2019-01-02T14:00:20-05:00 2019-01-02T13:53:50-05:00

Back to the Future's Best of 2018

Searching for music is an art form and a labor of love centered around a desire to share with others. Paulo Coelho explained it best when he said, "writing means sharing. It's part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, and opinions."

I myself would like to add music to that list. This powerful quote by Coelho is one of the reasons I got into covering music; this innate and unbearable desire to share and bring good music to good people. 

Hip-hop is my first love but the genre of Future in any capacity is also my muse. I would like to share, with all you beautiful people that have come to EARMILK to find new music and be a part of this singularity, an eight-song list, in no particular order, my favorite Future releases of the month. So sit back relax and enjoy! 


Don Diablo feat. Paije "People Say"

First off we have January's selection a working man's (Future Bass) theme "People Say". It is produced by Don Diablo the Dutch veteran who has been active since 1997 and vocalized by Paeji a young R&B singer who has heaps of talent. "People Say" opens with the iconic brass stab that is ever prevalent since the rise of Hudson Mohawke. As you go into the New Year telling yourself, "it doesn't matter what people say" this should be in your rotation. The arpeggiated synth that pervades the song keeps the drive and the intensity until the beat drops with the effervescent iconic wave synths of Future Bass coupled with the "PANG" of a brass stab. 


Slushii feat. Marshmello "There x2"

For February we have got Future masters, Slushii and Marshmello, teaming up on a mid-2000s-esque emo EDM banger about missing a love lost. On "There x2" we get a mixture of both producers, the iconic high-frequency waverings of Slushii coupled with the musicality of a cohesive track that only Marshemello could put on to a track. There is a nervous sense of loss that permeates the track as the vocals lament, "that I hope you know, I can't do this on my own, and baby I know I was wrong." I think the best part of this track is when the beat drops out at 3:18 and we get a chorus singing the chorus a la prime Fall Out Boy with piano accompaniment. 


MitiS feat Gioto - "Away"

March, we have a soft-spoken opening from MitiS and Gioto that opens with quiet nighttime bug sounds and wind complete with a modulated guitar playing the melody as Gioto softly sings, "last time night I was high." "Away" by these two picks up the pace when the breakbeat comes in 0:29 and we get a complete sense of the yearning swimming through our ears. This song is a sweet undulation of life's mistakes and our desires for turning our back when it gets tough. However, there is an overwhelming sense that it is all going to be okay. At 1:28 the side-chained bassline topped with a glistening airy synth comes in and we get the middle of the night feeling; that overcoming wave of understanding and love for all those around us in this one moment that can only be understood if you have been there. "Away" is a sweet, lavish, dewy ode to the Future Bass genre and only leaves us wanting something more.


Kaskade feat. Charlotte Lawrence - "Cold as Stone"

In April we will keep the introspective vibe going with Kaskade and Charlotte Lawrence's "Cold as Stone" where the overarching theme is, "I need space" verbalized by Charlotte Lawrence being "Cold as Stone." Quiet coos of "oooo" from Charlotte open the track coupled with a dissonant single finger piano melody played by Kaskade which then becomes a chordal melody only to morph into a snare build up. At 1:23 we finally feel the power that only the producer of "Move for Me" and "I Remember" could provide. Smart songwriting and compelling lyrics permeate the entirety of this song creating a singular experience akin to the first time you felt yourself falling out of love. Backbreaking pain is the theme and Kaskade's production helped by the vocals of Charlotte make you feel the loss of someone passed. 


RL Grime feat. Daya - "I Wanna Know"

RL Grime always delivers a song worthy of multiple plays. One of the godfather's of this genre has consistently been a source of quality music but this song in particular really scratches that itch of a heartfelt Future banger that we all need as we face our problems. Daya asks, "I wanna know if you're gonna be there" as if she is asking us to bring her back into the reality that exists only with RL Grime on "I Wanna Know." And to answer her question, "yes. A million times yes" as long as the internet exists and a rogue solar flare doesn't decimate the electric and cloud technology we so dearly love I will be there always and you will always live inside my earbuds as alternating electrical frequencies. "I Wanna Know" reminds me that love is fleeting and that the best part of love is having someone who will be there for you, always, much in the same way I need this song. The double melody in the verses of this song is sublime and just from a musical sense worthy of a shoutout. 


Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston - "Always" (SLANDER Remix)

Above & Beyond are the ever-present English electronic music group consisting of Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäki who have through the years captivated me as a group transcending genres and always keeping to their roots of music that transports the listener to the heavens, then to the galaxy. When something as beautiful as an Above & Beyond song is made I always think, "man I sure hope there is a bass tent version of this" thankfully, the dudes of SLANDER came through with the remix version of "Always." Sparse production is the name of the game for this remix with a slow buildup over a looped Zoë Johnston saying, "Always" until the pitch and the tension are brought to an inevitable release. The beat of the drops in this cut take a more staccato approach to bass with trap heavy hats tying the hands of SLANDER' flavor and A&B's tone.


5 Seconds Of Summer - "Youngblood" (R3HAB Remix)

It would seem that I am trying to keep the earnest love vibe alive but truthfully these songs encapsulate the world of Future Bass better than all the face melting rhythms that are so dime a dozen prevalent because Future Bass is all about FEELING and no matter how hard it is the release of these songs make the future all the better. So without further ado, we enter the second half of this list with the remix by R3hab of 5 Seconds of Summer's "Youngblood." With this one, we have another song that opens with a solo vocal that opens into an uncharacteristic beat complete with a tambourine. Until the white noise and reverb-heavy vocal washes over us and we get a broken up wave beat topped by a flute melody akin to Diplo. Vocally, however, instead of soft female vox we get tripleted, repetitive desires directly into our ears. 


Hydraulix x Rickyxsan - "UNDRGRND" 

Ah yes, August a month where we can forget the melancholic summer of music with the face melting jam "UNDRGRND" by Hydraulix and Rickyxsan. "UNDRGRND" opens with a multi-band filter letting the beat seep through cutting out the low and high bands. We then get an almost 30-second buildup ending in a countdown from 7 as if the track knows we need a timetable for this release of tension. The beat is an alien vocoder mixed with a lazer powered by warp technology whipping up and down with a mechanical candor leaving you only wanting it again but this time with a reductive bit rate filter, or is that just me? Regardless, 2:29 does not disappoint. You will be bouncing with a gabber-esque vigor by the songs end. 


FlosstradamusBoombox Cartel - "ID"

September has us praising the head HDYBOY in charge, not that I don't prefer J but he out doing his own thug dizzle, and Mexican DJ Boombox Cartel doing what they do best, make drippy, hip-hop flavored bass music with the release of "ID." "ID" is a dinosaur of a track I say that because whenever I listen to this song I think about the T-Rex in Jurassic Park in the side rear view mirror. There is an inherent juxtaposition present when you consider the bell / piano tip-toeing along as the massive bass grows in size until 1:06 when it comes stomping in. Power bass drum slams the eardrum into submission as hi-hats roll along until we get a hardstyle double timing of the beat to pave the way for the payoff of the drop a second time. The preposterousness of a song actually being called "ID" on an official release leads to me to believe that we will get a remix of this banger with a rap vocal to tie it all together. 


Nitti Gritti - "Hush Money" 

October has got DJ and producer with a bag of tricks Nitti Gritti's single "Hush Money" in which he uses his varied musical skills to create a sharp, swagger ridden offering with dark vocals and crunchy rhythm. “Hush Money is a track with petrifying melodies and a drop so intense Magic Mountain wouldn't allow it. AKA all the things we need for a track that you should have had on repeat for the past few months. I find "Hush Money" to be a cross between a G-House anthem and a future bass cornerstone. Nitti is off the release of his 'Money' EP and in the middle of tour when he dropped this so if he is back in the studio we are in for a big 2019. 


Halsey - "Without Me"  (ILLENIUM Remix)

We take a more pop-focused take for November with the ILLENIUM remix of Halsey's "Without Me" and boy is it an auditory pleasure. Because Halsey is a quote end quote pop star we get a base line track that is produced to the nth degree, everything is pristine all sounds are tonally perfect to work with her voice; for those of you out there looking for a good starting place to remixing start with something like this. Right off the bat the Future flavor is present with the rolling hats and the repetitive crashes signaling the beginning of a buildup sure to not disappoint. ILLENIUM utilizes a side-chained compressor on the bass with the kick drum in the main beat creating the loveliest example of this engineering magic. The bass itself is a tour de force of adulation for the original, an ode to the beauty of the vocals of Halsey. This is without a doubt a crowd pleaser when the third drop at 3:21 doubles the kick's and lessens the attack on the side comp. 


RL Grime - "Era"  (1788-L Remix)

It seems too fitting to end the best of 2018 with the 1788-L remix of "Era" by RL Grime not because RLG is one of fathers of this style but because you will need to rage into the New Year and grab 2019 by the horns. 1788-L's take on this remix is a pedal to the medal, balls to the wall, single that will guarantee to turn it up, whatever it is you are doing and whenever you will be doing it. This song has got it all complextro step sequencing, frequency modulation,  squarewave saws, guitar style synths routed in a loop through virtual amps, an arabian night synth(?!?!?!) and I am next certain I hear the Dada Life plug in the " Sausage Fattener in there. "Era" remixed by 1788-L is one badass motherfu*ker and you need in this in your rotation if you are a DJ, an audiophile, or just need a release. 

Hopefully, all of you beautiful people out there enjoyed this list, let us know below! See you next month for more, peace. 

Deep House · Future Beat · Lists · Main Stage · Trap


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