Feedback Friday Week 7

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 seventh installment of our new series, Feedback Friday. Our next batch of  party people / music lovers / Blisspop contributors includes: Max Hirsch, Alex Rubenstein, Justin Barini-Rivers, and the Feedback Friday debut of DJ/Owner of U Street Music Hall/Blisspop Founder – Will Eastman. This week’s music includes tracks by Vhyce, Hodge & Ishan Sound, Rawle Night Long, and Kölsch. Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.


Vhyce – “Say We Will” Feat. Wolfgang Valbrun


Max Hirsch - I cannot say that I identify with this sound. There is way too much going on in here for me to really enjoy it, but it also might just be the poor mix quality combined with years of damage to my hearing. When I try to focus on a couple elements, I can hear some disco elements that I like such as the chord stabs and the soulful vocal sample. Just too messy for me and doesn’t come to a resolving climax. (5/10)

Alex Rubenstein - The great thing about this series is that I am continually getting exposed to music that I otherwise would have never heard. This week’s offering from Vhyce is a prime example of that. “Say We Will” straddles the line between nu-disco and house and bringing the best of both worlds along with it. The track starts off with a mellow, patient build before it starts to let loose around the 1:30 mark. I wasn’t sure where Wolfgang would come in, until I was met with the combination of the bass line really exploding and his soulful vocal contribution about halfway through. That immediate introduction was very alluring, but as the track continued I became less and less impressed with the vocal performance. It’s not bad, per se, it just feels as if there isn’t a true emotional resonance happening there. This will certainly get people’s feet moving on the dance floor, but ultimately, I couldn’t form a real connection with this track or let myself get lost in it. (6/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – This is a nice change from the usual in french touch. These drums hold the groove and continue to add running fills and breaks leaving you wanting more. This combined with the impressive instrumentation across the length creates for quite a journey. Once the vocals enter the arrangement, the song continues to sail on moving through lovely waves of disco vibes. (9/10)

Will Eastman - This one from Belgian producer, Vhyce, starts off slow but throws a nice curve ball at around the 2:00 mark when it busts into full on French Touch. But vocalist Wolfgang Valbrun’s soulful, R&B vocals are what really keep this one solid. I’d drop this one in a set. (7/10)


Hodge & Ishan Sound – “C5″


Max Hirsch - Yes – definitely yes. My anxiety and fear are thrown in my own face as this song forces me to face my demons in a dark, driven manner. I absolutely love the simplicity in this track, and the sound design just takes it to another level – the kick is fucking flawless and booming while completely avoiding bleeding or crowding the spectrum. That top end sample echoes how I feel inside often, and it really doesn’t get better when music hits the target and expresses emotion flawlessly. (10/10)

Alex Rubenstein - On paper, this has my name all over it. Ishan Sound & Hodge together for a dubbed out 12” on Tectonic?? Sign me up! After getting a chance to listen to “C5” it feels all too familiar. There is a plucky, sparse melody that is cold as ice coupled with your standard hi-hat fills to start things off. It doesn’t take long before we get massive sub bass dropped in like a slab of granite keeping to a steady 130 bpm. Don’t get me wrong, I love meditating on bass weight as much as the next head, but I can’t find anything here to separate this from thousands of other dubstep cuts released over the past 15 years. I don’t think this one is getting rewinds. (4/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - I love the movement this track has while still staying simple and smooth. It opens into an ethereal realm with a big arpeggio line. You are being guided by the arp. Then the drums eventually come into the picture. The hi hats roll thru with another arp to add further texture to this wall of sound. The arrangement changes allow for the elements of the track to mimic and play on each other. (6/10)

Will Eastman – Ok, now you have my attention. Fuzzed out vocals, string flourishes over a heaaaaavy, dubbed out bass track that could find its way equally into a Ben UFO set or an old-school Dubstep set. Not too creepy or agro, and just aloof enough for a 420 chill out sesh on the sofa. An interesting nugget here and these young Bristol producers are worth keeping an eye on! (8/10)


Rawle Night Long & 35mm – “Tembo”


Max Hirsch - Full disclosure – I, along with many of us here at Blisspop, know the producer of this track personally. While he does not deserve to escape my cynical wrath of scathingly unprofessional music reviews, I honestly couldn’t find anything I didn’t like in this one. It doesn’t quite excite me, but it’s a nice groove to get through the day, and tribal house is kinda cool I guess. (7.5/10)

Alex Rubenstein - Right away I am locked in thanks to some really raw and quirky sounding afrobeat-indebted drum patterns. Seriously, the percussion in this track is top-fucking-notch. I am out of my chair and dancing around my room, can I just submit a video of that instead of writing any more? In all seriousness, the good people at Chub Rub (based in D.C.,) have just put out CHUB001, CHUB RUB: Fancy Sauce Vol.1, which is where this barn burner comes to us from. The wonderfully placed chant-like vocal samples and little electronic flourishes bring a lot of life to “Tembo.” Big Up Rawle Night Long, 35mm, and D.C.! (9/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - I am not only familiar with this track, but I have had it looped on every sound system I own. Rawle and 35mm have created one of the most unique and dance ready tracks of the year. This roller of a house tune somehow manages to keep its momentum throughout. Pushing a wide array of drums and vocal chops, this house tune is sure to catch your ears when you are at a party. (8/10)

Will Eastman - Stand out track here from DC’s Rawle and fellow SiriusXM employee Peter Markoski (aka 35mm) on a compilation of solid tracks all around from new DC label Chub Rub (Transparency: Chub Rub is run by former Blisspop writer and Managing Editor, Zach Eser). This track is for all Dirtybird fans. Barclay, have a listen… Tis solid af. Giving this an 8.5/10 because the bass is crushing my system right now, those tripped out vocals, and this track is straight fire. (8.5/10)



Kölsch – “Left Eye Left (Original Mix)”


Max Hirsch - Has there ever been a more consistently extraordinary electronic music creator than Kölsch? Every time I listen to a new release from the Danish composer and producer, it feels like his grip on the listeners’ emotions tightens. Kölsch provides little microcosms that show us alternate sides of our reality, using seemingly insignificant and abstract sounds layer together to paint vivid soundscapes in each of his works of art. The precision with which his sound design conveys intangible concepts is truly unparalleled. Damn I need to go cry a little before I see him at Coachella on Sunday. [10/10]

Alex Rubenstein - I’ll give it to Kölsch, he certainly has a great ear for melodies. “Left Eye Left” is a pretty song.  It lulls you into a trance like a siren ensnares passing sailors. The way it can do this is by not changing up much through its 5-minute runtime. While that may be this track’s strength to some, it’s the biggest weakness for me. It feels a bit one-dimensional because of it. While I respect the production here, I can safely say this will not be getting any repeat listens from me. (3/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - Kölsch starts so strong with this track it’s hard to tell how long you have been listening. You immediately lose yourself. There is a demanding kick pushing around immersive synths, all while these lovely vocals pass through. The snare and hi hats pull you out of this and really lay a groove down that will having you swaying to the beat with a smile on your face. This track is a testament to the prestige of Kölsch. The continued automation of the synths and vocals creates an almost magical feeling as the synths rise and move. (8/10)

Will Eastman -  Kölsch is a sage music producer. His work is solidly in the realm of songwriting craft and his productions seem to swerve in all the right, emotional and unexpected ways. Therefore, one expects a lot from an artist of his caliber. He delivers an epically beautiful piece here. This is pure magical power and emotion only someone who’s lived, loved, and hurt a bit can deliver. Almost sounds like this could’ve been sitting in Prince’s studio as an unfinished track. All it’s missing is “I never meant to cause you any sorrow. I never meant to cause you any pain.” (9/10)



The Winners and Losers

Rawle Night Long & 35mm – “Tembo” – 8.25/10

Kölsch – “Left Eye Left (Original Mix)” – 7.5/10

Hodge & Ishan Sound – “C5” – 7/10

Vhyce – “Say We Will” Feat. Wolfgang Valbrun – 6.75/10