Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – October 5th, 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: Aeron Premo, Alex Rubenstein, Justin Barini-Rivers, and Jake Ramirez. This week’s music includes tracks by Jlin, BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Little Dragon, Shinichi Atobe, KLP, and Josh Pan. Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.


Jlin – “Carbon 12”


Aeron Premo – Right after listening to the opening, I gravitated to the album cover and noticed that there were two dancers and immediately thought, “this is PERFECT modern dance music!” As a lifelong dancer, I’m going “oh my gosh, this is the modern dance music I was always looking for!” I did discover that yes, this track is from the soundtrack to a choreographed dance work. The instruments work together beautifully (oh, that vibraphone, flute and synth combined – just sublime!) The rhythm is also meticulously designed; you can tell that Jlin had the dancers in mind when creating it. I can’t wait to listen to more of this score. If it is as good as this track, I think it will be a wonderful musical journey. (9/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – The intro of this track is astonishing. Pure magic. There are so many emotions conveyed. I expected this melodic complexity to continue without drums, but they were a nice surprise. This track picks up the pace immediately once the drums enter and give a more frantic feel. The anticipation of the introduction flows into the drum programming. The length of this track is a little much for me with the almost disorganized drum patterns. I enjoy the overall vibe of the track so I won’t hold it against them. The IDM style of the drums fits the almost experimental intro as well. Solid track from a producer I will be looking into more for sure. (6.5/10)


Jake Ramirez – I’m not the biggest fan of Jlin, but I think everything she does is really interesting. This song is from Autobiography, an album that accompanies an avant-garde dance show. Aside from some aggressive footwork drums, it sounds like it should be soundtracking a nature documentary where like, an ant is eating a leaf. That’s my way of saying it doesn’t sound that exciting, but maybe something is lost without the visual aid. (5/10)


Alex Rubenstein - I love how distinctive Jlin’s style is. Even though this feels worlds away from the pneumatic, factory-step sounds she usually produces this still has her stamp all over it. I absolutely love the vibraphone melody here. This tune is like being led down a magical path in the forest by a really cute fairy. I will say I am guilty of reading my co-contributors thoughts before I listened to this track and when it came to my turn, unbeknownst to me I hit play on “The Abyss of Doubt” and was quite confused (that track feels like being led to the slaughterhouse by a really not cute orc.) Not saying that there is anything wrong with that… “Carbon 12” is really beautiful and makes me want to go to the ballet for the first time in my life. (8.5/10)


BADBADNOTGOOD and Little Dragon – “Tried”


Aeron Premo – My wishes just came true! If you were to pick two acts that were absolutely destined to collaborate together, BADBADNOTGOOD and Little Dragon would be at the top of the list.  Yukimi’s vocals are tender yet strong and are mixed incredibly well. While the musical arrangement from the BBNG boys takes on a more mournful tone than the hip hop influenced jazz they are known for, it totally suits the lyrics. The synth line coming in during the second verse ratchets up the emotional level as well. I would love to see them collaborate on a full length record together, similar to the record BBNG did with Ghostface Killah (Sour Soul.) I’m not done listening to this team! (9/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – I am a huge fan of all the parties involved. When I saw this was released it was an immediate play. The vocals are beautiful. The drums breathe behind the vocals. The bass line seems to float above and below the track. This is a top notch production where the track has a life of its own. Play this between two other songs and it will remind you that it occupies its own space and world. Hopefully this is a sign of BADBADNOTGOOD and Little Dragon writing more music together. I doubt it will be hard to get them back into the studio after this gem came from it. (8/10)


Jake Ramirez – I like BBNG, and I like Little Dragon, and I really love both when they’re part of a feature, so it makes sense that this song works. They’re not trying to break the mold here. Little Dragon keeps it dreamy, and BBNG provides a groovy beat that mostly stays out of the way of the vocal lead. Listening to this makes me think they should release a collab lullaby album, and I mean that in a good way. (7.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein - Cute. This is definitely a collaboration that works and one that feels very equal in terms of contributions. I’ve always enjoyed BBNG and they play their role really well here, staying in the pocket and allowing Yukimi Nagano’s vocals to float on top of the instrumentals like a feather. A BBNG/Little Dragon collaborative album would work a hell of a lot better than the disappointing venture that was Sour Soul. (8/10)


Shinichi Atobe – “Heat 1”


Aeron Premo – Now it’s your turn to pick a ten minute track, Alex! Just kidding, it is a quite enjoyable ten minute track. I love the deep house vibe combined with the light tech house influences. I love the atmospheric production and I think an edited version would be a great set starter. The only point of contention I have is that I think the synth elements that started around the six minute mark should have come in earlier in the track; it would have added a bit more momentum and make the track even stronger. Otherwise, this is a harmless, pleasant house tune. (7/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – The intro drums are clean. I recognize the sample, but I won’t hold it against them. It pins the track down so well by laying a smooth foundation for those pads. This track is all vibes and that’s not a bad thing. For what’s lacking in the mix is definitely made up for in sheer joy and melodic bliss. At first I thought the length would hurt the track, but it just continues to roll. A lot of these tracks lack the execution to justify the length. This track is not one of them. The progressive addition of different grooves and drum elements allows for and justifies the length. This is a gem of a track and should be played on repeat. (7/10)


Jake Ramirez – This is my exact shit, ready for dancing or headphones. Once the first synth hits the song totally envelops you. The whole track feels super organic, from the buzzing percussion to the weird gurgling sound that pops up from time to time. Close your eyes at 3:25 and you can probably convince yourself it’s summer no matter when you listen to it. I need to check out this whole album. Looking forward to Heat 2 through 4. (8.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein - I only found out about Shinichi Atobe after DDS re-released his dub techno masterpiece, Ship Scope, in 2015. I will admit I wasn’t heady enough to have been put on to the original pressing on Chain Reaction at any point before that. Lucky for me though, the past 3 years have seen 5 additional releases from the man himself, but Heat is undoubtedly the strongest effort since Ship Scope. “Heat 1” is fucking dope, plain and simple. Don’t be intimidated by its 10-minute run time because it is pure joy the entire way through. I could seriously listen to this all day long. Everything about it feels fresh from the dusty claps to the ebullient pads and beyond. Don’t sleep on this one, people! (9.5/10)


KLP – “Venus x Mars”


Aeron Premo – Right off the bat, this track gives off a wonderful and sexy mid-tempo, nu-disco vibe. While it is not a club song, it has many strong elements that make it stand out. I love the buildups that lead to the drop. The sensual vocals perfectly suit the arrangement; the production is incredibly crisp; the synth pads are stunning. I think that a lighter bass patch would have suited the track better as the one used had kind of a cliche deep house feel. But this is a strong effort from KLP. (8/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – KLP brings a house single to our inboxes for the Halloween season. Her voice is quite versatile; she proves her chops on this melancholic house tune. Her voice really allows this track to push the line between several vibes. The happiness and bliss she brings during the breaks is astonishing compared to the dark pitched down lines she pushes during some of the drop. This is just a fun track. It’s gonna move people on the dance floor, but more importantly it’s smooth on the palate. I expect this to do well in your headphones as well. (10/10)


Jake Ramirez – This didn’t do much for me at first, but after a few listens I warmed up to it a bit. I’m mostly put off by the drops, which are a little tired to me, but I’m super drawn to the overall sound of the production. The production on the lead and backing vocals, the lead synth, the clattering percussion – that’s nice! Just not super fresh. (6.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein - The vocals are absolutely my favorite part of this song, they have a real sexy vibe to them and work really well within the context of this four minute bit of house. I’m someone who is usually all about the drop, but something is off about them here. They somehow are a bit underwhelming and I really do not like that screeching sound that comes right after. Most of the points here go to the vocal. (5.5/10)


Josh Pan – “Voom”


Aeron Premo – I got strong Hot Chip vibes from this one, with the hard hitting house beats and immaculately created sharp-edged vocal samples. While I was not fond of the down-pitched samples at the beginning, I do love the vocal effects that come in around 1:35 and the energy level is hard to deny. I don’t think this will become my absolute favorite house tune, but I wouldn’t stand to the side of the club if the DJ played it. (6.75/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – It feels like only yesterday that Josh Pan trolled the internet and revealed who he was and from that mind comes this clean house tune. Cheeky vocal cuts and melodic fills really set it apart from the crowd. The plucks and vocal cuts push the vibe of the low passed bass line. I have always been a fan of Josh Pan and this is no exception. The clap and other percussion is spot on for this style of house. Nice and crispy in the high end, but still clean. Hope that this means Josh Pan is gonna hit some house sets this year. I would love his perspective on house music. (9/10)


Jake Ramirez – Yes! In the words of a wise Soundcloud commenter, “I like the part where he says voom.” The sound on this is crazy good. The rhythm of the vocals feels very hip-hop influenced, and I dig that extra layer of rhythm. I really love the interplay between the normal and pitched vocals. The bridge at 1:30 is a really great vacuum before the song turns up again. (8/10)


Alex Rubenstein - Can a track be both downtempo and uptempo at the same time? Does that make it simply, tempo? I think this track qualifies as being “tempo.” There is some really effective sampling happening here and the whole rhythm had me bouncing around in my chair as I wrote this. I almost, ALMOST, got up on my feet. This is really good and Josh Pan has a hit on his hands with this one. (8/10)




The Winners and Losers:

BADBADNOTGOOD and Little Dragon – “Tried” – 8.1/10

Shinichi Atobe – “Heat 1″ – 8/10

Josh Pan – “Voom” – 7.9/10

KLP – “Venus x Mars” – 7.5/10

Jlin – “Autobiography” – 7.3/10