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Club to Club 2014: Eight Observations from the Latest Edition of Italy's Best Festival

Although the Club to Club festival has been happening for the past 14 years, XLR8R's first official invitation to attend only came in 2012. Nevertheless, over the past three years, it's quickly become one of our favorites. In our glowing review of last year's edition, we said, "It's easy to say that Club to Club is the best festival in Italy, but it's actually better than that; a case could be made that it's already in the top tier of festivals in Europe." As such, we arrived in Turin last week with some pretty lofty expectations, especially since Club to Club's 2014 installment appeared to be the festival's biggest on record. After all, there were more nights of music (five in total, including two at the massive Lingotto Fiere) and more acts on the bill (about 60), plus a fancy new festival HQ at the AC Hotel Torino. More importantly though, the scope of Club to Club just felt bigger this year, and while things occasionally buckled beneath the increased strain, the festival still had plenty of highlights. We've listed a number of them here—along with a few of the festivities' weaker moments—and in the process, have attempted to create an accurate snapshot of the Club to Club 2014 experience. Read more » 

Hi-Five: Torn Hawk Lists His Favorite Dire Straits Songs

The music of Luke Wyatt (a.k.a. Torn Hawk) is many things, but perhaps the easiest way to describe it is complex. A press release for his forthcoming full-length offering, Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time, suggests the Berlin-via-Brooklyn producer and video artist is after a "reconciliation of aesthetic irony with compositional sincerity and emotional vulnerability," a description that could just as easily be applied to the catalog of '80s-era British rock group Dire Straits. Ahead of his album release next week via Mexican Summer, Wyatt has assembled a sort of primer that lists—in no particular order—five Dire Straits songs worth a serious listen. Read more » 

Bubblin' Up: Clockwork

Most musicians mellow with age, but Clockwork (a.k.a. Francesco Leali) seems intent on doing the opposite. Originally coming to prominence with his former DJ partner Federico Maccherone (who Leali now refers to simply as "that other guy"), the project has progressed from sleazy, sunny house for Hot Creations to pummeling DJ sets and 140-bpm collaborations with roommate and childhood friend Avatism (a.k.a. Tomas Feriero). Chatting with Leali, it quickly becomes clear that the Italian producer is someone who's increasingly unwilling to compromise; at the same time, he also speaks with a rare level of candor, casting an unflinching critical eye on his back catalog. Read more » 

XLR8R's Top 20 Downloads of October

Like every month here on XLR8R, October brought a new supply of free MP3s to our site, with both budding and established talents contributing tracks to our Downloads section. With Halloween now behind us and November officially signaling that 2015 is really just around the corner, we've once again crunched the numbers and present the top 20 downloads from the past month. Featuring the likes of Youandewan, Submerse (pictured above), Djedjotronic, Premiesku, and Roland Tings, October's most sought-after MP3s also included a number of brand-new names, with artists such as Loom, Will Lister, Daddy AOL, and Nunca Duerma all making strong showings in their first appearance on the site. Read more » 

Get Familiar: Gang of Ducks

In the rapidly evolving world of electronic music, it's all but impossible to keep track of every new artist, label, party, and genre. At the same time, certain names will inevitably pop up again and again at the XLR8R office, some of which we've only given passing mention to on the site. In an effort to get our readers up to speed with some of the things—both new and old—that we've been digging lately, we recently launched a new feature series called 'Get Familiar,' which aims to shine a spotlight on subjects we think are worthy of a little more attention.

Italy's Gang Of Ducks is difficult to pin down in pretty much all regards. More of a loose artistic collective with a record-releasing arm than a straightforward label, the group revels in anonymity (its emails are signed as simply being from "one of the ducks"), has no firm geographical base, and decorates its release covers with mysterious, hand-drawn symbols. Read more » 

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