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Labels We Love: Hyperdub

All week long, XLR8R is presenting its annual focus on Labels We Love. Click here to check out the rest of the series.

Without question, 2014 has been a year of extreme ups and downs for Hyperdub, the London-based label headed up by Kode9 (a.k.a. Steve Goodman). On the one hand, the crew has tragically lost two of its most beloved members, footwork pioneer DJ Rashad and innovative MC The Spaceape. At the same time, Hyperdub has spent the bulk of the year celebrating its 10th anniversary, both with a lengthy run of label nights around the globe and an extensive four-part compilation series. Furthermore, the imprint's futuristic vision, which disregards traditional notions of genre while uniting seemingly disparate strains of bass-heavy soundsystem music from both sides of the Atlantic, has effectively become one of the most influential forces in the electronic sphere. As such, selecting Hyperdub for this year's Labels We Love was an easy choice to make. We asked Kode9 to help us look back on his label's legacy by selecting 10 tracks from the Hyperdub catalog—one from each year of its decade-long run—and explaining why they stick out in his memory. Read more » 

Labels We Love: Clone

All week long, XLR8R is presenting its annual focus on Labels We Love. Click here to check out the rest of the series.

The story of Clone Records' early days is a familiar tale in electronic music. Label owner Serge, a DJ and occasional producer seldom referred to by his surname (Verschuur, for the record), started the label in 1993 because he could, and because it was easier for him to release records by himself than rely on others to do it. Clone's success is a well-trodden story of self-reliance and a DIY attitude to making things happen, and the name of the Rotterdam-based label is a tangential reference to this too, since many other labels in the US that Serge admired, especially in Chicago, were born not from grand ambition but through a pretty simple desire to get records out as quickly, and with as little fuss, as possible. Read more » 

Military Juntas, Ice Cream, and (Not) Smoking: 10 Things You Need to Know About Matias Aguayo

Matias Aguayo's music has always seemed like something of a strange fit for Cologne's Kompakt label. While Kompakt has, for the last 20 years, been a standard-bearer for the more subdued, deconstructed strains of techno and house, Aguayo takes an all-encompassing approach to his worldly, pop-inflected sound. That sound is equally informed by his German upbringing, his Latin American roots, and a sense for unusual time signatures (at least in the realm of dance music), but what primarily sets the Berlin-based Aguayo apart from his Kompakt brethren is his voice, which he not only uses for singing, but also for constructing basslines and rhythmic elements. Read more » 

Free Coffee, Ricardo Villalobos, and the Beauty of Bologna: 10 Reasons We Loved roBOt 07

We fell pretty hard for roBOt last year. In 2013, the Bologna festival's sixth edition saw artists ranging from Ben Klock and Seth Troxler to Tropic of Cancer and Holy Other performing in three different venues around the northern Italian city. Something about the combination of the dream setting (more on that later) and the smartly programmed, tastefully varied bill really grabbed us, placing roBOt up there with our favorite festival experiences of the year. In the interest of confirming that 2013 wasn't a fluke, XLR8R spent these past few days back in the Emilia-Romagna capital to take in 2014's edition of roBOT and assess the festival's overall progress. Read more » 

Real Talk: Locked Groove on Electronic Music in the Mainstream and Why It's Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

'Real Talk' is a series of artist-penned essays that appears on XLR8R from time to time, and our latest installment features Locked Groove (a.k.a. Tim Van de Meutter), who recently released the 'Thesseus' EP, his debut outing for Permanent Vacation. Like many of us, the Belgian-born, Berlin-based artist has noticed the rising tide of electronic music in mainstream culture—and the subsequent backlash from fans who predate the EDM era—and wanted to take the opportunity to talk about how pop crossover and increased exposure doesn't have to be a bad thing.

To start off, I'd like to say that everything in this little piece is just my own opinion. I realize there's no real right or wrong on this topic. Everyone has a different take on this and that's how it should be. Music has or should have the power to stimulate discussion and force people to interact with each other, be it in a constructive or destructive way. Again, this is how I see it. Read more » 

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