Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – March 15, 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: Patrick Blinkhorn, Katie Bowles, Alex Rubenstein, Will Creason, and Marshall Stukes. This week’s music includes tracks by J-E-T-S, KH aka Four Tet, Shlohmo, Above & Beyond remixed by Seven Lions, and L’Impératrice.



J-E-T-S – “Potions”


Patrick Blinkhorn – This is a quality production and the vocals are good too, but it’s not a style I normally listen to. That said, if I listened to music like this enough, I might get into it. (6/10)


Katie Bowles – I like the bouncy, chill feel of this track. It feels perfect now that the weather’s warming up and I’m starting to think about spring/summer. I’m also thrilled to see that former Danity Kane member, Dawn Richard, is still out there killing it in unexpected ways. Overall a great, laid-back song that I could listen to multiple times. (8/10)


Marshall Stukes The beat really carries this track. The amount of variations and breakdowns keep the pace really well. The synth wells are pretty good too. I could do without the vocals, as I don’t think they add any value. I would be interested in hearing a dub version. (7.5/10)


Will CreasonControversial opinion: I like Dawn Richard’s voice way more than Dawn Richard’s lyrics. This song feels kind of like everyone is working way below their potential. I hate to say it, the beat kind of just feels like pop radio playacting. Is this giving us something we needed or is it a composite of what we already have? (4/10)


Alex Rubenstein – The inimitable duo of J-E-T-S (Machinedrum and Jimmy Edgar) are finally back! Potions is the second single off their upcoming, debut LP Zoospa. On paper, the combination of these two producers, plus the vocal stylings of DAWN, should be a smash. Unfortunately, this lacks the oomph that I have come to expect. The beat is nice enough, with its twinkling accents and playful synths, and DAWN’s vocals are lush as usual, but this just does not stand out quite like the recently released, “Play,” with Mykki Blanco on vocal duties. I am still very much looking forward to the album, it’s just that this one is not hitting that sweet spot for me. (6/10)



KH aka Four Tet – “Only Human”


Patrick Blinkhorn –  I love the rolling bassline in this track along with the hi hat work. Four Tet brings in that vocal sample masterfully. I feel like this track is already a classic — no wonder it was so ID’d last year. Brilliant work here, Four Tet. (9/10)


Katie Bowles I wasn’t initially sold on this one, but once the fast “hope you’re ready” vocals dropped in, I started getting amped up. I’m pretty sure this track just increased my resting heart rate by around 10 bpm. The buildup and drop at 4:00 is definitely solid too. I sometimes have trouble staying interested in tracks like this, but “Only Human” kept me interested the whole way through. (7/10)


Marshall Stukes The first thing that stands out to me is the main percussive sample. It’s certainly different and off beat in a good way. The vocal sample is cool and has a good message (shout out Nelly Furtado), but it’s application was lacking a bit for me. The track is long, which is fine if there’s a reason for it, but I couldn’t find one. (6/10)


Will Creason2019 wasn’t the year where I thought we’d be talking about Four Tet’s new single sampling Nelly Furtado on Ministry Of Sound, yet here we are. The vocal is the part getting the most attention, though what really puts this track on another level is the unpredictability of the other elements. There are percussive drop outs, bass pulses that ebb and flow, the hi hat that weaves in and out of the mix – these are the parts that really give this track personality, achieving what a high profile vocal sample alone could not. I expect to hear this one a lot. (9/10)


Alex Rubenstein – If you want to whip the dance floor into a frenzy then look no further than “Only Human.” The percussive elements, the switch-ups and goddamn…that Nelly Furtado sample all combine into one hell of a ride. KH smashed it out of the park with this one. (9/10)



Shlomo – “The End”


Patrick Blinkhorn –  This track starts off with some powerful bass! The guitar is a nice touch when it comes in. The kick coming in at 1:30 arrives not a moment too soon, so points are awarded for laying out the track well. The bell synth gets a little old after a while and I wish there were another lead or a vocal on top of this, but those are minor points of contention. (7.5/10)


Katie BowlesI am loving the diversity in this week’s submissions! The beat on this one is so sick, and the guitar backing keeps it from being too heavy, in my opinion. The only way this one could get better would be by adding some faster, clever vocals. I could see a Chance the Rapper or Andre 3000 feature doing great on this one. (9/10)


Marshall Stukes That bell lead though! It’s like a creepy broken toy, inviting you to play with it. The guitar and piano undoubtedly work really well together, and the melody is really good. One knock about the track is that the percussion is really basic, but it’s really only there to carry the beat. The textures from the guitar, pads, bass, and any of the other samples and effects you can pick out fill that void. The vibes are strong with this one, and I could listen to it all day. (9.5/10)


Will CreasonI like the composition of this one though it doesn’t feel like it ever really leaves first gear. The lo-fi cassette warping is a cool effect that gets a little grating from overuse (how warped is this cassette?). It’s a solid beat, just nothing to write home about, all in all. (3/10)


Alex Rubenstein – If someone wrote a new version of The Grudge using a cassette player instead of a TV then this could absolutely be the theme music. The bass is nice and heavy and the bell lead is a nice change of pace from the norm, but I do find the distortion takes away from the track overall. I’m not sure when the appropriate time to listen to this would be, but I do appreciate the vision. (6.5/10)



Above & Beyond – “Sahara Love (Seven Lions Remix)”


Patrick Blinkhorn –  I haven’t listened to Above & Beyond or Seven Lions for a number of years and that’s probably a good thing. In 2019, I find it difficult to get down to lush synth pads mixed with what I deem gimmicky snare builds and cheesy drops. Not a bad production, but not at all what I’m into these days. (2/10)


Katie Bowles – This one’s SO dramatic, but over-the-top lyrics/production like this are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. Perhaps a vestige of my high school emo days? Regardless, I can’t help but enjoy this song, particularly the buildup/drop at 2:40. (6/10)


Marshall Stukes I’m not really big on songs of this style, as they don’t connect with me. I thought the first drop was good, but it’s something I’ve heard before. For me this song is about a minute too long in the beginning, as the meat of the song is in the last 3/4s of the song. The track really didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to make me want to listen to it more. (7/10)


Will CreasonI’m trying to find something to like here. This style of music is pretty played out, it sounds like music in an ad for a mobile video game about emo elves. The vocals just flat out don’t fit here. Compared to the vocals on the original version, this version has some effect that gives the vocals a persistent rasp as if there is something lodged in the larynx. I don’t know if it’s caused by a post-production key change or something, it feels really off putting. Sorry Seattle brethren, this isn’t the one. (1/10)


Alex Rubenstein – Listening to this song all I can picture is an endless barrage of confetti cannons going off in my face. I’m not a big fan of the vocals here or the stereotypical drops, but I can see the appeal within the EDM scene of something like this. Me personally, I’d rather be eaten by seven lions, but to each their own. (2/10)



L’Impératrice ♕ – “SOME PARADISE”


Patrick Blinkhorn“Some Paradise” has been stuck in my head from first listen. Whether it’s the French-touch instrumentals that start off the track, the sensual vocals, or the A+ arrangement, this track is gold across the board. I also appreciate the subtle sexual imagery scattered throughout the music video — it’s a masterful touch. AND, I found out that L’Impératrice is coming to U Street Music Hall on May 15 — soooo looking forward to that! (10/10)


Katie Bowles – Here’s another track that’s got me ready for summer. The funky guitar riffs and light vocals complement each other perfectly, and everything is super smooth and well-produced. I could picture this being the soundtrack for a long drive along the coastline. Love it! (9/10)


Marshall Stukes – There is no doubt here that the guitar riffs are catchy, and the bass lines are just as groovy. However, I wish the vocals in the chorus were a bit lower in level and the pad sounds came through a bit more. I like that it’s a light song, but I could’ve used a little more in the chorus, maybe a different mix. All in all, it’s a great track that I’ll definitely add to my spotify playlist. (8/10)


Will CreasonA pretty bulletproof vibe right here, the nuevo disco production is on point and the spoken word verse leads to a giant chorus. There is a really impressive balance in the mix of this song, it sounds luxurious and expensive. This is superb, sureshot summer music! (9/10)


Alex Rubenstein – If I had to sum this song up in one word, it’d be ‘sexy.’ There are definitely some Random Access Memories vibes going on here with the instrumental. The vocals honestly sound a bit like Yaeji, which I am perfectly okay with. Never heard of these guys, but after this consider me a fan! (8.5/10)



The Results:


L’Impératrice ♕ – “SOME PARADISE” – 8.9/10

KH aka Four Tet – “Only Human” – 8/10

Shlomo – “The End” – 7.1/10

J-E-T-S – “Potions” – 6.3/10

Above & Beyond – “Sahara Love (Seven Lions Remix)” – 3.6/10