Bear Grillz – Drop That

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bear grillz

For years, the EDM world speculated over the identity of nonsensical Firepower producer, Bear Grillz, setting the scene ablaze. He  first turned heads in 2013 after he was featured smoking a joint, and middle finger erect. It wasn’t until 2016 when he took to none other than  Jerry Springer to unveil the man behind the cartoon bear.

The Bear Grillz phenomenon has grown a cult-like following based around his outlandish persona and fondness for trolling EDM and its off-the-wall culture, most notably in his breakout track “EDM,” within which a girl exclaims she’s just “died a little bit inside” because her friend didn’t know what dubstep was.

His newest track, “Drop That” is not for the faint of dub-devotees. It’s thrashing guitar riffs, heavy metal death growls, and pounding snares are likely to assemble hair-whipping riots near and far.

 

Stream Daktyl’s 7-track ‘Riyaaz’ EP

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daktyl-riyaaz

Daktyl has continued to climb new heights after bursting into the EDM-sphere with superb remixes to records like Autograf’s “Metaphysical” and Flosstrodamus’ “Rebound,” and also with last summer’s career-defining release of his Act of Hesitation EP.

Now, the LA-based producer and multi-instrumentalist returns with his second major project signed to Counter Records. The seven-piece effort is aptly titled Riyaaz, after an Urdu expression meaning to practice something you love musically every day — a process which shines in the detail of his well-crafted, diverse project.

Riyaaz takes on a more personal and stripped down approach than Daktyl’s previous records; for instance, in the use of his own vocals and world instrumentation on the single, “Commit,” and in the brooding beats and sweeping, reflective vocals of “Monochrome,” featuring MOONz.

The blossoming talent had the following to say about the significance of the project for his life and how listeners can utilize it’s messages for their own lives.

“This EP is about the love of making music, but also about the sacrifice that that can entail” explains Daktyl. “[E]very individual can take what they want or need from a song… it can mean something different to everyone”.

Currently on tour with Big Wild — which tops an already impressive roster of past live/DJ tours with BonoboPetit BiscuitTroy Boi and Hotel Garuda — Daktyl has set the bar high for his lucid line of bass heavy beat making.

Ganja White Night explore the dynamic depths of low end bass in seventh LP, ‘The Origins’ [Interview + Album Review]

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ganja white night the origins 500x500

Who exactly is Mr Wobble?

It’s question that has been on the minds of many since Ganja White Night released a series of music videos late last year. One that has answers partly in the release of their newest and most ambitious album to date, dubbed The Origins, out now on their own imprint SubCarbon Records

“We created SubCarbon when we started making music because it was the only way we could be released. Big labels weren’t interested in our sounds.” 

 February 2018 saw Benjamin Bayeul and Charlie Dodson’s seventh LP since they extensively explored their riddim-inspired sound almost 12 years ago. “We’ve tried to release an album every year since we started in 2010,” said the two Brussels-based producers. They wanted to do everything but rush The Origins album, which the pair had been working on since the fall of 2016, so as to avoid making the twelve track compilation more than just a shallow “collection of easy-to-mix tracks.” 

Photo courtesy of Ganja White Night

The Origins LP is anything but shallow. The album takes a deep dive in many ways.

First, it’s a dive into re-examining their own roots; a new exploration of the hypnotic, immersive sounds that incapsulated fans many years ago. Cinematic intros, playful experimentation, and otherworldly sounds mark the album’s landscape. In a lot of ways, The Origins is an intoxicating ethnic journey with a careful sense of adventure — a psychedelic trip into the worlds of dub, riddim, and low-end bass, more broadly.

Speaking to the evolution of their signature wobble sound, the duo elaborated on how it took them a good amount of time to manifest their ideas into reality: “You can really feel a difference when you listen to our old albums. Sound techniques evolve and the new material sounds more refined. We always had these ideas in our heads, but it’s crazy to see how ideas develop over time into actual sounds.”

 

Second, the album signals a nod to the roots of Mr Wobble, an animated vigilante superhero character designed by long-time collaborator and illustrator Ebo. Mr Wobble has played a role in their work since they released “Wobble Master” and “LFO Requiem.” At the outset of the new LP, he is joined by a whole new cast of characters whereby fans are given a glimpse into the very origins of how their super powers came to be.

“Mr Wobble isn’t the only guy who has the power. In different civilizations, the people receive this power, and what we see in the [Origins] video is how, in this period, of this era, at least, Mr Wobble is using it this way. We still don’t know where this power comes from, or how he’s be chosen, maybe it was an accident, we don’t know.”

 

Finally, the album pulls on the nostalgic allure of ancient ethnocentric sounds. Inspired by composers like Hans Zimmer, Ganja White Night has a way for constructing cinematic bass compositions that incorporate reggae, dubstep, hip-hop, and drum ‘n’ bass, with influences from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. “We have some inspirations that never change,” they say. “We’ve always been fans of ethnic sounds and ethnic voices, long intros, harmonies.”

GWN approaches collaborations in the same artistic spirit. Teaming up with Caspa, in particular, on the album’s second track, “Unique,” the three producers capture the very unique essence upon which their collective visions for bass music resonates — back before the days of violent, head banging “bro-step.” Cinematic, fun, mischievous, and stripped down to the bare bone essentials of bass, the track flips fluidly between it’s melodic breaks and stabbing synths for a hypnotic anthem that is sure to capture fans’ eardrums on the dance floor.

Ganja White Night on their “Mr Wobble Is Back” tour stop, 8/5/16. Photo cred: Brew City Bass

From cosmic introductions to intense party jams and downtempo grooves, the twelve tracks come together to tell a more complete story around Mr Wobble, the superhero who creates music from ancient mythology and uses it to awaken citizens dwelling in the modern world he inhabits. Regarding to expansion of Mr Wobble’s world, Bayeul and Dodson are still exploring the many avenues the vigilante hero may take:

“There is still a lot of mystery, and we don’t want to say too much because we have a lot of projects that we want to go deeper into, we want to do more music videos and comic books. There’s just so many ways to go deeper into the story, there’s a lot of doors open now. We just introduced a lot of characters, so there’s a lot of new avenues to explore.”

The Origins arrives just as Ganja White Night gets ready to embark on their album-accompanying “The Origins Tour.” The duo will travel to 20 US cities featuring strong support from CaspaOpiuoDownlink, along with label mates DirtMonkey and Subtronics. They plan to begin each concert stop with a special B2B DJ set from the SubCarbon roster, before transitioning into the tour openers, and ending with a GWN performance that will feature live instrumentation, editing, remixing, and improvisation much like a band playing all original material.

Datsik evolves with meticulous masterpiece, ‘Master of Shadows’ [Interview + EP Review]

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How does an artist become an icon?

Musicians and managers often overlook this question in their quest for career prosperity. It speaks to art at the intersection of style and substance, more than it does to commercial fame. Datsik certainly understands the power of iconography. Recently dubbed by critics as “ninja warrior,” Troy Beetles has harnessed the visual power of the Asian samurai. Look no further than his Ninja Nation tour, which rolled out last winter and sold out nearly every major US city. 

“It’s tough sometimes to make the shit that you just want to listen to on headphones when you tour so much,” Datik told DA recently in a conversation. “Being out here and seeing what works on a dance floor can sometimes be detrimental to creativity. I guess at the end I’m just trying to find a balance.” The 29-year-old producer further noted that he’s outgrown the phase of his career where he feels the need impress people, and that his inspiration comes from human connection: “Honestly, it’s the people and my friends and being able to share music with people. I’m inspired by the love I am shown from my listeners.” 

“I’ve been into this [ninja] stuff since I was a kid.”

The Canadian producer, now based in Los Angeles, has been at the forefront of heavy, head-banging dubstep from the start of his career. Since the release of his debut EP Nuke ‘Em in 2009, Datsik has been open about how his particular style of bass has been inspired by Bassnectar and Excision

 

 “Both of them [Lorin and Jeff] are legends, and its been such an honor to not only work with them but to call them friends for life. The grind is so real out here and to have mentors you can share the experience with is invaluable. Very stoked to see the progression of underground music and where its gone.” 

Yet, he remains humble to the fact that he himself has ignited a burgeoning dubstep movement across North America that has landed him on the major festival billings of Ultra, Coachella, EDC Las Vegas, and Shambhala. January 2018 marks the seminal moment that Datsik emerges as a leading tastemaker in bass music, as he releases his tenth studio EP: Master of Shadows

The seven-track project, out on his label Firepower Records, comes as the potentially the biggest milestone of Troy Beetle’s career, reaching No. 1 on the iTunes Dance charts within hours of its release. Along with it, the deadly assassin is taking on January armed with an enormous 60-date Ninja Nation Tour

“The fact it [the EP] debuted at number one made me realize how fortunate I am to have the supporters that I do.”


Master of Shadows is filled with collaborations, which speaks to Datsik’s ascendancy as a real influencer of his genre. Not only does it enlist some of bass music’s most innovative names, from JPhelpzDion TimmerVirtual RiotExcision, and Ganja White Night, the quality of its sound design places Datsik well within the company of the very pioneers who inspired his early musical directionality. 

Whereas his previous albums helped lay the groundwork for dubstep’s biggest expansion since its early emergence in 1990s London, Master of Shadows marks a pronounced stylistic shift in Datsik’s lethal arsenal of bass. On the one hand, the project fully delivers on every sonic element that Datsik has been dialing into over the years. One the other, what he serves up here is something fresh, inimitable, and entirely different. 

“I really try my best to keep a vibe that people like me for. I also really want to explore different avenues, and I feel like every EP is a new venture to figure out how to meld the old with the new.”

Datsik on his Ninja Nation tour stop in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of DMNDR.


Throughout Master of Shadows, Datsik achieves his vision, in part by channeling his passion for creative expression and the pursuit of his dream of making music. “I am happy to be in a position to do what I love for a living and be able to express and share the vibe with everyone at these shows. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing,” he says. Thematically, Beetle’s work pinpoints the nexus between his evolved style and an artistic commitment to where he’s been. 

The EP’s leading track, “Pressure Plates,” paints a cinematic picture, encompassing listeners into a fully immersive experience. The track begins with orchestral layers that, interestingly, call on the electronic stylings of a budding deadmau5 ballad. Datsik is a master of building suspense, as anticipations run high all the way up to the two-minute mark. This is where the payoff happens for those yearning for Datsik’s signature style — the deadly assassin delivers his fatal drop, followed by sparse, syncopated percussive patterns and heavy bass lines. 

There is an intentional construction to Master of Shadows that demonstrates Datsik’s leap from ordinary dubstep producer to bass music icon. Along with the colossal instrumentals he imbues in two of the EP’s tracks with Virtual Riot, including the previously-released “Warriors of the Night,” Datsik has so too proven himself a master of collaboration. In “Freakquency,” listeners are left hanging onto every added sonic element in this carefully constructed track. After a gradual lead in, the senses are quickly bombarded with staccato guitar riffs, jarring synth work, low-frequency subwoofer bass, and masterful breaks. At the song’s close, the silence is — quite literally — deafening. 

Datsik also pays homage to his past style in two unrelenting cuts: one ironically named “You’ve Changed,” and the other titled “Find Me,” which is sure to become an anthem. The latter is a stand out single for its clear influences from Dion Timmer and Excision. While Timmer’s impact is heard immediately at the track’s opening — in his sentient vocals and the unrelenting swells of the electric guitar — Excision’s ruthless touch arrives at the song’s behemoth first drop, oscillating between melodic breaks and frenzied rampage. 

When prompted to tell the story of Master of Shadows in his own words, Beetles states, “I actually wrote this entire EP in three weeks, and my hard drive crashed mid way. It has been the single hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m so happy with how it all came together and worked out.” 

“To anyone listening to the EP, I love and appreciate you, and can’t wait to see you on the Ninja Nation tour.”

There’s no denying Datsik has been developing his highly stylized Asian directive since his 2014 EP, Down 4 My Ninjas. Neither can one deny that this shadowy mercenary aesthetic fits perfectly into the rough and rugged genre of dubstep. 

 Yet, despite the problematics of a Canadian contemporary appropriating feudal Japanese cultural figures for profit, Datsik has been able to capitalize on his Ninja-branded sound stamp to much success. This precise move is because he has seamlessly fused this ninja imagery into the very substance of his sound design. More than that, he infused the ninja image into his very on-stage identity — from his massive Shogun stage production to his LED conicol hat and karate uniform — all at the level of style. Datsik has branded himself a “warrior of the night.” 

Check dates and pricing for Datsik’s Ninja Nation 2018 tour, featuring support from Space Jesus, RIOT TEN, Wooli, Carbin, and Swage. 

Featured photo courtesy of Jame Winterhalter

 

Dustycloud – Those Nights

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Tom Roy, aka Dustycloud, is sending wall-crumbling future house vibrations all the way across the pond to Insomniac headquarters. The Parisian DJ and producer has risen to prominence over the last year with guest mixes on NEST HQ and Dr. Fresch‘s Prescription podcast. Back in October, Roy added to his successes a bass-laden collaboration with Drezo called “House.”

Roy’s newest single, which Insomniac features as their track of the day, sees the producer further hone in on his ability to craft grungy bass lines with the structural components of a traditional house track. As future and G-house continue to infiltrate dance music, Dustycloud will be a name to keep on the radar.

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Khamsin – Second Guess ft Anuka

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Twenty-two-year-old French producer Khamsin has been called upon by everyone from Zhu to Mura Masa with Charli XCX to do remixes. Now, he has released an original of his own, “Second Guess,” featuring Anuka. It’s out now on Lowly Palace.

Anuka’s vocals draw the listener in, and her singing leads to a commanding drop that doesn’t fit into a single genre. Khamsin commented on the track.

“The song is a hybrid between my electronic and rock influences. I tried to keep all the sounds as organic as possible within an electronic structure, leading to a new and more personal sound. Anuka clearly emphasizes the mood and adds the energy with her vocals. I’m happy we finally did a song together.”

“Second Guess” is polarizing and sure to garner the up-and-coming producer some new fans.

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Gaming collides with electronic music in Nitro Fun’s new EP, ‘Closure’

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Gustavo Rangel started producing music at age 14, thanks to an obsession with video gaming and his desire to incorporate gaming elements into music. One year later, the gamer turned music producer won a remix contest on Monstercat, and the rest is history. Rangel was the youngest artist signed to Monstercat at the time, and has been producing music ever since. The Mexican native now produces under the moniker Nitro Fun, and he is back with three new releases in the form of an EP Closure, which are out now on The Arcadium.

The Arcadium is a new label created for gamers looking for free music to incorporate into their content, thus being the perfect fit for Nitro Fun’s desire to incorporate gaming elements into his tracks. The three tracks each have a very distinctive style.

“Go 4 it” is upbeat and would arguably be the perfect backdrop for a Mario Kart game with its retro gaming vibe.

“Leaders” is reminiscent of old-school Porter Robinson with its elaborate combination of elements and commanding future bass framework until the song switches directions and leads into LoneMoon’s rapping and a harder trap drop.

“Keygen” has the capacity to get stuck in anyone’s head, and it is the hardest of the three tracks. Monstrous dubstep chords captivate the listener from the drop’s inception.

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Snails finally drops long-awaited ‘Break It Down’ along with wild music video

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Back in 2015, French-Canadian bass maestro Snails was a featured guest on an episode of Skrillex‘s OWSLA Radio residency on Apple Music. Between bouts of friendly banter, the superstar DJs showcased two hours worth of tracks in their personal rotations, even going as far as previewing unreleased selects over the air for each other. One such track from Snails, affectionately nicknamed “Squishy Riddim” by Skrillex, is now finally getting an official release as “Break It Down,” on OWSLA, and while Skrill’s unofficial title didn’t stick, it still gave an accurate representation of what the listener is in for.

While the track hasn’t changed much since its infancy, the final product, which also features Space Laces and Sam King, comes with a striking new music video, serving as the follow up to Snails and Botnek‘s previously released “Waffle House” video. The accompanying feature, by Spanish filmmaker Ernest Desumbila, matches the track’s high octane kick with an animated 80’s-inspired sci-fi thrill ride which perfectly complements Snails’ belly-churning production style.

 

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Julian Calor – Run Away ft Maggie Szabo

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Julian Calor stands as one of Holland’s most talked about new producers, with a knack for producing technical, yet melodious EDM that far exceeds his years.  Still only 24, the Dutchman has already dropped a full-length album on Hardwell‘s Revealed Recordings and headlined various festivals worldwide.

His latest track, “Run Away,” is another clear testament to his colorful and vibrant yet refined style. With hypnotic vocals courtesy of the ever-soulful Maggie Szabo, “Run Away” is an enticing mix of progressive builds and classic anthemic drops. Eminenlty captivating, “Run Away” combines a healthy dose of Calor’s dancefloor expertise with the power and drive of dance music’s newest frontiers.

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Bassnectar reveals new Naux Faux EP is set for tentative Valentine’s Day release

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Despite incessant rants from a few vocal minorities across his cult following, Lorin Ashton continues to shower his spoiled fanbase with new gifts — in the form of a throwback Naux Faux side project. Bassnectar has officially revealed by way of Twitter that his psychedelic downtempo EP under the shared moniker with Sayr is in the works for as early as Valentine’s Day. Naux Faux harpoons back to Ashton’s early 2000s sound aesthetic circa his Mesmorizing The Ultra LP, which is characterized by ambient, pulsating melodies, break beats, and lo-fi synth work. No word on whether the EP is self-titled, although one remixed track, “Psyopia,” has already been released as apart of Bassnectar’s Reflective Part 2 EP.

 

photo credit: aLive coverage

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