Last week, XLR8R—along with just about everyone else in the electronic music sphere—made a trip to Barcelona to check out the 2013 edition of Sónar, which happened to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Heading into the festival, Sónar faced a lot of potential question marks, including a venue change, a line-up seemingly lacking in star power, and, yes, the inclusion of EDM on the bill. Yet despite all the public grumbling and hand wringing during the lead-up to the festival, in the end it certainly didn't seem like fewer people were taking part in this year's Sónar. Barcelona's nightlife calendar was absolutely stuffed throughout the week, and the festival itself, which effectively took place over three days and two very long nights, was very busy. With a dizzying number of acts to see and precious little time to sleep, Sónar was, as always, a bit overwhelming, and checking out everything proved impossible. That said, the weekend was certainly marked by a number of highlights and lowlights, so we've once again crudely designated the various "winners" and "losers" and of Sónar. Read more »
Zomby's DIY PR strategy is some unholy alliance of Aphex Twin's pranksterism and Kanye West's egomania. Those with enough stamina to follow the technically anonymous English producer—now based in New York—on Twitter are treated to a daily psychodrama where flashes of insight are woven into a running commentary on fashion, music, how cool his dog is, and his love/hate relationship with Apple products. This is all more or less expected of a highly functioning stoner who's too famous for the underground and too underground for what remains of the mainstream, someone who wants to retain control of his public image while reminding us that he could care less about it. With Love is as frustrating and compulsively consumable as Zomby's online presence, yet it suffers from its own consistency in almost exactly the same way. Read more »
Press Play's bounty runneth over this Friday. We've stuffed this post to the brim with heaps of streaming audio, free downloads, exclusive premieres, and intriguing videos from a wide array of DJs and producers. We've got sights and sounds from the likes of Matias Aguayo, CFCF, Brenmar, Ital, Matthewdavid, MikeQ, Young Echo, Brackles, DJ Haus, XXYYXX, and Glimpse, among plenty of others. The possibilities go on and on, after the jump. Read more »
For many artists, genre consistency is something to be strived for with an almost religious devotion, but that's not the case for London-based producer Youandewan (a.k.a. Ewan Smith). His development as an artist has gone through multiple stages, with his aesthetic intermittently changing direction and at times gravitating towards seemingly incongruous poles. Quite simply, the man has followed his fancy, taking jaunts through garage-leaning deep house, blippy minimal techno, and even Burial-inspired bass. And while it would be easy to label him a trend-hopper, digging a little deeper makes it clear that there is a method to the man's madness. Beneath the surface, there has always been a cohesive current running through Youandewan's music, a sensibility borne from an underlying interest in acoustic texture and ambient sonics. In recent months, his output has settled into a smooth and refined brand of low-key house, but there's little question that the formation of Youandewan's musical identity has been a process. Read more »
Nick Hook does a little bit of everything. That's not why we love him—his ongoing status as "best dude ever" is reason enough—but it is why we made him our resident advice columnist. The guy knows about DJing, production, playing live, buying gear, traveling the world, and living life to the fullest—on a budget. Every Thursday morning, he answers questions from our readers, so hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org. He's here to help. It's literally what we pay him for.
Hi. I hope everyone is doing well. I just wanted to start this column by saying thank you to everyone for reading, writing questions, and coming up to me IRL. I am humbled by that. I really can't believe I'm writing a column from Spain. Before music, I hadn't even left America. It's trippy... and awesome. Read more »
XLR8R Downloads Player