Purity Ring has unveiled their third studio album WOMB. The full-length release was rolled out enigmatically starting with the appearance of lead single “pink lightning” through a digital treasure hunt on the Canadian duo’s custom-coded website pinklightningwebsite.website. Following Purity Ring’s resurfacing, they revealed further tracks, “peacefall” and “stardew.” WOMB marks Purity Ring’s first full-length project since their 2015-released LP, Another Eternity.
The 10-track LP sees the return of vocalist Megan James and instrumentalist Corin Roddick in their beloved genre-bending electronic style. With juxtapositions of luminescent production and dark thematics, WOMB arrives serendipitously at a time when solace in the form of music calls for more than ever.
With music events, both major-or-minor taking the cancellation path, it was only a matter of time before EDC Las Vegas followed suit. Now, the mainstay Insomniac festival has officially announced the postponement of its milestone 10th anniversary. Originally slated to take place May 15-17, EDC has officially announced their move to October 2-4, 2020. The three-day event joins Beyond Wonderland as one of Insomniac’s festivals affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The lead up to EDC’s postponement has been mired with cancellations from numerous festivals including Coachella, Ultra Miami, and more as well as by recommendations on limited-capacity gatherings. On March 15, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised the cancellation or postponements of large events containing more than 50 people for the next eight weeks—its end date landing on May 10. The CDC further recommended that gatherings of more than 10 people for organizations that serve higher-risk populations be cancelled as well.
Preceding the announcement, Insomniac founder Pasquala Rotella also spoke earlier on the circumstances in event of the festival’s postponement. During an Insomniac Radio livestream, Rotella noted that all refunds would be honored including hotel refunds for up to 72 hours after postponement. He also assured Insomniac would issue the announcement so that fans would have enough time to adjust their travel and lodging plans. Despite previously stating that EDC would continue as planned with “new health and safety protocols” in accordance with local government officials, Rotella acknowledged the situation as being “fluid.”
Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic—to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery—DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.
It’s been nearly nine years since the release of AMTRAC‘s Came Along LP. Patiently waiting fans have been thrilled in recent months, though, as the artist revealed a long-awaited follow-up LP, Oddyssey, was on the horizon. Out now via Openers/RCA Records, AMTRAC unveils the full canvas on which he’s been painting: a 14-track soundscape of rich sonic colors and thought-provoking instrumentation. The album’s namesake, “Oddyssey,” is particularly vibrant and showcases the best of AMTRAC’s capabilities.
Another LP making its full debut on April 3 is Purity Ring‘s much-anticipated WOMB album. The announcement of the 10-track collection debuted with the maze-encased “Pink Lightning” in early February, with other singles following in a more accessible manner in the weeks since then. The full collective of songs encompasses the moody and alluring elements listeners have come to know and love from the duo. Tracks like “vehemence” are shining examples of Megan James’ captivating voice and Corin Roddick’s meticulous production.
The breadth of Stephen Walking’s production seems to be limitless. Many know the Canadian producer for his Monstercat releases over the years, dating back to late 2011. In his first project of the new decade, the producer has opted to go the independent route, releasing “Ghost Town” with Road Lizard. With retro filtered vocals from Road Lizard and adventurous synths from Walking, this tune would be right at home in decades past—but simultaneously maintains a modern touch.
Remember “Get Down 2 Get Up,” the Mat Zo x The Knocks production from 2014? The trio date way back and have come together once again for another joint effort, “Get Happy.” This bouncy disco-house collaboration encourages fans to look on the bright side of life with spirited vocals and an irresistible, deep-pounding bassline. A jaunty piano melody dances through the length of the song, adding extra elements of merriment. The Knocks said in a tweet that the tune “is not a single on our next album or anything it’s just something we’ve been playing and wanting to put out for a while!”
A month after the release of the first single from their upcoming album, The Prototypes have followed up with the second one on UKF: “Oxygen.” This emotive drum ‘n’ bass number sees the duo tap Kudu Blue, bringing the same dramatic and powerful energy to the tune as they brought to their iconic City of Gold LP years ago. The pair said in a recent post that “Oxygen” is “one of our favourite tracks on our new album Ten Thousand Feet & Rising & one of the best we’ve written imo. Time to be uplifted!!!” Ten Thousand Feet & Rising is out May 22 and can be pre-ordered here.
We’ve gazed into grainy video feeds and literally watched multi-camera shoots of empty clubs. But we’re also starting to see a move into futuristic 3D and mixed reality – starting with one unique album premiere from the Innervisions mastermind.
The feed is tonight Berlin time, that’s 10PM CET so 4PM NYC time, 1PM California. (And yeah, my heart is with you right now, America, even as I type the letters NYC – and many other places worldwide. I know this is beyond tough; I’m watching and listening. If you want to join for Dixon distraction in 3D, please say hi.)
In a global crisis, one key element to look for in culture is people who were working on something before all of this, and that might endure through and after. So Dixon qualifies. He already DJed virtually (thanks to motion capture, a collaboration with Rockstar Games, and an appearance in Grand Theft Auto V Online, which you can still go visit in the game). And he had unveiled his Transmoderna project, which at least had the lofty goal of turning a club into something immersive. It’s hard to untangle what that means from the description, and I don’t tend to hang out in Ibiza. It seems in PR materials, everything in Ibiza starts to turn into some high-concept club-marketing gobbledygook – but yeah, his residency hosting everyone from the Innervisions crew to Mano le Tough to Honey Dijon also had the notion of developing immersive technology and reimagining what a club was.
Let’s skip to what is actually happening now, tonight Berlin time, as it at least starts to plumb this question of “what could be on a video feed that isn’t just a camera pointed at a bunch of clubgoers?”
The clubgoers for something like Boiler Room are now legally removed, their absence mandated by German contact limits in this pandemic. But the supercomputer on your desk and the supercomputer in your pocket were already capable of doing other things.
So Dixon tonight will perform a mixed reality DJ set as part of the Transmoderna collaboration, and to debut unreleased music of the same name. The artist says he’s building his Dj set already from this material. (No word on who yet, but previously announced collaborations on this moniker included Âme, Mathew Jonson, Echonomist, Trikk, Frank Wiedemann, and Roman Flügel.)
It’s really the visual material that starts to show promise, though – see the images here. Bleeding-edge visualist studio SELAM X has created an alien fishtank for the artist to inhabit tonight – and you can see the wonderful creatures they’re producing.
The whole thing will run in a game engine – fitting, as platforms like Twitch were streaming games while the club community was still just showing, well, clubs. And beyond that, I don’t know what to expect. But I’ll be tuning in, as this feels less like “DJ mix plus webcam” and more like something worth seeing on a screen.
I hope to talk to one of the artists at SELAM X soon, so take a look, let us know what you think, and if you have questions.
But I do suspect there’s a lot of potential here. And hey, if you want to catch Dixon and The Black Madonna in GTA V, too, I’m game. It’s more fun than watching Facebook Live chat hang my browser tabs, I know that. (Hey – I believe in computers and the Internet. We will get there, because we can.)
When NGHTMRE extends his re-imaginative touch to a track, big bass isn’t a likelihood, it’s more of a certainty, and the producer’s remix of Cheat Codes‘ “No Service In The Hills” is no break from stylistic tradition. Following recent single with Tory Lanez, “Wrist, the low-end figurehead deconstructs the ascents and descents of the Trippie Redd, blackbear, and PRINCE$$ ROSIE-assisted feature to create his own momentous alternative framework on “No Service.” Says Cheat Codes,
“Watching NGHTMRE climb the ranks in the bass community and beyond has been incredible to see as fans and friends. We always appreciate an act that can move the needle and open up new doors for the dance world.”
Expounding on the intensity of the original with drop-driven modifications and crisp percussion effects, NGHTMRE ups the ante on his latest remix submission, readying it for raucous live set integration.
Thundercat’s highly-anticipated It Is What It Is LP has finally arrived, not a day too soon for fans waiting on 2017’s Drunk follow up. The fourth studio album from the bass impresario, It Is What It Is a tightly cohesive package with catchy vocals and immaculate instrumentation. The LP is produced by Flying Lotus, and is released via Brainfeeder, Thundercat’s longtime home imprint.
Thundercat is no stranger to enlisting top feature talent for his records, and It Is What It Is holds true to that trend. Most notably, fresh off his surprise LP, Childish Gambino makes an appearance on “Black Quails” alongside Steve Arrington and The Internet’s Steve Lacy. Additionally, close collaborator Zach Fox delivers a comical interlude preceding “Dragonball Durag,” Louis Cole features on “I Love Louis Cole,” and Ty Dolla $ign and the BasedGod Lil B team up on “Fair Chance” before Pedro Martins calmly helps close out the record.
Featured image: Rahim Fortune for The New York Times
Start with OBS, the now industry-standard streaming app, and add a bunch of special sauce to make it easier and friendlier. Now you’ve got Streamlabs – and it just added Mac support to its other platforms.
Mention live streaming any time in the past year or so, and someone no doubt told you to use OBS. Open Broadcaster Software, aka OBS Studio, is indeed free and powerful – not only for streaming but live recording, too. (It quietly displaced a lot of pricey and often incomplete commercial screencasting software, too.)
OBS has gotten a lot easier – a cash infusion from Twitch, Facebook, NVIDIA, and Logitech no doubt helped. But it’s still a bit intimidating as far as configuring settings for recording, to say nothing of the manual settings required to then make it upload to various streaming platforms.
That’s where Streamlabs comes in. It’s got its own desktop apps based on OBS, plus apps that let you easily stream from Android and iOS, too. So while you could do all of this on OBS desktop, Streamlabs makes it easier – basically, it’s a bit like having a custom distro of OBS. And then by adding mobile access, those platforms become easier, too.
So in addition to all the things that make OBS powerful – using any video source or onscreen inputs, switching between them, handling resolutions and recording as well as connecting, you get:
Honestly, having played around with it a bit, maybe the best part of Streamlabs is that all the power of OBS is there, but easier to use. So it doesn’t feel like a dumbed-down version of OBS so much as a polished, beginner-friendly interface with all the same features – and some useful additions.
The mobile apps also feature a lot of nice integrations on these lines, too. Think similar cross-platform streaming support, importing OBS settings from desktop, and adding widgets for events, donations, and chat.
The spin here of OBS is open source, like its sibling. It’s based on Electron, so I hope that now that macOS was added, we’ll see Linux, too. Linux users should meanwhile note that OBS packaging has improved a lot across distros, and Ubuntu Studio for instance even bakes a pre-configured OBS right into the OS. I have no idea how much work would be required to do the same with Streamlabs. (PS, you can beta test 20.04 LTS right now and help them squash bugs before what I think will be a very essential global pandemic stay-at-home OS release!)
So, since this is free and open source, what’s the business model?
Basically, you can grab this for free and have a nicer version of OBS. Tips and donations to content makers go 100% to you – no cut for Streamlabs. (Good – and a major difference with a lot of horrible startups.)
Then for a monthly fee, you can add additional effects (US$4.99/month, “PRO”), or a bunch of custom widgets, custom domain and website, and other extras (Prime, $12/mo billed annually).
I hope they allow month-to-month billing, but regardless, it’s nice to see a business built on open source software and that still has sustainable business support. (CDM is possible because of just that idea – thank WordPress.)
I’m sure some people are groaning at me even sharing this information, given how many streams are out there right now. But”streaming” doesn’t necessarily mean to a wide audience – it’s useful in any case where you want to teleport yourself around the world (while under stay-at-home orders, for instance) even if it’s to a small group. Plus, even if you haven’t been struggling with this yourself, now you can tip off your friends so they don’t a) bug you for how to set up their stream and/or b) stream really low-quality material you have to then watch.
And I think just as with blogs, the question is not really quantity or openness, but quality – and whether there’s a model for supporting the people putting out that quality. More on this soon.
The mythical quality of BRAVE has dissipated and the anticipation has broken, as JOYRYDE releases the debut LP that his following has eagerly awaited for nearly two years. Years in the making, the seminal project was originally slated to arrive in November 2018, until “technical reasons” required the bass house authority to postpone it.
BRAVE‘salternate release date remained elusive, even as as JOYRYDE pumped out four singles from the album, “IM GONE,” “YUCK,” “MADDEN,” and “SELECTA 19.” However, with the signal coming from the disc-jockey himself–“I’m finished”–in early March, it was immediately clear that the enigmatic project’s arrival was imminent.
Replete with the envelope-pushing edge signature to JOYRYDE’s bass house undertakings, BRAVE bursts into the electronic release ring with a raucous presence. The sprawling 18 track showing sees JOYRYDE sonically rub shoulders with Mika Means, Nolay, MAJILLA, Fze, Youngs Teflon, Gold, and Freddie Gibbs, who graces BRAVE‘s bonus cut, “DAMN.”
For the Steve Angello fans in the audience you might recognize this sample from one of his throwback Mescal Kid sets — Steve’s tech-y alter ego. That’s because it was a party Steve was spinning 9 years ago that inspired Baddies Only to revive the sample in 2020. The sample got so stuck in his brain that after all these years the multi-instrumentalist and songwriter finally decided he had to use it in his own work. Only his third release independently as Baddies Only, the aptly titled ‘I Need You,’ shares little else similar with the Mescal Kid ID. Rather than a tinny tech backbone, Baddies builds his version up on a bed of well-polished builds, squeaky clean vocal processing and a swinging bass line that leaves this rendition feeling funky and fun from start to finish.
In accordance with Anjunabeats‘ twentieth anniversary, a new trance supergroup has emerged. Joining trance heavyweights Ilan Bluestone and Maor Levi with one of the genre’s most recognized vocalists, Emma Hewitt, Elysian is the latest act to materialize on the cornerstone label. With virtually zero details disclosed about the project leading up to its reveal, the trio’s debut single, “Moonchild” has arrived fortuitously on April 3 courtesy of Anjunabeats.
“Moonchild” finds the two label-mates coalesce on their signature “tronce” sounds with electrifying pulsations as Hewitt’s inspiriting vocals glide atop. Bluestone and Levi have collected a lustrous amount of collaborations together including tracks from the former’s 2018 Scars LP like “Will We Remain” and “Everybody” as well as “Can You” and “The Distance.” The “Frozen Ground” innovator also crossed paths with Hewitt on his new Monstercat release, “Hypnotized.”
Sporting an undeniable synergy between the trifecta, Elysian will follow up on their debut with a full EP and live show dates later in the year. Stream Elysian’s “Moonchild” below.
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