‘.wav’ ushers in a new era of Flux Pavilion [Album Review]

‘.wav’ ushers in a new era of Flux Pavilion [Album Review]Flu .wav Fiona Garden

There are few artistic projects that have chiseled a place in dance music quite as immovably as Joshua Steele’s Flux Pavilion. Six years after the September 18, 2015 installation of his debut album Tesla, Flux has released his sophomore LP .wav, and it’s apparent that Steele has graciously poured every piece of himself into the project.

With a catalog of timeless triumphs such as “Emotional,” “Bass Cannon,” and of course, the resounding hit of a decade, “I Can’t Stop,” the producer has solidified his identity as a pioneer of bass music, paving the way for every single DJ/producer who has succeeded him in the space, and even beyond it. Although it’s no secret that Flux’s sound has deviated from his original dubstep persuasion, what the album lacks in its inclusion of the elements that contributed to his earlier heavy bass identity, it makes up for with top-tier production, artistry, and heart.

After Flux gave his loyal fans a fair warning by outrightly stating in a January 11, 2021 tweet that he is “no longer a dubstep person,” many of his avid, OG followers held on tight in preparation for the album’s release just a few weeks later.

For those who’d followed Flux throughout the years, the Twitter declaration didn’t exactly send shockwaves. One can easily argue that the electronic purveyor has not been producing dubstep for years; he did release more than half of .wav’s 16-song tracklist over the course of the past three years, after all. Marking the beginning of the album’s rollout with “Symphony” in 2018, Flux carried on churning out hits from the album—such as his 2019 collaboration with What So Not20:25“—all the way up until the day before .wav‘s release. “Fall To Me,” released on January 20, would be the final preview of .wav sound before the LP arrived in full the very next day.

Opening with the wonky portrait of the technologically inspired, “Every Cable Goes Somewhere,” it quickly becomes clear that .wav spins an auditory voyage. The album seamlessly weaves upbeat vocal conquests such as “You & I” and “Sink Your Teeth In” with harmonious instrumental anthems like “Twitterbird” with deep, emotional cuts like “I Will Stay” and “Breathe.” Pulling from influence from Anamanaguchi, the contortion of synths on .wav ranges from choppy and buoyant to wide-spanning and explosive. Listeners are given a glimpse back into an earlier but well-known version of Flux with his own blaring rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Partial Fugue in B Minor.” This glimmer of familiarity shines as Flux simultaneously enters completely uncharted terrain in the context of his release history, as displayed in .wav‘s final song, “LOVE,” especially.

There are clear separations between the artists who deliver albums just for the sake of putting out new music and the artists who put their heart and soul into a project. Blending heartfelt lyricism with Flux’s unique sound and over a decade’s worth of production knowledge, .wav belongs to a creative who can most certainly be classified as the latter.

The LP’s title is also a nod to the sound it embodies. .wav derives from :WAV (Waveform Audio File Format),” which is universally recognized as a higher resolution file than an MP3, for instance. Not coincidentally, .wav frames Flux’s new sound as more higher-quality, deliberate, and intentioned than anything he has ever released before. Working with analogue synthesizers rather than digital, the album integrates a more full-bodied and honed sound that many producers in the industry have not yet begun to master.

While dubstep fanatics of the mid-2000’s may have a harder time rallying behind this album, there is no denying that .wav is by far the most intricate and well-produced body of work that Steele has put forth in his long-spanning career. Attention to the subtlety and nuance of electronic sound over his once-preferred thunderous bass has allowed listeners to hear and appreciate a different and all-encompassing view of Flux. Although the album towers tall over even his highest charting tracks of the past decade, the most gratifying part of the endeavor is the thought that this new era of Flux Pavilion is only the beginning of his sonic evolution.

Featured image: Fiona Garden

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Kim Tee drops chill, guitar-based electronics on ‘Old T-Shirt’ featuring koby

Kim Tee drops chill, guitar-based electronics on ‘Old T-Shirt’ featuring kobyKim Tee Edit

Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter/producer Kim Tee is a superstar in the making, and is kicking off 2021 with her second official solo release “Old T-Shirt” (FADER Label). Having previously worked with fellow Minneapolis artists such as Dizzy Fae and Dua Saleh—remixing the latter’s hit track “Albany”—and, most publicly, touring with Clairo as a guitarist, keyboard-player, and music director, Tee is building up an immense amount of buzz.

“Old T-Shirt” features koby, a rising multi-instrumentalist with a Master’s Degree in classical music composition who’s quickly climbing the industry ranks, working alongside legendary producer Rich Costey (Death Cab For Cutie, Rage Against The Machine), Rostam (Clairo, Vampire Weekend), and garnering production credits on recent singles from Haim and UK band Pale Waves. Together, the two blend their diverse talents for harmonized vocals, dreamy synth-waves, and bright electric guitar riffs for a euphoric dance tune primed to brighten anyone’s mood.

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Multi-dimensional Synth Control With The Buchla Easel Command + Sensel Morph Controller

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In this video, via Perfect Circuit, synthesist Sarah Belle Reid demonstrates multidimensional synth control, using the new Buchla Easel Command semi-modular synth and the Sensel Morph (with the Buchla Thunder overlay).

Reid also worked with Sensel to make a free Ableton Live instrument that uses samples from the Buchla Easel Command and is designed to work with MPE control from the Sensel Morph.

Timeline:

Intro – 00:00
Jam – 00:05
Buchla Easel Command Overview – 02:17
Sensel Morph Overview – 03:59
Jam #2 – 05:26
Final Thoughts – 06:55

Dove Audio WTF Oscillator In-Depth Demo

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This video, via alternatingbitmusic, takes an in-depth look at the Dove Audio WTF Oscillator.

WTF stands for Window Transform Function – this oscillator lets you morph between waveforms in a unique visual way, by controlling a ‘window’ that lets you switch between a foreground and background waveform.

While the video demos the MU version of the WTF oscillator, it’s also available as in Eurorack format.

David Orin and Wassu assume organic house form on ‘Magenta’

David Orin and Wassu assume organic house form on ‘Magenta’67724177 375420559810620 2197656951818753647 N

Two names rising to the Anjunadeep surface—David Orin and Wassu—can be found credited alongside each other on “Magenta,” issued via When We Dip XYZ. Manufactured in the downtempo/organic house style that has won each of the two New York native producers praise in the past, “Magenta” is a seven-minute and 12-second slow burn that extends the collaborative flame that the pair first founded on “Devi.”

Released in November of 2019, “Devi” was no fleeting affair, either. Occupying a mellifluous six minutes and 23 seconds of runtime, Orin and Wassu’s inaugural liaison retrospectively serves as an unabashedly viscous clinic in the honeyed sound that results when the pair conjoin their ambient sensibilities. “Magenta” is further illustration, and leaves the lingering sense that the sonic narrative that Orin and Wassu have written with these two releases is far from its conclusion. Stream below.

Featured image: Inoki

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Artists pay homage to SOPHIE amid news of the visionary’s death

Artists pay homage to SOPHIE amid news of the visionary’s deathFb

Heralded as a forward-thinking, envelope-pushing experimentalist whose sonic signature virtually refined modern conceptions of what it means to be inimitable, SOPHIE and her pioneering contributions to music advanced the landscape in a unique and transformative way. These are the sentiments not only of the Glasgow-born producer’s devoted following, but also of the countless artists across genres who took to Twitter to mourn the news of SOPHIE’s January 30 death, paying tribute to a creative and trans icon who changed the lives of many through her music and perspective.

Moore Kismet, Dillon Francis, Sam Smith, and more remember the one-of-a-kind talent, whose mark on music is that of a permanent caliber. Rest in peace, SOPHIE.

The 34-year-old’s most recent release, “UNISIL,” came just two days before her death and can also be streamed below.


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Gianni Blu and D. Lylez hit an underground house bullseye on ‘Fall in Love with the Music’

Gianni Blu and D. Lylez hit an underground house bullseye on ‘Fall in Love with the Music’Gianni Blu 15

New year, same Gianni Blu and D. Lylez synergy.

After converging their talents on four respective one-offs in 2020 alone, the Italian-Haitian shot caller and Lylez are now showing that the serial nature of their collaborative history won’t be confined to the past year, and that’s very good news for listeners, to say the least. Blu’s opening number of the new calendar year, “Fall in Love with the Music” arrives hot on the heels of “Forever,” which provided the finale to his 2020 run. Not coincidentally, “Forever”—a future house rinse of Chris Brown‘s 2008 fan-favorite—also awarded vocal credits to Lylez.

Lylez’s vocal versatility has been unquestionably clear on past Blu releases, and his dynamism holds on “Fall in Love with the Music.” The single taps into a sultry, ZHU-reminiscent style of underground house that, despite its crepuscular tone, finds some of Blu’s signature buoyancy in its future house hook. Blu’s studio is blissfully open again for business in a year that holds the promise of it being his best yet—to no one’s surprise.

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Xavi returns with second album single, ‘The Warmth Of Known’

Xavi returns with second album single, ‘The Warmth Of Known’Image0 1

St. Louis native Xavi has delivered his first cut of the new year, “The Warmth Of Known,” which doubles as the second single from his forthcoming album, To The Endleess Searing Skies. Following the December 2020 release of the upcoming LP’s debut single, “Neverless,” “The Warmth Of Known” is one of Xavi’s most adventurous pieces to date. Contorting styles from across the board such as indie, future bass, melodic dubstep, and more, Xavi remains unshackled by the constraints of genre.

“The Warmth Of Known” is a synth-driven heavy hitter that cultivates an emotional energy akin to Porter Robinson‘s originals while still maintaining a euphoric and upbeat atmosphere. The experimental bass producer has not only mixed and mastered every track on To The Endless Searing Skies, but has also impressively lent his own vocals to the track as well.

Premiering via Seven LionsOphelia Records, the upcoming album will be the label’s second album release, following Jason Ross‘ highly acclaimed 1000 Faces. Listen to “The Warmth Of Known” below and stay tuned for more diverse outputs from Xavi soon.

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Whethan recruits now-solo Midnight Kids for new ‘Stay Forever’ remix

Whethan recruits now-solo Midnight Kids for new ‘Stay Forever’ remixEesLrtTWkAAJwJL

Whethan‘s debut album, Fantasy, is a genre-bending spectacle that continues to linger through the airwaves here in 2021. After three years in the making, the 15-track project utilized an “underlying theme of alternative meets psychedelic dance music,” quoted by the Chicagoan himself, with features all across the spectrum including indie band Grouplove, frequent collaborator Oliver Tree, RL Grime, The Knocks, and more.

There’s a thread of amazing frequencies projected from the album, but now, Whethan has tapped now-solo act Midnight Kids for a remix of the LP’s lead single “Stay Forever” featuring synth-pop band STRFKR. The Kids elevate the album’s aforementioned theme, adding an explosive nature to the original’s distorted guitar riffs and steady bassline. STRFKR’s vocals are very much present in the rework, backed by harmonizing leads and pounding drum and bass.

Midnight Kids released their stunning debut EP, The Lost Youth, in May of last year, followed by a pair of remixes for Zedd and Winnetka Bowling League. On January 19, the celebrated duo announced via Instagram that Dylan Jagger Lee would no longer be a part of the project moving forward. The “Stay Forever” rework is the first material to come out of the Midnight Kids camp following the news of their split.

Featured image: Insomniac Events

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ARTY instills positivity through upbeat new single ‘Take Your Time’

ARTY instills positivity through upbeat new single ‘Take Your Time’ARTY

ARTY embraces everything that is characteristic of his style in the best way with his new output, “Take Your Time.” Strong and dynamic vocals blend with a progressive melody that envelopes the listener from the track’s first note. “Take your Time” is the producer’s first release of 2021, and if this year is indicative of the last, there will be a continuous stream of music to come from the artist.

ARTY explained the meaning behind the production in an official release, noting that although he wrote it before the COVID-19 shutdowns took over the world, he feels the message of the single resonates even louder now:

“‘Take Your Time’ is a very personal song about the right and wrong  times in your life. It doesn’t always go the way you expect or want, but you need to be patient about things coming the way you manifest them, because eventually the time will be right. Although the song was written back in 2020 right before COVID started, I feel it hits the nail right on the head considering the times we live in now. I really hope that ‘Take Your Time’ will resonate with the listeners and make their day a little bit brighter, because we need to believe that the good days will come.”

“Take Your Time” is out now via Armada Music.

Featured Image: Rukes

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