Posts by Nathan
Love Thy Brother has been one of my breakout stars to watch in 2016, and they’re closing the year out strong with an incredible remix of JHYVE’s “Ruby.” In recent months, there has been a flood of artists pairing with potential crossover stars, and the Toronto-based electronic duo have teamed up with their fellow countrymen and R&B sensation, JHYVE, to deliver a rousing remix of his latest track that is dripping in vibes.
Laying down a signature house backbone, Love Thy Brother covers “Ruby” in a shroud of shimmering synth melodies and reverb-ed out guitar arpeggios. JHYVE’s dreamy, ethereal lyrics grab your hand and guide the track through a haze of vibed-out goodness. This remix is a double-edged sword – perfect for the dance floor but appealing enough for the mainstream. Check it out below and keep an eye on Love Thy Brother for 2016.
For years, I was outspoken against camping music festivals. I didn’t quite get it – why would anyone give up the opportunity for a hot shower and warm bed in favor of braving the elements, separated from the howling winds, swirling dust, and hard ground with nothing but a tent? And then I went to Desert Hearts.
To call Desert Hearts a transformational festival is selling it short by a mile. Since its inception three years ago, the festival has garnered a near cult-like following within the Southern California burner community, offering a nearly unmatched blend of art, design, and beauty, all underlined by 100 hours of visceral, pulsating house and techno.
This year, the Desert Hearts crew – Mikey Lion, Deep Jesus, Pork Chop, Lee Reynolds, and Marbs – celebrated the third anniversary of their bi-annual festival, and they held nothing back. By expanding their festival into Thursday, they were able to offer a weekend’s worth of house and techno that most would consider enough for a lifetime. The lineup was the biggest and deepest it’s ever been, led by world-class additions like dirtybird’s boss, Claude VonStroke, and the SF label’s femme fatale, J. Phlip, in addition to international heavyweights like Olivier Giacomotto, Andreas Henneberg, and Eddie Richards, while the Desert Hearts crew spent most of Saturday showing off what they’ve got.
In the days leading up to the festival, I have to admit, I was a little bit hesitant about the prospect of camping on the outskirts of the festival, kept awake in my sleeping bag by the same, unending four-on-the-floor rhythm, but once Friday came and I was winding my way through the back roads behind Oceanside on my way to the relatively lawless Los Coyotes Indian Reservation, my nervous hesitancy turned into growing excitement.
As I made my way onto the festival grounds towards the single stage, adorned with a towering disco ball heart spinning in the middle, my ears were greeted with the familiar sounds of a mix of banging tech-house and space-y, burner soundscapes that were quick to grab your attention and keep hold of it long into the wee hours of the night. Walking around Desert Hearts was like a trip into the deepest depths of your imagination – festival-goers clad in fur solely greeted each other with hugs, others huddled together in one of the two Burning Man themed camps – Pile Palace and Shangri-Lawless – and even more were grooving on the dance floor, lost to the beats and rhythms delivered by the crisp Funktion 1 soundsystem.
Friday night slowly turned into Saturday morning with the help of an extended three hour set by Olivier Giacomotto, who threw down a performance for the ages, as temperatures dipped well into the 30s, leaving festival-goers scrambling for warmth. Some found solace deep in the crowd, while others spent the night huddled together in Pile Palace or by a burning trash can with shadows flickering against the backdrop of the stage.
Saturday was dominated by the Desert Hearts crew, as its head honcho, Mikey Lion, took the stage at 2 pm, getting the entire dance floor into another dimension of groove with his trademark brand of tech-house. Mikey Lion’s brother, and fellow Desert Heart crew member, Pork Chop, followed that up with my set of the weekend, turning the dance floor into a rowdy affair. As night quickly dawned and the temperatures fell, the crowd was losing some steam – until the legend Andreas Henneberg took the stage and commanded the crowd like a seasoned veteran. He effortlessly danced between jacking tech house, heady techno, and groovy deep house with ease, delivering dance floor bomb after bomb without remorse. As the weather worsened, the crowd continued to thin, until Deep Jesus, the last of the Desert Hearts crew to play, delivered a rousing sunrise set to those that remained awake and alive.
Though the musical programming at Desert Hearts isn’t as diverse as a festival like Woogie Weekend, Lightning in a Bottle, or Symbiosis, it’s the people that make Desert Hearts so god damn special. Strangers greeted each other with big, warm embraces, and everyone there not only felt like family but was also treated like family – even those you had never met. Saturday was highlighted by a wine and cheese party that broke out on the dance floor – yes, that’s right, wine and cheese. A couple of ambitious festival-goers found it within themselves to throw a party complete with boxed wine, grapes, cheese, crackers, and costumes for anyone and everyone on the dance floor. Now find me another festival where you’ve seen that happen.
Now, Desert Hearts is over, it’s well into the week, but nothing has been on my mind but the undulating pulse that commanded the dance floor all weekend. At its surface, Desert Hearts is just another music festival, but deep down, it finds something deeper inside of you and brings the best out of all of us. Desert Hearts, you’ve officially won me over. I’ll see you next spring.
Photos by Jamie Rosenberg
Blogging about DJ Snake on Sunset may be a first, but I think it’s safe to shelve any concerns about DJ Snake as a non-trap producer, because “Middle” is absolutely out of this world. The Parisian producer behind main stage EDM tracks like “Get Low” and “Turn Down For What” has taken 2015 to show off his multi-faceted talents in production – first on “Lean On” with Major Lazer and MØ, and now “Middle” with one of the finest producers from across the pond, Bipolar Sunshine.
With a debut album on the way, “Middle” is a sneak peak of what to expect from the international sensation – and we’re perfectly happy with the direction that he’s taking his music. DJ Snake shrouds the track in a haze of dreamy piano melodies and dancing xylophone strikes that are guided Bipolar Sunshine’s soaring vocals.
“Middle” definitely leans a little more indie than anything DJ Snake has put out before, but if this is the direction that he’s taking his music, definitely keep an eye out for him to make some serious moves in 2016.
In history, Louis Vivet is known as one of the first patients diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, better known as bipolar disorder, but the modern-day duo of Nick and Aria seem to have a firm grasp of who they are as artists. Armed with a strong sense of sound design, Louis Vivet has been steadily making waves in Los Angeles’ burgeoning dance scene with their ability to seamlessly move between genres like indie, electronic, and pop, and their talents are on full display on “Best Thing.”
Teaming up with the immensely talented songstress, Gavrielle, for the third time, “Best Thing” is arguably Louis Vivet’s most well-produced track to date. A beautiful, slowly building synth progression opens the track before peeling back the curtain to reveal Gavrielle’s stunning vocals painted over Louis Vivet’s signature downtempo house backbone.
With “Best Thing,” Louis Vivet have continued to show off their penchant for blending past with present and future, as the synth progressions and catchy vocals are reminiscent of an old-school progressive house anthem infused with just the right touch of indie goodness to give it some serious vibes.
I’m not typically one to post two different remixes of old school classics, but BLU J absolutely knocked this modern-day re-imagination of Twista’s “Overnight Celebrity” out of the park. The SF-based artists have yet to reveal their true identities, but if they keep releasing tracks as good as this, who they really are isn’t going to matter very much. Claiming responsibility for two of my favorite remixes of the year with their take on Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Alina Baraz and Galimatias’ “Fantasy,” and it’s looking like it will be three before the end of the year with this take on “Overnight Celebrity.”
BLU J’s self-dubbed brand of forward-thinking bass music is front and center on this remix, as they pump Twista’s R&B hit with some serious low end bass. Playful, rhythmic synth arrangements pave the way for BLU J to infuse the track with twisting bass accents and a thumping bass line that give Twista’s iconic verses a whole new life.
I had no idea who Kayper was until I saw her name scroll by on my SoundCloud stream earlier today, but she’s won some major points in my book by taking on Erykah Badu and completely re-imagining her 90s hit, “Next Lifetime.” Badu released the track as the second single off of her debut album, Baduizm, which catapulted the talented songstress to the top of the music industry, as her album quickly went triple platinum.
Badu’s original take on “Next Lifetime” is like a lesson in 90s music, as her emotional, bluesy vocals are paired with a downtempo, R&B production, but Kayper does away with everything in favor of re-making the track with her own unique touch.
The UK-based talent douses the tune in a bath of static-y synths before peeling back to unveil Badu’s instantly-recognizable vocals layered over a thumping bass line and uplifting background vocals reminiscent of a soulful church choir. You can check out the track below.
For the last few months, we’ve been slowly introduced to the stunning singer-songwriter, Ofelia K, who has been slowly rolling out her debut Plastic Flower EP. The young songstress has been dazzling the world with her left-leaning take on pop – not quite as underground as indie, but not quite as mainstream as pop.
“Hawk Fly Tiger Run” is the fourth and final piece of her EP, and it’s nothing short of breathtaking. At first listen, it’s hard to put this record into words – the production has a lot going on with banjo twangs, bluesy guitar riffs, and a slow drum pattern, while Ofelia K’s ethereal croons dig into the depths of your soul – but as you keep listening, the pieces start to come together more and more. “Hawk Fly Tiger Run” is more than just the final track on the EP, rather it’s one of the most important components that ties together the entire project.
But don’t listen to me – take her own word on it – “HFTR was one of the first songs I made for my EP and it felt like a real turning point musically. It’s always hard for me to describe this song to people…I know there’s a lot going on – Prince funk grooves, banjo twangs, playful guitars and deliberate pop programming, but the song really feels like me and it helped map the course of the rest of the EP.” – Ofelia K.
This weekend, from November 5th to November 9th, the Desert Hearts crew will be taking over the Los Coyotes Indian Reservation once again for the third anniversary of their annual fall festival. Since its inception just a few years ago, Desert Hearts has nicely filled a niche in Southern California, quickly cementing its reputation as the West Coast’s premiere, Burning Man-inspired music festival. Desert Hearts prides itself as visionaries of an alternative festival experience, not only offering a lineup that features 100 hours of nonstop house and techno, but also art installations and themed camps for a well-rounded camping festival experience.
For its third anniversary, Desert Hearts promises to be bigger and better than ever. Not only will the Desert Hearts crew, including Mikey Lion, Deep Jesus, Lee Reynolds, Pork Chop, and Marbs, take the stage for a number of their own sets, but they’ve also rounded out the lineup nicely with artists like Doc Martin, Andreas Hennenberg, and Kate Simko.
While the entire festival is sure to be a phenomenal time, these are five sets that you don’t want to miss if you find yourself at Desert Hearts this weekend.
1. Claude VonStroke
The dirtybird records boss never disappoints, and I would expect nothing less than the best from Claude at a festival like Desert Hearts.
2. David Scuba
The LA-based tech house guru has been quietly making waves for some time now, and you best believe that David Scuba will be right at home at Desert Hearts. While Claude and J. Phlip offer some house-ier options for the weekend, David Scuba is tech house through and through.
3. J. Phlip
Like her fellow dirtybird counterpart, Claude VonStroke, J. Phlip isn’t playing games when it comes to grimey house music. She’s one of the best there is in the house game, and you can be sure that she’s going to be bringing some heat come Sunday.
4. Mikey Lion
Like a proud father looking over his baby, Mikey Lion will be standing over the crowd at Desert Hearts on Saturday, admiring everything that he has accomplished. Mikey is not only the boss of the Desert Hearts crew, but also helps run the label, in addition to performing at all of their events and still finding time to produce in the studio as well.
There’s nothing in the world like waking up on a gloomy weekend morning, grabbing a cup of coffee, and diving headfirst into my SoundCloud stream to look for new music. This morning’s SoundCloud exploration led me to discover the two-piece duo, Folded Like Fabric, who recently put out their debut I Tried EP that pushes the creative boundaries with tracks that feature a pop backbone and infused with jazzy undertones and somber toplines.
All four tracks on the EP are worth checking out, and each of them showcases a different aspect of the duo’s talented production. They put out the title track of the EP, “You Said,” a few weeks ago and it’s a mesmerizing blend of smooth production underneath a slick, catchy topline that instantly hooks you in. Shimmering string arrangements create an atmospheric, airy vibe that serves as the perfect counterbalance for the emotive croons of Connor Sims. Check it out below.
The fact that we can classify Candyland and their newest production, “Speechless,” featuring RKCB, as a pop track proves how far the music industry has come in integrating dance music into the mainstream. A year ago, anything Candyland, and Candyland-produced, would be firmly considered electronic dance music, no two ways about it, but within the last year, dance music’s popularity has steadily grown to the point where the line between pop and dance has been blurred – and Candyland and RKCB are taking advantage of it.
You may remember Candyland as an emerging, electro house duo, but earlier this year, they went their separate directions, and “Speechless” is the latest release from Candyland that showcases a new, matured sound by the Santa Barbara-based producer.
Gone from her arsenal are the blaring horns and thumping kicks of main stage dance music, and in its place are tropical-influenced synths and a smooth house backbone that gives “Speechless” some serious groove. Throw in just a touch of indie vibes, courtesy of RKCB, and Candyland’s new tune will have you “speechless.” Take a gander at it below.
The long days and warm weather of summer may be over, but that hasn’t stopped Sam Feldt from bringing a little bit of sunshine into the world with his sun-soaked brand of tropical house. The Dutch tropical house maestro is a young, up-and-coming talent in his own right, and he’s given the 17-year-old On June’s cover of “The Devil’s Tear” an uplifting, tropical take.
Smooth, velvety guitar chords capture your attention from the get-go, as Sam Feldt channels some serious tropical vibes on this edit. Setting a bed of subtle bongo arrangements underneath On June’s ravishing vocals, Feldt gives this chilled-out original an extra injection of vibes that will have you grooving to the beat and singing to the lyrics. Peep it below.
They say that it takes 10,000 hours to become a true master at something, which makes EDX one step up from a master. As a twenty-year mainstay in electronic music, EDX has seen it all – the ups, the downs, and most recently, electronic music’s gradual crossover into the mainstream. The Swiss dance authority has managed to stay relevant through it all, first by sticking true to the trademark sound that he developed, and now, he’s managed to do so by staying one step ahead of the masses and evolving with the genre.
His latest track, “Revered,” is a venture into the depths of deep house and tech-house, styles that EDX hasn’t typically dabbled in, but when you’ve been doing something for as long as he has, it’s clear that his production abilities are endless.
A tribal-influenced drum sequence sets the foundation for the track, as a hypnotic vocal takes your hand and guides you through tech-y synth stabs and a thumping bass line. “Revered” is a double-edged sword, walking a fine line between an Ibiza club anthem and a summertime smash.