Feedback Friday Artwork

Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – February 8, 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 Bonobo, Kousto, Moonee feat. Mangabey, Rosalía, and Win And Woo feat. Kaleena Zanders. Blisspop contributors Will Creason, Aeron Premo, Justin Barini-Rivers, Yvette Bailhache, and Katie Bowles selected and reviewed the music this week.

Bonobo – “Ibrik”

Will Creason – “Ibrik” is the first glimpse of Fabric’s forthcoming Fabric Presents series, continuing the staggering 200 mix disc legacy. I like that “Ibrik” is an uptempo slice of sunshine containing the hazy Bonobo moments we’ve come to expect. With a propulsive groove it’s a good teaser; I’m looking forward to the full mix after this! (7/10)

Aeron Premo – I am getting some Jlin-meets-Ryuichi Sakamoto vibes from this track. Bonobo’s production skills are crisp and clean and he does a wonderful job of moving his sound forward. The bassline is incredibly funky and, while in many cases the beats kicking out like they do around 2:40 can be tedious if not produced correctly, here it does a great job of creating an atmospheric buildup. Really looking forward to hearing more of Bonobo’s new material. (8/10)

Yvette Bailhache – The gentle intro had me immediately curious as to what was going to come of this. Spring vibes are in the air in DC (for now) and this song was a nice accompaniment. It’s tropical & airy with a dope beat drop at the four minute mark. (7/10)

Katie Bowles – I initially thought I wouldn’t like this one, but it grew on me. To be honest, the first 30 seconds sounded like a ringtone, but when the beat came in around 0:31 I was pleasantly surprised. Beyond that, I thought it was alright – not something I’d actively listen to all the time, but I also wouldn’t turn it off if it came on my Pandora. (5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – This track is exactly the kind of song I love to play out and listen to quietly on headphones; it is big and the sound design begs for a system. This song has beautiful melodies that truly shape the tension and release it effortlessly. The movements slide into each other, keeping the ideas cohesive while traveling quite a bit. Smart electronic with a world music touch seems to be the vibe on this one. I can never get enough Bonobo and this is no exception. (9/10)


Kousto – “The Old Days”

Will Creason – Wow, some great drum programming here and really lovely washes of synth pads flooding through. The halfway point has a glimmer of a new, meandering, flute-like melody that really works wonders to keep the vibe moving. This is a sureshot for a mid-Winter pick-me-up. (7/10)

Aeron Premo – The production on this track is just SO relaxed and breezy – it feels like a gust of wind about to hit your face at just the right moment on a boat ride or the beach. I love how the energy level stays consistent throughout – this track might be relaxing, but it will keep you dancing. The claps and bongos are the perfect combination to start the track and then those glorious synths just blend right in. It has that early 90s Italo-house feel that I just love so much. I have a message for the weather gods: please turn winter into summer right now so I can blast this tune nonstop! (10/10)

Yvette Bailhache – Another lush track that has me yearning for permanent warm weather. I like the smoothness of this with the nice hints of flute on top of a dreamy house beat. I will definitely be adding this to my morning chill mix this spring; songs like this always put me a good mood. (7.5/10)

Katie Bowles – I like this! That thick, layered synth that comes in around 0:33 is right up my alley. Not sure how I feel about the vocal accent shortly after (it repeats further on in the track too), but, if anything, it didn’t make it worse. Big fan of the flute melody as well. It could be the album artwork messing with my subconscious, but listening to this one makes me want to go to an island somewhere. (8/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Clean production with some lovely melodies and harmonies , but the arrangement didn’t really speak to me. I love the drums once they start moving and the whole vibe is lovely, but I felt lost at times, waiting for something to catch me again. Honestly, it’s more my taste than their execution because overall this is a lovely track. The wind instruments that are sparsely used really enter the mix perfectly and the drums really pump in a smooth groove that would take over any patio. Take this track for a ride and get some warm vibes. (6/10)


Moonee – “Hanging Out” (feat. Mangabey)

Will Creason – The twinkling keys and bassline are a great opener to this track, which really lifts off when the beat arrives in full at the minute mark. I was weary of the length of the breakdown here, yet it does yield a pretty tremendous payoff rolling into a stratospheric second half. Very nice! (7/10)

Aeron Premo – The buildup got me there – I was thinking it was going to have an interesting trip hop-meets-slow jam feel, but then it totally threw me for a loop right at that 30 second mark. There are so many dynamics in the musical arrangement and they work so well together – the bassline in the earlier minutes, to the house piano line around 2:25, to everything coming together in the last minute. This was a truly enjoyable listen as I am a sucker for soulful and atmospheric deep house. I will definitely be checking out more. (9.5/10)

Yvette Bailhache – Mangabey has become my go-to guy I press play on when I’m in need of deep house-sexiness and his linking with fellow Frenchie Moonee is just icing on the cake – le duo parfait. I like everything about this song, especially the halfway cool-down (just in case you’re sweating it out on the dance-floor and need a sec to get it together). Total banger. (8.5/10)

Katie Bowles – This one has a lot going on but in a good way. It seems like each sample (including the Timothy Leary one at the beginning) and sound effect was added very thoughtfully – only included if it made absolute sense. (7/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – The pianos are lovely, the drums knock – this song really has a vibe. The sampling is top notch and the sound design hit the nail on the head. The arrangement is clean and really pushes the vibe to get the groove it’s maximum value. The vocal chops are so smooth and are so refreshing in a world where all of these fools in EDM are cutting vocals to terrible melodies. There is nothing I want more or less of from this track. Astonished and happy to enjoy such a work of art. (10/10)


Rosalía – “De Aquí No Sales”

Will Creason – I’m glad to see that, for me, the keystone of Rosalía’s El Mal Querer album is her latest single. The production from Rosalía & El Guincho is brash – virtually all layered voice, handclaps, seriously low bass kicks and motorcycle engines revving. The sound at the 42 second mark, skidding wheels mixed with bass kicks, is an amazing riff that only occurs once. The polyrhythm of the second half, hand clapping offset with a counter pattern of “ey” chants, is astoundingly fresh. Year in and year out the music that I like most tends to be the music that pushes the boundaries out the furthest, and Rosalía is definitely redrawing the borders here. (9/10)

Aeron Premo – I have heard wonderful things about Rosalía’s music, but this is the first song of hers I have listened to in earnest. Her voice is incredibly dynamic, ranging from cooing high notes to expressive belts. The beat-less beginning of the track and emphasis on the vocal layers reminded me very much of “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap, and I loved the added touch of the handclaps halfway through. Instrumentally, I felt it was a tad too minimal, but I am curious to see what the hype is about. (7/10)

Yvette Bailhache – What a unique addition to the FF batch. Rosalía’s vocals are lovely and pristine and somehow perfectly balanced with the hardness of the motorcycle revving and flamenco claps. I’ll have to go and listen to more of her stuff because my first intro to her is a win. (8/10)

Katie Bowles – This is gorgeous. I only became familiar with Rosalía after her feature on James Blake’s new album (also worth a listen), but I’m quickly becoming a fan. Her voice is at once delicate and strong and really carries this song with barely anything behind it (just the handclap beats + light backing vocals). (8/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – This is a lovely song – beautiful and surprising. The arrangement was constantly catching me off guard. The flamenco panned claps are one of my favorite sounds to hear, especially paired with a heavy sub. The vocals are eerie; they remind me of Arca or Burial on the intro but then move into more of a hip hop club style bounce. Both are amazing. Listen to this track all the way through for an experience. (8/10)


Win And Woo – “Right In Front of Me” (feat. Kaleena Zanders)

Will Creason – The construction of this track is great; everything is mixed down really well and each element has enough space to breath. Great vocal line, great build, great vibe. Could 2019 be the year where producers finally catch the feeling of 90s deep house and expand on it with contemporary production? This one makes me think a breakthrough is on the way. (8/10)

Aeron Premo – There are some things I do like about this track – the key that it is written in, the piano lines, the atmosphere; it is hard for me to get into today’s mainstream EDM, though. A lot of the vocals sound the same, leaning towards the Jess Glynne (vocalist on Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be”) style of singing, where I would love to see more vocal variety. It’s like in trance music where every singer seems to have that angelic tone, in mainstream EDM, every singer has that pushed low range soulful tone. Not a perfect track, but harmlessly enjoyable. (5/10)

Yvette Bailhache – Feel good house music is always welcome in my headphones. Kaleena’s voice shines and is powerful, even when the track, at times, becomes a little louder than I normally like. A fun tempo and the perfect song to sing along and celebrate to. (7/10)

Katie Bowles – Kaleena Zanders’ vocals are SO strong, but I go back and forth on this track – part of me loves it, part of me finds it too melodramatic (like a song that would play during the credits of some ridiculous romcom). If anything, it’s a “guilty pleasure” song for me, but I wouldn’t play it if I was passed the aux. (6/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – I have recently fallen in love with the complex simplicity of pop music – it’s difficult to pull off. This song keeps the same pace and groove basically for the entire track. I will say the drums are solid from a technical standpoint and the lyrics aren’t bad. The saving grace of this song is the vocalist. There is a bang in the sound design and I catch myself bouncing my head at times, but this song is junk food – tastes good, but no true substance. I want more from the writing to make this a proper song that is pop influenced or to see more interesting sound design to make up for the lack of melodic creativity. (4/10)

The Final Scores

Moonee – “Hanging Out” (feat. Mangabey) — 8.4/10

Rosalía – “De Aquí No Sales” — 8/10

Kousto – “The Old Days” — 7.7/10

Bonobo – “Ibrik” — 7.2/10

Win And Woo – “Right In Front of Me” (feat. Kaleena Zanders) — 6/10