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20 Questions: Machinedrum Talks New York vs. Berlin, Steve Reich, and Staying Motivated

On just about any given day since, say, 2009, chances are XLR8R has published the name Machinedrum somewhere. And that's not just because we're constantly keeping tabs on what the American DJ/producer born Travis Stewart is up to, it's because he's always doing something. The man is unquestionably one of the hardest-working artists in electronic music right now; if he's not on tour or gearing up for the next Machinedrum release, he's working on one of his many side projects, collaborating with Jimmy Edgar on the Ultramajic label, or, more likely than not, writing the bass- and beat-loaded tracks that will eventually make his next album. Oh yeah, he's also regularly doing interviews like this one, in which he answers our 20 questions about his favorite cities, how he stays motivated and inspired, what happened when he first met Jimmy Edgar, the most important record in his collection, how he organized his year-long run of Vapor City releases (including the brand-new Vapor City Archives record, which drops next week via Ninja Tune), and many other topics. Read more » 

Get Familiar: Beau Wanzer

In the rapidly evolving world of electronic music, it's all but impossible to keep track of every new artist, label, party, and genre. At the same time, certain names will inevitably pop up again and again at the XLR8R office, some of which we've only given passing mention to on the site. In an effort to get our readers up to speed with some of the things—both new and old—that we've been digging lately, we recently launched a new feature series called 'Get Familiar,' which aims to shine a spotlight on subjects we think are worthy of a little more attention.

For the past several years, some of the most talked-about figures in the world of techno have been the freaks—the outsiders, the punks, the weirdos, the people on the fringes who approach electronic music from non-traditional perspectives, bringing to bear influences from punk, industrial, noise, experimental, and hardcore to create dance music that sounds anything but ordinary. Beau Wanzer, self-described weirdo, is one of these figures; his music incorporates the atmosphere and motifs of early industrial, the rhythms of vintage minimal synth, and the raw, gritty feel of turn-of-the-century European electro. Read more » 

Just Another Weekend in Williamsburg: Eight Impressions from BEMF 2014

Now in its seventh year, the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival (a.k.a. BEMF) could still be considered somewhat of an adolescent by festival standards. While this year's edition boasted the strongest line-up yet, it also seemed to suffer from an identity crisis. In a borough with so many entertainment options and subcultures, it can be difficult to create a festival that pleases every single electronic music fan. (We were hard pressed to imagine someone who would jump at the chance to take in both Galantis' arena-ready EDM and Alessandro Cortini's creepy ambient explorations, for example.) And yet, like last year, BEMF continued to want to be all things to all people. Despite its perhaps overly ambitious aims, we still had an enjoyable time at the 2014 edition of the festival; there were more than enough artists to get excited about, and a few unexpected highlights along the way, which we've compiled into a list of the eight lasting impressions from the eventful BEMF weekend. Read more » 

Club to Club 2014: Eight Observations from the Latest Edition of Italy's Best Festival

Although the Club to Club festival has been happening for the past 14 years, XLR8R's first official invitation to attend only came in 2012. Nevertheless, over the past three years, it's quickly become one of our favorites. In our glowing review of last year's edition, we said, "It's easy to say that Club to Club is the best festival in Italy, but it's actually better than that; a case could be made that it's already in the top tier of festivals in Europe." As such, we arrived in Turin last week with some pretty lofty expectations, especially since Club to Club's 2014 installment appeared to be the festival's biggest on record. After all, there were more nights of music (five in total, including two at the massive Lingotto Fiere) and more acts on the bill (about 60), plus a fancy new festival HQ at the AC Hotel Torino. More importantly though, the scope of Club to Club just felt bigger this year, and while things occasionally buckled beneath the increased strain, the festival still had plenty of highlights. We've listed a number of them here—along with a few of the festivities' weaker moments—and in the process, have attempted to create an accurate snapshot of the Club to Club 2014 experience. Read more » 

Hi-Five: Torn Hawk Lists His Favorite Dire Straits Songs

The music of Luke Wyatt (a.k.a. Torn Hawk) is many things, but perhaps the easiest way to describe it is complex. A press release for his forthcoming full-length offering, Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time, suggests the Berlin-via-Brooklyn producer and video artist is after a "reconciliation of aesthetic irony with compositional sincerity and emotional vulnerability," a description that could just as easily be applied to the catalog of '80s-era British rock group Dire Straits. Ahead of his album release next week via Mexican Summer, Wyatt has assembled a sort of primer that lists—in no particular order—five Dire Straits songs worth a serious listen. Read more » 

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