Birdy Nam Nam – “Defiant Order” EP

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Oh Birdy Nam Nam, you so hot right now! Seriously though, this french turntablist quartet might be one of the most buzzed about names right now.  Just last week, Harlem rapper and “it” guy A$AP Rocky released his full-length Long.Live.A$AP, and it included the BNN and Skrillex produced beat for Rocky’s version of ”Wild for the Night.”  Now, after the success of their first OWSLA-released EP, Jaded Future, the Frenchmen have another EP ready for us, Defiant Order.  The EP only contains one original from the group, the title track ”Defiant Order,” but they’ve also given us four other banging remixes and we’re diggin the hell out of this EP over here at DAD.

Birdy Nam Nam may have only contributed one track for this EP, but with “Defiant Order” we get a much more in-depth look at what kind of sound they make and where they’re headed.  From the brooding techno-lite basslines to the glitchy synths ripped straight out of Colorado, Birdy Nam Nam hasn’t shied away from stepping beyond their French roots.  While some might decry a lack of a “drop,” Birdy Nam Nam has still injected this track with a unique energy seldom found in today’s electronic landscape.  What makes Birdy Nam Nam’s style so interesting is that it’s clearly a product of the times.  Only in a globalized world could these Frenchmen have had access to the tunes of glitch-hop heavies like Pretty Lights, Samples, and Gramatik, and it’s clear from listening they’ve had a profound influence. More than just the electro-soul of the ELM crew, Birdy Nam Nam gives the track shades of techno, hip-hop, and French house combine to make this possibly the best BNN track yet.  Listening to this I’m excited at the prospect of a full album…

The EP also contains remixes from a diverse crowd each bringing their own unique styles.  Fellow Frenchman Breakbot turned in his own funkified french midtempo turn retaining much of the original’s identity, while still cultivating his own sound through BNN’s canvas. Breakbot takes his own french nu-disco style and melds it seamlessly with the psychedelic electro soul (I’m not coining a genre, just saying what it sounds like to me) of the original.  Scratch champion and moombah pioneer DJ Craze also steps up to the plate and instead beefs up the hip-hop elements here with choice scratching, minimal trap-esque hi-hats and a confidence that has been developed through years and years of perfecting his craft.  This is by far the most “remixed” of the remixes on the EP, and while it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, put this on your iPod for your next city walk and you won’t be able to stop with the pep in your step.  DJ Craze may be more known for his ridiculously amazing scratch routines, but productions like these show off his ability to express himself in the studio just as well.

Looking over the track list I was definitely most excited for the UZ remix and I am not disappointed.  After making a splash on the scene last summer with his Trap Shit series, UZ has had his own fair share of quality remixes, big tours and huge co-signs.  For this remix, UZ left much of the original intact, re-arranging it into a trap tune and giving it a new percussive element accented by his signature tickling hi-hats.  I expect that this track will make it’s way into many sets this festival season and will help propel their respective careers even further.  Not the strongest of UZ remixes, but certainly one of my favorites.

Now definitely the most left-field of remixers on this EP, Alabama natives Block Beattaz turns this one into a haunting nightmare.  The Block Beattaz have produced for the likes of Yelawolf, Freddie Gibbs, and Stalley, and now for what is perhaps the strongest track on the EP, the founders of “Huntsville Hip-Hop” have brought out all the stops.  Summoning the ghouls of southern hip-hop past, Block Beattaz makes this a progressive future beat that just might have you turning in your sleep. Leaned out vocal samples, hypnotic flows, this one is just creepy and creepy good.

While I each cut on this EP is very strong on it’s own, it is Defiant Order‘s expansive range of styles that is most impressive to me.  As EDM’s popularity continues to suit up  commercialize, A&R guys will be tempted to fall back on cookie cutter and uninspired remixes (we’re definitely already seeing it), so it’s great to see that the peeps at OWSLA are still doing their thing and putting out diverse quality and talent without sacrificing any of the values that has made it such a strong label.  If this EP is any indication of things to come, Birdy Nam Nam and OWSLA are going to have an even stronger 2013.