Pan Daijing announces new album, ‘Jade 玉观音’, on PAN

It’s preceded by lead track ‘Dust 五月’

Christian Eede

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 – 14:38

Pan Daijing has a new album on the way.

Titled ‘Jade 玉观音’, it’s Daijing’s second album for PAN. Made up of nine tracks, the record was written and recorded over the course of the last three years and follows on from Daijing’s last album for PAN, 2017’s ‘Lack 惊蛰’.

Speaking about her thought process while working on the album, Daijing says: “Solitude is like an immense lake you’re swimming through. Sometimes you dip your head in and sometimes you lift it above.”

You can listen to the album’s lead track, ‘Dust 五月’, below.

‘Jade 玉观音’ will be released on June 4th, 2021.

Photo credit: Dzhovani

Richie Hawtin launches new AI-driven soundscapes to help you focus

Richie Hawtin has teamed up with soundscape app Endel, under his Plastikman alias, to create a new AI-driven audio experience to help listeners focus. Endel is designed to promote deeper focus, better sleep, meditation and relaxation, and has previously teamed up with Grimes on ‘AI Lullaby’ for assisted relaxation for adults and children. Hawtin’s collab is called ‘Deeper Focus’ and is “a personalised, real-time adaptive soundscape that is infused with his trademark production, resulting in a spacious, stripped-back soundscape that improves users’ focus and productivity.” 

Hawtin created the sonics in collaboration with the Endel team, and Endel’s own AI was then used to adapt the sounds and textures depending on the user’s weather, natural light exposure and more. Of the new project, Richie Hawtin said: “As a control freak in the studio it is usually I who has the last word of how a track unfolds, however, in this exciting situation, the AI is the one who decides the final framework. Although this may sound scary to some, I believe it is just another extension of my belief in technology and its intrinsic place within my creative process.”

You can download Endel here for iOS, Android, macOS and Alexa here.

Broadcast legend Annie Mac bids farewell to BBC Radio 1 after a 17-year run

Broadcast legend Annie Mac bids farewell to BBC Radio 1 after a 17-year runScreen Shot 2021 04 20 At 1.00.57 PM

The legendary Irish broadcast DJ, Annie Mac, has decided it is time to hang up the headphones, and lay her longstanding career with BBC Radio 1 to rest. After 17 years on the airwaves, Mac now seeks to maximize quality time with her two children, hinted at by her upcoming May novel, Mother Mother. What’s more, the Future Sounds radio host aspires to focus on podcasting and fiction writing after an incredibly long and fruitful run with BBC Radio 1.

In a recent Instagram post, Mac wrote,

“It’s hard to articulate what this job has meant to me…I’m still in awe of the magic of music radio. Of the responsibility of handling these songs that are so powerful they can stop you in your tracks and make your emotions soar. I have never not walked out of the studio feeling lighter and happier than when I walked in.”

After hopping aboard Radio 1 as a broadcast assistant back in 2002, Annie Mac’s has since come to be one of the most influential jockeys in the world, of course notably naming the “Hottest Records” in the world week by week. Mac’s final transmission will occur on July 30. BBC broadcaster Clara Amfo is expected to take over Mac’s Future Sounds show, and Danny Howard will replace Mac in the Friday night dance party slot. Although this marks the end of a remarkable 17-year run, Annie Mac clarifies that this does not signify her retirement as a broadcast DJ,

“I will be coming back to radio broadcasting when the time is right. For now though, I would like to say thank you.”

Thank you, Annie Mac.

Featured image: Pitchfork

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LP Giobbi drops off 60 minutes of tasty house grooves in new exclusive Deep Tropics mix [Stream]

LP Giobbi drops off 60 minutes of tasty house grooves in new exclusive Deep Tropics mix [Stream]LP GIOBBI 2020 Press Photo PC Shervin Lainez 2

Strap your dancing shoes on—LP Giobbi has exactly what you need to get moving. Lacing together a stellar house mix in honor of Deep Tropics festival, LP Giobbi’s top-notch production and mixing chops are on full display across the session’s 60-minute runtime.

The mix captures the spirit and essence of the event slated for later this summer. With LP Giobbi rubbing shoulders on the lineup with the likes of Whethan, Claude Vonstroke, Clozee, Moon Boots, and more, the mix sets the tone for the type of set one can expect from the multi-hyphenate creative at the event, as well as what the rest of the weekend’s soundtrack might sound like. Perfect for everything from poolside hangs to tidying the house, reach for this one all summer as Deep Tropics creeps closer.

The third installment of Deep Tropics is set to take place on August 27 – 28 at Nashville’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, and for this year’s edition of the boutique festival, Tropics organizers are aiming to be net positive energy and water event. Simply put, the event is aiming to create more clean water and energy than it uses. As festivals begin to return and we bring the positive things we learned about a year in lockdown back out into the world, Deep Tropics seeks to make festivals a more sustainable endeavor, and repeatedly rinsing this new mix from LP Giobbi is the perfect way to hype our collective return to dance floors very soon.

Featured image: Shervin Lainez

The post LP Giobbi drops off 60 minutes of tasty house grooves in new exclusive Deep Tropics mix [Stream] appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

All the Apple Event news: More M1, Podcast Subscriptions, and don’t lose your keys

In a lovely contrast to “everything’s delayed because chip shortages” and “everything is a subscription,” it’s refreshing to hear Apple say “we’re shipping,” “you can make your own subscriptions,” and “we found your keys for you.” Here it is, at a glance.

First off, for anyone worried about Apple’s M1-centered strategy, fret not – it makes loads of sense. It’s still likely to take more of 2021 before the music and visual tools we use are fully Apple Silicon and Big Sur-ready, but I can say when you are ready for the jump, both iOS and macOS users benefit. Stuff runs fast now on both platforms. Your desktop software still generally runs like you want it to (once you click past a couple of Big Sur’s “are you sure you want to use your own hard drive” warnings), and you now also get the added bonus of being able to run more iOS stuff on your Mac – just in case you have an effect or synth you want inside Logic.

I think the unsung sweet spot of Apple’s M1 offering is actually still the Mac mini. It gives you the most performance-per-buck, there are dedicated HDMI ports and extra USB ports and even Ethernet, so I’ve never once plugged in a dongle, the fan is completely inaudible (enough so that you can’t tell if it’s on until you plug in a monitor), and it’s still small and light enough that you can toss it in a backpack to go between, say, studio and home.

That said, the new offerings are nice if you like all-in-one and Apple’s gorgeous displays, or if you want the performance of a Mac laptop with a touchscreen and iOS apps.

And yeah, Apple’s Podcast offerings look creator friendly, and comes at the perfect time – right when frustration and (well-placed) mistrust of rival Spotify is ready to boil over.

So here’s what’s new:

All images courtesy Apple.

Podcast Subscriptions – a breakdown

Apple Podcasts gets an overhaul. There is a ton of new stuff here:

  • New Apple Podcasts for Creators website, basically a starter portal for makers
  • Improved Apple Podcasts Connect, where you do all your management
  • New Podcasts app, part of iOS 14.5, with extra discovery features
  • and the big one, Subscriptions, which in turn are accompanied by
  • Channels – creator-produced curated sections, which can be both free and paid

Subscriptions have a wide reach – 170 countries at launch, which is stunning for a platform. It’s also encouraging that Creators can set their own pricing, billed monthly.

The new Creators site. Requires an Apple ID, but nothing else. (You only pay if you want to charge a fee for your offering.)
Analytic data. It’s Apple, so expect the same model as Apple Music and the App Store – they take their bite for the platform. But as a result of their experience, they offer payment and offerings in a lot of places, and it means easy billing and account management for your listeners. It’s the usual deal, but it may be even more meaningful in this space.

You do pay a subscription fee in order to access paid Apple Podcast features as a creator. But it’s open all and dead-simple. You head to the Apple Podcasts Connect site, if you haven’t already:

Then hit “Join” and you can set up an account. It’s fairly inexpensive, too – US$19.99 per year in the USA for instance with similar rates in other countries, and with availability in a lot of countries. (Lebanon, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Uganda… just thinking of some places where I have friends who have found their countries cut off from some of these sorts of platforms. Just to name a few.)

Oddly, what’s missing is actually language support for the App in those places. Thai and Indonesian are there, but Arabic isn’t, for example.

But the good news is, you can offer subscriptions with incredible support for purchases – one of the cases where being on a platform is an advantage rather than a hindrance. And you can also have paid curated channels, too. And you can split free and paid content.

And yeah you take 100% of your ad revenue with you for conventional, ad-supported podcasts – still the best option for some. And you get 70% of revenue for paid subscriptions, which now rises to 85% net for each subscriber once they accumulate a year of service. Let’s see how competition emerges in this space and whether that structure is adjusted in time, but the main thing is that at least Apple leaves its creators largely in control of their own destiny, which has not always been our experience with other platforms.

What about music? This is still about spoken word content and music and sound you own or have licensed. It would be nice to see Apple take advantage of its ability to license music for, say, DJ sets in the future, but I know those legal issues can be thorny. If you wanted to start a paid subscription for live sets, though, for example, that would be totally possible. Let me know if you do that; I’ll probably subscribe to some.

I don’t need an iMac so th… wait, okay, that is awfully pretty. Hey, rational brain, come back!

New Apple hardware, as Apple Silicon grows

The other big takeaway – new shiny stuff.

iPad Pro has the same M1 chip as lives inside the Mac mini, iMac, and MacBook and MacBook Pro. So the customer decision is easier. If it’s touch and touch-native apps you want, get an iPad Pro. If you rely on desktop apps, you get a Mac.

And especially having watched some of the muddled Windows strategy, this makes some sense. Desktop apps, designed natively for a mouse and keyboard and other accessory hardware, reliant on the architecture of the desktop OS, stay on the platform for which they were designed.

Thew new hardware:

Basically, if you wish the MacBook had a touchscreen, this is what you want. No desktop apps, but presumably that’s a feature to Apple, not a bug – you get the iOS device and touch-native apps.

iPad Pro now has the M1 – 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine, the same chip proven blazingly fast on the Mac lineup. They’ve also opened up desktop-like specs for memory (up to 16GB) and storage (up to 2TB), because – it is exactly the same chip, so why not?

There’s also a 12.9″ display they call “Liquid Retina XDR” which is designed to give you the same color range and accuracy for pros. I won’t dig into the complexity of Apple’s HDR and Dolby Vision stuff or how proprietary color and immersive audio are becoming but… well, at least their play is coming into focus.

The other big breakthrough (broken record here, it’s the same architecture as the Mac) is that you get Thunderbolt and USB4 on the iPad Pro, and a USB-C port. Finally.

So after years of Mac users being afraid the Mac would turn into the iPad, it’s maybe more accurate to say that the Mac kept its performance and functionality but borrowed the iPad’s battery life and low heat generation, and the iPad Pro turned into a Mac, as far as performance and expansion.

I don’t know that that’s going to turn a PC user into a macOS/iOS user, necessarily, but I would at least say it leaves Apple ecosystem users with very little to complain about, on balance.

What else?

The Neural Engine and ISP add additional Smart HDR3 and LiDAR features – AI in action.

There are new expanded Apple Pencil language features and new gaming controller support in the new iPadOS.

The one thing missing – no new Pencil, sorry.

The new iMac with M1. Ah, how far we’ve come from the days of the Bondi Blue iMac, when people were worried that there was no floppy drive. (I’m old.)

Anyway, there’s not much to say about the iMac – it’s stupidly thin (11.5 mm?!), has a 24″ 4.5K Retina Display, and otherwise it’s got the same guts as the other new Apple Silicon Macs.

Also, it has that port configuration I like so much on the Mac mini, if you get the higher-end 8-core model (which is probably the one you want). Two Thunderbolt ports, two extra USB 3 ports, and all the rest.

It also brings back colors for the first time in many years – and it looks, well, amazing.

It’s been a while since you just want a Mac, independent of the specs, but this has that feeling. Smells like a hit. I’m sure I’ll see some popping up in studios, especially with a starting price of US$1299 from late May.

Kids, ask your parents about the “it comes in colors” thing and spinning dancing iMacs.

Find my keys

It’s called AirTag, and it stops you losing your stuff.

It has nothing to do with CDM, but as a long-time Apple watcher, this is the kind of charming new idea that is a welcome development right now. Also, I lose a lot of things easily.

It’s also intriguing because for a while, Apple co-founder Woz had a startup called Wheels of Zeus that did the same basic thing. But that project and Tile, the one competitor in a similar space, don’t appear nearly as functional as what Apple is doing.

All in all

Keep an eye on this space. Apple Podcast Subscriptions covers just Apple’s platform, and creators are having to manage multiple platforms these days. (Patreon, Bandcamp, Spotify, the list goes on.) But it does look encouraging, and it’s nice to see the promise of reasonably manageable paid subscriptions.

The M1 lineup is an easy one – it continues to look terrific. Basically, we’re just waiting on updated desktop software.

Ninja Tune and Beggars Group announce plans to go carbon negative

Ninja Tune and Beggars Group have announced plans to become carbon negative.

As part of ongoing commitments toward sustainability, Ninja Tune, home to Big Dada and Technicolour, alongside 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL and Young’s parent company Beggars, have shared plans on how they intend to become carbon negative over the next decade.

After hiring head of sustainability Will Hutton in March this year, Beggars is pledging to reduce its emissions by 46% by 2030. Speaking about the changes with Music Week, Hutton said: “To get to work on measuring and reducing our impact as quickly as possible, we took the decision to focus on UK-managed operations (about two-thirds of our business) at the outset of the project in September 2020. Over the summer of 2021, we will expand our data collection and analysis efforts to cover US-managed operations too, giving us a comprehensive oversight of the global business.

Elsewhere, Ninja Tune has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by the end of 2021, with a view to becoming 100% carbon negative after the year’s end. According to Music Week, Ninja Tune will “measure its environmental impacts, work on reductions and offset its impact using tree planting, rainforest protection and other methods.” Ninja Tune chair Peter Quicke said: “The climate crisis is already affecting millions of people, governments need to act now. Ninja Tune’s net zero commitment reflects an active drive towards sustainability, but it’s also a call for widespread change.”

Ninja Tune and Beggars Group are both part of IMPALA’s Sustainability Programme, which was set up in March this year to drive collaboration among the independent sector over climate issues.

Vinyl is back, but the format comes with a serious environmental cost. As the dance music world attempts to go greener, some companies are working out ways to make our wax obsession as eco-friendly as possible. Last year, DJ Mag spoke to the head of one such manufacturer, Deep Grooves Pressing Plant, to find out more.

SG Lewis primes North American ‘times’ run

SG Lewis primes North American ‘times’ runSG Lewis

In December of 2020, Dancing Astronaut proclaimed that SG Lewis‘ then-ongoing times rollout was scripting the soundtrack for electronic’s triumphant return to the dance floor. Four months later, this return is not merely within sight, but rather a cause to save the date.

From October through December of the fall 2021 season, the British mover and shaker will take times on the road for a four-stop run both long-awaited and highly anticipated. The North American times run will specifically position SG Lewis at Los Angeles’ Shrine Expo Hall on October 15, Oakland’s Fox Theater on November 12, Chicago’s Riviera Theatre on November 26, and Brooklyn’s Great Hall at Avant Gardner on December 3.

The select run of shows affords the Dusk, Dark, Dawn conceptualist and his listeners the opportunity to experience his seminal long-form—described in his own words as “an ode to the present moment”—in the live, euphoria-ridden music spaces for which times was initially intended. Pre-sale tickets to the North American times mini-tour, which, based on times – The Live Experience, promises to be one of the year’s most transcendent sonic get togethers, will be available for purchase on April 23 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Visit SG Lewis’ official website for more information, and signup to receive pre-sale access here.

In the meantime, SG enthusiasts can read Dancing Astronaut‘s review of times here, and our interview with him here.

Featured image: Harvey Pearson

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Arturia’s Pigments 3 synth plug-in just got packed with a ton of new features

Pigments, the monster synth plug-in, is still growing at full speed – now with a deep “harmonic” additive engine, more layers, and more tools in its palette. Meet Pigments 3.

Now, I’ve just grabbed this build – I’m in a little later on this one, but that’s okay, as I look forward to spending the next weeks with the final build.

But there are some gorgeous new tools. The whole tool and UI continue to get more refined, for one of the deepest-but-friendliest looking plug-ins anywhere – and maybe my favorite Arturia UI, in fact. (No runaway skeumorphism here.)

The new Harmonic engine is a rich additive-powered tool with loads of extras. Click to embiggen any of these images for a closer look.

The big new addition (oops, unintentional pun) is the Harmonic Engine. It’s an additive synthesis tool with up to 512 partials, with complete control over partials (and modulation of partials), plus morphing dual formant filters.

That alone should keep you busy, but you also get:

More layers. A third Utility engine expands the architecture, with two additional noise sample layers and an extra oscillator layer.

More wavetables. 64 new ones, for a total of 164.

Roland-y bits. They can’t say that, but I can. The Jup-8 low-pass filter and the JUN-6 Chorus made their way into Pigments, which makes sense.

Pitch Delay. A modern, digital pitch delay tool, which options up some ambience and other precise timbral effects.

BL-20 Flanger. Okay, I’m fairly restricted in how often I, uh, flange, but this is a great one to emulate – the legendary (and rare) Bel BF-20 stereo flanger, which Arturia being Arturia, here has extra options. Like some of the other bits here, you’ve seen it elsewhere in Arturia tools if you’ve been watching closely, but having it as part of Pigments means extra sound design options inside the synth’s deep routing and modulation architecture.

Ramp waveform in the Virtual Analog engine (at last).

Route filters to the effects bus.

Multi-band compressor.

New effects include the Pitch Delay, top left, plus some Juno and Jupiter extras, too.
If you want Pigments to just be a wavetable synth, it’s there for you, too – with an uncommonly friendly semi-modular environment for working with those wavetables, rivaling competitors like Massive, Serum, and whatnot.
The new Utility engine lets you add still more layers, just, you know, so your whole song is basically one preset.
In addition to a bunch of new presets and whatnot, you also get in-built tips and tutorials from the sound designers who worked on this. Also, note that deep, deep sequencer at top. You really could compose entirely inside Pigments.

And of course, Pigments 3 comes with a ton of new presets and sound banks from some great people, plus more in-app tutorials. So prepare to go pretty deep for this one.

The crazy thing is really the price – the intro price new is 99€/$, which I’m fairly certain is less than the upgrade pricing from some competitors (cough). It’d stack up well against some of the rivals in this space normally, but with the discount even more so. You also get the Spectrum Sound Pack included new.

Upgrade pricing? It’s free. If you want the Spectrum Sound Pack, it’s 20 bucks instead of 99€/$, also for a limited time.

Both intro offers last through May 13.


Video tutorials

Okay, enough talking / admiring. Let’s actually learn this thing and make some music. Here goes:

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The Harmonic Engine is a likely place to start:

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Plus the Utility Engine for adding complexity to your sound:

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Pitch Shift Delay is all the rage with the kids these days, generally (seriously, it’s all over a lot of effects in different forms):

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And of course a multi-band compressor lets you polish your sound inside the synth. Just don’t go too crazy with this and annoy your mastering engineer, ‘kay?

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Porter Robinson announces full Secret Sky virtual festival lineup

Porter Robinson has announced the full line-up for this weekend’s Secret Sky virtual festival.

Taking place on Saturday 24th April, the day after Robinson’s highly-anticipated album ‘Nuture’ is scheduled for release, this year’s Secret Sky festival marks the second edition of the event, and features a host of huge acts available to watch on a browser or using VR.

Among the artists locked for the event are LuckyMe’s Baaeur, Boys Noize, and Canadian DJ/producer Rezz, who’ll perform alongside the likes of James Ivy, Laxcity, Yvette Young, and Porter Robinson himself. 

You can sign up for an access to Secret Sky festival using this link.

Having announced the first single from his forthcoming ‘Nurture’ LP last August, and track ‘Look at the Sky’ in January alongside new visuals, Atlanta-born DJ and producer Porter Robinson recently released a brand new single from ‘Nurture’, titled ‘Musician’. 

In August last year, Robinson shared some previously unreleased music to mark the sixth anniversary of his debut album, ‘Worlds’.


The beauty of wind organs, and how to make one yourself out of recycled materials

The acoustic principles are the same as wind instruments (and pipe organs). But there’s something eerily beautiful about wind organs – and they’re easy enough to make.

bassling from Australia sends in this how-to from Australia, to get you started. There, of course, it’s fall, meaning this could be viewed in the “spooky Halloween” territory for the southern hemisphere now. But I’m glad for wind organs all year round.

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The inspiration is Didier Ferment’s “Plastorgan,” which originates this technique. You’ll find written instructions and images at that site:

Since you’re dealing with the dynamics of air and real materials, there is an art to making this stuff work in addition to the maths and physics. But you can use upcycled bottles, and tiny details make a difference in timbre as well as pitch – from Didier:

A slit of 8 cm by 10 mm produces a deep sound except when the wind picks-up and brings the sound one octave higher.

A slit of 11 cm by 9 mm gives a medium sound, relatively clear within a wide wind range as well in speed as in angle of attack.

A slit of 20 cm by 6 mm gives a shrill whistle but requires a very precise angle of attack of the wind.

A slit of 16 cm by 17 mm will deliver a hoarse sound.

Oh yeah, and this is a way better use of plastic after the fact than what John Oliver recently covered. Just maybe don’t install it on a neighbor’s fence; they might not like that.

Sound artists and sculptors have gone all kinds of different directions with wind instruments – wind organs or sea organs or Aeolian harps. Just a few examples:

Here in Berlin, there’s a beautiful Windharfen-Installation constructed by artist Paul Pfarr in 1985 and housed at Britzer Garten. (The text here is old – it’s definitely installed and working.) An old video from when I was last there, as I couldn’t find documentation:

(It’s too late now, but apparently some were installed at Tempelhof for one day by artist Max Eastley.)

There’s the spectacular Wave Organ, hosted by the Exploratorium and created by artists Peter Richards and George Gonzalez.

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Or the Zadar Sea Organ in Croatia, produced by Nikola Bašić:

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Tonkin Liu’s gorgeous Singing Ringing Tree in Burnley, UK is one of the more nuanced and sophisticated instruments built on this principle:

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Here’s a great article on the topic, too:

Atlas Obscura has a good round-up too:

Oh yeah, and if you’re pondering making one yourself, turn to the original 1915 article from Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, which you can read online: