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Spencer & Hill are way ahead of the game when it comes to production. Their style of Electro-House has been acknowledged around the world as a definitive component of the genre itself. Recently, they came out with their newest album, a 10 track project that features remixes from artists such as Pallada, Jan Waterman, Jerry Rekonius, Revolvr, Hirshee and Ziggy Stardust. The complete Countdown Housebeats (Vol. 2) is a full hour of punchy synths, slappin drums, beautiful melodies and heartfelt vocals. With the variety of remixes, we get introduced to some not as well known artists who bring their own unique sound to the table. Point is, the variety of style that’s used in this album is a great experience if you want something different from the norm. Countdown Housebeats (Vol. 2) should definitely be in your library if you like House, Electro, Electro-House, Progressive House or Complextro.
Just Dance Now (Original Mix): I’m a sucker for catchy rap lyrics starting off banger Electro songs, and Spencer & Hill did it right with their original mix of Just Dance Now. See, you don’t need many lyrics, just a couple will get the crowd excited. The track starts off with a drum beat that shifts into a catchy drum pattern with a cool and easy bass line, a faint crowd cheering in the background and a dope rapper who spits 8 bars. The lyrics fade out into an echo and eventually breaks out into a request for the crowd to put their hands in the air and “just dance now”. When it drops, your feet are gonna move whether you like it or not. The bass immediately slaps you in the face, and the synths slap you again as you are reintroduced to Spencer & Hill’s renowned Electro-House. When the vocals come back, you’re automatically excited to hear another 8 bars because the rapper’s voice matches so well with the punchy synths.
Say What (Revolvr Remix): Revolvr’s take on Say What is a party anthem. It’s one of those tracks that will get people moving without fail, and if someone is rolling at a festival such as EDC, it could easily become their favorite song in a matter of seconds. Its got that vibe which makes you feel like you’re on top of the world (especially if you hear it on headphones or giant speakers). It’s so epic that I could see it appear in a commercial for Mixed Martial Arts, a fight movie, maybe even Rocky. So now that your intrigued, please get a subwoofer, turn up your speaker system, and enjoy.
Girlz (Ziggy Stardust Remix): I can’t really decide whether or not I like this track. The vocals are cool, the refrain is cool, the rapping is catchy and the synths are wild. However, it doesn’t hit me as a fully developed track. Instead, the different sections seem like they’re from different songs. Check it out for yourself and tell us your thoughts.
Innocent (Jan Waterman Remix): In the “Genre” section of my iTunes, Innocent (Jan Waterman Remix) is labeled as Electro-House, but it’s really the most complex Electro I’ve ever heard. That’s not to say that I would changed it to Complextro, but it needs to get some credit for being a bit different. With some powerful vocals from a party girl who just wants to “party till the sun comes up”, you’re left speechless at the insanely intricate sequence of synths that follows when the vocals subside. My only issue with the track is that the synths aren’t as harmonic as other productions, but that might just be Jan Waterman’s style. Either way, it still kills a party.
In The Middle: This is one of those Progressive House tracks that you play at a festival with flashing white lights over a 200,000 person crowd, while a crazy light show plays behind the DJ on giant LED screens. The piano’s chord progression carries the song harmonically while Spencer & Hill continue to add more drums to the pattern, complicating the song just enough while not overpowering the piano. Although the vocals aren’t as catchy as some of the other songs on the album, In The Middle shows us that Spencer & Hill can do any kind of House genre that they set their mind too.
All I Need (Pallada Remix): Pallada’s remix of All I Need has the best use of vocals on Countdown Housebeats (Vol. 2). The tone in the vocals matches the tone of the synths; as the the melody in the background builds it feeds off of the energy of the vocals; the drum pattern and synth pattern work off of one another and the vocals carry out through the entire song. Also, the vocals play off the synth pattern and vice versa. Personally, I would say that Pallada’s remix of All I Need is one of the most quality produced tracks on this album.
A Million (Original Mix): Here’s my second favorite song off of Countdown Housebeats (Vol. 2). With a great combination of vocals and synths that carry the song in the beginning, A Million drops into a certified Electro banger with pulsing drums and stabby synths. Halfway through, Spencer & Hill change up the synths completely, adding a bit of variety into the mix. When the vocals come back in, you have about 45 seconds to take a couple breaths before it drops again.
It’s A Smash (Hirshee Remix): I love It’s A Smash. I love the original and Dave Darrell’s remix, so naturally I was looking forward to Hirshee’s take on it. Just as I thought, it’s just as awesome if not better. My favorite part with Hirshee’s version is that the vocals run throughout the entire song, even after the refrain is finished. They act as a “call and response” with the funky blend of synths and ultimately make the song more enjoyable. Plus, Hirshee made the vocals really apparent in the song, adding a bit of reverb and echo onto the lyrics. Midway through, the pattern of the synths switches into a slower and chiller blend of funky synths. Plain and simple, great job Hirshee.
A Million (Jerry Rekonius Dub Mix): I wasn’t a huge fan of Jerry Rekonius’s dub mix of A Million. It was definitely a cool take on making an Electro-House track, but the remix seemed to keep nothing from the original. The vocals, melody and drum pattern were each changed (vocals weren’t even present) and the song didn’t have the party vibe I was hoping for. At the same time, the bridge is absolutely awesome, but I’m not a huge fan of the assortment of electronic noise that follows.
Evoque (Main Mix): This song doesn’t drop for about three minutes and no one’s complaining. Instead, Evoque is just another example of this German duo’s great work at creating a simplistic yet punchy beat that undoubtedly gets the crowd really moving. Then, it’s broken up by a wonderful chord progression at the two minute mark, which leaves just enough time for the beat to return and hype everyone up again. Personally though, this is one of my least favorite tracks on the album because it doesn’t have the energy that’s so prevalent in Spencer & Hill’s past productions. But, like I said before, the vocals are beautiful.