Project GLOW proves an impactful addition to East Coast electronic events circuit [Review]

Project GLOW proves an impactful addition to East Coast electronic events circuit [Review]Ivan Meneses For Insomniac Events 8

In November 2020, electronic dance music news outlets wrote a variation of the same headline: “Insomniac Events acquires Club Glow.”

It was a welcome development in a news cycle that had become littered with festival postponements, cancellations, and foreboding statements about venues’ financial struggles. Moreover, it was a business move that made sense. Since its establishment in 1999, Club Glow had developed a reputation for producing well-oiled events of varying scales in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area. For the past two decades and then some, this has included club nights at DC dance sites Echostage and Soundcheck, as well as Moonrise Festival, hosted in August at Baltimore, Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course. The longest-running electronic music event promotions company on the East Coast, Club Glow naturally turned the head of Pasquale Rotella, who wanted to expand Insomniac’s footprint on the coast. When the acquisition was made public, the promise in the union was readily apparent—and the early foundations of the Insomniac East division, to be announced later that month, in place.

Expectations for a proprietary Club Glow festival mounted; it would be a logical next step for the Glow brand, and with Insomniac backing, the East Coast had the makings of what could be the first electronic music festival hosted in the nation’s capital. Moonrise Festival and Preakness InfieldFest, also produced by Club Glow, had operated on the fringes of DC, leaving large-scale dance gatherings limited to Echostage and its 3,000-person capacity. In late April, that would change.

From April 30 – May 1 at the RFK Festival Grounds in Southeast DC, Insomniac and Club Glow presented the first iteration of Project GLOW to 40,000-plus attendees. It was a benchmark for the Glow brand. But for Glow President & CEO Pete Kalamoutsos, Project GLOW represented more than just a business milestone; it was a dream realized after two decades of work towards its actualization.

“Project GLOW has been 20 years in the making. It’s been my dream as a native Washingtonian to do a festival in DC proper, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to continue to grow here,” Kalamoutsos said.

These sentiments were echoed by Heather Church, VP of Talent & Marketing, who’s been with Glow since she joined the company as a Talent Buyer in 2014. “It’s been our dream to bring a festival to DC for a long time, and it’s finally become a reality,” Church told Dancing Astronaut.

Insomniac’s establishment of its Insomniac East division was thought by many to facilitate the return of Electronic Daisy Carnival New York, discontinued in 2017. But events were largely directed to the Florida market. Indeed, in 2021, Insomniac brought two dance-focused festivals to Orlando: Abduction 2021 and the house and techo-centered Skyline festival. Both augmented Insomniac’s presence in Florida’s festival market. Prior to this point, Insomniac’s impact therein was owed mostly to EDC Orlando, which became Insomniac’s flagship East Coast festival by default after EDC New York went defunct.

As the DMV, Tri-State area, and other parts of the East Coast further removed from Florida looked on as Insomniac amplified its activity in the state, Insomniac and Club Glow were working behind the scenes to put the pieces of the first Project GLOW in place—and it won’t be the last.

Project GLOW proves an impactful addition to East Coast electronic events circuit [Review]Screen Shot 2022 05 06 At 6.16.27 PM

In the hours leading up to Project GLOW’s inaugural run, Insomniac touted “big festival news coming soon” to the East Coast. A trip to Project GLOW’s porta potties elucidated the nature of this “big festival news”; posters advertising an October 1 – 2 follow-up in Chester, Pennsylvania were plastered on porta potty doors, underscoring GLOW’s next steps early into the weekend.

Throughout its two days of production, it became incontrovertibly clear that Project GLOW is poised to become one of the most in-demand dance festivals on the East Coast. This potential is owed to the diversity and the caliber of the event’s lineup, which emerged as one of the least-recycled rosters of talent in the 2022 electronic festival market. Although Project GLOW attracted no shortage of “big” names, such as Diplo, Martin Garrix, Seven Lions, and SLANDER, it also boasted a strong undercard, granting deserved decks-tending time to rising talents like Westend and Nostalgix. Project GLOW’s inclusion of James Hype, an English DJ/producer esteemed for his live mixing and mashups, was another booking bright spot.

Some hiccups are to be expected of any first-year festival, but Project GLOW noticeably defied this expectation. Sets proceeded on time, without delays, and neither the restrooms nor the water refill stations nor the vendor booths were belabored by long wait times. The RFK Festival Grounds proved an appropriate choice of location for Project GLOW; there was a surplus of space across both General Admission and VIP viewing areas for the festival’s nearly 50,000 attendees.

From a production standpoint, Insomniac’s touches were clear. The festival’s Pulse and Eternal stages celebrated drops with grand pyrotechnics displays that took cues from Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas (see video below). Sound—known to be of varying volume and quality across festivals—also earned the first-time event high marks. The sound was crisp, clear, and notably carried all the way to the back of the crowd, rendering the choice to listen on the outskirts one that did not come at a compromise.

It’s not presently known whether Project GLOW will continue to host two separate installments in different cities (DC and Chester) as it evolves, or if Insomniac and Glow are testing both locations to find the better fit. Information about GLOW’s follow-up in Subaru Park is currently limited to its dates and location, though the lineup is presumably soon to come.

Altogether, Insomniac and Club Glow’s immediate announcement of a secondary GLOW installment bodes well for the development of the East Coast festival market’s Mid-Atlantic region, where dance-exclusive festival options have stagnated in recent years. The Mid-Atlantic region, comprising New York (NY), New Jersey, Pennsylvania (PA), Delaware, Maryland (MD), Virginia, and West Virginia, is known for Camp Bisco (PA), Moonrise Festival (MD), Infield Festival (MD), Electric Zoo (NY), HiJinx Festival (PA), and Elements Music & Arts Festival (PA). Although these annual events have been embraced by the region’s electronic dance community, new dance-specific festivals have been few and far in between in this market, rending Project GLOW a welcome addition. And with Insomniac and Club Glow plotting Moonrise Festival’s return from August 6 – 7, the value in the Insomniac/Glow collaboration is poised to materialize not only in the advent of new festivals, but also in the elevation of an existing East Coast event.

Featured image: Ivan Meneses

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Whipped Cream shares beautiful music video for new single, ‘Child’

Whipped Cream shares beautiful music video for new single, ‘Child’WC 2020 3 Courtesy Big Beat Records

Fresh off of two Coachella performances at the Sahara tent, Whipped Cream has returned with a new nostalgic single and accompanying visual. “Child” is Whipped Cream’s latest single since “Cry,” released earlier this year in March. Moving away from her typical style of heavy bass and trap, Whipped Cream puts a refreshing melodic spin on her latest single.

The multi-hyphenate talent described the new tune as, “a song about the little kid inside of you before you were told no. The vision behind the record, is that of a little kid playing in the rain in puddles, in mud, wearing bright clothes, grateful for every moment and just enjoying the now, and nothing matters in their mind.”

The music video for “Child” calls back to a time when Whipped Cream once trained to be a professional figure skater. Shot on the beautiful Lake Louise in Canada, Whipped Cream spent months preparing on Vancouver ice rinks to give a nostalgic performance that meshes two of her passions into one warm, inspiring package. Watch the music video below.

Featured image: Big Beat Records

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Tiësto and Deorro team up on new Musical Freedom cut, ‘Savage’

Tiësto and Deorro team up on new Musical Freedom cut, ‘Savage’Tiesto Deorro

Nearly a decade ago, Tiësto and Deorro were at the forefront of the big room house wave. Fast-forward to 2022, the two producers provide an old-school, nostalgic touch on their new single “Savage.” First premiered by Deorro at EDC Mexico in February, the new collaboration was one of the highlights of his performance as the Mexican crowd roared to the yet-to-be-named hit.

Out now via Musical Freedom, “Savage” is the first collaboration for Tiësto and Deorro. “Savage” is an energetic house stomper featuring Tiësto’s jumpy drums and Deorro’s latin influence across the track’s entire framework. “Savage” will be a perfect fit for festival sets, as the galvanizing house cut calls back to the last decade, with a welcomed, modernized twist. Stream the new single below.

Featured image: Tiesto/ Instagram

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Hermitude go back to their roots on new album ‘Mirror Mountain,’ a sonic reflection of their journey so far [Interview]

Hermitude go back to their roots on new album ‘Mirror Mountain,’ a sonic reflection of their journey so far [Interview]Hermitude Press Shot

Three years have passed since Australian beatmakers Hermitude turned in their fourth studio album, Polyanarchy. Following their mid-2000s smash hits like “The Buzz,” as well as the foundational track behind Flume’s smashing “HyperParadise” remix from the duo’s freshman album of the same title, their 2019 LP burst through the electronic zeitgeist, showing off even deeper range from the already dexterous duo. Spending time in Los Angeles with a heap of vocal collaborators, from the likes of Vory to Vic Mensa, Hermitude’s Angus Stuart and Luke Dubber took a leap inward, and come 2022, the pair have unabashedly unlocked another side of their ever-evolving sound. Intentionally stripping their sound back to their small town roots in the Blue Mountains of Australia on their new album Mirror Mountain, Hermitude clearly have more to say on their new LP, and Dancing Astronaut was there to pick the group’s brains about it.

“We kind of were like, ‘You know we’ve done like a lot of collaborating recently. Let’s just get back to us and who we are, and kind of almost how we started,’ which was in the Blue Mountains,” recalls Stuart, otherwise known by his own moniker, El Gusto. Drafting up a plan to decidedly retrace their steps back to their hometown, the two decided it was time to take a break, isolate, and work on their craft…right at the beginning of 2020—call that good timing. Stuart imparts,

“We just came up and we started writing, but it was literally at the same time as the world seemed to kind of grind to a halt…We all of a sudden had all the time in the world to just sit around and create.”

Employing an audaciously minimal setup, which included one synth, one laptop, and one single Moog Matriarch, the duo strapped in at Stuart’s home in the hills and fell back into old habits of levity and experimentation. “We were just having fun making tunes and not really thinking about anything too much, just creating,” says El Gusto. Dubber then adds,

“The title of the album, ‘Mirror Mountain’ was born from the theory, that it’s like a reflection. A reflection of ourselves after all this time, since we had started.”

The eight-track output contains a multitude of auditory experiences, merging Dubber and Stuart’s first-rate production design with two electrifying collaborations, ultimately setting Hermitude on a brand new sonic voyage that simultaneously harkens to the duo’s rich, decorated past.

Stuart details their process, explaining, “We always try and move forward with our albums…We’d always had a couple of collaborations on each record, but Polyanarchy was a [mainly] vocal album.” Shifting from a vocally-focused excursion on their new endeavor, some redefining of the pair’s usual comfort zone was in order. Stuart adds, “We stepped up the tempo, which was different for us. ‘Mirror Mountain’ is actually quite up-tempo. It’s the most up-tempo record we’ve written.”

Uniting with only two outside artists, the Aussie authorities pulled Sam Hales of indie-rock band The Jungle Giants for “When You Feel Like This,” and local Blue Mountain musician Andie on the exuberant “Promises.” Both tracks, released as pre-album singles, ooze with sanguine vocals against effervescent production work. Says Dubber, “‘When You Feel Like This,’” featuring Sam, it was like the positive pinnacle of the album.”

Finally able to hit the road again to perform their latest works, Hermitude has been busy playing shows and bopping around their homeland while gearing up for an international tour that will reportedly land around the end of June. Over the course of the last few years since Polyanarchy, the pair have been relentless in their evolution both as producers and as people. Concludes Dubber,

“It was like looking in the mirror, sometime into the future, and realizing this journey that we’ve been on, but also encompassing what we had done in the past and just moving forward from there,”

And with this fifth studio album, forward they undoubtedly stride. Stream Hermitude’s latest LP, Mirror Mountian below and stay tuned for impending tour dates to come.

Featured image: Courtesy of press

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Kygo liquefies audiovisual pairing for new eight-minute opus—stream ‘Freeze’

Kygo liquefies audiovisual pairing for new eight-minute opus—stream ‘Freeze’3793504c 3ef9 4962 B8c5 B45a40f242fb

Dispatched on May 5, Kygo‘s “Freeze” is an eight-minute opus underscoring the fleeting nature of time and love. The Norwegian producer’s “Dancing Feet” follow-up arrives alongside a Rafatoon-directed music video depicting a young couple exploring an interstellar romance. “Freeze is a really special record to me,” Kygo explained in a recent press release. He added,

“I always try experimenting with new sounds and styles and feel that this song is different than anything I’ve ever released. I’m excited for my fans to hear this one and hope they like it as much as I do.”

A little over a month ago, Kygo closed out Ultra Miami in a hard-hitting yet authentic fashion. He capped off his Sunday night set with an acoustic piano rendition of “Firestone,” during which he brought out the international hit’s original vocalist, Conrad Sewell. Looking forward, Kygo has an array of performance lined up for 2022. In addition to headline appearances at Osheaga, Bottle Rock, and Lollapalooza, Kygo is scheduled to perform at Norway’s largest outdoor venue, Ullevaal Stadium, on July 2. Tickets to the aforementioned show sold out in a record-setting 10 minutes.

Browse Kygo’s forthcoming tour dates here, and stream the official music video for “Freeze” below.

Featured image: Frode Hansen

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Sensel Discontinues Morph Controller, Focuses On Laptop Touchpad Market

Sensel has announced that it is discontinuing the Morph, it’s expressive multi-function music controller.

The Morph is a highly sensitive multi-touch control surface that can sense overlays, letting it ‘morph’ to be used as a keyboard, drum pad, x/y controller and more.

The company says that challenges of manufacturing the Morph have forced them to pivot to focus on their enterprise business solutions.

Here’s their announcement:

“Ever since we sold out of Morphs in 2021, many of you have been eagerly awaiting updates about the availability of the Sensel Morph. Today, we can provide some closure and announce that unfortunately, Sensel will no longer be producing the current Morph.

Like many of you, we feel like we were able to only scratch the surface of the potential of the Morph, and we’re disappointed that we can no longer produce it. Production challenges were myriad: the unavailability of what was once a widely available microprocessor, the lack of supply of the resistive ink that was used for the Morph’s pressure sensor, travel restrictions, and internal competition with the rapidly growing demand for Sensel’s enterprise solutions.

Over the past year, we explored many avenues to restart production: pitching investors, partnering with other music companies, creative arrangements with high-volume manufacturers, and redesigning the Morph. In the end, we had to make the difficult decision to shift our focus to our core enterprise business, especially in the laptop touchpad market. Sensel’s technology is currently being used in the haptic touchpads of Lenovo’s X1 Titanium Yoga and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio, and will be featured in several other models in the near future. We’re thrilled to enable the next generation haptic touchpads for Windows laptops, and to get our tech into the hands of millions of users.

For those of you who backed the Morph on Kickstarter or purchased one after, we sincerely thank you for being a part of the Sensel journey and helping us get to where we are today. We still can’t wait to see what you create. And for those who signed up for our back-in-stock notifications while we’ve been sold out, we apologize for the long wait and for not being able to fulfill your requests.

Making the Morph and seeing what creative people could do with it was incredibly rewarding. From the same controller, we saw virtuosic finger drum jams, slick productions, tripped out visuals, and interactive installations. The creative minds that got behind the Morph were just awesome. As we move forward with our enterprise business, we hope to influence those markets with what we’ve learned, and work with innovative tool-makers to bring the creativity and richness-of-interaction of the Morph to everyday consumer devices like laptops and phones.

Down the road, we will also rethink the Morph product line and potentially bring another consumer product to market. While there are no plans to do so right now, we welcome all feedback and suggestions.”

Sensel has a FAQ page on their site for Morph owners.

New App, VHS Synth, Turns Your iOS Device Into An 80s Time Machine

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AudioKit Pro has introduced VHS Synth, a new software synth that turns your iOS into an 80s time machine.

VHS Synth features synths recorded with a VCR, then resampled for “Pure 1980s Synthesizer Glory”. The samples are created by Ableton sound design superfreak Brian Funk, who’s released hundreds of free and commercial Live Packs. Funk started with a variety of synths, ranging from a Prophet 6 to the the Moog Realistic Concertmate, recorded them to VCR and then resampled them.

“There’s something about older recordings that just takes you back in time,” notes Funk. “Maybe it’s the production techniques that time-stamps certain songs. I wanted to create a collection of instruments that sound like they came right out of a time machine.”

Features:

  • Standalone app & iOS AUv3 Plugin
  • Over 250+ presets to inspire you
  • Compressed to under 150mb to save space
  • VCR Sound Effects (Buttons, Tape Hiss, More)
  • VCR FX section to customize the sounds
  • FREE Expansion Pack: OP-1 recorded with a VCR
  • iPhone & iPad version included for one low price
  • Presets by Jakob haQ, Red Sky Lullaby, The GarageBand Guide, DJ Puzzle, SOI, DJ Mantra, Marc Hupkens, AnalogMatthew, JEC, Da Fingaz, Brian Funk, and others

Pricing and Availability

VHS Synth is available now for $3.99 USD (normally $9.99).