Remember how great Moby’s Play was? Despite what a caricature that the man become, that album was not only a classic but also likely the first time anyone had heard a southern folk/blues sample turned up into a house mix. And well, that’s about the last time we heard a great effort along those lines until now. Bakermat might not be the biggest name cranking out tropical house jams at the moment but he’s certainly experienced and knows his craft well. The key is that he maintains the integrity of the source material and simply presents it in a different light. You have to be respectful with sources like this and he pulls it off masterfully here.
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While I always try to stay on top of breaking new sounds, every now and then you have to go back and right a wrong. Much to my surprise, it turns out that I never posted this incredible gem from Montreal producer Thomas White, so we’re going to go ahead and fix that right meow. Trap music (and electronic in general) is in such a constant state of flux with rapidly emerging influences from various genres, but rarely has anyone ever applied the basic fundamentals of it to a wildly different yet naturally cohesive genre with such powerful and chilling effect. It’s almost breathtaking how this reimagination of the classic blues and jazz track manages to evoke such massive sound with only the bare necessities. I could have summed this entire writeup with the word “WOW,” but let me say that those who stick with this track will be rewarded with more than they thought possible.
The remix collective RAC is known for, well, their remixes. But in the last year and a half they’ve made a name for themselves with some pretty outstanding original material. The latest of which involves folk singer Katie Herzig, who they’ve remixed before. Continuing to prohibit themselves by being defined by any traditional “electronic producer” label, “We Belong” is an anthemic ballad heavy on the keys and strings. It’s a track that anyone can love, especially on Valentine’s Day.
Upon playing Sylvan Esso‘s “Hey Mami” for the first time, the opening might lead you to believe you were in for a fairly standard “girl with guitar” folk song, even with a decent hint of soul. It isn’t until halfway through that Megafaun’s Nick Sanborn intrudes with plucky, electronic fuzz bombs that dance around Amelia Meath’s croonings – proving one of those rare but always special “oh shit” moments when discovering new music. Beyond the sonic merits of the duo’s track, “Hey Mami” is a welcome feminist narrative and a great introduction to a duo who are just barely getting started.
Agnes Obel is a Danish singer-songwriter who’s already commercially successful in Europe and has been for some years, yet is now just barely gracing my ears. I’ve always had a soft spot for female vocalists, especially the ones with the deep, ethereal touch. Similar to Joanna Newsom in that her voice alone powers her records over thin, plucky instrumentals – “The Curse” being held up by only the softest hint of strings and trickling piano keys. You’ll find yourself simultaneously put to ease and entranced by her delicately warm modulation.
Buy her latest album Aventine on iTunes now