Blog Archives

Video: Jori Hulkkonen – Don’t Believe In Happiness

Directed by Tero Vuorinen. Out September 15th 2017 thru My Favorite Robot Records. Taken from the album “Don’t Believe In Happiness”, out November 24th 2017.

Jori Hulkkonen – Don’t Believe in Happiness

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Jori Hulkkonen is building towards his next full length album on My Favorite Robot, but before then comes a lead single with some fresh remixes from Zombies in Miami and Kiki.

Hulkkonen is a regular on this label and his last album came on it in 2015, with one before that coming in 2012. A prolific producer with a real mastery of his synths, he creates atmospheric soundtracks couched in techno but with a wide world of influences contained within.

The fantastic first track is ‘Don’t Believe in Happiness’, which is also the name of the album. It is a dark but beautiful track of synth laced ambience with only occasional kick drums somewhere deep down below. Gorgeous pads and melodies ring out in a church like fashion and elevate your soul in the process. Add in some whispered vocals and the whole thing has a tender ‘80s feel to it which leaves a lasting impression.

Mexican pair Zombies in Miami aka Canibal and Jenouise of labels like Correspondant and Suara then step up with a fine remix. Their smooth and seductive vision is more beat driven but remains deep and spiritual with a slithering lead synth line and supple drums all working you into a zoned out trance.

Last of all comes Kiki, the long time BPitch Control artist from Helsinki. His take on the track reworks it as something more song like, with great structure and plenty of tension in the way it builds through eerie vocals and sections of synth drama and eventually upright drums. It’s a blissful cut with an infectious beat and offers something refreshingly different.

This is another in a long line of standout and synth heavy tracks from Jori Hulkkonen that make the prospect of his next album all the more appealing.

Tracklist:
1. Dont Believe In Happiness
2. Dont Believe In Happiness (Zombies in Miami Remix)
3. Dont Believe In Happiness (Kiki Remix)

I-Robots – Brother Man (Rouge Cover remixes)

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Opilec Music’s eclectic remix series rolls on with another essential package, this time tackling a single from label boss I-Robots’s Law of Robotics album back in 2008. Adding their own spin to things are Red Axes and Hiroshi Watanabe aka Kaito after the likes of Kuniyuki Takahashi, Djembe Monks, Danny Ocean, Los Hermanos, Gary Martin, Alexander Robotnick, Daniele Baldelli & Marco Dionigi have all stepped up previously.

Israeli duo Red Axes go first, a pair known for mixing up synths and guitars in exciting new ways on labels like Hivern Discs, I’m A Cliche and ESP Institute amongst others. Their excellent version of the track re-works it as a deep and spine tingling house cut. Moody chords lull you into a hypnotic and zoned out groove that is finished with some intoxicating spoken words.

Hiroshi Watanabe aka Kaito is next, an acclaimed Kompakt and Transmat artist who makes succulent techno with ambient atmospheres. His brilliant version here is just that, with cosmic chords and slippery rubber beats carrying you away into the night. Warm and inviting, it elevates you to the next level over its long length, it is a classy bit of techno that also comes as a stripped back instrumental version.

After this vital EP come more remixes from the same album, they will all then be put together on I-Robots – Laws Of Robotics 10 Year Anniversary album in 2018.

Tracklist:
01 Brother Man (Red Axes Remix)
02 Brother Man (Hiroshi Watanabe Kaito Remix)
03 Brother Man (Hiroshi Watanabe Kaito Instrumental Remix)

Rodion & Local Suicide – Abu Dhabi EP

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My Favorite Robot welcome the collaborative outfit of Rodion & Local Suicide for their next EP, which comes boosted by remixes from Los Mekanikos, Moscoman and Fairmont, as well as artwork that is made up 3D prints of the act.

Rodion is an Italian classical piano player and acclaimed producer whose albums and EPs for the likes of Gomma, Nein & Nang have helped to reshape modern disco. Also one half of Alien Alien and boss of the Roccodisco label, he is a real studio visionary who for ten years has mixed up classical, trance and psychedelic sounds. He makes everything from chamber music to computer game soundtracks, has remixed Giorgio Moroder and counts the likes of Tim Sweeney, Erol Alkan and DJ Hell as fans. Berlin-based duo/couple Brax Moody and Vamparela aka Local Suicide have been collaborating together since 2007, either as a DJ duo, in bands, or as remixers and producers. They have played all over the world and are in favour with the likes of XLR8R, Thump and Mixmag for their fusions of slow techno, post disco and acid.

These original analog tracks were recorded between 2014 and 2016 in Rodion’s vintage studio in Berlin. They came about when they all met following one of his gigs just after he moved there, and after being in touch online for a while. During one of the nights, Rodion brought friend, producer and singer Ali Bey (part of the Belgrade DJ collective Beyond House and a famous record digger) to contribute.

Impressive opener ‘Abu Dhabi’ includes samples from field recordings from all over the world. The most prominent is the recording from an airport in Bangkok—where Brax Moody and Vamparela were waiting to catch their plane to Saigon—and it ended up being the main vocal hook. The alluring track is a wonky feeling number with gurgling synth lines and gentle releases of white noise lulling you into the groove. A searching synth line and distant siren add urgency and the whole thing feels urban and futuristic.

Comprised of Mexico City producers Max Jones and Eddie Mercury, Los Mekanikos combine raw hypno-rhythm tracks with pumping grooves that pay homage to Chicago, Detroit and Berlin. Their special remix is another late night and unhinged number that encourages you to freak out amongst the panning and paranoid synth patterns and robotic grooves.

Then comes the brilliant ‘True Love Floats’ with Ali Beys singing and Vamparela’s vocoded vocals. The interplay between the two is tense and alien and makes for a perfectly inhuman groove with popping bell sounds, undulating pads and spooky deep space ambiance.

Remixing this one is Berlin via Tel Aviv artist of the moment and Disco Halal label head Moscoman, whose raw machine grooves have impressed on labels like ESP Institute, Correspondant and I’m a Cliche. His slow and purposeful version is deep and psychedelic with disorientating vocals and blistered synths wallowing in a menacing urban landscape. Buy it digitally and you will also get a fine remix from label regular and Canadian Fairmont. He is a partner in the fine Beachcoma label, has worked with cult outlet Border Community over the years and mixes up dark disco and goth into his own fresh sounds. His remix here is more direct and driven, with powerful drums and well sculpted synths making it another great rework.

This is a unique sounding package featuring plenty of heavyweight names and marks another cultured outing from the always considered My Favorite Robot label.

My Favorite Robot – Want Some EP

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Making a long overdue return to their own label is My Favorite Robot, the Canadian duo who offer up two brand new tracks and a third re-edit.

Jared Simms and Voytek Korab have built up an assured discography on this label as well as Hypercolour, Visionquest and No.19 Music, all at the same time as gigging around the world and A&Ring likeminded synth craftsmen to release on their revered eponymous imprint. Their own sound is mature and musical, and brings real emotion to their sleek dancefloor grooves.

First up here is the fantastic ‘Want Some,’ a tune as confrontational as the name suggests, with a prying bass synth zipping about under crisp hits and hats. Rooted by rich kick drums, trademark melodic pads and skittish, steppy keys shoot about up top to bring a sleek cosmic feel. The result is brilliantly dramatic and futuristic.

Then comes ‘Think Anymore’, an ever-more direct track but again one with a rasping bassline and whole ecosystem of melodies, keys and pads that bring real light to the track. It’s high tempo, tight and sure to kick start any floor that hears it. A re-edit of the same track closes out the EP, and does so with a more playful feel thanks to the layers of dancing piano chords and broad synth drones that get carefully added in. Like the soundtrack to a police chase, it’s fun yet urgent and widescreen.

This is another briliantly well crafted offering from one of dance music’s most skilled studio outfits.

Release date: 14-04-2017

Tracklist:
1. Want Some
2. Think Anymore (Original)
3. Think Anymore (Re-edit)

Stefan Z – Removed EP

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Canadian label My Favorite Robot Records turns to a local talent in the form of Vancouver’s Stefan Z for their next EP which sees him serve up three stunning cuts that are sure to become essential club tracks in the coming months.

Before now, Rhombus label head Stefan Z has put his life long obsession with music to good use with standout releases on labels such as Resopal Shallware as well as MFRR, where he dropped his chart topping and heavily supported “No Words” to great acclaim in 2013. Also a classically trained musician and Vangelis enthusiast, he has a mature and musical sound that perfectly fits on this most accomplished label.

Up first is the brilliant ‘Removed (For A Moment)’ which has a groaning bassline and spritely chords all backed by a bustling and bristling atmosphere. It’s sparse but moody, balanced yet driven, and is a seductively subtle groove as a result.

Next is ‘Disappearing,’ an evocative track that comes deep from outer space. It has crackling static, electronic stabs and filtered vocals all making for a slightly urgent and dystopian house vibe that really captures the imagination and transports you to another world in terrific fashion.

Lastly, the expertly shadowy ‘Believe’ is a more thumping, firmly rooted number with slow techno kicks, big, fat, reverb rich synths and a heavyweight sense of groove all run through with glowing metallic pads and an eerie sense of late night menace.

This is another carefully crafted EP that manages to resonate both physically and mentally and is a fine bit of work from both label and artist as a result.

My Favorite Robot – Panoptikum EP

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After a strong run of EPs in recent times, the bosses of the much loved Canadian label My Favorite Robot return again to their own imprint with a strong follow-up release to their Glass To The End EP released earlier this year.

The accomplished trio of Jared Simms, James Teej and Voytek Korab has become synonymous with emotive, synth heavy tracks that are much more than functional club offerings. As well as releasing on their own label, they have dropped releases on the likes of Sasha’s Last Night on Earth, No.19 Music, Visionquest, and Life & Death.

The Panoptikum EP, named after a type of institutional building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe inmates of an institution without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly. This EP plays deeply with this idea in typical robot fashion

Stunning opener ‘Cast’ is an epic techno influenced house track, lush with shimmering synths and live drums creating tension, much in the spirit of 90’s electronica. Breaking through like sun through cloud, though, are brightly glowing chords that really add a celestial air to proceedings, with powerful vocals sprinkled throughout deepening the story. It’s a refreshingly original track that sounds like little else and is sure to make for some standout moments on the floor in the coming weeks.

Then comes ‘Manifesto,’ a playful mid tempo prowler with myriad synths squealing, glowing and spread through the arrangement. You are trapped right at the heart of it all as these spritely lines bring a real sense of life and colour to the track, as well as imbuing it with a sombre sense of futurism. At the center of the recording is a tongue in cheek vocal that intones “selling out is the new underground”, bringing a true light heartedness to proceedings while balancing the darker elements. The track’s apex delivers in true My Favorite Robot spirit, and solidly brings the whole trip back down to earth resulting in a truly unique experience.

This is a small but perfectly formed two track EP that once again showcases the trio’s ability to make genuine, emotionally resonant electronic music sure to stand the test of time.

Skinnerbox – Sawtooth Blues EP

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My Favorite Robot Records introduce a new act to the label in the form of German pair Iftah Gabbai and Olaf Hilgenfeld aka Skinnerbox. Here they serve up three exciting new cuts and rightly call themselves an “avant-jazz opus wrapped in a disco suitcase.”

Before now the pair has released in both LP and single format on Doxa Records, BPitch Control and Treat Your DJ Right, and their arty, synth heavy sound makes perfect sense on the MFRR label.

Title track ‘Sawtooth Blues’ opens things up in gloopy style, with bendy, downbeat bass synths off set by more colourful pads up top. It’s an undulating, warm and comforting tune with a left of centre sense of melody that really resonates.

‘Sally’ is a more peak time affair with strident bass notes, buried vocal yelps and thick, purposeful synths next to more pixelated and retro chords. Kinetic and prickly, it’s a fresh and floor filling track that really stands out thanks to the fulsome and rich production.

Lastly, ‘Trimorph’ marries glassy outer space synth lines with arpeggiated melodies, wooden percussion and squelchy bass. It’s curious and involving, cerebral and physical and the groove ticks on like a metronome.

Musical and emotive yet beat driven and florrfilling, this EP is another fine addition to the My Favorite Robot Records cannon. Out on April 27th 2015.

Tracklist
1. Sawtooth Blues
2. Sally
3. Trimorph

My Favorite Robot – Glass to the End EP

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The Canadian outfit behind the My Favorite Robot label turn to their own creative talents for the next EP, namely a tidy two tracker entitled ‘Glass to the End’.

Made up of Jared Simms, James Teej and Voytek Korab, My Favorite Robot have established themselves as artful electronic craftsmen with a penchant for deep and moody synth tracks that feature stirring vocals and engaging grooves. This EP will actually be their first for a long while following efforts on Crosstown Rebels, No.19 Music and Life and Death.

Opener ‘Magneto’ is a darkly melodic gem from the Robot trio, with Voytek’s pained vocals low in the mix and reflective but sad synths stretching out all around. The beats grow increasingly prominent and eventually sound like the sort of epic fair that Sasha would drop in one of his emotive club sets.

The title track is then a quicker and slicker track with bursts of horn, blurts of synth and arpeggiated melodies all making for an urgent and dystopian vibe. Futuristic and evocative, this is another well crafted and properly structured song that really sets on fire when Voytek’s vocal cries leap out of the mix at the mid point.

Dramatic and theatrical in truly unique ways, My Favorite Robot really do have their own unique sound, as this EP shows once more. Glass To The End EP is oming to MFRR on March 23rd 2015.

Monoblok & PSLKTR – Relapse EP

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French duo Monoblok&PSLKTR return to the Meant label with a superb new EP of emotive, vocal lead electronica replete with remixes from Rework, Arnaud Rebotini and My Favorite Robot.

Yann Aubertot and Benoit Mascot aka Monoblok&PSLKTR have been releasing oustanding left of centre, electro fuelled music for the past 5 years, racking up singles on imprints such as Notorious Elektro and Lebensfreude Records before finding a home with Remain’s Meant Records. Their music is a seamless fusion of rolling electronic grooves melded with their own indie-rock influences and twisted vocal offerings and this latest package is another perfect example of their eclectic musical style.

The EP opens with title track ‘Relapse’, a bouncing and dark edged slice of hypnotic indie electronica. Rubbery live bass and atmospheric guitar licks play against off-kilter synth lines and an insistent drum pattern to create an ethereal soundbed for the duo’s nuwave, gothic vocals. The original is followed with a remix from German production outfit and label mates Rework who stripped things back, delivering a spacious reinterpretation that eschews the live elements in favour of a more minimal approach.

The second of the two original cuts sees Monoblok&PSLKTR drop the tempo and turn up the electro funk for the excellent ‘Walking Disaster’. The original version focuses on old school arp lines, dark sweeps and haunting vocals whilst Black Strobe man Arnaud Rebotini provides a remix which boosts the intensity with metallic hits, swirling FX and a reverb drenched sound.

Finally Canadian three piece My Favorite Robot get to grips with ‘Relapse’ turning in a reworking that brings the tracks cinematic flair to the fore, wrapping the darkly illuminating guitars around stuttering beats and claustrophobic delays, mesmerising stuff.

Meant Records have delivered once again, with an EP that beautifully blurs the lines between indie and electronic music. Release date: 12-01-2015.