If you scrolled through my music playlist you’d see things as diverse as Aaliyah and Brahms with some Sleigh Bells and Yanni — yes Yanni — thrown in for good measure. I grew up listening to a lot of classical music because I was a violinist and I wanted to be a solo concert artist. I mean, I used to listen to Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and want to be JUST LIKE HER. So I guess it makes sense that the other musical genre I’ve always been obsessed with is electronic dance music. There are so many parallels between classical music and electronic music. And when I say electronic music I’m not talking about that Skrillex-y mess or any of his brethren. More like “indietronica,” if you know what I mean. I like dance music with a little oomph, stuff that takes you higher, that gets your body HOT but also does something funky to your soul, too.
I’ve always thought electronic dance music was only as good as the diva who sings over the beats. Well, the person singing doesn’t always have to be a diva, but you know what I mean. It helps to have the contrast between an awesome/weird voice and a killer bass line. That’s what makes dance songs so pleasureful, and that’s why performers like Roisin Murphy or Yelle are so amazing.
Indietronica duo Niki & The Dove are the best thing to come out of Sweden, better even than IKEA and meatballs with Lingonberry sauce! In May 2012 they released Instinct, a debut record that’s full of sweet synth/electro-pop dance jams that will make any party the spot. There are a lot of great records on Instinct but for me, “DJ, Ease My Mind” is the standout track. It’s a huge, spacious, looming sonic oasis. You don’t hear how big it is until the chorus hits — “DJ, Ease my mind will you. Play that song again.” And speaking of bigness, the song is also kind of sexual, in terms of form anyway. It starts by giving you just the tip, slowly getting you ready with only a wobbly bass line, but you can still tell something is coming and that whatever it is, it’s going to be good. As it goes on, more sonic elements are introduced, many of them tribal, and it gets faster and faster until it climaxes at the chorus.
“DJ, Ease My Mind” is a nod to Indeep and their 1983 hit “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” And you know a song about DJs HAS to be good. Listening to it makes me think about how I’ve been sneaking into nightclubs since I was 15, all because I wanted to escape into the world of the DJ. I wanted the DJ to ease my mind. I wanted to be blinded by the lights. I wanted to disappear into the dream world of nightclubs.
If you’re looking for an awesome dance track to play at your next party or to put on repeat for your commute to work, this is it. Turn the volume all the way up for the full effect. But do go forth with caution: it WILL be stuck in your head. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.