It's been a while since I linked to anything from steampunk music idols Abney Park. The band has gone through a couple of minor line-up changes and their material has wandered through sea shanties and more circus styling both of which were OK but I didn't think they were really noteworthy. They've started releasing singles from their latest CD, titled "Nomad" and I think this is my favorite. It's got some of the good dark energy that got me into their music years ago and whoever did the production here really knows how to make Captain Robert's voice sound its best.
Francesca Belmonte's first solo single is gorgeous. Those who recognize the production style will go "wait, doesn't she sound like..." and the answer is "yes." Belmonte has been collaborating with Tricky and he's helping produce this, her first solo effort. It's an interesting mix of minimalist sound and harmonies with a kind of chop-cut style.
Benny Benassi is another artist I haven't talked about in a while and I sort of backed into this one by accident, when I was looking for more Eelke Kleijn music after noting his track in the Bootie end-of-year best. So, back in 2013 Benassi did a track with Grammy-winning American John Legend. It's an interesting mix of Legend's powered vocals (listen for the two-octave jumps) and Benassi's signature nu disco-influenced Italian beats. Then in 2014 Eelke Kleijn picked up the baton and produced the remix at the second link. It downplays Legend's vocals in favor of a more electronica style. I'm hard-pressed to say one is better than the other; both are interesting interpretations of the material.
Fissunix's mixes are notable for having clever, non-standard elements. At least the ones I choose to blog. Here he's taken Placebo's breathy and minor-key cover of the Kate Bush anthem "Runnin' Up That Hill" and woven in some of the best of London Grammar's "Hey Now" vocals. If this doesn't give you chills then you might be reading the wrong music blog entries. It's like part of the score for a post-apocalyptic love story.
I want to close out this entry with two excellent big mash-ups from two of the best: DJ Schmolli and Mashup Germany. The Schmolli entry is a nine (or 10 if you allow for the vocal segments)-way mix promoting love and revolution. There are some of Schmolli's trademark metal accents but the track mostly rides on the rock energy of P.O.D's "Youth of the Nation".
Mashup Germany continued his reign in 2014 of being the best and most underrated masher I know. This track is his top-of-the-pops for 2014, touching 70 different hits from the past year. It's a virtuoso effort, not simply a layering of a lot of sounds over a standard dance beat. The track weaves from orchestral to dance to electronic to pop.