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Five Minutes at EM15: Richie Hawtin Talks MUTEK, ENTER., and Canadian Techno

Last week, XLR8R made its annual trek to Montreal for MUTEK, which this year teamed up with the organizers from Elektra to deliver a six-day festival called EM15. Our official review detailed the week's high points, but during our down time, we also took the opportunity to speak with a couple of the festival's artists. As it turned out, our first conversation was with Canadian techno veteran Richie Hawtin, who actually performed twice during his time at EM15. Our conversation was brief, but we still managed to touch upon Hawtin's history with MUTEK, the challenge of bringing his ENTER. club night to a festival environment, and why he thinks that Canada has proven to be such a fertile place for techno. Read more » 

Five Minutes at Primavera Sound: Fort Romeau Talks Barcelona, Robert Johnson, and His Plans for an LP

Over the weekend, XLR8R made the trip to Barcelona for Primavera Sound, an indie-leaning festival which had nonetheless compiled an impressive roster of electronic talents for the 2014 edition of the annual event—most of which who took to the decks attached to a custom sound system specially put together for Primavera by British speaker designers Bowers & Wilkins. (Our full review of the festival can be read here.) On the festival's opening night, budding London DJ/producer Fort Romeau laid down an exceptional set in the Bowers & Wilkins + Boiler Room tent, but before then, we convinced the Ghostly affiliate to sit down for a quick chat, during which he discussed why it pays to take risks as a DJ, his recent EP for the live at Robert Johnson label, and the complications he's currently facing in crafting his debut LP. Read more » 

Deep Inside: Throwing Snow Talks Fractals, Bass Tones, and the Thought Processes Behind His Debut LP, 'Mosaic'

Speaking from his flat in South London's Brixton district, Ross Tones sounds overworked but cheery. Over the past few years, the increasingly hard-to-define producer has developed a reputation for being highly prolific, not just with his own Throwing Snow moniker, but also his side projects (Snow Ghosts, Alight, and Vellico) and his Snowfall label, not to mention the two other imprints he's co-founded. In short, Tones is busy; prior to our conversation, he had just spent a week recording with Snow Ghosts in the Dorset countryside, jamming on new material in abandoned cathedrals and monasteries using binaural recording techniques, which harness two microphones to create a 3-D audio effect. The ambition of this endeavor—to say nothing of the fact that the release of his proper debut LP as Throwing Snow, Mosaic, was only a few days away at the time of our conversation—seems to be lost on him. "I've got so much work at the moment, it's a bit mad trying to get my head around it," Tones reflects. "The day before, I go, 'Okay I'm going,' and then I disappear off. I don't really tend to think about the future too much, if you know what I mean." Read more » 

XLR8R's Top 20 Downloads of May

The month of May brought a wide variety of sounds to XLR8R's Downloads section, with contributions from budding production outfits such as Gidge, Guerre, and Bobby Tank joining original tracks and remixes from more established talents like Submerse, Henry Saiz, Earl Jeffers (a.k.a. Chesus), and Legowelt (pictured above). With the month having officially come to a close over the weekend, we have once again rounded up the most popular free downloads over the last 30 days into one convenient place. XLR8R's top 20 downloads for the month of May can be perused and, of course, downloaded via the links below. Read more » 

Naps and Nicolas Jaar: The 15 Best Things About Montreal's EM15 Festival

For the past several years, XLR8R has repeatedly declared its affinity for the MUTEK family of festivals. Whether we're attending the flagship edition in Montreal or one of its spin-offs in another country, MUTEK has proven time and again that it's one of the finest festival organizations on the planet, at least for those with an interest in forward-thinking electronic and experimental sounds. (It's worth noting that digital art and technology buffs also attend in droves and have plenty to enjoy at the festival.) Given that, we were once again excited to return to Montreal last week, as MUTEK was celebrating its 15th anniversary with an extra-large affair. In fact, this time around, it wasn't even called MUTEK, as the festival had joined forces with another long-running Montreal event, the more experimentally inclined Elektra, to present something new—EM15. Headquarted in Montreal's Museé d'Art Contemporain (Contemporary Art Museum), this year's festivities were arguably bigger than ever; at the same time, most of the week's events still managed to maintain a decidedly intimate feel. After 15 years, it's pretty clear that MUTEK's organizers know what they're doing, and in honor of their efforts, we've catalogued the 15 best bits from the week gone by. Read more » 

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