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Lane 8’s Rise: Masterful control of deep house moods

July 2, 2015

Lane 8

Rise, from the San Francisco-based producer Lane 8, is a sleek, dreamy gem of a house record. From the emotion-packed pacing to several male and female vocalists to the thought-out track lengths, Lane 8 has taken into consideration every aspect of the listening experience.

The first track, “Loving You,” is a slow-building standout with dazzling, commanding cooing from vocalist Lulu James.  “Are we gonna be here forever/Wrapped up, captivated,” she sings, comparing love to suspension and treading on water as a dance-inducing techno beat escalates. “I’m a fool for love. I’m a fool for loving you,” James confidently proclaims like a man-eating ‘80s R&B/pop singer, launching an uplifting vibe that pulses throughout the album.

“Diamonds” seduces with hollow percussion that drips like wooden rain, contrasting beautifully with the breathy vocals by duo Solomon Grey. The pair is also featured on “Hot As You Want,” where jabbing synth drops in and out between their misty vocals. The lovingly honest lyrics, “You’re all I need, you’re all I need/You’re all I see, you’re all I see,” compliment the driving nature of the track.

Lane 8 incorporates just as many melodic elements as his heavy tonality. “Klara” uses the same dark, steady rhythm and metallic percussion that you’d hear playing in a Roman aperitivo bar. “Cosi” distorts like a VHS tape being rewound, breaking and pausing only to stir back up again. “Sunlight” and “Rise” are other melodic tracks, the title track blending both dreamy vocals and computer synth for an enchanting, upbeat club quality.

On “Ghost,” a galloping beat canters underneath slow piano; emotional vocals from Patrick Baker give it an Odesza feel at first. It ends up weighing in on the blissful side of deep house though, emitting such happy plucks that it could easily go tropical. “All I want is just to feel you/Everything just looks so see-through,” Baker sings like a ballad on this shorter, feel-good track.

“Undercover” also has that versatility to it. Matthew Dear’s raspy vocals, which balance the track’s high-pitched pop synth and progressive house builds, make this a throw-on-repeat song. Dear’s breathtaking vocal presence on “Undercover” shines at a perfect time on the album, reminding you that there’s a calculated journey Rise is taking you on. If a pan flute or sax was added, this could be a tropical house track ready to lick salt and squeeze limes.

The best way to describe Rise is versatile, like the multi-purpose cleaner of house records, except a lot sexier than that. Lane 8 hits on many varying aspects of deep house, all while staying loyal to his clean, heavy style and proving, once again, that the man masters mood. —Rachel Haney

June Video Playlist

July 1, 2015

I don’t usually do this, but I have so many videos to cover this month (a good problem to have!) that I’ve listed them like I would MP3s. Instead of commenting thoroughly on them, I’ve posted the main takeaway from each video as a description. Enjoy!

1. “Modern Man” – Brian Lopez. Intergenerational friendships are cool.

2. “Ghost (feat. Patrick Baker)” – Lane 8. Love triangles affect even biker clubs.

3. “Something Good” – Dead Sara. If the dancing, the camerawork, and the song all evoke the same era, it’s gonna be a fun video.

4. “Cops Don’t Care, pt II” – Fred Thomas. Concepts as simple as “hey, pour tons of sprinkles on me in slow-motion” can work in the right conditions.

5. “Magnifying Glass” – Girlpool. Sometimes the right conditions for a simple concept is a 36-second song.

6. “Hold Up For” – The Silver Lake Chorus. There are still clever concepts that keep me watching a video to find out what’s going on.

7. “Frayed” – Waterstrider. You can make a rad dance video out of 40,000 still images stitched together.

8. “Underwood Milk” – Kieran Leonard. Self-aware, self-deprecating humor is still very funny.

9. “Secret Friend” – Grounders. You can make a trippy, abstract video really interesting (I’m not sure what the formula is, but they make it work here).

10. “Broken Bones” – Daycare for Jedi. Somewhere in my heart, there’s an small but undying flame for the exaggerated enthusiasm and adrenalized pogoing of the pop-punk performance video.

11. “Pink Blossoms” – Connecting Stars. I am a sucker for a sad, romantic song and video.

12. “Dancing Star” – Lilies on Mars. Digital modeling is way cool.

13. “Moony Eyed Walrus” – Cayucas. It is difficult to surf in a redwood forest.

Bits and Bobs: Electro

May 9, 2015

Bits and Bobs: Electro

1. “Too Deep in Love” – Kylie Odetta. Post-modern pop that mashes hip-hop and torch song, electro jam and walking-speed diva pop tune. It’s an infectious blend.

2. “Tide Teeth” – Night Beds. So I didn’t expect Night Beds to go all electro-soul on us, but he’s cranking out the sensuous slow jamz here.

3. “Kindred” – Red Cosmos. Smeary synths, staccato percussion, perky treble melodies and dour vocals create a unique space somewhere between dream-pop and downtempo psych-rock.

4. “Khazé” – Mune. That moment where post-punk was turning into new wave (which would soon birth synth-pop) was a hazy phaze where energy and lackadaisical dreaming seemed to coexist. Mune gets that.

5. “Aftergold” – Big Wild. Electro doesn’t always have to feature big, walloping synths: “Aftergold” relies on strings, plunky marimba, uncomplicated beats, and burbling vocals to create an energizing, impressive track.

6. “ Ghost ft. Patrick Baker” – Lane 8. Artsy electro drawing off trance and funk instead of dubstep is a welcome thing in my book. This tune never has a major drop, and that’s 100% cool with me.

7. “Away – Reptile Youth. The Flaming Lips dabble in electronic music, but Reptile Youth puts the creaky, eccentric, cosmic vibes that the lips peddle firmly into the electro milieu. The vocals of the two outfits are particularly similar.

8. “Amalie” – Colornoise. This track has the sort of mystic, atmospheric vibes that Fleetwood Mac was able to conjure up, only with a bit more ominous, gritty vibe on one end and sweeter vocals on the other.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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