Big Gigantic answer 2016’s ‘Brighter Future’—stream ‘Brighter Future 2’

Big Gigantic answer 2016’s ‘Brighter Future’—stream ‘Brighter Future 2’Big Gigantic Insta

A follow-up to 2016’s critically lauded Brighter Future, and slicked with major industry talent, Big Gigantic Brighter Future 2 joins the duo’s swanky and energetic discography as their eighth official studio album.

Big Gigantic‘s answer to 2016’s critically lauded LP, Brighter Future, has arrived, and it’s slick with industry talent. Brighter Future 2 enters the duo’s swanky, energetic discography as their eighth official studio album and sees them team up with eye-catching names across genres, such as Vic Mensa, Aloe Blacc, Elohim, and Nevve. As always, Big Gigantic’s range is something of an all-encompassing nature, spanning their classically smooth saxophone renditions (audible on “Open Your Mind” with GRiZ) to the throwback grooves on “Renegade,” produced alongside Party Pupils. With a firm hold on what made Brighter Future so special back in 2016, Big Gigantic add another accolade to what has been a booming six months, complete with a slew of pre-album singles, as well as March’s Leisure Season Vol. 1 remixes, featuring Dancing Astronaut Artists to Watch in 2022, LP Giobbi and SIPPY.

Catch Big Gigantic on their North American tour this summer, with support from Kasbo, INZO, MEMBA, and more. Tickets to the live initiative are available here.

Featured image: Big Gigantic/Instagram

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Boris Brejcha concludes four-year Fckng Serious hiatus with ‘Up Down Jumper’ EP

Boris Brejcha concludes four-year Fckng Serious hiatus with ‘Up Down Jumper’ EPBoris Feli

After a four-year hiatus on his own record label Fckng Serious, Boris Brejcha has returned with a thumping two-track EP, Up Down Jumper. The masked German DJ has pioneered the hi-tech minimal genre and continues to channel unique melodies in the setting of his energetic techno tunes. Up Down Jumper marks Brejcha’s homecoming to his roots; the EP is his first release since April’s experimental album, Die Maschinen sind Gestrandet.

Boris Brejcha is known to play unreleased songs in his DJ sets, where many of his originals are known to marinate for months before they ultimately see an official release date. In his Cercle peformance at Arènes de Nîmes, France, Brejcha played both tracks from the new EP, “Keep Rolling” and “Up Down Jumper,” proving this approach to be that of an enduring quality. Although this marked the first time that “Keep Rolling” appeared on a Brejcha tracklist, “Up Down Jumper” dates back to 2020.

Stream the much-anticipated EP below.

Featured image: Felix Hohagen

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Carl Cox announces first LP in 10 years, shares lead single with Nicole Moudaber

Carl Cox announces first LP in 10 years, shares lead single with Nicole Moudaber286851664 564042278420259 2378835678677309495 N

Ibiza royalty Carl Cox has formalized a release date for his first long-form project in more than a decade. Titled Electronic Generations, the 17-track LP will land via BMG Rights Management (UK) on September 16. The new album will pull elements from Cox’s hybrid DJ sets/live sets in recent years, bringing fans a “true electronic music experience” inspired by the “shared experience of being together and dancing.”

Electronic Generations’ lead single, “How It Makes You Feel,” hit digital streaming services as of June 10. Featuring internationally acclaimed record producer Nicole Moudaber, the “techno juggernaut” of a record marks Cox’s direct follow-up to April’s Fatboy Slim-assisted single, “Speed Trials On Acid,” which has since received a Cox-endorsed makeover from Scottish producer duo LF SYSTEM.

“It’s now very much epic techno, which you have to play from beginning to end to get the full experience. It takes you on a journey, and it just gets stronger and stronger with its twists and turns,” Cox said of “How It Makes You Feel.”

Now that the countdown to Electronic Generations is officially underway, fans can pre-save the album (and/or pre-order their vinyl copy) here, browse tour dates here, and stream “How It Makes You Feel” below.

Featured image: Carl Cox/Facebook

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Spencer Brown takes Kx5’s ‘Escape’ techno

Spencer Brown takes Kx5’s ‘Escape’ technoSpencer

Nearly three months after the release of “Escape,” Kaskade and deadmau5 have turned to Spencer Brown for the first techno remix of their debut single as Kx5. Out now via mau5trap, Spencer Brown’s rewiring of “Escape” marks his first release since April’s Stuck/Reflex EP. Although Kx5’s original toes more progressive territory, Brown’s turns techno on a live set-positioned spin that surfaces with a somewhat higher level of energy.

Premiered during Kaskade and deadmau5’s set at EDC Las Vegas 2022, Brown’s faster, bass-thumping version of “Escape” is said by the producer to be “one of his favorite productions he has made in his career.” Altogether, the remix that listeners hear today represents Brown’s dedication to the re-imaginative venture; his first two stabs were declined, but after many hours in the studio, Brown’s third and final attempt proved to be masterful. Stream it below.

Featured image: @timeconsumingticktock/ Instagram

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Sam Starks captures the energy of FIVE Music with club-ready ORBIT Playlist

Sam Starks captures the energy of FIVE Music with club-ready ORBIT PlaylistSS At Boh 1

Sam Starks might run the show behind-the-scenes at FIVE Music, but he has no problem stepping into the limelight either. He stands among the talented team that’s launched the luxury hospitality brand’s musical venture into international waters, giving the world a glimpse of FIVE’s ever-evolving sound. 

Although he’s not a producer himself, Starks spent his childhood years recording music from the radio and poring over vinyl records. His passion stemmed from the unmistakable feeling of playing freshly found gems over a set of booming speakers, which eventually led him to regular performances at a local Parisian bar. 

Now known on paper as the brand’s Music Director, Starks is involved with every aspect of FIVE’s musical curation, shaping a fitting sound for every occasion. Whether he’s taking his place behind the DJ decks, fabricating original playlists that echo throughout the hotel, or booking world-class headlining bookings, Stark’s efforts reverberate throughout every corner of the brand’s being. 

To celebrate the continued success of FIVE Music, Starks has hand-picked a selection of tunes that represent the label’s various sounds and musical moods for Dancing Astronaut. His ORBIT Playlist picks include originals from artists like ACRAZE, Joel Corry, and James Hype, as well as club edits and extended cuts from underground names.

“This playlist channels the multi-layered Sound of FIVE,” Starks said. “The selected tracks include some of the much-loved music that’s played at FIVE’s signature venues—from melodic house at Beach by FIVE, FIVE Palm Jumeirah to hip hop at The Mansion, FIVE Jumeriah Village, and soon, deep house at The Penthouse, FIVE Zurich. This specially curated FIVE-styled set is all about uniting everyone globally on one dance floor!”

Featured image: FIVE Music 

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Seven Lions celebrates a decade of music with compilation album, documentary series

Seven Lions celebrates a decade of music with compilation album, documentary series277565875 339860701429209 2471400665016899410 N

Seven Lions is officially celebrating a decade of music. Although his first unofficial production, “Deep Divide,” is still up on SoundCloud to this day, his first formal release came on March 12, 2012 after he was announced as the victor of Above & Beyond‘s remix competition for their song “You Got To Let Go” with Zoë Johnston. The rest, as they say, is history.

To celebrate, Seven Lions has released a special compilation album via Dancing Astronaut‘s 2021 Label of the Year, Ophelia Records. Titled 10 Years of Seven Lions, the LP includes classics like 2014’s “World’s Apart,” 2016’s “Rush Over Me” and 2018’s “First Time.” Also included are two brand new takes fof “The Blood” (Abraxis Remix) and an acoustic version of “Rush Over Me,” performed by HALIENE.

The compilation isn’t the only means by which Seven Lions is paying tribute to the 10-year mark of his career; he will also be putting out a four-part documentary, 10 Years of Seven Lions, on YouTube. The first part recounts his humble beginnings, when he was releasing music under his real name (Jeff Montalvo) before ultimately adopting the name “Seven Lions” and winning the remix competition, two moves that would forever change the course of his career.

Watch part one of the four-part documentary and listen to 10 Years of Seven Lions below.

Featured image: Jason Siegel

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Premiere: Sister Zo ‘Afraid 2 Make a Move’

Sister Zo will release her new EP, ‘Freak Shift’, via Jeroen Erosie’s 3024 label this week. Listen to ‘Afraid 2 Make a Move’ below. 

The Kansas City-born, New York-based DJ, producer and UN/TUCK collective co-founder follows her debut EP for Scuffed Recordings with four cuts of percussive club music, where nimble beats, chirruping sound designs and chopped-up samples skip about on clouds of heavy bass weight. 

Like other artists who’ve debuted on 3024 recently – Sobolik, Otik, Darsk – Sister Zo’s sound is characterised by its FWD genre fusions; she stitches strands UK funky, garage, techno and dubstep together with a colourful creative thread – it’s hard to imagine hearing these tracks on a big soundsystem and not instantly needing to dance. ‘Earth Mover’ is a syncopated stepper designed to shift the mood on dark dancefloors; the duelling drums in ‘Jump In (Freak Shift)’ sprint and chatter, decorated by smoky plumes of melody. This music feels lovingly tied to the lineage of UK electronic music, but will go off just as nicely on the Brooklyn dancefloors where labels like Kindergarten Records and Worst Behavior Recs are creating space for hybridised sounds. 

‘Afraid 2 Make a Move’ boasts a hint of Burial’s beefier tracks, its clacking two-step beat and detuned vocal sample sculpting a vibe that sits somewhere between ecstasy and melancholy. Whichever side you’re landing on, it slaps. 

‘Freak Shift’ will be released this Friday 17th June. Pre-order it here

MPC standalone updates look tasty: retro and vinyl FX and amps, probability, ratcheting, workflow

You’re spoiled for choice in standalone drum machines. But Akai is leaning heavily on frequent updates – and there’s plenty in the latest MPC 2.11 release for all their standalone devices.

Parts shortages facing the whole industry mean software updates may become vital, generally. But with or without a supply chain crisis, I think it’s a safe bet to assume what buyers want is a sense that their machines will get frequent use, won’t gather dust, and will get ongoing attention from makers. We’ve seen that in devices from Elektron, Polyend, Novation, and others.

Now, Akai has been keeping up a steady pace of MPC updates, but MPC 2.11 – available for all the standalone MPCs (Force, One, Live, X, Studio) – has some especially appealing stuff.

Here’s the rundown:

Probability & ratcheting. Okay, for me it was a deal-killer this wasn’t there, but now you get them. There’s probability for note variations (in 25% – 50% – 75% increments, not continuously but… that’s probably fine). Ratcheting subdivides steps from 1-8. The latter is pretty necessary in any modern music so – if that was holding you back on MPC, here you go. Both work on any notes, so you can use them for melodic parts as well as rhythmic ones.

Flavor. Actually a bunch of retro simulation things useful in a number of contexts, even if they’re grouped under “vinyl.”

Vinyl and analog simulation. AIR Flavor is billed as “vinyl simulation” but it covers a range of retro simulation – flutter, tube saturation, distortion, etc. – so could simulate vinyl, tape, or just generally retro fuzz and coloring.

Amp simulation – or DISTORRRRTION.

AIR Amp Sim. Distortion, EQ, tone color. Distortion is to me one of the best things about Maschine+ so – the combination with the above suddenly makes the MPC look like a worthy competitor. I’ll have to hear them first, though. (Preview, not review, folks!) Q-Link mapped, too, of course.

Updated granulator!

AIR Granulator now has reverse, shape, and skew. And there’s a good reason to go the MPC route now – full-featured desktop-style granulation is not a common feature elsewhere.

Sounds Mode. Browser with preview and favorites – also sorely lacking before, and as far as Maschine+, shots fired. (Plus this looks a bit simpler than NI’s offering.) Generally this stuff is marketed at preset lovers, but anyone saving a bunch of their own sounds will also be in need.

Pad to Keygroup. Ah, now this is my kind of MPC workflow. Assign and pitch any sample from a pad to a new keygroup program. And honestly, if your pad box doesn’t do stuff like this quickly, there’s just… not much point. With it, it’s a reason to focus on the hardware. Hidden in the updates but just as important:

More automation and editing. The sequencer now also supports automation on Drum Pad Slices (also essential) and 16 levels of velocity on Plugin, Keygroup, and MIDI Tracks.

MIDI Key Splits lets you set split points layering multiple tracks. That’s a fair bit less MPC-ish but I expect a must to people using the standalone MPCs as computer stand-in with a keyboard.

MPC Tuner. Like, a tuner in the conventional sense. Of course, this is usable with analog synths and instruments – which is good, as I bet the Eurorack owners don’t all have a KORG or BOSS tuner handy.

Ableton Link 3.0 update keeps this box up to date with Ableton’s cross-platform toolkit and assists your start and stop sync.

So yeah, a few features that are squarely in the “wait, it didn’t have that before?” but all around starts to make the MPC range look like a serious competitor, especially given its availability for fairly low cost and form factors of any shape you want (InMusic style).

Free for all standalone MPC users. Hell of an update.

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I still think a lot of the competition for these ‘hybrid’ standalone boxes – Maschine+ and the standalone MPCs first and foremost – is that they’re so much like a computer, some folks will wind up just using the computer. It’s more affordable and means more horsepower under the hood.

That being said, Akai keeps upping the ante on their devices and could lure folks away. There is something appealing about being unplugged from the computer and – even aside from the form factor, updates and stability questions – having another device to deal with onstage. Of course, then they’re also in competition with a lot of other standalone boxes.

Certainly, whatever you want, there’s now a box or device combo uniquely catering to you, down to Roland’s just-released T-8 if you ever said “but can it theoretically fit inside my mouth”?

And yeah, Maschine+ seems to be lagging in updates. NI, your move.

Lotic announces new EP, ‘Sparkling Water’, shares single: Listen

Lotic has announced details of a new EP, ‘Sparkling Water’.

Featuring reworks of tracks from the Houston-born, Berlin-based artist’s second album ‘Water’, which was released last year, the four-track EP also boasts new, original brass arrangements. Recorded at Live at JRS in Berlin, the four-track release is out via fabric’s in-house label Houndstooth on July 1st.

Arranged by Hilary Jeffery, the brass compositions that feature on the new release feature tuba by Orlando de Boeykens, trombonist Baron Arnold and trumpet/trombone by Kelly O’Donohue.

Stream the lead track ‘Always You (Sparkling)’ below.

Also released via Houndstooth, ‘Water’ was described by Lotic, aka J’Kerian Morgan, as a “a tender meditation on love’s losses and lifeforce, timelines, bloodlines and resilience.” Released in October last year, it came at the end of a period that she explained involved “having to be adaptable, while being dragged through the trenches”.

Three years prior to the release of ‘Water’, Morgan released her debut album, ‘Power’, via Tri Angle.

Bijou Film Festival and Elements Oakland celebrate Black and queer roots of house music with Juneteenth event series

This Juneteenth, the Black and queer roots of house music will be celebrated with a series of events in Oakland, California.

Across June 17th-18th, the series – which will take place both virtually and in in-person – will celebrate what organisers Bijou Film Festival (BFF) and the Elements Oakland crew call “Black Fantastic Otherness, a term that highlights the unique otherness that we possess as Black people around the globe.”

Pairing up with DJ Nina Sol and dancer-turned-DJ Patrick Wilson, aka the Elements crew, Bijou Film Festival will host a conversation about the Black and queer roots of house on Friday, 17th June. Featuring Bay Area veteran house DJs David Harness, Wilson, DJ Lamont “Fingersnaps” and Anita Lofton, the conversation will be moderated by Sol and hosted by Khalil Anthony of BFF. According to organisers, it will take a look back at how “our past allows us to move firmly into the future with both eyes open, and hearts big and wide as the possibilities on the horizon”.  

As well as being streamed online, the event is also open to the public, taking place at new, Black-owned Oakland vinyl bar, Sessions.

The following night – Saturday, June 18th – sees the Juneteenth party and official BFF afterparty in Oakland, featuring DJ and producer Timmy Regisford, Rimarkable, and Elements residents Sol and Wilson. Tickets are on sale now via RA, and the venue is to be revealed.