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Bubblin' Up: Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm was in the studio one day, recording a new track on the piano, when he was suddenly forced to take his hands off the keys. A cell phone started ringing and the 30-year-old German multi-instrumentalist was temporarily stunned. Most producers would erupt in anger at such an interruption; Frahm just laughed, before calmly moving onto the next note. Tape was rolling the entire time, and the whole episode—stray ringtone, laugher, and all—is now a permanent fixture of the piece. "I'm very grateful for that moment because it's fun and it shaped my improvisation," he says, fondly recalling the incident. Read more » 

Average and Unfocused, with a Few Highlights - 10 Things That Stuck Out at 2013's Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival

At this point, it's hard to deny that Brooklyn has become a leading hotbed—if not the outright epicenter—of new and emerging electronic and dance music in North America. The borough boasts a stronger, more diverse scene than at any time in recent memory, and it often feels like every weekend in Brooklyn offers a plethora of parties and DJs to suit a variety of tastes. Oddly enough, this makes a local electronic-music festival something of a weird proposition. Especially after seeing the initial announcements for this year's Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (a.k.a. BEMF), we were skeptical—what was going to make the event any different from a regular weekend in Brooklyn? Given that BEMF was scheduled to take place at a number of venues in Williamsburg, including Output, Cameo Gallery, 285 Kent, and Glasslands—the very same locations we'd usually go to party—the festival really needed to deliver a stellar line-up, or at least provide a compelling point of differentiation, in order to stand out from the norm. Sadly, with a few notable exceptions, that didn't really happen. On the whole, the line-up came across as not only average, but unfocused; furthermore, it seemed to bear little tangible relation to the festival's supposed Brooklyn base. In the end, this year's BEMF contained more mediocre moments than actual highs, although there were flashes of quality sprinkled throughout the weekend; here's our rundown of what went down. Read more » 

Techno (and More) in Torino - 12 Things We'll Remember About Club to Club 2013

Last year, XLR8R made its first trip to Club to Club, a long-running festival in Turin, Italy that is officially known as Alfa MiTo Club to Club. As our review detailed, we thoroughly enjoyed the event, and were particularly struck by its ability to put together an intelligent, forward-thinking line-up while also creating a fun, dancefloor-friendly atmosphere. Few festivals can capably manage this sort of duality, but Club to Club's split personality actually seems to be a point of pride for the festival's organizers—in truth, this year's official theme was "TWINS," which described the four-night event as a celebration of the "avant garde and a pop vocation, music and art, innovation and tradition." Curious to see the results, we returned to Northern Italy last week, and after attending various events and partaking in some serious clubbing, we can confidently report that despite a few small hiccups, Club to Club once again delivered on its promise. In an effort to share a bit of the experience, we've catalogued a few of the festival's most memorable moments. Read more » 

Press Play: Paul Woolford, Kingdom, Tensnake, Fennesz, and More

We've got quite a few reasons to be excited to share the latest edition of Press Play. Namely, artists like Paul Woolford, Kingdom, Conforce, Autre Ne Veut, Vatican Shadow, Jim-E Stack, Starslinger, and Tensnake dropped new remixes, DJ sets, original productions, collaborative tunes, album teasers, and more this week. It's quite a bit to take in, so we suggest that everyone gets to clicking on those play buttons after the jump. Read more » 

Polyrhythms and Afro-futurism: 10 Things You Need to Know About Afrikan Sciences

Below the basements and warehouses of the house-music underground lies a subterranean domain so deep that it's almost completely off the map. These are the spaces and dimensions that Oakland's Afrikan Sciences (a.k.a. Eric Porter Douglass) explores in his increasingly free-form music, which finds a unique place between the leftfield rhythms of Flying Lotus and the spaced-out, post-techno soul of Theo Parrish. His latest album, Theta Wave Brain Sync, was released late last month. Still, we felt like Afrikan Sciences was someone who merited closer inspection, so we've put together a list of 10 things everyone should know about this truly avant-garde Bay Area producer. Read more » 

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