[Electronic/Future] SMLE – With Me Ft. Hype Turner & Mary Ellen

With Me (ft. Hype Turner & Mary Ellen)

Since we first came into contact with them over a year ago, enigmatic production troupe SMLE have been consistently churning out some of the most tasteful midtempo, genre-blurring electronic music we’ve heard since a young chap by the name of Harley Streten took the scene by storm in 2011. We’ve already featured a pair of tunes, “Every Chance You Get” and “It’ll Be Okay”, off of their forthcoming EP Reasons To and today they’ve delivered us yet another carefully crafted soundscape which fuses pop arrangements, a heavy dose of soul, and skampering beats. “With Me” features syrupy vocal work from Hype Turner & Mary Ellen, and subtly combines nuanced percussion, murky rhythms and a huge, future-leaning synth which swallows up its listeners at will. SMLE’s darker instrumentation on this one bounces wonderfully off of Hype Turner & Mary Ellen’s playful vocal work, which has all resulted in another song we couldn’t wait to share with out TMN faithful. Stream “With Me” above.


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14 Unforgettable Sets from Outside Lands 2015 [Festival Review]

CoverIt’s been nearly a week since we first stepped into Golden Gate Park for Outside Lands, but with the return to the daily grind it feels like even longer for most of us. This year’s festival, yet another record-breaking one by attendance, featured all the amenities that make OSL special–amazing food, craft beers, a star-studded comedy lineup, the beautiful backdrop of Hellman Hollow and of course a top-notch bill of musical performances. With its rapid expansion came some growing pains as well, though, and our main gripe was the inaccessibility of the Heineken House, which featured some great DJs, due to overcrowding. At the same time, the greater depth of the lineup made the previously overlooked Panhandle stage the place to be and when the crowd came together at shows, the energy was unbelievable.

In the stupor that follows music festivals, it can be easy to allow your precious experiences to fade in the rearview of your memory bank, but there will always be sets that you’ll never forget. We’ve recounted 14 sets that have been stuck in our minds all week and also tried something a bit new with this review by asking random fans to review our favorite sets. If you were in attendance this year, we hope this brings you back and, if not, it might just make you want to check out OSL next year.

All images by Ninja Dominic Powell. All writing, unless otherwise noted, by Ash.

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[Electronic Bliss] Kenton Slash Demon – Harpe

Kenton Slash Demon

The capacity for emotional power within an instrumental composition should never be underestimated–a sentiment interestingly, and perhaps ironically, shared equally between fans of electronic and classical music. In fact, it could be argued that undeciphered abstraction leaves more room for personal and spiritual connection to a song. This couldn’t be more evident on “Harpe,” the latest single from Danish production duo Kenton Slash Demon, which is also one of their first official releases as recent signees to Australian juggernaut Future Classic. The label’s roster already boasts one of the most diverse collections of pioneering artists (Flume, Chet Faker, George Maple, Ta-Ku, Hayden James, Jagwar Ma and the list goes on) and their latest addition proves no different.

“Harpe” spans nearly seven minutes utilizing a stuttering, psychedelically-altered vocal sample backed by atmospheric pads and a steady house tempo to completely engross the listener with a repetitiveness that, at least for me, evokes a feeling of unrelenting reincarnation. That groove hits an interlude of suspension before returning with even more intricate textures. It’s an absolute musical odyssey that simultaneously elicits euphoria and darkness in a way that’ll connect with you in ways few tracks can.

Looking back at Kenton Slash Demon’s Soundcloud page, it’s clear why Future Classic chose them as their next project. If you’re digging this, we’d also highly recommend giving their Skydancer EP a listen.

P.S. Check out the heart-warming video for “Harpe” below.

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[TMN Interview] How to be Hard Headed: GANZ on his Vision and Path to Success


The ever shifting musical landscape of today lends itself to short memories and drastic overstatements. Albums are placed in the upper echelons shortly after their debuts, and claims of dominance fly constantly, portraying musicians as the literal godfathers of their respective genres. Part of the blame is shouldered by writers; an over reactive bunch who tend to go a bit overboard in backing their favorite artists. “Godfather” might be a bit of an embellishment, but in the case of Dutch producer Jordy Saamena, it would not be entirely hyperbolic to claim that he spawned an entirely new production style two years ago – one that has sparked a new wave of artists emulating his early success.

Saamena, who has situated himself as a internationally known producer under his stage name GANZ (pronounced gans), took the attention of the electronic music world through the release of his unique remixes – coined as “flips” – dating back to February of last year. While at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco on the first of an 8-stop North American tour, Jordy and manager Dennis Saamena (his older brother) were gracious enough to take some time after his performance and give The Music Ninja a run down on what the past two years have been like, the release of his label, and what he sees for the future of GANZ.

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Cazzette Talk the EDM Movement, Finding Artistic Freedom and their Upcoming EP [TMN Exclusive Interview + BTS Video Premiere]

Together (Till The Morning) Feat. Newtimers

I can still remember vividly hearing my first Skrillex song in a hazy dorm room about five years ago–it was around the same time that “EDM,” to some people’s chagrin, became an unstoppable force in mainstream music. For the college kids of that generation, like myself, it was an exciting moment hearing a completely new genre of mind-altering compositions. While frantically looking for all the EDM I could find, I stumbled across a Swedish duo by the name of Cazzette, who created an enormous dubstep remix of one of my favorite songs at the time, “Monster” by Kanye West.

As Cazzette rose to popularity, they signed with legendary manager Ash Pournouri, who’s best known for helping launch Avicii‘s career, and ended up supporting Avicii on his world tour when “Levels” was making him a household name. Just as with every new wave of music, though, EDM eventually hit a pinnacle of commercialization that began taking away from the artistry and originality that once made it so enticing. In the last five years or so, the term has become tied to a negative stigma–some detracting rationales more valid than others. Meanwhile, a number of the popular artists at the time’s music started sounding the same, with only few emerging from the EDM bubble with a distinguishable style.

Cazzette have seen EDM from its inception to its current, somewhat stagnant, state working to push their music forward exploring various soundscapes along the way. EDM’s legacy resonates, at least to some degree, in almost all genres today and electronic music, in general, is in an absolutely fantastic place thanks to the path it paved. In recent years, Cazzette have shown a determination to break free from classification and their upcoming EP, Desserts, sees the two escaping the constraints of EDM, instead focusing on pure grooves across sub-genres of electronic music. Artists are often at their best when they abandon genre restrictions and that’s exactly the crossroads where Cazzette stand now.

We were lucky enough to chat with Alex and Seb of Cazzette and it’s a fascinating, candid retrospective on the EDM movement as well as a powerful story about the artistic freedom displayed on their EP. Enjoy the interview below as well as the premiere of a behind the scenes video about the making of the track “State of Bliss” from the forthcoming project, which drops on August 14th on Spotify and August 28th on iTunes.

TMN: Can you tell us a bit about your first experiences with music—whether it be your parents playing you a record or the first time you tried an instrument.

Alex:  So for me, I’ve always been around music. I never played anything–like I never went to school for piano or anything like that but I think one of my earliest memories of music was being in the car with my dad and I remember we arrived to where we were going and I had to stay in the car because I had to keep listening to that Michael Jackson song “They Don’t Really Care About Us.” I think that’s like, well that wasn’t necessarily electronic music but that’s like one of my first memories of feeling like, music is so amazing, you know?

And then for electronic music I think, I must have been in high school and I went to this super lame disco and some techno song was playing and there were lasers and stuff. I was just really, like, hypnotized by that and after that I started DJ’ing and producing.

Seb: Yeah I think Michael Jackson was for everybody–for many kids in our generation, that was the shit. So that’s my first memory, but then how I got into electronic music was through my dad who always played me house music, trance music, like psych-trance, all this kind of weird stuff. And I think that’s how I got my interest in electronic music. it’s pretty much the same story for me as Alex, my dad introduced me to everything when it came to electronic music. And my mom also had really good taste–she listened more to like Prince and stuff like that.

TMN: When you guys first linked up, it was online, right? What drew you to each other’s styles?

Alex: Yeah, I think we found interest in each other’s music pretty early. We just started talking and sending demos back and forth. We’re a lot alike in the way that we didn’t really think about “Oh I do this genre, you do this genre”–you know like 2 separate genres. And then we started being influenced by each other. But this was more casual, you know, we were both like let’s just make music.

TMN: Can you talk a bit bout the landscape of electronic music back then? Because it was so different with EDM not quite being a full-blown movement yet.

Alex:  Yeah, it was very different. I mean now it feels like you know, every third person you meet is a DJ, right. And it’s a little bit different–I mean I remember watching videos of Axwell and Ingrosso and those guys, they were playing these shows and there were maybe 600 people there or something. Everyone was just going nuts and it was a completely different atmosphere. I’m not saying that it’s worse now, not at all. I think it’s great that it’s available for all these people because I think music should be available for everyone. So it’s awesome. But it’s just different, it was just more underground in a way.

Seb: For me it was very different at that time. I think electronic music was really more interesting back then. Everything was very new, changing all the time, always evolving. Now I don’t think it is as interesting any more, but it’s still good.

Alex: You know what differs the most? I think the arrangement of the songs, actually. Continue reading

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[Ambient/Dubstep] Allies For Everyone – All Gone (Kodomo Remix)

Allies For Everyone
All Gone (Kodomo Remix)

Sometimes with the copious amounts of music being released digitally nowadays through an exponential number of online retailers and publications -maybe even all too often- a sonically textured soundscape which may require a bit more active listening gets passed over for a quick and catchy melody highlighting whichever genre-du-jour may be the hippest to write about at the moment. However, some tunes break through the mold and command attention through their own set of aural rules. The latest from  genre-skirting electronic producer Kodomo falls into such a category, finding the New York based artist taking Allies For Everyone‘s (who premiered his own remix of his single “Bunker” with us last month) latest single “All Gone” into his own realm of silky, two-step melodica. From the careful droning of delicate drums to precisely pinned piano, and the reverb laden use of AFE’s original vocal track; Kodomo’s crafted a completely alternate view into “All Gone”. Deep and rich t extures are both built and torn down all at once by Kodomo, encasing a hermetic heart at its his revision’s core. For our seasoned electronic listeners, and fans of Boards of Canada, early Emancipator and Baths we’re highly recommending Kodomo’s remix to cut right through the Summer heat. Get more of Allies For Everyone from his busy Soundcloud here, and check out Kodomo’s “All Gone” remix above.

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[Electronica/Chill] Laura Marling – Divine (Olugbenga Remix)

Laura Marling

While most of us are probably familiar with U.K. alt-pop troupe Metronomy, we’re pretty sure most of our Ninjas out there may not be as familiar with their bass player Olugbenga and his incredibly textured solo electronic project. Just last week Olugbenga dropped a luscious mixtape, Olu’s Omniverse #2, which featured a number of unreleased tunes including a brand new remix of UK folk singer Laura Marling and her single “Divine”. After having to settle on listening to this breezy revision as part of Olugbenga’s aforementioned mixtape, today we had the pleasure of receiving the single in its entirety and couldn’t have asked for a better way to start our Thursday. Certainly the eclectic beatsmith (as so many bass players seem to be), Olugbenga dips “Divine” in multiple pools of influence from world beat to chill-step and dance behind crisply laid toplines, thumping drums which hearken the raw emotion of Chicago footwork and of course Laura Marlings inimitable vocal track. Just go ahead and wrap yourself in this one, you’ll be happy you did.

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