Mike Huckaby, a leading figure in Detroit’s house and techno circles, died on April 24 in Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak at the age of 54. Huckaby’s brother, Craig Huckaby, said the late producer had been hospitalized on March 7 after suffering a mild stroke on March 6.
During his time at a rehabilitation facility following his hospitalization, Huckaby’s health initially appeared to improve but declined when he developed sweats and a cough. These symptoms prompted Huckaby to be readmitted to Beaumont Hospital, where he was placed on a ventilator. Shortly before his death, Huckaby tested positive for coronavirus.
Huckaby’s legacy will live on in underground electronic circles, where the producer first cut his teeth in the 1980s. Huckaby carved a niche for himself in Detroit and beyond through live performances, stints as an on-air radio host, producing and releasing his own music, and his management and buying responsibilities at Detroit’s famed record store, Record Time. Huckaby also instructed DJ software courses at Red Bull Music Academy and appeared annually at Detroit Electronic Music Festival, known today as Movement.
It’s no stretch to say that the new decade hasn’t exactly gone in the direction we were all hoping it would. However, we now have a shining bright spot to look forward to after the unexpected announcement of a new joint LP by Odesza and Golden Features.
The Foreign Family label heads have remained relatively quiet in the time following 2017’s smash hit A Moment Apart, having issued “Loyal” as their sole original release since the LP. However, Odesza’s studio teaser from this past fall and recent renewal of their “NO. SLEEP” mix series may have all been culminating to this. Both outfits put everyone on watch on Sunday, April 26 when they announced a completed collaborative project under the artist name of BRONSON. Fans were quick to note that the still unidentified track in ODESZA’s recent “NO.SLEEP 12” mix, found at the 24:50 mark, might be a first look at the newly-formed production trio.
While no further information is available at the time of writing, events powerhouse Brownies & Lemonade suggested on social media that fans could possibly be introduced to the album sooner than later. All signs may point towards both ODESZA and Golden Features eventually appearing on the Digital Mirage 2 poster, which seems to be inching closer by the second.
At the end of 2019, Diplo joined forces with SIDEPIECE, more popularly known as the collaborative moniker of Party Favor and Nitti Gritti. The trio delivered “On My Mind,” which went on to reach No. 1 on US Dance Radio. This is unsurprisingly due to the single’s combination of alluring house notes mixed with a groovy backdrop. Now, the single has a unique visual accompaniment with the release of a dance-inducing music video.
The video was created in partnership with a new app called Sway, which uses AI-powered motion filters to turn a person into a skilled dancer with just one tap. While the video showcases a variety of people meeting and breaking out into intense dance. Two minutes into the video, the visuals take a sudden turn, with the dancers beginning to punch and kick one another. Then they strip their clothes, and the dancing restarts.
“On My Mind” was originally released via Diplo’s Higher Ground imprint, a sub-label of Mad Decent that he launched in 2019 to put out his house records and support other house artists. The imprint’s output has never lacked in creativity, and the “On My Mind” visuals are no exception.
Some call him Ye, some call him Yeezus, but as of late, everyone is calling Kanye West a billionaire. The Jesus is King producer’s net worth has surpassed the $1 billion mark, clocking in at $1.3 billion. The majority of West’s wealth comes from Yeezy, his sneaker empire which was projected to generate upwards of $1.5 billion in footwear revenue in 2019 alone according to Forbes, who later reported that Yeezy’s final single-year earnings appeared to total $1.3 billion.
Beyond Yeezy, West’s repertoire is valued at approximately $110.5 million per Valentiam Group estimation, and his assets also include West’s real estate holdings. The fiscal triumph follows West’s contentious financial state in February 2016, when the hip-hop maverick publicly disclosed that he was in $53 million dollars of debt.
7th Obi has established a lane all for himself in Ireland and he continues to impress on his new single “Red Eye”. This release comes on the heels of a series of incredible singles such as “burner”, “For Free” and “Holly Road”. The prolific songwriter looks to continue his hot streak into 2020 and does not disappoint on this one.
“Redeye” showcases exactly what has come to be expected from 7th Obi. The incredible melodics that are underlined by a creative use of auto-tune and high pitched ad libs are expertly crafted. The lyricism is still at the forefront with this song. 7th Obi has only grown as a songwriter and this track is further proof of that fact. His ability to paint pictures with words is undeniable. The imagery on this track is even more potent than some of his other releases; his growth rate is exceptional.
The production see’s a laid back trap beat with sputtering hi-hat patterns with deep, heavy 808’s and sharp lead melodies. The beat is exactly what 7th Obi fits perfectly over. However, I have no doubt that Obi’s sheer talent would shine through on any type of production. This production is just particularly designed for him to paint the images that he so brilliantly does.
This year is a big one for 7th Obi. With a lot of chatter around his name currently and without a body of work released since the incredible Taxi Club in 2018, it is expected that we will see a lot more of him this year. I am extremely intrigued to see where this frontrunner of the revolution in RnB & Hip-Hop is going to take us.
Fresh off a stellar 2019 with sold-out shows and a debut EP Wants, Not Needs under his belt, Jamie Freed is back with the lead single off his upcoming project The Loose Dog. “Cold With It” see’s all the usual signs of another phenomenal release from Freed as he continues to pave his way to stardom.
The masterful production in “Cold With It” is handled by the upcoming producer Flash Delivery Guy. Overpowered 808’s are underlined by busy drums and glossy synths creating a pristine canvas for Jamie Freed to layer and build upon. With the foundations laid, Freed steps up to the plate and without a doubt knock it out of the park as always. The incredible vocal ability is only accented by the auto-tune which gives his vocals this sense of pain and beauty. The lyrical content is top-notch as Freed’s vivid lyricism describes in great detail why there is no one in Ireland who can run in his lane.
With The Loose Dog EP on the horizon, I am extremely excited to see what’s next for Jamie Freed. He is an artist who is clearly obsessed with consistency. He is only growing as a songwriter and performer. The sky is truly the limit.
Those who can, do. Those who really can, teach others to do. Mike Huckaby was not only one of the foremost music voices out of Detroit, but someone who led others through mentoring and teaching. One way to remember him is to return to his teaching.
Even though Mike traveled the world from Asia to Egypt as an educator, I know a lot of our international audience and friends are just discovering some of his work – especially his teaching – as we get news of Maestro Huckaby’s passing this weekend. So as we mourn one of the leaders in the music technology community, I hope we can also share again some of what he was doing.
And it might even convince you to open up Reaktor, especially since Mike had a unique ability to boil down the essence and make it understandable, in a way that 800-page manual might not.
Some of these are older videos, but the techniques still hold.
If you’re in need of some inspiration, here’s a look at how he went from an iPhone recording of a drummer into a usable loop in Ableton Live:
And some whistling, too:
And mixing styles:
Mike was a Maschine guru, too; here he is working with techno stabs in the Drum Synths:
And an extended look at his workflow and how he uses it to connect it directly to his imagination. Just before seven minutes in, he talks about an eleven-year-old who took his “make a beat in a minute” challenge. It’s a lesson in immediacy for musicians and instrument makers alike.
Keep rhythms dynamic and alive is always a challenge; here’s a short tip on making drum variations (when you’re figuring out what to do after that first minute):
In an extended conversation from 2011, he goes deep into how he works with Reaktor (and you get a little getting-started tutorial) as well as Maschine, and talks about his teaching program, with CDR Berlin:
The modulo module is an important ingredient in patching; here Mike demystifies it:
And yeah, Mike wasn’t just pulling out Reaktor for Native Instruments’ benefit or something. It was one of the tools he used with young people in Detroit. Here’s a great little promo he had put together:
Putting it all together, here’s Live running Reaktor as a plug-in (applicable to other plug-ins, too):
Looking deeper to how to finish tracks (oh yeah, we might want to do that) – and mixing – he spoke to Liveschool in 2015:
And some deeper thoughts on the connections of music, theory, and creativity in Calgary, Canada (our dear MeeBlip home):
It’s funny to hear the introduction of so many of his lessons as “I’m Mike Huckaby of Detroit.” 2020 is a year where so many people are facing ignorance, loneliness, injustice, suspicion, xenophobia, in very real ways …I hope in contrast, that our tribe of techno and music technology makes a world that values people for behaving with intelligence, and exploring science and knowledge, wherever they come from. We lost a teacher; we’ll need more. Full support to all of you doing that work of trying to learn and share.
Australian radio giant and content platform, Triple J, has launched a one-of-a-kind competition through their Unearthed platform for rising artists called “DIY Supergroup,” where up-and-coming talents can collaborate with their favorite Australian artists like Flume, Tame Impala, Tash Sultana, Amy Shark, and more to create their own track.
Triple J has uploaded a pack of stems, loops, and samples that producers will have to use at least three of for their own song to be eligible for a chance to win radio play on the Australian station. Some of the sounds in the pack include guitar loops from Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) and Tash Sultana, wonky synth samples from Flume, drum stems from G Flip, vocals from Amy Shark, and more. Producers can download the samples and loops here, and must submit by midnight AEST on Sunday, May 17 to enter the competition. See Triple J Unearthed’s post below for all details.
Another month, another new Apple product. The tech giant responsible for the phones and laptops many mobile DJs use religiously is now reportedly preparing to release their newest AirPod model. The AirPods did receive an update last year with the release of the second generation of AirPods, as well as the new noise-canceling AirPod Pros. But Apple is notorious for frequent product releases that never fail to sell, so a new addition to the AirPod product line is not too surprising.
Tech analyst Jon Prosser posted in a tweet on April 19 that the new AirPods are now, “ready to go” for release next month. Though currently there are no specifications as to how these AirPods differ from previous generations, current rumors indicate that it could be an upgrade on the original AirPods line, released as AirPods third generation. It could also be an addition to the AirPod Pros product line, potentially presenting itself as a more affordable alternative to the expensive Pros, with some features removed.
New AirPods (which were supposed to be at the March Event) are now ready to go.
Charlotte de Witte isn’t giving streamers one example of her underground ingenuity—she’s giving them two. Whereas many artists channel their re-imaginative efforts into one singular remix of a fellow producer’s original, the ever inventive techno influence puts forth dual revamps of Jerome Isma-Ae‘s “Hold That Sucker Down.” Acutely aware of the power of inflection, de Witte seeks dynamism with the release of both a “Trance Remix” and a “Rave Remix.”
In carefully stylizing the respective revamps, one for an industrial crowd and one for a more commercially oriented group of listeners, de Witte’s revision does double duty, allowing her to appeal to two different audiences while indulging her own creative capacities across technical approaches.
De Witte’s “Trance Remix” and “Rave Remix” of Isma-Ae’s cut are out now via Armada Music.
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