Archive | February, 2011

I Love Mondays: Alan Braxe

28 Feb

 

Alan Braxe

It’s Monday! I can feel it in my bones. It starts to creep up on Friday night when I realize that the weekend is moving faster than I thought. Then Sunday comes and I know that Monday is only a few hours away. But thanks to good music and a positive attitude, I don’t hate Mondays quite so much anymore šŸ™‚

But sometimes, picking the music I listen to on Monday mornings or afternoons can be a bit difficult. Depending on the time of day, my needs vary as does my mood. Monday morning comes like a brick being dropped right on my forehead as my eyes literally hurt as I wake up. The key element of surviving the next few hours is an energy booster. Something not TOO jumpy, but with just enough life to revive me. By the afternoon, I practically need my heart shocked to stay awake, so the music must generally be super high in energy and not sleep-inducing in the slightest.

The mix I’ve chosen this week follows suit, with just enough motivation to get you through your morning and afternoon. This set comes to us care of French pop/electronica sensation Alan Braxe. He just played at Sao Paulo’s Vegas Club this weekend (a show I hate that I wasn’t there to see in person!), and I found this mix on their sister bar Volt’s facebook page. Thank goodness for modern technology.

This mix is bright, optimistic, and joyful, rarely descending into dark moments and keeping an upbeat tone throughout, aka a perfect mix for Monday morning, when most of our spirits are pretty low. I hope that you enjoy this as much as I did:

Alan Brax – 60′ Mix Feb 2011

(click to play; click the small arrow on the right to download)

tracklist after the jump

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Munk – Keep My Secret [video]

26 Feb

How is that Munk keeps putting out great music, year after year? Is it something in the water? I suppose it doesn’t matter. Just keep it coming:

Funk On A Friday: Ben Men

25 Feb

Ben Men (photo courtesy of deepbeep)

Anyone who reads this blog knows I have a profound respect and love for the Brazilian music site deepbeep. The diversity of their music selection and the commitment to providing their readers with quality interviews and content never cease to impress me. In a world where people don’t even have time to read more than a tweet, the fact that their site posts actual articles says a lot.

Another thing I love about deepbeep, though I risk sounding sycophantic at this point, is their diligence in musical filtering. There’s never a bad mix on their site and every bit of music posted has been clearly made with a lot of appreciation for the art of DJing and production. One of their recently featured artists, France’s Ben Men:

[translated from Portuguese] “If there are things that Brazil and France have in common, without a doubt one of them is Ben Men. Engaged in his country’s [music] scene, his efforts do not lie only in playing and producing music; he also organizes parties, such as a regular party at Rex Club in Paris, heads the label BTRAX, shares his know-how with Brazilians, and since 2010 has been the resident DJ of the party “Paradise.” He is the creator of “Electro Brazil”, a French radio station program, for which he frequently invites Brazilian DJs to play. In the spirit of sharing experiences, Ben Men recorded a live set that you can listen to here! Check out what he has to say in our exclusive interview (continue to interview (in Portuguese)).”

His set is full of classic, Detroit/Chicago-style, funky house tracks, many of which you may recognize from previously featured mixes and podcasts. Hopefully it will help you get a little motivated for a night out on this rainy NY Friday. Enjoy:

Ben Men – Electro Brazil, Sensations FM Show (Live, recorded for deepbeep)

(click to play; right click + save as to download)

– Retail DJ

Are DJs The Next Classical Musicians?

24 Feb

 

Will Bobmo be the next Bach?

There are many things about electronica that have always reminded me of classical music. For one, there are usually no lyrics. Secondly, the sounds usually build upon one another, particularly if the producer/DJ is very talented, leaving one to find new things in each track or mix with each listen. There is emotion in electronic music, despite it being dismissed as robotic and impersonal for its lack of lyrics, and many mixes even tell a story. That being said, I am often left to wonder: Are DJs the next classical musicians?

Considering that pop music is created in such a generic way, with each song manufactured to sound virtually the same, electronic music and its many offshoots (despite it being appropriated for use in pop music, and usually do its detriment) come as a refreshing sound. Also, in light of its constant innovation, it seems that it might be one of the few remaining genres of music that actually try new things and that will have more staying power. Who knows? Kids might be studying King Britt, The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, and Dave Nada in their music appreciate or history classes in 100 years. Only time will tell.

– Retail DJ

Gratuitous Dance Mix – DJ Clak

23 Feb

DJ Clak

I got an email today from Berlin’s DJ Clak alerting me to his newest mix on Soundcloud. The title? “Fool For Music,” which I would say is quite the fitting description for me. I am on the verge of a serious problem: music addiction. So when someone sends me a mix which contains what feels like hundreds of songs and many a mashup of some great newbies and classics from within the genre of electronica, I can’t help but get into it.

The mix is light and fun, fit for taking you out of a funk and motivating you to dance a little or serving as a soundtrack to a quick trip to the gym when you just want to sleep. I hope this cheers you all up or continues to push you along this afternoon. And for those of you going out tonight (such as myself), this may serve as some fun music to jam to before you leave the house. Enjoy!

DJ Clak – Fool For Music


(click to play; click the small arrow on the right to download)

– Retail DJ

Trendspotting: Clowning Around

23 Feb

Collar'd Up

I am not a big fan of spring fashion. It’s usually the same thing regurgitated up from the bowels of fashion mediocrity year after year after year: florals, dainty cuts, “feminine” silhouettes and details, and ruffles…lots and lots of ruffles.

This year is no different, but I feel as though I have seen an even greater proliferation of ruffles this year, most particularly in collar form. Some renderings of this trend are so over the top the ruffled collars appear to simply be clown collars moonlighting under the guise of daywear. Considering I have boobs, I can’t quite rock all the ruffles, lest I look like a chicken let out of her cage. But for folks who are less well-endowed in the chest area, this look may work. Just be careful. Note that this look will a) make your head look small, b) make your chest look big, c) make your body appear oddly proportioned unless paired with the proper bottoms and accessories, and d) may age you well beyond your years (in fact, whenever I see ruffle shirts, I think about my 2011 Halloween costume: Ms. Slocombe from Are You Being Served?).

Here are a few runway examples:

Christian Siriano (Spring 2011)

 

Valentino (Spring 2011)

Here are examples from Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and ASOS:

Urban Outfitters

 

Forever 21

 

ASOS (ugh, what IS this!??!)

But a few designers are trying to add a new twist to the excessive collar action. I am still note a huge fan, but the cutouts are a tiny bit better than all the ruffles:

Miu Miu (Spring 2011)

 

ASOS

 

Thoughts?

– Retail DJ

I Love Mondays: Disco Down

22 Feb

Junior C (photo courtesy of deepbeep.com)

It’s always hard to come back after a long weekend. I am the first person to admit it. I actually am not a big fan of Mondays, but I don’t see why we give up on just one day of the week and celebrate the others. Every day can be a party. After all, all the negativity is just in your head.

Sure, you have to go back to work after a few days off, but having a job in this economy should be celebration enough. At least your bank account will thank you. So today, a mere 24 hours beyond Presidents’ Day, take this opportunity to turn your Monday into something fun, even if just with a little music.

For this week’s I ā¤ Mondays (on a Tuesday), I’ve put up a smooth disco mix from the likes of Junior C (via Deep Beep), who began DJing in clubs at just 17! He sites Mau Mau (a Brazilian DJ whom we’ve profiled here before) as an influence, so if you liked that set, you are in for a treat.

Though the set begins with disco, and you can feel its influence throughout, the mix goes into light house, soul, and other sounds that will help keep you afloat on your favorite day of the week. Enjoy the set, and have a happy Tuesday (as Monday):

Junior C – Mix for deepbeep (2.09.11)

(click to play; right clicl + save as to download)

tracklist after the jump

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