XLR8R http://www.xlr8r.com Accelerating music & culture Mon, 02 Feb 2015 23:33:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Todd Terje Enlists I:Cube and Prins Thomas for New Remix 10"; Hear Both Tracks Now http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/todd-terje-enlists-icube-and-prins-thomas-for-new-remix-10-hear-both-tracks-now/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/todd-terje-enlists-icube-and-prins-thomas-for-new-remix-10-hear-both-tracks-now/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 23:22:16 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85973 A pair of tracks have been lifted from Todd Terje's (pictured above) excellent It's Album Time LP—a record which easily made it onto our Best Releases of 2014 list—and handed over to I:Cube and Prins Thomas for a 10" remix EP.

The record's a-side features the rework from longstanding French producer I:Cube, who takes "Leisure Suit Preben" into even more cosmic (and slightly darker) dancefloor territory than Terje had originally intended. On the b-side, fellow disco don Prins Thomas gives "Preben Goes to Acapulco" a lively makeover, one which appears enhanced by the presence of additional live instrumentation. Out now in both digital and vinyl formats via Terje's own Olsen label, both reworks from the new Preben Remixed 10" can be streamed in full below.

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Hej Fund Details Debut EP for Sister City Limited; Hear It Now http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/hej-fund-details-debut-ep-for-sister-city-limited-hear-it-now/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/hej-fund-details-debut-ep-for-sister-city-limited-hear-it-now/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 21:28:41 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85963 Late last year, West Coast artists Eprom, Grenier, and Hej Fund announced the launching of Sister City Limited, a new label endeavor. Following the imprint's inaugural release—a two-track digital single which saw Grenier collaborate with Max Ulis and Sergio Levels—the imprint's second effort will arrive later this month in the form of the debut solo EP from Hej Fund. A self-titled, four-track affair, the productions housed on the record are said to each find "their own place in an after-hours selector's arsenal."

Hej Fund's debut EP will see its official release on February 16, to be followed by Sister City's first fully collaborative effort in March, a record which will see all three label heads working together to craft three new joint productions. In the meantime, the full Hej Fund EP can currently be streamed via the player below.

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Clockwork and Avatism Preview Upcoming EP as CW/A http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/clockwork-and-avatism-preview-upcoming-ep-as-cwa/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/clockwork-and-avatism-preview-upcoming-ep-as-cwa/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 20:19:05 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85956 After originally developing their CW/A collaboration as a live project, Italian producers Clockwork (a recent Bubblin' Up artist) and Avatism debuted together on record last year with the Conducting the Method EP for Vakant. Now, the pair have announced plans to release their sophomore collaborative effort as CW/A next month via Clockwork's own Parachute imprint.

The four-track A Day of Riddance EP will include two new productions from CW/A alongside remixes from seasoned UK techno artist (and former XLR8R podcast contributor) Lucy and Ilian Tape head Dario Zenker. Billed as a "barrier-trashing wall of sound," the production duo's upcoming EP can be previewed below before the record sees an official release on March 2.

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100% Silk Lines Up New Releases from Policy, Cosby, and Potions http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/100-silk-lines-up-new-releases-from-policy-cosby-and-potions/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/100-silk-lines-up-new-releases-from-policy-cosby-and-potions/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 19:21:32 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85948 The 100% Silk label will deliver its first efforts of 2015 next week, with new cassette/digital releases from NYC producer Policy, Chicago's Potions, and DC-based artist Cosby all set to arrive on February 10.

Having issued his Postscript album via 100% Silk in 2013, Policy will return to the label with The Republic, a 10-track effort which is described as an "unbroken 50-minute piece of music." Furthermore, the record is said to have been inspired by a trip to the artist's old childhood neighborhood in the Taiwanese city of Taipei, where his parents briefly settled after fleeing China in 1949, and where "he felt a communion by riding the city’s MRT train through hazily remembered suburbs and landscapes."

Joining the label's catalog alongside Policy's upcoming record will be Cosby's Mirror Box and Potions' Phased cassettes. The former endeavor is said to find Cosby (who also runs the ever-active Car Crash Set label) looking to "an amalgam of real and imagined locations" as the inspiration for its six productions ideal for "playing loud and long after the sun goes down," while the latter effort will see Pretty All Right affiliate Potions using "MIDI technology of decades past" to craft the seven tracks included on his record.

All three releases are set to be available in cassette (each limited to a run of 100) and digital forms beginning next week. In the meantime, a track from each of 100% Silk's three upcoming efforts can be streamed below, where the records' full tracklists have also been included.


Policy The Republic
1. Shipai
2. Mingde
3. Shilin
4. Jiantan
5. Shuanglian
6. Zhongshan
7. Taipei Main Station
8. NTU Hospital
9. Daan Park
10. Taipei 101


Cosby Mirror Box
1. Mirror Box
2. Gold Coast
3. Warehouse Fantasy Club
4. Veil (Club Scene)
5. Veil (Version)
6. Sortida


Potions Phased
1. Space Buick
2. Sway Vacay
3. Rainy Daze
4. Later Night
5. Acid Test
6. Heat Walk
7. Glass Lake (feat. Laura Jane Friedman)

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Legowelt Readies New EP for Unknown to the Unknown; Stream It in Full Now http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/legowelt-readies-new-ep-for-unknown-to-the-unknown-stream-it-in-full-now/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/legowelt-readies-new-ep-for-unknown-to-the-unknown-stream-it-in-full-now/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:54:31 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85919 Tireless Dutch producer Legowelt has revealed plans to issue a new EP via DJ Haus' Unknown to the Unknown label in the coming weeks. Appropriately titled Cosmic Space, the four-track effort will see Legowelt exploring the brand of space-age (and, yes, at times cosmic) dancefloor music the noted synth specialist has often traded in over the years.

Ahead of Cosmic Space's release in the coming weeks (the label says to expect the record to drop "soon"), a full stream of Legowelt's latest outing can be heard below, where a new video for EP cut "Immensity of Cosmic Space" has also been included.

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Stream Sherwood & Pinch's Upcoming Album http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/stream-sherwood-and-pinchs-upcoming-album/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/stream-sherwood-and-pinchs-upcoming-album/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:14:59 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85921 Earlier this winter, news surfaced that UK labels On-U and Tectonic would be teaming up to release the debut collaborative full-length from legendary dub producer Sherwood and Tectonics head and dubstep stalwart Pinch. While Late Night Endless isn't officially due out until next week, the album has now been made available to stream in full. Described as "a collision of the (pun intended) tectonic plates of international soundsystem culture," the two producers' newest collaborative effort follows from a pair of previously issued 12"s and is said to link the discursive strands of "post-punk, jungle, dubstep, almighty reggae, techno, Jamaica, Ramsgate, and Bristol" all together.

Late Night Endless lands on February 9; in the meantime, the album's 10 original tracks can be heard below.

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Julio Bashmore Shares New Track http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/julio-bashmore-shares-new-track/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/julio-bashmore-shares-new-track/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 16:55:01 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85928 After sharing two new singles in 2014 ("Simple Love" and "Rhythm of Auld," each of which are said to come from the man's imminent full-length release), Julio Bashmore has now made his first move of 2015, today sharing a full stream of a new single entitled "Kong."

A silky dancefloor effort, "Kong" features a vocalist by the name of Bixby, who laces the full-bodied, chord-fueled track with harmonized layers of effortless soul. Expected to be included on Bashmore's forthcoming debut LP (which is set to arrive sometime later this year via the man's own Broadwalk label), the Bristol artist's newest production can be streamed in full below.

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XLR8R's Top 10 Downloads of January http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/02/xlr8rs-top-10-downloads-of-january/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/02/xlr8rs-top-10-downloads-of-january/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 16:30:13 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85861 Of course we're biased, but we think selection of tracks that landed in XLR8R's Downloads section throughout the course of January have set the bar pretty high for the rest of 2015. Of those, 10 tracks in particular resonated with our readers, with burgeoning outfits such as German pair Grandbrothers, Italy's Indian Wells, and Slovakian producer Embryo all contributing new original productions to the effort, while more seasoned artists like Leeds' five-piece Vessels and Japanese sound artist Yosi Horikawa (pictured above) also delivered some excellent reworks to the month of tracks.

Now, we've crunched the numbers and can present the top 10 most popular XLR8R downloads for the month of January. Each track has been listed below and can be downloaded for free by following their respective link, while all 10 tracks can also be streamed via the playlist below.

1. Grandbrothers "Wuppertal"
2. Indian Wells "Alcantara"
3. Rival Consoles "Recovery (Vessels Remix)"
4. Mike Gao "Just Do You"
5. Julien Mier "Dappled Damp"
6. Unkwon "If We Could Just"
7. Wordlife "Dat Groove (Mak & Pasteman Remix)"
8. Hamacide & ChaCha "Annie Gun (Yosi Horikawa Remix)"
9. Embryo "Don't Need You Around (My Man)"
10. Erosion Flow "Aiir"

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Watch a New Video from Torn Hawk http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/watch-a-new-video-from-torn-hawk/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/watch-a-new-video-from-torn-hawk/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 16:15:05 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85917 Torn Hawk has shared the latest visual component to his recent album for Mexican Summer, Let's Cry and Do Pushups at the Same Time. The artist and producer born Luke Wyatt's (who recently walked XLR8R through his favorite Dire Straits songs as part of our Hi-Five series) latest effort sees him using his signature cut-ups of VHS material—which he has coined "video mulch"—to accompany recent LP cut "There Was a Time." The video features Bruegel's painting "Hunters in the Snow," which reportedly used to hang (in print form) in Wyatt's childhood room, where he created the video.

Wyatt's new video for "There Was a Time" can be watched below, while his recent visual effort for LP cut "Bad Deadlift" (which premiered earlier this month) can be found here.

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Model 500 Digital Solutions http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/02/model-500-digital-solutions/ http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/02/model-500-digital-solutions/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 16:00:20 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85884 The name Model 500, even when wrested from its context as a legendary pillar of electronic music in Detroit, prompts an inescapable comparison to a car. Juan Atkins' automotive alias is 30 years old now, and, like the silhouette of the saloon that the pseudonym evokes, it has become more iconic over time. A lot of artists who make music for more than three decades tend to shift with the tide as the years roll on, but the Model 500 sound hasn't changed all that much. As a result, it's become something of a design classic—something that's so distinctive, most people wouldn't dare copy it. The music is instantly recognizable, too: prickly melodies found on songs such as "No UFO's" and "The Chase" skitter and dart on top of superheated snares, hi-hats, and many other small but distinguishable pieces. Its chassis is techno and electro, but the moving parts under the hood are pure funk. Most of Atkins' records are also notable—never moreso than now—for their sparing use of bass. Model 500 is, in every sense, a high-end machine.

There's a song on Model 500's latest album, Digital Solutions—which features additional production from Mike Banks of Underground Resistance—that puts this last aspect into stark relief. "Encounter" is, essentially, a dubstep record without the bass—in fact, it's been completely scooped out, and replaced with a gaseous modular facsimile of that unmistakable "womp-womp-womp" sound. It's an unusual track, and recognizably Model 500-ish only for its spindly keys and sharp acid accents. However, it's by no means the only tune-up to Atkins' formula on Digital Solutions. "Storm" is remarkably smoothed-down slice of techno that sounds more like a Hard Wax white label than a Metroplex 12" (Digital Solutions, incidentally, is the first Model 500 album Atkins has released via his Metroplex label); while "Groove," which follows immediately after, has a guitar solo. These are incremental, but noticeable, advances on Atkins' tried-and-tested template.

Do these deviations work? By disgorging it of its low-end frequencies, "Encounter"—if it is intended as a Model 500 take on dubstep—seems to misunderstand the basic principle behind what makes the genre enjoyable. Elsewhere, however, Digital Solutions absorbs its aesthetic updates with ease, refreshing Atkins' signature electro sounds in the process. "Hi NRG," the album's first track, pulls off the neat trick of sounding both generously proportioned and streamlined: processed human voice chords swell in the midsection; junky metal percussion loosely clicks and clacks, mimicking a bongo drum; digital harpsichord notes skip lightly over the top; and a keyboard funk solo oozes through the gaps. Like "Storm," it's a techno record that packs a punch, but the delivery is marked by finesse.

Still, a lot of Digital Solutions echoes classic Model 500 material. "Standing in Tomorrow"'s sweeping synths and compressed vocoder vocal are customary Metroplex sounds, but they glow with a newfound affluence (amplified perhaps by a more elaborate studio set-up than the '80s and '90s allowed); "Control," which first appeared on an R&S EP in 2012, is much the same, and it buttresses Digital Solutions nicely. Elsewhere, some of the album's most charming moments are found in its more barren synth-and-snare stretches. "Electric Night"'s milieu of soft nocturnal bleeps and Atkins' deadpan delivery resembles the ambling atmosphere—but not the downcast mood—of The Other People Place's Lifestyles of the Laptop Cafe. Made of little more than a rubbery oscillating bassline, a few dribbling bleeps, and Atkins' intoning of the song title, "Digital Solutions" is engineered in the same way. Even for an album of electronic music, the track's strange onomatopoeic burps and clicks have a particularly synthetic sheen to them.

Atkins and other Detroit pioneers ensured their place in the electronic music canon years ago, but these sort of comebacks often put notions of legacy and "flawless catalogs" at risk. Despite that, Digital Solutions is worthy of its place in the Model 500 discography. The fact that the LP even exists—and that people are excited to hear it—reinforces the music's enduring power, even if the record largely sets aside aspirations to be innovative. The future Atkins once envisioned more than three decades ago is now here; Digital Solutions is a welcome reminder of that.

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Oknai "Cloud Forest (Pixelord Remix)" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/02/oknai-cloud-forest-pixelord-remix/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/02/oknai-cloud-forest-pixelord-remix/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 15:55:19 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85870 Later this month, Oknai will issue the High Tide Remixesd EP, a follow-up to the Slovenian producer's debut album that arrived in June of last year. Amongst the five beatmakers selected to rework cuts from Okani's High Tide LP is Russian producer and former XLR8R podcast contributor Pixelord. Taking on "Cloud Forest," the Moscow-based artist completely reshapes Okani's track into a much darker affair, one propelled by pumping 808 kicks and bursts of neon-colored arpeggios. Set to feature additional remixes from Free the Robots, Borka, Some1Else, and Moz, Oknai's High Tide Remixed EP will see a vinyl and digital release on February 23 via the rx:tx label. Before then, Pixelord's contribution to the effort can be downloaded below.

Cloud Forest (Pixelord Remix)

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Privacy Preps Debut EP for Klasse with Helena Hauff Remix, Shares Previews http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/privacy-preps-debut-ep-for-klasse-with-helena-hauff-remix-shares-previews/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/privacy-preps-debut-ep-for-klasse-with-helena-hauff-remix-shares-previews/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 15:19:54 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85905 Newcomer Privacy will debut on Luca Lozano's Klasse label with his first EP of 2015. Set for release midway through this month, Command Pattern finds the Australian-born, Berlin-based producer trading in spacey Detroit electro with widescreen pads and classic drum-machine rhythms. The EP follows from one previous outing on London-based label Lobster Theremin and includes five original tracks; notably, b-side cut "System Voice" is treated to a remix by Golden Pudel's Helena Hauff, who recently detailed a forthcoming full-length cassette release for Handmade Birds. Ahead of Command Pattern's official release, EP previews can be streamed below.

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Artist Tips: Egyptrixx http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/02/artist-tips-egyptrixx/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/02/artist-tips-egyptrixx/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 15:00:48 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85874 For the past several years, the name Egyptrixx (a.k.a. David Psutka) has been closely associated with the Night Slugs camp (after all, the UK label did provide a home for his first two albums, 'Bible Eyes' and 'A/B Til Infinity'), but the Toronto producer has always operated on something of an island. Although he certainly shared some aesthetic traits with his Night Slugs brethren, Psutka's constructions always stood just a bit apart from those of the tightly knit (and largely London-based) crew, and presented a hybridized style that married the sonic palette of grime to a highly architectural brand of techno. He's continued with that vision on his third album, 'Transfer of Energy [Feelings of Power],' which drops next week via Psutka's newly launched Halocline Trance imprint. Between the new LP and his growing production workload with other artists, we know that Psutka has spent a lot of time in the studio as of late, so we asked him to share a few of the techniques that he's picked up along the way.

Over the last few years, I've been working quite a bit as a studio producer with other artists, and I think the essence of the work is preparation and troubleshooting—having clear ideas and quickly dealing with problems as they come up, so work is fluid and artists feel good about their performances. Working on my own stuff isn't much different. Here are some strategies I use when working on records.

Refine ideas outside of the studio.

There is some silent work to be done on any record—decisions about concept, atmosphere, sequencing, lyrics, production/engineering techniques, etc.—and I like to do as much of it outside of the studio as possible so I have a clear understanding of the project and can work quickly without much second-guessing. Also, I find it basically impossible to come up with good ideas while staring at a computer screen; it's such a paralysis device. I prefer airplanes, subways, bars, libraries, whatever… I'll usually sketch out most of a track before I start any kind of recording.

Studios are totally fun places, but they're full of things that can dilute or distract your original idea: cool gear, interesting people, technical problems, drugs/booze, etc. It's good to do as much work as possible on a song before you start recording and arranging. The ideas will probably drift a little (or a lot), but I think it's good to understand your intention before you start.

egyptrixx2

Parameters are an artist's best friend.
Cheap, intuitive computer programs like Ableton and Logic are awesome and totally positive for music—anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is probably an asshole. However, the biggest challenge when working with DAWs, VSTs, and sample packs is to not get distracted. There is basically an infinite number of options at every juncture, and scrolling endlessly through sample pack folders is a total nightmare. I like to figure out a sound palette before starting on a record. If you have access, working with hardware is another good way to narrow your options and focus your process.

I also think it's important to make decisions about general atmosphere and basic production techniques in advance so that when you get tired or frustrated, you can refer back and keep things rolling forward.

Cheap, intuitive computer programs like Ableton and Logic are awesome and totally positive for music—anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is probably an asshole.

Avoid fatigue.

Any song or record is essentially a series of forks in the road; there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of small decisions to be made, and as a songwriter or producer, you're constantly having to decide "left or right." It can be exhausting. Fatigue is an absolute killer in the studio and once it sets in and your ears get tired, the day is done. Minimizing and managing fatigue is totally crucial. I like a rigid schedule with lots of breaks and I try to step out of the studio before I get loopy. If I stay fresh, I'll work longer and get more done over the course of a day. Take breaks; go do emails, read something, go outside, eat, whatever. Make sure you're purposeful and have energy when working—don't overdose on work. Four to five hours of good, productive studio time is better than 12 hours of drudgery.

It's an especially important thing to keep in mind in 2015 because most artists—even rich, famous ones—do some amount of self-production or mixing. This means having to listen to your tracks more and potentially getting sick of them. Know when to walk away and get the hell out of the studio!

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Transfer of Energy [Feelings of Power]

Write with the wrong instrument.
If you have access to instruments and are stuck on a part—or if you're just looking for a fun writing trick—try writing with the wrong instrument. Play a synth line on a guitar, a vocal melody on a piano, a percussion bit on a bass guitar, whatever. There's nothing revelatory here, it's just a silly little trick that can sometimes be useful and produce an interesting result.

When working with vocalists, I like to throw problematic vocal lines into MIDI piano roll and tweak them there—I've definitely gotten out of a few jams with this one.

Also, I think I saw Machinedrum mention once that he taps his parts out on a table while he's writing—I think this is clever and basically the same idea. Understand the parts independently of the gear or instrument (or your relative ability to play them).

Studios are totally fun places, but they're full of things that can dilute or distract your original idea.

Embrace non-musical ideas.

There is a lot of value in non-musical ideas. I spend a lot of time trolling non-musical arenas like movies, industrial design, and obsolete architecture for things I can lift and bring back to music. This process has basically become the mission statement for the Egyptrixx project and definitely comes in handy with others. The ideas might relate to texture, arrangement, concept, structure… whatever really. It's a nice way to generate new ideas and can clarify your understanding of your material.

For example, I've always loved Donald Judd's compositional decision to use crude, industrial materials—concrete and steel—in his work as some kind of celebration or acknowledgement of America's ascension though industrialization. He made high art with massive slabs of low, ugly material. I love this idea and have tried—with debatable success—to bring it into a few songs.

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Ekserd & Array Access "Wons" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/02/ekserd-array-access-wons/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/02/ekserd-array-access-wons/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85865 Fledgling Berlin imprint Ressort will issue its next EP on February 9 in the form of the four-track Hidden Documents EP from label co-head Ekserd (pictured above). Serving as a bonus track to the effort is "Wons," a collaboration between Ekserd and fellow Berlin producer Array Access. Where Ekserd's original productions (and additional remixes from Svreca and I/Y) on Hidden Documents are more pounding techno affairs, "Wons" is a bit more of a subdued outing, one which wraps glacial pads and spiraling melodies around a crisp rhythmic structure. "Wons" can be downloaded below, where a preview stream of Ekserd's upcoming Hidden Documents EP has also been included.

Wons

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Autechre, Ben Klock, Four Tet, Jeff Mills, and More Billed for Dekmantel 2015 http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/autechre-ben-klock-four-tet-jeff-mills-and-more-billed-for-dekmantel-2015/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/02/autechre-ben-klock-four-tet-jeff-mills-and-more-billed-for-dekmantel-2015/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:56:31 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85901 Amsterdam's Dekmantel Festival—which has quickly become an XLR8R favorite—has unveiled the first wave of acts set to appear at this year's third edition. Taking place July 30 through August 2 at Amsterdamse Bos, the initial line-up includes major names such as Jeff Mills (pictured above), Dixon, Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Nina Kraviz, Ricardo Villalobos, John Talabot, Silent Servant, Floating Points, and Four Tet, and local talents Antal, Tom Trago, and Cinnaman, among others. Live sets will be presented by Clark, Robert Hood, Juan Atkins (as Model 500), Squarepusher, Carl Craig, Shed, and more.

New this year is the introduction of Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw venue, where Autechre and Manuel Göttsching will open festival proceedings, and a night program at Melkweg to be confirmed later this month. Information on ticketing and passes is available here via the Dekmantel website, and the complete list of artists billed thus far can be found here. Additions to the line-up (expected to number around 150 acts in total) will be released in the forthcoming months.

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The Lowdown: The XLR8R Top 10 with Juan Atkins, Nina Kraviz, Clark, and More http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/the-lowdown-the-xlr8r-top-10-with-juan-atkins-nina-kraviz-clark-and-more/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/the-lowdown-the-xlr8r-top-10-with-juan-atkins-nina-kraviz-clark-and-more/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:00:35 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85827 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.

1. Next week, Detroit techno pioneer Juan Atkins will be releasing a new album under his Model 500 guise. In the meantime, the LP is streaming in full exclusively on XLR8R.

2. The latest XLR8R podcast is a diverse session assembled by Brooklyn native and Berghain/Output resident DJ Anthony Parasole.

3. Nina Kraviz (pictured above) released her entry in the vaunted DJ-Kicks mix series this week, and readers flocked to read our official review.

4. Warp mainstay Clark gave away a free EP of remixes called Winter Boots (Part 1).

5. Roland shared details of the JD-Xi, a new hybrid digital/analog synth.

6. Ableton introduced the OSCiLLOT, a new modular synthesis device for Live.

7. After visiting the annual NAMM show in Anaheim last week, our official round-up of the gear expo included a breakdown of 16 things that caught our eye this year.

8. Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante surprised everyone with the news that he would soon be releasing an acid-based album under the name Trickfinger.

9. A new edition of our 20 Questions series popped up this week with legendary director and composer John Carpenter.

10. The most popular tune in our Downloads section this week came from Toronto duo Èbony, whose "Sunshine" combines the futurist perspective of Detroit techno and the soulful melodies of Yoruba house.


An expanded version of the The Lowdown is also available via a weekly email newsletter. Those interested in an even more in-depth round-up of XLR8R content should sign up by entering their email address below.

Subscribe to the XLR8R Lowdown

 

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Download a New Mix from Octo Octa http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/download-a-new-mix-from-octo-octa/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/download-a-new-mix-from-octo-octa/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:50:10 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85856 Brooklyn producer Octo Octa—who currently has an EP in the works for Gerd Janson's Running Back label—has been tapped to deliver the latest mix in the Ghostly label's ongoing GhostlyCast series. Serving as its 56th installment, Octo Octa's GhostlyCast contribution covers 10 tracks in just under 50 minutes, with plenty of bouncing piano chords and soul-infused dancefloor grooves included throughout. The man's new mix can be streamed and downloaded in full below, where the set's complete tracklist has also been included.


1. Aaron "Fit "Siegel Feat L'Renee - Tonite (Detroit Mix)
2. The Deep - Love Your Brother
3. Ele Ferrer- I'll Make U Happy Baby (X-tended Club Mix)
4. I:Cube - Piano in Paradise
5. Levon Vincent - Late Night Jam
6. DJ Dozia - Pop Culture
7. Kresy - Do You Enjoy
8. Ralphi Rosario feat. Xavier Gold - You Used to Hold Me
9. High Powered Boys - Udon (Julio Bashmore Sax Dub)
10. Cajmere feat. Dajae - Brighter Days (Underground Goodies Mix)

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Loscil Drops Three-Track Charity EP http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/loscil-drops-three-track-charity-ep/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/loscil-drops-three-track-charity-ep/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 20:20:53 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85850 A staple of the Kranky label's roster, Vancouver sound sculptor Loscil has released a new three-track EP as a means to help raise funds for his friends whose daughter was recently diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Titled for Greta, the digital record consists of three dense, elongated compositions that dive into the sort of immaculately textured sonic atmospheres Loscil has crafted throughout his career.

All proceeds from the record will go directly to support Greta's family in this challenging time. The full for Greta EP is streaming below and can be purchased here.

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Jeff Mills to Release Woman in the Moon Score as Three-CD Album http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/jeff-mills-to-release-woman-in-the-moon-score-as-three-cd-album/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/jeff-mills-to-release-woman-in-the-moon-score-as-three-cd-album/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:19:26 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85833 Jeff Mills has revealed plans to release his original score to Fritz Lang's 1929 sciene-fiction film Woman in the Moon as a three-CD album next month. Originally commissioned in 2011 for the Fritz Lang Film Retrospective event for Cinemathèque Français in Paris, Mills has gone on to perform the score live a handful of times over the years, with the project having made it US debut in San Francisco earlier this month. "The soundtrack I've created is definitely grave, structurally spatial and ubiquitous," Mills states in a press release. "Fritz Lang's characters are well-established and perfectly groomed people who are looking for something more, something bigger. The musical transitions range from light to dark—in order to highlight the contrast that persisted between extreme ideas that are triumphant in their objection and materialization to the economic vision of venture capitalist to the shadows of a dark underworld and organized crime."

Mills' Woman in the Moon score will see its official release via the longtime producer/DJ's own Axis label on February 6, with its 32 separate compositions spread across three CDs; an official tracklist has not been shared at this time.

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Magda Mixes Balance 27 http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/magda-mixes-balance-27/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/magda-mixes-balance-27/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:06:20 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85807 Techno veteran and Items & Things co-head Magda has been lined up for Balance 27, the latest mix in the ongoing series from Melbourne's noted Balance Music operation. As Resident Advisor reports, the release will be a two-disc proposition, a format that Magda has used to explore experimental sounds (Dinos Chapman, Errorsmith, and Shackleton all feature on CD1) as well as the kind of floor-orientated cuts that might be heard in one of the seasoned DJ's club sets (DVS1, Marc Houle, Seth Troxler, and Magda herself make appearances on CD2).

Ahead of the February 27 release of Balance 27, Magda will play four dates across Australia. We've included the details of those below, along with the forthcoming mix's artwork and complete tracklist.

magda art scaled
CD1
1. Tomas More - Gold, Grey & Dun***
2. Dinos Chapman - Alltid
3. Jahiliyya Fields - Turned on Type
4. Tase - Comeback
5. NYMA & Carreno is LB - Solaria***
6. Gregory Fleckner Quintet - How Much Would Conkers Cost?
7. Farben: presents James Din A4 - Please Excuse my Face
8. Rework - Traubenzucker
9. Odd Soul - Capitoul
10. Hauntologists - Shakes
11. Luc Ringeisen - Beat Design
12. Wishmountain - Crisps
13. Cornerbred - Riding High
14. Odei - Radius Head
15. #.19.21.3.11.21.20 - B1
16. Brett Johnson - Big Drunk Caterpillar
17. CV30X - 2x4
18. Nicholas Desamory feat. Lucile Desamory - The Truth
19. Kaitaro - Magic Channel
20. Rotorik - Verschollen In Der Unendlichkeit
21. Errorsmith - Make or Break
22. Shackleton - Cast the Die
23. Andrew Pekler - Pitch Class Spy Glass

CD2
1. Andrew Pekler - Dizzy Spells of Summer
2. Minor Science - The Beckoner
3. The Mole & Hreno - Things are Heating Up in the Grizzly Maze
4. Murat Tepeli - P.S.A. (Play Stop Acid)
5. Marc Houle - Techletoes
6. Alliv Sobol - Toz 11
7. Tomas More - Who’s in Charge (Melodic Version)
8. Rework - In a Dance
9. Stefny Winter - I Needed That
10. XDB - Indywa
11. Seth Troxler - Evangelon (Jonson & Siminski remix)
12. Magda - Trailerfork
13. Trus’me - It’s Slow (Truncate Raw Mix Part 1)
14. Samuli Kemppi - Wrong Turn
15. Etcher - They Are Us
16. T.B. Arthur - 1 (B1)
17. Marcel Dettmann - Apron (PAS Tubed mix 2)
18. DVS1 - Black Russian
19. Lester Fitzpatrick - Tone Control
20. Magda - Scrumps
21. Birdsmakingmachine - Icaros
22. Sandman - Machines Like This
23. Gabriel Ferreira - Fold
24. Tom Trago - Fall Down on Me
25. Transllusion - Walking With Clouds
26. Obergman - Holometer

Magda Tour Dates:
February 13 Geisha, Perth
February 14 The Liberty Social, Melbourne
February 20 The TBC Club, Brisbane
February 21 Seadeck, Sydney

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Ruff Draft "Messages" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/ruff-draft-messages/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/ruff-draft-messages/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:00:05 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85775 The next LP scheduled to arrive via Daddy Kev's Alpha Pup outpost is Illusion Fracture, a 14-track effort from Oakland-based beatmaker Ruff Draft. Ahead of its release, the Bay Area producer has passed along "Messages," the record's introspective closing cut. Built atop a fractured beat, "Messages" comes laced with smoky piano samples that fill the space between the production's loose hats and wood-like claps, before being joined by waves of buzzing synths and a full-bodied bassline that drags just behind the beat. In the end, "Messages" is the kind of stony head-nodder one imagines will nicely wrap up the artist's forthcoming collection of new productions, which includes collaborations with Mr. Carmack and Elusive in its run. "Messages" can be downloaded below before the rest of Ruff Draft's Illusion Fracture LP lands on February 10.

Messages

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Citizenn Readies New EP for 2020Vision; Hear a Track Now http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/citizenn-readies-new-ep-for-2020vision-hear-a-track/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/citizenn-readies-new-ep-for-2020vision-hear-a-track/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:29:36 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85789 Up to now, Midlands-born producer Laurence Blake has labored under the alias Citizen, swiftly making a solid name for himself crafting full-fat, retro-futurist house nuggets. Word reaches us today, though, that his forthcoming EP, BE, will find Blake reverting to a (very slightly) different moniker: Citizenn. The reason for the name change isn't entirely clear—a press release claims it is "a nod to his maturing sound and harder-edged approach to production," though one suspects there may be a bit more to it than that. Whatever the reasons though, the good news is that BE is vintage Citizen/Citizenn, with expansive, airy electronics rolling over soulful, classic-house vocals courtesy of SYF (of Azari & III fame).

The title track from Citizenn's new EP is currently streaming via the player below before 2020Vision releases BE in vinyl form on February 9, with a digital release to follow on February 23 (the digital package will also include an additional bonus remix from Ralph Lawson).


1. Be
2. Be (Warehouse Dub Vocal)
3. Be (Hercules & Love Affair Remix)

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DJ Spider, Phil Moffa, and Brendon Moeller Release Collaborative EP as Destination Void http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/dj-spider-phil-moffa-and-brendon-moeller-release-collaborative-ep-as-destination-void/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/dj-spider-phil-moffa-and-brendon-moeller-release-collaborative-ep-as-destination-void/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:59:01 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85794 NYC producers DJ Spider, Phil Moffa (pictured above), and Brendon Moeller have been collaborating on some new music lately, and the resulting productions have been put together on the second release for The Martinez Bros' Cuttin' Headz imprint. The three artists have given their joint project the name Destination Void, and considering the dark, warehouse-ready techno of their debut Between Worlds EP, that seems just as appropriate a name as any. Out now in vinyl form, clips of all three tracks from the collaborative project's new record can be streamed via the player below.

Of the three artists featured in Destination Void, Moffa has been particularly active on XLR8R lately, being spotlighted in our 10 Artists to Watch in 2015 list during the course of our recent Bubblin' Up Week, while also dropping off a free download of his new remix for Vancouver outfit Humans in our Downloads section a few days back.

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TB Arthur 3 http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/01/tb-arthur-3/ http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/01/tb-arthur-3/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:00:10 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85151 TB Arthur is, allegedly, a producer from Chicago who made a series of test pressings in the '90s that, until last year, had been taking up shelf space in a warehouse. Three four-track 12"s bearing the artist's scribbled name, a phone number, and not much else have surfaced in recent months, which is about as much as anyone can say for sure about a producer whose backstory is so short on detail. Putting that aside for now, these records are remarkable for a few reasons. Each EP contains a quartet of raw, fibrous house tools made with a contemporary polish that belies their supposed origin, and 3 follows in that mold. Most of these records could be described as acid house of some sort, but the music's thick 303 squelches are a bit more fastidious and well-mannered than the average Trax throwback.

"A1" seems at first to be typical of TB Arthur's surly, heads-down vibe, but its spiking whistle and snaking waves of acid afford it a lightness that complements its block percussion and wah-wah riff. It sounds scrupulously machine-like: amid the skiffing hi-hats and warbling acid lines, factory noises and pneumatic whooshes slide this way and that. There's a little bit more dust on "A2," which emits a similar palette of industrial noises, but, like "A1," it manages to strike a satisfying balance between brow-creasing steeliness and fleet-footed reverie. Among its most intriguing elements are its detuned skin percussion, which lapses in and out of time like a fitfully manned spinning top, and a cavernous knock that echoes through the iron chains and concrete walls that seem to reinforce the track.

The b-side of 3 mirrors TB Arthur's meticulous touch. "B1" submerges factory-forged pings, clicks, and thuds in gloopy 303s—the track's acid lines take command of proceedings quite a bit more than they do on most other TB Arthur excursions. On "B2," this same instrument oscillates in sharp bursts amid ricocheting tambourines and snare fills, which, though it's the EP's most excitable record, falls a bit short of the standards set by the preceding three. TB Arthur's music makes its surest strides at a languid pace—"B2" certainly moves up the gears, but it doesn't set the heart racing.

An EP as well crafted and assured as this leaves a few questions that are, for the moment, unlikely to get straight answers. How many cloth ears did this record come across before it found itself in the ass end of a warehouse? Why did it take two decades to get this stuff out? And there's another question, of course—why the coyness? Still, since we can't know the motivations behind the manner of this release, it's maybe best to give its creator the benefit of the doubt. To borrow a well-worn phrase, TB Arthur lets the music do the talking, but it'll be interesting to see how he or she adds to the conversation from here.

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Ask the Experts: John Tejada http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/01/ask-the-experts-john-tejada/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/01/ask-the-experts-john-tejada/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 15:00:22 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85778 John Tejada knows techno. In truth, the LA-based producer knows a lot more than that, as he's been releasing music since the mid '90s, but techno is essentially his calling card. Though he continues to oversee and contribute to his own Palette label, Tejada has also found a home at Kompakt, and the stalwart German imprint will be issuing his latest LP, Signs Under Test, next week. Over the years, we've spoken with Tejada on several occasions, exploring numerous facets of his music and artistry, so this time, we decided to switch things up and let our readers have a chance to pepper him with questions. As always happens with our monthly Ask the Experts series, the XLR8R audience sent in queries, and Tejada has selected his favorites to answer. In the process of responding, he's covered a lot of ground—much of it technical—but has also found time to touch upon his relationship with Detroit, the importance of compressors, and exactly what's required to make a good techno track.

How did you make the Detroit connection and how much did that help you?
Mike

When I started Palette Recordings in the fall of 1996, one of the US distribution companies was Seventh City in Detroit, which was owned by Daniel Bell. When I had test pressings of Palette #1, I phoned them up and was speaking to a guy named Theo Parrish (a lot less known at the time) who ordered a couple boxes. I believe it was after the second Palette or so that I would finally speak to Daniel on the phone from time to time, and eventually, he asked if I had some music around—The Blue Dawn EP was released pretty soon after. I really believe this first record of mine on Seventh City and Daniel's support gave me validation in the Detroit scene, which wasn't so easy for non-resident artists, not to mention being part of an amazing roster of Seventh City artists. With the world watching Detroit, this definitely let me reach the ears of people worldwide.

Do you mix down your own tracks and do you feel that producers have a lot to lose by not focusing on this aspect of production?
Thomas

I work on my songs from start to finish. In my experience, I feel most producers I know focus on [the mixdown] sometimes even more than the music. It's an interesting question because this is the part of the process myself and a lot of friends sort of dread. The reason is, you get so attached to the sound of sounds you've created that it's hard to see them from a distance and make the proper changes resulting in a mix that could be better. This is also the reason why it's beneficial to have someone else master your music instead of doing it all yourself. (When available, I feel like a mixdown can also benefit from another set of ears.) Some mastering engineers offer stem mastering, which is when you send over four or five stereo-bussed groups and let the mastering engineer put them together, which may end up giving the track some new dynamic or space the artist may not have heard. In the bigger music world of rock and pop, historically there would be writers, producers, mixing engineers, and mastering engineers. It traditionally wasn't the duty of music makers to take care of all these processes, but the way things have progressed, more and more people do everything themselves. This is a positive as well, since it's made it possible for people to release finished-sounding music, but I find it takes a lot of practice to do everything yourself successfully. While I feel it is worth studying all aspects of production and being proficient in all the steps required to finish a piece of music, I also think a second pair of ears you trust can be really valuable in the process.

jt1

All photos by Jimmy Tamborello

What's the real importance of a compressor? Some dance producers say it is the most important thing, others say that in dance music there is no need for compressors, as dance tracks don't have much difference in volume. In my little experience, compressors are good for sidechaining or creating some effects using fast attack, etc. But it hasn't helped much to create "big" beats; distortion plug-ins actually seem better suited to beef up a beat. So, I still have doubts about the compressor. Please give a little class about it. If possible, I would like to know your methods to make the different instrument sound layers sound separate, and if it is necessary for a dance track have a 3-D aspect.
Eduardo

First off, I feel its worth mentioning that everyone is going to have a different opinion on this and it's really up to taste. If it sounds good to you, go with it! But having said that, here are some tips which I've learned along the way that help me make the right decision depending on the issue.

Like you point out, traditionally a compressor is mostly helpful with voice or acoustic instruments that have a large range in volume by raising quiet parts and controlling the loud parts. Now exactly as you say, when you have an electronic instrument or sample, unless you've done some accidental velocities (which are easier to fix by adjusting those rather than compressing), the volume is going to be steady, in which case the compressor becomes more of a sound design tool rather than a volume tool. At times, it can be used, for example, in a bassline, where one note sounds apparently louder, but again, in this case I would first try to notch out that frequency with a good parametric EQ. You can reference the Bob Katz scale of notes to find the offending note to notch out. EQs like DMG's Equilibrium have this built in and most have a graphic analyzer built in to find the offending notes/frequencies.

Another use now is using the attack and decay as an enveloper for the sound. This is helpful on kicks and basslines and probably my biggest use if I do reach for a compressor. Hardware compressors and now many software emulations add harmonics, which give the sound some color or character, so that can be a different sound design tool for thickening. However, be aware that throwing these on tons of tracks can add up to an unnecessary build up of harmonic content, ruining a mix.

Compressors can also seem to clean up a muddy signal. The compressor seemingly smoothes out these areas because they are probably the loudest. When attenuated by a compressor, the energy of these frequencies gets turned down, making a bad low end sound appear a bit more balanced, but again, I would use the EQ first before I reach for the compressor, as it may be more beneficial to notch out the offending frequencies rather than introduce the character of a compressor, possibly sacrificing transients.

The sidechaining effect you mention is the most dramatic example of using a compressor as a sound design tool and has made plenty of classic tracks shine. Nowadays, plug-ins like volume shaper can also do this type of thing without introducing too much pumping or changing the frequency balance of the signals you are applying the sidechain to. It depends what sounds better, but even drawing in volume automation on a bus and copying to every measure can be a good alternative.

So after all that, to answer your question, the compressor has many possible uses in modern dance music. In my opinion, it's more useful as a sound design tool, but there are many possible applications for this. It is definitely a tool to have in your arsenal and to study and get to know, but I would give equal importance to learning what you can do with a good parametric EQ, as it may be a better problem solver in many cases.

The 3-D aspect I believe comes from giving each instrument in the mix its own place. Notching out frequencies and choosing what frequency range certain instruments are going to fit in will help quite a bit to give you a clear image of your mixdown. When tracks all pile into the same frequency range, that is where all the problems happen. You can think of it like an orchestra. Each section of the orchestra fits into a different frequency range. So when creating electronic music, it's beneficial to fill the stage with different instruments that sound good together rather than a bunch that all sound more or less the same in the same frequency range. Also, referencing productions you like and paying attention to where the elements really sit might surprise you.

signundertest

Signs Under Test

What are your production methods in the pre-production stage? Do you have any mixing tips you can give us?
Cream Theruler

Usually, I'm building all my sounds from the ground up in the production stage. Even simple kicks I never end up using again, just because there are small adjustments (like tuning) that end up fitting the sound to the song better. I also play an acoustic drum kit and these also need to be tuned up to fit the style of music or the piece being played, so for electronic sounds, I feel the same is true and I try to make the sounds fit the key of the song and other sounds.

I noodle with synths quite a bit to get my initial idea happening. Generally, I'm using hardware instruments, simply because I enjoy those rather than an emulation of those. These days, I'm getting back into doing something I haven't done in about 20 years, which is just making loads of little sounds and sampling them to build something with, instead of capturing large stems. I've realized with long stems it becomes harder for me to do anything with them. A lot of older tracks I really like just do really creative things with lots of samples. I've always had something against just sampling bits of gear (instead of recording long tracks of each synth), but now, I'm remembering how fun it is. So in general, my pre-production just consists of creating lots of sounds for the piece I'm going to make.

As for mixing tips, something I am still working very hard on is filtering out the frequencies I don't need so that the mix has room to breathe. The easiest start is to use a high-pass filter to filter out the lows and some highs (with a low-pass) you may not need. That has helped me a lot to get some more clarity out of the mix. I've also started to rely on a good pair of headphones to help reference the bass frequencies, as my room and most rooms are not perfect acoustic listening spaces, so this has also helped me quite a bit recently. The last thing to mention would be to find a second pair of ears you trust, which could just be a mastering engineer. Sometimes they can also tip you to a problem in the mix and you can go back and fix it before final mastering happens. This can be a lot more beneficial than having the mastering engineer try to fix it.

I also try to reference other music I like the sound of and practice listening to what is actually happening. I find that what I remember the track sounding like and what it actually sounds like can be quite different. Tracks in my memory that sound absolutely huge may have a really understated element to give the track some room, but in my memory of it, all sounds are massive. So using other people's works as a reference can give you some creative ideas on how to put it all together.

jt2

What soundcard/interface are you using and what is your weapon of choice regarding analog to digital conversion and vice versa, especially when it comes to accuracy and quality?
Tim

I'm using a UAD Apollo interface, which offers me a lot of options and nice routing, which is working well for my workflow. With converters, however, the sky is the limit. It seems you really get what you pay for and there's a reason the price keeps going up and up and up. I've demoed some higher-end converters here, and there is surely something to be said for [using them]. However, in the end, it's more about the music making and ideas; something well put together is going to be just as great with a more entry-level conversion system.

What do you think makes a good techno track? I'm curious what your opinions are on this since you have been making music for so long and have seen many styles/artists come and go.
Peter

I feel there are certain fundamentals at the core of a good techno track. The classics seem to share a certain frequency balance and energy. I also tend to be quite amazed by the simpler tracks rather than the dense ones. For me, this is the most difficult thing to master. Most classic tracks I love have just a couple of elements going on, but the way it was done is just absolutely magical.

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