Porter Robinson’s Second Sky reinvented the Oakland Arena in celebration of music’s return [Review]

Porter Robinson’s Second Sky reinvented the Oakland Arena in celebration of music’s return [Review]Porter Robinson Second Sky 2021 Credit Charles Kang

A venue change announced in mid-August originally came as a surprise to Porter Robinson. Second Sky, which was originally set to take place in Berkeley’s Caesar Chavez Park on the waterfront, was now moving 20 minutes away to Oakland Arena. Disappointed to be losing the backdrop of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate framing San Francisco and switching it out for what’s colloquially known as “the worst ballpark in America” due to its outdated concrete structure, Robinson decided to instead focus on the production and atmosphere of the venue itself. Besides, the music is the reason why people come anyway. Despite a last minute change of scenery, the focus Robinson’s team poured into the event’s setting paid off tenfold.

Partnering with Nassal, the same company that designed The Wizarding World of Harry Poter and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Universal Studios, the entirety of the Oakland Arena was completely and utterly transformed from core to perimeter. In fact, the parking lot typically used for tailgates before Athletics games (and formerly the Raiders, before they turned their backs on the city of Oakland), became nearly unrecognizable.

Littered hot dog wrappers were traded out for pristine astroturf that coated the entire lot. Floral gates that featured Potaro walking beneath them greeted attendees once they first made their way onto the festival grounds, the beloved Second Sky mascot stopping to take photos with adoring fans. A Potaro stone temple entertained a daunting line throughout the entirety of the festival, while a towering tree provided shade for those who wanted to lie down on the turf, and a crystal garden poised itself as the place to take otherworldly Instagram photos. The single stage itself was framed by passing Bart trains and, once the sun set, the Pisces full moon, adding to the wonder of Robinson’s magical venue.

Porter Robinson’s Second Sky reinvented the Oakland Arena in celebration of music’s return [Review]Temple @gradybrannan
Photo credit: Grady Brannan

With just one stage framed by Robinson’s exhibits, which together felt like what could be Robinson’s own Disneyland, complete with food curated from the finest Bay Area restaurants, Second Sky’s comeback felt like an entirely new, refreshed festival experience. Those waiting in long lines for Potaro-themed boba could still see and hear the stage, allowing the audience to not need to miss a second of the music. Robinson’s parents also walked through the crowd sporting vests proudly proclaiming, “I’m Porter’s Dad!” and “I’m Porter’s Mom!” hoping to raise $154,000 for the Robinson Malawi fund over the course of the festival’s run. Robinson and his family achieved their goal for the festival by noon on day two, allowing them to cover the costs of treatment for the entire pediatric Burkitt medical treatment in Malawi for two years.

The crowd remained respectful and orderly throughout the weekend, perhaps collectively overwhelmed by the joy of be together after 19 dormant months without concerts and festivals. Those walking through the event needed to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test prior to reaching the box office, security, and ticket scans. Friends sat on the turf with blankets, enjoying the set and the sculptures that brought Nurture to life around them. Fans sang along during each set and stared in hushed anticipation during silences, with the festival’s second day providing one of the few days of the year that the East Bay is completely devoid of any fog.

With a lineup that included talented acts such as Knower, Wavedash, Jacob Collier, Jon Hopkins, Toro y Moi, Jai Wolf, Madeon, and the debut of Robinson’s Air 2 Earth project, the musical atmosphere matched the physical venue in all the right ways. Each artist put their best foot forward, reveling in the opportunity to be on stage once again. Air 2 Earth welcomed the crowd as they entered, giving a peek into what could be expected from the day while treating fans to Robinson’s latest project. Masked moshed pits made their way through Wavedash, Knower pointed out politics within their visuals, Jacob Collier got everyone grooving, Jon Hopkins threw listeners into a heavenly, complex spiral of feels, Toro y Moi brought out the funk, Jai Wolf played out a flawless session of his biggest hits, and Madeon evoked his best Michael Jackson homage in his fashion choice, while playing out Good Faith Forever to a crowd of galvanized fans.

But the most elating feeling that permeated the entire atmosphere and hung over the venue was the amazement and wonder that festivals had finally returned. With a year and a half spent locked up indoors, wondering when, or sometimes even if live music would be able to return again, Second Sky was coated in the energy of freedom. Freedom to hug internet friends from across the country only sen at a few shows a year, freedom to sit in the sunshine and witness their favorite artists perform live, and freedom to witness Porter Robinson bring Nurture to life before them for its first-ever live performance. It was a special atmosphere—a timely modification to the otherwise familiar feelings of being in the crowd at that concert you’ve been waiting for.

Robinson himself appeared in awe of the fact that his vision for Nurture finally stood before him. His entire set boasted nearly every track from his album, the crowd singing each song back to him as they, and he, wiped tears from their eyes. He stopped the music to chat with his audience a few times, taking moments to soak the entire night in.

“Hello everybody, how are we all feeling? Let me ask you this, who is glad they came here today? I can’t tell you how good it is to see all of your faces again and like, for years, now, working on ‘Nurture,’ I’ve imagined this moment of looking into the crowd and seeing everyone’s hands in the air and singing all these choruses back to me. It’s a total dream come true. I want to say thank you. Genuinely, thank you all so much. This is the best day of my life. Every Second Sky is. So, in the spirit of hearing you all sing back to me, let’s do that on this next one.”

Porter Robinson’s Second Sky reinvented the Oakland Arena in celebration of music’s return [Review]Crowd Shot @gradybrannan
Photo credit: Grady Brannan

Easing into a softer version of “Shelter” as he sat before the crowd, 40,000 voices sang back to Robinson for one of the most memorable moments of Second Sky’s highly anticipated comeback. Each climactic moment from every song was highlighted by fireworks, adding to the audience’s incredulity. The single opening note of “Sad Machine” threw the crowd into absolute ballistics, and Robinson even threw his set back to “Language” after keeping the song out of his setlists for several years.

Second Sky achieved all of its goals and then some, creating an event that brought fans together as family and provided a loving atmosphere that welcomed them back to live music in the most kind and thoughtful of ways. The festival also successfully presented Porter Robinson’s blueprint for Nurture in the more experiential-leaning lens that the album was written in. If the intent of the record was to express an appreciation for things like the crisp breeze on one’s skin, the soft brush of grass in the cool shade, or the warmth of sunshine on one’s face, those that got to attend the return of Second Sky got to experience Robinson’s vision to its fullest, most robust degree.

Featured image: Charles Kang

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Tommy Trash launches new record label Milky Wave, shares debut release, ‘Satisfy’

Tommy Trash launches new record label Milky Wave, shares debut release, ‘Satisfy’Tommy Trash

Tommy Trash has launched his own record label, Milky Wave, minting the new imprint with its inaugural release, “Satisfy.” Wanting to go deeper into the world of house music, Milky Wave allows for the veteran selector to release music on his own terms. The track blends Trash’s signature electro sound with groovy melodic house tropes, the higher vocal tones contrasting nicely with the track’s deeper instrumentals. Speaking on the release, Trash said in a press statement,

“I’ve wanted to launch a label for a long time but I was waiting for the perfect record to do it with. ‘Satisfy’ is that record. ‘Satisfy’ is the very first release from my new imprint, Milky Wave, and it feels like a good taste of what’s to come. I’ve been on such a huge journey these past few years, both personally and in my career, and I’ve been rediscovering a lot of great house music along the way. This record really captures everything I love about house. It’s a bona fide club jam and the sort of music I’m excited about putting on Milky Wave. Hope you dig it.”

Milky Wave signals more than just the start of a new creative endeavor for Trash, too. A more sober, expressive, and centered Tommy Trash has emerged from a considerable hiatus, which found the producer combating years of EDM burnout with quiet waves in Thailand and potent ayahuasca-born epiphanies in Central and South America. Now, following a comeback single to launch deadmau5‘s new Hau5trap offshoot earlier this year, Tommy Trash is officially setting his own label operation into motion, ushered in by “Satisfy.”

Featured image: Rukes

H/T: Billboard

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Flower power: Electric Daisy Carnival partners with RNBW World cannabis for ‘Official Flower of EDC’

Flower power: Electric Daisy Carnival partners with RNBW World cannabis for ‘Official Flower of EDC’Electric Daisy Edclv Flower Credit Dance Music Northwest

Meeting at the intersection of live music and cannabis culture, EDC has teamed up with RNBW World, a line of cannabis flower that is made specifically with the enjoyment of creators and music lovers in mind. The brand of smokeables will have a presence at EDC and additional Insomniac properties going forward, however event organizers have stated that cannabis will not be sold onsite at EDC later this month. According to a recent Instagram post,

“RNBW World will become a physical experience at Insomniac festivals, where RNBW will offer a fully interactive journey into the world of premium cannabis.”

Se EDC’s full post below.

Featured image: Dance Music Northwest

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Mac Miller’s ‘Faces’ mixtape hits streaming services fir the first time

Mac Miller’s ‘Faces’ mixtape hits streaming services fir the first timeMac Miller Left Behind

In mid-September, the new music video for Mac Miller‘s “Colors and Shapes” landed, and now streaming services have now finally bestowed the fans with the reemergence of the emcee’s Faces mixtape, marking the widely acclaimed collection’s appearance on all major music platforms for the first time.

Carving out a more defined space for himself after his debut full-length, Blue Slide Park put him on the map, Miller gathered some of hip-hop’s most creative forces, namely Thundercat, Schoolboy Q, Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt, and more, to join him in his reimagined pool house studio. These uninterrupted sessions turned into what would become Faces—a monumental 25-track expression of what remains a messy portrait of the time spent in Miller’s studio, famously dubbed The Sanctuary.

With its walls illuminated in a dark, distinct red light, it’s impossible to understate the sentiment that The Sanctuary held. Apart from informing listeners that “The Sanctuary was the most important thing that ever happened to [him],” Miller shares on Making Faces, the short film accompaniment to the project’s reissue, “It felt like it was my own world, I felt like I could really grow into myself creatively, and find myself through the music I was making.”

Released for free without the support of any major labels, the mixtape fared far better than anyone expected it to, eventually becoming an easy fan-favorite from the late Pittsburgh producer. “You can see brush strokes of it,” says close friend and frequent collaborator, Thundercat, drawing parallels to the eccentric and at times chaotic manner in which the tape was created. He continues,

“A lot of the time, you have storytellers in rap, you have people who can tell stories or a person who can tell you their story, but it’s very rare that you have a person who can paint a picture for you. And painting a pretty picture doesn’t mean that it makes you feel pretty.”

Stream Faces below, and find the vinyl edition here.

Featured image: Clarke Tolton

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DJ Ride deploys new Sable Valley EP, ‘TAKETHISWAY’

DJ Ride deploys new Sable Valley EP, ‘TAKETHISWAY’242159210 887600745296150 4863703376864720572 N 1

DJ Ride had RL Grime and his Sable Valley imprint in mind when he made “TAKETHISWAY”. That vision has now paid off two-fold with the cut being spun by the trap king himself, RL Grime, in his back-to-back with Baauer at HARD Summer’s HARD stage earlier in summer 2021, and receiving a formal release as the lead track on a two-track EP just a couple months later.

Comprised of two new tracks including the aforementioned eponymous track and “NEEDSMOREDISTORTION”, TAKETHISWAY showcases heavy hitting trap and bass, sonically right in line with DJ Ride’s previous release on the label “INTHEENDITSYOU” featured on the Sable Valley Summer Vol. 2 compilation.

The Lisbon-hailing producer is a two-time scratch world champion. Predominately centered in hip-hop and bass, DJ Ride has leaned into his artistry during his Sable Valley tenure with three label releases and counting just this year on top of an accompanying feature on Sable Valley’s mini-mix series.

Listen to the mini mix and his new EP below.

Featured image: Daniel Gomes

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Qrion shares third album single ‘Proud,’ debuts new Triple J mix

Qrion shares third album single ‘Proud,’ debuts new Triple J mixQrion Instagram E1634525043294

Striking straight out of left field, Qrion has taken fans on a new sonic journey. Sampling a hook from The Impressions’ 1964 hit, “I’m So Proud” for her latest voyage, the melodic queen follows her last two album singles, “11-11” and Your Love,” with funky house spin, “Proud.”

Building from Deniece Williams’ cover of the original 60’s beat, the track immediately spins into house heaven, eclipsed with sharp kicks and syncopated vocal chops. Although typically leaning toward 90’s dance floor soundscapes, Qrion calls forth a vast range in production skillset to execute the divergent era influence in “Proud.”

Qrion has also just delivered her first mix for Australia’s renowned Triple J, opening up the opportunity for listeners to immerse themselves in her lush textured world. Her forthcoming debut album I Hope It Lasts Forever arrives October 29 on Anjunadeep.

Listen to her Triple J mix here and stream “Proud” below.

Featured image: Allie Mischen

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EDC Las Vegas is officially on the horizon as Insomniac releases festival compilation

EDC Las Vegas is officially on the horizon as Insomniac releases festival compilationEebrlUaYAYqNE5

EDC Las Vegas returns on October 22, and Insomniac is celebrating with this year’s EDC compilation. Featuring contributions from Kaskade, Seven Lions, a new single from Blanke, and more, Insomniac Music Group Presents: EDC Las Vegas 2021 allows for fans to get grooving as they make their way to Las Vegas for EDC Week. Featuring 64 tracks, the compilation collects favorites from much of the EDC lineup.

Matroda, Bellecour and Neon Steve, Dustycloud, Vision, Sunny Lax, Adin, Casmalia, Atmozfears, and Audiofreq all released new singles to be featured on the compilation. Insomniac continues to amp fans up ahead of EDC and a grip of new music ahead of the festival is exactly what the doctor ordered.

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Disclosure issues a club-focused DJ-Kicks mix via !K7 Records

Disclosure issues a club-focused DJ-Kicks mix via !K7 RecordsRs 201638 R1240 FOB EDM A Griffin Lotz

Following their recent !K7 Records-backed single, “Observer Effect,” Disclosure‘s specially curated DJ-Kicks mix is now streaming everywhere. Featuring unreleased tunes by Harry Wolfman, Arfa x Joe, and Disclosure themselves, DJ Kicks: Disclosure is a 12-track triumph. Effortlessly fluid and untouchably groovy, the !K7 offering explores an array of house-sustained soundscapes.

“Most of the mix is presenting what you can do with house, and that’s basically our career,” Guy Lawrence conveyed in a recent statement, adding, “the mix should represent where we’re at now; and where we’re at now is clubby.” Riding a similar wave to the duo’s third studio offering, ENERGY, the Lawrence brothers hav described the new mix as a companion piece to their club-ready 2020 LP. Ride along on Disclosure’s ENERGY victory lap with the brand new DJ Kicks: Disclosure mix below.

Featured image: Griffin Lotz

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Dabin shares emotive third studio album, ‘Between Broken’

Dabin shares emotive third studio album, ‘Between Broken’241963351 207788184610033 1701416292739831480 N

Finally indulging fans with “Feel Like,” his final single in the lead up to his new album back in August, Dabin has brought forth his third studio LP, Between Broken in full. The 13-track endeavor is highly anticipated follow-up to his lauded sophomore album, Wild Youth.

Intricate while altogether cohesive, Between Broken offers an all-encompassing view of unconditional love, inclusive of the emotions that encapsulate heartbreak and loss. A tried and true hallmark of melodic bass, driving synthwork, and evocative themes, Dabin once again cements his place among today’s top-tier talents. Allowing listeners a glimpse into his creative state throughout the album, the 28-year-old producer explains,

“The concept behind ‘Between Broken’ alludes to the idea that we are all just this union of memories and experiences. And more often than not, it’s the negative experiences that shape our character and make us stronger. While it’s easy to let the weight of these negative experiences dictate our sense of self, I think it’s the moments in between these experiences, and how we overcome them, that define us and shape us into the people we are today.”

Beginning with the album’s titular track, the producer offers a stream of glittering sonic excursions, combined with powerful drum kicks and angular guitar before entering into his pre-album singles, “When This Is Over” featuring Nurko, and “Drown” alongside Mokita, as well as a batch of fresh originals beside William Black, MYRNE, Noelle Johnson, and more.

Finally able to continue on with his Into The Wild tour, which includes stops at EDC Las Vegas, Freaky Deaky, and Escape Halloween, following the pandemic’s forced hiatus, Dabin is poised to set forth on a new journey, leaving fans with the sentiment that “there is inherent value in between the broken moments of our lives and that’s what I wanted to explore in this album.”

Stream Between Broken below and grab some of the last tickets for Dabin’s tour here.

Featured image: Lost In Dreams/Instagram

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