Premiere: Biicla adds sonic drama to CLO’s ‘Blackout’

Premiere: Biicla adds sonic drama to CLO’s ‘Blackout’Biicla

After formally introducing herself to the sonic scene with the September 2020 release of her debut single, “Blackout,” CLO invited several artists to take her introductory number to the drawing table and make it their own. Among the handful of producers to receive CLO’s coveted tap is Biicla.

In the time that has followed the Russian entity’s own installation in the global dance market with August 2019’s “No Place,” the name “Biicla” has come to bespeak a stylistically rich and exploratory catalog of electronic freewheeling. Just what he’d do with CLO’s original was an aesthetic toss up, but not for Dancing Astronaut readers. Biicla’s remix of “Blackout” will formally release on January 22, but listeners have the opportunity to hear Biicla dress the Bay Area native’s single in dark sonic drama one day early, only on Dancing Astronaut.

Stripping the pop sensibilities and piano definition of “Blackout” in its untouched form, Biicla cuts an edge to a one-off that has attracted a ring of remixers, among whom Biicla’s spin is a surefire standout. The “Luv” producer’s re-imagination of “Blackout” can be found below.

Rinzen joins This Never Happened for inaugural single of 2021, ‘Some Good Here’ featuring Anaphase

Rinzen joins This Never Happened for inaugural single of 2021, ‘Some Good Here’ featuring AnaphaseRinzen Eoplanet Press Shot 2

Following a year chock full of consistent releases, Rinzen has returned for his first output of 2021, “Some Good Here,” featuring the velvety vocal styling of London duo, Anaphase. In his latest, the Los Angeles native makes a fitting debut appearance on Lane 8‘s This Never Happened with a steady beat and fortified production quality, rendering listeners a full-bodied experience. Introducing Anaphase’s sultry and mellow vocals, the track captures the listener with a trance-like wave, encompassing Rinzen’s classic effervescent sound.

With the rate at which Rinzen has been churning out absolute techno wizardry, like his most recent “Mosaik” remix, fans should be expecting more from him very soon. Listen to “Some Good Here” below.

Featured image: Michael Drummond

Tiësto and Ty Dolla $ign build on ‘The Business’ with ‘The Business, Pt. II’

Tiësto and Ty Dolla $ign build on ‘The Business’ with ‘The Business, Pt. II’Tiesto Ty Dolla Ign

Tiësto kicked off his worldwide deal with Atlantic Records with “The Business,” and now, more than 200 million streams later, the producer has teamed up with Ty Dolla $ign for a follow-up anthem “The Business, Pt. II.” The original single is part of a promised forthcoming LP from the veteran, and “The Business, Pt. II” presumably is a welcome and unexpected addition to the impending body of work.

Rumors that a collaborative effort involving Tiësto and Ty Dolla $ign first began to swirl when Dolla tweeted, “Let’s get down to business!” which was later replicated on a billboard. “The Business, Pt. II” weaves the fabric of the original behind a new vocal line by Ty Dolla $ign, and the track changes just enough to keep the magic of the original alive while adding a new dynamic to the release.

Tiësto spoke about “The Business, Pt. II” in an official release, stating,

“The worldwide response to ‘The Business’ has been incredible. There is nothing better than combining diverse sounds and genres to create something truly special and Ty’s smooth R&B vocals really takes this track to the next level. I have always been a huge fan of Ty’s work… he’s an exceptional talent and I am thrilled we got to collab on this. I am very excited to share this new version with both of our fans around the world!”

Featured image: Ramona Rosales

Here’s a free pack to get MIDI Polyphonic Expression under your fingertips

MIDI Polyphonic Expression, once considered exotic, is now in favorite tools like Ableton Live 11, Xfer Serum, and Arturia Pigments. So where to get started? Our friends at Sensel just made a handy free preset pack.
There’s a lot in there – even hardware, the wonderful Hydrasynth. Quanta is a fantastic granular tool; Madrona Labs makes deep synths. Ableton Live I think you’ve heard of before.

Okay, let’s back up. Somehow, each time I do this, people ask – so quif MPE is so great, where are the amazing performances? Where can I hear better results?

That’s a fair question – and actually at some point it’d be great to get some round-up of virtuoso players using MPE – but it may also misunderstand what MPE does.

Here’s a stupidly simple way to look at it (or a simple, stupid way, maybe). If you think of the way we’ve tended to use sophisticated soft synths in the past, often we map all those extra timbre and modulation parameters to, well, knobs. Or we mouse around and edit after the fact. Or maybe we use the mod wheel, but then that impacts all the notes we’re playing at once, which is weird unless you’re an organist or something.

Let your fingers do the pressing. It’s something that’s easier to feel than explain – so enter these free presets to get you started.

What polyphonic expression does is to put additional parameters underneath your fingertips – multiple fingertips, at once, individually, which is how almost every acoustic instrument in the world works. You’re already accustomed to doing this with velocity; now you can do it with other stuff, too. Maybe if you’ve only ever played piano or organ, that seems redundant, but to people with experience on almost any other instrument, it’s more intuitive.

That’s also why I say it’s a little hard to “prove” to someone MPE makes sense, in the same way that it’d be hard to prove velocity sensitivity was important. What would you do, show a video where people are, uh, really playing that velocity-sensitive keyboard?

It’s more about how you feel playing it than something you’d get from watching or listening to other people. But how you feel when you’re playing is important to you.

But that brings us to the real barrier for most people, which I can understand — it just isn’t always clear how to just plug in an MPE controller and start playing. ROLI’s instruments, for example, come with their own synths. That’s great. But you shouldn’t have to switch instruments just to use something – that’s the whole point of having MIDI as a standard.

So that’s why this pack from Sensel is so nice to have. It lets you choose from an array of software, one of which you probably already know and love. And then you can plug in any hardware you want.

Sensel’s Morph is already a great starting point, as I say over and over again – it’s thin and light enough to throw in your bag and carry everywhere (I do), it’s inexpensive enough to give a quick try, and you can use it for other software like video editing. (Plus it has an awesome Buchla Thunder template.) But these same presets work in other instruments, too. That includes stuff like the beautiful Roger Linn-designed Linnstrument. Roger was a driving force in helping this standard happen, and he’s the guy you should already be thanking for having your velocity-sensitive drum machine pads (he invented that technology).

We talked about Serum and sound design over the weekend, with sound designer Francis Preve. This is yet another way to discover or rediscover Serum, because now all those modulation and sound-shaping tools are literally under your hands, so you can actually improvise with them:

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Sensel have a playlist of other examples, too – from granular (Quanta!) to textural options (Pigments!) …

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Go grab the full download. (Email required.)

I’m frankly looking at these just to see how they’ve packaged up those presets and even learn from that, so thanks to the team there.


Here’s our friend Rania showing off different MPE controllers:

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And just for some other MPE hardware, I really love the Polyend Medusa, too:

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Sequential’s OB-6 is another instrument that has added MPE input, as reported recently:

Plus about that Sequential MPE addition? Here it is with the wonderful Linnstrument. A salute to Dave, Roger, and Tom – three giants of our industry.

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Now you can pick all these tools up, and be a giant of our industry, too.

Glastonbury 2021 officially cancelled

Glastonbury 2021 has officially been cancelled due to coronavirus.

After confirming that they would update Glasto lovers with news after cancellation speculation in January, the festival’s co-organisers Emily Eavis and Michael Eavis have confirmed that 2021 will be another forced fallow year for the Somerset festival.

Taking the festival virtual in 2020, and offering a Glastonbury experience on BBC, the Eavis said that their flagship live event will now be aiming for 2022. “In spite of our efforts to move Heaven and Earth, it has become clear we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year,” they said, “We are so sorry to let you down.

“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022.

“We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022.”

Glastonbury has been among the most vocal forces calling for UK government support with coronavirus insurance to help protect against cancellations and postponements this summer. As of Tuesday 5th January, the UK has gone back into a national lockdown which will run until mid-February at the earliest in a bid to curb surging COVID-19 infections. Elsewhere, in New Zealand tens of thousands have been attending festivals as life continues to return to something like normality, with new cases of the virus now numbering less than 80 across the country. 

You can see the post from Glastonbury below.

Flux Pavilion explores fresh terrain with new 16-track LP, ‘.wav’

Flux Pavilion explores fresh terrain with new 16-track LP, ‘.wav’Flu Pavilion Press Shot 1 2020 Fiona Garden 1

A decade in dance music can feel more like a lifetime. For Flux Pavilion, that’s been a lifetime spent perfecting his craft within the confines of bass music. Now, Flux is heading into entirely new territory, planting his flag in what was previously uncharted terrain for the venerated UK beatsmith on his new LP, .wav.

The album arrives a day early, spanning 16 tracks, seven of which are brand new, from the Circus Records head honcho. Swapping heavy waves of low-end bass for modular synth arrangements and electronic guitar-driven textures, .wav presents a new, multi-faceted angle to Flux Pavilion’s body of work. Showcasing a stylistic sidestep to his penchant for festival-flattening bass cuts, .wav sets a bold new artistic direction for Flux Pavilion that offers ample room to grow within. Appearing on .wav, What So Not, The Chain Gang of 1974, Feed Me, and Nevve, among others, help further crystalize Flux’s new direction with some key contributions.

Perhaps best of all, one listen through the album and it is clear that the project promises an equally enchanting future live show, which will be previewed in a virtual setting on February 5 and 6. If anything, .wav poses Flux Pavilion against a dynamic artistic challenge of change—one that the veteran producer meets head on with impressive moxie. Listen below.

Featured image: Fiona Garden

Glastonbury cancels 2021 event

Glastonbury cancels 2021 eventGlastonbury Festival Image By Andrew Allcock 1

Glastonbury, the legendary English festival, has officially canceled its 2021 event. In a statement, festival organizers ruled out the possibility of postponing the festival to later in 2021, and are instead looking to 2022. Glastonbury’s website clarifies that people who purchased 2020 tickets may roll over their deposits to the 2022 event or receive a full refund (if requested before September 2021).

The news comes just weeks after Glastonbury co-organizer Emily Eavis publicly denied rumors of a 2021 cancellation. Glastonbury 2020 would have been the storied festival’s 50th anniversary and was set to be headlined by Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.

Glastonbury cancels 2021 eventEsQZ6wiAAAzLg6

Featured image: Andrew Allcock

Tune in to the 1000th episode of Armin van Buuren’s ‘A State Of Trance’

Tune in to the 1000th episode of Armin van Buuren’s ‘A State Of Trance’Armin Van Buuren

In 2001, A State of Trance‘s 1000th episode would have been a long-term goal for Armin van Buuren, who was then working toward the debut of a weekly radio serial that has since defined the genre. Now, that goal is a reality.

After nearly 21 full years of regular A State Of Trance installments, van Buuren will host the landmark 1000th episode at 11:00 a.m. EST / 8:00 a.m. PST on January 21. During the episode, which can be streamed below, van Buuren will debut the final 50 tracks of “ASOT Top 1000,” a 1000-song playlist comprising the “finest in trance and progressive of ASOT” based on fan votes.

Since its establishment, A State Of Trance has garnered more than 41 million listeners across 84 different countries, cultivating a community that extends all over the world. The radio serial notably took the title of “Best Mix Radio Show” for seven consecutive times at the International Dance Music Awards in Miami, while translating to a variety of in-person events over the years. Dancing Astronaut congratulates Armin van Buuren on A State Of Trance‘s milestone achievement.

Featured image:

Chocolate and peanut butter for visuals: Houdini and TouchDesigner, in a free talk today

It’s a procedural visuals dream team. It’s what would have happened if Darth Vader and Leia actually teamed up and overthrew the Emperor. (Come on, you know you wondered.) And if you’re curious why, there’s a free talk.

Procedural visuals are essential to musicians, as they’re a way of composing – if you like – with three-dimensional geometries and textures. They allow visual structures to become fluid in the way an electronic musical instrument would be, and that in turn has produced new audiovisual media.

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To understand why Houdini and TouchDesigner specifically get mentioned together, it’s important to understand that they’re two branches of a single tree. And we have to go back to late 1990s Toronto. That’s when Houdini developer SideFX took some powerful graphics operations from what was then basically Silicon Graphics stuff. (Yeah, the rest of us were just playing really low-res Doom and Marathon in the 90s.) TouchDesigner followed in the early 2000s.

Flash-forward to now. TouchDesigner and Houdini have each matured enough that it can make sense to use the two together. And SideFX and Houdini are hot enough that in November, Epic Games became a minority investor – meaning if you’re an Unreal Engine user, you can also look to integration. These things do evolve and mature – again, like musical instruments – over longer spans of time.

Touch + Hou.

But that’s just the tools themselves. The point is really that these tools endure because the underlying concepts of generative models for graphics endure.

And while artist Stanislav Glazov was born into a system run by communism, he’s an advocate for proceduralism:

Understanding proceduralism is a key to generative modeling and animation and while it’s opening abstract thinking abilities, it opens you the way to creating generative art.

I’ve been eyeing this stuff as he develops both incredible work and an accompanying curriculum to teach the connection of Houdini and Touch, aptly dubbed Hou2Touch. (“Hooo….to touch?” Kinda been saying that lately with all this social distancing.)

That curriculum is paid, but if you’re curious just to check with it out, start with a free seminar today. I’ll be tuning in. (There’s also an archived version coming, so I’ll add that here if you can’t make it.) Topics:

  • Why we need proceduralism
  • History of Houdini & TouchDesigner.
  • Short compare.
  • Project Cases.
  • Workshop presentation

Free, just register in advance here:

Houdini and TouchDesigner in artistic work. Open talk by Stanislav Glazov

Plus, if you’re feeling broke/skint – both TouchDesigner and Houdini are available in generous free licenses to get started.

And check some of the great work he’s doing:

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Definitely a space to watch. Stay tuned. And escape those chains.

Plus if you missed it – just pre-pandemic, Touch got a big update:

Premiere: Gareth Emery shares debut vocal track, ‘Sad Song’

Premiere: Gareth Emery shares debut vocal track, ‘Sad Song’119778916 1269484820110700 2221583387662593808 N 1

With four studio albums and a natural tendency to sell out headlining shows to his name, Gareth Emery has spent the years that followed 2004’s 30 Trance Albums compilation LP cultivating an electronic legacy that seems only to deepen by the day. Throughout this stretch of time, though, he’s been anything but complacent. He’s channeled his creativity to the memoir format for My Life in Lasers, tackled technical strategy for the international Laserface tour, and even engaged with parody on his television stint, CVNT5. Adding to Emery’s list of experimental endeavors is “Sad Song.”

A lyrical reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the music industry in 2020, “Sad Song” is a step in a different stylistic direction in the broader context of Emery’s catalog in that the single—Emery’s first of 2021—uses his own vocals for the very first time. Sure to spark wonder that Emery had not yet applied his vocal signature sooner, “Sad Song” and its mellow makeup seamlessly underscore the expanse of Emery’s ability. Though “Sad Song” will formally release on January 22, listeners can stream it one day early, exclusively on Dancing Astronaut.

Featured image: Rukes