Los Angeles-based City 17 is another of the rising talents in dance music today with Northwest roots. With their latest EP due out July 14 via SectionZ Records entitled Cast Away, City 17’s recognition will spread far beyond the West Coast. Four new original tunes are accompanied by three remixes for the duo’s third EP, following the Ignite It and Ignite It Remixes EPs released last year. Cast Away also follows City 17’s appearance at Paradiso 2014. The duo, made up of Justin Anderson and Felipe Pereira, get help from Whidby, Hades of Spades, and Portanexus on Cast Away and the contrasting styles and takes on the tracks are the perfect complement to the original mixes. You can pre-order Cast Away via iTunes here.
The original tracks span dubstep, drum & bass, electro, and even some deep house. The title track, Cast Away, fits the role perfectly as the festival track that can get any crowd moving. Demake, which cracked the ‘Top 50 Dnb Tracks’ on Beatport and was the winning track in the EDC Las Vegas “Discovery Project” last year, is one of the top tracks on the album. It’s all of the fast-paced and high-energy DnB anyone could ask for with an upbeat melody that neatly ties it together.
With original tune Drifter, the duo unleash their inner dubstep to fantastic results. Although the title and lyrics are solemn, the slower-paced drops still manage to give it a high-intensity feel while keeping the integrity of the rest of the track. The track that is the biggest departure from other originals on the album is Toxin. A groovy electro beat (one of many on the album) leads into a interesting blend of electro and deep house. The combination is intriguing as it is catchy, as the pre-drop lyric ‘release the toxin’ does just that, as the track slowly takes you over with each listen.
The trio of remixes comes from a personal friend of City 17 in Whidby, as well as Australian Hades of Spades, and Brit Portanexus. Each brings something different to Cast Away and showcase the versatility of the original tracks with ease. Portanexus creates the grimey dubsteb version of Cast Away that the album needed while Hades of Spades ups the ante with their DnB remix of Demake. But, it is Whidby’s take on Drifter that brings everything together. The change of pace tune that still fits with the overall feel and energy of the album, Whidby’s remix is the version of Drifter that seems like it should be the original. The mind-blowing blend of genres and styles make Cast Away a great listen, and the remixes are successful in helping make that so.
The production of Cast Away is fantastic. There’s nothing that they won’t take on and make their own, and the production quality is a big part of that. The introductions to tracks like Drifter and Cast Away are built beautifully and are key to the reason the tracks flow so well. There are some interesting choices and tangents in some tracks throughout the album, but the overall production is on point.
Standout Track: Drifter
The song writing on Cast Away is decidedly darker than past City 17 productions. Still maintaining their energetic style, but with an edge, City 17 offer up the album you can blast in your car and turn a bad day into a good day. The blend of slower, but still aggressive, styles and genres balance the heavy dubstep and DnB we’ve come to know and love from City 17. It would be great to get an LP from the duo and see how their song writing would evolve and develop with more tracks.
Standout Track: Drifter (Whidby Remix)
Lyrics like ‘what it’s like to be lied to’, ‘If I cast away’, and ‘you know I’m a drifter’ gives the album a direction that the tracks go at in full force. With each original (and remix) taking on a different and unique blend of styles and genres, the common focus is a great way to tie it together. Apart from that, the cohesion of the tracks is mostly in their melodic styles, as all of the tracks take on different facets of DnB, dubstep, and electro.
Standout Track: Cast Away (Portanexus Remix)
In today’s dance music scene, it isn’t everyday that an EP full of dubstep and electro grooves is considered original. Where the album misses in some aspects on cohesion and song writing, it hits on originality. The combination of genres, and the way it is done, shows that City 17 give no fucks in the best sort of way. You can feel how free and comfortable the duo are in their skin as City 17, and it shines through in the best ways possible in Cast Away.
Standout Track: Toxin
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