My Top 10 Electronic/Dance tracks of 2017

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Like most of the UIC Radio DJs and music lovers in general, I’ve been compiling my end of year lists. Because my interest is mainly in electronic and dance music,  I’ve decided to focus my list on the best tracks of 2017. The past year has been huge for electronic music. Techno continued it’s current wave of popularity, with new voices both refining and warping the genre into new directions. Lo-Fi house died and then came back, club music got deconstructed and rebuilt into a noisy mess, and push for more representation from female, queer, and POC DJ’s helped bring new voices to the table. Here’s what I took away as the best of the year:

10. DJ Boring-Goodbye Michael

This little wonder of a remix is only number 10 because it’s technically a release from the the late hours of 2016. Created in the wake of George Michael’s passing last December, DJ Boring takes the late singer-songwriter’s 2003 track “Amazing” and downgrades it for the lo-fi house generation. The result is a remix that improves upon its source materiel by letting Michael’s melodic genius shine through the distorted bass and tape hiss.

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Monumental Mashup Albums: Encore by The Airport District

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Hey everyone! Ray here. And…this is my last blog post. Yikes. It’s been a pretty eventful 23 or so weeks I’ve been blogging for UIC Radio. Quite a few things have happened in my life since I started blogging in October—little did I know of the trajectory my life would take, leading me to this very moment (sitting in a humid room). Probably the only memorable part about this moment is the humidity rather than the feelings of stress from finals. In the fall I’ll be in grad school on the other side of the country. And I’m just like “u wot m8????”

My last blog is the third part of my Monumental Mashups series (see here and here!) This week’s album is Encore by The Airport District. It’s definitely heavy on the hip hop, so any and all hip hop fans will get a kick out of this! But fear not! It’s got a few classic tracks that everyone knows. Encore was uploaded to Soundcloud a couple of years ago, and the samples it uses are timeless. It’s got everything from Kanye to Skrillex to Coldplay to Lil Jon and everyone in between.

And this wouldn’t be a Monumental Mashup post without sharing some of my favorite moments from this album:

  • “Ms. Jackson” by OutKast • “Everyday Struggle” by Biggie (listen!)
  • “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley • “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado (listen!)
  • “Encore” by Jay-Z • “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (listen!)
  • “Party Anthem” by Fatman Scoop • “Brass Monkey” by Beastie Boys • “Every Breath You Take” by The Police (listen!)
  • “What Is Love” by Haddaway • “Booty Bounce” by Dev • “Like a G6” by Far East Movement (listen!)
  • “Shiny Disco Balls” by Who Da Funk • “Baby” by Justin Bieber • “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People (listen!)
  • “Blue Monday” by New Order • “Put That P***y On Me” by Spank Rock (listen!)
  • “Pony” by Ginuwine • “Say Yeah” by Wiz Khalifa (listen!)
  • “First of the Year (Equinox)” by Skrillex • “G Walk” by Lil Jon feat. Soulja Boy (listen!)
  • “Mickey” by Toni Basil • “Swing” by Savage (listen!)
  • “What The Hell” by Avril Lavigne • “What U Gon Do” by Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz (listen!)
  • “Power” by Kanye West • “B.o.B.” by OutKast • “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure (listen!)
  • “Paradise” by Coldplay • “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne (listen!)

Give it a listen, study, and as always, support the artist and download it from the artist’s Soundcloud here!

The other part of my blog is a tad more sentimental. This mashup is by Mashup Germany, titled “The Day the Music Died”. Mashup Germany samples Weezer and Puff Daddy as well as many other artists. Title aside, maybe this mashup is my farewell to UIC Radio. Who knows. It’s been a great time, readers, new and old, introducing you all to the world of mashup music. If you’re a hardcore Redditor like I am, then I suggest subscribing to /r/Mashups to stay up to date with several talented artists. Consider it a parting gift.

Good luck with finals! Stay cool.

Monumental Mashup Albums: Pure Magic by Bruneaux

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Hey friends! Ray here. Oh man, a couple more weeks stand between me and graduation. In retrospect it feels weird graduating, like the entirety of my college career just collapsed to a single point and I feel thrust into the real world. I’m not a fan.

Lately I’ve been feeling quite uneasy and anxious but also  optimistic about my future. Maybe you do too, dear reader, with finals and final projects rushing forth pretty damn fast, with the promise of summer tailing shortly. As for me I’ll be in grad school in the fall—everything between now and then is up in the air. If there’s one token of advice I can award you, it’s this: “Cross the bridge when you get there.” Well, as of now, I’m not sure where the bridges are, and I’m about to ford this frighteningly long river separating me from summer. This upcoming fortnight shouldn’t be as stifling as I anticipated because most of my projects are already completed; on the other hand, my equanimity doesn’t secure my GPA through final exams. There’s still a lot of studying to be done with four scary finals.

The soundtrack for this week is another monumental mashup album. (See my post last week here!) Bruneaux’s Pure Magic has the guts and glory worthy enough to be deemed monumental. It uses a wide variety of samples, from older R&B to newer pop and hip hop and everything in between—all blended seamlessly with no rough edges. It should satisfy all music lovers by the sheer diversity of samples alone. The versatility of all 10–30 second hits used in this 50-minute long extravaganza makes it the perfect soundtrack for studying, marathon-running, or pregaming. I mean, as I’m writing this blog it’s playing in my iTunes!

Pure Magic kicks off with “Monster” by Kanye, immediately into a stealthy blend of “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” by DMX and “Frontier Psychiatrist” by The Avalanches. From there, a healthy crop of artists, from Outkast to Katy Perry to Lupe all add to the mashup powerhouse that Pure Magic is. What other combos are there?

  • “My Girl” by The Temptations • “Don’t Trip” by Trina feat. Lil Wayne (listen!)
  • “D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice • “Like This” by Mims (listen!)
  • “Bring Em Out” by T.I. • “This Love” by Maroon 5 (listen!)
  • “Saturday Night” by Bay City Rollers • “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles (listen!)
  • “BedRock” by Young Money • “1st Of Tha Month” by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (listen!)
  • “Freaky Girl” by Gucci Mane feat. Ludacris • “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse (listen!)
  • “Power” by Kanye West • “E.T.” by Katy Perry • “Damn!” by Youngbloodz feat. Lil Jon (listen!)
  • “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” by Dem Franchize Boys • “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates (listen!)
  • “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga • “Oh Boy” by Cam’ron (listen!)
  • “Touch the Sky” by Kanye West feat. Lupe Fiasco • “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (listen!)
  • “Shake” by Ying Yang Twins feat. Pitiful • “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago (listen!)
  • “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People • “Money to Blow” by Birman feat. Drake & Lil Wayne (listen!)
  • “Last Friday Night” by Katy Perry • “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa • “Swagger Jagger” by Cher Lloyd (listen!)
  • “Left, Right, Left” by Drama • “If You Leave” by Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark (listen!)
  • “Ugly” by Bubba Sparxxx • “California” by Phantom Planet (listen!)
  • “Magic” by Pilot • “Outta Your Mind” by Lil Jon feat. LMFAO (listen!)

Those are probably my favorite ones out of the entire album. No one can argue that the Magic/Lil Jon finale doesn’t kick ass. Support the artist, like his Facebook page, download the album, and make it the soundtrack for your finals studying frenzy!

How’s studying going? Any summer plans? Comment below!

Monumental Mashup Albums: The Heist by Easter Egg

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Greetings, friends! Ray here. It’s been quite a busy weekend between having a field trip yesterday (which was pretty underwhelming) and preparing for my lab practical on Tuesday and trying to maintain my sanity. Everything seems to be fine on this end, aside from the multitude of projects that have been bestowed upon me by the demigods of academia, punishing me for graduating this semester. Ah, swell.

Today’s mashup of the week is actually an album. Maybe for the remainder of the semester I’ll share my favorite mashup albums; it seems like a fitting gesture, like Oprah’s Favorite Things, except I’m not rich enough to give away cars. Normally I’d post something terse and compact, but I’ve been waiting for quite some time to share one of my all-time favorite mashup albums. Enter The Heist by Easter Egg.

It was originally released in 2011, back when I was still in high school (yikes), so it has had some time to age. I only first heard this album in 2013, and then revisited it over this past winter break, longing for the exceptional mashups within. The Heist incorporates a few decades’ worth of R&B, pop, and hip hop into a frenzy of unique combinations. While some samples are may have already run their course (“No Scrubs” by TLC), by and large Easter Egg brings on some new-meets-old surprises that all blend together seamlessly. The first twenty or so minutes focuses heavily on R&B dotted with plenty of classic hits, and the latter half is a barrage of recognizable pop instrumentals and vocals from the past decade. This album will definitely satisfy the R&B heads and Top 40 lovers. Let it be the soundtrack to your next party or your next study session pow-wow.

I don’t know what Easter Egg has been up to since The Heist’s monumental release. Unfortunately Easter Egg doesn’t have a Soundcloud anymore, so the next best stream is from a secondhand uploader. Obviously the real album doesn’t have those random comments about beer. It’s pretty upsetting because this upload doesn’t even have the full album (last few minutes are missing)—but ah well, it should do.

To whet your earbuds, here are some of my favorite mixes:

  • “Creep” by Radiohead • “Sky’s the Limit” by Biggie (listen!)
  • “One Minute Man” by Missy Elliott • “Little Secrets” by Passion Pit (listen!)
  • “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele • “Every Breath You Take” by The Police (listen!)
  • “What’z Ya Phone #” by 2Pac • “Patron Tequila” by Paradiso Girls • “Animal” by Miike Snow (listen!)
  • “Memories” by David Guetta • “Bulletproof” by La Roux (listen!)
  • “We R Who We R” by Kesha • “I Don’t Want You Back” by Eamon (listen!)
  • “Cooler Than Me” by Mike Posner • “Like a G6” by Far East Movement • “Smack My B**** Up” by The Prodigy • “We No Speak Americano” by Yolanda Be Cool (listen!)
  • “Shine Cause I Grind” by Crime Mob • “Lil Freak” by Usher feat. Nicki Minaj • “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes (aka the He-Man Song) (listen!)
  • “Hard in Da Paint” by Waka Flocka • “BedRock” by Young Money • “Starry Eyed” by Ellie Goulding (listen!)

If you’ve been inspired and want to support this mashup artist, a download link to the 24-track version of The Heist is here, courtesy of the artist himself.

Got any favorite albums that will forever be on repeat? Comment below!