Sixth Feedback Friday Image

Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday

Here at Blisspop, we aim to show our audience who’s making their mark upon electronic music culture today. We sort through the good and the bad, bringing you the latest sounds. This brings us to the sixth installment of our new series, Feedback Friday. Our next batch of beat aficionados / actual human beings / Blisspop contributors includes: Aeron Premo, Patrick Blinkhorn, Jonathan Sherman, Justin Barini-Rivers, and our second guest reviewer – Saad Ashraf. This week’s music includes tracks by Circuit Work, Yuksek & Bertrand Burgalat, Krystal Klear, Snacks, and Leon Bridges. Check it out below and send us your suggestions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Circuit Work – “Volage”

Saad Ashraf – Four nu-disco tracks for this week? A little too much for my platter but nevertheless, yep, this definitely has a groove to it. Fans of nu-disco will get a kick out of this track saturated with the summery, synthpop sounds of the 80s. I think there are some elements in this that sound cheap or were not properly mastered/mixed, mostly in the major build-up of the track (save for the last few seconds). It is honestly not for me and I do not think it’s that memorable of a track but I think the main focus of the track definitely hits for those who love the sound. (5.5/10)

Aeron Premo – This track from DC producer Circuit Work is top notch from start to finish. I am in love with the Italo-indebted synth line that leads up to the French touch sound of the drop — it reminds me very much of the work produced by Johan Agebjorn (Sally Shapiro). The wintry feel of the synths throughout the track create a beautiful atmosphere and the subtle bassline allows them to have their shining moment. To have a debut release this strong in this day and age is a rare feat. (10/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – DC-based Circuit Work released some serious indie dance heat last week with his Volage EP and the title track from the EP is a winner. The track has a classic sound, the kind that Todd Terje and a handful of other artists can recreate today. Overall the track has an undeniable groove and little room for improvement. Now please excuse me — I have to travel back to 1980s Miami in my DeLorean. (8.5/10)

Jonathan Sherman – I feel like I am traveling back in time to 1980s Berlin when listening to this track. Reflecting on a sound taken straight out of the German Discotheque era, where polyphonic synthesizers and drum machines combined disco beats and techno harmonies to produce bold melodies, this track features an eloquent use of future bass effects that make those melodies stand out. I can’t wait to see what new projects Circuit Work has in store for 2018. (9/10) 

Justin Barini-Rivers – This is fire. I am obsessed with disco and this track sounds like it came from Giorgio Moroder himself. Deep cuts of disco lore. There is nothing about this track that I dislike. I heard it and knew this wasn’t going to be the last time I review Circuit Work. The nostalgia from disco and nu disco is so powerful, but so new. It moves like a Kavinsky soundtrack and still has the club readiness of a track by Lifelike. This track is immaculate. I am in love. It’s obvious Circuit Work has done the research and is ready to show us what can be added. (10/10)

Yuksek & Bertrand Burgalat – “Icare”

Saad Ashraf – Yuksek is a legend in the French touch scene and this track is no exception to the quality presented throughout his catalogue. The track is a proper burning Balearic nu-disco track that sounds fresh but at the same time provides the vision of the 70s that French touch artists just know how to pull out of their sleeves. “Icare” has one of the more memorable melodies out of this week’s selections with its hypnotic groove and vocal melody. (7/10)

Aeron Premo – There is a great deal about this track that I like. The production itself is very strong. The disco strings that kick in close to the one-minute mark provide a classy springtime feel. I am also a big fan of the synth lines, especially the one that comes in around 2:45. The only complaint I have about this track is that it does sound like something he would have released around 2007-2008, which could make listeners forget about “Icare” very quickly. Aside from that, I thought it was a pleasant listen. (7.5/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – There is a gorgeous choice of instrumentals over the course of the track — fine harmonies and compelling melodies across the board. The vocal sounds and the resonant bass lead don’t sit with me 100% for this track, but the rest of the instrumentals more than make up for the bass and vocals to my ears. This is a strong track. (7/10)

Jonathan Sherman – I love the disco vibes from this track. The vocals take you back to the 1970s, and the guitar and organ chords flow very well. I feel what makes this track stand out the most is the balance between complexity and simplicity, where seamless transitions between the instrumentals fade in and out without major tempo changes. The track flows nicely and I look forward to hearing future works from Yuksek and Bertrand Burgalat. (8.5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Disco is the best. This track has a bassline and a synth bass that actually work really well together across the arrangement. The vocals come in enough to push the tempo, but find a way to not feel abrupt when they do. Everything about this track is smooth. The entrances of instruments in the introduction and the vocal lines in this track flow. This is a solid disco tune using everything in its arsenal. Icare is well worth a listen. (7/10)

Krystal Klear – “Neutron Dance”

Saad Ashraf – The NYC producer is back with a bang starting off the year with his Club Studies EP, an excellent tribute to NYC-styled house and techno on DJ Haus’ Unknown To The Unknown label, and now this track is arriving on his upcoming and much anticipated EP. The track, coming up on esteemed nu-disco label Running Back, will be definitely be a treat for disco DJs looking for an anthem as the sun begins to shine on later in the year. The track screams summer in the city vibes and if you are fan of Gerd Janson, who has been repeatedly dropping this in his sets, you do not want to miss this. (8/10)

Aeron Premo – I found the synths and bassline of “Neutron Dance” very effective and faithful to the 1980s production aesthetic, but I found the production itself, particularly the volume levels, to be very overwhelming to the point that I would not consider this track a favorite. But it will not deter me from checking out more of Krystal Klear’s music. There is promise, but with “Neutron Dance,” it wasn’t completely there. (5/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – This is a very fun track. I could see this going over incredibly well at a rave with an audience in their late teens or early 20s. The lead synth sound, percussion, sound fx, resonant Basshunteresque acid bassline, and the choral synth at the end of the track preview are all endearingly tacky, which is what it seems the artist was going for. Besides being a fun track, there isn’t much else for the listener in “Neutron Dance.” (6/10)

Jonathan Sherman – I feel like this track is very difficult to follow and ends prematurely. I appreciate the bright synths and catchy melody in the beginning, but I get thrown off as soon as the track transitions into a new phrase. Furthermore, the tempo changes are very abrupt and don’t naturally resolve as one would anticipate from the phasing at the beginning. When listening to this track, I was pumped for what I hoped it would turn into, but was disappointed in how it resolved. (5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – This is the most playful house track that I have heard in quite some time. I love when you can tell the producer was having fun while making the song. The melody and bassline from the beginning are all about making you smile and dance. This track is all “Pop Dance” vibes. (8/10)

Snacks – “Move Electric”

Saad Ashraf – I wasn’t a big fan of this, it sort of sounds incomplete. Sections drag for a bit, some elements are out of tune, and I honestly expected vocals to kick in a minute in. Actually, it almost sounds a lot like swing house which is not a genre I am very keen to. However, I will say this would not sound out of place in background of your local coffee shop. Skip over this and go check out the clear winner of this EP, “Nobody Else,” instead. (3/10)

Aeron Premo – This track was my first exposure to this New Zealand/German duo and I must say that I am very intrigued and want to hear more. While the melodic arrangement utilizes the same few chords throughout, it is the elements that are added throughout that make this track stand out. The beats are funky, the synths beautifully understated, the atmosphere chilled out. While the beat may be swung, this is not terrible electro swing music — this is a sound that is quite refreshing. (8/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – There are a lot of cool individual elements in this track, but there isn’t anything that particularly resonated with me. Perhaps the notes are swung a bit too aggressively for me. I’d love to see this played live, but I can’t really get into it listening at home without that live performance aspect. (5/10)

Jonathan Sherman – Snacks’ track “Nobody Else” is my favorite track this week. I have a major appreciation for house artists that add R&B, Hip-Hop, Funk, and Soul elements into their music, and this track exemplifies a unique combination of these sounds. Its slow jam vibe is spot on, and truly captures a wide-range of genres that seeks to push the limits of where electronic and house music may go in the future. I was shocked to see that this New Zealand/German duo only has about 1,000 followers on Spotify, but I’m confident they will add many more with their latest EP. (9.5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Snacks built this beautiful track slowly over five minutes. The drums and ethereal synths push around a landscape that is pure magic. I enjoy tracks that morph and move in and out of themselves and this is true with “Move Electric.” The artists find new tones and movements in this track that are there to keep the listener for the long haul. The drums had me from the start— they are powerful and smooth, but still have the swing that propels this track. Once they begin to roll the momentum is unstoppable. This song gives me all the feels and I never want it to stop. (10/10)

Leon Bridges – “Bad Bad News”

Saad Ashraf  – Even this one has the groove of disco, so much of it this week … however, over here we have ourselves an Anderson.Paak type of vibe. A shift in sound for Leon Bridges, whose previous album was home to a vintage soul sound, we see Briges croon over a Kaytranada-esque production lathered with jazz and soul vibrations. And despite this beat, Bridges still hones in on that retro sound that he is known for effectively through the lively elements of the track’s atmosphere. A mix of jazz, R&B, disco, hip-hop, and vintage soul, the track itself is well-produced, catchy, and will have you hitting rewind if you care for any of the genres I listed above. (7.5/10)

Aeron Premo – I was curious to hear what direction Leon would take his sound in for his second album, as I loved “Coming Home.” Once the opening notes of “Bad Bad News” kicked in, any sophomore slump worries were put to rest. With its George Benson-inspired guitar lines, funky drum beat and jazzy bass line, this track could be played in both jazz clubs and dance clubs. I could also see this being added to Gilles Peterson’s next Brownswood Bubblers compilation and listeners falling in love with it. Right now, I want to run out to the nearest dance floor, put this song on the decks, start dancing and never stop. Looking forward to your new album, Leon! (10/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn – “Bad Bad News” has strong songwriting, good lyrics, and great vocals and instrumentals throughout. I can’t say that I listen to Leon Bridges often, but I can see why people do. This checks off every box of being good music, but I’m still not convinced that it is a truly memorable track that will be remembered 10 years from now. That said, I enjoy the listening experience I’m having in this moment with “Bad Bad News” in my headphones. (7.5/10)

Jonathan Sherman – R&B singer Leon Bridges has really come on the scene this year from his collaborations with ODESZA and his work on the soundtrack for the movie Concussion, so as a long-term follower, I am so thrilled to feature his latest release over the weekend, “Bad Bad News.” I have a huge appreciation for popular vocalists that try and add new vibes to jazz tracks, and this song includes so many diverse influences from Miles Davis, George Benson, and St. Germain. I can’t wait to see what Leon Bridges does in 2018. (8/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Leon Bridges is holding on to a bad track. I could casually call this jazz, but I would be selling him short. It has all this motown/soul aesthetic while still being able to hold on to its jazz swing. The vocal is even pulled back enough to push the swing with the drums. Leon Bridges is doing his own thing and you can tell he is having a good time. I just wish the bassline had a little bit more movement as the other elements seem to push around each other. (7/10)

The Winners and Losers

Circuit Work – “Volage” – 8.6/10

Leon Bridges – “Bad Bad News” – 8/10

Yuksek & Bertrand Burgalat – “Icare” – 7.4/10

Snacks – “Move Electric” – 7.1/10

Krystal Klear – “Neutron Dance” – 6.4/10