Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – November 9th, 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, Patrick Blinkhorn, Justin Barini-Rivers, and Jonathan Sherman. This week’s music includes tracks by SG Lewis, Qwestlife, untrust us, Silk City remixed by The Black Madonna, and Jonas Hain. Check it out below and send us your suggestions for future Feedback Fridays on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.



SG Lewis Feat. TEED – “Again”


Patrick Blinkhorn – I wasn’t quite expecting the vocal hit around the 0:30 mark. The synth sounds in here are good. The breakdown is one of those angelic, take-your-breath-away types, which is a good thing for me as I listen on this Tuesday night. I’d listen to this track again and I wouldn’t mind hearing it live, but it’s not something that I’ll have on repeat. (7/10)


Aeron Premo – TEED has really been on a roll this year, slowly building up hype for his return by releasing such strong tracks like “Don’t You Forget About Me” and “Body Move.” This collaborative effort with SG Lewis continues that winning streak. It has a relaxing house beat with some really great atmospheric synths and great production flourishes. The energy level is such where you could DJ this out and it would be a great buildup to mix into a more high-energy tune. “Don’t You Forget About Me” is still my favorite TEED tune from this year, but this is a great effort. (8/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This is a lovely release from SG Lewis and I expected nothing less. Known for his dreamy, almost ethereal music, this track is right on the mark. The arrangement begs for all of your attention and it is difficult to say no. After a few minutes you are just being washed over by lush synths and syncopated drums. SG Lewis does it again and again. (10/10)


Alex Rubenstein – So, SG Lewis rings familiar for some reason, but the real reason I gave this one a shot was for that delicious looking Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs feature. And delicious it is. Rarely do I immediately hit replay these days, but I spun this one back three times in a row. Hats off, fellas! Really though…the synth work is equally ethereal and clubby which is not an easy balancing act. I do not know where the vocals are coming from (are they SG’s? are they sampled?) so you will have to excuse my ignorance (aren’t I supposed to be a journalist?) because, regardless, they have a lovely, airy quality to them that makes them feel simultaneously far away and up close and personal. The drums have a very nice rhythmic quality to them, as well. This one is a hit all around! (9.2/10)


Jonathan Sherman – I’m loving the future bass vibes on this track. From the way the minor chords come in on a subtle harpsichord to the use of the Congo to create musical veracity, this track is a solid record. I also love the use of the mellow vocals and the guitar pickups as transitioning tools. The effective use of a vocal synth and vocal reverb to generate a mood is superb. The elongated build-up around 3:45 is indicative of how great this track is, something that I’ll be adding to my crate to play at future shows for sure. (9/10)



Qwestlife Feat. Teni Tinks – “Hit It Off” (Extended Disco Mix)


Patrick Blinkhorn – Strong production here, but something doesn’t sit with me about the track 100%. I think it’s that I have Millie Jackson’s vocals from the original track etched into my mind, so while I appreciate this is a solid recording from Teni Tinks, it’s not the same as Millie Jackson’s original version. Overall this is a solid track, but it doesn’t stack up to the original nor is it my favorite rendition of the original. (6.5/10)


Aeron Premo – Glitterbox is the real deal when it comes to releasing high-energy disco tracks, and this track shows why they are one of the leading disco labels in the business. Teni Tinks’ vocals are just unbelievable; her delivery is on point and she has a range that just soars to the stars and back. I am also in awe at how classy the production is — those strings and drums just bring the track to life. I also love the tell-it-like-it-is lyrics. This track will go over incredibly well on any disco dance floor! (8.5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – I do love disco and most music that it’s touched, but this song isn’t doing it. It has a nice lounge vibe to it that works well with the vocals. The drums can hold their own, but the rest is okay. The horns began to drive me crazy by the second break. The vocalist has her moments, but the overall vocal take isn’t that compelling. (5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Qwestlife brings us some pretty classic disco vibes here with “Hit It Off.” The vocals are definitely soulful and enjoyable. My only gripe is that it feels stuck in limbo between being a faithful retro throwback and being updated for 2018. The production is certainly well done; it’s just a step away from being certified fresh for me. (6.5/10)


Jonathan Sherman – This track by Qwestlife, which is a collaboration project between Tom Laroye and Yam Who, re-introduces the classic Studio 54 dancefloor vibe to modern audiences. The Shapeshifters’ star vocalist Teni Tinks lays down some amazing vocals on this record, reminding me a lot of Donna Summer. I’m sure we’ll see more from Qwestlife, but they’re certainly off to a great start. (9/10)



untrust us – “lost cause”


Patrick Blinkhorn – I did like the instrumentals in the intro, but as soon as I heard the noise sweep around the 0:20 mark that led to the subsequent drop at 0:30, I knew this track was a lost cause. The production quality is solid, but not a style I’m into these days. (3/10)


Aeron Premo – This dark trap vibe still seems to be on trend in music, and I am always trying to find the track that will make me see the light and enjoy this style, but I’m sorry to say that this is not the one. The buildup that starts around 1:20 is nice as the synths have a nice airy tone, but the squeal-y synths synced up with the trap beats in between just weren’t doing it for me. (2/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This is a clean trap song top to bottom. I chose it because it shows what actually can be accomplished; beautiful music in this genre. This song has a lot of emotional power behind it. The simple melodies and harmonies really build on each other magically. The textures at play throughout the mix are impeccable. Listen on the break for all the little sounds they use to build the tension before the second drop. (8/10)


Alex Rubenstein – I like the pacing here in “lost cause” and it is certainly a refreshing take on the trap genre. I really do not like the dial-up sounding synth used here – it is kind of grating. Otherwise, the drums are crisp and it gets right to the point. (6/10)


Jonathan Sherman – While struggling to understand the essence of this track, I can definitely appreciate it’s production. The harpsichord and vocals work well together on the mix and the pad filters make for a great future bass sound that combines dubstep and French House. I like the use of the hi-hats to make for some wide transitions, but the track could definitely use more melodic direction. (6/10)


Silk City & Dua Lipa – “Electricity” (The Black Madonna Remix)


Patrick Blinkhorn – That’s a nice kick drum sound in the intro to the track. I also love the disco string sounds that come in at around 30 seconds. I’m not super into the vocals, and the piano chord progression doesn’t hit the spot for me either. This is a solid production, but I’ve heard better one’s from The Black Madonna. (6/10)


Aeron Premo – I admit that I have been pretty underwhelmed with what I have heard from Silk City, and there are only two tracks that I truly enjoy from Dua Lipa (“Be The One” and Initial Talk’s stunning remix of “New Rules”), but bring in one of my favorite DJs and producers, The Black Madonna, for a remix and I am possibly willing to give them both a second chance. The melody and piano line give me fun early-90s vibes and Marea helps improve the original track by giving it a nice Chicago house beat. But I can’t say that it makes me love Silk City and Dua Lipa more. The track is pretty safe and, while Marea worked her magic, I don’t think there was a lot here for her to work with. (5.5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – Black Madonna releases this buttery smooth house track. Although I am not a huge fan of the original track, Black Madonna seems to have turned water to wine. Overall, it’s a very simple house track. She doesn’t stray far from this chopped piano that she uses to anchor the arrangement. She does a good job of taking only what’s necessary from Electricity. I do love the Black Madonna, but she isn’t giving me anything special to phone home about. (6/10)


Alex Rubenstein – The Black Madonna is, if nothing else, consistent. Between her remixes, productions and live sets, she is one hell of a positive force for dance music. The kick drum is basically perfect on this remix, giving way to more familiar elements of the original. Personally, this would have been a bigger hit for me if the vocals were stripped out more. Not that I dislike Dua Lipa’s voice (quite the opposite, actually), it’s just that this track would have benefited from no actual verse and simply a smattering of cut up parts of the original vocal performance. I’m also a big fan of the delicate keys on display here in “Electricity.” For the vast majority of this one, I’d say it’s smooth as silk. (8/10)


Jonathan Sherman – Since it’s hyped release, Silk City’s “Electricity” with Dua Lipa has been in need of a solid remix to retro-fit for the track for the dancefloor, and Black Madonna has certainly done just that with this banger tech house remake. I like how her remix maintains the integrity of the original song while adding unique underground elements. A part of the emerging “tech funky house” genre, this remix will be coming to an open-format night near you with some serious fire behind it. (9/10)




Jonas Hain – “MMXV”


Patrick Blinkhorn – This a beautiful piano composition with electronics. I really like the unexpected twist in the composition at 1:52. I also enjoyed the video that accompanies the track. I could hear this as being part of the soundtrack in one of the Jason Bourne movies, albeit a little more sophisticated. (8.5/10)


Aeron Premo – I was immediately reminded of the work of Ludovico Einaudi from the first seconds. There is a beautiful cinematic feel to this track and the light electronic flourishes enhance it even more. I tend to associate the feel of a track with the seasons, and to me this feels like a fall day transitioning into winter, where I am walking on the street with no one around me; the leaves are falling down and I decide to stop for a minute and take in the scenery around me. One more thing — put this track in a movie, stat! Or better yet, have Jonas score the whole thing. I want to hear more from him. (8.5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – I love the piano and the atmosphere that is created with its almost hypnotic repetition. I am a fan of this style of music and impressed with the mixture of live piano and electronic sounds. If I had one complaint it would be the length – I could use a real track length to really dive in. (7/10)


Alex Rubenstein – The first thing that comes to mind here is that this could be a new Nils Frahm track. All the elements are very delicate and have a really pleasing timbre. It could have benefited from being a minute or two longer as I felt myself waiting for something to unfold that never really happened. Otherwise, this is a really nice electronic vignette and you can tell Jonas Hain has the chops. (7.5/10)


Jonathan Sherman – This track immediately reminding me of Nils Frahm. I love the melody of the piano chords, and the rhythm really matches well with the notion of traveling across Europe that is highlighted in the accompanying video. The track’s rhythm is very soothing but also verbose, and you just never really want this track to end because the harmony is soulful. (8.5/10)




The Winners and Losers:


SG Lewis Feat. TEED – “Again” – 8.6/10

Jonas Hain – “MMXV” – 8/10

Qwestlife Feat. Teni Tinks – “Hit It Off” (Extended Disco Mix) – 7.1/10

Silk City & Dua Lipa – “Electricity” (The Black Madonna Remix) – 6.9/10

untrust us – “lost cause” – 5/10