Anz announces self-released Spring/Summer Dubs 2020 tape bundle

Anz will release her Spring/Summer Dubs 2020 mix as part of a new tape bundle later this week.

Manchester’s purveyor of radiant club sounds, Anz, will release the second instalment of her Spring/Summer Dubs series on Friday (4th) December, following the much-loved first edition in 2019. The mix, which originally dropped on her Soundcloud in June, features over 50 original tracks from the DJ/producer, and is one of five production mixes she has released since 2015. 

Incoming in physical format now as part of a deluxe tape bundle, the double-cassette packages have been hand-crafted by Anz over the last seven months. Limited in number to 220, the bundles will include the 84-minute Spring/Summer Dubs 2020 mix, alongside a double sided fan “for brighter days”, an A5 SSDUBS20 print on “planet-friendly paper”, an illustrated card which can be planted to grow wildflowers, and a custom box for keepsakes.

The bundles, which include graphic design from Patrick Savile, will be available this Friday 4th December via Anz’s Bandcamp. Listen to Spring/Summer Dubs 2020, and check out the artwork for the tape bundle, below. 

For DJ Mag’s Dance Music Is Black Music issue, Anz and Manchester’s DJ Paulette came together to share their experiences as Black women from two different generations in dance music.  

Elektron Intros Octatrack MKII Anniversary Edition – But It’s Sold Out

Elektron Intros Octatrack MKII Anniversary Edition – But It’s Sold Out
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Elektron today introduced the Octatrack MKII Anniversary Edition, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their popular 8-track dynamic performance sampler.

Limited to 350 units, the Octatrack MKII Anniversary Edition features a new design that combines the aesthetics from the MKI and MKII versions.

The Octatrack MKII Anniversary Edition also comes with a custom 32 GB CF card, loaded with exclusive artist content to mark the occasion that’s only available as part of this limited run.

Audio Demos:

Elektron shows the Octatrack MKII Anniversary Edition as being ‘Sold out for now’. They say that a few more will be added 3rd of December 09:00 CET.

Spotify Wrapped 2020 is here

Spotify Wrapped 2020 is hereSpotify Dancing Astronaut

In a year that often seemed like it would never end, streaming music was one of the most readily available forms of momentary escapism. Now, the numbers are in, as avid Spotify devotees get to dive into the annual tradition of Spotify Wrapped, this year to see just how much of their favorite tunes it took to stave off what felt like the apocalypse.

Launching December 1, the streaming giant indulged fans with the top played artists, songs, podcasts, and more. The list introduces the Puerto Rican pop purveyor, Bad Bunny, as the most streamed artist with over 8.2 billion streams worldwide, The Weeknd‘s “Blinding Lights” as the most streamed song of the year, and unsurprisingly the Joe Rogan Experience as the leading podcast of 2020. Other artists such as Drake, J Balvin and Billie Eilish came close, Eilish being the most-streamed female artist for the second year in a row. But that’s not all, the platform has also added six new elements to their annual sonic conclusion.

This year, Spotify added in-app quizzes allowing users to test their prediction skills of the top played artists, podcasts, and even the most-played songs from other decades. This year’s additions also include Story of Your 2020, which allows subscribers to see their listening history of their top song throughout the year. What’s more, the platform also released a handful of new honorary badges for users including the “Tastemaker” designation, based on the number of followers gained on playlists, “Pioneer” if users listened to a song before it brought in 50,000 plays, and finally, “Collector,” based on how many songs users added to playlists this year.

New playlists curated specifically for user’s own taste this past year, including, of course, Your Top Songs, a user’s most played songs of the year, Missed Hits, compiling a list of songs users have yet to discover from 2020 that Spotify’s data has compiled just for them, and finally, On Record, a “mixed media experience” from all one’s top artists of 2020.

Lastly, and possibly the most panoptic and exciting feature yet, Spotify has given everyone with an interest the ability to view the world’s most streamed content for the year, not just subscribers. Reflect on the good times and the bad and check out the year in review here.

Via: Spotify

Anna Lunoe returns to Mad Decent with her first drop in a year, ‘Ice Cream’

Anna Lunoe returns to Mad Decent with her first drop in a year, ‘Ice Cream’Anna Lunoe Hyperhouse 1

It is always great to hear from Anna Lunoe. The beloved Aussie export has slowed down her typically packed schedule in recent years, becoming a mother of two, while still managing to keep a close ear to the streets. Only having turned in a couple of projects since last summer, including October 2019’s long-awaited link with Nina Las Vegas on “One Thirty,” Anna Lunoe drops have become few and far between, making them even sweeter when they surface. Putting a cherry on top of 2020, Lunoe’s sole delivery of the year, “Ice Cream,” has landed on her longtime home label, Mad Decent.

Linking with Japanese rapper and Trekkie Trax affiliate Nakamura Minami, Lunoe’s signature club-primed style takes a sugary turn on “Ice Cream,” swirling together rubbery, bouncing synthwork and Minami’s ultra-catchy vocals for a rave-ready setlist tool.

Lunoe returns to the stage later this month in Australia, and while her output has understandably slowed as of late, expect the esteemed selector to bring her best for her upcoming outing. And expect more on the way from Anna Lunoe in 2021—something tells us “Ice Cream” just means we’re having dessert first and there’s more to come.

Featured image: Julian Bajsel

Thom Yorke, Burial, and Four Tet reunite for surprise vinyl release

Thom Yorke, Burial, and Four Tet reunite for surprise vinyl releaseFour Tet Live Getty Images

After almost a decade since their first collaboration, Four Tet, Burial, and Thom Yorke have reunited on a vinyl-only release. Featuring two new tracks, “Her Revolution” and “His Rope,” the surprise drop lands exclusively in-stores at select record shops, of those confirmed including London’s Phonica Records and Sounds of the Universe.

The limited edition 12-inch has only been sighted in the two stores, with Sounds of the Universe’s stock of 100 copies having already sold out. Although XL Recordings has not made an official statement regarding the release, the label has shared a teaser and pointed to the in-store distribution.

Four Tet and Burial previously conjoined on 2009 EP, Moth / Wolf Cub and later integrated Yorke into collaborative endeavors with their 2011 release, Ego / Mirror.

The tracks have since been uploaded unofficially to YouTube. Stream below.

Spotify donates half a million dollars to the National Independent Venue Association

Spotify donates half a million dollars to the National Independent Venue AssociationSpotify

As independent music venues across the nation struggle to stay afloat amid ongoing COVID-19–related financial challenges, Spotify is showing its support in the form of a $500,000 donation to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). The funds were reportedly divested from Spotify’s annual marketing campaigns and reallocated to NIVA.

As a gesture of gratitude for the donation, which is the second largest on record, following Anhauser Busch’s $1 million contribution, several NIVA member venues granted Spotify access to their marquee boards to “tell stories of artists whose careers were great in 2020, but were bolstered by their ability to perform at these live venues that are currently struggling,” according to Spotify VP and Global Executive Creative Director, Alex Bodman. In addition to pointing to industry talents who forged their paths inside the walls of independent venues, the marquees also issue nods to the streaming platform’s 2020 Wrapped feature.

Spotify donates half a million dollars to the National Independent Venue AssociationRiverside Milwaukee AliciaKeysc
Featured image: Spotify
Spotify donates half a million dollars to the National Independent Venue AssociationTheOrangePeel Asheville TheWeeknd
Featured image: Spotify

NIVA stands behind the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund, which provides short-term relief to the nation’s most vulnerable venues, many of which are at-risk for eviction or shuttering. Learn more about the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund and donate here.

Featured image: Chris Ratcliffe

Glitchy grooves for 90€, as the Bastl Kastle gets a drum synth sequel

Who said 2020 was devoid of holiday spirit? Nerd Santa Claus* came through, at least, because Bastl Instruments have made a quirky, sexy good time in the Kastle Drum, a drum-focused follow-up to their adorable Kastle.

Kastle was already a cute, eminently usable little bit of kit. The open source project runs on batteries and lets you patch together clever little synth parts.

Kastle Drum takes that same micro-modular hardware and reimagines it in a new version made for “algorithmic industrial glitchy drums.” You can run its clock on its own and make stepped patterns, or jack in some analog clock from whatever you like (hardware, iOS apps, computer).

It’s an exercise in minimalism, but that’s the beauty of it. Instead of a big, expensive box parked on your desk with loads of presets up to your neck, you have to get clever with the pitch control, the onboard patch points, and envelopes. It’s definitely tiny, but provided you’re okay with some fine-fingered work, there are plenty of possibilities here.

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Onboard:

8 drum synthesis styles

”noises” output for less tonal content

DRUM selects drum sounds

acceleration charge dynamic envelope

decay time

PITCH control with offset and CV input with attenuator

voltage-controllable clock with square and triangle output

stepped voltage generator with random, 8 step and 16 step loop mode

2 I/O CV ports that can be routed to any patch point

the main output can drive headphones

3x AA battery operation or USB power selectable by a switch

open source

durable black & gold PCB enclosure

10 patch cables and a sticker included

There’s a full manual, and you can run on either 3x AA batteries or Micro USB for power. (Batteries not included, but I bet you’ve got a Micro USB cable around.) Like its predecessor, the Kastle Drum is fully documented on GitHub.

You could use it on its own – there’s an onboard headphone jack and since it is battery powered, the palm of your hand is a workable studio space. But you can also interface it with other gear – two ins, two outs.

I’m not sure what a non-durable PCB would be like. Just don’t step on it, okay? But I can absolutely testify that the original was brilliant, and this should be, too.

Speaking of the original, Bastl had already delivered a deep 1.5 upgrade – impressively squeezing new life out of something so small.

Now, what they are not doing is offering support for user-installed upgrades in case you’ve got a Kastle and want to turn it into a Kastle Drum. (They even go as far as issuing a warning about that in their press release.) But I could imagine the user community can have some fun figuring that one out. And even better would be if someone worked out a way to make their own DIY hybrid of the two firmwares. Let me suggest that it be dubbed the Nathan Fillion. (Think about it.)

Kastle Drum is out now for MSRP 90 EUR before VAT (Europe), so just over $100 USD – and it’s available at noise.kitchen​ and ​synth stores worldwide​.

https://bastl-instruments.com/instruments/kastle-drum

All things Kastle (Drum and original) are on GitHub:

https://github.com/bastl-instruments/kastle

Detailed walkthrough:

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*Synthukkah Harry?

Midnight Kids work their magic on picture-perfect revision of Zedd and Griff’s ‘Inside Out’

Midnight Kids work their magic on picture-perfect revision of Zedd and Griff’s ‘Inside Out’EKvOFllUAcJpBO

Midnight Kids categorically merit every ounce of recognition as the duo treks upwards towards top-line prestige, and this continues to be the case as Dylan Jagger Lee and Kyle Girard make their first movement since their first EP, The Lost Youth, debuted in May. Using the ensuing time to take a well-deserved recess and plot their next sonic triumph, Midnight Kids are picking up exactly where they left off, flaunting their unrivaled remix credentials with a full-on makeover of Zedd and Griff‘s “Inside Out.”

Before they formally shifted gears towards originals, the two ingenious minds made a name for themselves with eloquent reimaginings, and Midnight Kids’ third adaptation of 2020 is an authentic extension of that track. Midnight Kids exercise all of the elements that made Zedd and Griff’s dance-pop original as delectable as it was, but break out their slightly more assertive colors on the refit’s climaxes, for a rework that is somewhat reminiscent of their EP cut with Lisa Goe, “Break Away.”

Featured image: Ashley Mercado

Premiere: THUGWIDOW & Bruised Skies ‘Requiem For A Sesh’

THUGWIDOW and Bruised Skies project a dreamlike vision of the dancefloor on the ‘Requiem For A Sesh’ EP for Astral Black. Hear the hazy breaks and anthemic rave keys of the title track now

Eoin Murray

Wednesday, December 2, 2020 – 17:23

THUGWIDOW and Bruised Skies have teamed up for a new collaborative EP on Astral Black. 

Set for release this Friday 4th December, the UK duo’s ‘Requiem For A Sesh’ is a four track ode to the dancefloor after almost a year away from it. Fusing THUGWIDOW’s penchant for warped jungle and breakbeat manipulations, with Bruised Skies glossy, atmospheric ambience, the release feels like a dream of the rave, a hazy memory of the sound and sensation of losing yourself on the dancefloor. 

The title track captures that mood perfectly, with ethereal keys and vocal samples being propelled by a rugged beat, before a vintage rave piano sound enters in the breakdown, folding and twisting around to an anthemic climax. Check it out below. 

It concludes a busy year for Astral Black, who released the fifth instalment of its Frass FM compilation series in February, as well as releasing a handful of EPs from the likes of Creep Woland and Jon Phonics. 

Buy ‘Requiem For A Sesh’ here

Learn from Timbaland, Tom Morello, Alicia Keys and more with this two-for-one deal at Masterclass

Let’s face it: we’re all spending a lot of time at home at the moment, so it makes sense to try and use some of that time to learn something new. And, when it comes to learning, Masterclass is where it’s at, with high-quality tuition from genuine A-listers.

Naturally, some of the people who’ve been called on to give exclusive lessons are musicians – the likes of Timbaland, who teaches beatmaking and production; Tom Morello, who covers electric guitar; Alicia Keys, who talks songwriting and production; and Sheila E., who’ll show you how to play drums and percussion.

Other notable musical lessons come from deadmau5, St Vincent, Herbie Hancock, Armin Van Buuren and Hans Zimmer. We told you they were A-listers, didn’t we?

All of these lessons are available for a single subscription and, if you’re quick, you can take advantage of Masterclass’s special offer which gives you two for the price of one. So, you could keep one sub for yourself and give another as a Christmas gift, or split the cost with someone. 

Either way, you’re getting a whole lot of know-how for a great price.