Everyone’s favourite beach music festival returns this year with two nights’ worth of cool vibes and good music. Natasha Hong offers her top tracks from this year’s ZoukOut lineup
First published on 3 Dec 2012. Updated on 3 Dec 2012.
‘Maceo Plex vs INXS’
Born Eric Estornel, this Spanish DJ/ producer has gone by several monikers since he started to mess around with electronic music early in 1993 at age 15. He’s known not only as Maceo Plex, but also Maetrik and Mariel Ito, with production credits dating back to 2000. Now reaping the benefits of his years working at the craft, the Plex’s sound builds on his dark, futuristic electronica beginnings with additional layers of sexier, funk-addled grooves that perhaps is a by-product of living in the liberal climes of Spain. Our pick from his discography is Plex’s rework of INXS classic ‘Mediate’, which makes good use of the original track’s driving vocals and punchy bassline, updated with some nu-disco magic.
Goldfish & Blink
‘Bila Seharusnya’ featuring Noh Salleh
There aren’t too many major electro tracks sung in Bahasa Melayu, but Zouk KL regulars Goldfish & Blink’s collaboration with homeboy Noh Salleh could just be a contender. Showing off how well South-East Asian languages can work in the genre as well, we also like this track for how it tempers the synthetics electro house is so often guilty of overusing. In other news, these boys are going places with their track, SLS, recently released on Mixmash Records that counts electro poster boys Steve Aoki, Laidback Luke, and Avicii active in its artist roster. The world better start listening up.
The reunion of Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen, formerly from Aussie drum ’n’ bass outfit Pendulum, sees the creation of dubstep duo Knife Party. Their tracks pay heavy attention to musicality and they’ve released two EPs thus far. Our favourite track comes from their eponymous 2012 release and shows a bit of diversity from their typical distortion-heavy tracks. ‘Rage Valley’ kicks off with the requisite dubstep wobbles and heart-stopping drops that are du jour at underground clubs these days, but segues into a nearly prog-rock musical verse that we could see ourselves air guitaring to. Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen are clearly adding their own flavour to a genre that could sometimes end up sounding a little predictable.
‘I’m Gonna Get You’
Originally trained in dentistry, Siberian-born Nina Kraviz thankfully found her calling in music and EDM’s so much the better for it. We’d like to think that her brand of diva house is made for the hipster age – her track ‘I’m Gonna Get You’ is a refreshing deviation from the paint-by-number type bangers. It starts with her signature sultry whispers set against a chilled beat that’s a little NSFW for print, but builds to include a catchy bass riff and lilting vocals. We’re predicting her set will be the perfect venue for communing with your deepest, darkest thoughts – did we mention she’s stunningly gorgeous too? Imagine an alternate universe where she might be the dentist leaning over you while you’re in a whole lot of pain.
‘Sky and Sand’
Active in the German techno scene since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kalkbrenner’s been called the ‘Godfather of techno’. He’s also an actor, having starred in 2006’s Berlin Calling, a biopic that could lend itself to a number of DJs around the world, chronicling the hard-partying, drug-dependent ritual that so many of the fast famous tend to fall into. Our pick from the man’s vast repertoire comes from the soundtrack to the film; as dark as the tale goes, this uplifting track offers hope not only with lyrics like ‘As long as we are flyin’/All this world ain’t got no end’ and ‘In the daytime/You will find me at your side/Tryin’ to do my best/And tryin’ to make things right’, but also with a melody that’s perfect for ringing in a new day of promise. We can only hope he’ll get to play it when the first rays of sunrise crack open the seeming continuity of sky and sand on Sentosa.