Music You Probably Haven’t Heard Yet: DJ Seduce – Sambossica

I don’t sit down to write about other people’s music a whole lot but, in this case, I couldn’t resist. I ran into DJ Seduce last year on The Sixty One and was impressed by the compilation he had posted there. I played Sambossica Vol. 2 on repeat for a few days, and thought about finding it somewhere to purchase. Somehow I wasn’t able to do it then but, today – on a beautiful Summer day – I decided to see what he’s been up to and track down his music once and for all. After scouring Amazon and not finding it there, I decided to go the easy route and visited his website. Turns out he sells his compilations through Bandcamp which I’ve heard of before but never used. Luckily, all of his compilations were available there, in high quality MP3 digital versions. A couple of clicks on PayPal and I had them downloaded, along with the satisfaction of supporting a fellow independent artist.

DJ Seduce - Brazil-Sambossica 2 Album Cover

About the compilations: There are three compilations available for digital download: Sambossica 1, 2 & 3, all of which are awesome. Lately I’ve been trying to find some good bossa nova / samba compilations and haven’t been all that successful. But, these compilations are all you need to fuel your light “summer sounds” craving. I won’t go into too much detail on specific tracks but pretty much all of them are artfully chosen and the flow of the compilations is very smooth. The compilations are inspired by Brazilian, afro beat,  latin dance, world jazz, reggae, world groove, funky soul, deep house, broken beat, downtempo, electronica. In other words, whatever you’re into, these compilations have it, and more. Lively beats, smooth vocals and an awesome summer vibe describe the sort of sound you can expect.

About DJ Seduce: DJ Seduce is based in Arizona, and according to his website: “Over the course of 10 years, DJ Seduce has shared the stage with legendary icons, played to crowds of more than 14,000, released critically acclaimed albums and launched the “Award Winning” Afro:Baile world music event & record label. His continued strive to bring a cultural groove to the forefront, has allowed him to push his way to new heights. Some of his recent & notable accolade’s include: 4 consecutive nominations for “Best DJ” by the “Arizona Republic” & “Best Jazz” by the “Phoenix Newtimes. He’s also been a featured guest on FOX-10, and performed live on Good Morning Arizona (3TV). DJ Seduce has an extensive list of featured articles & reviews in over 15 magazine publications, including Global Rhythm Magazine & Spin Magazine.”

I try to encourage people to occasionally step back from the mainstream and explore something new, be inspired by something different. This is a great opportunity to do just that. Check out the compilation and let me know your thoughts. Salud!

Sonaris Music Featured on The Denver Post’s Reverb Music Blog + New Track

It’s like I told Eryc after I’d read the article… I occasionally submit my music to blogs for review and I never quite know what to expect, sometimes praise sometimes critique, sometimes just and sometimes I feel like they never even heard me. This time, I feel like someone heard, and listened.

I’ve gotten some nice write ups from a few great music blogs before, all of which I greatly appreciate. Whether you like it or not, if you want to get heard, you have to put yourself out there, there’s no other way. As difficult as it is sometimes – as an artist – to willingly and methodically open myself up for criticism, I believe that no matter what gets thrown at you, you can learn from it – get something out of it. I’ve gotten some great reviews and some pretty lukewarm ones. Those who really were turned off by my demos probably chose not to write about it – I don’t mind if you do.

In any case, no one had written about my passion, my music quite like Eryc Eyl of The Denver Post’s Reverb music blog. I’ll let you read it yourself, if you like – won’t spoil it for you. But, I wanted to give Eryc the credit he deserves – for an article which takes a chance on an unknown local producer. I respect people who are willing to give someone like me, or many other underground producers, a chance to get some exposure. Good or bad, it’s refreshing.

You can read Eryc’s Reverb article here!

Eryc featured my new project, Pandemonium, in the article. Pandemonium, which has also been featured on the Acid Ted music blog, is filled with turbulent emotion and comes straight from the depths of my mind. All I did was write it down and arrange it. It’s gotten some interesting feedback from peers and innocent bystanders, so check it out and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Sonaris – Pandemonium (Original Mix) by Sonaris

Lady Gaga – Born This Way – Album Review by Sonaris

I bought the new Lady Gaga album today, on Amazon ($0.99 for the entire album), and I’ve listened to it a couple of times. I’ve been feeling verbose lately, so I figured I might as well unleash it on a page. As an added bonus, I really wasn’t a fan of Lady Gaga to begin with, really didn’t feel much of her older productions, and I was also kind of irritated by the fact that everywhere I looked – with my ears – there was a remix of some singles off of her last album. Don’t get me wrong, I love stuff as much as the next guy, but stuff my ears with it every day and I’ll want to toss just at the thought of it.

Anyway, I know a few Gaga fans and they’ve have been trying to convince me to see that she’s not as awful as I would like to think, and that I should give her music a chance. So, I figured today is as good a day as any to start with a fresh slate and listen to the album. I got the album from the Amazon MP3 store, all files (I assume all of them anyway) are 256kb compression which is “pretty good” quality, for the average end user anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a 320kb off of Amazon before, so I’m not sure they even sell them, but suffice it to say that 256kb is good enough sound quality for an iPod, which is what the majority of people will listen to this on, anyway.

Now to the meat of the album:

I really didn’t like the title track, Born This Way. No matter what I think of the lyrics, it just seemed to be haphazardly thrown together, structurally. Especially around 2:35 and 3:40 there was so much sound happening at once that the vocals were completely overpowered by the music. Kind of left a sour taste in my mouth.

I really dug the beat, and the overall feel of Government Hooker. Really deep electro sound, it has a distinct underground vibe to it that is somehow irresistible. Then, at 1:42 the snare kicked in and holy shit is it distorted. Had to double check my headphones to make sure the speaker wasn’t blown. Nope, just a weird, un-complementary distortion on the snare. Why is it there? What purpose does it serve? No idea, but it comes back around 3:00 just in case you missed it the first time around. Minus that annoyance, the track is pretty solid, and I think I can overlook the distortion because I am a sucker for a hard, raw sound.

Judas was a poppy track, which I’ve already heard and I wasn’t really feeling it this time around either.

I enjoyed the guitar backing to Americano, and the lyrics were kind of fun and enjoyable for the most part. I liked the use of Gaga’s voice here, it felt organic, original and unforced. There were some parts where once again Fernando Garibay blasts my ears with a wall of sound, with a bit much distortion for my taste. I mean, it works on some tracks but let the voice shine here. Plus, after Kanye West distorted damn near the entire My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, it isn’t all that original anymore. Overall I enjoyed this track, though – the ripping bassline is a nice touch. I could see some club play for this easily. Of course it reminded me of  Yolanda Be Cool – We No Speak Americano, since that’s been playing damn near anywhere I have wound up for the last 3-4 months. Who cares, it’s pop…

Bloody Mary was an interesting slower track. Compared to the rest of the album, it felt decidedly slower and lacked some energy of the tracks surrounding it. Maybe I’m just not crazy about the placement, but this may have been one of my favorite tracks on the album actually. The vocals were allowed freedom, with some interesting electro-style backing and pleasantly strange use of vox fx. I would have to say that this track is well produced and has a nice clarity of sound.

Somehow, Bad Kids, reminded me a lot of Madonna, and I felt like it tried too hard to sound rebellious – it was a bit too obvious and seemed like trying to reach out to a hard-to-reach demographic. Not much more I want to say about this one, didn’t really feel much about it.

Heavy Metal Lover is a track which kind of caught me off guard. I actually was confused if this was Gaga for a minute, it felt like a crazy German robot techno party. Super hard, raw sound, the bassline accenting the flanged vocals. I got the chills on this one and had to replay it a few times. I enjoyed the hook on this track quite a bit. Then again…. 1:30 some extreme distortion and overcompression. But, I figured if you drop this on a big ass soundsystem it would probably sound kind of amazing. This is probably my favorite track on this album. There was something very Mylene Farmer about this that reminded me of childhood, nostalgia and first exposure to pop music done right.

The rest of the tracks on the album were kind of average, standard pop music fare with Lady Gaga vocals. If you’re a fan you’re going to like it no matter what I say, and if not, there are still a few tracks which I think warrant some attention for creativity and rawness. The album does come with a little PDF booklet, which has a few nice photos and some lyrics I think. Not a big selling point, but as an added-value I actually rather liked the idea.

Surprisingly, I didn’t really like any of the singles off the album, but deep inside I found a few very worthwhile gems. If I, as a skeptic and basher of mainstream pop, lately – paid full price for the album, I might have come away disappointed, but at $0.99 the album was well worth the money, even if solely because I was able to discover Heavy Metal Lover. After listening to it a couple of times, I had an interesting thought. Get the vocals for every track out there and let underground artists pick at them and see what comes out of it, then take some of the more promising re-edits or remixes and put out an alternate version of the album? I know I’d want to take a stab at HML. Is there a Sonaris bootleg of Lady Gaga on the way? I wouldn’t bet on it, but who knows…

Get the album here: Lady Gaga – Born This Way [+digital booklet]

Sonaris Review: “Intellect: Techno House Progressive”

I’ll start off with the good news and the bad news. The good news is, this is quite possibly the single best documentary / tutorial DVD available for emerging DJs and producers. The bad news is, it’s is damn near impossible to get a copy.

I was lucky enough to grab a brand new copy on Amazon back in 2005, for a fairly reasonable $20 or so. At this point, there is one copy for sale, and it’s going for almost $100! (I am not the one selling a copy, nor will I ever part with mine.) Never did I think that a DVD can wind up being a financial investment, but I digress…

Since I never have been, and probably never will be, a DJ, I was kind of skeptical of purchasing this at first. But, the extremely impressive list of interviewees got me. I really don’t think there is a single other production out there which features as many big, classic names as this feature does. I mean, just look at the line-up: Paul Van Dyk, Timo Maas, Juan Atkins, Deep Dish, Orbital, Miguel Migs, Steve Lawler – just to name a few (and some which aren’t even listed, like Colette). As far as EDM goes, these are household names.

Intellect: Techno House Progressive

Everything about this DVD kicks ass. It’s a 2 disc set ([1] description from Amazon):

“Disc One includes a 30-minute inspirational documentary about the ‘art of the DJ’ and ‘what it takes to make it’ featuring interviews with over 40 of the world’s greatest DJ talent including Paul Van Dyk, Deep Dish, Timo Maas, Orbital, Steve Lawler, Derrick May, Sandra Collins, Hybrid, Doc Martin, Ming & FS, and many, many more! This disc also allows the viewer to pick and choose from 34 of the full individual artist interviews to view and experience.”[1] No matter if you are a DJ, producer or staunch clubber, you will find some very good inspirational advice, hilarious anecdotes and some downright trippy stories here. I have watched this disc over and over, probably ten times or more, and every single time I walk away motivated to create, to push the limits and to keep working on music.

“Disc Two features the very first tutorial to ever focus on techno, house, and progressive DJ’s. Nigel Richards of 611 Records takes the viewer step-by-step through every level of DJ’ing – from the most basic equipment setup all the way to advanced mixing on three turntables. Also included are 8 bonus topics focusing on specific aspects of DJ’ing and producing dance music featuring tips of the trade by artists featured on Intellect. “[1] This part of the documentary is as informative as it is oftentimes hilarious! Even if you don’t DJ, but are a producer, this is absolutely a must-see. You will see what DJs are looking for, in terms of beat structure, and learn how to create tracks which are easier for DJs to mix.

I noticed that the film is directed and produced by Barclay Crenshaw. In doing some background research, I found that Mr. Crenshaw had worked on such films as Con Air, Batman & Robin and The Truman Show prior to creating this documentary. (Is Barclay Crenshaw the same person as Claude VonStroke? No way to tell for sure, but it certainly would make sense.)

The whole DVD is done very professionally, and really sets a standard which any future documentary and tutorial feature should follow. Never before, and not since, has there been an electronic [dance] music expose like this. As I said, unfortunately this is a very hard DVD to find, but – if you can get your hands on it – you will not regret it in the least.

New Sonaris Original Track, Video: Daily Afternoon Randomness

I’ve got a cool new track out, called Daily Afternoon Randomness (indeed, taking some inspiration from the often entertaining post series on the blog, The Chive). I actually didn’t mean to make a full track out of this project, was mostly just doing a practice run, using some Loopmasters samples, mostly playing around with one shots to compose a few new drum sequences. Suddenly, the pieces started to sort of fall together, and all I had to do was help the creative process along. The piece turned out to be a sort of chillout / breaks crossover, with a “smooth and thoughtful industrial-esque” feel, according to the awesome people at music blog The Get Downnn.

So I finished the track, and thought that the music is really begging for a real video (was getting kind of over seeing all the music videos on YouTube with static images – of which I am first and foremost guilty, as well).  So, I set out to find a creative commons / public domain video which would work for my  track. After browsing quite a few random videos, I stumbled upon “Herz” – by experimental filmmaker Juanjo Fernandez – on the Internet Archive. The video fit the track perfectly, and I knew I had to use it. I dropped Juanjo an email and very quickly he got back to me giving me the ok to use the video!

So, that’s sort of the story behind it, now watch and listen!

You can also download the track on InternetDJ, for free!
Enjoy!

Arreliari is now available on BandV2

The mixed version of my first full length album “Arreliari”* is now available on the new music shop website BandV2.com

Why this is awesome:
1. All of the tracks are in high quality 320kbps MP3 format.
2. This version of the album is not professionally mastered (like the iTunes version) but is studio mixed by me, so you can hear the music in the same way I intended it to be heard.
3. BandV2 only takes a 14% cut from sales, so I wind up getting 86% of the $ you pay for my music which is why all of the tracks are priced below iTunes (just $.49 each, the whole album is less than $3.50!)

100% of profits from album and track sales go to improving my music software and hardware!

Sonaris Arreliari

GET THE ALBUM ON BANDV2

*This version of the album does not include amazing remixes by axisONE, Draconum and Alex Biagi (these are exclusive to the professionally mastered iTunes version) – I encourage you to check that out, as well. (You can find more info on this version just a couple of posts below.)