Top-notch production, groovy lines, melodic flair, excellent retro-sounding synths, great modern concept, creativity at all costs, engaging songwriting, and more – these are the defining quality traits of the SkullandHeadphones music template. He’s essentially crafting a new path for disco to tread in 2020 with the track, “The Force”. SkullandHeadphones is of course, none other than Tiro Rivera, who has divided his time among seminal figures such as Erick Morillo, Todd Terry, Arif Mardin, and underground legends like Benji Candelario and Michael Moog. A regular at Odyssey – a dance party in Hudson County – Rivera was at the heart of the disco and house scene by early 2002, before becoming the music director at the world-famous Webster Hall in New York’s East Village at the end of the decade.
SkullandHeadphones’ eventually set up a studio in Hoboken, New Jersey. His crew included Michael Moog who had a Billboard Dance number one in 2000 with the track ‘That Sound’. The brand new single “The Force”, transports listeners to a world that is dark, cinematic and full of twists and turns.
SkullandHeadphones’ synth soundscapes and ominous aesthetic tells stories, rather than simply building to the climactic drop; if you close your eyes, it’s easy to envision the plot of a correlating movie-scene. This is music made to entertain you, while you shake your booty.
SkullandHeadphones’ music is a glorious explosion of synth goodness that is as exciting as it is innovative. On “The Force”, we’re thrust into thumping percussion and beefy synth basslines with fluttering and sparkling pads. But what makes this track stand out is that it flows wonderfully, going from a hard-hitting attacks to an almost hypnotic cadence.
This opening synth lines do an amazing job of hooking the listener in, but what follows are wildly exciting sounding additions which prove that SkullandHeadphones is not only back with amazing music but that he’s evolved further in his approach, bringing far more to the table than one would have imagined.
There is clearly a mind-boggling amount of thought that has gone into “The Force”, ensuring that each instrument, each tone, each pad, does something interesting. From syncopating the bass against the hi-hats to creating a call-and-response system between various tones, SkullandHeadphones skillfully weaves a track that is intricate and absolutely fascinating.
But of course, at the end of the day, this is dance music, which means that regardless of all the musical and technological skill injected into the track, you’re still required to deploy ear-worm motifs, euphoric textures, and an overall divine groove to get people onto the dance-floor.
And “The Force” is groovy beyond belief, while displaying splashes of exhilarating synth lines coyly woven into whispers of nostalgia in a confidently unapologetic fashion. By this point in time, Tiro Rivera aka SkullandHeadphones is a well-oiled machine running on all cylinders.