The nu-house genre finally has its first WTF track. The kind of track you hear and think ‘WTF is that,’ in a good way. Producer The White N3rd is gaining acclaim and popularity for his strong productions (Loick Essien “How We Roll” and Daley ft Jessie J “Remember Me”) and remixes (his mix of M.O. “For a Minute” is an absolute must-listen). His first solo release “Skank” is simply hard to describe. Starting with an almost hauntingly-familiar ’80s monster pop piano line, it goes into a ’90s R&B piano house segment with a male singer singing “those” party starter lyrics, and then comes a modern electro buildup with a classic diva shouting “ecstasy,” before dropping down into a revocaled nu-House take on Mark Kinchen’s classic dub of Nightcrawlers “Push the Feeling On.” That is just the first 50 seconds. The song is primarily in the house flashback vibe, but there are so many changes (like an homage to classic XL Recordings drum and bass tracks) that it sounds completely unique compared to anything else out there. It’s as if 2 Bad Mice, Awesome 3/Kicks Like a Mule, and Kat Krazy (circa “See the Stars”) were all locked in a studio by the label and told to make a nu-house track for ADHD ragers. The best part is that even with all of the disparate elements, the track is completely coherent, cohesive, and will catch the attention of anyone hearing it in the club or on the radio.
Sia ft The Weeknd & Diplo – Elastic Heart
Kosheen – Harder They (Original)
Steve Aoki & Rune RK ft RAS – Bring You to Life (Transcend)
Alesso & Calvin Harris ft Theo Hutchcraft – Under Control (Ryan Enzad)
Arty – Flashback
John Christian – Flight 643 (Original)
Bassjackers & GRX – Gamer
Reece Low & Nathan Thomson – We Back
Bombs Away – Better Lock Next Time (MOTi)
Danny Howard & Futuristic Polar Bears – Thundergod (Festival)
Armin Van Buuren ft Cindy Alma – Beautiful Life (Kat Krazy)
Shermanology ft Amba Shepherd – Who We Are
Arty ft Fiora – Grand Finale (Arston Remix)
Erasure – Gaudete (Dave Aude)
Medina – Junkie (Rothmann)
When I first got Armin’s ‘Intense’ CD, I listened to it over and over again. As much as I loved the first two singles “Waiting for the Night” and “This is What It Feels Like,” it was the one between them, “Beautiful Life,” that I kept going back to. The track is a mix of progressive trance-pop with some electro flourishes – neither too aggressive nor too mellow – but a wonderful blend of both. Cindy’s vocals float on top and express the uplifting message that we all need to hear. Dance music is an escape, whether you are in the club or listening to it at home – and the allusion to falling into a dream with the music guiding you is just about the perfect expression of it. The remixes succeed by taking the vocals into new directions. Kat Krazy’s style could best be described as ADD/EDM, and the mix of random aggressive and pretty phrases is similar to his track “See the Sun” as well as his epic mix of Good Natured “5HT.” Mikkas brings a fusion of big beat and dubstep, while Protoculture goes main room stadium trance. A mix for every DJ to play, and Armin might just have a second radio hit on his hand.
Image Courtesy of Armada.