In The Mix: New Summer Hits And A Festival Showcasing Emerging DJs
Over the past few weeks there has been a significant boost in both albums and singles releases across multiple genres. With the vast number of tracks that have dropped since the beginning of the summer it’s hard to weed out the good from the bad. Along with highlighting the summer’s best we travel to Belfast, Ireland for a visual arts festival showcasing emerging electronic music producers.
Single of the Week: As Kanye West dominates the rap charts, artists rush to release tracks to compete with his takeover. One of the hot new trap tracks to bless listener’s ears this summer is “Bigger Than You”. Featuring an incredible trio of 2 Chainz, Drake, and Quavo the Murda Beatz produced track is a classic trap banger. With Quavo on the chorus, the bounciness and spirit of the track are established early. 2 Chainz also impresses on the track with a quick and catchy verse featuring lyrics such as, “Chain so big, should have came with a kick stand/Fuck with me, I got a retainer on a hit man/Barely came up out the mud like quicksand”. Although Drake’s verse is short and sweet, it establishes his dominant presence on the track. The beat is grabbing and bumpy, setting up three top artists to create the summer’s first trap hit.
Music Videos of the Week
The Internet – “Come Over": Los Angeles-based soul group The Internet are set to release their fourth studio album, Hive Mind, in late July. Starting with the release of the albums singles, “Roll (Burbank Funk)” and later “Come Over”, The Internet began teasing the release of their next album. Nearly two weeks after the release of “Come Over”, the group has followed with a music video for the slow and rhythmic ballad. The video shows The Internet’s lead singer, Syd (Sydney Bennett), trying to finesse the girl across the street. All the while the other members of the group play their respective instruments and are even shown rehearsing from their garage. One of the best moments of the video is lead guitarist Steve Lacy’s guitar solo performed in an elegant yellow turtleneck and t-shirt. The video sticks to the group’s 90’s vibe from the way the film is shot to the outfits the group members wear. The video is a perfectly in sync with the track in the way that they are both smooth and relaxing, extremely common in The Internet’s music.
Gorillaz – “Humility”: Twenty years ago, a group called Gorillaz emerged from England. Popular in the genres of alternative rock, trip hop, and electronica, the Gorillaz are still finding new ways to stay relevant in a changing music landscape. The group is set to release their sixth studio album at the end of the month and have already released four singles for the upcoming album. One of those singles is “Humility”, a groovy jam highlighted by rhythmic synths. The track combines the pop and electronic sounds of Gorillaz with elements of jazz coming from guitarist George Benson. As with most Gorillaz music videos, the video for “Humility” features the fictional cartoon characters created to represent the band’s members. The video follows 2-D, a character created and voiced by Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn, roller skating around Venice Beach. The video also shows Jack Black behind the characters with a guitar in hands. As we see shots of the other characters (Noodle, Ace, and Russel) that Gorillaz created as well. Both the track and its video showcase the subtle guitar riffs from Benson as well as the relaxing mood that Albarn’s voice produces.
Pietro Lombardi – “Phänomenal”: Italian-German singer Pierto Lombardi has been on the rise in his home country over the past seven years. In 2011, Lombardi won a German talent show (Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar) and ever since has released a steady stream of albums and singles including a slew of features. Lombardi’s most recent single, “Phänomenal”, is his first track released this year and so far, the only work he’s released in the past year. The video for the track is perfectly fitting for a pop ode. As Lombardi tries to win the heart of a beautiful woman he deems “phenomenal”, we see him go from pool, to beach, to bar showing off both his voice and dance moves. We even see Lombardi don a German World Cup jersey as he plays a game of soccer in the sand. “Phänomenal” has dominated international charts, including the number one position on German charts with its video already earning 15 million views. The video is simple and visually appealing, following a formula that gains pop tracks like “Phänomenal” the popularity Lombardi has seen with his 2018 single. Lombardi even followed the original music video with a video released just in time for the World Cup titled, the "WM" edition.
The AVA Festival and Conference is an annual concert series held in Belfast, Ireland. The festival sheds light on emerging electronic music and digital visual artists from various parts of Ireland and along with other European countries. This year’s festival featured 56 emerging electronic DJs as well as five visual artists.
One of those 56 DJs is Aalice. Aalice (Alice Woods) is a member of emerging electronic dance music group Meat Free. Meat Free is a group out of Manchester focusing their talents on electronic and house music. While Aalice has a smaller following, the AVA Festival is one of the great opportunities for her to boost her notoriety and listeners.
Present in Aalice’s live set at the festival is her clear talent for manipulating samples. We hear her add a variety of different synths, beats, and twists to samples mostly featuring women singing in higher and softer tones. By adding new alterations to several repeated samples, she keeps the crowd not only moving, but actively involved in her set.
As the set progresses, her house influences start to shine. We see her start to play more aggressive beats and lose some of the samples she used earlier in her set. Instead of long periods of sample-based beat drops, she focuses more on the build ups and the intensity of the drops. As she gets towards the end of her almost 40-minute set she combines both aspects of her music, using dance-inspiring samples to build up to crazy house drops.
The AVA Festival is the perfect amount of exposure that both Aalice and Meat Free are looking for. It not only introduces them to other emerging artists within the same genres, but allows them to expose their production talents on a grand stage. The festival not only familiarizes those in parts of Western Europe to Aalice’s talents, but also exposes her to a global audience of those that watch her set. As artists crave larger audiences through streaming sites like Soundcloud, AVA is a live festival allowing artists like Aalice the unique opportunity to play their music for a live audience. With her recent live set and team-up with the Boiler Room, Aalice is now not only recognized by her close followers, but the rest of the electronic and house music communities as well.