REVIEW: gLAdiator – Brand New EP (+ Aylen // Lazerdisk Party Sex // Cy Kosis // Planet Rock // Team Jaguar)
When it comes to moombahton, one of the hyphiest duos on the scene right now is LA tag team gLAdiator. Dan Goodman & Ian Johnson attribute the wealth of much of their robotic soundscapes to the likes of EDM greats Laidback Luke, Jack Beats, Boys Noize, Bart B More, Clockwork, Dada Life, Munchi, Wolfgang Gartner, JWLS, and Dave Nada, in addition to drawing upon major hip-hop influences as well. In recent months, the group’s popularity has seemingly skyrocketed, with major support from the likes of Diplo, Heartbreak, DJ Benzi, ETC!ETC!, Dillon Francis, Aylen, and Lazerdisk Party Sex, the latter two of which having recently worked together with gLAdiator to release the Brand New EP that is today’s topic of conversation. According to their SoundCloud page, Dan and Ian share some purple and gold love for their local Lakers, which along with a minor obsession with Mila Kunis drive them to create the club killers that so ingeniously produce. But enough about basketball and booty, let’s get to the beats.
The second I heard the drums and “get off my,” I instantly knew this was going to be huge. The original Rhymefest & Kanye West tune from which the song draws its samples is one of my favorite hip-hop tracks from last decade, presenting a perfect blend of swag and vulgarity to make any listener feel like a boss as they drive slow through city streets in their brand new whip. What the gLAdiator boys did with it is pure genius: taking the most poignant lyrical examples of wit and self indulgence and adding a scalding hot high pitch synth over a moombah-styled hip-hop kick drum break, this track is both laid back and groovy, as well as swagtastic and booty popping.
By now you should all know Aylen, and once again the Jersey boy doesn’t disappoint. While this version of the Brand New has perhaps the least amount of changes, those instituted are just enough to add a certain level of energy lacking in the original mix. With a seemingly deeper bass kick and a more complex melodic pattern, coupled with an ethereal synth bridge, Aylen reworks the layers to create a track that gets your legs shaking with just a little more urgency, and head thrashing just a little bit harder.
For me, this may be the most interesting (though I’m still not sure if it’s my favorite) of the Brand New versions, simply because it’s something I had not yet heard from the Vermont natives. On this track, the boys of Lazerdisk Party Sex steer far away from the rowdiness of their usual moombahton and electro bangers and head straight into some throwback Baltimore club, which I must admit I was a little taken a back by at first, but upon repeated listens became completely enthralled by. While this track is not as heavy as most of the others, it still brings a certain allure unseen in any of the other versions because of the fast paced incessant characteristic of that 90′s Bmore style. It definitely leaves nothing for want, its tempo and energy capable of enveloping any dance floor.
At 115 bpm, this version has a little more pace than the standard moombahton track, though it’s really only noticeable in the bridge sections where the track is all synth and the bass in eliminated. That being said, this track is monumental, a really eye opener for someone who has never before heard of Cy Kosis. With its two distinct drops, this track is incredibly unique, with the first an exposé of the dragged sub bass waves, the kind that on giant monitors have your heart vibrating behind its protective rib cage, with only brief spurts of synth pops to keep the melody going; the second drops goes hard with the synth breaks, and gets real choppy, real funky with it, a total 180 from the first part of the song, catching me totally off guard. This two faced drop sequence, coupled with the complexity of the vocal chopping that closes the song makes this a serious contender for EP MVP.
I really like how the LA masterminds behind the EP chose to have three house tracks and three moombahton tracks, providing a perfect balance of energy and steez. This version is the second to last of the EP, and the second house track of the bunch. This version is a little more lyric driven, with much of the melody driven by a repetition of the “see me in my” and “bitch” cuts, followed by a serious high synth drive in the bridge sections. While it has its moments, this track is perhaps a little light for me, and considering a good bit of Planet Rock‘s other work, I may have been left hanging on this one.
This track is definitely a strong closer. This may be a weird observation, but I was really impressed by the measure transitions, with an ascending, descending, or alternating synth closing out each major measure. The momentum and drive of the melodic highs during each drop really carry the song forward in a positive way, with repeating builds just bring the energy higher and higher before killing it with a vocal chop in the final seconds, ending on an incredibly well placed “get off my dick.” Well done, Team Jaguar.
Overall, this is one hell of a release, even more impressive considering gLAdiator is gracious enough to offer it free of charge. You can of course download any of the tracks off this post, or download the whole thing here! As per usual, don’t forget to show your support by heading over to their various social pages them and giving them a shout.
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