Feedback Friday 36

Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – January 11, 2019

Here at Blisspop, we aim to show our audience who’s making their mark on music today. In our Feedback Friday series, we bring you the latest sounds, sorting through the good and the bad. This latest edition of Feedback Friday features music by Malley, m a n d u, No Mana & i_o  feat. Fay, Vantage, and park hye jin. Blisspop contributors Alvaro Hernandez, Aeron Premo, Justin Barini-Rivers, Yvette Bailhache, and Connor McInerney selected and reviewed the music this week.

Malley – “Rampart”

Justin Barini-Rivers – Released on a compilation from Inquiry Records, “Rampart” immediately caught my eye. From the first bar I knew this track was special. The detail and sound design truly set it apart from other tracks on the compilation. The dark fx, arrangement and sound design are impeccable but what caught my ear is the detail. This song is dialed like fine art. The tension peaks out then the kicks drop in for a euphoric experience. Play this louder than the person next to you in traffic.  (9/10)

Connor McInerney – The day that I stumbled upon Malley’s “Rampart” it was stupidly cold outside. Not brick per se, but brick adjacent. That plays a large part in why I’m really feeling these cool, tactile beats on this track; they have this really satisfying vinyl-like hiss to them. It’s almost as if “Rampart” is breaking out of ice, an understated yet nuanced heater that finds a haunting beauty in its production details. Glad I found something to warm me up. (8.5/10)

Yvette Bailhache – I don’t techno, but overall, this wasn’t toooooo bad for me although I wasn’t completely feeling it. There’s a nice-ish beat in there and the hard bassline gave it a nice groove. At times it felt like the song was stuck on a loop and for a song to be 7+ minutes long I just need a little more than what was given. (3/10)

Aeron Premo – I love the house rhythms and the production on this track — there’s something special going on here. The minimalism actually works and it enhances the percussion. My only complaint is that the track is too long. It should be, say, five minutes instead of seven. The buildup came in a bit too late for my liking and then the track basically repeated the first couple of minutes for the ending. I would still dance to this in the club, though. (6/10)

Alvaro Hernandez – There’s nice percussive rhythms throughout the song but, melodically, it did not seem to reach its full potential. A mysterious techno tune that has the boom, but feels somewhat unfinished. (4/10)


m a n d u – “When the Night is Over”

Justin Barini-Rivers – This was a lovely track. What they accomplish in 2:30 is very clean, however I wish it was a little longer and had more of a verse chorus structure. Regardless, I’m giving this song a lot of love. There was proper use of space and depth and the ability to capture my attention so well was amazing. The vocals are also so eerie and I love it. Overall, I had a lot of fun for 5 min. (8/10)

Connor McInerney – i w a n t t o t y p e m y r e v i e w l i k e t h i s b u t t h a t s e e m s h e l l a t r i t e. I kind of shot myself in the foot by listening to m a n d u right after “Bad Things,” but they could certainly be bookends to the same night out on the town. What I enjoy most about “Night” is how the track, in minimalist fashion, washes over you as you listen with seemingly insignificant soundscapes expanded to become titanic and all encompassing. It’s a testament to how good things can come in small packages, how what we label as “chill” and “relaxing” can be three dimensional and immersive experiences. It’s beautifully laid back. (8.5/10)

Yvette Bailhache – Definitely appreciated having something chill thrown into the mix. I’m listening to this on a dreary day and it’s giving me the vibe I need. Nothing spectacularly interesting or new is happening here and if the sun was out I’d probably not be into it as much. (4.5/10)

Aeron Premo – While I am very much over the whole trap trend, there are some other elements here that are quite pleasant. The production style, vocals, sound samples and synths are favorably reminiscent of artists such as Tycho and SOHN. The slowed-down drop is also a nice touch, but the trap feel is what is really preventing me from truly enjoying this as it is otherwise a nice listening experience. (5.5/10)

Alvaro Hernandez – This is the kind of tune that is perfect to just sit and relax to. The dreamy vocals and guitar, paired with the gentle percussion, will have you floating to higher heights. “When the Night is Over” is a great example of how lo-fi crunchiness has made its way around the electronic music spectrum. (7/10)


No Mana & i_o – “Bad Things (feat. Fay)”

Justin Barini-Rivers – This collaboration is an interesting one. I have been a fan of No Mana for years but never really enjoyed music by i_o. There are some elements I enjoy, but what I miss are the big fills and aggressive arrangements that No Mana is known for. I was expecting a proper big drop, but this song kind of coasts. It’s a chill song, but not really my vibe. (4/10)

Connor McInerney – No surprise that this is a mau5trap release from the get go – on a blind listen I was pretty instantly struck by No Man & i_o’s 4×4=12 soundscapes, the sounds of frayed, maximalist synths reaching what seems like a sonic breaking point. Every time “Bad Things” seems like it’s reaching a conclusion, a point at which either my speaker will blow out or my computer will short circuit, it’s carefully drawn back, the drama resuming. It’s bananas. By the time of publication I’ll be jamming this track well into the weekend. (8.7/10)

Yvette Bailhache – Yikes. Yeah, no. This is just too hard in the techno for me. There wasn’t anything I could connect with, but I’m glad the song wasn’t too long. (1/10)

Aeron Premo – Listening to this track took me back in time to my early high school years in late 90s Germany, immediately reminding me of the energetic and fast-paced dance tracks they played on the radio there (Members of Mayday’s “Sonic Empire,” anyone?). The bassline is incredibly addictive and the vocals really compliment the beats. While this is not something I would see myself DJing out, I would definitely dance to this and I would put this on my workout playlist, too! (7/10)

Alvaro Hernandez – A track that’s a tad bit on the heavier side of progressive house but can easily be added into the mix with some techno, No Mana and i_o dive deep into the bass with “Bad Things,” making you want to unravel and dance into the darkness. (8.5/10)


Vantage – “Together”

Justin Barini-Rivers – I am a fan of Vantage, but this song seems to fall short. I feel like I’m just coasting until the four min mark without much to really catch my attention. This section, around four minutes in, I love. It feels like a complete idea while the rest seems empty in comparison. Everything before is ok, but this is Vantage – I have become accustomed to detail and complex arrangement moves. (5/10)

Connor McInerney – Vantage’s interpolation of FPI Project’s “Rich in Paradise” brings a vibrant, modern energy to “Paradise’s” massively classic chords but, overall, feels a bit hollow – almost like a nostalgia-tinged rehashing of yesteryear’s house. While older electronic certainly informs the track’s backbone, it fails to deliver a novel, exciting quality that’s crucial to an engaging listen. It’s certainly a step in the right direction; I’m curious as to what else Vantage will cook up in 2019. (6/10)

Yvette Bailhache – As much as I love house, I’ve grown a little tired of what I’ve been hearing lately. Everything is sounding the same so the flip-up after two minutes was definitely welcoming. This would be a fun song to dance to at night. The disco riffs were solid and helped turn the groove up a few notches, which made me like this more. (7/10)

Aeron Premo – I love that this track combines so many wonderful elements and radiates a positive energy. The rhythms, piano line and vocal sample work incredibly well together. The synth pads that come in around the three-minute mark and pop in and out add a touch of dreaminess, which is always a good thing. The energy level here is top-notch and is consistent throughout. This is an out-and-out funky house track that deserves to be packing dancefloors everywhere. You would be crazy to sit down and not dance to this! (9/10)

Alvaro Hernandez – I instantly had my head nodding from the start! “Together” just oozes that classic Chicago sound. I think I’ll just add this to my library real quick… (8/10)


park hye jin – “ABC”

Justin Barini-Rivers – This is what I want when I am stuck in the line at the grocery. The vibe is perfect. It’s got enough bounce to keep you moving on the dance floor, but what really caught my eye was the sound design. The sounds all have a little lofi grit and history to them. The found sounds also really bring me back. There is something about real sounds in music that makes it so nostalgic. It reminds me of Baltra a lot in the best kind of way. (7/10)

Connor McInerney – “ABC” is equal parks muzak, downbeat techno and late-night lounge crooning, and it’s a track that, even after multiple listenings, I still can’t decipher a cohesive opinion. I’m struck by park hye jin’s sincerity in her vocal delivery, but the track’s separate, seemingly unrelated elements are distinct and unconnected. It’s an interesting musical tapestry, undoubtedly, but it always feels stilted. (5/10)

Yvette Bailhache – Lot’s of musical flavor coming out of South Korea and Seoul’s Park Hye Jin is buzzing like crazy right now. I like the simplicity of the lyrics and how the production sounds like it came straight out of a Soundcloud bedroom studio. I also like the jazzy elements on top of the hard electronic with just enough techno to not scare the non techno heads off. Gems like this make all the hours I spend digging for beats totally worth it. (8/10)

Aeron Premo – There is a great fusion of jazz, hip hop and house going on in this track. The piano line provides a great introduction and I love that it remains consistent throughout, complimenting the funky and soulful rhythms. The spoken word vocals fit nicely with the arrangement and oh my god, that airy beat drop around 2:20 is such an unbelievably original touch. I definitely want to check out more of park hye jin’s work now. This is quality! (9/10)

Alvaro Hernandez – I first noticed the sounds of Park Hye Jin through her DJ sets as Hyedy, but I never dove into her own productions. The song quickly captures your attention with a hypnotizing vocal and piano. It’s a low-key house cut that is perfect for those after-hours sets. (7.5/10)

The Final Scores

park hye jin – “ABC” – 7.3/10

Vantage – “Together” – 7/10

m a n d u – “When the Night is Over” – 6.7/10

Malley – “Rampart” – 6.1/10

No Mana & i_o – “Bad Things (feat. Fay)” – 5.84/10