Blisspop Presents: Feedback Friday – July 19th, 2019

Feedback Friday is Blisspop’s weekly exploration of the latest tunes being released both in the mainstream and underground electronic scenes. Our dedicated team of virtual crate diggers rotates each week to offer their unique takes on the newest house rollers, techno stompers, experimental cuts, bass rattlers, disco hits and beyond. No matter if the track has 6 plays or 6 million, breaks new ground or retreads the same tired tropes, is an instant add to the playlist or the catalyst for inventing time travel to be able to un-hear it – Blisspop is on it.

We are back at it again and this edition features our contributors: Alvaro Hernandez, Justin Barini-Rivers, Aeron Premo, Kristina Dandridge, and Alex Rubenstein. This week’s music includes tracks by 808 State, Aldorande, Manta remixed by Helten, Traxman, and Special Request. Enjoy and let us know your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.




808 State – “Ujala”




Alvaro Hernandez – 808 State gives plenty of percussion and solid synth work to get you moving along with whatever you may be up to, whether it’s writing a review or rocking out on the dance floor. As the song itself says: “Fantastic.” (9/10)


Alex Rubenstein – 808 State are back with an interesting new tune in the form of “Ujala”. I get vibes of exploring a new city in the dead of night, backlit by neon signs and shady characters. The tribal-esque drums add a nice flavor and the synth work and simple sample add enough flair to keep things interesting. Don’t sleep on this one, it’s a wholly unique vibe. (7.5/10)


Kristina Dandridge - 808 State, an electronic music group that began in the late 1980’s who named themselves after the iconic TR-808 drum machine, is back with a new track, “Ujala”. In Urdu, Ujala apparently translates to ‘light of the universe.’ This raises more questions than answers for me as to what inspired “Ujala”. My favorite aspects are the tribal influences as well as the sawtooth synth leads that propel the track forward. That evolving 808 double-time progression at around four minutes makes me swoon! This track is wondrous, exploratory tribal house that is absolutely worth a listen!  (8.5/10)


Aeron Premo - We all know what an absolute classic “Pacific 707” is, but of course 808 State deserve to be known for more tracks. And “Ujala” should be one of them. This is a funky house banger that, while minimal in melody, has many other elements that make it stand out. The drum samples draw you in immediately and the bass line has an incredibly pulsating rhythm. The fuzzy synth line and vocal sample also provide the arrangement with some room for the beats to breathe. I can see this one being played midway through a DJ set to get the dance floor ready for an ultimate high energy track (8/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers - This track is very unique with its tribal drums and vocal chops. It’s weird, but it works so well. The long synth and vocals have a very nice call and response element to it. Every synth in this song is so captivating, it stays minimal, but it isn’t too simple. Once the song starts to really build, the drums continue to develop a bit more and it adds a nice break from the four on the floor kick. Refreshingly unique house should be the genre of this song. Very cool house tune. (10/10)



Aldorande – “Beauty Island”




Alvaro Hernandez – What a find! This instantly reminds me of the early sounds of Ronnie Foster or MFSB; a vibe that could fit perfectly into an evening soundtrack at home or at the club. Atmospheric vocals with the suave stylings of the rhythm section, sultry bass, and velvety keys. A must-have for any jazz-funk enthusiast. (10/10)


Alex Rubenstein - What a lovely tune! I can see Floating Points busting out this type of rare groove in a DJ set and the audience scrambling to Shazam it first. The jazz influence on this house tune is quite evident and very fitting. The vocals are ethereal and soar high above the tasteful piano licks and laid back drums. The bass is simple yet powerful and just adds to the overall class that this track exudes. Great stuff here from Aldorande. (9/10)


Kristina Dandridge - There’s a wistful, dreamy vibe that I get from Aldorande. My favorite part about “Beauty Island” is the bass guitar part and the sax solo. The bass lines groove and keeps a swinging pace to complement the minimalist percussion that integrates well into what I perceive to be a blend of live and programmed drums. The only thing I would wish for is for the lyrics to be sung in English instead of French. Regardless, I can move past that and appreciate the sonic goodness that this track has to offer. (8.4/10)


Aeron Premo - This French jazz/funk group are a new discovery for me and I’m absolutely loving them! The musicianship on this track is top notch – I love the light electronic flourishes throughout the live arrangement. Think Roy Ayers meets BADBADNOTGOOD meets Jazzanova. The production is smooth and enables the arrangement to glide along. The saxophone line is a bit too noodly for a track this groovy, but the rest of the elements make up for it. Listening to this, I just want to put this on the stereo, make myself an Aperol spritz and enjoy an evening of musical bliss. (8.5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers - This smooth and funky track definitely caught me off guard. This has an amazing pocket thanks to the drums and guitars. This develops into a full on jam towards the back end with some awesome saxophone. This is a really smooth and funky tune. It has a really nostalgic feel, but still has something unique to add. I really enjoyed the vocal lines and rhythms. (6/10)


Manta – “Circus Rotation” (Helten Remix)




Alvaro Hernandez - From the jump this is a remix that wants you focus your attention on that punchy kick and wobbly bass. Apart from that, I felt as though there was an untapped area of gnarly magic that was waiting to come out throughout the song but never fully formulated. Nevertheless, this is still a song that I could see both house and techno selectors throw into the fray. (7/10)


Alex Rubenstein - This one is a bit of a curve-ball in my opinion as it sounds a bit dated. If this was 2011-2012, I may be singing a different tune. However, today it just sounds played out. The bass is nice, I’ll give you that, but this would definitely be my cue to hit the bar or the bathroom if I heard it in the club. (4/10)


Kristina Dandridge - This is a heavy drum and bass track. I feel like I am being taken back to 2011 when Nero’s epic album, Welcome Reality, dominated my existence. I’m willing to play this on repeat! (8/10)


Aeron Premo - The synth pad and bass were nice elements, but instead of giving me the normal natural high that a high energy track does, this one hurt my head after a while. It just felt like a lot of endless thumping, and the warped vocal sample that came in about two-thirds of the way through was just weird. This did nothing for me…sorry. (3/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers - This immediately caught my attention! I love house remixes of Drum and Bass tracks. This did not disappoint. The momentum of this song keeps pushing and pushing. Eventually, it finally breaks and then builds some more tension for the last drop. This is definitely a roller of a house tune. The bass progression is really smooth, yet complex. The rhythm that is created by the bass is really creating its own world. This track is a gem and should be played on some lovely speakers. (9/10)




Traxman – “It’s Lasting Bass”




Alvaro Hernandez – I have never fully delved into the world of Footwork, but this is an interesting crash course into the sounds prevalent in the style. We have swift samples sprinkled into a frenzy created by the intricate percussion hits and low-lying bass. Not bad, but not necessarily a go-to for me. (6/10)


Alex Rubenstein - Here we go again with Teklife proving they are at the vanguard of the footwork movement. Traxman is coming in hot with an exercise in sub bass rattlers and tastefully chopped vocal samples. I will admit it is a bit minimal, but mixed into a DJ set there is no denying this will rip up the dance floor. (7/10)


Kristina Dandridge - My favorite part about “IT’S LASTING BASS” is the how focused the sub bass is in the context of the overall mix. The chopped up vocals reminds me of playing a scratched CD when it’s stuck in the player: it keeps skipping and stuttering. While that’s a unique production technique, I could see it being perceived as potentially disorienting to listeners.  Overall, the 808’s keeps the pace impeccably well and it was refreshing to hear this style of music which I don’t normally listen to. (7/10)


Aeron Premo - The Teklife catalog is certainly worth a look — I remember being incredibly impressed with DJ Taye when I saw him open for Jessy Lanza at DC9. The beats here in Traxman’s track are structured incredibly well and the “everlasting bass” vocal sample reminds me of some 90’s tunes. However, I think that the track could have been elevated with some synth stabs or a synth line halfway through to bring some versatility in there. It just got boring after a while. (5/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers -  I’ve Always been down with Teklife. This track develops slowly, but the groove is undeniable. The vocal chops are epic. They just sit right on top of that warm bass so perfectly. The drums push the tempo back and forth. This tune hits hard, disappears, and then comes back reminding you why you kept listening. I Haven’t listened to much footwork lately, but this has got me in the mood for more. (7/10)


Special Request – “Phosphorescence”




Alvaro Hernandez - A surprisingly melodic and grooving tune from the master, bridging glistening futuristic bells with the tried and true bass line of yesteryear. This is one of those songs that when played in the right head space takes you right back to the dance floor, where moving your body to the rhythm is the only way to truly process the message and feel of a song. If only there was an extended version…. (9/10)


Alex Rubenstein - I’m a big fan of Paul Woolford and his Special Request alias, so I was very pleased to see this on the lineup for this week. What starts off as a simple ambient techno track quickly ramps up into a more psychedelic journey into those blissful club moments where everything feels just right and your body could not stop moving even if you wanted it to. This one is a keeper, for sure! (9/10)


Kristina Dandridge - There’s an ambient, lo-fi experimentation going on in this track and I dig it! The glitchy elements are out of this world! I think that the bass line and percussion don’t seem to match the other ambient elements going on here, but I can certainly appreciate this mix-up of genres. (6.5/10)


Aeron Premo - The dreamy synth line at the beginning drew me in — I’m definitely getting some mid to late 90’s feels from this track. The synth patches used are very nice and the beat is strong but not overpowering. I just felt that the track meandered slightly and there weren’t any new elements brought in halfway to liven it up a bit. A nice effort, but more needed to be done with it. (6/10)


Justin Barini-Rivers - The intro here is so ethereal and lush. As it moves into the drums they just blend so perfectly together. When the bass and lead come together this song somehow becomes even more perfect. Everything feels as if it’s exactly where it was meant to be. I could loop this song for the entire summer. The bass is my favorite part of this track. It just sits so perfectly in the mix pushing the momentum. This is such a clean song in so many ways. (8/10)




The Results:


808 State – “Ujala” – 8.6/10

Aldorande – “Beauty Island” – 8.4/10

Special Request – “Phosphorescence” – 7.7/10

Traxman – “It’s Lasting Bass” – 6.4/10

Manta – “Circus Rotation” (Helten Remix) – 6.2/10