I usually first review a band’s music, and then thereafter, maybe set up an interview them. With Worldwide Groove Corporation Nashville’s downtempo electronic music power duo, we went the other around. And boy, am I glad we did. This gave me such a better insight into their musical background.
The work of Kurt Goebel and Ellen Tift, has been used in films, on national TV ad campaigns, in major network TV shows, and discussed at international arts festivals. Their string arrangements have been featured on records for artists such as Third Day and Plumb, and they are known for their talent of reinvention which is evident in their classic country remixes and their treatment of old jazz standards on their 2007 record “Fever: Chillodesiac Lounge, vol. 1″.
WGC are right in the middle of putting out one new chillout, downtempo, or electronic pop release a month for at least a year. What they call the “Year of the Groove” began on July 17, 2014 with the release of two different singles in one week, “Summertime” and “Come to Me”. I’ve probably listened to “Summertime” and “Come to Me” twenty times, today alone.
When I first started listening to it, all I wanted to do was immerse myself in the intoxicating sounds, the lush, shimmering production: The sweeping, orchestral touches, the more subdued moments, and the occasionally experimental electronica that comes and goes throughout the songs. Not to mention Ellen Tift’s mesmerizing crystalline voice, where every word rings clear in your ear.
As much as the simple juxtaposition of Ellen’s silky voice with cutting-edge electronica drives the WGC tracks. “Summertime” and “Come to Me” also prove that music can be so much more compelling when the arrangements are scrupulously penned by two skilled artisans of the media. Both Ellen and Kurt, have a Master of Music degree, and as much as modern electronic music leans toward ‘software-aided composition for dummies’, WGC make it impossible to ignore what the power of theoretical knowledge combined with creative inspiration is capable of producing.
On “Summertime” they prove it, by rearranging the Gershwin classic, of which I’ve probably heard 2999 good, bad or better versions in my lifetime. WGC infuse this classic track with a driving bass line and glossy electronic piano riff, producing a sweltering but restrained groove that allows Ellen’s vocals to slide across the top of the mix like a melting ice cube down an inclined bottle of Dom Perignon on a hot Ibiza afternoon. Sublime! On “Come to Me”, Worldwide Groove Corporation go even one step further as they deliver their own anthemic original track. If you took the ethereal otherworldly beauty of Enya’s works, the brilliant uniqueness of Bjork’s compositions and the raw catchiness of Sia’s deliveries, you would probably have the basic ingredients to this WGC creation that is nothing less than inspiring.
This is exciting, innovative music, as WGC incorporate all the power of modern technology into their sound, without foregoing the classic tools of composing; melody, harmony, the importance of chord progressions and the emotional impact major or minor chord tonalities have in a song arrangement. These ‘subtleties’ may seem superfluous, but when properly manipulated, is what renders an appetizing song irresistible to the human ear.
Having said that, Ellen and Kurt of Worldwide Groove Corporation are not in any way out-and-out purists or elitists in their musical attitude, they are simply scrupulous in applying their craft; which by no means guarantees hit songs – this depending more on fickle trends and tastes, but certainly certifies quality productions each and every time they release new material. No small feat in a world of ‘push button prophets’ who, armed with Garage Band and Auto-tune, call themselves ‘music producers’.
I have now put away all my Zedd, Calvin Harris and Kaskade records. Worldwide Groove Corporation is currently my favorite electronic music duo!