Check This: Bonobo and Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker): No Reason

Very very nice way to get me through hump day! Bonobo launched just a few hours ago a new single from his upcoming album Migration. The new track, No Reason, features swoon-worthy vocals from one of my favorite Aussies Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker). This new song was not quite a surprise since they also dropped a 2-hour (!!!) mix together a few months ago – a good way to hint that there will be more things to expect from this collaboration.

No Reason is a 7-minute long dreamy and ethereal track, with its whole vibe altering between dark ambient and deep, minimalist electro. What I like about it is the fact that it was able to holistically marry Bonobo’s signature ambient/downtempo beats and percussions with Murphy’s cool, soulful musical style.

Migration will be out this Friday. I’ll definitely get my copy. In the meantime, you can listen to No Reason here:

 

16 of 2016, Pt. 2

To complete Part 1 of my 16 of 2016, here are the remaining 8 tracks I became addicted to the past 365 days.

Say it (feat. Tove Lo) – Flume

I’m pretty sure Flume faced so much pressure after releasing his self-titled debut album last 2012 that it took him 4 years to release a new one. His first album was a complete game-changer, even putting AU in the global electronic music scene. I’m sighing with relief as Skin did not disappoint, avoiding that cursed sophomore slump. Say It, for me, is a true standout as it was able to capitalize on Flume’s signature deep electro sound and Tove Lo‘s pop sensibilities. It made this genre very accessible and easily understandable, yet still aligned with Flume’s true musical identity.

Peace – Kenton Slash Demon

Danish techno and house duo Kenton Slash Demon released an out-of-the-ordinary song this year through Peace, wherein for the first time, they employed full-length vocals for the said track. Their musical style is more instrumental rather than vocal, particularly using quirky samples (the most popular would be the notification sound for the messaging app Line). Peace is the first time they used lyrics and full-fledged vocals, and I feel this experiment was done perfectly well. They became more relatable yet at the same time, were able to retain their dark electro and deep disco vibe which what attracted me in the first place to their music.

Boss – Disclosure

Releasing their 2nd album just a few months prior, Disclosure pleasantly surprised us with their unexpected launch of Moog For Love EP. Boss was my favorite in this 3-track album as it reminded me so much of the songs from their first album Settle. It was the perfect marriage of electro and pop, something that they kind of veered away in Caracal. Boss is packed with deep, funky bass, syncopated synths, and LSS-worthy vocal samples that would make you dance in the middle of H&M while shopping (I did exactly just that at H&M UP Town Center, nakakahiya).

Fade – Kanye West

The first time I listened to The Life of Pablo while driving along Buendia at 5:30 in the morning, I was woken up by this deep dancey bass line that reminded me of George of the Jungle’s theme. I knew off the bat this was going to be my favorite song from the album. Kanye West is a genius, and he knows it. He knows the human voice is the best instrument there is so he made sure this was used by merging Ty Dolla $ign‘s vocals with different gospel-sounding samples to make it as rich- and innovative-sounding as possible. Pairing it up with that controversial music video, you know ‘Ye’s got it and his musical magic won’t fade anytime soon.

You’re the One (feat. Syd) – Kaytranada

This song is just pure classic funk, that is, again, reminiscent of the 70s but made more modern with Kaytra‘s signature fresh synths and up-tempo percussion combo. What makes You’re The One my favorite from 99.9% was Syd‘s simple yet harmonic vocals that gave the song a sexy laid-back nature which kinda reminds of you of those early hip hop songs you’d play on your Walkman. It’s a feel good track all in all, enabling Kaytra to showcase his distinctive electrohop sound.

Night Moves – Roosevelt

Another gem of an artist from Greco-Roman and Future Classic, Roosevelt‘s musical style is so refined as he is able to combine classic disco, funk, modern electro , and even pop in his songs. Night Moves is a testament to that. It is unique yet accessible which makes it very easy to listen (and even dance) to.

Love$ick (feat. A$AP Rocky) – Mura Masa

Mura Masa‘s Lovesick Fuck, in itself was already beautiful to begin with. But this remake with A$AP Rocky was just out of this world, drop-dead, heart-stopping gorgeous. I still fall in love to this song every single time I listen to it. They effortlessly combined hip hop, R&B, tropical house, electro, and techno in one song. And even if it is a combination of all these genres, it still exuded that signature, minimalist vibe that Mura Masa became famous for. It is soooo refreshing yet reminiscent of early 2000s hiphop and 2010 electro at the same time. This is undoubtedly one of the best collaborations of the year and their tandem works effortlessly and perfectly.

Redbone – Childish Gambino

Donald Glover never fails to disappoint. Awaken, My Love! came as a surprise mainly because the whole vibe of the album was not something we expected from ‘Bino. His previous albums were all hardcore hip hop – and this was, well, funk, soul, R&B, gospel, basically, everything but hip hop. He wants show the whole world that he can do anything and everything. Redbone was definitely a testament to that. He showcased his vocal chords more than his rhymes. He proved that he can sing and belt out those falsetto Aretha Franklin-esque notes that can compete with Prince’s. He definitely killed it just in the nick of time, right before the year was about to end.

So there! I made this playlist public on Spotify so you can indulge and be hooked to the songs I obsessed over this 2016. Enjoy! ✌🏿

16 of 2016, Pt. 1

Since 2010, I’ve been creating these playlists called XX of 20xx to run down the top songs released that year I’ve been mercilessly playing on repeat. This is my 6th year doing this, and I feel this batch has been the most diverse as I’ve deliberately expanded my musical tastes to other genres other than electropop.

2016 has been one chaotic, confusing year as very strange things that happened in all parts of the world. Thankfully, music was able to save us from all this weirdness with probably the best lineup of releases one has never imagined. From David Bowie’s Blackstar, Frank Ocean’s BlondeFlume’s Skin, to Bon Iver’s 22, A Million, they gave musicheads like me a hard time populating their own “best of 2016” playlists.

So enough of the blabbers. Here’s part 1 of my 16 of 2016, the songs that were played on repeat for more than 100x, arranged in no particular order:

All Night (feat. Dornik) – SG Lewis

Despite being born in the late 90s, SG Lewis sure knows what makes a soulful 80s-sounding hit. He got the formula right – the thick bass, sensual synths, funky guitar riffs, and of course, the sexy voice of label-mate/Kele Okereke look-alike Dornik. These were surefire ways of keeping me glued and addicted to this song.

Money On Me (feat. Anderson.Paak) – Snakehips

My favorite DJ Duo Oliver Lee and James Carter followed up their hit “All My Friends” with this track in collaboration with the most underrated rapper of our generation, Anderson .Paak. Money on Me is the perfect blend of hip hop, electronica, and soul – the Snakehips Signature Sound that got me hooked to this tandem for the past 3 years. I was just a little disappointed they didn’t play this in their Manila show. #FirstWorldProblems

My Toy (feat. Yasmin) – Breakbot

This song from the French producer has that similar feel to his earlier hit (which btw, Bruno Mars ripped offBaby I’m Yours. It has the modern electro/disco sound (my weakness!), basically ticking off all the items that makes an infectious new wave retropop song. The cherry on top would be British DJ/Producer Yasmin‘s Carly Rae Jepsen-esque vibe which makes it very easy to listen to.

Friends (feat. Bon Iver and Kanye West) – Francis & The Lights

You can never go wrong with a Justin VernonKanye West  collaboration. But adding Francis & The Lights to the equation is just pure genius. Similar to my other picks, it has that tinge of new wave and disco, with a minimalist, head-bopping bass club beat rumbling in the background. Friends is fun, catchy, weird in some sort of way, yet still heartwarming – the result of a Justin-Kanye-Francis union, something unexpected and mind-blowing.

Meet in the Middle – Ta-ku & Wafia

My favorite Aussie-Pinoy producer Ta-ku teamed up with songstress Wafia for this beautiful and emotionally-charged EP, (m)edian. Here, Ta-ku proved that he’s more than just a beatmaker. Ta-ku’s trap and synth influences and unexpected soulful voice plus Wafia’s expressive wispy vocals was the perfect combination – they created spine-tingling harmonies and complementing cadences that would push you to come back for more of their music.

No Problem (feat. Lil Wayne and 2Chainz) – Chance the Rapper

Coloring Book is surely one of the best releases of the year, with Chance the Rapper continuously taking down all sorts of barriers and contradicting notions when it comes to breaking out in the music industry. No Problem is a true cla$$ic (and yes, I’m writing that with a $ sign because it is deserving) – it’s soulful thanks to the vocal choir effect all throughout the song; it’s groovy and bouncy, with the heavy bass lines and catchy hooks; it’s hip hop, thanks to 2Chainz and Lil Wayne (enough said); it’s inspiring as it talked about how determined he is to become successful in this cutthroat industry by being on his own and not be dictated by some greedy major record label.

Say a Prayer for Me – RUFUS

This song is a nice intersection of their 2 other releases (Like an Animal & Innerbloom) from the same album. It is soothing, blissful, and dance-y, thanks to the airy synths, soft percussions, and Tyrone’s bedroom voice. Listening to this song is like a religious experience you really want to say a prayer to the electropop gods. It is so euphoric it makes you want to dance out of sheer joy and just lift your hands up to the disco heavens.

Love Like That – Mayer Hawthorne

First thing I thought off when I heard this song was Hall & Oates, and man, I’m a huge H&O fans.If Daryl and John hears this, they’d definitely want to be associated with Mayer Hawthorne as he was able to flawlessly represent the former’s aesthetic. The song is again, disco (weakness ko talaga ‘to huhu) – it is a burst of synths and 70s-inspired bass lines, very tito/tita-mommy/daddy friendly especially when you play it in the car with them.

This is for now, for the first part. I’ll be posting the 2nd part before the year ends. Stay tuned for that. ✌🏿

 

Linadrena – According To You

I came across this track by Linadrena on Twitter when one of my followers recommended me to listen to it. I have to admit, this genre wasn’t my normal go-to music whenever I review songs. But I had to give it a try because clearly, I had to be open to other genres if I want to legitimately call myself a music writer/blogger.

When I first listened to it, it automatically struck me as too avante-garde for my taste. I’ve always been used to the cheery, dancey, electropop sound. It was the opposite of what I normally listen to – melancholic, dark. I had to listen to it quite a few time for me to better understand what it’s all about.

A deeper and more in-depth listening to the song made me realize that it’s very well thought of and beautifully made. I liked the way the song was structured  – the layering of all the piano arpeggios, guitar riffs, drum and basslines, the synths, and the eclectic and unique singing was so one-of-a-kind it’s actually hard to compare it to any other song I’ve encountered. This song is actually something I’d listen to during those times when I just want to be left alone with my thoughts on a rainy Sunday night.

If you’re a fan of Woodkid, I’m sure you’re going to like Linadrena’s music. Check out his latest single All Your Dreams as well as his other stuff here.

Outblack – How Hard It Is (feat. Lenparrot)

A friend recommended me to check this song out as it is a side project of one the artists I’ve been a fan of for so long. I won’t disclose who that artist is as I don’t want to ignite initial biases on his first release. To be honest, I cannot help but compare it from his original works. But I tried my best to be objective in terms of giving feedback so that it’d be useful when it comes to future releases.

Putting on my neutral hat now, I believe this is a promising track as it perfectly resembles the overall vibe of one of my favorite albums of all time – College’s Northern Council. It has that dark electowave sound that completely stands out from the clutter of party-wave sounds that every one has been always used to. Moreover, one will instantly notice that it is well thought of – the sequence of sounds has a cadence structure and feel to it, starting from the bells, to the synth claps, and then triad chords played just before the chorus. I just felt the build up that the artist was trying to achieve fell short. Personally, the climax was not that impactful as it was only merely limited to the chorus and towards the end of the song already. I was expecting something more than that – probably a bridge, a climb or something to that effect.

Again, I still feel there is so much potential on this song.  It just needs a little more tweaking, but ultimately, I’m already a fan. Cannot wait to hear more of his stuff.

Snakehips feat. Malika – Falling

And the guys have done it again. Just a few weeks after releasing my summer fave Money On Me featuring Anderson .Paak, Snakehips came up with yet another gem of a track featuring Malika, entitled “Falling”. This is included in the 4-track EP they launched last April 15th named after the Tinashe and Chance the Rapper song, All My Friends.

What I love most about this song is that they definitely went old school R&B/Hip Hop by making use of jazzy horn hooks in the background. Malika made it even more brilliant – sexily and soulfully belting out lyrics focusing on the joys of finding new love. Despite going back to basics, Snakehips still made sure they put in their signature electro-hop flavor by properly placing groovy bass lines all throughout the song.

You can order Snakehips’ EP here, catch them in their other shows (aside from Coachella) by following them on Songkick. Or just be updated with all new related to the duo by liking their Facebook page.

Snakehips feat Anderson.Paak – Money On Me

UK dynamic duo Oliver Lee and James Carter aka Snakehips are on a roll, following up the smash hit with Tinashe “All My Friends” with “Money On Me”. This track collaboration with Anderson.Paak is the perfect blend of soul, R&B, and electronica, which, as I have noticed has been their style in practically all their tracks. They impeccably place the right bass lines and drops, synth accents, and soulful voice parts just at the right time, frequency, and pace.

 

Along with the release of the track, they announced plans of releasing a four-track EP named after the Tinashe x Chance the Rapper hit on the 15th of April, via RCA. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that. For more updates on the duo, like their Facebook page. You can also follow them on Songkick to get the latest news on where they will be playing live next.