KMRU on spaces, Nairobi, and turning off Ableton Live’s grid

It’s a film about tuning into the spaces around you, but KMRU makes an argument for being more than where you’re from. And to open up possibilities, he also does the thing I expect a lot of you know you want to do but might be afraid to do – turn off the grid now and then. Even in the software known for it.

Starting in Nairobi, Kenya but arriving (as Joseph did a little bit ago) in Berlin, the film is really a piece about listening and expression:

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It’s really a nice eleven minutes, probably unlike most artist films we’ve seen in this industry. Even as he talks about his experience in Kenya, I think it’s likely intensely relatable to anyone reading this site, wherever you’re from.

I do have that Star Wars flashback to Luke turning off the targeting computer, but yeah, turning off the metronome is about allowing music to find another pace or adapt to fluidity in the way field recording does.

I think this came about when I started using more texture-based sound and field recording in my work. I would not know what a recording’s ‘time’ is, so I’d just approach composing more intuitively. There is some sense of higher intuition when not using the metronome, I find myself knowing when it’s right to layer a new part, I hit record anywhere in the piece not constrained if it’ll be in time or not.

Of course, equally important – he’s not saying he’s abandoning the metronome for rhythmic music but changing the approach to it. That also seems an important exercise – from learning to count on a different beat in jazz while still hearing the click to trying different approaches to phrase or feel, even with the use of the machine for synchronization.

It’s all worth a thorough launch, and I do hope we get to catch up more with Joseph soon, amidst an increasingly busy schedule (and a welcome one, at that).

Bonus – you get two Max for Live recommendations:

https://www.chaseblissaudio.com/shop-pedals/mood

https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/grain-scanner-amazing-noises/

And field recordings from all around the world are available as a download from Ableton.

While you’re digging, though, it’s worth noting that KMRU’s father, also Joseph Kamaru, had a major role both in Kenyan political and musical histories, one the younger Joseph has been really committed to exploring.

There is even a series of recordings as part of the Library of Congress archives in the USA.

And an official site:

https://josephkamaru.com/

TikTok ‘Train Guy’ Francis Bourgeois shares clubbing videos from Warehouse Project

Francis Bourgeois, better known to many as the ‘Train Guy’ from TikTok, has shared content from his recent experience at The Warehouse Project. 

The locomotive enthusiast has garnered a huge following on the social media platform for clips in which he travels the UK in search of iconic and memorable carriages, engines, and locations. 

Last weekend he visited Manchester Piccadilly, or more accurately the abandoned station across the road, which forms part of Mayfield Depot, a cavernous venue used by the Warehouse Project event series, before diving into the party himself.

At the time of writing, the TikTok post had accumulated 1.8million views, with a further 173,200 likes on Instagram.

“This used to be a Royal Mail sorting office, now it’s an awesome club called The Warehouse Project,” Bourgeois says, before the video transitions from empty industrial space to mammoth-sized rave. 

@francis.bourgeois

Here I am at Mayfield Depot, great railway history and an awesome club too @The Warehouse Project ##trains ##trending ##fyp

♬ original sound – Francis Bourgeois

“I feel like there’s a lot of connection between my passion for trains and my love for music, especially electronic music, with industrial sounds similar to big diesel engines and clickety clackity of the rails,” he explained in a separate Instagram post. Michael Bibi, who headlines one of the Warehouse Project dates next month, was among those commenting back. Another DJ, salute, shared a photo of himself and Bourgeois side by side, commenting that “bro has more aphex twin knowledge than anyone i’ve ever met shit is amazing”.

Sacha Lord, co-founder of the Warehouse Project, was quick to share his take via Twitter: “We’ve had some A listers attend @WHP_MCR over the years… but we’ve never seen such commotion as when Francis Bourgeois turned up this weekend.” 

The Warehouse Project recently unveiled its New Year’s Eve lineup, the penultimate date in the 2021 series. The team also recently announced an intention to offer urine tests in a bid to determine whether attendees have been spiked following reports of an increase in drugs being administered involuntarily to partygoers inside UK venues.

Kappa Futur announces return with three-day festival

Kappa Futur has announced plans to return in 2022 with a three-day festival running on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd July. 

The event, which is held in Torino, northern Italy, has been unable to take place for the last two years as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While no lineup has been confirmed, based on previous editions we expect a host of big names from the techno world to descend on the iconic Parco Dora venue for what is set to be the festival’s biggest offering to date. 

“After a two-year break we are finally ready to get back and we’re very excited to be adding another day to the program, a gift to our audience that has supported us throughout this tough period. A longer festival for a bigger audience — our goal is to host 90,000 people onsite, 40% of whom we hope will be international guests,” said Maurizio Vitale Jr., CEO & Co-Founder of Movement Entertainment, the company behind Kappa Futur, adding foreign ticket holders accounted for 32% of the crowd in 2019. 

The Kappa Futur site is considered one of the most spectacular urban venues in Europe — a former industrial complex turned vast city park that won the International Architecture Award in 2012, and European Garden Award for 2017. You can still revisit some of the finest sets from the Burn Stage, which arguably offers the best views over the location. 

Berlin techno has its own application for UNESCO status – and here’s the film

Backed by Rave the Planet, Berlin artists are organizing to apply for UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity status for techno in the city. And there’s a film.

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Featured in the film are some usual suspects:

Adriaan van der Werf ◼︎ Alan Oldham ◼︎ Alexander Krüger ◼︎ Daniel Boon ◼︎ Dimitri Hegemann ◼︎ Dr. Motte ◼︎ Ellen Allien ◼︎ Hans Cousto ◼︎ Marc Wohlrabe ◼︎ Mike Vollmuth ◼︎ Sophie Augello

You can read up on the application via Rave the Planet and judge for yourself:

https://www.ravetheplanet.com/en/cultural-heritage-techno/

Before getting into whether this is strange or not or what UNESCO status means for intangible culture, maybe the really surprising twist to this story is that the city that does have this status for techno is – wait, Zürich? The one in Switzerland? Not Detroit or Berlin?

Zürich recognises ‘techno culture’ as part of its UNESCO ‘intangible cultural heritage’

I’d say if that happened in 2017 and none of us were the wiser, we should probably just enjoy the film and not worry either way.

But yeah, techno is threatened in Berlin – possible, I guess? (Anyone seen anywhere to buy a bottle of beer or Club-Mate in town, by the way?)

So what is this UNESCO list? Here’s the official site:

https://ich.unesco.org/

Here is how UNESCO’s Cécile Duvelle describes the reason for this project:

“The more globalized the world becomes, the more important it is not to lose forever these traditional roots.”

That’s in a little summary that’s the bite-sized “TL:DR” version from National Geographic (a publication not entirely known for its locally-sourced content):

The UNESCO definition is that the purpose of the list is practices that “require urgent measures to keep them alive.”

So it seems the video makes two arguments – that techno is an unequaled global style with Berlin at the center, but that Berlin as the center and techno as a global style is threatened.

It’s possible that paradox sums up a particular perspective of some of Berlin’s cultural discourse around club music – that the purpose is “protecting” the musical practice itself. UNESCO applications aside, maybe that’s revealing. I wonder if younger generations of producers – or even producers who never quite made it into the inner circle, whatever their biological age – will see it the same way.

It gets to the heart of electronic music (not just techno) as folk music. On one hand, it’s accessible in production and is transmitted between generations, aurally and orally – that’s a characteristic of a lot of folk musics. On the other, because these styles are also popular, club styles, there is a countervailing collision between new and traditional. Music with big capitals like Berlin may not necessarily be friendly to local variation or change, either.

As long as you don’t try to put things under glass and build a museum, maybe that’s a good thing. Between the traditionalists and the people shaking it up is a collision of high pressure and low pressure that makes for a nice, healthy tempest.

Speaking of which, maybe I better get under some nice, sturdy object having just brought this up. Uh… see ya!

This site asks you to donate –

https://www.ravetheplanet.com/en/cultural-heritage-techno/

… but honestly, please just go find some undiscovered producers and buy stuff from their damned Bandcamp. Good night.

Boys Noize, ABRA’s ‘Affection’ just got a visual accompaniment [Watch]

Boys Noize, ABRA’s ‘Affection’ just got a visual accompaniment [Watch]Unnamed

In late September, Boys Noize and ABRA came together for “Affection,” featured the German producer’s fifth studio album, +/- (pronounced “polarity”). The tracklisting has since been granted an accompanying visual, directed by Mad Max.

Hazy visuals that show ABRA singing keep the tone of the video just as sultry as the song’s vocals. Halfway through the music video, things take a turn, with visuals switching to night mode as ABRA finds herself singing in a variety of different settings including among merry-go-round animals, a green screen, a basement, and more.

The music video for “Affection” comes on the heels of BOYS NOIZE’s recent admission that he and Skrillex are sitting on new Dog Blood music. Whether it is new content paired with +/- or more new music that could soon see the light of day, BOYS NOIZE is keeping fans’ hunger for material alive.

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Mersiv puts all his thoughts into form with his debut LP, ‘Pretty Dark Loud’ [Interview]

Mersiv puts all his thoughts into form with his debut LP, ‘Pretty Dark Loud’ [Interview]241284325 282381716664382 1959649462918433056 N

Anderson Benoit Gallegos, known best by his stage name Mersiv, wanted a creative outlet, one that would allow him to put all his thoughts and feelings into tangible form. After a past few years characterized by a nearly constant touring schedule, Gallegos would get just that once the the pandemic positioned him at his home in Colorado with more than just a little time to kill.

It was a first for Gallegos, whose career as Mersiv began in 2016 when he packed up his car and made the move from his small hometown in northern Louisiana to Denver. Traces of his southern accent have been all but entirely eliminated—”If I drink alcohol, I guess it comes out,” Gallegos told Dancing Astronaut. In the meantime, Mersiv has become almost synonymous with the Colorado mountains and the city of Denver.

The city was already becoming known as the bass music capital in the United States, with Denver attracting big-name acts such as Illenium and GRiZ, by the time Gallegos made his move. With the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in easy driving distance and weekly shows at venues such as Black Box, Ogden Theatre, Temple, the Fox Theatre, and more in sight, the city’s thriving scene made it a hub for talented producers, and Mersiv was no exception.

At the time when he was first beginning his career, he would describe his music as “pretty dark loud.” He felt the phase was an apt description mainly because he was unsure of what genre his music fell into.

“Years ago, whenever I started producing, that was the way I described it to my friends,” he said. “I didn’t have a genre to describe it. So that name, that ‘pretty dark loud’ essence stuck with how I described it, like the feeling and the emotion. I know it’s super basic, but that’s the easiest way I could explain it to people.”

The three words continued to to sit at the forefront of his thought process when making music, and he realized that “pretty dark loud” would make a good album title. Five years later, it would become just that.

Mersiv’s debut project is open for interpretation, with Gallegos saying he doesn’t want to share too much of his own perspective on the LP in the interest of not overshadowing its public reception. One doesn’t necessarily need Gallegos to do that, given that tracks like “Afterlife,” “Ghosts,” and “If I Was A Raven” clearly reflect on loss.

Pretty Dark Loud served as a form of therapy for Gallegos, who dealt with significant losses within his own life over the past several years. As he sat down to create his debut album, he reflected on those no longer with him and created something that spoke to those emotions.

“One thing that I really learned from this record is to embrace your emotions and that it’s okay to sit with them. Like, it’s okay to feel a certain way, whether it’s good or bad and that those feelings aren’t permanent. They can pass,” he told Dancing Astronaut.

Without the prospect of a tour over the pandemic, he was able to spend more time honing his skills as a producer, which resulted in a 20-track record that takes listeners through highs and lows.

“[Making the album] was like a therapy for me,” he said. “You know, dealing with a bunch of personal shit that life throws at you. Everyone has their things that they struggle with, and this was just a way to kind of get that out in an audio format. To express different feelings that I had and stuff. A lot of it was made during COVID-19 just ’cause I really had that time to be alone, be by myself, not have to worry about creating sets and shows, so it was a time where I could really dive in with myself and with my production and really experiment because I didn’t have a timeframe or anything. We didn’t know when COVID-19 was going to be done.”

In line with the intention of therapy, across its many forms, Pretty Dark Loud was created with the intention to heal. The tracks are cathartic in nature, both for Gallegos and for whomever is listening. “Severing String” reassures listeners “it’s okay, don’t get down, it’s alright,” the lyrics repeating like a mantra in an effort to soothe. “If I Was A Raven” finds him adding instrumentals to Elephant Revival’s “Raven Song.” The lyrics, “If I was a raven, I’d fly on through the heavens/ I’d fly to all my loved ones/ If I was a raven/ If memory’s worth saving, I’d savor the feeling/ Of knowing love and loving/ I’d remember the feeling” become balanced against dark instrumentals, the song’s beg to be reunited with those who have been lost.

“Those are very, very, very personal. That’s the point. If I can [speak to] whoever’s listening, that’s the goal for me is to relate to you, to help whoever’s listening to get through their struggle and their loss that they’re going through. Because everybody has to deal with it at some point in their life. Life isn’t forever. It sucks,” he said.

Pretty Dark Loud still aims to celebrate life, as well. The LP balances loss and emotional catharsis with “heavy fun tracks on there that are a time to have a party atmosphere, a party mood.” And that’s what Gallegos wants his sound to be—that which can straddle life’s darkest moments with its most carefree.

In the midst of finding time to produce a 20-track album during the pandemic, Gallegos joked that he also managed to finally make it out to the Colorado mountains and learn to snowboard. “That was one of the main reasons why I moved to Colorado,” Gallegos said. “‘Cause I was like, I wanna do music, that’s number one, and if I fail, you know, I don’t have any kind of college education, so I’ll just be a ski bum and live in the mountains and enjoy life and just be content with nature. And I finally got around to snowboarding last year for the first time, because I’ve just been so busy grinding. And I was like, I need to take a second to relax and appreciate, you know, nature, and stuff like that.”

While a full snowboarding EP won’t be arriving just yet, Gallegos’ debut album includes tracks like “Night Vision” that can bring a zen-like groove written to “relate to [his] process of how I’m always staying up at night,” and self-described “party atmospheres” that appear in “Fire Dance” featuring Attitude. Like everything with the Mersiv project, the album’s layout was intentional. Rather than go from pretty to dark to loud, Gallegos wanted to create the experience of a show within the LP’s tracklist.

“Once I had the ideas, I put them in a big playlist,” Gallegos said. “I was just constantly going through the order and rearranging it, and there were a lot of big changes throughout that.”

The end result is a record that manages to start off with softer melodies before transitioning into party anthems that will get the club shaking, then back to the tracks that go deeper into self-reflection and loss. Pretty Dark Loud takes listeners on a journey, holding their hand the whole way through.

The project has been years in the making. Producing Pretty Dark Loud itself took Gallegos nearly two years, and he’s been sitting on some of the tracks for even longer. “Sky High” featuring Knat Turner had initially been made sometime around 2016 and 2017, and Gallegos says that he’s not someone who is able to write things out in just one sitting. “I’ll make a bunch of ideas and sketches and I would work on those throughout the year.” Even “If I Was A Raven,” which he says had been the easiest track to write and came to him easier than most of the others, had been tweaked to perfection over a period of two years.

“But it all starts from a feeling, like any type of emotion. Whenever I’m like, super, super happy, or really sad, or depressed, or if I have a moment of anger or something like that. Whenever I’m feeling a certain emotion very intensely, that’s when I’ll go into the studio and start writing. And that’s when those songs started to come to life. Because when I’d just try things and I’m just, you know, screwing around, I don’t really have a feeling. It’s just a bunch of blips and boops, stuff that doesn’t really make sense for me personally. So, whenever I do experience an emotion in full force, I’ll take that time to write.”

The pandemic provided time for Gallegos to stop and take a breath. Previous tracks had been released in the midst of touring, and Pretty Dark Loud had been at the back of his mind for years. The pandemic wound up becoming a blessing in disguise for the producer, who shared that he had begun to feel overwhelmed with his hectic schedule.

“And I feel like the world goes so fast, sometimes,” he said. “Like we’re all human beings, trying to make it, trying to grind, or just get a life. And I feel like sometimes it’s so busy that you don’t really get a time to settle down and to relax. Just feel what you’re feeling or whatever you’re going through, whether it’s good or bad. I just feel like there’s so much going on. And with COVID-19, with the whole world stopping, it was a chance to not be anxious about the future, or what’s coming next, like the schedules and stuff like that.”

As far as live shows go, Gallegos is opting to hold off on a full tour schedule for a little while longer. Although he played a show in Detroit ahead of the album’s release and has a few opening shows for CloZee scheduled in December, the majority of Mersiv’s touring schedule is pretty light. “We’re not going full force,” he said. “We just wanted to take it slow, and you know, get ready for a big 2022 and 2023, and go really hard in the next few years.”

The time off has changed Gallegos’ perspective on touring, with the producer sharing that it prompted him to learn how to better take care of his health and mental well-being:

“I think I will be more equipped to dealing with the road whenever we get back out there. ‘Cause it can be really hard. It’s like, not sleeping enough, not eating enough because you have a weird sleep schedule and waking up at weird times to go play. Food is not open late at night, that kind of thing. It’s just weird. You have to really plan and schedule out your day and what you’re going to do to take care of yourself.”

After losing his mother, Gallegos has been tasked with taking care of himself. His mother introduced him to music as a child, with Gallegos joking, “my mom forced me to play piano when I was a kid, when I was in like second grade, and I hated it.” But he shares a sentiment familiar with many musicians, namely, that he wishes he had stuck with it in order to have a better understanding of how to write songs and melodies. He picked up a guitar in high school, played covers of other songs, but never wrote for himself.

Later, Gallegos began DJing every day after school, and eventually found himself asking, “well, how do they make this stuff?” He sat down and taught himself to produce; it would take him four years to release a track of his own.

“This whole record is basically the experience and feelings that I first felt from hearing electronic music,” he concluded. “This is what I’ve been working for this whole time since I started, I just didn’t know it. But this record is everything I’ve been working towards.”

Featured image: Trey Karson

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if found brings the energy on high-octane remix of Gryffin’s ‘Best Is Yet To Come’

if found brings the energy on high-octane remix of Gryffin’s ‘Best Is Yet To Come’156079405 179944806981294 1580317529731534347 N 1

Anyone who has listened to a Gryffin set recently might have noticed a little extra spice on his hit single, “Best Is Yet To Come” with Kyle Reynolds. Many suspected that the electro-pop song got a facelift in remix form, but nobody knew who was responsible for placing a spin on the original. Cue if found, who took the original to new heights with his high-octane remix, which is decidedly heavier than the original thanks to two massive drops that defy any one genre. if found took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the take, writing

“I pushed myself to develop a sound that is recognizable across different styles of EDM and this remix is a taste of some of that diversity I’m striving to include in my ‘if found’ project.”

if found is fresh off his Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas debut and if that and his latest official remix are any indication, he’ll be one to watch moving forward. Listen to if found’s remix of Gryffin’s “Best Is Yet To Come” with Kyle Reynolds below.

Featured image: Dolly Ave

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Vintage Culture, James Hype convene for first collaboration, ‘You Give Me A Feeling’

Vintage Culture, James Hype convene for first collaboration, ‘You Give Me A Feeling’Vintage Culture Só Track Boa

Everything Vintage Culture touches seems to turn to gold lately, including his new collaboration with James Hype, “You Give Me A Feeling.” The alluring club track combines slinky rhythms, beefy basslines, and smooth vocal hooks for a first-time tech-house meet up involving Vintage Culture and Hype.

Although “You Give Me A Feeling” marks their first match up, when looking at each artist’s style, it’s no wonder that “You Give Me A Feeling” feels like a collaboration long overdue. Hype is known for his energetic house sets while Vintage Culture has exploded onto the tech-house scene, and the combination makes for an irresistible final product. It is also both artists’ first time releasing on Insomniac Records, and the result can be heard below.

Featured image: Vintage Culture/Official Website

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Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA announces first comic book

Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA has announced his first foray into comic books. ‘Bobby Digital and The Pit of Snakes’ will be published in May 2022 by Z2 Comics. 

The title nods to the artist’s alter-ego, which debuted in 1998 via the album ‘Bobby Digital in Stereo’. Orchestral harmonies and experimental beats dominated the record, which was influenced by comic books. Now its central character is being expanded on significantly by way of his own back story. 

“Out of all my creative personas and alter egos Bobby Digital is probably the best fit, for comics and graphic novels. It’s a pleasure for me to collaborate with Z2 Comics and bring this lush world of creativity into the comic space. The readers are going to be hit with something they never seen coming,” RZA said of the project. 

In terms of themes, the book will ask questions relating to perceptions of reality — the reader’s and Bobby Digital’s —  with a psychological edge to the narrative. Not to mention the small matter of a dangerous adventure involving a pit of snakes. The work is produced alongside White Noise Studio member Ryan O’Sullivan and Sound & Fury artist Vasilis Lolos, and will land in soft and hardcover formats. 

“RZA has always shown himself to be a Swiss Army Knife of creativity, elevating every medium he touches, and to be able to help bring an already existing comic-music hybrid such as Bobby Digital to the page is amazing. I think everyone will be equally amazed at the result,” said Josh Frankel, Publisher and CEO at Z2 Comics. 

The imprint has already collaborated with a host of musicians on graphic novels, including Cypress Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, and Major Lazer. Meanwhile, it has also been called in for album tie-ins for the likes of The Doors, Anthrax, and Public Enemy. 

Experimental duo The Furniture transport us to a dystopian world on “Strom”

Experimental duo The Furniture drop hypnotic instrumental “Strom,” giving us glimpse of their forthcoming self-titled debut album, The Furniture. With a meditative feel founded on sleek synths and pulsing beats, the track weaves a soothing atmosphere that you can get lost in for hours.

Channelling creative freedom and sonic spontaneity, which formed the pillars of their artistry,“Strom,” is ethereal and haunting in equal parts as fuzzy, nature-centric visuals from Philippe Leonardtransport us into a lush dystopian world that somehow feels as grounding as it does psychedelic.

For Michael Kuhl and Matthew Pierce, their music as The Furniture is rooted deeply in their musical synergy and their long years of history. As an intricate teaser of their first album as a duo,“ Strom,” establishes The Furniture as a pair driven by the force of their combined explorative tendencies.

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Breaking down and blending their distinct playing styles into one cohesive swirl of shape-shifting soundscapes and emotive messages, the upcoming album is set to bring us into a world of experimentation if the sleek yet ambient arrangement of “Strom” is anything to go by.

Connect with The Furniture: Instagram| Spotify