Advanced Sound Design With The Novation Bass Station II

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In this official Novation video, synth guru Chris Calcutt (-Calc-) explores the possibilities of sound design with the Bass Station II.

The video is from a live streaming presentation, and starts about 2:14 into the video embedded above.

Calcutt covers some of the more interesting and unusual features of the Bass Station II, including a look at programming the powerful AFX mode, releasing the 3rd Oscillator, paraphonic control and exploring the programmable envelopes.

If you’ve got your own ideas for getting more from the Bass Station II, share them in the comments!

Aluna Francis on her personal and musical ‘Renaissance,’ continuing the fight for equality [Interview]

Aluna Francis on her personal and musical ‘Renaissance,’ continuing the fight for equality [Interview]Aluna Cover

The word renaissance typically denotes a sort of rebirth or revival. Fittingly so, Renaissance, the title of one half of AlunaGeorge, Aluna Francis’s debut solo album, not yet released, represents several revivals simultaneously unfolding in the artist’s life. And, the bedrock of these is decidedly sonic.

The eclectic music on the forthcoming LP represents a revival of the variety of sounds that Francis wants to hear on the dance floor at a clubthe dance floor where the outcasts feel at home. The production also represents a revamping of her singular artistic vision. Francis had complete creative control over every aspect of the LP’s craftwork. The team at Mad Decent afforded her creative licensure to visualize and put forth the album as she wanted it to be. In contrast to some of the “You Know You Like It” artist’s past collaborative endeavors, the vision of Renaissance and its musical translation is purely her own, and the ability to independently guide the project has stimulated her artistic aims anew. Francis takes her vision a step further with this project, paying unique attention to a sense of time, place, and atmosphere like never before.

As Francis nutured Renaissance from start to finish, she found her career undergoing its own type of renaissance. In an interview with Dancing Astronaut, she said,

“I’ve been working on all of this stuff for two-years in the sense of creating my career into a space that was healthy for me, where members of my team are allies for me as a black women as well as an artist. Each member of my team has taken it on as their responsibility to stay aware of my goals. Working to end racism in the black community and the music industry, empowering women and things like that.”

Dancing Astronaut spoke with Francis about the intersection of these coinciding renaissances, how Renaissance unites each of them, and how she intends to maintain their momentum moving forward. Read the full interview, below.


Your new single, “Get Paid” refers to how black Women are undervalued both in the music industry and in society as whole. Yet there are superstars like Beyoncé and Rihanna who command significant influence. What does it take for a black woman to reach that level? Do these superstars still experience the same kind of systemic mistreatment despite their status?

Francis: …Often what happens is to get to the level you might call ‘high-level success,’ it feels like you can only do it for yourself. Because of the energy that it takes and the number of barriers that you have to overcome, it’s a lot to stop that momentum and try and bring other women up. So, what you find is that each one of those women isn’t followed by a whole army of the next generation in their wake.

For me, that’s missing out on a huge experience. I didn’t really feel excited, for example, about being the only black woman I know doing dance music in the way the genre is defined today. That’s why I wrote that open letter because I noticed there was something wrong with this picture. There’s not enough of what I want to see in this picture.

This culture grooms men to try more things because they don’t face systemic oppression like women…

Francis: There’s also the additional factor of not having women in positions of power or in the gatekeeper positions in the industry. So, without that kind of key to the door your ability to help others is limited. As artists, there aren’t many things we can give people other than our art. We can’t put you on the cover. We can’t make you a career. We can’t advertise you. We can say, ‘Hey I’m an artist and I love this person’s music.’ [But] that’s basically it.

“Get Paid” is the first single from your debut solo album, Renaissance, a title that draws clear parallels to your solo career and efforts for equality. What is your goal with Renaissance?

Francis: With this album, I’m really showing everyone my personal, singular viewpoint of what I want to happen on the dance floor. Oftentimes, I will find myself in environments where it’s a one dimensional dance floor. So, it might be minimal techno or it might be dancehall or might be house or something like that, but I personally would love to walk into an environment where I get all of that music and it’s the club. I’m not going to different types of concerts and clubs to find all this different stuff.

To me, it sounds really obvious, but when I look at the world that this record is going into, it’s quite a segregated world, and the album is an example of the harmony that I want to see in the world. And for the listener, it’s a reference point for them. It’s almost like an actual place, especially for people who are minorities or feel ostracized from the mainstream population or oppressed in any way. That’s the kind of space where they should feel so at home that they literally are the party.

We live in a time where listeners’ excitement about a track drives success more than musical quality does. If fans are going to start supporting music that defines dance music’s roots in black culture, they have to become excited about supporting the movement for equality in general. What can the industry do on all levels to make fans excited about that?

Francis: For me personally, I was really excited to find out the original history of dance music, [which] I didn’t know before. So, I would say for anyone who’s black and doesn’t know that history, it’s going to be an easy task [to learn it].

For the white community who already consume dance music, the exciting thing for them is opening the genre up to these forms of music that they have associated with black culture that may be subgenres until they hear someone like Ed Sheeran use those beats in a pop song.

Now, I think that afrobeat and dancehall and music like that is very commercial. It’s very popular and so it should be classified as such. That’s just going to reignite the entire dance genre. People aren’t going to know what hit them. To really hear the top dancehall songs in your main dance playlists, mixed in with different types of music that’s ready for the club is going to be exciting, rather than waiting for all those sounds to be slowly appropriated by white producers.

I’m not trying to vilify anyone for appropriation. I don’t agree with it and I think that it’s problematic, but I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do. I’m just saying that if you go to the stores, you’re going to find way more where that came from.

At the moment, the user experience, especially on [digital streaming platforms; DSPs], is not easy. You have to type in the right words and the right names ,and then that doesn’t necessarily get you all the fire music. I’m a DJ. I’m crate digging every single day. It still takes me forever to build my sets, and I think we should change the genre so that this amazing dance music is easily and readily available. The other thing about that is it will take care of the genre. It’s health. It’s future. It will also take care of the artists because they will be getting paid.

You mentioned appropriation. Do you think white artists who are appropriating this music have more of a responsibility to acknowledge that this music is historically black?

Francis: They have a responsibility to themselves. It’s very important when you’re an artist to acknowledge your sources, to be grateful. It’s a spiritual thing. Gratefulness is very energizing. It makes you feel like goodness is coming to you, and that you can appreciate it. So, learning the black history of a genre that you thrive in should feel amazing. It should feel amazing to honor those people, and to show your appreciation to your fans.

I think as a white producer that might seem hard, but I think you’d be pleasantly surprised with how it feels, and I can’t see how anything bad would come out of it to show appreciation for a source.

A central part of your open letter to the music industry concerned calling on DSPs to credit influential genres that stemmed from black culture as dance. What will these companies have to do internally to actually change the music industry?

Francis: I think just trying things. Taking action and trying things within your company. You’re not going to get it right. It’s trial and error. I think that mistakes have to be built into a long-term goal and that those long-term goals should be stated. Companies should have nice, big goals that they set themselves. Slowly work towards it. Hold themselves accountable by stating out loud what they’re going to do. Be very honest with your company and say this isn’t going to be an overnight thing but work with us on making these changes.

Now that the conversation about this inequality has reached more people, how do we keep the momentum going towards real, positive change?

Francis: This is an example of what people can do. The media, journalism, throughout history has changed the world and it’s interviews like this again and again that will pivot and keep this kind of conversation going. The problem with leaving it to the internet is that internet is not a space for conversation. It’s a space that amplifies and simplifies. So, it has to be upheld and held in as it were, contained by the journalism and conversation around it.

Beyond that, be curious. Racism is this huge bundle of tangled wires. Learning is loosening one wire at a time, and it does feel good. Every time I learn a new piece of information of history and then apply it to what I’m experiencing day to day, it makes a tiny bit more sense.

I think these times are incredibly confusing, and if you’re living in confusion, that’s really stressful. Learn more. If something is happening and you notice it, you can learn anything about the theories of how racism works and then you can pretty easily apply it to any situation you’re in, whether it’s a work situation or a personal situation.

If you’ve already gone out of your way to learn something, then you’re intelligent enough to apply it. It’s not rocket science, and that little bit of clarity is your own personal clarity and you can take ownership of that. Then, you’re no longer walking the Earth waiting for someone else to clarify everything for you.

It can be really upsetting each time you learn something, and I would for sure continue to take self-care at the same time. When I was learning about the British history regarding slavery, it was really emotionally hard-hitting, and I had to make sure that I took time out for myself in that moment. I think wherever you’re coming from, the facts will hit you hard as you absorb them. But when you understand what’s really going on, that elephant in the room stops trumpeting for just a second.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Featured image: Jérémy Paul Bali

VASSY – Nothing to Lose (Remixes)

VASSY – Nothing to Lose (Remixes)Screen Shot 2020 07 20 At 5.59.11 PM

Mulitplatinum singer songwriter VASSY spent some time in the studio — and at the top of the Billboard Dance charts — with her good friend Tiesto on their smash collaboration ‘Nothing To Lose.’ Now the hit is back with a fresh set of spins from some of the hottest names in the Musical Freedom family. This five track package features up-and-coming producers and some long time veterans; Lodato, Kue, Kobe Borne & JK West, Gozzi and Cool KICKS take their turn flipped, chopping, and re-imagining the dance pop original. Each take is a complete refresh, spanning genres and styles. Lodato throws some big funky horns into the mix, while Kue keeps things proper and house-y with a no frills four to the floor. Gozzi and Cool KICKS take opposite sides of the spectrum. KICKS slows things down to a crawl while Gozzi opts for some big progressive builds that would make SHM proud. Last but not least are Kobe Borne & JK West, who wrap things up with a buzzing downtempo flip.

Tomorrowland Around The World organizers share set times, stage previews

Tomorrowland Around The World organizers share set times, stage previewsTomorrowland 1

Set to bring the virtual island Pāpiliōnem to life July 25 – 26, Tomorrowland organizers have shared the set times for their 2020 virtual festival, Tomorrowland Around The World. The festival will begin at 12 p.m. on July 25, with a Daybreak Session from Oliver Heldens. Some of the opening day highlights include sets from Steve Aoki, NGHTMRE, Tiësto’s side project, VER:WEST, Eric Prydz’s new CELL. show, and a performance from Katy Perry. Additionally, techno fans will be pleased to see performances from ANNA, Adam Beyer, and Charlotte de Witte.

July 26, features a wide array of artists, capped off by Tiësto, David Guetta, and Martin Garrix, who will close out the festival. Among the large set list are, San Holo, Yellow Claw, Amelie Lens, Don Diablo, Timmy Trumpet, EDX, and Joris Vroom, who are slated to perform earlier that day.

Tomorrowland Around The World will take place across eight different stages, including the dual techno and deep house stage, Core, the bass and trap-inspired Cave stage, and, of course, the iconic main stage. View the videos teasing the respective stages below, and visit Tomorrowland’s website for the full schedule and tickets to the event.

Tomorrowland Around The World organizers share set times, stage previewsTomorrow Land Set Times 1

Featured image: Tomorrowland

Snoop Dogg announces new video game, ‘Snoop Dogg’s Rap Empire’

The game will be released via the Digital Dogg platform

DJ Mag Staff

Monday, July 20, 2020 – 15:50

Snoop Dogg has announed a new video game.

Incoming via the rapper’s Digital Dogg gaming platform, ‘Snoop Dogg’s Rap Empire’ will task iOS and Android users with starting a rap career, from creating a management team and signing to a label, to recording tracks and building a studio.

You can watch the trailer below, and download the game for devices via the iOS and Android app stores. 

Next week, DMX and Snoop Dogg will go head-to-head in what Verzuz have dubbed “The battle of the dogs”. Taking place on Wednesday 22nd July, the performance will be available to watch on IGTV and via Apple Music. Snoop Dogg announced the clash on his Instagram last week, with the event poster captioned “I ain’t got no dogg in this fight! Yes u do who u got.”

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LA artist Handsome Luke drops new cloud rap track “Sicario” and goes viral on TikTok

L.A based rapper, singer and producer Handsome Luke- whose stage name is inspired by Ryan Gosling’s character in the 2012 film Place Beyond The Pines- is surrounded by mystique. But if there’s one thing that’s for certain about Luke, is his drive to excel in whatever he attempts. It’s this passion for music and his determination for chasing his dreams that are reflected in this latest offering, “Sicario.”

The cloud rap-leaning, electro-tinged track is a treat for hip-hop lovers and beyond. The poignant lyrics point out that everyone has light and darkness in them, while the foreboding touches within the hazy soundscape supports the defiant message of blasting your way to the top through positive energy and fierce perseverance.

Speaking of the track, Luke shares, Sicario means ‘hitman’  in Spanish. The song is analogy for coming into the industry and trying to make a way for myself. If you take note of the lyrics – “Coz fighting all I know, I’m on a war path”- it’s about how there’s always going to be competition, you need mow them down to make a path for yourself.”

Produced by Christopher ‘Tito JustMusic’ TrujilloAriana Grande’s Dangerous Woman), Atlanta-raised producer KJ Drapeau (Lady Gaga, Future, Migos, Akon etc), and Handsome Luke himself, the track is an amalgamation of powerful talent and diverse musicality. The single artwork was done by SuperRealGrant( The Weeknd, Travis Scott , Nav , Gunna).

Growing up in The Projects in Indianapolis, split between the contrasting lifestyles of his well-off father and financially struggling mother gave Luke the drive he needed to focus on succeeding. From starting a business painting houses in college to the advent of his clothing company DOPE, which he sold in 2017,  his current fast fashion endeavour Mnml.LA., to spending 12-15-hour sessions in the studio daily to hone and perfect his music , Luke has always put his heart and soul into everything he does. And his efforts have undeniably paid off.

Climbing his way up the ladder of success through sheer talent, hard work, and self-awareness, Handsome Luke made an impact with high-profile single “Set Up” featuring West Coast superstar-in-the-making Roddy Ricch in 2019. Now with “Sicario,” he has broken through the viral TikTok space with over 8000 videos being made about his latest offering only hours after its release.

Forging his own path, Handsome Luke has built a life for himself with clothing and music and his latest offering is the perfect celebration of a hard-fought rise.

Connect with Handsome Luke: Instagram | YouTube | SoundCloud

Ty Dolla $ign, Kanye West, Skrillex, FKA twigs, and serpentwithfeet debut ‘Ego Death’ music video

Ty Dolla $ign, Kanye West, Skrillex, FKA twigs, and serpentwithfeet debut ‘Ego Death’ music videoTy Dolla Sign Ego Death Artwork

Ego Death,” the pulsing, hypnotic collaboration involving Ty Dolla $ign, Kanye West, Skrillex, FKA twigs, and serpentwithfeet has gone visual with an animated, psychedelic music video.

The visual, directed by Emonee LaRussa, is an extension of the lauded track, which landed on July 1. LaRussa notably enlisted the help of ten animators and three character designers for the endeavor.

“Ego Death” is a prelude to more new music to come from several of the collaborators featured on the single. In late March, Skrillex shared that he was in the final mixing stages for a new album, rumored to be the first of multiple in the works. In June, Ty Dolla $ign announced his upcoming studio album, Dream House, and on July 19, West tweeted and subsequently deleted an image of a track list for his new album, which is reportedly to be released on July 24.

For others, “Ego Death” is more of a postscript to recently completed large-scale projects. In 2019, FKA twigs shared her sophomore LP, MAGDALENE. In April 2020, serpentwithfeet released his second EP, Apparition.

Daphne Oram Trust has emergency grants for UK individuals in electronic music and sound

Times are dire, and people working in the arts face real challenges just buying food, paying rent, and covering health. One UK organization has some emergency grants, and they’re looking to provide more.

Pictured [and top] – Daphne Oram Awards, another case of the creative inspiration in the UK – and from an artist we’ve talked about here.  Loraine James was a 2018 winner of the Oram Awards: https://prsfoundation.com/grantees/the-oram-awards-2018-loraine-james/ and an artist forging her own legacy.

The Daphne Oram Trust carries on the legacy of pioneering BBC Radiophonic Workshop composer, sound designer, and inventor Daphne Oram. Supporting arts educators, students, and practitioners in electronic music has always been part of their mission. Obviously, now that mission takes on a new dimension, as many are robbed of livelihoods both directly in the arts and from other support jobs.

This emergency grant program is open to all through 3 August. It’s a direct relief grant of £500 each to individuals in the UK. And they are particularly interested in supporting marginalized communities, though it’s open to everyone. £500 may not be a lot, but I know artist friends who already literally went out and covered some rent or bought groceries with similar funds, whether from a grant like this, government support, or Bandcamp proceeds. That’s a lot of people right now, even in what you might imagine are privileged electronic music circles.

I’ll just paste the full information below. But I do know they’re looking for other partners to help in expanding the program, if anyone reading fits that description and wants to reach out to them.

Full support to all of you in the UK and elsewhere in the world. (If there are similar programs in your area you want to promote on CDM, please get in touch.)

I know it’s tough out there now. You’re not alone. I hope this is useful to some reader or someone a reader knows.

The Daphne Oram Trust is giving out six emergency relief grants of £500 each to support individuals in the UK working in electronic music and sound. Recipients can be composers, sound designers, performers, artists, makers, curators, event producers, teachers, sound engineers or students. Apply online by 9pm on 3 August 2020.

The Daphne Oram Trust Emergency Support Grants are open to all who work in electronic music and sound. However, applications are particularly encouraged from women and people of minority genders, BAME/POC practitioners, disabled practitioners and others who are currently under-represented in this area. We recognise the ongoing uncertainty and acute financial hardship faced by many electronic musicians in the UK, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In line with the Trust’s remit to champion the pursuit and development of electronic music, we’re offering this timely support. Our application form should take only an hour to complete and the deadline for submissions is 9pm on Monday 3 August 2020. Decisions and payments will be made by 21 August.

There is no requirement for you to propose or produce new work. These
grants are offered as a means to overcome current financial hardship and to support your continuing development. However, if you are interested, we may be able to offer a platform to develop further online and live opportunities in the future.

WHO CAN APPLY?

You are welcome to apply for this emergency relief grant if you are:

A composer, sound designer, performer, artist, maker, curator, event
producer, sound engineer, teacher or student.
Working primarily with electronic sound or music.
Age 18 or over.
Based in the UK.
Currently experiencing financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic
Not already receiving support from another Covid-19 relief fund for
artists (e.g. from Help Musicians UK).
Applicants need to meet all six of these criteria.

ABOUT THE DAPHNE ORAM TRUST
The Daphne Oram Trust is a charity in the UK which champions the
legacy of Daphne Oram and encourages the pursuit and development of
electronic music. Daphne Oram (1925–2003) was one of the UK’s first
electronic composers and the inventor of Oramics, an innovative new
form of sound synthesis. Co-founder of the highly influential BBC
Radiophonic Workshop, Oram was also a writer, educator and keen
advocate for the recognition of electronic music as an exciting and
valuable art form.

The Daphne Oram Trust is registered with the UK Charity Commission
(registration number 1134910).

Grant details: https://www.daphneoram.org/emergency/

Online application form: https://www.daphneoram.org/emergencyappform/

Thanks to the wonderful Sarah Angliss for sending this in. We’ll keep you informed.

Scuba welcomes refreshing summer sound with new EP, ‘Forgive Me’

Scuba welcomes refreshing summer sound with new EP, ‘Forgive Me’Scuba Forgive Me Dancing Astronaut

Scuba dives into into the deep end, producing one of the summer’s most infectious and upbeat jams with his new lead single, “Forgive Me.” The latest release, Scuba’s third of the year, continues the rapid and colorful expansion of the British producer’s sound, utilizing airy shoreline sensations and a throbbing house beat for a retro-soaked dance floor diamond.

The string of 2020 releases, titled Forgive Me, This Is For You, and Never Forget, highlight a sidestep in sound for Scuba, who largely known for helping the UK bass and techno scene realize its full potential in the 2010s. “Forgive Me,” for instance, introduces sparkling arpeggios, a dramatic guitar breakdown, and vocal stabs that don’t fall far from Otto Knows‘ infamous “Million Voices,” all of which are likely to sound like sacrilege to particular purists of the scene. The truth is, however, it’s always refreshing to see a musician not only expand his or her sound, but flex their musical interests beyond what’s come to be expected of them, and Forgive Me does exactly that.

Forgive Me is out now on Hotflush Recordings, with a harder hitting techno B-side titled “Speed This MF Up.” Listen to the release in its entirety below.