XLR8R http://www.xlr8r.com Accelerating music & culture Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:37:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Lowdown: The XLR8R Top 10 with Juan Atkins, Nina Kraviz, Clark, and More http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/the-lowdown-the-xlr8r-top-10-with-juan-atkins-nina-kraviz-clark-and-more/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/the-lowdown-the-xlr8r-top-10-with-juan-atkins-nina-kraviz-clark-and-more/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:00:35 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85827 Throughout the week, a whole lot of material gets posted here on XLR8R. And while we know—and love—that some hardcore readers will eagerly pour over every single news story, interview, podcast, video, and MP3 download that appears on the site, we also realize that for most people, it's impossible to see everything, which means that some quality XLR8R content is likely to get missed in the hustle and bustle of everyone's daily lives. In the interest of making it easier for everyone to catch up, every Friday we present The Lowdown, a weekly wrap-up of the top 10 tidbits from our site.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


All photos by Jimmy Tamborello

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Signs Under Test

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Oceaán "Candour (Photay Remix)" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/oceaan-candour-photay-remix/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/oceaan-candour-photay-remix/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85768 Late last year, London artist Oceaán (pictured above) dropped Grip, a four-track EP that melded together the worlds of futuristic soul music with detailed electronic production. Here, we have NYC producer Photay's take on EP cut "Candour." A shape-shifting, soul-strewn pop affair in its original form, Photay (who dropped a record of his own last year via Astro Nautico) imbues the track with a new glow, lacing the rework's steady pulse with a series of bright, swelling chords while repurposing the original's many melodic flares and harmonizing vocal layers. Photay's warm and inviting take on "Candour" can be downloaded below, while Oceaán's Grip is out now via B3SCI/Chess Club.

Candour (Photay Remix)

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Ableton Introduces OSCiLLOT Modular Synthesis Device for Live http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/ableton-introduces-the-oscillot-modular-synthesis-device-for-live/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/ableton-introduces-the-oscillot-modular-synthesis-device-for-live/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:30:34 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85753 Today Ableton has released OSCiLLOT, a Max for Live device which brings modular synthesis to the Live realm. Designed by Max for Cats, the OSCiLLOT offers 100 patchable modules (including oscillators, filters, processors, mixers, modulators, amplifiers, shapers, sequencers, utilities, and more) which can freely connected together to build custom signal paths to create and manipulate sounds. Furthermore, the virtual modular device boasts six-voice polyphony, a rarity in real-world/hardware modular systems.

A detailed explanation of the functions and uses of the OSCiLLOT device can be found in the video below, while the virtual instrument's full list of features and specifications can be read here; the OSCiLLOT is available now from Ableton's web store for $99.

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Uffe Announces Upcoming Debut LP; Preview It Now http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/uffe-announces-upcoming-debut-lp-preview-it-now/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/uffe-announces-upcoming-debut-lp-preview-it-now/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 20:15:55 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85761 A Danish producer currently based in Amsterdam, Uffe Christensen (who produces simply under the name Uffe) will release his debut long-player, Radio Days, in March. Marking his return to the Tartelet label (who issued Uffe's Straess! EP in 2012), the forthcoming album appears set to find the producer expanding a bit on the jazz-strewn house constructions with which he has built his existing catalog, as a press release for the LP explains, "On Radio Days, you'll hear shades of hip-hop (Uffe's first musical love, he says), smoky soul, generations of jazz styles and, of course, a distinctly Detroit strain of grooving house music."

A 15-minute preview stream of snippets from the LP accompanies the record's announcement, and seems to signal that Uffe has taken his craft in a number of simultaneous directions on Radio Days, taking his focus off the dancefloor from time to time while also incorporating some of his own vocals into a handful of productions. The album preview can be heard below ahead of Radio Days' official release on March 23; the full tracklist for Uffe's forthcoming debut album has also been included below.

A1. A1. A1. Curtains
A2. Die For You (I Won't)
A3. My Luv Was Reel
A4. Space Loop
A5. I Can Show You High
B1. Your Reality
B2. Saw You Laughing
B3. Lemon Nights
B4. Those Insecure Designers (Skit)
B5. For A While
I Can Show You High (Fernet dub) (Digital Bonus Track)
Saw You Laughing (Instrumental) (Digital Bonus Track)

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Premiere: Listen to a New Remix from Fort Romeau http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/premiere-listen-to-a-new-remix-from-fort-romeau/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/premiere-listen-to-a-new-remix-from-fort-romeau/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:15:23 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85748 After revealing the details of his forthcoming debut LP for Ghostly earlier this month, Fort Romeau has now turned in a new remix of London vocalist Andreya Triana'a "Gold" single.

A soulful track steeped in classic R&B traditions, "Gold" (which stems from Triana's upcoming Giants LP for Counter Records) is transformed into a subdued house affair in the hands of Fort Romeau. At the base of his rework, the London producer makes use of a procession of foggy chords, which are cut by a bouncing four-on-the-floor and a driving synth bass. From there, the rework builds in gradual steps—extra hats and claps fly in the from the sides, echoed chords rise to the top, and snippets of Triana's vocals are sprinkled throughout.

Fort Romeau's floor-minded rework of "Gold" is premiering below, while the first single from his upcoming debut LP, Insides, can be heard here.

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BNJMN and Best Available Technology Prep Collaborative LP for Astro:Dynamics http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/bnjmn-best-available-technology-prep-collaborative-lp-for-astrodynamics/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/bnjmn-best-available-technology-prep-collaborative-lp-for-astrodynamics/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:32:23 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85736 Berlin-based UK producer BNJMN and Portland artist Best Available Technology (who has previously released with labels such as Opal Tapes and Left_Blank) will together issue a collaborative LP, De/Re-Contructions, via Astro:Dynamics next month. The 11-track record is said to be "a document of a musical dialogue between the two artists that has been ongoing for a number of years... the passing back and forth of ideas and snippets in the pursuit of feedback gradually grew into a body of work that eloquently moulds each artist's sonic palettes and approaches."

Our first glimpse into the musical world BNJMN and Best Available Technology have together created is beatless LP cut "022," which dives into a stream of dubby chords, pulsing static, and scattered electronic spurts that intensify across the track's two-plus-minute run. The video for "022" can be watched below, where the complete tracklist for De/Re-Contructions has also been included ahead of the album's official release on February 23.

1. Wired
2. Things Go
3. Ghosting
4. 022
5. Tred
6. Raw Idler
7. Bolt
8. Bed Cult
9. Rift
10. Slake
11. Lair

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Premiere: Hear a New Track from Helena Hauff's Upcoming Cassette http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/premiere-hear-a-new-track-from-helena-hauffs-upcoming-cassette/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/premiere-hear-a-new-track-from-helena-hauffs-upcoming-cassette/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:06:48 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85733 Just last week, Helena Hauff revealed that her first release of 2015 would take the form of a 60-minute cassette for Texas label Handmade Birds. And while the Hamburg-based techno producer and Golden Pudel resident's A Tape won't see an official release until February 24, the effort's b-side opener, "tape 7," can now be streamed in full on XLR8R.

True to form, the nearly nine-minute track finds Hauff trading in the sort of extended, acidic hardware jams found previously on releases for Lux, Solar One, Panzerkreuz, and PAN (as one half of Black Sites). Further details of Hauff's forthcoming A Tape can be found here, while the stream of "tape 7" can be heard below.

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J. Albert "Intimate Setting" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/j-albert-intimate-setting/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/j-albert-intimate-setting/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:00:35 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85685 Fledgling Australian label Cult Trip has enlisted Brooklyn producer J. Albert to deliver the second record in its discography, the Vertigo Contracto EP. The upcoming two-track effort will also serve as Albert's official debut outing, and from the sound of the previews included below, it appears set to be an impressive one. Further bolstering that statement is "Intimate Setting," a bonus cut Albert has sent along to serve as an additional preview to his upcoming debut. Spanning over nine minutes, the track is a forceful expedition into hardware techno, as the production's gritty rhythms and brooding synth lines are sent through a stream of cycling phasers and saturated manipulation. "Intimate Setting" can be downloaded below before the NYC artist's debut EP lands via Cult Trip on February 2.

Intimate Setting

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Various Artists Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/01/various-artists-dance-mania-ghetto-madness/ http://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/01/various-artists-dance-mania-ghetto-madness/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 16:00:29 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85706 With a back catalog spanning 30 years and more than 300 releases, Dance Mania is a label with few peers. Beginning in Chicago back in 1985, it began as an answer to the sleek, polished sound that ruled the Windy City at the time. Dance Mania aimed to offer an alternative, and eventually became known for its frequent pairing of raw sounds with unforgettably filthy and humorous lyrics. 808 kicks and outrageously infectious hooks also became a key part of the label's signature aesthetic, and once the Dance Mania release schedule slowed in the '00s, its records quickly became collectors' items.

Of course, there's a good chance that even semi-serious fans of dance music already know this history. Even those who weren't around (or simply weren't paying attention) during Dance Mania's peak output period in the '90s have likely heard the folklore, and present-day artists such as Jackmaster and Nina Kraviz have spoken extensively about the label's influence on their DJing.

Given the label's rich history, it's natural to wonder exactly how its essence can be properly captured in a compilation. The task becomes especially difficult when one recalls that Ghetto Madness is the second Dance Mania collection to arrive via Strut Records in less than a year, which means that many of the label's most recognizable tracks have already been covered (e.g. "House Nation," "7 Ways," "Feel My M.F. Bass," "Hit It from the Back," and "Video Clash" all featured on last year's Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1995.) That being said, Ghetto Madness ultimately proves that there was still plenty of ground left to cover.

In truth, this second installment delivers almost as strongly as the first, with the pitched vocal of DJ Milton's "House-O-Matic" losing none of its hypnotic traits and the piercing claps of DJ Funk's "Computer Sex" still ringing with the same effect as when it first dropped in 1994. Over the course of the compilation, label heavyweights like DJ Deeon, Parris Mitchell, Tyree, and Paul Johnson all make an appearance, but it might be Jammin' Gerald who steals the show—anybody whose face doesn't break out into a daft grin upon hearing either of his offerings here is a liar.

Still, the real charm of this compilation lies in the fact that it offers something for almost everyone. Newer fans will be exposed to lesser-known tracks, while seasoned listeners will have the chance to fill any Discogs-pricing-war-shaped gaps in their collection with something other than a YouTube playlist. Ghetto Madness is an expertly constructed effort showcasing one of the most energetic and recognizable outputs in dance music, and after hearing it, we wouldn't be surprised—or disappointed—if a third Dance Mania compilation was already in the works.

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Hear Actress Remix Wiley on Upcoming 12" http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/hear-actress-remix-wiley-on-an-upcoming-12/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/hear-actress-remix-wiley-on-an-upcoming-12/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:23:01 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85727 Actress (a.k.a. Darren Cunningham) has remixed a track from grime statesman Wiley's recent Snakes and Ladders album. "From the Outside – Actress' Generation 4 Constellation Mix" is due out as a limited-edition white label 12" on Big Dada—the Ninja Tune offshoot responsible for releasing four Wiley LPs to date—and while no official release date has been shared, the record can be pre-ordered here with an expected delivery date midway through March. Cunningham's rework features ominous bass, hissing, alien electronics, and distorted vocal snippets and can be streamed below. (via FACT)

In other news, Wiley has also been included in the first round of names announced today for Outlook Festival 2015 in Croatia; more info on the event can be found here.

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Get Familiar: John Daly http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/01/get-familiar-john-daly/ http://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/01/get-familiar-john-daly/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:00:03 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85689 The ocean has always been there for John Daly. "The house I grew up in, our first house, was literally 100 meters from the ocean. Our door, the street, and the beach," he says. Growing up in a small town in Ireland, it was the main source of entertainment for him and his friends as teenagers. "Only for one year, when I lived in London, it wasn't there. I was definitely an edgier person—I wasn't myself," he adds. To this day, the sea is a constant presence in the life of the Irish producer, a place he returns to multiple times everyday with his dog in Galway, Ireland.

Its influence can be heard in his music. The chords and pads in his house tracks—whose titles regularly reference water—are often calming, as they hypnotically wash over listeners like endless tides. Sumptuous synth tones evoke mental imagery of deep bodies of azure water, the ripples on the surface echoed in the delay and reverb effects Daly applies to his various sonic elements. There are more aggressive moments as well, with synth progressions churning and crashing in ways that delight dancers and DJs alike.

Daly's musical education began in local pubs, where his father performed in amateur folk bands. Perhaps in response, his youth was spent binging on heavy metal. But as house tunes like 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" found their way onto Irish radio and dance-adjacent rock bands like Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays received praise in the pages of NME, Daly's tastes widened as a teenager. "I remember buying [The Orb's] UFOrb, The Prodigy's Experience, and The Charlatans' "Up to Our Hips" in the same weekend with my Christmas money," he recalls. In college, the music of Super Furry Animals and Grandaddy inspired him to incorporate synthesizers and a sampler into his musical repertoire, opening the door toward purely electronic music.

Daly spent the next eight years honing his craft, working through a hip-hop phase but keeping the genre's love of sampling at the core of his sound. "All my drums are samples, always have been," he attests. "There's something about taking a sample and pushing and pulling it until it sounds right. When you work with samples, you have less of a preconceived idea of where the music's going to go. There's only so much you can do with a drum machine."


After a few attempts to shop his tracks to record labels went nowhere, Daly and a friend decided to start their own label, Feel Music. His first release, Birds, arrived in 2006. Cooking at a local restaurant to pay the bills—which he still does today—Daly spent much of his time in the studio exploring the possibilities of his sound, writing four albums and more than 30 singles and EPs to date. He's recorded for a who's who of the world's top house and techno labels, with multiple releases on Secretsundaze, Drumpoet Community, International Records Recordings, Plak Records, and Wave Music, and has also penned notable outings for Mule Musiq, Further Records, and Tanstaafl Planets.

However, Feel Music and Daly's more recently launched imprint, One Track Records, continue to be the most consistent homes for his music. The latter, which started after Feel Music went dormant due to creative differences between Daly and his label partner, showcases multiple versions of a single track. "I really like it because it forces me to stretch my creativity," Daly enthuses. "I could spend three-four months working on the a-side, but I could have the b-side done in an afternoon. The other versions are often better than the original!" Daly also intends to reboot Feel Music this year, and already has a clutch of new records scheduled for release in the months ahead.

In the midst of issuing all of this music over the past several years, Daly has naturally evolved as an artist, gradually expanding the boundaries of his sound. After finishing his Sunburst album for Drumpoet Community in late 2011, making more house music wasn't as appealing. "[I was telling myself], 'This is shit, this is formulaic.' I'd just had an overdose," he says. "So I decided to lash down the tempo and see what'd come out of it." This was the birth of his new alias, The Smoke Clears. "These tracks just came together incredibly quickly because I was having so much fun with them."

shine Running the musical gamut from pensive downtempo to eccentric IDM and gorgeous ambience, and drawing upon Manuel Göttsching's kosmiche explorations and Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works as influences, the tracks eventually became the album Listen for Further Records. "I have a second The Smoke Clears album sketched out, demo-ed. I'm not really ready to go back to it yet," Daly notes.

Nevertheless, Daly's forthcoming releases do suggest that he continues to enjoy getting out of his comfort zone. The 11 51 26 41 2 EP for Running Back contains five 135-plus bpm techno tracks, while an as-yet-untitled One Track Records single offers both hip-hop and banging techno mixes. But as the Shine EP, which dropped this week via the Love Fever label, reminds us, Daly has no plans to leave deeper house behind. Like the ocean, these timeless sounds will likely be with him always.

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Maribel Tafur "Summer Dreams" http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/maribel-tafur-summer-dreams/ http://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/01/maribel-tafur-summer-dreams/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85680 Hailing from Lima, Peru, Maribel Tafur is a budding beatmaker who struck out on her own as a producer in 2013 with the Mysteries of Love EP. Having spent the last year performing live and further honing her production skills, Tafur is set to issue her next official release in April, but before then has elected to drop off a new beat, "Summer Dreams." An appropriately sun-swept affair, "Summer Dreams" makes effective use of a warm guitar sample, running it through a handful of filters, tweaking, and rearranging its relaxed, watery strums across the effort's entire five-minute run. Adding a few light melodies as the tune progresses, "Summer Dreams" may make use of a rather simple beatmaking formula, but in hands of Tafur, it is clearly still an effective one.

Summer Dreams

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Stream New Music from Kode9 and DVA http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/stream-new-music-from-kode9-and-dva/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/stream-new-music-from-kode9-and-dva/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:19:28 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85717 Italian festival Club to Club (which XLR8R named "Italy's Best Festival" last year) has again partnered with the British Council and Hyperdub founder Kode9 on the latest edition of A Great Symphony for Torino: an "augmented reality soundtrack" dedicated to the festival's home city. As the project's artistic director, Kode9 enlisted label fixture DVA, Italian producer Vaghe Stelle, and other local artists to compose six tracks inspired by different city landmarks, using only sounds from those locations. (He also created a seventh track that composites all six original contributions.) The so-called "symphony" can be heard by scanning QR codes on the billboards in the respective areas in Torino, and is also available to stream on the project's website and SoundCloud page.

A second phase of the project invites listeners to create their own remix of A Great Symphony for Torino tracks using stems from each production; the winner, selected by Club to Club, will compose a track for the next edition of the project. Full details of the competition, which closes on February 15, are available here, and the 2014 edition of A Great Symphony for Torino can be heard below.

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DJ EZ, Goldie, Mumdance, and More Billed for Outlook Festival 2015 http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/dj-ez-goldie-mumdance-and-more-billed-for-outlook-festival-2015/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/dj-ez-goldie-mumdance-and-more-billed-for-outlook-festival-2015/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:42:04 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85711 Croatian festival Outlook has announced the first wave of acts set to appear at this year's gathering in September. Dubstep figureheads Mala and Coki return as Digital Mystikz, alongside Mount Kimbie, UK producer Kevin Martin (a.k.a. The Bug), Mumdance, Exit label founder dBridge, longstanding UK garage DJ EZ, Om Unit, newly formed bass duo Sherwood & Pinch, and drum & bass veteran Goldie, among others.

Outlook—which identifies as "celebration of bass music and soundsystem culture"—takes place from September 2 through 6 at Fort Punta Christo in Pula, and additions to the line-up will be revealed in the forthcoming months. In the meantime, the current bill can be viewed here via the festival's website, and a promo video has also been posted below.

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Mano Le Tough, DJ Tennis, and Marcus Worgull Remix Vermont on Upcoming EP http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/mano-le-tough-dj-tennis-and-marcus-worgull-remix-vermont-on-upcoming-ep/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/mano-le-tough-dj-tennis-and-marcus-worgull-remix-vermont-on-upcoming-ep/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 21:38:28 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85670 Having already spawned a remix EP overseen entirely by Prins Thomas, the Vermont pair's self-titled debut LP for Kompakt (a record which we deemed one of 2014's best) will again be the subject of a forthcoming collection of reworks. For The Other Versions EP, Mano Le Tough (pictured above) and DJ Tennis have been brought in to rework two separate album cuts, while Vermont member—alongside Danilo Plessow (a.k.a. Motor City Drum Ensemble)—Marcus Worgull has taken it upon himself to rework LP standout "Übersprung."

Set to arrive on February 16 via Kompakt in both vinyl and digital forms, the tracklist and artwork for the upcoming Other Versions remix collection have been included below.

1. Übersprung (Mano LeTough Mix)
2. Übersprung (Marcus Worgull Edit)
3. Majestät (DJ Tennis Edit)

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John Frusciante to Debut New Project on Acid Test; Hear a Track Now http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/john-frusciante-to-debut-new-project-on-acid-test-hear-a-track-now/ http://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/01/john-frusciante-to-debut-new-project-on-acid-test-hear-a-track-now/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 19:36:06 +0000 http://www.xlr8r.com/?p=85646 After a long run of solo guitar records, John Frusciante (a former member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) has made the surprising announcement that he will launch a new acid project called Trickfinger, which will release a full-length record via the Absurd label's Acid Test imprint this spring. About five years ago, Frusciante is said to have begun experimenting with electronic hardware, "immersing himself in the unique musical language of Roland's classic techno machines." According to the celebrated rock musician, "I found that the languages machines forced programmers to think in had caused them to discover a new musical vocabulary," and so he spent a number of years attempting to learn that vocabulary, which he believes has "introduced many new principles of rhythm, melody, and harmony" to music.

Along with the announcement, Frusciante has shared the stripped-down opener from his upcoming LP, "After Below", which evokes vintage acid with a tweaked 303 standing at the forefront. The production can be streamed in full below before Trickfinger sees its release on April 6.

1. After Below
2. Before Above
3. Rainover
4. Sain
5. Exlam
6. 85h
7. 4:30
8. Phurip

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