salute (yes, he wants it lowercase) is a 17-year-old teenage producer living in Vienna. He initially started uploading songs to a Soundcloud account under the title sxlute along with close-up landscape shots, and the innovative, dreamy feel of his music drew attention quickly. The strength of his track “Tell Me” alone was enough to attract bloggers and listeners like flies—this is some seriously sticky, sweet electronic jam-out shit.
It has the crescendo of a dancefloor hit, but sounds just as good sitting alone wrapped in a cocoon of sound via headphones, and according to salute, that’s sort of the point of his whole sound. “I focus on making my tracks fit for dancefloors as well as headphones,” he said via email this morning.
salute cites contemporaries like Rustie, James Blake and Hudson Mohawke as influences, along with larger musical arcs like soul music and ’90s hip-hop, and all of these touchstones show up in his inlaid, mosaic creations. “Fires” is another early favorite from the Austrian producer, there’s bits and pieces of video game level-up effects, and steamy, stuttering beats that clack against drawn-out strings and high-pitched vocal samples.
Although his original creations are sturdy in their own right, his reworking of Aaliyah‘s “Rock the Boat” is still the most frequently played track on his page. Due to her tragic, untimely death Aaliyah has become something of a mythical figure in the R&B world, and most fans don’t take kindly to remixes of her quintessential bedroom tracks. But salute’s interpolation preserves her vocal lines, chopping them into samples and floating them over neon synths lines and jagged beats. With 45,000+ plays, the public has spoken—this remix just works.
For his most recent release, check out the fiery “Lionheart” above, salute confirms that he has plenty more unreleased tracks that haven’t made it onto the internet yet. He’s also been meeting with labels, so it’s only a matter of time before we hear more glossy electronic music from him. Until then, take a trip back in time and listen to his initial tracks on Bandcamp from back in 2012. Keep an eye out for more from the Vienna-based musician and keep up with him on Twitter, Facebook or Soundcloud if you become obsessed like I did.