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TeddyLoid ft. Vocaloid IA – Shooting Star

It sounds so natural, it scares me, but delights me at the same time. Innovative technology has advanced rapidly enough for new Vocaloids, which are basically electronically generated vocals, to keep appearing in Japan’s E/DM scene. As they keep topping Oricon charts, they have attracted a multitude of talented producers. I thought they would be a passing fad, but when I finally heard an Electro Trance Vocaloid track that doesn’t sound robotic, I was blown away.

In the past, I’ve always thought that the main weakness of Vocaloid is that they sound horribly unnatural. However, I just had to include ‘Shooting Star’ in this blog because, unlike many others, producer TeddyLoid actually bothered to make the Vocaloid sound more natural. I no longer had to force myself to accept the artificiality for the sake of acknowledging a well-composed melody like many others. Instead, I could just listen to it and appreciate every aspect of it, just as I would appreciate any of my favourite tunes.

TeddyLoid knows exactly what makes E/DM and J-Pop fans tick. With typical elements you’d expect to find in any electro trance track, seamlesss transitions and euphoric melodies, it won’t be hard to lose yourself and dance, unless you’re sick of the mainstream stuff. In fact, I woudn’t be surprised to hear similar elements in tracks from other major E/DM labels or pop labels. However, if you don’t mind having a guilty bite from the poison apple every now and then, IA can be your pink lady.

There are English versions of Vocaloids, but they sound a bit more awkward than their Japanese originals, which is probably why they aren’t used by Western producers very often yet. Nevertheless, this track does make me think that a music industry filled with artificial singers, singing in a way that people can swallow more comfortably, is not that far away. Who knows? An English or American company is probably developing another brand of vocal generators right now.

Echos

Echos and Nightcall – Rainfall

Published on Beatsmedia 31 March 2015: http://beatsmedia.com/echos-nightcall-rainfall/

“Rainfall” is the result of the collaboration between Echos from Oregan and Nightcall from Gothenburg. With around 4k likes on each of their Facebook pages, it could be assumed that they’re still not widely known in the industry, yet a report on thissongslaps.com claims that they have been breaking into SoundCloud charts with every release. According to SoundCloud, “Rainfall” has gained around 89k plays in 5 days and the preview uploaded by MrSuicideSheep has around 227k plays.

Most of the elements in this piece seem to have started off sounding naturally instrumental or acoustic before morphing into a more digitised version. There are also a lot of moments where the soft, echoing angelic female vocal is the only thing that can be heard. Occasionally, the vocals were simply and effectively accompanied by one other element, such as percussion or bass. The more complex layering of sounds were reserved for the climatic portions of the piece, which was somewhat effective, but not enough. Despite how it didn’t overshadow the beauty of the vocals, the percussion and effects in the climax lacked some originality or element of surprise.

With just a little more magic, this track would have been able to get a perfect score. However, I do hear a lot of potential from this track and honestly believe that both producers will be able to create more amazing things.

“Rainfall” is now available for free here.

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Urbanstep – Stronger

Published on Beatsmedia 11/02/2015
http://beatsmedia.com/urbanstep-stronger/

Urbanstep’s releases are regularly featured on one of my favourite Dubstep channels on YouTube, so the name certainly does capture my attention whenever I see an upload. In fact, most of Urbanstep’s releases, including this one, would be released as a free download. What a treat!

The instrumental components in ‘Stronger’ sound quite unconventional, but that also what makes this track so exciting. Regardless of how emotional, ballad-like elements and intense urban sounds seem like opposing, contrasting elements in isolation, they also work together due to excellent arrangements and transitions. One can clearly hear how much of a challenge it must be to produce a track that flows so well. The wobbles are intermittent, yet the synths and compression levels make it fully charged with energy. Despite its power, it doesn’t upset the balance of the track at all and is not too loud, so the way this track has been mastered is absolutely amazing.

‘Stronger’ is now available as a free download on Urbanstep SoundCloud’s page. Feel free to grab more free tunes while you’re there!

Trolley Snatcha - Archetype EP

Trolley Snatcha – DontStep

Creative instincts allow the weaving of unexpected elements and distinct instruments to form magical connections. This funky tune is a must-have for every Dubstep lover!

There may be accordion sounds, or xylophone sounds. It’s hard to tell, but the impression and enchantment of those instruments shine through. Trolley Snatcha doesn’t let go of any opportunity to put his electronic magic finger on instruments for a twist. Yet, careful consideration is taken in every decision to manipulate, preserving a somewhat familiar yet natural sound. The other point of originality is the subtlety and occasional wobbles in this track. This allows the track to stand out in of a pool of excessively frequent, loud and wobbly Dubstep releases.

Visions will evolve from a leisurely stroll down the street, to an undercover mission, to a tribal dance ritual, to a gangster strut, all in one track. With excellent percussion, melody, and timing of effects, one can expect a new turn of events after every transition.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Record Label: Firepower Records
Release: Archetype EP
Release Date: 28 October

Eptic - The End EP

Eptic – Level Midnight

Back when I used to listen to Dubstep and the UKF Dubstep channel very often, Eptic was one of the artists I could never forget. ‘Like A Boss‘ resides on my iTunes playlist as one of my favourite Dubstep tracks of all time. Today, I decided to reunite with Dubstep and was greeted with this Dubstep and House combo from Eptic, titled ‘Level Midnight’.

With a fading and echoing whiz, huffing whooshes and puffs lead into bouncy notes and wobbles. The percussion and notes have a sharp edge to them, acting as weapons of a playful killer on the dance floor as it leaves cut marks everywhere. Every time it descends, it releases a femme fatale. The soft bass in the background acts as a silent marauder that seems to carry the entire track like a conductor of anarchy, achieving a contrast that brings out the dangerous sound of this tune.

What I dislike about this track is the lack of variation. It relies on switching between compression levels throughout, which isn’t that fresh. Aside from a little skittle at 3.13, there is a lack of cheeky elements to make this an absolute whopper. People will definitely reach the midnight level in the game of dance, but they’ll need much more if they want to reach doom.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Label: Never Say Die
Release Date: 27 October

Seven Lions with Myon & Shane 54 feat. Tove Lo – Strangers

Seven Lions with Myon & Shane 54 feat. Tove Lo – Strangers

Published on Beatsmedia 14/03/2014:
http://beatsmedia.com/review-seven-lions-with-myon-shane-54-feat-tove-lo-strangers/

Seven Lions have released a new single titled ‘Strangers’ in collaboration with Myon & Shane 54 and featuring Tove Lo. Yet, how could they possibly be considered strangers in the E/DM world with their stunning popularity?

The intro of ‘Strangers’ has a light yet sizzling feeling, with a subtle build-up drive that plays in the background rather than the cliché and loud foreground approach. Then, it turns into a snappy kick with downward spirals that just makes hips go round and round.

The female vocals and lyrics along with piano chords are isolated in the breakdown, before the sound layers are added one by one to introduce percussion and other melodic layers. The Dubstep components come in very softly and gradually without any forced instances of heavy drops or excessively annoying wobbles, which means the combination of genres are well balanced.

Combining Pop, Trance and Dubstep together in such a graceful manner allows the track to be relaxing yet groovy at the same time, and it really provides a pleasurable yet interesting listening experience. I give ‘Strangers’ (radio edit and extended mix) a 10/10!

Melody 10/10
Lyrics 10/10
Creativity 10/10
Transitions 10/10
Overall rating 10/10

My Nu Leng - Masterplan EP

My Nu Leng – ‘Masterplan’ EP

Published on Beatsmedia 27/02/2014:
http://beatsmedia.com/review-my-nu-leng-masterplan-ep/

My Nu Leng have quite a devious master plan to take over the world, and those efforts definitely come through in their dark EP.

‘Masterplan’ ft. Fox starts with a scratchy effect that sounds like someone’s scraping matchbox or using a cigarette lighter. The rap verses are pronounced with a Jamaican accent that sound mystical with its bells. Everything is topped with deep bass, fleeting wobbles, cool percussion, and whispers. It’s hard and cool, but you’ll be sweaty on the dance floor in no time.

‘Knowing’ has well-rounded bass pulses with grinding twangs and subtly fuzzy vocal samples combined with popping notes, fizzy claps, and light maracas. Two contrasting layers coexist in harmony, and the popping notes add little bursts of excitement. The atmosphere changes to something more solemn in the breakdown, and yet, it doesn’t take long for percussion and pops to take things back to a mischievous vibe.

My Nu Leng’s ‘Masterplan’ EP will be released through Black Butter Records on the 27th of February. I give ‘Masterplan’ and ‘Knowing’ a 9.5/10.

Krewella - Live For The Night

Krewella – Live For The Night (Remixes)

Published on Pumped Audio 02/10/2013:
http://www.pumpedaudio.com/reviews/krewella-live-night-remixes/

Krewella - Live For The Night

A few days after Krewella’s new album ‘Get Wet’ was leaked on SoundCloud, it was reported that ‘Live For The Night’ was remixed by chart-toppers W&W and Dash Berlin. Have a listen to the previews below!

W&W’s remix provides a more guided introduction with more emphasis on a piano improvisation. The melody acting as a backdrop to the vocals is more simplified, so that it doesn’t steal away the spotlight of that heavy Big-Room sound. This is an effective way of punctuating the track at the right moment. In addition, the percussion used prior to transition from the strong bass component creates a refreshing effect. This W&W remix is a very empowering piece that brings something new to the decks, and it’s bound to be something a lot of Big-Room house fans will enjoy.

Dash Berlin loops a slow trill quite often throughout his remix of ‘Live For The Night’. Not many people might like to hear the same notes looped over and over again without some sort of melodic variation. However, to me, this melody just has that hypnotic quality where one can loop it a thousand times and not get sick of it. Whenever there is a decompression, sounds expand like the way clouds drift apart after a rainy day to reveal the bright sun.

Although it was reported that these two remixes were official, they have not been included in the track list on iTunes or Beatport. Perhaps we’ll just have to wait and see if Columbia Records will release them in a remixes album. For now, have a listen to Krewella’s first album ‘Get Wet’ below!

Krewella - Get Wet

Krewella – Get Wet

Published on Beatsmedia 30/09/2013:
http://beatsmedia.com/review-krewella-get-wet/

Krewella - Get Wet

Two girls and one guy who go by the alias Krewella have managed to garner great interest from the fans of electronic music with some of their impressive Electro House and Dubstep singles. On YouTube, acoustic versions of their singles can be found, demonstrating their versatile ability to move between genres. The curious thing about their first album is that it’s actually classified as Pop/Rock on Beatport. However, if you actually listen to the whole album, it’s pretty difficult to classify the album.

‘Live For The Night’ is the result of an Electro House and Dubstep fusion, with a deluxe melody accompanied by octave-low notes, and swirly wobbles at just the right pitch. The way Krewella have adequately adjusted Dubstep and Electro House portions throughout the track allows them to control the atmosphere in an intelligent way. For instance, the kicks are more profound in the climax, whereas the Dubstep wobbles might sound profound in other moments with lyrics. In effect, the crowd could clap in the intro, have the chance to dance or twirl seductively during Dubstep grinds, then jump energetically during the climax!

‘Come and Get It’ sounds quite joyful and great to skip to most of the time, but it has edgy boosts that will rock you to the core as well. It incorporates the best of Dubstep and Drum-N-Bass, which is probably why it’ll be hard for people to work out exactly where the climax is. Is it the lyrical moments, or the wub-wub? Anyway, during the more Dubstep-focused parts that are played with Drum-N-Bass percussions, there are also lighter notes layered and sprinkled with different chords for a sparkly effect. Basically, this track will be the confetti and glitter shooter of any stage.

Life has its ups and downs, but we can all ‘Enjoy The Ride’ with Krewella. The piano notes and soft vocals in the intro of this track create a bittersweet hook to draw its listeners in. There’s even an earthy guitar bass line! However, what’s most amazing about this piece is how seems to remind us of this fact – Traditional instruments continue to play a significant role in effects and composition of a great electronic music track. When they sing: “Let’s do it again”, it’s really a way of foreshadowing possible audience reactions to the song – Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

The intro for ‘Pass The Love Around’ doesn’t just have repetitive chords. Instead, it includes some light, melodic embellishments to make things interesting. The boom-boom-clap percussion goes well with some fuzzy Dubstep sounds. The breakdown also allows the vocalist to shine with the piano, before the track reinstates the electronic climax. The lyrics convey a touching message of living life with passion, which really enhances the euphoria that comes from listening.

‘Ring of Fire’ has a dark intro, consisting of a bass line and pace commonly associated with Rock music. If you think female vocals couldn’t sound as cool as a male vocal, then this will definitely challenge your perception. The melody that plays after the notes hit also give off a very mysterious vibe. When the hard-hitting kicks come in, it could easily present an imagery of people dancing around a bonfire, and the sandy effect would be the seas of freedom on the shore. Finally, towards, the end, an orchestral portion brings in some unexpectedly sinister drama!

Classification doesn’t really matter, does it? ‘Get Wet’ is practically Krewella’s way of doing splits and playing Twister in the E/DM scene as they effortlessly mash and morph various genres. The mind-opening album is now available for streaming on SoundCloud, and available for purchase worldwide on Beatport.

Oh, and remember to grab your towel!

Originality 8/10

Harmony 7/10

Instrumentals 8/10

Lyrics 7/10

Overall rating 7.5/10

MitiS Born EP

MitiS – Born EP

MitiS Born EP

MitiS is a musician who makes selections very considerately and pays a lot of attention to detail. He mastered the classical piano, and brought his stunning compositions to electronic music. The result of this classical and contemporary fusion is so distinct or rare, that one might be inclined to think MitiS is not well-known. However, the reality is far from that. MitiS is signed to two record labels: Heavy Artillery Recordings, and Forte Recordings. He also had the privilege of playing alongside artists such as Aoki, Dillon Francis, and Dirtyphonics. The release of an EP titled ‘Born’, sounds like a recount of every event in life since every human was born. Before listening to the amazing releases, feel free to have a read of this review, as preparation for a life-changing experience.

The sound of waves tends to have a calming effect. When things gets sucked into vortexes, or become a tornado, one would normally see it as a sign of danger. Indeed, much risk comes into the creation of something new, but at the same time, new creations are a result of miracles. In fact, these new creations hold a certain degree of power or influence. The wavy sound from the introduction of ‘Born’ eventually becomes tuned, as if it’s attracted by the force of the melody. The percussion has a ring of the tambourine to it, and it carries essential hits. It steps in when the melody pauses, and still manages to connect the piece smoothly with a windy wisp. Overall, this piece creates a pulse that brings this track to life.

In ‘Innocent Discretion’, the melody comes in with a rippling effect. The dew drop is formed, and the moment of silence is where it falls into a greater stream. The track features a great piano melody which loops throughout like an enchanting stream of a waterfall, shining under a bright sun. The synths in this track are simple, much like the crescendo and diminuendo sounds of a breeze, touching every leaf on every branch. When the left-hand melody plays, it carries a bit more emotional heaviness. Yet, that’s what makes whole track bittersweet, or solid and grounded like the earth itself. It’s modest, rich, and solemn as words of wisdom. Though, in this case, perhaps they should be called the notes of wisdom.

Empowerment, motivation, and hope, can’t come without the decision to move forward from the negativities of the past. Retrospection, acceptance, and love, combine into sounds that penetrate resistance with a prompt: Release. The ultimate sound of release is what MitiS offers, as it retells the story of the ups and downs that every human beings experience, even without the use of words. Perhaps, the sense of relief and joy from having a child was what gave MitiS the inspiration to produce such a wonderful EP.

The tracks from Born were available for free for a limited time. Now, it’s available for purchase on Beatport.