Electric Feels: Your Weekly Electronic Music Recap
The best of electronic music in the past week, including Slumberjack, Four Tet, Breakbot and more.
ALBUM / EP OF THE WEEK
Slumberjack - Fracture EP
"We’ve been experimenting a lot with big vocal hooks and less of a maximalist approach compared to our last few releases. It’s definitely a more mature sounding version of us." is how Perth-based bass lords Slumberjack described their Fracture EP to us on its release last week - a description we think they've nailed perfectly. Including collaborations with KLP and Vera Blue, the Fracture EP is all about pairing soaring, festival-ready guest features with Slumberjack's signature bass-loaded production styles, with the Perth producers giving it their all on the EP, which really shows a large progression since their debut a few years back. Fracture is so much more than your cookie-cutter trap bangers (not saying that their previous work was), with the additional guest features adding this touch of more classical songwriting - which Slumberjack really allow to shine with perfectly-executed accompanying productions.
Cradle to Grave, the EP's menacing, scavaging interlude, perfectly encapsulates this growth in a different way, relying on aural settings and cinematics instead of big-name guest features. The orchestral pulses in the song's opening minutes whisks you away to an arid, duney desert, with crackling vultures and whispy Oud which swirl around before a snapping, crisp break-down that slightly resembles Flume's sizzling Skin opener Helix. Combined with singles like the opening Afraid, Unafraid or the quick-firing Take Me, Slumberjack's Fracture charms in a way no trap release has been able to do for me in a while now, which I think deserves a massive nod to Slumberjack for accomplishing.
SINGLES / REMIXES OF THE WEEK
The XX - A Violent Noise (Four Tet Remix)
If there's one thing Four Tet is perfect at accomplishing, it's making a relentless, eight-minute remix seem like a two-minute one. The perfect example of this is his most recent, an ever-lasting, up-tempo remix of The XX's A Violent Noise, taken from their sensational I See You LP. Four Tet's driving remix really highlights the already-perfect beat from production powerhouse Jamie XX, pitching up the BPM and adding in some deep bass kicks that drive the single's original clanky percussion backing. The echoing vocals of Oliver Sim occasionally peep through the sweaty production, uniting with ringing chimes to offer touches of relief from the remix's relentless groove. It's the epitome of a perfect remix really, highlighting the single's most impressive moments and placing them on a pedestal for the rest of the world to tune in and worship, which is something that Four Tet has perfect to a tee in his extensive production history.
Breakbot - Mystery
With records including Justice's game-changing Cross, Uffie's one-and-only Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, and a whole hoard of releases by Mr. Oizo, SebastiAn and others all under their belt, it's a bit weird saying that 2016 and 2017 may be Ed Banger's biggest years yet, but honestly I think it may be. Last year gave us new Breakbot, Cassius, Oizo and - of course - Justice, but 2017 is shaping up to be just as good, with their just-announced Ed Banger Records 100 compilation promising new, unreleased work from SebastiAn, Mr Oizo, Busy P, Riton and Breakbot, whose single Mystery is the first to arrive from the compilation. Mystery boasts that irresistible Breakbot groove that we've come to seriously froth from him, with deep licks of bass guitar forming the basis of a rather down-tempo, disco-leaning returning single from the French lord. With the insertion of some uncredited guest vocals towards the single's ending Mystery perfectly envelops that signature Ed Banger sound, a sound we're super, super happy to hear making a comeback in 2016 and beyond.
Little Dragon - The Pop Life
Taken from their just-released Season High record, The Pop Life has to be one of my favourite singles from Swedish electronic outfit Little Dragon. The Pop Life is one of the more upbeat singles from the group's new album, boasting a dynamic, deep-synth-driven production which energetically sweeps above some dark, atmospheric synth and the vocals of Yukimi Nagano, who takes more of a low-key role in The Pop Life unlike in some of Little Dragon's more popular and commanding singles. Whilst Nagano's vocals have always been a personal highlight of Little Dragon for me, her echoing mumbles actually work quite well in this case, simply adding to the single's festival-ready feel without being overly dominant and taking the focus away from one of Little Dragon's personal best productions.
Set Mo - Yeah
Taken from their quietly-released two-track After Dark EP, Yeah is another playful and bustling house tune from Sydney-based duo Set Mo. It's a tease of their older, more club-central releases before the days of White Dress and co, commanding with a scurrying bass line and vocal samples that combine to create a laid-back house track with an infectious groove, made perfect by Set Mo's expertise in these sounds. Alongside the EP's second track Merriwa, Yeah is a bit of a throwback from the boys which has us nothing but excited, despite how much of a feel-good banger singles like White Dress turned into.
VALENTINE & 4AM - Us feat. Naji
Arriving as his debut single on URL-turned-IRL music collective Moving Castle, Us sees US-based producer VALENTINE link up with the recently-rebranded 4AM and new Soulection signee Naji for a contrasting new single, which really showcases both sides of the diverse producer. Us balances both light and heavy electronic tones, with crippling, glitchy breakdowns sitting between mellow R&B-leaning vocals and stripped-back production breaks. It's an exciting new chapter for the VALENTINE, which is only going to get more exciting with the release of a forthcoming concept album, set to arrive before the year's end.
July 24 | Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
July 26 | Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne