BEST NEW ALBUM: BOYS NOIZE - MAYDAY - 9.1
BitCandy Rating: 9.1
I still remember the first time I saw Alex Riddha grace the decks. It's ingrained my brain like I'm insane in the membrane. It was the last set of my first electronic music event, and as the sun came up over EDC Las Vegas in 2011, his monstrous acidic techno helped transform me into the freak I am today. Wait, you mean dance music can hit you so hard it hurts, but still have depth, character and strangeness? This is nothing like the EDM stalwarts I just watched play over the past three days? This is where I was introduced to the strange charm that was Boys Noize and I knew we’d be bros for life.
For a dozen years he’s been focusing his energy on something different, opting to grow as an artist instead of just focusing on becoming more massive with each new track. Boys Noize never seems content to make the same thing twice, and even though we’re begging for more Erol Alkan collaborations, I’d rather not force him to tread on similar territory. Instead he opts into dance music experiments, constantly challenging himself to make something new and fresh that makes the dance floor flip upside down. Whether it’s making bangers with Skrillex, collaborating on hiphop with Spank Rock, writing film scores for WHO AM I, freaking out your parents with the most confounding techno that exists this side of the Space Station-92B-27-# with Mr. Oizo, making beautiful dance piano with Chilly Gonzales, or just releasing the music that makes him happy, Boys Noize regularly asserts himself as one of the most musical dance music producers out there today.
And here, his fourth (official) full length LP, we’re treated to a man chilling in his prime. He’s got nowhere to be, no bigger to get and best of all…no one to answer to. Mayday is the work of a confident artist, who knows how to make music better than most of 'em and couldn’t give two shits about success or failure. No two songs are alike, and they all could be massive singles in their own respective niches of dance music. Hints of hiphop, techno, acid, pop, garage, jackin, there isn’t a corner of dance music that this man isn’t afraid to touch. It’s refreshing to see an artist delivering their art, at the height of their intelligence. Our art should be for us first and the rest of the world second. I’ve always looked up to Boys Noize for that, and it’s beautiful to see that that is never ever going away.
BOYS NOIZE - OVERTHROW
Boys Noize ain't fucking around on this album and he lets it show out on Overthrow. Even though there are pop songs and hooks on this album, Boys Noize is a dark, heavy, acidic techno producer and he makes sure to let us know that right out of the gate. This ain't your momma's Boys Noize album, no no, that was the one with Kreayshawn. We start out heavy and we hit hard, that’s the Boys Noize way.
Much of Mayday isn’t available to stream online quite yet, but the album drops Friday May 20th so make sure to cop a download of it and listen to every one of these fire tracks over and over and over again. The titular track is quite a heavy techno tune, with a vicious bounce attached. With tunes like this, OF COURSE Boys Noize's free MayDay performance in Berlin at the Peace Love and Anarchy Party’s Party was shut down by the police and protestors. This is too hard for regular people to handle, those fascists must have been ready to burst at the seams.
"Dynamite" is definitely one of the album’s highlights, roping Benga back into studio to dip a little dub into the techno. You got dubstep in my techno! You got techno in my dubstep. I thought Benga retired? And then we get "Rock The Bells," the absolute highlight of the album. Def can’t find a stream of this one online, you’re gonna HAVE to buy it. Where the hell did this funky breaks jammer come from? There has never been anything like this in the Boys Noize catalogue before. Between this and "Starchild" (keep reading), we're treated to fresh new sounds and ideas from one of the most inventive dudes out there. But honestly, I can’t expect much less. He couldn't continue being the king if he didn't know how to keep keeping it fresh. Can’t wait to hear this track at THE funk/breaks festival this summer, British Columbia’s Shambhala.
EUPHORIA FEAT. REMY BANKS
As BN was dropping singles off this album like hippies drop out of college, I knew he was really on to something with this one. This is pure unbiased bouncy techno fun. It’s got a perfect simple, meditative and driving vocal hook layered on deep breaths that leads to one of the funkiest techno basslines and the most perfect bleeps and bloops I’ve come across in my short days. No wonder this was the lead single off the album. He knew this was going to be a set staple of his for years to come.
STARCHILD FEAT. POLICA
And then here we are with Starchild, the shocking highlight of the album. Not only is it completely, certifiably uncategorizeable as Boys Noize, it is a feat of beauty and groove. Boys Noize playing around with UK Garage? Dipping outside of Acid and Techno into the world of Bass House? Sign me and the rest of the world up, please. This is a tribute to his skills as a producer. He can step COMPLETELY outside of his genre and happen upon the most compelling groove of the year. This is why we look to Boys Noize as the hero god of dance music.
"2 Live" is another track that makes me question what is going on in Boys Noize’s mind. Like, where did this song come from? Is this an uncredited collaboration with Calvin Harris? Go ahead and read that as a slight if you want to-- I consider it a compliment. Calvin is modern day king of pop with more hook than a fishing expedition with Bruno Mars and Peter Pan (same person?). This song is funky fun with the best hook Boys Noize maybe has ever graced our ears with. Power to him, breaking out his own mold to create something universally lovable. Can’t wait to see one of the Mainstage buffoons get their hands on this. Or is Boys Noize too cool and hidden for this to even register on their radar? This track feels like it was specifically made for the A-Trak remix, or something like that.
And then at the end of the album we finally get treated to some classic Boys Noize acid hardness. Midnight is a banging-techno late night warehouse instant (coffee) classic with iconic repetitive vocals that build to a crescendo that we’ve come to expect from the man with the plan. I can imagine this one getting played at ALL late night sets all summer long. Oh, to be at one of them. Never mind, I will be. On "Los Ninos" the bass gets even harder, letting the grinding acid bass that helped make him famous in the first place with &Down and 1010 finally getting their due. Chop up some political or anti-political USA samples and we’re on to the one of the darkest songs of the year. Then straight on to "Hardkotzen," the hits get harder and darker. Some HEAVY techno 808 drumlines help this song avoid being even enjoyable. This is for the kids who like their techno dark, strange and inaccessible. But those are the kids who love Boys Noize, so it’s nice to see him deliver some of that here.
BOYS NOIZE - BIRTHDAY
Finally we’re left off with a message that we should all take to heart on "Birthday." Spank Rock repeats the line, “WAKE UP EVERYDAY AND IT FEEL LIKE MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY.” For those who know me, this was my anthem before I even heard it. For those who don’t, now you do. This album closes out with the ultimate party track. Boys Noize, Hudson Mohawke and Spank Rock are truly onto something here.
Oh man, I love this album. One of my favorite artists, making thirteen dynamite songs for the masses. Not only growing exponentially, but also reverting his scope back to the good old days, harkening to the sounds that made him famous in the first place. I think this album is an utter smash hit. I can’t wait to hear these songs played out. They will bring a freshness to Boys Noize sets that I’ve been dying for ever since he released XTC back in 2012. I’m not saying he ever went away, but he is definitely as back as he could ever possibly be.
Make sure to check out his tour dates below and see him WHEREVER you can. He’s one of the wildest DJs out there right now (can’t you tell from this album?) and this summer his sets are going to be absolutely massive, flourishing with all this creative energy and inspiration.
BOYS NOIZE dates:
05.25 - Paris, FR @ Le Gaite Lyrique
05.30 - Detroit, MI @ Movement Festival
06.03 - Offenbach, DE @ Robert Johnson
06.04 - Luxembourg, LUX @ Lenox Club
06.17 - Eindhoven, NL @ We Are Electric
06.18 - Barcelona, ES @ SONAR (LIVE)
06.24 - Paris, FR @ Solidays (LIVE)
06.25 - Scheessel, DE @ Hurricane (LIVE)
06.26 - Neuhausen Ob Eck, DE @ Southside (LIVE)
07.01 - Arras, FR @ Main Square Festival (LIVE)
07.02 - Marmande, FR @ Garorock (LIVE)
07.09 - Lisbon, PT @ Alive Festival
07.10 - Aix Les Bains, FR @ Festival Musilac (LIVE)
07.14 - Bern, CH @ Gurten Festival (LIVE)
07.15 - Graefenhainichen, DE @ Melt! Festival (LIVE)
07.16 - Ostrava, CZE @ Colors of Ostrava (LIVE)
07.17 - Dour, BE @ Dour Festival (LIVE)
07.19 - Nyon, CH @ Paleo Festival (LIVE
07.23 - Regensburg, DE @ Zuckerbrot & Peitsche
07.29 - Montreal, CAN @ Osheaga (LIVE)
07.30 - New York, NY @ Studio E (LIVE) w/ Health, Polica, Venus X07.31 - Fontana, CA @ HARD08.05 - Salmo, CAN @ Shambhala Music Festival
08.08 - Madrid, ES @ Mondo
08.12 - Budapest, HUN @ Sziget
08.17 - Vienna, AUT @ Frequency
08.20 - Inverness, UK @ Groove Loch Ness
08.25 - Zurich, CH @ Zurich Open Air (LIVE)
08.26 - Dublin, IRL @ Opium Room
08.27 - London, UK @ SW4 (LIVE)
08.28 - Haarlemmermeer, NL @ Mysteryland
Hey Alex, I’ll be front row at that Shambhala set. Say “Happy Birthday.”
About Kurt Kroeber
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.