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Get Refreshed: Lessons On Dance, Pop, and Purpose

“Get Refreshed” is a column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Bernard Vernon Full Playlist (2021) Dirty Bird: Dirty Bird Dirty Bird is dance music’s preeminent academic. They make a living out of educating others on the craft they know so well, all the while farthing that very craft to new, unfounded places. Just like any professor and/or researcher in academia, they’ve earned their place by showing a simultaneous understanding of this craft’s contextual history and a beyond-adequate usage of it through action and practice.  If Dirty Bird is dance’s professor at large, then their recent self-titled offering is their full-length curriculum. Even the most astute dance music heads learn quite a lot when listening to the discography of this Eldia Records standout; this project essentially serves as the one-stop hub for their endless library of electronic knowledge — and all the careful consideration of culture that comes with it. If you walk away from an album like this and fail to recognize just how tightly Dirty Bird grasps the nuances of their musical environment, then you either didn’t listen to the album at all, or you’re being purposefully dismissive …

Get Refreshed: Lullabies, Tears, and Trends

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Bernard Vernon Full Playlist (2021) Vision4k: “Lullabies, From a Ghoul” Vision4k spent 2020 in the deepest, darkest doldrums one could imagine. Anyone who experienced their long-awaited album R at the very end of that year would say the same; it was an intoxicating journey through the most ominous spaces of one’s psyche — a pure and utter bone-chilling alternative rock showcase. Not a single ray of light shone over any one of those tracks, as though Vision themself wouldn’t dare to let them in.  “Lullabies, From a Ghoul” – their first transitional release after R – could’ve laid dormant in those same doldrums like a castaway still wallowing in the pains described on that album. Instead, this EP sees Vision finally opening the blinds and letting some light in.  Don’t get it twisted, the project is still far grimmer than the average alt-rock spectacle. But the 6 tracks we have here display the sweetest take on the sinister one could ask for. Though tracks like the opening “Silver & Strained” and “Swan Song of the Buried” chug along …

Get Refreshed: Deep House, Alt-Pop, and Rhythm Games: All At Their Best

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Bernard Vernon Full Playlist (2021) Quannnic: “today is different” Quannnic begins their latest single with a drawn-out, slow-buring acoustic intro. Their soft vocals shimmer over the chugging guitars like fog over an empty highway before the a wave of pounding percussion and biting distortion clears that fog right away in a moment’s notice. It’s easily one of digicore’s single most gorgeous moments of the year, and it reiterates a point I’ve been making about the scene for a great while.  And that point goes as follows: the teens that make up this scene are not just “talented musicians” — they’re students of the game… the pop game, in particular. Quannnic’s masterful application of a lengthy suspense and release – a tried and true facet of sentimentally centered alt-pop – is just one example of this fact out of a cast of millions, but I’d be remiss to say that this isn’t as blatant as it gets. The rest of the track to follow is also remarkable; I shouldn’t forget to mention that. Quannnic spends the next 3 minutes …

Get Refreshed: Getting Fat, Meeting “Drayan!” and Making It Look So Easy

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by IllustratorFile Full Playlist (2021) Kai Whiston: Drayan! Conceptual undertakings in electronic music are a dime a dozen. Extraterrestrial motifs in electronic music are a dime a dozen. Abrasive instrumentals and distortion-tinged vocals in electronic music are… a dime a dozen. Drayan! – the latest mixtape from rising producer and performer Kai Whiston – holds all of these ideas as its main features, but its price is certainly not as easy to come upon. Throw any sense of commonality out of the window; all 9 of its tracks might as well be worth a million dollars each. What we have here is a project that, from a spectacle, is akin to a standard release in this genre. But someone as ferociously passionate and talented as Whiston is simply could not play into these standards without transcending them entirely. The Lux Cache founder took the magnificent photographic work of Janaina Tschäpe’s “After The Rain” and effectively gave it its own score — telling the story of a hybrid alien figure as they proceed through the trials and tribulations of their …

Get Refreshed: The Ivvy Effect, and Funeral’s Suburb SUPERPLASTIC

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by IllustratorFile Full Playlist (2021) Funeral: SUPERPLASTIC Calm, cool, collected, and chaotic. One of these things may not be like the other, but they’re all equally valid descriptors of one Funeral — one of digicore’s longest standing figures throughout the scene’s entire lifespan. Cycling through a cavalcade of sounds and styles while simultaneously fine-tuning their overall artistic presence over the past 2-plus years, the 21-year-old talent has been able to balance those descriptors with perhaps the most nuanced take on hip-hop and pop his scene has yet to feature.  Standout singles like “crash tonight” and “talktome” capped off a resounding 2020 for his career and the scene he sits so sternly on top of; it was a year that set up an even greater one to follow, and now that we’ve arrived at that point, this promised “greatness” has manifested itself in the form of sheer ambition.  With that being said, enter Funeral’s most ambitious release to date: a defining debut full-length album in SUPERPLASTIC. Spanning x tracks held within a brief, yet entirely realized xx minute runtime, this …

Get Refreshed: June’s Best Videos, Maple’s Scene Exhibition, and Being BetterTogether

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by IllustratorFile Maple: PLASTIC SURGEON If online music’s limitless boundaries were to symbolize any single notion in regards to its own working status, it would have to be the fact that there’s no such thing as “too much” anymore. Today’s online acts are able to freely string together as many genres, scenes, and collaborative showcases as they’d like, and if the product is resounding enough, nuanced enough, or just downright effective as a standalone creation, it becomes yet another contributing piece of evidence to the above belief as it is.  I could go on and on about the pure and utter freedom of the online music world, but that would be pretty damn boring after a while (even that intro paragraph… pretty boring, yeah?). So just like with most, if not all forms of art, it’s always better to show, not tell. And fittingly enough, resident super-producer and all-around musical exhibitionist Maple just dropped an all-encompassing project that does a lengthy amount of showing… 20 tracks worth of showing, that is.  PLASTIC SURGEON is an hour-long romp through just …

Get Refreshed: Going Past The Spine, and The Importance of Having Fun

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Nick D’Apolito and most importantly, quinn is having fun If you think you have any sort of read on quinn’s artistic status, that’s a flat-out lie; the thing is, no one really knows quinn in this sense. Why? Because she genuinely operates on a different plane of existence than the rest of the music world. Each and every new offering is a top-to-bottom cleansing of all assumptions placed on her based on what fans heard last, and because she’s, well… quinn, of course she tops herself with each of these successive releases, no matter the style, no matter the genre, and no matter the approach she takes in confronting whatever it is.  So don’t say you really know quinn as an artist, I certainly don’t. What I do know, however, is that she’s pretty damn good at following her advice. Because her latest single and accompanying video entitled “and most importantly, have fun” is easily her most pleasant and amusing track in a good while, and it absolutely kills as a result of this. Though retaining the crazed, …

Get Refreshed: Making Sense of Guilty Gear, Defining HYPERTRANCE, and an Ode to Neo-Y2K Design

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Nick D’Apolito Outback + optic core: “dreamcosm” Oh to be as talented as either of these two forces of dance production… it’s a dream that I certainly have without question, but that really doesn’t matter for someone in my position. I can’t even imagine how other full-time dance-based producers must feel when listening to the continued near-flawless work put out by both BetterTogether’s Outback and Eldia’s optic core — it must be hard knowing that the absolute most has to be done in order to top what these two are capable of on their own and in so many different manners at that. Given what’s been said of their respective solo work, the prospect of their combined talents coming together as one would make any fan and/or contemporary alike ecstatic to no end. And with the release of “dreamcosm” – the first single off of the duo’s forthcoming collaborative EP set to drop less than a month from now – consider that idea of a “prospect” to be dead and buried. Instead, pay witness to the expected greatness …

Get Refreshed: ericdoa’s Guide To The Music Industry, Inside “Insignia’s Manor,” and Resonating With DV-i

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Nick D’Apolito DV-i: “Resonance” With drum and bass still on its gradual journey of increased relevance throughout 2021, the genre has been recently jam-packed with artists both new and old to the approach coming through with some exceptional offerings at a blistering pace. But even though it can be difficult to peer through the mass amount of new content coming out of this style each and every day, it is quite easy to still see the work of a tried and true purveyor of the genre like DV-i shining as bright as it always, always does.  And if for some reason you’ve had trouble identifying such a bright and magnificent star like she is based on her latest output this year, her latest single “Resonance” is practically unable to be ignored once listened to for the first time. I’ll just put it straight; this is without question the best single offering out of the d&b-sphere to release this year, and it even rivals some of DV-i’s most exceptional work beyond just the past few months as well. It’s …

Get Refreshed: The Bloodhounds Say Goodbye

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Main Cover by Brixton Yorker // Special Cover by ddertbag Editor’s Note I feel as though it’s important that I acknowledge why this week’s column is slightly different. This is a special edition of “Get Refreshed” where – aside from the below trio of notable releases I intended on highlighting before the present news hit – I take a backseat and let the people whose voices are most important to the week’s online music discourse be focused on and listened to as they deservingly should.  Those voices come in the form of past and present members of the integral, impactful, and illustrious online music collective called Bloodhounds — the aforementioned news surrounding the group being the sudden and shocking announcement of its conclusion this past Wednesday. As one will see by the end of this piece, the amount of space I’ve reserved for reflecting on and chronicling the legacy of the digicore-purveying collective is entirely appropriate given just how remarkable their legacy has been and forever will be in regards to the continuing era of online music.  Below these few …