Defected launches afro house label, Sondela, curated by Sef Kombo and Louie Dunmore

Legendary London imprint Defected Records has launched a new afro house label.

Working closely with Defected founder Simon Dunmore, the outlet will be curated by A&R Managers Sef Kombo and Louie Dunmore. The label’s first release will be ‘Ezizweni’ by enigmatic champion of African house, Hyenah, featuring Durban’s DJ Tira and jazz singer Luke Ntombela. A second release, ‘Ancestor’s Calling’ by Native Tribe & TTAN’s will follow on 5th March. 

In a statement, Defected said, “All profits will be going to Bridges For Music, a non-profit organisation based in South Africa, gathering key players of the music industry to support responsible progress in developing countries, making a positive impact in disadvantaged communities and helping to raise global awareness about local issues through music.”

Sef Kombo said, “I’ve been really happy being part of Sondela. I’ve always wanted to be a part of shining the light on the amazing talents from my home continent, bridging the worlds together to new listeners and also to release amazing future classic records. Even at this early stage in my A&R journey, I’ve learnt so much and so keen to learn more at Sondela.” 

“I am so excited to begin my journey with Sondela Records and to be working alongside Sef Kombo,” Dunmore added. “Aligning with Bridges For Music will help me in my own personal development while providing an excellent opportunity to discover creative talent and dig deep to source new music.”

Revisit our 2019 feature on Defected being the great success story of UK dance music

Light rises out of darkness in Illenium and Dabin’s music video for ‘Hearts on Fire’ featuring Lights

Light rises out of darkness in Illenium and Dabin’s music video for ‘Hearts on Fire’ featuring LightsEFgcOmWkAAuAZ9

On Christmas Day 2020, Illenium and Dabin came together for their inaugural collaboration, “Hearts on Fire” featuring Lights. Several weeks later, the visual for the producers’ fateful first union has arrived to transport viewers to a world that borrows from the track’s title in appearing to be “on fire.” Those who paid attention to Illenium’s respective “Paper Thin” and “Nightlight” videos will note the “Hearts on Fire” video’s aesthetic similarity to its visual predecessors.

Narratively, “Hearts on Fire” follows lovers who are shown in the beginning of the video but later become separated, evoking the question of whether or not they will find each other again. They do just that at the visual’s finale, instilling a sense of hope and peace as the song comes to a close.

Featured image: Rukes

1930s Soviet optical synthesis animation looks positively futuristic after 4K restoration

It’s synthesis from paper – sounds crafted quite literally by hand, using drawn animation, then optically synthesized. But after this 4K restoration, it’s clear how much these 1930s inventors were ahead of their time.

Adam Maciaszek released this 4K restoration today:

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I first saw this animation, like a lot of people, via Moscow-based historian Andrey Smirnov, who writes the following description of artist Voinov for Austria’s Institut für Medienarchäologie:

Nikolai Voinov (1900-58) began his career as an animator in 1927. In 1930 he was involved in the production of the first drawn ornamental soundtracks at Avraamov’s Multzvuk laboratory. In 1931 he left and started his own research at the Cartoon Studio of the Moscow Film Factory as a developer of ‘Paper Sound’ techniques. These were based on the synthesis of sound waves by means of paper cutouts with the carefully calculated sizes and shapes produced by his newly invented tool, the Nivotone. (Andrey Smirnov)

You get a full roster of paper-optical synthesis. (It’s hard to even know what to call that – it’s essentially a hybrid of optical-analog synthesis machines and traditional cell animation or other hand-drawn techniques.)

That includes:

Variophone – Evgeny Sholpo, 1930 Leningrad / Lenfilm (who also works with the legendary Georgy Rimsky‐Korsakov

Working directly on optical track of the film – Arseny Avraamov (who also had his own 48-tone microtonal system) – he worked across the USSR and Germany

Paper sound techniquesNikolai Voinov (Nivotone)

Anushen Ter-Ghevondyan – Armenian composer and audiovisual inventor based in Yerevan at the Soviet studio there (I have fairly sketchy notes, presumably worth a separate research), also worked with paper, animation, and optical synthesis

And another time we could talk about Boris Yankovsky and spectral analysis, as it also seems fairly futuristic now.

The variophone itself was tragically lost in a missile attack in the Siege of Leningrad, meaning this is another thing to blame on Nazis this week – although futuristic electronic music sometimes had the Soviet bureaucracy as a foe, too. (So it is with those who advance culture, I’m afraid, generally.)

But then again, this history never really ends. We can still look to odd artifacts and history cropping up from dusty archives, impassioned devotees of its secrets championing research and creation, and the still untapped potential of novel concepts connecting sound and image in novel inventions.

Previously:

By the way, if you think it’s all been done before… not necessarily. People still come up with crazy ideas like the ones in this paper. (It is related to the above in that it uses paper as a kind of score for synthesis, unrelated in that their notion was to crumple up the paper and use that as a way of defining sound.)

Real-time sound synthesis for paper material based on geometric analysis [PDF]

Let’s all stay crazy.

Discover London’s record shops in this new book

A new book celebrates the rich diversity of London’s record shops.

Written by music journalist Garth Cartwright, and featuring shots from photographer Quintina Valero, London’s Record Shops is a compendium of some of the city’s most loved outlets. 

While no specifics have yet been confirmed, the book will feature record shops in areas such as Hackney, Peckham and Soho.

The synopsis of the 128-page book reads, “From Brixton dub shacks to Hackney vinyl boutiques, Camden’s rockabilly ravers to Southall’s last Bollywood shop, underground Peckham outlets to Soho’s legendary dance music hub, these brilliantly eccentric and engaging emporiums are documented with striking photographs and incisive interviews.”

Cartwright, who has already published books such as Going For A Song: A Chronicle Of The UK Record Shop in 2018, will unveil the book on April 1st.

Check out the cover for the book below and pre-order here.

Originally launched back in March at the onset of lockdown, #RecordStoreOfTheDay relaunched back in November.

Premiere: Anden exercise sonic dexterity on two-track EP, ‘Rewind’

Premiere: Anden exercise sonic dexterity on two-track EP, ‘Rewind’This Is Our Preferred Photo Anden Press Photo 2021

The rapid ascent of Yotto‘s Odd One Out imprint has garnered a consistent ranking of premiere electronic installments over its lush one-and-half year lifespan, to the surprise of none. For Brooklyn duo Anden, the act of ushering in the label’s first release of the year is an equally all-welcoming testament to their sophisticated growth and forthcoming reign.

Previously recruited for compilation Odd Ones, Vol. 1, Anden return to follow up their 2020 Odd One Out inclusion, “Vertigo,” with an immaculate EP, Rewind. Exercising a deftness in production touch, the genre-revolving pair hone in on melodic house and techno territories as they delineate separate concepts in the two-track package.

Machining a meticulous factory of sonic parts comprised of tingling layers, veering synths, and rippling bass lines, Anden fashion both subtle restraint and vivid impact in the titular “Rewind.” Encased by steady vocals, the track, also featured as the set opener for Yotto’s Insomniac livestream, deploys production elements in a nimble climb and descent of hills and valleys. Counterpart “Breathe” takes an alternative route in its embracement of breakbeats and darker undercurrents, juxtaposing gossamer embellishing against cerebral progressions in an eccentric marriage of harmonic instrumentation and analogue output. On the subsequent cuts, Anden explains,

“I remember when we wrote the original demo for ‘Breathe’ (starting back in 2018), and it was so unlike anything we’d ever produced…We didn’t really know what to do with it—this breakbeat to 4×4 to breakbeat arrangement was just ‘out there.’ In the end, it ended up balancing ‘Rewind’ as a thought-provoking B-side, and we’re happy for these records to have found a home on Odd One Out.”

Rewind will be available January 14 on Odd One Out. Pre-save here.

Bicep share final single ahead of forthcoming ‘Isles’ LP, ‘Sundial’

Bicep share final single ahead of forthcoming ‘Isles’ LP, ‘Sundial’Bicep Credit Facebook

Just before their highly anticipated sophomore record drops on January 22 via Ninja Tune, Irish duo Bicep is sharing Isles‘ fourth single, “Sundial.” The album-preceding one-off is built around a typical Bicep power breakbeat and affective chord pattern, but “Sundial” differs from prior previews of Isles sound in that it is topped off by a vocal sample pulled from the Bollywood film Raja Rani.

In addition to “Sundial,” Isles‘ rollout also recently included two music videos, the first for “Apricots,” complete with a director’s commentary cut, and the second for the Clara La San-assisted “Saku.” On February 26, Bicep will perform their second global livestream set, which will include reworks of inclusions from their self-titled debut LP and new Isles tracks.

Featured image: Bicep/Facebook

IK Multimedia Intros UNO Synth Pro Analog Synthesizers

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Ahead of the 2021 NAMM Show, IK Multimedia has announced the UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop.

The new synths, developed in collaboration with Italian boutique synth-maker Soundmachines, expand on their earlier UNO Synth design in many ways. They feature three wave-morphing synthesizers, dual filters with 24 modes, deep modulation options, 3 effects slots with 12 effects, a sequencer with automation of 80+ parameters and MIDI/CV/Gate connectivity.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“UNO Synth Pro gives you the power to create nearly any analog synth sound you can imagine. With its unique dual-filter, 3-oscillator paraphonic design, 256 presets, 64-step sequencer, studio-grade effects, expanded connections and much more, UNO Synth Pro breaks new ground for music makers.

Available in two form factors to suit all players’ needs—stage-ready with metal housing and premium keybed; or ultra-portable, USB-powered with capacitive keyboard—UNO Synth Pro offers everyone the next generation of analog sound design in a smart format that fits any space or budget.”

Features:

  • ‘First-class’ analog sound
  • 3 discrete wave-morphing oscillators
  • PWM, sync, FM and ring modulation
  • Dual state variable filters with 24 modes
  • Original UNO Synth OTA filter
  • New SSI-based filter with self-oscillation
  • 16-slot modulation matrix
  • 256 user-editable presets
  • 12 studio-quality FX in 3 slots
  • Reverbs, Delays, Modulations
  • 64-step sequencer with 84 parameters
  • 10-mode onboard arpeggiator
  • USB / MIDI / CV / Gate in/out
  • Audio input to filters, FX or pass-through

The UNO Synth Pro is available in two form factors:

  • UNO Synth Pro
    • Compact, stage-ready 37-key keyboard
    • Fatar synth-action keys with aftertouch
  • UNO Synth Pro Desktop
    • Ultra-portable 32 capacitive-key tabletop
    • Powered by USB or powerbank

Pricing and Availability

The UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available to pre-order now, priced at 649.99 USD/EUR and 399.99 USD/EUR.

Defected launch afro house label, Sondela, curated by Sef Kombo and Louie Dunmore

Legendary London imprint Defected Records have launched a new afro house label.

Working closely with Defected founder Simon Dunmore, the outlet will be curated by A&R Managers Sef Kombo and Louie Dunmore. The label’s first release will be ‘Ezizweni’ by enigmatic champion of African house, Hyenah, featuring Durban’s DJ Tira and jazz singer Luke Ntombela. A second release, ‘Ancestor’s Calling’ by Native Tribe & TTAN’s will follow on 5th March. 

In a statement, Defected said, “All profits will be going to Bridges For Music, a non-profit organisation based in South Africa, gathering key players of the music industry to support responsible progress in developing countries, making a positive impact in disadvantaged communities and helping to raise global awareness about local issues through music.”

Sef Kombo said, “I’ve been really happy being part of Sondela. I’ve always wanted to be a part of shining the light on the amazing talents from my home continent, bridging the worlds together to new listeners and also to release amazing future classic records. Even at this early stage in my A&R journey, I’ve learnt so much and so keen to learn more at Sondela.” 

“I am so excited to begin my journey with Sondela Records and to be working alongside Sef Kombo,” Dunmore added. “Aligning with Bridges For Music will help me in my own personal development while providing an excellent opportunity to discover creative talent and dig deep to source new music.”

Revisit our 2019 feature on Defected being the great success story of UK dance music

AXIS: FIIN

AXIS: FIINFiin

Hot on the heels of his new single “Days Like This,” a euphonious house track perfect for those after-hours vibes, FIIN joins the AXIS family with a rousing mix of playa-inspired house and tech that sinks its teeth in and refuses to let go for a full hour of experimental funk, tech, and house.

Known for his own stirring productions on Ultra Records, FIIN is one of the youngest and most exciting producers coming out of Miami’s electronic music scene. Tapping into the energy of the scene he calls home, he combines a love for groovy undercurrents with upbeat tech house rhythms and this mix is no slouch in either department. A risk taking producer, his debut AXIS mix is equally avant-garde, incorporating the sounds and styles from all over the world including The Mauskovic Dance Band, Bedouin, Monkey Safari and Fauvrelle. If you’re missing the all night dance parties of SPACE Miami’s terrace than look no further than this mix from Miami’s hottest export.

Tracklist:

Monkey Safari – Gira
Elias feat. Boule Mpanya – Bina
dOP – Carousel (Bedouin Remix)
Mele- L1 Via Detroit
David Herrero – Olaho (Sintetix Mix)
The Mauskovic Dance Band – Space Drum Machine (Detroit Swindle’s Flute mix)
Fauvrelle – La Vie (Tuccillo Rmeix)
Andrea Toma _ Rhythm In the Jungle
Franck Roger – Is that Man!
Butch – Dope

Craig David dips into esports space with new VELO, McLaren Racing series [Watch]

Craig David dips into esports space with new VELO, McLaren Racing series [Watch]Craig David Ts523 Website Image Ehab Standard

Craig David, recently named Member of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is diving into the world of esports as McLaren Racing and their partner VELO place the English pop legend into a competition series that positions industry icons as drivers who compete against internet gamers. The talent stars in the first episode of esports video serial VELO ESERIES, which finds him preparing to take the wheel of a virtual McLaren with the help of YouTuber Alex Hirschi, also known as “Supercar Blondie.” Speaking on the experience of the VELO ESERIES Bootcamp, David stated,

“Hanging out at the McLaren Technology Centre was an incredible experience. They properly put me through my paces with F1 training and simulator practice–hopefully I’ll have some major skills going into the virtual race. A huge thank you to all the team there and to VELO for allowing me to be part of this esports series!”

The Southampton DJ will put his gaming skills to the test as the next celebrity behind the wheel of a virtual McLaren Racing car on the F1 2020 game, where he will be challenged to drive against a grid of esports fans. Fans will be able to watch the British star go head to head in a virtual F1 race as well as participate in a livestreamed race event where qualifiers can join the virtual grid before the final “Beat Your Heroes” episode. Be sure to watch the big race unfold below.

Featured image: Scott Salt