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Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – August 31st, 2018

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: Yvette Bailhache, Alex Rubenstein, Justin Barini-Rivers, Max Hirsch, and Will Creason. This week’s music includes tracks by Marquis Hawkes, Art Alfie, HVDES, Skee Mask, and Yves Tumor feat. James K . Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.



Marquis Hawkes – “Instrument of Thought”


Yvette Bailhache - 1+ minute intros have been annoying me these days but because I love house I was able to (kind of) patiently wait it out. Things got a little more interesting after a couple of minutes; there was some nice rhythm behind the beat to head nod to. However, overall there was nothing spectacular about this track for me. (4/10)

Max Hirsch - I’m not really sure about this one. Nothing really excites me or compels me to listen further, although I guess the rhythm is cool. Pretty standard house here, with no chord progression or driving bassline, but the production and mix are high quality. It sounds like an underdeveloped idea to me. (4/10)

Will Creason - Marquis Hawkes makes his return to Houndstooth with an album that has excellent guest spots, from Ursula Rucker to Jamie Lidell. “Instrument Of Thought” is an album instrumental cut that flexes Hawkes’ skills. He accomplishes a lot with a little here.  A funky organ riff, arpeggiated synth and a deep reverberating clap push this tune along. As opposed to Hawkes’ peak time bangers, this one could act as a nice opening set warm up. (6/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - Disco vibes with some lovely conga drums is what I am always looking for. I enjoy the house and disco feels on the drums. The synths seem to overshadow some cool textures that were built over the first section. It does move a little too far from the intro for my liking; I feel tricked. The sound design and overall arrangement are solid, but the mixdown is killing me. It makes sense with the style of music, but wow. Lost me with the busy synths when the drums were really pushing. (5/10)

Alex Rubenstein -  I have listened to this track three times now, yet I still somehow have no coherent thoughts about it. I mean, I like it…don’t get me wrong. There is just nothing that stands out or grabs me in any way. Not sure I’d play this of my own volition, but it’s got its place for some folks I’m sure. Middle of the road tune here so middle of the road score. (5/10)



Art Alfie – “Bondkatten”

Yvette Bailhache - This came in strong and hard from the jump and I like that (again, long intros man.) There’s a nice beat to bounce to, especially if the sound system is 100. It felt a little receptive after a couple of minutes though. I needed a flip or twist of some sort, which came in a little after the four minute mark, but I still needed a tad bit more of something else. (7/10)

Max Hirsch - This concept is really cool. The track has disco vibes but is a little fuzzier and housey. It becomes repetitive for me halfway through, though, and I generally lose interest. The mixing also leaves something to be desired. (4/10)

Will Creason - Wow, superb tune! The bassline is great and the song builds patiently and pays off with a nice horn sample. There is a great hypnotic feeling to this; the bassline keeps the track chugging as cymbal washes and synth splashes fade in and out of the mix. Exceptional production quality with very refined choice of sounds. A winner from start to finish! (9/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - This is a proper disco tune with all the grooves. The hi-hats shine as the simple bassline rolls around. Although I prefer my disco arrangements to hit some breaks, the gas pedal is on and this track just keeps on rolling. Proper drums on this disco track keeps it alive and really stops anyone from checking a clock on how long this track really is. I am impressed and will definitely be adding this to my disco playlist. (7/10)

Alex Rubenstein - Ok, this bassline got me big time! What a groovy track we have here. I don’t know anything about Art Alfie, but that’s why I love this series so much! The horns are well placed and the whole thing just moves along so nicely. The disco vibes are getting me majorly pumped for Blisspop’s Disco Festival this weekend (shameless plug, yeah yeah!!) Good shit, Art. (8/10)



HVDES – “Revelations”

Yvette Bailhache - Anytime I see a song labeled as  “Dance & EDM” on Soundcloud I always just keep on strolling through my stream, but on this day, Feedback Friday is preventing that. So yeah, this was just way too much for me. I honestly couldn’t find anything to connect to here; this just isn’t my style of music, although I know it’s loved by many. (2/10)

Max Hirsch - This is some intense shit right here. I did not expect it to break down so heavily or with so much funk, but this definitely bangs. The samples are super tight, and the quality of production and mixing is super pro. It reminds me a little bit of a heavy Justice but much darker. I really dig it. (8/10)

Will Creason - “Revelations” is the goth Justice I didn’t know I needed and I am 100% not mad at it. There is a lot of pent up energy and drama in the build and the production quality is excellent. The best martial arts moves of electro house have been tuned with precision here. It’s easy to see this getting a dozen spins at HARD Day Of The Dead. (8/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - If you haven’t heard of HVDES it might seem as though she has come out of nowhere, but the LA based artist has been killing the game. Just like her name implies her music is dark, distorted and sounds as if it comes from the depths of Earth itself. Track one off of her debut EP Revelations and HVDES comes with top notch production. Cinematic beauty meets raw violence in this bomb. If other tracks are fire this is pure inferno. I wish everyday was Halloween. HVDES is a force to be reckoned with and I am so pumped to see how this project builds. (10/10)

Alex Rubenstein - I typically fuck with everything that Justin recommends for Feedback Friday, but I just cannot vibe with this. Reminds me of too many MDMA-soaked nights at Bourbon Street in Baltimore for bro-step nights. I honestly cannot find anything redeemable here :( (1/10)



Skee Mask – “Dial 274”

Yvette Bailhache - Hmmm… I would probably enjoy this way more if it was being played during a really dope scene of a cool movie, but on a Thursday while I work it’s just not doing it for me. (3/10)

Max Hirsch - I’ve always been a fan of Skee Mask and his breakbeat sound. I remember one of the first techno mixes I really enjoyed, Nastia’s Essential Mix from last year, opened with a sensational Skee Mask track that gave me my first good feeling about this genre. He definitely does it again here with an abstract yet structured techno track with high energy percussion and great effects work. (8/10)

Will Creason - I like the tense environmental hisses and whirs in the background and the bassline, but I don’t feel like the breakbeat adds much overall and the track struggles to get out of first gear. The final third is broken up by some hoover-y rave signifiers arriving a little too late to save the day.  It keeps going but it doesn’t feel like there is necessarily a destination. (4/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - Opening with eerie noises and a bassline that’s epic, once the drums come in you will be happy you checked out this track. This track is broken beat techno at its finest. The mixdown is clean but just dirty enough to remind you that you are in a warehouse. The drums really begin to get glitched out towards the end, well worth the listen. The cracking snares and dark bassline really take me back. I hope to hear this rinsed on a true system. (9/10)

Alex Rubenstein – Compro has been one of my favorite electronic releases thus far this year. Skee Mask kills it with his latest full length on Ilian Tape. The deft touch he applies to the breakbeat meets ambient techno shows true craftsmanship. I love how this can work perfectly either in the background or blaring out of your speakers. This makes me want to do 120 mph through neon tunnels at 3am. A+ tune. (9/10)



Yves Tumor – “Licking an Orchid” (Feat. James K)

Yvette Bailhache - I enjoyed the subtle and smooth beat of the intro. I didn’t expect the vocals to go so left, but I’m feeling them. James K is the girl singing (right?) Her voice is yummy. I like that the lyrics are risqué but the oddness of the vocals (and video) kind of disguises that, so you have to really listen. Cool track. (7.5/10)

Max Hirsch - A super creative track here.  A lot of different elements come together to paint a sexual picture in multiple dimensions. I really love all of the vocals, especially the exchange in dialogue between the man and woman in the story. The climax lives up to its name as well. (8/10)

Will Creason - Sorry, there isn’t a lot to get excited by here. The atmosphere and vocals sound like the uneasy time period in musical history when Britpop artists tried to make trip-hop-lite in order to make an easy dollar as both genres waned in popularity. The drum loop is tired and the bass riff sounds like it was generated by an algorithm set to “least exciting”. Tricky is still out there making music and I guarantee you if Tricky made a dozen songs that sounded like this, it’d receive zero press coverage. (2/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers - Smooth guitars over boom bap style beats is one of my favorite combos. I am really digging the production top to bottom. The guitars almost melt together while the drums sit around it just pushing the track on. I dig the slow jam style that the vocalist takes; I just want more of the vocalist on the track. The female vocals really sit well in juxtaposition with his voice I just don’t think it happens enough. The outro is dope and full of distortion. I am left feeling the female vocalist is lost in this arrangement that is, overall, very good. (6/10)

Alex Rubenstein - Yves Tumor is the king of left turns. It’s amazing how much of a departure his new tunes are from both his live shows and older studio material. I’m all for the bombastic and explosive qualities of his previous output, but this new poppier direction is somehow very fitting as well. The vocals and lyrics work themselves together with a lazy yet polished quality and the simplistic characteristics of this instrumental gel nicely. Oh and dat outro, doe! I’m personally very excited for the new LP. (7.5/10)


The Winners and Losers:

Art Alfie – Bondkatten – 7/10

Skee Mask – Dial 274 – 6.6/10

Yves Tumor – Licking An Orchid (ft. James K) – 6.2/10

HVDES – Revelations – 5.8/10

Marquis Hawkes – Instrument of Thought – 4.8/10