A documentary about LGBTQI+ activism, centred on the world-famous Tbilisi club Bassiani, has now been released online.
‘Midnight Frontier’ was produced in 2019 by Peter van Langen. The film has already been screened at major events including ADE, and is now available to watch for free in a bid to raise awareness around worsening homophobia in Georgia.
From accounts of the notorious International Day Against Homophobia, which saw queer activists confronted and attacked by thousands of anti-gay protestors led by the Georgian Orthodox Church, to personal insights into what Bassiani represents to the community, the movie offers a rare insight into a venue renowned across the world for both music policy and politics.
van Langen also dedicated his Bachelor’s thesis to the inequalities and violence facing queer communities, and the resistance and sanctuary dance floors, clubs and raves can offer. ‘Last Dance’ traces this from 1970s New York, through to modern-day Tbilisi. You can read the full work online.
Bassiani was temporarily shut down by authorities in 2018 following armed police raids on the venue, which owners labelled as part of a wider right-wing “smear campaign”. While closed a series of large-scale protest raves were held outside the Georgian Parliament building demanding the venue be allowed to reopen. These events also feature in van Langen’s film.
Jlin has announced a new EP, ‘Embryo’, which will drop on 10th December via Planet Mu. You can hear the title track below.
Comprising four-tracks, the release marks a shift in direction for the producer, who veers into mutant techno territory with a retro-futurist undercurrent.
The first tune to be unveiled, ‘Embryo’, was originally written for Third Coast Percussion, a Chicago-based live ensemble, who will release their own version in May 2022 via Cedille Records.
Jlin said: “[The tracks were written as] exercises in trying to get out of my own head. I wrote all these pieces in between commissions and trying to stay afloat mentally.”
In 2019, Jlin was drafted to provide the score to ‘Songs Of The Lost‘, a video game created by Canadian designer Paloma Dawkins for Manchester International Festival. The same year she also collaborated with Holly Herndon on ‘Godmother‘, with music developed through an artificial intelligence programme.
“There’s so much talent on this record,” Snoop said in a statement. “So many styles of music, it breaks the algorithm. Right now, the algorithm is telling us you have to rap this way, you have to sound this way, but they’re not telling you how it’s supposed to feel. My algorithm is going to give you a feeling, not a sound.”
Earlier this month it was confirmed that Snoop — who also stars in the animated movie ‘Addams Family 2‘ — will join Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige as part of a five-strong team of artists performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.
Sometimes when it rains, it really pours. Acclaimed indie singer songwriter Hayley Sales just released her new single and visuals for “Lifeguard,” which is a shattering tale of love, loss, and friends turned foes. Best known for her vulnerable songwriting and retro-soaked aesthetic, Sales might be new to the music scene, but the acclaimed actress and musician is already making her talent well known, her last single “Never Before” being a collaboration with celebrated actress and legendary icon Sharon Stone.
In “Lifeguard,” Sales shares the heartbreaking narrative of the world literally crumbling at her fingertips. The songwriter confides that she wrote “from a place so thick with devastation I could barely breathe – a place where the only light I could see was kidnapped by the shards of a very shattered heart. Someone tells a rumor. It spreads with the fierceness of a wildfire and lights up the imagination of the entire city. For me, it’s a painfully true story. I lost my boyfriend of many years. I lost my home. I lost my friends. My reputation.” Painstakingly honest, deliberate, and dripping with deep-seated emotions, the result is a cathartic musical experience where a truth is released and untold stories are brought to light. Featuring angelic echoing vocals over a sweeping indie pop melody, the song pulls you in and doesn’t let you go, filling you with powerful emotions and feelings of despair. In the accompanying visuals, Sales is shown at a party where her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her in a cold and emotionless way. Then, to make matters even worse, her friends put eerie masks on, turning against Sales and shutting her out when she needs them the most. You get a feeling that Hayley Sales is being ambushed in the narrative, and the video ultimately leaves you with more questions than it does answers.
Hayley Sales is a singer-songwriter and actress from Toronto who is known for her fusion of indie pop with classical undertones. Her approach to songwriting feels nostalgic, effortless, and masterfully crafted to resonate with a wider audience. Aside from her musical career, Sales has appeared in films Deadool2, Stand, and Just For the Summer, as well as a lengthy list of television programs. She is currently on a UK tour with Rufus Wainright.
Watch and listen to “Lifeguard” for a tale of loss so deep it cannot be told with words.
Hardwell has teased fans that he will return to the live circuit soon with a surprise appearance at ADE in Amsterdam during his own Revealed Recordings showcase at Koepelkerk on Saturday 16th October.
A post to Instagram has since been shared, which begins with roster artist KAAZE giving the label boss an introduction: “This is not official yet, but he’s coming, he’s coming.”
The video then shows Hardwell enthusiastically jumping to the music, namely Ran-D’s hardstyle rework of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’, surrounded by friends and imprint artists.
“I fucking miss you guys so much,” Hardwell said, addressing the crowd. Watch some clips from the event below.
In early September this year, fans at a small party with Ran-D also spotted Hardwell on stage, igniting rumours of an impending comeback. The producer has been ‘on hiatus’ since 2018, when he took a break from touring.
In January, his longstanding radio show, Hardwell On Air, wound up after ten years of broadcasts and 500 shows, with a new Revealed Recordings 24/7 YouTube livestream launched as a replacement. The same month he also released a retrospective compilation of his best work, ‘The Story of Hardwell‘.
20 years ago next month, Microsoft’s Xbox console debuted – and there’s a story behind how it got its unique boot sound sequence. Call it this century’s first chip music composition / sonic branding feat.
The latest version of this tale comes from Xbox Design Team’s Brian Schmidt, who this week wrote up the process:
Everything that goes around comes around, in that there’s a fresh wave now of interest in revisiting that kind of sound technique on chips. (See, for instance, the latest Plogue stuff.)
Once it was booted up, of course, even that first-gen Xbox offered composers and sound designers power to spare. But while it was booting was another story – you’ve got 8 seconds and 25 Kilobytes of memory, so this amounted to a demoscene kind of task.
While the sound chips on systems from Sega and Nintendo are widely known, Microsoft had one in their console, too – from the unlikely vendor NVIDIA. (Yeah, the graphics NVIDIA.) That’d be the MCPX, a dedicated 256-voice sound chip with extra decode capabilities (via Dolby), plus a programmable filter and DAHDSR. Its alias: “SoundStorm.” And yeah, modders have gotten into its ROM.
In order to squeeze what would sound like full-quality audio out of this synth chip, the team had to give up 24-bit 48K sound and go distinctly lower-fidelity, calling up not only earlier game consoles but also the first digital samplers and wavetable instruments:
By downsampling the sounds to a horrifyingly low 6kHz sampling rate, I was able to squeeze the 3 very short sounds into the 25k: a thunder sound, a cannon attack and the attack portion of a glockenspiel. To increase the high end of the low-fidelity samples, I wrote some code to resample them to 48Khz, and deliberately distort them via clipping, which sort of worked. I was also able to create a 4th wave: ‘reverse thunder’ by using code to reverse the thunder sound in memory. You can hear the reverse thunder as part of the lead-in to the big green flash about 6 seconds in.
The whole article is a great read, even if you’re not a Halo superfan or something – as it might also make you go experiment with digital samples or livecoding and other tricks.
There’s a video on the topic, too, also featuring Brian. Enjoy:
Bedroom producer-turned-headlining artist Louis Futon recently graced the main stage at Levitate Events’ first-ever installment of High Ground Music and Arts Festival in Denver, Colorado. Billed alongside Snakehips, Kasbo, and Chet Porter, Louis sat down with Dancing Astronaut prior to his set to discuss new music and his thrilling return to live performing. Before his momentous return to Denver, the indie talent showcased his live set at Goldrush Music Festival in Arizona. Gleamingly, Louis remarked,
“[Goldrush] was great! It was my first show post-pandemic. My last show before COVID-19 was in Arizona, and my first show back also happened to be in Arizona. It was kind of like this full-circle moment.”
The last time the young producer played a show that size was at Red Rocks Amphitheater when he opened for GRiZ. Now, back in picturesque Colorado, Louis Futon would cement himself as one of the first headliners at High Ground Festival, located in Denver’s scenic Levitt Pavilion.
“Denver is one of my favorite places to play in the world,” Louis emphasized. “I feel like the crowd just really gets it here…Denver’s different in that you walk down the street in any other city in the US and they’re blasting top 40 music outside the bar. But when you walk past a bar in Denver, they’re cranking like GRiZ, Big Gigantic, you know, just good music. I feel like the people here definitely get it.”
On the heels of dispatching his soul-funk album single, “Ron Burgundy,” Sir Futon expounded on the looming release of his sophomore LP, Couch Surfing. He told Dancing Astronaut,
“Couch Surfing, in itself and away from music, is kind of unexpected, right? Every day is different. You’re at a different house, at a different homies’ crib, and you don’t really know what to expect. I feel like I’ve been that way with my music. Every day I get in the studio, I have no idea what I’m going to make. And with this project, I’ve found a way to tie everything together.”
The burgeoning artist spent eight months “couch surfing” upon moving to Los Angeles. Thankful to those who put him up and who “put up with [him],” he joked, “it really gave [him] time to figure out his shit. And this album is kind of like that experience.”
Couch Surfing consists of 18 tracks and notably features some of Louis’ longtime friends and fellow musicians. Saxophonist and flutist Hailey Niswanger and trumpeter Ariel Shrum both joined Futon onstage at High Ground Festival. The album is officially due November 12, but until then, listeners can get a taste of Couch Surfing by streaming Louis Futon’s latest single, “Ron Burgundy,” below.
Back in the early 2010’s, Chee—real name Lesego Mlangeni—was walking down the street after school with his friend Jon Casey when he first discovered bass music. Both artists were in eighth grade at the time, and Skrillex was riding high. While bass music itself was not extraordinarily popular in South Africa, from which the two artists hail, they were able to discover the sound due to a passing car that was blasting it through its speakers.
“I looked at Jon and we were just like, ‘we have to follow that sound.’ And we’re just walking, following the sub. And it’s this ghetto car with this guy playing dubstep in his trunk with 20 subs in there,” Chee reflected.
The moment served as a catalyst for them to move to the United States and later become some of the most talented rising stars in bass music. With his new collaboration with Tsuruda—”Trailblazer,” which arrives via Deadbeats—Chee is showing just how prominently he’s making waves.
Marked more as a “producer’s producer” due to his experimentation in sound design, Chee’s artistic signature finds him dabbling in darker atmospheres influenced by the cold weather. Rather than returning to South Africa when the pandemic first began, Mlangeni hunkered down in Philadelphia, writing new music every day.
“I was writing a lot of dark music at the time, but honestly, everything I write is pretty dark, so it doesn’t really make a difference,” he explained.
“It’s such a playground,” Mlangeni added of creating music. “I can do whatever I want. You know, I can open Ableton and throw this there and there and there. I try to take advantage of that as much as I can, you know, and I think that’s where all the weirdness comes from.”
He laughs at the sentiment that his sound caters more to other producers and also at their capacity to “nerd out” over how different plugins work and the different sounds that can be created. “Sometimes I’ll come across a producer who knows their shit like, to the fucking T. and they start asking stuff like the exact frequency it takes to play a specific note. And I’m like, ‘I only like doing this because it makes it go ‘bruhlbruhlburhl’ or whatever.’” But Chee stands firm that he will not play it safe when it comes to crafting his own sound.
With live music kicking back up, Chee has gone back to a steady touring schedule. Although the artist had already performed a few shows before joining Zeds Dead for their annual Deadrocks event, he “was shaking.”
“I was trying so hard to just stand still,” he said. But, he’s managed to return to a routine that sees him traveling consistently alongside Tsuruda for their “Trailblazer” tour. The shows see both artists taking to the stage for their own sets, with a 30-minute back-to-back that closes out the show.
Calling in from his apartment in Philadelphia, Chee spent an evening chatting with Dancing Astronaut about his new collaboration, the tour he and Tsuruda are in the midst of, how he’s evolved his sound, and more. Read the Q&A that resulted below.
What initially inspired this collaboration?
Chee: “So this track was actually called ‘Hollow Bastard.’ That was the initial project name. And I was going through this process in quarantine where I was writing a track a day because, you know, you’re stuck inside the house and it’s really not much for you to do. It was kind of a challenge I wanted to do for myself. And this song was very inspired by Madlib and J Dilla, like really old-school hip-hop beats, obviously with a little bit of an electronic twist.
Thomas [Tsuruda] and I have been friends now for almost four years, five years? And he’s always been a massive inspiration for me and is one of the people I enjoy collaborating with because we both listen to the same music. We both execute a lot of ideas and sound design in a very similar way. So I was chatting with him on Discord and we just thought, ‘Hey, we should write some music. It’s been a while.’ Cause we have a bunch of collabs we’ve worked on. And I sent this over to him on Discord and we worked on it in quarantine. We weren’t really in the same room, and I much rather like collaborating in the same space as another person. Online collaborations are weird.”
What influenced the change in title?
Chee: “I guess when I sent him the project file it was ‘Hollow Bastard’ and he sent me the project back and it was called something else. And I was like, ‘well, we’re not using ‘Hollow Bastard’ anymore, I guess.’ But also the track name was going to be what sets the tone for the tour as well, and I don’t know if it would have been a good idea to have the word ‘bastard’ on a tour. I feel like if people had to see that on a flyer, they’d think ‘Hollow Bastard’ might be a punk band. ‘Let’s go check it out!’ And then they’d just get disappointed by hearing a bunch of beep boop noises and bass.
I feel like ‘Trailblazer’ was the perfect word because we’re both artists that stand for honest bass music, just not compromising and trying to pioneer a new sound, you know? And I have notes where I keep a whole bunch of track names. There’s something about naming songs or projects that just gets me even more excited because I can start taking the art direction in a way that represents the track name. Sometimes the name just helps with the art.”
You mentioned that you couldn’t work on the track in the same room due to COVID-19. How did you adjust your process in order to comply with that?
Chee: “The process is just like in the studio, just writing beats. And I didn’t really have it in mind to send to Thomas, but you know, when the idea of collaborating came up, I went through all my project files and I was like, ‘wait a minute, I’m going to try and find something we can both resonate on.’ This project had a Madlib influence, and Madlib is also one of Thomas’ favorite producers as well. I think I just sent him the project file through Discord and he just whipped it out. He made it like in a week and he sent it back to me and I was like, ‘holy, what the hell?’ And that’s kind of the unfortunate thing about not being able to collaborate in the same room because you can’t really see the process, but because we were sharing the same project file, I could analyze what he’s done on his end.
And it’s kind of one of the beauties of collaborating with artists. You learn so much more than what you’re familiar with. One of the best ways to grow as an artist is collaborating with other artists, and I feel like this is something we’ve all done as a species; we’ve collaborated. We’ve referenced. Everything is also a copy of something, you know? I don’t mean that in the sense of people stealing, but rather people copying out of inspiration and stuff like that.
So I guess [‘Trailblazer’] was the whole back and forth thing, and this was a couple of months ago. This was almost a year ago when we worked on this song. And only recently, when we decided to go on tour together, it was like, ‘I need to finish this song,” and I finished it a month ago.”
So it’s been a long time coming.
Chee: “It has been, it has been. We have like four or five songs that we’ve worked on and this one just kind of stood out.”
Is there any possibility that you might release some of your other collaborations?
Chee: “There might be a possibility. Honestly, I’d be totally down with that. We don’t really have another song that we’re planning to release—at least, not yet. I’m going to see him and we’re probably going to talk about it and be like, ‘Hey, should we put out some of these other things that we’ve worked on?’ So the chances are slim of releasing something while on tour, or at least this run that we’re doing in October and November, but the chances of us releasing more music together are very high. We’ll probably release a bunch of other stuff in the future.”
What was your inspiration for first creating this track way back when it was still “Hollow Bastard,” when it first started?
Chee: “Just the really dark, depressing weather in Philadelphia and the state of the world just felt hollow in general. I was writing a lot of dark music at the time. I mean, honestly, everything I write is pretty dark, so it doesn’t really make a difference.
Tsuruda was actually like my inspiration writing this. I’ve known him for four years, but I’ve been listening to his music for six, maybe seven years since I was in South Africa. The first song I heard of his was ‘Too Much Lean,’ and I heard this beat and I remember just dropping the mop. I was like cleaning the house and I heard this beat on a mix and I just dropped it and was like, ‘what the fuck is this!?’ And this music like changed my life. So I feel like it’s kind of something that’s stuck at the back of my head. Every time I write anything hip-hop oriented, Tsuruda is definitely one of my inspirations.”
Do you guys have anything special planned for this tour?
Chee: “So [Tsuruda] has a lot of rap beats that he’s been playing out under his other project, and as far as that goes, I know he’s just playing a lot of new unreleased music that the world has still yet to hear. We’re both on the same tip where we’ve been writing music every day almost, and every time our sets constantly change. There’s a very slim chance that two stops are going to have the exact same set. I’m also creating visuals in the process of doing this tour, so when it goes on, the visuals and the music are going to change up. At the end of every show, we both have a 30-minute back-to-back that we’re going to do. So that’s something fun.”
What about this tour are you really excited about?
Chee: “Just being able to tour with Thomas is exciting, because he’s a good friend, but it’s also an honor because I look up to him. Our first show was in Arcata, California. I was watching his whole set and I was mind blown that I get to tour with someone that I look up to. Every single song he was playing I was like, ‘what the fuck? What? What? What’s this? Bro? What the fuck dude, chill out.’ You can only take in so much energy, you know?”
You mentioned that you’ve been creating darker tracks over the course of the pandemic, even more so than usual. Do you think that there may be some kind of lightness as we come out of it?
Chee: “Oh, 100%. I’ve actually been dabbling a lot in music theory. I’ve been trying to take the time. One of the reasons I write a lot of dark music is because of my lack of music theory. It’s not that you need music theory to write music, but it does really help expand beyond dark sound design. You can tell stories. You can be very emotional and connect with people a lot more with stuff like that.”
Do you think you’d do a tour around South Africa once the pandemic is over and the borders reopen?
Chee: “I really do. I definitely want to do a tour back in South Africa. Like once everything is done, it’s one of my bucket list things to play all the festivals I’ve dreamed of playing, but like somewhat headlining them in South Africa. I feel like it will be super cool. Just meeting up with some of my old friends and going on tour with them, like them joining in and just being like, ‘we’re gonna go on the road. We’re going to go to Rocking the Daisies. We’re gonna go to Africa Burn. Like everything, together.’ That will be really cool. It’d be nice to play music in Mozambique, Nigeria, and Zambia.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Chee: “Sometimes when I write music, a lot of the time I think I need to resonate with myself. What childhood trauma can I reflect on this track? Stuff might get all deep, but then there’s certain songs that I’m just like, I want this to bang. I want this to slap. This is just the bopper. And I feel like this song is a blend of being a banger and something that represents a certain darkness to it.
I think both myself and Truruda, when we approach writing these speeds, it’s more so about honesty. I feel like that’s how we should all write music. We truly feel there’s a lot of music out there that is being made for the purpose of feeding into the algorithm or the industry, and because of that, so much stuff gets diluted. It’s weird that it’s normal for us to be concerned when an artist doesn’t release music for a year or two.”
The 2022 Grammy Awards show will use an inclusion rider to “ensure equity and inclusion at every level,” the Recording Academy announced on October 19, in a move that makes the awards show the first of its scale to implement an inclusion rider. Introduced in 2014 by Stacy L. Smith, a professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, “inclusion rider” is a term that has become increasingly known after Frances McDormand said it during her 2018 Academy Awards acceptance speech.
An inclusion rider is a provision that requires a certain level of diversity. The Recording Academy’s inclusion rider will see the organization partner with Color of Change to support the inclusion of “those who have been and continue to be under-represented,” according to a statement from the Recording Academy. Speaking on the new inclusion rider, Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said,
“I am proud that the Academy is leading the charge in releasing an inclusion rider for the music community that counters systematic bias.”
Kalpana Kotagal (partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll), Fanshen Cox (production and development executive at Pearl Street Films), Valeisha Butterfield Jones (co-president at the Recording Academy), and Allie-Ryan Butler (founding director at Warner Music) helped put together the inclusion rider for the 2022 Grammys. Rashad Robinson, Color Of Change’s president, remarked,
“With the inclusion rider, Color Of Change and the Recording Academy are working to change the rules that have enabled systemic discrimination in the music business for far too long.”
The 2022 Grammys aims to acknowledge those who have been underrepresented in music, including Black Americans, Indigenous people, Asian American & Pacific Islanders, and other Non-Black people of color, as well as women, people with disabilities, those over the age of 40, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and more. The inclusion rider states,
“The Recording Academy recognizes that it has an opportunity improve hiring practices for the productions and events in which it is involved, and thereby seeks to deepen diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by taking affirmative measures to consider diverse applicant pools, hire qualified individuals from under-represented backgrounds, and to hold itself accountable by gathering and reporting information and making meaningful contributions to support the hiring of people from under-represented backgrounds.”
Featured image: MJ Photos/REX/Shutterstock (9336009e)
Chris Schambacher is showcasing his progressive nobility with his Anjunabeats debut, “For Your Love.” In January, Above & Beyond‘s storied record label initiated its commitment to promoting emerging talent in the trance and progressive scene with its Anjunabeats Rising imprint. Now, the Dallas-based producer graces the 10th installment, which also includes productions from Euphoric Nation, Apollo Nash, Michael Fearon, and Lya Adams.
“For Your Love” voyages through deep, dark, and progressive house grooves as the vocal-infused track extends towards a cathartic soundscape of unparalleled ambience and liberating melodies. The compilation’s enclosing single has garnered support from the likes of Cosmic Gate and Ferry Corsten as Anjunabeats Rising Volume 10 seals yet another ethereal selection of next-level talent who gallantly bring something new to the table. Stream Anjunabeats Rising Volume 10 below.
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