1989 UK acid house novel, Trip City, to be republished

A 1989 novel set in the London underground acid house scene, Trip City, is set to be republished this year by Velocity Press.

The cult classic novel, written by Trevor Miller, was originally accompanied by a cassette, featuring a five-track soundtrack by A Guy Called Gerald. Now, with the book’s reissue, the soundtrack will be released on vinyl for the very first time. 

Set in the underbelly on London’s club scene, the novel follows its protagonist Tom Valentine as he tries to solve his girlfriend’s murder and the mystery of a fictional designer drug, FX. “It’s  about a young man’s descent into hell – a hell that looks very much like London,” the novel’s original publisher Brian Aldiss wrote back in 1989. 

Speaking about his soundtrack for the novel, A Guy Called Gerald said: “When Trevor first gave me his manuscript for Trip City, I was excited by the experimental concept of writing music for a novel with the birth of British acid house as its backdrop. I wanted to create musical paintings which would evoke the story’s atmosphere and illustrate its visions of a dark, seedy club scene and the characters lurking there. This reissue affords a rare snapshot of an evolving music scene and celebrates the history of electronic dance music over the past 30 years.”

Trip City will be officially released in June, and features a foreword by DJ Mag editor Carl Loben. You can pre-order it now, along with the vinyl soundtrack from A Guy Called Gerald, via this link.

Another book for dance music fans set for release this year is Long Relationships: My Incredible Journey From Unknown DJ to Small-time DJ, which tells the story of the  “99% of DJs who never make it big”. 

Earlier this month, Velocity Press published Who Say Reload by Paul Terzulli, which explores the history of jungle and drum & bass, and features interviews from the likes of Goldie, Andy C, Roni Size and DJ Hype. 

Seven Lions, deadmau5, and TroyBoi, among others, tapped for Bonnaroo 2021

Seven Lions, deadmau5, and TroyBoi, among others, tapped for Bonnaroo 2021Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo is going “back to the farm.”

From September 2 – 5, the Manchester, Tennessee mainstay will host a diverse assortment of headliners—Tame Impala, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, Lana Del Rey, Foo Fighters, Grand Ole Opry, and Tyler, The Creator—at Great Stage Park. Dance music finds healthy representation on Bonnaroo’s 2021 lineup, with Boombox Cartel, Oliver Tree, Dr. Fresch, Wooli, Ekali, Lucii, TroyBoi, Seven Lions, and deadmau5, among others, receiving invites to the 700-acre grounds.

Tickets to the Labor Day Weekend affair are available in general admission, VIP, and platinum four-day formats here.

Featured image: Alive Coverage

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Gleetchlab, experimental DAW, is now on Windows too – and crazy as ever

No timeline. No sequencer. No stereo limitations. No “included library of trap loops and trombone samples.” Nothing but glitch – so much glitch. And Gleetchlab is not only still evolving, it’s on Windows as well as Mac. (Insert snark about glitch and Windows here.)

One license, twenty bucks (Eurobucks), both platforms. If you bought this year, upgrade is free.

Gleetchlab is not a plug-in, not a synth – it really is a DAW, with instruments, effects, looping, recording, mixing facilities, and a selection of tools designed for a workflow. It’s just that workflow happens to be deeply weird and experimental.

Since there’s no timeline, this is a studio gone wild – flowing, reprocessing, or to get a bit more technical, f***ing with s***.

But that doesn’t just mean it’s the equivalent of letting your cat walk onto your Cubase session. There’s some quite clever stuff in there, which does give it the feeling of a well-organized studio – if a very, um, non-commercially inclined environment. The interface may make your eyes hurt, but I’m impressed enough to rethink some of my own patched environments just looking at it.

And there are rich MIDI and keyboard mapping controls, plus deep surround sound features.

All of this is new to Windows, but some of it is also new to recent versions of Gleetch on the Mac. If you haven’t had a look lately, you might revisit it for that reason, and discover it’s more to your liking than earlier renditions. (That mixer brings some nice balance to the Force, for example, and ensures this isn’t all chaos.)

Some people will spend a ton of money making these sounds on expensive room-sized modular rigs, and talk about the “physicality of analog” or something. But you can buy this for 20EUR with an insane amount of functionality – provided you don’t go blind trying to look at the UI or get lost in all that nonlinearity, but at least for the brave.

More goodies to consider:

  • A tropical additive mixer (tropical as in the math for mixing, not as in sipping piña coladas and listening to the surf)…. plus another “crazy automixing processor” called “LAZY DJ”
  • A deep granulator
  • Multiple pitch shifter with delay
  • Dual spectral delay
  • Spectral EQ
  • Modal engine TAMS (modeled percussion, uh, thing)
  • A tool that reads PDF and images into buffers – instant glitch
  • Spectral processor, inspired by the Buchla 296e – so a 16-channel bandpass filter with analysis, in the vocoder family of stuff
  • Fluffy Clouds – a granular-ish buffer player
  • And, heck, let’s throw in a Binson Echorec (delay) and ladder filter emulation, just because
  • Plus extra loopers, a stutter, a tube saturator

And yes, powerful surround panning.

Here’s my suggestion: find a big-name DJ who has been booked to some kind of spatial surround VR gig, hack their account (I disavow knowledge of you at this point), and then replace their tech-house set with Gleetchlab.

CDM thanks you for your service.

There’s an updated manual. It has new stuff in it – not just that Windows port.

Giorgio, the developer, is an amazing person. Europe is sadly rolling back into hard lockdown again, so everybody stay safe and lock yourself indoors with this if you can. If we’re going to have our brains glitching out, I’m grateful at least some folks can glitch with Gleetch in the process. From March 2020:

Find Gleetchlab here, among other strange sound-making wonders. There’s an eight-minute (ha!) demo SO MAKE SOME DECISIONS FAST OKAY? (Eight at a time, not total, so not that fast.)

Red Rocks approved to reopen at 2,500 capacity

Red Rocks approved to reopen at 2,500 capacityScreen Shot 2021 03 31 At 5.30.20 PM

A little over a month after Denver Arts and Venues announced that it was seeking the Colorado health department’s approval to allow Red Rocks Amphitheatre to reopen in the spring, the outdoor venue has been cleared to resume at a 2,500-capacity. Though Red Rocks Amphitheatre has not yet specified the date that the location will formally reopen, venue personnel confirmed via Twitter that they would be “welcoming back” attendees for “a fantastic 80th anniversary summer,” with further announcements “soon” to come. The first event in Red Rocks’ 2021 calendar is currently scheduled for April 23.

Amid the news of Red Rocks’ imminent reopening comes ZHU‘s announcement of DREAMROCKS. The two-date run of shows, to stretch across May 3 – 4, will serve as a preemptive celebration of DREAMLAND 2021, due April 30. ZHU shared the LP’s lead single, “Sky Is Crying,” on March 26. Tickets to DREAMROCKS are available here.

Featured image: Getty Images

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Moog announces new synth bundle, EP and guide

The Moog Sound Studio combines their DFAM, Subharmnicon and Mother-32

Declan McGlynn

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 – 13:13

Moog has announced a new synth bundle for those who want to “enter the world of analogue synthesis for the first time or continue to explore sound in an immersive new way.” The bundle includes everything a user could need to get started with Moog’s semi-modular kit, either bundling their DFAM drum machine with their Subharmonicon or Mother-32 synths. 

The Sound Studio also comes with cables, accessories and educational tools required to get started and comes with a new seven-track EP with music from Dan Deacon, Bonobo, Julianna Barwick and more, all made using the Sound Studio. You can listen to EP here. The concept behind the bundles was informed by Moog’s display show areas at expos and other public events, where they “quickly learned that users with any level of experience can feel comfortable and excited about sound exploration with the right tools, guidance, and creative space.”

The Mother-32 option costs $1,399 and the Subharmonicon version is $1,449.

Electric Zoo announces phase two of 2021 lineup: Dom Dolla, Dr. Fresch, Galantis, and more

Electric Zoo announces phase two of 2021 lineup: Dom Dolla, Dr. Fresch, Galantis, and moreEj0kiNYYAAdSM6

After promising in October of 2020 that more than 50 additional acts were to be added to Electric Zoo‘s 2021 lineup, Made Event is now defining whom this subsequent wave of acts will include with phase two. Ace Aura, Audien, Galantis, Destructo, Dancing Astronaut‘s Breakout Artist of 2019 Dom Dolla, Dr. Fresch, and more are among the acts featured in EZoo’s newly expanded lineup, with Brownies & Lemonade, Deadbeats, and Wakaan specified as stage hosts.

In annual fashion, the “Supernaturals”-themed festival will occupy Randall’s Island from September 3 – 5 of Labor Day Weekend 2021. Tickets to the New York affair are available here, along with additional information on the COVID-19 precautions that Made Event will take to ensure a safe event experience for attendees.

Electric Zoo announces phase two of 2021 lineup: Dom Dolla, Dr. Fresch, Galantis, and moreEZoo

Featured image: Alive Coverage

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New York launches vaccine passport app to ‘fast-track’ reopening of venues

A digital vaccine passport app has been made available to New Yorkers in a bid to speed-up the reopening process for business and venues in the state. 

The “Excelsior Pass” is a free, voluntary app that uses secure technology to confirm if a person has been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, or has recently tested negative for the virus. The app will then generate a QR code for the user, which participating venues and businesses will be able to scan upon arrival. 

The app’s launch is intended to help “fast-track the reopening of businesses and event venues in accordance with New York State Department of Health guidelines,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in an official statement

“New Yorkers have proven they can follow public health guidance to beat back COVID, and the innovative Excelsior Pass is another tool in our new toolbox to fight the virus while allowing more sectors of the economy to reopen safely and keeping personal information secure,” he added.

The launch of the “Excelsior Pass” marks New York as the first North American state to implement a vaccine passport-style system, and follows an announcement from earlier this month which stated that entertainment and music venues will be able to open at 33% capacity from April.

As part of the app’s initial launch, the “Excelsior Pass” is being used by numerous New York theatres, stadiums, arenas and wedding venues. Madison Square Garden and Times Union Center are among the first venues to 

Cuomo continued: “The question of ‘public health or the economy’ has always been a false choice — the answer must be both. As more New Yorkers get vaccinated each day and as key public health metrics continue to regularly reach their lowest rates in months, the first-in-the-nation Excelsior Pass heralds the next step in our thoughtful, science-based reopening.”

The “Excelsior Pass” is available on iPhone and Android phones, and a “special emphasis” has been placed on data privacy for users. The app uses technologies like blockchain and encryption to protect data, and no health data is stored or tracked within the app. 

Learn more about the Excelsior Pass here

In the UK, the prospect of introducing vaccine passports has proved divisive. Earlier this week, after it was revealed the the government has been considering vaccine passports for reopening the hospitality and nightlife sectors, which currently remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NTIA issued a statement warning that the scheme was “unworkable”, and could cause “further anxiety” for venue operators. NTIA CEO Michael Kill described the prospect as a “clear subject of cross sector discrimination”.

Earlier this month, it was announced that a vaccine passport for tourists to enter Spain — including Ibiza and the rest of the Balearic Islands — will be ready to be implemented by June.

Nord Piano 5 Offers Dual Piano Engines, Dual Sample Synths & More

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Nord let us know that they’ve introduced the Piano 5, the latest edition of their Piano series, equipped with dual piano engines, dual sample synths and twice the memory of the previous generation.

The Nord Piano 5 ships with 9 Grands, 9 Uprights and 10 Electric Pianos, plus Clavinet, Digital Pianos and both a Marimba and a Vibraphone.

Two independent Pianos and Sample Synths

The Piano and Sample Synth sections of the Nord Piano 5 each contain two independent Layers. The two Pianos and two Sample Synths can be used simultaneously in a variety of split or Layer configurations.

Combined with the versatile effects routing, a wide range of combinations can be achieved – from classic ensemble settings to rich soundscapes.

Features:

  • New 73-note Triple Sensor keybed with grand weighted action
  • 88-note Triple Sensor keybed with grand weighted action
  • Nord Virtual Hammer Action Technology
  • Advanced Layering (2 Pianos + 2 Sample Synths) NEW
  • Advanced KB Split with optional crossfades NEW
  • Seamless Transitions
  • OLED display for excellent overview

Piano Section Highlights

  • 2 independent Piano Layers NEW
  • 2x memory for Nord Piano Library NEW
  • 120 Voice Polyphony
  • Creative Piano Timbre options including Dyno filter
  • 3 Dynamic Curves to suit any playing style
  • Dynamic Pedal Noise with Nord Triple Pedal
  • Advanced String Resonance
  • Soft Release
  • All sounds are replaceable

Two Independent Sample Synths

The Sample Synth Section contains a completely reworked selection of sounds from the Nord Sample Library, including exclusively licensed sounds from the Mellotron and Chamberlin as well as a selection of samples from the Symphobia and Swing! libraries by ProjectSAM

All sounds can be quickly replaced using the Nord Sound Manager .

The Sample Synth section provides two fully-featured and independent Layers and is equipped with controls for attack, decay/release and dynamic velocity response. You can also create your own sample instruments using the unique free Nord Sample Editor software for Mac and Windows.

Unison and Tru-Vibrato

The Sample Synth Section has a brand new Unison feature that creatively blends several sample voices for rich, ensemble-like sounds. It also features a “Tru-Vibrato” that accurately models the unique vibrato characteristics of a wide variety of wind, brass and string instruments.

Sample Section Highlights

  • 2 independent Sample Synth Layers NEW
  • 2x memory for Nord Sample Library NEW
  • Soft and Bright filters NEW
  • Tru-Vibrato NEW
  • Unison mode for rich, ensemble sounds NEW
  • Attack, Decay/Release and Dynamic co

Effect Section

The Effect section has a wide selection of tweakable stereo effects modeled after classic stomp boxes. An effect can be assigned freely to any layer in the Piano and Sample Synth section.

The Nord Piano 5 Effect section includes Tremolo, Phaser, Chorus, Pan, Wah, RM, Flanger, Vibe, EQ, Delay and Reverb. The Reverb effect has five different sizes (Booth, Room, Stage, Hall and Cathedral) for adding ambience to your sounds. The Bright and Dark modes allows for enhanced or reduced treble. The new Chorale option adds a lush modulation effect.

See the Nord site for details.

Touring DJs’ impact on climate explored in new report

The environmental cost of DJ tours has been explored in a new report by Clean Scene. 

The report, which can be read in full here, examines “the carbon footprint of touring DJs and [looks] towards alternative futures within the dance music industry.” 

The 20-page report, titled Last Night a DJ Took a Flight, points out that, prior to the pandemic, many DJs would travel the world on a weekly basis to play clubs and festivals, and would regularly travel between two or three countries over the course of a weekend. The report states that the dance music industry has been given a unique opportunity to rethink this environmentally unsustainable system, and to reimagine a clubbing landscape that is less damaging to global climate. 

Clean Scene compiled their figures using data from Resident Advisor’s Top 1000 DJs chart from 2019, and estimated that those DJs took approximately 51,000 flights that year. That equates roughly to 117,000,000 km travelled, 3,200,000 litres of fuel and 35,000,000 kg CO2 into the air. That much CO2, the reports states, is the equivalent of 20,000 households’ electricity for one year, powering 8000 festivals for three days, or pressing 25 million records.

“The average touring DJ emits 35 tonnes of CO2 per year,” the report continues. “And their carbon footprint is more than 17 times higher than the recommended personal carbon budget of approximately 2 tonnes of CO2.”

Clean Scene also states that there is a considerable disparity between the DJs among the listed 1000 who tour the most and those who tour the least. “The average footprint of the 100 DJs travelling the most is nearly 88 tonnes versus just 3.3 tonnesfor the 100 travelling the least,” it states. “Respectively this is 44 and 1.5 times higher than the recommended personal carbon budget mentioned above. This unequal distribution of carbon emissions mirrors the disparity of environmental harm caused by a small fraction of the population of the world at large.”

While the report emphasises that it is not placing blame on artists (rather, looking at the industry as a whole that has facilitated the culture as it is), it states that collective action must be taken to create a dance music scene that is more environmentally sustainable.

The report goes on to outline a number of potential steps that can be taken by promoters, DJs, agents and ravers. These include committing publicly to making one’s practice in the industry less environmentally damaging and setting goals, concentrating on and booking more local talent, removing exclusivity clauses from clubs and festivals, and thinking about more efficient routes for touring. 

Artists are also encouraged to update to a green rider, which you can get some tips on here.

A significant point made in the report outlines the ways in which considerations of climate change in the industry apply specifically to conversations around racial justice and justice for those who are oppressed by power structures. “Climate change is dehumanising, and those whose lives have been historically exploited will always be the first to feel it’s real impact,” it reads. 

The report states that if a reduction in booking international acts is being considered by promoters and clubs in Europe, then BIPOC artists should be prioritised when they do choose to book internationally so that artists from marginalised can be helped to thrive. Artists and agents are encouraged to “apply pressure for promoters to include BIPOC artists to line-ups, even giving up your own slot for someone else.”

You can read the full report from Clean Scene here.

Revisit Martin Guttridge-Hewitt’s 2019 feature for DJ Mag, exploring the environmental cost of dance music, here

Dreadbox Intros Three New Effects Pedals: Darkness, Lethargy & Kinematic

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Dreadbox has introduced three new effects pedals: Darkness, a stereo reverb; Kinematic, a compressor and filter effect; and Lethargy, a phase shifter.

Darkness has a single, flexible algorithm, that can create a variety of reverb effects, from small and smooth reflections up to huge shimmering and endless reverbs.

Features:

  • Flexible Shimmer Reverb with Gate function
  • 32bit @ 48kHz Digital Effects Processor
  • Variable Time Scale with Modulation (Triangle or Sample & Hold)
  • Selectable Pitch Shift (+/-12 semitones) with variable mix amount for shimmering sounds
  • Up to 30sec Decay Times
  • 2-Pole Damping Filter (High Pass or Low Pass)
  • Freeze function (loops 150ms of the input signal)
  • Versatile Gate effect with variable Attack and Release Times
  • True Stereo (Input and Output)
  • Selectable Tails Bypass

Darkness is available for 259 €.

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Kinematic is a VCA-based Compressor and Envelope Filter effect pedal, that they say is suitable mostly for string instruments and synthesizers.

Features:

  • Full Analog VCA based Compressor
    • Band Boost Filter
    • Extreme Compression Ratio
  • Envelope Filter
    • Low Pass Filter
    • Slow Envelope Curve
  • Post Diode Overdrive Circuit
  • Level Boost up to +18dB
  • True Tone Maker
  • 3 patch points for our modular fans

Kinematic is expected to be available in April 2021 for  179 €