And the awesome continues. (Who said April is the cruelest month? Oh, right: this guy.)
So anyway. Our long-awaited bpm:tv DANCE 2012 compilation CD hits the streets today, with a lineup that includes Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, Martin Solveig & Dragonette, Nervo featuring Afrojack & Steve Aoki, Sak Noel … and many more, as they say on the television. Mixed, as always, by the estimable DJ Marky D.
You can find bpm:tv DANCE 2012 at Best Buy, HMV and Walmart, or BUY IT ONLINE.
INTERNATIONAL LOVE (CLINTON SPARKS & DISCO FRIES RADIO MIX) – PITBULL feat. CHRIS BROWN
BODY WORK (CLUB MIX EDIT) – MORGAN PAGE feat. TEGAN AND SARA
BIG IN JAPAN (DENZAL PARK REMIX) – MARTIN SOLVEIG & DRAGONETTE feat. IDOLING!!!
TURN THIS CLUB AROUND – R.I.O. feat. U-JEAN
PASO (THE NINI ANTHEM) – SAK NOEL
ANTIDOTE – SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA VS. KNIFE PARTY
MUTATE (ORIGINAL EDIT) – SIDNEY SAMSON & LIL JON
AURAL PSYNAPSE – DEADMAU5
WE’RE ALL NO ONE – NERVO feat. AFROJACK AND STEVE AOKI
LONELY TONIGHT (ORIGINAL ENGLISH RADIO EDIT) – HOLD UP
I COULD STAY (CHR REMIX) – KREESHA TURNER
MR. KNOW IT ALL (BILLIONAIRE REMIX) – KELLY CLARKSON
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.
“Who’s That Chick?” Well, sir, that chick is Rihanna – and her collab with superduperproducer David Guetta is perched at the top of this week’s Hot 20 Dance Chart. Benny Benassi? He’s da man — da “Electroman,” to be precise; his collab with T-Pain is feeling no pain, as it sits pretty at number two.
Elsewhere, Inna‘s “Sun Is Up” is up (from eighth place to seventh), but the Taio Cruz/Kylie Minogue joint “Higher” is lower (sinking from fifth place to tenth). Morgan Page‘s “I’ve Had Friends” is losing friends, tumbling all the way from second place to eighth, while the Laidback Luke/Steve Aoki/Lil Jon project is creating some “Turbulence” as it claims 13th spot. And it’s just about time to say goodbye to “Hello,” the Martin Solveig/Dragonette hit, now in 18th place and fading. Check out the full rundown here.
Laidback Luke @ The Guvernment, Toronto: March 19, 2011 Reviewed by Scott Willats
Grote Kamer de Nood Grote Kamers van Deejay! For those of you not fluent in the language of the people who live in tulip country, home of the infamous Oranje jerseys and many canals, I will translate: Big Room DJs Need Big Rooms!
Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Fedde Le Grand, Ferry Corsten, Afrojack (breath), Sander Kleinenberg, Joris Voorn, Sidney Sampson, Sander Van Doorn (deep breath): the list of DJs from The Netherlands goes on and on and on. There is no other country on this planet that has the array … no, wait, the artillery … no, correction, the arsenal of all-star DJs that the Dutch can boast. They can brag about having DJ Times’ Top Rated DJ of all time in Tiesto. They can also pound their chest about having Armin Van Buuren, who has been head-to-head with David Guetta, the best DJ in the world for the past 5 years. We all know the rookie of the year for the past 12 months should definitely be Afrojack. So it’s downright devastating to witness the overflowing cup of riches the Dutch possess in house music when you see Laidback Luke come to town.
The Manila-born, Amsterdam-raised DJ has been in heavy demand for the past two years. Countless remixes, each of them better than the last, have surfaced on blogs and electro websites across the world. This was not lost on the electro-lites in Toronto who bought out the show and were ready to send Luke to Miami with all the confidence in the world.
Without breaking a sweat “Timebomb” plays throughout the Guvernment’s sound system, and for all I knew we could have been in the Ajax Arena at a full-on Ferry Show. The crowd was proper and poised for a long and “ecstasy”-filled set that would take them away from their 9-5s. When “Timebomb” was done it was obvious to everyone that Luke, like many Dutch DJs, cannot be stuck in a small club. He needs an arena.
The show was filled with new tracks, as Luke has been very busy. Those of you who saw my 2010 Summer Rush interview with Lil Jon would know that Jon and Luke had just finished a studio session days before I talked to him. ”Turbulence” is, of course, the name of the track they collaborated on with the help of Steve Aoki, and that track is BIG: Miami Music Conference track of the year BIG! Look out! The remix of “Wait for Me” played along with MSTRKRFT’s “Heartbreaker” and Roybn’s “Indestructible” has me asking my friend if Luke is the best remixer in the world. And that is my question to you: Is there anyone in the world making better remixes than Laidback Luke? I mean, the man still uses Fruity Loops for heavens sake! This is the same man many will say is the true architect behind Swedish House Mafia’s “Leave the World Behind,” which turned them into a house movement. Like Johan Cruyff to Marco Van Basten, Tiesto has been quoted as saying “Luke is a bit special.” Imagine that on your resume.
The only sour note of the night was a personal one. Luke’s remix of David Guetta’s ‘”Ain’t That Enough” is easily my favourite Luke song — and one of my favorite songs, period. Unfortunately, we did not hear that track, as it is a little dated. But how could I blame the man when he drops hit after hit from just THIS YEAR! For those of you still hurting from the Oranje’s loss to Spain in the World Cup, I say let them have the World Cup — because the World of House belongs to the Dutch, and Laidback Luke has a firm grip on that trophy.