Electronic music has skyrocketed in terms of influence over the past decade, wriggling its way into what seems like every other genre of music. But any fans of the genre will ensure you that the music still thrives as its own separate entity, not to be watered down by shoehorning it into other styles.
This grouping is made a tad tricky by the fact that two of these categories focus on “Dance” as the main qualifier of the genre. Dance music, more than other genres, needs to be somewhat repetitive and easy to predict so as not to throw off the intended listeners in the intended context. Still, skilled artists in the genre are at the forefront of innovation for amazing sound design and the ability to pepper in tiny interest parts that really make their tracks shine above the rest.
Best Remixed Recording
Cali Coast (Psionics Remix) (opb Soul Pacific) – This track takes great advantage of an amazing original vocal that's perfect for remixing. It starts out by giving the song a more tropical vibe, expanding on the feel of the original track, but quickly evolves into a fully-fledged electronic piece with some massive synths and great pitched vocal one-shots.
Heavy Star Movin' (starRo Remix) (opb The Silver Lake Chorus) – I love the ethereal and mellow vocal arrangement in the original song, and this remix makes great use of them by sampling them as pads with some good filtering and chopping. Add a chill, mallet-like lead and some great down-tempo drums and you've got the perfect song to melt away your stress.
Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five (Timo Maas & James Teej Remix) (opb Paul McCartney & Wings) – Remixing a song from Paul McCartney's album Band On The Run is a daunting task, as the song itself is wildly dynamic in tone and emotion. I almost feel like parts of this song would lend itself really well to a remix in the style of Daft Punk, but Timo Mass and James Teej go for more of an old school funk rock vibe with some heavy experimentation. It works okay for some sections, but falls flat in others.
Only (Kaskade x Lipless Remix) (opb RY X) – This remix stands out in that it has sections which are wildly different from the original song. RY X presents a song more in the style of Bon Iver, while the remix adds some life by layering in a danceable drum and synth beat into the choruses. The best part of this track is the verses allowing the feel of the original to breathe and shine through, piling on emotional depth when the energy ramps up.
Tearing Me Up (RAC Remix) (opb Bob Moses) – RAC adds some grunge to the original that reminds me a bit of the Arctic Monkeys in some ways. Unfortunately, it doesn't re-contextualize Bob Moses' song in any significant way that would make it worthy of being called a truly great remix.
Wide Open (Joe Goddard Remix) (opb The Chemical Brothers) – Being a song by The Chemical Brothers, the original has a bounty of great vocals, instruments, and themes for the remix to sample from. Joe Goddard turns this into a 10 minute epic with a nice slow burn, which culminates as a song that adds some nice bounce and jolliness to the otherwise introspective source material.
My favorite: Heavy Star Movin'
My pick: Wide Open
Best Dance Recording
Tearing Me Up (Bob Moses) – If you like your dance tracks to be more chill and even kind of depressing, you'll love this track. It reminds me a lot of “Gold” by Chet Faker in the overall vibe, but even more subdued. It goes for that old-school feel with some good room sound on the drum kit and a vinyl crackle in the background, but the energy starts pretty low and doesn't manage to peak much higher than that.
Don't Let Me Down (The Chainsmokers feat. Daya) – Not everyone can pull off “the drop” that came to prominence with the rise of dubstep a few years ago, and this track is a perfect example. A great guitar part, great vocal, and great build are all undone by an obnoxious synth hook in the chorus. It's a shame because the second half of the choruses (and an intense final chorus) really show off what this track could have been with some better decision making.
Never Be Like You (Flume feat. Kai) – A dreamy intro gives way to a hard-hitting, trap-like drum beat in this “electronic pop ballad.” Some great stuttering rhythms and artful detuning on the background pads show off Flume's ability to micro-manage an otherwise simple idea into a fully fleshed-out track that manages to hold interest. Not to mention an amazing vocal by Kai that puts some great restraint and vocal control on display.
Rinse & Repeat (Riton feat. Kah-Lo) – The best way to describe this track is a modern version of Benny Benassi's “Satisfaction.” The vocal is repetitive and monotone throughout, and the beat has a minimalist grime with some percussive bass. If you listen to the first 30 seconds, you've listened to the whole song (but what can we ask, the song is called “Rinse & Repeat,” after all). The biggest sin this track commits is that it doesn't feel like anything. This is probably the #1 track on that neutral planet from Futurama.
Drinkee (Sofi Tukker) – This track succeeds where “Rinse & Repeat” fails. The same criticism can be said about the vocal line, but the production of the music behind it actually brings it to life. The shining star of this song is the guitar riff that sounds like it's straight out of 60's psychedelic rock. Unfortunately this song's shortcoming is it's lack of energy apart from that one bright spot, with a bridge that feels like it should be building to something but ultimately just middles out.
My favorite: Never Be Like You
My pick: Don't Let Me Down
Best Dance/Electronica Album
Skin (Flume) – Flume benefits from a lot of great collaborations on this album, but the overall production of the tracks is the real star. Crazy experiments in sound that somehow gel into cohesive and, dare I say, “poppy” tracks are a marvel to behold. Not only that, but the choices in sound design manage to keep some wildly different tracks stay grounded as part of one, unmistakable whole. The final track, a collaboration with Beck, might be my favorite here and acts as the perfect way to drive the album home.
Electronica 1: The Time Machine (Jean-Michel Jarre) – This album is aptly named, as it seems to serve as an homage to classic synth music of the 70's and 80's with his own sprinkling of modern styles and sensibilities. There's even a collaboration with famed director and composer John Carpenter (this track, “A Question of Blood,” is amazingly creepy, by the way). My only real gripe is the song “If..! (feat. Little Boots),” which feels too much like the 2013 indie version of 80's synth pop rather than the genuine article (a criticism the other 15 tracks of the album have very little problem with). This album might also not hold the attention of those who aren't already fans of this classic style of synth music.
Epoch (Tycho) – Every track is a journey in this purely instrumental electronic album, from the quiet and reserved selections like “Receiver” and “Field” to the slightly more bombastic and hard-hitting “Slack” and “Local.” Well-arranged guitar parts carry much of the melodic content in lieu of vocals here, but a big criticism that could be levied against this album might be that there's not quite enough variation throughout to help the listener clearly identify any one particular track from another.
Barbara, Barbara, We Face A Shining Future (Underworld) – Underworld was one of the most significant artists in the electronic movement of the 90's, and they carry that clout into this 2016 album. They retain the analog, house sound that skyrocketed them to underground fame, while trying their hand at some more modern electronic techniques. “Trying” being the operative word here, because while this album is by no means a failure, it doesn't quite manage to seamlessly mesh their classic sound with the more current styles.
Louie Vega Starring...XXVIII (Little Louie Vega) – Out of all the nominations in this category, this is the one that is unmistakably a dance album. The opening track hints at some influence from Random Access Memories, but the album as a whole serves as a tour of modern house and club music pulling from genres like funk, disco, jazz, and dub over the course of its 28 tracks. The wide range of influences might serve as a detriment, though, as a lot of the songs sound like Vega is just putting the same house drum loop over classic, 70's-style songs.
My favorite: Epoch
My pick: Electronica 1: The Time Machine
I flew into Santa Marta from Medellin (had a tonne of hassle booking this with Viva Colombia but the fine folk at Chillin Hostel helped me out). Fortunately I was able to share a cab with two guys I’d met in the hostel too so it wasn’t as expensive to get in. Still 26000 peso.
Anyway there isn’t much to say about Santa Marta. It’s a hub to get to other places like Tayrona park, Taganga, Minca etc. I stayed in North Bay Hostel which seems good. You even get a curtain for your bed, very Japanese! Oh it is super hot in the north of Colombia so if you have the money, go for a place with air con.
The next day I wanted to go to Tayrona Park and got a bus from the mercado there. However I did not realise it was going to be insanely busy. Unfortunately I could only book for Saturday at the earliest to enter the park so instead I went for Tuesday, got the next bus back to Santa Marta and made my way to Tanganga to do diving.
Further updates possibly…..
As I mentioned I got a 15 minute bus to Tanganga from Santa Marta. This is a place that is clearly unprepared for the amount of traffic they get, especially since I’m in high season too. It’s just a tiny town basically, if even. Lots of dust roads and trash around the place but everyone comes to dive and get boats around the place.
And now we’re up to the present for the first time ever on this blog. I couldn’t get any hostel I looked up initially and was directed to an extremely basic place but it did the job for one night. I did manage to find a diving instructor so I’ve a day to learn some theory before going into a pool on Saturday to learn the basics. And as I finish this post in a very nice cafe (Cafe Bonsai), I’m heading to a different hostel where hopefully there is a better area to study and use wifi!
So I went for four days and three nights and it cost $260. This didn't include the transport from Quito to Nueva Loja which is roughly a 7 hour bus journey and it ain't a particularly nice one whether you go with a private bus or public bus. I went public as it was cheaper and I thought I'd have a better chance of sleeping on it but the bus was insanely hot and ya... I don't usually do that well on nightbuses anyway. After that, just get a taxi to the meeting spot and wait there for the rest of the transport.
So due to that I was seriously struggling on the first day of the tour as I was absolutely shattered. So every so often I kind of struggled to stay awake as we made our way on the boat to the lodges. Still, we did get to see some cool wildlife. Birds, monkeys, snakes and turtles. So I was already loving it but when we did get to the hostel and ate something, we were given the opportunity to rest before going to the lagoon that evening to watch the sunset and spot pink dolphins possibly. Unfortunately for me I was hard out. I fell asleep and there was no waking me so I missed all of that on the first day. The good news is we got to go out two more times so it wasn't a big deal!
So really the second day was the proper start of the tour. There was four of us in total so it was a pretty small group and our guide didn't have the best english but we didn't mind that too much as it gave us an excuse to improve our Spanish a small bit. First thing we did on the second day was get a boat out to do a day hiking trip. So this can be a totally mixed experience really as it all depends on what you see. So we were a bit unlucky that we didn't see much wildlife. Lots of insects, some frogs and a squirrel but it was still cool. Ate some ants that tasted like lemon, swung on roots like Tarzan, and had to traverse through swamps so it was still really cool.
But it was the second part of the day that was unforgettable for me. We went back to the lagoon to watch the sunset again which was amazing. The lagoon was so warm and nice to swim in. You could see the sunset on one side and the moon on the other, lightning in the distance. It was all just really beautiful. So we were out there for about an hour just swimming around the place. Then we got back on the boat, dried ourselves off and went searching for kaimen in the night. Spotting the kaimen in itself was a fun challenge but it was those times that you got up close that you were able to see them hunting or just staying perfectly still. It was just such a cool experience.
The whole of the third day was spent with a community in the Amazon and we joined up with another group of people who arrived the previous day so there was 16 of us now. Again we still got to see cool things just making our way over. More of the same along with sloths, an anaconda, lizards, tarantulas, a toucan. At the community, we got to pull out yuca plants, grate them and make bread out of them. Then we got ourselves a nice history lesson before the shaman appeared to talk to us and do some rituals. He did some healing and spiritual ones. I was picked out for having low spiritual energy, I'm not sure if he fixed that or just verified it! :) Either way it was fun to watch and understand the lives of these people. That night we went on a night trek where we got to see some more dangerous creatures up close. Mostly spiders and snakes but it's amazing how close you'll get to them. One annoying thing about that (which goes for everything here really but in particular there), loads of mosquitos. Make sure you're covered up and have repellent as you're going to need it for sure.
The final day we got up very early to do some bird and monkey watching so we got to see a lot more activity at a different time which was cool. After that we had our breakfast and back on our way to civilisation. It's been a while since then so I'm probably missing out on some details but I do want to emphasise how amazing the experience was I just loved it, loved being surrounded by all the greenery and noises that come with that. So highly recommending it to everyone!
Big Rock Brewery | Calgary, Alberta
English Brown Ale | 5% ABV
This is an old standby. Here in the prairies we simply call it Trad. After a couple of really nice treats these last couple days I'm quite happy to have a simple night in with an old favourite!
Pours a clear reddish brown with just a sliver of head. Small amounts of lacing. Perfectly standard.
A pretty light smelling beer. There are some bready malt aromas followed by toffee. Slight earthiness. Quite pleasant, if underwhelming.
Trad is pretty sweet, and of a moderate intensity. Toffee and nuttiness make up the majority of the flavour. This is backed by some nice spicy hop flavour and hints of citrus. It's very tasty, but I feel there could be a little more spice to balance things out.
It has a medium-light body, enough carbonation to excite, but not distract my tongue, and feels quite slick going down. A little bit of warming in the back of my mouth. Very nice.
Trad is pretty great. It's my standard for a reason. It's nutty, relatively low carbonation, and light enough that I can drink quite a few at a time. I don't think it's a spectacular beer, but it suites my tastes beautiful. I'll admit it is a little boring, but I think everyone needs a nice boring beer to keep them grounded (and to keep a little bit of money in my wallet). New Castle may get a little more love from me from now on, but Trad will be a part of my life for the foreseeable future!
And the end to another country. Peru actually feels a bit weird to me as realistically I just spent a lot of time in Cusco. If I'd been a bit more intelligent and had some more energy for treks I probably would of gone to Arequipa and Huarez too but overall I absolutely loved Peru and could see myself going back to check those places I missed.
The trip to Machu Picchu alone was worth it. An absolutely incredible experience I'd recommend to everyone.
Hopefully you enjoyed these posts and if you've any questions, just let me know.
Thanks everybody for sharing! I know it can be a little daunting to share things from your personal life on the anonymous beast that is the internet, but again, I think we're part of a pretty stable community here.
Love your lists as always! I can tell that I have missed a lot of film from this period!
However I am happy that you put Kino eye in honorable mentions. It is not his strongest film/doc, but Vertov is one of my favourite directors/film makers from this era! I even wrote a 5 page essay on him at university.
He Who Gets Slapped
This is how "IT" started? (joke).
The Great White Silence
I love documentaries, especially from this time in history when the world were bigger and unexplored on a greater scale. I can't put my finger on it but something with this film makes me feel good when I watch it.
I was not sure what to feel when I watched this film (possibly because I was quite young at the time). Its interesting how they play with the camera and editing almost as the film surrounds it rather than it surrounding the film. I really enjoyed this absurd piece of art.
Can you do anything else but love Keaton?
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Never been a fan of the Ben-Hur story to begin with, but this one is almost a "must see" film anyway just because of how it tells the story.
I feel so terrible that I havent watched this entire film! It is one of those films that everyone MUST see that follows film history in any shape or form. I keep hearing so much amazing things about this that I need to really sit down and watch all of it.
Another Keaton film that had me in stitches so many times. This is in class with some of Chapplins best films and its one of those films that had me smiling long after it finished.
The Big Parade
As I am a big fan of war movies this also feels like one of those I really need to sit down and watch at some point.
Continuing on, we were here for about 1pm. This post shouldn’t be too long as honestly, we did very little. The columbian girl had a fall the previous day too and hurt her foot so she wasn’t up for much walking really and out of absolutely nowhere, torrential rain came down for about an hour and then the sun came out again. So the first day we just spent resting really and booked a trip to the Sun Island for the following day. We did wander around the place a bit. It’s very small, made for tourists to check out Lake Titicaca.
We started the day off with breakfast at the top rated place in Copacabana which happened to be an irish place and was honestly the best breakfast I’d had in a few weeks. Poached eggs and soda bread… more of that please! The guy running it was lovely too, give us some great tips.
We made our way to the dock (Boat was 35 Bolivianos) and got the boat to the north side of Sun Island. I think it took about two hours to get here and you’ll have to pay 15 bolivianos to walk to the ruins. So basically you have to pay. To add to that you have to pay a further 15 bolivianos to walk through the centre of the island and another 5 when you get to the south part. So ya, they really over do it. We only checked out the north side as that was enough walking really and the place actually is spectacular. Really beautiful views of the Lake and loads of tiny islands surrounding it and a beautiful snowy mountain in the distance in another part of Bolivia. It was just a really nice place to relax as it was so peaceful here.
We got the boat again at 1:30 which stops at the south part (so ya, we spent that 5 bolivianos… ridiculous) and honestly we didn’t have time to do much here so just walked around the close vicinity and back to the boat for 3:30m, back to Copacabana for about 5 and got the bus to Cusco at 6. Make sure to eat or bring food for that as you won’t get any on the bus.
Forgot to mention we stayed in Hostel Luz Yhobimar, it was one of the highest rated in the area and a private twin/double room with shared bathroom was only $10 so it was well worth it. No breakfast though (hence the irish place) and the wifi is pretty damn slow but for a private room, very happy with it.
So that ends my short time in Bolivia. I probably should have went to Potosi or Sucre at least but I have to admit I’m really looking forward to going to Cusco in Peru. It might be the highlight of my trip.
So this was my final stop in Chile. I made my way here from Salta in Argentina. The bus journey over was bloody long and I have to be honest, I felt the altitude a bit when I got out and starting walking. I got a bit of pins and needles but I was okay after a while. I didn’t arrive until 6pm on the first day so I made my way to the hostel (La Ruca, was fine, would recommend), settled in and made my way to the main tourist street which had all the agencies for the tours around the Atacama desert.
I booked all my tours with Desert Adventure and got a small discount by doing so. I did the Moon Valley, Altiplanic lagoons and the geyser tour. All together they cost 82000 peso but they gave it to me for 65000 so I’ll take it. This doesn’t include entrance fees. The other thing to know about this area is a lot of the tours are early. You’ll be getting up at 6am for the lagoons and 4am for the geyser tour. There is a bunch of other stuff to do here too like Astrology (which I booked later on but had to cancel as it was too cloudy), sandboarding and other sightseeing tours.
I really enjoyed all the tours. Funnily enough I had the same tour guide for every tour! He was pretty knowledgeable. First tour was Moon Valley which is a half day and pretty close by. I won’t waste my time explaining it as I’ll probably make it sound very boring but it’s really cool to see the different types of landscapes around the desert. Sand Dunes, mountains, Volcanos and you finish off the tour with the sunset which is awesome as the colour of the mountains around you change from red to purple to blue. It’s really beautiful.
The second day, I went out to the Altiplanic Lagoons. This is a full day and you hit an altitude of 4200m so it’s best to climates a bit first. It was another really good day too. You’ll learn a lot about the area. I’d no idea a part of the inca trail was in Atacama! It’s also nice as you get to see a lot of wildlife in some really cool areas. Llama’s, flamingoes, various other birds, foxes etc. It’s really nice. Spending time outside having breakfast and going to a traditional chilean restaurant for food is all part of the experience.
Final day, I had to get up at 4am for the geysers. It’s absolutely freezing out there, we’re talking -8 to -10 degrees so cover up! Again, it great to spend the morning out by the geysers having breakfast. Sure it’s freezing, but it adds to it.The guide will eventually walk the group around to a bunch of them and give information on them. Afterwards you’re given about forty minutes to explore yourself. Here is where you’re able to go into the thermal baths. Now they say they are 33-35 degrees but honestly there is no way they are that hot but every so often you will feel a burst of heat. I say go for it and brave the outside cold anyway, at least thats what I did. Afterwards we went to this tiny village where they sold goats cheese empanadas and llama skewers. The latter was particularly good.
And that pretty much sums up my time in San Pedro. The place is extremely touristy which isn’t a major surprise and there are things to check out around the city but I didn’t. Also there is a pretty good pizza place right by Miteca Atacama which is where I booked my trip to the Salt Flats in Bolivia.
So that was all my time in Chile. I really loved it here, in particular (and similar to Argentina), the Patagonia region. If anyone has questions, just fire away and I’ll answer as best as I can.