SONG OF THE DAY: Freemasons – Shakedown 3 (EP 1)

Enduring house icons The Freemasons preview their forthcoming Shakedown 3 album with four tracks that show the depth of their sound. Getting the initial buzz is their cover of the 2006 progressive classic “Discopolis” by Lifelike and Kris Menace. The respectful update keeps all of the instrumentation in place, ups the tempo, and gives it that somber yet uplifting house feel which makes it a Freemasons track, in the vein of their hit “Uninvited” cover a few years back. Keeping the somber tone is their track as side project Pegasus “In the Blue.” The retro, darker house vibe follows the template of their Lamb cover “Gorecki,” with a touch more of the Nu-House vibe. On first listen, you might think it is Roisin Murphy on the vocals, but it is actually singer/songwriter Emma Rohan (an Angelina Jolie lookalike who has written for UK pop stars Joe McElderry and Boyzone). Switching from progressive to more hands in the air vocal house, the Freemasons duo bring “Nothing to Lose” and “True Love Survivor.” “Nothing to Lose” is commercial and credible at the same time, with pristine production emphasizing both Hi-NRG house tracks and the soulful vocals of Andrea Martin (best known for the song “Share the Love,” which was sampled by Tomcraft in his track “Loneliness”). Closing out the set is “True Love Survivor,” which melds house, disco, and progressive for a commercial track that is both recognizable and original at the same time. Discovered at an Apple store, singer/songwriter Hana has a voice that encompasses both the ethereal prettiness of a trance-topliner with the power of a soul singer. The lyrics are quite strong as well and could easily be redone as a ballad for unplugged performances. As the first taste of Shakedown 3, these four tracks will whet your appetite for what will no doubt be one of the albums of the year.

Image courtesy of Freemasons.

SONG OF THE DAY: Kris Menace – “Entity of Matter”

Rather than ‘Entity of Matter,’ this album should be titled “Entity of Healing Matter.”  This past week, I’ve been quite ill and have been listening to these 12 tracks in the background almost constantly.  The soundscapes remind me of classic Jean-Michel Jarre, experimental synth work with melody and beats, but nothing so overbearing or overblown as to cause discord. The tracks also have a universal warmth and somewhat of a healing vibe to them – kind of like mom’s chicken soup or that warm, comforting blanket in audio form.  Adding to the effect are the simple yet visually stimulating .GIF graphics that accompany the track.  Staring at them subtly change might remind you of early Windows visualization or just simply help you zone out a bit and relax. So yes, this is great music to experience higher states of consciousness with, but it is also great to chill and relax with as well.

Image Courtesy of Compuphonic.