New York clubs lift required COVID-19 vaccine or negative test proof for entry

New York nightclubs with a capacity of 5,000 or under are no longer required to ask for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that almost all lockdown restrictions were being lifted in the area due to the high levels of vaccination uptake. 70% of New York residents aged 18 and over have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine already.

“What New York has done is extraordinary,” Cuomo is quoted as saying last week. “Not only do we have the lowest COVID positivity rate in the United States of America, we have hit 70% vaccination ahead of schedule. We successfully deployed the weapon that will win the war, and New York led the nation.”

Some restrictions are still in place for large-scale indoor events, which have a capacity of 5,000 people or more. Proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test are still requirements for entry to these events and mean that those in attendance are still not required to do social distancing or wear masks inside.

Venues in New York begun to gradually reopen at full capacity from last month, provided those in attendance were fully vaccinated. The city led the way in introducing digital and physical vaccine passports in order to allow venues to reopen and people to attend events again. 

NERVO take us to the ‘Basement’ with Toolroom Records debut

NERVO take us to the ‘Basement’ with Toolroom Records debutNervo Press

NERVO pay homage to the UK’s underground sound with their new, festive house single titled “Basement.” The twin sister DJ duo make their debut on Mark Knight‘s esteemed Toolroom Records, as the vocal club-ready tune follows up on their recent 2021 releases such as “Pickle” featuring Tinie Tempah and Paris Hilton as well as “Gotta Be You” featuring Carla Monroe.

“Basement” channels the classic 90s piano house groove that Toolroom has long celebrated, as the single touts hip-shaking rhythms, catchy lyrics, and infectious vocals set to soundtrack club nights all summer long. The Australian beatmakers not only highlight their veteran production capabilities as one of the most robust acts in dance music, but showcase a respectful reverence for the genre and its underground roots on “Basement.”

Featured imaged: Getty Images

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Ghastly’s ‘The OG’ EP is a quartet of hardstyle gems

Ghastly’s ‘The OG’ EP is a quartet of hardstyle gemsGhastly Maybelline Commercial Hard Summer 2018 Rukes

Ghastly‘s threads a cohesive theme through the tracklist of his new EP, The OG. Distributed by Kannibalen Records, The OG marks the Prodigy signee’s first multi-track project since his independently-released 2018 record, The Mystifying Oracle. Ultimately, the Arizona-native’s latest is a product of the pandemic and a tribute to his deceased pet lizard. Says Ghastly,

“I wrote ‘The OG’ in the middle of the pandemic as a return to having fun and being carefree again and also as an ode to my pet chameleon that had passed away because I wrote it while he was hanging out on my head and he truly was an OG.”

The bass-heavy EP doubled in size on its June 16 release date, adding “Octopussy” and “Creep It Real” into the mix. Ghastly first dispatched the title track, “THE OG,” on April 20, just ahead of his festival comeback set at Ubbi Dubbi. Since then, the low-end talent has been locking in a bevy of gigs, having just returned from headlining a sold out show in Las Vegas.

Quite the lizard tribute—stream The OG in full below.

Featured image: Rukes

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New underground music station, BAIHUI 百会, launches in Beijing

The station has been launched by DJs Slowcook and Knopha among others

Christian Eede

Monday, June 21, 2021 – 18:05

A new independent radio station, BAIHUI 百会, has launched in Beijing.

The project of DJs Slowcook and Knopha, as well as some other Beijing-based friends, the station will focus on underground electronic music. It takes its name from the acupuncture point at the top of one’s head, with a press release relating this to the station being a “meeting point for expression, a central crossing to which music fans can open their minds to new sounds”.

BAIHUI 百会 launched yesterday (Sunday, June 20th), and can be listened to via the station’s website.

Find more information via Slowcook’s post below.

Listen to Slowcook’s recent contribution to DJ Mag’s Fresh Kicks mix series here.

Gorgon City and Jem Cooke set ‘Dreams’ free as the final ‘Olympia’ preview

Gorgon City and Jem Cooke set ‘Dreams’ free as the final ‘Olympia’ previewScreen Shot 2021 06 21 At 3.45.38 PM

With the Olympia countdown now falling just under the five-day mark, Gorgon City decided to let go of one final preview of their forthcoming junior album, which is set to arrive on Friday, June 25. When assembling our catalog of the most-anticipated IDs of 2021, it was a complete toss up when choosing between either “You’ve Done Enough” with DRAMA or “Dreams” with Jem Cooke from the duo’s first virtual appearance for Defected Records in April of 2020. Although we ended up siding with the former, it didn’t mean that the excitement for “Dreams” had waned in the slightest, and it’s now finally arrived as the seventh piece out of Gorgon City’s 18-part LP.

A sizable portion of Gorgon City followers initially learned of “Dreams” when the brace stepped into an empty Printworks club on New Year’s Eve for their unforgettable digital showing that capped off the year. Debatably the single most-desired Olympia original still left on the board (in terms the tracks we already know about), “Dreams” is yet another sublime accessory to the Olympia roster, interlacing Gorgon City’s keen house sensibilities together with Jem Cooke’s unfailingly divine vocal backing.

Listen to “Dreams” in full below and see the complete Olympia tracklist here.

Featured image: Gorgon City/Instagram

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10,000 people attend UK festival pilot without masks or social distancing

Over the past weekend, 10,000 people attended a UK festival pilot event without masks or social distancing.

The organiser of Download Festival said the event was “100% evidence” that large-scale music events can take place safely amid the pandemic. Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, which staged the event, hailed the compliance of many of those in attendance with testing requirements, as scientists and the UK government hoped to use data from the event ahead of the planned full relaxation of social distancing measures next month.

In-keeping with the Great British festival summer, the pilot event, which saw Download’s usual capacity of 111,000 heavily reduced, was subject to some heavy rain. It took place across Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the past weekend.

Benn is quoted by the PA news agency as saying: “It’s extraordinary really. It’s really fantastic. I am very heart-warmed by it all. 

“What is extraordinary about it is the level of compliance around the testing and requirements we have. In a way that you would expect when you are in the middle or towards the tail end of a pandemic, that level of compliance is extraordinary.”

Asked about the idea that it remains impossible for large-scale music events to go ahead and be COVID-secure, he said: “It is evidence that this is not true. It is 100% evidence that it is not true. This is a very clear demonstration that you can do it.

“In fairness, the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) are on board with the message which is that these things can happen and they can happen safely.

“What we want from Download is data that scientists can analyse that will effectively reinforce that position, and that data is being gathered and I am certain it will do just that.”

News of the pilot festival first emerged late last month. It followed on from a number of pilot events taking place in Liverpool across April.

VS Visual Synthesizer responds to your music, with shader and layer powers (Mac, Windows, iOS)

VS from Imaginando could be the visual synth you’ve been waiting for, thanks to a ton of layer and shader features that make it playable like a synthesizer.

VS – Visual Synthesizer quietly debuted last week; I’ve just started testing it. (You can, too, thanks to a generous unlimited trial on the desktop version – only patch save/recall is disabled.)

But while there have been a lot of takes on the visual synth / animation – reactive – VJ – music visualization tool before, this one does have some fresh features. And from the music perspective, maybe what makes it most compelling is that it treats its visual elements like musical voices.

Portuguese developer Imaginando – whose work we’ve covered before – goes full on with the one-to-one relationship between musical elements and their visual counterparts. The underlying engine begins with shader-based materials and multiple layers. Each layer also has “voices” that are “polyphonic”; each note you play can produce visual materials.

Now, that could mean you directly visualize all your musical elements, but it could also mean you just treat VS like another synth and play it to add visuals as you choose. That concept has a long, long tradition, from the ArKaos VJ interface of the 90s to the light organs built a century ago by composer Scriabin. (I know; you can go check them out in his flat!)

Nuno the developer has built a really terrific, minimalistic UI. What I love about this is, great as doing a lot of patching and coding can be, here you can really dive in and play directly with parameters and get expressive. It’s more like playing with a desktop synth, but for visuals – and therefore no less limited in its possibilities.

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Through the 12th of July, the software is 50% off – 49.50 EUR for desktop or 10.99 EUR on iOS.

There’s a decent architecture here:

  • 8 polyphonic visual layers
  • 4 voices per layer
  • 50 built-in materials
  • 1 background layer with solid color/image/video (no modulations)
  • 4 LFOs
  • 2 envelope generators
  • 4 Dual-mode audio input as modulators (peak and band)
50 material presets are available to get you started.

The licensing model is novel, too. You can try the desktop version for free (iOS is paid only, but talk to Apple about that). 5 computers are included per desktop license. You can pay upfront, or use monthly payments you can pause.

All the Imaginando stuff is great; see also the DRC polysynth and FRMS granular synth.

Go read this amazing story on the design of the Roland JUNO oscillators

What makes the Roland JUNO oscillators special? Engineer Thea Flowers has written a lucid, deep article for beginners and electronics experts alike, complete with animated illustrations and clear prose.

So this article actually came out at the end of last year, but somehow lost in a midwinter fog I didn’t properly share it and it is – deservedly – making the rounds again.

The Design of the Roland Juno oscillators []

This is definitely how to write an article. Thea aka Stargirl Flowers walks through the history and basics of the Juno-60/106 oscillators and architecture, then goes into each precise design detail. If you do know your stuff, it’s a deeply enlightening read, but even if you don’t, you’ll get a basic course in ramp generators, circuits, and sound. It’s great to know as a Juno player, but also generally if you’re messing around with modular synthesis in software or hardware.

This story does not plug the author’s module, so let’s do it here. The Winterbloom Castor & Pollux is a Juno-inspired oscillator in Eurorack form. It gives you twin digitally-controlled analog oscillators in a module, plus an internal LFO you can use to modulate pitch. Tons of smart knobs and patch points and an elegant design for US$279:

And the online documentation is equally inspiring:

Oh, plus Thea made an open source synth inspired by the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive.

YM2612 Registers

Consider us inspired, Thea! Uh… yeah, like maybe I have to go back and write some better documentation!

Vocal Morphs PRO Lets You Combine & Morph Playable Vocal Performances

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Rast Sound has introduced Vocal Morphs PRO, a new Kontakt instrument that lets you combine, morph and play vocal performances.

The engine is designed to let you create a unique vocal sound, with thousands of sustain, plucked and phrase combinations.


  • Thousands of Playable Morph Combinations
  • 500+ Vocal Samples
  • 750 MB Unzipped for Kontakt & WAV
  • Playable Solo Instruments for Kontakt (full ver. 5.8+)

Pricing and Availability

Vocal Morphs PRO is available now for €39.00.

Free Melodic House Drum Kit

BVKER let us know that they’ve teamed up with the producer trio Diode Eins to release a free Melodic House / Techno sample pack, Golden Hour.

The free House drum kit features drum shots, loops, and bonus material taken from Diode Eins‘s latest album Golden Hour.

The kit comes with 43 drum one-shots, along with a collection of BPM-labeled drum loops. It also features melodic elements, including chords, pads, and bass loops. Everything is labeled by BPM and key, and 100% royalty-free.

Finally, the kit includes a collection of of risers, sweep ups, sweep downs, atmosphere sounds, FX one-shots, and melodic effects.

BVKER says that the sounds are “perfectly suitable for Melodic House & Techno, Deep House, Progressive House, or other types of EDM.”


  • 43 Drum Shots
  • 44 Drum Loops
  • 20 Melodic Loops
  • 5 Tonal Shots
  • 53 FX Elements

Golden Hour is available now as a free download. Note: Creating an account is required to download.