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Imogen Heap’s vocals have been sampled and remixed a seemingly infinite number of times over the years, yet a producer always comes along and reimagines her work in boundary-pushing ways. The newest release from Blu J does just that as the San Francisco producer(s) flip of “Headlock” turns the Speak For Yourself mood-setter into a gritty future-house cut that belongs on the nearest hazy dance-floor ASAP.

Another aspect of the cycle of Imogen Heap remixes is the inevitable rediscovery of her discography. After a few spins of “HDLCK,” I’ve found myself immediately switching over to Speak For Yourself to immerse myself in its sublime nature and reconnect with a wealth of favorites; “Hide and Seek” receives multiple listens, of course, but “Clear the Area” and “I Am in Love with You” are personal must-spins as well.

And that all goes without considering Sparks or Ellipse, two other brilliant electro-pop records whose only separating factor from Speak For Yourself is the lack of an internationally-renowned track. There’s little doubt I’ll be digging into those albums as the week progresses, and between every revisiting, “HDLCK” will continue to receive well-deserved plays of its own.

B-Sides – Killers On The Loose (Feat. Nevve)

As if Nevve’s debut appearance on VOKES “Backroad” didn’t have enough gorgeous vocal goodness, the faceless enigma has returned with an absolute smash called “Killers on the Loose.” It features production from a major talent in B-Sides, and when combined with Nevve’s performance, it’s become impossible to stop listening to this song; to be real, the massive chorus is more infectious than the waters at this year’s Olympics while inspiring many thoughts.

While the title of the song may sound a bit grim considering the startling amount of “killers on the loose” on the news these days, the beauty of the soundscape along with Nevve’s angelic voice gives the concept a whole different feel. In a time where the world seems like it’s fucked up beyond repair, inspiring people to recognize the carefree, kind, and compassionate feelings inside them that can sometimes lie dormant is the best thing someone can do for someone else.

“Oneness” is a vague concept that people don’t give too much thought, but just think about what would happen if we were all inspired enough to realize that we are all truly the same being. The same energy. The same thoughts. If all of humanity could somehow set their guards and their egos aside, and realize that we’re all the exact same minds with the exact same emotions and feelings, wouldn’t things change drastically? If you cut up a piece of paper into 100 little pieces of paper, it’s pretty clear that all of the pieces are the same. Literally cut from the same cloth. So one piece is obviously no better than another piece. It can’t be because it’s cut from the same piece of paper. What if then someone grabbed some of the pieces and colored them in. Some red, some blue, some black, some green. Now they’re different. But you know where the pieces came from, so their colors don’t matter, you know they’re all the same. But if you took someone else and showed them the pieces of paper, all in different colors, and then told them over and over again that certain colors are better than others, they’d begin to believe you wouldn’t they?

Humanity is just so separated from our origins that all we can see are our differences. But what if we were able to remember we’re all just pieces of paper cut from the same bigger piece? I don’t think there would be any more “killers on the loose,” much less many other issues of our day. This beautiful song is a smooth step in the right direction.

RKCB – Elevated (Joe Mason Remix)

Joe Mason flipped The Chainsmokers’ “Inside Out” on a remix teeming with pure jubilance earlier this year, so his fresh take on RKCB’s “Elevated” is a welcomed addition to these ongoing summer months. It’s an ethereal track from top to bottom, and as RKCB utters “elevated over me” at its vocal climax, the transition into fluid, warping synths results in future bass excellence.

It’s one of those tracks that’s undoubtedly best heard while laying in a field, headphones on, joint in hand, all the worries of the world slowly washing away as the sun shines on brighter with every moment.

With an obvious knack for reimagining artists’ vocals in new spaces, expectations are high for the young Australian producer’s eventual solo material. We can’t wait to share it when that time comes.

VOKES – Backroad (Feat. Nevve)

Riding down backroads without a set destination has been a consistent solution to stress throughout my life. I’m at ease when the GPS is off, stretches of nature take over my line of sight, and music that soundtracks those aimless treks courses through the air.

Of course, the addition of a romantic interest on those rides can result in an even more fulfilling experience. On their new collaboration, VOKES and Nevve channel that notion in a gorgeous fashion that finds them trading velvet-smooth vocals. As the latter croons, “Come on boy, let’s go, take a ride down the backroad,” the song reaches a sense of warmth that makes it a necessary addition to summer cruising playlists.

Even without an s.o. by my side, it goes without saying I’ll have “Backroad” in the mix next time I head out to explore whatever new sites California has to offer.

LDN Noise X Pretty Sister – Tears

Brexit, shmexit! With “Tears,” LDN Noise have delivered a very uplifting and vibrant production, clearly unaffected by the drama in the UK. The track is so slick, it even inspired Pretty Sister to sing about something other than his beloved home town of Los Angeles and the surrounding coastline, which is something. PS sounds fantastic on this song, belting out 90’s influenced stylings and lyrics over grooves clearly inspired by the same decade.

It’s got this special feeling that makes it the perfect song to get ready to go out to. F*$k making a club jam, it’s all about making the jams that you play when you’re getting dressed to impress, a few homies already at your spot, the first drinks are flowing and the whole night is filled with crazy promise. Those couple of hours before you actually head out are usually better than the night out anyway right? Possibilities are endless when you’re getting ready to go out – the places you’ll go, the people you’ll meet, the drinks you’ll drink, the drugs you’ll do, and the food you’ll eat (depending on the drugs you do) at the end of the night, it’s all right there for the taking. Speculating and fantasizing about it all, that’s fun stuff.

Be safe, enjoy the holiday today, play this jam when you’re getting ready to go wherever you’re going, and treasure those moments in between. Those moments before you get where you’re actually going. Happy 4th!

Loud Luxury X Shoffy – Villians

Loud Luxury and Shoffy’s “Villains” is right up my alley when it comes to deep house; the ultra-smooth vibes are right for a neon-drenched festival stage as much as they are for a black-tie cocktail party. I mean, I’ve never been to a black-tie cocktail party per-se, but I imagine “Villains” would fit right in the mix. The duo behind it is named Loud Luxury, after all (and while Shoffy doesn’t have “luxury” in his name, his vocals are equally as luxurious; good luck not having “it’s just me and these villains” stuck in your head for hours on end).

Alas, with this fourth of July weekend upon us and no black-tie cocktails in my future, I think this collab will fit just fine into my DTLA apartment as well. Watching the sky lit with fireworks and friends lit off their drinks of choice ($4 bottles of Andre, anyone?) always brings about plenty of positivity; yet another perfect setting for “Villains” to thrive.

Time to go stock up on Andre and make sure “Villains” thrives at its fullest potential come Monday.

Midoca – Never Coming Down (feat. Lost Boy Crow)

Midoca’s music is all about mood and emotion, and he nails it once again with this one. Not wanting to come down, from anything, is probably one of the greatest desires of mankind throughout all of human history right? Think about it, just the concept of “never coming down” touches on the great fact that we can’t maintain any sort of higher state of consciousness. Even as we rise out of this spiritual dark age, “enlightenment” or higher level spiritual satisfaction is still as fleeting as fleeting gets. Midoca describes it even better, cause you know, it’s his song:

“‘Never Coming Down’ is about embracing a new high and the inevitable resist as euphoria slips through the cracks of your mind.”

That’s the problem, it always slips through the cracks. If we could maintain that state we don’t want to come down from, we wouldn’t need drugs, that’s for sure. There’s probably countless other things we crave that we’d immediately stop needing. Most of what we do is directly or indirectly related to achieving some sort of high – from closing a business deal to jogging a few miles to drinking a glass of wine after work – we do it for the high. We know it’s temporary, so we’re always chasing it. That’s definitely a source of anxiety and depression for people that can’t get cozy with that concept. That’s why you gotta really dig deep and found out what it is you love to do, and then do it all the time. If anything, that just limits the amount of time you’re wishing you were doing something else. But at the same time you’ll get really good at what you love to do, and that’s definitely a recipe for happiness and success.

A-Trak (feat. Phantogram) – Parallel Lines (BLU J Remix)

The resurgence of 80s music tropes has coincided perfectly with my recent transition to life on the coast. Something about the combination of modern synths and stripped-down drum machines taps into the opposition of dry heat and cool breeze during the summer. In the past month, ABRA’s “CRYBABY” and Autumn In June’s “HEROin KIDZ” in particular have soundtracked moment after hazy moment.

A new addition to my sun-drenched rotation comes from Blu J’s remix of A-Trak and Phantogram’s summery house explosion, “Parallel Lines.” It reminds me why I’m so happy the classic 808 sound has regained popularity at 128 BPM as the crisp, kick-to-hat beat is timeless. When tracks like the “Parallel Lines” remix are pulsing through the speakers and pink-and-purple neon signs dot the landscape around me, the essence of today’s time and space fades away until the blinding light of my phone receiving a Twitter notification smashes the reset button.

That reminds me, I have a nice view of neon-lit buildings from my balcony…you can find me out there listening to Blu J’s “Parallel Lines” remix til that notification comes.

Virtual Riot (feat. Madi) – Flutter

Take note, children; Moving Castle are on a serious roll and it’s not totally due to their music. Sure, the posi future-bass tunes as of late have struck a chord with listeners (100k SoundCloud plays is the worst-case scenario around these parts), but this LA-based label has managed to create a culture with p u r e a e s t h e t i c in mind. I mean, look, go and check their most recent rollout for Manila Killa’s “Youth;” a gorgeous, electronic ballad complimented by flowery artwork turned my entire Twitter TL into a purple-flower emoji parade for days – no, weeks – as the track climbed onward to almost one million plays.

As of this morning, my TL is quickly beginning to drown in a flock of bird emojis, which naturally means a new track – Virtual Riot’s “Flutter” – is now upon us. Flanked by an album cover with the omnipresent Moving Castle logo, an assortment of miniature items, and light orange hue as a backdrop, this song’s rollout is yet another one-way ticket to a e s t h e t i c c i t y. As is this case with all Moving Castle releases, though, this one sticks in the mind like a piece of gum to the bottom of your shoe; featured artist Madi’s vocals are ethereal, demanding multiple rewinds in their own right while Virtual Riot’s step outside of his dubstep comfort-zone results in a joyful future-bass outing.

Fuck, even Moving Castle’s Twitter icon is now the same orange hue as the cover. These guys are GOOD.

Fjord – Hey Hey My My (Neil Young cover)

On the surface, a cover song seems like a slam dunk concept. You release an (presumably) already well written and nicely arranged song by an artist with an (presumably) established fan base, sit back, and watch your followers skyrocket. It’s just that simple!

But nope. Most bands will tell you, it’s mostly a challenge not worth accepting. It’s like showing up for the first day of school – as the new kid – taking a nice hearty dump in your jeans, proudly sitting down at the popular girls table, declaring your support for Donny Trump and then asking them all to have an orgy with you that night. You’re not gonna go home with too many friends that day, and your chances of survival for the rest of the school year will be in serious jeopardy.

But, if you somehow pull it off, it’s a big deal. And with their cover of Neil Young’s classic “Hey Hey My My,” Fjord pulled it off. They sh*t their britches, spouted off their controversial political leanings and still boned all the hot girls, the holy trifecta! It’s especially delicate with a legend like Young, but I imagine most of his fans would really appreciate this cover. It’s true to the energy of the original and the production elements perfectly match what’s going on right now in electronic pop music. It’s haunting, honest, anthemic and sincerely has me wondering what’s next up Fjord’s sleeve. Bravo to the new cool kid in school.