Arturia announces V Collection 8 including Emulator II and Juno-6 clones

The French company add even more value to their bumper plugin collection

Declan McGlynn

Monday, December 21, 2020 – 12:41

Arturia has announced a new update to their V Collection of classic synth and instrument plugins. Version 8 adds the classic sampler Emulator II, as well as Roland’s perennial Juno-6 and Moog’s classic analogue Vocoder V. Their existing Jupiter-8, Oberheim OBX-a and Stage 73 piano, have all also been updated, with extra presets and a tweaked sound and features. 

It brings the total number of instruments in the V Collection to 28 which includes clones of the Minimoog, Fairlight, Prophet-5, Wurlitzer, Mellotron, DX7 and many more. It’s currently on offer for €399 – down from €499. V Collection 8 is out now, watch the video below for more. 

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Crumar Performer Recreated With Physical Modeling

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Crumar has introduced Performer, a virtual instrument that recreates the sound of their classic Performer hardware synthesizer.

Performer is a physical modeling emulation of the original. It expands on the original by offering options for different versions of the filter, adding effects, offering MIDI support and more.


  • Adjustable global and single note tuning.
  • Fully polyphonic.
  • Realistic control panel with sliders and buttons like the original.
  • Accurate simulation of original circuitry.
  • Selection for Rev.A and Rev.B filter.
  • Selection for the “sustain modification”.
  • Built-in adjustable reverb and chorus effect.
  • Simulation of pedals effect section including Graphic EQ, Phaser, Flanger and Analog Delay.
  • On-screen help tips and readout values.
  • Very low memory and CPU power needed.
  • Easy MIDI-Learn feature.
  • MIDI map import and export feature.
  • Bank and program import and export feature.
  • Compatible with Windows and OSX.

Audio Demo:

Pricing and Availability

The Performer virtual instrument is available now for EURO 99,00 + VAT. A demo version is also available.

Dancing Astronaut presents the Top 20 Electronic Albums of 2020

Dancing Astronaut presents the Top 20 Electronic Albums of 2020Disclosure Review Header 3

In a year where we all sought a little more escapism from home than usual, albums—both old and new—helped remind the collective zeitgeist that in times of strife or struggle, music is perhaps what we all reach for the most. The medium’s inherent quality of togetherness kept us close, even when we were farthest apart in 2020. And at a time when touring music simply isn’t a possibility for most, the solace we found this year in many albums that have yet to be played in a live setting is quite a remarkable phenomenon to note.

The LP format among electronic musicians is certainly in its heyday, and a steady shift towards longer projects has proven to be fruitful in 2020. There was no shortage of good music this year, and while there has been an extended shortage of live events, the host of top-notch albums we got in 2020 certainly helped carry us through this strange, unforgettable year. With that, we’re proud to present Dancing Astronaut’s Top 20 Electronic Albums of 2020

20. Lady Gaga – Chromatica

Words by David Klemow

Lady Gaga’s dominion over the intersection of power-pop and electro-house has netted us some of the most memorable hits of the 21st century. In short, anytime Lady Gaga links with the likes of DJ Snake, Zedd, or Madeon, it seems we get a chart-topping smash. 2020 saw Tchami, BloodPop®, Skrillex, and Axwell join those ranks with the release of a long-awaited LG6, officially recognized as Chromatica. A proven blueprint that has yet to fail, Lady Gaga’s firmly planted flag at the convergence of pop and dance made for one of the most enjoyable, repeatable, and uplifting listens all year long. 

Messages of inclusivity, the importance of mental health, and self-reliance laced Lady Gaga’s house-charged, full-length LP together, which featured contributions from Ariana Grande, Blackpink, and frequent collaborator Elton John. With her first studio project since 2016’s lauded Joanne, Gaga returned to her pop royalty roots and turned in what was easily one of the best albums of 2020. 

19. ford. – The Color of Nothing

Words by Mitchell Rose

At just 20-years-old, ford. has production chops that far outclass many artists twice his age. The Foreign Family Collective rising star’s sophomore album, The Color Of Nothing, feels like a tailor-made antidote to the 2020 blues.

ford.’s strengths have always lied in crafting sublime musical atmospheres full of lush instrumentation and melt-in-your-mouth synths, a craft he uses to dramatic effect all over The Color Of Nothing. To complement the tracks, the Utah-based artist quite astutely calls on vocalists to add to the album’s rich texture without ever overpowering it. An example can be found in Barrie’s potently charming performance on the record’s closer.

The cyclical feeling of The Color Of Nothing, which ford. intentionally built into the album, makes it a record that’s all too easy to accidentally listen to three times through, its calming ambiance continuously washing over the listener. Making an album that simultaneously incites tranquility and energy can prove a daunting task, but ford. walks the line with ease.  

18. ATTLAS – Out Here With You

Words by Mitchell Rose

ATTLAS began 2020 by releasing his massively anticipated debut album Lavender God, a sprawling record that showcased the mau5trap producer’s world-building aptitude. A few months later, ATTLAS surprised fans with his second full album of the year, self-described as “calming, hopeful, and about the small good things we can control and take pride in.” We now know that record as Out Here With You.

Although either album could have qualified for this list, the sophomore record manages to capture the best facets of its predecessor while simultaneously branching out into new territory. Tracks like “Polar Concept” and “When We Were The Same” carry the force fans know that ATTLAS can bring to his works, as showcased in Lavender God on “Sinner Complicated,” for example. However, Out Here With You ventures into acoustic territory unprecedented in ATTLAS’ music, even drawing on the world of ambient music at times. Overall, Out Here With You is a stunningly complete record that showcases ATTLAS’ endlessly diverse skill set and his room to grow even more moving forward. 

17. A.A.L. (Nicolas Jaar)2017 – 2019

Words by David Klemow and Josh Stewart

In a word, Nicolas Jaar’s 2020 output was nothing short of prolific. The New York-based Chilean-American producer shared three albums under his own name, along with a fourth under his more seldom-used A.A.L. (Against All Logic) moniker. For the purpose of this list, we’re focusing on A.A.L.’s return, with 2017 – 2019 picking up right where 2012 – 2017 left off. The core of the album, stretching from the inspired and pumping “If You Can’t Do It Good, Do It Hard” through “Alarm,” “Deeeeeeefers,” and “Faith,” in a way lift the A.A.L. project to new heights by kicking it down in the mud. Jaar finds a real sweet spot in this movement, embracing the brash, menacing, and downright enormous without cluttering the compositions beyond the point of a truly nuanced atmosphere. And while the LP manages to hold true to A.A.L.’s original identity and stylistic tenets, 2017 – 2019 showcases a rare progression in sound for a side project, which often tends to remain more static. 

Out Jaar’s expansive 2020 output, 2017 – 2019 feels like the most accessible of his projects while still forcing listeners out of their comfort zones at least a few times—and that’s to say nothing of one of 2017 – 2019’s brilliant use of one of the greatest Beyoncé samples ever. 

16. CaribouSuddenly

Words by Josh Stewart

Dan Snaith returned to form as Caribou this year, amassing an album in Suddenly that pulls off being as accessible as it is personal, all while adding a fresh sheen to the indie-electronic moniker’s already colorfully weird template.

On the whole, Suddenly is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, satisfying those who saw the UK musician’s tastes becoming too focused on the indie-anthem by just being a tad less focused in general. Thankfully, Snaith has developed such a strong sense of his musical identity over the years that each track on Suddenly still lives and breathes Caribou. Whether it’s the soulful and funky “Home“, the hypnotically hip-hop-inspired “Sunny’s Time,” or the R&B-soaked “Like I Loved You,” there’s a perpetual acknowledgment of the synthetic nature of electronic music, one that allows Caribou’s work to walk the fine line not only between familiar and fresh, but also delicate and off-hue.

Fans of previous Caribou work like Our Love and Swim will know how capable Snaith is of producing hits, and in turn, might find Suddenly to lack on that front. It’s likely that this is where the fanbase splits to a degree, as Suddenly represents a shift in Caribou from upbeat dance floor overtones to something that’s still indie, but a hair more challenging and introspective.

15. ElderbrookWhy Do We Shake in the Cold?

Words by Sami Weisband

Alexander Kotz, better known under his genre-bending moniker Elderbrook, has been gifting the industry with electronic gold since 2015, founding his sound inside his college dorm room. Fast forward to 2020, during which the dorm room dignitary would deliver his debut LP, Why Do We Shake In The Cold?

Shaking in the cold being a physical expression of the need for warmth, and the album is a metaphor for human connection, and at times, a lack thereof. The intellectually stimulating record also plays host to an amalgamation of sounds and lyricism that supply listeners with a song for every mood. Ranging from deep, reflective hits such as “Numb” and “Next December” to uptempo and somewhat sarcastic bops like “My House,” the album combines electronic, indie, and folk tonality, allowing for repeated cross-genre enjoyment. Released during a year chock full of profound introspection, Why Do We Shake In The Cold offers a glimpse of genuine humanity.

14. Spencer BrownStream of Consciousness

Words by Jessica Mao

Two years apart from his lauded debut album Illusion Of Perfection, Spencer Brown chronicled the endeavor with dissemination of sophomore LP, Stream of Consciousness. Devoted to his preservation of the album as a craft, the prodigal Anjuna resident once again chose the mix album as his form of execution to great payoff. Pillared by the central theme of “flow,” the progressive work presents a perpetual listening experience with layers of tranquility, fullness, and animation.

Resonant with mindfulness, spirituality, and unadulterated energy, the 12-track LP embodies Brown’s rousing electronic intuition in its second orbital journey as he partners with peers like Ben Böhmer, Marsh, and Qrion on multidimensional tracks. In no production does Brown skimp on building out soundscapes through his utmost attention to detail—tuning out the elasticity of bass lines, instilling diverse breakbeats, fashioning muted drums, and constructing atmospheric backdrops. Most of all, each track’s beauty derives from its distinctual melodies, all different, yet none more expertly written than fellow companions. A true album tied together not only by conceptual thought but also by transitional tactileness, Stream of Consciousness definitively marks Brown as one of dance music’s brightest talents. 

13. Boris BrejchaSpace Diver

Words by Mitchell Rose

It’s hard to argue that any producer has cultivated a more robust personal sound than Boris Brejcha has over the past decade. The masked producer has long been regarded as a leader in his brand of deep minimal techno, but this status was firmly cemented with the release of his opus, Space Diver.

By the time the record dropped in January 2020, Space Diver’s tracklist had been thoroughly vetted in the live circuit, evidenced by his performances for Cercle and Tomorrowland years before the record’s release. Brejcha’s repetitive driving rhythms lure the listener into a hypnotic groove that sustains for the album’s duration. Meanwhile, variations ranging from the grandiose breakdown of “Gravity” to the subtle beat changes in the title track keep the record fresh and engaging. Capping off years of building and preparation, Space Diver is an ultra-polished record that will go down as a genre-defining piece of work. 


Words by Ross Goldenberg

Prefacing that the long-awaited, ever-delayed arrival of a project will be “worth the wait” certainly feels overplayed by 2020, and all too often seems to fall short of already shelved expectations. That said, JOYRYDE’s Brave unequivocally encapsulated the three-word expression at the top of April. Overlooking a mild timetable setback and a transcontinental album campaign in the year prior, which turned out to be a more than fortuitous blueprint considering 2020’s repercussions, JOYRYDE followed through with 18 finely tuned attachments across his all-encompassing bass-house crown jewel. Brave’s tracklist distinctively holds its own from the first minute to the sixty-sixth, driving through JOYRYDE’s nonpareil cadence of house, trap, mid-tempo, and every drop of bass in between on a stocked collection of head-turning production work.

Brave manages to dip, weave, and swerve through an exhaustive collection of JOYRYDE’s characteristically hard sonics without ever becoming repetitive or tiresome. In essence, the record plays like a crisply recorded, sweat-drenched warehouse party and while the album certainly checks the “worth the wait” box, it masterfully exceeded many expectations, deservedly landing on the list of 2020’s most memorable albums.

11. Jody Wisternoff, James Grant – Anjunadeep 11

Words by Jessica Mao

In the context of its storied run, it’s safe to assume that the Anjunadeep compilation series perhaps saw its most revered edition yet with Anjunadeep 11, such that Dancing Astronaut would proclaim it the sole compilation to receive an Album of the Year acknowledgment. A vital advancement of Anjunadeep’s reputation—selectors of the finest electronic sounds—Anjunadeep 11 collected a rampant blend of deep house, melodic house, and electronica under the uninhibited Anjunadeep header.

Scouting rising talent from Leaving Laurel to CRi and Jon Gurd while ushering in mainstays like Yotto, Lane 8, and Tinlicker, the massive two-CD mix realizes emotive dance music in depth and range, navigating the downtempo, the vocal-centric, the deeper, and the climatic. Anjunadeep also continued its open-minded expansion as Anjunabeats’ welcoming sister label with the inclusion of techno influences and drum ‘n’ bass stylings on Anjunadeep 11. Empowered by an overarching emphasis on the ephemeral, the 38-deep catalog is faultless in mix quality, attention to instrumentation, and curatorial prowess, as Anjunadeep 11 scripts another cohesive statement. 

10. BaauerPLANET’S MAD

Words by David Klemow

Baauer’s story continues to be one of the most remarkable subplots in all of electronic music. A born creator with an insatiable, sound-driven wanderlust, Baauer hit viral superstardom without ever really even meaning to with 2013’s “Harlem Sh*ke.” The result wasn’t a catapult to fame—for Baauer, it was a years-long derailment of his actual artistic goals. But by 2016, he had achieved the creative autonomy he so clearly longed for on his debut studio album, Aa. Now, in 2020, to watch Baauer’s sprawling imaginative energy manifest itself in the strangely almost-too-on-point audiovisual experience of PLANET’S MAD has been a thoroughly enjoyable continuation of his narrative as an artist. Furthermore, for Baauer to net his first Grammy nomination on his own terms, in a way that is so wholly true to his own creative direction, is one of 2020’s most redeeming dance music storylines. 

PLANET’S MAD stands alone in a league of irreverent, apocalyptic psychedelia and experimentalism this year, but the record is a blast from front to back, and if nothing else, proves unequivocally that Baauer is a whole lot more than just a viral one-trick pony. 


Words by Ross Goldenberg

Predicting any sequence of events in 2020 was an impossibility less than halfway into the year, but forecasting that ODESZA and Golden Features would casually drop the collaborative hammer by revealing a new alias and its debut album stretched lightyears beyond anticipation. The two sides had previously banded together for a co-hosted remix in 2018, but with the revelation of BRONSON came zero indication of whether the project would fall in line with this past effort or introduce its own original sound. Now, of course, we know the outcome.

Coexisting with a slate of enthralling visual counterparts, BRONSON emerged as the embodiment of a cohesive front-to-back voyage, fluently flowing back and forth across all ten of the eponymous LP’s compositions. BRONSON extracted ODESZA and Golden Features’ respective production sensibilities, intercepting and coloring them with an unfamiliar conduct wholly new to even the most seasoned listeners. Trekking through more serene expeditions including “HEART ATTACK” with lau.ra and “DAWN” with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and unaccustomed sinister showings including “TENSE” and “KEEP MOVING,” BRONSON have set themselves up for a transcendental live experience when the time comes. 

8. Mat ZoIllusion of Depth

Words by Jessica Mao

Mat Zo’s long-awaited return to Anjunabeats, the instrumental label behind his debut album Damage Control, would inevitably result in one of the most anticipated homecomings of the year. Having catapulted his sound into the top echelons of electronic music years prior, the British producer divulged his latest exhibition into all that is forward thinking with third studio album, Illusion of Depth.

Simultaneously balancing contemporized styles with evergreen appeal, the 11-track project is an exercise in fluidity that finds Zo leading the charge in multi-genre stylings. He appeases the darker end of electronic with his sinister execution “The Next Chapter,” while dabbling in retro synth-enlightened productions on “Colours.” Although the album inherently stands as a dance record, Zo digs deeper into rock inspirations, which make their clear imprints in vocal delivery, percussion, and other composition elements. However, his trance origins reside within the creviced nuances of the tracklist, serving as gentle reminders of the production standards for which Zo first became known. An electrifying, glitzy body of work sewn together by the precise curation of individualistic sonics, Illusion of Depth concurs with Zo’s ever-expanding skillmanship. 

7. Louis The Child – Candy II [Beat Tape]

Words by Sami Weisband

After releasing their expertly crafted, fine-tuned debut LP Here For Now in June, Louis The Child, delivered yet another certified home run this October, Candy II [Beat Tape]. Fresh off the heels of the debut album, the boys added to their repertoire of first-rate production with the second installment of their Candy beat-tape series, and while we would be remiss to not corroborate the exemplary creative work that is Here For Now, we maintain that Louis The Child took the world by storm with Candy II.

Candy II is a full-scale album of instrumental tunes that fit together flawlessly. It escapes the bind of any one electronic subgenre, covering all electronic ground while indulging fans in hair-raising synth progressions, grimy bass beats, and everything in between. That Louis The Child concocted a trippy 36-minute Candy Visual Companion only further supported their case for Album of the Year inclusion. Evidently made from a place of true artistry and expressiveness, Candy II showcased the duo’s creativity with an honest levity that many artists seem to lose along the way. 

6. KygoGolden Hour

Words by Ross Goldenberg

Eclipsing his freshman album and magnum opus, better understood as Cloud Nine, was a towering order, but not one too tall for Kygo. As tropical house’s commander-in-chief drew closer to the completion of his third studio album, tacking one palatable Golden Hour piece onto another, an airtight case that Kygo could unseat Cloud Nine as his most estimable body of work became more and more credible.

From Golden Hour‘s branding alone, expectations surrounding the LP were emphatically maxed out from the very second that Kygo disclosed its existence, and its outcome was everything the Norwegian veteran’s listeners could have dreamed of—and then some. Golden Hour dove head first back into the venerable character of the tropical house on which Kygo’s built his stature in the mid-2010’s, across his remix generation, and all the way to Cloud Nine. From its heartwarming opener, “The Truth” with Valerie Broussard, all the way down to “Only Us” with Haux, Golden Hour irrefutably delivered in each and every tropical house bracket, with inclusions such as “Feels Like Forever” with Jamie N Commons and “I’ll Wait” with Sasha Sloan skyrocketing to the mountaintop of Kygo’s most-cherished work. 

5. WhethanFantasy

Words by Sami Weisband

After releasing one chart-topping track after another since he was just 17-years-old, Whethan finally brought us his debut LP, Fantasy. As to be expected, it unsurprisingly emerged as one of 2020’s most prized gems.

Seemingly unable to produce anything that isn’t an immediate crowd favorite, the Chicago native has curated an album brimming with smash hits. Refusing to be labeled as purely an electronic DJ/producer, Whether offers his own sublime amalgamation of electronic, pop, indie, hip-hop, and trap, all under the Fantasy title.

Featuring an assembly of the industry’s biggest names, such as Oliver Tree, The Knocks, Grouplove, RL Grime, and many more, the album fosters a space for exciting, uptempo heaters that shine a beaming light on what many would deem an especially grim year. While the album hinges on vibrant and euphoric beats, each track still is still beholden to the sharp and perceptive lyricism to which fans can effortlessly connect and have even come to expect in Whethan’s recent years of activity. Although his career began at an early age, Whethan has proven time and time again that passion, vision, and collaboration always give way to music that will amplify a generation.

4. KasboThe Making of a Paracosm

Words by Rachel Narozniak

Good music affords listeners the opportunity to escape the world, if only for a little while. Great music builds them a new one to escape into, time and time again. From its inclusion on Dancing Astronaut’s 2020 Albums of the Year list alone, it’s not difficult to discern the category to which The Making of a Paracosm belongs.

Proof that music is perhaps the closest we can come to time travel, The Making of a Paracosm harkens back to the Sweden of Kasbo‘s upbringing, folding allusions to the Northern Scandinavian folklore of his childhood and early adolescent years among the album’s instrumentation and melodies. As The Making of a Paracosm invokes fictive elements that colored Kasbo’s earlier years, these latter technical components concurrently remind us just who is appealing to us: an artist whose sonic maturity manifests in a 14-song soundscape. The result, as the LP’s title betrays, is the “detailed imaginary world” that “Paracosm” denotes.

Rife with wild whimsy, unjaded wonder, and a surging sense of youth, The Making of a Paracosm soothes as it simultaneously stimulates, transporting listeners out of the present moment and into an enveloping place where time stands still. Less of a sophomore LP and more of a musical bildungsroman, The Making of a Paracosm sees Kasbo transcend not only his seminal 2018 debut, Places We Don’t Know, but also the adversity of hearing loss, which unexpectedly struck his left ear in May 2019 and sustained thereafter. Although The Making of a Paracosm is an invitation elsewhere, its significance is clear: Kasbo isn’t going anywhere.

3. Disclosure ENERGY (DELUXE)

Words by David Klemow

Disclosure’s long-awaited third album, ENERGY, was the gift that kept giving in 2020. From an extended rollout, which came replete with an awe-inspiring Cercle set nestled in the luscious beauty of Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park, videos with Channel Tres, Kelis, slowthai and Aminé, and a deluxe cut of the album that included the pair’s Ecstasy EP from earlier this year, ENERGY was a seemingly endless source of enjoyment. Culminating in the duo’s seventh Grammy nomination, the album showcases the Lawrence brothers’ deep appreciation for the sounds of the world, and their razor-sharp ability to maneuver those sounds through club-ready electronic filters. 

While Disclosure’s sophomore run, 2015’s Caracal, was never quite able to replicate the lightning strike that was the pair’s debut‚ 2013’s unforgettable Settle, Disclosure successfully rebounded on their third full-length project. And while the brothers are no longer the UK house wunderkinds they were when they first emerged on the scene nearly a decade ago, their maturity as producers and the nuanced lens through which they create timeless house grooves remain as polished as ever.

2. Lane 8Brightest Lights

Words by Mitchell Rose

Lane 8 had an unconditionally dazzling 2020. The This Never Happened boss relentlessly released music that turned heads this year with its sheer quantity and uncompromising excellence and earned himself the title of Dancing Astronaut’s 2020 Artist of the Year in the process. Lane 8’s stunning campaign kicked off just 10 days into the year with the release of his third studio album, Brightest Lights.

Brightest Lights’ joyous melodies intertwine with the record’s dynamic instrumentation, creating a listening experience that is nothing short of magical, and one that warrants the LP’s classification as Lane 8’s best project to date. The album’s uplifting themes form a perfect marriage with the powerful production, constantly toeing the line between emotive bliss and dance floor-ready energy. At its best, melodic house can fill listeners’ souls to the brim, and with Brightest Lights, Lane 8 did just that, crafting an album that leaves the genre’s fans in awe while drawing in countless new admirers. 

1. TchamiYear Zero

Words by Sami Weisband

Tchami spent seven long years preaching the gospel of future-house from a pulpit of his own making. Now, after already reaching dance music’s highest echelons, the High Priest of House, and widely credited founding father of one of today’s top trending genres, put forth his debut album, Year Zero, landing as Dancing Astronaut‘s Album of the Year in 2020. Evidently, spending the better part of a decade establishing one’s sound, founding record labels, co-producing with the world’s biggest names, and serving electronic devotees with some of the highest-caliber production in the game is bound to steer a producer out of artistic stagnancy and into unexplored creative terrain.

Beyond simply boasting the Parisian luminary’s character-defining future-house sound, Year Zero is an auditory magic carpet ride that delivers on every ounce of anticipation that swelled behind the record. Perhaps most impressively though, Tchami’s mastery of the current electronic zeitgeist shines brilliantly on an album that still has yet to ever be played live. And somehow, it still manages to capture the sound that defined 2020. Year Zero bears witness to where Tchami as a project meets Martin Bresso as a human, pulling influences from where electronic music has been, where it currently sits, and where it has the opportunity to go. It’s apparent that Bresso’s talent is as sharp, savvy, and forward-thinking as ever, and Year Zero is a testament to the journey it took to land himself where he now stands—right at the very top.

Don’t miss an epic live set from Giant Swan, and more of their rich sound world

Let’s put all the gear news aside and consider – people are doing wonderful things with sound live. Consider the duo of Giant Swan, whose intense multi-layered performances seem to fuel the same transcendent energy of their releases.

The Bristol-based duo of Robin Stewart and Harry Wright has a lot of hype fuel behind them – or had, anyway, before the whole music world went into hibernation. But you know those stories of “what were the last big shows you saw before lockdown?” These two. Just all about these two. It’s that the power and dynamism of their sets just never lets up – heavy sonic layers at full force, constantly shifting rhythmic drives, timbral invention. It’s somehow even more listenable now, in that it’s music with real urgency.

Well, just watch/listen. I actually notice that even if I don’t watch and only listen, I really get a feeling for how much improvisation and movement there is in this set:

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For those of us who do play live, here’s what to practice in lockdown. That’s a proper workout video. It’s the Fitness+ / advanced Runkeeper of electronic music.

There’s a bit of everything on that table, too – Elektron box, modular, effects pedals, mixer, Roland/BOSS looper. It’s not really about the gear, then, it’s that these are full-on instrumentalists, both.

Simon Tucker put out a thoughtful review of their debut outing last year, for Louder Than War. Here’s where I would never really declare myself a music critic; I’m just a producer, so enthusiastic about stuff I love. Eventually I’ll drop the pretenses and just declare, “more, please, of that, that’s delicious, like a … uh… fried steak.”

Simon describes that debut as being “a gut curdling and ugly record that feels like barbed wire being wrapped around your throat.”

So, uh… I guess I like barbed wire wrapped around my throat? Just like a warm blanket.

This year apart from the Boiler Room live show they did start out with an extended version of the excellent “55 Year Old Daughter”:

But here’s something to look forward to in 2021 – you know, apart from vaccines and that bit:

Do Not Be Afraid Of Tenderness is promised for February, on the label Keck. “Silkworm,” above, is out now along with the requisite Bandcamp preorder.

The Quietus has some more information:

Giant Swan’s other half, Robin Stewart, adds: “I found the writing process incredibly difficult because we weren’t able to see one another. An unusual lack of contact meant that mixing the tunes felt very raw and reactionary, which I felt actually made the experience an enriching one.”

From last month –

Giant Swan Announce New EP, ‘Do Not Be Afraid Of Tenderness’

I’ll be waiting, for sure.

Tycho gathers RAC, pluko, Com Truise, and more for ‘Weather Remixes’

Tycho gathers RAC, pluko, Com Truise, and more for ‘Weather Remixes’Tyco Performance Oct Billboard 1548 Compressed

On Weather Remixes, Tycho welcomes eight new reworks of originals billed under his Grammy-nominated Weather LP, released in 2019. Earlier this year, the Bay Area producer shared the instrumental companion album to Weather, Simulcast; now, he’s carrying on the eclectic movement with a full album of revisions from RACCom TruiseSatin JacketsMild Minds, Harvey Sutherland, Nitemoves, and pluko.

Weather Remixes complements Tycho’s introspective, ambient sound, exploring an array of genres ranging from house, downtempo, ambient, lounge, synthwave, mid-tempo, and more. Enlisting a prestigious group of artists to assume remix duties, Tycho commissions reinterpretations that expound on the soundscapes and tranquilizing melodies to which Tycho fans have become easily attached in recent years.

To celebrate the new year, Tycho is preparing a live sunrise stream, “Solo Ascent.” The event is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. EST / 7:00 a.m. PST on January 1. More information and tickets for Tycho’s Solo Ascent are available here. In the meantime, listeners can stream Weather Remixes below.

Featured image: Xavi Torrent/Redferns via Getty Images

Congress passes COVID-19 relief bill with $15 billion in funding for independent venues

Congress passes COVID-19 relief bill with $15 billion in funding for independent venuesConcert Crowd

On December 20, the United States Congress reached an agreement on a $900 billion relief package that, in addition to granting an individual payment of $600 to each qualifying American, will afford $15 billion to “venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said,

“I’m especially pleased this this bill will provide money for bars and restaurants, and $15 billion in SPA grants for theater operators and small venue operators through the Save Our Stages Act. These venues are so important to my state and so many other states across the country. They are the lifeblood of our communities. They were the first to close and will be the last to open. This bill gives them a fighting chance.”

For the past few months, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has worked tirelessly to get the Save Our Stages federal relief package approved. In October, the House of Representatives amended the Heroes Act to include Save Our Stages, and now, NIVA’s work has finally paid off.

Featured image: Lindrik/Getty Images/iStockphoto

OP-Z VJ: app from Teenage Engineering adds video powers

The OP-Z’s ultra-minimalist, candybar form factor hides some serious synthesis, sampling, and audiovisual powers – and now new live visual/VJ functions, too.

Way back when Teenage Engineering first showed a prototype of the OP-Z, it was more than just “what if the OP-1 used your iPhone as its screen?” Live visuals, animation, and VJing were part of the original pitch, and what made the new OP a big conceptual leap forward from its predecessor.

Now this update really rounds out that offering – the secret VJ side of the OP-Z.

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You need to pair the app with the OP-Z – on any device running iOS, Android, or macOS, for free.

Once you do, just output to a projector, TV, or whatever, and dive into the newfound video tools of Photomatic. You could already drop images into Photomatic, but now video works, too. It’s very much like having a simple set of samples and patterns, but for visuals:

  • 10 “rolls,” with 24 slots each (so up to 24 videos) – .mp4 and mov on all platforms, plus animated GIFs on iOS and macOS (but not Android for some reason)
  • Use the camera and toggle between cameras
  • Choose an active slot using the navigation keys (and rolls by shift + black keys 1-10)
  • Trigger with the keys of your OP-Z (or whatever you’re using as its MIDI note source)
  • Use color dials on track 16 to add live effects of color/fade
  • Punch-in effects (a la p-locks) by shift + white keys

All of this is in addition to the Unity-powered 2D and 3D motion patches you could create already.

Check out the full guide:

It’s really clever, in that you can do a lot with a little – which has tended to be the hallmark of really great VJs. (Oh yes, you who decided 20 layers of crud was a good idea – I’m looking derisively at you. I’m squinting my eyes and everything. Okay, I’m also shaking my own head in shame, regarding some of my own darker moments. Really.)

But you can kill R / G / B channels, DJ style, invert, flip, punch zoom, white and black out – it’s actually an advantage that you have limited slots, as it forces you to ‘play’ those visuals like notes. And it matches perfectly with the workflow and musicality of the OP-Z.

Really, it could be just the extra prod you need to think about music on the OP-Z in a new way, too. Guess we’d better get making some videos rather than describing this in words, huh?

iOS App
macOS App
Android App

Midiphy LoopA Requantizing MIDI Sequencer Review

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In the latest loopop video, host Ziv Eliraz takes an in-depth look at the Midiphy LoopA, a six-track polyphonic MIDI sequencer & looper.

It lets you arrange songs with six scenes (36 tracks in memory) and perform live by using Mute/Unmute to control sequences on the fly. It’s available pre-built or as an advanced DIY project.

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro
1:30 Connectivity
2:30 This setup
3:30 Overview
5:00 Scenes
5:45 DIY vs builders
6:55 Track setup
9:00 Clip setup
9:30 Step seq
11:30 Drum seq
12:30 Live recording
13:05 Autoloop
15:30 CC seq
17:20 LiveFX
18:20 Beat loop
19:25 Transpose
20:30 Misc features
22:15 Pros & cons
26:20 Outro jam

Tiësto adds his back-to-back Red Rocks streams as himself, VER:WEST to Apple Music

Tiësto adds his back-to-back Red Rocks streams as himself, VER:WEST to Apple MusicTiesto @ Red Rocks10

Only a sliver of people on the planet have the ability to claim that they were able to witness both a Tiësto and VER:WEST performance from the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in 2020. Nearly three months after the momentous night in Colorado, which was livestreamed to those at home and sold a limited number of in-person tickets in support of Children’s Hospital of Colorado, Tiësto is providing a generous holiday gift by adding both his and his newfound alias’ performances to Apple Music’s ever-growing registry of live mixes.

Tiësto took complete advantage of the prestigious venue’s mesmerizing natural theatrics, hitting the decks for two consecutive hours, during which he delivered the second-ever VER:EST set (following its Tomorrowland Around the World debut) and spent 60 minutes under his own venerable banner. Entering the conversation of the exhilarating locales that artists have taken to for streams amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Tiësto put on a livestream masterclass during the late September night, clashing two distinctive sides of electronic music for an evening that will be remembered well into 2021.

Stream both Tiësto and VER:WEST’s Red Rocks sets below.

Featured image: Chancey Bush