Wary

wary

In the depths of winter, people look toward the warmer times ahead. Tickets are going on sale for Coachella, Firefly, Gov Ball, Paradiso, (insert every other festival here) as we speak and as the Festival Bubble continues to inflate the lineups continue to get more ridiculously packed with great artists. It’s not the worst thing, you can see many of your favorite artists for a (usually) reasonable price and devote a whole day to nothing but enjoying music and friends. However, as I’ve begun to enjoy intimate, $10 concerts in underground venues or club-based events the sheen with which festivals used to shine in my eyes has faded to a dull luster. There’s another up-side to the phenomenon, though, at least for consumers of music: artists time up some of their best releases with the sale of the tickets to grab people’s attention and thus the depths of winter are full of songs that may well become summer jams. I’ve collected some of those for you below.

We start off with the energetic, happy electronica that I (and hopefully you) have come to love. Louis the Child has graciously presented us with another hit, Griz and Gramatik teamed up for a funky banger, and Pluto continues his journey to the stars with a hard-hitting remix of Yeezy and Future. We briefly flirt with some high-BPM bass of the “future” and “drum and” varieties before settling into some poppy, yet crisp house music and light trap. Trap music’s low BPM provides a smooth transition into some chill electronica and alt-rock – the focus here is on the calming bass and the emotional vocals that make this my favorite part of the playlist. The calm vibes eventually give way to house, and then rap, and then, inevitably, bass house, techno house, and full-on disgusting trap music. You know this part of the playlist, insanely aggressive but fantastic in the right context. The last part of the playlist is less eclectic than usual – you can think of it as a toned-down version of the start of the playlist. These songs aren’t any worse, they’re just a bit less energetic and more scattered across the vibe spectrum. To go out with a flourish, I have some funky house and alt-rock for you in the last couple of songs. Be sure to like and repost on Soundcloud if you’re feeling the set. Enjoy!

Vibe Guide:

  • 1-15: Energetic electronica
  • 16-19: Pop house
  • 20-24: Chill trap
  • 25-40: Chill electronica and alternative
  • 41-44: Electronica with rap
  • 45-47: Bass house
  • 48-51: Techno house
  • 52-58: Trap
  • 59-74: Electronica
  • 75-86: Funky house
  • 87-95: Ambient electronica and alt-rock

Top 10 Tracks of 2016

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Happy New Year! In this special New Years Day edition of the Sunday 5elect I have included my top ten tracks of 2016. These rankings are not based on anything but my subjective experiences with each song over the last year, and are not meant to be rankings of “the best written songs”, “the most talented artists”, “the songs that had the most impact on the EDM scene” or anything else that broad. These are songs that caught my attention when I first heard them and I came to love through experiences that ranged from headphone listening, to pregaming in a London flat, to live at a music festival with hundreds of other fans. The only two hard requirements for this list were that the song be released in 2016, and that it be freely available on Soundcloud. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I have.

1. Flume – Say It ft. Tove Lo

Flume’s album Skin contained multiple electronica-pop crossovers that earned unparalleled praise and admiration from the electronic community and mainstream listeners alike. This speaks to the track’s flawless, unique, and ultimately very Flume production style and songwriting ability. Grinding, rolling synths form both the percussion and melody of the track while Tove Lo’s sensual vocals fly above and interplay with the rest of the meticulously crafted soundscape. This was an easy pick for #1.

2. Porter Robinson & Madeon – Shelter

This monster, one-time surprise collaboration between legends is like candy to the ears. Unrelentingly energetic and positive, this progressive house masterpiece showcases elements of each artists’ unique style while seamlessly blending them together. The Shelter US tour was said to be one of the best live music experiences ever, and its music video is a miniature cinematic anime experience. I think that what propelled this song to greatness is its exuberant positivity and great vibes.

 

3. Ty Dolla $ign – Blasé (Louis The Child Remix)

For me this song means hilarious pregames with cheap liquor in a London basement flat, and I love it for that. Swag lyrics and rumbling bass get everyone singing along before the drop brings the beat to a screeching halt and you have no choice but to turn up. Louis The Child had a great year with a couple of high-quality original tracks like “Weekend” and “Fire”, but this remix is special to me.

4. Flume – Say It ft. Tove Lo (Illenium Remix)

Illenium is one of the all-around greatest electronic artists out there right now. His 2016 debut LP Ashes was a massive hit with emotionally intense vibes paired with beautiful musicality, his live show I witnessed at Red Rocks was a work of art, and he has put out several massive remixes in the last two years alone. None of those mixes stood out to me as much as his take on “Say It”. Doing ample justice to the vibes of the original, Illenium adds his signature rolling bass touch to the chorus with rapid, hard hitting synth chords intertwined with Tove Lo’s emphatic lyrics and iconic vocal riffs. This track is a perfect upbeat party alternative to the original.

5. RUFUS DU SOL – Innerbloom (What So Not Remix)

“Innerbloom” was a beautifully crafted gem of its own before What So Not came around and turned it into a thumping party track that defined my spring. RUFUS DU SOL’s haunting lyrics and horn-like synths echo in the forefront of the track while What So Not rapidly builds up the energy in the background with a crescendo of bass and percussion that explodes into an iconic chorus. This song dabbles with the best elements of downtempo and uptempo future-bass and pulls it off perfectly.

6. Manila Killa – Youth (feat. Satica)

The artist community surrounding Manila Killa and the label Moving Castle is one of the most heartwarming things in the electronic music scene. Established artists like Jai Wolf interact with up-and comers like Manila Killa or Chet Porter in a way that gives off the vibe of a bunch of best friends hanging out and making fun music together. This song embodies that carefree but get-shit-done attitude. Happy instrumental vibes pair with melancholy, longing lyrics that are sung in a way that gives a dismissive signal to the problems of the past and turns a bright eye toward the future.

7. Dillon Francis & NGHTMRE – Need You

I’ve been to two of Dillon Francis’s shows and both were the most turn-up, fun experiences of my life. I think Dillon’s personal brand and music interact to create this intense but hilarious vibe, and it’s a bit of absurdity that we all need in our life. NGHTMRE is one of the heavier artists on the scene right now and his presence is heavily felt in this track. His touch gives the drop the “oomph” it needs to hit you just right. This song has complemented some of the most rewarding parties and workouts of my 2016.

8. kali uchis – ridin round ft. tory lanez (oshi redo)

Honestly how could I not include this song in my list. Oshi’s vocal filters and unorthodox production style combine to create an unnervingly unique but undeniably catchy tune that you can’t help singing along to while you’re ridin’ around your city with the top down. The beat may always feel like it’s a half-step off, but it’s always right where you need it to be.

9. Speaker of the House – Redwood

Speaker of the House’s melodic vibes speak to my calmer side. This track toes the line between chill and upbeat, and does so perfectly. The bass bounces, the vocal chops soothe, and the guitar riff gives the track a natural vibe that can’t be perfectly replicated by a synth. In this track, it’s the little things. How the vocal chops interplay with the rolling synth riffs. How the bass flits around the lower register of the track but never overwhelms. How there’s the occasional touch of a synth that sounds like it’s emanating from a wooden xylophone. This track puts me in the zone to just relax and enjoy the beauty that life has to offer.

10. FRENSHIP – Capsize

This song does not fit in with the electronica vibe of the rest of the playlist, but believe it or not my musical roots can trace themselves back to poppy alt-rock (shoutout to LIGHTS). When I first heard this song it tapped right into those roots and I felt a rush of euphoria. Smooth production, a fantastic male-female vocal duo and fun guitar riffs combine to make this song a cleverly crafted feel-good track that is perfect for any setting.

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Flowvember

flowvember

As the northern hemisphere slowly descends into a deep freeze, we all need something to be happy about. For some, this happiness will come from the company of loved ones, the altruistic spirit of the holidays, or the warmth of a yule log softly crackling as snow drifts from the nighttime sky in the timeless dance of winter. For more fun people this happiness will come in the form of great indie EDM tunes that make every one of the above situations more enjoyable. Luckily, November was full of great tracks that will warm your heart and get your holiday parties trapping.

As always, we start with some bangers. Flume and Point Point kick us off with some heavy future bass, and Virtual Riot and Bearson fuse popular elements of EDM into great songs to sing along to. After about a dozen tracks we start to slow it down with some brand new Jai Wolf, Vallis Alps, and Fhin. This is some of the best downtempo electronica out there, and each song deserves multiple listens to appreciate its profound musicality. Chill vibes eventually transition to some pop-house electronica, which then melts away in the face of some hardcore trap. Fans of RL Grime’s Halloween V mix may find these ragers familiar. A bit of grimey rap and deep house sneak in there as the trap beats fade away, and before you know it we’re back to uplifting EDM. Don’t stop listening here, though, there’s a treasure trove of alt-rock still left for you to enjoy. As per usual, the end of the playlist is a pleasantly weird mix of tracks that bounce around the ambient side of the electronic spectrum.

In order to navigate this playlist and personalize your experience, here is a general breakdown of the vibes:

  • Songs 1-9: Upbeat electronica
  • Songs 10-22: Downtempo electronica
  • Songs 23-32: Pop/house/funk electronica
  • Songs 33-50: Trap/rap
  • Songs 51-55: Deep house
  • Songs 56-65: Upbeat electronica
  • Songs 66-77: Alternative rock
  • Songs 78-100: Miscellaneous electronica

Enjoy!

 

Flume – Say It (feat. Tove Lo)

Flume’s new song is as beautiful as his last two, and his upcoming Skin EP is shaping up to be one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2016. Full of potent percussion, elegant melodies, and emotional vigor, this track is a melancholy ode to ambiguous love.  Tove Lo’s longing vocals perfectly match the drawn-out synths that erupt from the speakers to highlight the beautifully crafted chorus, and the song really feels like it tells a developing story. Enjoy the fantastic track below.

Flume – Never Be Like You Feat. Kai (Gill Chang Edit)

About a month ago Gill Chang released an unofficial remix of Flume’s “Never Be Like You” with the pondering Soundcloud description: “wonder if this will get taken down lol.” Luckily for my ears, it didn’t. The track is fire, check it out below.

Alison Wonderland – Run (Wildfire Remix)

Wildfire claims that his genre is “Future Dank” and I have to agree. “Run” has been remixed out the wahzoo but this take is fresh enough to capture my ear. It reminds me of Flume’s remix of Tennis Court. I remember my entire friend group freaking out to that song when it came out, and this Wildfire remix is a bit of a flashback to those times. Enjoy.

Push

It’s been a while since I’ve made a turn-up/workout playlist and my first weekend in my new apartment in D.C. is coming up so I figured I’d treat myself to some heavy trap beats and share my collection with all of you. The first twelve-fifteen songs can only be described as “aggressive,” featuring a mix of hip-hop and trap beats that is apparently referred to as “trip-hop.” My favorite songs in this section are “I OWN IT” by TINCUP and “Do You” by TroyBoi. We then make the gradual transition to traditional progressive house for a lighter, happier, but still energetic feel. I really like the few songs right between trap and progressive house, where we get just enough of both aggression and happiness. Songs that fall under this category are the “To Ü” remix by Meaux Green and Magnifico and the “Run” remix by Ruxell and Atman. After a brief chill-sesh we climb the mountain of trap once again and finish off with some particular tunes that are particularly offensive to the ear such as NGHTMRE’s remix of “The Others.” Hope this playlist can energize you for a workout or turn up your next party. Enjoy.