Discovering Electro Swing

In the last few years I’ve been slowly discovering the musical genres of electro swing/jazz/blues, and finding I really like them. I appear to be discovering artists somewhat out of order, but I’ll present some favorite selections in the order I discovered them.

Layo & Bushwacka – Deep South. I had this one on my playlist for a long time before I encountered anything else that might have led me to discover there might be a whole category buried here. Moby’s work didn’t clue me in either, even when combined with Recoil’s Electro Blues for Bukka White:

Mocean Worker – Move. I love the harmonica solo that starts around 3:22 and listened to it over and over. It was around this time I started to spot an emerging pattern and looked for more, starting with more Mocean Worker.

Shake Ya Boogie:

Shooby Do Yah: Extends the Mocean Worker visual trademark to the hypothetical third dimension.

Hoot and Hollah: I love the weird animation style in this one.

That’s where it rested for a while, as I had some trouble finding more that I liked. Eventually¬†someone I’m connected to on Facebook randomly posted a Caravan Palace link. I explored all of their offerings and especially like these two: Clash and Rock it For Me.

But here’s what prompted this post. Today via the song-of-the-day mailing list at work, I was introduced to Parov Stelar via this track, Chambermaid Swing. Love it, and can’t put it down right now.

This is why I say I’m doing this somewhat out of order – apparently Stelar is one of the pioneers of the electro-rehash genres, but I hadn’t heard of him until today.

Some other Stelar tracks I like:

Libella Swing

Catgroove

Booty Swing

The Mojo Radio Gang

 

To end on a bizarre note, here’s a new Caravan Palace video I just discovered while writing this. I like the music and the animation style, but the story totally does not go in any direction I expected. You may not like:

Remix Rundown: INXS’s “I Need You Tonight”

Occasionally I like to search out new remixes, covers and mashups of classic tunes. I almost always find something better than the original, especially with tracks that were both good and well known to begin with.

This week it has been¬†I Need You Tonight by INXS (pronounced “inkses”, of course :). Here’s the original for reference – or rather, the best approximation of the original I could find on YouTube easily.

Man, the video compositing dates it more than anything else…

The original track stands out for having a unique and instantly recognizable sound, even to this day. It is contaminated with vocals, but they are quite well integrated with the rhythm and melody and are a net plus.

Here are some of the mixes I’ve enjoyed most, in roughly increasing order of awesomeness. I take no responsibility for the sometimes NSFW video content – in some cases I wasn’t able to find a better version.

There’s always a Liebrand mix, isn’t there? Throwing this in not so much because I like it but because it’s a curiosity – an example of the early ’90s sample salad mixing style.

This unnamed mix is more like a standard late-90s anthem template overlaid with some INXS samples, but it works if you like the beat and chord progressions of that sort of music, which I do to some extent.

The Genesis Breaks mix is a fairly clubby mix that basically just replaces the bassline and speeds up the beat. It works though.

The Fractal System mix pretty straightforward but I do like the bouncy beat.

This mashup with a Sebastien Tellier track plus something else makes for a nice change of atmosphere.

Kazy’s cover has a slower pace and darker feel.

Now here’s where I think the mixes start to improve on the sound of the original.

The Rhythm Scholar mix is a bit faster-paced and clubby, but I’ve come to like it out of familiarity – I’ve heard this version a lot. I especially like the modified vocal background sample that comes in occasionally starting around 2:05.

This Wehbba mix is a fairly direct mix adding a new beat, bassline and a few distorted samples. A little on the beaty side but I like the use of stuttered accent samples here and there.

Another Wehbba mix with more of an electro-funk feel to it.

The Manhattan Deep Dub mix is a less direct remix than most, being closer to a selection of choice samples included in a new track, but it does make a decent semi-mellow coding background track.

A mashup (I think) with Shaka Ponk results in a nice rock & roll adaptation. Strong sounds in this one.

I really like the replacement guitar sounds in this Roman, Button and Cosmic JD mix.

The Streetlab mix – not sure what to call this, but it works. I especially like the kick drum beat in this one.

A cover by Cassettes Won’t Listen – probably my favorite of the versions I’ve heard that are definitely covers rather than remixes.

The Devant vs. Filo & Peri mix was my favorite last time I made the rounds on this track. It’s still great. Somehow the bassline that starts around 1:45 feels good, especially when it comes back at 4:30 for the reprise.

The Natema mix is definitely my favorite from the lot. It’s got several nice ambience changes scattered through, and some simple but nice sampling and synth work. I had this one on loop for a whole day and kept going back to it for the rest of the week.

There are lots more mixes of this track out there, but I think I found the majority of the ones posted to YouTube, and these were (in my opinion) the best of the lot.