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Jeffree’s, a sub label of Diplo’s Mad Decent, has helped kickstart the careers of many up-and-coming artists such as Baauer, GTA, UZ, and Bro Safari, so naturally with each release of its compilation series, it begs the question: Who is next?  The 8th volume of the Jeffree’s compilation jumps features a multitude of different experimental artists and genres from all around the world and clearly aims to push the envelope for what is acceptable in a release from an EDM label and possibly thrust a new genre into the public spotlight.

First on the album is Jahan Lennon, a former member of the Mad Decent band Po Po. Jahan crafts dreamy songs that draw heavily from the psychedelic phase of the late 60s and early 70s, and his songs on this release are no exception. The first song, ‘Can’t Ruin My Fun’ is fairly straightforward psychedelic rock, but he shakes it up with ‘Tell Me’ and ‘Always’ which feature electronic production and genre meshing that Jeffree’s releases have been known for. This is probably the most farfetched release ever to be released on a compilation from an EDM label, yet it works 100%.

The next artist on the release hails from Amsterdam, and has been making noise in the trap genre since it first started to take off last summer. Yellow Claw delivers 4 solid trap tunes in what is the most exciting feature on the album. They lead off with ‘Kaolo’, a trap banger that appears to be designed specifically for dance floors. Their next song, ‘W.O.L.F.’, is interesting but by far the weakest link of the four songs from the trio, mainly due to its inferior groove and lack of needed percussion. The next two songs, ‘4 In the Morning’ and ’21 Bad Bitches’ are both excellently produced, creative and danceable and remind the listener why Yellow Claw is a favorite amongst trap music fans.

The third feature on the album is that of Vjuan Allure, a D.C. producer making what Jeffree’s describes as Ballroom Dance (which sounded ridiculous until I realized that I had no idea what else to call his music). Unfortunately, though different, Vjuan Allure’s style proves to be for the most part uninteresting. The majority of his songs are primarily only drums, percussion and sparse vocal samples and the only song to hold my interest was, ‘Percussonix’, which is actually at times a neat song. ‘Percussonix’ actually uses synths and interesting effects to create a different and moderately entertaining dance floor song. However, for the most part, these songs seem to lack inspiration and creativity, something that rare, but not unheard of on a Jeffree’s release.

Delving back into a more conventional and enjoyable approach to dance music, Estonian producer, Bert on Beats launches into his single ‘Dab’ which is the next feature on the album. ‘Dab’ can be described as tropical bass, or simply infectious. The Caribbean beat works perfectly with the happy melody and grooving bass to create a song that can only be described as ‘lots of fun’. The single is joined by a remix from DJ Sliink, which is very similar to the original, except it adds in a new and more energetic lead part.

The last artist to be featured on the release is Hawaiian beat maker, Mr. Carmack, who ends the compilation on a spectacular note with his experimental hip hop style. The influence of great hip hop producers such as J Dilla, Onra, and Flying Lotus is evident in both of his songs, but he manages to keep his style original by fusing the beats and the feel with basses and synths that could fit in any EDM song. His first song, ‘Birth Control’, starts off strong with a bass heavy hip hop beat and moombahton-esque lead and progresses to an epic chorus of swirling melodies and rich chords that Flylo would be proud of. The next song, ‘Hopscotch’, is less magnificent than ‘Birth Control’, but boasts a stellar groove and unique bass work that adds depth to the track without taking away from its old school hip hop feel.

For the most part, the 8th volume is a very solid release from the folks at Mad Decent. It successfully combines intelligence and fun in a compilation album that pushes the boundaries of EDM and introduces the public to a slew of unique and innovative new artists and genres. Jeffrees’ releases are perfect examples of  electronic music in motion. They constantly show that EDM is not at a standstill, and that the genre is still growing, evolving, and expanding as seen in the music of the distinctive and extraordinary artists featured on Jeffree’s, Vol. 8.

Listen on iTunes, Spotify, or Jeffree’s official website: http://jeffrees.tumblr.com/, where you can stream all of the music from this album and explore previous Jeffree’s releases as well.

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