Over the past few weeks, electronic artists have celebrated the musical contributions of black artists by compiling ORBIT: AMPLIFY playlists. The playlists have succinctly spotlit productions from black artists and artists of color that have influenced these artists’ careers, and on a simpler level, kept them moving and grooving.
Following respective ORBIT: AMPLIFY playlists from CeCe Rogers, Martin Badder, Loud Luxury, Akira Akira, Anabel Englund, Brando, and Major Lazer‘s Walshy Fire, Cuppy joins the ORBIT: AMPLIFY series for the week of July 27. Cuppy, known off-stage as Florence Otedola, described the concept-driven character of her ORBIT: AMPLIFY Playlist, telling Dancing Astronaut,
“I wanted to give an overview of Afrobeats then to Afrobeats now and emphasize the artists who have fused together sounds. I think this is a great entry into what Africa has to offer, but not exhaustive, as there’s so much more. Some of the artists here are people I’ve been lucky enough to work with and also the artists that are always thinking outside the box. There’s so much Africa has to give, and I hope you enjoy your shallow dive in.”
Spanning the Afrobeats continuum, past and present, Cuppy’s ORBIT: AMPLIFY installment canvasses original productions from DaVido, WizKid, 2 Face, Niniola, Rema, and Fireboy DML, among others. Cuppy, recently named the new host of Apple Music‘s “Africa Now” show, also issues nods to several edits and remixes, including a rework of “Lemme Know” involving LADIPOE and Teni.
The ORBIT: AMPLIFY Playlist additionally contains some of Cuppy’s own work, most notably, her new single, “Jollof On The Jet,” featuring Rema and Rayvanny. The Afro-pop production descended on digital streaming platforms on July 17, arriving ahead of Cuppy’s sought-after LP, Original Copy. The debut album is slated to release via Apple Music’s Platoon. A formal landing date has been set and will soon be announced. In the interim, listeners can pique their Afrobeats tastes with Cuppy’s ORBIT: AMPLIFY Playlist.
Featured image: David M. Benett
Make no mistake—dance music is born from black culture. Without black creators, innovators, selectors, and communities, the electronic dance music we hold so dear would simply not exist. In short, dance music is deeply indebted to the global black community and we need to be doing more. Black artists and artists of color have played a profound role in shaping the sound and culture of dance music and now more than ever, it is necessary for everyone in the music community to stand up for the people that have given us so much. Dancing Astronaut pledges to make every effort to be a better ally, a stronger resource, and a more accountable member of the global dance music community. Black Lives Matter—get involved here:
Lauded for her originality, REZZ, born Isabelle Rezazadeh, has never been one to go with the grain or piggyback off the ideas of others. Perhaps that’s why the DJ/producer has only released a handful of remixes. With her most notable remake—a spectral and otherworldly reimagining of Porter Robinson‘s “Divinity”—nearly two-years past, it was high-time for a REZZ remix. That, however, is only part of the reason why her new track is so special.
For her latest re-imaginative endeavor, REZZ applies her signature dark, unearthly bass touch to Melanie Martinez’s ‘Tag, You’re It.” Although REZZ thoroughly sprinkles the track with her own sonic trademark, her take on “Tag, You’re It” still allows Martinez’s individuality to shine through, highlighting the complementary nature of their styles. Martinez’s original 2015 track is melodic with a hint of foreboding, the same chilling combo that fans of REZZ know and love. It truly is a match made in heaven, but given both artists’ propensities to channel the sinister through their work, perhaps it’s more fittingly described as a match made in hell.
Listen to the official remix below.
Featured image: Will Selvis
Hardwell’s communication with the dance music community has essentially remained idle since February when his series, “The Story of Hardwell,” officially closed its final chapter. Around the same timeframe, the bigroom commander-in-chief admitted in a sit-down with Domeno that he truly had no timetable for returning to dance music after putting his career on hold for personal and health reasons in 2018. While his hiatus has remained wholly intact, the first signs of any movement from the Hardwell universe are beginning to show, as he puts together a “secret” mixtape of ’90s and 2000s hip-hop nostalgia.
Quietly released to friends and family through his personal Instagram account, notably followed by Revealed Recordings personnel, the mix contains 89 hip-hop and R&B gems ranging from Nelly’s “Country Grammar” to Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode.” Although the sonic focus of the mixtape may seem surprising to some, it’s far from Hardwell’s first flirtation with these genres, as his early career as a DJ was primarily founded on spinning hip-hop. Hardwell even played a hip-hop and moombahton pop-up set at Electric Daisy Carnival’s Art Car in 2015.
Featured image: aLIVE Coverage
Sacred Bones Records has announced four new releases by the late synthesist Mort Garson, following up on their successful reissue of his Plantasia album.
The albums include:
- Mort Garson – Music from Patch Cord Productions
- Mort Garson – Didn’t You Hear?
- Lucifer – Black Mass
- Ataraxia – The Unexplained
Music from Patch Cord Productions
A collection of rare and unreleased recordings. The compilation is like a Mort Garson playlist, and includes alternate takes of Plantasia tracks, music for never-aired radio advertisements, themes for science fiction films, erotic oddities, and much more from the prolific composer’s ’60s and ’70s synthesizer work.
This edition includes art by Robert Beatty and new liner notes by Andy Beta (Pitchfork).
Didn’t You Hear?
Six years before the release of his landmark Mother Earth’s Plantasia LP, Garson met experimental film director Skip Sherwood, who was interested in an electronic score for his new movie, Didn’t You Hear?
Originally available only in the lobby of the theater at screenings of the movie in Seattle, the soundtrack LP went out of print shortly after the film’s release. It has been a sought-after record for collectors of Mort Garson and early electronic music ever since. The new release was taken from the original master tapes and given a pristine remaster by engineer Josh Bonati.
Originally released in 1971, Black Mass is Garson’s synthesizer interpretations of occult and esoteric phenomena, ranging from the Satanic black mass, to exorcism, to witchcraft, and beyond.
This deluxe remastered edition presents the album in full with all original liner notes.
Garson takes on supernatural phenomena with lush synth grooves on?The Unexplained, his only release under the name?Ataraxia.
Subtitled?Electronic Musical Impressions of the Occult, the album explores tarot, astral projection, seances, and more with Garson’s signature Moog synthesizer serving as the listener’s tour guide.
This remastered edition marks the first official reissue of the album since its initial 1975 release, and it includes all the original liner notes.
Details are available at the Sacred Bones Records site.
Sure, 808 Day is coming. But enough x0x sequencers and simple step patterns. You need insane amounts of notes being spewed out of a pro 3D tool – clearly.
Andrew Lowell made this craziness a couple of months ago, but it just crossed my desk recently (thanks to artist Michael Tan). And yeah, it is a little bit like experiencing really advanced, futuristic black MIDI.
It’s interesting because you do get all kinds of 3D operations and simulation features in Houdini itself. (Houdini is the cousin to TouchDesigner, which we talk about a lot. I’m sure some Touch users have done things like this in that environment, too.)
The Houdini Music Tool-set (HMT) turns the most powerful 3D program into a MIDI sequencer.
Downloads, Documentation, and further tutorials can be found at:
It’s maybe not as evident with piano sounds, but this kind of thinking can break you out of the cookie-cutter effect of most music software – the visual and interactive idiom does have some impact on your music.
If you like this sort of thing, you should absolutely check the long-running tool IanniX. This graphical sequencer was purpose-built for visually arranging patterns, and it’s quite mature – not to mention has a lineage back to ground-breaking composer Iannis Xenakis.
But now I’m curious what people will make in Houdini. Do send in your results, please!
Making music is good for your mental health, a new study has found.
In a study commissioned by streaming giant Spotify for Niall Breslin’s Where Is My Mind? podcast, research showed that making music positively impacts mental health with relaxation and happiness, noted as the most commonly felt emotions when playing.
The study revealed that 89% of UK adults who regularly play an instrument feel the positive effects on their mental health, and when playing their instrument of choice, 56% of adults felt relaxed, 48% felt satisfaction, and 43% felt peaceful.
The study also found that 75% of adults play music to destress or unwind, and when asked the most likely times tthat they would play an instrument, 54% said after a stressful day at work, 34% when worrying about money and 30% most likely to play when stressed about an upcoming event.
You can listen to the podcast below.
Last year, The Assocation for Electronic Music (AFEM) shared a mental health guide designed especially for those who work within the electronic music industry.
Earlier this month a new charity compilation, ‘Music in Support of Black Mental Health’, was released via Bandcamp, featuring Planet Mu’s Jana Rush, Jlin, Sami Baha, and FaltyDL.
This video, via Waveformer, dives into using a free Web tool to create pan automation with the Novation Circuit groovebox.
Here’s what they have to say about the technical details:
“The Novation Circuit is connected by USB to my laptop running the Chrome web browser. The Circuit Bender web application listens to the incoming MIDI messages from the macro controls for Synth 1 and Synth 2 on the Novation Circuit and sends the MIDI messages for synth and drum panning back to the Circuit.
Since macro controls can be recorded and played back by the Circuit, it is possible to achieve pan automation on the Circuit using the Circuit Bender web application. This web application will only work in the Chrome and the Opera web browser, since they support Web MIDI.
This is a hack with some limitations, but it works for me, and I had a lot of fun creating it. Enjoy! “
David Guetta and Sia‘s nearly inescapable “Titanium” not only defined 2011 in electronic dance music, but the song is really emblematic of dance music’s global boom out of the underground and into the mainstream. The smash hit collaboration, up there with Avicii‘s “Levels” and essentially everything on Swedish House Mafia‘s Until Now, to name a few, soundtracked dance music’s cataclysmic intersection with pop, and effectively turned DJs into the new archetypal rockstars. And while “Titanium” launched both Guetta and vocalist Sia to a new echelons of fame, the song almost turned out to be entirely different, had Katy Perry initially signed on to provide the track’s anthemic vocals.
During the recent Tomorrowland Around The World press conference, Perry, who topped a virtual bill that attracted more than a million viewers, admitted she had passed on “Titanium” back in 2011, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year. During the interview, Perry asks Guetta,
“Do you remember when, like almost 10 years ago, you sent me ‘Titanium?’ This is when you had Sia, obviously from Zero 7, you know, who had already had the coolest success—she had demo’d that record. And you’d sent it to me and I remember specifically listening to it on the plane, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this song is so good. Who is the person on the record? They should stay on the freakin’ record. This is a hit record; don’t put me on the record! Keep Sia on this record!’”
The Australian vocalist wound up providing one of the most powerful, memorable toplines in modern dance-pop history. And while the chart-dominating Guetta-assisted hit would turn up the volume on Sia’s career after more than a decade, she would further up the ante later that same year with 2011’s chart-topping Flo Rida feature, “Wild Ones,” though things may have played out a little differently if Perry had landed on “Titanium.” Watch Katy Perry’s full interview below.