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

top-10

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.

Deese

deese

The end of the year usually comes with a lull in the number of new songs coming out as artists are just finishing up their fall tours and not yet building up hype for their spring adventures. However, this lull usually makes up for itself in the proliferation of new DJ sets that provide a unique insight into how artists have been captivating their crowds for the last few months. These sets are fantastic ways to find new music – after all, these are professional DJs that are deeply embedded into the music scene. On top of all this, there are still plenty of new releases. After all, most musicians can’t help doing the thing they love: creating. The playlist below contains the best indie tracks that have come to my attention this December.

As always, we start with the best of the best. Chill vibes via Kidswaste, Pluto, Pham and Alison Wonderland begin our journey with a positive, playful vibe before we “knock it up a notch” with Bajillionaire. It’ll be a long time before we chill out again. Hex Cougar, Whethan and Krewella keep the energy up with a mix of future bass and moombahton beats until Autograf primes us for some hip-hop jams. After a brief flirtation with rap and trap we return to the familiar realm of future bass remixes of pop songs that provide some much needed ear candy before the heavy beats to come. After we enjoy a few funky house tracks, Eric Prydz’s alter-ego CIREZ D hits us hard with stunningly well-produced techno track. This is the first of several tracks that are extremely hype and would fit in well with a heavy deep house set by SNBRN, Dr. Fresch, or MAALA. Once past this gauntlet, it’s smooth sailing form here on out. Some upbeat, chill house will ease you through the end of the playlist. Here’s a rough map of the tracks for your convenience:

  • 1-16: Upbeat indie EDM
  • 17-21: Hip-hop and hip-hop influenced electronica
  • 22-24: Trap
  • 25-27: Progressive and experimental house
  • 28-36: Pop-influenced future bass
  • 37-42: Funk-influenced EDM
  • 43-55: Techno house and trap
  • 57-86: Chill melodic house, future bass, and funk

Enjoy below!

 

Illenium ft. Joni Fatora – Fortress (Mr FijiWiji Remix)

illenium-ashes-remixes

Another outstanding piece of work off of Illenium’s Ashes Remix album, Mr. Fijiwiji’s take on “Fortress” is downtempo and haunting. Bass constantly rumbles in the background creating an ominous energy. Joni Fatora’s vocals, passionate in the original, are now placed in a darker context. The nicest single touch that Mr. Fijiwiji incorporates into the remix may be the filtered vocal chops that slowly crescendo and recede into the background of the track, each one a musical accent that adds to the atmosphere of the song. Enjoy below!

Illenium – Without You ft. SKYLR (William James Remix)

illenium-ashes-remixes

Illenium’s Ashes Remix album is full of gems – fourteen aspiring indie artists got to take a crack at re-imagining some of the best EDM tracks of the last year. William James’ remix of “Without You” is one of the best. Softening the production elements of the original while leaving the vocals intact, William waits until the drop to showcase what he can really do. Heavy chords blast from your speakers in regular intervals, allowing the listener to soak in each one. Each verse comes as a welcome reprieve from the intensity of the chorus, but each subsequent drop is as satisfying as the first. Enjoy below!

Sunday 5elect – Vol. 018

Welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday 5elect, where Economix readers get insight into the top five tracks dominating my headphones right now. The vibe on this edition is rap-heavy with a strong EDM influence.

1. Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (FVRY Remix)

Coming at ya straight out of N. Ireland, FVRY delivers a unique take on the Kendrick classic “Swimming Pools”. Adding boosted bass and crisp snares to each verse, FVRY lets you sing along before the future-bass hits you in the chorus. This track does the perfect amount of justice to the original while allowing FVRY to showcase his production talent.

2. Vic Mensa – heathens freestyle

Vic Mensa delivers a heated verse laid over the iconic instrumental of Twenty One Pilots’ iconic hit “Heathens”. The verses speak for themselves.

3. Childish Gambino – Eat Your Vegetables (Cavalier Remix)

Four years ago Childish Gambino dropped one of the hottest tracks of his career with “Eat Your Vegetables”. Eleven days ago Cavalier decided to revive the track with a sick trap production that hits just as hard as Gambino’s bars.

4. Illenium – Afterlife feat. Echos (Dabin Remix)

Illenium just released his remix album for his hit album Ashes, and there’s some quality stuff on there. All of the artists incorporated the amazing source material into their own unique sounds, and Dabin is no exception. He transformed “Afterlife” into a more progressive, equally moving version of itself. If not for the second drop, this track would top the list this week.

5. Kasbo – SnowTape Vol. 5

The exceptionally talented and young producer Kasbo has had quite a year – he released his debut EP and several tracks on Soundcloud that have amassed over 1M plays each. To top it all off, he’ll be performing at the legendary Snowglobe festival, which this year can boast the best lineup I’ve ever seen in my life. Kasbo’s Soundcloud profile claims that his goal is to “make you wanna dance and cry at the same time.” This mix might do just that.

SNBRN – Beat The Sunrise (Pilot Remix)

Supporting hometown acts is something that all blogs take pride in, and The Economix is no exception. Pilot, or Joey as he is known on-campus, is a fellow student at the University of Notre Dame who has been diligently working on his electronic music skills for the past year. This effort has culminated in the release of his latest remix, a melodic-house take on SNBRN’s ubiquitous hit “Beat The Sunrise.” With professional production quality and catchy vocal chops (not to mention sweet synth solos following both drops), this tune is a banger that could liven up any dance floor. I’m excited to see where Pilot decides to head next. Enjoy the track below.