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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. Back at it again with the latest edition of our series, Feedback Friday. This week, our group of Blisspop contributors includes: Alex Rubenstein, Patrick Blinkhorn, Michael Khalifeh Connor McInerny, and Justin Barini-Rivers. This week’s music includes tracks by SOPHIE, Justice, Tyler the Creator, Golden Features, and Looky Looky. Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

SOPHIE – “Whole New World/Pretend World”

Alex Rubenstein - Full disclosure here: I would probably give a YouTube rip of a Soundcloud rip of SOPHIE making smoothies in a blender at least an 8.5/10, so naturally “Whole New World/Pretend World” is going to receive high marks from me. Right out of the gate, she comes charging at the listener with an apocalyptic aural assault, promising a reprieve somewhere on the horizon in the form of a “whole new world.” This track is an exercise in sonic fortitude as it tests the listener’s patience over the course of its nine-minute runtime. The cacophonous synth work and breakneck drums work together to produce a whirlwind effect. That is, of course, if that whirlwind was whipping around hunks of metal and electricity. If you haven’t heard Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides yet, do yourself a favor and buy it now. SOPHIE is truly a master of her craft, producing heartfelt and electrifying bangers that are equally capable of cascading tears down your cheek one minute and breaking your neck the next from their purely kinetic energy.(9.5/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn - Oh my, this track is a proper bludgeoning of the eardrums. Would enjoying this track make me a musical masochist? Because I do like “Whole New World/Pretend World.” There are some spectacular sounds in here that I really appreciate, both on a primal and higher level. I couldn’t listen to this all day, but I’ll relish this aural beating in small doses. (9/10)

Michael Khalifeh - The runtime of this song makes me very angry, there’s just no good reason that it should be 9 minutes long. I get the idea and feel of it being the outro to the album, but what bothers me most is that the initial track leading into it “Whole New World” didn’t even feel fully developed; it just sort of faded out into background noises of Twin Peaks: The Return. All that aside, there was a ton of great ideas in this effort, mainly in the begging: the aggression and emotions behind the song were so tangible that at times, the song itself seemed alive. The first 4 minutes honestly sound like the soundtrack for a Westworld Host having a panic attack. Unfortunately, while it is an interesting listen, there just isn’t enough there for me to want to ever come back to this again. (4/10)

Connor McInerney - What right does SOPHIE have, dropping dystopian pop music that rattles the teeth out of my brain while I’m out buying groceries? This track, like the rest of her recent full length effort Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, charts an uncompromisingly aggressive experimental pop vision through her selection of tactile, at times uncomfortable samples – soundscapes that make the skin crawl while moving your feet. ‘World’ a confrontational, wild ride from start to finish. (9/10.)

Justin Barini-Rivers - The all powerful SOPHIE has graced us with some serious heat. This is the Sophie I know and love. These productions continue to blow me away. The level and thought behind the sound design is magical. Only Arca can give me what these songs are able to accomplish. The ending leaves you feeling raw it’s a trip over nine minutes. I am always astonished and I will listen to Sophie until the world ends. (6/10)


Looky Looky – “You Don’t Say”


Alex Rubenstein - I had high hopes for this track. After knowing how much my good buddy, Uncle Patrick, digs these guys I was expected to be really floored by this track. Unfortunately, it seems to just meander around the same high-pitched synth loop for the entire length of the track, avoiding any sort of interesting progression or surprises hidden within. It is not a bad song, per se, just not something that was able to hold my interest. (4/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn - When I received an email from Bandcamp that Looky Looky had a new release, saying that I was excited is an understatement — I was ecstatic. Seeing Looky Looky play Club Toilet in May of 2017 at Movement was the musical highlight of last year for me. When I got back home from Movement, I had Part Flamingo album on repeat for weeks and tracks from that album are still in my DJ set rotation.

All that said, Hemlock Hello didn’t move me as much as Part Flamingo did. The release definitely is more esoteric and has a trippier vibe that Part Flamingo. “You Don’t Say” is my favorite track off Hemlock Hello, mainly because of that coy melodic motif that Looky Looky teases you with. I tried playing “You Don’t Say” out during a gig I had the Friday after it was released. The dancers kind of bobbed their heads, but they didn’t go as crazy as they do for the Looky Looky tracks I play off of Part Flamingo; and that’s fine that “You Don’t Say” didn’t make people dance — there’s more to music than serving dancers. While I enjoyed and appreciate Hello Hemlock and the “You Don’t Say” track off of it, it left me in my seat bobbing my head while I wish it could drive me to dance as much as Part Flamingo did. (7/10)

Michael Khalifeh - I don’t have much to say about this one, it just really wasn’t my thing. This song starts in one place and really doesn’t venture much further, it just kind of walks in circles on a loop. There may be some salvaging for this with some vocal support but I just don’t see it. (2/10)

Connor McInerney - Damn this song made me roll up my blazer Don Johnson-style, but I had to pull over my White Ferrari to do it. A lot of TLC applied to these synths and this beat undoubtedly slaps, but without variation it kind of feels like a nothingburger. Still, it’s a vibe. (6.5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - Looky Looky is back with a jam. We all know disco vibes are scientifically proven to create a care free environment and this is no exception. The track is a gem of 80’s disco lore. I feel like I should be riding in a ship with Flash Gordon. Throwback jams from the future are the best. This track rolls along without any problems give it a rinse maybe even two at your next house party. (8/10)


Justice – D.A.N.C.E. x Fire x Safe and Sound


Alex Rubenstein - Man……Why Justice? Why??? This is a new low for Justice who have this magical ability to somehow get worse with every subsequent release after †. The first thing that stood out to me is the awful sound quality of this “mashup.” I understand that there is a lo-fi movement going on in electronic music, but I am pretty sure this is does not qualify under that banner and is simply an example of piss-poor mastering. The individual tracks that make up this mashup are undeniably good (well…mainly D.A.N.C.E.), but when put together they seem to lose the qualities that made them great in the first place and instead. (1/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn - Oooh, that D.A.N.C.E. vocal hook brings back the memories. But I feel cheated— they took that vocal hook I love, teased me, and tried to trick me into liking this abomination. Justice, I sincerely hope you haven’t ruined D.A.N.C.E. for me — I used to watch that music video for hours on end in my high school’s computer lab, but you’ve completely corrupted those once-fond memories. Seriously Justice, what the fuck were you thinking or trying to accomplish with those cheesy EDM builds up to 2:36 and 4:23? And what’s up with that corny outro chord progression ending with a cadence/resolution? Stop trying at music Justice, you can’t.

In a time where there seems to be a lack of justice in the global state of affairs, it seems that the musical world has lost their Justice as well. Shame on you, Justice — this track is shit. (0/10)

Michael Khalifeh - Wow. If you can listen to this and not feel a rush you need to go check your pulse. I’ve always felt that Justice was the closest in presence, style, and influence as Daft Punk live of anything in contemporary dance music and this self-mashup is only further evidence. It has the full package of the Alive 2007 feel and is just a super epic 6 minutes that I can only dream of witnessing live. (10/10)

Connor McInerney - Let this track be a parable of the expression, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Justice’s rework of their most recognizable bop is devoid of the carefree, pretty-young-thing energy that made it an infectious bop in the first place. What is this misplaced hardstyle synth, these detractions from the poppier sensibilities that made me want to D.A.N.C.E many years ago? Go back and start over. (4/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - Justice is the true engineer of the electro banger. These songs continue to live on in a million iterations. Rarely are any of them close to the original. Except when Justice is involved. This is a journey of a track in the best way. Accept to be hit hard and never know when it’s coming. This song continues to be a timeless classic. (9/10)


Tyler, The Creator – “Gelato”


Alex Rubenstein - Fresh off the release of his excellent LP, Flowerboy, Tyler delivers a succinct 2-minute ode to ice cream, cars, and women. Flipping a Jacquees track for his own purposes to grand effect. Keep doing your thang, Tyler!(8.5/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn - I don’t normally listen to music by Tyler, The Creator, but I enjoyed this track. Great backing vocals, good beat and lyrics, and I also really love how the track ends unexpectedly. I’m going to check out more Tyler, The Creator now. (8/10)

Michael Khalifeh - Back in senior year of high school Tyler’s remix of Lykke Li’s “I Follow Rivers” was one of my favorite jams. He really excels when given some solid vocals on the chorus of tracks, and I’m happy he’s still just being creative as fuck remixing songs he likes. I’m a big fan of Tyler’s most recent project Flowerboy and he seems to still be on top of his game lyrically with this. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the chorus itself, which sounded like generic mid-2000s R&B. (7/10)

Connor McInerney - “Who’s Oliver? Who Elio?” This track makes me wanna eat peach ice cream and have an incredibly painful summer romance (much like Mr. Creator’s most recent LP Flower Boy). I need an old school R&B summer ASAP. (8.5/10) 

Justin Barini-Rivers - I have never really been a huge fan of Tyler. This song changed my mind. Tyler is flexing his skills on a more sexy vibe than expected. The song itself is produced well and with several vocalists the stage is really set for Tyler to shine. The movement and bounce of the track has me expecting to hear it out more often. Although it has changed my mind Tyler isn’t changing the game with this one. Somebody is looking for a single for the summer. (5/10)


Golden Features – “Worship”



Alex Rubenstein - Meh. 2EDM4me. I’m not sure what situation this would work in, but It’s not one I want to find myself in.(1/10)

Patrick Blinkhorn - I’m not into the vocal style or processing in here. The track is well produced, but I’m not into the production style either, especially not the EDM-builds and drops. I’m awarding 2 points for a good understanding of your DAW. (2/10)

Michael Khalifeh - Hey, this is dope! Love the mix of electro and deep house sounds, alongside some dark vocals to keep a late night vibe about the track. While this artistic influences on this track are clear, the way they are designed to compliment each other comes across totally fresh. Also very pleased that the lyrics delivered substance as they could have easily been super cheesy. (9/10)

Connor McInerney - If “GELATO” is my daytime summer vibe, I definitely want “Worship” to be my darkest nights. Golden Features’ ability to shift between an cool, driving percussive verse and a bright, explosive chorus, all while maintaining atmospheric synths and non-cheesy pitched down vocals is to be lauded for both its production and execution. If anything this track’s sole fault is how its left me wanting more, as I could easily listen to an eight or ten minute recut of this jam. (7/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - Tom Stell has really flexed his production since dropping his self titled EP. Releasing an album in July this is the second single off of the album. Beyond the haunting and aggressive sound design there is also a beauty to his music. The class of his productions continue to stand out in a sea of music that has mostly given up on the album format. This track reminds me of why I loved the first EP. Powerfully haunting vocal hooks matched with some top notch fm synthesis. I expect the album to bring yet another audience to Golden Features as the distribution is going to be absurd. (10/10)


The Winners and Losers:

SOPHIE – “Whole New World/Pretend World” – 7.5/10

Tyler, The Creator – “Gelato” – 7.4/10

Golden Features – “Worship” – 5.8/10

Looky Looky – “You Don’t Say” – 5.5/10

Justice – D.A.N.C.E. x Fire x Safe and Sound – 4.8/10