LCY, Scratcha DVA and Folamour have also joined the roster for December to the end of February
Monday, November 29, 2021 – 15:08
BBC Radio 1 has announced the next roster of DJs set to take over the station’s long-running Residency slot.
Having updated the format of the slot in September, with two DJs now hosting four one-hour long radio shows each per month, the next run of residencies will kick off this Thursday (2nd December). Hyperdub affiliate and DJ Mag Best of British Best Producer nominee Scratcha DVA and Palestinian techno DJ and recent DJ Mag cover star Sama’ Abdulhadi will host four weekly shows each through December.
From 6th to 27th January, Folamour and Or:la will take over the slot, while Goldie and LCY will take over from 3rd to 24th February.
Residency shows will air on Thursday nights from 11pm until 1am GMT on BBC Radio 1, and will be available to listen back to via the BBC website
The next run of residents will take the torch from India Jordan, Todd Edwards, Kampire, Shygirl, Ela Minus and Maya Jane Coles.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.
The “Wild Side” remix features a crisp, buoyant beat and honed synthwork that is specific to Kaytranada’s sonic fluidity. Fans have been reeling over the recently debuted remix on Twitter since mid-October after the BUBBA producer mixed the track into his set while touring. Listen to the completed version of the remix below.
The first tune, ‘Zatōichi’, has already dropped and is inspired by Japanese Yakuza movies
Monday, November 29, 2021 – 15:27
GAIKA has announced a new A/V installation and soundtrack, ‘War Island’, with the first track, ‘Zatōichi’, available to listen to now
The installation has already launched at London’s ICA, where it will remain until the full soundtrack lands in January via TSE. The inaugural tune sees the artist cast himself as the narrator of a film that doesn’t exist yet, with a heavy influence from the blood and brutality of Japanese Yakuza movies, not least John Woo’s 1986 landmark, ‘A Better Tomorrow’ and the eponymous ‘Zatōichi’, a 2003 film by Takeshi Kitano.
Described as layering “GAIKA’s laconic spoken delivery over a lush cinematic grit”, the project has been made with input from regular collaborators AArt and Endless Felix Lee. In September, Nine Nights — the collective comprising GAIKA, GLOR1A, Zara Truss-Giles, and Shannen SP — revealed another exhibition at the ICA, ‘Channel B’. Meanwhile, in 2020 GAIKA presented ‘A New Dawn — The Era Of Reclamation‘, which addressed London members club and homelessness charity The House of Barnabas’ links to slavery.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.
Amazon has a surprising sale on Roland and Novation drum machines, among others. Here are some top picks.
The big surprise comes from some of my favorite Roland boxes, if you’ve been following CDM this year. Heck, I don’t have the TR-06 and kinda want one thanks to its trigger ins, so I may cause myself some temptation here.
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Roland’s TR-06was arguably the company’s best little box this year. It has the sound of the 606, easy, but thanks to Roland going digital it still runs on batteries on the go. And they added all the modern niceties you’d want – USB in/out of both MIDI and audio, an updated sequencer with shuffle and substeps, plus five trigger outputs and one trigger input. That last bit makes it workable as a compact bridge with your other gear.
US$299 moves it into that must-have territory. I know plenty people who got one this year and have been really happy with it, too.
But then again, we just read this on the Amazon product reviews and – wow. I think I can quit writing about music tech, because I can’t top this.
“As far as other uses than a drum machine I didn’t really see the purpose of this machine. IMO its not suited for making much else than drum patterns (which it does well)”
Yeah, it’s useless as a drum machine other than being a drum machine, so probably don’t buy it and move on. I retract my recommendation.
The Roland TR-6S is the pint-sized version of the TR-8S – same engine, just in a shrunken form factor (not to be confused with MC-101, which is based on the MC-707). I love my 8S enough that I’d almost consider this as a second version to keep with me everywhere. US$349.
Otamatone Deluxe is US$63.59 in white which is about the best price I’ve seen on it outside Japan. This is the large-sized model, which is the easiest to play. I love my smaller one – the weirdly simple interface and oscillator with a formant filter that comes from physically squeezing its cheeks is irresistible. This model also gives you a proper audio jack and a big volume knob. Yeah, I want one. You think Eurorack is an addiction? Try cute Japanese eighth note characters.
It is honestly hard to decide between the Novation Circuit Tracks and Circuit Rhythm. They’re both great; they both have features that are nearly identical. So here, now it’s easy – Novation Circuit Rhythm, the sampler one, is $299, as opposed to $385-399 for the Tracks. Fine, that solves that.
Novation also gives you a lot of options on its Launchpad line. It seems Amazon has all the keyboards on sale, but I especially like the Novation Launchpad X for $169. That model is pretty perfect as far as balance – compact and light, but still with RGB pads and velocity sensitivity. It’s sort of the ideal grid when the Push is too complex or too heavy (or both). And I wrote a guide to hacking it – which is really easy, thanks to its simplicity:
Shure SM57Bremains the best podcasting/voiceover mic out there, and it’s rarely, rarely on sale anywhere. Here it’s $359.
I’ve been using Roland’s video switchers and mixers for about 20 years now. The V-02HD for $350 is pretty compelling if you just want some simple audio/HDMI management. Sure, Blackmagic’s ATEM series can do more, but I’d seriously consider this one for the low price and physical controls (and switch to Blackmagic for its recording capabilities on the higher-end models as the upgrade – plus you might find a use for each, especially at these prices).
It’s just got that dead-simple design that always made us use Roland (originally Edirol when the company sold under that moniker) here and there.
Jeez, I should have set up a ‘gift’ account as I could use a couple of these.
If you just need to plug in some extra storage, there’s the SanDisk 512GB Extreme PRO USB stick, $84.99 for Cyber Monday. Now, I love this thing – even the 128GB model I got feels luxurious (check the prices on the others, too). 420 MB/second transfer means it behaves almost like an SSD. It has a retractable design so you protect the USB A port, but it feels way, way more rugged than other SanDisk stuff. The trick is, for maximum compatibility you’ll want to reformat to FAT32. Do that, and miracle of miracles, the thing works with CDJs. (The 512 I haven’t tried personally, but I think the same trick functions.) The advantage there is, you have one USB stick with all your music on it, for home listening or DJing, either way. (Mine is basically formatted to Rekordbox and then used with my players of choice on macOS, Windows, and Linux – uh, Vox, AIMP, and whatever I happen to be using at the moment, respectively.)
Trying to navigate even SanDisk’s product naming will give you a headache, let alone their competitors, but the ones I highlight here are verifiable as the most reliable options (YMMV).
It also works with NI’s Maschine+ standalone hardware, as I’ve verified with the engineers, along with the drive I mention below. And actually, the stick would have been the lifesaver purchase of the year, if I didn’t get –
SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is now available at $119.99 – not technically a Cyber Monday deal, but a very competitive price. That’s the new-generation model with up to 1050 MB/s transfer speed. I’ve got one now as my mobile drive. They also work with devices like Maschine+ and other similar devices. That 1 TB model is the right price/performance sweet spot for me, because you can hold a couple of active projects, edit video and multitrack audio right off of it, and keep the bigger drives on your desk for archiving and backup.
Just be sure to buy a longer USB C-to-C cable, as the one included is way too short most of the time.
That’s what I’ve got. I’ll resist the temptation to link some trashy karaoke machines, but let us know your choices in comments.
London-raised act Mulimba covers an expanse of sounds from soaring church choir to hard-hitting hip-hop on “Chasing Gold,” a powerful showcase of gospel-tinged beats and earworm electro hooks that speaks of a dreamer’s hustle to find their path. With a layered build of indie guitar picks and booming rhythms, the track is designed as a much-needed reminder to count your blessings and carrying forward to better days.
Infused with a trademark edgy enigma that’s found a place in his genre-hopping music, the track is a haunting yet upbeat offering made up of an intricate soundscape and uplifting message. Accompanied by a lo-fi, organic music video that cuts seamlessly between the gloss of his live performances and the grounding humility of his every day, Mulimba captures the charm that has seen him draw massive amounts of love since emerging onto the music scene in 2019.
Consistently building a sound that’s personable yet polished, versatility and unpredictability from the cornerstones of this exciting act who has managed to use the lockdown to hone his sound into something brimming with originality. Formed around the crux of his distinct wash of vocals, “Chasing Gold,” is an anthemic indie-hip-hop crossover that brings this rising act’s musical journey in 2021.
French nightclubs have launched an initiative aimed at securing cultural status, in an attempt to mirror Berlin’s decision to recognise venues in a similar way.
Club-Culture involves 38 venues from across France which are working together to gain more recognition from policy makers. Combined, the clubs involved account for more than 1,000 jobs, hosting over 5,000 events and bringing in around €60million each year thanks to some three million people who attend parties.
I-Boat, Macadam, BADABOUM, KALT, La Machine Du Moulin Rouge (pictured), Le Petit Salon, Le Sucre, Rex Club, and Warehouse are among the addresses behind the campaign. Key figureheads from the country’s electronic music scene including Laurent Garnier, Ètienne De Crécy, Jennifer Cardini, and Teki Latex have also expressed support.
“The Covid-19 crisis has proven the importance of a well-structured scene,” Alexis Tenaud, of Macadam’s collective and label Androgyne, told RA. “The necessity of gathering all actors under a common force. A lot of goals are yet to be reached, but it cannot happen without the creation of a global community that can set up a political agenda for the club-culture scene.”
A series of events to raise awareness about the movement took place this past weekend, between Friday 26th and Sunday 28th November, advertised on the Club-Culture website. It is hoped that if the idea is successful French clubs and the country’s dance music eco-system will receive greater support and recognition from the government. Earlier this year, clubs in Berlin were officially declared culture institutions thanks to the work of the Parliamentary Forum For Club Culture & Nightlife. Berghain was previously awarded this status individually in 2016.
Rising Nigerian singer/songwriter MisterKay blends Afropop with R&B stylings in his new double single offering titled TOAST which serves as the final offering for the year. The two-song release is made up of “Diego” and “Dirty Diana,” two songs that show MisterKay’s versatile approach to music blending different genres to suit his mood.
“Diego” tells a story of an artistic photographer who praises the artsy figure and rhythmic movement of his muse. The production by Master Maison is a superb mix of atmospheric textures, thick basslines, and a drum groove that fits the singer’s playful melodic runs and low tone delivery. The second record “Dirty Diana,” details a love story filled with the emotional tug of war and toxicity over a moody and hypnotic backdrop provided by Master Maison. He delivers a gripping impassioned performance with his distinct husky vocals and with a knack for painting vivid pictures, he takes us deep into the mix while taking steps to rectify the situation and hopefully create the perfect love he so yearns for.
MisterKay is a fast-rising singer/songwriter from Abuja, Nigeria whose style is a mix of alternative soul, R&B, and Afropop. His first EP Rise to Fame was released in 2020 and he has since then released three more EPs (Underage, House of Eclipse in 2020, and a handful of notable singles such as “Comply”, his “Fucking Tired” freestyle dedicated to the #EndSARS protests that took place across several states in Nigeria decrying police brutality. TOAST is coming off the heels of the five-track collaboration EP entitled Lust & Emotions he did with fellow Nigerian singer Victor Collins.
MisterKay also holds a degree in Human Resource Management from Zenith University, Accra, Ghana.
LA musician Kahlil Simplis details the obstacles faced in a toxic romance on new project Safehouse, Vol. 1., exploring his past relationships, rooting himself in the present and looking towards his future. Wrapped up in sonics that are pleasingly raw, each offering on the eight-track production forms around a specific situation in his life, drawing from toxicity and turning it into something more uplifting.
Opening with the pulsing beats of title track “Safehouse,” the project move effortlessly from the laid-back feels of “Been Playing,” to the introspection of “Skin,” to the confident fierceness of “Nonsense,” showcasing the full expanse of his sleek sound underpinned by intimate messages of different facets of toxic love that are crafted to connect with listeners.
Whether a poignant exploration of self-worth on “Safehouse,” which goes “When I was at my lowest/I knew quitting was a sin,” or the confidence of “If I Knew Then,” which looks back at a relationship in hindsight “Self care and free spirits are ones that I attract/I could never be with someone who’s gon’ hold me back,” Simplis’ music is straight from his heart yet infused with relatability.
Whether it’s the frustrations that seep through “Options,” the playful charm of “Making It Easy,” or slower contemplation of final track “If I Knew Then,” Safehouse, Vol. 1, gives us a look at Simplis’ most genuine emotions carried forward by hazy but sharp instrumentals that get us grooving along even as we relate to the deeply thoughtful lyricism.
Simplis who treats music as his sanctuary brings us into his safe space with his versatile, emotive sound, as Safehouse, Vol. 1, provides a perfect snapshot of the carefully refined skills that make for a clear indication that the rapper is one to keep an eye on.
Dancing Astronaut declares John Summit Breakout Artist of 2021 in an exclusive interview feature that recounts the year’s career-shaping moments, from his perspective.
“I used to run long-distance, almost marathon-length running, and I just took that talent and switched it over to DJing,” John Summit said on a Zoom call with Dancing Astronaut. “It literally feels like long-distance running when you play for six to eight hours straight, it’s crazy.”
This reflection comes in response to our half-joke, half-question: how in the hell did he manage to play seven sets from October 21 – 25 during EDC Las Vegas week/weekend while accommodating a touchdown in Austin, Texas on October 23, followed by six more sets on Halloweekend? The answer, of course, is stamina. And this year, although Summit’s needed a lot of it, he’s amassed even more of it.
Likening his approach to DJing to long-distance running explains how the Chicago homegrown talent so tirelessly handled that septuplet of sets. It’s also a useful metaphor for how he’s conducted his career throughout 2021: with endurance, focus, a push to keep pace, and a seemingly omnipresent runner’s high.
In 2021, the name “John Summit” was inescapable. It could be found plastered on festival lineups such as Defected London and Croatia, Electric Zoo, and EDC Las Vegas, the latter of which Summit interestingly attended for the very first time this year, as an artist. It was also unavoidable on the Beatport charts, with Summit becoming the highest-selling artist across all genres on Beatport over the past 12 months. Add his ascension to 4 million-plus listeners on Spotify alone and hundreds of shows to boot, and Dancing Astronaut would find the makings of its next Breakout Artist of the Year in John Summit.
Summit earned a spot on our list of the 25 Artists to Watch in 2021 in December of 2020, thanks to the astute recommendation of Partnerships Manager, Natalie Pereira. “If his name isn’t familiar to you yet, don’t expect this to be the case for much longer, Pereira wrote, a Spotify embed to his record “Deep End” suspended below.
“Deep End” was the tipping point; the Defected Records release, issued in June 2020, became the longest Beatport No. 1 of the year and was named Pete Tong’s Essential New Tune before it nestled in on BBC Radio 1’s main playlist. All this was just icing on the cake for Summit, who pithily articulated the personal significance of signing “Deep End” to Defected in just three words on social media: “lifetime goal achieved.”
Summit acknowledges 2020 as a “huge breakout music-wise,” but notes that its results weren’t immediately visible due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I was touring for a few years before 2020, and obviously gained a ton of fans in the past couple of years, but the gigs were taking place in 200-person capped rooms. I wasn’t selling out shows or anything. Then my music blew up over the pandemic, which was sweet, but I didn’t immediately see the benefits of the success due to the shutdown of clubs and venues worldwide,” he said.
That would change months later, when national and international venues and events promoters reactivated live music programming. And for Summit, it’d change quite dramatically:
“I went from 200-person rooms to playing for crowds of 30,000. I think that what’s been so insane this year is that it felt like I almost kind of skipped the whole growing from a 200-person room to 1,000-person room stuff and went just to the main stage. So I think that’s been the craziest part of this year, adapting to that and changing my DJ style a little bit; it’s been awesome.”
It’s worth noting that he’s realized this “success” in settings other than scuffed dance floors and scrubby festival grounds of late. Summit recounted a recent trip to Target, where he happened to hear the notes of his SOFI TUKKER team up, “Sun Came Up,” filtering through the store’s speakers. “I was like, ‘what the heck?’ And then I heard it playing at the gym,” he said.
He calls “Sun Came Up” one of the 2021 accomplishments of which he’s most proud, explaining that he’s always seen himself making the “club-ready tech-house tracks” for which he’s become known, but also wants to “make records that can be heard outside of clubs, in places like the grocery store.” He’s already done it, and it’s clear from our conversation that once isn’t enough for Summit; he wants to do it again, and assuredly, he will. He attributes this aspiration to his desire to be “more than just a tech-house act.”
“Sun Came Up” and “Human,” released September 2 and November 24, respectively, represent Summit’s steps toward being perceived this way: as an artist with expanded creative capacity. Chief among these steps, he explains, is strengthening the songwriting component of his craft.
“My new single ‘Human’ is the track I think I’m most proud of because it works in a club, but there’s actually good songwriting to it,” he said. It’s more than just a banger you hear in the club, so this has probably been my biggest accomplishment of the year as a producer, the branching out a little bit.”
That “club-ready tech-house” approach has paid dividends, so it’s natural that this “branching out” isn’t without the occasional reservation. Although the Echoes feature was of immediate appeal to the crowd at his August Club Space set, where he premiered the then-unreleased tune, Summit wasn’t confident that “Human” would resonate with his following.
“I really didn’t think anyone was going to like it, especially at Club Space which is such an underground club. I was like, there’s so much singing in this track, is this going to be too moody? Are people going to be like, ‘what the heck is he playing?,’” he reflected.
He admits that it’s “probably not mentally healthy” to read the Internet’s commentary on the songs that he road tests, but he “always reads the comments.” “I can’t help it, anytime I share a new track of mine, I always read all the comments,” he confesses, somewhat sheepishly. “When people are like, ‘ID ID ID,’ that’s when I’m like ‘okay, now I know this one’s good.’”
In the end, the comments beneath the YouTube video of the Club Space set would assuage his worries about “Human”:
“Human,” which marks his debut single on FFRR, is the product of approximately four months of development time in Ableton, threaded by countless computer crashes. “I think I need to get a new laptop,” he jokes.
Now, after “probably over 30 different versions,” Summit’s following has in its queue what is inarguably one of his biggest records of the year. Although it “took the longest out of any track [he’s] ever made because it had so many different elements,” he knows that music emblematic of one’s own artistic growth and maturity is well worth the wait and plans to make more “complete songs” akin to “Human” and “Sun Came Up” moving forward.
“I’ve written club tracks for years and they’ve been supported, and I know music theory, but I never spent too much time on writing complete songs where there’s a theme” Summit said. The wheels of change would begin turning for him in more ways than one during the pandemic: “So that’s what I really spent my time on learning during the pandemic. When I was by myself, I was hearing these songs that made me really feel something. I was realizing that my music at the time didn’t really invoke emotion like you can hear in some records by Bicep, or CamelPhat, or whoever.”
Summit specifies “Sun Came Up” as another one of his biggest accomplishments of 2021, precisely because he considers it a “complete song” that expands on his customary sound. That the cut stands as US Dance Radio’s No. 1 song at the time of this writing adds to this achievement. It’s a clear signal to Summit that his streamers are embracing the deviation from his characteristically club-ready brand of sound, that they will endure as he continues to sonically spread his wings.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, due to the industry’s COVID-19-sensitive shift to digital communication and Summit’s can’t-miss presence on social channels, the SOFI TUKKER collaboration was born out of a DM exchange:
“They found me on Instagram, it was hilarious. They would shout me out all the time because they did a livestream every day during the pandemic for like 500 days straight, and they’d always play my music and they’d be like, ‘we’re playing bender boy, blah, blah, blah,’ because they think the whole thing’s funny. I go to all these clubs, but I’d never even met them in person. We did everything over the Internet.”
How the joint project with SOFI TUKKER, who Summit calls “so incredibly talented with the guitar and singing,” came to be can be traced to his casual and approachable online presence. It’s easy to forget that Summit, who can often be found comically hating on fan clackers, trolling fellow artists in good-natured fun, using his signature phrase, “my life is a bender,” complaining of hangovers, and engaging with fans on social media, is a famous DJ and not the funny boy next door or guy from class. On Twitter and Instagram, he’s unabashedly himself and it’s clear that the content is all his own, and not the doing of a content manager or someone else on a management team. He’s opinionated, he’s himself, and in his own words, he’s “had the same exact Twitter personality since [he] had 300 followers.”
“You can go back to my tweets from 2016, I’ve been making the same jokes and saying the same stuff. It’s kind of funny that just because you know, now I’m getting to be so big, everything’s going so viral all the time,” he said.
These characteristics act as their own blue check mark for Summit. “I feel like that’s really how you make a name and personality for yourself because you seem like someone who’s easy to reach out to versus some artists who you don’t even know if they have the password to their Twitter account. You don’t know if it’s actually them or just their manager,” he added.
Consistency, whether of online voice or another aspect of his career, is a motif for Summit. Online, he’s the same person he was five years ago, no matter that he’s now got 4 million-plus monthly Spotify listeners. He observes that he “hasn’t changed what [he’s] been doing, it’s just gotten bigger,” and this applies not only to his social channels but also to tech-house. And as tech-house continues to surge in popularity among commercial audiences, Summit is adamant that a special aspect of his music and identity as an artist is that he hasn’t adapted to fit the times, but rather, that his consistency has positioned him for his current success:
“I’ve been doing tech-house for like years and years. You go down my SoundCloud, and it feels like I’ve been doing it as long as anyone. I was never into EDM. During the EDM years, I was always just into house and tech-house, and it’s kind of crazy that the whole [tech-house] genre has gotten so big, but I haven’t changed what I’ve been doing. The only thing that’s changed is just me becoming a more well-rounded producer, working with better vocalists, and making better toplines so these tracks can be heard outside of the underground. It’s been cool that I never really had to change what I’ve been doing but instead just expand on it.”
Fans can expect this concurrent growth—of Summit’s career and tech-house’s commercial swell—to continue in 2022, a year that, in an extension of the metaphor, will see Dancing Astronaut‘s Breakout Artist of 2021 continue to run laps around the electronic circuit. He’s not married to a blueprint, but as he plans for what is on pace to be another momentous year given the seeds sown in 2021, he can say that the year ahead will encompass “some big collaborations” and the revelation of his own branded event series; “I do plan on throwing my own parties,” he notes.
Of course, the next year will also be soundtracked by the John Summit sound that listeners have come to know and love, and more of the John Summit sound with which they’re now getting acquainted. “I do want to keep writing club tracks ’cause I love going to the club and hearing a banger, but I’m going to keep expanding on the songwriting kind of tracks, so ‘Human’ should be a good introduction to how I want to make my sound in 2022,” he muses, adding that he’s “even starting to write some like techno kind of tracks to expand [his] artistry.”
As part of this initiative, he intends to take a couple of weeks, perhaps more, off from touring in 2022 to focus on writing new music. Although 2021 has, in many ways, looked like something of a race for Summit, racing from one venue to the next, racing to the No. 1 chart position, and more broadly, racing from one career benchmark to another, he knows that this is all more of a marathon than a 100-yard dash, and although he admits he doesn’t “have too much of plan” for next year just yet, one thing is certain: whatever it entails, he’ll go the distance.
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