Thursday, March 26, 2009

CJAM Jammy Awards

Vote New Pulse for "Best New Show" and "Best Electronic Show"! (it takes 20 seconds)


Recently Chris White, CJAM's music director, sent out an email to all of the programmers here at the station with an idea that was presented by Joe McGregor (host of The Best Show Ever):
"How about inviting volunteers to make their own "best of" CD for bands that they think are under-appreciated or have vast amounts of records missing from the library. It might make people take an interest in a band that they had initially dismissed, if someone was actually willing to take the time to make a best of record."

Obviously I had to jump at this opportunity to spread the word about under-appreciated and obscure artists not only to the other programmers here at the station, but to anyone who has an open mind about the electronic genre.

And so, the New Pulse mixtape escapade had begun. The draft of the artists I wanted to include on the album was extensive (over twenty-five songs), however I had to whittle it down to fit an eighty minute CD-R. I had to take into account which artists received the least amount of play time (if any at all) at the station while at the same time being the more talented of the lot. It wasn't easy, but I narrowed it down to this final track list:

01 Danger - 19H11
02 Just a Band - Burn it Out
03 Apparat - Komponent
04 Tycho - Systems
05 Squarepusher - Illegal Dustbin
06 Yuksek - Tonight
07 Vibrasphere - Breathing Place
08 Ellen Allien - Come
09 Moderat - Rusty Nails
10 Dat Politics - Wish Ya
11 Photophob - Because We Like the Rosary
12 Helios - Velius
13 Rex the Dog - Circulate
14 E*Vax - We Believe in Broken Bones
15 Minotaur Shock - My Burr

Despite having to cut out at least ten tracks, the end result was fairly illustrious. I also did some work in Photoshop, deciding that a burned CD in an empty jewel case wasn't very aesthetically pleasing.

In the end I hope anyone who catches wind of my mix enjoys the tracks I've chosen and expands their taste, and also that the other programmer's submit mixtapes soon, as I'm always interested in a new musical experience.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Landscape Verses

So far this year has been a powerhouse of amazing releases. Most of the albums to date, however, have been of the Electro-House or Electro-Pop genres (which I'm not complaining about). Enter "Selected Downbeats Vol. 2", the newest compilation project from Sweden's ambient, progressive-trance duo, Vibrasphere. Rickard Berglöf and Robert Elster have been producing music together since 1998, leading to their first album "Echo" in 2000. Their musical style ranges from slow-tempo ambient, to ephemeral and up-beat psy-trance that elevates the listener to a state of other-worldly euphoria.

Their first compilation (Selected Downbeats Vol. 1) was somewhat of a "best-of" album at the pair's current stage of their career, featuring tracks from multiple albums, and Vol. 2 does just the same, only this time, there is a fresher feel of more current programming style and a more uniform theme all throughout the CD. The tracks become much more layered with soaring foreground patterns complimented by deep and engaging bass effects and percussion. Most of the songs begin with a slow introduction and continue into a high-charged build that explodes in an epic symphony of sound.

Tracks like "Ensueno" and "Breathing Place" insist upon the hairs of your arms raise in emotional stimulation as chills run down your spine. The album was released on February 18 and is a testament to Vibrasphere's work. It's a good place to start with this band, but I assure you that you'll be hooked.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tracklist for Tuesday March 17, 2009

Happy Irish Day!

Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek (Trance Remix)
DJ Shadow - Building Steam With a Grain of Salt
Arc Lab - Boreal
TMDP - Montage
Vibrasphere - Breathing Place
Chateau Marmont - DIane
Shout Out Out Out Out - Run
Metric - Collect Call [Exclusive]
Kenna - Free Time
Feist - My Moon My Man (Boys Noize Remix)
Terry Lynn - Kingstonlogic
Vibrasphere - Forever Imaginary
Montag - Kuujjuaq
Cut Copy - Out There on the Ice
The Prodigy - Invaders Must DIe

Monday, March 16, 2009

Evaluating "The Remix"

Oh, remixes. Often categorized as God's mistakes, blasphemy toward the original artists' work, a perversion of original talent, and the root of all evil, the "remix" is over dramatized and over politicized. I know a good number of people who scoff at the notion of a remix of a song being just as good or even better than the original, which is their preference. However, I believe a remix to be neither an excuse to avoid recording new content nor a correction of a failed attempt at a song.

A remix works on three levels, regardless if not every listener is a fan of one or not. The first being audience expansion. There will be those who enjoy the work of the track's original artist and that of the artist who performs or programs the remix. If this is the case, the listener will most likely be inclined to delve for further information on this new artist and expand their music library. Some listeners may experience the same effect, but in reverse. Furthermore, if a remix artist is in focus, more of their remixes will fall into light.

Secondly, a remix acts as an artist's way of expressing their own personal take on a particular track. This could be either a complete reinterpretation of how they would program the song, or additions to it to add personal flair and talent. It is an outlet for creative addition, which brings me to my third point. A remix does work for the artists themselves, drawing upon each others' talents to fuel ideas for future projects. Through a remix, a new sound style, modular synth pattern, or other electronic effects may be made apparent to an artist for future use.

Legitimacy is more than just the whim of a stubborn listener. Remixes promote progressive sound and advancement, whether or not your buddy hears one and says "Oh my God...Man this is terrible; turn this shit off," in which case you should bluntly offer a pimp-slap.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tracklist for Tuesday March 10, 2009

The Prodigy - Omen
Deadmau5 - Arguru
Concentrick - Undreamt
Paul Oakenfold - Dread Rock
CFCF - Call Girl
Montag - La Symetrie Du Coeur
Ladyhawke - Magic
The Prodigy - Warrior's Dance
Dosh - Don't Wait for the Needle to Drop
TMDP - Glades
Chromeo - Needy Girl (Paper Faces Remix)
Four Tet - High Fives
Moderat - No. 22
Boys Noize - Lava Lava (Feadz Aval Aval Mix)
MSTRKRFT - Street Justice (Essential Mix)
The Keiross Theory - Colonize
Ellen Allien & Apparat - Rotary
The ALbum Leaf - Red Eye

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Canadian Content: Quality Over Quantity

Working with music in the electronic genre will definitely open your eyes to the lack of Canadian artists in proportion to American or British or French etc. Rightfully so, the United States has more well-funded record labels and a higher population, and countries in Europe have the ability to say that they are THE powerhouse fueling the electronic dynamo. Yet what people fail to realize is the Canadian Electronic scene is growing at rapid rate and most groups or artists give you more bang for your buck than a lot of those run-of-the-mill Trance or House outfits.

Canadian artists are bursting at the seems with potential and talent, yet often go overlooked for bigger names like Daft Punk or The Prodigy. Yet within the last year or so, many artists are either making huge debuts or striking back with albums that are bigger and better than the last. MSTRKRFT for example is Canada's current heavy-hitter, however Electro-House is not for everyone. As of late, a few notable Canadian electronic artists should be paid more attention to.

These Alberta natives have proved once again with their 2009 release "Feel.Love.Thinking.Of." that they're still in the game. Their sound is a unique blend of vocals (sometimes in falsetto) with catchy pop patterns and rhythmically blurring sound. This being their second full-length release, Faunts knew just how high to jump to clear their own preset bar and at the same time prove to create one of the freshest albums so far this year.

Joel Zimmerman, a resident of Toronto, has created quite a stir within the electronic community, not only while touring Canada, but the United States and Europe as well. "Random Album Title" was received with wide open arms, with a sound that is both customary and extremely in your face at the same time. The rolling pianos mixed in with the heavy bass kicks and clever and imaginative programming put this Canadian at the top of his class.

I Am Robot and Proud
Another native to Toronto, programmer Shaw-Han Liem has been more successful in Japan than he has in Canada. With over four near-perfect albums out since 2001 Liem has already proved himself as a master musician. His skills in creating rolling soundscapes powered by pop based IDM give the listener a euphoric sensation, yet still retain an extensive level of complexity and originality.

These are merely three prominent examples of hidden gems in Canadian culture. My advice to you: get out your shovel and start digging for more.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tracklist for Tuesday March 3, 2009

The Keiross Theory - Transatlantic
Moderat - Rusty Nails
Woven - Beautiful
Stars - Set Yourself on Fire (Montag Remix)
Yuksek - Extraball
The Notwist - Pilot
Four Tet - And Then Patterns
Massive Attack - Butterfly Caught
Fuck Buttons - Bright Tomorrow
Crystal Castles - Untrust Us
Amon Tobin - The Killer's Vanilla
Telefon Tel Aviv - I Lied
Modeselektor - Godspeed
Faunts - Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.
I Am Robot And Proud - Something to Write Home About
Caribou - Lord Leopard
Tycho - Systems