Wu-Tang’s RZA writes new tune for ice cream vans: LIsten

“A new jingle, for a new era”

DJ Mag Staff

Friday, August 14, 2020 – 13:12

Wu-Tang’s RZA has produced a new tune for ice cream vans.

American ice cream truck originators Good Humor have teamed up with Wu-Tang Clan’s founder, RZA, to create a new jingle for ice cream vans in the U.S..

RZA has produced the track to replace the currently jingle, ‘Turkey in the Straw’, an American folk song that dates back to the early 1800s and is tied to racist minstrel performances.

Drawing “inspiration from his childhood memories of chasing after ice cream trucks on Staten Island — blending traditional ice cream truck sounds with jazz and hip-hop elements,” RZA’s melody will be available to ice cream trucks in the U.S. via Nichols Electronics, who will also erase ‘Turkey in the Straw’ from their music boxes.

You can hear the tune below, and also check out a behind the scenes video with RZA.

Last month, Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Gang Starr’s DJ Premier went head-to-head in a virtual production battle as part of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland‘s Verzuz series. 

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It was also revealed earlier this year that Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man and Mobb Deep’s Havoc are releasing an album together.

Jvanz spikes temperatures with multilingual heater, ‘Mi Amor’

Jvanz spikes temperatures with multilingual heater, ‘Mi Amor’Screen Shot 2020 08 14 At 4.18.11 PM

Rising artist Jvanz continues to rev the engine with his latest multilingual heater, “Mi Amor.” The lyrically alluring amalgamation of languages is set atop a sauntering beat that struts forward with mid-tempo flair. Jvanz’s alto vocals augment the track’s temperature, which holds steady as featured artist, Bunlo, laces the single with Latin verses.

Exuding the sort of heat that suits summer listening, “Mi Amor” is an enticing number desirable in nightlife settings. The flavor-driven single succeeds Jvanz’s Snyder-produced one-off, “The One.”

Grum talks homecoming with ‘Heartbeats: Ten’ and Deep State plans [Q&A]

Grum talks homecoming with ‘Heartbeats: Ten’ and Deep State plans [Q&A]Grum2 Press Photo

A lot can transgress in ten years: Grum’s journey is testament. While most acts opt to warm up their careers with the warm-up treading of singles, the Scottish producer unabashedly catapulted his way onto the electronic scene, armed with a full-length as his inaugural artist debut in 2010. The seminal studio album, Heartbeats, would come to be recognized as a body of work in conversations with Daft Punk’s Discovery and Mylo‘s Destroy Rock & Roll, claiming a beloved arena of genre-blending innovation. A decade later would find Grum with a flurry of chart hits, his sophomore album Deep State, and his own imprint, Deep State Recordings—all of which, serendipitously positioned him for a highly-warranted homecoming.

Marking the ten-year occasion with a re-release of his debut LP, Grum welcomes both old and new sonic identities with Heartbeats: Ten. Enlisting Tinlicker and Paul Thomas for two brand new remixes, the Deep State label boss juxtaposes cutting-edge progressive styles with retro learnings in the latest repackage. Although 2020 signals a new era for the house producer as he continues to diverge from his early roots, Heartbeats lives on.

Dancing Astronaut chatted with Grum about the significance of Heartbeats, future plans for Deep State Recordings, and his original inspiration behind album tracks. Read the full interview and bonus questions with Tinlicker and Paul Thomas below.

Congrats on a decade since debuting Heartbeats! What motivated you to revisit the album?

Grum: Thank you. I recently got some of the rights to that album back, and with 2020 being the 10 year anniversary it all fell into place quite nicely for a re-release on my own label.

How did the release of Heartbeats go on to shape the evolution of your sound and career? 

Grum: In some ways it gave me a great launchpad for my career, as initially debuting with a full album rather than singles is a great way to establish yourself. I was big into the 80’s sound back then, and that’s a theme that has always ran through my music in varying degrees.

What’s in the funnel for Deep State Recordings?

Grum: Coming up after Heartbeats: Ten, the next big project will be Deep State Reactor, a mix compilation of fresh new artists I’m loving. There will also be a couple of long awaited ID tracks by me on there—definitely one to keep your eyes peeled for. 

How did the remixes from Tinlicker and Paul Thomas come about? Was there a particular reason why you tapped these specific acts to remix those tracks? 

Grum: They are artists which I admire and have both been doing really great stuff for the past few years—Tinlicker with their album on Anjuna, and Paul with what he’s done with FSOE UV. We’ve also played loads of events together, and for that family vibe they were the perfect artists to ask.

Heartbeats: Ten is a tribute to the old, yet also a showcase of the new. Is this a brief re-welcoming of the retro sound you honed in on in 2010 or can we expect more? 

Grum: In some aspects yes, I am feeling somewhat more inspired by those sounds these days than I have been for a while. But in a new way—a mixture of 80s, prog and trance perhaps? Watch this space.

Looking retrospectively back on Heartbeats, can you provide commentary on each of the original tracks you chose to include on the new package? 

Through The Night” – Probably my most well known track. Everyone seems to remember the video, anyway! This one was constructed around a sample from one of my favourite 80s bands, Toto.

Runaway” – My first proper single, and the one that really kicked things off for me with support from Annie Mac, Pete Tong, etc. back in the day.

Cybernetic” – I vividly remember the idea for this coming to me in the middle of the night. I jumped out of bed and had to get the idea down there and then.

Heartbeats” – Another of my most well known ones. Definitely a guilty pleasure, and very of its time.

Want U” – I dabbled with some slower disco sounds around then too, this one was inspired by groups like Imagination.

“The Really Long One” – An ironically titled disco-to-acid journey— DJ tracks were a bit shorter back then.

Transport” – This was originally an iTunes bonus track with the album. You can tell I was deep into Italo disco around this time.

What approach did you take in transforming this signature Grum track? 

Tinlicker: We always try to look at tracks from a different angle. The original has this great 80’s feel to it and its hard to top that when you try to do the same. So we decided to do something else and gave the track bit more “Drive” with this running bassline.

Paul Thomas: I actually had a couple attempts of remixing this. I wasn’t happy with what I delivered first time round which leaned more towards a late 90’s techno vibe. The original is a great track and I just didn’t do it justice. So I went back to the drawing board and worked out what parts really fit with my “normal” vibe and out came this remix. 

Favorite aspects of the original? What components of the original did you want to highlight with your remix?

Tinlicker: We love those 80’s inspired strings in combination with the vocals, so we tried to keep that feeling in the breakdown, but wanted the drop to be totally different from the original.

Paul Thomas: The original has a wonderful 80’s/disco feel to it and I knew the synths were always going to be the key part and focal point of the whole remix as soon as I heard them. I wanted to compliment it with the arp and pads I used to create a more epic feel to the breakdown which seemed to marry together really nicely with the main synth hook. 

Carl Cox announces Awesome Soundwave mix out this month

Carl Cox is set to drop a new mix this month, comprised exclusively of tracks from his Awesome Soundwave label.

The mix will air on 28th August, and will be available as a mix album on Spotify via this link. The mix coincides with Awesome Soundwave’s stream as part of Mysteryland’s digital festival on 29th August, for which Cox is also doing a set. 

The mix will feature music from every artist who has released on the label since its launch in 2018, including Mat Playford, Saytek and Julien Chaptal. As Cox explains, the label has sought to put an emphasis on artists who introduce a live element in their sets. 

“When we started this label I wanted it to be about supporting live artists”,  Cox said in an official statement. “You know, the ones who are willing to explore new sounds and ideas from the ground up and then go out and play it all absolutely LIVE! I feel this is the way of the future, the excitement and rawness of a live set can’t be described in words. When you go to a party and see Saytek jamming with all the machines or Honeysmack set up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DANCEFLOOR slamming the acid bangers out rapid fire it brings me back to the old days when there were no rules.”

He added that he feels the mix is “a nice personal record of how far the label has come already! and there is so much more to come!”

While you’re waiting for the Awesome Soundwave mix, check out his recent remix on Armada Music. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Carl Cox has been broadcasting a series of sets from his home, inclduing an all-vinyl ’90s rave special and a touching tribute mix of soul, R&B, funk, reggae, soca and calypso in honour of his late father.

Flux Pavilion disperses uplifting new single, ‘Sink Your Teeth In’

Flux Pavilion disperses uplifting new single, ‘Sink Your Teeth In’Flu Pavilion Bass Canyon 2019 Rukes

Proving time and again his abilities as a musical shape-shifter, Flux Pavilion‘s latest single, “Sink Your Teeth In,” is a far cry from the hard-hitting tracks that characterized his early career. The DJ/producer and veritable musical savant—he also sings, writes songs, and plays the guitar, saxophone, drums, and piano—seems to be taking a melodic detour from his distinctive sound of the past.

“Sink Your Teeth In” is uplifting and dreamy, featuring an anticipatory buildup and an invigorating drop. The track is adorned with silky-smooth vocals from Finnish singer-songwriter, Drowsy. Released August 13 via Flux Pavilions’s own Circus Records, “Sink Your Teeth In” just might be exactly what was needed to breathe hopeful life back into the dregs of summer.

Stream “Sink Your Teeth In” below.

Featured image: Rukes

Zedd de-accessorizes first single of 2020 on ‘Funny – Stripped’

Zedd de-accessorizes first single of 2020 on ‘Funny – Stripped’Zedd Press Photo

Releasing an electronically-dressed original that is later succeeded by its de-accessorized sonic sister has become a pattern for Zedd. The dance-pop innovator started this trend back in 2017 when he supplied the acoustic version for the Alessia Cara smash, “Stay.” In 2018, “Happy Now” gained an acoustic relative, and 2019’s Kehlani-assisted “Good Thing” was not far behind.

This blueprint extends to Zedd’s first original production of 2020, “Funny,” as a “Stripped” rendition of the single poignantly charts its course to digital streaming platforms. Whereas the original frontally showcases Zedd’s evergreen dance-pop proclivities and the raw power of Jasmine Thompson’s vocals, “Funny – Stripped” elevates Thompson’s vocal to solitary prominence. Minimalistic piano chords are amplifying accents of Thompson’s vocal presence, with both elements culminating in a wistful alternate with impact.

Berghain to open as art gallery in September

Berghain will reopen as an art gallery in September, it has been announced.

From 9th September, those wishing to visit the hallowed club will be able to book guided tours through its main room, Panorama Bar and Säule, where works from 85 Berlin-based artists will be on display. Among the artists featured in the exhibition are Wolfgang Tillmans, Olafur Eliasson and Tacita Dean, as well as Sandra Mujinga, Christine Sun Kim and Shirin Sabahi.

The exhibition has been curated by art collectors Christian and Karen Boros, and will include photography, sculpture, painting, video, sound, performances and installations. All proceeds raised through the exhibition will go toward keeping Berghain float as the pandemic keeps clubs around the world from opening as normal. 

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Christian Boros said: “For three months during the confinement period we were speaking to artists on the phone every day.We wanted to show this incredible artistic production. Berlin was frozen, so why not think differently? Why not work together?”

Learn more about the exhibition at Berghain and how to get tickets here

In July, Berghain hosted a series of limited capacity “sound exhibitions”. In April 2019, Berghain’s infamous bouncer  Sven Marquardt showed some of his photography as part of an exhibition on New York’s Wall Street

closecontact contact-sharing app: the latest tool in the fight to keep Berlin clubs open

With backing from the Berlin Club Commission and an experienced development team, closecontact is a simple but promising solution to pandemic contact sharing in the German capital.

If you’re in Berlin, you can go ahead and grab your pass in less time than it’ll take to read my sprawling prose.

A long winter lies ahead for cultural scenes worldwide. Even in Berlin, which has been spared the worst COVID-19 impact relative to the rest of Germany, let alone the rest of Europe or major cities like NYC, the virus still looms. (There’s wide fears of a second wave.) And what success has been here can be partly attributed to Germany’s aggressive, complete contact tracing.

Venues are now partially reopened and enjoying some of the warm summer climate – with patrons largely seated and distanced, Biergarten-style. Indoors, they’ve mounted art interventions and whatnot, albeit with greatly restricted admission capacity. (Those guests enter masked and a greater distance from anyone else.)

Here’s the pass you’re issued as a user – it all can be done in under a minute. (This pass is a fake test example, so don’t try to scan it at Berghain, please.)

But all of this is possible partly because of Berlin’s tough rules for tracking contact information for guests – and an accompanying, strict policy on privacy. (“Kontaktverfolgung” is the policy; DE-language information.) Those two go hand in hand: if people trust their government, and trust their information remains more private, they’re more likely to cooperate with efforts to track infections. (Weirdly, I got to experience this system in 2019, when, despite two vaccinations, I contracted a mild case of the measles and got to meet my friendly Gesundheitsamt trackers.)

This system has been far from perfect; your neighborhood Kneipe likely just has a pad of paper, and even big clubs have done the same. (No one will mistake Berlin for Shanghai.) A couple of minor outbreaks in Berlin recently were difficult to track as people used false names.

closecontact simply deals with that issue – how do you collect the contact information of a guest, without them getting virus all over your pen and paper, then store that information accurately, then delete the same information and protect their privacy?

It’s really simple for the user. You go to a website (closecontact.club), enter your phone number and email address, a name of your choosing (which can even be an alias), and you get a QR code. The phone number and email are what’s required by the contact tracers, so they can reach you quickly in case they find out you’re in a potential chain of infection. That’s good for you – it means you know to keep yourself isolated, get a test, and avoid infecting your friends, family, and others.

Sign-up for the pass just requires these simple questions. Fill them in, and you get a QR code.

When you get to the participating club door and meet … Sven or whomever … you just get your QR code scanner and you’re on your way.

There is a ton of security. Passes themselves are encrypted – a far cry from writing your email and phone number on a piece of paper where everyone sees it. And there’s asymmetric encryption with per-club keys. It’s very simple and transparent to you, but it’s very difficult for anyone to get their hands on the information. (See a full explanation for details and a bunch of flow charts; I prefer to focus my technical explanations on synths at the moment.)

As per Berlin law, the database is even deleted after 30 days (7 days for backups).

This is just one piece in the puzzle. “Normal” club operation is a pretty distant fantasy at the moment, because we have a deadly virus that spreads easily without symptoms, and can be airborne. So further reopenings for actual dancing would require other discussions (air filtration, more social distancing and hygeine, maybe even testing).

But – back to those fake names on paper – closecontact could help contain any potential outbreaks and allow better contact tracing. It also means greater ease of mind about safety and security for anyone going to a club for a beer, as a nice alternative to scrawling your personal contact information in view of strangers all over town.

In other cities, an unexpected outbreak combined with fake names and failed precautions has wound up closing entire commercial districts. (See, for instance, in the spring in Seoul, Korea – and that’s in a country that also has been a relative role model.)

These kinds of shutdowns could be devastating to the nightlife business, and in particular service workers already in precarious financial situations. That’s true even in fairly wealthy Germany.

So it’s little surprise that closecontact has a lot of backing. The development team comes from the likes of SoundCloud, Beatport, Ableton, LiveNation, and Defected Records – I know a few of them – with backgrounds in engineering, law, and design. And there’s support from the Berlin Club Commission, too, which has been a stalwart advocate of the city’s nightlife.

In fact, if there’s any criticism here, it’s really outside the Web app itself. The questions remain about how much interaction will even be possible in the coming months without a vaccine, and a lot of clubgoers are still in denial about the dangers of the virus. Without people taking personal responsibility around masking and social distancing precautions, these various apps can do little. And it’s also clear that these tools are only minor mitigation efforts – the entertainment industry and its workers, in particular, will still require large-scale government interventions, worldwide. But it’s a step.

This is not an app to trace the disease itself, either. Deutsche Welle has a great article on how these apps are doing worldwide. Germany’s app has been successful relative to some countries. But while it’s great at privacy, it’s maybe not so great at the rest of what it’s meant to do. While this bug is now reportedly fixed, at one point it actually failed to warn users due to widespread issues.

Club Commission wrote this endorsement today to Berlin clubs in their network (translated from the original German):

Since the beginning of the Corona crisis, the Club Commission has been in contact with various vendors regarding guest registration. In cooperation with our data protection expert, we have now found a provider of a digital, secure, and free solution that we would like to recommend to you today: closecontact is a Web application specially developed for Berlin nightlife to document guest data in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conceived and designed by a team of local music-savvy technicians, closecontact offers nightclubs a simple but crucial tool for guest tracking in strict compliance with infection control regulations and data protection regulations.


See also: Club Commission on the state of Berlin clubs (DE).

Photo credit, top: Juska Wendland. Some rights reserved. I’ll let you guess which door that is. (see you in comments)

See Juska’s wonderful series:


Kaskade and Mr. Tape further build their collaborative resume with ‘Hand Hip’

Kaskade and Mr. Tape further build their collaborative resume with ‘Hand Hip’82531040 171739970936435 6601968618197300534 N

There are three things you can count on in life: death, taxes, and Kaskade and Mr. Tape‘s infallible capacity to start a party. The latest example of the certified crowd pleasers’ collaborative synergy is the vibe-inducing “Hand Hip.”

A deep house delight with a strong beat backbone, “Hand Hip” extends Kaskade and Mr. Tape’s legacy of dance floor-filling efforts that strike a balance between classic house structures and their idiosyncratic stylings, such as wonky vocals and verses. The latter is dominant on “Hand Hip,” a funky fresh joint catalog installation that could draw even the most reserved wallflowers into a space on the floor just below the disco ball.

Featured image: Kaskade/Instagram