Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – November 2nd, 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: Connor McInerney, Alex Rubenstein, Patrick Blinkhorn, Katie Bowles, and Justin Barini-Rivers. This week’s music includes tracks by Swanwick, Ngyn, Joji, Madd3e, and Raise Biz & REMI feat. Baro. Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.


Madd3e – “Teddy Swing”


Connor McInerney – I’m starting a new playlist called “Lofi Hip-Hop Beats to Vibe/Freak To.” It will mainly sound like this playlist. I love the quintessential lofi swing that makes up “Teddy Swing’s” backbone, but I especially love Madd3e’s aptitude to break from the tropes informing the genre’s groovability – the track employs a lot of dynamic range and time signature changes, remaining a vibe from start to finish. (8.7/10)


Alex Rubenstein – The intro to this track sets the mood nicely with some interesting sampling and sound effects before getting into full swing (pun intended) around a minute in. This kind of feels like if RJD2 decided to produce a future-funk track with a dash of chiptune thrown in. “Teddy Swing” isn’t exactly breaking ground, but it is a fun and carefree exercise in making a delightful song. (8/10)


Patrick Blinkhorn – This is a bit more abstract than what I normally look for when I’m trying to find a new track to listen to. I do like the bassline later on in the track, but I can’t get past the intro. (4/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This is a polished electronic hip hop record full of Kaytranda-esque hi hats and drum fills. It continues to just release smooth vibes. When the synths begin to work with each other, this track is lovely. I love the movement from four on the floor kicks to the broken beat. It really keeps the momentum and makes this track super danceable. This is a clean track top to bottom and a very easy listen. I would expect the Soulection crew to be jealous they didn’t think of this. (7/10)


Katie Bowles - I had a hard time focusing on everything going on within this track initially, but once the vocals dropped in at 1:15 I really enjoyed it, that is, until it completely changed at 2:37. I didn’t dislike the breakdown that came after; it just seemed like this track was essentially three smaller tracks put together…not for me. (4/10)

Oumou Sangaré – “Yala” (Swanwick Edit)



Connor McInerney – I really dig the way in which Swanwick repurposed this Wassoulo track (“Yala” by Oumou Sangaré,) keeping a lot of the Malian instruments and vocals present while peppering in synthetic and percussive accents, energizing and electrifying the final cut. It amplifies a lot of the energy and cultural context that informs the sample over two driving minutes. Here’s hoping this London-based producer’s got some more recuts like this up his sleeve. (8.4/10)


Alex Rubenstein – If there is a way to get me shuffling like a madman it’s dropping some tribal-inflected house like we have here, courtesy of Swanwick! The propulsive bassline and super catchy African vocals give this track a great sense of forward momentum. This is my first time listening to anything from this producer, but this edit is top-notch! (7.5/10)


Patrick Blinkhorn – Swanwick pushes the tempo in his edit of Oumou Sangaré’s 1990 track, “Yala.” The track features an undeniable bassline and drum section, giving a bouncy feel that is sure to get any dancefloor moving. The high pitch synth element is a good touch. Really nice work here, I thoroughly enjoyed the snippet. (9/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – There’s disco vibes all over the place, but it’s not that usual 808 or 909 kit. This track really breathes and the groove is undeniable. The vocal lines are beautiful and had me searching for the original, which is always a good sign. This reminds me of the sick Nick AM remix from a couple weeks ago. The vocals are mixed into a new context, which is my favorite part of the disco edit genre. Moving something across to that format offers a lot of creativity and this track is no exception; I just wish it was longer. (7.5/10)


Katie Bowles - I like this! I could see this track being the background for a travel/nightlife montage in a film (I’m thinking The Beach or something along those lines.) Kind of an overused concept, but I’m a sucker for scenes like that, so this quick track does it for me. (8/10)


Ngyn – “8-Bit Adventures Part II”


Connor McInerney – I’m glad people are still making chiptune music, but I feel Ngyn may have missed the mark on “8-Bit Adventure Part II.” Don’t get me wrong, I love the nostalgia-tinged soundscapes, the seemingly Zelda inspired arpeggios and video game samples peppered through the track, but some of the builds and production feel like misguided maximalism. There’s good bones and sounds informing the track, but the overall application is stilted and uneven. (5.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – It’s been a minute since I’ve listened to any chiptune, but this is a pretty good exercise in the genre. I’m loving the way the bass feels especially elastic. This could easily soundtrack a new 8-bit throwback platformer and makes me want to grab all the coins and jump on all the heads. Not familiar with Ngyn but for a style that can feel dated and tired, this is a fresh take. Good stuff right here! (7/10)


Patrick Blinkhorn – I was into the arpeggiated synth element in the very intro, but the pitched-up vocal turned me off of the track. I also don’t like the bit-crushed kick drum. Decent arrangement, but this style isn’t for me. (3/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – The reminds me a lot of the early releases on Youtellme and Moving Castle with the pop arrangements, electronic sounds and a touch of Kaomoji style thrown in. It’s a nice mix of genres as well – electronic bliss pushed through a bit crusher. The melodies build up and drop out, adding to the almost erratic arrangement at times. (6/10)


Katie Bowles - This track was a little ‘meh’ for me initially, but the drop after 0:35 piqued my interest. At that point, the fullness of the synths plus the backing bass was pretty great. I, once again, found my attention fading afterward, though. Catchy track, but I wouldn’t listen to it regularly. (5/10)


Joji – “Wanted U”


Connor McInerney – I’ve been a big fan of Joji’s work since I first heard his debut EP In Tounges earlier this year, a record that’s a smattering of hip-hop, ambient R&B, and experimental lofi instrumentation rolled into one unique package. “WANTED U” is one of those tracks that hits all the right notes in terms of iconoclastic songwriting – scorched earth vocals, drone-laden synths, and a glam-rock inspired guitar solo that caps it all off. I’m hard pressed to find music as raw and emotive as that which is channeled through devil-may-care experimental production. Hats off to Joji for keeping it weird. (9/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Osaka based producer and vocalist, Joji, is fresh off his latest release, Ballads 1, with “Wanted U.” Joji’s melancholy vocals pair really well with the simple chord progression and lightly skittering drum patterns. The video is a psychedelic menagerie that is absolutely worth watching as well. The track is not a complete knock out, but it executes it’s vision very well. (6/10)


Patrick Blinkhorn – Whether considering the drawn out bass notes or the long vocal sounds, there are definitely a lot of feels in this one. I didn’t connect with the drumbeat here, but it was an interesting touch. On the whole, this track was a bit too abstract for me, but I can see how it could appeal to people. (5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – The drums are solid; I like the vibe a lot. It pulls influences from the rap scene in aesthetic but not in the dumb mixdowns that are destroyed by the limiter. The guitars are nice and big pushing around the mix. The vocals don’t really stand out, but by the end of the song they do resonate. Even the intro is cool as it’s just a little touch of odd sound design to wet your palate before the main course. (8/10)


Katie Bowles - I like how heavy the chorus is on this one and I’m a fan of the guitar solo toward the end, but I wanted more out of the song. I feel like it would’ve done well with a feature during the verses. Regardless, it’ll still be stuck in my head for awhile. (6/10)


Raise Biz & REMI (Prod. Black Milk) – “Runner” Feat. Baro

Connor McInerney – I’m seriously jazzed to see a rap selection for Feedback Friday this week, big ups to Justin for including a trip hop cut. No gimmicks from Raiza Biza, REMI, and Baro on this track – the whole song is a tight, three-minute lyrical onslaught evocative of 90’s East Coast flow paired with electronica-savvy Detroit production. I wasn’t aware that Australia and New Zealand had scenes on the frontier of smart, stylish hip-hop production; it’s a whole new avenue of sound worth consideration and praise. (7.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – I’m all about this Black Milk production right here – classic-feeling while still keeping with 2018. It’s refreshing to hear some legitimate bars instead of the mumble or emo rap that is all over the place these days. This week has been all firsts for me in terms of the artists selected, and that’s what I love about this column. Get on this one, best of the week! (8.5/10)


Patrick Blinkhorn – I love that bassline! The vocals have a good flow too. Not what I normally listen to, but I’d press play again. (7/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This track brought me back immediately. Honestly, I despise most music that would be classified as post-rap; It’s a genre based so strongly in branding it makes EDM look reasonable. This track breathes 90’s Hip Hop from the grave with bars for days. This track doesn’t stop; the momentum is going right from the first snare hit. Anyone who wants a track to blast in your Corolla and remind people what Boom Bap is, play this on full volume. (9/10)


Katie Bowles - This is GREAT. I wasn’t familiar with Raiza Biza, Baro or REMI before checking out this track, but they’ve made a fan out of me with this one. The mix of the deep, rhythmic vocals with the higher backing melody is so, so good. Going to have this one on repeat for awhile. (9/10)



The Winners and Losers:


Raise Biz & REMI (Prod. Black Milk) – “Runner” Feat. Baro – 8.2/10

Oumou Sangaré – “Yala” (Swanwick Edit) – 8/10

Joji – “Wanted U” – 6.8/10

Madd3e – “Teddy Swing” – 6.3/10

Ngyn – “8-Bit Adventures Part II” – 5.3/10