XLR8R http://www.xlr8r.com Accelerating music & culture Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:07:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 "Tears": An Oral History http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/tears-an-oral-history/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/tears-an-oral-history/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:04:31 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90189 Just over one year on from the Frankie Knuckles's untimely death, the Defected label, in collaboration with Def Mix, is about to release a House Masters Frankie Knucklesretrospective of the Godfather of House's greatest tunes, House Masters: Frankie Knuckles on April 26. The compilation actually had its genesis before the beloved DJ-producer passed away; the project began in February 2014, with Frankie selecting the productions and remixes he wanted to be included on this look back on his none-more-influential career. (Check out a conversation between Knuckles and Defected head Simon Dunmore here.) In a nice touch, the comp is a charity release, with proceeds going to the new Frankie Knuckles Fund, established in partnership with the Elton John Aids Foundation. Also nice: The double-disc release's  track list, which boasts such stone-cold classics as "Your Love," "Baby Wants To Ride," and "The Whistle Song," along with Knuckles remixes of First Choice's "Let No Man Put Asunder," Alison Limerick's "Where Love Lives," Loose Ends' "Hangin’ On A String" and more. But one of the best cuts on the release—and in the minds of many, one of the most lushly beautiful house tracks ever produced—is "Tears."

Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, and Satoshi Tomiie

Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, and Satoshi Tomiie

Billed as "Frankie Knuckles Presents Satoshi Tomiie, the tune wasn't a Knuckles production, exactly. Tomiie, then 20 years old, laid down the instrumental tracks, while Knuckles directed the vocal session (with Robert Owens, then known mainly for his work with Larry "Mr. Fingers" Heard), supervised the mix, and served as a sort of executive producer; "he had a Quincy Jones type of role,” as Tomiie puts it. Whoever it's credited to, it's Classic Vocal version is one of the most stunningly soulful moments in house history, while a trio of David Morales rerubs on the flip cemented that still-young artist as one of house's go-to remixers. Released on FFRR in 1989, it's music that reverberates to this day, and XLR8R was lucky enough to catch up with three of the principle players—Tomiie, Owens, and Def Mix den mother Judy Weinstein—to talk a bit about the tune's creation.

Tomiie: House music was just being introduced into Tokyo back then, and only a few DJs knew about. I was a little familiar with house— not like a professional or anything, but I had been exposed to house before I met Frankie, and I knew who Frankie was. I was helping out with his first Japan tour ever, which I think was in 1987 or ’88. I was making the theme music for his series of parties, something that would play before he started his set or whatever. That’s how I got the opportunity to meet him. And he was forced to listen to my music. [laughs] He said something like, “This is really cool”—but back then, I couldn’t understand it at all. Somebody had to tell me, “Oh, he really likes what you do.” I thought he was just being nice, but then he said something like, “Oh, maybe we can do some records together.” Once I heard back, I was like “Whoa, really?” I mean, I was only 20 years old.
They invited me to come to New York, my first trip there. I brought a cassette with me. I was into Chicago house, but I was also into Detroit techno stuff as well. The cassette had one Detroit-style song, and one Chicago-style one. That was “Tears.” I had already done all the instrumental parts to “Tears” in my bedroom. I had named it that because of the way the one piano line reminded me of tears rolling down. Anyway, that was the one Frankie liked.

Weinstein: Frankie had this cassette with the instrumental on it, and he brought it by the office. I loved it right away—it was so beautiful. I wanted to find out who this Satoshi was, this guy who could make a song like this but was so young. After a while, when I had heard it a number of times, I suggested he put some vocals on it; there was a song hidden in those tracks.

Tomiie: I had been a fan of Mr. Fingers stuff, and Robert Owens sang on his tracks, so I said to Frankie, “It would be my dream if we could get Robert Owens could sing on this track. He was like, “No problem—I think I can hook that up.”

Weinstein: I probably would have suggested Teddy Pendergrass. [laughs] What can I say? It was a different era.

Tomiie: I was back to Tokyo, and I recorded all the instrumentation onto two-inch tape, and sent that back to New York—this was before the Internet, so that’s how you had to do it. That what Frankie and Robert used to record the vocal on.

Owens: I was in Chicago, and people were telling me, “Frankie Knuckles is looking for you.” I was like, “Really? What’s this all about?” And they said that he has this song that he wants you to sing on. He was playing in Chicago at Metro, the place above Smart Bar, so I came on down to hear what he had in mind. He said, “Oh I have this track that you might want to sing on.” I was like, “Okay, let me hear it,” and he played it in his set. I thought it was a nice track. Frankie said that they wanted to call it “Tears,” and I went home to write some lyrics. I just had to remember what I had heard; I didn’t get the actual backing track or anything, so I had to write it from memory. I wrote in about 15 minutes. Some lyrics I’ve written have been from personal experience; other lyrics, I’ve kind of gotten from talking to other people about their experiences. For “Tears,” I just wondered how I would feel if I really love someone and it wasn’t reciprocated.

Robert Owens

Robert Owens

I was staying with my mother and father at the time, and I showed them the lyrics, and they said, “That’s nice!” So I called Frankie and recited the lyrics, and told them they had the approval of my parents. He was like, “Well, that’s cool. Let’s fly you in to record them.” I sang my first take, and they thought it was too aggressive. [laughs] Which, with bigger labels, is often a problem. They want things to be radio-friendly, and not too emotional. I always think, well, why take the gospel out of gospel? But anyway, I gave them something a little bit more structured, and took the emotion out of certain areas. But not “drippin’ and droppin’” part or the “regretting nothing but the pain” part—they stayed in.

Weinstein: There was actually somebody else who song on it, too—the wife of [longtime NYC club kingpin] Steve Lewis. She was doing the “so many tears” part.

Owens: I think that Frankie or the record company wanted there to be two versions of the song, a female version and a male version. Frankie had Jennifer Lewis for the female version, but I think she was too nervous, so she just ended up doing that one little part on it in the beginning. She was a lovely girl.

Tomiie: After they were in the studio, I didn’t hear anything for a long time. I was wondering, okay, what’s happening? But then one day, a cassette arrived in the mail—and I heard it and just was like, oh, wow.

 Weinstein: It got signed to Pete Tong’s label, FFFR. It was a big deal back in the day, and they flew us all over to England. Photo shoots, meeting up with record people…it was a real priority record. It was really the beginning of Def Mix; its one of the songs that helped make Def Mix. And it’s still a classic Def Mix song.

Owens: I’m fortunate to still be here. And “Tears” is one of the reasons I am.

Tomiie: I was thinking, this was the best start of a career that could I could ever think of! I mean, this was the one of the first tracks that I had ever made. And it was all because of the magic of Frankie.

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Matrixxman Preps Debut Album; Streams Lead Single http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/matrixxman-preps-debut-album-streams-lead-single/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/matrixxman-preps-debut-album-streams-lead-single/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:03:26 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90216 Bay Area producer Matrixxman (a.k.a. Charles Duff) is no stranger to XLR8R's pages—in addition to supplying an exclusive podcast last year, he's also incredibly prolific, dropping 12 EPs since 2013 for such labels as Dekmantel, Icee Hot, Delft, and his own Soo Wavey imprint, which he operates jointly with Vin Sol. Now, word has come that his debut long-player, Homesick, is due for release via Ghostly in just a few months. A press release describes Duff as a "dedicated futurist" and "voracious entertainment junkie" who was inspired by Google's director of engineering, artificial intelligence, and The X-Files in making the record. "Matrixxman uses the language of machines and dancefloors like a hungry pulp novelist," it reads, "weaving together his divergent narratives and characters under one sprawling dystopian sky."

Taken as a whole, the 12-track album is said to form a narrative arc that explores not-so-distant technoid futures. "We will have the technological capability to fully map out a human brain in its entirety within 30 years," Duff is quoted as saying. "The implications of such a possibility are deep and far reaching. We will be crossing a rubicon towards a new phase in human consciousness. I am one person that is prepared to take that step."

Homesick will see an official release on July 10, and until then, its first single, "Augmented," can be streamed in full below, where the album's complete tracklist has also been included.

1. Necronomicon
2. Augmented
3. Red Light District
4. Packard Plant
5. Dejected
6. Network Failure
7. False Pattern Recognition
8. Opium Den
9. Annika's Theme
10. HMU (Hit Me Up) (feat. Vin Sol)
11. Switchlade
12. Earth Like Conditions

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Ricardo Villalobos Readies New EP for Raum Musik http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/ricardo-villalobos-returns-to-raum-musik/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/ricardo-villalobos-returns-to-raum-musik/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 11:21:15 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90209 Ricardo Villalobos will resurface on Frankfurt label Raum Musik later this spring with a new EP. As Resident Advisor reports, the two-track Who Are We? 12" marks the Chilean producer's first solo outing of the year, and follows from his 2012 Baby EP on the imprint. The record's a-side, "Buffalo Demon," integrates sampled material from Rune Grammofon-affiliated duo Alog; flipside, Jorge Gonzalez of Chilean band Los Updates supplies vocals on "Who Are You?"

While no official release date for Who Are We? has been shared as of yet, EP clips can be heard here via Red Eye, and a tracklist has been included below.

A. Buffalo Demon feat. Alog
B. Who Are You? feat. Jorge Gonzalez

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Will Ward Debuts on Leisure System, Streams Track http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/will-ward-debuts-on-leisure-system/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/will-ward-debuts-on-leisure-system/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 09:34:39 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90205 London newcomer Will Ward will deliver the second installment in Leisure System's Gridlock series of dancefloor-oriented 12"s. The upcoming Interval One EP marks Ward's first appearance on the Berlin imprint and is described as "his most exuberant record to date," landing somewhere between "pumping house and windswept techno." A-side cut "Portion" also features guest Jack Wyllie, a member of Ward's Circle Traps trio along with Duncan Bellamy of Portico.

Interval One is due out in both digital and vinyl formats on June 8, and until then, the premiere of the EP's title track can be heard below, where a complete tracklist has also been included.

A1. Digital Design
A2. Portion feat. Jack Wyllie
B2. Interval One

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100% Silk Announces New EP From Bobby Browser; Streams Track http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/100-silk-announces-new-ep-from-bobby-browser-streams-track/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/100-silk-announces-new-ep-from-bobby-browser-streams-track/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 23:31:00 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90185 Next month, 100% Silk will release the latest EP from Brooklyn based artist Bobby Browser. Clubspinning is a four track EP culled from a series of sessions based around a Yamaha SU700 Sampling Unit, with the tracks “selected to represent the most unique and memorable performances during that time.” Browser's latest outing on the LA based label follows on from his Still Browsing EP with a great blend of elegant, analog based minimalism. You can check out EP cut "No Attachments" streaming in full below, ahead of the May 12 digital release and May 26 vinyl release dates; both of which can be preordered here.

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Polar Inertia Announce New EP, Share Video http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/polar-inertia-announce-new-ep-share-video/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/polar-inertia-announce-new-ep-share-video/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:48:29 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90181 "Machines will fail us" are the first words heard on the anticipated new episode of the Polar Inertia journey and they set the scene perfectly for the striking apocalyptic ride ahead. Kinematic Optics is presented as a double EP, with 80 minutes of music spread across two records. The first, a black vinyl with the four pieces of the "episode," and the second, a white vinyl with the entire recording of their live set "Can We See Well Enough To Move On," recorded in Brussels last year. The record will be accompanied by a video, which you can check out below, produced by two members of Polar Inertia.

Kinematic Optics will be released via Dement3d Records on June 8, with the full tracklisting and video below.

test-final-cut-KO 3 from ductile dctl on


A1 Floating Away Fire
A2 Hell Frozen Over
B1 Vertical Ice
B2 Kinematic Optics
C1 Can We See Well Enough To Move On ? (Part One)
D1 Can We See Well Enough To Move On ? (Part Two)

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Premiere: Watch a New Video From Man Power http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-watch-a-new-video-from-man-power/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-watch-a-new-video-from-man-power/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:40:48 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90177 Anonymous artist Man Power released his latest EP, Trans, on NY label Throne Of Blood on Monday. The four-tracker features two new originals, backed up by remixes from Berlin's Discodromo and WT Records label head, Willie Burns; with the digital release including a bonus remix by newcomers Bird Of Paradise. Title cut "Trans" is a peak time steamroller, which today comes with a typically androgynous and nostalgic flavoured video by Amy Webster. The video features old VHS footage that is chopped and spliced to the scattering percussion and soaring synths of the track. It's a wild ride and certainly one befitting the elusive Man Power.

You can watch the video for "Trans" in full below, along with snippets of the EP; which can be purchased here.

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Frida Sundemo "Dead (Half-Truth Remix)" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/frida-sundemo-dead-half-truth-remix/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/frida-sundemo-dead-half-truth-remix/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:36 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90171 Half-Truth is the new project of a Montreal songwriter, producer, and DJ who has previously played festivals such as MUTEK, Piknic Electronik, and Igloofest, and has been featured heavily here on XLR8R in the past. At this years SXSW, Half-Truth was blown away by a performance from Frida Sundemo and immediately approached her to remix her track "Dead," a sparse, piano driven pop song. In his remix, Half-Truth adds in a weighty, booming low end, with soaring synths and organs complimenting the original vocals and piano; creating an altogether more grandiose track. Leading on from this remix, Half-Truth is currently working on his EP3, which will feature collaborators from Canada and the USA and will see release in the near future. In the meantime, you can download the Half-Truth remix of "Dead" for free below.

Dead (Half-truth remix)

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Life On Planets Announce Debut LP, Share Track http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/life-on-planets-announce-debut-lp-share-track/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/life-on-planets-announce-debut-lp-share-track/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:12:23 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90167 Life On Planets, the newest signing to Wolf + Lamb, will release their debut LP in June. Curious Palace, named after the artist lofts in Baltimore where the band met, is a 10 track affair drawing influences from house, disco, funk, and jazz, and embodying the creative hub that was the loft complex in Baltimore.

Curious Palace will be out June 29, preceded by a single release for album cut "So True," which will be available May 18 and features remixes by Prince Monaco and Wolf + Lamb. You can stream "So True" in full below, before its official release.

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Premiere: Hear Liars Remix Niagara's "Else" http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-liars-remix-niagaras-else-what-else/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-liars-remix-niagaras-else-what-else/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 14:40:19 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90155 Else What Else? is the latest release from Turin-based experimental pop duo Niagara, which pairs single track "Else" with remixes by LA based trio Liars and Niagara founding member Diego Perrone. Pulled from their sophomore album Don't Take It Personally, "Else" is a mesmorizing, off-kilter pop song, which strides along with skittering percussion and huge, soaring synths. Mute affiliates Liars turn in a hard hitting rework of "Else," transforming the original into an altogether more dancfloor focused piece in their typically chaotic style.

Else What Else? will be released via Monotreme Records on April 27, with the Liars remix of "Else" streaming in full below.

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In the Studio: Hunter/Game http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/in-the-studio-huntergame/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/in-the-studio-huntergame/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90135 Hunter/Game is the latest project of Martino Bertola and Emmanuele Nicosia, two Milanese friends and established producers in their own right who are quickly developing a reputation for their beautiful blend of deep, dark, and enchanting techno beats. Their musical origins lie in their infamous Just This events, a much-sought-after party series hosted in secret locations around Milan that started in 2010 and quickly became a compulsory stop for the leading acts in electronic music, including the likes of Mano Le Tough, Seth Troxler and Tale of Us.

The duo’s first release came in 2011 with "Touch Me," a blissful slow-burner on  Diynamic's 053 EP that quickly climbed the deep-house charts and brought the pair  acclaim via its hypnotic vocals and seductive bassline. Since then, Bertola and Nicosia have gradually refined their sound into a sultry blend of ambient house and techno that has seen them performing at some of the world’s leading clubs and releasing on some of the most in-demand labels in electronic music, including Jamie Jones's Hot Creations, Dixon and Âme’s Innervisions, and the Cologne-based Kompakt.

As befits their growing stature, Hunter/Game have recently started their own vinyl label entitled Just This, and settled into a beautiful studio in the centre of Milan. And now there's Genesis, their latest EP on Just This; many more releases are scheduled before the year is out.

Though continuing to evolve, Hunter/Game’s sound today is a thing of great beauty, and their method of production is similarly dramatic. Nestled in the loft of a tall office building brimming with creatives, their studio has become the focal point of the duo’s development—and as many of their contemporaries become seduced by the cold precision of digital production, Bertola and Nicosia remain convinced that an almost entirely analogue studio set-up best compliments their musical development and self-expression.

How long have you been making music, and how has the way you produce changed over the years?
:We have been friends since 2005 but Hunter/Game was a project that we started four years ago. Before that we had been making music individually. We came out with our first track which was a good success and so decided to continue our collaboration together. Over time our sound has evolved and we now use lots more analogue stuff than at the start. At the beginning we didn’t have the money to afford a proper studio so we started with a VST of the most popular synths. Then when we started to gig, and had some pocket money to build our studio. We started to buy the real versions and we really understood the difference between the dynamics of sound from an analogue synth to a VST. It completely changed our style, and our music and now we are working fully analog.
We use the software just as sequencers or just to mix down the tracks. That’s it. We’ll record audio files and we’ll normally sample those through Ableton. We don’t use MIDI controllers because we’re focused on analog.
Nicosia: Buying new gear has also really inspired us to produce new stuff so it is not just that our techniques for production have developed over time, but the equipment has opened up new opportunities and inspired us to try new things with our music. Every new machine gives us new possibilities and more inspiration, for sure.

So your production process is clearly far more organic than digital. Talk me through the equipment.
We have too much. We’ll have to give you a list!

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Photo: Andrea Buratto

And what software do you use?
We use both Ableton and Logic. Sometimes Ableton is more useful for sequences and samples, but we always use Logic for the mix down.

Would you say that the unpredictability of all your analogue gear has led to some surprises?
Yes—this is a really special thing. Every time you use the equipment you find new, strange sounds.
Nicosia: Weird sounds will come out all the time, but it’s cool and we will use them. For example, one time we were using a pad but the audio part crashed, and it created a totally distorted but incredible sound. We were not able to stop Ableton or the recording so it was recording like ten minutes of this fucked up distortion, but it was totally incredible.
Also, analog delay will give you weird patterns and sounds.

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Photo: Andrea Buratto

So going back to the start, why do you choose to base yourself in Milan?
We’ve always been based in Milan. I think you this romantic techno is a real product of this city and it’s quite an interesting scene here, so we haven’t moved to Berlin or other cities like almost everyone else. We feel very inspired by what is going on in Milan so we want to stay here.
The underground scene is really growing here in Milan and that helps our creativity. It is important for us to work with our friends and build a collective here, so we have our studio here in the loft, right next door to the office for our Just This label and parties. The building is actually owned by Pisetzky, our label partner and best friend.

When did you move into this studio, and why?
We moved into this studio just over two years ago. It’s important for us to have a place where we can meet each other, where we can speak, connect and share our inspirations. We also manage two clubs and we normally bring every guest DJ to the studio which helps and inspires us. It is a lot of energy and creativity merging in one space and that opens our minds, pushing us to create.

Where were you producing beforehand?
: Before we were producing at home—we had a couple of synths like the Moog, but our production was a lot more digitally-based. But now we have built a complete analogue studio. We cut off a pre-amplifier from a Marshall guitar amplifier and we pass many things through that which makes the sound really dirty. We also have a tape recorder which helps us to create a dirty background sound.

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Do you feel that having a studio separate from your own home affects the creative process of your music?
Not really, because we still produce at home a lot. We both have Moog at home so we can do it there too. If you have a good idea at your house then you have to capture it!
Nicosia: The studio is more about joining a collective; the studio is the place of our crew and our label. It has now given our us space for our analogue production, but it is important that we can also produce at home too because sometimes you will be dreaming and you will wake up with an idea - and you have to write it down.

So, talk me briefly through your production process.
First of all, we try to create a sequence, or the melody, with the analog synth, normally using our new PolySix. Then we create the drums and everything else afterwards - but we always focus on the melody first. We record the instruments then we cut and work Ableton or Logic to create the loops.
Nicosia: The first step is trigger the synths with some drums machines, like the SH-11 or the PolySix, in order to try and build the melody. From there the track will gradually develop.

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Is there a formula for a track, or do you just go to the studio and play around, hoping for inspiration?
Both. Sometimes we just play, but sometimes we have a very clear idea of what we want to produce. For the important EPs, we always have the idea beforehand and then we go and produce it.
Nicosia: For us, I think it is more of a process. We spend a lot of days in the studio where we just experiment, without producing an EP or a track. We just play around and we just learn how to use all the equipment. Then when we do have to work on an EP or a track, we will have some clear idea in mind and we just focus on it. Because we have been experimenting a lot before, we have lots of new skills that we can then use to produce a new EP or track.
Very often we will learn a new technique and we will then use it in a new EP. Every time that we buy a new synth, we have something new to learn and understand. We will try every kind of possibility with that gear and we will often use that new sequence or sound in our new music.

Do you try and keep a clear divide between production inside the studio and normal life outside of it, or does the production process go around the clock?
Definitely, we always think about music! Most of the time I will be in bed and before falling asleep I will have an idea in mind and I will record it in my iPhone, just through vocals. And then the morning after we will go to the studio with this idea fresh in my mind.
The process is definitely 24-hour hour, because the night is our most creative time. Every night we will listen to the track we are working on before we go to sleep to give us a clear mind for the next day in the studio, so I can then think the next day of what I want to change in the studio.
Nicosia: Sometimes I will listen to other music before I go to bed too. The night time is when your mind is completely free because listening to music can inspire you. When your mind is relaxed, you can spot things in your music that you can’t spot when your mind is focused on other things and this is the most creative part of the day. The day after is a new day and then you can work on these thoughts.

So how much time do you spend in the studio? Do you approach it like any other regular nine-to-five job?
No - it’s not like a nine-to-five. Our production starts from the first moment we wake up and sometimes we will stay all night in the studio. It just depends on our creativity that particular day.
Nicosia: Sometimes we will spend the whole day and night in the studio just playing around, without even producing anything for an EP or new track —but in the end all that time will result in a positive ending when we produce something new. If you spend time in the studio just experimenting then when you do try to produce a track it will come more easily and more naturally.

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Photo: Andrea Buratto

You cant be recording all day and night in the studio. Tell me about a normal day when youre there.
Yep, that’s right. We also spend a lot of time in the studio listening to music, chatting and just looking for inspiration. But when we do have a creative idea or a vision we will become very focused and will work really hard to produce the sound we want.

What do you do when you get a production block?
In these cases we will have to spend time outside of the studio!
Nicosia: If we are stuck on a production, there is an easy way to get out of that. It’s called "Command; Shift; Cancel." And marijuana. So I guess just time and pot!

Has your growing profile influenced how you feel when youre in the studio—do you feel more pressure?
Not really. To be honest, we have just decided to do what we like, and the studio has helped to evolve and improve our sound. Thanks to the analog approach, we have been releasing on a lot of strong labels. I think it is a natural process because when you are free to express yourself without boundaries and restrictions, it becomes a lot easier.

So let’s chat about the Genesis EP. Did you guys make one track at a time, or were there several in the works simultaneously?
We did that EP in three days—we gave one day to each track. We used an SH-101 and a Roland 707, then we used the Moog with Ableton. The drum we did with an analog delay. All three tracks we did in the same style and with the same gear.


One day seems like a very short space of time to produce a track. Is this always the case?
Not every track takes a day - but the creative part of the track, the melody and the synth, can be done in a day. We will record, and then maybe the days or the weeks after we will just clean and build the structure of the track.
Nicosia: We are really focused in the studio. I know lots of producers who will take months to close a track but when we come up with an idea and are very fast.

You guys have been working together for years at this point. Would you say that you both now have set roles in the studio?
It depends each day. One of us can have a good idea on the synth or a good melody in mind, but we always try to be flexible. We have known each other for many years so we are in the same state of mine and we have a connection.

Looking forward, whats next for you? Is there any gear or musical equipment that youre lusting after?
It is hard to say, but we eventually want to start using a modular synth—but this is a completely different world.
Nicosia: We also want a Vermona drum machine!

Photo: Andrea Buratto

Photo: Andrea Buratto

How do you know when your songs are done? Do you show them to anyone else before you release them?
I think there is a stream of melodic techno coming our of Milan, and we are closely connected with the other artists who have come from here. We will share our music with them and they will share their music with us, but we also know that we are doing our own thing and we need to focus on that.
We know inside that it is good—if it is. But obviously we will share with our friends and we will listen to it together in the studio a lot before we send it out. We really believe in our music and like to keep things quite private because it is important to release only when it is the right time.

Do you ever have trouble "letting them go?"
No, not really. Once it is closed, it is closed. We don’t normally change a track after one month. If it is good, we know it is good. We make a track in one day because we are inspired by something, but the next week we might lose this inspiration. This is the best way to do it.
Bertola: When a track is finished, the track is finished. Of course, we will sometimes change something into the mixing, or the percussion—but these are only the smaller details.

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Q&A: Patrice Scott http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/qa-patrice-scott/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/qa-patrice-scott/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90092 Patrice Scott has a history within Detroit's clubbing world—a really long history: As a youth, the DJ and producer, who's about to release his long-awaited LP, Euphonium on  was going out to the kinds of parties that eventually gave rise to the city's seminal techno scene. "Well, I don’t know if you could really call it going out—I was only 11 years old!," he recalls with a laugh. "This would have been around ’83 or ’84. Here’s the story: My grandmother lived down the street from where these guys, this DJ group called Direct Drive, were DJing a party for the Sharevari crew. It was in the summertime, and the party was outside in a back yard. Me and some friends walked down the street to this back yard. One of my friend’s older brother was actually in Direct Drive, and they let us hang out, and we were just listening to the DJs. I was like, wow—this is what I want to do! I mean, we had been hearing people like the Electrifying Mojo on the radio, but this was something else. And that’s really how it all got started. I didn’t even have an interest in producing. I just wanted to play music.”

The urge to produce finally came to him in the late ’90s, but Scott didn’t put out his first release until years later, when he kicked off his Sistrum label in 2006 with the Atmospheric Emotions EP. From the start, Scott's musical ethos was apparent, and the EP's name pretty much summed it up: His is a deep, soulful, techno-tinged brand of deep house that walks the line between subtlety and intensity, and owes as much to the otherworldly, hypnotic sound of Chicago's Larry Heard as it does to the fathers of Detroit techno. He's been perfecting that template ever since—and with the release of Euphonium, his debut long-player—Scott is poised to enter the top tier of Detroit producers.

PrintedCDJacketTemplateThis album has been gestating for quite a while, right? Wasn’t it originally supposed to come out late last year?
That was the original plan, but I just didn’t have things together. I wasn’t done, really. I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to do with it. I’d make a track, and one day I would think was good, and then the next day I wouldn’t like it. Finally, around November, I though, man, you gotta stop playing. I really started focusing. I had some of the tracks already done, but did about five out of the album’s nine tracks between November and January.

You went into hard-core work mode.
I was working on it between gigs. I was not getting a lot of sleep in that period. I would stay up all night till six or seven in the morning, and then I’d be up again at 11, turning equipment back on—I was in a groove, and I was feeling it. And I’m not like that. [laughs] I mean, I’ll go through spurts, but I’ve never worked like this before, just staying at it. But I had ideas and was feeling good about what was happening, so I figured that I just better continue.

Well, it is your debut album—you want it to be good, and if lack of sleep is the price to pay, so be it.
Absolutely. But honestly, the hardest thing was that I was trying to gear it toward the dancefloor. I mean, people can play my stuff in clubs, but they’re not always dancefloor bangers. And I’m saying that everything on Euphonium is a dancefloor banger, either—but some of the tracks are more that way than my previous work is. And if this album does okay, I’m going to focus more on making albums, maybe one every two years.

You’re already making plans for the next one?
Well, I wouldn’t say I have any specific plans, and I’m still going to be making twelves. But with an album, you can express yourself more—and there’s a lot of stuff I wanted to express with this one, but I didn’t. I’ll save that for the next one, which will probably be a little more experimental.

Why did you title the album Euphonium? I know that’s a musical instrument, kind of like a tuba—but don’t hear any tubas on the album.
I’m always searching for different names—a word that really means something. And yeah, a euphonium is a musical instrument, but the word actually means “good sound,” and that’s what stuck with me. But really, I used that name for the 12-inch [sampler] I had put out last year, so I kind of had to stick with that name—otherwise, I might have changed it! [laughs]

Do you find it difficult to come up with titles for your music?
It is difficult to come up with something different. But it’s not just titles. With this kind of music, everything’s been done over and over, even the music itself. With all the music I hear, there might be some great stuff, but a lot of sound like stuff I already have. It’s hard to be different.

You’ve actually been quoted as saying that, in regards to deep house and techno, “the best music of this genre came out in the 90′s.”
I think that’s true—unless somebody out there has some great ideas I don’t know about.

You released an EP titled Nostalgia a few years back. Was that a reference to the fact that a lot of house and techno refers back to the music’s past?
Yeah, exactly. There are still a lot of people making great music, of course. But a lot of it, when I hear it, it’s kind of like hearing it again, even though I’m listening to it for the first time.

The lead track on Euphonium is called “A Detroit State Of Mind.” How would you define that state of mind?
Well, I’ll tell you—the strings on that track are from another track that I made yeas ago, but was never released. One day, I was listening to it, and thought, hmm, I should do something with this. So I took those strings, which to me represent the people in Detroit who are facing economically hard times. They’re kind of depressing strings, really. Then those percussion-type sounds represent the people who are working in the auto factory—hard at work on machines in the Motor City, building stuff. So that’s why I titled that one like I did.

So it’s a pretty specific, literal title.
Yeah, but I didn’t come up with the title until well after I made the track. I never sit down and think, oh, I’m going to make a track that sound like this or sounds like that. There’s always a lot of trial and error. To name them, I’ll just listen to them for a while, and ask myself what it is that the track represents to me.

"What you hear is what I feel. And I try to have that attitude with other artists who release on Sistrum; I want them to do their own thing."

Like a lot of your music, Euphonium strikes me as an uncompromising collection of songs—not in that it’s particularly hard, but its more a case of that it sounds like it’s the kind of music that you really want to make, without worrying about trends or other outside factors.
That’s 100 percent correct, and that’s the way I’ve always done it. That’s why I started Sistrum—I wanted to do things the way I wanted to do them. When I was shopping around the first release I had come out—I’m not going to name any names, but it was people running Detroit record labels—and they were all telling me that I needed to do this different and do that different. I kept thinking that I liked it the way it was! That’s when I thought, okay, I’m going to have to start my own label so I express myself the way I want to. What you hear is what I feel. And I try to have that attitude with other artists who release on Sistrum; I want them to do their own thing. Either I’ll like it and put it out, or I don’t like it and I won’t put it out. I don’t try to get too involved in someone else’s creativity.

Photo: Marie Staggat

Photo: Marie Staggat

Your music seems very soulful and emotive, although the emotions are expressed in a somewhat abstract way. Is that something you strive for, or does it just come naturally to you?
I think it’s a little bit of both. But wherever it comes from, I’ve got to have lots of feeling in my music, and it’s the same way with my DJ sets. I might drop some tracks in my set that are maybe kind of minimal, but you’ll never hear a whole set like that. I just call it music—solid music, something with rhythms and tones and pads and whatever. I mean, there are guys who can make tracks where there’s not much going on within them at all, and I’ll love them. I’ve even made tracks like that, most of which have never seen the light of day. But it’s hard to convey much feeling with that kind of music.

Your material sometimes boasts an otherworldly quality as well, and it seems like you go for a outer-space vibe in the artwork for a lot of Sistrum’s releases, including the new album.
That’s by Michael Zucker, who’s the guy who runs the Finale Sessions label. He started doing our labels since around Sistrum’s 17th release. I’ll just send him the music and kind of tell him what I want, and sometimes he’ll come back with something totally different! Other times, it’s right on the nose. But whatever the case, we always end up with something I like. With Euphonium…yeah, the music is kind of spacey, so that’s what we were aiming for.

We mentioned that a euphonium is a kind of musical instrument, but your label is also name for an instrument as well, isn’t it?
A sistrum is an ancient kind of shaker. Like I said, I had started the label because I wanted to control my own music, and I wanted a name that meant something. One of my best friends, a very intelligent guy, gave me five different names to choose from. I can’t even remember the rest, but sistrum just grabbed me.

Sistrum has been around for almost a decade. Has it been a struggle to keep it going for that long?
It’s really been up and down. In the beginning, it was definitely a struggle—but it seemed like a lot of people were getting back into deep house around then, which helped. A lot of guys, people like Jus-Ed, Omar-S, DJ Qu and all those guys, were renewing interest in the sound. But yeah, it’s been a struggle. Some records that I expect to sell a lot of…I don’t. [laughs] And the ones that I don’t think will sell end up doing well. One difficulty is that there is so much music coming out every week. Back in the ’90s, the shelf life of a record could be six months. You would go into the store, see that a record had sold out back on the shelf again; the store would just keep getting more of them. Now, since there are so many records and so much competition, that hardly ever happens. Stores will only buy four or five copies, and when they’re gone, they’re gone—there are a whole slew of new records in their place.

But Sistrum is still here, which says something.
Yeah. I kind of think of records as business cards, basically to tell people that this is what I do.

I still buy vinyl myself, and always use vinyl when I play. I don’t even carry CDs. I’m just old-fashioned.

The label has a commitment to vinyl—which probably has a bit more staying power than digital releases, right?
Absolutely. I’ll do some digital, but it’s definitely not my focus. I basically just do it just because whenever you put something out, some torrent site will stick it up for free downloading anyway. But I still buy vinyl myself, and always use vinyl when I play. I don’t even carry CDs. I’m just old-fashioned. I’ll take about 60 or 70 records with me to every gig, which is enough to do a good three-hour set.

Will you be spinning a lot in the upcoming months to support the album?
Yeah—I play as much as I can, anyway. I’ve played every weekend since the beginning of January. My first free weekend won’t be until the beginning of May. Hopefully with the album coming out, things will continue the way they have been—which will be enough to make me a happy man. You know, I’ve been around this scene for such a long time, and I feel like I’m a part of it. I know I’m not one of the innovators like Juan or Derrick—but I’ve seen all that, and I know all that. And I want to be a part of that history.

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Robag Wruhme Returns to Pampa With His New EP, Shares Previews http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/robag-wruhme-returns-to-pampa-with-his-new-ep/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/robag-wruhme-returns-to-pampa-with-his-new-ep/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 03:13:12 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90112 Gabor Schablitzki (a.k.a. Robag Wruhme) will return to Pampa on May 11 with his latest EP, Cybekks. Following on from his much lauded LP Thora Vukk, the four track EP finds the German producer in typically fine form, trading in a mixture of melancholic brilliance, moody melodies, and weighty, dancefloor ready sounds. You can check out the full tracklist below ahead of the May 11 release.


01. Cybekks
02. Anton I
03. Volta Cobby
04. Anton2

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Fiber Festival Announces the Premiere of Divergence http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/fiber-festival-announces-the-premiere-of-divergence/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/fiber-festival-announces-the-premiere-of-divergence/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:59:52 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90134 Fiber Festival has announced Zeno van den Broek as their third and final AV performer for the 2015 evening schedule, joining previously confirmed live performers London Modular Alliance and Microseq. Zeno's Divergence explores the "destruction and deviation of pure sound sources such as sine waves and white noise, as well as minimal visual elements such as vector drawings and grids." By merging sound, visuals, and architecture, Zeno creates immersive experiences which transform spaces into textural masterpieces and orchestrate an intense sensory reaction and heightened spatial awareness.

Tickets for Divergence can be found here, with a preview of the audio component below.

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Cómeme Announces New EP From Dany F http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/comeme-announces-new-ep-from-dany-f/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/comeme-announces-new-ep-from-dany-f/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:50:25 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90094 At the end of May, Cómeme will release the first 12" from 21 year old Medellin artist Daniel Florez (a.k.a. Dany F). The Wouhau EP will follow up his debut on Cómeme with four tracks of swinging rhythms, big basslines, and tropical flavor, all with a heavy dancefloor focus. Florez has built a name and reputation by self releasing through his social platforms and with his show "Latin Sur Africa Champeta" on Radio Cómeme, where he shares his extensive Champeta collection—the Colombian phenomenon of bringing West African music to their heavily equipped sound systems called "pickós." Wouhau will be released on vinyl and digital May 25, with the full tracklist below, along with a stream of the fourth installment of "Latin Sur Africa Champeta."

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The Bunker New York Announces New EP From Løt.te; Shares Preview http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/the-bunker-new-york-announces-new-ep-from-lot-te-shares-preview/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/the-bunker-new-york-announces-new-ep-from-lot-te-shares-preview/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:41:46 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90088 The Bunker New York has announced History Of Discipline, the second EP from NY producer Mehmet Irdel (a.k.a. Løt.te). The new EP will follow up his 2014 debut release, Pressure Chant, and features two distinct moods, which Irdel explains is a big focus in his productions: "I'm interested in techno that feels both masculine and feminine at the same time," says Irdel. "These days, most techno feels either very intricate and clean, or very noisy and macho. What interests me is finding an in-between." The EP title track, "History Of Discipline," is the darker of the two, with a heavy atmosphere and swinging rhythm building to a huge climax before unrolling itself into clattering percussion. "A Mutable Constant" is a deeper and more emotive cut, with floating pads breathing through the industrial inspired percussion and sound design.

History Of Discipline will be released on vinyl and digital May 4 and can be pre-ordered here, with a preview of the two tracks streaming below.

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Kastle "Strange Days" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/kastle-strange-days/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/kastle-strange-days/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:28:37 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90037 Today marks the release of LA based producer Kastle's latest EP, Hyperreality. The six track affair will come out via Symbols, the imprint Kastle founded, which has also been home to releases from artists such as Kid Smpl, Liar, and Atlas. Hyperreality is a nostalgic journey into Kastle's production past, recalling an experimental pre-internet era, but reconfiguring things with a modern touch. "Strange Days" is a cut from the EP filled with this nostalgia; with diva-like vocals, a raw 2-step beat, and a brooding bassline leading the way. It's an introspective nod to the past, but one which keeps its feet firmly planted in the present. Hyperreality is out today and can be purchased here, with an EP sampler and a download of "Strange Days" available below.

Strange Days

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Podcast 383: Walker & Royce http://www.xlr8r.com/podcasts/2015/04/podcast-383-walker-royce/ http://www.xlr8r.com/podcasts/2015/04/podcast-383-walker-royce/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:33:05 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89994 It was just a few years ago that the NYC DJ-production team Sam Walker and Gavin Royce were spinning opening sets at Cielo, doing the occasional remix for the venerable Nervous label and generally living the relatively simple life. Nowadays, of course, the longtime friends are budding international dance-music kingpins, thanks to a flurry of red-hot work for heavyweight labels along the lines of Dither Down, Crosstown Rebels, OFF Recordings and Moda Black (read a review of the pair's recent My Dream EP here); just yesterday, the pair dropped a remix of the Golden Boy's tune "The Promise" on Eton Messy Records. And that's not to mention the seal of approval from Pete Tong—the BBC Radio 1 tastemaker tapped the duo as Future Stars in 2013, and this past October, he recently selected their "Sister" as one of his Essential Tunes. Along the way, their sound has hugely evolved, morphing from charmingly low-key and emotive deepness into a thumping brand of house that's considerably tougher and and a bit more twisted—kind of like what you'll get with this mix from the men themselves. If you like what you hear—and we suspect you will—you can catch Gavin & Royce at San Francisco's Monarch on April 25, the Lost Village Festival in Lincolnshire, U.K. on May 23rd, at London's Ministry of Sound on the same day, and at the Gottwood Festival in Wales on June 11.

Video: Walker & Royce discuss their XLR8R podcast

01 Joshua "Let The Spirit" (Prescription)
02 Carl Craig, Green Velvet "Rosalie" (Relief Records)
03 DJ Deeon "Truthstrumental" (Dance Mania)
04 Gemini "On This Planet" (Walker & Royce Edit) (white label)
05 Trevor Rockcliffe "The Bells" (Steve Mulder Remix) (Mentor Records)
06 Walker & Royce - My Dream--- (Moda Black)
07 Green Velvet "Shake & Pop" (Relief Records)
08 Chambray "Rub" (DJ Haus Remix) (Ultramajic)
09 Till Von Sein "Sundowna" (Dyed Soundorom & Shonky Remix (Supplement Facts)
10 In Flagranti "Genital Blue Room" (Codek)
11 A Jackin Phreak "Take a Love Break" (Mental Groove)
12 The Glimmers "I'd Much Rather Go (Out With The Boys)" (Diskomo)
13 Marc Houle "Clock Width" (Harvard Bass Remix) (M_nus)
14 Groove Armada "Get Down (Walker & Royce Meltdown Remix)" (Moda Black)
15 Justin Jay "You Give Me Butterflies" (Pets Recordings)
16 Nick Höppner "No Stealing"(Osgut Ton)

Download MP3
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Subscribe to Podcast (RSS)
XLR8R Podcast 383 - Walker & Royce /a>

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Stream Another Track From Lockah's Upcoming EP http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/stream-another-track-from-lockahs-upcoming-ep/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/stream-another-track-from-lockahs-upcoming-ep/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:02:09 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90071 As we reported last month, former Bubblin' Up artist Lockah is soon to release his new And Blue Brindle Too EP via Donky Pitch. The Scottish beatmaker (real name Tom Banks) has now made a second of its tracks available to stream pre-release. A blocky-yet-airy mix of euphoric synths and guitars and strident live drums, "You'll Suckers Don't Even Cut Corn" can be streamed on the player below ahead of And Blue Brindle Too's release on Donky Pitch on April 27.

1. Barcelona Drums
2. When Were U In '82, When Heate Legend Dies
3. You'll Suckers Don't Even Cut Corn
4. Canada Gifts
5. Barcelona Linn Reprise

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Nick Höppner Folk http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/04/nick-hoppner-folk/ http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/04/nick-hoppner-folk/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:00:10 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90002 If you've been the manager of Ostgut Ton, one of the foremost techno labels of the day, it is clear you know what sort of records make a club tick. Couple that with ten years plus of production experience and a DJ diary that would be the envy of any underground spinner, and what you have is the recipe for a kicking full length. And that’s pretty much what we get from Nick Höppner’s debut solo album, Folk. Given the amount of time he has spent in clubs over the years, it’s refreshing that Höppner stays true to what he knows here and opts to serve up plenty of floor-facing fodder, despite the fact such a collection of tracks will always risk the wrath of the anti-dance album brigade.

But this one works just fine, because it unfolds like a set: a robust, forceful set that barrels along on bulky drums and never really leaves you hanging long enough to get bored. That’s not to say every track is a winner—there are some filtered vocals on "Come Closer" that lend it a rather naff electro-house feel. And the slower tempo of "Relate," though obviously intended to stall the album’s growing momentum before a big closer, is all too pleasantly inoffensive and middling.

The album opens on "Paws" (one of its most triumphant notes along with the similarly rush-y title track) with translucent and gloopy synths slithering around a train-track kick-clap like oil on water. It's an effervescent house track that sounds like little else, and sets in motion the sort of slick groove that rarely wanes from there on in. Tracks like "Mirror Image" build on that nebulous sense of rhythm—it jitters up and down, leaving long shimmering tails of percussion and diffusive synth lines in its wake.

Rather than being imbued with a musty and humid techno feeling, much of Höppner's work here feels more akin to the soaring serenity of Detroit's finest hi-tek soul: "Out Of" rides a grinding bass riff to the outer edges of the galaxy, "Rising Overheads" is pregnant with a sense of growing unease and inner tension in line with its fiscally suggestive title and the stomping "Grind Show" offers a more brutal, dark and industrial mood. Whatever style he opts for, then, Höppner has a rare knack for propulsion that is impossible to ignore.

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Premiere: Watch a New Video From Christian Tiger School http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-watch-a-new-video-from-christian-tiger-school/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-watch-a-new-video-from-christian-tiger-school/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:33:53 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90061 Young South African pair Luc Veermeer and Sebastiano Zanasi (a.k.a. Christian Tiger School) have made waves of late with their LA beat scene-inspired melding of the sounds of their homeland with influences ranging from hip hop to ambient and jazz. The pair's debut album is due in the summer, ahead of which Vermeer and Zanasi have shared with XLR8R the video for a glowing, fleet-footed album track called "Chorisolo."

On the video, directors Christopher Bisset and Ross Hillier break the cardinal "never work with children or animals" rule. "The cast ... was made up of friends' dogs," Bisset explains. "The trickiest thing, technically, was trying to train the dogs to keep time with the beat and to stop looking at the camera. Lots of retakes." The surprisingly disciplined results can be viewed below ahead of the release of Chrome Tapes in the summer on Tommy Boy Entertainment.

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Suzanne Kraft Preps LP for Melody As Truth http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/suzanne-kraft-preps-lp-for-melody-as-truth/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/suzanne-kraft-preps-lp-for-melody-as-truth/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:32:06 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90068 As reported over on RA, LA producer Suzanne Kraft (real name Diego Herrera) has a new album coming soon on Jonny Nash's Melody As Truth imprint. Following on from releases in varying styles on the likes of Running Back, Young Adults and Noise In My head, the Talk From Home LP finds Herrera heading into relaxed, sun-dappled Balearic territory. Snippets from all of Talk From Home's seven tracks can be streamed on the player below ahead of the album's full release in July.

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Premiere: Stream Four Tracks From Quiet Dawn's Debut Album, The First Day http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-quiet-dawns-debut-album-the-first-day/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-quiet-dawns-debut-album-the-first-day/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 18:50:16 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90008 Today, French producer Quiet Dawn will release his debut album The First Day, a concept album of sorts centered on the "first day in search of love." The album sees release on First Word Records and is a collaborative amalgamation taking in jazz, hip-hop, and broken beat influences. The collaborators include Miles Bonny, Oddisee, and Sarah Gessler, among others, all adding their unique talents, with Quiet Dawn effortlessly forming a cohesive whole across the 12 tracks.

The First Day will be available on vinyl and digital here, with four of the album cuts streaming in full below.

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The Orb Announces New Album on Kompakt http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/the-orb-announces-new-album-on-kompakt/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/the-orb-announces-new-album-on-kompakt/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:09:21 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=90001 Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann (a.k.a. The Orb) will release Moon Building 2703 AD via Kompakt on June 22. The latest outing will follow up their 2005 album Okie Dokie It's The Orb On Kompakt, with another genre bending psychedelic LP. Alex describes the album as “a solid piece of music that mutates into an eight legged lunar Land Rover and takes off into a cosmic horizon of a million sounds, patterns and textures. It spins the listener on his/her head, rewiring their brains to maximum capacity, then brings them home, sweet home.”

Moon Building 2703 AD will be release on vinyl, CD, and digital on June 22, with full formats and tracklisting below.

Formats and Tracklisting:

180 gram vinyl LP:
A. GOD'S MIRRORBALL - 14:44 min
B. MOON SCAPES  2703 BC - 14:40 min
C. LUNAR CAVES - 13:06 min
D. MOONBUILDING 2703 AD - 13:06 min

Limited deluxe vinyl LP:
A. GOD'S MIRRORBALL - 14:44 min
B. MOON SCAPES 2703 BC - 14:40 min
C. LUNAR CAVES - 13:06 min
D. MOONBUILDING 2703 AD - 13:06 min
E. DILLA'S MOON QUAKE (The Orb's tribute to J Dilla) - 10:39 min
F. MOON QUAKE (slice of silver) - 08:44 min
MOON QUAKE 6  - 04:22 min

CD & download:
1. GOD'S MIRRORBALL - 14:44 min
2. MOON SCAPES 2703 BC - 14:40 min
3. LUNAR CAVES - 13:06 min
4. MOONBUILDING 2703 AD - 13:06 min

Download  deluxe:
1. GOD'S MIRRORBALL - 14:44 min
2. MOON SCAPES 2703 BC - 14:40 min
3. LUNAR CAVES - 13:06 min
4. MOONBUILDING 2703 AD - 13:06 min
5. MOON QUAKE (slice of silver) - 08:44 min
6. MOON QUAKE 6  - 04:22 min

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Rodriguez Jr. "Persistence Of Vision (Retinaculum Dub Mix)" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/rodriguez-jr-persistence-of-vision-retinaculum-dub-mix/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/rodriguez-jr-persistence-of-vision-retinaculum-dub-mix/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:15:17 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89988 French producer and live act Olivier Mateu (a.k.a. Rodriguez Jr.) released "Persistence Of Vision" on Mobilee Records almost a year ago. The typically melodic and soulful track become a key part of his live set and was the perfect accompaniment to last summer. Now a year on, we've been gifted a dub mix of "Persistence Of Vision," a deep and throbbing cut which was produced to give Mateu a darker option in his live sets. "This remix of 'Persistence Of Vision' has been created especially for my live performances." Mateu says, "My aim was to translate the original track, which is kind of housey and melodic, into something for darker rooms. It's been a great tool so far, as all of my sets really take off when I drop this bassline." You can check out a video of one of Mateu's live sets below, recorded at the recent Desert Hearts festival, along with a free download of the dub mix of "Persistence Of Vision".

Persistence Of Vision (Retinaculum Dub Mix)

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Marcel Dettmann, Norman Nodge, and Kobosil Remix Terence Fixmer http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/marcel-dettmann-norman-nodge-and-kobosil-remix-terence-fixmer/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/marcel-dettmann-norman-nodge-and-kobosil-remix-terence-fixmer/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:05:58 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89989 A Terence Fixmer original, "Aktion Mekanik Theme," has been given the remix treatment by Berlin techno mainstays Marcel Dettmann, Norman Nodge, and Kobosil, and is due out this summer on Ostgut Ton. The track was originally released as part of Fixmer's EBM compilation for Music Man in 2003; a press release states that it was "as much a landmark release for techno as the whole Aktion Mekanik compilation was for EBM as a genre."

Dettmann reportedly approached Fixmer with the remix project after hearing the original version played out by Kobosil in a club. "Marcel suggested to give this track a new life through remixes," Fixmer is quoted as saying. "The Kobosil one injects an amazing energy with a great sound, I wish I would have done such a version at that time. The Norman Nodge version could be a track done in '89 or '90, it sounds so much New Beat, very Belgian, like another original. And Marcel uncovers the core, the essence of the original—it has much suspense, it's dark and atmospheric."

Aktion Mekanik Theme Versions will see an official release on June 8, and the EP's complete tracklist is posted below, along with an unofficial stream of Fixmer's "Aktion Mekanik Theme."

A1. Action Mekanik Theme (Kobosil 44 version)
B1. Action Mekanik Theme (Norman Nodge NN Version)
B2. Action Mekanik Theme (Marcel Dettmann theme Version)
Digital bonus track: Action Mekanik Theme (Original Version)

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Blawan to Inaugurate New Label, Shares EP Previews http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/blawan-to-inaugurate-new-label-ternesc/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/blawan-to-inaugurate-new-label-ternesc/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:31:33 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89981 Jamie Roberts, the British techno producer better known as Blawan, has announced the start of his own label, TERNESC. While largely occupied with building his Karenn project with Pariah over the past few years, Roberts is planning to inaugurate the imprint with his first solo material since 2012. As he explained earlier today on Facebook (and Resident Advisor reports), TERNESC is named for his London club night by the same name and will serve as the main platform for his productions under the Blawan moniker. The upcoming EP, entitled Warm Tonal Touch, offers four modular techno tracks and is slated for release on May 12; a follow-up record will reportedly arrive "not long after."

Ahead of the release of Warm Tonal Touch next month, clips are available to stream below, where the EP's complete tracklist has also been included.

01. Talatone
02. Fentanyl
03. Slow Mick
04. Blue Bottle

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Various Artists Future Disco 8: ­ ​Nighttime Networks http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/04/various-artists-future-disco-8-%c2%ad-%e2%80%8bnighttime-networks/ http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/04/various-artists-future-disco-8-%c2%ad-%e2%80%8bnighttime-networks/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89965 Naming your mix-CD compilation series Future Disco probably made a lot of sense when the premiere installment came out way back in 2009. Those were the heady days of the nu-disco movement, when the idea of cross-pollinating house, Balearic-tinged rhythms and glitterball beats still seemed shiny and new. (Never mind that the sound had basically been around since…well, since disco producers first discovered drum machines, which was a long time ago.) But that’s all beside the point, as the "disco" half of the moniker always seemed more of a suggestion than a rule—tracks like the subdued Koze remix of Mount Kimbie’s “Made to Stray” (from last year’s Future Disco 7) or Bot’ox’s “Blue Steel” (from 2010’s third edition) have a pretty tenuous connection with what most people traditionally think of as disco, anyway. The only thing that matters is if the compilations are any good—and if you’re at all into warm, moderately paced four-to-the-floor grooves with a generally optimistic feel, than the Future Disco series has been very good indeed. (Fans of, say, Lustmord might have a differing opinion.)

From the outset, it’s clear that Future Disco 8, released on the Needwant label, will not disappoint: Opener “Your Life,” from Australian producer Andras Fox, is a treat, its synapse-ticking chords and gentle orchestral stabs getting the mix started with a dose of warm-breeze-in-the-bright-sun cheer. The Tuff City Kids Acid Over remix of the Working Elite’s “Freedom” anchors dollops of lilting 303 bleeps with a percolating bassline and modulated piano; the James Zabiela version of Hot Chip’s “How Do You Do,” one of the more somber and grander tracks of the mix, marries spacious cathedral chords to its syncopated kick and claps; and Rob Basejam’s “Dippin’ In” is the kind of dream-state roller-skating jam that, to quote the great Vaughn Mason, will make you wanna “rock left, rock right, to the end of the groove.”

There are a few cuts that might divide listeners. Johnny Blake’s breathy voice on the Chopstick & Johnjon mix of Zoot Woman’s "Don’t Tear Yourself Apart" might annoy those averse to preciousness, for instance, though there’s little denying the beauty of the track’s cascading synths. Likewise, the vocals on the Gardens of Love remix of Vimes’s “Celestial” hue a little to close to Chris Martin’s oeuvre (definitely not a good thing)—though again, the song itself is utterly gorgeous. But those are minor complaints—this is a gem of a set, one that we think transcends categories, disco or otherwise. Bonus: a second CD with stand-along versions of some of the mix’s best tunes.


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Logos Preps EP for Different Circles, Streams Track http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/logos-preps-ep-for-different-circles/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/logos-preps-ep-for-different-circles/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:52:13 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89973 East London producer and Boxed regular Logos (a.k.a. James Parker) has shared details for an upcoming record on Different Circles, the label he and Mumdance launched late last year. The four-track Glass EP follows from Proto, his recent full-length with Mumdance on Tectonic, and features what is described as "an apocalyptic noise remix" from Berlin-based industrial techno producer Shapednoise. (It's worth noting that all three aforementioned producers also work together under the moniker The Sprawl.)

Glass will see a vinyl release on May 18, and its title track can be streamed via Boiler Room Debuts below, where the the EP's artwork and tracklist are also on view.


A1. Glass
A2. Glass (Shapednoise Remix)
B1. No Skyline
B2. Savanna Overlord

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Camea Steps up for Get Physical's Full Body Workout Vol. 15 http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/camea-will-mix-get-physicals-body-workout-vol-15/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/camea-will-mix-get-physicals-body-workout-vol-15/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:43:13 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89956 On Monday, Get Physical will release the 15th edition of the popular Full Body Workout series mixed by Seattle's Camea. Alongside tracks from artists on the Get Physical roster such as Alican, Julian Ganzer & IOAKIM SAYZ, and Tom Peters, Camea has included two exclusives of her own; both of which you can preview below. Like the editions before it, the mix aims to present the sound and dynamic range of Get Physical, as well as the current movements happening in electronic music.

Camea will also be kicking off her new radio show concept, Neverwhere, which will air on the third Friday of every month on Digitally Imported Radio. The show will feature mixes from Camea, complimented by occasional interviews and guest mixes, which will set the stage for an eclectic mix of “dark, tech house grooves and spacey techno—stuff that takes me out there.”

Full Body Workout Vol. 15 will be released this coming Monday on Beatport, followed by all other outlets on May 8.

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Liar to Release New EP on Infinite Machine; Listen to a Preview http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/liar-to-release-new-ep-on-infinite-machine-listen-to-a-preview/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/liar-to-release-new-ep-on-infinite-machine-listen-to-a-preview/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:34:34 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89945 Bucharest producer Liar has become quite a fixture on Canadian label Infinite Machine and is described as their "resident tearjerker," with his back catalogue featuring ballads, pop influenced cuts, and "dream-spawned narrative arcs." His upcoming EP, Genesis Dubs, pulls heavily from '90s jungle and rave, with three thunderous tracks in line with the likes of Dillinja, Goldie and DJ SS.

You can preview the EP below, before its full release next week.

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Premiere: Stream the Forthcoming Desert Sound Colony EP http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-stream-the-forthcoming-desert-sound-colony-ep/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-stream-the-forthcoming-desert-sound-colony-ep/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89920 London producer Desert Sound Colony debuted on Francis Harris and Anthony Collins' Scissor & Thread imprint late last year with his The Way I Began EP. Later this month he will follow that up with a second effort for the label, the four-track Cracks In My Soul EP. Like his debut, the release is a rich, reverb-heavy affair, "shimmering with hypnotic lullabies and sweeping, detail-orientated instrumentation." Ahead of its full release on Scissor & Thread on April 27, Cracks In My Soul can be streamed in full on the player below, where we have also included details of Desert Sound Colony's three US dates next month.

May 2nd: Further Future Festival - Las Vegas, NV
May 15th: Together Festival - Boston, MA
May 16th: Resolute - New York, NY

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Gordon "MK Ultra" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/gordon-mk-ultra/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/gordon-mk-ultra/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:14:45 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89940 Earlier this year, rising French producer Gordon released his debut EP, Bleu Merle, on the Infiné imprint. The four track affair showed a producer completely in tune with his sound with a set of dense productions heavily influenced by Detroit techno and leftfield electronic music. This time around, Gordon has offered up "MK Ultra," a smoky, hallucinogenic ride said to be inspired by the illegal CIA operation of the same name that attempted to brainwash people in the '60s and '70s. Across its nearly seven minute run, "MK Ultra" builds from disorienting vocals and a muted low end, to a hard hitting bassline, low slung chords, and swirling synths, all culminating into a track sure to set dancefloors alight.


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Kenny Glasgow Leaves Art Department http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/kenny-glasgow-leaves-art-department/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/kenny-glasgow-leaves-art-department/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:36:35 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89936 In a statement released this afternoon, Toronto house duo Art Department has announced the departure of Kenny Glasgow from the band after five years, two albums and a slew of EPs and remixes. In the statement, Glasgow says: "This kind of a project is like a creative marriage and after 5 years we just feel like there's more we need to do in other areas. Having already released a solo album, I have felt a strong need to follow that up and explore that side of my production. Art Department is in a great place and I'm not getting any younger, now is the time."

The pair's careers still look destined to be pretty interlinked, however. A new collaborative label is apparently in the works with the name Social Experiment, and the statement adds that the pair "will continue to do a very limited number of special appearances together throughout 2015 and have already been in talks about a potential live show as a future project."

Glasgow is planning to release his sophomore solo LP on the pair's No.19 Music label later this year.

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Stream Two Tracks From Kit Grill's Upcoming EP http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/stream-two-tracks-from-kit-grills-upcoming-ep/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/stream-two-tracks-from-kit-grills-upcoming-ep/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:06:21 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89929 London-based NTS resident Kit Grill has made two tracks from his forthcoming, limited-edition EP available for stream via Boiler Room Debuts. The Europe EP carries on where his 2013 debut album, Mirror Image, left off, gathering together five strikingly beautiful, regal compositions recorded in January and February of this year. EP tracks "Overnight" and "Information" can be streamed on the player below, while Europe, which is limited to 100 copies, is released on Grill's own Primary Colours label this coming Monday, and can be pre-ordered on his Bandcamp page. Ahead of that Kit Grill can be seen in London tonight with longtime champion and associate Jacques Greene at AIRspace in Brixton.

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Nicolas Jaar Preps His First Solo 12" in Four Years http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/nicolas-jaar-preps-his-first-12-in-four-years/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/nicolas-jaar-preps-his-first-12-in-four-years/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:27:48 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89923 As RA reports, Nicolas Jaar has just announced his first solo 12" in four years. Details on the new release are currently thin on the ground—no previews or artwork are available yet and Jaar simply says that the two tracks that comprise it were recorded in his hometown of New York City between 2011 and 2015. He has however confirmed the track titles, which can be found below, as well as a release date of May 11 on his own Other People imprint.

A1 The Three Sides Of Audrey And Why She's All Alone Now
B1 No One Is Looking At U

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Tresor to Release Surgeon Boxset http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/tresor-to-release-surgeon-boxset/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/tresor-to-release-surgeon-boxset/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 02:27:16 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89912 Tresor Records, the label arm of the famous Berlin club, will reissue three albums from British techno pioneer Surgeon. The LPs—Basictonalvocabulary, Balance, and Free + Form—originally released on the Berlin imprint between '97 and '99, will now be presented as a series of 2xLPs throughout the year, while a bundle of the albums will arrive as a three disc CD box June 8. The original Remake 12"s that accompanied each album will also receive the same treatment, along with alternate versions by Surgeon and contributions from Mick Harris.


01. (Intro)
02. First
03. Krautrock
04. Movement
05. 9 Hours into the Future
06. Depart
07. Rotunda
08. Waiting
09. Scorn
10. Return

01. Preview
02. Golden
03. Circles
04. The Heath
05. Pnuma
06. Set One
07. Set Two
08. Box
09. Dialogue
10. Dinah's Dream

Force + Form:
01. Remants of What Once Was
02. Black Jackal Throwbacks
03. Returning To The Purity Of Current
04. At The Heart Of It All

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Premiere: Download a New Remix by Nguzunguzu http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-download-a-new-remix-by-nguzunguzu/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-download-a-new-remix-by-nguzunguzu/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 21:50:19 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89907 After lying dormant for almost 20 years, the legendary Fania Records was recently revived with a new focus on contemporary artists, giving them unprecedented access to the highly regarded back catalogue for remixes. Fania has since released remixes from artists such as Twin Shadow, Giles Peterson, and Quantic, in an ongoing series of remix compilations from Armada Fania. The upcoming compilation will feature a remix by Los Angeles based duo Nguzunguzu, who turn in a bouncy, percussion heavy rework of Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe's "Timbalero." To celebrate the release, Subsuelo and Late Night Laggers will be throwing a party at Los Globos tomorrow night, with MA from Nguzunguzu as a special guest.

You can find more info about the party here, with the Nguzunguzu remix of "Timbalero" available as a full stream and download below.

Timbalero (Nguzunguzu Remix)

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Seth Troxler Announces New EP on Tuskegee http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/seth-troxler-announces-new-ep-on-tuskegee/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/seth-troxler-announces-new-ep-on-tuskegee/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:43:30 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89902 Seth Troxler will release his latest EP, Just Back, on April 27 via Tuskegee, the label he c0-founded with The Martinez Brothers last year. The EP will be Troxler's first solo outing on the label and finds the DJ and producer in fine form with two slamming house cuts. "CZ" opens the EP with a bubbling atmosphere and sharp percussion, building tension towards a twisted organ line that kicks the track into overdrive. "Junkyard Tool" rounds things out and is an altogether more propulsive track; complete with rolling percussion and swirling, overhead, synths.

Just Back will be released on Vinyl April 27, with the digital release following on May 18.

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Premiere: Hear Eprom Remix Amon Tobin's "In Your Own Time" http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-eprom-remix-amon-tobins-in-your-own-time/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-eprom-remix-amon-tobins-in-your-own-time/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:07:04 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89896 Amon Tobin is back with Dark Jovian, an exclusive Record Store Day release and his first since 2011's breathtaking ISAM. The EP is a stunning, sonic experimentation with cinematic qualities, which wears it's influences on its sleeve. "I made these tracks a year or two ago after binge-watching space exploration films. People have, from time to time, described things I've done as "scores for imaginary movies," which has always irritated me, but on this occasion it's sort of true." Amon says, "Anyone who loves John Williams, Gerry Goldsmith or Gyorgy Ligeti will hopefully see what I'm drawing from, and how it then sits in an electronic context. Dark Jovian is a small personal project which is, nevertheless, dear to me: A one off indulgence into a genre that I love."

Dark Jovian will be released via Ninja Tune this Saturday, with the Eprom Remix of "In Your Own Time" streaming in full below, along with the product video for the release.

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Usmev "This Vibe (Vocal Mix)" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/usmev-this-vibe-vocal-mix/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/usmev-this-vibe-vocal-mix/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:35:18 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89892 We last heard from Usmev in February this year with his rework of Trulz & Robin's "Adventure," which saw the Barcelona producer add his club-ready touch to the almost beatless original to great effect. Now, Usmev is back with his latest EP, This Vibe, on Cymasonic Recordings, which shows the producer's range with a melange of dancefloor focused pieces. Included on the release is "This Vibe (Vocal Mix)," a slamming, vocal heavy track opening with sharp hi-hats and looped chords, progressing into a hard hitting bassline. The EP will see release May 2 and in the meantime you can download "This Vibe (Vocal Mix)" for free below, with the "This Vibe" also streaming in full. 

This Vibe (Vocal Mix)

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Pev & Hodge Announce Joint EP for Livity Sound, Share Previews http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/pev-hodge-announce-joint-ep-for-livity-sound-share-previews/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/pev-hodge-announce-joint-ep-for-livity-sound-share-previews/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:56:31 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89884 Pev & Hodge are set to deliver Bristol outpost Livity Sound's second release of 2015. The arrival of the two-track 12" on May 11 marks the pair's first collaborative outing since 2013's Bells EP, although both have remained active in other solo and shared projects. According to a press release, the record's two tracks are the result of jam sessions between the two producers, and are described as "frenetic, intense, and fully Livity Sound in style." Hear previews of title track "21 Versions" and b-side "What Your Heart Knows" below.

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Sónar Completes Line-Up for 2015 Edition http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/sonar-finalizes-line-up-for-2015-edition/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/sonar-finalizes-line-up-for-2015-edition/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:14:48 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89876 Sónar has unveiled the final batch of artists scheduled to appear at this year's Barcelona edition in June, making the 2015 line-up complete. Joining an already stacked festival bill that includes The Chemical Brothers, Duran Duran, FKA Twigs, Arca, Autechre, and more is Nazoranai (the formidable trio of Keiji Haino, Stephen O'Malley, and Oren Ambarchi), Barcelona favorite Pional, hip-hop producer Just Blaze, and Koreless, who will appear with visual artist Emmanuel Biard. James Ginzberg of experimental duo Emptyset will premiere a new A/V work with French artist Joanie Lemercier, and Evol and Davic Nod will play as part of an Editions Mego showcase.

Sónar runs from June 18–20; for a complete festival lineup and ticketing information, head here.

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Real Talk: Ambivalent http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/real-talk-ambivalent/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/real-talk-ambivalent/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89847 'Real Talk' is a series of artist-penned essays that appears on XLR8R from time to time.

This installment's scribe is  producer Kevin McHugh, the man better known as Ambivalent. McHugh's production career began in 2006, when his 'Roomies' EP came out on Camea's Clink label—but it was the following year that changed his life, with the release of "R U OK" on Richie Hawtin's Minus. The skeletal, late-night tweaker of a track was massive, and established McHugh as one of Minus's mainstays. In 2012,  after feeling a bit constricted by the techno label's sonic template, McHugh amicably parted ways with the label; since then, he's unleashed his inner househead via his Amber persona, served up some tasty techno in his LA-4A guise, and put out an nice array of fierce electronics (from Matrixxman, Alden Tyrell, himself and others) via the Clone-distributed Delft label. And he's not done yet: his even newer label, Valence, just sprang into existence with the release of an excellent Ambivalent three-tracker. This essay sees the Berlin-dwelling artist posing the age-old question: Just what the hell is a DJ?

If you ask sports fans, they can tell you in solid detail about the rules of the game they love. Most of the time a squad of players move something from one end of a rectangle to a small portal on the opposing side of that rectangle, similarities abound. The differences are what define the games. Move the ball with your feet: That’s football. Pick it up and toss it: That’s rugby. Put it on a wood court: basketball. Put it on ice and it becomes some brutal thing where white people with sticks forfeit blood and teeth.

A slightly more vague set of boundaries define styles of music. I don’t want to wade into examples of what puts a track in or outside the box of what’s techno or house. But suffice to say, most fans can agree on how to classify whatever they’re currently hearing. The more subdivided the classifications, the differences become more nuanced. Still, most can agree on basic stylistic differences.

But what a lot of electronic music fans can’t seem to agree upon is a really simple, albeit fundamental question: What is DJing? More crucial: What is not DJing? The term wasn’t exactly simple at its inception, but it’s only gotten harder. The bounds are being tested all the time, and they seem to shift—not just moment-to-moment, but in how they're applied to any individual DJ. Lots of tech riders include laptops or CDJs. As far as I know, only one includes cakes.

To wade in slowly, I’m going to say we have to cut a higher standard than “DJing is anything done by one who calls themselves a DJ.” The diplomatic definition might say that it’s any time a person presents a sequence of recordings to create a collective effect within the listener...yeah? Sounds pretentious, like an art-school homework assignment.

But you’ll also have to excuse any of us who hesitate at the notion that DJing is exclusively achieved by layering vinyl discs in the same tempo. Yes, that’s my personal introduction to DJing, one of my favorite ways to play, and it’s the origin of dance-music culture. But it would exclude Theo Parrish, who can sometimes forego beat-matching in order to play the best selection, or Function, who has played blistering sets of angular techno from a laptop. No fan of the art would begrudge either man his due as a Real DJ.

So what does Paris Hilton do? (Note to self-—bumper-sticker idea: WDPHD?) I’ll anticipate your response and follow up. If she’s not a real DJ, what does a real DJ do?

Full disclosure: I’ve faced the question myself. Lately I choose to play with Pioneer CDJs in clubs, and vinyl at home (if you’re asking: There’s not a chance I’m trusting one of 200 extant copies of a prized record to the geniuses at Easyjet. Current Discogs prices mean replacing my collection would require selling all of my organs—yes all of them). Previously, I spent time lugging multiple computing platforms and lengths of cables through clubs, airports and hotels. Before that I played what I called “live” but was far less “live” than my DJ sets. For a while I used the multilayered approach with lots of interlocking loops and tracks, but ultimately realized that my job was more about letting the music do its job.

Seeing KiNK play live—using vinyl, computers, machines and a lot of adrenaline—will frustrate any definition of the boundaries of DJing (or live music in general). Great artists can often do that. Is he a DJ? Certainly. Is he simultaneously many other things? Absolutely.

Maybe the technical questions are too murky. Let’s skip the question of how a DJ does what they do. I still have to ask, what does a DJ do?

Let’s talk about the music a DJ decides to play. I’ve heard a lot of fans and colleagues talk in awe of DJs who play “their sound.” I have to admit it’s something I hadn’t encountered as much when I started, but lately it’s a marker of a massively successful DJ to play several hours of records with a single constant groove, sonic signature, timbre and energy level. Many of the artists I once followed for their ability to manipulate a crowd through twisted, bouncing hours that resembled a motocross track have recently switched to bringing listeners over a flat autobahn through a cornfield. (No judgements,—some cornfields are transcendently beautiful). Others still carry the banner for the polyglots and omnivores—those who want music of many colors placed in elegant order, with a sommelier's touch for vintage, provenance and taste. Is one of these a better model for DJing?

A word I keep hearing lately is “uncompromising.” It flatters anyone it’s applied to, as I think most of us in the modern era believe art is made in a hermetic womb indifferent to the outside world. But nightclubs aren’t museums. Is a DJ meant to present his or her vision of music regardless of who’s listening? Is the DJ expected to have a single, unbending vision, ruthlessly applied in any context? Conversely, how far should a DJ adapt to make an uninterested room start dancing? Maybe this is all theoretical bullshit, but I’ve faced it personally when looking out at a room of dancers and wondering about the limits of their expectations or patience. I’ll just say I’ve been both pleasantly surprised at times, and sorely disappointed at others.

I recently played at Berghain, a room famous for a very specific brand of techno, under my LA-4A alias. I had to think a lot about how the expectations of that room fit with what I wanted to present under that alias. I ended up digging out records I’d owned for 20 years, rare gems I’d forgotten to play, and some classics every DJ loves. The balancing act went both ways—some moments leaned into expectations, some went completely against the grain, and I felt the crowd was with me the whole time. At the end, I felt like I’d rediscovered my roots as a DJ. Finding the intersection of my ideas and the audience's desires made me a better DJ, but it ruined my chances of being called “uncompromising.”

Another variable thrown into this mix of questions is: how has the definition of the art form changed over time? Last year, the venerable legend Derrick May lamented on Twitter about the way the scene has changed.

No one would ever doubt the art of DJing embodied by Mr. May, nor would many DJs, young or old, withstand a comparison to him. I’d contend that he’s one of “today’s DJs”—he’s certainly not yesterday’s—and he’s still got the gift. I was lucky enough to play before him earlier this year; it’s clear he’s not resting on his laurels. Whatever time or planet he came from, he can smoke 99 percent of DJs. But how could we compare a young DJ to those who started before he or she was born? If two DJs play the same party, one who’s 23, the other is 50, which one is “today’s DJ?” Experience counts for a lot in this culture, but it’s not everything. For every young hack with 100,000 Facebook fans and laptop full of stolen mp3s, there’s a feckless senior living off what he did during the Reagan administration. Young and old DJs can suck, regardless of age. More importantly, every year a bumper crop of fresh DJs arrives, dedicated masters of their craft, and every year we hear stories of once-bright stars who burned out. Let’s agree that of all the confusing criteria for who is a DJ, age is not a factor.

So far I’ve asked a lot of questions, and maybe the guy who calls himself “Ambivalent” can’t be expected to take a single position in a debate. But why don’t I take a stab at answering them from my own subjective viewpoint. It’ll make for better sensational context-free pull-quotes.

First up: if you’re worried about Paris Hilton, Guetta, or any other mainstream Gollum corrupting your art form, then you’re probably already swimming too close to their boat. Yes, what they do is DJing. No, their version of DJing will never affect what happens in record shops or on Sunday mornings at Berghain. When punk went mainstream, no one confused Blink 182 for Fugazi; the latter cast a longer shadow and far outlived the former. Of course, the money went the opposite direction, so choose wisely.

Next question: what does a DJ use? The only people who should know which gear is used in the booth are the DJ, and the club’s sound technician. I guarantee that the most important information about a DJ set can be ascertained with your eyes closed and your body moving. I’ve always said that DJing is like sex—if you like it, you’re open to every available technique. Some techniques are awkward, others are easy; some are reliable classics, others require devices and tech support…and all are sufficiently documented on the internet. Do your own research, practice at home.

Photo: Lars Borges

Photo: Lars Borges

The next one is stickier, and I’m probably on the edge of getting in trouble here, but fuck it. I think there are two kinds of listeners: those who want what they expect, and those who want what they don’t expect. I am a nerd, and when it comes to entertainment, I’m a masochist. I want a band to play the obscure album cuts, I want a DJ who will make me twist my face like I smelled something awful. I won’t argue with the notion that playing to 10,000 people, threee times a week, 150 nights per year might require a certain streamlining, some smoothing of the edges. Andy Warhol said he loved Coca-Cola because “it tastes the same everywhere you go.” Things worked out well for Coca-Cola, and for Andy. There seems to be a heated contest for becoming the Coca-Cola of techno—everyone’s working on their “brand.” I wish them all success, they understand business in a way I never could, and to the victor go the spoils. I just prefer more surprises.

So to answer the big question—what does a DJ do? While there’s no definitive answer, and everyone’s answer is different, here’s mine:

I want to hear a DJ who loves the music I love and loves the music they play; who plays records I know and records I’ve never heard; who will play an mp3 or a dusty 45 if the moment is right; who cares less about having a “sound” and more about what they hear; who chases records to collect them as much as to use them; who listens to their audience as much as the audience listens to them; who never stops trying to achieve something and never rests on what they’ve achieved; who puts less focus on where they’re from, and more on where they are.

My answer to the question is this: a DJ is someone who plays music beautifully.

And I am pretty sure that can function independently of Coca-Cola.

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FunkinEven Returns as St. Julien http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/funkineven-returns-as-st-julian/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/funkineven-returns-as-st-julian/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:36:06 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89872 Apron label head Steven Julien (better known as FunkinEven) will release a new EP as St. Julien later this spring. Apron started as an outlet for Julian's own productions, but has expanded to include a corps of likeminded artists such as Seven Davis Jr., Lord Tusk, and new signee Brassfoot; it also scored a top spot in XLR8R's roundup of 2014's best labels. As Resident Advisor reports, Julian has recently taken on production work for hip-hop artists like Earl Sweatshirt and Alchemist, following collaborations with Jay Daniel, Delroy Edwards, and Kyle Hall.

Entitled A16, the new record features a joint track with Budgie, who cropped up on Theo Parrish's Wildheart imprint in 2014. Julien is also reportedly at work on a FunkinEven full-length, which should arrive sometime this year. A16 lands on May 18, and until then, a stream of EP cut "Evenbud (feat. Budgie)" can be heard here via RA, while the record's complete tracklist has been posted below.

A1 Institute
A2 Evenbud
B1 Pulse
B2 Luv Triangle

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Akai Professional Launches the MIDImix http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/akai-professional-launches-the-midimix/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/akai-professional-launches-the-midimix/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:57:32 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89841 The MIDImix is a compact high-performance mixer that has the ability to control virtually any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) with the press of a single button. The unit features eight individual line faders, each with three performance knobs, and two buttons for arming, recording, and muting the channel, as well as a master fader. It aims to give musicians an unparalleled, portable mixing solution for their projects.

The Akai Professional MIDImix will be available in June for $99.99

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10 Reasons We Loved Amsterdam's DGTL Festival http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/10-reasons-we-loved-amsterdams-dgtl-festival/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/04/10-reasons-we-loved-amsterdams-dgtl-festival/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:56:19 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89785 If there’s one thing that can be said about the Netherlands, it's this: Dutch people really know how to party. And importantly, they understand how to put on a party properly.

Easter weekend saw the great and good of clued-up electronic enthusiasts descend on an abandoned shipyard in north Amsterdam for the country’s first festival of 2015, and things went off with a bang. Spanning Saturday and Sunday, with after-parties each day and a smaller opening bash on Friday night, DGTL was serious about music, production, sustainability, and dystopian aesthetics; at times it felt like Escape From New York: The Rave Cut. We went, saw, heard, enjoyed, and—until a disgustingly early flight home on Monday morning just hours after our last moments on the dancefloor—conquered. After picking up the pieces, here are ten things we feel compelled to write home about.

DGTL P1010127

The location alone is worth visiting.

NDSM Docklands is a stunning setting for techno—of which there was plenty. During the lengthy ten-day set up more than 200 shipping containers were brought to the site, some of which would eventually form venues for the music.

It was industrial to the core—while we’re not always fans of huge warehouses, in this instance these settings worked, and the whole area was cleverly used (not least positioning Red Bull Music Academy Radio at the top of a crane overlooking the entire area). Meanwhile, with those after-parties taking over from 11PM at the same location, if you were powering through until morning it didn’t take long to reach the next destination.

In terms of overall festival experiences, DGTL was hard to fault.

DGTL ranks amongst the most fun we’ve had in the last 12 months–and definitely the most fun we’ve ever had in a place once used for the loading and unloading of goods from boats.

In addition to laughs, of which there were plenty, the execution was impressive. The standard of food was high, with everything from real burgers (i.e., not frozen suggestions of beef) to fresh pizzas available. The sound systems in every area were good, albeit not mind-blowing. The atmosphere from start to finish was truly infectious; smiles, handshakes, hugs and shared medicines. Oh, and thanks to a moneyless payment system involving topping up innovative smart-wristbands, we can’t really remember queueing for very long- whether at the bar or obligatory sausage stand.


Interactive sustainability is a real thing here.

OK, so festivals with an environmentally aware policy are nothing new, or indeed particularly unique. Nevertheless, DGTL’s approach to not causing much of an impact on the environment was impressive.

Billed as DGTL Revolution, the organizers were actively experimenting with a variety of power sources over the course of the weekend to gauge which worked best. These included wind turbines, a hydro-pumping station, solar panels and a human power station whereby passersby could hop on an exercise bike and, using the revolutions of the wheel, generate their own electricity. Meanwhile, the Electric Hotel—basically a place to charge your phone- was similarly running on renewables, and very useful at 10PM.

Happa is a name you should remember.

It’s safe to say we heard some solid sets during the course of our stay, but first prize has to go to the ridiculously enjoyable and refreshingly varied U.K. upstart, Happa. Finishing off the Stereo stage—a.k.a. a wrought iron bunker—on the final day needed something special, and Happa was it.

Following an intense and slightly garish introduction—from both an enthusiastic guy on the microphone and one hell of a huge synth and snare build—Truss's "Brockweir" opened the scoring for some heavy-duty rave-accented techno, riddled with clanging noises and cerated high hats, broken electro drops and bassbin shaking dubstep builders like Tessela’s "Gateway"—concluding with some nifty EQ work, tearing up staccato kicks in a way that left us wanting much, much more.

DGTL P1010129

Michael Mayer and Roman Flugel, minus the sun.

It should have been one of the busiest sets of the weekend- three hours from Kompakt hero Michael Mayer and fellow Germanic heavyweight Roman Flügel. But it didn’t quite work out as planned.

The pair were playing the huge Digital stage, which just 24-hours before had been heaving from front to back. Thanks to the canvass covering, though, and a surprise appearance from the sunshine, we arrived to find it largely empty, with most people standing outside, just in earshot, enjoying the rays. Nevertheless the duo persevered, slowly drawing listeners onto the dancefloor with wonderfully infectious percussive numbers, finishing up with a sizable crowd losing their minds. All good then.

Phono Stage, from start to finish, on Saturday.

Although it’s never a great idea to stay in one fixed spot at a festival boasting six arenas, each with several highlights on their respective bills—not least because it means you can’t go to the bar, or the toilet—we’re always pleased to see a line up that’s so good you could easily choose not to move, if the mood took you. Such was Phono on the first day.

By the time we got there Locked Groove was in charge, and living up to his name with a range of funky but banging tech house stompers that represent the antithesis of the subgenre’s throwaway pap; think Mr. G–in-looped-vocal mode. From there we were treated to Amsterdam's own Steve Rachmad; a live performance from CW/A; the ever impressive Boddika with a set defined by Impact Units’ Tenshin; followed by overall show stealer Makam, who outdid the lot with an array of big-room-yet-heads-down, U.K.–bass-leaning monsters. In short, whoever was responsible for the programming here needs a substantial bonus.

DGTL TD-20150405-DGTL-003-5331

The artistic side of the event was, in a word, mental.

As we already pointed out, DGTL puts an emphasis on aesthetics, and 2015’s edition lived up to our expectations. Which is probably putting it mildly.

Dotted around the site was a perpetual pendulum, known as the Chaosgenerator—created by the winners of the festival’s Kinetic Art Pitch competition, which ran on wind; the Hypercube (pictured), open for anyone to sit in and feel like a character from Tron, and a fire-breathing mechanical dragon that played some pretty weird music. This is in addition to performers using CCTV puppets, the human disco ball Bella Berlin, and more.

Maceo Plex deserved to close his own room.

By the time the Ellum bossman took control of the booth in the arena his organization was hosting, the words "hot," "packed," and "sweaty" best describe the scenario. Although perhaps a little too hectic if you suffer from claustrophobia, enduring the chaos was well worth it.

A combination of notably progressive-leaning house and deep but driving numbers ensured what we saw of his three hours definitely impressed. Stand out moments like Poni Hoax’s Hypercommunication or, with its sparse ambiance and moody vocals, Plex’s own remix of WhoMadeWho’s Heads Above pretty much summarize how it all went down musically. Meanwhile, our damp t-shirts were proof of the energy inside.

dgtl P1010102

Recondite’s apparently effortless live show.

It’s always impressive to see someone playing live properly. Recondite did just that in the Innervisions room (or shipping container) for 60 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

Despite this meaning missing the good weather outside, there could be no complaints. Going at it with a full hardware kit may be the latest way to show people you’re "serious about music," but rather than this being another pointless exercise in knob-twiddling—only achieving what could be done through a laptop anyway—it was a real display of musical pedigree. From space-age synth melodies ringing out on a MIDI keyboard, to drum machines emitting the kind of toughness that can ruin subswoofers, the performance seemed fully impromptu (though in reality it was undoubtedly meticulously planned).

After-parties we wished would never end.

Thanks to the relatively intimate size of DGTL and the huge Scheepsbouwloods after-party venue, carrying things on into the early hours wasn’t a problem. Luckily, anyone who had chosen to ‘camp’ in on-site "chalets" (a generous description for what resembled a prison hut), automatically had entry to the nocturnal events, so you didn’t have to stay in the poky but adequate accommodations for long.

Sunday’s finale saw John Talabot deliver one of the best sets we’ve heard from him, followed by former Trouw resident Job Jobse taking his home crowd on a compelling, peak-time journey, showing why that club's closing earlier this year is such a huge loss for Amsterdam. The only disappointment was  the need to drag ourselves away before the last tune in order to ensure there was enough time to pack before heading to the airport.

Oh, well—you can’t have everything.

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Walrus "Mother Nature" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/walrus-mother-nature/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/04/walrus-mother-nature/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89820 Walrus is a DJ and producer hailing from Brussels who specialises in leftfield club music. He's also one third of the Bepotel project, alongside Sagat and &Apos, which also has a label arm in Bepotel Records. At the end of this month, Walrus will release his latest EP, Club Jonathan, on the Roze Balletten label. The six track EP will be the second release on the Belgium label and is a nice blend of moody house tracks infused with jazzy acid tinged elements. In support of the release, Walrus has offered up his track "Mother Nature," a swinging house cut that gallops along held together by jittering percussion and airy pads. You can download "Mother Nature" for free below ahead of the EP's release at the end of the month.

Mother Nature


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Dasha Rush Sleepstep: Sonar Poems for My Sleepless Friends http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/04/dasha-rush-sleepstep-sonar-poems-for-my-sleepless-friends/ http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/04/dasha-rush-sleepstep-sonar-poems-for-my-sleepless-friends/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:45:48 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89812 In addition to her long-standing relationship with techno, Dasha Rush no stranger to experimental electronic music—and Sleepstep is an impressive and highly conceptual culmination of her various talents and past projects. Its intention is to create a dream-like state that explores the liminal space where the waking world overlaps with sleep (and vice versa). The album's production and sound design is on a level with the likes of Pole as well as Vladislav Delay, Alva Noto, and the rest of Raster-Noton's past and present roster; silence, noise, spatial awareness, and sonic decay are used with a meticulous finesse that brings Rush's slumberous hinterland to life.

More conventional dancefloor-oriented techno is vaguely hinted at on “Abandoned Beauties and Beasts,” but its churning atmospherics never give way to a proper beat. “100 Hearts” also explores minimalist, sci-fi techno sans drum machine; bleeps flicker like distant antennas, or like city lights over breathy pads, as bursts of noise spontaneously clack across the mix like shooting stars. Dub techno and reggae form the backbone of “Scratching Your Surface (Revisited)” and “Antares,” while “Fog, Dogma, and Bread” approaches similar territory, but somewhat ambiguously with a strong ambient bent. “Sleep Ballade” and “Lumiere Avant Midi” draw us further into a semi-lucid state with their melancholic ebb and flow forming a meditative, slow lope.

Dasha Rush's voice shines on “Sail Away To Her,” where it takes the form of operatic drones that anchor the track's softly burbling arpeggios and strings to create one of Sleepstep's best and most emotional moments. On “Dance with Edgar Poe” and “Life Time Poem,” her spoken-word lyrics form the focus of the track, and at times are a bit distracting from all the lovely instrumental elements also occurring, but they never completely overtake and undermine the music. Finally, album closer “Outer Space” leaves us with a suitably celestial wash of mechanical sounds that elongate and fade away into distant nothingness. At last…sleep has arrived.

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Premiere: Hear Sasha B2B Dubfire Live 6 Hour Set http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-sasha-b2b-dubfire-live-6-hour-set/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/04/premiere-hear-sasha-b2b-dubfire-live-6-hour-set/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:42:37 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=89833 Late last year, Trade Nightclub hosted Link Miami Rebels for When Pigs Fly, an event in collaboration with New York's Verboten that paired up four very influential electronic music icons and label heads for all night B2B sets. Room one featured the mouth watering match up of Sasha and Dubfire, with room two hosting Carl Craig and Matthew Dear.

We've been presented with the six hour B2B set from Sasha and Dubfire, which traverses all manner of house and techno and encompasses the full range of both artists. You can stream the full set in two parts below.

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