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EDM is often negatively stereotyped towards the acts that bring out the worst qualities of the genre. Without naming names, much of the mainstream electronic music found on the radio and in the mainstream is either tacky at best or plainly obnoxious at the worst. However, there is hope to be found in the underground; the advent of cheap recording software and music-related social media like Soundcloud has led to the emergence of some talented self-made electronic acts, including Philly’s own rising star Hazey Eyes.
Rather than the stereotypical bold and brash dubstep often found at middle school dances and those abstract foam n’ glow parties that seem to exist only on Facebook, Hazey Eyes sticks to a tasteful formula that leans more James Blake than Skrillex. The Goodbye EP, titled after Hazey’s most popular original (which recently made it onto a few notable Spotify charts), is a four track collection that shows off Hazey Eyes’ knack for creating ambient yet energetic dance music.
The aforementioned opening track “Goodbye” is the only song on the EP that’s blatantly a member of the electronic/EDM family, marked by the track’s warped vocals and skittering effects. “Need You”, with it’s delicate female vocals and minimalist style, is reminiscent of newcomer gnash’s hit single “i hate u, i love u” or indie pop trio CHVRCHES’ vulnerable cut “Afterglow”. “Untitled” is a relaxing instrumental that begs to be soundtracked into the next cool indie film, while closer “Our Story” is a tropical-tinged crossover that will appeal to fans of Ratatat just as well as it will appeal to fans of Maroon 5.
Though Goodbye can be subdued at times, Hazey’s live set is a bit more daring. During his hour-long DJ set supporting Just A Gent at Coda, Hazey Eyes riddled his remixes with drum blasts, high energy buildups, and lush walls of sound. Though Hazey Eyes (real name Thomas Michel) The crowd couldn’t help but move to the selections in his set. Top 40 songs by Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, and Soulja Boy (“Kiss Me Thru The Phone”, which I haven’t heard since at least 2010) were mixed in with lighter recordings such as Sage the Gemini’s “Gas Pedal”, the Rugrats’ theme song, and of course Youtube rapper Dumbfounded’s infamous “Harambe” within Hazey’s set, all flawlessly transitioned to keep the room’s energy constant and remixed enough that the familiar songs felt new, but still recognizable. Hazey’s remixes oftentimes displayed a rhythmic complexity that isn’t typical of common four-on-the-floor DJ’s and producers, with off-beat bass kicks and syncopated melodies. For the amount of attention Hazey Eye’s (extremely) young career has received so far, it’s safe to say that the best is yet to come.