Top Tune: Refracture vs. Yenn: Sunset (Free Download)

When was the last time you got something for free at a music festival? My guess is you were lucky to come out of there with just one black eye!

Well, now you can get the the official theme song of the 2010  e-Lake Festival for the price of an Internet connection.

And you didn’t even have to go.

It’s rich, it’s creamy, it tastes sublime, and I simply can’t believe it’s not butter!

Refracture vs. Yenn: Sunset (Free Download)


Electro Of The Week: 7/23/2010 Quick Picks

All dirty all the time, with a twist on that old Sam Fox classic. 3 sizzlers guaranteed to turn up the heat up in here, up in here. Or something along those lines anyway!

Alex Mind: Binary 1.0 (Driving, retro, futuristic, electro-bass)

Far Too Loud: Banana Boy (Chunky, goofy, hyperactive, peak-time)

Robaer & Beatnut5 feat. Tainy Sky: Touch Me-Gianni Kosta Remix (Progressive, commercial, vocal, catchy)

Preview and support at Trackitdown. And please promote legal MP3 downloads.

Straight From The Rut? Beating the Production Blues with Brown!

What happens when your monster track, your soon to be #1, your epic Mau5killer, becomes a victim of the rut, aka the sticky blues, aka what the f@ck happened?

You know how it goes, this track is huge, it’s epic, seriously large, monstrous even madam. Then, weeks later, you’re either still struggling to finish it, hate it outright, or have condemned it to the dreaded Miscellaneous folder. What happened?

  • Your tune turned into the Never Ending Story. No track should take more than a week to finish. Any longer, and you risk losing perspective. It starts to get harder and harder to maintain objectivity after your nine hundredth listen.
  • You decided to go with the flow. The ‘let’s see where this goes’ approach can sometimes be a refreshing, liberating experience. Usually though, you just hit a dead end after about an hour, and wonder why you started the track in the first place. Ask yourself what you are attempting to achieve with the track. Are you trying to make the next Exceeder (please don’t)? Is it going to be a peak time club anthem, a moody introspective piece, or a filthy underground beast? Knowing the answers makes for a more productive production.
  • Your track had a beginning and a middle, but no real end. Always have a time limit in mind. Knowing that your track is going to be 5:30, for instance, with a minute each of intro and outro, means that the ‘meat’ of the track will be around 3 minutes. Establishing that before you hit the studio gives you direction, focus and confidence;  3 minutes looks achievable as opposed to that 9 minute ‘epic’ you will inevitably end up with.

So what should you do to beat the sticky blues?

  • Stop! Step away from the computer, and do anything for an hour. Anything at all. Go for a run, call your mum (using that antiquated device known as a telephone), play an old school shoot em up (R-Type), read a book, go for a drive (put that book down before you do), eat a burger (but don’t go to the pub-for obvious reasons), have a cuppa, anything at all. In my experience, the further away you are from the studio, the more you want to return to it.
  • What don’t you like about this tune? What’s the hold up here? Be specific and honest with yourself. Is the beat too flabby? Is the bassline not quite right? Is the tune crying out for a hook? Is it in desperate need of da funk? Do you have too much going on? In my experience, it’s usually not the entire track that’s at fault, just a couple of lazy players letting the side down. Find ’em, and eliminate. Be ruthless.
  • You know that epic outro melody you had in mind at around the 5 minute mark. Dump it! Sure, it’s a killer riff, and the crowd’s gonna go nuts, but it’s a bit too late to be bringing in a new element around the time the DJ will be mixing out of your track. Besides, having spent all that time on 5 minutes of tunage, do you really want to have to come up with yet another part? Leave it for a future anthem, and move on.
  • Need inspiration? Listen to some of your favorite dance tracks. Don’t compare and/or moan about how yours doesn’t sound as good. Just listen with non-technical ears. It can be a real joy. Watch some superstar DJs in action. Read some interviews from your favorite producers. Make fun of their accents/haircuts/wardrobes.
  • Stuck in the breakdown? Don’t over think it, and don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Listen to similar tracks in your genre, and make a note of the elements. Snare roll? Modulated noise wave? Vocal cut ups? Filtered madness? All of the above? What would work best for your track?
  • Have a play with your favorite synth, hard or soft, twiddle those knobs and caress those keys. You in the back, stop grinning.
  • Remember, the best dance tunes rarely have more than 4 elements and one main hook. Identify your ‘money shot’ and then run with it!
  • Also remember that even the biggest names in production occasionally experience the ‘stickies’ (that’s the industry term), and they have an army of assistants/butt-scratchers to bail them out should they bawl. If you’re an ‘underground’ guy, then you’re probably all you have, so go easy on yourself, eat some pizza, and watch some Seinfeld re-runs. Then go back and put that puppy to bed.

Electro Of The Week 6/26/2010: Quick Picks

Another hot Electro threesome for your aural pleasure. Hand selected by yours truly.

Haezer: WTFIH-Belzebass Remix (Dirty, aggressive, hyperactive, glitchy)

WTFIH (Belzebass Remix)

Chrizz Luvly: Feel Your Love (Euphoric, retro, uplifting, commercial)

Jamie Matrix: Gold Rush (Catchy, melodic, progressive, evocative)

Preview and support at Trackitdown. And please promote legal MP3 downloads.

Production Diary: From Blastoid To Welcome 2 The World

Collaborations are a magical thing. A transatlantic sowing of seeds to create the perfect musical baby.

That’s what happened here. More or less.

Luxembourg’s Yenn has been on quite a roll of late, with the brilliant Forward, Symphony (with Refracture), and the Mau5-ey Monzen. Mr. Y sent me a couple of ideas he had sitting around, and my favorite was the melodic and haunting mini song ‘Hemorrhoid,’ I mean ‘Blastoid’.

Right away, I could hear the progressive electro anthem it would become. The vocal was especially interesting. You see, Yenn had just become a baby daddy for the first time and another friend, Scott Willis, was expecting his second. Well not directly, but you get the idea.

Maybe it was all the baby talk, because the first time I heard Blastoid, I also heard the vocal line in my head. It was quite the hook, and rare for a dance track in that it was about a father welcoming his kid, as opposed to the usual ‘Do You Like Bass’, ‘Set Me Free’, ‘Dance To It’, ‘Love Your Booty Movin’ etc.

With that, I got to work. From Blastoid, I already had the key of the song, the stabby pads, the arpeggio, and the square lead. I needed a bassline that was muy musculoso. Heck, I needed two basslines. One to drive the groove, and one to add a little wap at the back end. Sort of a smack to the bum, if you will.

If you’ve heard any of my music, you’ll know my basslines are usually also the hooks of my tracks (I call it Electro Bass, as discussed here), so this one had to be special. The whole song, as it turns out, ended up being a bit special, as it’s about something.

The bass went through several revisions until finally, at 4 am on a Saturday morning, it happened and two became one.

Now I needed a vocal. The lyrics took me about as long as the basslines, and while they ain’t Wordsworth, they are effective. I always knew I was going to sing it myself. Why? First laziness, and second, why not? I’m no American Idol, but I’ve got better teeth than Justin Bieber.

Breakdowns can be tricky. Almost everything has been done already, so they require some serious thought. Ultimately, I decided not to go for a ‘mental’ Apes From Space type mindf@ck (it is about a baby remember), and pulled back on the gas. It actually served the track well. Finally, a mix and a rough radio edit and here we are.

I love it. Just the right amount of melodic ecstasy and dirt, with all the ingredients to be a summer smash!

Labels, are you listening to this?

Electro Of The Week 6/12/2010: Quick Picks

Not one, not two, but three top picks for you to get your own freak on to this weekend. Or something vaguely along those lines anyway. Whole grain goodness for the whole family!

Lazy Rich: Discofukkr (Dirty, cheeky, driving, peak time anthem)

Kismet: Surreal (Melodic, dark, evocative, funky)

Zedd: The Anthem-Yenn Remix (Emotional, epic, progressive, chunky)

Preview and support at Trackitdown. And please promote legal MP3 downloads.

Electro Of The Week: Play It Cool by Elliot Sivad (feat. Hayleigh)

Winner of Pete Tong’s (now defunct?) Bedroom Bedlam competition, Leeds local Elliot Sivad has played it cool with a small number of quality releases.

Play It Cool, with its sexy vocal and thick melodic bassline, is a juicy slice of Electro Disco that’s just perfect for the summer.

Watch out for this guy, ladies, he’s goin’ places.

Preview and support at Trackitdown. And please promote legal MP3 downloads.

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