Dreams West, one of our favorite VHS-wave artists, partnered up with fellow retro synth act Lust last summer to birth a limited edition collaborative cassette tape entitled 12:56. While the collection is essentially a split EP with a couple of remixes that nobody really needs to have in their life immediately, the closing track that’s credited to the twosome is an absolute stunner. “Driving Pleasures” showcases the seedy darkness of Lust’s synthwave exploits while also clearly referencing Dreams West’s Balearic inclinations. What begins with a couple of clean piano stabs progressively devolves into an onslaught of each artist’s finer talents, building in intensity and synchronization until the wall of sound towers bombastically over the listener. Gritty synth rhythm tracks duel with digital tropicalia until both acts quickly reach their respective limits, burning the entire island down in three minutes flat. 12:56 is great for the die-hard follower of either Lust or Dreams West, but we highly, highly recommend the outro track. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of “Driving Pleasures”, by Lust & Dreams West below, and then peruse each artist’s discography for more good tunes afterwards. You know we won’t pass up the opportunity to put in a solid plug for Dreams West’s </3.
R&B-infused glo-fi superbeing Giraffage churned out a quick rework of Owl Eyes’ “Closure” the other day, complete with all the fringe benefits one might expect from the San Franciscan producer. Free to download, the jam gives a hazy, magic hour vibe to the original composition by heavily appropriating the eloquent howls of today’s chopped and screwed musical movement. Notably toward the end of Giraffage’s remix of “Closure”, Brooke Addamo’s soulful vocals, the retro guitar, and sensual R&B time keeping fade into the background as Charlie Yin (Giraffage) slows that shit down, turning the last bit of the tune into a haunting Chris D’eon-esque concentration on the titular refrain. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of Giraffage’s dreamtrap improvement on Owl Eyes’ Australian electro-pop single “Closure”. Afterwards, check out the original version of the track, and definitely grab a copy of Giraffage’s latest full-length, Needs, as well.
After hearing Heathered Pearls’ hypnotic avión remix of Diana’s “Born Again”, we were curious about the quality of last Summer’s original composition. Quite frankly, we’re fast fans. You know how smooth and dreamlike School of Seven Bells’ jams used to be? Then one of the sisters quit, they got signed on to Vagrant Records, and now their sound is mediocre at best. With “Born Again”, that lucid dreaming Balearic vibe is present in full force, and it sounds a bit like what we imagine School of Seven Bells would resemble today if they hadn’t gone to shit. A churning, bubbling layer of synth sounds underscore a selection of retro basslines, analog synth tracks, and exotic samples. In “Born Again”, that smooth late 80’s mood music style that comprises the lion’s share of VHS-wave tunes is the backing instrumentation for a sensible, radio-friendly chillwave song with strong, clear female vocals. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of the Toronto foursome’s experimental pop hit “Born Again” below, and then check out Heathered Pearls’ powerful ambient rework afterwards.
Having just fallen under Amusement’s spell, this year-old remix of Mafia Light’s “West” is particularly appealing to us. It’s a light, airy glo-fi composition peppered with vinyl scratches and clicks and soulful vocal samples. The pitch-shifted vocalization is nigh on unintelligible, becoming one in the chorus of washed out and digitized instrumentation at play throughout the atmospheric vignette. Akin to the freeze frame above, Amusement’s version of “West” is a soft focus product from the age of film and tape. Minimalistic percussion pairs quite nicely with the warbled string sample and looped tones, resulting in a lazy, dreamy neo-R&B mix that deserves innumerable re-listens. Fans of Giraffage, Stumbleine, or Sun Glitters will appreciate the gauzy wafer-thin synth tracks and the treated emotion at play in the Guildford trio’s “West (Amusement remix)”, so do tha right thing and grab a d/l posthaste.
In keeping with the theme of yesterday’s post, we’ve got another classic cut here that you may not have heard. In terms of iconic chillwave singles, Memoryhouse’s “Lately” ranks right up there, along with Neon Indian’s “Deadbeat Summer” and Toro y Moi’s “Still Sound”. As a result, there are more than a few remixes, covers, and samples to be found. This early 2010 Teengirl Fantasy rework ranks among our favorites, along with ASVHI’s re-imagined version of the jam. Employing that spacey, Balearic vibe that put Tracer on the electronic music map, the Teengirl Fantasy remix of “Lately” fades in with the lush found sounds of running water and tropical bird calls, quickly evolving into a dark, yet luxurious fantasy landscape of sparse synth sounds and Denise Nouvion’s ghostly chanting. It’s one of the single most liberal reinterpretations of a single we’ve heard thus far, and that’s exactly why it works. Non-Western trip-hop sounds give the tune a very pronounced jungle edge, further compounded by the decidedly early 90’s IDM influence present in the filtered digital instrumentation. Here, the warm mid-day bedroom soft focus of the original track is traded in for a surreal midnight romp at the foot of the pools on the rainforest floor. All in all, this Teengirl Fantasy remix of Memoryhouse’s popular single “Lately” is one that ranks among the better ones that we have heard, and it’s a shame that it has not received as much airtime as it should have. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download after the jump, and be sure to check out both artists’ respective portfolios as well. Pretty much everything Teengirl Fantasy touches is gold anyhow.
Amusement, the Croydon foursome that released this stellar remix of Disclosure’s “Flow”, really turns a good original jam as well. Some quick research into their relatively sparse online presence yields results quickly, as their most recent Soundcloud offering pops in such a sensible way while still retaining a warm self-produced sheen. “Mural”, posted four months ago, has a very hi-fi studio grade tone to it, putting it in the same sound echelon as acts like Fixers or Races. The layered wailing at the forefront of this very radio-friendly indietronic tune is complemented perfectly by the light beat and the warm, pervasive bassline. The highlight, of course, is the digital distortion towards the end of the refrain. Very simple, effective, and catchy. Some of those generic sounding indie rock bands really gel well with that experimental sound that we constantly chase, so we’d like to put in a plug for Amusement. We hope that their vibes continue to resonate for quite some time. Do tha right thing, and get an MP3 earful of “Mural”, by Amusement, and then see what else you can see by these guys afterwards. That Disclosure remix is definitely not to be missed either.
Taquwami’s slow, sensuous glo-fi jams are always best served with a side of wonky, which explains his frequent collaboration with Ruddyp and his sizeable collection of remixes. “All My Life”, a standalone single from last December, stands firmly along with the bulk of the faceless, silent Tokyo artist’s output in that the hazy, meandering atmospherics fully envelop the featured wonky beats and melodramatic melody. That said, the strongest aspects of the jam, in our opinion, are the whispering pitch-shifted vocals and the relatively clean feminine cooing that continually peeks in and out of the shadows. Taquwami’s technique seems to typically be to cast vocals aside in favor of a very controlled synthetic atmosphere, which is why these very pronounced Stumbleine-esque vocals really pique our interest. They work really well too, adding a thick layer of hushed emotion to “All My Life”. Glo-fi being a very inclusive genre of electronic music, it’s refreshing to hear a cool concoction of syrupy ambient synth, urban beats, and experimental pop vocalization right from the pages of the Tri Angle Records playbook. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 taste of this evolution of our favorite Japanese glo-fi artist. You can get “All My Life”, by Taquwami, right after the jump, and be sure to take a look at his 2011 demo Dawnz as well, if you like what you hear.
Berlin’s Lykta, a new artist to us, reached our consciousness via a well-timed Jacob 2-2 remix of “Treasure”, the original version of which is featured above. We’re actually kind of feeling that original mix, what with its spacey downtempo composition and its organic, vaguely 16-bit vibe. Mournful vocals play backing instrumentation to reverberating synth stabs and SNES-era role playing game rhythm tracks. “Treasure” is an excellent little ambient IDM vignette to accompany that deep, dark dungeon crawl towards the end of every Final Fantasy game where shit starts getting ultra-dimensional. Perhaps that surreal cover artwork is a good indicator of the experimental adventures that lie within the confines of the remainder of Debris, released last month via Broken Bubble. Do tha right thing, and grab a free MP3 download of “Treasure”, by Lykta. If you enjoy what you hear as well, check out the Jacob 2-2 rework or name your price for a copy of Debris at Broken Bubble’s Bandcamp page. Based on a quick peek at his Soundcloud page, it looks like Lykta would make a great addition to the library of any serious Ghostly fan, as he’s done remixes of jams by Shigeto and Tycho as well.
One thing that I think we can all agree is fantastic about New Jersey synthwave artist Com Truise is that he can take the most left field of jams and mix it down into a total masterpiece. He’s re-interpreted everything from Twin Shadow’s hipster pop to Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy soundtrack. With this iteration of his trademark dreamwave re-imaginings, Seth Haley (Com Truise) colors Maroon 5’s “One More Night” with retro cyberpunk effects, warped analog synth leads, and stabbing digital beats. Sassy vintage keys twinkle along like electronic lights on decaying machinery, and the vocals take on a far more triumphant vibe, like the computer world national anthem before the annual light cycle olympics. Really, is there anything Mr. Truise can’t make perfect? Do tha right thing, and don’t waste any time in checking out Com Truise’s futuristic downtempo remix of Maroon 5’s “One More Night” We’d love to include a free MP3 download of the track, but we’re a twinge wary of having the shit sued out of us by them. So, sorry ‘bout it. Is Maroon 5 really still making music anyways?
Before their debut full-length was released, Philadelphia duo Crozet put together a cover EP called Alterations, featuring reinterpretations of favorites by John Waite, Yo La Tengo, Geneva Jacuzzi, Memoryhouse, and Teen Daze. Once We’ll Be Gone by Then was released a year ago, Crozet’s brief collection of covers didn’t get a whole lot of attention. B-sides, unreleased tracks, and remixes aren’t often true indicators of an artist or band’s talent, but their version of Yo La Tengo’s “Damage” certainly bucks that pattern. That synthpop vibe that you can expect to hear in a jam by Future Unlimited or The Ice Choir is the meat of the whole tune, topped by retro beats and a mournful female vocal loop. Right before the track’s halfway point and on until the finish line, a soft shoegaze-esque guitar joins the ensemble, lending Crozet’s cover of “Damage” a little analog cred. It’s very loosely reminiscent of perhaps what a famed Robin Guthrie remix of a Selva Oscura song might resemble. A delicate re-interpretation of a Yo La Tengo’s classic and a spot-on mixture of vintage synthpop instrumentation and dream popping reverb. Do tha right thing, and at least grab a copy of Crozet’s version of “Damage”, and do delve further into their fresh, young discography if you’re impressed.