Following his announcement of his Sixteen Oceansalbum earlier this week, Four Tet has unveiled the LP’s newest single, “Baby.” The track sees Ellie Goulding lend her vocals to a classically ambient Four Tet production. Preceded by his 2017 studio albumNew Energy, the 16-track Sixteen Oceans will join the English producer’s extensive discography as the 10th studio album under his alias.
Effortless vocal splices caress the effervescent textures crafted in “Baby,” with brisk percussion and downtempo chimes contrasting to create a serene, yet momentum-driving field. The rhythmic pace carries through almost the entirety of the track, before slowing down into an atmospheric interlude washed with calming nature sounds of bird song, river flow, and deep bells.
Previously released single, “Teenage Birdsong” will join “Baby” as one of the tracks on the upcoming album. Released in 2019, “Teenage Birdsong” has received two official remixes by Avalon Emerson and Overmono respectively.
It looks like Creamfields has pieced together another robust artist acumen for 2020, having previously announced The Chainsmokers headliners, and now confirming Calvin Harris to return for a sequel to his appearance at the UK stalwart event last year. Calvin came through with a danceable vengance in 2019, drawing in one of the largest crowds of the entire weekend. This year, he’ll be Saturday’s headliner, while Carl Cox slays the festival’s techno terrain. The Chainsmokers are pegged to take over Friday’s headline slot.
Four Tet‘s new album, Sixteen Oceans, is officially complete and ready for release later this spring. Landing in March, the follow up to 2017’s New Energy features 16 tracks in total, revealed in an Instagram post simply captioned, “The new album is done.”
Despite a three-year gap between studio LPs, Four Tet has kept relatively busy with the release of his Anna Painting EP, two live albums, the launch of a new alias, live art exhibitions, and his first Essential Mix since 2010. He’s also steadily released loose singles in the interim, though, the upcoming Sixteen Oceans LP promises to be well worth the wait.
Pop sensation Halsey has released her third studio album, the 16-track Manic. The 25-year-old artist has been releasing a steady stream of singles from the compilation beginning with “Graveyard.” The single made waves in the electronic music community after Axwellgave it an official remix. She subsequently shared “Clementine,” “Finally // beautiful stranger,” “SUGA’s Interlude,” and then “You Should Be Sad” ahead of the album’s full release.
Halsey has spoken out about how this album is exceedingly personal for her, a revelation available in the first few tracks. The songwriting covers divisive themes like her struggle with bipolar disorder, circuitous relationships, and self-esteem. Another compelling feature of the compilation is John Mayer‘s brief cameo at the end of “3am.”
Halsey will be embarking upon a Manic Tour to accompany the album’s full release. Those looking to see her perform live can see if she is coming to a city near them here.
Zeds Dead release their highly-anticipated 14-track collaboration album, We Are Deadbeats, with newly released tracks alongside Deathpact, Holly, DNMO, Loge21, Omar LinX, Champagne Drip, and Slushii. Previous releases from the Canadian dubstep luminaries from the project came on behalf of alignments with Ganja White Night, Subtronics, Urbandawn, DROELOE, Jauz, Delta Heavy, and Dion Timmer. With seven new songs from the kings of sustained, lush bass drops around a outside-the-box sound design, fans are treated to a grip of new cuts from the infamous bass tandem of the decade.
DC and Hooks are known for their inimitable sound in the bass space, playing A&R to some of the most highly touted up-and-coming acts in the genre, as well as bumping elbows with tried-and-true bass purveyors. The Deadbeats torchbearers also recently announced their seventh go-around of their now hallowed annual Dead Rocks display at the prestigious Red Rocks Amphitheater.
TOKiMONSTA is ready for 2020, releasing a brand new single ahead of the recently announced Oasis Nocturno album. As she gears up for the release of her fourth LP (her first full-length project since Lune Rouge in 2017), the LA-born DJ/producer teamed up with Grammy-nominated duo EarthGang on “Fried For The Night.”
Premiered by Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, the track is driven by heavy bass, strategic drum beats, and effectively employs EarthGang’s Atlanta-inspired sound. TOKiMONSTA had some words on the release:
“Everyone has a moment where they feel fried and burnt, but what about those moments you feel fried and turnt? EARTHGANG brought their special magic to the studio and we made something other worldly. This song is dedicated to those psychedelic moments where our reality opens up a new point of view.”
The track comes packaged with an official video directed by Romain Laurent, which showcases a shared psychedelic experience between the collaborators.
In addition to a third official appearance at Coachella, TOKiMONSTA will hit the road for 16 dates this spring on The Oasis Nocturno Experience tour. Pre-sale kicks off Tuesday, January 21. Purchase tickets here.
It may not seem like it through the lens of an Instagram filtered helicopter ride, but that doesn’t negate the fact. Artists require honest feedback on their work for the sake of progress. But they equally require encouragement from peers, critics, and consumers. When they’re receiving both, the music scene is at its healthiest.
The union of encouragement and appraisement invoke a sense of balance under the critical microscope. Honest feedback is well-rounded and multi-pronged: pointing out well-founded shortcomings, areas of oversight, regression, or misguided efforts, while real encouragement resides in helping the artist make use of critiques. Too much of either and the scene stalls.
Power like this, on both ends of the artistic experience, is frequently abused, often unknowingly—with people wielding words like weapons, either unaware or irreverent of their impact. Apathy, in this particular regard, in both fan response and critical exegesis is starkly embodied in Getter, who months after being abused about the shift in sound on his latest album Visceral is once again playing shows, producing music, and contributing to social media.
“No matter what you think, we are all humans with the same emotions and thoughts,” Getter tells Dancing Astronaut. “You have to remember that musicians aren’t here to serve you music sculpted by fans on a platter. There’s shit you’ll like, and shit you’ll hate, with every artist.”
An excess of encouragement means lackluster music permeates through the helm of the industry unchecked. On the inverse, too much criticism can stifle an artist’s creativity, curbing their hunger to try new things.
This illusive balance puts artists, critics, and fans in a precarious position. Unfortunately baseless detractors are often the loudest. And critics and fans, now equipped with the ubiquitous social media mouthpiece, have to be conscious of the power of their input.
Those familiar with Getter know that Visceral is a glaring shift in both sound and style from the jarring dubstep upon which he carved out an indelible niche. The album came out on deadmau5’s mau5trap label housing—known for its ghostly and symphonic approach to dance music.
“I’ll always be proud of Visceral,” Getter says. “Moving forward, I want to put out all kinds of music and mix it up. That way everyone’s happy.”
Getter was admirably trying to expand his musical range with Visceral; yet the most pervasive feedback he received from listeners on his album and tour was vile, hurtful, and downright destructive. So much so to the point that he eventually cancelled the remainder of his tour dates.
In an emotional address to his social media, Getter said,
Consider the gravity of Getter’s statement. Visceral long stood as the focal point of his life, albeit a luxurious life that’s coveted by many and shared by few. However, the razor-tongued naysayers who opted to use this fact to excuse their myopic comments are egregiously misguided. Money and VIP vacations don’t assuage robbing someone of their professional resolve.
Those who have spent a minimal amount of time on the internet know that its inherent separation from face-to-face interaction invites cruelty to run rampant. Because the chances of tangible retaliation are practically non-existent, it’s an open door to proceed without caution.
“At the end of the day, social media is enabling a part of your mind that you wouldn’t normally notice,” Getter says. “It inflates your insecurity.”
For the most part, it’s not against the law to type hateful things. If Getter was someone’s dubstep idol, and that person spent money to watch his Visceral tour only to discover that he wasn’t going to play any dubstep, that person has a right to be disappointed in the show.
That person does not, under any circumstances have the right to attack Getter personally. That pushes the needle nowhere and incites progress for no one. Not Getter. Not the person posting. Not the dance music community as a whole.
Getter’s a professional, though, and he audibly attempted to hear the concerns from his detractors and act on them. He understands that he needs to take feedback seriously if he’s going to succeed as an artist, and he tried his best to do so:
“Been thinking about the criticism of the visceral tour so far and have started to adjust a lot of shit in the performance,” Getter wrote to Twitter. “It doesn’t make sense for me to expect everyone from previous shows to be 100% down w the new stuff. Ima make this super special thanks for the pointers”
He acted professionally. Made adjustments to his set. But the trolls whittled his patience thin.
When he canceled his tour, he emphasized the importance of honest criticism:
“Criticism is healthy. My friends and I frequently critique each other’s work and it helps the final product. However, the constant hate and the disgusting attitudes I’m faced with are destroying me.”
As Getter noted, artists are not hired guns, paid to deliver a singular product to an eager, esoteric fanbase. Art is too often reduced to a commodity, and the state of music suffers.
The only reason to be so upset with an artist’s performance that it merits condemnation is if they’re too intoxicated to perform, show up late, or bail on the show. Other than that, it’s mutually understood that they’re doing their best to deliver for the crowd and themselves.
“I think that sometimes people forget what a concert, or a live performance is. For a lot of musicians, you go in, do the job, and leave. It’s a paycheck, it doesn’t have to be a well thought-out performance. But… you should remember that you are going to see them… if you truly appreciate an artist, you’ll know if its done for money or for the art. And if you’re going see your favorite artist or any artist for that matter, rather than thinking about how much it sucks or if they are selling out cuz of a new style, think about what they are giving the crowd. Maybe you don’t like it, but maybe someone around you is really attached to it.”
Again, there is a balance to consider here between criticism and encouragement. If negative comments can have such a staunch and lasting effect on him, then positive comments would theoretically do the opposite to a similar degree. It’s possible to share a negative review while praising an artist’s will to experiment in a single stroke of communication.
If every artist were condemned when they wanted to try something new with their music, the scene would go nowhere. Everyone would be stuck making the same songs over and over again, and dance music would die. Consumers need to understand this fact. But this is also why critics also have a necessary place in music, as Diplo recently articulated.
music journalists gotta eat too even if they dont like our music. we need critics
Among critics, Visceral was a modest success. Some reviews were more critical than others based on the more concrete musical merits of the album (which is commonplace given their subjective nature). But most of them were complimentary based on Getter’s willingness to expand his sound and express his emotions through his music.
Being a frequent habitué of digital critique in music, most critics are inclined to praise artists who try to expand their sound with verve. They often understand that is how the scene moves forward; how new sounds come about. This level of praise for Getter was probably one of the reasons he threw himself into his Visceral tour with as much vigor as he did, and in that sense, the critics did a good job. They encouraged Getter to continue on his musical journey.
“Critics stir shit up. They tell you what they think. And that’s fine, the world needs people to be real sometimes. I always appreciate constructive criticism, or if someone calls something ‘trash’ that’s fine too. But the understanding of why is a little more satisfying. There’s no comfort point you get to as a musician, you always want to move forward, good or bad, movement is key. Trying new things, innovating.”
Unfortunately, critics can often be too encouraging, as represented across every genre of music in the modern scene. When critics stop doing their jobs properly, commercialism has its way with music, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now.
This is why Instagram personalities are signing record deals. The general public has meshed the ideas of what sells and what’s good which is a result of critics cowering to offer honest and well-founded opinion.
Believe or not, people still listen to critics. People hear about albums that are widely praised like To Pimp a Butterfly and Lemonade because those albums deserve every bit of admiration they receive. So when critics let cookie-cutter party tracks pass unchecked, it devalues authentically brilliant music, it inflates the egos of the artists, and it erodes the role of critics themselves thus opening the door for the debate Lizzo started recently.
After receiving a few lukewarm reviews (alongside an influx of exceedingly positive ones) on her album Cuz I Love You, the steadily ascending pop artist tweeted:
“PEOPLE WHO ‘REVIEW’ ALBUMS AND DONT MAKE MUSIC THEMSELVES SHOULD BE UNEMPLOYED.”
The fact is, it’s better for non-musicians to review music. That way they focus on the product itself rather than the process. When critics review an album, they aren’t reviewing the effort the artist put into the album. They’re reviewing the album itself. If an artist were to do that job they would be inherently biased simply because they understand how hard it is to produce an album.
Critics understand the effort in the abstract, but their job isn’t to pat the artist on the back for trying. Their job is to explain the merits of the final work. In a perfect world, every album would be the best of the best, and the artists who made the best music would be the most successful. Of course, the world isn’t perfect and the music business will never work that way, but the critics are obliged to do their best to make it that way.
That includes being truthful when a piece of music isn’t up to par. Think about it. Just like when critics universally praise album, if critics universally denounce an album there’s a considerable chance that the album simply isn’t good. This is how inspired artists are separated from the contrived. A true artist will take that criticism and work harder as Getter did. Untrue artists will point fingers and find fault in critics.
It’s not right for any artist to have to cancel a tour, as Getter had to, after receiving endless vitriolic pelting for taking a chance. That is not the dynamic this industry needs. The artistic reward system for thoughtful risk is, frankly, off-kilter as it is now.
Music is, of course, subjective. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and no piece of music is loved by literally every human being in the ear-having macrocosm. But objective elements of quality are inseparable from music as well. That’s how songs like “Imagine” by John Lennon can actually change the world. Regardless of whether one or two people (including your humble author) don’t like the song, it is expertly written, exquisitely performed, and culturally galvanizing to the point that it helped inspire a generation to do the just thing.
This may come as a surprise, but talented artists are making music of that caliber every day, and with the right support system from fans and critics that music will come to light and change the world all the same. We here at Dancing Astronaut are fans and critics alike, and we do our best to support artists like Getter in this way because they are people, too.
Capping out at a crisp 14-track effort, Lane 8’s third studio LP features multiple collaborations with Arctic Lake and POLIÇA, a pattern he’s followed before, along with additional contributions from Kauf, Jens Kuross, and Nevve. Building on an airtight track record of albums following Lane 8’s 2015 debut Rise and 2018’s Little By Little, Brightest Lights brings about the best qualities of Lane 8’s distinguished production style, starting 2020 on a stimulating high note.
Mac Miller’s family recently released plans for a posthumous album from the late rapper, due to be released on January 17. A companion piece to 2018’s Grammy-nominated Swimming that was being recorded at the time of Miller’s death, Circles is meant to thematically complete its predecessor, and now we have our first inside listen, and look, at what to expect from Mac Miller’s final offering on “Good News.”
Clocking in at nearly seven-minutes, the Eric Tilford and Anthony Gaddis-directed visual is a moving, conceptual depiction of the images and themes that came to define Miller’s career and his body of work. The track poignantly plucks along, alluding to an album that will likely succeed in bringing Miller momentarily back to life.
In conjunction with the album’s release, pop up exhibitions celebrating the life of the Blue Slide Park emcee will take place in Los Angeles, New York, and Miller’s hometown of Pittsburgh. The Amazon Music-backed events will feature immersive listenings of Circles, an album-inspired merch line, multimedia fan art displays as well as a multimedia fan art exhibition and exclusive new Circles merch offerings. Entry is free and all net proceeds from merchandise sales will go to The Mac Miller Fund. All locations will be open to the public from 12PM – 9PM local time. See the video for “Good News” below.
Gone are the days of guys Skrillex and deadmau5 producing our hits—its time corporations jump into the fold. Music producers that most likely won’t register on your radar, and shouldn’t, are Kentucky Fried Chicken, Build-a-Bear, and Mastercard…but that may soon change. Because less than two weeks into the new decade, 2020 is already looking like a Black Mirror episode as Mastercard, yes, the financial institution, releases an original song titled “Merry Go Round.”
This is not the first time big business has attempted to penetrate the music industry with a marketing gimmick disguised as music. Who could forget Colonel Sanders’ dystopian Ultra Music Festival mainstage performance last year? Or the launch of W Hotels’ official record label?
Mastercard’s plans seem to go a bit deeper than a single or a performance, though, as “Merry Go Round” is actually the lead release from a full-length album due sometime in 2020. According to Mastercard, the single “tells the story of a new beginning and fresh start enabled with Priceless possibility.” After all, it wouldn’t be a corporate music release without a corny self-promoting tagline. The company claims that this release represents an evolution in communication, and “sound is our next frontier for brand expression.” Stream Mastercard’s lead single (what a time to be alive…) below.