Just a quick reminder: if you haven’t already, be sure to pick up Autoerotique‘s new EP, EKG — out today on Dim Mak records. These Toronto natives need no introduction, and the EP needs no extra praise from me. “Roll the Drums” is already turning into a cult classic, and the unofficial video below, posted by Autoerotique on YouTube, delivers chills and thrills of its own. The EP is well worth purchasing for this track alone — but when you add the delicious bonus of remixes by Clockwork and Felix Cartal, you’ve got yourself a definite keeper.
Released just two weeks ago on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak label, Datsik‘s album Vitamin D is the banger his followers were primed for. The B.C. artist has described dubstep as “totally the punk rock of electronic music,” and on this debut LP he explores his limits, merging a wide range of musical inspirations — most notably Wu-Tang Clan and its MVPs RZA and Method Man. The album definitely captures something of the spirit of Wu-Tang, with its ominous, futuristic sound and gangster vibe.
My personal favourite here has to be “Complete Control” — but the whole of the album is a dark, euphonious mental roller coaster ride. Let’s break it down:
1. “Annihilate” – Definitely a track to entice the listener into playing the entire album. A perfect introduction to Vitamin D’s diversity of dark and captivating sounds.
2. “Fully Blown” (feat. Snak the Ripper) – Here, Datsik displays his affinity for hip-hop. He wastes no time on this one, jumping right in, without any buildup at all, and enlisting Snak The Ripper to provide some heavy-duty rap vocals.
3. “Syndrome” (with Downlink) – This track starts off with a classical vibe, then drops in some overwhelming bass. For me, it’s a standout for merging two such seemingly incompatible genres with surprising artfulness.
4. “Bonafide Hustler” – It’s almost like a biographical anthem for Datsik, the quintessential dubstep hustler. The sound is grimy yet cutting edge, pretty much ensuring that this will be a “bonafide” banger in the clubs and on the airwaves.
5. “Evilution” (with Infected Mushrooms & Jonathan Davis) – A collaboration with trip-hop duo Erez Eisen and Amit Duvdevani (a.k.a. Infected Mushroom) and Korn lead vocalist Jonathan Davis results in psychedelic/trance/electronic rock track that opens the darkest corners of the musical mind. I pressed replay more than a few times — as will you. It’s one of those tracks that invades the mind and refuses to leave.
6. “Need You” – This one sounds a bit like a mash-up of music and sound effects from old arcade games. It creates a certain musical clutter in the mind (a bit of everything all over the place) — but isn’t that what dubstep is? Mashed-up, unpredictable and a bit cluttered (in a good way)?
7. “Don’t Feel Right” – Here he starts with a playful electronic rhythm, then shifts into memorable sample from Shakedown‘s 2002 hit “At Night,” and from there into an overpoweringly grimy sound. Quite the mash-up, but definitely worth a replay or two.
8. “Light The Fuse” – A track with a very catchy, bob-your-head-along kind of kick to it. Dubstep usually conjures a dirty, borderline-rebellious feeling for me, but this one put me on a playground playing hopscotch — at least until it reached the 1:09 mark and it took on a different spin: grimy, anarchic and overpowering.
9. “Complete Control” – A fitting title for this superlative banger. With everything from intriguing build-ups to filthy drops, it takes you on a dark, fantastical. I put this one on repeat, letting Datsik take “complete control” of my mind.
10. “Punisher” (with Downlink) – Okay, the build-up was a little irritating, but the drop won back my attention. A daring, musically capricious piece of production that I can see entrancing listeners, whether on the dancefloor or chilling with headphones in the “grimy” comfort of one’s home.
11 “Napalm” (feat. Masinian) – The opening recalls the start of Skrillex‘s “First Year of (Equinox),” until the rap vocals swoop in and ambush the listener. Can’t say I was a big fan of this track or came away from it feeling the urge to press replay. But it does offer a unique sound.
12. “Double Trouble” (with DJ Z-Trip) – “We came here tonight to get started.” Except it kinda felt like it was taking a bit long to start. Still, once it revs up, this one repays your patience. A suitably filthy track from one of Canada’s brightest young bass music stars, this does what every good album-closer should: leaves the listener eager for more.
Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.
Lately we’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Canadian artist Datsik and his debut album on Steve Aoki‘s powerhouse label Dim Mak. Now, those of us who live and breathe bass go to sleep at night grinding our teeth at the thought that Datsik isn’t already crazy famous. Sad to say, there are lost souls out there who don’t eat bass for breakfast — and it takes a special kind of sound to get these folks sitting up and really taking notice of bass.
Datsik has that sound.
This B.C. native has been ripping up dancefloors for a while now with his patented mixture of glitch, synth and bass, and his followers now are growing in number. For the past three months, I’ve been raving like a madman about “Lightspeed,” his collaboration with Kill the Noise. At an astonishing 128 bpm, it’s the absolute Platonic ideal of a bass track.
And then there’s “Fully Blown,” his track with Snak the Ripper. It’s got a sound that is recognizably Canadian: grimy in every sense of the word, and blending rap and bass with a facility matched only by fellow Canucks Zeds Dead.
While “Fully Blown” is very slightly dated, there’s a great reason to be checking it out now: the ever-innovative minds at Dim Mak recently ran a contest to see who could come up with the best remix of the track. These are some of the top dogs:
There are certain artists who know how to make the most of it every time they step into the studio. When you consider that the “studio” often consists of a laptop in a hotel room somewhere, it’s even more amazing just how rich and dynamic these tracks end up sounding. Exhibit A: Felix Cartal.
It’s a dramatic statement, but I’ll stand by it: there is no one in the world right now creating better big room house bangers than this Vancouver-based artist. March 27 is the release date for his new album Different Faces, and it’s a work many electro heads and EDM fanatics have been waiting years to hear.
First off, let’s break down Cartal’s catalogue. This is the artist who’s given us stadium bangers such as “Drugs,” “The Joker” and “The Riddler,” not to mention cult classics like “Montreal Dreams,” and two personal favourites of mine: “Skeleton” and “Drone.” With a track record like that, you can see why he’s held in such high regard, not just by his boss Steve Aoki, but by everyone in the EDM game. His tracks are usually the first to played, the first to be remixed, and first to be loved by millions. So when I sat down to listen to Different Faces, I expected a lot.
What I got was a slap in the face accompanied by a raised eyebrow that said, “What the f**k did you think I was gonna do?”
What did I think? When “Don’t Turn On The Lights” came out in December, I’ll confess it didn’t give me the electric shakes I usually feel when I listen to Felix Cartal. I think I was worried that the album would be rushed and overly calculated to make sales. Slap again. “What the f**k did you think I was gonna do?” Of course not. Felix dropped pure class with this one: a summer anthem playlist and a tutorial for other producers on how to make bangers. It’s as close to The Source magazine’s famous 5 mic rating as you’re ever going to get, and so intense that it sucks the oxygen right out of your lungs. It’s that good.
Every track has its own personality. The tunes with vocals are radio-ready (as in, “ready to take over the radio”), and the instrumentals are every DJ’s dream. This is going to be the hit of WMC in Miami, and a definite top 10 finisher in on a lot of year-end best albums lists. It’s inspiring, too, to see the best EDM coming out of Canada again.
I’d love to go into every track in detail, but let’s give it all some time to sink in. For now, here are my preliminary faves — sure to change by the end of the week. Only to change again. Did I mention how good this album is? It’s good.
Mr. Steve Aoki (a.k.a.) Kid Millionaire is one of the pioneers of what has become the EDM boom. The founder of Dim Mak Records has circled the world, headlining at all of the biggest events with his distinctive brand of party music. Previously known more for his stage presence, Aoki has developed into one of the better producers in EDM over the past 4 years. I was eager to find out what sounds he’s been playing with lately and how it’s all panned out. So here’s my take on his brand new album, Wonderland.
Earthquakey People feat. Rivers Cuomo
For all intents and purposes, the title tack of the album. This is the Aoki you expect: heavy, distorted bass that invades your speakers with a classic buildup. Rivers Cuomo is a bit of a weird choice for this beat, though. Don’t get me wrong: I have every Weezer album. But his voice doesn’t translate as well on an electro track made for the big room as it does on a rock anthem played for stadiums. I like the lyrics; though meant for partying and partying only, they flow well. Still …I can’t put my finger on it, but something is missing. At least, it is until you check out the Dillon Francis remix. Huge!
Ladi Dadi feat. Wynter Gordon
There’s no scientific basis for this, but it’s a theory I believe in: track number two on a CD is always the artist’s favourite song. Can’t tell you why — just that on album after album, track two is the keeper. Aoki bears this out with “Ladi Dadi” — the song bangs. A radio-friendly track that lays down the perfect background for vocals from the much-in-demand Wynter Gordon. And the video is wicked!
Dangerous feat. Zuper Blahq
Some artists just have great chemistry — and that’s the case with Aoki and The Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am. Performing as his alter ego, Zuper Blahq, will delivers the the robotic lyrics that make this tune … dangerous. The track is a banger that keeps up a steady pace until the 2:30 mark — at which point it just goes h.a.m!
Come With Me (Deadmeat) feat. Polina Goudieva
For those who love airy-sounding big-room tunes, this one’s for you. Polina’s vocals leap straight off a track that could easily be mistaken for Benny Benassi or Afrojack, and immediately hook you in. For myself, I love the parts focused on the pads rather than those focused on the beats. Either way, you have to agree it’s Polina’s presence that makes this track special.
This is why you have to love Aoki. An album this diverse was always going to have some predictable elements and some wildly unpredictable ones. But on the same song? Anybody who knows anything about Aoki could have guessed that Lil Jon would turn up on this album — but Chiddy Bang? Not so much. For those who haven’t already heard of Chiddy Bang, it’s time to get familiar. The Philly duo consists of Chiddy, the world record holder for longest rap (nine hours!) and Xaphoon Jones, one of the most creative and innovative producers in the game. They bless this tune with some heavy content. Aoki saves one of his better beats for the duo, and Chiddy goes innnnnnn on the beat and eats the track alive. Add some of Lil Jon’s trademark screaming, and you’ve got a hit. I think you’ll be surprised how much you like this track. My personal favourite.
It’s an LMFAO world that we’re living in. Right now they’ve got the Midas touch, and you can hear it on this track. Nervo deserves mention because it’s as much her track as theirs — but there’s just something about Redfoo and Skyblu. When you hear their voices on a tune, it immediately feels like something you’ve always known. And I think that’s a good thing. Expect this to be the next single off the album.
Control Peak feat. BlaqStarr & Kay
Bring the vibes, bring the soul. The acoustic bass is the first thing you’ll notice, lending a welcome organic feel to this soulful track. The showstopper here is Kay; when that second verse starts it doesn’t matter where you are — your head’s gonna start bobbing and your hips are gonna to wiggle a little. This tune will probably be overlooked by most EDM junkies, but it might just be the most insightful track on the album.
Steve Jobs feat Angger Dimas
Hard, heavy and hectic. Nuff said!
Heartbreaker feat. LoveFoxx
A track made for long bus rides. This has an immediate, soundtrack-y feel and plays the part just right. LoveFoxx is the perfect choice to quarterback — her airy vocals are just what’s needed to make this song worthy of the most overused word in the English language: epic. I can see this one being huge in Europe.
Cudi the Kid feat. Kid Cudi & Travis Barker
Kid Cudi must count his lucky stars at night. Not to say he doesn’t deserve all the fame and recognition, but I’ve rarely seen an artist win such open acceptance across multiple genres. He’s an EDM hero, a rap phenomenon, an acclaimed actor and a rock star. One this track he’s accompanied by another musician who has received a similarly open-armed reception: Travis Barker. The song? Good, but not great.
Ooh feat. Robert Raimon Roy
I love this track. Funky, fly and fresh. Triple R delivers some heavy vocals, and Aoki outdoes himself on the beat, nailing it right on the head. This beat is so ill – that’s the only description that does it justice.
Hmmm. If you read this blog you know I hate when artists stick rigidly to just one genre. The best part of music is experimentation. That said, sometimes you can go a little too far. For those who are strictly EDM fans (dubstep, house, progressive, minimal, trance etc.), I’m afraid you won’t like this one. Steve goes apes**t on a heavy metal ballad. You be the judge.
Earthquakey People (The Sequel)
To my mind, this version is light years better than the original, and I think he must’ve known that. Sometimes an artist will have five different versions of the same song, and end up just gambling on which one will resonate with the crowd. Sometimes I wish they’d just release all five and let the fans decide. Kudos to you, Steve, for experimenting with that idea!
THE FINAL WORD
For someone like me who loved with the classic hip-hop mixtape format — where you basically put your name on the disc and release other people’s tunes — I must say I really enjoy the style of Wonderland. It showcases some amazing beats inspired and created by Aoki. But what I love best is that every song feels like an experiment. Some work well, and others not so much — but every track is going for something different, and for that I give the creator my utmost respect. This album is proof that Aoki has come a long way.
After an incredible EDM weekend in Canada’s largest city, I think it’s safe to say that electronic dance music is bigger than it’s ever been before — and I can only see it growing in 2012. This is an exciting time for all fans of the genre.
Best way to celebrate the year that was: a look back at some of the best festivals, videos and tracks of the year!
The Ultra Music Festival is always something to be seen. Miami plays host to this monster event in March, and bpm:tv was there this past spring to soak up some of the action. There was concern this year that things weren’t going to be the same, since Ultra and the Winter Music Conference planned their respective events a week apart. But Ultra has the DJs, so Ultra has the scene — simple as that. With luck, this coming year will be a little more organziee. But no matter what happens, WMC is a must for any EDM fan.
Let’s take a look at this year’s Miami extravaganza through the eyes of Kaskade, the Ultra team, Steve Aoki and the Dim Mak camp!
I really get the sense that Tiësto is trying to shed his name’s longstanding association with trance. When I interviewed him back in the spring, there was one question that really seemed to make him stop and think: “Now that you’re the biggest DJ in the world, is there ever a moment when you wish you could just be a nobody again and start from scratch?” He paused, smirked a little bit, and told me sometimes the thought crosses his mind.
I think the point he wanted to make is that he’s not a typical trance DJ anymore. The set he performed in Toronto that night in April proved it 100%. And this remix does more of the same. Joker, the UK dubstep DJ, has been chosen by Tiësto for his latest project, and I really like what Tiësto does with this track. More and more, the man is creeping into my heart — and, more importantly, staying relevant to today’s music. Brand new!
Joker feat. Silas – Slaughter House (Tiesto Remix)
Now, on the other side of that remix I have a brand new track from Joker — and funnily enough, it’s titled “My Trance Girl.” Is he switching sides with Tiësto switching sides? No, no, no. This is Joker: UK grime and grit at its purest. The track is clean and polished, but still gives you that dirty feel. It reminds me a lot of the track he did with Jess, but I don’t know that vocals would work here — they might ruin things. This has an anthemic quality around the push. If all trance girls get this dirty, I’m listening to the wrong genre.
Joker – My Trance Girl
Sticking with the dubstep feel, we move on to one of the best labels in the biz right now: Dim Mak. So yes, Aoki is a genius — and they have Canada’s pride and joy, Autoerotique, which is reason enough for us to support this label to the death. But what about those Villains? Their new EP Control the Future has been the bee’s knees on most of the blogs I check out. I tried it once, appreciated it and moved on. Then I tried it again … and this sh*t is heavy. I mean extremely well produced, well timed and killer electro dubstep house.
I hate labeling music, especially when you get an EP like this — because underneath all the names and genres, it’s just … good. Maybe that’s what the next genre should be called: good. I’m going to give you the “Control The Future” track to listen to today, but check the whole EP. It’s worth every penny.
It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means: we’re halfway to Friday, lol. I’m trying to keep my hype levels down until at least tomorrow, but it’s growing. Can’t wait to see Biz and Sam killa killa it. Get your tickets right now!!!
So this week’s bpmtv.com Web Exclusive clip is an interview with Los Angeles DJ, producer and Dim Mak label impresario Steve Aoki. So that sent us moseying over to the Dim Mak site, which is wall-to-wall with great music, merch, videos and free downloads. So here’s our most favourite new thing: Mustard Pimp’s remix of “Tunnel Vision,” by Afghan Raiders. So enjoy, and have an awesome-ish weekend!