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Record Store Week: Hard Wax

All week long, XLR8R will be taking a closer look at some of our favorite record shops from around the globe.

Back in 1996, when Biba Kopf traveled to Berlin to profile Basic Channel for The Wire, Mark and Moritz—who back then refused to give their last names—took their interviewer to a record store.

"[They] invite me the Hard Wax record shop in Kreuzberg. For three hours, I am blitzed with a brief history of Chicago house and Detroit techno: the early Chicago acid tracks of Phuture, Armando and Armani, then moving onto Detroit for Cybotron, Model 500, Underground Resistance, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, and Juan Atkins."

Nearly two decades on, making a cursory reference to Hard Wax without pausing to reflect on its importance would be unthinkable. Read more » 

Bubblin' Up: Mumdance

Mumdance (a.k.a. Jack Adams) has had a prolific streak of late, releasing five singles (three of which, admittedly, have been collaborative) within the last year, along with a freshly issued joint mix album with Bristol bass stalwart Pinch. This amounts to something of a renewed burst of creativity for the London-based producer, who got his start as part of the Mad Decent stable a few years back, only to find eventually himself burnt out from touring and a period of creative stagnation. In response, Adams put himself on an extended hiatus in 2011, using the time off to refocus his artistic vision. "I just wanted to take a step back and take some time to really hone my craft," he explains. "I took a bit of time out and spent all my money on hardware, took two years to sort of sit and learn how to use it properly, and here we are." The technique appears to have worked, as Mumdance re-emerged midway through last year, reinvigorated and with a renewed focus on the grime and hardcore sounds of his youth. Read more » 

LA Story: An In-Depth Look at the Rising Tide of House and Techno in the City of Angels

The Los Angeles dance scene is at once effortlessly cosmopolitan, and confoundingly insular. Home to superstars like Daft Punk, certifiable legends like Todd Edwards, underground icons like Flying Lotus, and scores of anonymous ghost producers crafting EDM hits, Southern California hosts a rather diverse swath of the electronic landscape. Granted, this isn't exactly surprising, as LA's hills and quality of life (read: weather) regularly attract outsiders. LA's enormous size, not to mention the fact that it's literally home to the bulk of the entertainment industry, often means that local producers can garner international acclaim while remaining relatively unknown within city limits, and the abundance of cheap tacos, (effectively) legal weed, and pool and park parties provides ample respite from the hustle. On a more practical level, LA's sprawling warehouse districts—which lie mostly south and east of downtown—are a draw to rave promoters of all stripes. These venues—of varying legal status—regularly feature quality DJs from around the globe, yet they open and shut their doors in alarmingly short increments. (Recent months have seen the LAPD shutting down a number of underground events, and some of the city's more offbeat venues have also fallen victim to official rules and regulations.) With so many things happening and a status quo that's constantly in flux, taking the pulse of LA's dance scene can occasionally be as frustrating as driving from Santa Monica to downtown during rush hour. Read more » 

Drums, DJ Dez, and The D: 10 Things You Need to Know About Andrés

In a field often known as much for ambiguous identities as it is for music, Detroit's Andrés—or is it Dez Andrés, DJ Dez, or something else?—stands out as a master of both. Regardless of what moniker is being used, there's little question that Andrés' star has been ascending over the past few years, which piqued our curiosity about exactly how this Motor City artist found his way into the spotlight. In an effort to find out more, we went digging for information and put together a list of 10 things everyone should know about this versatile DJ/producer. Read more » 

Bubblin' Up: Hound Scales

When asked about his biggest influences, Nico Jacobsen (a.k.a. Hound Scales) is just as likely to reply with the names of artists and filmmakers than those of his fellow techno producers. "I've always tried to look to film and art more than just music for inspiration, so you have less chance of sounding like other people," he explains. One half of the duo behind the burgeoning Fifth Wall label, the Brooklyn-based Jacobsen debuted the Hound Scales moniker in February of last year with the Case (Nabis) EP, and the music he's been offering up since then has a noticeably cinematic feel. "I went through a period for like two years where I literally did nothing but just watch every depressing, fucked up movie I could get my hands on," he says. "It was when I came out of that hole that I started making music." Read more » 

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