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: 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: Some outstanding electronic music is being produced in India today and Jonquev is the latest example of that. Technicolor Dreams is a mesmerizing track full of immersive soundscapes and hypnotic beats. It’s hard to believe this is just his debut single. I cannot even imagine what his first EP, Electric Heart, Magnetic Soul, is going to sound like. Let’s just say he’s just set our expectations pretty high. I’m looking forward to it.
Comment: Love To Go is an extremely catchy and uplifting song with a positive message about accepting all kinds of love (as shown by the video below). TZEJAX is a music producer and professional DJ from New Delhi, India, and for this track he got help from fellow Indian artist Suhasini Khattar. Check this tune out. It will light up your weekend.
Comment: Valtos (Martyn MacDonald and Daniel Docherty) are two electronic music producers whose current project consists of remixing songs from local bands from Scotland, such as Lapwyng. The result is pretty unique and interesting.
WOLFNUNN is the electronic/dance project of London-based multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer Joshua Nunn. He draws inspiration for writing songs from watching movies, imagining wherein the movie his tracks would fit in. Case in point, he wrote Make Me Feel Bad, his first original release, right after watching The Matrix and his intention was to create an atmospheric track for the end credits. The ethereal vocals in the song are from Spain-based artist CLOUDE, who attends the same university in London Joshua goes to (he studies Music Technology), and they couldn’t fit the tune any better.
Listening to the track, it’s hard to believe that it was recorded remotely (thanks to the first lockdown) and mixed and produced with home equipment. You really cannot notice anything odd with the recording. All in all, it is pretty clear that Joshua is really talented as a music writer and producer and he could get really far with WOLFNUNN. Hopefully, he will make more collaborations with CLOUDE as well. The future is bright for them.
Raosaheb Ramteke is an IT professional from India with a passion for music production. After struggling for a while to find the right balance between his day job and spending time making music, he finally self-released his first single in 2020 under theVinCrux moniker. He has since dropped a few other singles, including today’s featured song, Within, earlier this year. While he’s still trying to establish himself as a music artist, the quality of his work is generating some buzz already not only in his home country but all over the world as well.
Unfortunately, Vincrux lost his dear sister due to cancer in 2019, but the silver lining of that terrible experience is that it sparked a flame within Raosaheb for pursuing his dream. Most of his songs are inspired by conversations and memories he had with his sister and Within is no exception. With this tune, Vincrux wants to express that the solution to most, if not all, of our troubles lies within ourselves. Listen to this excellent track below and get lost in its enchanting melody. You will also find it hard to believe that everything related to making this song, even the music video below, was made by himself: an artist who is just getting started. Impressive.
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.
Parra for Cuva is definitely one of my favorite electronic music artists. Originally from Germany, I discovered him when the song being featured here today, his cover of Chris Isaak‘s popular Wicked Games, was featured on a now-extinct Youtube channel I used to follow. The track was a real hit, even reaching number 6 in UK’s official Top 40 in 2014, but, nevertheless, he remains relatively unknown. I mean, he should be more famous by now after that success and also because he has consistently released great track after great track (he’s already released one this year).
Nicolas Demuth, Parra for Cuva‘s real name, grew up in the same small town in Germany as singer-songwriter Anna Naklab and, naturally, they ended up working together in a number of releases, including Wicked Games. Her stunning voice is one of the reasons this song is so good. Event though it was a cover of a really well-known song, they managed to make it sound fresh. By the way, while we are talking about Parra for Cuva, check his remix of Mazzy Star‘sInto Dust (not available on Spotify). Simply outstanding.
I can’t claim to know much about the work of electronic music composer and producer David Grellier, aka College, because, unfortunately, that’s not the case. His goal is to “synthetize into [his] music the emotions of [his] childhood”, reason for which his music is heavily influenced by ’80s pop culture. If you watched the movie Drive (2011), you should have heard his most widely known song, A Real Hero, co-written with Austin Garrick from Canadian synth-pop duo Electric Youth, duo that also features on the track. If you just listen to this song, you’ll quickly notice two things: a) It certainly has an 80s vibe, and b) It is a mesmerizing track.
Despite getting nominated to an MTV Music Award for ‘Best Music’ and becoming an underground hit, A Real Hero is still relatively unknown to the casual music fan. Even then, it has been covered multiple times by established and not so established artists (and I’m planning to feature one of those covers here soon). In fact, a fun anecdote is that a few years ago, while I was on holiday in Malta, one night there was a really good guitar player performing some music at the hotel we were staying. Near the end, he started playing a song that instantly reminded me of A Real Hero. I quickly dismissed that thought because surely that song wasn’t popular enough to be played randomly by a guitar player in a small island on the Mediterranean Sea. Well, it was A Real Hero and it was one of the highlights of that trip. Enjoy this tune as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.