Few can claim synonymity with deep house, and Nora En Pure returns to make her reign as Queen of Deep House known yet again. After closing the curtain on 2020 with original single, “Enchantment,” the Swiss-based powerhouse puts forth her first offering of the year, Monsoon, enchanting with a three-pack on par with her previous sonic conquests.
Landing via Enormous Tunes, the new EP presents a glittering array of production perspectives from Nora En Pure, traversing signature melodic and deep house stylizations as well as more progressive integrations. Eponymous track “Monsoon” finds a divergence from the producer’s usual meditative soundscapes, instead championing energized synth plucks and driving bass lines. However, balance sits across the full EP delivery as nature samples and lushness populate the auditory experience.
Progressive house has discernibly experienced its share of ebbs and flows since its bloom across the early 2010’s, but fast forward to present day, and just a handful of names have not only stood the test of time but also masterfully acclimated a sense of self as palatably as Matisse & Sadko. In between golden age symbols down to the duo’s modern classics on STMPD RCRDS, the stretch of immortal creations attributed to the Russian brothers is horizonless, and Matisse & Sadko have indisputably substantiated their echelon as one of the most hallowed acts across house music.
Alexander and Yury Parkhomenko converted the ongoing absence of touring into an overflowing measure of production time throughout the decade’s debut year, still managing to credit four admirable deliveries to their canon, comprising “Strings Again,” “Best Thing” with Matluck, “Now or Never,” and “Sweet Life.” They’ve recharged following a more toned-down campaign in 2020, and have monthly arrangements with Martin Garrix’s STMPD RCRDS to uncover precisely what they’ve kept under wraps.
In preparation for their promising year ahead, Matisse & Sadko assembled an electric one-hour, house-laden exclusive mix (which even includes in an unreleased ID), and spoke with Dancing Astronaut about their seamless partnership with Garrix, what the future holds for progressive house, and more.
“Hold On” recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, marking an unbelievable six times (excluding any co-productions) that you’ve worked with Martin Garrix throughout the years. What’s that relationship been like and how do you three continually manage to stay so innovative and original with each and every collaboration?
Matisse & Sadko: “Through all these years, our friendship with Martin has turned into a family relationship, and once a year, we have a consistent idea of making something new together. We still can’t explain where we derive inspiration from, the music just flows. And we always wonder what the final version of the track is going to be like.”
You’ve never shied away from stepping into different lanes of house and testing creative sounds, especially since your time on STMPD RCRDS. Do you have any aspirations of introducing an alias, or do you want to keep everything under the Matisse & Sadko banner? Further, do you think that ties into how you view the future of progressive house at all?
Matisse & Sadko: “Dancing Astronaut can read others’ minds! We’ve been thinking of an alternative project for quite some time now because there’s a bunch of demos which wouldn’t fit the Matisse & Sadko format you’re used to. We hope this year we’ll manage to execute our plans.
As for progressive house, we think it’s moving back to its roots, into a deeper underground sound. If we speak about a more anthemic type of progressive house, it hasn’t disappeared, but it’s become less visible in the industry. As soon as the festival and club life is back, the interest in this genre will be back as well. And we’ll do our best for our fans so that they don’t forget about this style of music.”
There’s been so many Matisse & Sadko classics over the last decade; if you could pick your one favorite production, what would it be?
Matisse & Sadko: “We’d say our collaboration “SLVR” with Steve Angello in 2013 means a lot to us because it was our first [time working] with the legend, and we still remember how we felt at the time! It was a dream come true for us, and it was honor to work with him. It was also our first track that became No. 1 on Beatport’s Overall Chart.”
We all know I was more than ecstatic for the Ultra back-to-back with DubVision that was planned for the STMPD RCRDS stage before the COVID-19 pandemic took over. Are you able to share any details on what you originally had planned for it and are there any potential collaborations with DubVision in the works?
Matisse & Sadko: “When the lineup was approved, we jumped on a call and started choosing an idea for a collab. Unfortunately, the show didn’t happen due to the situation. However, time played in our favor and now we’ve got a lot of new material which we’re going to release. Anyway, we can’t wait until the global situation gets better to have an opportunity to perform together with DubVision.”
What do you have in the STMPD RCRDS pipeline for 2021? Any EP/album plans, potential collaborations, or virtual sets in the works?
Matisse & Sadko: “You can expect everything you listed above (except for an album), plus a few surprises you didn’t specify in your question. Starting from February, we’ll be trying to release music every month. Stay tuned!”
Nashville’s boutique event Deep Tropics Music, Art, & Style Festival will return for its third iteration on August 27-28. After postponing its 2020 date, the sustainability-focused dance and culture festival has repositioned itself to deliver a limited capacity experience of intimate and transformative programming this summer.
The 2021 lineup features powerhouse acts including Whethan, Claude VonStroke, CloZee, Dombresky, Luttrell, Moon Boots, and more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy late night programming courtesy ofSoulection. Further, the two-day event’s range of curated activities will be supported by its Net Positive pledge, which aims to create more energy and water than used, as well as a zero waste initiative.
With safety and health at the forefront of its planning, Deep Tropics has consolidated its production into one temple inspired stage—the legendary Meru Amphitheater—and will only offer Tropic Traveler PLUS (VIP) tickets in packs of 4-6-8. Operating at 33% capacity or the equivalent of 1000 tickets until further notice, the festival will closely follow all city and state protocols to ensure a safe experience.
Purchase tickets here. For Deep Tropics’ full tailored safety plan, visit here.
Behringer shared this update/sneak preview of their upcoming Solina String Ensemble – a Eurorack format synth module based on the Eminent/ARP Solina string synth of the mid-70s.
The original Eminent/ARP Solina is a fully-polyphonic/paraphonic keyboard. It uses divide-down oscillators for full polyphony, but pairs them with a single envelope & filter. A BBD (Bucket Brigade Device) chorus delay effect gives the Solina its characteristic lush sound.
The Behringer version follows the pattern of several of their earlier synth knockoffs, closely copying the design of an original synth, but shrinking it down to a Eurorack-compatible module, adding a few patch points and minimal MIDI control. With the Solina, they’ve also incorporated a clone of the EHX Small Stone phaser, a classic pairing with string synths in the 70s.
Justifiably labeled one of Dancing Astronaut‘s most-anticipated IDs of the new year, “Beat Like This” had demonstrated its candidacy for deserved placement from minute one, and for those who follow us on Twitter, it should come as no surprise that we’re backing its full-fledged arrival. Uniting Bleu Clair’s patented tech house finesse—which earned him a rightful ticket to our Artists to Watch in 2021 list—with OOTORO’s retro-leaning tack, the jazz-instilled connection materializes the hallmarks that have permitted both sides to serve as two of the scene’s most promising handles. Sitting at an even three minutes, “Beat Like This” trades in its seat at the year’s most evasive creations table for its own mansion inside the neighborhood of 2021’s greatest releases. Bleu Clair dove into how the collaboration had come about after nearly a decade of friendship with OOTORO, stating,
“OOTORO and I go way back, we’ve known each other for 9 years and have always shared the same passion. One day he randomly made a short orchestral jazz band sample with Kontakt and sent it to me. I thought this could be a really cool twist for a house track, so I decided to jump on the track and finish it. I asked one of my friends to help me out with the vocals on the drop. We are really happy with the outcome, it’s a fresh house tune with a disco twist. I can’t wait for it to finally be released officially.”
“Bear Like This” is out everywhere via STMPD RCRDS on February 4, but can be streamed in full one day early, exclusively on Dancing Astronaut.
The German company has also added support for Apple’s new M1 chips
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 – 16:30
Native Instruments has announced that Traktor is now compatible with macOS Big Sur. The popular DJ software is now also tweaked to work with Apple’s new Silicon M1 chips. NI had previously announced that users should avoid updating to Apple’s new OS, with some testing reporting hardware and software problems.
Ricky Powell, a legendary hip-hop photographer who worked with Beastie Boys, Run DMC and many more, has died.
A prolific figure on the New York scene, Powell died of heart failure, aged 59. His manager and business partner Tono Radvany confirmed the news on 1st February, saying, “I just want to let everybody know he was a very special man, and he will be sorely missed”.
A close affiliate of Beastie Boys, Powell was sometimes referred to as the group’s fourth member, having even appeared in the video for ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’. Powell also had a close relationship with Def Jam, frequently snapping artists from the label as their go-to photographer.
Powell’s photographs have been published in several books, including Oh Snap!: The Rap Photography of Ricky Powell and Public Access: Ricky Powell Photographs 1985-2005.
In 2020, a documentary, Ricky Powell: The Individualist, was released.
Tributes have been paid for the legendary hip-hop photographer across social media, coming from the likes of A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, A-Trak, DJ Premiere and Chuck D.
#RestInBeats The Rickster aka RICKY Powell of course to the right of Clyde Frazier was the quintessential New York Cityer , iconic B Boy and the ‘freezer of great NEW YORK moments and figures’ as a photographer. He shot with authentic ease and NYC swag before the popular term pic.twitter.com/8omwjYvRXc
Man. RIP Ricky Powell, my favorite hip hop photographer ever. A year and a half ago I bought a few photo prints of his for my crib. He signed everything and was so cool about it. He always had so much flavor. pic.twitter.com/DWy8CogUNN
A clear vision is a prelude to success and Famba—who’s got just that—is decisively unrolling his 2021 blueprint for a brand new year in music with the debut of the visual accompaniment to his January 22, 2021 single, “Still Call You Mine.” After breaking into the United States music market with “With You Well” and “Swear to God,” both from his January 2020 EP, Wishes Vol. 1, the Nova Scotian asserted his status as a force to be reckoned with by announcing that its successor would soon be on the way—but it wouldn’t sound like what had come before.
“I really wanted to come back into the dance world. Dance music is everything to me, and I want to showcase my passion for the genre in my own music,” Famba stated. His re-entry to it? “Still Call You Mine.”
The decisive step towards “a new era” in Famba sound, “Still Call You Mine’s” bubbly presence now translates to a video that allows something of an unexpected narrative to unfold across a nearly three-minute runtime that is brought to life in part by the vivacity of the track’s piano chords. Though the visual won’t formally release until February 4, viewers can catch it in full one day early below, only on Dancing Astronaut.
Ann Arbor, MI based startup Modern Soundsshared this preview of their Pluto portable semi-modular synthesizer.
The design of Pluto draws from a legacy of portable electronic instruments, from the Buchla Music Easel to 80s Casio synthesizers. It features five channels of modulation (named for the five moons of Pluto), two voices, two sequencers, a mini-keyboard and onboard delay.
Sacred Bones Records has announced a new album, Sounds of the Unborn, that explores the sonification of prenatal sensor data.
It is described as “the first album created by a person while they were still inside the womb.”
The album is attributed to Luca Yupanqui, but was recorded before she was born.
Sounds of the Unborn was made with biosonic MIDI technology with the help of her parents, Psychic Ills bassist Elizabeth Hart and Lee “Scratch” Perry collaborator Iván Diaz Mathé.
They created a ritual, using sensors hooked to Hart’s stomach to generate MIDI data, which was fed into Mathé’s synthesizers. After five hour-long sessions, the shape of an album began to emerge.
The duo then edited and mixed the results of the sessions, trying to intervene as little as possible.
The video for the first track V4.3 pt.2, embedded above, is based Super 8 footage created during the recording sessions, processed by video artist Victoria Keddie. Hart and Mathé describe the result as “a visual trip that summarizes what we felt while creating this album.”