Part of the so-called “second wave” of Chicago house, Felix da Housecat has been a major presence on the scene since the late 1980s. Definitely love the energy of this track: blending his musical touch with will.i.am‘s distinctive vocals brings a rush of pleasure to the senses. You’ve got to check out the mind-twisting video, too. I’m not gonna give any more away than that. Just watch!
Gosia Mrugala is a Toronto-based blogger and reviewer. You can read her blog HERE, and follow her on Twitter HERE.
Do you feel it? I definitely feel it. It’s the sound of summer coming to an end.
Ok ok ok ok! Hold on! Quit throwing rotten vegetables! I didn’t mean to say that it’s over — only that this wonderful, busy, record-breaking summer of ours seems to be winding down. But it’s not all doom and gloom: after all, autumn is when producers head back in to the studio, study what they’ve hearing on tour all summer, and get down to creating some next-level shit.
Consider this a quick snapshot of what’s going down as the summer draws to a close.
Another week, another amazing show. If you’re in Ontario’s capital today, I urge you to head over to Yonge and Dundas Square, where the Mad Decent Block Party is raging even as we speak. Local heroes Zeds Dead will be wrapping things up later tonight, and I predict they’ll be shaking the concrete in such a manner as to have the walls of the nearby Eaton Center clinging on for dear life. It’s an extravaganza, amigos – and it’s FREE!!! Say no more.
Speaking of Zeds Dead, we start this week’s Sweets with the brand new EP the duo dropped earlier this week — a collaboration with Omar LinX and, as you’d expect, a classic. Elsewhere, Montreal duo Botnek have a heavy-duty remix on their hands and Alvin Risk takes Fun.‘s “We are Young,” plus a few other goodies. Onward!
Here we go again. Back to Echo Beach — this time to see a man who hasn’t traveled to Toronto … scratch that, Canada … no, wait, scratch that, North America … in 12 years. Eric Prydz is headling the Identity Festival in Toronto on Saturday, and I am amped.
I really don’t know what to expect. We’re talking about one of the pioneers of this genre. Somebody who was bending boundaries in the studio before the term EDM had even been invented. Who was making his mark as a live performer when DJs were still mainly associated with hip-hop acts. Who’d established the pseudonymous Cirez D as a household name well before alter egos became all the rage in dance music. Basically: if you’re in Toronto this Saturday there is only one destination.
And the awesome doesn’t stop with Pryda. Other heavy names featured at Identity include none other than Nero — currently number one on the bpm:tv Hot 20 Dance Chart with their single “Must Be The Feeling.” It’s a while since I’ve seen this UK duo perform, and I’m excited about how their sound has evolved. The latest album, Welcome Reality, has been a massive success, I’m looking forward to this set — not just to see the crowd’s reaction, but to hear their choice of remixes. Should be a performance to remember.
Then there’s Madeon and Le Castle Vania: Both young, both heavy electro — and both awesome. The 18-year-old Frenchman Madeon has built a rep in Europe as something of a prodigy, as been a favorite on BBC Radio 1 for quite a while now. The Atlanta-based Le Castle Vania, meanwhile, is part of the tide of fresh blood from North America blood sweeping across face of the EDM world. Both should be great sets, so be sure to check them out.
And then there’s Excision. Canada, stand up! The dubstep demon from Kelowna, BC will definitely be excited to play such a high-profile fest in his home country. And whenever you get a bass DJ hype to play for you … well, consider your pants soiled. Be prepared to get grimy.
So with all that said, I think it only fair that this week’s Sweets should showcase the artists performing at Identity. Enjoy!
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.