Introducing Dorfex Bos: A rising underground bass talent talks inspirations, collaborative hopefuls, and his penchant for low-end vibrations in debut ‘Opinions’ EP [Interview + EP Review]

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Who exactly is Dorfex Bos?

Dorfex Bos may not be a household name in electronic dance music, nor may he ever wish to be. However, the Madison House-signee is one name in underground bass that we’ve been keeping tabs on here at Dancing Astronaut since appearing on Bassnectar‘s tenth full-length studio album, Into the Sun, back in 2015.

“Lorin [Ashton] is an absolute beast. He’s a genius,” Dorfex Bos told us in a recent interview. “I’ve never met someone with such a clear vision of what they wanted and the skills to make it happen so fully.”

Dorfex Bos is Angelo Tursi, an artist emerging from the early 2000s West Coast bass scene. His music is easily discernible by its eclectic, heavy sound stamp that weaves together elements of lush downtempo, dubstep, and left-field electronica.

But, like most free form bass music artists, don’t ask Dorfex Bos to force himself into any narrowly-defined categories. “I don’t really identify completely with any genres,” Tursi says of his experimental sound. “I’m known for making deep, trippy, cinematic tracks that I guess is considered ‘bass music,’ but I’m not really trying to put myself in that box.”

The Brooklyn-based beatmaker further alluded to the bass music genre as one that is as loose and expansive as it is subversive and very much open to creative interpretation:

“I feel like ‘bass music’ as a genre is very much solely focused on the body experience. I like to weave in a melodic and harmonic element that takes the whole experience a little deeper. My music has [an] emotional flavor that I feel is missing from a lot of ‘bass music.’ “


Dorfex Bos plays the Incendia Stage at Okeechobee, Florida, 2018. Photo courtesy of Madison House.

“Okeechobee was absolutely bonkers. I was set to play a smaller, late night stage…and there were a few thousand people there. It was a beautiful sight. It was a super tight, deep set.”


Dorfex Bos is known by many for his iconic collaborations with Bassnectar, including the self-titled track “Dorfex Bos,” which first appeared in 2004 on Diverse Systems of Throb, along with “Horizons” and “Other Worlds“— two mind-melding numbers that appeared on the recently-released Reflective EP.

“Our last two collaborations, ‘Horizons’ and ‘Other Worlds,’ were made in my bedroom studio on two separate occasions. We would start playing with ideas and very quickly a very clear and defined sound would emerge. It’s crazy making music with him because I have to keep in mind that tens of thousands of fans are going to experience these tracks in arenas and stadiums and you have to think about how they are going to sound in huge venues. It’s different than writing music for clubs. It’s a bit of a mind fuck.”

Recently signed to the Boulder-based powerhouse booking and management firm, Madison House — who also represent electronic music careers of Bassnectar, Clozee, Crywolf, Golfclap, Mt. Eden, Polish Ambassador, The String Cheese Incident, William Black, among many more — Dorfex Bos now brings his debut EP, Opinions, to the table. He is poised to stand alone as a new power player within his area of expertise.


“This EP is very special to me. Each track encompasses a specific and unique combination of mood and groove.”


The four-track project is an aural representation of a roundtable discussion on the sheer eclecticism and diversity of sound within the underground bass music scene. Rather than a cohesive journey of musical story-telling, what Tursi is laying down in his Opinions EP is a track-by-track catalog of playful sonic surprises with ever-evolving synth patterns, broken beats, and newly emerging bass lines around every turn. Perhaps no one puts it better than Tursi on his Opinions EP:

“It feels like a cocoon-deep welcoming, charged with just the right kind of rhythmic energy to keep it moving forward into the unknown. It’s music made for dimly lit dance floors or late night car rides down empty highways.”

Tursi’s auspicious sound sits on the horizon of where bass music is heading: It’s a purview into another world, catalyzed by a full-bodied, all-encompassing listening experience. Opinions serves as his artistic vessel into charting this plane: It’s a sonic mosaic that Dorfex Bos pieces together layer by layer, bit by bit, through each of his meticulously-crafted productions.

Take the EP’s eponymous leading track — a stunning, yet jarring composition laced with a sounds often mirrored by Bassnectar himself in his recent work. Complete with gritty electro-style synths, robust, grounding basslines, and highs that resemble the emergency sirens of a national weather warning system, it resembles an aerial adventure through hypnotic sound fx“It’s so big and expansive, it feels like you’re soaring on the back of a dragon very high up in the sky and you can feel the wind whipping through your hair,” says Tursi of “Opinions.”

 

Building upon the steady momentum set by the EP’s beginning, “Teen $pirit” begins much lighter with a keen focus on arpeggiated chords and captivating toy-box synth work. After the song’s first drop is where the intensity culminates into a more foreboding mood; yet, with the continuous use of light-hearted synths, users need not be apprehensive in giving themselves over to the song’s darker elements.

 

“Cyalafalora” subsumes the EP’s most mysterious appeal. Laid across an experimental landscape, the track features outer space bass elements, retro 1980s synths, like something out of Stranger Things, and laidback tones that allows the listener to explore the unmapped terrain of the human psyches. Upon the song’s second drop, Dorfex Bos takes a complete 180-degree turn into what sounds like a completely different song. 

 

Finishing off the EP is “Ralph’s Dance,” complete with a dark, anthemic quality that only Dorfex Bos can replicate. It catapults listeners into a side show circus tent, as if one is lining up to watch a traveling freak show somewhere in an arid desert county in the 1950s. 

 

In short, Dorfex Bos’ breakout EP is a statement of what is to come from the rising artist. Though eclectic as ever, that isn’t to say that the EP is disjointed by any means. For Opinions features a unique, experimental, and amorphous sound so as to explore the deeper possibilities of free form bass. “It’s thick, it’s bouncy, it’s deep, it’s dreamy,” says Tursi.

Dorfex Bos plays the Incendia Stage at Fractal Beach, Florida, 2018. Photo courtesy of Dorfex Bos.

“I wanted to present a mini-journey of what Dorfex currently represents and what I’m doing in my live sets — which is [using] very big, expansive beats with a mysterious, almost haunting, narrative running through it.”

Still in the early development phase, Dorfex’s live show is a rollercoaster ride of raw, undefined emotion and low-end frequencies that incorporates original tracks from Tursi’s sizable back catalog of music. Visually, there is still much left to map out for the young artist: “Up to this point, I have been the sole designer of all Dorfex visual art. I enjoy having a lot of creative control over how my work is presented. But I do look forward to collaborating with the right artist in the future if that magical synergy is there.”

“The live show is very me in that it will be an interesting dichotomy of ‘dark’ and ‘light’ imagery.”

Tursi’s approach to his live experience is laced with the kind of DIY sensibility that runs deep within the spirit of the underground bass scene. It is a sense for which he also takes cues from Tipper, whom he has opened for in the past, and Bassnectar, who he will open for during night two of Freestyle Sessions. On playing the upcoming event, which will be full culty bass heads:

“I’m super excited for Freestyle Sessions! I’m playing on ‘Dreamtempo’ night so it’s going to be a dreamy, bouncy set. I’m not really nervous about it, a lot of Bassnectar fans come out to my shows and they are usually super engaged and excited about me playing.”

As for his other upcoming appearances throughout the year, Dorfex Bos is also booked as direct support for The Glitch Mob on their new album-accompanying world tour, dubbed “Blade 2.0,” a interactive live music spectacle with visuals powered by Dell and an immersive VR experience from Strangeloop Studios.

“I’ve been friends with Ooah and Boreta for a very long time, about 15 years,” Tursi explained matter of factly. “They got in touch with me because their original support Elohim was unable to do [one particular] date.”

Dorfex Bos was beaming at the opportunity to play on The Glitch Mob’s cutting-edge stage set-up. “It’s a game-changer,” alluded Tursi. “I very quickly said yes because I know they have a very open-minded fanbase that would be down to go on the Dorfex journey, which is going to lean a little on the cerebral.”

With mentors like Tipper, Bassnectar, and The Glitch Mob — each with their clearly-defined respective sounds, and their shared roots in psychedlica and new-age spiritualism — there is no doubt that Dorfex Bos is one breakout artist whose climbing the swift ladder to success. Not only is he set to expand the sonic worlds of the three aforementioned artists, who all share a similar musical flavor, as well as crossover fanbases, DA asked what other artists made Tursi’s list of collaborative hopefuls.

“I’d love to work with Four Tet… he’s been a big inspiration to me for years. I’d love to make something with Potions (of the Lab Group)… he has such an amazing sense of sound design. Some other names I’d like to throw out on my collab wishlist… ELWD, Nils Frahm, EPROM, Oneohtrix Point Never, FlyLo, and Björk.”


So what exactly is a Dorfex Bos?

“I like my audience to experience ‘feels,’ and not just solely a beat to bang their heads to. It’s a fully sensory experience.” – Angelo Tursi

Tursi conjured up his moniker from a wildly imaginative place. The root, “Dorfex,” refers to some imaginary rural county in the British countryside, complete with lush rolling hills and dew-filled forests; the stem, “Bos,” he’s always thought about in terms of a fantasy computer-coded language. Juxtaposing the two creates a kind of elemental synergy — between nature and machine — for the artist. It’s a space Tursi says he enjoys dwelling in, both mentally and physically.

As for Dorfex Bos’ vibrant future, 2018 has much in store for the Brooklyn-based producer, including several more releases and collaborations for which the artist remained rather vague about going into detail over.

One thing we know for sure of the left-field bass producer is that he has a clearly-marked sound, with a penchant for low-end vibrations, and a definitive map for where he’s going.

 

How this will come to take shape for the audience?

Only time will tell.

 

But Dorfex Bos is not just a moniker, or even a man behind a moniker. According to Tursi, it’s a fully immersive experience: “The Dorfex Bos experience is a balanced combination of bass heavy beats and a rich cloak of melodies and harmonies that feel very much like a film score.”

Cinematic and fully sensory, on the one hand. Heavy, cumbersome, and yet fully palatable, on the other.

Beyond the Booth 013: Carmada give us a taste of their outdoor lives

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carmada

Beyond the Booth is a feature dedicated to the hidden side of artists that exists outside electronic music— a side rarely discussed with those outside their immediate circle. We venture “beyond the booth,” so to speak, and dive into their deepest passions that tie into their unique personalities. After some self-introspection, each participant then returns to the booth, providing an exclusive mix for the Dancing Astronaut audience.

L D R U and Yahtzel have an infectious chemistry that has carried them far in their careers. As Carmada, the two have taken the bass world by storm, landing themselves coveted spots on OWSLA, Mad Decent, and the like. They possess a knack for musicmaking and performance that leaves audiences hungering for their presence worldwide — not only in a club setting, but also on stage at reputable festival institutions.

Sometimes, however, absence makes the heart grow fonder — and the music tastier. L D R U and Yahtzel have been focused inward the past couple years, focusing mainly on honing their solo artistry. The break has been beneficial, based off their latest original work, “Ready For It.” Bright, poppy, and tasteful, the Tribes-assisted production signals a new chapter for Carmada.

Who are Carmada outside the music? It turns out, quite the active outdoorsmen. They’re known to be avid campers, even finding time while on tour to sleep under the stars and wake up surrounded by nature. Fans are also invited in on the fun; recently, Camp Carmada unfolded as an almost renegade event, which saw the duo holding an open-invitation camping trip filled with music and “stories around the campfire” with those willing to brave the elements.

Naturally, we had to go deep into camping and all things outdoors with Carmada, getting them to divulge some of their most intriguing tales from times they’ve spent “in the bush,” their favorite camping items, and more.


If you were forced to take only one of these items with you on a camping trip, would you choose: sunscreen, or bug repellent?
Bug spray for sure. Have you ever tried to sleep with 30 mosquitos buzzing around your head? That’s a norm for a balmy Aussie night.

What are the niftiest outdoor tricks/hacks you guys know?
Well, I don’t know if it’s necessarily a trick or hack, but Yahtzel is really good at whipping up a campfire. We went 4wd in a shitty car through the rocky mountains recently, we got a little too confident, went off road and inevitably got the car bogged in about 4ft of snow. There was about 30 minutes of sunlight left and a lot of digging through snow ahead of us. Before any of us even wrapped our head around the situation, Yahtzel had the perfect campfire going. We ended up getting the car-free 2hrs later.

What is the most daring camping endeavor you’ve been on?
The most daring thing I’ve (Yahtzel) ever done camping, was seeing how long I could last in the bush by myself. I stayed out there for six nights; If I didn’t run out of food and water, I would have stayed longer.

Tell us about your funniest memory while camping.
I think the funniest thing I’ve seen camping was my friends first bush poo. I don’t think he realised you need to pull your pants all the way down, because generally when you go number 2, you also go number 1. So poor old Barney had to spend the rest of the night covered in pee.

Between using an actual toilet the first time and taking your first hot shower, which feels the best after a camping trip, in your opinion?
Shower for sure. You don’t have to worry about aiming when peeing outdoors.

Do you have any camping gear brands you prefer in particular? Why?
The Jolly Swagman, if you don’t know what a Swag is here’s a Facebook page we created just for them.

How would you describe your camping preferences? Do you prefer beach camping, backpacking in the forest, taking roadtrips and stopping at parks along the way, etc?
We’re pretty lucky living in Australia in terms of camping options. No matter where you live, you can drive 1-2 hours and be surrounded by bush. I generally take the car and drive ten mins from my family home in Ulladulla and camp in the bush by the beach. For L D R U’s Australian regional tour he hired a massive campervan and drove up and down the east coast of Australia. He would play a show, then his TM would drive to the closest beach, and they would wake up to the sound of the ocean. That’s a cool way to tour.

Have any of you encountered a terrifying wild creature while camping? What did you do to get out of the situation?
Americans always say everything in Australia can kill you and yeah we have snakes and spiders etc. but we don’t have FUCKING Bears, Mountain Lions and Mousse have you seen the size of those things. There bigger than a pickup truck! Back to the question, nothing to our of the ordinary. But my Manager and I did a little bit of bat country skiing in Whistler recently and we stumbled across a heap of fresh bear prints and the next 30 minutes of skiing were petrifying.

Tell us more about Camp Carmada. What sorts of things did you get up to?
Camp Carmada was amazing; we had an open invitation to our fans to come camping with. We played a guerilla bush set to 50 people and sat around the campfire telling stories. I don’t think you could ever recreate that magic.

Finally, the best question: after having such a powerful reunion, what do you two have in the works for the rest of 2018?
We’ve been quiet the last couple of years, working on our solo projects (Yahtzel, L D R U). 2018 is all about Carmada coming back into the spotlight. I think conceptualising/filming the film clip for our recent single “Ready For It” was our favourite. We had stunt actors, car chances, fight scenes and a whole of action. It was great being apart of the process from start to finish and seeing your vision translate to screen. We have a big show at Splendour In The Grass this year, debuting out new show Carmada by LDRU & Yahtzel. I think that is going to be the best show we’ve ever played, can’t wait!

 

Feature image credit: Stacey Queffert

Tor lays down an eclectic, low-end wonderland ahead of Lightning In A Bottle [Mix]

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Tor

Amidst a blanket of monotony in the bass world, Tor has risen as one of the new wave of forward-thinking talent introducing an aural breath of fresh air.

The producer wriggled his way into the spotlight not too long ago thanks in part to Emancipator, and quickly made a name for himself thanks to his creative arrangement and fearlessness around pushing his own musical boundaries. His debut album on Emancipator’s Loci imprint, Drum Therapy, was met with critical acclaim, thus leading him to land a second album on the label in 2016 that most would say conquered the Sophomore slump.

Tor will be making his Lightning In A Bottle debut come Memorial Day weekend, where he will be delighting his crowds with a multifaceted performance. Before seeing him, however, he decided to make an official “introduction” to his work:

“I wanted to make this mix as bit of an introduction for people who maybe haven’t heard my music before, mixed in with some songs I’ve been enjoying lately as well as a showcase of what I’ve been up to recently with some unreleased remixes and hints of what you might hear at my LIB set this year. Cheers!”


Tracklist:
Tor – Two Suns
Tor – Two Suns (CloZee Remix)
IHF – Departure
CloZee – Secret Place (Tor Remix)
Tourist – Hush
Maya Jane Coles – Bo & Wing
Nuage – Every PPL
Tor – Vaults
??? – ??? (Tor Remix)
RUFUS DU SOL – Innerbloom (Tor Remix)
??? – ??? (Tor Remix)
Edamame – Sable (feat. Tor)
Affelaye – Whir

TOKiMONSTA – I Wish I Could (feat. Selah Sue) [Sofi Tukker Remix]

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sofi-tukker-press

Sofi Tukker goes deep in this new remix of TOKiMONSTA‘s “I Wish I Could” featuing Selah Sue. The original hit track — featured on the LA-based DJ/producer’s 2017 album Lune Rouge gets a second wind thanks to Tukker’s rhythmic production ability and the start of another energy-filled festival season.

Selah Sue’s vocals are still as catchy as ever, yet Sofi Tukker takes the melody-driven chord progressions and adds a rapid, kick-driven bassline with additional club-ready feels. The duo is gearing up for the release of their debut artist album Treehouse on April 13th, which will be accompanied by a global tour.

 

Launchpad Playlist: Heat up the night with this hefty heavy bass playlist

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launchpad

Launchpad is a playlist series showcasing music we love, hand selected by our staff. The tracks come from both emerging and mainstream artists; it’s all about the quality and the unexpected. If you’d like your music featured in Launchpad, submit it for consideration here

With the proliferation of bass music in today’s scene, particularly drum & bass, we’ve sought out to highlight some of the off-kilter styles and BPMs the genre has to offer — and so the latest Launchpad playlist is brimming with bristling bass. From half-time and hip-hop to neuro rhythm, we present a small collection of bass music aside from the more ubiquitous dubstep and trap sounds and rhythms in the current dance sphere.

DA Playlist Selects:

Shield – “Slang ft Ivy Lab”

Though “Slang” was released more than two years ago, it’s inventive tendencies boast a sinister air of bass music that proves to be an idiosyncratic standout, even by today’s standards. Judging by the track’s off-kilter production, it’s also small wonder NOISIA premiered this track on NOISIA Radio.

RoyGreen & Protone – “Manoeuvre”

“Manoeuvre” is a unique sounding drum & bass track with awesome vocals from one of the UK’s storied MC’s, DRS. With a voice that lends so perfectly to the production, it’s no surprise RoyGreen & Protone nail the vibes on “Manoeuvre.” It’s properly dark and plenty moody, and thus, unforgettably exuberant.

Tracklist:

Obeyer – “Chelsea Smile”
TLZMN – “Viper”
Kid Koma – “Chimera”
Shield – “Slang” ft. Ivy Lab
RoyGreen & Protone x The Insiders ft. DRS – “Manoeuvre”
Hyroglifics x Arkaik – “Phone Drone”

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

This post was originally published on this site

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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