Heya there fine Beatery folks!
I’m going nuts prepping for Miami, so this is gonna be a quick one, but I wanted to get this out there…
Above & Beyond are certainly a household name to anyone into dance music, especially in the Trance genre tho they have been known to do the odd prog house number as well. This trio from the UK has truly been one of the driving forces behind the evolution of the trance scene with their Anjunabeats label.
In addition, they’ve done some sick production together, and their tunes seem always destined to become iconic from the first beat onwards.
Paavo, Jono and Tony are back again with another single off their forthcoming album, and it’s massive.
Though I heard this for the first time on their radio show, the next time was in Ruby Skye, and it blew everyone away - something about the percussive snappy groove and the huuuuuge waves of the melodic synth (produced with some reverb tricks and LOTS of compression) make this a very powerful tune live.
Honestly I could take or leave the actual vocal of the track, but the production behind it is tops.
Check out Above & Beyond, Sun & Moon:
Wow, that’s some massive, ne?
There are also some great remixes of this track - my fave is Dennis Sheperd’s interpretation (check it when the bassline comes in at like 1:07):
It’s SXSW season again, as I’m sure all you dear readers noticed (or failed to block out as the case may be), which means shows, secret showcases, album drops, mixtapes, and more schmoozing than any sane person could possibly stand. But what serious musician is sane?
In the grand tradition of self-promotion, even people who may or may not have actually gone to the festival are joining the party. Mad Decent DJ Benzi dropped a mixtape (sponsored - also an enduring SXSW tradition - by Oakely) full of party jams to help people dance through the week. As someone who sorta follows the festival, it’s my impression that there isn’t a whole lot of EDM featured there (though Skrillex did play a set this week, and Beatery buddy Kidhack had a few gigs around town) and that in general Rock is king. But really, who doesn’t like to party? No one. No one doesn’t? Hm.
Anyway, this mix is an hour of Electro beats, club raps, and fun vibes. If you’re at SXSW, throw this on your ipod to take a break from all the bearded flannel dudes singing about feelings. If you’re not, just turn it up and shake that ass.
I’ve got a great new Electro/Breaks track for ya from Chrizz Luvly today, but first a bit of history about where its main samples come from. In case you never heard it, Nate Harrison gives a brilliant history of what might be the most sampled drum loop ever, The Amen Break. His description:
Can I Get An Amen? is an audio installation that unfolds a critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drum beat in the history of recorded music, the Amen Break. It begins with the pop track Amen Brother by 60’s soul band The Winstons, and traces the transformation of their drum solo from its original context as part of a ‘B’ side vinyl single into its use as a key aural ingredient in contemporary cultural expression. The work attempts to bring into scrutiny the techno-utopian notion that ‘information wants to be free’- it questions its effectiveness as a democratizing agent. This as well as other issues are foregrounded through a history of the Amen Break and its peculiar relationship to current copyright law.
Here’s the full video:
Now back to Chrizz Luvly. What makes his new track “Amen” so cool is that it not only samples the Amen Break, but it actually samples Harrison TALKING ABOUT the break, starting the sampling cycle anew. Well I think its cool anyway, but I’m an EDM geek and eat this kind of shit up.
And for all you fellow DJs out there, “Amen” makes for a great Breaks/Electro crossover track. Enjoy!
Bonus Track! While we’re talking about Mr. Luvly, why not throw out his excellent electro/trance (to my ears) crossover “Let The Music Play” that he dropped in late 2010. Very Mason “Exceeder” and James Harcout “Music People” inspired. Could Chrizz be a new up and coming voice in the elecro scene?
Here on the Beatery we tend to heap praise on whatever subject we cover, so this may take a slightly different tone than we’re used to. I don’t think I need to defend my fanaticism of the Plump DJs. In my write-up for their nomination for our first So You Think You Can Bump, a contest in which they took home the silver*, I referred to my praise as “verbal fellatio”, a term of questionable taste that I’m only making worse by repeating here. But something’s been bugging me recently and I wanted to run it by you guys. See what you think. Start a little conversation.
Back when the Plump DJs appeared on the scene, they introduced a sound that perfect balanced nu skool and funky breakbeat. They brought the rather thin-sounding funky breaks of the 90s into the 21st century by beefing up the bottom end so the sound could hang with heavy nu skool production, which was the preferred flavor of breaks at the time**. I loved them for this. As a fan of funky music in any form, it was the discovery the Plump DJs that pulled me from house music into breaks. Here’s a couple cuts from their first album; the ones that really won me over.
Electronauts - Bumper (Plump DJs Remix)
Flash forward 11 years or so, and what do we have now? After a decade of unrivaled dominance on top of the breakbeat scene the Plumps have parted ways with the successful funky breaks label Finger Lickin’ Records*** and started their own label,Grand Hotel. And as expected their music has changed as well but, at least through my ears, not for the better. While the Plumps’ sound has certainly evolved over their career, they’ve always retained and celebrated their funky roots, whether it be in tech funk (Contact 00), squelchy nuskool (Get Kinky) or just good ol’ electro (The Rub Off.) But now, it’s gone. Here are samples of their last three releases. Apologies for the inconsistency with the soundcloud clips; it’s because I haven’t bought the tracks.
Maximillian - Don’t Let Go (Plump DJs Remix)
A harder sound for sure, but they’ve replaced the funk with… rave? Is this the sound of now? I lament the resurgence of rave aesthetics in electronic music we’ve seen over the last several years, and now it’s claimed my favorite producers. The Plumps’ trademark walking electro basslines have been ousted in favor of sustained growling tones, and their syncopated catchy hooks are now reverb-laden rave stabs or shrill Afrojack-style synths. I don’ t mean to sound harsh. Their tastes have obviously changed and that’s the natural course of any artist’s career, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I want my damn funk back.
But my question: Am I alone here? What do you think? Do you like this new sound, both in the Plumps’ music and the rave resurgence in general? Where does it go from here?
I’m interested because I feel obligated to continue posting new sets and singles from our 2nd most popular producers on the blog here, but frankly I, the Plump DJs’ chief evangelist, am getting a bit tired of it. But in case you aren’t, here’s their last Grand Hotel preview mix. The latest collection of bass and reverb, hot off the cloud. Whether I post the next one is up to you guys. Let me know your feelings on the new sound of the Plumps. ****
Plump DJs @ XOYO May 14th GRAND HOTEL DJ MIX
* Behind only the almighty Daft Punk, mind you.
** And arguably still is.
*** Now de-funkted, as it were. RIP.
**** For the record, I’m kind of feeling the last track in this set.
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