Hi everybody. My name is Michael and I’m here to present my column that will appear on this site once a week, from now on, forever probably. Its sole purpose is to offer up my take on the best five tracks from the week that was. Simple as that. And before you get a chance to ask yourself:
yes, the column is titled FDM because today’s day of the week is Friday and it’s meant to be a horrible, horrible pun on the term EDM.
But lest you’ve already began convulsing via cringe, I’d like to assure you that it will not focus on EDM as it’s come to be known. In fact, while nearly all of my selections will be ‘electronic,’ most won’t be ‘dance music’ at all. (I’d actually advise you to take a second to screen the included selections before playing them out at a party this weekend, unless you want your friends to think you’re some sort of gloomy, weirdo prick like myself.)
What I’ll be sharing are my selections from the realms of techno, trance, rap, house, trap, glitch, footwork, noise, rave, r’n’b, d’n’b, jungle, dubstep, post-dubstep, shoegaze, a slathering of made-up combinations using the aforementioned, and maybe even some stuff that actually (*gasp*) defies a genre tag altogether. Sometimes it’ll be in the form of a SoundCloud link. Other times a YouTube rip courtesy of an oily internet pirate. Perhaps a music video because, despite what you may have been led to believe, they still can (and often do) possess the ability to make a song better. Hell, if I’m feeling saucy, I may even throw a mix into, erm, the mix.
If you want to pitch me some stuff, feel free. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. (Just try to make it a least somewhat personalized. If you hit me with some automated PR bullshit, it’s insta-entering the recycle bin.) And so, without further adieu, five selections from the week that was, starring Pusha T, Dirty Beaches, and Janet Jackson’s wooden teeth.
Pusha T, “Numbers On The Boards”
Pusha T has been in this position before. As one-half of the Clipse, one-fourth of the Re-Up Gang, he’s seemingly spent most of his life in limbo. Of course there was the much publicized spat with Jive leading up to Clipse’s 2006 classic, Hell Hath No Fury, in which the finished product sat on the shelf for years while the label attempted to make a single stick on the radio. Unfortunately, none of the suits were able to ascertain the fact that Clipse don’t do radio songs, and it culminated with an unforgettably scathing burn on “Mr. Me Too”: “These are the days of our lives and I’m sorry to the fans, but the crackers weren’t playin’ fair at Jive.” Now working by his lonesome and signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music, Pusha once again finds himself searching out something that’ll resonate with the navel-gazing masses before he’s allowed to drop his solo debut. “Numbers On The Boards” isn’t the answer, but my god, is it fucking lethal. Mr. West has crafted a beat that sounds like a marble falling down a drainpipe from the early ’70s and Push is as scornful as ever, justly comparing himself to ‘88 Jordan. And hey, who knows, maybe the Hov drop will get it some spins on Jam’n 94.5.
Janet Jackson, “Someone To Call My Lover” (Giraffage Remix)
If there was a Mount Rushmore for “R&B starlets repurposed for the sake of electronic remixes over the past five years,” it’d likely consist of: Whitney, Cassie, Ciara, and Janet, the veritable George Washington in this sloppily conceived scenario. All serve their purpose in the context, but Ms. Jackson especially so, thanks to the breathy, sultry nature of her original offerings. San Francisco’s Giraffage has realized as much, working the singer’s 2001 cluttered quest for an ideal lifemate into something far sexier and more sure-handed. I’d actually recommend spending some time searching around Giraffage’s SoundCloud page. I spent 45 minutes on there yesterday and everything I clicked was more delectable than the last. Also, there’s Slow Magic remix on there that’s labeled ‘fuckwave.’ See what I mean? Fun with genre names!
Blanc 1, “It’s All Over”
John Talabot is well liked. If you’ve been tracing his productions over the past couple years, you’re likely quite fond of the man yourself. From albums to remixes to DJ sets, he’s justly won over anyone willing to pay attention. His most recent venture really speaks volumes to his affability though. Hivern — his record label which has seen releases from the likes of Teengirl Fantasy, New Jackson, Pional, and Talabot himself — is set to release a string of single-sided white-labeled 12”s each featuring a track from someone who has seen release on the label, except this time uncredited. He’s calling the series Blanc. I don’t know about you guys, but for me to just hand over a track without getting production credit? Especially a track as cracking as “It’s All Over”? I guess if he had a gun to my head or if he was a really stand-up bro, of which the latter seems to be the case for Talabot. Loose industrial blasts lead us into some Prince-like crowing to create an odd aura of tension. It’s dread-inducing, but you could still imagine it planted in the middle of one of his sun-soaked sets. (Also, after about 35 listens, I noticed an odd resemblance to Roy Davis Jr.’s “Gabriel,” which I’m not mad about.)
Octo Octa, “Work Me”
New Hampshire: Not exactly an electronic music hotbed. Yet, that’s where Octo Octa grew up (before relocating to Brooklyn, naturally). This has always amazed me for some reason. It’s likely because, in my thick-skulled outlook, I’ve always associated the state’s music scene with the hair metal survivalists who wash up on the shores of Hampton Beach every summer. Not a brilliant producer releasing on one of the standout labels of the moment. Amongst the sturdy cast of dance music outsiders that call 100% Silk home, Octo Octa has always strayed a bit closer to traditional house tropes, as is the case with “Work Me,” the first track from a forthcoming double 12”. Blinding synth strokes set the tone before eventually being swallowed by a walls-caving-in, we’re-all-gonna-die apocalyptic kick. You suspect it to lumber along at this cavernous clip, but then he hits us with some double time handclaps before reintroducing the end-of-the-world. Nothing about “Work Me” resembles New Hampshire.
Dirty Beaches, “Landscapes In The Mist”
Alex Zhang Hungtai is as divisive as it gets and it’s not difficult to see why. Badlands, his 2011 breakthrough LP as Dirty Beaches, sounds like it was recorded inside an old-timey railroad car with his voice acting as the ghost of a dead hobo, forever doomed to haunt its innards. The whole thing would be creepy and off-putting if not for the fact that… ah, who am I kidding? It’s all very creepy and off-putting and that’s probably the reason I love him. “Landscapes In The Mist” is from his forthcoming record Drifters, and while it doesn’t feature Hungtai’s vocals, a submerged saxophone handles the cawing. A commenter on SoundCloud likened it to David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and while I initially dismissed it as sarcasm, I’ve now been stuck thinking of the comparison for the past 25 minutes.