Tag Archives: swedish house mafia
It’s interesting to watch the direction of music coming from the former members of Swedish House Mafia. While Sebastian Ingrosso came out with “Reload,” an excellent track (but still quite similar to the music of SHM), Axwell has gone in a more alternative direction. Discopolis is a 4-piece electronic Scottish synth-pop group and on the original version of “Falling,” they sound like a mix of Miike Snow and Cut Copy. Downbeat, yet happy and somewhat singalong, it’s the kind of song that the hipsters will love and dance to with the guitar line, sweeping pianos, and plodding beat. While Dubvision did a more typical club remix, upping the tempo to a high 120-something with big room electro beats and a stadium-ready dropout, Axwell went the opposite direction, keeping the original tempo and simply enhancing the production. The intro sounds like it could be the original version but when the loop builds into the synth-line, you know its a remix. The style is modern yet vaguely retro – with classic elements of synth pop from the original modernized with what could be one of the downtempo K-Klass or Bimbo Jones remixes -i.e. fully realized musical productions using just about all of the original parts with more electronic elements added. While you may not get the Sparkle Motion/Donnie Darko/Star Search reference, on first listen you will definitely enjoy this midtempo electronic pop track perfectly suited for downtempo sets and radio.
Image Courtesy of Axtone.
Yes, “Things Can Only Get Better” is an ’80s classic by one of my first musical idols – synth-pop deity Howard Jones. I remember one summer in High School when I saw him perform five times around Florida. When I first saw signs advertising this collaboration with French-born/Miami-based DJ/producer Cedric Gervais during Winter Music Conference in March, I got so excited that I nearly tore it down to keep as a souvenir – so yes, my expectations were high. The stadium/electro update features a few lines of vocals and sounds exactly like you would expect. Yes, it’s fun and energetic and will no doubt create magic on any dance floor with the hooky synth lines and uplifting vocal bits but, and there is a big but, it really doesn’t seem as amazing as it should be. In the same way that Scandinavian Techno Society mocked the Swedish House Mafia, this seems like it could be a spoof of all the cover/sample tracks that pop up on a weekly basis. It feels like something that Royal Gigolos would have done during Benny Benassi’s atonal noise period rather than something masterful from the gifted producer who created “Spirit In My Soul” and “Love is the Answer.” Then again, maybe Cedric’s ambition is to become a novelty act in the “Molly” vein (and it makes you wonder if Tyga will do a version of this as well). The video reinforces that with a David Guetta “Play Hard”-esque comical take where the main character gets caught in a Groundhog Day-like sequence that leads him to an amazing underground party – complete with flashing lights, pretty girls, and of course the main vocal hook exploding for big emphasis. Maybe since this song was such a major part of my youth I was hoping for something more creative and epic as opposed to a two line-sampling paint-by-numbers stadium track – like maybe a full vocal version, or something more creative like the Milk and Sugar version of “What is Love” from a few years back. Couldn’t he at least thrown us a bone and used the “woh oh oh” chant which the original song was known for in the drop out? Maybe this track will inspire other electronic producers to collaborate with the genius Howard Jones to revisit his classics while creating new music with him. With all that said, this is a fun track that I am no doubt overanalyzing, and those of us nostalgic for the ’80s will enjoy this as much as punters of the 2010s.
Image Courtesy of Spinnin.
Leave it to the Norwegians for the perfect spoof of stadium house and EDM. Similar in tone to the dubstep musical “Someone Like Me” by Ylvis, the crew of Kollektivet2 slash apart every big room cliche – modulation, featured vocalists, braindead chants, dance steps – all over a big room stadium house track that sounds like it could “save the world” from the end of pop. All that’s missing is the unavoidable breakup and the yearlong farewell tour. In case you can’t read between the lines and see the humor of the paint-by-number nature of current EDM, please take a listen to DJs From Mars “Phat Ass Drop” for step-by-step instructions on making your own club track.
Image Courtesy of KollektiveTV2.