The dual nature of listening to electronic music is something that continues to amaze me. Given the particular setting you’re in, the experience can rest on either end of a spectrum. If you’re at a show, of course, or some sort of gathering with many other people, the same songs that play in your earbuds suddenly become immersive, explosive anthems that rope the entire crowd into synchronized movement and expression. In these settings, the listener naturally pushes themselves outward into a space that requires them to give just as much energy as they are receiving. If done correctly, the entire crowd can mold themselves into one, dancing entity, a concept that is undoubtedly a significant contributor to dance music’s overall appeal. The other kind of listening is done on one’s own, through their own sound setup and in a place without intrusion. This experience can become extremely personal, hushed, yet equally as visceral and expressive as a live set. The difference is that this expression is turned inward. The subtleties and variation within your favorite tracks come alive in a way that big concerts can’t mimic. They are being played for you, and only you. While not every song is able to translate its message on both the bedroom speakers and festival stage, the ones that do bring new tiers of meaning and personal connection to the individual listener. It’s tracks like these that stay with you long after the initial trend has passed.
A perfect example of this kind of music has just been curated by up and coming label Ethereal in their Cookies & Milk compilation. No matter where you are or who you’re with, these ten tracks have the power to make you stop what you’re doing and focus on your own vibe, whatever it may be.
It begins with a beautiful and thought-provoking, future-influenced remix of Tranquillité’s “Amitto” by Coastal. Grainy vinyl scratches and the sound of far off wind quickly lead into a unique swell of string plucks and horns. The drop explodes into a wall of synths while percussive hits fill in the spaces. With a melancholy but optimistic melody, Coastal sets the mood off right at the top of the list.
After a couple slow, percussion-focused heaters from disfnk and Jasper Staal, the younger brother of Rusty Hook, Chahine, throws the compilation in a completely new direction with his original track “Memories“. Contemplative piano chords lead off alongside bright stabs of synth and deep, ominous vocals that disappear from the space as quickly as they arrive. Midway through, the Jersey rhythm transforms into a hi hat-filled, Lido-esque anthem featuring sharp violin plucks and percussion that comes in only when necessary. The beat flips its style once again as the track comes to a close.
You’ll want to dim the lights for Captain Pizza‘s “In Dis Club“. Aiming the spotlight at Usher’s instantly recognizable vocals, this track feels familiar even upon its first listen. Breathing new life into a classic, Captain Pizza saturates his flip with enough soul and emotion to fill the whole room. He uses dark, brooding synths and heavy reverb to create a completely unique and active aural environment. This one might become your new favorite, guilty pleasure or not.
The current champion of collective Souletiquette, C Y G N, lays down an epic remix of The Weeknd’s “Twenty Eight” at the number nine spot. With an R&B, chill trap foundation, C Y G N’s rhythm and percussion choices combine expertly with the rest of the instrumentation. This track truly warrants some quiet appreciation and a steady head bob.
With artists like Dirty Chocolate, HUNTS, BKLV, and Silo making up the rest of the compilation, it’s most definitely not one to miss. Coming in only eight months after Ethereal’s very first release, it’s easy to see that they’re doing something right. Keep up with them via their Facebook page, and keep your eyes peeled for the imminent releases from their artists.