With the launch of his second album American DJ/Producer Steve Aoki looks to prove to the world that there is more to him then throwing cakes at his fans while playing EDM festivals.
Aoki’s new album is called Neon Future, part of his belief that the electronic music industry is entering such. While Aoki first achieved major success on his 2011 collaboration with fellow DJ Afrojack on the electro house track “No Beef”. Neon Future sees Aoki attempt to make the futuristic music he desires, he goes about this without completely abandoning his “main stream” festival electro house and big room signature production. If you are looking for the old Aoki sound look no further than “Rage the night away”, “Delirious”, “Free the madness” and even another collaboration with Afrojack conveniently titled “Afroki”. To put that into perspective out of the albums eight full length tracks, half of them sound no different to the previous (not from the future at all) Steve Aoki sound.
The remaining four tracks on the album is where the listener starts to get a sense of Aoki’s definition of Neon Future. These four tracks, while not all revolutionarily futuristic, do manage to stay clear of the mainstream repetitive big room house genre that many believe is holding the industry back. The most original of the four is without a doubt the album’s title track. Featuring vocals from Empire of The Sun’s Luke Steele
. The melody focussing genre blending song makes use of synths that sound like they are a few years ahead and Steele’s vocals contain just enough auto tune to sound sonically futuristic and not Chris Brown esque. The other noteworthy tracks include “Back to Earth” a collaboration with Fall Out Boy. The song shows that instruments can be used well in an electronic song and shows how one can actually dance to EDM without a drop. Lastly “Born to get wild” with Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am showcases mildly original yet exciting beats laced with Will’s techno rapping skills.
Neon Future as a whole does not do enough to justify the bold title Aoki gave the album. Nearly half of the album is stale big room house that does push the boundaries of electronic music at all. There however are two songs that do hit that futuristic goal that Aoki was looking for and another two that are simply adequate as they contain hints of originality.
Fully futuristic is something I cannot say about this album. Aoki boldly attempted to step out of the current EDM comfort zone and for that he should be given credit. Thw old Steve Aoki sound is what made him famous. This album gives Aoki fans more of the same with a few sprinklings of futuristic promise.