Friday, July 19, 2019

AV Super Sunshine releases "Are You Happy?”

“Are You Happy?” from Wisconsin’s AV Super Sunshine is released in three different mixes, a radio, club, and rock version, respectively. The radio version has the same rock and electronic hybrid edge defining many of their past releases. It is fascinating to listen to a band so skilled at balancing the past and present in a single package, but it is all the more impressive to hear them do it and never lose their way or reduce the song to a mishmash of sound. The contrast between the synthesizer driven melody and live drumming facilitates a connection between the song and its listeners that crackles from the first and never loses you. The song is cut to an ideal length making it an easy choice for radio play.

Other musical instruments are present in the radio mix. The guitar and keyboards are a little lost in the radio mix, but nonetheless are present in the song. They combine in a dense way, but “Are You Happy?” retains a fleet footed musicality despite the density. The entire track isn’t that way however. AV Super Sunshine change things up at all the right points and the musical push of the song track dissipates into atmospheric bridges and instrumental breaks that round off the tune in a satisfying way. The vocals are twofold. There is a lead vocal coupled with band member Philomena’s contributions on backing vocals. She isn’t present in every line, but she comes into the song with a refreshing vocal tone that juxtaposes well with the lead vocal. 

The two vocalists do a five star job of adding a lot of oomph to the track and those aforementioned atmospheric moments and they are clearly singing with the music rather than positioning their voices against the music. They do an exceptional job of making the lyrics come alive for listeners without ever outshining the music. The club mix is an extended treatment of the radio track, a little over six minutes long, and AV Super Sunshine takes the chance to stretch the song out to its limit. The same dynamics at play in the radio mix are present in the club mix, but this version obviously pushes more percussive elements of the song and develops the melodic elements of the song in a much slower fashion. The rock mix is cut from a different cloth. There are none of the frills present in this version we hear from the other mixes, though the presence of keyboards obviously nods in a way to their electronic influences. The drumming, guitar, and vocals possess a lot of bite.

AV Super Sunshine is continuing their ascent into the musical consciousness of music devotees around the world and “Are You Happy?” will only hasten their rise. It is a memorable single that doesn’t take shortcuts, shows discipline and focus alike, and sparks with fire and passion. It bodes well for the entirety of Candyland Vol. 1 and will undoubtedly leave a mark on anyone encountering AV Super Sunshine for the first time. 

 Jodi Marxbury

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Fenix & SM1LO release hot new music


Beats rain down on us like devilish sonic daggers as we find our way through the fog of Fenix’s “House Remix” of “Where We Begin,” the darkest mix of the title track on his all-new album. This record isn’t his artistic baby alone, though; SM1LO is on board for this affair, as well as Llexa, and they’re dead-set on creating an electronic-tinged quicksand with tracks like this one, “Where We Begin (Radio Edit),” Fenix’s “House Radio Edit,” and the instrumentals “Club Radio Dub MIX,” and “House Dub Mix.” 

 If there’s something that you don’t like about one mix, there’s another almost guaranteed to ignite a passion within your soul that only premium EDM can, and despite the fact that there’s a repetitiveness to some of the content here, all of these mixes – instrumentals included – sport something more unique and brooding than what any of the headline artists associated with this project have dispensed on their own. Good things come to those who wait, and if you’re one of the millions of pop fans that has been eager for some virtuosity in 2019, Fenix & SM1LO have you taken care of with Where We Begin. BEATPORT: Fenix’s “Club Radio Edit” is my favorite of all the tracks in this record. 

Unlike other versions available to us in this collection, this take on “Where We Begin” has a torturous overtone to it, partly influenced by the shimmering, yet melancholy-soaked, acoustic guitar parts that play such a prominent role in the ascent towards the chorus. Llexa’s vocal has a lot of reverb on it, more than I probably would have used, but it definitely makes her words so much more haunting than they are in SM1LO’s remix or the standard “Radio Edit” version of the song. The melody is evocative, and its interplay with the percussion is reminiscent of a torrid love affair that has suddenly been met with an impasse. The house mixes were built for the world of runways and supermodels, but these club cuts have something much more intelligent and artistically savvy about them. Some legitimate emotion went into making these tracks, and that’s easy for even the most novice of pop aficionados to pick up on.

There have been only a couple of electronic acts to really impress me this year, but this record is certainly among the best pop music that I’ve been rocking out with this summer. Since its release last June, outlets that wouldn’t normally cover EDM have been taking an interest in Where We Begin, and specifically, Fenix & SM1LO. I haven’t a doubt in my mind that there are going to be a lot of calls for a follow-up to this fourteen-track wonder, and whether they bring Llexa back into the fold for another go-round or not, I hope to have the chance to review the finished product when all is said and done. Their charismatic studio techniques alone would be enough to warrant even more experiments together, but even without considering that, there just isn’t another electronica record out right now with the kind of spunk that Where We Begin has. FENIX 


 Matthew Huber

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Integriti Reeves releases new Single

Latin jazz crooner Integriti Reeves is stunning the critics in her new single, the swinging “Eu Vim Da Bahia,” from her debut extended play Stairway to the Stars. In “Eu Vim Da Bahia,” Reeves draws from old fashioned jazz influences while flanking her stylish grooves with a sleek, cosmopolitan sway that is anything but uncontemporary. There’s a lot of grandiosity in the composition of the instruments, but even at their most attractive, they’re never potent enough to steal the limelight away from her lead vocal, which stands out as one of the most seductive that I’ve personally listened to this summer. Much like the record that it was spawned from, “Eu Vim Da Bahia” is an exotic, multidimensional offering that will leave you begging for more from this sensational new singer.

I hear a lot of Django Reinhardt in these guitar parts, and anyone who knows jazz will tell you that this is no small statement to make. They’re so incredibly colorful, and yet enjoy an understated presence and simplistic construction. It doesn’t take more than a single listen to see why there’s been so much buzz around this track – from the get-go, every stitch of audio is awash with a supreme polish that emphasizes the emotion underpinning every note the strings emit. It’s almost overwhelming in a couple of spots, but Reeves is careful to curb the more indulgent moments in “Eu Vim Da Bahia” with a clean-cut vocal track that holds everything here cohesively together. I dig the approach she’s taking in this song, and would like to see her expand on the formula a little more in future efforts. 

The rhythm in this single is quite intoxicating, and when combined with the soft serenade occupying the top of the master mix, they yield an unbeatable hook that I’ve admittedly become addicted to. There’s a lot of excellent pop music being made on the mainstream side of the dial at the moment, but I don’t know that I’ve heard anything with the sultriness, not to mention impressively-appointed complexities, that “Eu Vim Da Bahia” has. It’s a fascinating treat for jazz fans, and moreover, anyone who has been in the mood for something a little more stimulating on their stereo this summer. It’s a far cry from the pseudo-vocal pop that frequently draws comparisons to the vintage jazz that Reeves takes inspiration from, and perhaps one of the few Latin singles I’ve heard this season that would appeal to audiences across the board. 

July just got a lot sexier with the addition of the string play contained within “Eu Vim Da Bahia,” and I for one am very excited to see how Integriti Reeves follows-up on its release in the years to come. She’s got a lot of momentum behind her, and for being a relative unknown to most of the world, she’s already got quite a following building around her brand right now. I have a feeling that we’ve yet to see what she’s fully capable of as a performer, but at any rate, this is a great way to familiarize yourself with her enticing style of jazz. 

Kevin Huber