Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – March 1st, 2019

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. We’re back at it again with the latest edition of our series, Feedback Friday. This edition features our contributors: Katie Bowles, Patrick Blinkhorn, Justin Barini-Rivers, Alex Rubenstein, and Alvaro Hernandez. This week’s music includes tracks by Recondite, Monte, Alina Baraz remixed by Nick AM, FaltyDL, and San Holo.



Recondite – “Channel”



Patrick Blinkhorn – There is a really strong production, per usual, from Recondite. 2-3 years ago I would’ve been all over this moody brand of techno, but these days I like my techno to have more grit. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s not really what I’m into these days. (6/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Recondite is one of those artists that has stayed consistently proficient and prolific over the course of his career. Back again with a new EP for Scuba’s label, Hotflush, we are treated to expertly crafted slices of atmospheric techno. “Channel” evokes some burial vibes, conjuring up images of after-hours parties or the journey home from one as the rave is still ringing in your ears. The track isn’t necessarily going to stun anyone, but it delivers whole-heartedly on the vision Recondite presents time after time. This is a well-produced track with a singular theme executed with near-perfection. (8.5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This is pure techno and I love it. The kick and the jacked hi hats are perfect. The atmosphere is wild and keeps the song interesting. I hear some drones and my favorite sound, which is this grainy texture that sounds as if it’s falling from the sky. Anytime the kick drops out I am still jacking and ready (always a good sign for a techno track). The mix is so clean, too. This track is big and dark, but there is still something warm and inviting to it. (7/10)


Katie Bowles – I don’t dislike this one, but it felt a little lacking to me. However, as the track went on, it was almost hypnotic in its simplicity. I wouldn’t play it if I wanted to just listen to music, but it’s definitely good background/“thinking” music – I usually listen to John Williams-esque instrumentals when I write, but I could see myself getting a lot of work done to this. (5/10)


Alvaro Hernandez – Recondite can always be counted on for a solid techno tune. “Channel” is no exception; a distant and airy soundscape that triggers your curiosity giving you the impression of a runaway train, steadily rolling along a track to the rhythm of the kick towards a destination that only the techno faithful will make it to. (8/10)



Monte – “Close To Me”



Patrick Blinkhorn – Eskimo Recordings brings the heat with this feel-good track! There’s nothing like summer-y disco house vibes on a cold winter’s day. The bass line is a bit cheekier than what I’m normally into, but I’ll accept it – this track is a feel-good dancefloor mover, nothing more, nothing less. I like this track for what it is. (7/10)


Alex Rubenstein – There is no denying the influence 80’s synth, funk and disco has had on Monte. “Close To Me” bears it from the jump. This track is undeniably funky, but, for me, it could have benefited from a little brevity and having the vocals come in sometime before the three minute mark. (Maybe the radio edit would be more up my alley.) Also, the entire time I was listening, I could not help but wish this was a Chromeo song instead. The production is definitely strong here and will undoubtedly cause some good old rump shaking. (7/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This tune has some big drums which had me hooked through the whole tune. I feel like I’m cruising top down on an electric highway right now. The whole melodic structure is amazing – they keep on teasing and teasing. The guitar accents are so smooth and the vocals are sensual and keep the tension building. Rhythmically, this song is beyond amazing. The melodic and percussive elements create such a groove. I’ll be looking forward to hearing this in some warmer weather. (8/10)


Katie Bowles – Y’all know the intro to “Blue Monday” by New Order? This track gives me the same kind of vibes, especially with the driving pulse and subtle melody beginning around 0:20. I thought the vocal line in the middle of the song was an interesting choice (not altogether necessary, but I didn’t hate it), and I LOVED the buildup to 4:14. An entertaining track that kept me interested! (7/10)


Alvaro Hernandez – This song instantly sucks you in with its groove – 80’s inspired percussion sprinkled with clean synth chords reminiscent of early Eric Prydz tunes. The vocals pair up perfectly with the strong nu-disco flavorings that abound throughout the track. A guaranteed party starter for any DJ’s library. (8.5/10)



Alina Baraz – “High” (Nick AM Remix)



Patrick Blinkhorn – This track is a bit more minimal than what I’m going for tonight. The synth work is all cool and the drums are solid. I’m not into the vocal style or the breathy reverb

effects on the vocals. (5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Nick AM turns Alina Baraz’s “High” into a high-definition ride, with its pulsing and skittering effects, creating a very groovy vibe. Her vocals are gorgeous as always, which lend themselves very well to remixers. This reminds me a bit of some classic Flight Facilities, which is always a good thing. (7/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – Nick AM is back with another super sexy remix of Alina Baraz. The bass line is out of my dreams and the sound design all over this track is beautiful. There is so much detail placed in everything from the bass to the lead. The lead sounds like it was pushed through a guitar amp there’s so much texture. Even the vocal accents are creative. Little touches of Alina Baraz’s voice are pushed all over the stereo spectrum. The melody is infectious. The song ends before you want it to be over. Play this on repeat at high volumes. (10/10)


Katie Bowles – Love this one. It’s an awesome mix of uptempo/downtempo and Baraz’s voice is gorgeous; this track just paints such a beautiful picture. The original is great, but I really enjoy what Nick AM did with the beat on this remix. So good! (9/10)


Alvaro Hernandez – Entrancing vocals from Alina Baraz, a production that gets you moving and a rhythm that reminds me of something that would be spun on Soulection, it’s a fantastic track that shines with its low-key vibe. (8.5/10)



FaltyDL – “If All The People Took Acid”



Patrick Blinkhorn – I’m not feeling the vocal sample or the resonant synth sound. The track feels a bit dull to me until about one minute in. At that point, the synth with all the reverb on it and the change-up in the drum beat add some flavor to the track. There are some interesting moments in this track, and if it were played in the club, I’d probably nod my head to the beat. That said, I wouldn’t play this track on my own accord. (5.5/10)


Alex Rubenstein – This song is all over the place. Instead of all the people taking acid, it sounds more like FaltyDL took all the acid. I’m just not sure what is supposed to be happening here. Should I be wanting to dance? I usually enjoy FaltyDL’s productions, but this just ain’t it. (3/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – FaltyDL with a lovely house tune. My favorite part is easily the mangled vocals. The stabs are also a high point for me. They move and breath at times, really pushing the vibe of the track around. I expected an acid track but was given a nice surprise with something a bit more tame on the top end. This tune is going be a workhorse tune in the club. (6/10)


Katie Bowles – Meh. I liked the vocal sample on this, but the track just didn’t hold my attention as a whole. However, thinking about it objectively, it’s definitely a song I could turn up to if I heard it live or in a club, so it may just be that my current setting (my living room couch on a Wednesday morning) doesn’t lend itself to it. (4/10)


Alvaro Hernandez – Funky, trippy, hypnotic. FaltyDL combines the elements imperative to making a house cut stand out from the norm, creating a track that seems to immerse the listener in an aural acid trip. From the slightly warped sound of the keys to the echoing vocal sample bouncing around questioning indeed what would happen if everyone took acid. Have a listen and find out… (8/10)



San Holo – “Lead Me Back”



Patrick Blinkhorn – The trap vibes mixed with the folksy vocals and guitar aren’t sitting well with me. The production value is there, but I’m not into this track. (2/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Remember that guy at every party with an acoustic guitar that only knew how to play “Wonderwall”? Well, somehow that guy got ahold of a laptop and decided to trawl the internet for an amalgam of Top 40 lyrics, smashed those together over top of a pseudo-trap instrumental, and the result is “Lead Me Back.” I’m actually very impressed that I made it to the end of this song. I cannot find one redeeming thing about it, except that it does, eventually, end. I award you zero points and may god have mercy on your soul. (0/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers – This is a cool tune- something a little more contemplative from the Bit Bird boss. His writing has always been amazing and this song is no exception. The guitars are really beautiful, the vocals are written well and genuinely catch the listener and the drop is solid, but I felt like he lost me a bit. I catch right back on the bridge, but I really was hoping for something even more tame. I respect the choice, though, and I won’t take any points. San Holo is an amazing writer. This song is wearing a few hats, genre wise, and it feels natural, which is always a good thing. (7/10)


Katie Bowles – As you may have deduced from my past reviews, I really enjoy genre mixing. Coming from a more indie-oriented background (RIP D.C. Music Download), I particularly love blends of electronic music with acoustic instruments. I also appreciate the artistry of this track – San Holo sang and played the guitar himself rather than bringing in a feature. It definitely caters to a more mainstream audience, but I guess I’m part of that demographic because I love it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (9/10)


Alvaro Hernandez – An interesting look into the hybrid sound of San Holo. An otherworldly synth contrasts the down-to-earth acoustic guitar, yet when combined melds the song like cookies and cream. (7.5/10)



The Results:


Alina Baraz – “High” (Nick AM Remix) – 7.9/10

Monte – “Close To Me” – 7.5/10

Recondite – “Channel” – 6.9/10

FaltyDL – “If All The People Took Acid” – 5.3/10

San Holo – “Lead Me Back” – 5.1/10