Another month, another STAR SEED release. “Innocent” with Cafe Disko and Michaella is the latest single to drop and it lands via NCS. It’s a track years in the making between longtime friends, STAR SEED’s Drew Marcum and Cafe Disko’s Patrick Ditzel, who attended the same high school in Dayton, Ohio. It was only a matter of time before the two sonic forces teamed up for a collaborative effort with their respective duos.
“‘Innocent’ came together after months of working back and forth with STAR SEED during COVID,” Ditzel said. “We built the basis of the track after hearing Michaella perform at a show in Chicago. I knew she would be the perfect fit for the sound.”
STAR SEED have consistently delivered music each of the past three months; “Innocent” and their March remix of The Chainsmokers‘ “High” sandwiches April’s “Play Me” with Crunr. And it’s worth noting that the week of May 16 is a massive week for one of Dancing Astronaut’sArtists to Watch in 2022, given that “Innocent” drops the same week that the duo will make its EDC debut, at the Nightmode-hosted Rynobus art car. STAR SEED were also recently announced on the Breakaway Ohio lineup, one that serves as a sort of hometown show for the Cincinnati-based group.
It’s officially EDC Las Vegas weekend once more. In the quickest turnaround in the Insomniac staple festival’s quarter-century history, it’s now ready to move on from its 25th anniversary celebration this past October and get back to its annual May schedule in the desert. And while most may have taken Insomniac’s eight-stage stream in 2021 for granted, EDC Las Vegas is still graciously permitting those unable to be at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway the opportunity to watch three consecutive days’ worth of sets.
Visionary French beatsmith Chloé Herry, better known to most as CloZee, has been a steadily rising force within dance music for some time, riding a meteoric upward trajectory with impressive fortitude. First nabbing the spotlight after her momentous Evasion album in 2018, Herry has carried forth with immense stamina, leading to her most recent Neon JungleLP that has received critical acclaim since its 2020 release. After setting off on tour as post-pandemic restrictions began to lift in 2021, CloZee flourished forward with a hypnotic magnitude that fans continue to embrace with open arms and full hearts. Now, ahead of the Toulousian selector’s upcoming Lightning in a Bottle performance, her fourth at the sustainability-driven southern California dance event, CloZee sat down with Dancing Astronaut to stop and smell the roses for a moment.
Music devotees all collectively sighed a breath of relief in 2021 as the first light of a post-COVID world began to crack through an incredibly dark, year-long tunnel—Herry undoubtedly included. Finally able to take Neon Jungle to the masses, the live show more than a year in the making was finally able to reveal the side of CloZee that fans had been eager to experience for the better part of two years. Initially planning to bring her acoustic guitar into the set, Herry tells Dancing Astronaut that the after the pandemic, the crowd was too vivacious for acoustics, moving her in a more energetic direction. Herry decided to pursue, “A higher energy set [that] felt more natural this time.” She goes on to explain,
“Overall the vision of the show was the same. Some things changed a little bit, but for the better. During the pandemic, we had time to create more video content, and we got our new VJ, Jacob New, on board with us, who is a visual tech wizard.”
Now that in-person shows are back in action, there are plenty of exciting happenings on the horizon for the CloZee camp this season. Some of which include being able to bring her team with her to her favorite festivals, namely Lightning in a Bottle, Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, and Shambhala. And if there wasn’t enough excitement in the air already, perhaps most energizing of all is the recent announcement of a headlining appearance at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, minting a new homecoming show of sorts for the 29-year-old producer.
“In the early years of my career, I’d never thought that I would be even playing at Red Rocks. For me it was just a venue I would see in videos on YouTube. Headlining feels surreal. Hard work pays off! Definitely more pressure, but once I start the set, it will be super fun and emotional.”
That’s because Denver recently became home to Herry herself. As France proved increasingly more difficult and problematic for her career as the pandemic waged on, moving to the United States became imperative. Herry remarks on the move,
“Moving to Denver, in a way, allowed me to keep my head up, not feel so depressed and so far away from everything, doing whatever events we could do during that time, work on music with friends, and work on my new studio space.”
While Herry was faced with the decision to leave home to ultimately be closer to her craft, and her contemporaries, the change of scenery ultimately proved to benefit CloZee with numerous geographical, creative, and tactical advantages. One such friend the move brought CloZee closer to was GRiZ—the fruits of their tighter proximity immediately obvious with the release of their collaborative smash hit “Color Of Your Soul” earlier this year.
To that end, collaboration is a key part of Herry’s musical complexion, making it one of the core aspects of her newly launched Odyzey imprint. Founded in 2020, Odezey Music has become a hub for artists to find a familial kind of support from peers through releases, shows, festival takeovers (Odyzey’s takeover at Ubbi Dubbi, as an example), and plenty of other connective perks. Herry delves deeper into her experience stating,
“The feeling of being in this together, growing together and creating experiences for people as a big family is incredible.”
As her fourth Lightning In a Bottle performance inches closer, CloZee reflects on the moment, noting that life is pretty good right now. Building her family of teammates, collaborators, and a community of fans, with Neon Jungle on shelves and a fledging new record imprint to call her own, CloZee finds herself one of the most in-demand talents in the current dance music space, and her reign has only just begun. With new music on the way this summer, including another full-length album in the works, it’s clear fans have only scratched the surface of CloZee’s depth and artistry. Be sure to catch her at one of the many festivals she is performing at on her North American tour by heading to her website.
Ableton Live’s improvisatory clip- and device-based interface make the software feel like it could be as natural for visuals as it is for sound. But EboSuite 2.0’s plug-ins – some 54 of them – are the first that make the “V” side as complete as “A.”
EboSuite 2.0 debuted in April, but I’ve now had some time to properly dig through what’s new and try it out and – wow. From video mixing/blending/effects to generative visuals with shaders, and now live recording and sampling, this isn’t just Ableton Live with visual toys – it’s really a full realization of an audiovisual instrument. It recalls a lot of the original vision of Matt Black (of Ninja Tune / Coldcut) and Camart on VJAMM. But it makes use of today’s technology, UI paradigms, and computational power.
Compatibility and installation
First, let’s get the bummer out of the way for Windows users: this is a macOS exclusive. There’s presumably good reason for that; developing for video across platforms is no minor task. The good news is, the latest generations of Macs run video with aplomb (well, once you take care of the dreaded orange dot). And this version also includes various fixes and improvements for the latest Apple chip architectures and OS.
There are various solutions for integrating visuals into Live. EboSuite’s the one you want if you want a visual toolset that feels as complete as the audio one. There are just a massive number of plug-ins here (see the full list).
EboSuite’s installer is impressively simple – just load a Live set and they’ve somehow magically scripted the rest. (The software even automatically recognized that I’d copied my license key to the clipboard and helpfully registered itself.) You do have to run a separate EboSuite application, but this gives you a resizable, draggable window which you can then set to fullscreen on any output. It’s got a minimal UI itself, but has menus that let you choose from a wide variety of aspect ratios and resolutions.
Working in the Live paradigm
From EboSuite’s debut, the clever breakthrough was working out translation from Live paradigms you know to visual ones.
Session View: now triggers videos with Clips.
Clips: Start and end triggers, looping, and even Warp Markers work for video the way they do for audio. Trigger live or with MIDI.
Mixer: All those channels are now a multichannel video mixer with blend modes. Crossfade video with various effects using the crossfader.
Devices: ADSR envelopes work with video. One-shots and loops do, too. Pitch and tune become video parameters. There’s even a video sampler (really – see below).
Automation and control: Everything you know about mapping controllers and automation in Live now also applies to video.
But let’s not stretch this too far, because there’s also plenty here that you’d expect of a complete live visual toolkit:
Position / scale / rotation and layering
Time stretching, video scratching
Effects, including chroma keying, masking, and blurring, with grouping
Shader support, using ISF (which also means you can port your ISF shaders between EboSuite and other live visual tools, depending on the application – generally a great thing!)
Works with webcams, including iPhone and iPad (so this is very much a quick-and-dirty solution when someone asks you for a livestream or recording)
Video codecs: HAP, H.264, MPEG4, PJPG support and the ability to transcode to HAP (a preferred live video codec) right inside Live.
There are two approaches you might use here. You can just use this as a visual rig that works in the Live paradigm – even with your music, but keeping the “A” and “V” separate in your AV rig. Or you can build integrated AV sets that trigger musical and visual elements at the same time. It’s very possible to mix EboSuite visual tools with Live’s own internal Devices, even in the same chain.
When it comes time to produce output, you now have the option of compiling MIDI clips to a movie inside Live – the equivalent of “bouncing” your video – and now live recording. So on to what’s new:
What’s new in EboSuite 2.0
EboSuite 2.0 marks a major upgrade – a paid upgrade (€50) if you purchased the previous version more than half a year ago. But there’s a lot there:
Live video recording – sample video with eSampler and eSimpler, record with eVideoIn.
Experimental support for loading live video in Ableton’s own Simpler (really)- so basically you can record video with eSimpler, then manipulate the audio in Ableton Simpler. They have all sorts of warnings that this may not work, which of course to me makes it way more appealing to try. (It worked for me. I celebrated by running around with a pair of scissors and then had lunch and immediately went swimming.)
eGroups lets you use effects and blending on grouped tracks – so track grouping becomes a nice way of busing effects and blends.
Sends and returns. Remember that mixing metaphor? eReturnTrackis a device that lets you mix using the internal audio mixer sends and returns in Live.
Reorganized plug-ins and shader organization.
Easier ISF browsing, plus more and updated ISF shaders.
Fixes and optimizations, including some specific to M1 and Monterey.
It’s all great stuff. Yes, there are other tools out there – some might even be a better fit if you’re just curious to play around with generative visuals or quickly makesome animations. But even before adding live video sampling, EboSuite already feels like a full-blown analog multichannel VJ rig of years past, translated to an Ableton-style workflow. That’s pretty wild. Add in a sampler, and you’re really into the territory of video sampling, effects, and multichannel mixing.
Now, honestly, if you’re planning on driving a bunch of displays at once and squeezing out maximum performance and sending DMX and driving some LED walls and mapping, well, just use a separate program. But for quick jamming, Live-style, there’s nothing quite like EboSuite.
Tutorials and demos
You’ll find a ton of useful tutorials online and a complete video manual and tips, but I couldn’t resist picking a few favorites to give a sense of what this whole thing is about.
Working with cameras:
Working with livestreams:
Translating shaders to ISF shaders (okay, this is a major one and likely a cause of confusion otherwise):
Apart from your endless options in AV tools, VJ tools, node-based visual libraries, live coding environments, and everything else, you have now at least three major rivals for producing live visuals inside Ableton Live. (All these tools require Max for Live.)
Windows users, Zwobot is your winner.
macOS users, all three will run on your machines. I could try to tell you which to pick, but there’s a ton of overlap in feature set, and what I find is people gravitate toward one naturally because they like the interface approach. It’s personal.
For now, though, Zwobot and Videosync are in a very satisfying horse race with EboSuite.
Maybe the biggest competitor here is the beautiful Zwobot. If EboSuite feels like a dream VJ rig, Zwobot feels like a loaded-up video modular. I mean, yeah, on some level they’re the same – video and generative visuals. But Zwobot runs entirely in Max for Live, and has a template for making your own modules. Plus what you get is just a ton of possible visual effects, including a marketplace for lots of gorgeous ones.
And it’s also M1 native. It’s affordable to start – US$29 – with the idea being you’ll add on effects from there.
It’s also your best bet if you’re on Windows, with robust Intel and 64-bit Windows 7+ support (you’ll want a real GPU) on top of macOS compatibility.
Videosync is a really elegant tool – somehow also with Dutch developers involved and ISF support. (What’s in the water over there?) It doesn’t have the breadth of devices found in EboSuite, but its simplicity is also a feature and it has a nice approach to how to use shaders as instruments. Our friend Tarik Barri also works a lot with this in their visual shows and contributed to development.
You can try it for free; there’s both an Intro ($99) and full version ($239) available. It also comes with its own plugin SDK.
At the tail end of 2020, something caught Cassian‘s ears: the first demo of “On My Knees.”
“It had a wildness and darkness that I loved immediately,” he reflected in press supporting his remix of the song, from RÜFÜS DU SOL‘s fourth studio album, Surrender. About a year later, Cassian had finished mixing Surrender. His next steps were undefined and ready for scripting; he’d find their shape in the “On My Knees” stems. Though Cassian flirted with the notion of fashioning an “On My Knees” remix for RÜFÜS DU SOL’s Sundream Tulum festival in March, come the end of February, there was no such spin to be found on his hard drive. But some people work best under pressure. From the sounds of his take on “On My Knees,” Cassian is one of them.
“Amongst the madness of preparing for my DJ and live sets I somehow managed to put the remix together,” he remarked. In line with his intentions, the nearly six-minute edit debuted amid the white of the sand and the blue of the sea in Tulum, where RÜFÜS DU SOL and Papaya Playa Project presented the first iteration of Sundream festival. There, the crowd’s reaction would “cement the direction” in which Cassian had taken the remix.
Sonically, the Aussie trio’s ardor for the low end remains intact on Cassian’s version, which augments the subs while preserving many elements of the original—”as many as possible,” in fact, according to Cassian. The amplifying recasting can be streamed below.
“Hang On” marks Le Youth‘s fourth and final single ahead of the release of Reminders on May 27. The veteran producer has now shared a total of four early-release tunes via Lane 8‘s signature This Never Happened imprint. While fragmented, Le Youth’s debut album’s tracklist already boasts notable features from the likes of RBBTS, Sultan + Shepard, Emily Falvey, Tailor, and now, folktronica singer-songwriter Gordi. After recently unlocking “Dreaming” with Tailor, Le Youth offers yet another collaborative triumph, bolstered by Gordi’s fluid vocal topline. “Hang On,” Reminders’ final preview, marvelously complements the looming album’s unfinished yet seemingly crystalline sonic identity.
Pre-save Reminders here and stream “Hang On” below.
Tchami and Marten Hørger have long been in each other’s orbit, and after a slew of Hørger appearances on Confession Records and 2021’s Confession vs Night Bass tour, the father of future house and Hørger are formally colliding on their first collaboration, “The Calling.” Capturing Tchami’s priestly imagery in its artwork and in the connotation of its name and lyrical hook, “The Calling” has the makings of a coveted title: song of the summer. Released via Confession Records and mtheory, the label head and Hørger’s joint effort puts piano to work in a spry house framework bubbling with energy. Sure to feel the warm embrace of the dance/electronic club and festival circuit, “The Calling” is Tchami’s debut release of 2022 and Hørger’s third output of the year.
Ahead of what would have been his 50th birthday this Saturday, 21st May, Notorious B.I.G.’s estate has posthumously released a single called ‘G.O.A.T.’.
It’s the late rap legend’s first new song in almost two decades, and features Ty Dolla $ign as well as Nigerian singer Bella Alubo, as well as an Afrobeats-influenced beat by producer Kayomusiq. Biggie’s verses on the track have been lifted from his 1997 track ‘I Love The Dough’, which originally appeared on the album ‘Life After Death’. The track’s release comes just over a year on from WME’s Legends group singing a deal to take over the management of Biggie’s estate.
In a statement about the collaboration, Ty Dolla $ign said: “Being on a song with Biggie has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. The song title is fitting of him… the G.O.A.T.. Happy Birthday, Big. We miss you.”
Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, added: “It’s wonderful to witness my son’s music reimagined for his fans and today’s generation of young men and women to embrace his art. I appreciate the hard work of all involved in bringing together the perfect blend of voices and music to this song.”
Honey Dijon has shared a new single, titled ‘Love Is A State Of Mind’, which features a guest vocal from Ramona Renea. Check it out below.
The single is released via Classic Music Company and is the latest to be taken from the DJ and producer’s forthcoming ‘Black Girl Magic’ album. It follows the release of ‘Work’ in January, a track that featured Mike Dunn, Luke Solomon, Cor.Ece, and Dave Giles II.
‘Love Is A State Of Mind’ once again features Luke Solomon and Chris Penny, with Honey Dijon’s thumping house signature at front and centre in a track that’s sure to be played-out everywhere this summer.
Four Tet has released a new track under his KH alias. Check it out below.
Out today, the release of ‘Looking At Your Pager’ was first teased by the UK DJ and producer last month when he took to Instagram to share a clip of the track ‘No More (Baby I’ma Do Right)’ by US group 3LW, which the new cut samples.
‘Looking At Your Pager’ has been garnering a lot of attention since last summer after appearing in Four Tet’s DJ sets, as well as in radio and club sets by the likes of Ben UFO and Avalon Emerson. Months of speculation around the track on Facebook track ID groups followed.
Speaking about the new cut, Four Tet said: “This track was made in the summer last year just before my first festival set in a long time. I wanted something new to play that would feel universal, positive and futuristic and this is what I came up with.
“Since then I think more people have asked me about this track than for anything else I’ve ever made and I’ve had amazing times playing it to the best crowds you could ask for. It took quite a while to get approval for the vocal sample but it finally happened recently and now the music is out in the world for everyone.”
Listen to the track below, and get it on Bandcamp here.
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