Certainly one of the biggest storylines in electronic music this year, Kaskade and deadmau5‘s official union as Kx5, years in the making, has now come to fruition. Naturally, with the new project has come a swelling wave of inspired takes on the generationally influential duo’s emerging body of work. Breakout Artist of 2021, John Summit has already stepped into remix duties, along with Spencer Brown, LöKii, and Subtronics, and now LP Giobbi joins their ranks with her own take on Kx5’s debut single, “Escape.”
Already making a strong case to be 2022’s Breakout Artist, after landing on Dancing Astronaut‘s Artist to Watch advent calendar last year, LP Giobbi has proven to be a tenacious force on the rise with an extensive, consistent delivery schedule she’s maintained all year. Now, rising to the occasion with an officially sanctioned rework, the burgeoning hitmaker does her predecessors justice with her take on “Escape.” Capping off a well-rounded collection of remixes, the sixth and final inclusion on the EP, courtesy of LP Giobbi, highlights the fact that while Kaskade and deadmau5’s veteran sensibilities remain as sharp as ever, the future of dance music is undoubtedly in good hands.
There’s a new club night in London for queer Irish artists and clubgoers.
Satellite Towns wants to be a “home away from home for the Irish queer community”, its Instagram reads. The party is founded by Thrust Collective’s sohotsospicy and Cork producer Gadget and the Cloud, who both recently moved to London from Ireland and missed their home country’s queer and music communities.
“Our aim to provide a platform for queer Irish artists to find their footing in London and to build a home away from home for musicians, DJs, dancers, drag queens and partygoers,” the cofounders said. “We want to make moving away from home an easier, more welcoming process and to celebrate the amazing talents Ireland has to offer.”
The kickoff event takes place on Saturday, 13th August, at queer-friendly Dalston cultural space VFD. The lineup features Jordan Hearns, Acid Angel and Erin Go Bragh alongside the two cofounders.
“We can’t wait to welcome everyone to our Satellite Towns,” sohotsospicy and Gadget and the Cloud said.
Find more information on the event here, and see the complete lineup below.
Baltra is back with his first new solo music in a year. Listen to ‘Tell Me’ below.
The Philadelphia-born, New York-based artist says the garage track is inspired by his roots DJing at NYC warehouse parties. “I wanted to focus on creating something that was more distinctly club-oriented in nature,” he said. “I was interested in conveying a sort of push/pull feeling between the ethereal atmosphere and the weighty, rave-inspired sounds that sit more upfront in the mix.”
‘Tell Me’ is out now on Baltra’s own label, 96 And Forever Records. The single includes the sub-4-minute main version and an extended version that’s a little over 40 seconds longer with more of an intro and outro.
Earlier this month, Baltra shared a remix of Placid Angles’ ‘Our Love Is The Place’. His last two solo EPs arrived in 2021, ‘Ambition’ via Local Action and ‘Dreaming Of A Disco’ on Shall Not Fade.
Revisit DJ Mag North America’s feature on Baltra from January 2020.
There’s a new record store in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighbourhood.
Octopus Records, an online vinyl shop originally launched in 2019, opened its own storefront last week on Friday, 29th July. Located at 204 Irving Street, the store’s opening hours are from 12 PM to 8 PM every day except Tuesdays when it’s closed and Sunday when hours are shortened from 12 PM to 6 PM.
Octopus says it stocks mainly “hard-to-find electronic music, import presses, indie labels and high quality reissues in all genres”. There’s one listening station in the store for browsing, though shoppers should bring their own headphones.
Last year New York added Ergot Records to its roster of music shops, while the beloved Superior Elevation reopened in a new Williamsburg location on Grand Street after its Bushwick base on White Street suffered serious flood damage in 2021’s Hurricane Ida.
Check out photos of Octopus Records’ Irving Street space.
I’m super serial! Eventide has a new sequencer for creating modular melodies and intervals – and it started with twelve-tone rows as its inspiration. With audio, CV, and waveform out, it could be a merry melodic source for a modular setup.
There’s a ton in here. It could be an answer to the idea that modular can’t be melodic or… tuned, even. It looks really elegant and approachable and complete. (Though this is still a very western approach to melody and tuning — more on that in a bit.)
The basic idea:
Start with a root key and set a scale (via a bunch or pre-loaded scales or custom user scales – with Scala support).
Program and play melodies based on intervals.
Apply prime, retrograde, inversion, and other operations to the melody for variations.
Clock your melody / divide for different rhythms.
Output melody as MIDI, control voltage, or audio waveforms. (That last one is handy, as it means you can get something coming out of this even without having to connect a separate oscillator.)
And it’s polyphonic, plus there’s both USB connectivity and MicroSD onboard for storage.
Innovative 28hp Eurorack instrument/sequencer that utilizes a unique, interval-based approach to playing and creating melodies
Make sound three ways via MIDI, control voltage (with three independent gate/cv pairs) or outputting waveforms via the audio jack
External control templates for MIDI and QWERTY keyboards
100 factory scales and additional slots for up to 100 user/custom scales (Scala support)
Tone row-based sequencer inspired by the classic compositional technique used in serial music
Comprehensive control of sequence playback to easily manipulate and expand upon your musical ideas
Create rhythmic variations using clock division
18 user presets
CV inputs for external trigger/control sources
Clock input for syncing to external sources. User configurable PPQ settings
Audio output for internal oscillator
Polyphony via 3 CV outputs or MIDI
Micro-USB for easy firmware updates using Eventide Device Manager
Micro-SD card for saving/loading scales and settings
There’s also a lovely graphical display. And these mathematical operations to me are maybe the most interesting part. Sure, you can think of them as being derived from Arnold Schoenberg or the Second Viennese School. (I mean, I know that always gets the party going!) But you don’t have to conceive them that way: these are essentially matrix operations from mathematics. I think you could even make the argument that those kinds of operations are likely emergent in our brains and even how we hear.
The interface for Misha, though, is pretty well grounded in western concert music. To my surprise, there isn’t a master tuning setting, so you can’t even tune to a different master frequency for the outputs. It’s a bit odd to me to offer options like just intonation but stick the musician with A=440Hz, which is not a universal standard even in concert music – let alone with a bunch of analog gear. (Even most entry-level digital pianos offer master tuning.) Bastl’s 1983, for instance, tunes to 440Hz by default but gives you other options.
Free tuning becomes even more important in use with Scala tunings – and making use of those 100 custom banks. I think it’s important to say this is not a need of the “microtonal community,” which suggests microtonal is the niche, and concert music is the standard. It’s rather best expressed as being able to use modular as a free canvas that can accommodate musical traditions other than just 20th century “common practice” western European concert music and relatives.
So I get that there is the use of the key signatures for western music; it’d just be great to have a ‘free’ mode without them. (It’s a little like having a choice between free and tempo-synced in LFOs, but with pitch.)
Now, that being said – I think with a little extra work and oscillator tuning, you could hack around this, and the sequencing features will still be interesting enough even for those non-12-TET / non-440Hz scenarios. It’s actually not that hard to do in the analog domain, since it’s not uncommon to tune modules separately anyway. So this is still a great way of spitting out intervals or interval-related control signal.
You don’t even really have to use this entirely as tuned pitch-domain stuff – it could very well help make patterns for other parameters, like CV routed to effects! And then all those mathematical operations become nice ways of structuring pattern and variation.
I’m really eager to check this one out. It’s one of the nicer-looking melodic sequencers we’ve seen yet.
“It’s almost like drug dealing,” laughs Rob Ford, a 52-year-old author and music producer, who spends his evenings meeting strangers in car parks and exchanging cash for bags brimming with old skool rave memorabilia. “Meeting someone somewhere and buying a bag load of flyers off them. Occasionally there’ll be a membership card in there, too.”
What started as a hobby eventually transformed into an obsession. “I thought to myself, ‘nobody’s collecting these things’,” he recalls. “I ended up becoming a bit addicted to collecting the membership cards.” During the lockdown, the collection grew and grew, and so did Ford’s reputation as a collector. “I even got a bit of a name for myself,” he says. “It just became a thing, especially with lockdown, because it pushed so many people into their outdoor sheds and loft spaces. The next thing I knew, people started contacting me saying, ‘I understand that you’re the guy for membership cards’.”
Five years of this activity has resulted in a 432-page book — Members Only: The Iconic Membership Cards And Passes Of The Acid House And Rave Generations. The book is a treasure trove, containing over 500 pieces of original rave memorabilia. What’s really interesting is the diversity of the people who designed these pieces. What do we know about the different types of designers featured in the book? “I think basically you’ve got these two main categories,” Ford says. “You’ve got people who were just grabbing images out of magazines — the Dreamscape image itself, I think, was ripped from a 1984 science magazine.
“Some of the really iconic images were completely hacked off other stuff,” Ford continues, speaking to the DIY nature of how these events were promoted before the proliferation of the internet. “But then you had designers like Spectrum’s Dave Little, who’s professional and still doing that kind of work. And you’ve got designers like Pez [who worked on designs for Raindance] and Junior Tomlin [dubbed by many as ‘The Salvador Dali of Rave’] who are professionals.
“Then there are mates doing stuff,” Ford says. “I know, for example, that the guy that ran Humanity literally did everything himself. So it’s a mixture of professionals and people who would just rip stuff from big designers; Salvador Dali is a classic one in rave designs.”
Below is a selection of the membership cards, and some commentary from people who were there when electronic music culture first landed in the UK — bringing with it new music, fashion and drugs which are still dominant 30 years on.
Mina and Bryte are releasing a remix collection of their 2021 EP ‘Abeka Bugatti‘. Listen to the ‘See Something’ remix by General C’mamane below.
The five-track remix EP, out 24th August via Mina’s Earth Kicks label, features contributions from Príncipe’s DJ Lycox, key amapiano producer Caltonic SA, French-Gabonese artist Banga, Daytimers’ Darama and Durban producer General C’mamane.
The duo is set to headline London’s Village Underground with a live performance next month on 9th September. Banga is set for the supporting lineup.
Back in March, Mina released an album of classic trance remixes called ‘Trancehall’.
Mina contributed to DJ Mag’s Recognise series in September last year. Revisit her mix and interview with Katie Thomas here.
Check out the EP on Bandcamp, and listen to General C’mamane’s remix of ‘See Something’.
Ushuaïa Ibiza has invited Paul Kalkbrenner and Stephan Bodzin for a live show this summer.
The outdoor venue will host the German techno favourites at its poolside dance floor on Sunday 4th September. They’ll perform live at the day-into-night event, with support from DJ HOSH.
Ushuaïa Ibiza’s other one-off special events this summer season include headline sets from Eric Prydz later this month with Swedish House Mafia‘s taking place back in July. David Guetta‘s F*** ME I’M FAMOUS! residency at the venue is underway and Armin van Buuren is in the club’s calendar for four summer gigs.
Kalkbrenner recently performed at Belgian festival Tomorrowland — watch his set here.
Amsterdam venue De School is reopening for the first time in more than two years this September for a 16-month run.
After closing in March 2020 as the pandemic hit the Netherlands, De School announced the permanent closure of its club space in July 2020, citing debts and other financial and Covid-related issues. Around that time, the venue’s team were facing criticism over failures in handling sexual harassment and racism claims. Now, De School is looking to its club reopening on 9th September with a new team after a “long phase of reflecting, reconciling, restructuring and renovating”, according to a new press release published on their website.
De School has hired a new director in Erdal Kiran, who took up the post in January 2021 as the owner Jochem Wertheimer stepped back into “a diminished role”. “There was a huge need to dig deep to uncover problems, to create structure, for having painful but healing conversations and for creating an environment of trust for our employees, visitors, artists and everyone else that is part of this place,” Kiran said in a statement. “We have spent the past year having those conversations, listening to many of the people involved and affected, focusing on our responsibility towards our community, and creating new and much-needed structures…. From now on we will have to show what we have learned.”
Kiran told Resident Advisor that this restructuring process involved speaking with more than 100 people, including artists, club visitors, employees past and present, over the course of 500 hours of discussions. He called it “a humbling process that taught us a lot. We don’t think of that as a finished process as well.”
The press release also says there have been team changes at multiple levels of the venue, including door staff, as accusations of mistreatment by security surfaced in 2020. “Visitors can expect a new team by the door and the presence of an awareness team during club nights.”
De School’s final 16 months will continue to focus on music, education, art and food (its cafe and restaurant remained open while the club was closed). It’ll host an art curation programme, Het Kunstlokaal, which will be open to the public during regular hours and while club nights are on. De School, which initially opened in January 2016, will reach the end of its temporary lease in January 2024.
There will be more information to come about a new code of conduct, “house rules”, the venue team and future programming on De School’s website.
Richie isn’t the first artist to share the power of meditation with DJ Mag, and he’s not surprised to hear it. “I think that’s why a lot of people in music and this sort of industry would do things like that — meditation, self-help and manifesting,” he says thoughtfully. “Because you need to, you have no choice. If you’re not focused, you’re not gonna be on form with it and on point with it, and you need to keep yourself focused. That’s the best way to do it.”
The last stop of the Belfast tour is Bootleggers, a bar-come-restaurant nestled on the corner of Church Lane, and a five-minute jaunt from the pub. It’s a popular spot, with a soundsystem that doles out a heady mix of classic house and disco tunes, with an equally enticing menu of tacos and burgers. When our generously topped tacos arrive, talk turns to family and Richie’s nieces and nephews.
“They’re getting old enough that they don’t want to go to the cinema or bowling anymore, which is sad, because I love doing that stuff,” he says. “Because I’m like a big kid myself. Even in Mykonos, my friends would be like, ‘Where’s the child?’ — they’d be talking about me!”
Richie wants to settle down eventually, but for now, he’s focused on reaching his goals — living between Ibiza and Belfast, pitstops in Panorama Bar and DC-10, and releasing his album on the aforementioned London and LA-based record label.
Although it can be easy for any artist on the cusp of exploding to lose the run of themselves, Richie Blacker has everything he needs to remain grounded — a supportive and fiercely close family, a tightly-knit group of friends, and his trusty six-minute diary.
“I write in it every morning — intentions, what I’m thankful for, and what I wanna manifest,” he says. “Because you’re putting it out into the universe, it’s not a magic thing. It’s not like, ‘I’m gonna win a million pounds’. I’m just focusing everything I have on music. I wake up, and it’s about music until I go to bed again. It’s 24-7 with me, and I want it so bad that I know I will get there.”
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