UK festival season on “red alert” over COVID-19 insurance issue, warns AIF

The UK festival season is on “red alert” over COVID-19 insurance, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has warned.

Over one quarter of festivals with a capacity of 5,000 originally planned for this summer have now been called off, with fears up to 76% of remaining events scheduled for July and August will follow suit unless the UK Government agrees to underwrite, effectively offering financial protection against forced cancellations as a result of the pandemic. Similar schemes are being offered in a number of European countries, including the Netherlands.

Westminster has outlined plans for staggered reopening of society, which could see restrictions on crowds removed by 21st June 2021, but has emphasised the preliminary nature of this timeline. Major weekenders including Glastonbury and Boomtown Fair have already pulled events for this year as a result of uncertainty and lack of emergency support. 

AIF figures show 22% of festivals tracked have now moved dates to late-summer and early autumn in a bid to avoid unexpected problems, a situation it says now risks supply chain bottlenecks towards the end of the year. According to a statement from the organisation, those still pressing ahead with peak season gatherings must commit to “substantial non-refundable costs by the end of May”, which will not be possible without government insurance. In the event of more postponements, 72% will need financial help to return in 2021. 

“For months now, we have been warning Government that the UK’s 2021 festival season would be quickly eroded if they failed to back their own roadmap out of lockdown and act on COVID-related cancellation insurance. That danger is now coming to pass, with over a quarter of festivals having cancelled already this year,” said AIF CEO Paul Reed. 

“Without a safety net, independent promoters cannot begin to confidently invest in their events. They currently have no protection should a COVID-related issue result in the cancellation of their festival. If Government-backed insurance is off the table, festival organisers deserve to know what Government proposes as an alternative to prevent the widespread collapse of the festival season,” he added. 

Ableton launch online event for music makers

Loop Create is taking place June 26 to 27

Declan McGlynn

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 – 16:45

Ableton is hosting an online event called Loop Create, a one-day virtual conference for music-makers. Designed to bring people together from all over the world, attendees can “expect to gain new insights and techniques to use in their own music-making process, try out new ideas, and share the results with a community of creators … in a fast-paced, collaborative environment.”

The event will start at 11am CET, and the program will contain a variety of musicians, technologists, educators and artists with a mix of formats, as well as collaborative sessions for attendees to meet fellow creatives. The event is free to all and registration opens on May 26. Find out more on Ableton’s website

Here’s what’s new in Ableton Live 11.

At last, AAS deliver their new software modular generation: Multiphonics CV-1

Software modular is everywhere these days, but AAS are one of the developers who defined the genre. So a ground-up new tool from them is big news – and it has all the sonic and physical modeling goodness you’d expect.

Actually, it’s funny that I’m the one saying AAS helped make software modular a thing, because for once the marketing and PR doesn’t say that. But they have every right to brag about that, because of the contributions of Tassman. Now, sure, Native Instruments Generator and Reason were each around when Tassman launched in 2000. But take a look at this early screenshot and behind the fugly older UI, you see some innovative features that wouldn’t take hold in the larger market until later. It’s got hardware-style controls, a hybrid design that is both software and hardware, and unique physical modeling features built-in as fundamental modules – that’s still all welcome today. (It is funny to see software turning up on Vintage Synth Explorer, but hey, software is now old enough to be old.)

Tassman Image
Once upon a time, in the year 2000.

AAS have also led the way with a lot of physical modeling instruments, and modeled keys and the like – including some of the instruments in Ableton Live. And Tassman still holds up as a solid product even in 2021. But it’s good news that AAS decided to go back to the drawing board.

Multiphonics CV-1 is the one we’ve been waiting for. And now that there are other options from NI, Softube, Cherry Audio, Reason Studios, and VCV, I am very glad to say that Multiphonics is something different. And it’s something only AAS could make.

It’s not an emulation. It’s not an open-ended sound platform. It’s an integrated system. Okay, this is a welcome change. I love platforms like VCV Rack and Reason Rack Extensions and module formats for Cherry Audio and Native Instruments. I’ve even advocated them. I love having all these emulations, too.

But there is a huge advantage to someone building an integrated system of modules from scratch that is designed to be new software from the start. And that already shows promise here. It’s narrower than Tassman at launch, but it already has a bunch of stuff I’m eager to play with:

Click to embiggen.
  • Keyboard (really elegant module design for routing trigger, release, gate, note / bend / pitch, modulation, and velocity in a logical way. I hope we get good tuning support; I need to check that…)
  • Master clock
  • Output (with handy delay and reverb aka “cover up your terrible patching and make it sound good” knobs)
  • Macros (4 of them with amounts and -/+ and + CV)
  • Classic VCO (note the convenient FM controls and precise parameters, but the uncluttered design)
  • Compact VCO (oooh, Sub FM, and a similarly clean design)
  • Noise (with a lot of controls, finally… I think I have ten noise VCOs in my VCV rig and none this nicely designed)
  • Pulse
  • Clock (with rational division and transport controls – again, better I think I’ve used yet)
  • Gate + CV sequencer (very analog in design, but you do have MIDI), Gate sequencer
  • ADSR
  • LFO
  • Voltage source (looks really handy for quick patching; don’t know why this isn’t standard in patch environments)
  • OBJEQ filter oh wait, here’s the good stuff – yeah, this is the physical modeling resonator that AAS has been perfecting for years. This one module alone might convince you to buy this package.
  • State Variable Filter (less unusual, but it’s nice having a Growl control)
  • Mixing – Dual Mix, Mix 8, Mix 5, and Polarizing Mix 5
  • Bias
  • Delay and Dual Delay (which incidentally also are set up for some easy Karplus-Strong physical modeling stuff, especially with their very easy-to-access Feedback controls)
  • Limiter
  • Inverter
  • Logic
  • Glide
  • Quantizer
  • Sample & Hold
  • Scale
  • Level (just an easy meter…)
  • Slew Limiter
  • Dual VCA and VCA with Ring mode
  • Patch Info (notes)

Plus it runs as standalone, and VST2, VST3, AU, AAX Native, Windows 10 64-bit+ and macOS 10.11+. You’ll need a newish computer – Core i5 (ca. 2015) or later, AAS says. But that’s a feature, not a bug, in that this is the fresh modular package for this generation.

And oh yeah, buried in the fine print, AAS does support Apple Silicon natively. That’s also true of a lot of their other software via recent updates.

It’s a powerful but usable interface – with detailed patch notes, lots of quality of life details, and tons of modulation possibilities, which is good in, you know, a modular.

It is also exquisitely documented and easy to navigate, so learning basic skills is very accessible even to modular newcomers.

The UI is really snappy and fast, and cleverly designed – module navigation is stupidly simple, there’s no added UI chrome anywhere, and some friendly navigation features, plus useful stuff like a pop-up keyboard at bottom.

Look, I adore Reaktor and VCV Rack. But you could easily get lost in either one before putting together a coherent physical modeling patch. Part of what makes those tools wonderful is that they are toyboxes.

What is immediately obvious about AAS’ effort there is that it’s actually designed to be a modular. Look at all those CV jacks and controls.

Navigating module choices is really easy.

So, sure, it isn’t as broad as any of these other offerings – even AAS’ own Tassman legacy. But that might be missing the point. The actual modules here are ones to learn intimately and combine in different ways. That’s even arguably more valuable in a computer modular than a hardware modular, because you can spawn as many of any one module as you like – it is more like a bucket full of LEGO bricks than it is a dedicated instrument rack, by virtue of you not having to blow a few grand and create something the weight of a medium-sized dog just to make a range of sounds. Thanks, computers!

I am very, very excited to play with this one.

And oh yeah? US$79? $99 after the limited offer expires? Fuggedaboutit.

I’ve got more to say about some recent developments with VCV Rack, Cherry Audio, and Reaktor. But the fact that all this stuff is peaking now I think is terrific. To not love that, you’d have to just sort of hate sound. If you love sound, now is a great time.

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Jaguar launches new training programme for women and gender minority students entering music industry

Jaguar has launched a new training programme for women and gender minority students entering the music industry. 

A free initiative, Future1000 will see the BBC Radio 1 DJ offer 1,000 under-18s training and up-skilling in production, mixing and more. The scheme is run with in-school music educational platform FutureDJs, which was previously successful in getting DJing added to the UK curriculum. 

The 12-part digital course requires no previous knowledge or specialist equipment, and takes the form of artist-led workshop sessions and online modules developed with tutors from London College of Music Education (LCME). The hope is to address a significant imbalance within the industry: a recent report by UK Music found just 16% of artists are female or a gender minority, while 2020’s Gender Disparity Radio Report, from Women in CTRL, found major underrepresentation in radio play

“Our hope for equality lies in the next generation and that’s why Future1000 will help improve gender diversity and representation at the very start of young people’s journeys into music, at a time when access to opportunities and inclusivity is most critical,” Jaguar said of the programme. 

“My own experience coming up in the industry, and often being the only girl in the room, has motivated me to make a change for others from similar backgrounds and I hope that Future1000 helps to show young girls, trans and non-binary people what they’re capable of,” she continued. 

Head to the official website for full details of Future1000, after reading DJ Mag’s in-depth interview with Jaguar from earlier this year. 

Jeffrey Sutorius strides into solo era with ‘Nostalgia’ alongside Krimsonn on Revealed Recordings

Jeffrey Sutorius strides into solo era with ‘Nostalgia’ alongside Krimsonn on Revealed Recordings48782160067 E2def5fc5d O

It’s time for a new chapter of Jeffrey Sutorius.

After being legally required to surrender the Dash Berlin name and all of its coinciding trademarks at the end of March, Sutorius is forging forth under his biological name. For two of his concluding originals under the Berlin moniker, Sutorius had ended a seven-year gap between Revealed Recordings appearances with “Skies” and “Firefly,” and that intermission won’t be accumulating anywhere near as long as he returns to Hardwell’s label once more on “Nostalgia” with the help of Krimsonn.

Sutorius had previously stepped away from the Berlin name once before on “Bad Days” with Jake Reese, and for his first formal delivery within his next era, Revealed Recordings couldn’t have been a more ideal home. Although the name on the title looks a little different, Sutorius’s high-level output hasn’t stumbled in the slightest. “Nostalgia” is exactly as its headline suggests, with Sutorius whipping through nearly four minutes of vintage progressive house beside Krimsonn, who sets up “one of his favorite top-lines” that he’s ever done, to back at more optimistic pre-pandemic times.

Featured image: Rutger Geerling

The post Jeffrey Sutorius strides into solo era with ‘Nostalgia’ alongside Krimsonn on Revealed Recordings appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

New documentary on the history of UK rave out this month

The documentary will be released on 28th May

Martin Guttridge-Hewitt

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 – 12:09

A new documentary on the history of the UK rave is set to be released this month.

Directed by MOBO-nominated Hugo Jenkins, Better Days: The Story of UK Rave will be available through the streaming service from 28th May, and will explore 30 years of raving in Britain, spanning 1991’s Second Summer of Love through to concerns surrounding illegal gatherings during the pandemic, and questions about the future of the scene.

Artists and figures featured include veterans such as Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll, Colin Dale, Terry Farley and Luke Unabomber, alongside contemporary artists like Afrodeutsche, Prospa and TSHA. Past DJ Mag cover stars Denis Sulta and Sherelle also make appearances, as do a number of soundsystems, promoters and free party crews. The documentary also features a bespoke score by Overmono, alongside two exclusive cuts: Orbital ‘Chime’ (Special Request Remix) and Dance System ‘Better Days feat. Rush Davis’

Take a look at the trailer below. Better Days: The Story of UK Rave will be available via the Amazon Music App and YouTube channel from 28th May. 

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Freaky Deaky returns—SIDEPIECE, Excision, Galantis, deadmau5 and more to play 2021 event

Freaky Deaky returns—SIDEPIECE, Excision, Galantis, deadmau5 and more to play 2021 eventFreaky Deaky

Freaky Deaky is slated to make its return to Houston, Texas from October 29 – 30, with more than 50 artists including bass heavyweights Zeds Dead, Adventure Club, Excision, and Kayzo. SIDEPIECE, deadmau5, Green Velvet, Galantis, and Said The Sky are also featured on the multi-genre lineup, which comes complete with the promise of a Dirtybird stage takeover.

The 2020 iteration of the festival was supposed to see Disco Donnie Presents merge its two festival brands Ubbi Dubbi and Freaky Deaky for Ubbi Dubbi meets Freaky Deaky. After being one of the lone festival brands to keep the event on the calendar, organizers ultimately cancelled the event just months before the Halloween 2020 dates. However, fortunately for fans, much of the lineup for the festival’s 2021 installment remains intact.

Freaky Deaky’s 2021 revival marks the first year that organizer Disco Donnie Presents is offering camping on-site. In addition to festival tickets, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from different camping packages. Tickets are now on sale here.

Freaky Deaky returns—SIDEPIECE, Excision, Galantis, deadmau5 and more to play 2021 eventBabc04f0 Freaky Deaky 2021

Featured image: Rukes

The post Freaky Deaky returns—SIDEPIECE, Excision, Galantis, deadmau5 and more to play 2021 event appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

Blasterjaxx and Jonathan Mendelsohn clinch collaborative trilogy with ‘Make It Out Alive’

Blasterjaxx and Jonathan Mendelsohn clinch collaborative trilogy with ‘Make It Out Alive’Screen Shot 2021 05 04 At 5.50.34 PM

Looking back on both “Ghost in the Machine” and “Black Rose,” the producer-vocalist synergy between Blasterjaxx and Jonathan Mendelsohn had already woven itself airtight. After Blasterjaxx rung in an exhaustive decade as bigroom avant-gardes and Mendelsohn anchored Dancing Astronaut‘s March installation of Supernovas, the two sides decided to reunite for the first time since the former’s XX Files EP in 2017 to solidify a trinity of pair-ups with “Make It Out Alive.”

For their third loop around the collaborative track, Blasterjaxx and Mendelsohn made the call to swap out the charged trail of rip-roaring bigroom from their prior two connections and substitute it with what the duo properly labeled “beautiful progressive house.” “Make It Out Alive” made every second of the four-year intermission between meetings valuable as Blasterjaxx alley-oop an elated bedrock of vintage progressive house over to Mendelsohn, who pours on his impermeable carload of goosebump-inducing lyrics.

Featured image: Blasterjaxx/Instagram

The post Blasterjaxx and Jonathan Mendelsohn clinch collaborative trilogy with ‘Make It Out Alive’ appeared first on Dancing Astronaut.

Listen to a new posthumous single from A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg, ‘French Kiss Deux’

The track is the latest to be heard from the forthcoming album, Forever

Martin Guttridge-Hewitt

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 – 13:46

A new, posthumous single by A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg has dropped, ‘French Kiss Deux’. 

The track is the latest to be taken from a forthcoming album of solo work from the late rapper. ‘Forever’ will arrive this year, after being announced in late 2020 to mark what would have been the MC’s 50th birthday. In February the first track from the record, ‘Nutshell Pt.2’ was relesed, featuring verses by Busta Rhymes and Redman.  

Phife Dawg, also known as Five-Foot Assassin and born Malik Izaak Taylor, died in March 2016 following several years of ill health and problems linked to diabetes. A founding member of the iconic group, alongside Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed, A Tribe Called Quest have long been praised for their distinct and highly philosophical approach to beats and rhymes. 

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