Citizens of the universe, welcome to another semester of KCR College Radio, and specifically to my little corner of the blogosphere, in which we shall delve into the mystical madness of electronic dance music. Because this is the first monthly issue of the semester, we’ll cover the shifts that I’ve seen over winter break in the EDM world.
First off, to paraphrase Marlo Stanfield, the game is still the game, but the players are changing. As electronic dance music becomes more corporatized and mainstream, there has been a strong push towards making innovative, fresh music. The biggest sub-subgenre to emerge lately has been a new fusion of electro-pop and trap music, which some have dubbed chill trap, which is a super boring name, but definitely accurate. I first caught onto this wave by listening to the song 25 Bucks on Danny Brown’s phenomenal album, Old. The beat, provided by the illustrious Purity Ring, has a genius mix of female vocals and trap sounds that pushed me into looking more into this new world of chill trap.
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The next sound I encountered along these lines was a remix of Grizzly Bear’s Will Calls by my old favorite, Diplo. The juxtaposition of acoustic guitars against 808s and synths is nothing short of brilliant. One of the dangers in the world of trap music is recycling the same old samples in every song; I’m pretty sure you could play many games of bingo with the most popular trap remixes and a board with Lex Luger sample squares. The reason this song is so great is that Diplo changes up the sounds, putting a guitar chord where the snare usually goes and replacing the typical hi-hat rolls with a steady 16th-note rhythm of what sounds like drumsticks hitting random concrete objects. It works. And it’s why Diplo is the homie.
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In my exploration of these sounds further I stumbled on Stay High by Hippie Sabotage. Although it came out in October, it deserves as much love as possible and it was playing almost nonstop throughout the entire winter break. A take on Tove Lo’s song Habits (who has been featured on many EDM songs, including Seven Lions’ Strangers), it is a beautiful, melodic masterpiece of emotional trap music. My favorite part has to be the ingenious drop, where they keep the original vocal sample but change the bassline and melody in a way that I cry literally every time. It’s that beautiful West Coast chill trap vibe that I just can’t get enough of.
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Finally, I would be remiss if I ended this post about chill trap without giving mad amounts of love to one of the most brilliant trap producers currently in the game, Hucci. It’s hard to pick my favorite joint of his, but I want to highlight his remix of Gabrielle Aplin’s Panic Cord. The UK producer takes a relatively upbeat song with country music vibes and turns it into a mellow but powerful trap ballad with amazing jazzy double bass and incredibly well-done vocal chops that turn the vocals into an instrument in and of themselves. It’s a pretty old song by EDM standards but I’m sure it’s going to make a recurrence once Hucci starts getting the national recognition he deserves. Check out the rest of his music on his Soundcloud and cop his Rose Gold mixtape from soundcloud.com/hucci. You won’t regret it. And if you do, it’s because you hate good music. And also America.
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From this side of the blogiversosphere to yours, I bid you a joyous month. See you on the other side.
Bangers & Bass, KCR Radio, Mondays 7-8PM