Bicep, Honey Dijon, Andy C, India Jordan, more locked for Forum club Birmingham opening season

Forum, a new 3500 capacity venue opening in Birmingham this summer, has revealed full line-up details for its opening season, which will run from August to September 2021. 

Housed in the building that was formerly home to the Birmingham Ballroom, The Academy and Birmingham Academy, the newly renovated, multi-faceted Forum — a venue designed with DJs and live electronic acts in mind — is getting ready to open in time for summer.  The venue’s second room – which will also operate as standalone club, Space 54  – will be kitted out with a huge d&b soundystem, and is tailor made to create a headsy club atmosphere for up to 350 guests. You can check out some preview pics of the space below. 

The party schedule for Forum’s opening season is positively stacked. Throughout the season, the club’s &Friends residents will hold a number of parties, with guests including Barely Legal, Anastasia Kristensen, Tim Reaper, Theo Kottis, Secretsundaze and more.  

On 25th September, Honey Dijon, Palms Trax, HAAi and Disco Pussy will take over the club.  On 16th October, Kerri Chandler, Folamour, Mafalda, Disco Pussy and more will bring even more house and disco vibes to the space. 

More parties and gigs scheduled throughout the season include nights with Bicep, who will be playing live, Andy C, India Jordan, Shanti Celeste, DJ Boring, David Rodigan MBE, Skream, and more. 

DJ Mag will be hosting a party in Forum on 5th November, with a very special line-up set to be announced in the coming months. 

Pre-sale tickets for Forum’s opening season are available here.

iConnectivity Debuted Their AUDIO4c Interface With An Infomercial….That’s Actually Kind Of Awesome

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iConnectivity has introduced the AUDIO4c – their latest multi-purpose audio and MIDI interface for Mac, PC iOS and Android – with an infomercial-style video that’s actually kind of awesome – not taking itself too seriously, while also doing a great job of highlighting the device’s unique capabilities.

The AUDIO4c features 4 XLR / ¼” TRS combo analog inputs, 6 outputs, USB-MIDI, and DIN MIDI connectivity, with application-tailored modes for streaming, recording and live performance. It’s designed to solve a variety of connectivity problems, like streaming from a wide range of inputs and platforms, DAW-free performance with a wide range of devices, recording to mobile devices and more.

Features:

  • 4 XLR / ¼” TRS combo analog inputs
  • 4 premium microphone preamplifiers with 48v phantom power
  • 4 ¼” TRS balanced analog outputs
  • ¼” stereo headphone output with independent mix
  • Multi-host Device ports – use 2 computer devices (Mac OS/Windows/iOS) at the same time
  • Host port for connecting up to 8 MIDI peripherals (with Class-compliant devices connected to a USB hub)
  • 1 X 1 regular 5 pin DIN-MIDI in/out
  • New improved Auracle software (Mac OS, Windows) makes it simple to set up and configure your whole system – which is also stored in flash memory on the interface
  • Audio and MIDI passThru routes audio digitally between two computing devices
  • Standalone computer-less operation – mix/merge audio and host 5 pin DIN + USB class-compliant MIDI
  • Comprehensive audio mixing and routing between connected USB computing devices and analog outputs
  • High-resolution audio – up to 24-bit/96kHz AD/DA conversion
  • Capacitive touch user controls

Pricing and Availability

AUDIO4c is available now, with a street price of about $399.99 USD.

IK Multimedia UNO Synth Pro (Sneak Preview)

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IK Multimedia shared this sneak preview of their upcoming UNO Synth Pro, a new synth that features three wave-morphing oscillators, dual filters with 24 modes, deep modulation options, 3 effects slots with 12 effects, a sequencer with automation of 80+ parameters and MIDI/CV/Gate connectivity.

It will be available in two formats – as a keyboard with aftertouch and as a desktop synth module, with capacitive touch keys.

Pricing and Availability

The UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available to pre-order now, priced at 649.99 USD/EUR and 399.99 USD/EUR.

From Estonia and the Baltic, new composition and rich electronic music in a free broadcast

The Buchla and Serge synths and laptops are all warmed up. Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are showing a spring bounty of cutting edge composition and electronic music, and you can tune in for free.

DNA is the theme for Estonian Music Days / Baltic Music Days, a new venue to watch coming to Estonia this year, then Kuanas Lithuania next year, Riga in 2023, and back to Tartu in 2024.

It’s funny, sometimes the mere mention of electronic music and electroacoustic music with concert music conjures up grainy black-and-white photos and fuzzy tape pieces from ancient studios. But no – this is the new generation. In a year when the future has seemed distant, these are new works, premieres, new collaborations, fresh from rehearsal and composers’ desks – and in this too oft-overlooked corner of Europe, new models for supporting artists.

Latvian composer Platon Buravicky has made a name blending avant-garde musicianship and electronics.

Platon Buravicky · Sunambermorning

Oh yeah – supporting artists. Because planet-wide, that’s a serious question. Composer Märt-Matis Lill of Estonia spoke to Latvian Radio 3’s Anna Veismane about how a seeming success story with COVID had succumbed to some of the worst numbers on the continent – but also offered some hope about how to support new music creation and keep artists working. It’s all a great read, even for those of you (most, presumably) who have never been to Latvia or Estonia:

Latvian Radio 3 “Klasika” interview with Märt-Matis Lill

But this is not a story you have to just read about. Because of the pandemic, the program that normally would be seen only by in-person guests from the region is now online live. And I recommend tuning in, as there is some fantastic music coming at you.

From Tartu (yeah, there are cities in Estonia other than Tallinn), there’s the Ensemble of Estonian Electronic Music Society. Count them, six premieres, all of them composed in 2021, and one “vintage” piece from 2018.

It’s also a terrific combination of instrumentalists who have built up a repertoire of technological musicianship. That’s a key point – part of the reason that electronic music has been slow to really blend consistently with concert musicians is simply that there’s an absence of ensembles building up the passion and chops.

And they took time with it. Unlike the typical, hastily concocted commissions that are the norm, EMA set up an intensive residency so players and electronic composers worked closely. Oh, and I’m biased, as I know a couple of the composers’ work – Platon I once got to play with in a cute underground space in Riga. But I bring that up because that’s also what I love about the Baltic States – there’s a scale that’s far more personable and close, in contrast to the rush of a city like Berlin where so much talent can just get lost in the din. Cooperation between those locales has sometimes been slow to start – three languages between them – but it’s been waiting for just this kind of work.

Tonight, I’ll be listening to this program:

Looking smart, playing smart. Ensemble of Estonian Electronic Music Society are a chamber society not afraid to tackle electronics and tech.

Digital & Analog

Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes (*1977, Estonia) – Aria (2021, premiere)

Vytautas V. Jurgutis  (*1976, Lithuania) – Tinohi (2018)

Märt-Matis Lill
(*1975, Estonia) –  Imaginary Soundscapes II (2021, premiere)

Taivo Lints (*1980, Estonia) – Rhythm Convergence (2021, premiere)

Platon Buravicky (*1989, Latvia) – Safety borders (2021, premiere)

Liina Sumera (*1988, Estonia) – Netrunners (2021, premiere) 

Ensemble of Estonian Electronic Music Society (Estonia)

Some of Liina Sumera’s chilling, fascinating work, in colossal surfaces and warping textures – just for one example:

Liina Sumera (Kullerkupp) · Conatus – Liina Sumera

Don’t miss composer Liina Sumera (photo: Tammo Sumera). Arrestingly wonderful work.

There are other exciting ensembles blossoming here, too – like the excellent Ensemble U from Estonia, which works easily without conductor and eats improvisation and weird scores for lunch. Or there’s Lithuania’s own ensemble Synaesthesis, which is diving into the younger generation of composers, all of them bridging the Soviet era with the independent life of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. There, too, the theme is not just dialing up some clever scores, but really beginning to collaborate across these very different cultures – places connected by short, cheap bus rides and flights but that are just beginning to explore the potential for forging a shared musical scene.

The program still tends mostly to acoustic instrumentation only, apart from EMA. But for a daring mixture of electronics with orchestra composition, look to next Friday’s program with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra & Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra & Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. Photo: Krõõt Tarkmeel.

Malle Maltis’ premiere of Night Frost will combine electronics with full symphony orchestra – perhaps conceptually a counterpart to the works adding choir. (You also get a serious up-and-coming conductor and some singing bowls and percussion with two oboes via composer Mariliis Valkonen, which is absolutely a combination I’ve never heard of before, and I’ve seen most combinations.)

Malle Maltis, composer, photo: Jandra Puusepp.

Oh and I guess we still say “tape” for canned pieces, even for a generation that mostly never used tape. That includes HETK Trio, which combines Dutch and Estonian players but is named in Estonian, and their performance of Incantare by Lithuanian composer Justina Repečkaitė.

Check the full program in English (don’t worry, you don’t have to learn Estonian to navigate the site, but if you like, yeah it’s also called Eesti Muusika Päevad – that wasn’t so bad):

https://www.eestimuusikapaevad.ee/en/programme/

And tune in live here:

https://www.eestimuusikapaevad.ee/kava/festivali-avamine/tv/

Even virtually, the program saturates this small country’s best venues. And yeah, love him as we do, Arvo Pärt is not all there is to Estonian music.

Little Simz announces new album, ‘I Might Be Introvert’, shares single: Watch

There’s also a brand new music video 

DJ Mag Staff

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 12:39

Little Simz has announced her fourth studio album alongside a new single and music video.

London-based MC Little Simz, who was recently featured on the FIFA 21 VOLTA soundtrack alongside The Progidy and Underworld, has announced her new album, ‘I Might Be Introvert’, incoming on 3rd September via Age 101.

News of the album, which marks Little Simz’ first LP since 2019’s ‘Grey Area’, has been announced alongside brand new single ‘Introvert’. The MC won the Best Album award with ‘Grey Area’ at the Ivor Novello awards in 2019.

You can check out the visuals for ‘Introvert’, which have been directed by Salomon Ligthelm, below.

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Check out DJ Mag’s 2019 feature with Little Simz, where we spoke to the MC and visionary about being in the public eye, growing as an artist and tackling politics in her music…

Festival cancellations inevitable without COVID insurance, warns Association of Independent Festivals CEO

Festival cancellations are inevitable without coronavirus insurance, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has said.

Following the announcement of the UK government’s “roadmap” to reopening the hospitality and live entertainment industries in June, the AIF warned that a number of festivals could be forced to cancel their 2021 events if they did not receive Government-backed insurance and VAT intervention before the end of March.

Earlier this week, after Winchester’s Boomtown Fair announced that it had cancelled its 2021 event, directly citing a lack of insurance support from the UK government, CEO of the AIF Paul Reed said that although the festival cancellation was devestating it was “not surprising, and further festival cancellations will follow.”

“AIF has been warning and providing evidence to the government for over six months on the urgent need for intervention on insurance,” Reed told Music Week. “It is an enormous risk for any independent festival to commit to upfront, non-refundable costs and very difficult to plan with confidence in the absence of insurance. The average cost of staging an independent festival is over £6m.

“A recent AIF member survey revealed that 92.5% of respondents do not plan on staging their events without some form of government-backed insurance or indemnity scheme, with the measure being described as vital not optional. Considering the lengthy planning cycle of festivals, it is difficult to think anything other than we are being timed out for the summer.”

In March, Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said that introducing a UK festival insurance scheme risks ‘pulling the rug’ from under events and offers the sector false hope. 

“The fact is, chairman, as the minister responsible for this I would much rather be able to make an announcement when I am absolutely certain things can go ahead,” Dinenage told MPs, “or at least in a much better sense of predictability that things can go ahead, than announce an indemnity scheme, give people the confidence in order to pull the rug out from underneath them again. I just wouldn’t be prepared to do that.”

In January, Glastonbury’s organisers announced that the festival would not be taking place this year, and many fear that its cancellation is just the tip of the iceberg of mass postponements expected for the year as the pandemic continues.

Free Software Synths For Windows

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Ocean Swift Synthesis has released their entire line of software synths for Windows as free downloads.

The developers note that their products “were a labor of love and our babies” but that they’ve moved on to other development jobs. They add, “We would be very glad if people continue to enjoy them and be inspired by our sound and the passion we put into everything you can find there.”

OSS Enterprise, above, is a hybrid synthesizer exploring Vector, Additive, Subtractive & Wavetable synthesis.

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Polyphenom is another hybrid polyphonic synthesizer, exploring additive, wavetable, subtractive and fm synthesis – with an extensive array of features, modulations and built in effects.

Other free synths for Windows include Aeolian Mediation, an additive synth; Defiant, a hybrid wavetable synth; and Shruti Box, a synth inspired by the traditional Indian drone instrument.

See the Ocean Swift site for details.

mini.SEQ Pocket Sequencer (Sneak Preview)

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B&C Audio shared this sneak preview of the mini.SEQ an upcoming ‘pocket sequencer’.

The sequencer is currently under development, but it supports 8 bars of 16 steps, with 4-voice polyphony. It supports recording using MIDI In, live or step recording. It also supports USB MIDI, so you can record MIDI to or from your DAW.

Pricing is expected to be in the range of 45€-65€. Other details are to be announced.

The Chemical Brothers announce new single ‘The Darkness You Fear’; out Friday

It’s the first single from the legendary UK duo since 2019

Declan McGlynn

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 – 11:12

Technics unveils new SL-1200MK7 turntable; costs £799

The new version introduces a silver model to the MK7 range

Declan McGlynn

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 – 11:34

Technics has introduced a new direct drive turntable to their SL range – the 1200MK7. The new model is identical in feature set to the 1210MK7 introduced back in January 2019, but this new model features a silver faceplate as opposed to the 1210s matte black finish. 

Both 1210MK7 and 1200MK7 models feature the same functionality including a new coreless direct-drive motor that should eliminate any cogging issues, adjustable torque and brake speed and a new microcomputer inside for increased motor control accuracy with things like scratching. There’s also a reverse playback option. 

The new, silver SL-1200MK7 will be available from May 2021 for £799. When the SL-1210MK7 was announced, DJ Mag made a documentary about the new Technics range and why it’s still relevant for modern DJs. You can watch the video below. 

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