Comment: Shuzhen is a neo-classical pianist and multifaceted producer from Malaysia. She has has taken the emo rock hit “Desert” by ARVAN, a band that has won the “Best Band” award at the 2020 Malaysia AIM Chinese Music Awards and performed at various festivals in Malaysia and Taiwan, and turned it into a sleek and classy deep house gem. The remix, aptly titled “Desert (Shuzhen’s Oasis Rework)”, is part of the musical project “ARVAN’s Rework”, curated by the independent music label mü-nest.
I had never heard of ARVAN before, which is a shame because they seem really talented. But when you contrast the original version of “Desert” with Shuzhen’s version, you can really appreciate her talent as well. Shuzhen transforms the dark and emotive original into a warm and vibrant sonic atmosphere that invites listeners to dance in harmony with the music. The pairing of Aki’s soulful vocals (ARVAN’s lead singer) with Shuzhen’s electronic soundscapes fits like a glove.
With this stylish remix, Shuzhen demonstrates her ability to blend the fluidity and contemporary appeal of electronic music with the distinctive emotional essence of emo rock. People in America and Europe should take a closer look at what’s happening in Southeast Asia’s music scene, starting with this collaboration between ARVAN and Shuzhen, and exploring Shuzhen‘s small yet impressive back catalogue.
Comment: “Horizon” is a melodic house track that is sure to take you on a journey to a realm of euphoria. The captivating melodies and mesmerizing visuals created by Melobird himself are a perfect match for this uplifting tune. Melobird is a Belgian electronic music producer and visual artist who has recently released this track as a testament to his passion for creating immersive experiences.
Melobird started his journey as Outlander, focusing on harder genres like Hardstyle, and even playing at major events like Tomorrowland and Defqon 1. However, he has returned to his roots with Melobird, embracing melodic and euphoric music infused with oriental and transcendental elements.
I’m glad he did because “Horizon” is a fantastic track that showcases Melobird’s talent as both a producer and visual artist. If you’re a fan of melodic house or just looking for some uplifting music to add to your playlist, I highly recommend giving “Horizon” a listen. You won’t be disappointed!
Comment: There’s an American band called Crusoe that has a song I quite like, called “Standing on Lightning”. However, I’m not referring to them today. Instead, I’m talking about an electronic music act that goes by the same name. The Apple Music algorithm recommended them to me, assuming they were the same band, but that was not the case. Unfortunately, there’s not much information about this electronic art: it has no bio on Spotify, no official website, and Google cannot help much due to a certain literary character that shares the same name.
Crusoe got an instagram account and, based on information in the video below on YouTube, the artist’s real name appears to be Laurens Boeve. However, that’s about all the information available. What I can tell you, though, is that Crusoe is a special talent. Just listen to ‘Goodmorning,’ the last track on their ‘A Revived Love For Life’ EP. Do you hear the whale vocalizations in the background? It certainly sounds like them, and I find it really cool. Just check it out and let me know.
Comment: Out of all the entries in this website, the one with the highest number of Google Search hits is by far the entry for Sultan + Shepard‘s flawless track: Assassin. I’m now going to make things a bit more confusing to those visitors by adding another track involving the same duo, along with Belgian producer Jerro, and British producers Jon Hopkins and Kelly Lee Owens.
I’ll let Sultan + Shepard explain the story behind this track: “One day, we happened to be on Reddit, and saw that someone had tagged us in a video of Jon Hopkins playing our collaboration with Jerro, ‘Trois’. We were very flattered because we’ve been a big fan of Jon ever since we heard Light Through The Veins many years ago. We reached out on Twitter to say thanks for supporting the track, and he wrote back saying he had an idea he wanted to discuss. Turns out he had discovered the song in a car after a gig in Milan and Shazam’d it and started playing it in his sets. He then made a special edit of Trois using the vocals and synths from his song ‘Luminous Spaces’ with Kelly Lee Owens. He sent us the rough draft and we quickly sent over stems and before we knew it a new piece of music had been born out of our two songs. ‘Luminous Spaces’ was one of our favorite tunes of the past couple years so we were extremely excited. We’re such fans of both Kelly and Jon, so being able to connect and collaborate with them through this song that we started with Jerro in our studio last year feels very special to us.” Enjoy!
Comment: Daniel Goldstein, aka Lane 8, is pretty well known as far as electronic artists go as a member of the popular Anjunadeep label. He’s obviously really talented and a proof of that is that he’s released four studio albums already, with the latest one, Reviver, dropping this year. Survive, featuring Channy Leaneagh of Poliça, is one of its lead singles and an instant #musicalcruh. Good luck getting that chorus out of your head today.
I stumbled upon Sultan + Shepard (not the Australian band Sheppard) when Youtube decided to play this song, Assassin, automatically after it had finished playing another video and I was too busy to stop it. The tune was so good that it grabbed my attention almost immediately even though I was focused on work. It is a charming electronic offering with a synth line you simply cannot get enough of.
Sultan + Shepard are a Canadian duo with several EPs under their names and even collaborations with artists such as Tiësto. They have just released their first full-length album Something, Everything, which includes today’s featured track. Sultan, born Ossama Al Sarraf, lived in Kuwait, Cyprus and Egypt before moving to Montreal in 1996 to study mechanical engineering, where he met Ned Shepard and almost immediately started producing music together.
If you like good, melodic electronic music, you really cannot miss Assassin. You are going to love it.
Country Club is the moniker used by 23-year-old Liverpool resident Leon Holmes. Influenced by the likes of Gorillaz, The Strokes, Massive Attack and Portishead; his music is eclectic without being way too experimental. His goal is to blend nostalgic and contemporary genres in an ingenious way. Temporary is an example of that.
As is the case with all his songs, Leon performed, produced and mixed Temporary on his own using just a couple of instruments and a laptop. He did a great job at making it seem like he got plenty of help from other musicians. The tune is captivating without being too on-your-nose. You can really sense the impact Gorillaz had over Leon on Temporary but he still gave it his own twist. In fact, you might like this song even if you aren’t a big fan of Damon Albarn’s virtual band. I’m proof of that.
Listen to Free Country’s infectious tune in the mixtapes below. You might love it but even if you don’t, you will find it refreshing and that’s always a plus.
I mentioned this great song recently in another entry and I think it makes sense to feature it as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song. Frou Frou was a British electronic duo that released only 1 album, Details, back in 2002. They disbanded in 2004 but Wikipedia claims that they reunited in 2017. I don’t know if that is true or not but Imogen Heap, the lead singer, has had a successful career as a solo artist that predates Frou Frou. Her voice is one of those you can recognize right away.
Anyway, Let Go, which was part of the Details album, gained notoriety in 2004 when Zach Braff chose it as the key track on the award-winning soundtrack of his hit indie movie Garden State. The song was also featured prominently in one of its trailers (which you can watch below). The lush electronic strings and Imogen’s distinct vocals are impossible to resist in what ended up being one of the best tracks of that decade.
Kōdəh (pronounced as Kodah) is the Slovenian word for codes. Koda, on the other hand, is a Native American term for friend or companion. It makes sense then that Shakthi Prasad, a Spain-based indie electronic music artist from India, chose ˈKōdəh as his stage name. He’s been active in the music scene since 2008 as the drummer of different progressive rock bands in Bangalore. In 2019, Shakthi decided to pursue a Master of Music in Music Production, Technology, and Innovation at the Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain, which started his journey into ambient and experimental electronic music. He is preparing his debut album as a solo artist to be released earlier this year.
His debut single, Swerve, was released already last month. It features Los Angeles-based singer KEANA, who has received training in classical and jazz vocals and met Shakthi at the college mentioned above. The track is a call for humanity to wake up and care more about each other and has been covered by Rolling Stone India. Musically, I’m not sure if it is because of the lush electronic background or Keana‘s vocas but the track reminds me a lot of Let Go from Frou Frou, a song that deserves its own feature as a #ThrowbackThursday post. Anyway, Swerve is a great debut single that flags ˈKōdəh as someone that we should really pay attention to. The best is yet to come.
Michael Caria, from Sardinia, Italy, but living in London, calls himself a designer of melancholic soundscapes. I think that’s description is spot on. His musical project is called Michael It‘z and his music, while deeply experimental, is also very pleasant to the ear. It is electronic music but in a relaxing, ambient-like way. Michael’s objective is to make the listener feel something with his music in the same way a surrealist or abstract painting can do that without knowing what the painter had in mind.
Polytechnic Confusion was released as a single late last year with Cleopatra Records, and it is also included in Michael’s brand new album: Plastika | Music For A Film. The track is a great example of everything I mentioned above and then some. Sure, it is an unusual kind of music but there’s something about it that leaves you thirsty for more. Seriously, give it a try.