John Talabot – fIN

John Talabot’s debut fIN on the Permanent Vacation is labeled as house, but it feels a little bigger than that. Hugely organic textures, perpetually progressions with point and counterpoint melodies stitched through like the best of them are, slightly non-standard percussion sitting on top in the middle – it’s a lovely piece of work from beginning to end.

The second track, “Destiny,” starts out with the haunting vocal stab, moves into a nice catchy breakbeat, and then continues in with full vocal arrangement that is more 80s pop than typical techno, and the eventual deep four-to-the-floor justifies its post-disco flavor. It’s easy to envision a stage in your mind – frontman with the band behind, full mosh put but with everybody taking a momentary break to just close their eyes and vibe.

“El Oeste” slows down even further, a grimy kick skipping underneath a bent synth line and snare stutters, the string samples eventually growing up out of the bass before the chord progressions start taking form too much. If there was such a thing as shoe-gaze techno, this would be it at its finest. For  someone known as being ‘tropical,’ this track of Talabot’s isn’t going to put your anywhere pleasant – more likely on the North Pole somewhere, waiting in vain for signs of reindeer.

More 80s drums and a scream start “Oro y Sangre,’ and after that, the creepy layered bassline takes center with enough static to make you think retro and a few bongos sprinkled in to make you think transatlantic Latin.  By this point in the album already, Talabot has nicely establish his wide stereo sound and is starting to work the angles a little bit, poking just a little fun at the listener. You can see the nudge-nudge-wink-wink with each scream of terror that plays in the background. At this point, you may want to like the album more that you actually do. The initial interest has waned a little and the progressions seem a little loopy rather than structured and relevant, and the fade out at the end of the track puts a period on that.

The rest of the album never quite picks up the way that it could, staying in the deep house-not-house feel and coming in and out of vocal work. Though you can tell he obviously knows what he is doing, there is a slight lack of variation over the course of the tracks, where they are too different to be consistently, and too similar to tell a greater story. His mid-range work starts to get a little heavy as well, and you might find yourself turning the volume down to get a better balance in your ears. “HORSE” gives you a nice stand-out break near the end, but isn’t quite enough to pull you all the way through the album.

John Talabot is apparently something of a mystery, as that is not his real name and there are no aliases listed, but he’s done quite a bit of lauded work in the last few years. His two podcasts for XLR8R and FACT magazine have gotten quite good press, and those who follow him, follow him rabidly.


Loops of Your Heart – And Never Ending Nights

For being comprised almost entirely of repeating processed sound cycles, Loops of Your Heart’s album And Never Ending Nights is one of the most beautifully textured, musically pleasing albums of the last year.

Because of the lack of central imagery, the songs let your mind float wherever it wants to go, and the way that LOYH (aka The Field, ne Axel Willner) wraps the tones up, around, and through the sonic spectrum, he is scratching at the corners of your psyche in ways that potentially could be dangerous. No one is supposed to be able to hear your thoughts, but this album seems to be talking to the places in your brain that really aren’t interested in having a discussion.

Inside the feedback and the basslines there is some unidentifiable core of emotional value that is lacking in so much of music today. The imagery is incredibly vivid, but it isn’t vivid in a way that you see what he wants to show you, it’s vivid in a way that allows you to see what you want to show yourself. How’s that for a little bit of musical philosophy?

The Field has been releasing music since 2005, starting on the Kompakt label after he sent them a demo and then was subsequently signed. He’s released three albums before And Never Ending Nights, all of them critical successes – From Here We Go Sublime, Yesterday and Today, and Looping State of Mind. Each one has its own flavor, but you can feel Axel’s confidence growing as he stretches his sounds out the further he gets into them.

Each time you listen to any of the seven tracks on ANEN, you’ll hear something a little bit different, you’ll feel something a little bit different, and you’ll see something a little bit different. The filtered, phasy, analogue synth’s layers will hit you in a different spot depending on what kind of mood you are in and how hard you are willing to listen.

Before each track ends, there is a subtle decrease in overall volume, so you know it is coming, but in no instance do you want it to complete. Wherever you are in the dream, you just want it to keep going, maybe a little to the right or left this time, but somewhere forward, so that you can see what is next around the corner.

There are many occasions that ambient music doesn’t give you any reason to ever listen to it again. Spacey sounds, things that always match together, echoes and delays, pianos and flutes and orchestras or super basic synth patterns. Though using some of those techniques, this album certainly breaks the mold of ambient meaning boring …

There is a great and wonderful future ahead for someone like Axel Willner a now known dubstep maker.  A future for his experimentation as Loops of Your Heart is just one amazing example of how much you can do with how little in the audio universe, so long as you understand the principles of sound and you don’t try to sound like someone else.


Resident Advisor Podcast 295 – Jay Shepheard

If you’re interested in electronic music, one of the best places to hear new music, and get news, reviews, and stories is on the Resident Advisor website. It is one of the largest and most reputable sites of its kind in the world, and its weekly podcast is one of the most listened to in the EDM community.

You can head to the RA site almost daily to see what is happening in terms of club nights and festivals in your area as well, and the information is often catered to the pro rather than the newcomer to the electronic music scene. They tend to be right on the edge of what is going to hit next, as well.

On that note, one particularly good podcast came out in late January – podcast #295 featuring Jay Shepheard. It’s easy to get burned out on house music sometimes, as what makes it fun to listen and dance to is also what can made it too familiar in the end. But this podcast in particular keeps a fresh groove from the beginning to the end, stylistically and texturally, and is just as good as background as it is putting it on front a center.

It’s a relaxed combination of classic house vibe and disco, with some acid and tech thrown in for flavor, and just enough old and new to make sure the overall feel doesn’t get stale for its hour-long duration. You can dive in or float on it, you can absorb it or let it absorb you. The only thing you can’t do, really, is be impatient with it. The mixes between tracks are typically slow and subtle, and sound like they were done real time on vinyl, not with Ableton or a beat-locked Traktor rig.

Some of it is club music, some of it is more geared toward home-listening, but once again, it’s the variations and dynamics of the set that make it particularly good in relationship to some of the other house mixes that have hit commercial wavelengths recently.

The acid tracks are particularly funky in the mix, and feel like the centerpoints of the podcast, often contrasting with the more melodic tracks that he tends to place in from and behind of them. The flow between tracks is not always perfectly seamless, but you get the idea he’s not trying to be perfect – he’s just trying to tell a casual story – something along the lines of ‘this is what I like, this is what I like to play, and I think you’ll really enjoy it, raw and off the cuff.”

Jay Shepheard has been releasing disco-tinged productions since 2007 on labels like Compost, Buzzin’ Fly, Dirt Crew and Electric Minds, never fully scoring a ‘hit’ as such, but just consistently putting out quality material.

If you haven’t heard ‘Pipe’s N Sneakers’, you should head over to YouTube right now and check it out as well, as it’s probably the track that Jay is most well-known for producing. Check out Resident Advisor: http://www.residentadvisor.net/


Dance – It Was Always Meant to Be

There was disco in the 70s, pop rock in the 80s, alternative rock in the 90s, and now it’s the electronic music age.

Electronic dance music is now the new frontier of music, probably the most productive and vastly growing music scene in the world. With a wide range from house and tribal house music to Dubstep and d n’b  the genre aided by state of the art technology have allowed it to grow in newer and ever interesting directions. Electronic music have has reached a state where it can parallel any pre-existing physical musicians based genre. There’s psych trance and progressive techno, whatever your head is in the world of old popular music, the electronic world is growing as well to encompass your musical taste.

 

General Electric:

Electronic artists are taking in ideas and influence from various sources, rockers like Korn are teaming up with the best of the EDM/ dubstep scene like Skrillex, Excision, and Feed Me. The future of music is starting to shape up in front of our eyes. It’s no longer expensive to get in the world of electronic music; synths don’t need an entire room and a rocket scientist to operate them.

Teenagers in the their bedrooms are on the charts in the electronic music world, just a software and a good ear and you’re set to make a hit and have a name. More pop producers are starting to borrow from this puddle of stereo candy and even more idealistic music lovers are frowning at how music is now computer generated. As if these programs work themselves, making music on software is just as hard as writing code for a program, unless you know what you want and what you’re doing, no one will be dancing to your music in a club.

Electronic music producers are constantly collaboration with anyone that comes their way, they are more open to other kinds of music, Dubstep for example is just a blender blunder of just about every genre of music out there. Other genre enthusiasts aren’t as open hearted as these electronic producers.

The Next Big Thing:

Electronic music is where the next leap in music is coming from, the new rock and roll if I may, the courtesy shown by the electronic music world to open its hands and allow for any other musical influence to color it new give it the ability to morph a new sound and add wider lever to the current modern musical horizons. Without the production and management restrictions of other more humanely collaborative processes like bands and singers.

A person with a laptop and a clear vision can have an entire orchestra in the room at any time he wills, he is more empowered and tempted to explore a world of music otherwise unfeasible for a young producer; it’s only natural that this approach of taking influences and recreating them with a laptop will give a strong push forward and into new directions, even if many are saying electronic music is killing real music. Well, guess what?  They said the same thing about the electric guitar when it came out, rock is the music of the devil haven’t your heard?


Download Dubstep Maker Program

With so many options of dubstep maker software out there on the market, most DJs just want something that is going to be user friendly.

For producers who possess limited or intermediate experience, you can download a program called FL Studio 12.

Assessing the Options:

In future articles we aim to cover the more advanced production tools, however today we will focus on the cheapest, easiest to use program,FL Studio 12.

Unlike other advanced production suites, anyone can commence and complete a radio-ready track in a small space of time.

Here are some of the most notable positives of FL Studio 12 –

* Stacks of sick sound kits and samples included

* Can be downloaded straight away

* Lowest priced Dubstep maker on the market  

* The fastest and easiest to use sequencer available

* Drum machine style keyboard trigger features

* Finished and mastered tracks are exported to .wav files

NO Expensive Equipment Needed:

As detailed in greater depth within the paragraphs below; if you already own a computer, then you have all the tools you need to get started.

NO expensive hardware interfaces needed to function:

Many of the expensive studio applications will not even function without the hardware interface plugged in. Pro Tools for example, will allow you to install the software and open it, though you cannot access a new or existing session without the box, or desk connected to the computer.

NO mastering studio to be paid for:

Many DJs pay for external, separate mastering studios in order to have a broadcast quality finished track. FL Studio 12 allows you to export high quality .wav files with a single mouse click. These finished tracks are ready to be played in your next set, or sold online.

NO monitor speakers or headphones required:

Again, in many programs, you simply cannot get a decent mix without proper studio monitor speakers plugged in, and some will not allow you to open the session, as mentioned above with Pro Tools. Quality headphones are recommended for a nice mix, but for now you computer speakers will be enough to complete a full session.

 NO drum machine or drum pads needed:

Many DJs love the hands-on approach to producing Dubstep beats and prefer to trigger the drums manually. For this you will need a (hardware) drum machine plugged into your computer.

The most unique aspect of FL Studio 12 is that you can actually utilize your keyboard keys as drum pads to tap out beats by hand. Just assign a particular drum sound, to a particular key, hit record and start triggering.

Working Independently from Home:

The beauty of becoming engaged in the production of Dubstep and electronic music creation in general, is the fact that you can complete whole tracks from start to finish, without having to rely on anyone else.

If you were in any other genre, you would need live vocals, or live bass, additional instruments or at very least a mastering engineer. I cannot stress enough how awesome it feels to need nothing more than your laptop, allowing you to work from anywhere in you house, or anywhere in the world for that matter.

How The Big Boys Roll:

Back in the earliest days of Dubstep creation, pioneers like Benga and Skream were working solely from their laptops, with some of those same tracks now being spun in sets where they are receiving massive checks to do so.

Although someone like David Guetta is pop and house etc, he is still relevant here:  Back when he was commissioned by the Black Eyed Peas will.iam to create what would be his first commercially successful track, he was way out of his depth and stated in an documentary interview, words to the effect of: “I’m used to being alone with my laptop making by beats”.

There is some video of him sitting in a hotel room with his Macbook, where he completes a track, plays sample to the camera crew and then pumps it in a live set the same night to thousands of people. That is the power of digital music.

So unless you are having massive Hollywood names perform on your track, everything, and I mean everything, can be completed from start to finish on your laptop. However, when you do start to feel that this is something you are going to pursue, please, get a good machine. Make sure it is a Mac…