Electric Feels: Your Electronic Music Recap feat. Lastlings, Ninajirachi, Shockone + more
Plus, new singles from Melbourne up-and-comers Blasko and a collab between Manila Killa and Mansionair.
The world's electronic music scene moves quickly. Every week, we're treated to a horde of different singles, remixes, albums and more from the genre's vast sub-genre umbrella and often, it's hard to keep up. Here's where we try to bring you up to speed, covering five of our favourite electronic releases from the week just gone. Follow the column's official playlist below (or HERE), or check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news.
Lastlings - Deja Vu
Over the last few years, Queensland sibling duo Lastlings have been continually referred to as one of Australian electronic's most exciting new names, something their 2017 EP Versus - their most ambitious project yet, coming in at seven tracks long - aimed to capitalise on, largely doing so thanks to the success of singles like Urges and You. In the time since, however, they've been reasonably quiet, apparently working on their debut album (set for release in 2019) with none other than the RÜFÜS DU SOL boys, who have now signed Lastlings as the second act on their recently launched Rose Ave Records imprint, joining good friend and Australian house don Cassian, who kicked off the label with Lafayette pretty recently. Deja Vu is their returning single and the first taste of the aforementioned debut album, teasing a bit of a new direction for the Japanese-Australian pairing that sees their sound get a RÜFÜS-flavoured synth-house injection thanks to its crafty production, which swells underneath Amy Dowdle's gliding vocal. "The song is, for us, a new sound. A sound we have been working towards for over a year now," the pair say on the single. "We’re fine-tuning ideas every day, discovering more about ourselves and our music every time we step into the world we have been creating. Deja Vu is especially important to us, as what feels like the beginning of a new chapter for Lastlings."
Ninajirachi - Gardenia feat. Oh Boy
Speaking of acts commonly referred to as the "next generation" of Australian electronic, New South Wales production guns Ninajirachi and Oh Boy are definitely among them, the former recently joining NLV Records with her Naah-featuring bubblegum-pop delight Pathetic, while the latter has become a bit of an explosive collaborator, working with everyone from Mallrat and Sam Bluer to Imbi The Girl and Tashka. Gardenia sees them join forces for a song that combines the best of both Ninajirachi and Oh Boy, their saccharine sweet sounds uniting for one of the year's most playful instrumentals. Taken from her forthcoming debut EP Lapland (out early next year), Gardenia highlights the darting synth melodies characteristic of both Nina and Oh Boy's music, with clanging percussion bangs and whistling melodies swirling and snapping around the single's bright and youthful synth. Between this and Pathetic, consider Lapland one of our most anticipated local electronic EPs next year.
Shockone - Underloved feat. Cecil
Over the past two years, Perth production powerhouse Shockone has been building the 'Dark Machine', a new project from the forward-thinking producer that has already given us two driving singles, each pushing the boundaries when it comes to Australian-born electronica. There was the Reija Lee-featuring family affair A Dark Machine, a track that signalled a vocal-led future for the internationally recognised producer, which was then followed up earlier this year with Bleed Black, a more hip-hop-inspired note that featured Cruz Patterson - each one edging with Shockone's production versatility and experimentalism, while also keeping things fresh from everything else out there with two dynamic and over-looked vocal collaborators. Underloved continues this trend, with a pulsing, quick-firing production heavily inspired by the breakbeat scene coming together with Cecil's vocal, which soars over the top. "It’s a drastic departure from my regular sound. However, in the context of the rest of the music on the Dark Machine project, I like to think of this song as a bit of a beacon of shining light, a moment of respite from the fairly oppressive nature of the music surrounding it," says Shockone on the song. "I owe a lot of that to the vocal's Cecil brought to the song, this is the first time we’ve worked together and I hope not the last. It wasn’t until I heard her vocals over the instrumental that I realised how big it could be, her vocal performance really lifted the song up to the next level."
Blasko - Japanese Hotel
One of our favourite finds for this year is rising Melbourne R&B artist Blasko, who with his latest project Blasko In Love Pt. 1, introduced us to an artist that combines "lush and soulful future-R&B sounds, wonderfully perfect vocal collaborators and upbeat house-y moments" to create a sound we're definitely happy to jump onboard for, even dubbing him "the next Hayden James" in the process. Japanese Hotel is the first single he's put out since the mixtape and it basically picks up where things left off, combining this soulful, R&B-infused vocal with a funk-driven production that further adds to the sensual and smooth sound he's created. This time around, however, it swirls with a bit of a darker edge, matching the single's repeating vocal hook with a somewhat mystery-shaded tone. "Japanese Hotel was written about a dream I had," he explains on the track. "The next day I had a session with Julian Steel who I told about the dream, where he asked me what vibe I wanted for it. I said it needs to be mystic with a dark vibe but with a nice bounce. We started to mess with some eerie sounds and tried to create something that felt Japanese. We finished the track and it was as if my dream had been translated to a song within a few hours."
Manila Killa - Wake Up Call feat. Mansionair
While we haven't covered LA's Manila Killa for a while, it doesn't mean he hasn't been busy. The Moving Castle co-founder and creative force has been steadily becoming one of America's most exciting names in the electronic side of things, with a consistent stream of pop-centric electronica - including collaborations with SATICA, Shaylen and Kidswaste - eventually leading to this year's Run Away, the first single from his upcoming, long-overdue debut EP. Wake Up Call is the EP's second tease and it's perhaps the most spectacular release from Manila Killa yet, joining forces with our own electronic three-piece Mansionair for a single that gives off this incredibly slick and refined feeling. It opens sounding like a bit more of a down-tempo number for both parties, with Mansionair's pitched vocal gently floating above Manila Killa's thick, clanging production, which has a slightly darker shading than much of his hook-centric work thanks to its dominating bassline. In the single's second half, however, it completely opens up, with a euphoric synth section and a quick-firing percussion line keeping everyone on their toes as the single draws on.