Last week, XLR8R hopped on a plane to Seattle to check out the city's annual Decibel Festival. Admittedly, we were pretty excited to partake in the festivities; after all, we did just dedicate an entire series of content to the long-running festival. With nearly 200 artists on the bill, there was a lot of to see over the five days and nights of Decibel, and it wasn't all just DJs playing banging beats in dark nightclubs—although, yes, there was plenty of that. However, there were also concerts, A/V showcases, boat parties, after-hours events, panel discussions, gear workshops, and more. Without question, the 2012 edition of Decibel was the festival's most ambitious to date; that said, there were times that the festival's organization cleary chafed under the weight of that ambition. Nonetheless, it's hard to fault the Decibel team for reaching a bit beyond its grasp, particularly when so much of the festival was innovative and decidedly unfocused on the mainstream (even the electronic mainstream). More importantly, most of the week's events—the nighttime showcases in particular—were downright fun. Read more »
Robert Hood and John Tejada are veteran producers in the truest sense of the term, having separately witnessed, survived, and—in some cases—led through the various ebbs and flows of techno's last decade-and-a-half. Last month, both artists individually unveiled their latest statements, with Hood issuing the third installment of his Nighttime World series (the last of which appeared on his own M-Plant label over 12 years ago) and Tejada offering his second full-length release for the renowned Kompakt label, The Predicting Machine. While they may come from different schools and slightly different generations of techno lineage, Hood and Tejada found much in common when we brought them together for a special conversation, and in the first part of our B2B session, the two men revealed a glimpse of electronic music's early spirit while discussing how they've continued to find inspiration for all these years. Read more »
Parisian synth-pop duo Trésors is set to release its new single "Alright Heavy Fuck," along with remixes from the likes of Ricardo Tobar, Montag, and Claude Violante. Montreal artist Montag, who recently signed with indie label Carpark, offers a forboding, cinematic take on the original track—featuring a pulsing and distorted eighth-note bassline, fizzy white noise, chopped and delayed vocals, arpeggiated synth melodies, and one hell of a chaotic climax. Before the rest of Trésors' single to drops on October 8, you can stream it here.
For an artist hailed worldwide as the kingpin of the so-called beat scene, Los Angeles resident Steven Ellison is surprisingly enamored with melody. He exercises a deft command of its powers, too. But the producer's work as Flying Lotus has always been beholden to the rhythms and sounds of hip-hop, elements which provided his intergalactic excursions with a vehicle familiar to its earthbound listeners, even if those beats were experimental in their own right. Los Angeles, an album rife with chunky beatwork and alien soundscapes as sprawling as its namesake, presented this sound at its most arresting and complete, but Ellison proved himself to be creatively restless on the ambitious follow-up, Cosmogramma. On that record, he expanded his scope to include more live instrumentation, high-profile vocalists, and two other major components: a predilection for proper jazz motifs and all of the ambling melodies that came with the genre. But the producer's slant toward mind-boggling drum programming continued to prevail—that is, before he started work on Until the Quiet Comes. Read more »
Birmingham's Tom Flynn has been cranking out releases this year. He recently unleashed his third record of 2012, Freshly Squeezed, via Mobilee's Leena imprint, from which the sloshing, booty-bass stomper "Like Saying" is lifted. Flynn's heavily bouncing beat is flecked with hand drums and faraway chants that help balance the song's bottomless depth with lighter sounds and lend it an extra spark of energy.
Last year, Dusseldorf-based composer Hauschka released Salon des Amateurs, an inventive, classically informed ode to house and techno music performed on his "prepared" piano. (For the uninitiated, check out NPR's fantastic video series, in which he details his technique of piling seemingly random household objects like bottle caps, leather, and marbles onto/under the strings/hammers of his piano to cull new and unusual noises from the instrument's 88 keys.) On his latest release, he pushes Salon des Amateurs deeper into the world of electronic music by selecting a number of heavyweight producers to rework it into a captivating, techno-leaning record. Read more »
Throughout the week, a whole lot of material gets posted here on XLR8R. And while we know—and love—that some hardcore readers will eagerly pour over every single news story, interview, podcast, video, and MP3 download that appears on the site, we also realize that for most people, it's impossible to see everything, which means that some quality XLR8R content is likely to get missed in the hustle and bustle of everyone's daily lives. In the interest of making it easier for everyone to catch up, every Friday we present The Lowdown, a weekly wrap-up of the top 10 tidbits from our site. Read more »
Tokyo-based producer A Taut Line (a.k.a. Matt Lyne) is set to drop his latest EP, called Sands, via his own Diskotopia imprint. The release includes two originals along with four remixes from the likes of Mau'lin, Myakkah, and Arctic. "Sands (Arctic Remix)" utilizes the spacey, dreamy pads from Lyne's production before caving into an acidy, bass-driven drop. Arctic's mix also features plenty of varied percussion, from 808 bells to tablas to congas. You can preview the rest of A Taut Line's Sands EP before he makes it available on October 1, below. Read more »
One of our favorite releases and favorite tunes of last year came from the London trio Dark Sky, courtesy of Modeselektor's 50Weapons imprint. So you can imagine that it's with a fair amount of excitement that we tell you both entities are going in for a second round. Read more »
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