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Guest Blogger - Details of my Life so Far

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Producer Will Producer Will | 17:09 UK time, Friday, 10 June 2011

Russ Chimes

 

I was asked to submit an article for the Now Playing blog, with the option of writing about any subject of my choice. I was mulling over writing a piece about the pros/cons and implications of Apple’s recent iCloud service announcement, and I also thought about discussing the "On Air, On Sale" strategy recently introduced by Universal and Sony.

Both are massively important topics that will have major implications for the music industry in the near future, but there was no way that I could use this space to talk about either of them.

I had this nagging feeling of guilt following the recording of my links, though, that I did each of the following artists a massive disservice. Therefore in my mind the only thing I could possibly do to rectify the situation was to give them a much-improved written endorsement.


1. Russ Chimes – Tonic

It wasn’t until very late in 2009 that I suddenly stumbled upon the genius of 26-year old producer Russ Chimes. The initial allure stemmed from a stunning rework of Confusion Girl that he had delivered to Frankmusik as part of a remix package for his new single. Full to the brim with uplifting string samples, and sporting a deft injection of fast paced electro, it came as no surprise to me that it scaled to the top of the Hype Machine chart with relative ease.

Sure enough, in very early January, Neon Gold released a new remix that he had produced for BBC Sound of 2010 winner Ellie Goulding. This time he had gone to work on her breakout single Starry Eyed, and as soon as I heard it I instantly fell in love. His precise selection of piano chords was goosebump inducing, and the drop that followed the fantastically worked crescendo made me want to dance around like an utter maniac. It was safe to say that from then on we were hooked.

By “we” I also include our readers, as he comfortably strolled to victory with that track in our audience-voted “Remix of 2010” competition.

I patiently waited in anticipation for each new Russ Chimes remix that followed, and every time he far exceeded my expectations. However, it was his own material that really blew me away last year. In the summer he released his three track Midnight Club EP that was accompanied by a stunning trilogy of music videos, directed by the talented Saman Keshavarz.

We have unfortunately had to wait up until now for him to release more of his own music, and his two-track Tonic/Helix EP is the latest fruit of his labour. Geared towards the dancefloor, Tonic blends his trademark catchy 80’s synth hooks with some really impressive layering. I can only sit here and hope that he is in the process of creating a full-length album.


2. Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix)

For someone that has only just turned 17, it’s hard not to be impressed by the obvious talent of French electro/house prodigy Madeon.

After steadily building a name for himself on the Internet with the release of some jaw-dropping electro remixes of The Killers, Alphabeat and Yelle, it seems that he has is already within touching distance of becoming an established name in the dance music scene.

His rise to prominence began when he was judged winner of the Image-Line’s Friday Night remix competition (the creators of Fruity Loops). Provided with just vocal stems to play around with, he manufactured an intricate club ready track that gave us the perfect insight into the depths of his technical prowess.

Madeon then conquered a slightly tougher task of taking first place in Pendulum's remix competition that was run for their single release of The Island. Beating away more than 800 entrants to snatch the title, it was a fantastic platform with great exposure for the youngster.

The biggest accomplishment so far is arguably his remix of Deadmau5’s single Raise Your Weapon which set the blogosphere on fire after its premiere on Pete Tong’s Radio 1 show. Deadmau5 himself was visibly impressed with the remix, describing it as “insane” whilst revealing that he “nearly fell out of his chair” when he first heard it.

When you compare it to the original, you can see why he has won the plaudits. To take the thoroughly depressing lyrical content and turn it on its head just by adding a different electronic score is not as simple as it sounds. The kind of technical proficiency on show has many of his older peers quaking in their boots, with Deadmau5 even admitting he was jealous that Madeon is only half his age.


3. Clock Opera – A Piece of String

Whereas the other two tracks I have posted are new releases, this song is slightly older as it was the first original material I had ever heard from Clock Opera. However, their name first appeared on my radar thanks once again to a remix.

The song in question was a remix of I Am Not A Robot by another Sound of 2010 longlistee - Marina & the Diamonds. Their inimitable style shines through on this number, captivating the listener from the opening few seconds. With the original verses kept more or less intact, pulsing string samples and dramatic piano stabs are used to full effect until Marina's vocals are masterfully spliced together to invent a new vocal melody and an altogether new refrain. Something lead singer Guy Connelly has referred to in interviews as 'chop pop' - in other words, he cuts and dices found sounds with immense flair.

This is precisely the sound that can be heard on A Piece of String, as Guy Connelly’s haunting vocals take centre-stage over a refined blend of chopped up guitar and string samples. It’s another stunning example of crescendo mastery, so much so that I struggle to restrain myself from playing it on a constant loop.

Clock Opera have since gone on to release two more singles, Once and For All on Kitsuné, and the fantastic Belongings on Moshi Moshi. Both of which are fantastic songs that act as clear indicators to show how amazing a full studio album might be if it were ever to see the light of day.

 

***

 

Many thanks to Mark - the main man behind Details of My Life so Far. Listen to the tracks he has chosen tonight on the show, or of course if you are reading this post 9pm, June 10th 2011, listen back on the iPlayer.

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