivals.

GM: Any upcoming projects or collaborations in the works?

MK: My new double album [Calling From The Stars, slated for release April 22, 2013 on wSphere] a live show, a song with Acid Washed, another one with Aquarius Heaven, and more.

GM: Where do you see yourself in five years?

MK: I don’t know!


Miss Kittin’s new digital-only EP Life Is My Teacher is out now! Buy it on Beatport HERE. Buy it on iTunes HERE.

Download the single “Life Is My Teacher” for free on SoundCloud HERE.



Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.

 

Lez Go

May 10th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Still riding the buzz from one of the best interviews of my career, with British dub innovator Rusko. And what should I discover in my inbox this morning, but the brand new visuals for “Lez Go,” from his new EP with Cypress Hill, Rusko X Cypress, due out June 5th.

Rusko is exactly what you’d expect: down to earth, easygoing, and full of energy and enthusiasm. While we were setting up for the bpm Spotlight interview, he pulled out an recreational cigarette and asked if he might indulge while we talked.  Network higher-ups thought it best not to have that on camera — but the message was clear: “Live life the way you want to live it.”

During my one-on-one session with the Cockney Thug I got a chance to find out about his collaboration with the Cypress Hill crew. The origin and evolution of this project is a story worth writing about — but you’ll have to tune in to bpm Spotlight to hear how it went down. I promise you’ll be surprised to hear how these two acts linked up.

The funniest aspect of the whole team-up? Rusko claims (and I fully believe him) that when they hung out in the studio together for the first time, he smoked Cypress under the table. That’s right, he smoked them stupid. What up? First you’ve got Wiz Khalifa outsmoking Snoop, and now a pasty Brit putting Cypress to shame. What’s happened to our legends?

‘Twas all in good fun, though — and based on the evidence of this new video, the collaboration has clearly sparked new creative highs for all involved. Can’t wait to see the finished Spotlight episode. Until then, let’s enjoy the viz. And, if you haven’t already, beeeeeee surrrrrrrrre to check out Rusko’s latest album, Songs. Cop it HERE.


Sweets of the Week tomorrow!

 


Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter

 

New Photo Gallery: GRAND BENDERS Meet The Cast Party

May 8th, 2012

Check out our new gallery of exclusive images from the GRAND BENDERS Meet The Cast Party at Cobra London on Friday May 4. All photos by Michael Middy.

Don’t forget to catch GRAND BENDERS on bpm:tv every Tuesday, starting tonight, at 9 pm ET/PT. Repeats Saturdays at 7 pm ET/PT

CLICK HERE to view the photo gallery.


 

 


 

Album Review: Huoratron – Cryptocracy

May 1st, 2012

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

CONSUMER WARNING: The bass on this album has been clinically proven to cause full and debilitating mind-and-body addiction to electro.

Go for it!!!!!!!!

(What? Do you wan to live forever or something?)

Finnish electro-house artist Huoratron (a.k.a. Aku Raski) has no restraint when it comes to his productions. He goes for it — and boy, does this guy deliver. There’s a raw underground feel to much of his stuff, and this albums is absolutely awash in it. It’s a rare and refreshing quality nowadays, as EDM colonizes the mainstream. Cryptocracy is an electrifying pastiche, melding electro and underground with a scorching, rock-styled sound: a stalwart, forceful work. After playing the album through and looking up a few videos of him spinning, I’ve made it a priority to catch him live at the earliest opportunity. This is one performer I am very eager to see behind the decks.

Check out the videos and tell me if you don’t agree …

On to the album. Here’s a track-by-track rundown:

1. Cryptocracy – An amazing start to the album, opening the minds of his listeners and luring them into uncharted corners of his musical labyrinth. Check out the video for this track; turn up the volume, give in to the sound and let Huoratron take full control of your mind. It’s a mental ride you won’t forget.

2. New Wave of MutilationMu-ti-late: to deprive a person of a limb or other essential part. This track will deprive you of all senses other than hearing — in the nicest possible way. My recommendation? Don’t fight it … not that you could. Just give in and let the new wave take total control.

3. A699F – Listen at the 0:30 mark and you’ll get a distinct “Happy Violence” vibe. This one left me eager to press repeat repeat repeat — but with eight more tracks still to go, we soldier on.

4. Bug Party – Frenzied. My body absolutely refused to stay still for this one. The farther I follow Huoratron on this wild sonic journey, the more I get the “bug” to see him live!

5. Dungeons & Dungeons – Here, Huoratron pulls the listener into the dungeon of his musical mind and unpacks the instruments of euphoric torment. And it hurts so good.

6. Sea of Meat – And here a fashionable dubstep feel takes over: electro wobble wobble dub. Not a personal favourite of mine, but still an ear-pleaser.

7. Top 1% – “Do it again.” And again. And again. Huoratron keeps finding peaks and depths you didn’t even know existed. With this one, he made me an official convert to the electro chiptune sound.

8. Force Majeure – Here, things take on a nightmarish tone, sucking you into dark realms of the unknown on the scariest roller coaster you’ve ever ridden. This track left me utterly speechless.

9. Transcendence – Homestretch now. Throughout “Transcendence” you hear alarms, as if warning you about the presence of dangerously powerful bass. And with good reason: I was sitting in a friend’s car listening to this track while she dashed into a store and — no word of a lie! — it triggered the alarm on a parked car nearby. The power of this track can only be fully appreciated on good speakers or headphones. It’s like an endorphin overdose surging through your whole system, till it feels like your head may explode. When it comes to a raw, underground hard bass sound, you’ll find no superior example.

10. Unblinking Eyes – At first I felt as though this track ought to have been the album opener: it has a great build to it and really hypes up the listener. But Huoratron knows what he’s doing. It’s genius to make this the album’s finishing touch, because it just leaves you craving more. A masterpiece.


 Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.

Album Review: Paul van Dyk – Evolution

April 26th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

This seems a proper time to pay tribute to Germany. With the UEFA Champions League final — the “Super Bowl of Soccer” — slated for May 19 in Munich at the jaw-dropping/awe-inspiring Allianz Arena, it was always going to be a special time for the country. That the home team has surpassed all expectations by miraculously making it to the final –  a first in the history of the competition — just makes it all the sweeter.

Meanwhile, in the competitive arena that concerns this blog, Germany current runs neck-and-neck with Sweden in terms of exporting EDM talent to the world: Moguai, Digitalism, Cosmic Gate, and Zedd — these are just a few of the German artists you’ll find ensconced in the top tier of electronic music’s own champions league.

And let’s not forget the Godfather of German dance. Grammy winner Paul van Dyk has managed to maintain household name status — in EDM-friendly households, at least — for a decade-plus. That alone is enough to certify him as a legend. And his new album, Evolution, finds him re-creating himself, with a sound that’s current, fresh and unique. Forget legend — try icon.

Paul van Dyk – Evolution: LISTEN TO IT HERE


I’ll zero in on the tracks I’ve enjoyed. In fairness, though, they’re all really meant to be heard at a Bal en Blanc type of festival with thousands of other people all tuned in to the same vibe you’re on.

* Symmetries stands out for me because its 130-ish bpm tempo sets the standard for an album that is clearly made for dancing. So often, trance albums have … well, let’s call it a Cinderella storybook type of sound. Great for those long walks through the enchanted forest, for sure. But those of us who live in real life in real time, a 10-minute ballad with two minutes of full-out kick, clap and snare is sometimes just … a little much. Now maybe that pegs me as less than a fully fledged trance fan in your eyes. I assure you, to the contrary, that I am — and that the kind of trance sound van Dyk experiments with on this album is precisely the kind I’ve most come to love.

* The Ocean is something special. A trance song with female vocals is usually only going to go as far as the songstress can take it. And Arty takes it all the way to the edge of the Pacific. (Barf in your mouth at the play on words, if you will, but there it is.) There are points in this song, at 0:45 and 3:13, when the filter really starts kicking in and you feel, in your bones, what trance is about. Cinderella storybook, but with a conscious beat. Hard to describe, easy to listen to.

* Verano is a big room anthem. I mean, f**k genre boundaries. van Dyk sees what’s good, wherever it is, and goes to there. This song sounds conjures up all that’s best about Avicii, yet it’s van Dyk all the way. Proof that this established artist is still perfectly happy playing around with new sounds. Credit must go to Austin Leeds, whom I’m sure helped with the “evolution” of this track. (See what I did there?)

* I Don’t Deserve You. OK, at first I thought this was going to be a trance version of Milhouse’s “Can I Borrow A Feeling” — basically a little melodramatic and over-the-top. But the beat van Dyk lays down really throws the vocal and the vulnerability of the lyrics into sharp relief. You’re the first face that I see and the last thing I think about. I think we’ve all been there.

* Lost in Berlin. Simply put, the kind of EDM track I love. In your face from start to finish, all style and flair. Catch me dancing to this at 4am like it’s noon.

* Rock This. Now, just wait a bloodclot minute! Isn’t this supposed to be a trance album? You know, all flowers and rainbows and shooting stars and s**t? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, man. Mr. van D goes for some glitchy, amped-up electrofunk on this one, creating the biggest drop on the album. Go on, rudebwoi!

* All the Way. Hmmm. Now, this song bit me on the ass the minute I pressed play. Something sounds awfully familiar, though. I’m getting a “Mason-Exceeder” feel — but the way van Dyk plays with the sound is so original that I say what the hell: bump it!

* If You Want My Love. Saving the best for last. It might sound pedestrian to some, but for me this jumps off the Pioneers for me. As in: potential top 40 classic. Or at least prime — and I mean PRIME — remix material. Give it a shot!

van Dyk has really experimented with an array of styles and sounds on this stellar collection. Albums really seem to be making a comeback in EDM right now, and when you see iconic artists like Paul van Dyk and Cosmic Gate at the forefront of this revolution, it gives you faith that we’re in for a good run in these next few years. No question: this is Germany’s moment.

BUY PAUL VAN DYK’S EVOLUTION ON ITUNES.

 


Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter

Stuff We Love: Meiko + Morgan Page

April 20th, 2012

Happy weekend, bpm Nation. Say hello to our most favourite new thing — and maybe yours, too. Morgan Page, our man-crush of the moment, has remixed the single “Leave The Lights On” by up-and-coming L.A. indie-pop singer-songwriter Meiko, and it’s pretty epic. This goes on our summer playlist, right alongside Morgan’s Tegan and Sara collab, “Body Work.”

We’ve put it up on our SoundCloud for you to give a listen. If you’re into it, head on over to Meiko’s Web site, where it’s available as a FREE DOWNLOAD.

Meiko – Leave The Lights On (Morgan Page Remix): LISTEN TO IT HERE


Meiko describes herself on her site as a “Singer, Songwriter, Shit Talker, Lover, Fighter, Over User of The Word ‘Balls,’” which kind of makes us love her. Her sophomore album The Bright Side is due out May 15 from Fantasy/Concord Music Group. She had a big hit with the 2008 single “Boys With Girlfriends,” off her self-titled debut LP, and if you watch Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars or The Vampire Diaires, then you’ve probably heard her stuff. You can check out the original version of “Leave The Lights On” here:


Meiko has a FACEBOOK and TWITTER. Morgan Page has THAT STUFF too.


Sweet, Sweet Nectar

April 18th, 2012

Posted by Scott Willats

Posting has been a little light these last few days, but never fear: things are about to get very, very heavy. Today, some bass for your earhole. Seems the legendary long-haired freak known as Bassnectar is back with a new album packed of must-hear cuts designed to reduce your subwoofer to a cringing, weeping wreck. (No mas! No mas!) The deliciously titled VaVa Voom is a a collection of sounds that Bassnectar (a.k.a. Lorin Ashton) has been compiling for some time, all crafted with the same motive: to rock your brain into a coma. The illustrious likes of ill.Gates, Jantsen, Tina Malia and Lupe Fiasco all make guest appearances.

The title track showcases the sound that Bassnectar is so justly proud of: the climbing steps and low voice at the beginning make it feel real Dirty South, and for a second or two you have to remind yourself it’s an EDM artist who made this beat. Once the bass kicks in, the track is unmistakeably Bassnectar, and with Lupe’s philosophical flow and street fluency, it all blend together perrrrrrrrrrrfectly.

The rest of the album is equally essential, so be sure to check it all out.

Bassnectar: VaVa Voom: LISTEN TO IT HERE ON SOUNDCLOUD


Follow Scott Willats (SAWStruck) on Twitter

Album Review: Morgan Page – In The Air

April 9th, 2012

Posted by Gosia Mrugala

Born in Vermont and now based in L.A., MORGAN PAGE has been making electronic music from the age of 12. It’s fair to say he’s come a long way. His crowd-pleasing, mellisonant originals and remixes are evidence of a talent that has evolved successfully. Page’s new album In The Air (showcased recently here at bpmtv.com) has its listless patches, but nevertheless offers some rapturous tracks that should satisfy the craving for stellar progressive house, whether in the comfort of your home or car, or wheeling around the dance floor. Let’s break it down.

1.”In The Air” – Hands-down, my favourite track on the album. Angela McCluskey‘s soothing susurrus of a voice dances evocatively to the beat Page lays down. A great way to start things off.

2. “Where Did You Go” – A more upbeat approach. Definitely made to get the crowd moving at the club. If anything, it’s maybe a bit too dance-y for my tastes. But no denying the strength of the rhythm.

3. “Body Work” – I have to say, I absolutely love Tegan and Sara‘s voices here. An upbeat track, this is definitely going on my playlist for the gym. Perfect for dancing your ass off, “Body Work” has been floating around since last year, but has gained well deserved popularity thanks to Page’s own club mix and reworks by Lazy Rich and Richard Dinsdale.

4. “Carry Me” – I don’t think I know anyone who can say they aren’t entranced with Nadia Ali’s voice; small wonder she graces tracks by so many different DJs.The melding of voice and rhythm here is most grazioso. Press play and let it “carry” you to a state of musical euphoria.

5. “The Only One” – A mellifluous love song that creates a mellow, halcyon mood. Best enjoyed at home with headphone — I don’t see this moving the dance floor, unless there’s club-tempo remix in the works (which: not a bad idea).

6. “S.O.S.” – A unique trance spin on The Police‘s 1979 classic “Message In A Bottle” about a desert island castaway in search of love. A surprisingly successful remake — definitely worthy of a listen.

7. “The Actor” – I do like the lyrics to this track, but the rhythm isn’t satisfying my musical senses. All in all, an OK track, but a bit insipid compared to some of the other material on the album. Can’t say I would personally press replay for this one.

8. “Missing” – Nothing “missing” on this track. An aberrant yet interesting start, a warm, flowing melody and a catchy rhythm that won’t let you stay perfectly still.

9. “Light Years” - I’m a big fan, personally, of adding real instruments (like the piano in this track) to lend a “classical” touch to a track. This is a soothing, almost pianissimo trance track, with impressive lyrics. Have to admit, I pressed replay on this one more than once or twice.

10. “Love Mistaken” - I can’t say this one really left a lasting imprint in my musical memory the way some of the others did. It’s a decent enough trance track but a bit of an oblivion for me, frankly.

11. “Gimme Plenty” – A funky sound to this track, with Shana Halligan’s vocals lending a welcome touch of soul. Seductive!

12. “Video” - Again, the great voices of Tegan and Sara. The addictive vocal hook with its “electro” sound lends the perfect kick to this track’s captivating trance rhythm. I pressed repeat — so will you.

13. “Addicted” - Greg Laswell’s vocals mesh ideally with the calm yet surprisingly “addictive” beat that Page has worked up for this one. It borders on the mellow, but still has enough of a kick that it can be enjoyed on the dancefloor.


Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.

Morgan Page: In The Air – Listening Party

March 22nd, 2012


Attention bpm Nation!

If, like us, you’re a devotee of banging, progressive house, then you ought to be primed for two-time Grammy nominee MORGAN PAGE‘s new album In The Air, the follow-up to his 2010 long-player Believe. And, in the absurdly unlikely event that you’re not already primed … well, you will be once you’ve checked out the killer video for his single “Body Work,” featuring the estimable Tegan and Sara.

So: pretty awesome, right? Kind of makes you want to hear the whole album? Well, guess what: you’ll be able to do right here at bpmtv.com. Starting on Monday April 2, we’ll be hosting our first-ever online listening party, courtesy of Nettwerk. Drop by our home page any time during that week, click on the Morgan Page banner, and stream the entire album. Post a comment and let us know what you think.

Here’s a short sampler that’ll give you a taste of what to expect. See you April 2!

Morgan Page – In The Air Album Preview: LISTEN TO IT HERE