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Tunes of the month | May

Our favourite releases from April.

Unless you’ve been avoiding online discussion in recent months, you’re likely to have come across the abbreviation NFT. It stands for Non-Fungible Token and it’s the music industry’s next big talking point.

None the wiser? Let us bring you up to speed.

SKIP STRAIGHT TO THE MUSIC

Using the same decentralised blockchain technology as cryptocurrency, NFTs are digital files capable of storing ownership details.

Standard digital music files are easily duplicated and identical versions can be owned by countless individuals. In contrast, NFTs are limited, perhaps even a one-off, and worth as much as a fan is willing to pay.

Obviously, the fewer copies that exist, the rarer the NFT is and the more value it holds.

A recent Aphex Twin artwork NFT fetched $128K and is reported to contain hidden easter eggs

What’s key is what privilege is attached to the NFT. It could be special edition artwork, handwritten lyrics or a private concert. The idea being that it gives artists full control of their art and fans unprecedented access to it.

Essentially, the content and value of an NFT is limited only by the imagination of the artist and the demand of their fans.

Ever the pioneer, Richie Hawtin was at the front of the pack to explore the potential of NFTs. A series of Plastikman collectables went to the highest bidder to commemorate 303 Day.

Just last week, UMEK overcame some last minute technical glitches to sell a range of NFTs. Amongst other things, he auctioned previously unseen footage and a future in-person booking.

Other electronic music acts to begin dabbling with NFTs include Blond:ish, deadmau5 and Aphex Twin. In related news, online store Beatport will start accepting Bitcoin as payment in June.

Slovenian techno DJ UMEK released several NFTs including a virtual performance

Whilst we welcome any new revenue streams for artists, as yet, we’re unconvinced by how much this will benefit the majority of end users.

Currently, it’s skewed to pander to a tiny sample of wealthy and tech-savvy fans. Artists selling NFTs will do well not to alienate their core fanbase. Throw in the cost of "minting" NFTs and this becomes not a only a rich buyer's market, but a wealthy seller's market. Smaller acts can't compete.

There’s also increasing scrutiny towards the environmental footprint of NFT technology. This appears at odds with the principles of some of the artists listed above.

Regardless, get used to NFTs getting lots of exposure. In the short term, at least.

Enough of the jargon, let’s get down to the universal language of music.
 


The Chemical Brothers | The Darkness That You Fear | EMI | 23 April

While NFTs represent a future of our business, some acts prefer to stick to tried and tested formulas. Write album > tease music > drop track > release album > tour > repeat. Who does this better than The Chemical Brothers?

Using samples taken from the ‘60s and ‘70s respectfully, The Darkness That You Fear is an upbeat track matched by its striking video. Directed by creative genius Ruffmercy, it alters and illustrates archive footage to psychedelic effect. This one comes with an epilepsy warning.

Imagine these effects incorporated into a visual show. The Chems never scrimp on production.


Monki | Yurican Soul | Hot Creations | 9 April

Former Radio 1 personality, Monki has released what might be the biggest track of her career to date. The title is a knowing nod and wink to the Latin energy of Kenny Dope and Louie Vega. We reckon it also has a touch of Yeke Yeke about it, especially when that ripping acidline comes in.


Masters At Work | Mattel | MAW Records | 2 April

We move from the inspired to the inspirational, as Ken & Lou occupy our next spot. Relaunching MAW Records, Mattel is the first new material from the pair in over two decades. Dare we say, it sounds quite minimal? But a welcome return from Masters At Work and the label all the same.

They will also be making the label's back catalogue available digitally for the first time. More new music to follow soon.


Soul Clap feat Desmond Powell | Back 2 Love | Fool’s Gold | 22 April

Staying in the Tri-state area, we’re delighted to chart New York-based Soul Clap next.

Back 2 Love is taken from Charlie & Eli’s new album, World Transformation Force, which recently dropped on Fool’s Gold. Offering up a much needed detox from the anxiety of our times, the duo skirt around soul, funk and disco but always bring it back to house.


Roland Clark & Trish O | This Is Techno | Heldeep | 9 April

Elder statesman of electronic music Roland Clark teams up with newcomer Trish O for the eponymous track, This Is Techno. Big drops, a muscly bassline and spiky hi-hats, it’s an unadulterated banger arriving on Heldeep.

Trish O is definitely one to keep an eye on for the future. Meanwhile, Roland is just overcoming catching coronavirus. We wish him a speedy recovery.


Gorje Hewek | Forest Song In The Night | All Day I Dream | 2 April

Another big album release from this month was Gorje Hewek’s Collages on All Day I Dream. The LP balances shades of light and dark, while orbiting ADID’s deep signature sound and coasting carefree at an average speed of 120 bpm.

Closing track Forest Song In The Night is our highlight. Imagine swaying under the soft lantern light with fellow Dreamers as the tempo is about to change. We think it’s ideally suited to the warm Balearic air and scent of pines at Cova Santa.


Shane Fernandes feat Layna | Dreams Of Morjim | 303 Lovers | 16 April

We’ve been waiting for this next track to drop since hearing a preview back in 2020.

Fusing tech house energy with prog overtures and Layna's twisted vocal, we reckon Dreams Of Morjim is versatile enough to work in Tulum, Black Rock City or a sweaty basement club in London's East End. Though, personally, we'd be dying to hear it here on Ibiza!


Sandy B | Ain’t No Need To Hide (Sam Divine Remix) | Champion Records | 30 April

House head Sam Divine serves up a red hot, bass-infused remix to Sandy B’s 1997 classic Ain’t No Need To Hide. Deploying the instantly familiar "got me feelin’ good" refrain, it’s a summer hit in the making as the return of dance floors nears.

We still hold a candle for the Deep Dish version that made the track famous, but Ms Divine will help introduce it to younger audiences.


Mattei & Omish feat BLONDEWEARINGBLACK | Night People | Mattei & Omish Music |
2 April

You’ll regularly find her entertaining diners at Pikes’ Pamelas restaurant, but island favourite BLONDEWEARINGBLACK is the featured artist on our next entry.

The promo video for the track was shot all the way back in September 2019 at the DJ Awards. It seems like a lifetime ago to us. The lyrics take on a new meaning against the backdrop of the pandemic and restrictions on gatherings.

We’re hopeful us night people will be together again soon.


Pleasure State | Break Away | Repopulate Mars | 9 April

Rounding things off this month, we end on a trio marking Repopulate Mars’ 100th release.

MK, Lee Foss and Anabel Englund are the formidable Pleasure State. This late night groover is formed of melancholic keys, swinging drums and Anabel’s addictive vocal, playing to the strengths of all three cast members.


Some of these tracks and more can be heard on our newly published Ibiza Spotlight Selects 2021 playlist. Subscribe to our Spotify channel for more music.

We'll be back next month with the best releases from May.

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