Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – June 7th, 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: Will Creason, Justin Barini-Rivers, Alex Rubenstein, Kristina Dandridge, and Marshall Stukes. This week’s music includes tracks by Caius featuring Neigh, Jai Paul, Georgia remixed by Happa, HNGVR & Hendy, and Sinego.

Caius – “Your Love” (feat. Neigh)

Will Creason – The vocal sample here is the best element of the track, the piece on which everything else relies. My complaint is there isn’t that much that happens here. It’s a good sketch that runs its course and fizzles out within three minutes. At a languid 100 BPM, this track reads more as Spotify study playlist tune than Spinnin’ Records club staple. Just on the right side of okay. (4/10)

Alex Rubenstein – Something like this seems like the product of aiming for plays on a downtempo, mood-centric, algorithmically-generated Spotify playlist. That does not make it bad, per se, for me it just lacks originality and does not warrant any engagement besides having it play quietly in the background of doing any other activity. The vocals from Neigh are pleasant enough, but the processing does not leave any room for a sense of the actual talent behind them. I’ll probably hear this in Starbucks next. (5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – This mid-tempo, groovy vibe is nice. I especially enjoy the pianos because I find Spinnin’ songs to, usually, fit a formula. This track is cool for people who want to listen to more commercial house, but I need a bit of weird in my house. This tune uses a few things differently than I expected, so there’s some nice surprises from Caius. I am happy with the mix and sound design as the production level is very high, I just wish there was a bit more complexity. (5.5/10)

Kristina Dandridge – This is downtempo track produced by Danish producer, Caius, featuring soulful vocals from Neigh. I can’t believe this young producer’s first soundcloud upload was only four years ago! His sound is undeniably chill house with funky basslines and a minimalistic sound design. You can sense his French house inspirations seeping through in this track. I love this track so much! It is officially my jam for Spring 2019. (10/10)

Marshall Stukes – This one is short and sweet. I like the simple nature of the track which just allows you to feel the mood Caius and Neigh want you to experience. But even in its simplicity, there’s nothing really different about this track, although it’s good. I like the piano and the repeating vocal sample, but the “uh” one shot in the middle seems out of place to me. All in all, I’ll listen to this again, but I wouldn’t seek it out specifically. (7/10)

Jai Paul – “Do You Love Her Now”

Will Creason – I missed the Jai Paul hype train, so I really have no stake in his return (good for him though) nor do I have any emotional relation to his past music. I’m coming in with fresh ears. First listen: this sounds like what I imagine John Mayer would make if he took the drugs Animal Collective take. The beat here is pretty fresh. For me, the best part of the package is the artwork: the faded stock XL sleeve and the mysterious glyphs. If only the music were as mysterious! (4/10)

Alex Rubenstein – Six years later and we finally have new (officially official) Jai Paul music in our ears! For an artist who put out two tracks between 2012 and 2013, the fact that there was still hype and a major internet fanbase clamoring for new music is a feat in and of itself, especially in today’s age of rapid consumption and “on to the next one” mentality. In addition to the official version of a previously leaked Jai Paul, but it’s not Jai Paul, but it actually is Jai Paul album, we get a 2-track, double B-side release. “Do You Love Her Now” is a sublime slice of pop electronica that hits all the right spots. I wouldn’t say we are dealing with anything groundbreaking that naturally took six years to craft, produce and release, but if we just look at this objectively as a good song then it hits the mark. Vocals are tight and familiar, the drums are low-key and the guitar is warm and sexy. Glad to have you back, Jai. (8/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – The google alert that I had finally paid off – he’s back with some lovely tunes. No surprises here, though; this is a bit more basic than what I expected from his previous material. I am not feeling the same collage of textures and vibes. Jai Paul used to remind me a lot of Burial in the way that the songs sometimes weren’t songs, but it didn’t matter. The guitars and slap back delays are cool, but I’m looking for something that breaks all the rules from Jai. (Although, this is some nice psychedelic stuff.) (6/10)

Kristina Dandridge – This is an instant classic of 2019! I love the guitar, the effects processing and the way Jai Paul produced and mixed this track. The vocals are exposed at some points, leaving space for the vocals to really pop out. (7/10)

Marshall Stukes – The vocal arrangement of this track is awesome – it’s the best thing about the song. The relationship between the kick and bass is really something, and I like the overall tone of the song. I felt that the crashes with the phaser were kind of cheesy, but they worked in the end. (7/10)

Georgia – “About Work The Dancefloor” (Happa Remix)

Will Creason – I am head over feet for this. The vocal line from Georgia is absolutely anthemic. There are no stray lyrics or notes; it’s a bulletproof vocal. Happa stitches together what feels like an ever-climbing ascent of build ups that don’t resolve, a roller coaster that just keeps going up into the clouds. It reminds me a lot of Rustie’s Glass Swords, with extended sections of pure frisson that test how long the feeling can last. I can (and have, and will right now) listen to this on repeat over and over. (10/10)

Alex Rubenstein – I feel as if I’m watching a firework show asking everyone around me, “Was that the finale? No wait, it’s still going – this has to be the finale! Oh wait here it comes!” And then as everyone around me tires of this line of questioning, the show ends. Happa’s take on this provides an endless buildup that somehow comes with a built-in resolution. An impressive feat, yet it still left me wanting more. See A.G. Cook’s remix of ‘Doing It” by Charli XCX and Rita Ora for where I thought this was ultimately heading. Georgia’s vocals are lovely here and a real treat. Happa is interesting as you never know quite what you’re getting with him. (7.5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Speaking of collage style music that almost isn’t a song, I give you this remix. This is cool to listen to, but I don’t know if I would ever play it for enjoyment. The melancholy vibe is on point, but the lack of structure gives me a bit of a problem when I listen to music. Even Arca has some structure in those massive, ballad-style ambient songs. I wish there was more supporting the vocals here. All the pieces are lovely and I respect the creation, but I don’t think this was made with me in mind. (5/10)

Kristina Dandridge – That distortion on the track really puts me in an alternative mindset! I expected pristine, synth-pop sounding production to marry the vocals and synth chords, but instead, the track has a crunchy disposition. You might think I’m crazy for saying this, but all this fuzz sounds refreshing to my ears! It’s something unique and worth appreciating. Check out the original live performance of this song by Georgia; it’s wildly impressive! (7.75/10)

Marshall Stukes – While this song is a beautiful journey, a part of any journey is reaching a destination, and we didn’t get there. I do like the attention to detail in the production, however. My favorite part is the movement in the distortion and the over layed effects on top of the vocals. It just didn’t amount to anything to me. (5/10)

HNGVR & Hendy – “ReBorn”

Will Creason – Is there a name for this style of music yet? There’s definitely a Burner juke scene on the West Coast and this slots nicely into that continuum. Equal parts post–footwork, skippy syncopation; drum n’ bass snares and hats; and slightly psychedelic, arpeggiated melodies. I’m happy to hear something new like this, but I have to say, this one doesn’t really raise my pulse. Shout out to Muti Music who has steadily been putting out off kilter tunes for FOR–EV–ER. (5/10)

Alex Rubenstein – “Reborn” does a really great job of balancing opposing feelings and styles, from light/dark to psychedelic/straightforward, all in the same breath. This track seems to be orbiting juke and footwork with a dash of drum and bass, while not really being any of these fully. I dig the upbeat melody and the little vocal sample hits. This could work really well in the club. (7/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – Another sweet Submithub submission! I am really into the underground sound, but I usually get stopped when the mixdown become terrible. The sound design is simple and understated, but the song is a massive tune with tons of depth and space. The little vocal chops got me bouncing around my studio. I love that I can place sounds in the mix easily and also enjoy the melody. Overall, I am super happy with this tune and would love to hear more from these two. The overall experience after three listens is that this tune has a majestic top and a mean bottom end. (7/10)

Kristina Dandridge – This track is a footwork banger! The overall production of this track is so thrilling it takes you on a roller coaster ride through out! I am especially a fan of the dynamic drum percussion and arpeggiation. (9/10)

Marshall Stukes – The many vibes packed into five minutes kept me intrigued throughout. The repeated use of elements, but reshaping and retooling them so that they bring something different to the song, really stood out to me as the highlight. I wasn’t as much as a fan of the rising bass that comes in an out. I also wasn’t expecting to have a lesson in philosophy. (7.5/10)

Sinego – “Verte Triste”

Will Creason – Yes! This one has an absolutely killer groove, and the guitar riff is fantastic. I love the halfway point where the riff is replayed with a different setting. Great vocal (sample?), great movement, great flow throughout, stellar production value. Pretty much a flawless tune right here! (9/10)

Alex Rubenstein – Going into this track with no expectations of what it was going to sound like was a wonderful experience. Everything comes together into a tight, cohesive, highly groovy package. This guitar riff is just perfect in the context of the song and the vocals are quite charming and inviting. Sinego is somebody I’ll be keeping on my radar from now on! (8.5/10)

Justin Barini-Rivers – This is a cocktail-in-hand house heater. This song is hitting all the points while keeping it unique and fresh. This has party vibes all over it, day or night. If you don’t speak Spanish you won’t be missing out at all, these vocals work in any language; this tune is universal.  It’s so deep you can’t throw your body too hard in any direction, you just enjoy the waves of emotion. This track stands out, in my mind, as something that is going to get some serious plays this summer. (9/10)

Kristina Dandridge – The best way I can describe this track is funky, yet lo-fi, dance music. Be forewarned, this genre bender is disorienting! With the filters on the guitar production to the echoing vocals, it’s a total mind trip! (3/10)

Marshall Stukes – Even though “Verte Triste” is slightly melancholic, it really makes me want to get up from my seat, find someone on the dance floor and just dance my troubles away. I find the main guitar riff infectious as I’ve had it in my mind hours after listening to the song. The production is fantastic, using little samples throughout the beat to keep it fresh. The switch up in the middle also kept me interested. This is a definite summer song for me. (9/10)

The Results:

Sinego – Verte Triste – 7.7/10

HNGVR & Hendy – “Reborn” – 7.1/10

Georgia – “About Work The Dancefloor” (Happa Remix) – 7/10

Jai Paul – “Do You Love Her Now” – 6.4/10

Caius – “Your Love” (Feat. Neigh) – 6.3/10