Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The Floozies - At Dusk We Launch
Tuesday night was big night for new releases, and first up on our new music radar is The Floozies. The Lawrence, KS-based electronic duo has just released their newest album At Dusk We Launch available for free at their official website http://www.flooziesduo.com. I personally really appreciate The Floozies for two major reasons: One, I love their live production methods, mixing loopers with Ableton to create that hybrid electronic/analog sound that you just can't get when you watch a guy with a laptop or a good ole fashion power trio. Secondly, I love their musical sensibilites, creating soulful, funky yet futuristic, glitch-tastic soundscapes worthy of Herbie Hancock and RJD2 at the same time. This new release is no exception with the excellent audio flavors that these guys bring to the dinner table.
808s, funky guitar licks, arpeggiated organ licks, whirring and wompy bass lines, laid-back and in the cut beats, samples, samples, and more samples, a remix of Space Jam?!? - All these are just a few of the nuggets of goodness that, in combination, really set the Floozies apart and carry their signature sound into 2012 on At Dusk We Launch. One thing that can't be denied after listening to this album a few times is that these brothers are gangsta. As much as they flex their funk and electronic muscles on this release, they don't shy away from hip hop samples and sensibilities in their production method. The BPM stays slow and low throughout most of the album, and seems to say to the listener, "Lay back, bob your head, and get ready to bump." And bump they do. Although the beat stays in the cut, the bass textures are bringing the gritty nastiness to tracks like "Body Slam" that are sure to make all the bassheads out there very happy.
This album is almost a split personality of musical ideas in that it can flip from 2012-futurebass music to laid-back, guitar-based, funk tunes laden with 80's-worthy synth patches. Yet as disparate as that might sound, somehow they pull it off. The contrast in styles is never jarring and always keeps you jamming to the smooth beats. "Cheezle" is a great example of this flip mode production style with an intro that reflects its name sake, and then almost immediate slaps you in the the face with a glitchy, twerked-out synth bass. "Phat Beat" takes another page from the 80's book with the ever-classic 808 drum machine on the beat. Yet once again, The Floozies don't hesitate to slather on the nastiness of some dubstep-worthy, womped out bass. These compositions might get lost in their electronic elements if it weren't for the tasteful guitar skills of Matt Hill that lead the verses on nearly every song. These tracks are all heavy with samples, and although they help bring a more mainstream appeal to the music (especially from the stand point of the live music goer), I think that in some cases the samples go a bit too far. Maybe its only because I believe that the compositions are strong enough to stand out on their own without the leading voice of a popular commercial sample. My only complaint about At Dusk We Launch is the overkill use of samples and the concurrent use of feedback-heavy delay on a majority of them. With that being said, I think most listeners will disagree with this sentiment as the samples add a level of pop-music reference that any regular show goer can appreciate from an up-and-coming act like The Floozies.
The sonic landscape The Floozies create, with the union of spot-on electronic production and real deal musicianship, is in my opinion, the sound of the future. These brothers are in the good company of many other production/instrumentalist duos that are leading the way in creating a new genre of "fusion" music. Matt Hill's production skills and chops on the guitar and keys with his brother Mark's solid pocket on the drums is an undeniably powerful combo. Ten years ago, when you thought of music that fell under the genre called "fusion," you were talking about jazz artists that were bringing the pop sensibilities of funk and soul to the intricate disciplines of classic, cool jazz while at the same time infusing the music with the sounds of the newest technology. Now, a whole new generation is taking this creative method to another level with the continued integration of new technology and the breaking down of musical barriers. Dubstep is easily one of the most polarizing genres to blow up in this decade, but the smartest musicians and producers are learning how to take the most appealing elements of electronic music and fuse it back into the disciplines they have already mastered. The Floozies are truly a great representation of this zeitgeist going on in the indie music scene right now.
Clocking in at roughly 36 minutes, the release is short and sweet and sure to find its way on to repeat for a little while on your music player. Every song is over four minutes, in fact most average around the five minute mark, which creates a nice rhythm to the album. It keeps you moving through each track, sometimes so smoothly that you may not notice the track change if you aren't actively listening. But by the end of the final track, you're going to want to hit repeat. Go and get this download for free at the official website for the Floozies: http://www.flooziesduo.com, and let them know the Winslows sent ya.
Fresh Hats Tight Beats - That's All We Need
Everyone at Winslow Family Productions is pumped about the newest release from Fresh Hats Tight Beats, entitled That's All We Need. This is the forth album from the group which now is officially a quartet of producers and instrumentalists. Matt Nigro (MattntheHat) joined the production group after his recent move to Denver. Before now, Matt was performing as half of the live FHTB duo. For those that may be scratching their head at this statement, to make a long story short, FHTB was developed as a studio project that was never necessarily intended for the live arena. When the first album came out and promoters starting sending emails to book the group, Zach Matthews and Phil Buck figured out a way to make it happen even though Tim Santos, one of the major contributors to the first album, had just moved to Denver. After a couple of months of shows together, Phil also moved to Denver, thus leaving the live aspect of the group down to one man. To fill the void, Matt stepped up and started playing the live shows with Zach. Since then, Matt has also moved to Denver and joined in with the production of the albums as well. Currently, there are no plans for new shows from FHTB.
That's All We Need is a departure from previous releases because this is the first album that is completely original and sample-free. Like previous albums, the genres and textures varied and diverse, but overall the album is a cohesive sonic experience. Clocking in at nearly 40 minutes with 11 tracks, this is the longest release from FHTB to date. The original album art was made by Leigh Bernstein. The man's face on the cover is actually made of hundreds of tiny icons, each represents an instrument that was actually played on the album. The original conception for these icons was just to use them to represent which instruments were played by each member. You can see this idea if you check out the back cover which is included in the zip file if you download the full album from http://www.freshhatstightbeats.com
This album also features a couple of guest musicians. First up is FHTB and Winslow veteran, Dave Benedict, on the trumpet for the track "Mind the Line". Also featured is new-comer, Nick Monks, who contributed parts on acoustic and electric guitar as well as banjo. Nick was also a major contributor to the composition of "Course Clear!" writing an entire section of the final half of the track.
We're excited to see this new album go out into the world. Please pick it up for free at the official website of FHTB http://www.freshhatstightbeats.com along with their first three albums. And please remember to share that shit!