That new MPC 2.10 update proves to be a big hit with users, packed full of features

New plug-ins – and vocal tuning – and USB class compliant audio devices? MPC 2.10 is winning over users of the standalone MPC range.

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After years of anticipation, the start of the standalone computer-style device was, frankly, a little rocky at its beginning. At launch with first Akai – and later, after a cancellation, disappearance, layoffs, and reemergence, Native Instruments – standalone boxes could feel a bit buggy and incomplete.

There’s something to be said for adopting a technology slowly, though, because if you were to pick up devices from either vendor now, I think you’d have a better experience. (I’ll deal with Maschine+ separately – I was skeptical with that, too, especially with the full computer experience still costing less, but it has also evolved including a big update this summer.)

Akai, for their part, are fully exploiting their head start. Yes, speaking of low, the news was last week, but what I can say is I’ve gotten to hear from a ton of devoted MPC users since then and they’re excited.

Here’s what’s included in the MPC update, and we absolutely better get an Akai and NI box ready for a comparison, because there are some interesting parallel evolutions. That doesn’t even require the two companies to pay attention to one another; they each have a stable of desktop software they can port, and they are each using similar Linux-based OSes.

So here’s what you get in 2.10, a lot coming from the AIR software suite – that’s Air Music Tech, the veteran German plug-in developers who went from being Wizoo to being part of Avid to being part of InMusic —

Maybe the best overview is Tubedigga (thanks to David Last for the tip), who in the crowded video landscape clearly explains workflow and how to use stuff:

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Four new plugin instruments: AIR’s Hype, Solina, Odyssey, and Mellotron. Hype is a bunch of instruments in one, actually, so covering a range of stuff from pianos to FM to wavetables. And that’s the WayOutWare Odyssey.

New AIR Vocal Insert Effect Suite w/ Automatic Vocal Tuning, AIR Doubler and AIR Harmonizer Plugin.

7 new Insert Effects plugins: Half Speed, Stutter, Diode Clipper, AIR Diffuser Delay, Granulator, Sample Delay, and AIR Limit.

USB Class Compliant audio interface support (need to ask them about whether that requires separate power).

10 New Drum Pad Effects including Ringmod, Bitcrush, Decimator and more.

New Sample Key Detection.

MPC Drum and Keygroup Engine Enhancements including Akai Pro Sample Tail, Dedicated Pitch Envelope, and Keygroup Portamento.

It’s funny, actually, how closely this lines up with Maschine+ – from some nice distortion (which I use a lot) to instruments (NI just added a polysynth to M+, too).

But then where these are very different is, the MPC workflow is not Maschine’s workflow – for better and for worse, but I suspect better for quite a few people. I am reasonably comfortable with Maschine, but you do hit points where it suddenly ceases to be intuitive. The MPC software is easier to look at visually and is structured a bit more like a conventional drum machine.

Of course, Maschine+ does support some really unique sound sources that only NI has. But NI doesn’t have anything to match those new vocal effects, either, which means they may have just ceded the singer market to Akai for the crucial buying season ahead.

Singers seem even more likely than other instrumentalists to want standalone hardware – not just for “DAWless” bragging rights, but because you just can’t really relax as a singer dealing with a computer and its unpredictable performance. So I think this is a very big deal, and I think a lot of singers are now production- and software-savvy enough that they’ve outgrown the kinds of standalone hardware historically sold to them.

Let me express my total bias here and hope this makes my Berlin neighbors at Native Instruments nervous enough to start working on how to make more Reaktor ensembles work in Maschine+ as that could bring new vocal effects.

Hey, maybe it’s because I hail from Kentucky, but I love nothing more than a good horse race.

Wait – plus there’s a new longshot that was a last-minute entry from gaming, the Steam Deck, so standalone Linux boxes are getting interesting. More on the others later this week, then.

Röyksopp ‘Melody A.M.’ vinyl sells for $8,450 on Discogs

A vinyl copy of Röyksopp’s seminal album, ‘Melody A.M.’, has sold for $8,450 on Discogs. 

Only 100 copies exist of the limited release version, which features cover art by Banksy and has consistently topped the official Discogs list of most expensive records bought on the marketplace, with a previous pressing bringing in $11,000, one of the most expensive purchases ever made on the platform. 

The album is the only electronic title to appear in the latest Top 30, for May 2021, which is dominated by rock, soul, and pop titles, including bands and artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Velvet Underground, Vondells, Motley Crue, and Metallica. 

Discogs reached a milestone earlier this year, with more than 500million releases catalogued on the database. Back in 2019, DJ Mag investigated the growing culture of ‘flipping’ records, where unscrupulous sellers use the website to inflate the cost of rare records. 

deadmau5, Lights return with alternate version of ‘When The Summer Dies’

deadmau5, Lights return with alternate version of ‘When The Summer Dies’Deadmau5 Dayofthedeadmau5 Leah Sems

Recently, deadmau5 and Lights rejoined forces for a welcomed follow-up to their 2018 collaboration, “Drama Free.” The pair relinked this summer for what was Initially released as an energetic and pop-oriented track, “When The Summer Dies,” which now now sees a slower, grooving alternate version.

The new version of the track falls into a more similar vein found in deadmau5 and Light’s first collaboration, while still making use of the original enthusiasm built into “When The Summer Dies’” original framework. Netting themselves another win on this new alternate remix, deadmau5 and Lights continue to prove to be one of dance music’s most complementary pairings, and something tells us this isn’t the last we’ve seen on these two together on a track.

Listen to deadmau5 and Lights’ new take on their collaboration, “When the Summer Dies,” below.

Featured image: Leah Sems

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Leaving Laurel announce debut album dedicated to Pierce Fulton with lead single, ‘Winter In The Woods’

Leaving Laurel announce debut album dedicated to Pierce Fulton with lead single, ‘Winter In The Woods’Leaving Laurel Instragram

Leaving Laurel has announced that their debut album will be released on August 20 via Anjunadeep. The self-titled LP is dedicated to founding member Pierce Fulton, who passed away earlier this year following a long struggle with mental health. Alongside news of the album, Leaving Laurel member Gordon Huntley and Pierce’s brother Grif shared a simple message: “It’s ok to not be ok.”

Additionally, Leaving Laurel has shared the new record’s first single “Winter In The Woods,” inspired by the duo’s time isolated in the New England woods of Connecticut and Vermont. The single first appeared on Anjunadeep 12 in February, 2021. Pre-orders of Leaving Laurel on vinyl are currently available.

Featured image: Leaving Laurel/Instagram

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Wax Motif, ALRT, and Nessly team up for new single ‘Hard Street’

Wax Motif, ALRT, and Nessly team up for new single ‘Hard Street’Wa Motif 1

Wax Motif, ALRT, and Nessly have teamed up for a thrumming bass-house single called “Hard Street.” The infectious beat pulls listeners in for a thrilling ride, making for a dance floor-rattler that’s bound to scoop up its fair share of setlist play at clubs all summer long.

Wax Motif has kept his foot on the gas in 2021, as he recently took over Dancing Astronaut‘s “HARDFest Selects” playlist in early July in order to gear up for his upcoming performance at HARD Summer. In June, Wax Motif teamed up with Jaxon Rose for “Thrills.”

Making his way into Dancing Astronaut‘s Artists to Watch in 2021 list, ALRT has also kept busy. In June, he released the single “Bring The Noise,” while in May he shared his song “Let Me Know.” March saw the release of his NRG, Vol. 2 EP, and the rising talent continues to make waves in the bass-house space. Listen to the pair’s new collaborative cut with Nessly, “Hard Street” below.

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UK festivals at risk of cancellation due to “pingdemic” staff shortages, AIF warns

UK festivals are at risk of having to cancel due to a so-called “pingdemic” according to the Association of Independent Festivals [AIF], with many in the industry calling on Government for additional support. 

Paul Reed, chief executive of AIF, believes the NHS COVID-19 smartphone app, which asks people to self-isolate when they have been in proximity with another registered user who went on to test positive for coronavirus, could cause major staff shortages and other resourcing issues as workers in the sector are ‘pinged’ and asked to quarantine for ten days. 

“We’ve already heard anecdotally accounts of marquee companies isolating at home because their entire team’s being pinged so they can’t actually get to the site,” Reed told The Guardian.“I’ve heard of site managers getting pinged, and obviously that’s work that you can’t switch to doing remotely.”

From 16th August rules in the UK change, meaning those who receive a proximity notification from the app will not have to self-isolate providing they have had two doses of an approved coronavirus vaccination. Crucially, though, Reed believes the date comes too late to safeguard many remaining events that have survived until this point, with more than half of all festivals originally planned for 2021 already cancelled. These include the recent announcement that Glastonbury’s proposed two-day event was being pulled. There are also concerns due to the young age of many workers meaning some may not have received full inoculation by that date. 

The AIF statement has been made following the first full weekend of events in England, the first country in the UK to green-light dancing and mass gatherings. Over the last few days, major dates including Tramlines in Sheffield and Latitude in Suffolk have all taken place, although the former did report staffing issues which were only overcome through contingency planning including beginning the site build days earlier than usual. 

“We understand the challenges live events have in securing indemnity cover and are exploring what further support may be required,” a spokesperson from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told The Guardian. 

Although hospitality and nightlife have now fully reopened in England, opinion remains divided on whether crowds should be allowed in the face of high infection rates across the nation. 

EST Gee is ‘Bigger Than Life Or Death’ on new album

Louisville, Kentucky’s EST Gee has shared a vital, raw new album called Bigger Than Life Or Death. Over top of 15 bristling tracks, the fast-rising rapper shares unfiltered stories of street life, accompanied by a set of grandiose instrumentals.

From the get-go, EST Gee’s sharply focused songwriting and raw vocal power are evident, as he kicks off the album with the ambitious “Riata Dada”. Here, we are introduced to Gee’s rugged sense of realism both sonically and lyrically, with a haunting instrumental and imposing, tireless vocals. He follows this up with “Make It Even”, a song strident in sound yet simultaneously catchy. This track features icy, whirling synths and rumbling bass that makes this instrumental feel deeply cathartic. Next, album highlight “5500 Degrees”, with Lil Baby, 42 Dugg, and Rylo Rodriguez comes in hot with a bouncy, bass-heavy instrumental that hits like a freight train. This track combines glitchy samples with buttery 808s to induce a truly intoxicating effect, blasting the listener with euphoria. Another album highlight follows in the title track, which contains menacing keys and heavy percussion that blends to create a strong foundation for his vital flow. 

The album’s most widely-known cut “Lick Back” ups the energy to electrifying levels with an atmospheric, intense instrumental that is centred around spacey synths and subtle, chilly keys. The urgency in Gee’s vocals on this track makes it enthralling, drawing one even further into the album’s feverish atmosphere. Moreover, “Capitol 1”  is a bone-chilling joint that combines abrasive synths, insidious keys, and head-banging drums to create a thrilling sound. He follows this up with “All I Know” featuring Pooh Shiesty, which is centred around epic strings and stirring keys. Finally, he closes the album out with “No Friends”, which takes on a more sentimental tone with nostalgic pianos and bittersweet vocal samples. This mood change is an appropriate way to end the record, giving it a more wistful send off while maintaining the grandiose sound of the rest of the album. 

Overall, Bigger Than Life Or Death is a vast, robust release from EST Gee, proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the current hip-hop landscape. Sonically, it bristles with energy and shows much ambition, making for an enthralling listening experience. It is quite evident that Gee is on his way to becoming an even more widely-known voice in hip-hop soon, as he encapsulates a truly immersive and engaging sound on this release. 

Connect with EST GeeSpotify | Instagram | Twitter

BandLab launches v10 with new sampler, free mastering

The cloud-based DAW recently reached 37 million active users…

Declan McGlynn

Monday, July 26, 2021 – 10:25

BandLab, the online DAW and music collaboration platform has announced version 10.0, the biggest update since 2015. BandLab 10.0 brings with it a new sampler that lets users select sounds from over 15,000 included, royalty-free sounds, or import their own. There’s also the usual sample editor to get creative with your sounds. 

BandLab has also updated and tweaked their free online mastering service, meaning it’s “10-times faster than the competition”. Users can upload their tracks directly in the browser and have their tracks mastered and downloaded for free. The algorithm behind the mastering has also been tweaked for better loudness response. 

Find out more about BandLab 10 and test out their mastering service here

On top of version 10, BandLab recently launched BandLab Sounds back in November, a free sample pack library service, where any users can download unlimited royalty-free sounds. Find out more about Sounds here.

AREA21 bring Drove for first album update on piano house spin of ‘La La La’

AREA21 bring Drove for first album update on piano house spin of ‘La La La’172985752 137641784986227 6116278610979826663 N 1

Looking back to April, Martin Garrix and Maejor’s AREA21 alter-ego made intergalactic contact with Earth for the first time in over two years, delivering the maiden preview of their currently untitled debut album. With three singles officially on the board as the clock ticks down towards the project’s fall-slotted arrival, AREA21 have brought in one of STMPD RCRDS‘ newest signees in Drove to revisit “La La La” in all its glory.

For their first of what assumedly will be numerous album reworks, Martin Garrix and Maejor wanted “La La La” to turn from its more experimentally leaning direction towards a proper four-on-the-floor account, and Drove were an ideal prospect. The trio’s spin follows its sophomore EP, Dawn, with the Dutchmen retooling Maejor’s vocals and priming AREA21’s first LP single with a piano house narrative to document that the alias’ sound can effortlessly be brought into any direction.

Featured image: AREA21/Instagram

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Sultan + Shepard refresh ‘Something, Everything’ with four-pack of This Never Happened remixes

Sultan + Shepard refresh ‘Something, Everything’ with four-pack of This Never Happened remixesScreen Shot 2021 07 25 At 10.00.48 PM

Sultan + Shepard‘s Something, Everything had already iced their standing at the roundtable of the year’s sharpest projects thus far, and the duo is now doubling down on the This Never Happened LP with a set of remixes that follows its appearance on the label’s five-year anniversary compilation.

Tapping in four different production minds, including the label helmer himself Lane 8, Giorgia Angiuli, GVN, and Keeno, Sultan + Shepard refresh their junior album just after the five-month mark of its initial unveiling. Something, Everything Remixed sees “nCTRL,” “Naama,” and “All That Remains” each entertain its own melodic house reawakening from the first three respective names, and Keeno comes in to round the EP out by applying a drum ‘n’ bass spin to the album’s ninth cut, “White Lies.” The Canadian brace shared a heartwarming message in tandem with the release of the album remixes, stating,

“Something, Everything” Remixes are out now! So honored to have these incredible artists remix our music! This album is very meaningful to us and we never know what we’re going to get when you send over stems to someone, but each of these artists really blew us away with what they came back with. Big thank you Lane 8, Giorgia Angiuli, GVN, and Keeno for being amazing and big thx to This Never Happened and Lane 8 for putting this together.”

Featured image: Sultan + Shepard/Instagram

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