Artist Profile: Villains

September 11th, 2007 by admin

Villains are the fucking truth. It looks like America is finally stepping up to the plate and putting out some electro masterminds of its own, and Villains are easily the best US DJ’s I’ve heard in a longgg minute. Missing Toof has been killing it recently and all credit goes to them for the discovery, but the gospel of Villains needs to be preached far and wide, so I figured I’d throw them up on here too. Naturally, my introduction to the LA-based duo came as a result of their immense “Hunting For Witches” remix. “Witches” had truly amazing remix potential, but neither Crystal Castles nor Fury 666 (both of whom were commissioned to remix the track for the official single release) really got the job done. The RAC remix was a big step in the right direction, but nothing can top Villains’ Electro-Banger mix. Shit is out of control.

MP3: “Hunting For Witches” (Villains’ Electro-Banger Remix) – Bloc Party

All that said, their “Witches” remix is only the tip of the iceberg. Already churning out solid original productions, Villains are proving themselves to be viable contenders in the electro scene even at this early stage. Anyone not sold by that Bloc remix will be believers as soon as the needle drops on “Thrilla”, the duo’s electro-fucked rework of the Michael Jackson classic. Closer to an original production than a remix, as it only samples a very minimal portion of the vocals and a few other instrumental flourishes, “Thrilla” is the stuff dreams are made of. Considering the original’s status as one of the greatest dance singles of all time, you’d think there’d be all kinds of hot remixes of the track floating around the internet, especially given the flourishing remix culture catalyzed by the electro explosion of the last few years. But as far as I’m concerned, Villains are the first to step up and really hit it out of the park. That part when the vocal sample crescendos to the breaking point, and you’re all ready for the “Thrillaaaaaa!”, but then they switch it up and drop their own chorus of glitchy synth beats and chopped up vocal excerpts… I mean good god. This is dangerous stuff, folks.

MP3: “Thrilla” – Villains ((highly recommended))

As if that weren’t enough to get you totally pumped for the Villains takeover, they just threw up a brand new remix onto their ‘Space yesterday. This time they take on another essential classic in “Around The World”, and once again they do it up right. I’m starting to think they can do no wrong, but only time will tell. Don’t sleep on this.

Moving on though, there’s plenty more electro-heat to go around in this one. Below we’ve got two songs originally engineered by European production maestros and released in 2005, only to be reworked into viable chart-toppers with the help of female vocalists in 2007. First up is Christopher and Raphael Just’s “Popper”, which dropped in 2005 before getting the Kistune remix treatment and seeing a re-release in 2006. The highlight of said re-release was Shinichi Osawa’s Distortion Mix, which totally killed it on the second Kitsune Maison compilation that year. Taking the original and completely reinventing it on a monumental scale the Shinichi Osawa mix ups the tempo and tricks it out in cowbells and immense production effects, all the while making the most of the original’s essential element: that endlessly addictive, super-poppy synth lick that weaves and in out of the mix from start to finish. It was Euro-house gold, and there’s a reason it melted dancefloors across the continent in 2006.

MP3: “Popper” (Shinichi Osawa Distortion Mix) – Chistopher & Raphael Just

Now Christopher’s taken the defining element of “Popper”, that aforementioned cascading synth line, and applied it to a brand new track he’s produced for Austrian pop vocalist Mel Merio. Not only that, he’s also built the track around the “Around The World” guitars from Nicky Van She and Dangerous Dave’s “Around The World Again”. So yeah, there’s a shit-ton of appropriation going on here, but you can’t argue with the results. I’m actually not all that into Mel Merio’s vocal, but I can’t really complain when the instrumental context is so incredibly bangin’. Keep an ear out for the totally 80’s, Beverly Hill Cop-esque synth freak-out around the three and a half minute mark.

MP3: “Domino Dancing” (Extended Mix) – Mel Merio ((highly recommended))

In 2005, Dutch electronic mastermind Mason crafted a house monster in “Exceeder”, which eventually saw release in the UK in 2006. But it wasn’t until he teamed up with Princess Superstar that the track truly blew up. Pairing the vocal from Princess Superstar’s “Perfect” with the “Exceeder” instrumental proved to be a match made in heaven, and the track shot to #1 on the UK dance charts. Princess Superstar’s verses are her typical vapid, self-aggrandizing fare, but it works in perfect harmony with Mason’s original track. Somehow all of this went down unbeknown to me, as I only just now copped this when my man Stephen (the Bangalter to my Guy-Manuel, if you will) sent it my way this weekend. And yeah, there isn’t much more to say on the matter; this shit kills.

“Exceeder” (Original Edit) – Mason
“Perfect (Exceeder)” – Princess Superstar vs Mason ((highly recommended))

I guess it would have been ideal to have had the opportunity to grab these before the weekend, but things don’t always go as plan. So just throw these on your ‘Pod and rock them all week long, that way you can have your moves down in time to hit the dancefloor next weekend and look extra baller. Enjoy.

• “Hunting For Witches” (Villains Electro-Banger Remix) – Bloc Party
• “Thrilla” – Villains
• “Popper” (Shinichi Osawa Distortion Edit) – Christopher & Raphael Just
• “Domino Dancing” (Extended Club Mix) – Mel Merio
• “Exceeder” (Original Edit) – Mason
• “Perfect (Exceeder)” – Princess Superstar vs Mason

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