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Jul 25

Alex Kenji Takes On ‘Blue Monday’

Once the biggest-selling 12" vinyl of all time, New Order's 1983 classic Blue Monday has been given the once-over by countless names the likes of John Digweed, 808 State, Jam & Spoon, Above & Beyond, and plenty of others. Adding his name to that list is Italian producer Alex Kenji with his own take via his Hotfingers label.

As you might expect from one of the leading lights of the European house scene, this one is bouncy, groovy, and anchored by an insanely catchy bassline. Of course, the bass riff and vocals have always been the calling card of Blue Monday, and while Kenji offers up a refreshingly original take on the track, it's been done with respect--this isn't simply cookie-cutter house with the vocal plastered on top. It should certainly provide another welcome boost to the Hotfingers brand and is bound to prove a crowd favourite when it gets spun live.

Grab your own copy here.
Alex Kenji - Blue Monday (Original Mix) [Hotfingers]
Jul 24

Entranced 33

Friday night is trance night as we kick start your weekend with more top anthems. This week's edition of Entranced brings you new music from the likes of Super8 & Tab, Rank 1, M.I.K.E Push, and plenty more.

Matt Eray – Samurai (Original Mix) [Monster Pure]
It's your weekly Monster fix first as Polish up-and-comer Matt Eray makes his return to the label, this time on their Pure sub-label with his new track Samurai. Tough, pounding, relentless rhythms soon make way to an utterly enormous break and some massive synth riffs, all culminating in one hell of a drop. This is what the word "epic" was invented for and is bound to raise a few goosebumps as well as getting your fists pumping. One thing's for sure--we're already looking forward to his next release. Grab your copy here.

Rank 1 vs M.I.K.E Push – Juno (Original Mix) [High Contrast]
A collaboration between some all time trance legends next as Rank 1 team up with M.I.K.E Push for their new masterpiece Juno. Despite featuring a bassline in the intro that conjures memories of the original Push tracks back in the late '90s, it's important to note this isn't just a nostalgia trip. While Juno may have "classic trance anthem" written all over it, the production is bang up to date, and it stands out as one of those tracks that seeks to further the genre rather than simply looking to the past. It certainly seems to be working, as every trance DJ worth his salt is playing this one out lately. Join them by grabbing your copy here.

ReOrder – Zephyr (Original Mix) [Flashover Trance]
Czech producer ReOrder is more familiar for his work on the Monster imprint, but here he makes his debut on Flashover Trance, the more uplifting cousin of Ferry Corsten's Flashover label. Zephyr stars out with some solid kicks and glitchy synths, but soon morphs into a choral break and a welcome dose of some good old fashioned supersaws. This one has a slight touch of Ferry himself about it, so it's little wonder the big man has given this one his full support. This is no imitator though, as ReOrder continues to make his unique mark on the trance scene. Grab your copy here, and check out ReOrder's July Top 10 for some of his current favourites.

Super8 & Tab - Clairvoyant (Extended Mix) [Anjunabeats]
We were privileged to premiere the Rafael Frost remix of Super8 & Tab's recent collab with BT back in June, but now that Aika has a full release, we can also check out the equally fantastic b-side Clairvoyant. The Finnish duo go it alone on this one, and there's everything you'd expect from the Super8 & Tab name. A pleasing mix of big room and uplifting trance, this one is all about pumping synths and gritty basslines. There's a hint of the duo's classic sound which should appeal to the old-school fans, but Clairvoyant has enough modern charm to see it working well in a festival environment. Grab your copy here and check out the duo's Aika chart while you're at it.

Yoel Lewis – Nepal (Original Mix) [Armind]
Rounding things off this week is Israeli duo Yoel Lewis, making their debut on Armind with Nepal. Some crazy bass riffs and tribal rhythms soon evolve into a more traditional trance hook, culminating in a drop that is a crowd-pleasing mix of hands-in-the-air synths and floor-destroying energy. Suited to some mainstage action at ASOT events around the world, expect to hear this being playing out a lot over the coming months. Failing that, grab your own copy here, and give it a spin yourself.
Matt Eray - Samurai (Original Mix) [Monster Pure]
Rank 1 vs. M.I.K.E Push - Juno (Original Mix) [High Contrast]
ReOrder - Zephyr (Original Mix) [Flashover Trance]
Super8 & Tab - Clairvoyant (Extended Mix) [Anjunabeats]
Yoel Lewis - Nepal (Original Mix) [Armind]
Jul 24

Friday Favorites 118

Since there's a planet just like ours, why don't we just go there and see what killed everything? Our money is on the Bush family.

It's Friday Favorites 118.

Josh Bennett
Techno/Progressive | Pryda - Rebel XX (Original Mix) [Pryda]
Every time this track starts, I get immediate stank face. Talk about a complete monster of a track that works in almost any setting. I heard this sped up around 10 bpm in a Brian Kearney set the other day and about hyperventilated. Here's to 10 more years of Pryda. Pick up this track and three other gems on Pryda 10 Vol. 1 here.
Nathan Codd
Electro House | aUtOdiDakT - Fucked Up (Original Mix) [Mähtrasher]
Resident Kannibalen Radio DJ Lektrique has been lacerating ears with this in his sets for months, and Germany's aUtOdiDakT finally set it loose about a week ago on his own Mähtrasher label, plus three remixes. It's a blood-covered weekend buzzsaw with the fiery spits of The Notorious B.I.G.--take it and go destroy something already.
Jesse Champagne
Progressive House | Michael Cassette - Pangaea (Envotion Remix) [Anjunabeats]
I don't always go for upbeat and driving progressive house anthems... wait, never mind, I totally do. Although this remix was first released back in 2011, Eric Prydz gave it another boost of life when he featured it in his recent Beats 1 podcast. The Dutch trio hit all the right spots when our own Chris Downar reviewed it way back when, and little has changed--it's still an epic and ebullient anthem worthy of multiple rinses. Pick it up on Beatport here.
Mike Davies
Techno | Edu Imbernon & Coyu - El Baile Aleman (Subb-an Remix) [Suara]
Coyu and Edu Imbernon's El Baile Aleman was the biggest-selling track on Beatport for the year it was originally released--2009--and now it's been given a makeover with two remixes from Patrick Topping and Subb-an, respectively. The deep, driving, and simplistic techno rhythms of the UK's Subb-an are my personal choice--perfect for club play during the warmer months and another example of why Suara has an ever-respected place on the techno/tech house scene. Grab your copy here, and make sure your sub is plugged in.
Shea Kopp
Indie/Beats | Flight Facilities - Heart Attack (Julian Hamilton Rework)
It's been a while since we've heard anything from Aussie electro-pop duo The Presets, but the pair's lead singer Julian Hamilton has just shared an unexpected rework of Flight Facilities' Heart Attack. His rendition is an emotional cut with simple synth and piano chords for accompaniment, which gives the lyrics a slightly darker tinge to go with The Presets' typically more sinister style. You can find the rework and the full remix package here.
Megan Murphy
House | Sleepy Tom - I Want Your Soul (Original Mix) [Spinnin']
Canadian producer Sleepy Tom rethinks the '80s with his latest original. Featuring vocal samples from the 1985 hit Do You Want It Right Now by Siedah Garrett, the track utilizes a deep bassline and funky synths to create a fiery dance anthem. Pick up the track on Beatport, and head over to SoundCloud for more weekend tunes from Sleepy Tom.
Marcus Dowling
Rap | D.R.A.M. - Excessive
Soulful and Detroit-born Soulection-affiliated bass-smith Sango pairs with Grand Rapids, Michigan's The SEVENth for Excessive, the latest single for buzzing Virginia-based rapper D.R.A.M. of Cha Cha fame. This one is a swirling boomer featuring a filtered synth and skittering hi-hat weaving throughout. More a head-nodder than toe-tapper, D.R.A.M.'s singsong top-line vocal is more sung than rapped, which aids the production immensely. Perfect for summertime barbecue feels, this one's not available for sale or download yet, but you're going to want to stream this one immediately and often.
Chris Downar
R&B | Miguel - The Valley [RCA]
The Valley by Miguel has some of the naughtiest lyrics I've ever heard. It's well-produced, with the bass bounces between speakers for a trippy effect. Its name reminds me of my home town in the San Fernando Valley. Not that I was ever involved in the adult film industry, but the area is famously known as the porn capital of America. Miguel's album WILDHEART is full of mood-setting tracks like The Valley that are sure to get all the bad girls hot and bothered. Get it on Beatport here.
Pryda - Rebel XX (Original Mix) [Pryda]
aUtOdiDakT - Fucked Up (Original Mix) [Mähtrasher]
Michael Cassette - Pangaea (Envotion Remix) [Anjunabeats]
Edu Imbernon & Coyu - El Baile Aleman (Subb-an Remix) [Suara]
Flight Facilities - Heart Attack (Julian Hamilton Rework) [Future Classic]
Sleepy Tom - I Want Your Soul (Original Mix) [Spinnin']
D.R.A.M. - Excessive (Original Mix)
Miguel - The Valley [RCA]
Jul 24

JackLNDN Debuts Vocal Skills On ‘All I See’

JackLNDN (pictured) has been making a name for himself with his own seductive brand of house music, and now the producer proves that he's got the pipes to match on his latest number, All I See.

With a deep voice that betrays his lanky stature, JackLNDN's catchy vocal hooks dance perfectly alongside a piano-driven rhythm and swirling background effects. His voice carries a rich tone and classic quality that seems ready-made for the house genre, sounding much like a young Fritz Kalkbrenner.

Look for All I See out July 24 via Ultra, and check out the specially curated Disco Diaries he did for us not too long ago here.
JackLNDN - All I See (Original Mix) [Ultra]
Jul 24

The Digitally Imported Dial 18: Big Beat

We're back with our weekly series with Digitally Imported, The Digitally Imported Dial, where we highlight some of the best channels and shows available on the Web’s premier electronic music streaming radio platform. Every channel is curated by hand, so we’ll hear from the men and women behind the scenes how they bring us the music we love.

In this week’s episode we're talking with the ultra-passionate director of the DI Big Beat channel. Frank Smith gives us an in-depth look at this defining '90s music movement that is still growing today. Heavily focused on breakbeats and dusty samples, this music requires a curator like Frank to crate-dig regularly while also staying in the know on the contemporary artists that are keeping it alive and thriving today.

Frank has been listening to big beat since he was 13 years old:

I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, where I reside today. When I was 13 years old, I picked up a copy of How To Operate With A Blown Mind by Lo-Fidelity Allstars and I was hooked immediately. Around that same time I obtained copies of Vegas by The Crystal Method, You've Come A Long Way, Baby by Fatboy Slim, and the self-titled debut from The Grassy Knoll. I knew right off the bat that big beat music was totally my thing. I went to my first rave in '03 and that completely sealed the deal--I started DJing and throwing raves, house parties, and various other electronic music events in and around St. Louis in 2004 and have been doing so ever since. I have produced some original music but have mainly been focused on crate-digging and unearthing all the hard-to-find big beat gems. I am also an avid collector of old school 2-step and speed garage. I have a whole room in my house that is pretty much stacked floor to ceiling with vinyl, CDs and old rave flyers. It's a never-ending labor of love.
Frank gave us an enlightening definition of big beat:

Big beat is the goofy, ultra-funky, trippy side of breakbeats, usually using organic drum and instrument samples in place of the drum machine sounds heard in most other modern breakbeats. It is huge on the use of crazy out-there samples and quirky melodies and is also known as chemical breaks, which is really the darker, slightly more industrial side of the genre. Its musical foundations are rooted in early electro funk and breakbeats, but also draws influence from hip-hop, British Invasion, Paisley Underground, new wave, ska, reggae, surf rock, Cuban Lounge, samba, acid jazz, disco, soul, R&B, and '50s rock & roll, blending it all into a uniquely funky, psychedelic, and upbeat form of dance music. It started in the '80s with artists like Yello, Meat Beat Manifesto, and Future Sound Of London (although many consider the classic Beatles tune Tomorrow Never Knows to be the way-ahead-of-its-time first big beat track) but it really blew up in the '90s when the likes of Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers, Junkie XL, Propellerheads, The Prodigy, and The Crystal Method took it into the stratosphere, eventually subsiding back underground around the early 2000s after it was declared "dead" by its founder and spokesperson, Fatboy Slim. Contrary to popular belief, though, it never went away; it was just mildly dormant, and seems to be making a major comeback these last few years (more on that later). The DI Big Beat channel is the perfect backdrop for any fun activity, whether you're cruising Vegas in a pink Cadillac, having a drink with an umbrella in it on the beach, or raging in a dirty warehouse at 5 a.m.
The span of countries where the big beat scene is thriving may surprise you:

Russia never got the memo that big beat was "dead," so the Russian big beat scene is absolutely thriving and has never stopped. I would say a third of the music on the DI Big Beat channel is from Russia or Eastern Europe. Artists like Mercenary (SPB), [SC]Smash3r, Spy Plastic, Maxim Portnenko, The Synthetic Plastic Worms, The Vack, Under Influence, 3D Stas, Inner, and Secret Sexy Signal, to name a few, have been keeping the genre alive with great fanfare. There is also a huge following in a lot of Latin American countries, especially Mexico and Colombia, so I always try to keep a good amount of Latin inspired ultra-funky breakbeats in rotation. Japan is another big one, especially considering that legends like Torpedo Boys, Hideki Naganuma, and Audio Active hail from there. We of course can't forget about the UK, which is where big beat was born and still has a massive following. Going to Brighton, the birthplace of big beat, and hitting up some record shops is at the top of my bucket list.
Many big beat legends have made a comeback in 2015:

Time to bust out the old phat pants. Seriously. 2015 has already been a gigantic year for DI Big Beat, with new releases from The Chemical Brothers and Rory Hoy on the way, new Freddy Fresh and The Grassy Knoll albums that just dropped in November, the release of a big beat banger by dubstep phenom Zeds Dead that dropped at the end of last year, and now this fire-breathing new madness from The Prodigy. The new Prodigy tunes are introducing a whole new generation of clubbers and party kids to this amazing style of music. Things are only looking up from here. We've already got this '90s throwback trend blowing up worldwide; it would only make sense if the music that fueled all of the craziest parties of the late '90s came back with a vengeance.
Rory Hoy's BigBeatTastic show on DI Big Beat is a must-listen for even casual fans of the genre:

Right now there is only one recurring show, which is BigBeatTastic with Rory Hoy. It airs the second Friday of every month at 2 p.m. EDT. I can't say enough good things about Rory--he is basically the global ambassador of Big Beat and has been pushing the limits and boundaries of the genre since his first album Cosmic Child dropped on Freddy Fresh's Howlin' Records in 2008. This year will see the release of his sixth full length album, and a few sneak peeks can be heard in some recent episodes of "BigBeatTastic"--not to mention the dude is constantly coming out with EPs and remixes and bootlegs all over the place. Aside from that, the station is constantly featuring new mixes from various big beat DJs around the world whenever they become available, and you can always find some of the extensive catalog of mixes by Mercenary (SPB) aka GROOVEBO$$, the big beat and Funk juggernaut from St. Petersburg, Russia. There will also be new mixes from Danish DJ/producer and Breakbeat Paradise Recordings label-boss Wiccatron whenever he pops a new one out, but there is no set schedule for those as he is a very busy man. I am constantly looking for new material and all submissions are always welcome.
Robbie loves seeing listeners post their favorite tracks to their social media channels:

When I'm not listening to new tunes I am listening to the channel and keeping an eye on the thumbs up and thumbs down system that we have. This is the best way for me to gauge what the audience wants and what kind of style the listeners really want to hear. I also look to see what tracks people are posting to social media that they are listening to. When people like a track so much that they have to tell all their friends and followers they are listening to it, I know I'm doing something right. I love seeing the people who like a tune so much they post it on social media to let others know.
To say Frank is a crate-digger is an understatement:

My absolute favorite producer right now is a guy by the name of Countertop Hero out of North Carolina. This dude is so funky he would make George Clinton or James Brown blush. Right now he is in the process of remastering and updating his musical catalog along with an alleged new album on the way, so be on the lookout. Certainly not to count out anyone else who is still flying the big beat flag, RamSkank out of England whose music I am absolutely obsessed with, Rams Le Prince and Andy Ictus also out of England, PulpFusion out of Switzerland who is just insane, Fresh Dirt, Inner, Mercenary (SPB), The Reptiles, Under Influence, Detonator Head and Play'boy out of Russia--there are just more and more dope new artists popping up all the time. Not to mention all the defunct big beat acts of yesteryear that I will probably never be done searching out all the old material from. I absolutely love that I have the platform to introduce people to incredible but underrated artists like The Bowling Green, Much Macho, TV People, The Grassy Knoll, The White Rabbit, Hardwire, Girl Eats Boy, Sgt. Rock, Peplab, Outcast, Supercharger, Red Snapper, Pepe Deluxe, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Dirty Beatniks, Mekon, Loop Da Loop, Headrillaz, stuff that is so incredibly amazing yet unknown today. Unfortunately, when a genre blows up and then suddenly dissipates like big beat did, a ton of incredible artists that were just making their way end up falling by the wayside. I made it my mission a long time ago to make sure that people hear their music. The DI Big Beat channel is meant to be the one-stop archive, museum, and platform for the big beat genre.
Frank gave us a list of surefire party starters that he's found while curating the DI Big Beat channel:

The first time I ever heard Maxim Portnenko's remix of the '60s classic Summer In The City by The Lovin' Spoonful I was blown away, to say the least. That track is such a ridiculous banger if you dropped it at a party right now you would probably have the crowd jumping so hard you would have to scrape them off the ceiling by the end of it. Also, when I finally got ahold of the old Atomic Soul Experiences vinyls I felt like a kid at Christmas. These were some of the most outrageous, loud, ignorant big beat tracks ever made, and I will be forever grateful to Mr. Freddy Fresh for providing me with these rare bangers and quite a few other ancient rarities from his musical treasure chest to share with all of you. I am also totally obsessed with the song Dada Struttin by Sgt. Rock, which I discovered when I finally got ahold of his classic album Live The Dream. Honestly, every time I get my hands on one of these old, obscure CD-Maxi import singles from the '90s with a Midfield General or Dub Pistols or DJ Scissorkicks remix on it I feel like I just won the lottery.
The fans agree that the classics should be prominently featured on DI Big Beat:

DI actually has an amazing system for monitoring listener stats and track likes. With the new upgrades to the website and system I can see, for example, what times of day people are listening the most and when people are turning it off. I can also pull up a spreadsheet to see which songs have been getting likes and dislikes so I can plan out the programming accordingly. Apparently most people agree that big beat classics like Fatboy Slim's Gangster Tripping and The Crystal Method's Busy Child need to be staples in the rotation. Also, each individual song has its own web address so you can go to each one to view likes and comments, even if it hasn't aired in a while. From what I've gathered, while the global big beat scene is not as massive as some other genres, the fan base is close-knit, dedicated, and die-hard.
Frank invites listeners to Tweet awesome big beat tracks to him:

DI Big Beat is basically an outlet for what I have already been doing for years. I could not have asked for a better platform to showcase this crazy, ever-growing collection of mine. I am constantly digging through random record and CD bins everywhere I go, draining and plundering record stores of all their big beat, and when I'm not doing that I am scouring the Internet for any morsels of big beat that I haven't discovered yet, and there is always more. Discogs has become a lifestyle. If anyone anywhere knows of some dope big beat tunes that should be on the channel but aren't, don’t be shy. Feel free to contact me on Twitter @BigBeatBonanza. Mad respect to anyone, anywhere who is still keeping it funky. Never stop.
Listen to the Digitally Imported Big Beat channel here.
Subscribe to ad-free premium streaming here.
Download the Digitally Imported app here.