Norwegian duo Carl Louis and Marin Danielle, better known as CLMD, has been rising in popularity. Their original tracks (“Falling Like Angels,” “Black Eyes and Blue”), remixes (Norman Doray, Gus Gus, Max Vangeli), and white labels (“Turn the Music Up”) have been getting love and support from DJs around the world. A distribution deal for their Up North imprint through Sony gives them the freedom to release music when they want all over the world. Their recent release, the gorgeous and progressive “The Stockholm Syndrome,” is just a sign of what’s to come from the talented duo.
As much as I loved the downtempo Axwell remix of Discopolis “Falling,” I had a feeling that Axwell wasn’t going to forsake the stadium/progressive house sound that made Swedish House Mafia so big. With “Center of the Universe,” Axwell is back to the uplifting, pretty, and anthemic with a surprisingly old school-feeling Hi-NRG production – think Almighty goes to the stadium – and you’ve got an idea. Swedish singer Magnus Carlson, frontman of indie rock band Weeping Willows, brings a fresh, emotional take to the lyrics and when he sings the “center of the universe is you and I,” the warmth of his tone will really make you feel that you are part of the song. With the deluge of pretty progressive tracks being released right now, “Center of the Universe” stands out as a shining star. Helping the track will be a “groundbreaking interactive video” sponsored by Carlsberg beer for their “Where’s the Party?” campaign. Basically, you have to launch www.wtp13.com in a Google Chrome browser and after you prove that you are of legal age, you click on the screen to keep the beat going. If you don’t fancy the mashup of midway game wack-a-mole and a pervasive beer commercial, the full video will premiere on Tuesday the 21st. Honestly, I am hoping someone puts the cool galactic t-shirt worn by the lead dancer on sale. That would be a product placement that I would gladly jump on.
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.