VNV

Long music post is long

I know this is going to take a while to do, if only because I want to re-listen to all these sets in order to comment on them. So I'll say I started this on Jan 3 and let's see when it posts.

https://soundcloud.com/tahrei/ruminate-your-fate-mix
Following up on last time's non-US music post here's two hours of very chill global music. I'm not normally this big a fan of chill, but this is good nighttime music. It's a style I call "liquid" which probably makes no sense if you're not listening to this and not me but it's the word I have to describe how Tah Rei makes the music flow.

https://soundcloud.com/markusschulz/yearinreview2017
Markus Schulz brings his "global DJ broadcast" mix for 2017 year-end. It's 40 tracks that are pulled from the previous year. It begins with Kate Bush and ends with Linkin Park and includes a couple of Schulz's own works but mostly pulls from a variety of names. Stylistically, it's a lot of tech-house, vocal trance, and chair-dancing fun.

https://soundcloud.com/cmc-silenta/cmcsilenta-shambhala-fractal-forest-mix-2017
CMC and Silenta have their 2017 Shambhala mix up. It's a lovely hour-and-a-half of electro dance. A bit heavy on the fuzz and wub but I don't mind it so much in context with other things in the mix. In particular, this mix has some nice reggae and funk entries and that's always a way to get on my good side. I have a couple more Shambhala mixes I want to post but not all at once.

https://soundcloud.com/user-457571129/ummet-ozcan-presents-innerstate-ep-156
Ummet Ozcan continues to produce interesting sets under his "Innerstate" logo. I could pick one as easily as another, though I've been avoiding blogging a lot of them because they're overrun with wub and at some point I turn it off. I figure if I'm not even able to get through one listen I shouldn't inflict it on you. This one has a much higher dose of disco than usual but push through that and you're rewarded with a couple real gems. The first is Sonny Zamolo's "Arslan" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqpJbTOBjKw) and then Showbiz, Divolly Markward Vs Balkan Beat Box doing "Smatron" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzxCJWG6cEE) which has some quintessentially BBB riffs in a hot fun wrapper.

(and now it's nearly a week later and I hit post)

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VNV

End of year music in non-US styles

In other years I've had more organized end-of-year music things. Lots of DJs and producers put out year-end compilations or mash-ups but I've not kept up and also fuck 2017 right in the eye-socket. So instead I'm going to give you a set of things that (for the most part) are not your traditional US-centric sounds.

https://soundcloud.com/ivoryoasis/giraff-raining
I feel like I've been hearing this song off and on for longer but Soundcloud tells me it was posted about 7 months ago. Giraff's "Raining" is a gentle EDM banger that's sometimes categorized as "summer house" - the kind of thing one would want to dance to on a warm moonlit beach. Sounds beautiful right now. (It's single digits temp outside right now where I am.)

https://soundcloud.com/angelikavee/angelika-vee-coco-jambo
While I'm on the summery tip, here's Angelica Vee's rework of "Coco Jambo" (or Jamboo - it's listed both ways), a mid-90s summery hit. The original was more Afro-Caribbean and featured Mr President's rapping over the base melody. Vee's remix is sped up a bit and has the male vocals stripped out. Not a bad remix, as these things go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7UnH-3Hgp4
Sagi Abitbul (https://www.facebook.com/pg/sagiabitbulofficial) is located in Israel and much of his work features Mediterranean, Arab, and Middle Eastern styles and vocals. This track starts off pretty traditional until about 1:15 when it drops in a fast house beat. I really like the style and tempo changes. Just when you think you know what this track (Stanga) is going to do it doubles back on you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ciLHgyzGbs
Mascota (DJ Mascota - https://www.djmascota.com) is a Bulgarian with a lot of local credentials but not much American exposure that I could find. Here he's doing some nice deep house sounds fronted by Poli Hubavenska (https://www.polihubavenska.com) another Bulgarian. Hard to be sure from the pictures but she might also be the woman in the video. Interestingly, web searching her shows some links with Matan Caspi, who often appears in Groovelectric mixes. Possibly that's where I originally got this track.

https://soundcloud.com/el-buho/toumani-sidiki-hamadoun-toure-el-buho-edit
Toumani Diabaté is a Malian traditional-music player known for the kora, a unique instrument that is kind of a cross between a lute and a harp. The original track was done with his son Sidiki and it's in a complex counter-beating style that I can't compare to anything else. This version is a rework by El_Búho, a Latin American remixer (https://www.facebook.com/ElBuhito) who also has an unusual style of electronica. I imagine if I was better versed in these genres and styles I'd have something intelligent to say but as is all I can tell you is "this is cool; you should listen to it."

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VNV

Bam-a-lam (music)

Both the business of work and the dreadfulness of the US government's behavior have cut sharply into my music listening. What I have is a hodgepodge of good and OK things to report back on. But today I turned on my Soundcloud stream to find a nice Father Funk set (patience; it'll appear) and that reminded me it's been nearly a month since I did a music post, so here goes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjqs-qmkNug
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_JxMb8RLEY
I'm still enjoying electro-swing. I have a Pandora station that I'm crafting to give me stuff I like, though their source selection just seems too limited. This one was actually posted by a coworker whose musical tastes don't overlap much with mine but I tried it anyway, and the first thing to fill my headphones was Caravan Palace's electro-swing take on "Black Betty". Find it at the second URL above. I've long ago lost track of how many variants of this Ram Jam classic I've posted. It's been remixed and reworked thousands of times and it's a perpetual favorite.

The mix has a lot more of a Roaring 20's feel than I'm used to and that's a nice variation. I tend to think of swing as originating in the 30s in Harlem but in the broader sense it goes back to uptempo jazz and the Charleston of the 1920s. I'm just biased because my parents used to play Cab Calloway and contemporaries.

---- the tracks below come with earworm warnings; I find each of them capable of getting stuck in my head. you've been warned -----

https://soundcloud.com/dopezoundmashups/you-dont-push-the-feeling-discosid-mashup-1
Discosid does his version of Jax Jones' very popular "You Don't Know Me." Another track that's been mashed and mixed a lot, and that I find gets stuck in my head in most every form. This is a fun little electro-bounce variant.

https://soundcloud.com/djbillythekit/billy-the-kit-macarena-free-download
Yes, it's a "Macarena" variant. Sue me (or "die mad" as my favorite cow orker says). The original was stupid levels of overplayed, but having excised it from my rotation for a few years I find it tolerable. There's a reason the original was popular - it's catchy. Billy The Kit's version is kind of a big-boom take on the original.

https://soundcloud.com/rac/the-naked-famous-higher-rac-mix
RAC does what he does best - take a popular track and give it a high-production EDM spin. In this case, it's The Naked & Famous "Higher" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCsyXSr7u-Q - in case you've somehow forgotten what the original sounds like). It's a modern power-female-voiced ballad that RAC smooths out and lengthens. I think it's an example of his style at its best - the remix retains the good parts of the vocals and if you can get past some of the lyrical bits (sorry, but 'genuine' and 'skeleton' don't rhyme the way I pronounce them) it's a good song. But definitely an earworm for me.

https://soundcloud.com/free-download-friday/the-muppet-show-dj-zsuzsu-wolfgang-lohr-remix-free-download
And what would any earworm section be without a Muppets Show theme song? Poorer by a lot, that's what - hush, you in the back. DJ ZsuZsu give us a very swing-influenced show tune that, say it with me, is going to get stuck in your head.

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VNV

We saw VNV and it was JUST what I needed

This is my church
This is where I heal my hurts

"God is a DJ" - Faithless

If you've seen VNV before, then I'll just summarize by saying that Ronan was absolutely on and the sold-out Sinclair audience was totally into it. The tour was specifically built out of two of their albums (Automatic and Empires) so I didn't get to hear some of my favorites but the show was energetic and emotional and engaging and funny and very much like being at a party with 400 of your closest friends.

I can't find the earliest records in my blogging archive, but I'm pretty sure I've been going to VNV shows since 2005 and this was probably the second-best I've seen. The venue is good (if a bit small) and for the first time in living memory I was able to go without earplugs for almost all of it. VNV are not quiet and the music was loud, but not deafening.

The crowd was definitely a large part dressed-up goth/industrial but not a total sea of black. I happened to be wearing a gray tee shirt and I recalled that at our very first VNV show Pygment was able to find me because I stood out against the sea of black. This time I was visible but not uniquely so. It was nice to see a good share of younger fans there as well as several older familiar faces.

If you haven't see a VNV show I will contextualize by saying that Ronan does a running patter with the audience before and between songs. He doesn't want people just standing there staring at him - if you go to a VNV show you should expect to sing, dance, shout, move your body. Something to send the audience energy back to the stage.

The crowd at this night was very much in tune with that, and Ronan appreciated it. He remarked several times that he loves doing shows like this and he wasn't afraid to talk on stage about how the intensity of feeling from our side affects him emotionally. Of course, having him respond to us that way only encouraged us to participate more fully, leading to a great feedback cycle. There are a lot of electro-industrial acts out there and lots of them are quite good. But I don't know any other act that co-creates a show with its audience this way.

It's far from heavy and serious, though. Ronan is from Dublin and loves to joke about that and his Irish traits, including making a joke of everything. We were in stitches even before the first song started. The show has lots of little interludes of this banter. Here are a few that stuck with me from this show:

During the opening discussion, where he tells the audience about the participation he expects, and explains that people taking photos or videos need to keep their phones in front of their own faces, not high up blocking other peoples' vision, he asked for lights. The board op killed the stage lights and flipped on some plain white wash. Ronan said something like, "Oh, very good. Got it right and promptly for once."
*DARK* as the board op cuts the lights.
Ronan: Oh, so it's going to be like that, is it?

At one point he was teasing the younger members of the audience, saying there "...used to be these things called singles. And EPs." Then he went on to name-check Manray, not in the sense of "oh yeah it's a thing that people here will recognize" but talking about his own time there and how he misses it. Way to endear yourself to the Camberville goth crowd!

In talking up how people in the crowd liked VNV he noticed that the on-floor bartender was wearing a VNV fan tee shirt and Ronan mentioned how nice it was to have the staff liking the act as well. At which point the bartender held up a bottle:
Ronan: I'm from Dublin and I don't drink Irish whiskey.
*bartender puts away bottle*
Ronan: Now if you had some scotch...
*bartender pulls out another bottle and holds it up*
Ronan: Ah, that's the good stuff

He then goes back to his usual banter. Meanwhile the bartender pulls out a cup, pours several fingers of scotch into it, and passes it to a fan who passes it to another. Eventually it ends up in the hand of a female audience member (dressed like a goth ballerina) who clambers up on the speaker on the side of the stage and holds out the cup with a very Vanna White flourish. Ronan comes over and takes the drink, thanking "...the peat fairy."

I don't know if any of these things will translate to you, dear reader, if you were not present. Just take as given that the show was way more fun and funnier than you would ever expect an industrial show to be.

And Ronan says they'll be back next year with a new album. Can't wait

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VNV

Here's a soundtrack for this week

Four full sets in here that you can pick and choose from. Like any other sets they're going to have better and worse parts and since they're mostly live, none of them is perfectly polished. I've tried to pick sets that have different styles to suit different moods and needs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ctN6DO9Wf4
Dmitriy Redko (AstroPilot) put out a nearly two-hour live psychill set last year. I confess I don't find a huge difference between psy-chill and psy-trance, if you know that style. This is not exactly downtempo, but it's airy, breathy, relaxing. Someone I played this for called it "floaty" music and I know what they mean. Good for destressing, or keeping your head down amid ongoing chatter.

https://soundcloud.com/thedolab/woogiewknd-pumpkin
Pumpkin uses a lot of what's good in Motown, rock, country (yes), and hip-hop from the last couple decades. Some of it is just sampled, some is updated and covered in the course of these two hours. It's fun to listen along and see what you can pick out. Some of it is really obvious (Paul Simon and Talking Heads, anyone?) and some of it is recognizable to people who listen to a lot of EDM (e.g. Zhu's "Faded"). Generally a lot of fun and keeping-you-going tempo without being overwhelming or hard-driving.

https://soundcloud.com/young-nrg-productions/nrg-live-show-uk-2years-w-dj-stex-feat-guest-mix-by-ale-tosses
NRG's live show also clocks in a bit over two hours, filled with tracks from other people and their own remixes. It's much more reggae, rap, bounce, and hip-hop than the previous two, featuring names like Defunk and Tribe Called Quest. The style is more scratch, electro, and breakbeats than my usual but I found it a nice contrast to what we've had so far.

https://soundcloud.com/markusschulz/transmissionasia2017
After featuring a good bit of Markus Schultz's work last time I went looking for a sense of what he's like live and found this, a 90-minute set he did earlier this year. This is a pretty straight-up club trance set, with mostly Schultz's own work on original tracks as well as remixes/mashes. High energy, high BPM even when he's using Sarah McLachlan.

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VNV

Idly smashing tunes

Cancelled meetings today means let's put some effort into a music post. I've been listening to more "chill" music than I usually do. Often after reading some rage-inducing what-the-actual-fuck thing from my news feed. I also have a lot of long sets to post but I'll split those off into their own thing (or two).

https://soundcloud.com/markusschulz/running-up-that-hill-chillout
https://soundcloud.com/markusschulz/winter-kills-me-chillout-mix
https://soundcloud.com/markusschulz/running-up-that-hill-extended
The first of these is a Markus Schultz "chill mix," though its somewhat more intense than a typical chill track. Fronted by Victoria Horn (as Lady V), it has many of the same tonal qualities as the remixes below, but is more complex and intricate. I like both the vocal presence and the complexity of the mix - it's interesting without getting frenetic.

The second is an unusual track in that you don't find a lot of Kate Bush remixes around. "Running Up That Hill" is one of her most popular and accessible songs so if was going to remix any of her tunes this one would make sense. As remixes go it's not bad. Bush's tunes rise (or fall) on her vocal performance and here you get a lot of that. The backgrounds are almost minimalist in places - a single piano note.

If you're interested in the non-chill version, you can also listen to an extended mix at the third link. I've noted before that I tend to like extended mixes and this one carries its extra weight pretty well, even if it does rely on a bog-standard club-dance build halfway through. Where the first version was spare, this one has a lot of extra layers thrown in. The mix keeps them under the vocals for the most part so that's good, but I'm not convinced they add all that much.

https://soundcloud.com/iamsidmoore/mandelbug
Chill electronica often blends into some of the dark film-track pieces I like and this is a great example of that. Mandelbug (https://fanlink.to/mandelbug) puts together a mash here that wouldn't be out of place in many movie soundtracks. It's the sort of thing you hear as the camera follows the protagonist through a dark and crowded scene in some location Americans would consider 'exotic'.

https://soundcloud.com/dirtwire/lost-highway-1
If you start playing this and think... wait, that sounds a bit like Beats Antique, you're right. This is Dirtwire (https://www.dirtwire.net) the side project of David Satori of Beats Antique. It's got that amazing fiddle sound and interesting rhythms galore. The track notes credit Ethiopian electro, a thing I didn't even know exist and now must find more of. Of all the Beats' side projects I like this one best so far and I'm sad they didn't get to this side of the country on their 2017 tour. Maybe next year.

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VNV

I swear I'm going to write about music if it takes forever

I have a whole stack of things I've wanted to write but that got backed up behind the Charlottesville and fucking Nazi aftermath. So let's see if I can put this one together quickly; apologies if it's not as well-researched as I usually try for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-sZyfFX4F0
This came to me via my subcription to Aron Chupa's YouTube channel, which I set up after finding the delightful electro-swing piece from Chupa and Little Sis Nora. Here she is again, and the video is totally worth watching. I have a hard time classifying this music - it's definitely got a few swing beats in it, but it's also electro, and found-sound, and dance, and hey if you haven't ever heard someone rhyme Calvados then you should watch for that alone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bznxx12Ptl0
And if you think that's fun and don't mind your lyrics a little uncensored, here's Chupa again from an older (2014) track using the same linguistic twist. Here Little Sis Nora isn't directly credited but down in the video info you find a vocals credit for "Nora Ekberg", which I dig into a little further and find out is actually Chupa's sister. This track has some of the swing hints to it but is more typical electro-bounce. Still a lot of fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeMCpfwpOhY
It feels like forever since I've written about funk, though I've been listening to a fair bit of it, as usual. Here, in a track from last summer, Big Gigantic (https://www.biggigantic.net/) do their "Bring the Funk Back" (like it ever left?). This track is a lot of funk and a lot of electro slammed together; I could do with less of the latter but I still found it worth blogging. It's interesting and ironic that this track comes off of Brighter Future an album dedicated to envisioning and making music for a brighter future something we need this year even more than last.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oexhZ7FKLdU
Todrick Hall is someone I hadn't heard of - I followed a curiousity link for Ru Paul and landed here, on "Low" by Hall, but featuring Ru Paul. Web searching tells me that he has been on Ru Paul's show "Drag Race" (see what I miss by not having a television?). I love the visuals in this video - lots of deep saturated lighting, fun dancing, and intense costumes. The rapping is good, but I find listening less fun than listening while watching. Those pyrotechnics and acrobatics would be particularly intense in person, I bet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2b2HFHPwGo
A variation on this 2014 track appeared on my stream and sent me looking for the original. The track is "Tortuga (Club Mix)" by DoubleV & Formal One, an instrumental club dance number with obvious overtones to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, particularly in the whistled bits mid-track. I'm not in love with it (like I am with Chupa/Nora) but I liked it enough for a blog entry.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at http://drwex.dreamwidth.org/964051.html. Please comment there; this journal is winding down.
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VNV

OK it's Tuesday but it's still music

This will likely be the only music post this week. Next week I'll begin chipping away at the backlog. But this week I found something enjoyable enough I jump it to the head of the queue.

https://soundcloud.com/user-457571129/ummet-ozcan-presents-innerstate-ep-142
Start with another of Ummet Ozcan's "Innerstate" sets. I have a few of these sets marked that I might say a word or two about but in general these haven't excited me too much. Like a lot of the things I've been listening to they're often overrun with pointless glitch and wub and I click off about halfway through. This one I stuck with and that's a good thing.

I recommend listening - midway through there are two of Ozcan's own tracks - the "You Don't Know Switch" and "Something Just Like This" - that I think are quite good but I couldn't find separate linkable uploads for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccfEUIhxKvs
The real payoff is at the end, though because you get back-to-back goodies. The first is this edit by Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike based off of "Renegade Master" a track popularized by Fatboy Slim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyWqeJ1vLWo) though it was originally created (but never released possibly due to copyright issues over samples) by a DJ known as Wildchild. This new edit is actually based on a recent mash done by two other producers. It's a fun bouncer of a track and a study in how music travels and mutates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJhn-sicZgU
Then finally stuck on the end like an afterthought - or maybe saving the best for last? - is this gem. "Mariko" by Sagi Abitbul (https://www.facebook.com/sagiabitbulofficial and also https://soundcloud.com/sagiabitbul). Near as I can tell, Abitbul is an Israel-based DJ with origins in eastern Europe (Serbia?). The track is a hot crash of modern EDM sounds with traditional east-European vocals and instruments - can anyone identify the stringed instrument shown briefly at 1:19?

I love this kind of thing - mining a variety of traditional styles for modern inspirations. Damned if I can figure out the language, either; Google thinks it's Bulgarian. Anyway, that led me to find this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NejMwMeZyag
Sagi Abitbul again in collaboration with Guy Haliva (https://www.facebook.com/Guy-Haliva-670327543003366/ and also https://soundcloud.com/guyhaliva) another Israeli. This one I recognize the sounds as being more Israeli/Middle Eastern but the lyrics are likewise a mystery. I've seen claims of Bulgarian, Serbian, and Turkish but damned if I can tell those apart. Still a fantastic sound and I'll be following both these guys to see what else they do.

Cross-posted from Dreamwidth, at http://drwex.dreamwidth.org/961494.html. Please comment there; this journal is winding down.
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VNV

Still talking about talking about (watching?) music

Yes, I will be posting music entries Real Soon Now, I promise. Probably next week. But first I want to unload some of the stuff in the mental backlog.

I really appreciated all the commentary on the last post. If y'all want to chime in about this one I'd likewise appreciate it. The topic is "Music video WTF" - as in, should I link to videos if I like the song but not the video?

Here, let me give you an example that sits right on the borderline, two videos for "One On One" by Tujamo, with vocals by Sorana. Tujamo is a German producer and EDM spinner; Sorana is an eastern European singer (near as I can guess, Romanian) and this is her first big team-up with a "name" producer. So, OK, great. It's a fun tune and I like her voice, though as with a lot of these things I think it's over-tuned.

First up, the official video for the song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y19FzsqM1as

Minor warning: it's a PoV video done in the style of a lot of porn these days where you, the viewer, are invited to have the gaze of the (male) camera in intimate interactions with a small, very conventionally attractive woman through a series of scenes, including bedroom. There's nothing actually X-rated about this, but I was uncomfortable watching it. In case that gaze isn't intimate enough for you, there's even an official 3D-VR version - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx6OeuZ-mLE

Plus side: she's smiling and active throughout. She appears to be not only enjoying the interactions but initiating things. But if voyeurism isn't your kink (it's not mine, at least not for strangers) then you may (like me) find yourself unable to watch this video and see if there are other alternatives. Here's one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gVZnnxvf38

At least that's just a static conventionally-attractive-skinny-chick-half-dressed-in-provocative-pose. You see that kind of thing selling pretty much any product under the sun everywhere in the industrialized world. But, seriously, what does this have to do with the music?

I usually try to link to SoundCloud for my music choices but lots of things aren't up there and are on YouTube or other visual media.

So, dear readers, what do you make of this? Would you rather I didn't blog video music that sets me off, or blog it with information so you can judge for yourselves?

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