Electric Feels: Your Weekly Electronic Music Recap
The best of the electronic world in the past week, including Fever Ray, Hotel Garuda, Fresh Hex and more.
EP / ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Fever Ray - Plunge
Surprise released on the Friday before last, Plunge is the long-awaited sophomore album from Swedish musician Karin Dreijer – better known as one-half of the legendary electronic duo The Knife or as Fever Ray, her solo alias. It's her first record since her self-titled solo debut way back in 2007 (although we did get The Knife's Shaking The Habitual in 2013) but despite such a long time in the making, Plunge is actually incredibly forward-thinking and all-around spectacular. In comparison to her 2007 debut, Plunge is a far more aggressive and confrontational album, with many of the album's 11 tracks showcasing Dreijer's wailing vocals (which aren't heavily distorted and pitched like in her debut) above warping, punching productions that are shaped around restless synth melodies. The album-opening Wanna Sip is an excellent example of this, combining Dreijer's vocals with a spiralling synth melody and punching bass kicks, similar to what I'd image M.I.A.'s take on Kanye West's distorted, Daft Punk-co-produced Yeezus would sound like. Tracks like Mustn't Hurry, the album's title-track Plunge, and Red Trails are more mellow, atmosphere-setting interludes between funky, possibly even Robyn-like singles including To The Moon And Back, which are more in-your-face in both sound and energy.
It's not for everyone. Hell, even as a long-time The Knife fan it took me a few listens to completely be on board with both Fever Ray and Plunge, but it's something that grows on you with every listen. Fever Ray is confident and bold on Plunge, much more than she was on her self-titled, and with the importance of strong and powerful women in our music industry being particularly discussed in recent months, it feels like the ten-year wait was the perfect cooking time for Fever Ray's dominative aural power.
SINGLES / REMIXES OF THE WEEK
L.A. WOMEN - Count It Up feat. SACHI
Although not well-known in Australia, L.A. Women are a soulful, R&B three-piece out of New Zealand who are packing some serious vibes in their woozy singles, most recently being the SACHI-featuring Count It Up. Count It Up is their most accessible and radio-friendly single thus far and because of this, I think it's the one most destined for greatness. With the vocals of SACHI's Nick Peter intertwined with those of L.A. Women's Jake Schdroski, Count It Up is a nostalgic R&B ballad at its best, combining these woozy, 90s-esque vocals with a slick, jazz-infused instrumental. It's instantly infectious and incredibly sexy, and if you're expecting anything more from classic 90s R&B, you're joking.
Daktyl - Monochrome feat. MOONZz
Back when we used to release those Rat Pack compilations a few years back, we featured a then-small US producer named Daktyl and his single Wonky. He's since gone on to become one of the US' most exciting electronic exports, something which he's just cemented with his new single Monochrome. Featuring the illustrious vocals of Californian singer-songwriter MOONZz (get to know her a little better HERE), Monochrome is a relaxed, yet quite warm electronic track that swirls together MOONZz's capturing vocals with a soothing, synth-soaked production which feels really inviting and comforting. It's one of those unexplainably enjoyable singles in the sense that there's nothing incredibly special about one certain portion of the single, but the general combination of MOONZz's vocals with the relaxed and refreshing production is pure gold.
Hotel Garuda - Dancing On The Moon feat. Lemaitre
We've featured American house duo Hotel Garuda on the site a couple of times now, but their new single Dancing On The Moon may just be their best yet. Made up of US producers Manila Killa and Candle Weather, Hotel Garuda's energetic yet classy house sound has charmed us time and time again but there's something about the cleanliness of Dancing On The Moon which makes it in a whole league of its own. Featuring Norwegian electronic duo Lemaitre (who were recently in the country for Falls Festival) on vocals, Dancing On The Moon sees Hotel Garuda make their debut on forward-thinking US label Mom + Pop, which is a US home to a bunch of Aussies including Flume, Tash Sultana, Jagwar Ma and Courtney Barnett. It's an incredibly bright and catchy single, with Lemaitre's easily accessible vocals gliding above a slick, funk-washed production which breaks more into the disco-funk side of things than Hotel Garuda's past stuff, which is much more house-y. It's a good move though, definitely a good move.
Haiku Hands - Not About You (Jayteehazard Remix)
Haiku Hands are one of Australia's best newcomers and for a good reason. They've only got one major single under their belt – their energetic and rave-y debut Not About You – but it's got so much unique flavourness to it that it's become an instant classic. Ahead of a sneaky support slot for the Sydney/Melbourne three-piece in Sydney, Newcastle producer and (commonly hip-hop) DJ Jayteehazard has taken the catchy single for a spin for an official remix which may just be as upbeat and funky as the original. Jayteehazard's remix sees the energetic funkness of the original bumped up ten notches, really highlighting that punching bassline and letting Haiku Hands' chanting vocals and the playful melodies swirl around behind it. There's a nice hip-hop switch up around mid-way through which keeps things refreshing too, which is definitely handy amongst the bassy onslaught of party vibes that Haiku Hands has created.
Fresh Hex - Big Party
It's been a while between drinks for Melbourne-based club producer Fresh Hex, who seriously impressed us over a year ago now with his bubbly debut EP Reflective Romantic. His new single Big Party is his first since the EP and it sees the producer take on more of a dark and menacing club sound, with his bright and glistening bubblegum-pop sound restrained to just a light shading above dense synth melodies, vocal samples and thumping bass kicks. It's still got that tastefully childish and playful sound which makes Fresh Hex so unique, but with a bit of extra flavour (and one that we're not used to from the producer) this sound has really evolved and became something more which is always great for an artist's musical progression.