Amid uncertain times, electronic musicians from across the genre spectrum have come out in full force to bring comfort to fans by way of music. Jamie xx joins this brigade, releasing a carnal new piece dubbed “Idontknow.”
The tune is rave tribalism at its peak; Jamie summons an imaginary drum circle with thick layers of percussion, off kilter rhythms, and sharp bassline with choice vocals sprinkled atop. It’s an abstract, free-flowing piece that refuses the standard club formula—an area where the producer shines. While “Idontknow” is the first we’ve heard from the producer in upwards of three years, the originality and expert sound design is a reminder that work from Jamie xx is always worth the wait. Hopefully, this precipitates a follow-up album to his 2015 hit, In Colour.
For Elektron’s flagship instruments, Overbridge has evolved from a way of solving routing to a full-functioning computer portal to their machines.
To say that Elektron fans have been anticipating this would be an understatement. Obsessing over? Haunting Elektron, asking when or if it would ever happen? Trolling Elektron, convinced it wouldn’t? Closer.
The sheer depth of Overbridge 2.0 starts to indicate why there was a wait – and why it might have been worth it. First off, this is not for people who own the new entry-level Model:Samples and Model:Cycles. These budget-priced models are all about just twisting the knobs and playing, as we saw yesterday, so just have at it.
Overbridge 2.0 is ready now for the other current top-of-rnage – not a beta, not a preview, but the real deal, at last. And that includes support for Digitakt, Digitone, Digitone Keys, Analog Rytm MKI/MKII, Analog Four MKI/MKII, Analog Heat MKI/MKII, and Analog Keys, on Windows and macOS. (For specifics of which Elektron firmware and which OS, check the download page. Windows is Windows 10 only; the Mac is a little gentler with 10.12+.)
Yeah, no Octatrack. But the other instruments and drum machines are well covered.
What you get is both standalone and plug-in software that lets you treat the computer as a window into your Elektron box, and your Elektron box as an extension of your computer. That was always the idea and sales pitch of Overbridge, but now we see it in the flesh.
It really is like a massively beefed-up editor, but that’s a good thing. And it’s clear from all the editors out there that hardware owners now want that – so they can edit hardware settings more easily, and keep those settings with projects.
Viewed that way, there really is a connection to things like the Model:Samples. Elektron gear, irrespective of price, is now something you can use without having to wrap your head around menus. On the compact, budget gear, that’s because you’ve got all these knobs. But now on the high-end devices, you no longer have to sweat how to connect audio and record ideas or how to get into really customizing these boxes’ sounds.
This is a great trend, I think, because it means you’re no longer restricted to presets when you want to play. You can now assign LFOs and work with samples and parameter automation in a plug-in, or in the standalone software.
And that “oh, maybe I should turn this tweaking into a track” thing — well, that’s easier, too. If you just want to use the standalone software, you can now make multi-track recordings there and leave the DAW until later. If you prefer to work in the DAW, your Elektron box becomes your audio interface and like another plug-in. But then when you want to perform (uh, or stream or whatever it is we do now), you still have everything on the box – only now with easier management of the sounds, parameters, and projects you’ll need to play.
VST and AU plug-ins
Visualize the sound design features of your device (modulation, samples, parameters, and so on)
Multichannel USB audio with the Elektron box as your sound card
Use analog instruments (Analog Heat, Analog Rytm, Analog Four) to process digital audio from your computer through their analog circuitry
Management of presets, samples, kits, and projects, including Total Recall inside the DAW
Multiple instrument support, if you own more than one Elektron box
Available now, “free” (well, once you own the hardware, that is!)
Dance music and VR become one as the Sensorium Galaxy virtual spaceship launches for its first nine month audio-immersive orbit. Partnering Yann Pissenem, the founder of of the esteemed Ibiza nightclubs, Ushuaïa and Hï, the new virtual venture will extrapolate on the live music experience by projecting fans and top DJs across the a digital astral plane.
“This is a really exciting development; social virtual reality is a step-change in the evolution of communication between people and it’s great to be actively involved in helping to drive this radical change in how we interact with each other.” – Yann Pissenem
The virtual spaceship charters its first stop at the Planet of Music, where astro-attendees can explore, socialize, and get their space-funk on to live music from the world’s best DJs. Sensorium gave the world a taste of their awe-inspiring product at this past year’s E3 event, and while the mesmerizing VR effect needs to be witnessed to get the full experience, their preview from the conference serves as the perfect hors d’oeuvre.
Porter Robinson and Madeon were an unstoppable force in 2017. After dropping their massive collaboration “Shelter” in 2016, the ultra-talented duo set out on tour across the world. The tour opened in Atlanta in September 2016, and by the time they reached the final stop at Coachella 2017 they had refined and evolved their tour to perfection.
Their 2017 Coachella performance was an immaculate display of dance music. Porter and Madeon brought an energy to that stage that only months of touring and chemistry building could provide. The combination of the emotional climax of the tour’s final stop, coupled with a sunset set at the fabled Coachella stages easily makes this one of the most special electronic music moments of the decade.
A new online archive will celebrate Blackburn’s acid house rave scene of the late ’80s / early ’90s.
FLASHBACK is a new online archive comprising images and audio interviews, reflecting on the infamous acid house parties that took place in Blackburn, Lancashire between 1988 and 1991.
The archive will be launched on 24th April, and features over seven hours of interviews with 33 participants sharing memories and stories from the era. Ravers, DJs, party organisers, police and politicians were invited to share their memories, “unedited and unobstructed memories from the era, without a biased context or narrative imposed by the interviewers”.
“FLASHBACK captures a significant moment that transformed UK youth culture as well as providing a snapshot of the rebellious spirit of 20th century Northern England,” a press release for the archive reads. “This is the story of one of Blackburn’s greatest working-class revolutions, interchangeably known as Acid House, Raves, or most commonly to locals as ‘The Parties.’”
““It felt like we were involved in a revolution,” a raver remembers in one of the interviews “It really did though! It was just in this one small Northern town. It did feel like we were going to take over. The police just couldn’t deal with it, and we just…yeah, we felt revolutionary.”
You’ll be able to dig into the archive from 24th April here.
Want more UK rave history? Check out the 2019 film, Beats, which beautifully portrayed the rush of coming of age on the dancefloor
Photo: Blackburn Party, Christmas Eve 1989 photo courtesy Bobby Singh
On March 4, Louis The Child teamed up with Foster The People for an immediate hit called “Every Color.” The vibrant single showcased glowing vocals from the indie pop band and complementary instrumentation and production from the Chicago DJ duo, making an exceptional addition to both groups’ discographies.
Dombresky lends his dynamic house stylings to the single, introducing a grooving beat to get the tune ready for the dance floor. DNMO also goes the house route, giving “Every Color” a bit of a darker atmosphere. Black Caviar waste no time putting their stamp on the song, preparing the listener in the introduction for their powerful iteration and later incorporating a forceful beat. Last but not least, Luttrell takes a dreamy approach, mixing in entrancing synths and an emotive piano melody.
Pyrotechnics, smoke, and lasers are familiar festival fodder among electronic artists. Drones? Not so much. Naturally, ODESZA‘s integration of this anomalous element in their 2018 set at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival added an arresting appeal to the production pair’s live format that continues to draw acclaim to this day—years after their main stage performance.
ODESZA harkened back to the rapturous display in a short video clip of the 400 drone-comprising display, which marked one of the Indio Valley affair’s first drone shows. The 20-second clip published to the A Moment Apart album makers’ Facebook page follows the auspicious aerial display before fading out to the logo of the recently released documentary on the festival, Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert.
After its April 10 debut, the YouTube original film offers viewers an inside look at the highlights that defined the West Coast festival over the past 20 years. It succeeds in conjuring up the magic of the California desert in the comfort of streamers’ homes.
As dance music livestreams are in full effect, CRAY is hosting a female-forward digital event, net.werk. The online soiree will feature Whipped Cream, Adam&Steve, Ducky, Mija, Krewella, Sofi from Sofi Tukker, Dani Deahl, and more. The livestream aims to celebrate and highlight women and LGBTQ+ electronic music creators. It’s scheduled to go down today, Thursday, at 3pm EST/ 12pm PST until 3am EST/ 12am PST watchable on Bandsintown’s website as well as Twitter. Thanks to Deahl, Vice President of the Recording Academy Chicago chapter, all proceeds of the event will go to MusiCares’ COVID-19 relieffund to help musicians during these trying times.
Start the weekend early and support remarkably diverse artists whose touring revenue has been decimated by COVID-19 social circumstances. What else are you doing with your time? Watch some talent shine.
Possessed by a sharp attentiveness to sound design and a monstrous appetite for head-splitting dubstep, Subtronics and his rise in the bass scene has unfolded both graciously and foreseeably. Finding initial traction in the deep end of SoundCloud and deriving inspiration from the underground, the Philadelphia native has built his brand up with his robotic sonics, zany samples, and NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL RIDDIMmix series. Then,”Griztronics” landed. While the mega-collaboration obliterated audiences and reaped status as one of the hottest tracks of 2019, it also reiterated a fact: Subtronics is only getting started.
Following through on his breakout year, Subtronics has unforgivingly delivered his first EP of the year, Scream Saver out now on Cyclops Recordings. Riding off a wave of impressive releases including joint heaters like “Bumpy Teeth” with Zeds Dead, “Headband” with Ganja White Night, and “SNAILCLOPS” with Snails, as well as two solo projects, “Wooked on Tronics” and “Cyclops Army,” the Cyclops commander shows no signs of slowing down. Despite a tight grip on his signature heavy-hitting bass sound, Subtronics shows his exploration of the dubstep landscape always remains within minds eye as he recalibrates a cleaner, yet doubly potent execution in the 4-track Scream Saver.
Subtronics spoke to Dancing Astronaut about the track-by-track breakdown of his Scream Saver EP, his production approach, and future aspirations. Stream the EP and read the full interview below.
Congrats on releasing your Scream Saver EP. How are you feeling?
YO I was so fucking nervous. I always trust my gut when I feel passionately about a song, but I’ve seen first hand how critical the internet can be. I put my heart and soul into this music. As an artist, releasing songs makes us feel very vulnerable and sensitive. I’m blown away and so incredibly grateful for how positive the feedback has been so far.
Sound design has always been an essential focus for you. How has your production approach differed for this EP?
The theme for all of these songs (at least process wise) has been adding an essential top line. They were all WIPs for a long time, then I later added top lines that finally broke the straw and made me super excited about them. The arp in “Scream Saver” and the bleepy whistle thing in “Blow Stuff Up” were both major eureka moments. I’m always practicing through trial and error for hours on end and these tunes had specific defining and exciting moments that had me going to sleep with a giant shit-eating grin on my face after making them.
Can you break down the EP track by track?
“Scream Saver” was a pretty solid quarter note tune I was working on. I got to the second drop and wanted to add something more to vary up the song, and ended up putting that arp in. I freaked out and was super stoked on how it sounded, so I reworked the track to be centered around it as the first drop. Then, that melodic bit after just came to me. I don’t know how to explain it, I heard it in my head and put it in the DAW.
“Lullaby” was fun because the main bass layer is clipping by 30db and I like breaking the rules and upsetting elitists. Stay mad about it. It’s art. No, but in all sincerity, I had a really good time making that tune. I feel like I was able to add more attention to detail than normal. I like how dynamic and different the switch up is and it’s one of my favorite intros. I have an obnoxious affinity for weird far Eastern sounding trap intros. It was also sick to be sent a verse from Virus Syndicate only for it to fit PERFECTLY.
“Discotek” was really rewarding to work on because I’ve been a fan of Akeos for a while and I really view them as one of the pioneers of true riddim sound right now. I am heavily inspired by them and it was an honor to have this opportunity. I learned some cool new techniques and I think we made a really solid slapper.
“Blow Stuff Up” is very similar to “Scream Saver” in my eyes. Solid quarter note tune I was decently hype on. Then, after being stuck and vaguely uncertain for a few weeks, I added that top squeaky layer, and freaked out, and was super excited about it. Also, borderlands.
“Scream Saver” is relentless on all ends, from the arpeggiator to the destructive frequencies. What was your creative process behind this track?
Trial and error, so many layers, more trial and error, deleting stuff I had left in earlier WIP versions and last minute additions. Swapping the order of the drops like 8 times and asking everyone within a 50 foot radius of their opinion lolol.
What did working with Virus Syndicate on “Lullaby” look like?
It was super easy and fun. I had the tune pretty much finished, they sent a verse just to see if I had anything it would fit on, and it matched with “Lullaby” perfectly!
You threw in some fun samples on this EP, specifically “Diskotek” and “Blow Stuff Up.” Does your sample selection play an integral part in building tracks?
Hmm, honestly not as much as you’d think. I have a massive, massive folder of samples from video games, TV shows and random animes. I often just scroll through super fast and find the first thing that fits appropriately with the drop.
However, when I made “Diskotek”, I was watching the show Barry and was obsessed with NoHo Hank. I told myself I needed to find a way to sample him so that was more goal oriented, whereas “Blow Stuff Up” was just finding a cool sample and splicing it in.
This project has a ton of range. Which direction do you see yourself heading in musically?
Thank you! That’s the goal honestly, develop and diversify my sound while remaining true to my artistic integrity and sounding like myself at all times. I see my tunes getting weirder, heavier, cleaner, and constantly working towards a goal to improve my mixdowns and retain interesting new sound design.
Any last words?
Wash your hands, drink water, call your friends and family, tell them you love them, smoke as much weed as humanly possible. I’m currently working on loads more new music as well, I think my unreleased count is still upwards of 10 more songs. We have some insane stream ideas planned, this is just the beginning 🙂
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