Fomo – Missing You (feat. Aybe)

Do you know these times when you’re driving home, hours to go, the endless road in front of you, and all of a sudden the radio’s playing that special song that makes to think hard and rest your head on one palm while driving? Welcome to the world of “Missing You”.

The latest song of producer Fomo is  an electro/downtempo track that has a certain flow attached to it. The music and melody alongside those addictive chops happening every now and then are a solid foundation for the vocals sung by Baltimore based singer/songwriter Aybe. Teaming up for this particular track was a thing of beauty in my opinion. While Fomo understood how to exactly place the vocals in the mix, keeping the music tracks defensive in the background, the beautiful voice of Aybe does the rest. Boy, this girl really can sing! (With a voice like that I guess my neighbors wouldn’t ask me to stop singing under the shower anymore, hehe.) She puts a lot of sensitive feeling and emotion into it, but on several occasions she lets us know that we haven’t heard anything yet and that she’s capable of putting so much more energy behind it. Of course, for this emotive track that wouldn’t be appropriate, but I think it’s a great thing if a vocalist can show what he/she is capable of with just small glitches while singing.

So, Fomo proves with this track that he’s ready to deliver not only solid music, but also feelings with it. “Missing You” never feels like a flat pop track, it’s done with much sense for detail and, I assume, countless hours in the studio to mix that thing the way it came out. Here’s an electro track which at the same time makes you move AND think. Not your everyday combination, right? Another great track for my daily playlist.

Amparo – The Orchid Glacier

When ambient meets drive. Feeling like kite surfing on the calmest waves you ever saw. Or paragliding on a warm, sunny day. Although it’s relaxing, there’s this state of alertness coming along. If you ever felt this, you know exactly what “The Orchid Glacier” is all about.

So, I know this producer lives somewhere in Arizona. I know it’s a woman. I know she’s very creative not just in music but with words as well as photography. She likes thinking out of the box (for example, her EP “Cloud Wrangler” was available as a limited edition on a cassette. Yes. A CASSETTE. What a beautiful mind.) And that’s about where my knowledge about Amparo ends. People who know me know that I really like to do my homework regarding reviews, but this is it, I didn’t find any other information with the time available tonight. That’s either because I’m sleep deprived like hell, or because Amparo didn’t want to share more of her private life. So let’s concentrate on her music, shall we?
“The Orchid Glacier” is a track that is build on several synth layers which are connected like single threads of a cobweb. Somehow Amparo managed to not just smash up all of the synth tracks to a thick layer, but to let them interact with that certain fragile, icy feeling attached. There are accents happening that are part tubular bell style, part percussion, alongside a drum pattern which lets the song pick up speed while progressing. Several reverb/hall effects and some haunting arpeggiated melodies are keeping the track interesting every second. There’s a lot of detail happening within these five minutes of sound. Sometimes one base tone is getting a bit too dominant because your ears get used to this specific tone, but there’s never a fight between layers happening.

So, there you have it. The perfect hybrid of chillout and wake up. A synergy of melody, effects and percussion. This one needs to be placed in another genre than the available usual ones. I’ll name it… “Ampient”. If you like this track, I recommend checking out her other available songs off her EP “Cloud Wrangler” released by svnset waves.

Sarah Hansson – I Am Love feat. JasonYG

There’s one word to describe this track perfectly: smooth. To give the song the right amount of credit, I’m just putting it this way: smooooooth.

For me, singer/songwriter Sarah Hansson managed to get the good old times back again for a couple of minutes. Her new tune “I Am Love” is a pop track which is made pretty much oldschool, and I love that retro vibe coming along with it. Consisting of a genre-typical drum/bass combination, it’s one of the songs that focus on the singer instead of the music. In this case, Hansson did a outstanding job of singing with a warm and smooth voice that makes you feel comfortable right away. The overall retro groove that goes along the vocal/music combination works perfectly with the lyrics. This track is a perfect example of how to put on the right amount of human element in order to keep all of the emotion in it. The backing music is defensive and takes nothing away from the vocals. In my opinion the overall mix is done a bit too generic, for example there are several doubled vocal tracks that could have been placed in the lower eq bands in order to thicken the sound. But hey, that’s just me ranting about the technique, and every studio has their own style with how they mix, right. So, that’s just a personal opinion rather than a negative aspect of the song.
Teaming with producer/rapper JasonYG was really a genius move. With his lyrics the track is given an additional genuine human feel to it, plus the signature sound you won’t have on any other track. Both of the artists can do just fine as single performers, but the two of them together on a track like “I Am Love” puts the icing on the cake, so to speak. I found myself slowly grooving to the song on my office chair while listening. Golden rule: if something makes me move, it’s great. Period.

The beautiful singer/songwriter Hansson stays true to her genre with this track. Listening to several other tracks on her soundcloud account I noticed the pop genre basically is her home. With her vocal range she easily could sing other genres as well, but you can just feel she’s home with what she creates. These aren’t just studio sessions – these are small pieces of her soul.

Reyna – Kill Me

Although the title of the song doesn’t point to this, I think the new song from Wisconsin based band Reyna is a lightweight, lean alternative pop track to enjoy. As if they wanted to tell you “hey, it’s not that bad, right?”

The two sisters Hannah and Victoriah aka Reyna did a great job in delivering feelings there. I really love the fact that you don’t even need to understand the lyrics to get the drift of melancholy which leads to somewhere you don’t know yet. Call it whatever you want, end of the tunnel, light after dark, turning point – these women managed to deliver this feeling through their music. And they made it sound like it was easy to do.
Beautifully produced, the track invites you for more with a held back defensive synth line and a vocal track which is reverbed in an outstanding manner. Backed by a pop beat/percussion, the song evolves into an uplifting tune that sticks to your brain instantly. The vocals are sung with the right amount of fragility, yet there’s always that constant feeling of power behind the whole song setting. Most of the things fall perfectly in line with this song. To name a negative aspect, I get the impression that sometimes the percussion is “flooding” the vocals, fighting over dominance for a second or two with the vocals – but then again, that could also be my studio monitors. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing wrong with the final mix over headphones or proper speakers.

Watch out, world. Here you have two musicians that proved with one single song that they exactly know how to make you feel the music, not just how to listen to it. When talking to a coworker here at kms about that song, she said something like “boy, that tune really makes me sad.” while I had that above mentioned “hey, after the rain there’s sunshine again” feeling. See? Those girls even managed to split feelings with “Kill Me”. That certain friction of feelings is quite rare these days, and I can’t wait for Reyna to unload more of it with new songs.

North Downs – Nothin’

Feels like dreaming about something. With the newest sound of North Downs, you are taken on a trip, as if you were still sleeping, but grooving to the music of your own mind.

There’s a certain vintage feeling coming along this track. The combination of a sub bass along distortion effects of the vocal tracks, brass-like instruments, and those old school recorded guitar phrases helping the track to evolve into something you don’t hear every day. Also, there’s a vinyl crackle sound effect used, giving the track additional old-school feel. Overall, the intended effect on “Nothin'” really was made with very much sense for detail. For me, this dreamy feeling with a bit of unrest works out perfectly. There’s an outstanding balance between “comfort zone” and “what-the-hell”. I’m looking for that sometimes, it’s not your happy synth pop, nore is it your melancholic slow rock, but a mixture of elements from the both of the genres. In todays mostly black and white/yes or no musical landscape it’s refreshing when a group like North Downs tries to bend the rules and steps over boundaries in the process. We need those pioneers who do that to explore new genres and refreshing tunes for our ears.
Too bad that the first shot on the world out there is a cover of a song but not their own work…I’d be very interested in what those guys can do with original ideas they develop. But I’m sure of the fact that if they continue with this kind of outstandingly moody music, they will make a name for themselves very quickly, creating their own signature sound in the process. I’m eagerly waiting for the next track.

Junior Empire – Danger

There are many elements of past and present within the newest track of Junior Empire. I don’t really know if I should call it “retro” or “progressive”. Maybe I should go with “retressive” as a genre.

A calm and steady synth line in addition with a basic disco beat builds the foundation of a solid almost-disco track which has those classic dancefloor elements in it. But the guys of Junior Empire weren’t finished with that concept at all, they added a slight distorted vocal track to the mix which fits perfectly into the whole mix. Although the vocals are mixed quite flat within the high eq band, this is the “secret ingredient” which adds that signature sound to “Danger”, the newest track of London based Junior Empire.
Being backed with several higher octave vocals during the chorus – some of you will recognize the disco typical style – there’s something additional to find, like that reverbed piano melody or the time-shifted vocals during the break… while the producers knew just where to put the exact amount of effects like reverb or delay, the singer knew how to emphasize on the lyrics.
I like this feeling that comes along “Danger”. It’s like walking through empty streets at 3 am in the morning. (besides, now you know what I’ll be listening to next time I’m walking home in the morning.) The song keeps you going with a slight extra of rush, tiny enough to be felt. If you weren’t moving at all before listening to the track, now you do.

Those five guys of Junior Empire aren’t newbies at the scene. They already released several other tracks which were trending on several platforms. Listening to the other tracks available on their soundcloud account, it comes to mind that the connection between past and present (speaking music-wise) always is there. You’ll often find that very intriguing mix of “hey, I  heard that before” and “wow. I never thought that this would go THAT well together”. With the actual track “Danger” they continue to deliver that solid concept – and as a result, a really smooth… retressive track.

Alpha Minus – Satellites

Taken from the EP “Nightsounds”, the Berlin-based producer Mert Aslantürk aka Alpha Minus is giving your ears what they need – wide spaced analogue sound combined with front-and-center electro awareness.

Tonight I totally got tricked by the intro of a song. Well played, Alpha Minus! Lured by an reverbed, wide open melodic intro with only slightly modified synths and a soft guitar, the main theme of the song emerges to be backed by a dominant and half band-fat synth which goes perfect with that guitar lick. As soon as the rhythm section sets in, you’re into groove mode. The claps and percussion alongside the drums are mixed a bit too crips in the high eq band, but that’s just me. I prefer those to be more background elements. The overall mix of the song is great, even with the full amount of tracks nothing seems too mashed up or anything.
This song creates a certain atmosphere I really like. Ever stepped out a club the last guest? Ever walked an sports arena by yourself? Those moments where the space around you all of a sudden seems to grow and grow? This feeling is what you can expect out of “Satellites”. Headphones are mandatory, folks. And not those cheap in-ear things, we’re talking about closed full-range headphones. It doesn’t get any better, believe me.

Aslantürk likes to create electro-analogue hybrids with his tracks. While listening to the other tracks on his EP, I noticed there’s always a certain human factor to it. Be it a vocal track mixed in, some trumpet chops, guitars, or industrialized vocal one shots – it seems like keeping that human-electro connection is a vital factor for him to create his songs. The range of what I like to call “track feelings” goes from smooth (“Circles”) to unresting (“Nightborn”). For all of you you avid electro/downtempo music listeners out there I recommend to listen to Alpha Minus’ whole well-produced EP. You just can hear that there’s a lot of work and love for the genre coming with it. Trust me.

Nadia – Spoiled Latina

“Life is short, you should spoil yourself.” Today we get spoiled with one of the newer tracks of talented and beautiful singer/songwriter Nadia.

First thing that came up when I heard this song was “man, I bet she can be sooo nice and sooo mean at the same time!” What’s the most impressive factor with “Spoiled Latina” in my opinion is the way in which Nadia shows herself to the world out there. This song reflects several parts of her personality, be it that sassy part, that emotive part or that “hey, don’t you dare messing with me” part, all is packed into one track here. And all is done with only certain expressions of her voice.
The new track of Houston native Nadia Ramirez-Meyers has a huge load of drive. The balanced mixture of latin samples alongside those almost dubstep-like elements and the vocal tracks is working out great, it takes skills (and some courage) to mix and master such a project. But the studio work has been done rock solid, there aren’t any flaws in the mix. Maybe it could’ve been a bit “fatter” on the low eq band, but then again, that’s what ALL producers do nowadays, so nevermind. I like it when tracks have that recognizable factor. (you know, that “hey, sounds like xxxxx did that track!” feel.)

I’m guessing that Nadia isn’t spoiled at all. She works hard for where she’s heading to, and her singing/rap skills and looks are a perfect business card for this young artist to make a name for herself out there. Which she already did. Teaming up with Steve O Valdez was a great move, with his help Nadia got her EP “Ride or Die” produced this year. You’ll find practically all of what is the essence of Nadia on this EP. I’d love to see her performing live somewhere. I guess she can get everybody moving with a sound like this.

Carbonates on Mars – The Song of Sol

After a rough day, I just wanted to listen to something taking me away for a couple of minutes. Out of my home, maybe even out of this world. “The Song of Sol” was the perfect sound to achieve that. So get ready, put on your headphones, close your eyes, and off we go…

I didn’t listen to chillout and ambient in a while. During hectic times you often tend to blast your ears with what is keeping you up and running, right? But after hearing the first seconds of the new track of Gareth Farmer aka “Carbonates On Mars”, I turned up the volume and just listened. Farmer created a deep soundscape here with the use of just several synth lines, and just seems to let it flow from there on. There are these beeps and glitches happening, and these are making your imagination go wild. What’s this? Some computer generated beeps? Extraterrestrial lifeform? An outer space instrument? You name it. Due to the non-linear progression of the single tracks you’ll never get used to a rhythm and/or melody. This is creating what I like to call the “lean back effect” in the process. From a certain point on, it’s not about what the music or the producer wants to achieve anymore, it’s where your mind wants to run with it. Those reverbed layers of soft synth in addition with tiny little beeps and stabs create a cavern for your imagination, and the song takes its time to introduce you to it.
The final mix has its flaws, several times I think the track is clipping over those high eq band beeps, but that doesn’t kill the track itself. In a strange way, this even adds a bit granular deep space touch to it.

Farmer opens a door to something unexplored with his “Song of Sol”. I like the free flow going with the track, and if you are really taking your time to adapt (and no, this doesn’t mean simply switching from mainstream material to ambient tracks), I’m sure you’ll be taken away on this producer’s audio waves as well. Destination: wherever you want to go. All you need is a set of headphones and your imagination. Have a save journey, folks.

Coastlwolf – Obsession

Today I learned something about obsession, about drops and breaks and how important fresh ideas within music are. And about how much I like great male vocals.

Okay, I admit it: I love those smooth vocals of Coastlwolf. A girl just listens up when someone with this voice starts to sing. But the vocals weren’t the first thing that raised my interest in one of the newest tracks of Long Island based artist Justin Morrell, better known as Coastlwolf. There’s a very intelligent use of breaks, stops, and stoppage effects happening in the song. It seems that the artist doesn’t like linear patterns or progressions that much. So he just folds his ideas around hotspots of his sound. Okay, that is quite hard to describe, but listening to the sound you’ll know what I mean.
This is another one of these tracks that won’t fit into a certain category or genre unless you create a new one. So I’ll go with “wolfpop” with this one. You can find electro and pop elements in it, but there’s that pressurized element in it as well, making the sound of Coastlwolf unique and memorable. Plus, these sudden breaks sometimes make you feel like “hey, what just happened?”, and this is something you won’t hear very often nowadays. A brave and risky step to take with producing music, in the case of Coastlwolf it works out just perfect.
It’s hard to say something about the mixing work because there are several things that either went wrong with the final mix or they were supposed to sound that way. Since the producer used that much unusual elements within his production, I will go with option two, assuming that everything sounds like it is supposed to sound. Sometimes it’s not that easy to adapt to what your ears are not used to receive, it takes time. In the words of Morrell, the sound is designed to make you set your play mode to repeat. That’s exactly what you should do.