Piknic Électronik’s 19th season has returned with a roaring success, keeping the music flowing through Montréal for serendipitous end-of-weekend soireé. Aside from their regularly scheduled programming, the homegrown brand has introduced OfF Piknic, a unique event series, to their roster right in the heart of the city’s Parc Jean-Drapeau. With a focus on the best that international electronic music has to offer for Friday/Saturday evenings, September 2-3 marks the only weekend in summer with back-to-back OfF Piknic shows.
On September 2, a bevy of talent will join IDGAFOS icon Dillon Francis across the two-stage event, garnering opening support from Dance System and PØPTRT on the Vidéotron stage. On Piknic’s secondary Du Boisé stage, visitors will see Durante, A-Rock b2b Shaydakiss, and Zac Martel.
Hot on Day 1’s heels, September 3 brings an entire new bag of talent to the island for a night to remember–featuring performances from UK dons Fatboy Slim and Skream for the momentous day. In tow, Montréal favorites Nymra & Sofisticated will be warming up the decks, along with Cinthie, Kizi Garden Crew, and Ellxandra finishing up on the Du Boisé stage.
Piknic Électronik resumes their regular programming September 4-5, 2022, giving attendees the chance to share one final hurrah for the long weekend with headliners Tinlicker and Montréal local legend, Misstress Barbara.
A full look at 2022’s OfF Piknic’s season programming is available here.
deadmau5‘s hau5trap label provides the platform for Cloverdale and Ekonovah‘s first musical meeting, “Higher.” The house single finds Cloverdale returning to hau5trap after previously making his debut on the imprint with “Hit The Dancefloor” in February. The producer, known for “high-octane tech-house,” merges his up-tempo, bass-kicking style with Ekonovah’s soulful touch. Starting with a melody that slowly builds in the company of riveting leads, “Higher” introduces standard drums before surprising big-room synths kick in.
The collaboration is Cloverdale’s first release since July’s “Round N Round” and Ekonovah’s first since July’s “This Feeling.” Of note, “Higher” follows Cloverdale’s very own music festival, Vibrancy, hosted in his hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it attracted more than 7,000 people across its two days of production.
British electronic trio NERO add their touch to deadmau5‘s “XYZ” in a shorter, faster fashion that constitutes their first release since November 2021 and their fifth song since 2018. Of note, NERO first took on a deadmau5 original in 2014, when they reworked “Ghosts N’ Stuff.” Now, eight years later, they’re turning the tables with a techno rework that diverges from their drum ‘n’ bass modus operandi. The remix is not as fast as traditional techno but it is faster than melodic-house, layering trance-like synths over quick-hitting drums for a take that impactfully reframes “XYZ.”
One of house music’s most beloved frontrunners, Dombresky recently made his third career appearance at Goldenvoice‘s Splash House music festival in Palm Springs, California. On August 13, the “Down Low” producer closed out day two at The Saguaro, one of Splash House’s three participating hotel venues, before capping off the entire festival at an “amazing” afterparty on Sunday night.
“The Splash House after party last night was out of fucking control!” the Frenchman raved on Twitter. “Thank you so much to everyone there and the promoters for putting on such an amazing show! This is why I do this job, the energy, the love, the sweat, everything was on point.. thank you guys.”
Before stepping up to the plate at The Saguaro, however, Dombresky carved out time to speak with Dancing Astronaut regarding his upcoming back-to-back with Noizu at The Shrine Auditorium on October 22, his most memorable set of 2022, and why an LP hasn’t been in the plans yet, at least. Read the exclusive on-site interview below.
You performed at Splash House back in June alongside Noizu. What made you come back?
Dombresky: “I also did it like four years ago, I think, and I liked it a lot. When I just arrived in America, it was one of the first festivals I did. I think the vibe is great, and I was like ‘yeah, why not?’ I have good memories about this festival, so I wanted to do it again!”
What’s the most memorable set that you’ve played to date this year?
Dombresky: “Well, I had the chance to play in Ibiza this summer. I was in Europe all of the summer [where] I played at Elrow at Amnesia. And for me, it was the best memories.”
How do you compare playing a large-scale festival with more intimate events like Splash House?
Dombresky: “I’ve had the chance to play main stage and stuff…It’s cool, you have to do it for your career and for the press, but I definitely prefer small stages and intimate [settings]. My music, I think, fits more on small stages. But I do it, and I love doing it.”
You have a big show coming up at The Shrine with Noizu. Can you touch on the effort going into it?
Dombresky: “Yeah, so we already did The [Hollywood] Palladium last October. It was the first time, for me, where we built a concept stage. This time, the stage is going to be bigger, there’s going to be more production, more music, more people. We are very excited about that. We’ve started to work on the set already; it’s going to be a lot of exclusive music and the stage production is going to be amazing. That’s the goal of this party; to make the people lose their minds.”
What are you most excited about right now in your career?
Dombresky: “I can tell you, in general… It’s funny because I’m French, but I built Dombresky in America when I moved here. Then, just this year, I started getting booked in Europe. So I’m very excited to build my name in Europe, and I’m also very excited to build my name in South America. I love America, it’s great, but I’m very excited to start expanding outside [the states, among] different crowds, different cultures…But there are a lot of DJs in Europe who would love to play in America because they see the party scene here is amazing.”
You’ve been putting out singles for years and boast numerous hits. Why no full-length album yet?
Dombresky: “That’s a good question. It’s not my priority right now, but it’s in [the cards] for sure. I love releasing singles and doing collaborations. I like feeling free and being able to do what I want when I want. The label is a lot of work, a lot of pressure… You have to schedule your year [around] the album. And I don’t like to be stuck in a lane, but I will have to do it, yes, one day. I can tell you, if I do an album, it’s not going to be club bangers at all. It’s going to be vocal house, soulful, that type of stuff. It’s really hard to make a good electronic album. So, when I have enough good songs with vocals, I’m going to put my energy into an album.”
Tiptop Audio and Buchla USA have announced that the Model 245t Sequential Voltage Source – a Euro-format version of the classic Buchla step sequencer – is now shipping.
With the 200 Series project, Buchla has teamed up with Tiptop Audio to resume production of Don Buchla’s 200 series, but adapted to the popular Eurorack standard.
Here’s what they shared in their update:
“The modules are packed and are now starting to ship to our dealers. The module is $245, pre orders will be open shortly worldwide, so please follow up with your favorite dealer.
Although we couldn’t fill the entire backlog, we managed to source parts to make a decent size run of these and we hope most of you will be able to get her/his order fulfilled. A follow up batch is in planning stage already too. We highly recommend checking the 245t user manual, to get to know this lovely module well.
Alongside the 245t, dealers are getting fresh stock of Model 281t Quad Function Generator. Production quantity is close to overall backorders so hopefully most of you will get your order fulfilled.”
The next module in their Buchla Eurorack line is the Model 257t Dual Voltage Processor, which they expect to ship by the end of September.
Pricing and Availability
The Model 245t Sequential Voltage Source is available now to pre-order via Perfect Circuit and other vendors, priced at $245 USD. See the Tiptop site for details.
Yamaha has introduced the MODX+, a major update to their MODX line of portable synthesizers that brings the synth’s capabilities closer to their flagship Montage line.
The updated MODX+ line features three keyboards: MODX8+, MODX7+ and MODX6+. Each of the synths offer more memory, greater polyphony and improved haptics over their MODX counterparts.
Yamaha MODX+ Upgrades
The three new synthesizers feature 1.75 GB of internal flash memory, an upgrade of 75 percent compared to the original models, giving you more space for custom samples and synth sound libraries. The MODX+ synths also offer more polyphony, with 128- note stereo AWM2 and 128-note FM-X polyphony.
Yamaha says that they’ve also improved the line’s haptics, by rubber-coating both the modulation and pitch bend wheels for better grip and control, giving the MODX+ more of the Montage feel.
The MODX+ improvements build on an already-powerful synth engine.
MODX+ still features both sound engines: AWM2 stereo samples for natural-sounding instruments, and FM-X frequency modulation synthesis for synth sounds. The MODX+ also allows for up to 13 simultaneous Dual Insert effects and three additional Master effects to shape your sounds.
Seamless Sound Switching prevents notes from cutting off when switching to a different performance. The extensive sound library covers original sounds as well as compatibility with MONTAGE, MOTIF XS/XF, MOXF and even DX and TX sounds (via the free FM converter on YamahaSynth.com). With Motion Control and a programmable matrix, these sounds can be dynamically performed, mixed and combined.
Three Yamaha MODX+ Models:
The Yamaha MODX+ series features three different models, with keyboards tailored for different types of players:
MODX6+: features 61 semi-weighted keys for sound designers and producers wanting deep synthesis capabilities;
MODX7+: features 76 semi-weighted keys for keyboardists needing a wide variety of sound, including all the layering and splitting they might need.
MODX8+: features 88 graded hammer keys for players that want an authentic acoustic piano touch.
Prices and Availability:
The Yamaha MODX8+, MODX7+ and MODX6+ are available immediately, with the following pricing:
It’s Afrorack gone Swiss! Afrorack aka Brian Bamanya has a fantastic video sweeping through the world’s largest synth collection. And there are more ways to experience this collection for yourself, from home or, if you’re lucky, in Fribourg first-hand.
Brian’s trip is don’t-miss, and really gives you a feel for the scale of the place. And he visits the maintenance department, a big part of this effort – and connected to Afrorack’s own DIY and salvage practice in Uganda, one everyone should take the time to check out. (Plus he cues up Toto’s “Africa,” so that’s him, not me. Hey, it is a banger.)
Afrorack’s residency was made possible through the work of The Swiss Arts Council – Pro Helvetia, which works to promote artistic creation and exchange in Switzerland and around the world. They have regular rotating calls for applications, too, and centers worldwide, so to our Swiss and international audience, check them out:
SMEM’s collection is deep – early Ace Tone drum machines and combo organs, the C.E.I Bauer Carnaval electronic piano from 1968, Crumars and DK Synergy, Elgam, Elka, Fairlight CMI, Grundig tape recorders… okay, I’ve only made it A-G. You get the picture.
How did all of this wind up here? That all started with collector Klemens Nilkaus Trenkle, working over decades, and growing with a supporting organization, volunteer efforts, and donations from manufacturers and other benefactors. There was even a Kickstarter, and efforts by Legowelt, Novation, Focusrite, Erica Synths, Teenage Engineering, and Mutable Instruments. It’s all part of an innovation cluster called BlueFactory – proof positive that vintage can be innovative, and history and repair chops can help construct the future.
If you can get yourself to Fribourg, you can visit for yourself. (Synths and ski Swiss holiday fantasy!)
If you can’t make it to SMEM, they’ve worked with Google Arts & Culture to do a number of interactive online exhibits. These are both a treat for gear lovers – ranging from 808s and temperament to newer stuff like monomer arc and VCV Rack – and beginner-friendly, so useful as teaching tools or to explain your obsessions to friends.
Plus these come with 3D models you can rotate, too:
Mount Kimbie have unveiled four new tracks across two double A-side singles, titled ‘MK3.5’. Listen below.
The duo of Kai Campos and Dom Maker produce two tracks each, with the latter working with high-profile collaborators on ‘in your eyes (feat. slowthai and Danny Brown), ‘a deities encore’ (feat, Liv.e). Campos’ tracks, meanwhile, work influences from industrial materials and sculpture into experimentally inclined club tracks.
The release marks the first new music from the pair since last year’s one-off release, ‘Black Stone / Blue Liquid’. In July, Maker contributed to aFlume remix package alongside Logic1000, Prospa, and more. Meanwhile, last month Campos dropped a new track with Actress, ‘AZD Surf‘.
Chloé Robinson has announced her debut EP, ‘Steamin”, with DJ ADHD. Set for release on 23rd September, you can hear the second single, ‘Pax’, below.
‘Pax’ is a 909-driven, four-the-floor banger with nods to grime. It follows the equally drum-heavy title track, which dropped in July.
‘Steamin’ arrives via Robinson’s own Pretty Weird imprint. Offering four tracks of less-is-more techno, emphasising space, silence and timbre as much as beats and bass. Four Tet also features on the EP with a remix of ‘Pax’. The EP’s fourth track, ‘Red Bull’, is a vinyl exclusive.
This aspect of the scene can arguably be traced back to the prior jazz-funk and soul scene, where DJs and promoters such as Cambridge’s Chris ‘Charlie’ Brown and Max Rees, and Richard Routledge, the man behind the popular Richard’s Parties events at Great Yarmouth seafront club Tiffany’s, regularly criss-crossed the region to play at all-dayers. Twice a year, the region’s ‘soulies’ were joined by their compatriots from London and the Home Counties at the Caister Soul Weekender, which was held throughout the decade at holiday camps just outside Great Yarmouth.
By 1987, these soul veterans were being joined behind the decks in their hometown clubs by a new generation of DJs who had grown up on electro, hip-hop and the emerging sound of acid house.“Me and Richie [Andrew Riches] had similar paths in the early days,” says Stuart Banks, then an aspiring soul and house DJ but later co-promoter of the legendary Eclipse rave events alongside his late brother David. “I used to hang around with Chris ‘Charlie’ Brown, and he gave me opportunities to play at his nights. It was the same for Richie with Richard Routledge.”
Richie was a pivotal figure in the development of dance music culture in Great Yarmouth throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, and arguably East Anglia as a whole. A dedicated crate digger who regularly travelled down to London to find fresh records, his trademark blend of darker and more intense forms of dance music inspired those who came in his wake. “I thought all DJs played hard music, because that’s what we heard locally,” says Simon Webster, who released his first record as Simon Mark, ‘Say Aaah’, on Sheffield imprint Ozone Recordings in 1990. “Richie and the others that came through at the same time as me, like Jam Master Jay [Jay Hurren], DJ Hostyle and Mike Bolton, played proper acid house, druggy new beat records, Belgian techno and later breakbeat hardcore. It was only when Sasha came to play, and it was more piano-heavy and uplifting, that I realised that it wasn’t only harder music played in clubs.”
Riches, who honed his skills by mixing for eight hours a day during spells on the dole and later mentored East Anglia’s leading female DJ of the ’90s, JoJo Rock, concedes that he did gravitate towards heavier music: “I’m a small fella and haven’t got an aggressive bone in my body. Playing hard music was me showing my aggressive side.” As someone who regularly travelled throughout the East — and later, as a support DJ for both N’Joi and the Prodigy, further afield — Riches was able to spread his take on the emerging rave culture throughout the region.
But he wasn’t alone. By the early 1990s, there were significant outposts of activity in Peterborough, home to key DJ/producers Shades Of Rhythm, Lee Coombs and Nick Annies, as well as the popular Tekno Dream parties at the Attic; Cambridge, where the Eclipse all-nighters at the Corn Exchange drew thousands of dancers every month; Norwich, via the Intense and Sensateria parties; Kings Lynn, with Hyperbolic and Perception at the Speedway Stadium; and Great Yarmouth, which was home to promoter Alekkos Faccas and his hugely popular Dance Paradise events (by the mid 1990s, Faccas was throwing periodic ‘multi-venue’ raves for up to 8,000 people at a time). These events regularly drew in punters from across the region, including those who attended far smaller shindigs in towns such as Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds, St Ives, Huntingdon and — most surprisingly of all — sleepy North Norfolk coastal resort Cromer.
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