Tomorrowland shares aftermovie for 2020 virtual festival

Tomorrowland has shared the aftermovie from last year’s virtual festival.

Belgian festival Tomorrowland’s NYE event, which took place on the 31st December, was spread across four stages adapted to all 27 time zones in the world, and is now available to relive via the Tomorrowland 31.12.20 aftermovie.

Available via YouTube and the Tomorrowland app, the 12-minute film made in the wake of the groundbreaking event features stunning shots of the virtual Tomorrowland arenas, alongside footage of performances from the likes of Charlotte de Witte, David Guetta, Lost Frequencies, Martin Garrix, and more.

It’s the latest content to be shared from the landmark event, after Tomorrowland teamed up with Apple Music to make a host of festival sets available for playback, including Armin van Buuren, Duck Sauce, Kölsch b2b Joris Voorn and Major Lazer.

Check out Tomorrowland 31.12.20 below.

DJ Mag’s Declan McGlynn wrote about how Tomorrowland’s 2020 virtual festival set a new standard for digital events during the Covid-19 lockdown: read the feature here.  

Never Stop The Music – The Creation of Tomorrowland Around The World is a documentary about the festival available on YouTube, giving an in-depth look into the technological feat that was its gamechanging event.

How Moog Makes Synthesizer Apps

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Developer Matthew Fecher (Audiokit) shared this in-depth interview with Geert Bevin, Software Engineering Manager and Software Product Manager at Moog Music, on how the company makes music apps.

Moog has created some of the most widely used music apps for iOS – including Animoog, Model D and Model 15. Their apps have been notable for their interface design and sound quality, but also for their frequency of updates and integration of new platform capabilities.

Last week, they released a free update for Model 15, adding support for a new operating system, macOS. The update makes Moog Model 15 one of the few software synthesizers to work in your DAW, standalone, on an iPad and on mobile devices.

In the interview, Fecher talks with Bevin about how Moog makes their apps, what goes into making an accurate virtual instrument, porting apps across platforms, Apple Silicon Macs and more.

Topics covered:

0:00 Intro: Meet Geert Bevin, Head of Software Engineering
0:50 What MOOG is working on?
2:11 What it Means to move an iOS App to Mac
2:55 How to make a realistic Synthesizer emulation?
7:39 How to work for a company like MOOG?
16:47 What technologies should you learn to make music apps?
17:45 What Geert learned from Roger Linn
23:47 Why do you use Apple-centric platforms & tech?
27:04 Any apps coming for Windows?
27:30 Challenges you face making music apps at this level?
30:26 Porting AUv3s from iOS to M1 Silicon Machines
34:06 Whose bug is it: Apple bugs or app dev issues?
36:03 How Beta Testing is handled at Moog
39:40 What’s it like being a developer in the small town of Asheville
43:40 Finding Inspiration + Creativity
45:55 What does M1/Apple Silicon mean for the future of music apps?
51:30 Will users have to pay to get Moog apps on the desktop?
53:18 Music makes people’s lives better
56:10 Final thoughts / advice for App Developers
59:37 Go to WWDC

Note: Bevin is also one of the creators of MPE and has helped Roger Linn develop the LinnStrument. See our interview with Geert Bevin On MPE & Creating A New Standard Of Musical Expression.

Minimal Violence return to Tresor Records with new EP

It’s the second instalment in a triptych of releases

DJ Mag Staff

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 – 17:14

Minimal Violence are set to release a new EP via Tresor Records.

After releasing ‘Phase One’ of their ‘DESTROY —> [physical] REALITY [psychic] <— TRUST’ trilogy, Vancouver hardware techno duo Minimal Violence are gearing up to release the second EP, aptly titled ‘Phase Two’.

It follows the hardcore techno duo’s acclaimed album, ‘InDreams’, on Ninja Tune sub-label Technicolour last year.

‘Phase Two’ will be released via Tresor on the 19th February. In the meantime, listen to ‘Ravebomb (Fire Mix)’ from ‘Phase One’ ahead of the second instalment below.

Read our How I Play Live feature with Minimal Violence, and hear their “fun and fast” DJ Mag podcast. You can also check out our feature on the artists striving for diversity in the electronic music scene in Minimal Violence’s native city of Vancouver here.

Make Noise & Alessandro Cortini Intro Strega Synthesizer

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Make Noise today shared a sneak preview of their new Strega synthesizer with Sonic State, embedded above.

The Make Noise Strega – a collaboration with Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails, Blindoldfreak) – is a new desktop synth module in the style of the 0-Coast and 0-Control.

Official details on the design are still to be released, but the Strega (Italian for witch) combines a basic analog synthesizer, a multi-tap delay, complex modulation options and unique tactile controls.

It also offers an audio input, so it can be used for processing other instruments or be integrated with other modular gear.

Pricing and Availability

The Make Noise Strega is expected to be available in February for $599 USD. Details are still to be announced.

Reason+ is finally subscription music-making software that costs less, not more

Reason+ has a subscription with costs that – depending on your needs – could save enthusiasts money. And the slogan “sound like you” is another hint the Swedish company may have heard what is appealing and unappealing about most tech subscriptions.

It seems like everything wants to be a subscription these days, so let’s skip straight to the questions you probably want to know:

  1. Can you still get the thing a la carte, without a subscription?
  2. Does the subscription make things cheaper or more expensive?
  3. Will you want it? Like, does it actually add something?

Quick answers: yes, cheaper (for most uses), and very possibly.

Yes, you can still buy Reason a la carte. That’s true of Reason itself, upgrades, and Rack Extensions and instruments and effects included here.

This probably makes Reason cheaper. Reason+ is $19.99/€19.99 (so $220 for the year) or a yearly plan for $199.00/€199.00 (paid upfront). I need to double-check details, but it seems the month-to-month is without a commitment.

That’s already saving you money off Reason itself – enough so that it could also mean considering getting Reason Rack to run alongside your DAW of choice as a Mac or Windows AU/VST/AAX. That makes this big bundle of stuff run inside perennial favorites Ableton Live or Apple Logic Pro, or that other subscription-based DAW, Pro Tools).

But they’ve added a lot to sweeten the deal, making this even more inexpensive for your twenty bucks a month.

Will you want it?

This is really down to what you get:

  • The full version of Reason and Reason Rack plugin, always up to date
  • All Reason Studios devices
  • 150 patches and songs to start
  • Weekly updates (they say they’re planning around 10 packs a week)

The patches and songs are interesting, because – since you have the full Reason – you’re free to edit and customize and patch as you wish, using these as a starting point. That explains their slogan about making this your own, and at least from a marketing standpoint, it says that Reason Studios aren’t trying to make everyone sound the same. That is really a big deal for our whole community and industry as it expands to other users.

But the reason I think this is a good deal is really down to the Reason Studios devices. That includes Friktion, their beautiful physical modeling string instrument and the powerful sequencer Pattern Mutator (which sounds like an automatic generator but actually is really deep for performance and composition). And it includes Complex-1, the West Coast/Buchla-inspired modular. I mean, just a couple of these to me already makes this worth the price of admission.
This stuff.

I really loved that software and wanted to be able to recommend it because I thought folks would have fun with them, but knew its pricing in the past was prohibitively high for a lot of people.

The upshot of this is, for the budget you’d normally spend just buying Reason, you get all of that included. And it’s also less expensive than the full suite editions of most competitors that have catalogs this big.

How it works. Once you add the subscription, there’s a new app to download called Reason+ that manages devices and sound packs. I’m a bit sorry that’s a standalone – a la Native Access from Native Instruments – rather than just built into Reason, but I’ll give it a try. More on it soon.

QA. This was going live as I was writing this so I couldn’t watch, but there was a QA video with the full team from Reason Studios.

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Anyway, that’s what I know – weekly sound packs, a ton of access to add-on instruments and effects that you used to have to buy separately, and the upshot price winds up being a bit lower even for those who already own Reason (assuming you want those add-ons, that is).

The main question I see remaining is whether this supports or hinders the third-party ecosystem of developers making Rack Extensions. I don’t know enough to answer that confidently. My current bet is on help, not hinder – I mean, if I suddenly lost my Reason license, I would be buying this just to run some of my favorite Rack Extensions, and not only the ones from Reason Studios. (That’s a topic for another time.)

But yeah, this is much, much cheaper than Reason Suite even if you own Reason. If you’re happy with Reason now with what you’ve got, and only upgrade occasionally, and would rather budget on third-party stuff, it makes sense to take a pass. For everyone else who’s really into Reason or wants a chance to buy into the ecosystem more inexpensively, then the subscription looks like the better buy.

Let us know what you think, though, and if you have questions for Reason Studios.

(And I know those question still include “when do we get a scalable UI?” and “will they support Apple Silicon soon?” No new answers on those, will keep asking, but anything else!)

Serato issue warning over macOS Big Sur

The DJ software giants are still warning against updating to the latest macOS

Declan McGlynn

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 – 15:53

Serato issued another warning against updating to the newest version of Apple’s macOS 11 update, Big Sur. Having initially issued a statement in December, the DJ giants sent a mailer to their user base this week, explaining not to update as the software was not yet compatible. 

The statement declared “We know you’ve been waiting, but please hold off updating to macOS 11 Big Sur, just for a little while longer. We are still working hard on bringing Big Sur support to Serato software and appreciate your continued patience.” They also clarified that even when support for Big Sur does drop, it won’t necessarily include support for the M1 chips that Apple launched before the turn of the year. 

As we reported in November, it comes off the back of a wealth of audio companies recommending against updating your operating system, including Native Instruments, Output, Denon DJ, Pioneer DJ and Arturia, although Arturia’s AudioFuse range has just been made compatible. Waves Audio also issued a statement declaring their plugins will now work on Big Sur. For now, it’s best to avoid macOS 11 until all issues are resolved.

Porter Robinson reopens ‘Nurture’ rollout with coveted Secret Sky finale, ‘Look At the Sky’

Porter Robinson reopens ‘Nurture’ rollout with coveted Secret Sky finale, ‘Look At the Sky’D RDSlFU0AAsWU

No more rewatching the final minutes of Porter Robinson’s Secret Sky set.

24 hours shy of the one-year commemoration of Nurture‘s existence being publicly disclosed, Porter Robinson is picking up the rollout for his now-finalized sophomore album with its presently most sought-after opus. Initiated as the conclusion to his one-of-a-kind Secret Sky grand finale, “Look At the Sky” steps into center stage nearly nine months after its maiden voyage to sit beside “Get Your Wish,” “Something Comforting,” and “Mirror” on the soon-to-be realized Nurture tracklist. The album will formally land on April 23, Robinson announced in time with “Look At the Sky’s” release.

It wouldn’t be any stretch of the imagination to think that the tens of thousands of fans sitting in front of their computers collectively froze as Robinson slowly spelled out “one more song, it’s a new one” on the projector screen directly behind him as the curtains began to draw on his daylong virtual emprise. For a fourth consecutive time, Porter Robinson capitalizes on the use of his own handmade vocals through “Look At The Sky,” amplifying the one-man show chronicle behind Nurture, validating its deserved placement on Dancing Astronaut‘s most-anticipated IDs of 2021 through its optimistic lyricism, and matching the first-string production to the LP’s prior trinity of showpieces.

Stream the long-awaited “Look At the Sky” in its entirety below.

Featured image: Ashley Mercado

Goldenvoice in discussions to launch mass vaccination site

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Coachella organizer and promoter Goldenvoice may soon be lending a hand to the COVID-19 vaccination process. With live event efforts in 2020 shut down industrywide including Coachella itself and further postponement highly likely, the festival producer has struck up discussions with Riverside County to potentially create a mass vaccination site in the California region.

With Goldenvoice’s longstanding experience, Riverside County officials aim to tap into the expertise and resources behind large-scale events like Coachella and Stagecoach. Having cited Goldenvoice’s 500-acre El Dorado Polo Club as a vaccination location, Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez states of the organizer,

“We know what they can do with the concerts, all the logistics and planning that takes place.”

Goldenvoice has expressed the company is “willing to be helpful and supportive.” As other major California entertainment venues including Dodger Stadium and Disneyland prepare to offer vaccination, Goldenvoice could be the latest player to join the distribution operation.

Source: Desert Sun

Featured image: Watchara Phomicinda

Quick Ableton Live tips: blackest ever UI, Saturator tutorial, see plug-ins on tracks – let’s go!

Another day, another boot screen for Ableton Live … let’s make something different happen in that DAW of choice. Here are some fast tips for changing how Live looks and mastering its cool Saturator.

None more black

New favorite dark Live theme.

There’s plenty of debate about what is and isn’t good for your eyes, but aesthetically – sometimes you want a dark mode. And those darker themes look far better when there’s not much light around. Ableton have dark themes built into Live now, but they’re still just shades of gray. Enter the customizers.

You can seriously obsess over this, but this creation by Anthony Milano is my new favorite – still with enough UI elements that you don’t get lost, and native-looking enough that you could almost be convinced it came from Ableton, but very attractive. (I also can’t spot any issues with the most common color blindness issues, but let me know if you find otherwise.)

And of course it’s on Deviant Art:

It says skin, but it’s a Live 10 theme.

Why do these continue to be popular? Well, obviously – death sells.

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Learn Saturator

Ableton’s own internal Devices often hide some powerful features, and the Saturator that’s been available since Live 9 is no exception. So sometimes it’s good to leave aside your copious plug-in collection and learn every trick you can.

If you’ve been hearing about concepts like waveshaping from modular synths, for instance, but didn’t know how to get started – it’s also right there inside your copy of Live. LNA (aka Liina music) does a great job of going through this tool.

I explain the concept of waveshaping and clipping, as well as all its features: Drive, X-Y display, DC, Colour and its filter controls (Base, Frequency, Width and Depth), Signal shaping fixed modes, waveshaping mode (Drive, curve, Depth, Linear, Damp, Period), Soft Clip, Output and Dry/Wet.

Just reading that, you already get clued in that this is more than just a vanilla “saturation” effect. LNA is doing great stuff on their channel, LNA Does Audio Stuff – I finally just subscribed. (It’s weekly, every Sunday, so a good chance to reinvigorate the end of some weekend studio time!)

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Make devices and plug-ins visible

Ableton Live - show device slots

This is an old trick, but honestly somewhere in various version upgrades I forgot to switch it on again!

Ableton hides various options in a file called options.txt – Madeleine / Sonic Bloom has done a whole series on them. But the one a lot of people likely want allows you to see Devices and plug-ins vertically in each channel strip.

That’s the way most other DAWs work, and it’s very useful to seeing which effects you’re using – plus, invariably, switching a lot of them off. (I admit it, I sometimes add effects I don’t really need while messing around with productions.)

Here’s a nice written explanation of how to use it,

Thanks to Iti in Estonia for reminding me of this one. (She’s also organizing user groups up there!)

Madeleine’s video, if you prefer video to reading:

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Bonus – check out masterful Push skills

I’ve been returning to Ableton Push as a way to get more hands-on with anything sitting in Live.

We’ve regularly covered Thomas Piper; he’s really great inspiration for how to work with Push as an instrument. While I’m getting my chops up I’m definitely watching him again! Subscribe to his channel; it’s worth it – plus lately he was also doing really wild stuff using AI and Martin Luther King.

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Finish? Never!

Oh yeah, and Reddit?

No! You’ll never take me alive!

Here, I found a song to sing to my tracks, even:

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Oh, wait, that is a deadline coming up on the 31st for one of them, so I better actually finish.

Dancing Astronaut presents Supernovas 001: Dylan Matthew

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Supernovas is a recurring Dancing Astronaut feature dedicated to vocalists in the dance space who, with their own idiosyncratic vocal signatures and unique lyrical perspectives, have played pivotal roles in bringing electronic records to life. Each installment in the monthly series spotlights one vocalist. The serial launches with Supernovas 001: Dylan Matthew.

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Featured image: Emma Paige

It started with a cold email.

“I got thrown in very randomly,” Dylan Matthew said of his initial stride into the dance scene. But he was the one doing the throwing.

Though he’d “never been in the electronic industry or done anything like it,” the early lack of direct experience within this sector didn’t dissuade the Southern Californian from composing and sending an email to Kayzo, a producer he didn’t even know at the time. Would Kayzo want “any vocal work?” That was precisely the question on Matthew’s mind—along with, presumably, would he respond?

“I was just throwing an email out, hoping for the best,” Matthew told Dancing Astronaut. “I found his email on SoundCloud—it might have actually been his manager’s—and I was just like ‘hey man, I’m a singer, here’s some of my music, let me know if you’d like to work on something.”

Many cold emails fall upon deaf ears, but Matthew’s was not one of them. “He responded and said ‘yeah sure, send us over some toplines,’ and I was like…I don’t know what a topline is,” Matthew recalled with a laugh.

Needless to say, he does now, and his catalog looks a lot different today than it did then, though this is no surprise. At present, Matthew is arguably one of the most immediately recognizable and sought-after voices in contemporary dance circles. And, at the rate he’s going, the same will not only be able to be said of the here and now, but of Matthew’s mark in electronic music years later down the line.

On his dance resume now: collaborations with SLANDER, Seven Lions, Excision, Wooli, Tritonal, Kai Wachi…the list goes on, and merely by reading the names “SLANDER” and “Seven Lions,” the piano notes of “Love Is Gone – Acoustic” and the synths of “First Time” have already begun to play in readers’ minds. The singles would not be what they are if not for the lyrics that Matthew put on paper, or, of course, his vocals—ask any listener. At the time of this Supernovas feature, the singles account for a staggering 35,584,934 and 27,973,951 Spotify streams, respectively. Clearly, Matthew has come a long way from the cold email, sent when he had “zero collaborations” to his name.

“It was the very beginning of my career. I was still releasing Ed Sheeran-esque acoustic music,” Matthew said.

Kayzo went on to produce the first song that Matthew sent over, though it presently sits “somewhere deep in the vault,” according to the singer-songwriter. But that was just the beginning; Matthew’s name would go on to appear on two of Kayzo’s Black & White EP inclusions, “Avalanche” and “Horizon.”

The EP, released on November 18, 2016, was a prelude to another Matthew/Kayzo matchup, one for which SLANDER notably came along, “Without You” (September 2017).

“From there, it just kind of snowballed where I sung for Kayzo and then somebody else heard it and hit me up, and then somebody else heard another song I did and hit me up. It was just kind of like a chain reaction,” Matthew reflected when asked what’s kept him in the dance space since that fateful email.

The other facet of his not-so-newfound residency in electronic music? The type of songwriting that this genre embraces. “A lot of it is that I like writing this style of music. I really enjoy writing big, anthemic, crowd-singing songs. That’s just my style; I’ve always wanted to have people scream lyrics back at me, and I’ve never experienced it as much as I have in this dance-style music,” he said.

By his own admission, Matthew has “seen some success in this style of song.” “Some success” is a humble way of putting it. The Dancing Astronaut Supernova is widely recognized within the industry not only for his vocal talents, but also for his accomplished songwriting, such that calls for Matthew to write another “First Time” have become their own sort of refrain.

“For me, especially where I’ve been in the past little while, even people who want to collaborate and send me instrumentals and things like that, it’s like ‘something really like ‘First Time’ would be great, you know?’” Matthew said. But he doesn’t want to write another “First Time.” Though, for a while, he tried to.

“When you start to write music for other people and for what you think other people will like, it takes away the love and creativity of it. And so I had to stop trying to write another ‘First Time,’” Matthew said.

“I had to stop trying to write a song that I thought everybody else was going to love, that was going to do so well, because the thing about being an artist and songwriter is you don’t want a formula for songwriting. If you’re an artist who people love and respect and they want to hear what you have to say, then you have to say what you want to say, not what you think they want you to say, because that’s part of your artistry.”

His piece of advice to aspiring singer-songwriters: “don’t try to write music for other people.” He’s thoughtful as he adds, “write what you like and edit from there, but make sure that you’re not leaving out parts of yourself to try to fit in the mainstream style.”

It’s important to note that Matthew’s own “artistry”—to borrow his term—is not isolated to dance music. The self-taught singer stands behind “acoustic-style ballads…R&B music…ambient pop music,” but he’s intent on not being “put in a box.”

“I just think artists shouldn’t have to be stuck inside of ‘oh you make this style of music, you make this style of music.’ An artist is an artist in any standpoint,” Matthew said.

Kalopsia, Matthew’s most recent solo long-form, released on June 19, 2020, offers a fuller portrait of his art and creativity, both of which resist such “box”-constructing categorization with originality and personality.

Notably, Matthew produced half of Kalopsia and wrote all of it. He calls it “the most intensive project” that he’s worked on to date, and “Drown,” Kalopsia‘s opening tracklisting, “probably [his] favorite released song [of his] right now.”

“It’s very different, very long, ambient, and I’m proud of it,” he said of “Drown,” with which the below playlist, curated by Matthew himself, opens. The accompanying playlist, intended to spotlight 10 songs of Matthew’s own choosing, also includes Kalopsia‘s other three inclusions, “Don’t Forget,” “Fall,” and “Midnight in Tokyo.”

Though listeners can expect to hear Matthew make more noise in the dance space this year, they too can anticipate more solo releases from him:

“I didn’t release a lot of music last year. I released a lot of collaborations, but not a lot of solo music, so this year, I’m really focusing on getting my solo music out there and pushing my solo career out as far as I can. There will definitely be a lot of music coming out this year, including several songs that I’ve been holding on to for a time, because I was too scared to release my favorite music, but this year I’m doing it; that’s the plan for 2021.”

Needless to say, we’ll be listening.

Featured image: Emma Paige