XLR8R https://www.xlr8r.com Accelerating music & culture Wed, 07 Oct 2015 20:06:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Iglooghost Signs to Brainfeeder, Streams New Track "Gold Coat" feat. Cuushe https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/iglooghost-signs-to-brainfeeder-streams-new-track-gold-coat-feat-cuushe/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/iglooghost-signs-to-brainfeeder-streams-new-track-gold-coat-feat-cuushe/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 19:18:49 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104514 The newest signee to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder imprint is the remarkable and wildly imaginative 18 year old producer Seamus Malliagh (a.k.a. Iglooghost). Born in Ireland and based somewhere in the UK, Malliagh has previously released music via Error Broadcast, and has just put out his track “Saturn Rice” on Fly High Society’s Spacebus Vol. 1, a track that we featured in our download section just last week (download link below). Now, this youngblood is set to join the ranks of Brainfeeder, a label which has represented some of electronic music’s heaviest hitters like Lapalux, Martyn, Teebs, MONO/POLY, Ras_G, and Mr. Oizo.

Set to drop on October 30, his upcoming EP, Chinese Nü Yr, is the tale of a “gelatinous worm-shaped creature,” which ties into the distinct, pink aesthetic that he is so fond of using. You can find out about the story behind this EP by reading Malliagh’s words below, followed by a link to XLR8R's free download of Iglooghost's "Saturn Rice."

In the words of Iglooghost:
“The EP is a story about a gelatinous worm-shaped creature who wears a witch hat called xiāngjiāo. He/she is really sad because his/her existence consists of infinitely being blasted through endless wormholes into different worlds that don’t make any sense – full of floating fruit and pink mist. He/she has a voice played by my little sister but sometimes my dad. He/she is perennially sad and terrified because it doesn't make any sense why he/she was randomly born into this existence, but he/she is also shit scared because being shot at light speed through wormholes is probably f**king terrifying.”

Download: Iglooghost - "Saturn Rice"

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Gel Abril Signs to Anja Schneider's Mobilee Label and Agency Roster https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/gel-abril-signs-to-anja-schneiders-mobilee-label-and-agency-roster/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/gel-abril-signs-to-anja-schneiders-mobilee-label-and-agency-roster/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:48:01 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104593 Anja Schneider has announced Get Abril as the latest signed to her mobilee label and agency roster. The Israeli DJ-producer has earned a respected name courtesy of his impressive productions on labels such as Ovum, Be As One, and Moon Harbour Recordings.

The news comes as the artist is due to release his maiden EP for the label, with It's Just You and Me landing on October 9. Ahead of its release, "Carpet Sneak" can be streamed in full below.

"Gel Abril is a fantastic DJ since a long time and very qualified. But besides his DJ skills, he has impressed me with his driving soulful techno, which always rule my sets. They're energetic and soulful, with a big heart and a love for the Detroit school. He's an artist who knows exactly what he is doing and that makes him interesting and never boring. I am so excited to welcome him to mobilee!" – Anja Schneider

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Watch a New Video from Floating Points https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/watch-a-new-video-from-floating-points/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/watch-a-new-video-from-floating-points/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:12:57 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104588 Ahead of the release of his debut album Elaenia, UK producer and Eglo label chief Floating Points has unveiled the official video for lead single "Nespole." Directed and produced by Sander Houtkruijer, the video trains its eye on choreographer and dancer Kiani Del Valle as she moves in an otherwise-empty warehouse. Watch it in full below before the album drops on November 6 via Pluto in the UK and Luaka Bop in the US.

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Q&A: M.A.N.D.Y. https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/10/qa-m-a-n-d-y/ https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/10/qa-m-a-n-d-y/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 14:35:53 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104453 The two friends have been spinning together for over 15 years; they founded the world-conquering Get Physical label with friends Peter Hayo, Thomas "DJ T." Koch, and Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger of Booka Shade in 2002; and that same year, they started producing as a team, collaborating to create a style of austere, spacious and melodic dance music that owed as much to trance (albeit a stripped-down form of trance) as it did to house and techno. Flash forward to 2015, and M.A.N.D.Y.'s Philipp Jung and Patrick Bodmer are still together, and though they've largely ditched their trance-tinged inclinations, they're still going strong, as is Get Physical itself. The label's very longevity has  elevated it to "iconic" status—but it's still got a long way to go before it catches up with Transmat, the hugely influential Detroit techno label founded by Derrick May in 1986 and originally housed on the city's Gratiot Avenue alongside Kevin Saunderson's KMS and Juan Atkins's Metroplex. The two labels will be joining forces at the upcoming Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) on October 18 for second edition of the Transmat Gets Physical bash, with M.A.N.D.Y. and May joined by none other than Atkins, along with the WhoMadeWho DJ team, System of Survival and many others. In the run-up to the party, we caught up with M.A.N.D.Y.'s Jung at his Berlin flat to talk about May, the lasting influence of Detroit, and the importance of ADE itself.


Juan Atkins

It must feel great to be playing alongside Derrick May and Juan Atkins, couple of guys who have undoubtedly had a huge impact on your music.
Oh, totally! I’d never met Juan, but I’ve met Derrick—we’ve played together a few times in the past, and now that we are doing the Transmat Gets Physical events. We’ve already done one at the Rex Club in Paris. Derrick is such a lovely guy; he does it with the same passion that he probably started with. It’s so nice to see that after all these years, he still so dedicated to his job and is so into the music. That’s very inspiring, and is great for others to see. We’re very excited to have the chance to do this again at ADE, with a couple of his acts and a couple of our acts joining forces. And we hope to keep doing this in the coming years—we get along super-well with Derrick.

One thing that I love about Derrick is that he’s very opinionated, and that he’s not afraid to express those opinions.
Yeah, he’ll give you shit if he doesn’t agree with you! And he can take shit as well, which is great.

"The way Derrick mixes is so incredibly dynamic; he’s really working. It’s like he's handcrafting a set."

May and Atkins, and the electronic music in general that’s come out of Detroit, has obviously had a huge impact on what’s happened in Berlin—and I’m guessing it’s had an influence on everyone involved with Get Physical.
That’s most definitely true—and not just of Berlin, of course. I think all music has been influenced by these guys. And they are still having an influence—look at a guy like Kevin Over, who’s a young kid who’s releasing on our label. He was playing for us just last Saturday, and started at eight in the morning—the normal Berlin time—and it was exactly like what they were doing 25 years ago, but with a 2015 approach to it. It was so good to see things translated into our time. It’s very refreshing; it means things aren’t standing still.


Derrick May

I know that you come, at least in part, from a trance background—and you’ve said before that you left that sound because it did get stale.
Yeah, we all came from there in the early ’90s. That’s when trance was called trance because you’d trip to it. But there hasn’t been any evolution in trance for a long time, and I guess that’s why we all got sick of it. But guys like Derrick and Juan are always pushing it. I mean, the way Derrick mixes is so incredibly dynamic; he’s really working. It’s like he's handcrafting a set.

You’re doing this party as part of ADE, which is one of the biggest gatherings on the dance-music calendar. How important do you think it is to have something like ADE, where pretty much whole scene spectrum—producers, DJs, industry types, various insiders, representing such a wide range of sounds—come together? Or do you look at it more as just a fun thing to do?
I honestly think that ADE is the best one of all of this kind of thing. People actually get together to communicate with each other, and not necessarily just get fucked up all the time. From the business side, it’s great: You have this one place where everyone comes, and you don’t even have to set up meetings. Everyone you want to talk to is just there, and you can just chat with them. At similar events—like Miami, or MIDEM in the south of France—they’re just about the parties, and whose lineup is the biggest. It’s just too much; everyone is stressed out. ADE is a bit more calm. And the panels are really interesting and well-curated, you know?

You don’t quite have the longevity of Transmat yet—but still, Get Physical’s been around for almost a decade and a half, and M.A.ND.Y. has been around for even a bit longer. Did you have any clue back when you started not only that you’d still be going, but that you’d also be playing alongside your heroes?
I probably should have thought about it! [laughs] But we never took ourselves serious enough to even think like that. I mean, you take what you do seriously, but you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously; that’s one of the foundations of a long career, I think. I’m always aware that we are very lucky. It’s not just the talent—it’s being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, and a lot of that is luck. Of course, it’s also a lot of work—it’s an every-fucking-day job—so you have to be ready to do that. But to have the freedom to present our sound without changing too much over the years—to still do what we like—we’re super-fortunate. And very happy!

Transmat Gets Physical is at Westerunie in Amsterdam on Sunday, October 18.

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Nicolas Jaar Drops Single on R&S; Hear It Now https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/nicolas-jaar-drops-single-on-r-hear-it-now/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/nicolas-jaar-drops-single-on-r-hear-it-now/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:52:08 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104564 Over the past few months, Nicolas Jaar has quietly delivered a pair of EPs, Nymphs II and III, via his own Other People imprint. Today, in a surprise move, the third installment in the series—a single entitled "Fight"—was released on esteemed Belgian outlet R&S. A somewhat enigmatic statement from the label reads: "This Nymph swam to Ghent." Stream the track in full below. (via Resident Advisor)

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Rote EP 1 https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/rote-ep-1/ https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/rote-ep-1/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:49:24 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103934 EP1 is the debut EP from Rote, the new pairing formed of BleeD boss Casper Clark (a.k.a. Volte-Face) and Bournemouth trip-merchant Daniel Avery. Over four tracks (two original, two remixed), the pair’s stripped-back techno cuts have an understated sophistication familiar to anyone who enjoyed Volte-Face’s quietly brilliant debut, the Charlatan EP, earlier this year.

"Rote 1" kicks us off with 4/4 bass drums draped in a crisp haze of white noise and mechanical ambience. The palette here is less "clanking, industrial death machine," more "distant, malevolent vacuum cleaner," and this concision of scale works beautifully to evoke hissing, echoed dread from small, subtle movements. The track is a steady suck-pulse of softly rolling machine noise, buffeted by shakers, percs, and eventually a single repeating note which folds into the mix like a low battery alert, forming a powerful crescendo that sets heads nodding early on.

DJ Nobu’s remix of the same takes that blueprint and dehumanizes proceedings even further, accenting "Rote 1"’s extant sparseness with a flurry of chittering tones, adding a thin film of tension to the steady drip of field hospital bleeps already present in the original. This menacing counterpoint winds around the track’s structure with an uneasy grace, resulting in a welcome new layer of malevolent heft.

It’s the atmospheric "Rote 2," however, that proves to be EP1’s showstopper. Here, steam locomotive percussion builds layer by layer, until plaintive, swelling pads cut through the filtery wash at the track’s midpoint. The lush chords escort the listener through a break in the industrial murk, soaring above the maelstrom for a tantalizing glimpse of euphoric sunrise, before tumbling beneath the clouds and back within the familiar storm of hissing, whirring hydraulics. This is resolutely a form-and-function techno record, with none of the pyrotechnics associated with Avery at his more hallucinatory—but in brief, stolen moments such as these, one hears the melodic sensibility common to Avery releases like his Drone Logic LP or Movement EP. 

For the most part, however, EP 1 is avowedly unflashy techno and all the better for it, eschewing most things fanciful or complicated. Nowhere is this more evident than on Svreca’s uber-minimal "Rote 2" rework, an unfussy effort that actually feels like a near-perfect loop for most of its duration. Despite the minimal fuss or fanfare, repeated listens bear out each of these track's hypnotic qualities until—with each additional airing—you notice how those subtleties become strengths, and how sparse little moments become major events. It’s certainly a brave gamble to name your act Rote and release a platter of cuts this straight-forward and classical in form, but the craft and confidence of EP 1 shows that simplicity needn’t mean painting by numbers.

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Q&A: Stream a Track from the New Mike Parker EP on Balans Records https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/qa-stream-a-track-from-the-new-mike-parker-ep-on-balans-records/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/qa-stream-a-track-from-the-new-mike-parker-ep-on-balans-records/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:04:09 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104558 Mike Parker’s next unique analog techno abstraction release will finally debut on Darko Esser’s Balans Records with his Transgression and Punishment EP.


A1 / 1. Transgression and Punishment
A2 / 2. Smoke From Burning Fields
B1 / 3. The Freezing Process
B2 / 4. The Midnight Zone

In advance of the EP's October 9 release, XLR8R spoke with Darko Esser to learn more, with "The Midnight Zone" available to stream in full below.

How did your relationship with Mike Parker begin, and how did this release come to fruition?
I booked Mike for a couple of show in Amsterdam and Nijmegen a few years back. I’ve always been a big admirer of his music. We hung out all weekend and it clicked. I gave him a whole bunch of records and he really liked the sound of the label. We stayed in touch, talked about collaborating, and this release grew organically from there.

Can you describe your vision for the label? Would you say there is a particular kind of sound developing through it?
Balans is aimed at pure, dancefloor orientated techno. It’s a puristic and fairly minimalistic platform, but pure techno appears in many forms in my mind. There’s a place for all of these different flavors on the label, whether it’s more melodic, Detroit-orientated techno, or straight up DJ tools.

You also own the labels Wolfskuil, Wolfskuil LTD, and Tripeo. What differentiates Balans from the others?
Wolfskuil Records is much broader orientated then BALANS. I don’t think in genres for this label. My own taste is the red tape there; it doesn’t even necessarily have to be for the dancefloor.  Wolfskuil Ltd is aimed at the deeper, more experimental sides of aforementioned genres. And finally: Tripeo is just for me; I don’t release music from other artists on this imprint. It's my own little playground.

What do you feel when you listen to a new Mike Parker’s track?
Like being sucked into a black hole. His music sounds so alienating, yet so comforting.

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Q&A: Stream a Track from the New Giorgio Gigli Album https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/qa-stream-a-track-from-the-new-giorgio-gigli-album/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/qa-stream-a-track-from-the-new-giorgio-gigli-album/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:01:34 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104550 Following a period of personal growth and his work on his own Zooloft Records imprint, Giorgio Gigli is scheduled to release his debut album, entitled The Right Place Where Not to Be.

The album, which is scheduled for release via Speedy J's Electric Deluxe label, explores sophisticated ambient layers as much as obsessive and hypnotic techno landscapes.

The album takes its outset in a scenario where all human life-forms have perished, and only plants and minerals have survived. Gigli performs that concept by writing an ultra-detailed soundtrack to an imaginary movie, using rich textures that reveal new acoustics, enhanced by alienating atmospheres that captivate the listener.


Ø1 / Ø. Il futuro è solo un ricordo di uno stupendo passato (Everything Begins Here)
A1 / 1. Last Frame of Myself
A2 / 2. Surrounded
B1 / 3. Eve of Destruction
B2 / 4. Nocturne
C1 / 5. The Silence Was Infinite
C2 / 6. Through Leaden Clouds
D1 / 7. Shades of Depth

Ahead of the album's October 23 release, XLR8R spoke with Giorgio Gigli to learn more about the release, with the opening track streamable in full below.

What inspired you to record your first album, and what’s the connection between the record’s title and the music itself?
It took me more than two years to get to the end of it. It has been a long process because I really wanted to give a real identity to this project.
The title The Right Place Where Not to Be gives the idea that we are in a place where it would be much better not to be. In this particular case, I am talking about our planet at an unspecified future time, where humans have taken the planet to the point its collapse by taking advantage of it and its resources. The music wants to be the soundtrack of the Earth, with no human beings involved, where the only things to survive are the animals and minerals.

The album is your third release on Electric Deluxe. Compared with these other releases, it is much more introverted sound. Is there a connection with your previous releases on the label?
There’s no greater connection between my previous releases on EDLX really. My previous singles from the past years represent my kind of sound with a techno approach. The Right Place Where Not to Be is more of a soundtrack—a listening record. It’s much more introspective.

How did your connection with Speedy J begin?
It was actually really spontaneous. A few years ago we'd been emailing each other. I sent him some projects and, after he listened to them, he asked me if I would like to do something on the label. The most important thing to me is that we started a very good friendship.

Together with Obtane, you co-founded the Zooloft imprint that released its most recent release back in 2012. Why did you decide to discontinue the label?
I worked together with Obtane for five years and we did have great satisfaction with that label. At one point, we just felt that we had said all what we had to say and therefore we decided to take our different ways. Now he’s producing as Violet Poison. After many years we decided to collaborate in the studio again and soon a new record titled The Long Decline will be out on his label.

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Dizzy Womack "Bang" https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/dizzy-womack-bang/ https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/dizzy-womack-bang/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 10:10:14 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104513 Based in the Austrian city of Graz, Dizzy Womack has continued to impress us here at XLR8R with his ever growing catalog of productions. With his last EP titled "Riot Music" really piquing our interest, we were more than keen to feature him again in our downloads section. Over the past few years, Dizzy has become no stranger to the website, with his track "Flares" receiving over 9,700 listens back in February of this year. We also featured a remix by Raziek of Dizzy's original production, Black Ice, back in 2013. To round out the fall season of this year, Dizzy has submitted a straighforward and driving cut by the name of "Bang" for your consideration.

"Bang" comes out the gate with a pounding bassline and 16x high-hat that hold on throughout the track. With vocal samples layered over the top, the track leans towards a ghetto-tech 4/4 program that is reminicent of the early styles of Loco Dice or James Zabiela.

Bang (Original Mix)



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Mia Lucci and Philipp Jung Announce KINDISCH Label Night at Kater Blau in Berlin https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/mia-lucci-and-phillipp-jung-announce-kindisch-label-night-at-katerblau-in-berlin/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/mia-lucci-and-phillipp-jung-announce-kindisch-label-night-at-katerblau-in-berlin/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2015 00:43:17 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104433 Since the label's formation by Philipp Jung of M.A.N.D.Y. back in 2006, KINDISCH has been on a steady climb into the most discerning of clubs and record bags of DJs and music lovers all over the world. Now in 2015, the label is ready to begin hosting its own label showcases as it comfortably moves into its tenth year.

Excited to showcase the close family of artists on its home turf, the first official label party for KINDISCH will be held this weekend on Friday, Oct 9 at Kater Blau in Berlin. The showcase will provide listeners with a more up close and personal experience of what the label is all about, featuring sets by Stavroz, Nick Galemore, Dance Spirit, label founder's, Mia Lucci and Philipp Jung, and a special surprise guest that, while we can't reveal their name, is certainly an XLR8R favorite and is surely not to be missed!

You can find out all of the details for this showcase by checking out the event listing here, and you can learn more about Kindisch and its label history by visiting its website.

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Competition: Win Two Tickets to Pole Group x Wolfskuil x Modularz Showcase at ADE https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/competition-win-two-tickets-to-pole-group-x-wolfskuil-x-modularz-showcase-at-ade/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/competition-win-two-tickets-to-pole-group-x-wolfskuil-x-modularz-showcase-at-ade/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 23:17:41 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104473 XLR8R has a pair of tickets available for the Pole Group x Wolfskuil x Modularz showcase at ADE next week.

Here is the line-up:

Oscar Mulero b2b Reeko
• Developer
Exium (Live)
Christian Wünsch (Live)
Eric Cloutier
Shlømo (Live)

For your chance to win two tickets, give us a follow on Instagram and then enter your full name and email information below. XLR8R will choose one winner that will be contacted this weekend via the email provided. Terms and Conditions apply. Winners will be notified Monday October 12.

Instagram      Click on our badge to follow XLR8R_Official on Instagram.

Terms and Conditions:
  1. The promoter is, Polegroup and the agent is, XLR8R.com whose registered office is at 837 Traction Ave #304, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA.2. Employees of Polegroup / XLR8R.com or their family members or anyone helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
  2. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  3. Closing date for entry will be Saturday, October 11th, 2015 at 11:59PM (PST). After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  4. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  5. The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows:
    • Only 1 entry per email address accepted
    • Must be 21 years of age or older to enter
    • Prize is for 2 tickets to Pole Group x Wolfskuil x Modularz Showcase at ADE.
  6. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
  7. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
  8. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
  9.  Winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries received and verified by Promoter and or its agents.
  10. The winner will be notified by email within 8 hours of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 1 day of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
  11. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
  12. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  13. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  14. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of US.
  15.  The winner agrees to the use of his/her name in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current US data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
  16. Entries into the competition will automatically opt-in email for XLR8R.com weekly email newsletter, The Lowdown. User may unsubscribe at anytime.
  17. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
  18. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to XLR8R.com and not to any other party. The information provided will be used in conjunction with the following Privacy Policy found at https://www.xlr8r.com/legal.
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2ndSun Announce New ‘Solar Souls’ EP with Video Teaser https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/2ndsun-announce-new-solar-souls-ep-with-video-teaser/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/2ndsun-announce-new-solar-souls-ep-with-video-teaser/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:33:15 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104374 The mechanically versatile duo 2ndSun, comprised of Northern England’s Olly Stork and Steve Burnett, are set to drop its latest EP Solar Souls, on November 6 via Youngbloods. Having just released its last EP, Quanta, on the industrial, sci-fi inspired imprint Tessier-Ashpool Records, Stork and Burnett have gravitated away from the aggressive and fiercely digital sound for this next release, showcasing the duo's overall adaptability and a knack for crafting stylish house and downtempo vibes. 2ndSun has been on our radar for a while now and it’s been a pleasure watching the sound gain traction and evolve over the years and we suspect a bright future still lies ahead.

We’ve featured 2ndSun on our daily download section three times, including a most recent track from Olly Storks solo moniker, Cassini. We’ve listed the tracks here, so feel free to download them.

Download: 2ndSun - “Intentions"
Download: 2ndSun - “Never Knew”
Download: 2ndSun - “You Don’t Make Proper Sounds”
Download: Cassini - “Threatless Ace”

Be sure to check out the video album teaser for Solar Souls, which will be available on white vinyl and digital, below.

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Event Review: Symbiosis Gathering’s 10 Year Re:Union https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/event-review-symbiosis-gatherings-10-year-reunion/ https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/event-review-symbiosis-gatherings-10-year-reunion/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 22:26:00 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104274 Having recently migrated to the West Coast from Boston, the difference between a “Festival” and a “Gathering” was completely lost on me. Eager to understand and hungry for adventure, I traveled upstate from LA with a friend to Symbiosis Gathering's 10 Year Re:Union to get my first taste of the wildly immersive and close-knit cultural setting that is seldom found anywhere else in the world.

Since its inaugural year in 2005, Symbiosis has grown 10 fold, this year celebrating its 10th anniversary while ushering in over 10,000 exuberant participants ready to enjoy an unparalleled demonstration of art and music that is brimming with unique displays of dance, education, experimentation, and connection. Free of any corporate sponsors, and with a strong human element that permeates throughout the setting, Symbiosis gives off a feeling of “here and now” that brings people of all different musical backgrounds together in the spirit of sustainability and physical and emotional well-being.

Taking place at the pristine and isolated Woodward Reserve in Oakdale California, the setting is flanked by a delightful and expansive reservoir. Once getting over the painstaking process of setting up camp and coming to terms with the fact that the dust would be inevitably infiltrating our tastebuds and nasal cavities for the remainder of the weekend, the rest of our experience was carefree, lively, and eye-opening. Walking around, the people of Symbiosis formed a kaleidoscope of vibrant styles with a comfort for nudity and a level of resilient expression that I have never encountered before. Everyone’s radiant attitude made smiles contagious and it became clear that the unsurmountable degree of freedom that was allowed to reign supreme over the reserve was only made possible because of the indisputable level of respect that participants had for their fellow man and the land that surrounded them.

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

The myriad of musical genres represented over the four day event, and with over one-hundred-thirty various artists performing at five different stages scattered throughout the reserve, it was necessary for us to choose our battles accordingly. Colorful performances from the Desert Hearts crew and Gaiser on the night of the opening ceremony ushered in feelings of a positive forecast of sound for the next few days. It was after the first day that I realized this was the first festival I’ve attended where background visuals were nowhere to be seen. I had mixed feelings about this at first but over the coming days came to appreciate how it made such a difference in crowd engagement at each of the various stages.

Max Cooper’s set at “The Grotto” the following day exceeded all previous expectations, dropping a mysterious rendition of Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” that had me, and the whole crowd for that matter, spinning. Despite making a noticeable impression, Cooper’s performance was completely eclipsed by Four Tet’s two and a half hour set that followed. Polished, diverse, and tough when it needed to be, Kieren’s set was absolute aces and was further highlighted by his most recent remix of Eric Prydz's “Opus."

The most popular attraction during the day was by far and away the Swimbiosis stage. Featuring performances from the likes of Quantic, Justin Martin, and Esta over a three day period, a rowdy wave of gatherers armed with pool floaties would enthusiastically unclothe without a shred of embarrassment or remorse and hurry to the waterfront to languidly float around and dance the day away.

With a new album having dropped only a day before its performance at Symbiosis, Bob Moses swooned the crowd at the Big Island Stage on Saturday night with its signature groove that strikes a perfect balance between what is considered dancey and emotional. Despite being Symbiosis’ biggest headliner, Nicolas Jaar’s performance was baffling and difficult to wrap my head around. Despite showcasing moments of sheer sonic genius, the performance lacked any form of consistency and was both underwhelming and off-putting at times. The Lydia Lunch monologue that he has been so keen on using in his performances lately seemed too harsh for the setting and took up a large chunk of his set time that could have been better spent catering to a crowd that was eager to listen and dance rather than simply look on in confusion and awe.

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Upon my arrival to the Juke Town stage the following day to see Blond:ish play, I was heartbroken to find that the fun-loving duo was nowhere to be seen. Juke Town, which resembled an old, dusty scene from a western flick, was also the stage that offered the smallest amount of shade during the day. It was hot and the crowd was scarce. Despite this, Eduardo Castillo continued to play well into his allotted time slot and the heat was a small price to pay for the remarkably eloquent and sophisticated sound coming from the speakers. I’m glad I stuck around because I was then treated to a profound set from electronic duo Extrawelt, who left me wide-eyed and shaken.

Due to the fact that Pantha du Prince was a no show (ugh), Blond:ish ended up playing its set later that night at "The Spring" stage during Pantha's set time. Despite the issues in scheduling that arose, and the somewhat frustrating lack of communication, all the participants involved seemed indifferent to the changes and simply went on enjoying the worldly, ancient sounding techno that Blond:ish has so knowingly perfected.

While XLR8R primarily came to Symbiosis Gathering's 10 Year Re:Union for the impressive lineup, it was definitely not the only thing to marvel at. The otherworldly art installations that peppered the reserve, the alchemy village, which dedicated itself to the wellness and nourishment of the gathering’s participants, the Yoga workshops, and “The Hub,” which provided shade and an assortment of informative lectures, were all worthy attractions. Organic food, live painting, tea clinics, healing crystals, vibrant clothing vendors, karaoke, art boats, free range poi, and lessons in permaculture—these things only begin to scratch the surface of what this event has to offer and en masse the experience has ingrained itself into my very being and twisted my worldview. It goes to show that events such as Symbiosis, that prides itself on creating a family oriented and all around amicable community environment, and operating without corporate sponsors, resulted in little to no police action and cultivated a feeling of co-operation, harmony, and acceptance that I’ve never found in my five years of going to festivals.

On August 21 in 2017, Symbiosis will be holding its next gathering in Oregon. The choice of date and location is due to the fact that a total solar eclipse will be stretching across a thin path of the United States and Symbiosis wants to share the celestial experience with all its loyal followers and anyone else who wants to revel in this extraordinary event. You can learn more about the Oregon Eclipse 2017 by going here.

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Cameron Holbrook

Photo: Cameron Holbrook

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg


Photo: Cameron Holbrook

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Jamie Rosenberg

Photo: Cameron Holbrook

Photo: Cameron Holbrook

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Nils Frahm Set to Curate Three-Day Event at the Barbican in London https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/nils-frahm-set-to-curate-three-day-event-at-the-barbican-in-london/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/nils-frahm-set-to-curate-three-day-event-at-the-barbican-in-london/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:26:28 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104384 Acclaimed neoclassical composer, Nils Frahm, will be curating a three-day event at London's Barbican Centre next year. The event is scheduled to start on July 1, 2016, and last until July 3.

According to RA, the German composer will be "premiering new projects and pieces" during the event. Some of Frahm's peers have also been invited to perform along him in various spaces throughout the centre.

Additional information will be announced soon here.


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Podcast 407: MANIK https://www.xlr8r.com/podcasts/2015/10/podcast-407-manik/ https://www.xlr8r.com/podcasts/2015/10/podcast-407-manik/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:14:49 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104279

Considering his adopted nom de musique—enhanced by those capital letters, in case you miss the point—you'd think that the man known as MANIK would be a somewhat frenzied guy. In truth, the DJ-producer, born and bred in New York City, is much more laid-back than his name implies. But his ascendance through the house-music ranks? That's a whole different story, as his rise has been downright delirious. He first hit the scene in 2011—and he signaled his arrival not through a Soundcloud download or self-pressed vinyl, but with a series of releases on the prestigious likes of Hot Creations, Culprit and Ovum that could have just as easily come from the hands of a 20-year vet.

That was enough to garner MANIK a DJ Mag nod as one of that year's "breakout stars"…but he wasn't done yet, soon showing up on the likes of Black Butter and Anjunadeep. More recently, he's released the Tokyo EP on Nice Age,  the imprint run by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs; scored a few of XLR8R' most downloaded tracks of the year, a trio of Janet Jackson bootlegs from his edit series; played at pretty much every credible club in the western world (and a few in the east, as well); and been snapped up by Ellen Allien's BPitch Control label, which is about to put out the excellent NY2LA EP. As you might be able to tell from all that, the producer's sound is pretty wide ranging, moving from deep and creamy, to tough and techy, to soulful and funky. And that's exactly what you get with this mix: the many moods of MANIK. Bonus: You'll also get a preview of one of those BPitch tunes.

01 Inner City “Big Fun” (intro) (KMS)
02 SAD edit 01 (not on label)
03 Gene Farris “Sometimes I Feel Like Larry Heard” (Relief)
04 Downtown Party Network “On Running” (Futureboogie)
05 Gemil & LCS. “Keep Coming” (Deep Down Slam)
06 Juju & Jordash “Coffin Train Getaway” (Golf Channel)
07 DJ Dozia “Pop Culture” (Phil Weeks remix) (Ovum)
08 Mayday “Sinister “(1st mix) (KMS)
09 Cabin Fever “Snapped” (RKDS)
10 Rushmore “Throwback” (Hot Haus Recs)
11 Armand Van Helden “Break Da 80s” (Strictly Rhythm)
12 Serge & Alden Tyrell “Pump-O-Matic” (Clone Jack For Daze Serie_
13 MANIK feat. MC Kew G “House Of Cards” (BPitch Control)
14 MANIK “Buffalo Trace” (Nice Age)
15 Alexis Raphael “Chicken” (Madtech)
16 Till Von Sein “One” (Luke Solomon's Body Mix) (Suol)
17 MANIK “Six Tape” (unknown)
18 Snuff Crew “Thunder” (Basement Jam Mix) (Cosmic Club)
19 Manolo “Night Rhythm” (12'' edit) (Dikso Records)

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Golden Donna "Secrets" https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/golden-donna-secrets/ https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/golden-donna-secrets/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 04:01:35 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104318 Joel Shanahan is no stranger to rocking numerous aliasas when preparing his projects, and with releases spread out across multiple labels like 100% Silk and 1080p, and now a new release on CGI Records as Golden Donna, its no wonder Shanahan keeps a plethora of production names in his pocket. After proudly supplying two of his next-level cuts for one of CGI records earliest split releases, the Golden Donna moniker is back for a full four-track EP called Seedy Approach. The tracks chosen for this release open up listeners and dancers to a deeper and more diverse side of the multi-named producer. Switching things up for the B-side of Seedy Approach, Mr. Donna treats us to a more melodic, reflective side of his palette. "Secrets" is at once cavernous and verdant, quickly evolving and filling the echoscape with lush, dreamy chords and a whispery texture that is both inviting and comforting, all the while in mutant symbiosis with a percolating and undulating percussion.


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Throwing Snow Presents Final Installment in a Trio of EPs, Xema https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/throwing-snow-presents-final-installment-in-a-trio-of-eps-xema/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/throwing-snow-presents-final-installment-in-a-trio-of-eps-xema/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2015 00:28:59 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104290 Highly prolific producer Ross Tones (a.k.a. Throwing Snow) has been relentlessly honing his craft since first releasing music under his Throwing Snow moniker in 2007. While releasing music via his personal imprints, A Future Without and Left Blank, Tones most recently signed to the Fabric's label offshoot, Houndstooth, in 2014. After releasing his debut LP, Mosaic, via Houndstooth, he has continued to work with the label to release a number of EPs, his most recent of which being Xema, which is set to drop on October 9.

While Xema’s predecessors, Lumen and Glower, received a great deal of praise, it is safe to say that Xema will be regarded as the crowning glory of these three releases. Kicking off with a distant, fetching bass riff and an invigorating mirba sound, the title track blossoms into a native, uplifting, and club ready track that is bound to make an impression.

If you find yourself in Amsterdam this month, be sure to catch his performance at ADE as part of the Houndstooth Showcase on October 17. You can pre-order Xema by going here, with its title track also streaming in full below.

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Premiere: Hear Trus'me Remix Alan Fitzpatrick's "Tribe" https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-hear-trusme-remix-alan-fitzpatricks-tribe/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-hear-trusme-remix-alan-fitzpatricks-tribe/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:54:22 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104236 Alan Fitzpatrick will release his first solo EP for Whistleblower—the label he founded with Reset Robot and Rhymos—on October 12.

Following up hugely successful EPs on Adam Beyer's Drumcode and Scuba’s Hotflush Recordings, and not to mention his 2014 club-storming remix of Trus'me's "I Want You," Fitzpatrick returns with his latest single, "Tribe," a gorgeous and uplifting slice of dancefloor-focused brilliance. Not to stand alone, "Tribe" lands backed by two remixes, one from Portsmouth producer Chips Jack, and the other from Prime Numbers label head, Trus'me, who seems to create a certain magic when collaborating with the UK techno maven. For his rework, Trus'me morphs the more euphoric and synth-led original into a heads-down, tribalistic drum workout. Bookended by its gritty drum loop, the track consistently wobbles forward, propelled further along to its seven-minute finish by a driving and squelchy analogue bassline and synth.

Ahead of the October 12 release date, Trus'me's remix of "Tribe" is streaming in full below.

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Event Review: Todd Terje in Glasgow https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/event-review-todd-terje-in-glasgow/ https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/event-review-todd-terje-in-glasgow/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:31:00 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=102831 Glasgow's 400-capacity Sub Club is its most revered and venerable clubbing space, having opened in 1987 and only ever moved premises to allow for reconstruction after a fire at the end of the 1990s. Todd Terje last played there in summer 2012 at Harri and Domenic's Subculture night, which also hosted this September 12 show. The Sub Club was a small venue for Terje back then, and is even more so now that It's Album Time has been a huge success and "Inspector Norse" has reached such levels of public recognition—hearing it belted out by worse-for-wear revellers in a city-center taxi queue wouldn't be a huge shock.

Terje's last engagement in the city was at last year's Optimo (Espacio) Revue at the much larger Barrowland venue, but the respective atmospheres of the two nights were pretty much the same: crammed, sweaty, and very excitable. Terje's live setup on the Sub's small DJ booth-adjacent stage was pared back from the full-band show with Delorean-heavy visuals that's become a familiar sight at festivals in the last year or so. This was a solo performance, with his large red and black Nord Stage 2 keyboard the centerpiece, and only a couple of other pieces of equipment around it. Despite this—and the gapless, DJ set-like way Terje plays these sets—the whole thing had a gig-like feel not often seen in the Sub Club, with a crush at the front and total focus on the artist.

todd terje liveCrowd reactions to more than just Terje's best-known track spoke to the level of success he's attained of late, with “Deloran Dynamite” and “Strandbar” greeted with particular fervor. For me, though, the show's most pleasurable moments came when the pace dropped a little, when Terje's talent for draping shimmering atmospheres behind his intoxicating piano lines came further to the fore. He and Bryan Ferry's cover of Robert Palmer's “Johnny and Mary,” was the most obvious of these moments, but "Swing Star Pt.1" gave a faster-paced iteration of the same luxuriant, soft-focus feel.

The inevitable finale of “Inspector Norse” was greeted with an equally inevitable pogo-crush frenzy, and, as with last year's Barrowland finale, it was an intoxicating sight, whatever your appetite for actually being right in the middle of it. A mini-exodus for the front door immediately followed, many just for a cigarette or some much-needed fresh air, but some, no doubt, to go and belt out the track they'd just heard in a taxi queue. Such is life when your star rises as high as Todd Terje's has.

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Guy J Preps Double LP for Bedrock https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/guy-j-preps-double-lp-for-bedrock/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/guy-j-preps-double-lp-for-bedrock/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 18:25:26 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104238 Drawing inspiration from a vast collection of influences with his two previous studio albums, along with consistently blessing DJ booths at clubs and festivals around the world with his tropical-yet-heady style, Guy J has overwhelmingly proved that he has grown from the status of Nick Warren and Hernan Cattaneo's protege, into a well-versed track selector and international DJ.

Next up for the Israeli producer is a recently announced double album on John Digweed’s Bedrock records, titled The Trees, The Sea & The Sun. An intrinsic component of the Bedrock family, Guy J’s previous two LP’s, Esperanza and 1000 Words, were staples in the latest wave of progressive house producers to find their niche on the long-running label.

The 2 x CD and limited 12" vinyl sampler are both available to pre-order now from the Bedrock store, and you can stream "Nirvana" right now on the Bedrock Soundcloud page or below.

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Kassem Mosse Recording Lands on meandyou. https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/kassem-mosse-recording-lands-on-meandyou/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/kassem-mosse-recording-lands-on-meandyou/#comments Mon, 05 Oct 2015 10:06:57 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104226 Manchester collective meandyou. is plotting the cassette release of leftfield house and techno specialist Kassem Mosse's first live show in 2009. Set to arrive later this month, the hour-long Kassem Mosse Live at Bookbinders 10.04.2009 features material that would later be released on Mikrodisko and his own Ominira imprint. The idea behind the tape, according to a press release from meandyou., is simply to "materialize the recording of a special meeting that would go onto form the basis of a unique collaborative relationship between the Kleestadt and Schmalkaden-based Workshop label and our own collective." While no teasers are available yet, the show warranted a rave review—and rare 5/5 rating–from Resident Advisor. (via Juno Plus)



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Review: Arturia BeatStep Pro https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/arturia-beatstep-pro/ https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/arturia-beatstep-pro/#comments Sun, 04 Oct 2015 09:00:52 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104110 The BeatStep Pro follows on the heels of last year’s BeatStep, a sequencer and controller that offered a straightforward way to control your synths and drum machines via both MIDI and control voltage. While it was well received, certain limitations eventually became obstacles: The desire of many to step away from the glow of their computer screen, in particular, was limited by the BeatStep’s ability to control just one device at a time. The BeatStep Pro adds a bunch of extra functionality to the original, designed to help liberate users from the clutches of their screens.

How It Looks
With knobs aplenty, 16 sequencer keys, and 16 velocity-sensitive drum pads, the the BeatStep Pro remains a very portable device, and does loads more than the original, to boot—firstly by adding two additional sequencers to its party. This means you’re able to hook up, say, a drum machine and two synthesizers, and have all three sequences play simultaneously; you simply hit a button to arm the pads and controllers to the desired track, and you’re off and running.
Arturia BeatStep ProImportantly, the BeatStep Pro’s array of connectivity options is vast: Along with MIDI In and Out with DIN Sync, it has two dedicated sets of CV/Gate inputs and gate connections, and Clock In and Out, meaning that you’ll be able to connect to most any music machine built in the past several decades. If you’re connecting several devices via MIDI, you can change the channels each sequence transmits on by using the enclosed excellent MIDI Control Center software (though you might need to use an additional MIDI-thru device to do so). The color scheme is a nice change of pace, aesthetically, and practically helps segment the face of the device into its component functions.

How It Plays
With its addition of buttons and LCD screens, the BeatStep Pro is easier than the original BeatStep to immediately jump into. Despite the limited real estate of its screens (precisely three digits apiece), creating sequences is straightforward, in either “real-time” (quantized) or step-sequencing mode; there are controls for randomness, swing and probability, each of which can be applied to the whole project or an individual sequence (you can also transpose your melodies individually, or all together). The device lets you save up to 16 projects, each of which can have 16 patterns of up to 64 steps in each of the three sequencers. You can switch between patterns on the fly, and control your devices without needing to store anything on a computer. There’s even a real-time looper/roller/note repeat touch strip, which is lots of fun.

The encoders also bring touch sensitivity to the table this time around, showing the current of a knob on the LCD display when you rest your finger on them. The display also rather conveniently shows note values when controlling pitch and ranges from positive to negative when controlling timing; it’s a huge boom for a hardware sequencer, when there’s no computer screen to immediately garner such bits of necessary info.

The Bottom Line
We’ve been collectively experiencing the resurgence of synthesizer and drum machine hardware, and it’s generally been a rather wonderful thing. The BeatStep Pro is one of the strongest attempts yet to give those machines something to plug into. Though the workflow can’t quite claim the same depth and UI sophistication as something like Push or Maschine, it somewhat makes up for this in terms of its vast and simple inter-operability possibilities. Whether you want to sequence a modular synthesizer, a piece of retro hardware, or even Ableton Live—or all of the above, simultaneously—it’s an impressively versatile device for doing so.

Arturia BeatStep Pro: Pricing: MSRP: $299; Street: $249

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Marbert Rocel "Unwillingly Close" https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/marbert-rocel-unwillingly-close/ https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/marbert-rocel-unwillingly-close/#comments Sun, 04 Oct 2015 00:48:00 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104158 Having to go through necessary transformations and incarnations is something that most bands have to deal with throughout their career, especially if they want to complete the process of recording multiple albums and survive over eight years of working together in the studio and touring around the world, yet, not all bands come out the other side as shiny and refined as Marbert Rocel. Founded in 2005 by roommates Malik and Panthera Krause in their Erfurt apartment, Marbert Rocel quickly grew into a band that was closely considered to be a jazzy German derivative of Sonic Youth when lead singer Antje Selfarth's voice first broke onto the scene. Back in 2007, this mixture of smooth female vocals and post-electronica-pop arrangements quickly caught the attention of the legendary Munich-based independent label Compost Records. Now, with numerous tours under its belt and its fourth studio album In The Beginning currently set for release on October 9, we are happy to see Marbert Rocel on the other side of a rollercoaster that included multiple releases and remix packages for acts like Pentatones, Marek Hemmann and Clueso. The last time we featured Marbert Rocel, was in 2008 for the track "Tttictictac," and now, the band is back with a new download offering from their latest album with the song "Unwillingly Close." The break-bloop beginnings of the track create a buttery and direct path right to the warmth of Selfarth's lyrics, while the rest of the track is reminiscent of the highly polished uptempo pop- jazz sound that we have come to love from the band. 

You can pre-order the new Marbert Rocel album In The Beginning right now on iTunes, and you can download the track "Unwillingly Close" right here on XLR8R by clicking on the media player below.

Unwillingly Close

You can also check out a teaser video for the album by here:

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Donato Dozzy The Loud Silence https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/donato-dozzy-the-loud-silence/ https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/donato-dozzy-the-loud-silence/#comments Sat, 03 Oct 2015 14:31:54 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104095 Donato Dozzy’s new LP, recorded along the shores of the Mediterranean, is called The Loud Silence—a most appropriate title considering that it's an vaguely uncomfortable, anxiety-filled story laid out within a 38-minute run-time. These eight tracks creative a vast, forest-like memory palace, projecting a psychedelic yet introspective story on throughout its dark corners. And while it's engaging, tantalizing and consistently interesting, it tests the listener by wading through a foliage of field recordings and mouth harps to get to its core, requiring an effort which can potentially get wearying at times.

Thankfully, the most tiring bits start at the beginning of the record. Opener “Personal Rock” leads with more auditory questions than answer; it all shows off the producer’s bag of tricks way too easily. There’s a notable sense of isolation that is paramount to the album's identity, specifically in tracks that take the sounds of a mouth harp surrounded by the sounds of nature. But later cuts, like “The Loud Silence,” “The Net,” and “For Arnaud,” take the approach and create a natural comfort for the listener to accept their environment and blend in with nature—breathe it, hear it, see it and taste all at once.

The last third of the album has its flourishes—with “Downhill to the Sea,” the increasing tempo, along with its peculiar frequencies, may find the listener hoping for a lighthouse near their trip downwards. However, the cut ends just as business picks up and leads to a relief period of sorts. The innocuous penultimate track, “Concert for Snails,” acts as time to catch breath— water drips between the ears, and the creaking of doors signifies that the time has come to enter the memory palace one last time. Finally, “Exit The Acropolis” builds marvelously within its four minutes; evocative of a house crumbling with no one around to see it in a forest—the listener might leave wondering, “Who was there to experience it?” The answer that Dozzy gives us is clearly a personal one, which leaves the listener to choose if they want to pursue getting into his frame of mind or not. Either way, the silence from the end of the record will remain resonant, with each listening finding their own true way to gauge what this record can offer.

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Minimal Effort Announces Complete Lineup for Halloween in Los Angeles https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/minimal-effort-announce-complete-lineup-for-halloween-in-los-angeles/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/minimal-effort-announce-complete-lineup-for-halloween-in-los-angeles/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 23:41:15 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104117 Today, Minimal Effort, the Los Angeles-based event promoters who earlier this year threw an absolutely insane event at Park Plaza in Downtown LA with names like UNER, Butch, and Matador, have released the final names for their upcoming event on Halloween at The Belasco Theater.  The lineup includes Mobilee records boss, Anja Schneider, and Kompakt label heavyweight, Agoria. Minimal Effort have also called on a few fixtures in the global dance music community to host each of their four stages, including Mixmag, Jukely, Deep House Amsterdam, Rollingtuff, and Far Away Records. The event takes place on October 31, and you can purchase pre-sale ticket to this event by clicking here. To find out more information and to join the community of people going to this event, check out the official Facebook event.

Complete lineup by stage:

Theater - Hosted by Jukely and Mixmag
AgoriaMiss KittinHunter/GameJohn WanderHuman ResourcesSaand

Ballroom - Hosted by Deep House Amsterdam
Blond:ishAdana TwinsFinnebassen, Kimou, Adam Auburn, Modus

Mobilee Basement - Hosted by Rollingtuff
Anja SchneiderRodriguez Jr. (Live), Re.You, Sabo, Kevin Anderson B2B Rybo, Out Of Hand

Hosted by - Far Away Records
Sage Caswell, Daniel T, Cooper Saver, MOON, Jen Ferrer, Jake Jenkins, Jonny Mons, Masha & Alison Swing

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Listen to Charles Murdoch's Track "Frogs" feat. Ta-ku, Wafia, and Hak https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/listen-to-charles-murdochs-track-frogs-feat-ta-ku-wafia-and-hak/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/listen-to-charles-murdochs-track-frogs-feat-ta-ku-wafia-and-hak/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 23:04:04 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104133 Recently released on the Future Classic 2015 Sampler (download here), Australian producer Charles Murdoch has blessed us with his latest track, “Frogs,” after a two year hiatus relentlessly working on his debut LP, Point, the release date of which is yet to be announced. “Frogs” is a four way collaboration between Murdoch, vocalist Wafia, NYC-based MC Hak, and fellow Australian beat guru Ta-Ku, whose contribution to the track includes his first ever vocal debut.

The track is a whimsical duet that swells and sways in a calming and leisurely pace, eventually breaking off into a ghostly, filtered hip-hop groove with Hak delivering a brief but striking verse that eventually lends its way back into a bright and fluttering sound that is equally uplifting as it is neck-breaking.

In addition to having a debut LP drop sometime in the near future, Charles Murdoch will be making his US live debut in late October, hitting NYC, San Fransisco, and Los Angeles. Check out his tour dates and the track “Frogs” below, as well as more music from Murdoch by going here.

U.S. Tour Dates:
22nd October - 1015 Folsom - San Francisco
23rd October - Belasco Theatre - Los Angeles
24th October - Good Room - New York

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Premiere: Watch Private Agenda's Live Performance of "Little Bird" https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-watch-private-agendas-live-performance-of-little-bird/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-watch-private-agendas-live-performance-of-little-bird/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 22:58:56 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104097 The group known as Private Agenda—which consists of techno producer Nicolas Bougaieff, composer Martin Rowe, and singer Sean Phillips—is an emerging German disco/balearic beat group that has crafted a unique and positive musical vibe with smooth saxophone solos, rich soundscapes, and a profusion of warm latin percussion.

Premiering its debut single, “Deja Vu,” in March of this year (which received a great deal of praise), the trio has been hard at work to put out its follow up release, "Paralyzed," which was released on International Feel on September 18. XLR8R is pleased to bring you an exclusive video premiere of Private Agenda's performance of one of its latests tracks “Little Bird.”

Watch the dreamy and fresh disco performance below and be sure to check out more of Private Agenda’s music by going here.

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Novation Introduces Grid Based Groovebox, Circuit https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/novation-introduces-grid-based-groovebox-circuit/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/novation-introduces-grid-based-groovebox-circuit/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 22:19:12 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104120 Novation has just announced its latest design for portable and efficient production, Circuit. This battery powered, standalone piece of equipment is compact and brimming with an assortment of impressive features.

Circuit is a two-part analogue-modelled synth and four-part drum machine box, complete with step-sequencer, realtime recording capability, and velocity sensitive pads that can help you build ideas quickly and comfortably. With a 4x8 grid, eight macro-controls and no need to hook up to a laptop or speakers, Circuit is perfect for those on-the-go producers who wish to combine “simplicity and experimentation.”

You can watch the promo video for the Novation Circuit below and grab more information about this astounding piece of gear by visiting Novation’s website here.

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Download a New Track from Kenny Glasgow https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/download-a-new-track-from-kenny-glasgow/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/download-a-new-track-from-kenny-glasgow/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:47:27 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104013 Ahead of Kenny Glasgow's new album on No. 19, Circus Tales, which is slated to arrive in 2016, the former Art Department member has dropped a new track on No. 19's Soundcloud. The deep and dark "Thinking To Myself" is typically Glasgow; twisted vocals and a repeated, morphing synth line form the basis of the track, backed by running drums and soaring pads, for a dark ride into the depths of clubland.

"Thinking To Myself" is being offered as a free download via the Soundcloud player below, with more information on Circus Tales set to arrive soon.

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Q&A: Jori Hulkkonen https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/10/qa-jori-hulkonnen/ https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/10/qa-jori-hulkonnen/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 16:49:25 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103441

Finnish DJ-producer Jori Hulkkonen is a man of many hats. Ever since he started making music in 1988, Hulkkonen has produced, as a solo artist or in collaboration, under more than 20 different aliases, including Sin Cos Tan, Acid Symphony Orchestra and, most recently, Nuclear Winter Garden. As a DJ, he has been similarly prolific, having regularly played more than 100 gigs per year across the globe. Over recent years, however, Hulkkonen has made the conscious decision to limit his touring schedule in order to spend more time in the studio—an endeavor that has today seen him release Oh But I Am. The new album marks a return to the dancefloor following Nuclear Winter Garden’s self-titled release in March, and his first full-length under his own moniker in over half a decade. To mark the occasion, and to learn more about the inspirations behind the album, XLR8R sat down with Hulkkonen at his home studio in Kemi, Finland.

jori 1400x1400

Reading your discography, it’s been a remarkable career ever since your debut 12-inch back in 1993. Did you ever anticipate success on this scale?
When I first started producing music in the late ‘80s, I wasn’t thinking about having a career as a musician. I didn’t really know anything about music at the time and it’s just been a steady learning process ever since. At some point you realize that people connect with the music you make and labels begin asking to release your tracks. Over time, things just gradually started to happen and some time in the late '90s I had to go to university—but I realized I just didn't have the time to focus on my studies and my music. I had to make a decision and I felt that if I didn’t follow music at that moment, then I would eventually regret it further down the line. I decided to follow it and now here I am, twenty years later.

"I am always trying to push myself as an artist by trying things that I didn’t think I could previously do. I would hate to realise in 10 years that I had been making the same records for the whole of my career."

Do you believe that the fact that you’re a self-taught musician has helped you push the boundaries by encouraging you to experiment with sounds?
I think of myself as a music lover rather than a music maker. I have always been interested in hearing things that are as versatile as they can be—and I think this comes out through my music. With each of my releases, it’s important for me to do something that hasn’t been done before—something that either I haven’t been able to do or haven't even thought about doing before. This can be something quite small that doesn’t even come across to the listener, or something quite avant-garde like the Acid Symphony Orchestra project. I am always trying to push myself as an artist by trying things that I didn’t think I could previously do. I would hate to realize in 10 years that I had been making the same records for the whole of my career.

You say that you must try something different with each record. What is the specific difference with Oh But I Am?
Firstly, I do all the vocals myself. Previously I have used vocals, but only by writing the demo and having someone else come and sing it. For me, it feels a lot more personal because when you have someone come and sing what you’ve done, then it’s a slightly different angle. Although it may be technically better, it feels like you lose something. Secondly, one of the points of this album was also not to write any lyrics. When we were recording, we maybe had this phrase or idea but we did the rest ad-lib. I was trying to adopt this old-fashioned approach to lyrics, like in early house records where the lyrics are about love and don’t go too deep.

Had this idea been in your head for quite a while?
In a way, yes. For the past three or four years, I have been working with so many projects with amazing vocalists, for example the EP with John Foxx, the album with the band Sin Cos Tan and also my work with Tiga. By working with all these people, it became a logical step for me to do a solo album based on house music.

Over the course of your career, you’ve released under more than 20 different monikers. Do you find that this variety is an important source of inspiration?
Definitely, and that is one of the key elements in my progression. Every record I do inspires me to try new things and I think that’s important. I have a lot of friends who have been doing this one project with one style of music for many years, but I would find that very boring. I am continually obsessed with making new stuff and trying new things. It means I can go in the studio and mess around while knowing that I am not restricted to one sound—and I really enjoy this artistic freedom because I can always find some sort of output for my work.

"When you’re never trendy then you never become untrendy. For the past twenty years, I have never been the big headliner and this means there is never really any pressure on me to maintain a certain status."

One of the most interesting things about you is your longevity. Do you put this down to your desire to continually innovate?
I think it’s because I’ve never become that popular. When you’re never trendy, then you never become untrendy. For the past twenty years, I have never been the big headliner, and this means there is never really any pressure on me to maintain a certain status. I’ve seen it happen to lots of artists where they try so hard to maintain something that they achieved—and that pressure is not good for artistic creativity.

Moving on to the new album, it’s been five years since your last LP under your own name. Why the wait?
It wasn’t really intentional. I produced an album for Villa Nah in 2009 and I just clicked with lead singer Juho Paalosmaa, and we decided to set up Sin Cos Tan together. From there, it really took off and we ended up doing three albums in two years. It wasn’t really intentional, but I felt that Sin Cos Tan could be something worth investing it.

But switching back to focus on your own solo material was a conscious decision?
Yes. That came last year following the third Sin Cos Tan album. I thought that in 2015 I wanted to focus on my solo career.

Is there a story behind the Oh But I Am name?
Actually the real story is so boring it’s not really worth telling. I keep writing things down constantly—mainly in the notepad that I carry around—and when I realized that it was the first album I’ve done under my real name in half a decade, I was surprised that it had been such a long a time. I then saw the artwork, which is a photo of me back in the ‘80s, and I wanted a title that was personal and funny. Oh But I Am just worked.


Oh But I Am is very different to the Nuclear Winter Garden album that you put out in March. Do you prefer producing for the dancefloor, or do you prefer producing the more ambient stuff?
That’s been a big question, all throughout my career—and it has always been the case that I try to find the balance. I come from the background of not going to clubs but listening to club music. For me, with club music the focus has always been on the word music rather than the word club. I didn’t really go clubbing until I began playing out myself—and so it has always felt that club music has been a reference rather than the main product. Obviously I have made some records that are made for DJs—and being a DJ has helped me do this—but even today I still have to consciously think whether I want to make something more dancefloor orientated or something more ambient.

So was it your intention to make Oh But I Am dancefloor orientated?
I always wanted the next Jori Hulkkonen album to be more dancefloor-friendly, especially my Sin Cos Tan work has been very pop-orientated over recent years. I felt that as a DJ, I wanted more of my own stuff that I could play.

How long did the new album take to produce?
When I start working on a new album, I always go back to old projects and see if there are any unused bits that I could use now. And there were a few sketches and chord structures that I took—but the main production started last September and ended around April this year. Some of the songs, mainly “Italian Love Affair” and “Ready Player One,” were based on sketches I had produced a little earlier for Sin Cos Tan, but I realised that I wanted this album to have some of the same new wave vibe.

Seven months is a fast turnaround.
That’s true, but it’s just how I have always worked. I think we did all of the Sin Cos Tan albums in the space of just three months. I am very quick in the studio, but I think that comes from experience. The main software I use is Cubase—and I have been using it for 25 years, so the workflow is very fast. I also have my own studio so I don’t get stuck in technical difficulties.

"I try to change the process every now and then just to keep myself fresh. Even just changing the gear in my studio—or even just moving a synth from one wall to another—helps me move forward with my sound."

Have your production processes changed over time, and is this a source of inspiration?
I try to change the process every now and then just to keep myself fresh. Even just changing the gear in my studio—or even just moving a synth from one wall to another—helps me move forward with my sound. It’s a continual process of having the software that I know inside out—that is like the brain—and then having all the hardware that I can work with without having to look at the computer, which allows me to improvise. In the 25 years that I’ve been making records, my processes have changed dramatically because of what I have learned and also due to the development of new technologies.

Would you say that most of your tracks are conceptualized prior to recording, or are they mostly just a result of spontaneous jamming?
It works both ways. There are some songs that I have written at home on the piano and recorded them on my phone before taking them to the studio. On the other hand, some tracks are just made when I begin messing around with a drum machine and have come up with a bassline and a hook, which then inspires me to come up with other ideas. Even if I don’t have any ideas, I come to the studio and turn on the equipment in the hope that something will come.





You’re obviously a big ambassador for hardware production, but has this always been the case?
When I started making music in 1988, that was the only option. You would have a computer that would be just a sequencer, but this would be used with synths and drum machines. You would have to improvise a lot to get the most out of the limited equipment that you had, and that was very good creatively because when you’re limited to what you can do you end of stretching your imagination. These days, with just one piece of software, you can do sonically anything you can think of—and it is very easy to become lazy which leads to a mediocre end result. This is something I try to keep in mind today, and I focus on a small number of key instruments and try to get the most out of them as possible—which I think creates something that you cannot get out of a software emulator.

And do the production processes change from track to track?
Yes. For example the last track on the album, “Exotica Memoirs,” was produced using this old organ in the studio next to mine. I really wanted to use that for one of the tracks and the idea was to sit down with it and produce a more pop-orientated sound, something akin to Metronomy. This was a very different approach to all the other tracks. On the other hand, “Cape Town People” was produced as a homage to the sound of 1995, which was a really important time in my career, and I wanted to get the sound of that time in that track. This was a very technical approach to production, something very different to having an organ and writing a song.

"One of my strengths, if I have any, is that I am good at taking a track to its final destination, and it’s not something I can say out loud because it’s very hard to determine. It’s more of an intuition."

How do you know when a track is done?
I think it comes from trial and error. One of my strengths, if I have any, is that I am good at taking a track to its final destination, and it’s not something I can say out loud because it’s very hard to determine. It’s more of an intuition.

"If it’s 3am and I have an idea, there is no other option but to go to the studio and work on it."

You’re known to spend over 10 hours a day in the studio—but does the production process go around the clock?
Yes, it’s a lifestyle. Whatever I am doing, even when I am jogging, I am always coming up with ideas and I will start humming it to record on my phone. If it’s 3am and I have an idea, there is no other option but to go to the studio and work on it.

What other musical projects have you got coming up?
I have a new EP with Sin Cos Tan next month, and we’ve also started working on our fourth album. We have the songs, but it doesn’t yet feel like an album, and so decided to choose three songs and do an EP of those. There is also a Jori Hulkkonen 12-inch coming out soon, which is two tracks from me and a remix. I am also working on some new ideas for the new Jori Hulkkonen album…because I don’t want it to be five years until the next one.

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Tsunga "Hugo('s) Bo$$" https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/tsunga-hugos-bo/ https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/10/tsunga-hugos-bo/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 02:41:21 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103985 After recent, massive contributions to Black Acre's and Trax Couture's respective catalogues, Tsunga is back to flex its versatility and ferociousness yet again, this time courtesy of the forward-thinking Montreal-based electronic label Infinite Machine. On September 25, Tsunga released an EP lovingly dubbed Schlangbanger, an un-earthly record that is comprised of a clangorous, industrial cocktail of outlier musicianship and ordered chaos. The four track EP of deviant dance music finishes with the cut "Hugo('s) Bo$$," that, while less streamlined for the dancefloor, still shows Tsunga's manifold talents for composing acid, infused with electro and rave hardcore alike. The track has all the rave particles you've come to expect from a label like Infinite Machine, while also swirling around a nuclear reaction of heavy bass lines and spiraling hi-hats. You can pick up a copy of Schlangbanger by visiting the Infinite Machine Bandcamp page, and you can find out more about Tsunga by visiting him on Soundcloud.

Hugo('s) Bo$$

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Various Artists Indian Summer: Volume Two https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/various-artists-indian-summer-volume-two/ https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/various-artists-indian-summer-volume-two/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 01:41:35 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103976 Those lazy, hazy days have come to an end, the sun bids farewell earlier every day, and there’s already a chill in the air. For many, fall is a wistful, romantically melancholy time of year, a season to wonder about what might have been if only you had spent the warmer months more wisely, and a time to shudder at thoughts of the impending gloom to come. (Disregard the above if you’re in southern climes. Wanna change places?) Anyway, it’s the perfect season for the Touch of Class label’s second Indian Summer compilation, a collection of tune that sum up the autumnal vibe, one that alternates between the congenial and the contemplative.

Indian Summer: Volume Two features tracks from some of Touch of Class’s core team (including Tone Of Arc, Signal Flow, Pattern Drama and Navid Izadi), along a string of cuts culled from upcoming projects and ringers—Thugfucker, Ataxia, Berkson & What, and Jonny Cruz’s new Ominous duo among them. As you might expect with such a wide swathe of artists, there’s lots of variety on tap—plenty of which would fit vaguely into the house template, but with a few outliers as well. And some within that second group are among the compilation’s best. Schnitz’s “Hermetic” is pure cosmic electro-funk, with Moog-ish synth lines and Joe Le Groove’s breathy, filtered vocal snippets propelled by drum-machine syncopation; Mavidip & Steinlausky’s “Eyeballin’” is a pseudo-sexy, low-slung R&B tune that treads the line between parody and honest homage; and “Get Back Down,” by KMLN (featuring Myron on vocals) nestles somewhere between slow-groove Prince (albeit a very minimalist Prince) and Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song)”

Most of the rest of Indian Summer: Volume Two follow a 4/4 groove, though none of them could exactly be considered peak-time material; these songs are as much about feeling as they are about dancing. There’s a dreamy, pensive ambience to most of them; fitting, given the season. There’s a nostalgic quality, too—none of these tracks are “old-school,” exactly, but there’s some of the same aura that house had in those fertile, late-’80s and early-’90s days, when producers were learning to inject more nuance, musicianship and soul into their machine-made music. (If you think about the vibier tunes on the New Generation label’s old DJ’s on Vinyl EPs, you’ll be close.) “The Force,” from Berkson & What, is a jazzy, low–bpm track boasting a bumping little bassline and gorgeous chords; Moon Unit’s “High on You” wraps its heavenly synth washes around a boogie-tinged rhythm; and "Passing the Lion,” by Tone of Arc, could be a future Balearic classic. The record’s final track, “Colours”—from the dream team of Signal Flow, Pattern Drama, Navid Izadi and Jonny Cruz—sums it all up: ten minutes of muted bliss, with feelings of hope mingling with a faint sense of loss, make for a gorgeous ending to a wonderful set.

NYC’s Kolekti crew celebrates the release of Indian Summer: Volume Two with a party on Saturday, October 3 featuring Metro Area, Wolf + Lamb, Pillow Talk, Tone of Arc, Pattern Drama, Signal Flow and more.

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Premiere: Watch Henry Saiz and Psyk at Stay True Spain https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-watch-henry-saiz-and-psyk-at-stay-true-spain/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-watch-henry-saiz-and-psyk-at-stay-true-spain/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 01:26:45 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104029 Following on from Stay True Scotland—as well as stops in Mexico, Chile, Poland, Germany, South Africa, and Russia—Ballantine's and Boiler Room have once again teamed up for the latest in the Stay True series,  this time touching down in Barcelona, Spain.

The series aims, and succeeds, in seeking out and shining a light on authentic and inspiring scenes by pairing both emerging and established artists and throwing a damn good party. Stay True Spain took place last month with a stacked cast of Spanish artists including Henry Saiz, Psyk, Paco Osuna, Coyu, and UNER, and XLR8R is proud to premiere sets from Henry Saiz and Psyk, both of which you can stream in full below.

Henry Saiz Boiler Room & Ballantine's Stay True... by brtvofficial

Psyk Boiler Room & Ballantine's Stay True Spain... by brtvofficial

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Max Loderbauer, Claudio Puntin, and Samuel Rohrer Return as Ambiq https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/max-loderbauer-claudio-puntin-and-samuel-rohrer-return-as-ambiq/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/max-loderbauer-claudio-puntin-and-samuel-rohrer-return-as-ambiq/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 00:06:10 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=104025 Ambiq—the Berlin instrumental trio made up of Max Loderbauer, Claudio Puntin, and Samuel Rohrer—will drop its second LP, Ambiq 2, on November 13 via Arjuna Music.

Ambiq 2 will feature Loderbauer on analog synthesizer and continuum fingerboard; Puntin on clarinets, mini mallets, and electronics; and Rohrer on drums, mini synth, and electronics. According to the accompanying press, the LP pulls from a "deep pool of influences that includes free improv, early electronic music and spaced-out dub," with the trio becoming "more than the sum of its parts, a single organism with its own unique expressive vocabulary and perspective."

Spread across 11 tracks, the LP will be released on 12", CD, and digital formats.


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In The Studio: Rival Consoles https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/10/qa-rival-consoles/ https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/10/qa-rival-consoles/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 22:17:56 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103916 The London-based producer-cum-composer Ryan Lee West first came to XLR8R’s attention with 2007’s Vemeer EP. That release—his debut under his Aparatec alias—marked the start of the now-renowned Erased Tapes imprint, home of Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds, to name a few. Since then, West has released two albums and a series of beautiful EPs under his new Rival Consoles moniker, most notably 2013’s Odyssey and 2014’s Sonne, both of which were critically acclaimed for their minimal-techno sound, and launched West into a wider global audience. Having seen West perform his bespoke audio-visual live set at this year’s Life and Death party in Barcelona—one of the finest daytime performances XLR8R has seen in many years—we decided to visit West in his South London analog-heavy studio to discuss the dynamic production processes behind Howl, his  new album slated for an October 16 release. West also offered to include streams of isolated elements from each album track and detail the production processes and inspirations behind each one.


As an artist, it’s hard to define you. You’re much more than a producer. How do you introduce yourself?  
I would call it songwriting with an electronic palette of sounds—that is probably the best short description of what I do. There are times when I am more of a producer and there are times when I am much more of a musician.

Have you always wanted to be a professional musician?
I have never wanted to make a career out of the music that I make; I have never tried to make money. You cannot force demand—my goal is simply to make better music as I go on and just learn more. And over the last couple of years it’s started to gather quite a lot of momentum, following the releases of my last two EPs: Odyssey and Sonne. I think that is because I have finally started to refine my practice—and if it now becomes more successful, then that’s great.

Has there ever been a temptation to tweak your sound to make it more commercially viable?
Not really. There must be something more to electronic music than the big paradigms that exist on a commercial level. It’s a very formulaic approach. When it comes to electronic music, there’s a whole lot of garbage out there—and I am talking hideous ideas. But I can’t stop thinking that there must be other approaches that must be just as popular—something that is away from this four-to-the-floor stuff. Once you start trying to make a sound loud, then you turn your back on thousands and thousands of sonic possibilities. One of the best things to do is to start a track with a really quiet, weak sound.

Your music has drifted from ambient drum & bass to more straight-up techno. Do you now feel that you’ve found your sound with the minimalist, emotional techno of Howl?
My sound is definitely becoming more certain of itself. I feel that I’m reaching point where I am just starting to achieve what I want with an electronic palette of sounds. I have gone through load of ideas— some of them interesting some of them not—and now it has reached the point where I can really do what I want to with the sounds.

So you'd say Odyssey and Sonne EPs were key moments in your career?
Yes. Odyssey gave me the confidence to do what I wanted to do with electronic sounds rather than something else. It’s so easy to be seduced by different techniques, but the success of these EPs gave me the belief that I should pursue the music that is personal to me, and not just make a club sound.

Were the production processes different?
Yes. The first two albums were mainly made with digital synths—but these two EPs, and Howl, were made with hardware. That’s not because I am an analog snob—it’s because I wanted a change and I need restraints. Everything is much more fragile because you don’t have the luxury of always being able to change things with computer editing. I don’t think digital production makes me work in the best way because it always sounds uncertain of itself, exploring too many gimmicks, etc.

Do you see all of your earlier works as stepping stones on the way to finding your current sound?
Yes. Some people do have this perfect discography where everything is amazing, either through luck or because they’re a genius—but I think for most people you have to allow failure in your work to get to a certain point. If someone is 18 now and looking to make the perfect record, I think that is quite damaging because it constrains creativity too much.

On reflection, does Howl capture your growth as a composer?
Definitely. But the interesting thing is that I don’t want to just continually refine things and make them really well-crafted to the point that they’re boring. I am a fan of sloppy things and rough things happening in music. I don’t want my compositions to be really immaculate, and so there is a fine line between having a mature composition and something that is just really boring. I think the growth as a composer comes from knowing how to express ideas with sounds.



Do you work on several tracks consecutively or do you normally finish one before starting another?
I am normally working on several tracks at any one given time. Sometimes I do spend a lot of time on one track—like I spent a lot of time on the opening track of "Howl." I wasn’t necessarily changing it because I didn’t want it to sound over-labored—more just listening to it for huge amounts of hours to make sure that the overall momentum felt right. I don’t like to do too much when I am working on stuff; I like to just let it be what it is, and then I will go in and make adjustments. I think this is because you don’t fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of something when you are making it. It takes a certain amount of time to understand the composition, and then you can make the necessary adjustments. Only by giving it some time to breathe and working on other stuff can you come back with fresh eyes and become aware of a new weakness. It’s all about problem solving at the end of the day.

Where do the ideas for tracks come from?
Most of it comes from responding to stuff inside the studio. I am a very reactive person. Sometimes, though, it a very conceptual idea I have, such as "Recovery," where I wanted to create the sense of time contracting and expanding over a pulse. I had this idea before I even made a sound.

"Some of the music that I abandon is very good—but there has to be a “specialness” to something that is happening within a track. There has to be more than one special moment to release it."

When you are composing, how do you determine whether a sound is good or not?
I will listen to it for a month after I’ve composed it, and the test is whether it gives me new ideas or inspires me in some way. Some of the music that I abandon is very good—but there has to be a “specialness” to something that is happening within a track. There has to be more than one special moment to release it.



How do you know when a track is ready?  Are you a perfectionist? 
Compared to the other people on the label, like Ólafur Arnaulds or Nils Frahm, I wouldn’t say so. I am normally quite happy to let go of something. The thing that I am most interested in is the overall composition. I don’t mind having moments in the track that could have been produced a little bit better as long as the overall idea is interesting.

You’ve spoken previously about adding more warmth to your compositions. Is this something you’ve take even further with Howl?
Yes. I am always trying to solve this problem. It’s very easy for synths to sound plastic and sterile—there is no real way to add more warmth to them. There are little tricks but it’s very difficult to make it sound natural—as opposed to recording a cello, which naturally sounds warm. I’ve tried to do so the same in Howl, but it’s challenging not to make it sound over-labored. Basically, I am always trying to overcome the weaknesses in my music and that’s just one example of it.


Sonne EP was named after the German word for sun because you wanted it to be warmer than Odyssey, the previous EP. Is there a similar story behind the name of each piece of your work?
There are reasons behind most of them. The title track of Sonne felt like the sun hitting my face and is hopeful. It’s really warming and powerful with these big major-minor chord progressions. The Odyssey EP, and the title track, are both very grandiose and so the name just worked. "Phillip" is named after Phillip K. Dick, the sci-fi writer, just because it evokes the emotions of his writing (paranoia etc). "Helios" is similarly about the sun and the solar system. The first half of the track is quite standardized, and then I disrupt this by allowing a fizzy, warming chord progression to emerge, like the sun appearing from behind something, but is in actual fact a variation on the opening theme—so while it seems abrupt, it is closely related.

And Howl—what's the reason behind the name of the album?
The album is definitely more emotive than anything I’ve done before.  There are lots of instances where it sounds like the synths are mourning. It feels like a release. In two of the tracks the synths are made from my voice, and this gives it this haunting, meandering set of tones. The album is filled with these moments, so I chose the name that best expressed what the music felt like.

How long did the album take to produce?
It took about a year—except there is one track, "Afterglow," that I have been working on slowly for years. It just fitted perfectly into the album.

How do you feel it differs to your previous albums? 
It is much more emotional, with much more subtle, rendering sounds. Not everything is subtle—there are some up-front and bold moments but there is a more careful treatment of these sounds. I think I am trying to do more with less. With my last album I tried to do too much with each part, which is a sign of insecurity. Over the last two EPs, I’ve learned to slow things down and do something interesting with few ingredients. That’s perhaps the biggest difference between the new album and the previous two. That said, I think the approaches to melody and harmony are actually quite similar. I am sucker for emotive chords, and what you can achieve with them—which I think this is undervalued in a lot of electronic music.


Howl started out as arpeggios of a single note, to create a driving rhythm, always pushing forward, with very rough home record percussion. But it started to really interest me when I began bending the pitch of dark, fuzzy tones over this. I think this synth has a really vocal like quality to it—almost mournful.

Here you can hear very subtle pads, before an eruption of me flicking through octaves as I play C Bm D C. I did this twice, once on the Microkorg and once on the Prophet 8. I love how it opens up the music, like going from a narrow image to IMAX. I think that is an important way to explore music.

I've used guitar with synth a few times. This particular sound on guitar is something I created on Helios—it’s an FFT plugin shifting octaves with delay—not too much effect, though! I love the way the guitar has a broken but sweet sound to it, and it works great with the dull pad sound from the Prophet 08. This kind of contrast is something that runs throughout the record.

I love pulses in music—especially electronic music. I don’t know if I always have or if it is some kind of Steve Reich/Riley influence. They just seem to achieve a lot with little room taken up. Anyway, here I created a very specific pulse, which gives the arpeggios something to harmonize with. It’s like a beacon, that keeps illuminating, and I love that in music.

This is purely influenced by seeing Colin Stetson live. I was just shocked by the absolute slabs of tone that were smashing through the air; it was incredible. I wanted to created a piece that had big monophonic tones like this, hence "walls"’ meaning "walls of sound." It’s no way near as rich as Stetson, but I think I achieved something interested by combining it with very delicate ambient tones. Huge contrast in this piece!

This track is just one repeating chord progression but with subtle harmonies throughout. Here you can hear a fragile melody playing and then I include the main tones, which make it clear what the chords are. Everything is monophonic, building up chords with mono lines is hard work but really powerful, because you listen more to the sound and aren’t so judgmental about chords theory.

"3 Laments"
This ambient improvisation is made up of a very noisy recording of my voice. I just sampled me singing a note and looped it in Ableton Sampler. The clip shows just the note I sang at original pitch, being looped as I hold down a note. This is pretty basic, but for some reason this was really special to me—it just sounds great to play with. I love how sad/mysterious it sounds.

"Morning Vox"
This clip shows some pulses I created: The first two are very open, and the second two are more closed (and this repeats)—even though this seems obvious to anyone, I was amazed how musical this was when I did it. It just has more meaning and really adds something. I’ve included the vocal synth and acoustic guitar, to show how it works with them.

I love trying to create atmosphere—here is the breakdown in the piece, playing the chords C Am E Em. It’s just three layers of different tones; they are not perfectly in time, because I like chords that are a little wonky in time. To me, this creates texture—and texture is often lacking in synths. All the synth tones are slightly bending out of tune and might have a slight rhythmic value to them as well, which makes the chords sound more alive and evolving, but without loads of complex automation/modulation.


All photos: Lenka Rayn H. Fine Art Photography 

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Premiere: Watch a Colorful New Video from Phil Weeks & Peven Everett https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-watch-a-colorful-new-video-from-phil-weeks-peven-everett/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/premiere-watch-a-colorful-new-video-from-phil-weeks-peven-everett/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 22:17:43 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103981 House music purist Phil Weeks' forthcoming LP, Pimpin' Ain't Easy, will drop on his own Robsoul Recordings on October 23.

The Parisian house head follows up his previous three albums—2003's Yeah I Like That, 2011's Love Affair and 2012's Raw Instrumental—with thirteen raw, hardware-driven house grooves on Pimpin' Ain't Easy. Joining Weeks on the album will be US house legends Peven Everett and Mike Dunn, with additional vocals from Yasmin.

The album's first single, "Funky Music," features Peven Everett and has received a hypercolor video befitting the track perfectly. It's like a gritty version of the video for Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" after it's been sprinkled with LSD and a healthy does of Weeks' and Everett's house magic.

You can watch the full clip for "Funky Music" below, with Pimpin' Ain't Easy available for pre-order here.

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Competition: Win Two Tickets to Autechre in Los Angeles October 15 https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/competition-win-two-tickets-to-autechre-in-los-angeles/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/competition-win-two-tickets-to-autechre-in-los-angeles/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 20:00:13 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=97221 Goldenvoice presents Autechre with Cygnus and Rob Hall (dj) at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, California next Thursday October 15.
The event marks the duo's first visit to Los Angeles in seven years, and XLR8R is offering readers one last chance to win two tickets.

Enter you email below for a chance to win.  Terms and Conditions apply.

Winners will be notified Monday October 12.

Terms and Conditions

  •  Winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries received and verified by XLR8R.
  • The winner will be notified by email within 2 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 2 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
  • XLR8R will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
  • Entries into the competition will automatically opt-in email for XLR8R.com weekly email newsletter, The Lowdown. User may unsubscribe at anytime.
  • The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows:
      • Only 1 entry per email address accepted
      • Must be 18 years of age or older to enter
      • Prize is for 2 tickets to Autechre at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, California, USA, on October 15th.
      • Winning tickets are non-transferrable and cannot be sold.  Valid ID must be presented.
      • Prize does not include transportation or accommodations, entry only.


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Competition: Win Two Tickets to Doomtree in Los Angeles https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/competition-win-two-tickets-to-doomtree-in-los-angeles/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/competition-win-two-tickets-to-doomtree-in-los-angeles/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:11:30 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103957 Goldenvoice presents Doomtree at the El Rey in Los Angeles, California on Saturday October 17.

To enter for a chance to win the pair of tickets, enter your email below.  Terms and Conditions apply.

Winners will be notified Wednesday October 14!

Terms and Conditions

  •  Winners will be chosen at random from all valid entries received and verified by XLR8R.
  • The winner will be notified by email within 2 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 2 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
  • XLR8R will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
  • Entries into the competition will automatically opt-in email for XLR8R.com weekly email newsletter, The Lowdown. User may unsubscribe at anytime.
  • The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows:
      • Only 1 entry per email address accepted
      • Must be 18 years of age or older to enter
      • Prize is for 2 tickets to Doomtree at the El Rey in Los Angeles, CA on October 17th.
      • Winning tickets are non-transferrable and cannot be sold.  Valid ID must be presented.
      • Prize does not include transportation or accommodations, entry only.


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Moog Music Announces Mother-32 Semi-Modular Synthesizer, Shares Video https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/moog-music-announces-mother-32-semi-modular-synthesizer-shares-video/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/moog-music-announces-mother-32-semi-modular-synthesizer-shares-video/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 18:35:21 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103944 Today, Moog Music announced its first tabletop semi-modular synthesizer, the Mother-32.

The vintage-voiced analog synthesizer features a simple, easy-to-use one knob per-function style interface, a comprehensive voltage-controlled sequencer, and a 32-point analog patchbay. The semi-modular design means that no patching is required to create powerful sound, allowing users of any experience the ability to quickly make music. The patch bay includes an assignable CV output jack, MIDI to CV conversion, external audio input, a second voltage-controlled mixer, sync, and multiple unit expandability.

The unit's sound—which is voiced by a powerful 10-octave analog oscillator with variable pulse width, and an analog white noise generator—is controlled by the 32-step, voltage controlled sequencer, or an external MIDI controller, and then travels through a Moog Ladder Filter with selectable low pass and high pass filter types.

The Mother-32 is available now for $599. You can check out more information on the unit here, with the official demo video below.

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Weekly Selections: As You Like It, Electric Minds, roBOt Festival https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/weekly-selections-as-you-like-it-electric-minds-robot-festival/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/weekly-selections-as-you-like-it-electric-minds-robot-festival/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:00:58 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103825 This week for our international event selections we have chosen the five year anniversary and closing event of San Francisco's As You Like It, taking place on Saturday and featuring Michael Mayer, DBX (live), John Tejada, and a Giegling showcase in the second room; also on Saturday, three of The Hydra's favorite producers Levon Vincent, Move D, and Mr G (live) take over Studio Spaces E1 for Electric Minds in London; and finally kicking off next Wednesday in historic Bologna the eight edition of roBOt festival hosts over a 100 live sets, dj sets, screenings, digital installations, and workshops, with acts like Trentemoller, Biosphere, Ben UFO, and John Talabot.

We welcome our readers to submit events for weekly consideration. To find more events in your city or to submit a new event visit our events page.


Audiolism w/ Wovoka, Kevin Osha, Emma & Alkalina
TBA Brooklyn - Brooklyn, NY, US
Puce Mary
Fuse Art Space - Bradford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Flash - Washington, DC, US
The Birthday Bash | Jason Ojeda, Hex Hector and Hector Romero
Cielo - New York, NY, US
INPUT | Rudimental (DJ Set) at Output
Output - Brooklyn, NY, US
Berghain/Panorama Bar - Berlin, Germany
Studio 80 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
SymbionProject live in LA @ Oscillator
TBD - Los Angeles, CA, US


Elektra Complex Debuts: Drei Fragezeichen (nd_baumecker & Massimiliano Pagliara)
Dance Tunnel - London, United Kingdom
Konzert - Little Boots
Berghain/Panorama Bar - Berlin, Germany
Flash - Washington, DC, US
Bar Standard - Denver, CO, US
Lex Records :: Clock Strikes 13
The Laundry - Hackney, London, United Kingdom
Vibal | Tedd Patterson + Marques Wyatt
Cielo - New York, NY, US
Framework presents Victor Calderone
Sound Nightclub - Hollywood, CA, US
Patrick Topping/ System of Survival/ Gardens of God at Output
Output - Brooklyn, NY, US
Coda Nightclub - Philadelphia, PA, US
Lee Burridge(All Day I Dream) Presented by: PW/Deep Blue/Pink Mammoth
Public Works SF - San Francisco, CA, US
Studio 80 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
FABRICLIVE 2.10 Numbers & Hoya:Hoya w/ Jackmaster, Pepe Bradock, Hunee, Krystal Klear & more
fabric - London, London, United Kingdom
Patterns invites Disco Deviant
Patterns - Brighton, United Kingdom
Code Is Law Showcase
Arena Club - Berlin, Germany
Berghain/Panorama Bar - Berlin, Germany


boxed x local
Boxed x Local Action :: Clock Strikes 13
Corsica Studios - London, United Kingdom
Lau Nau (aka Laura Naukkarinen)
Fuse Art Space - Bradford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Saeed Younan, Alex Eljaiek
Flash - Washington, DC, US
As You Like It 5 Year with Michael Mayer, DBX LIVE, John Tejada and Giegling (Anniversary Closing Party)
Public Works SF - San Francisco, CA, US
TheHundred Presents - Dennis Ferrer
Club Vinyl - Denver, CO, US
The Black Lodge - with Esteban Adame (UR/Ican), Moiety, Nick Tillman, Force Placement & Kosmik at Hyperion Tavern
Hyperion Tavern - Los Angeles, CA, US
Deep Space | François K/ Prosumer/ King Britt at Output and Sean B/ Will Automagic/ Nita Aviance in The Panther Room
The Panther Room - Brooklyn, NY, US
Kaviar Disco Night | Teenage Mutants with Higgins & Beto Cravioto
Cielo - New York, NY, US
Andhim / Subb-an
Verboten - Brooklyn, NY, US
Studio 80 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
fabric 3.10 w/ Deetron, Tama Sumo, Surgeon, Marcel Fengler & more
fabric - London, London, United Kingdom
ELECTRIC MINDS: Move D, Levon Vincent, Mr. G, Dolan Bergin
Studio Spaces E1 - London, London, United Kingdom
Roots Before Branches hosts Compost Records 20th Anniversary Party with Rainer Truby
Joshua Brooks - Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Patterns with Lone (Live AV) & Palms Trax
Patterns - Brighton, United Kingdom
Berghain/Panorama Bar - Berlin, Germany


industrial daydream
Industrial Daydream: w/ Marques Wyatt (Deep, LA) Lee Reynolds, SABO B2B Goldcap & MORE
Pier 70 - San Francisco, CA, US
Miss Jennifer/ DJ Hannah/ Viviana Toscanini on The Roof
Output - Brooklyn, NY, US
Christian Smith + Special Guest at Output
Output - Brooklyn, NY, US
Sundays in The Panther Room | Brawther/ Anthony Collins
The Panther Room - Brooklyn, NY, US


Konzert - Nisse
Berghain/Panorama Bar - Berlin, Germany
Monday Social feat. Danny Howells at SOUND
Sound Nightclub - Hollywood, CA, US


Konzert - Faroa
Berghain/Panorama Bar - Berlin, Germany
Extra Dark
Kung Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, US


robot fest
roBOt Festival 2015
Palazzo Re Enzo / Bologna Fiere - Bologna, Italy, Italy
Konzert - Aidan Knight
Berghain/Panorama Bar - Berlin, Germany
Clinic with Sonny Fodera (Suara) & Guests
Couture - Hollywood, CA, US
Studio 80 - Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
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Happy Campers: Seven Takeaways from the Sustain-Release festival https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/happy-campers-seven-takeaways-from-the-sustain-release-festival/ https://www.xlr8r.com/reviews/2015/10/happy-campers-seven-takeaways-from-the-sustain-release-festival/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:00:23 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=102932 When a friend tells you that something is the absolute best thing ever, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Perhaps the enthusiasm comes from self-interest ("Come to my party—it''ll be the most fun ever!"); maybe the fervor is a weird form of self-affirmation ("I just had the best meal ever, and it makes me so cool!); or, possibly, the person is just the over-excitable type, naturally prone to hyperbole. And "best" is subjective, anyway—who's to say that Wayne’Swirled is better than Two Wild & Crazy Pies, anyway? (Though obviously, in this case, it's the former.) So when multiple acquaintances returned from last summer's premier edition of Sustain-Release—the weekend long mini-festival held at Camp Lakota, just outside the rural village of Wurtsboro in New York's Catskills—we were a bit dubious. Sure, the 2014 gathering had a fab, progressive-leaning (in the good sense) lineup that included the likes of Rrose, Xosar, Blondes, Joey Anderson, Mike Servito and Jus-Ed—still, the assumption was that everyone was just on a bit of a post-festival buzz, and once reality set it, you'd start to hear about everything that was wrong with the weekend.

But that never happened, with the exception of a bit of grumbling about the occasional bout of chilly drizzle—and our curiosity was piqued, so on Friday, September 11, we made the two-hour trip to trip north from NYC with a shuttle-busload of (literally) happy campers for a weekend spent with the likes of Anthony Parasole, Bu-Mako Recording's Jenifa Mayanja, Minimal Wave's Veronica Vasicka, Galcher Lustwerk, the Black Madonna, Jamal "Hieroglyphic Being" Moss and Daniel "Ital" Martin-McCormick in their Interplanetary Prophets guise, and returning players like Servito and Jus-Ed. (Peruse the full line-up here.)

Great intentions count for a lot.
Producer and visual artist Aurora Halal (the force behind Mutual Dreaming) and music journalist Zara Wladawsky (who doubles as the house and techno buyer at New York vinyl emporium Halcyon) are the co-creators of Sustain-Release—so who better to weigh in on the aims of the little festi…oh, wait, we'd better not call it that.

Halal: Festival culture is not something I'm influenced by or wanting to create. I'm inspired by what I've been working on with Mutual Dreaming, and by the Music Box, the Loft, Berghain, etc. S-R is really just a fully immersive, site-specific party, where nature plays as much a part as the music does.

Wladawsky: Definitely. I'd also call it a pure music experience, rooted in community and empowerment. Optimo, Süd Electronic and Freerotation were my biggest influences growing up and going out…they were all this and more. Hopefully it inspires people to take some of the positivity they experienced over the weekend and keep it with them in their daily life like my pivotal experiences at parties have.

Both: For the two editions, we weren't concerned with programming for draw. As a guideline, we book exactly what we want to hear/see, and that's all that matters. However we included wider horizons this year, like the dub of Blazer Sound System, disco of Black Madonna, the twisted ambient of 51717 and eclecticism of Matt Werth, and included a peak time performance on the middle of the dancefloor by FlucT.

[Note: We're not normally fans of performance-art/modern-dance interludes in the middle of a techno party…but FlucT were pretty amazing.]

FlucT Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Erez Avissar

Both: Friday's main stage was a deep dive into warm grooves, Saturday main stage was a vortex of techno madness, and the Bossa stage was a platform for complementary experimental excursions all weekend.
S-R's Year 2 lineup was again envisioned as an American force to be reckoned with, focusing on and giving a platform to new movements here in the States, rather than tried and true or legacy acts. We also invited some of our favorite artists from further afield like Kassem Mosse and Paula Temple. At the end of day, we, as friends, naturally talk about music that we're into when we hang out so it all falls together naturally. We take such pleasure in booking the artists and making the schedule as a two-day journey. Onwards, Year Three!

Kassem Mosse Photo: Erez Avissar

Kassem Mosse
Photo: Erez Avissar

Smaller is better.
Yes, some people actually do seem to prefer to be packed into a raging crowed of thousands, jostled this way and that as their lower extremities get soaked in beer and Red Bull—but we're not among them. Neither, we suspect, are most of the people who attended Sustain-Release. Last year's installment was limited to about 500 music lovers—we'd guess this year boasted a couple of hundred more invitees. And we say "invitees," we mean it—attendance is pretty much limited to invited guests and their invited guests, which, if nothing else, assured Sustain-Release of a real friends-and-family vibe. Those who didn't know each other soon did—and that includes the artists as well. There was none of the our-gang-versus-everyone-else mentality that can be inherent to large gatherings, and the DJs, small staff and crowd were in it together—at the risk of sounding hippy-dippy, it was all a bit peace-and-love. Which, considering most everyone there was from NYC—not exactly a "Kumbaya" kind of town—was kind of refreshing.

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Holding a festival at a summer camp is a stroke of genius.
Cabins! Trees! Tents! A pool! A lake! A basketball court! An amiably slow mess-hall staff! Camp Lakota is an actual, real-deal summer camp for most of the warmer months, and if you've ever spent time in one while in middle school…well, they haven't changed much at all—it was a bit ramshackle, but utterly charming. Everybody's sleeping quarters were within stumbling distance of each other, and the two stages—the main house-and-techno stage, which looked to be a gym-auditorium combination, and the smaller Bossa Nova Civic Club room, dedicated (with a few exceptions) to more experimental sounds—necessitated a mere five-minute jaunt through a wooded, fairy-light-illuminated pathway. "We didn't intend on it being held at a summer camp," Halal and Wladawsky admit, "but now we couldn't imagine it any other way." Neither can we.

Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Erez Avissar

All the DJs and performers were great—but the Black Madonna and Mike Servito are at the top of their respective games.
We've loved the Black Madonna and Mike Servito for a while now—both have long been considered "DJ's DJs"—but judging by their respective sets at Sustain Release, the two have acquired clubland superpowers over the past year or so. Servito's closing set in the Bossa Room was a big, bold and ballsy jackfest—and the Black Madonna? Well, anyone who can squeeze in versions of Devo's "Jocko Homo," Sylvester's ""You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and A Number Of Names' "Sharevari" into a set is totally okay with us. Ms. Madonna herself has a theory about why both of the spinners have been so good lately: "I was playing a show in New York," she says, "and a friend of mine said that he could tell I had been touring. I asked what he meant. He said it had sharpened me technically to such a degree that he could see and hear a big difference in the way I played over the course of a year. I never really thought about that, but when I saw Mike Servito play at Sustain, I knew exactly what my friend meant. Servito has always been amazing, but the pressure and repetition of touring is sharpening him like a knife. A very, very bad-ass knife."

The Black Madonna Photo: Erez Avissar

The Black Madonna
Photo: Erez Avissar

Rain and Sustain-Release don't really mix. But the combination isn't the end of the world, either.
Saturday afternoon was slated to be spent in the great outdoors, with a basketball tournament, pool party (with Blazer Sound System, Beautiful Swimmers and RVNG's Matt Werth on the decks), and a lakeside billed as the main attractions. Mother Nature had different plans: What started as a gentle noon sprinkle quickly devolved into a full-scale downpour, which quickly put the kibosh on everyone's open-air plans. The DJs did get to play, albeit within the darkened confines of the main room—and frankly, that was nowhere as fun as a poolside bash would have been, though it was nice to hear lots of dubbed-out reggae classics over the more-than-capable system.

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

But what might have been a disaster actually proved to be a great side effect: We (and a lot of other people) basically spent the day sloshing from cabin to tent to tent to cabin, socializing with old pals and making lots of new ones. It was a day of low-key, down-home fun, and was a great set-up to the night that followed. The rain continued well into the evening, which unfortunately meant a bit less traveling between the main stage and the Bossa room. We made the former our home base for the night, which meant we missed sets from the Long Count Cycle, Terekke, and Aurora Halal herself—along with what was, from all reports, a mind-boggling closing session from Galcher Lustwerk. On the plus side, we caught Gunnar Haslam, Veronica Vasicka, Paula Temple and Anthony Parasole (more on that below).

Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Hours of great techno can mess with your mind (in a good way).
Admittedly, the long, lazy afternoon and the simple-yet-highly-effective lighting (courtesy of Nitemind) probably had something to do with this—but still, you can't underestimate that power that music holds as a sensory-altering force. We missed Daniele Cosmo's opening set, but were surprised, pleasantly so, to find Gunnar Haslam laying down some rough-and-tumble techno upon our arrival—a much tougher sound than we expected from the artist, who we've always thought of as a more headphone-friendly kind of producer. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!). Next came Vasicka, who's always good for a bit of jacking fun, whether in her synthy Minimal Wave mode or more in line with the Chicago drum-machine attack of her Cititrax style—and on this occasion, we got a bit of each. Then the real fun began— Temple amazed with her set of intense, crunchy floor-manglers (it's not for nothing that she gives her own songs names like "Deathvox" and "Monstro"); we missed her well-received set at this year's Movement festival, but by all accounts, this one was just as majestic. And then it was time for Parasole, who was in full Parasole mode: track after track of driving rhythms, tough as nails but delivered with Brooklyn native's deft touch. And those tracks were working their magic, as this reporter's head was pleasantly swimming (though numerous rum and Club Mates might have played a role in that feeling).

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Finally, as the sun broke through the clouds, Parasole switched gears: We remember St. Germain's "Rose Rouge" and a remix of Blaze's "Lovelee Dae" (we heard that classic a few times over the course of the weekend)—and finally, Prince, Radiohead and Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me To The Moon." (!) The rain had finally ended; the hardier souls among the remaining crowd repaired to the lake, while the less hardcore (i.e., this writer) staggered off to the cabin for a few hours of shuteye, waking up just in time for the bus back to Bushwick. The next few nights were filled with dreams of swirling music and wide smiles. Not to oversell things…but Sustain-Release was probably the best time we've had all summer.

We'll be back next next year.
Well, you would be back, too, wouldn't you? But next time we'll bring better rain boots with us.

Photo: Molly Smith

Photo: Molly Smith

Beautiful Swimmers Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Beautiful Swimmers
Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

FlucT Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Erez Avissar

The Black Madonna Photo: Erez Avissar

The Black Madonna
Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo" Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Erez Avissar

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

Photo: Luis Nieto Dickens

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Stream the Mønic Remix from the New Killawatt EP https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/stream-the-monic-remix-from-the-new-killawatt-ep/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/stream-the-monic-remix-from-the-new-killawatt-ep/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:52:43 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103771 Building on the success of the debut LP from Killawatt earlier in the year, Osiris Music has assigned three artists to rework three standout tracks from the album.

Having risen through the ranks of dubstep and UK bass music at an early age, Portsmouth-based producer Killawatt has established himself as a well respected and forward thinking artist within electronic music.


A1 - Killawatt: 'ZiZi (Tommy Four Seven Version)
A2 - Killawatt: 'Spinal Swarm (Eomac Version)
B1 - Killawatt: 'Excessive Hyperbole (Mønic Version)
B2 - Mønic: 'Untitled Textures (Bonus Track)

I advance of the EP's October 26 release, XLR8R spoke with Killawatt (a.k.a.Matthew Watt) and Mønic (a.k.a. Simon Shreeve) to learn more about release, while the Mønic remix is available to stream in full below.

Matt, the new release émigré reworked, revisits cuts from your debut album émigré which was released in April this year. In the aftermath of the album, can you provide us with some thoughts on having released your first full length as well as on the album itself?

Having had a few months to reflect on LP, my initial, and somewhat surprising thought is that I actually quite like it. This is weird for me since I pretty much never end up really liking something I release. I think I was in a pretty good place creatively and I distinctly remember really enjoying the 18 months it took to finish it. As was said in the press release, there was no specific concept or storyline behind it, and it basically just became an exercise in experimentation with a bunch of new bits of hardware and software I acquired over the duration.

The new release holds three reworks of cuts from émigré by Mønic, Tommy Four Seven and Eomac. How did these artists come into the fold for the other two remixes?

Matt: I started talking to Tommy a while back and he wanted to involve me in his new T47 label / events and just support me in general. I just asked if he'd be up for a remix and he said that he was. It's great to have something just a bit different from him too—that's something we always look for on Osiris. it's pretty trippy! I think Si just hit up Ian about a remix swap at some point too. I've been a massive fan of Ian's work for a long time too so I'm super happy to have him on this release.

Simon, at the point of the formation of Osiris Music uk you were already an established artist. What was the motivation to start your own label?

At the time I felt pigeon-holed musically. I wanted to start a label which I could release any style of music I wanted, it really was an experiment which has lasted ten years. The label has given me complete freedom and has made me think outside of the box in terms of my own music and music we have signed.

What does the future hold for Osiris Music uk, for Mønic and for Killawatt?

Matt: Well I've literally just decided, while writing this, that I'm going to start my next album today so that's the near future sorted for me.

Simon: Mainly keeping things positive and interesting for ourselves which in turn, I hope, will be reflected in the releases. In the short term we have signed a Bristol-based act called Dot Product who have just finished their album which is being mastered this week,  which is due for release in March 2016.

In terms of Mønic, I will continue to work closely with Tresor and Osiris Music uk. There is also a collaboration project on the cards but it's a little to early to speak about.

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Stream Snippets from the New Agoria EP https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/stream-snippets-from-the-new-agoria-ep/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/10/stream-snippets-from-the-new-agoria-ep/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 08:52:37 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103913 After sending "S​cala" to Berlin, twirling his "H​élice" in London and colonising "Baptême" i​n Cologne, Agoria declares "I​ndependence" i​n Barcelona.

An anthem that’s been a highlight of the summer for Maceo Plex and Agoria, the date of release for "Independence" has finally being fixed.

Agoria on "Independence":

"​Since I moved to Paris last year, I have had the chance to meet amazing artists including the Russian pianist Mikhail Rudy and the sound designer of the movie Gravity, Nicolas Becker. The three of us are animated by curiosity and the will of playing with our specific boundaries. I guess this is just the first step symbolizing our state of mind: Independence. When I met Eric [Maceo Plex] in Ibiza last year, we instantly connected, we both can play all kinds of music so I thought Ellum was the place to release it."

Agoria’s debut release on Ellum is an equally sinister and experimental affair. Apocalyptic drum crescendos are broken up by warm synths tones and washed against baritone basslines on the title track.

A1 Independence
B1 Independence (Architectural Remix)
B2 Gravity feat. Nicolas Becker
Digital: Independence (Stephan Barnem Remix)

Ahead of the EP's October 30 release, snippets of the title track can be streamed below.

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Iglooghost "Saturn Rice" https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/09/iglooghost-saturn-rice/ https://www.xlr8r.com/mp3/2015/09/iglooghost-saturn-rice/#comments Thu, 01 Oct 2015 01:47:11 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103883 Only 18 years old and hailing from the UK, the brisk, desultory, grime-infused sound of Iglooghost has been making some significant waves in the world of electronic music. Dynamo DJs and producers such as Mary Ann Hobbs, Kuthmah, and Flying Lotus—who has had a noticeable influence on his sound—have been playing his tracks as of late and this young-in has already begun to headline his own shows in London. The track “Saturn Rice,” which is being presented as an exclusive XLR8R download today, is a two-and-a-half minute, 170-bpm journey featuring an amalgam of splintering synth lines, swift percussion and a smooth saxophone sound that shepherds the track from start to finish. The track is a cut from Fly High Society’s Spacebus Vol. 1, which you can grab a copy of by going here.

Saturn Rice

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Premiere: Hear the Kowton Remix of Lo Shea’s “Root Causes” https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/premiere-hear-the-kowton-remix-of-lo-sheas-root-causes/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/premiere-hear-the-kowton-remix-of-lo-sheas-root-causes/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 23:39:13 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103793 A driving force behind the burgeoning Sheffield house and techno scene, Hope Works curator, promoter, and resident DJ, Lo Shea, has fused his years of musical experience with a myriad of influences from throughout the city to create a unique sound. Following on from Lo Shea's offerings on Secret Sundaze offshoot label SZE, and Never Learnt in 2015, this 12” for Transit sees him exploring a darker, more immersive brand of techno for his 'Oxygen Lance’ EP.

The record features the title track on the A-side, and the B-side features the track "Root Causes," along with a remix by UK producer and Livity Sound artist, Kowton. With his recent foray into more melodic territory in his 'Glock And Roll' EP for Whities, Kowton brings more of the same in his crunching interpretation of "Root Causes," continuing the evolution of his signature UK-bass influenced sound. The sleeve artwork was created by Alex Sullivan, and the vinyl pressing is limited to 300 copies and housed in a matte printed sleeve.

You can pre-order your copy of "Oxygen Lance" by clicking here.

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Bubblin' Up: Avalon Emerson https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/09/bubblin-up-avalon-emerson/ https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/09/bubblin-up-avalon-emerson/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 20:54:42 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103679 It’s a small world. As a 20-year-old, Avalon Emerson, the rising DJ-producer, was an intern at the former XLR8R HQ in San Francisco. Just last week, we sat down in her new base of operations, a beautiful modern apartment in the southern part of Berlin, to hear her story and to learn how she balances her musical endeavors with her full-time day job as a software developer.

It’s been a steady rise for Emerson, a journey that has taken her from Arizona—the place where she purchased her first pair of turntables—to San Francisco, where she began throwing monthly parties with her flat mates at their large warehouse-style flat. It was there, in 2009, that she first started DJing with any regularity—but the foundations for her success can be traced back to her earlier years where she began record collecting and recording in bands. Now, as her touring schedule continues to grow, it is becoming evident that Emerson possesses a rare maturity and natural ability to spot the emotional connection between records.

Outside of the DJ booth, she is also making a name for herself as a producer, following a string of self-releases via her personal Soundcloud page, as well as some physical EPs through small labels including Icee Hot, Spring Theory and Shtum—the latest of which dropped just last week via the latter Dresden-based imprint. Big things are expected to follow, namely more EPs and perhaps, in due course, an LP. But it's clear that Emerson is not getting ahead of herself too quickly.


You’ve now been DJing for about six years, and producing for about four. Do you now feel that your profile as an artist is really starting to grow?
I guess I'm fortunate enough that now I play more peak-time slots, instead of just opening for out-of-town DJs—so from a performance perspective, it’s a different kind of show and medium to play with. As far as my productions go, I still feel that I am exploring and learning what types of sounds and musical medium I like to create in. Turns out to be a lot! So far it doesn't feel like my voice is tied to a specific sound or genre. I make what I like—and I think it still ends up sounding like me, whether or not it makes it harder for promoters to be able to put me into a genre box.

When you do go into the studio, are you able to produce the sound that you have in your head?
Sure! I feel I can do that quite well. Often I will already have an idea of what I want to do—maybe I'll have a melody, rhythm or sound I want to kick around with, or I'll be obsessed with a record from my childhood or something where I really like the abstracted idea or technique—and I will try to explore that idea in the studio by doing it my way. Like I was listening to a lot of Propaganda and Anne Clark for a bit, so I decided to make my own spoken word vocals over a dance track. There are so many different areas to explore with production—I am definitely not bored yet!

"I really like DJing—when it’s good it’s the absolute best feeling on earth, and when it's bad it’s horrible and gets stuck in your head for a week. But with production, it's still something that I just feel like I have to do to stay sane."

Your DJing dates back to 2009 when you moved to San Francisco, but your first physical production was released in 2014, via Icee Hot. How do you think you’ll balance the two going forward?
I really like DJing—when it’s good it’s the absolute best feeling on earth, and when it bad it’s horrible and gets stuck in your head for a week. But with production, it's still something that I just feel like I have to do to stay sane. I still love releasing something into the wild and seeing how people respond to it, whether it be my friends, peer producers, critics, or total strangers on the internet—so I think DJing is fun, but I kind of see more opportunities to grow and explore in actually producing the music.

When you step onto stage for a set, do you still feel nervous, or has that feeling passed?
The shaky legs kind of thing has stopped happening, though I still get a mental sort of performance anxiety. I bet that doesn't ever completely go away.

Like when you played at Panorama Bar recently?
That was probably the most intense DJ-performance pressure I've ever felt. I was doing the closing slot, just after KiNK's live set—who can work a crowd like literally nobody else I’ve ever seen—and it was shoulder to shoulder packed by the time he played his last tune. Once I got through my first few tracks, I sort of realized that I've done this sort of thing before, and I've even been in the crowd quite a lot at Panorama bar. By the time I was a couple hours in, I saw from the DJ's point of view why so many people think it's the best club on earth. I ended up playing for five hours, and not to get too gushy, but the whole thing was magic.

Are you very critical with yourself, both with your productions and your sets?
Yes, both. If five people come up to me after a set and tell me that it was a great show, and then one of my friends said I could have had a cleaner transition here or there, then it's easy for me to think "Oh fuck." It’s honestly kind of a big deal, and I know that as a performance artist, it’s not going to go perfectly every time— but at the same time, I am kind of a perfectionist in a lot of other areas of my life, and I need to learn to let go a little bit and enjoy the journey of learning.

Does this mean that you throw away a lot of sketches or loops?
Yes—but I hope I am at the point where I can recognize that something is worth saving, even if it's the wrong song for that experimental long-tail compression on a hi-hat reverb.

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

Away from music, you also work as a software developer. How do you balance the two? Do you anticipate that music will eventually take over?
I don’t know. As an unwilling citizen in these late-capitalist times, I have to make money. I code. I find that if you are not 100-percent relying on your art for the food on your table and the rent, then it is still an enjoyable release—and it also offers you some creative freedom because you don’t have to take every gig that comes around and you don’t have to do every remix. Of course, the balance can sometimes be really hectic—like when an EP comes around and you do a lot of press, or sometimes you have four weekends in a row where you’re out of town, and then on Monday you go into the office and argue on Git-hub about semicolons or something. It’s a constant struggle to find balance, but I still feel extremely fortunate to have two fulfilling ways to spend my time on this earth.

"I find that if you are not 100-percent relying on your art for the food on your table and the rent, then it is still an enjoyable release—and it also offers you some creative freedom because you don’t have to take every gig that comes around and you don’t have to do every remix."

It sounds quitting the day job is a long way off, in your head at least?
It’s not necessarily the goal right now. When music becomes the day job, you also get the baggage that comes with it. Art is supposed to be the thing that you love to do, and that you don’t do for anyone else. I don’t release music that I don’t like. Ideally, I would love to get to a point where I've built up a momentum and have a studio where I can lock myself away during the week, then play gigs on the weekends—but that’s not where I am right now."

How do you balance the time? Is it software development in the day and then music around that?
It’s a Monday through Friday thing with the coding, then I work on music before, after or on weekends around that. But I'm finding that if I have a finite window in which to be creative, then it's sometimes advantageous for the creative process, because you don’t have infinite amounts of time to bullshit around. I have to formulate my ideas and get them down as fast as I can. I'm obsessed with streamlining by workflow in Ableton so that I'm efficient when I sit down in the studio. I have multiple templates, and my samples have a pretty OCD-level organizational hierarchy.

"I can't help but connect with music emotionally. When you do that, you build a library of musical gems that you can sprinkle around a party."

You began DJing properly in 2009—but when did you actually learn the basic skills?
I bought turntables in college in Arizona. But for me, DJing isn’t about beatmatching—it’s about picking music to play,and identifying emotions that certain tracks give off and that people catch onto, and then pairing them with other songs that compliment that emotion. In that sense, I guess I’ve been practising forever. It came very naturally to me—I can't help but connect with music emotionally. When you do that, you build a library of musical gems that you can sprinkle around a party. That’s just something that I love to do and will explore for a long time.

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

Photo: Jill Bettendorff

What was behind the move from Arizona to San Francisco in 2009?
I was born there, though I grew up in Arizona. After a tech internship halfway through college, I stayed. Haven't regretted the drop-out quite explicitly yet.

But was last year’s move to Berlin motivated by a desire to push your music?
Yes. That one was motivated by music! I found myself less identifying with what the city had become, and I decided to explore the music more, which would have been really hard to do with my job at the time. My day job now is a bit more flexible—I can work remotely every once in a while and can leave early on a Friday if I have to fly out to a gig.

Moving back to San Francisco, that was when you lived in a warehouse and began throwing parties?
It was more of a big shared house—I mean, we didn’t shower in the kitchen or whatever! It was full of people from all over the world, and I loved being around so many different cultures, especially coming from Arizona which is sometimes quite homogeneous.

How regularly did you throw these parties?
Not so often—once every few months. There was always a theme and we would put together a special flyer, and make a little Google form where you’d have to sign up. If you weren’t on the list then you couldn’t get in. Pay at the door, open bar, everyone in the house contributed, and the vibe was always awesome. In fact, just last summer, the only wedding I've ever DJed at was for my two friends who I met in the warehouse—a girl from Paris and a guy from Bavaria who live in Berlin now.

So even at this time, you weren’t DJing very frequently?
No. We were just having fun building the party and the community of people. DJing was just a part of this—but it was never a means to becoming a DJ. I never had the mindset that I was going to practise, gain a certain number of points in this skill set to climb the ladder. It just sort of happened. My friend, Matthew, who was the one who taught me how to really blend records, and I would play these parties, so that's where I learned to DJ and program for a whole night. That's how the love for producing took over, mainly through editing tracks. When I reached 21, and got to DJ in clubs—like a "real DJ"— finally—I learned how much it sucked having to play bullshit 45 minute sets where my friends had to pay twelve dollars for a drink.

How active are you with collecting records today?
I play a fair amount of vinyl, and I work right next to Hard Wax, which is dangerous—which is also kind of close to the Record Loft, which is even more dangerous. I am also obviously on Discogs quite a lot. I left a bunch of records in San Francisco, and every time I go back I try to bring a little crew of twelves back with me. But at the same time, I don't want to be too much of a hoarder. These little plastic plates are just ethereal beings, passing in and out of our lives. Eventually they'll all get a Club Mate spilled on them, dish on a hot CDJ, or suddenly become something someone wants to pay a hundred dollars for.

"I don’t want to be part of this commodity-party noise-filler sort of scene, where it doesn’t matter what kind of sound is coming out of the speakers as long as the club sells bottles."

Can you remember your first international gig?
Yep—it was in Vancouver. My sister came with me. I only really started touring internationally when I moved to Berlin, and that was a time following my first release in 2014—I signed up with both European and North American booking agencies. By the time I had come to Berlin, I had a two month tour planned for when I returned to the States. That was the first time that I had the kind of crazy schedule where you play Thursday through Sunday and go directly from the club to the airport sort of thing. That was a glimpse into how the future life could possibly be—and that was part of the realisation that I’ve got to keep in mind what I want from life in general, and balance how I want to share my art because it’s an extremely personal thing too. I don’t want to be part of this commodity-party noise-filler sort of scene where it doesn’t matter what kind of sound is coming out of the speakers, as long as the club sells bottles.

So are you very selective with the gigs that you play, as a result of that? 
I think I am still learning this, but I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to taking on shows. I kind of know what I don’t want with gigs, but I still take a lot of gigs just to see what is going on. I haven't played a lot of festivals, and I've had a good time at most of my gigs. Some of the best gigs are in non-major cities—like Freiburg or Calgary—but places like New York or London can actually be pretty tough.

You’re first release, “Warm Up Love,” was uploaded onto your Soundcloud in 2012. Your sound has changed considerably since then—was that intentional? 
No—that’s just how it goes. If I try to consciously make something then it always ends up sub-par, and I will never really do anything with it. That’s why I find it pretty hard to do remixes, where you have a sonic box in which the product must fit.

Did production seem like a natural step, to support your DJing?
Not really—it was sort of the other way around. I’ve been making music for a really long time, from pedal-board noise or dreamy guitar folk when I was young to now. I've been pretty tight with computers since day one, so I'd have the torrent of some multitrack program, and invite my friends into my bedroom to record—with my bed leaned up against the wall—experimenting with microphone placement on their 200-dollar drum kit. It’s always been this thing that I enjoy doing as a creative release, along with feeding my technical desire to learn programs and new synths and techniques. The whole world of sound engineering is extremely interesting to me.

Are you completely self-taught?
I think you can learn just about anything on the Internet—and being around people doing cool things also lets you pick up stuff from them too. But I don't think anyone is totally self-taught. When I was first interning at XLR8R, I met Christopher Willits, who makes gorgeous ambient music. He works with Overlap Studios in the East Bay with Ryan Kleeman. I've gone over there many times to work on mixing down a track or something, and have learned a lot about both the hyper-technical side of the studio, and about life as a professional in this industry.

You’re first physical release was in 2013 via the Icee Hot imprint. How did that come about?
It's kinda funny. I was already sort of going to release “Pressure” as part of a compilation for another label, when I heard Ryan—Ghosts on Tape—play a set at Public Works where he dropped his brand-new track, “No Guestlist.” I loved it, and so I emailed him asking him for it—but felt the need to reciprocate so I gave him some of my new stuff. When I sent him “Pressure”, Shawn and the other Icee Hot guys convinced me to do a whole twelve with them.

And then how did “Quoi” come about?
They asked if I had anything else so I sent them “Quoi” and they liked that one too! It was pretty quick actually.

"The first time I realized that a piece of music that I've done exists in some sort of physical form that could hang around on this earth after I die was pretty crazy."

That must have been a nice moment.
Definitely. The first time I realized that a piece of music that I've done exists in some sort of physical form that could hang around on this earth after I die was pretty crazy.

Has an LP crossed your mind yet?
Yes. An album is definitely something I would like to do—but it has to be the right time. I don’t want to it to be a random hegemony of dancefloor tracks. To me, the LP format is best expressed in single idea, from one period of time. I’ll do it when I create this extra magical day of the week or when I don't have to code 40 hours a week.

Do you have a particular goal in mind or vision of where you want to be further down the line?
An LP and a live show, could be really rewarding. I won’t stop DJing, of course. I think I have different ideas of where I want to explore as far as artistic identity and career go, but I don’t have one clear goal in mind yet—I don't see anyone else's career that I want to model myself after necessarily. Who even knows what the music economy will look like in ten years? I’m just going to keep doing my thing and see where it takes me.

All photos: Jill Bettendorff, jillbettendorff.photography

Projections: Isaac Cohen, cabbibo.com


Avalon will be playing at Simple Things Festival in Bristol on October 23/24.

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Premiere: Hear a Track from the New Schmutz EP https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/premiere-hear-a-track-from-the-new-schmutz-ep/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/premiere-hear-a-track-from-the-new-schmutz-ep/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 19:16:18 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103780 Schmutz—a duo made up of Irish producers Conor MacParland and Kristian Woods—released its Transgender EP on vinyl on September 14 via Omnidisc, with digital set to land on October 5.

Born from a renowned party series in Northern Ireland—which has hosted house and techno heavyweights such as Midland, Hunee, Leon Vynehall, and John Talabot—Schmutz released its first 12" on Gerd's 4LUX label last year to great acclaim.

Spread across three tracks, Transgender is a raw, analog-driven techno EP splattered with 909s, 808s, and Juno 106 magic. It's late-night club music that is altogether warm, alien, and dance inducing.

You can stream the slamming title cut via the player before, with the EP available for purchase here.

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Q&A: Ron Morelli https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/09/qa-ron-morelli/ https://www.xlr8r.com/features/2015/09/qa-ron-morelli/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 18:00:36 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103581 Few people are synonymous with their record labels in the same way as Ron Morelli. His brainchild, Long Island Electrical Systems (L.I.E.S.) has been home to the grainy house and techno that’s become synonymous with New York electronic music in the past few years, and heavily draws from Ron’s punk aesthetic and background. He is relentlessly loyal to his artists, and his commitment to a singular artistic vision for his label has been the backbone of L.I.E.S. Having an old-school New Yorker personality, he is either incurably driven or prickly, depending on where you stand. Before he ran L.I.E.S. full-time, he was working at the East Village’s legendary A-1 record store—but as much as he is associated with NYC, Morelli moved to Paris after becoming fed up with a city that showed almost no resemblance to the New York he grew up with.

Ron’s only departure from L.I.E.S. has been his  output on Dominick Ferrow's Hospital Productions label, where he’s just released his latest LP, A Gathering Together. His records increasingly rely on found samples and droning ambience, as opposed to the driving rhythms that L.I.E.S. has become known for. A Gathering Together marks his most ambient-tinged effort yet, with most tracks lacking the sort of rhythmic structure one would associate with the sound he’s helped cultivate; his characteristically dark and gritty sound, however, is still there. Although it doesn’t seem intended for DJ sets in the same way that his earlier releases were—it’s a significant departure in style and structure—sonically speaking, the album still manages to feel very much like the man who made it.

With your name so synonymous with the L.I.E.S. record label, can you talk about the decision to put your LPs out on Hospital?
A couple of years ago, Dom had asked me to do a record for his label, thus I made it my business to finish music I had been working on with a set deadline and present it to him. I enjoy working with Dom and I feel Hospital is actually a perfect fit for my music, as the label is consistently full of surprises, pushing the limits and is without restrictions on any end.

Is part of it to give yourself some distance from always working on L.I.E.S.?
If I were to give myself deadlines to put out my music on my own label the music would most likely never come out.

L.I.E.S-14 Ron morelliHow did your move from New York to Paris affect the way L.I.E.S. operates?
Being in Europe and constantly being on the road gives the label a physically human visibility that couldn’t have achieved staying in New York. Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn't have the infrastructure where one can be on the road every weekend all year. If you’re lucky, you can tour the States once a year. Thus being on the road overseas with other artists on the label makes our presence felt with a much stronger resonance then if we were kicking around the same places in NYC.

Has the move changed the way that you work, or the way you make music?
The move has not changed the way I work or how I make music. The m.o. remains the same as day one.

Was there anything that changed in the way you produced this album as opposed to the last record? Recording equipment, process, etc?
This was the first time I used a heavy dose of samples and combined them with outboard electronics. I also used the samples in an unconventional manner at points; processing them, looping, then resampling again before recording certain parts.

You’re known for having a very raw and unprocessed approach with your own records. Could you talk about the mixing on this album and how you went about it?
The album was presented in a cohesive manner, there were nine tracks with no "extras" so it was what it was. There was no dropping one track to add another or anything like that. It was presented in its final format, thus making it a fully focused effort. I went into my friend's studio for the final mixdown to get all the levels correct, as well as to get it sonically right for maximum punishment.

"Stress is everywhere, in all different forms: mental, physical, emotional, societal."

In the past you’ve described your material as stress music. How does that play out on A Gathering Together?
Stress is everywhere, in all different forms: mental, physical, emotional, societal.… Whether it’s the simple impatience of waiting on line to pay for groceries, being stuck in traffic, or having to pay the government their due taxes, I take it for what it is. The energy can be used in many ways—positive and negative.

There’s a sense of dread or anxiety on most of the tracks. Could you talk about that?
I would say that’s inaccurate. If anything, I think this album pushes and pulls emotions rather than focus on something as singular as "dread" or "anxiety". There is a beginning, middle and end; there is rising action and a resolve. So I would tend to say it’s more full spectrum than dwelling in one place or another; it’s constantly moving.

Can you talk about the relationship between the music you make and the records you release on L.I.E.S.?
They are unrelated, and not influenced or affected by each other. They are clearly separate entities which do no overlap or inform each other. I just happen to be a guy who runs a record label and also makes music—like thousands of others out there.

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Ancestral Voices Announces Debut Album https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/ancestral-voices-announces-debut-album/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/ancestral-voices-announces-debut-album/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:53:48 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103765 Ancestral Voices is the new project from Liam Blackburn / Akkord, on Samurai Music Group's more experimental sub-label Samurai Horo. The birth of the project represents a new path for the established and highly respected producer.

Inevitably a new approach to creating music has developed into a new identity. Stripping back an already unique creative process proved a challenge that has paid off, and Blackburn's evolving sound has no immediate sonic comparison. With distinct resonances of his musical heritage flowing through a more mature filter, there is a mystical atmosphere that resounds through the LP.

October 30 will see the release of an EP sampler including two exclusive tracks that are not included on the LP/CD, which is then scheduled for November 27 release.

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Hear New Release from Tale of Us and Mind Against https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/hear-new-release-from-tale-of-us-and-mind-against/ https://www.xlr8r.com/news/2015/09/hear-new-release-from-tale-of-us-and-mind-against/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:13:42 +0000 https://www.xlr8r.com/?p=103754 Label mates and friends, Tale of Us and Mind Against, have joined together once again to create a work that works, fittingly, well past the summation of its parts. Playing with tension and release, these accomplished artists from the Life and Death team bring us "Astral," a one-track collaboration that is scheduled for October 5 release—as included in Stephan Bodzin's XLR8R podcast this week.

01. Astral

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