Tracks 1. Robot Heart
2. Robot Heart (BLUD deep playa beats mix)
Genra Deep House
When I first found out that Art Department had been asked to compose a track for the Robot Heart party at Burning Man festival I was left more than intrigued, excited in anticipation to hear what Art Department would have conjured up, baring in mind that these guys are at the forefront of a very modern and electronic development of Deep House music.
It’s a subsection pushing more of the hedonistic, warped and deeper electronic fibers of the scene, and on this occasion AD draft in the help of Shaun Reeves, BLUD - who turns in the remix - and Damien Lazarus to guarantee the job gets done with absolute ease. Obviously the task at hand was bigger than the norm though. It still needed to be a track that wholeheartedly embodied the Robot Heart/Burning Man spirit. With this heady mix of experience and talent comes a rich understanding of everything that is expected of them for this unofficial ‘soundtrack’ commission, and what a track they came with.
Here, Art Department (+ Shaun Reeves, Damian Lazarus) provides a blissful 8mins of perverted, driving, desolate yet colourful dance music and within the initial 3mins the scene is set perfectly. Kick, bass and scuttling hat/shakers build up the rhythmic structure, whilst eerie, fixed chords float in the rear of the mix, introducing a slurry of white noise to form an peculiar cloud around the body of the track. The key component is that of a lonely yet regulatory off-hat, and it’s this vital percussion that edges the track in to its own and very solitary space.
In come the power keys at 2mins by way of dark layered synth, initiating with filtering and showcasing low, mid and high notes that really push the mix around. It’s a focal point of the track that opens the door for Damian’s full vocal part. His words, “The rising sun, in dusty skies, the spinning crystals in our eyes”, lyrically symbolize the soundtrack unraveling within my ears. It’s pretty spaced out, but it’s a track that’s here to indulge in all things Robot Heart/Burning Man, so although normally I could find fault in such self-indulgence additions, I revel in them on this occasion.
In to the break and a delayed, stabbed pad wobbles into the fore. It’s an aural light-relief that’s a stark contrast to the overall story created so far. It’s short lived, but a key factor in breaking the track apart and allowing some time for it to recompose the situation and clamber wildly back into rhythmical boundaries.
The remaining 3minutes culminate with riding cymbals flying through the mix along with a much closer mix of the white noise and an overall feeling of intimacy to the parts combined. A quality dance (sound)track for a very special party. A party that creates about as much mystery around it each year as the festival sees newcomer’s attend. Sublime work. In the box!!!
Robot Heart (BLUD deep playa beats Mix)
Essentially, this mix does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a deeper beats mix. There are some subtle but nicely used percussive volume increases and additional work on the cymbals and rides, but it’s taken the over indulgent chords, keys and vocal. This is a great tool for those mix situations that need a hefty, minimal plateauing of a moment where all that’s required is bass, beats and space. It’s not a centerpiece track by any mean but the mixture of elements plough through with power and purpose and makes for top end b-side.
Reading the press release it was made clear by all parties involved that the task at hand was not just about them (AD/Reeves/Lazarus) providing the typical musical goods – something which would never normally be a questionable expectation. This HAD to meet and embody ALL that is Burning Man. The desert valley landscape, the ‘other world’ feel, the hedonism, the collectiveness and isolation, and of course most importantly, the Robot Heart ethos itself.
Robot Heart is a serious ear treat and characterizes the No.19 sound as much as it does cater for, and obviously focus on, the Robot Heart brief it was founded upon. I’m almost certain this is as close a soundtrack, as you will ever find on Robot Heart/Burning Man – at least in one 8 minutes track – and clearly by-passing the fact I’m sure not many (anyone) have attempted such a task anyway, but my point is, the boys dun’ good! Full Support!