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Hi-Five: Hercules & Love Affair's Favorite Bits of Industrial and New Beat

Hercules & Love Affair's self-titled debut was essentially declared a contemporary classic upon its arrival in 2008, and the group's subsequent albums, Blue Songs and the freshly released The Feast of the Broken Heart, have entrenched the ever-evolving outfit as one of the last true bastions of New York's resolutely eclectic '90s club scene. From the beginning, Hercules & Love Affair has flown the flag for rave-pop and disco-tinged house, but the latest album finds the group exploring what founder Andy Butler describes as "fiery, rough, tough, and ragged" sounds, adding, "I didn't want polite, I wanted aggressive." Given that, his contribution to our Hi-Five series is far less surprising than one might assume. Instead of disco darlings and dancefloor divas, Butler has elected to mine some darker musical territory, and has come up with a rather idiosyncratic selection of industrial/new beat live-performance clips from the depths of YouTube. Read more » 

20 Questions: Venetian Snares Talks Coffee, Cats, and the Power of Love

Often cited as one of the leading producers of breakcore, IDM, and other microgenres in that vein, it's nevertheless somewhat parochial to label the music of Aaron Funk (a.k.a. Venetian Snares) with any kind of overly specific terminology. Over the years, his work has been inspired by everything from Hungary and Winnipeg to cats and surrealism, resulting in a diverse—and rather extensive—catalog. Still, the prolific Funk has been somewhat more selective with his output as of late, taking time away from the constant assault of the album cycle to dedicate himself to his collaborative Poemss project with Joanne Pollock, along with the editing and curation of My Love is a Bulldozer, his new LP as Venetian Snares for Planet Mu that dropped last week. Given the chance to speak with the reclusive Canadian producer, we tabbed him for our 20 Questions series and got him talking about love, music, coffee, and cats. Read more » 

Hi-Five: Lone Selects His Top Madlib Productions

Considering that Manchester-based producer Lone (a.k.a. Matt Cutler) got his start crafting exploratory beats for labels like Werk Discs before moving into prismatic UK rave, it's not a total surprise that his freshly released Reality Testing LP for R&S finds him revisiting some of his hip-hop roots. In that spirit, Lone has selected his top five tracks from Madlib for the latest installment of our Hi-Five series. The legendary LA-based beatmaker and Stones Throw affiliate has produced for everyone from MF Doom to Freddie Gibbs, and has also issued a dizzying number of his own releases, both as Madlib and Quasimoto. As such, Cutler had to do plenty of digging, but he's gone through the extensive Madlib catalog and come up with a collection of influential standouts. Read more » 

20 Questions: Horse Meat Disco on the Endurance of Disco, the Taste of Horse Meat, and the Best Curry Shop in London

Disco never died, it just dispersed and went underground. Since its fall from the mainstream, the music's jubilant spirit has been carried on, not only in the electronic sounds that followed in its footsteps, but also in niche parties around the globe. One such party is London's Horse Meat Disco, which is run by a collective of four DJs—Jim Stanton, James Hillard, Luke Howard, and Severino Panzetta—that, for the past 10 years, has kept the disco fire burning in the UK with its long, sweaty nights of pure, unadulterated exuberance. This week, the crew has released its fourth compilation, Horse Meat Disco Volume IV, which arrives while the collective is in the midst of an extensive world tour. Fortunately though, all four DJs were able to take some time out of their busy schedules to answer 20 questions for XLR8R. Read more » 

Hi-Five: Doc Daneeka Shares His Favorite Piano-Led Tracks

We've been charting the progression of Welsh beatmaker Doc Daneeka (a.k.a. Mial Watkins) for quite some time—he first was singled out as one to watch in our Bubblin' Up series in 2010, and delivered an exclusive XLR8R podcast shortly thereafter. Back then, Watkins was turning out a particularly percussive brand of UK funky-leaning house, but in the years that have followed, he's shifted his sound toward propulsive, club-centric sounds. (He's also founded his own label, Ten Thousand Yen, joined up with the 50Weapons camp, and relocated to Paris following a stint in Berlin.) Last year's anthemic "Walk On In" single for Glasgow's Numbers imprint was one of XLR8R's best tracks of 2013, and its follow-up, "Treptow" b/w "Paname (Piano Vers)," which dropped on Numbers last week, prompted us to enlist Watkins for the latest installment of our Hi-Five series. Both of Doc Daneeka's new tracks prominently feature the piano, so we asked him to dig through his archives and select a few of his favorite tunes that highlight the iconic instrument. Read more » 

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