Author: Van Doolan

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Funking Dam! k-Lab debuts ‘Worlds’ EP

The word funk gets thrown around as inappropriately as alcohol at a sixteenth birthday party. You think over-consumption is cool at the time, but slowly you grow up and mature, take responsibility and eventually learn to walk the walk. With “Worlds”, K-lab is definitely walking the walk.

Groove oozes all over this record. Hip Hop sythphonic out of space trip, with plenty of variety featuring drum and bass, dubstep and punchy beat stabs you’ll find on track’s like ‘Don’t lose yourself.’ Yet with all the electronic influence, reminiscent of the 80s, combined with classic, palm muted guitar licks still maintain serious soul, a core ingredient to the funk. Read more …

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Wolfmother Is Victorious

The return of Wolfmother is welcome here.

First things first; this is far better than New Crown. But don’t get too excited. Even though the old flavour has returned with the 70s inspired hard rock, it’s not as great as their debut album from 2006.

What did you expect though? Two band members lost from the original three piece, of course it’s not going to be the same.

However, Victorious is still indisputably very good. No doubt a step in the right direction for Andrew Stockdale and I’ll state right now with confidence that if you’ve enjoyed old Wolfmother, you will enjoy this record. 

From the onset, Love That You Give sets the pace of the record, big power chords, trippy psychedelic samples and, of course, the delayed echoed vocals that are so reminiscent of a younger Ozzy.

Funnily enough, Victorious borrows heavily from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid in it’s breakdown. It’s a catchy solid tune, with all the Typical Wolfmother roots which they’re famous for: upbeat, galloping beats, awesome big sounding riffs and an undertone of stoner rock and grunge influence.

Gypsy Caravan and Happy Face are definitely the best tracks on the Album.

Gypsy Caravan really takes you there. Drums that pan in your headphones, psychedelic deep octave organs, complimented by the basslines, deliver a great experience. The breakdown is absolutely colossal, a fast paced pick up, heavy, yet skilful, every instrument adding its’ flavour.

Personally, Happy Face is my favourite; it progresses so easily and by the end, like a mysterious restaurant dinner, leaves you highly satisfied. The slow start is deceptive, easing you in, oozing relaxation.  The guitar rhythm drives the song into the second hook, the fantastic quick organ in the background gets louder and the bass and guitar become insane. Straight into the breakdown, it’s spectacular, it’s heavy, engaging and the guitar solo is just awesome. The slow vocals juxtapose the ever galloping drums, insane piano scale and guitar, creating that psychedelic environment.

It must be said, the drumming by Alex Carapetis is brilliant and has now achieved heavy appreciation. Cowbells please, the snares and hats are tight and controlled and thus heavily responsible for the great hard rock and early heavy metal sounds you hear on this record, keeping the formulaic character of the songs tantalising and adding to replay value.

All this is fantastic, but, as a fan, or somebody who’s listening because this awesome review inspired you to, you’ll notice the generic, formulaic steadiness this album holds. It doesn’t really push any boundaries, which undoubtedly is disappointing, when you know the band is capable of so much more.

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Lemaitre 1749

Indulging in Lemaitre since discovering them last year and once hearing about the release of their new EP, I knew I would be in this position; Writing a critically formed opinion while attempting to be as objective as possible.

 

Having impressed me so much with their “Relativity” EPs such as The Friendly Sound in 2010, entertaining my eardrums on the bus, and busting out their tunes on the Dancefloor to set the mood, I’m undeniably a fan.

 

The first thing about this album and Lemaitre’s attitude is their consistency. Every track brings something different to the appetizing deliciousness of the album, despite the repetitive pop formula of the tracks, which they embrace, identifying themselves as Dance Pop group.

 

1749 continues that attitude.

 

Produced in Dr. Dre’s formally owned low budget house in L.A, which (fun irrelevant fact) 1749 is named after; the Norwegian duo brings the entertaining, reverberating sequences in Stepping Stone, groovy trumpet melodies in Closer, and overall fantastic simple melodies, with complicated funky bass-lines and layers atop to deliver an entertaining, motivating experience.
It’s an EP  you would listen to, whilst engaging in work you’re familiar with, that you really don’t want to do, but you need to do.
Coupled with strong chords and high energy percussion is how Not too Late, which really pumps you up and gets the blood flowing. This high energy and motivation continues throughout the album,  which forms a nice juxtaposition to the final track on the album.

 

Nishio 2, which first appears  in earlier release “The Friendly Sound EP”  which I hold in high esteem, is revisited in this EP, with a feature from Giraffage. Offering a different perspective on love, /so happy I never met you, our time together would be too short and sad/ kept me pondering, wondering if anybody had ever experienced such a viewpoint.

 

Further meditation revealed that maybe this is reflective of people lost in persistent, consistent work, in order to make their dreams come true. The slow drums, big symphonic pads, and mellow undertones support this conclusion, if you even close your eyes and listen, you’ll feel as if you’re in a vivid dream.

Go listen to this E.P. Good value, but doesn’t break new ground.

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Explore the Vast Cosmic Unknown – Visitors by Lazerhawk

There is no shortage of music works that really makes you escape from your currently reality into another. It’s every artists dream and aspiration to take the soul of a listener to another place.

A broken lover, a lively club atmosphere, or an exotic beach location are such escapes. However, there are few works that can completely immerse you, voluntarily ease you to close your eyes, and experience another existence.

Visitors by Lazerhawk is one such statistical anomaly in the universe. The cosmic groovy sequences, deep reverberating basslines, perfectly timed parameters pitching, bending and popping, are surreal.

80s inspired synths, disco vibes and giant beats that make this easy to follow along, and fist pump like a champ. The production really makes this album stand out, despite the 80s sounding synths, it doesn’t sound aged in the slightest, standing formidably among its modern peers.

Spacey, weird obscure samples, heaps of room in the mix down during breaks, and sharp cutting synths create this extra-terrestrial soundscape. Not to mention the progression of not only each individual song, but the album as a whole.

Introduced to Lazerhawks theme, the sound of the Lazerhawk flagship floating in the space time continuum, Visitors quickly takes you through an expediential dive to the deep end, with trippy melodies, gritty rhythm and powerful cutting synths, griping you in its dark mystery.

The album continues propelling you down its cosmic wave, calming your anxieties of your place in the universe. Standout tracks like So Far Away, Shoulder of Orion and Beyond the Infinite Void, created strong emotional responses.

Three parts of Distant Signals breaks up the album with beautiful guitar riffs, trippy radio frequencies samples truly make you feel lost in space. The climax of the album with Arrivals is colossally, a near 6 minute trip from start to finish, and leaves you highly satisfied.

Extremely easy and enjoyable to listen to start to finish. It’s impossible for your eyes not to roll to the back of your head.

Highly recommended.

 

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Calling all aspiring Djs, It’s Yourshot!

Yourshot gives aspiring djs and curious enthusiasts the chance to compete for the prize of playing at Stereosonic, meeting Tiesto, and kick starting their career in the Industry.

If you haven’t heard about Yourshot, plainly, you have now, and there’s no going back!

Sponsored by Pioneer, Redbull, Alize, Agwa and Alcatel One Touch. It’s big game, high stakes and much to fight for by contestants.

What’s better than playing your favorite tunes, on an overly powerful, world class sound system, on industry standard equipment, with a crazy light show behind you, including a huge 2 meter LED screen to all your friends, drunk and hyped out of their minds?

Nothing.

Topped off with the incentive to play at Stereosonic, liaison with people in the industry, and meet like minded, music loving friends for life?

Even if you’ve never touched decks before in your life, look at a dj controller and think ‘I’ve never been inside a spaceship before, what does this even do!?!’ not to worry. The awesome supportive team have your back, emotionally and technically, providing six weeks of training from the best in the Industry to make sure you have Your shot.

At the Climax of the six weeks, after training and careful song selection. There’s a two day marathon weekend were the chosen contestants get their chance to show their skills. The music, the Djs, and the overall energy will blow you away. For a ten dollar ticket price, even for a day out to enjoy some great music, it’s total value.

This year was mind-blowing. There was so much talent in the pool of Djs this year and with performance from A-Tonez, who was one of the trainers, scratching, and absolutely, straight up killed it with a multi genred steam pot. Honourable mentions to the winner this year Sami Kabaha, running the Trap & Hip Hop. Runner up, Ian Alexander, pumping the Electro, Trap and renege breaks, and Wild Card winner, Will Hall, boasting with a Minimistic Futuristic House set.

Any aspiring, up and coming djs out there, this is no joke. I highly recommend registering next year in June. It’s an experience and adventure like no other you need to add to your to do list.

Featuring me, critically evaluting the spectacle 99.9% of the rest of the time was spent dancing

Featuring me, critically evaluting the spectacle 99.9% of the rest of the time was spent dancing

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Tame Impala – Currents

The hype is over! After months of arousal, listening to Cause I’m a Man and Let it Happen every day on the Tripple J hype train, Currents is here!

Straight up, It’s beautifully strange, unique, twisted, and leaves me a state of perplexed admiration.

It doesn’t really fit anywhere. It doesn’t really belong on the radio, but it’s good enough to be shared, songs like because I’m a Man, Eventually, and The Moment. It’s a personal listen, Love/Paranoia, Yes, I’m Changing and new person, Same Old Mistakes are elaborate and deep, yet tantalizingly optimistic, fun and ultimately relaxing.

Currents is personal. Extremely personal. Kevin tells a story of a gentlemen in a bad place. After taking a ‘Nang’ he proceeds challenge and ultimately to free himself of philosophy in ‘Let it Happen’ as he continues to attempt to understand himself, pushing him back towards his ‘Same Old Mistakes’.

Tame Impala have developed from an experimental psychedelic sound to a unique hybrid of guitars and old school 70s style synthesizes. The sheer conglomerate of sounds present in the compositions on Currents is phenomenal for a synth pop progressive record. As is the range of influence from other genres of music, such as the loop techno break in ‘Let it Happen’ and synthphonica synth stabs.

Instrumentals and Production on Currents are nothing short of fantastic. The bass guitar is warm, full and easy to follow funk. Groovy guitar rhythms, feel good melodies, combined with extremely well defined, punchy synthasonic sounds deliver a Juxtaposition with the sad soothing vocals. The songs are majority minimalist, giving Currents its charm and completing the soundscape. Guitars and Stabs appear only when needed, much like a Wizard.

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Despite its magic, Currents isn’t perfect. Somebody needs to say it. I’m going to tell you right now to listen to it, but it does have its shortfalls. Firstly, the un-passionate monotone vocals, which nobody would have a problem with if, it wasn’t on every song. To be fair, ‘Past Life’ does deviate from this formula, with a heavily vocoded voice, but still features these un-passionate vocals. This is progressive disco music. It’s the repetitive theme of love, and un-passionate vocals that give legitimacy to claims that Currents is in the realm of synth pop, not psychedelic music.

Which, whilst on the genre argument, is far-fetched music elitist nonsense. It’s whatever it does to YOU personally.


Kevin Parker on Reddit identifies ‘Eventually’ as the emotional core of Currents. Eventually saying no to his former lover, this extremely powerful, uplifting song presents a fantastic paradox. It fantastically delves into the emotions associated in ending a relationship, and the difficulties associated in doing so. Pure euphoria. Juicy Trance pads, giant thick breaks, ascending pitch bending samples adding a dark twisted dynamic, which transitions seamlessly back into this strange dreamlike trance.

“I know that I’ll be happier, and I know you will too, eventually”

It’s addictively hopeful, with catchy breaks and easy flowing guitar stabs, well timed pads, and clever violins. The big meaty Bass breaks, Horns and Guitars aren’t completely absent, like die hard fans are whining about, they all find their place and contrasts extremely well with the resulting soundscape.
Which brings me to this next point, and a little bit of free Wisdom. Just because there is predominance of synths , doesn’t mean there isn’t guitars. That’s like a house producer writing a song with guitars and then being relegated to the, “you no longer produce house music, you abandoned us.”

Please.

Time to stop reading the hungry little caterpillar, grow up, and accept the world isn’t that bad.
It’s the way these instruments are used that define an artist, not what instruments are used, and testament to Kevin Parker in all the hype. It’s this formula which is brilliantly executed, combined with the little things which graces Currents with its psychedelic undertones, despite minimalist themes.

This is were credit is due, and which makes Currents a strong all round album, thanks to it’s instrumental core values.

The traffic samples in Yes I’m Changing, perfectly timed breaks and stops, seamless transitions, using vocals to dictate, change and compliment the instrumentals in creative ways, such as on Eventually and Love Paranoria Cheeky guitar licks;

“I know I said I could never hurt you”

*DUNNN DUNNNN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRR*

“Did you remember the time by the ocean”

*Surfy rebellious guitar introduces itself*

It’s unbelievably simple and pure creative genius. Pushing Currents up to a solid album. Get on it!

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The ‘Golden’ Gordons

Walking into the Espy on a Tuesday, with my dear Zio on our man-date. Conflicted feelings swelled in our souls as we confused Astor Theatre movie dates; missing Scarface. But all was not lost, the night would take a sudden turn. The Gordons, my dear brothers from Caulfield whom I had wasted much time with before tutorials, were setting up in good humour, getting ready to rock the people attending the fabulous Espy on a Tuesday night.

 

Little did they know I had my notebook, prepared and ready critique their performance in my usual fashion. I have habit of doing this even when I don’t plan to, and even without the notebook, musicians will understand.

 

Opening with Red Hot Chilli Pepper covers, I was already very excited and impressed. There was a synergy between the band members. It was clearly evident right from the get-go they had shared more than a few jam sessions. This wasn’t all that impressed me, they had put some serious thought into the tone and sound that they wanted to produce – their signature. The guitars sounded absolutely fantastic in their respected ranges. The rhythm, a funky grudge with a pleasant melodic undertone, the other strung to sequel like an angel orgasm-ing at the movement of his mere fingertips.
If that doesn’t sound appealing enough, the synergy between the guitarists playing off each other during breaks and solos was incredible. And there was plenty of them, showing off this talent and synergy that only comes with liberal, regular practice, tight bonds and trust; which gives the band a professional entertainment dynamic. Stage presence was nothing short of fantastic.

 

The original songs they played afterwards can be described as a positive groove; surfy, featuring funky grunge guitar riffs. Rory starts busting out Rhymes with the flow of an actual rap god, bringing a renege edge and even mellow vibes. Despite the mellow vibes at times, I always felt a sense of optimism, testament to the energy from the stage, the instrumentals, and the passion emanating from the positivity of songs themselves.

 

Between their sets, they were even so kind to give me a shout out. How lovely.

 

What really brought out the funk was the bass. It’s always refreshing to see a really good bass guitarist, playing slap as well. Yes, The bass guitarist plays Slap. Good Slap Bass. SLAPPP BASSS!! This final combination was like God playing Mortal Kombat, selecting his dream-team. Whether it happened though spontaneously smashing his controller, that controls the destiny of the universe, and delivering a crazy combo, or was simply planned.  We shall never know.

 

We shall never know if such an almighty controller exists, but guess what? The Gordons Exist, and you haven’t heard of them, and you need to take a moment in your day to acknowledge their existence. Go check them out if you get a chance.

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Mixed Emotions During Madeons’ Adventure.

Hugo Pierre Leclercq, more commonly known as Madeon, continues his conquest of what is now dubbed Electronic Dance Music, with his new release Adventure. The album provides a much needed refreshment as the Melbourne Bounce sound and oft-misunderstood title of ‘Big Room’ continue to dominate the EDM scene.

My colleagues have expressed their contempt and disappointment for Madeon’s new direction. As his sound has developed, so has his responsibility to the evil record companies he now serves. For better or worse (we all know the answer guys), Madeon’s sound has been thinned down, simplified and thus commercialised. The biggest singles from the album give justice and substance to these accusations, such as Pay no MindYou’re on and Ok.

The overall vibe of the album is happy, feel good, and fabulous Electro House music, but I guess I’d call it EPM, electronic pop music. This does not sound anything as bad as it may seem, mainly because it’s Madeon and not Lady Gaga. Features from Dan Smith, Passion Pit and Mark Foster contribute and compliment the instrumentals exceptionally. So if you’re enjoying the wave of EDM in the mainstream, and even if you’re not a fan of dance/house music, EDM/EPM, or whatever you prefer to call it, Madeon’s latest Adventure is still worth checking out.

Madeon utilizes a glitch electro funk motif that other French electronic producers are famous for, with a touch of European house influence. The electro-funk element is still intact, despite both the pop culture influence and the high budget labe. He has tracks for everyone. The Triplets in Imperium earn it the title of ‘Banger of the Album’; crowd slaying bass-line, huge kick-drum and those previously mentioned triplets weaving in and out of the verses, ending with a colossal breakdown. Truly a drop to pump your clenched fists too. For the DJs out their looking for versatility in their party sets, this one’s for you.

One of the albums disappointments is the transitions between songs. It seemed to just fly into the next track, which to be honest, was very surprising. I expected the small detail of transition to be nailed, especially by an artist such as Madeon. As the introduction to the album, Isometric seemed very rushed and not very inspiring, building far too quickly to create the anticipation and atmosphere associated with his previous productions. Compared to such works as Technocolour, wherein the introduction lasts for two and a half minutes. Considering I waited what seems a lifetime for this, I would have thought Madeon would have given the transitions more thought. The songs should flow seamlessly, fit together, and tell a story as if it were an Adventure (hehehe, get it?). Overlooking the transitions proved to be the greatest disappointment of the whole album.

The Album earns its points back for tracks, in particular: Imperium, Beings, Nonsense, La Lune and Innocence, with Pixel Empire being my choice of best track on the album. In short, they are fantastic and diverse, and all of the songs have character. Innocence is deep and rich in textures, both in sound and story. Beings makes you feel like a conscience happy flower petal floating, head-banging your way to a happy space. Nonsense is opulent in layers, full of glitchy syths and optimistic vocals which leave you feeling un-real. Nonsense and Innocence have an especially sensitive touch, being slower and deeper, with the big trance pads that run throughout. However it is during Pixel Empire that Madeon’s diversity and mastery truly blooms.

Pixel Empire. This gem, simply, blew my brains out. If you’re going to listen to one track on the album, it should be this. Though most of the album will have you listening with content, this takes you to that next level of euphoria. It’s the one track that elevates you, beyond the sky and takes you out into the depths of space and time. A fitting introduction featuring piano scales, complimenting deep sharps, and signature happy-wave synths which slowly make themselves known.  A real heavy drop ensures, fading in and changing synths that expand as the drop rains relentlessly. Guitars announce themselves, with glitch effects that characterise and exemplify that French-Electro sound. A Drum-and-Bass break down comes in unexpectedly after the break, creating a unique soundscape with the scales and glitch guitars, going full Frank Zappa (which may be an insult to Zappa concerning the simplicity of Madeon’s arrangements.)

 

This elevation which only Pixel Empire seems to perpetuate puts Adventure on the lower end of my star spectrum. Admittedly, I am very happy in my constant, over-critical state of mind, but the more I listened to the album, the more I came to enjoy it. It’s nothing complex, but that’s what makes it attractive for easy listeners. Loyalists who state the new sound from Madeon “isn’t him” are plainly incorrect. He is fundamentally still Madeon. His artistic integrity is still (arguably) intact. Keep in mind that young Hugo is only twenty years old, and I only look forward in eager anticipation to what’s next as his Adventure continues. His journey has only just begun.

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ALL KINGS AND QUEENS DEMO REVEAL; Gabriella Cilmi project with younger Brother kicks of

Local favorite from Dandenong North Gabriella Cilmi, has finally teamed up with her talented younger brother Joseph to form All Kings and Queens. Gabriella needs no introduction, her powerful deep seductive, yet tantalizing vocals are responsible for claiming six ARIAs, including single of the year, and best female artist.

Gabriella really needs no introduction, but if you’re unfamiliar with her, or her recent direction, here’s a summary. With her new and re-defined sound responsible for ‘Symmetry’ and ‘Sweeter in History’, delivering the best of young, strong beautiful and deep singing voice. The best way to describe the depth and soul of this Women’s voice is; if you were to mash Amy Winehouse and Macy Gray together and that being had a lovechild with Andrea Bocelli. That lovechild, being yours truly, Gabriella Cilmi and her vocals.

Before Warner, Joseph was responsible for recording Gabriella Cilmis demos. His not new to the game his has been involved in music since a very young age. He plays piano, guitar and drums. Joseph however, has been biding his time, learning and developing his own style of music. Recently he’s responsible for engineering the works of Ted Zed, on I’m Gold. For All Kings and Queens Joseph represents the mind and the brawn of writing, producing, and engineering.

All Kings and Queens haven’t just teased us with their newly announced arrival, but they’ve hit the ground running, dropping a demo single ‘Animals’ showcasing their new sound.

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The first thing you’ll hear is a synthesizer sequence, blessing the track, because who doesn’t like analogue sequences? The huge delay,  mild echo fades out the sequencer, and Gabriella introduces her presence, with a soft vocal introduction. Big, no massive Piano chords fill the room to contrast the smooth vocal introduction. Utilizing out-of-this world trance pads and clever use of samples, sounding like they’re from a spaceship computer console, create a unique dreamy soundscape. Chimes complete, the mix, the introduction, and atmosphere.

A deep vibrating bass-line ensues, with a solid, not over the top kick drums, which complement the funky bass. Funky bass, really funk influenced bass. I can’t emphasis this enough, the track has some serious funk vibes. These intricate yet simplistic bass notes are to blame, giving this track its super smooth groove. Rick James would be proud. High in the mix you’ll find those spaceship trance pads, with big piano chords Gabriella’s voice gets deeper and more powerful, propelling the track, combining the funk, and old school sounding analogue snyths. It charges the listeners soul, man.

Bass gets deeper and fatter on the second hook. The Second hook comes in and it elevates the track, exploding in positive vibes. Animals ascends into big symphonic chords which touch the soul, accentuated by the piano motif.

Animals breaks nicely with the return of modular sequencers and new wave trance analogue pads. Guitars squeal deep in the depths of the mix, a strong kick drum pounds in the background continuing the build of energy. With a deep filter on the returning bassline, before the final reprise of the hook with Gabriella killing the lyrics.

Animals pays absurd attention to detail. The Echo on the vocals, pitch shifting vocals, ascending chimes, analogue modular sequencer scales, and solid kick-drums. There are many instances where samples fade in and out, chop, and echo within the track. Not to mention pitch up, add depth in the background of the mix, and ascend seamlessly to add another dimension to Animals.  This is a solid hallmark of a great production, and clever songwriting, thus you will find nothing lazy about ‘Animals’ from a songwriting or engineering standpoint.
The song progression is fantastic. Easy start that invites your ears to indulge, and elevates seamlessly throughout. Awesome trance pad synthesizers playing scales, big and small space samples and effects create a futuristic music vibe. Pleasant guitar tones, squealing in the background at times with chimes and other analogue samples. To finish the work, Gabriella sounds powerful as ever, completing the sound. This amazing showcase of the talent, sheer conglomerate of instruments and spectrum of tools used to come to such a conclusion, that conclusion being ‘All Kings and Queens’

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Good luck Joesph and Gabriella, don’t forget about us down under!!