Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Let RÜFÜS DU SOL whisk you away into summertime

April 25, 2016

RUFUS

RÜFÜS DU SOL, the Aussie nu-disco group that’s been showing up on major festival lineups this year, has good reason to be blowing up the way they have. Their latest album, Bloom, is electronica with an actual pulse; it combines catchy synth with heartfelt mood, so listeners receive the total package, a fire and ice combo. I don’t think the overall theme of the album is as important as the impressive fact that every. single. track. can stand strong on its own.

“Brighter” starts off with the recording of a rainstorm, dreamy vocals, slightly depressing lyrics, and musical-esque fingersnaps. The immediate mood is soaking wet, like the song weighs an extra few pounds. But the vibe dries itself off and sheds the excess weight via an infectious tropical house beat spritzed with retro-sounding laser zapping.

This sunny vibe toasts the rest of the record. It sways right into “Like An Animal,” which has more a house-y beat–an occurrence that comes in waves throughout the album. The bass is heavy and emotive, matching the message of the song: “Like an animal, I’ve still got love for you/And I’m coming, I’m coming home for you.” Other tracks that exhibit similar club banger qualities include my personal favorite, “You Were Right,” which carries with it sultry synth and an overall sexy, pleading, retro vibe. And though “Tell Me” is ready for summer radio play, I can see many a remix heading its way.

Airy tracks on the record include the popular, melancholic “Say A Prayer For Me” and “Hypnotised,” which has gorgeous female vocals, sleigh bells, and more pensive instrumentation. This one gives us a nice rip tide effect below the rest of the very build-climax-crash waviness throughout the rest of the record.

Another cut that caused a repeat play was “Be With You,” which starts with a choir-like echo that almost gives it a hip-hop vibe at first. The vocals are warm and groovy. The song is like one giant, sonic kaleidoscope. With recordings of people partying in the background, this is the track that everyone will get down to.

Bloom makes a graceful exit with “Innerbloom,” a heroic nine-minute track that feels more like a nine-minute meditation session in the middle of a drunken night; it’s happy, warm, and peaceful. With each song worthy of praise, this isn’t necessarily about an overall message; it’s like RUFUS’s mindset was, “Let’s make each track a fucking hit,” aka, the perfect electronic album to whisk you away into summertime.–Rachel Haney

February Electronic Singles: Mi Amore

February 16, 2016

1. “Nu Erotic Ghost” – Stray Echo. Swinging sweetly high, then dipping into pools of sticky low, “Nu Erotic Ghost” is a bedroom track bound to set your Valentine’s night aflame in the most soulful way possible.

2. “Say A Prayer For Me” – RÜFÜS DU SOL. This reminds me of a track that would be played during a Bora Bora beach DJ set in Ibiza. With easygoing, chill-step soundscapes and relaxing vocals that simultaneously pump euphoria into the air, “Say A Prayer For Me” has positive vibes riding in each note.

3. “Perfect Ten” – NEWTIMERS. A minimal, seductive R&B/pop combo brought to you by a sizzling Swedish duo. With purposeful percussion and smooth vocals that take their time, NEWTIMERS spaces out each lovely element in this track so that listeners can appreciate every. single. detail.

4. “Midnight” – Lane 8. The next time you’re driving and feel the need to enter a trance of melody, calm, and pure spellbound stupification, pick this ambient electronic jam as your soundtrack. Hit play just as you’re rounding the corner and have a view of mountains, the ocean, or any vastness.

5. “Modern World” – Future Elevators. Whirling, trippy instrumentation and hollow vocals echoing fantasies of living in a modern world, this sexy track is distant, beautiful, at times sad, but mostly sounds like it was recorded in another galaxy.

6. “Needs ft. Andrew Ashong” – Submotion Orchestra. I always appreciate a song that is comfortable with its pacing and “Needs” is just that; it blossoms as you listen, from meditative guitar lines and stunning electronica into jazzy, festive piano and horn sections.

7. “Burn” – James Supercave. Walking a sharp line of psych pop and unmistakable groove, James Supercave has meticulously picked the ripest fruit from each genre, with Passion Pit-esque vocals, Cake funkiness, and a clean, light buzz.

8. “Harmony” – Joel Wells. Combining dizzying, 120-proof dancefloor rhythm with anise-flavored synth, “Harmony” is absinthe in song form.

9. “The Best You Ever Had (feat. Gorilla Zoe)” – Teddybears Rock. With jumpy rhythm, scattering synth, and bits of trap-tinged vocals, “The Best You Ever Had” is what I imagine LMFAO tried to go for.

10. “Run Like Hell” – Alex Bent + the Emptiness. Too spaced out to be a mash-up, but daring enough to combine Wu-Tang and Nine Inch Nails in a single track, “Run Like Hell” is dark, different, and captivating.  

11. “Ratnapur” – At The Psychedelic Circus. “Ratnapur” sounds like the background music at an ayahuasca brewing ceremony.

12. “14” – Kilmanjaro. “14” flashes, shines, and sparkles like an astral lighthouse on a dark waterfront, if the lighthouse beamed streams of cobalt, lime-green, and purple; a lightshow on the ocean.

13. “Rayon” – Letherette. Crisp, chilled, classic house track that will hopefully be lobby music come 2020.

14. “Phone” – Tom Low. Fresh and bright, “Phone” merges modern-day electronic with vocals that sound like the Beatles are making an appearance on this Liverpool native’s title cut.

15. “Reminder” – Moderat. From Moderat’s upcoming EP Reminder, this title track is known to cause lucid dreaming, mysterious fires, sudden time lapses, and severe goosebumps. Proceed with caution.

16. “Maquinaria del Tiempo” – Whitney Winston. Labeled as LatinTronic, this track is experimental, ambient, and has enough Spanish vocals that “Maquinaria del Tiempo” is an example of how electronic can be manipulated and formed to meet any culture’s profile.

17. “Matadora” – Sofi Tukker. Tukker pushes the boundaries of electronic like she’s the Hierophant of the whole genre, slipping us tracks of pure mystic gold and letting her wise artistry show the world how magical electronic can be. Now that I know “LatinTronic” is a thing, we need that label slapped all over this hot, steaming, brimming-with-life track.

18. “New” – Fontine. “New” moves like thick sludge, wrapping itself around your waistline and steering you to dance. It is intense and heavy, an unstoppable dance pop force you’re hypnotized to give into. —Rachel Haney

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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