German mainstay event, Sea You Beach Republic will record its seventh edition lakeside in Tunisee from July 18 – 19, during which it will spread out its house and techno talent across seven stages. The first wave of the event’s 2020 lineup features Claptone, Boris Brejcha, Georgia Angiuli, Kid Simius, Kobosil, and Lexy & K-Paul, among other underground acts. Touting more than 100 artists, the full Sea You ‘Beach Republic’ lineup will be announced in two successive waves.
Attendees can expect Sea You Beach Republic to offer more than just electronic activity across its two days of production: water-skiing and wake-boarding, among other other lake events will be free for festival goers. There will also be a fashion and beauty lounge. Tickets to Sea You Beach Republic and additional information can be found on the festival’s official website.
The third iteration of Romania’s coastal, fun-in-the sun (and long thereafter) festival, NEVERSEA, proved a particularly impressive production this past year—considerably so for a young festival still trying to find its footing in a swarming European event market.
With tens of thousands of attendees, primarily from Bucharest and surrounding Eastern European meccas pouring in to the relatively quiet, though densely populated beach town of Constanţa July 4-7 for NEVERSEA’s multi-national electronic, hip-hop, and pop roster, success was a tall order, made taller with one of the aural agenda’s top-sellers, DJ Snake, rescinding his lineup spot in a last-minute heartbreaker of an announcement.
But NEVERSEA rose to the occasion, largely due to its audacious artist acumen, which spanned UK-bred Sub Focus’ whiplash-inducing drum breaks, to the mellow electronic/live instrumentation synergy of Bob Moses. Saturday, the four-day affair’s busiest night, drew over 60,000 festival-goers, NEVERSEA reports; and while by 7 pm there was little room to move about freely (particularly near the main stage), let alone secure an opportune spot, most of the all-ages attendees hardly seemed to mind. The remaining three days saw much of the same congestion near the main stage, though mostly confined to the riper hours of the evening during the most prominent performances, like that of Alesso and G-Eazy.
The varied and immaculately decorated subsidiary stages offered ample refuge from the often-overflowing headlining performances. The kaleidoscopic Temple Stage, for example, with the elevated Constanţa strip as its beckoning, spotlit backdrop, hosted a lustrous litany of club-centric house and tech-leaning talent, including early-morning majesty from the likes of Jamie Jones, Boris Brejcha, and Dubfire. Faithful observers in the art of four by four, with penchants for surreptitious low-lit after-hour locales were sure to be found worshiping at the Temple.
The Ark Stage offered dance digs of the most brash and unbridled variety. A walk past the vessel-themed stage could proffer either serrated drum ‘n’ bass displays from Andy C or Sub Focus and their razor-lipped MCs, or perhaps up-to-the-moment four on the floor from NERO‘s Dan Stephens. By all accounts, a rendezvous under The Ark is not for frightful ears.
‘Til the break of dawn
A stroll through the sandy grounds at daybreak proves NEVERSEA can hold an audience. Even at 5 am, as the orange glow of sunrise kissed the Black Sea coastline, and the delicious and delirious madness of Boris Brejcha’s “high-tech minimal,” an amalgamation of progressive, techno, and trance, began winding down, it was clear attendees were in it for the long hall—as hundreds remained camped around The Temple stage, wide-eyed and enthralled. The intensity of the Eastern European people is no myth, personified in hordes of young people dancing at 8 am with 8 pm vigor. They gathered restlessly, striking coquettish poses with the flowered festival foliage long after dawn stretched into day.
In just a few short years, NEVERSEA has solidified its spot as a must-attend on the Romanian festival front, really only contending with its Transylvanian sister soiree, UNTOLD. The robust beachside gathering is an impressive mid-sized mounting on the Eastern European festival mantle.
Having just clocked in at No. 2 on Dancing Astronaut’s Breakout Artists of 2019, Boris Brejcha continues his hot-streak of genre-bending club releases with “Lieblingsmensch,” his next successive single on Ultra Records in almost as many months. Translated to “favorite human ever,” “Lieblingsmensch” ticks all the boxes that make his tunes so matter-of-factly Boris.
A healthy balance of in-your-face light/dark elements? Check. How about a bottomless toolbox of uniquely textured elements? Check. Melodic twists and turns? Those, too.
Sure, his style revolves around the build/drop dynamic, but between his understanding of dance music and sophisticated songwriting, even that takes a refreshing spin through the cosmic corridors of “Lieblingsmensch.”
Brejcha is no newcomer to the electronic zeitgeist. He’s been known for minimal and techier sounds since much earlier in the now dwindling decade. But those who have seen him behind the decks as of late likely remember this release for the lynchpin that it is in his current mix/live set setup.
Boris Brejcha’s upcoming LP, Space Diver, is expected out on Ultra Records this coming January.
Ultra Music‘s annual electronic highlight reel has arrived, and with it, the esteemed imprint succinctly underscores 15 standout records that contributed to dance music’s robust year of production. The diversely bodied Ultra 2020 spans genres, spotlighting records from an array of subgenres.
Ultra 2020 touts house heaters such as MK‘s inescapable “Body 2 Body” and DVBBS and Bridge’s “GOMF.” The compilation album also caters to those with tastes for harder, grittier technics with 4B and Flosstradamus‘ “Blackout” and NGHTMRE and A$AP Ferg‘s “Redlight.”
For a festival older than many of its attendees (including a co-author of this review), Amsterdam Dance Event hasn’t lost an ounce of prerogative in the electronic music space across its 24-year tenure. Much like its increasingly international soil, ADE is voraciously traveled to by electronic infatuates across the globe. This year the industry-oriented endeavor garnered attendees from 146 countries—the most internationally visited installment to date.
But what makes ADE so painfully cool, is not only its chromatic agenda—spanning panels, parties, makeshift productions, and larger-than-life arena stops—but its locational litany. From train stations, to museums, to the warehouse spots, all of Amsterdam is ADE’s playground.
And it feels like the whole city is participating, too. Right outside the Schipol Airport, your humble narrator is greeted by a proverbial ADE cube humming above an information/check-in hut, ready for business at 8 am sharp. Once I secure my media pass, a 40-something cab driver promptly rattles off his week’s after-dark itinerary, with the enthusiasm of a tourist and the precision of a seasoned attendee.
ADE is unique in that it implores you to acquaint yourself with Amsterdam. It’s an unfettered celebration among the city’s quotidian. And that’s undoubtedly why the very best of the dance music business (Garrix, Tiesto, Guetta, Knight, Hawtin, Brejcha, you name it) return year after year. Here are some spots that made ADE sing this year.
Rijksmuseum, Dancing Astronaut‘s quintessential stop on the ADE agenda. The storied subterranean dwelling of the historic Dutch landmark make for a sublime dance music backdrop—invoking elegance and clandestine cadence all at once. Raw Rave sanctioned Boys Noize Thursday night for a long dance (the kinetic vernacular in Europe is actually swaying) in the dark, as Maceo Plex and Underworld had so notably done just a few years prior.
The hallowed columns cast great, oblong shadows through the crowd, while fog dances in time with Boys Noize‘s beguiling analog techno. It’s an altogether post-apocalyptic display; as if all the wide-eyed pedestrians who normally flood the area by day are gone for good and there’s nothing left to do but soak up the smoke and party (if you can maneuver to the bar, that is). The air buzzed with sweet and sweaty malice, beneath a collection of Rembrandts resting soundly upstairs, no less! The historic holdings are a smoldering embodiment of ADE’s ability to make Amsterdam’s cornerstone conventions come alive.
Of all the Amsterdam club locales, Paradiso is likely the most atmospherically adjacent to a US spot ADE has to offer. Though, its architectural grandeur is singularly European. The assuredly haunted ex-church, with its resplendent stained glass windows and intricately etched balcony arrangement, seems destined for a back-to-back DJ set from priest vestment-donning Tchami and his perpetually pernicious aural associate, Malaa. A far cry from the litany of icons Paradiso once welcomed—The Rolling Stones, Prince, Patti Smith, The Cure, Nirvana (just to name a few)—the duo’s Dutch rendition of No Redemption was, nonetheless, entertaining as hell.
The hard-house maestros topped giant LED cubes which lit up in sync with painstakingly on-brand visuals when the respective DJ took his turn. For Tchami, a storming jungle scene evocative of his recent melodic house sensation, “Rainforest.” For Malaa, the expected illicit and explicit imagery: lines of white powder, skin-clad, ski-masked women, and otherwise. PSA: Moshing to dance music is apparently not just an American phenomenon.
Days before the release of his 7th studio album, Armin van Buuren opened the doors to Armada’s office, sitting on the city’s outskirts for a cranked-up ADE-themed recording of A State Of Trance. Attendees were welcome to wander the corridors of the iconic trance label’s home base, with over two dozen guest sets spinning between “The Club” and the infamous recording studio where Armin streams his weekly shows. The who’s who of trance ticket gave fans a chance to see tastemaker after tastemaker, mainstay after mainstay, bringing the likes of Richard Durand, Markus Schulz, Ferry Corsten, Sander van Doorn, and even BT, for eight hours of intimate trance bliss.
DGTL brought four nights of ADE-insanity to NDSM Wharf, a former shipyard with grounds big enough to house 10 soccer fields. As massive of a venue as it was, another few soccer fields probably could’ve housed the droves of ravers who kept the waterfront warehouse’s sprawling mainstage saturated. A headlining lineup of Richie Hawtin, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Bonobo, Orbital, and Ben Klock back to back with Marcel Dettmann proved too tempting a ticket for thousands of ADEers. There’s no doubt that the music is the focal point of a week like ADE, but it’s hard not to see the event for the grand portrait of dance music that is when showing up to NDSM. Between the ferry from Central Station, that showcases much of the city’s forward-thinking architecture, to the street art that blankets the hip, developing wharf, and fresh fruit the warehouse served until wee hours of the morning, a trip to NDSM shines a light on many of the enchanting idiosyncrasies that make ADE so distinctly Amsterdam.
Lil’ Central Station
ADE fever even spread to Amsterdam’s very own Central Station (think Grand Central), which was effectively party-fied by Audio Obscura for the whirlwind weekend. Tucked just a few stories below the rails that funnel people in and out of Amsterdam by the thousands was Lil’ Central, a cozy nightclub space with DJs that encouraged a bit of loco and a lot of motion. From Motor City Drum Ensemble‘s swerve-inducing Thursday night set to Tchami‘s afterparty the following evening, express tickets to a good time were wholesale at Lil’ Central. Every city has nightclubs, most even have particularly cool ones, but how many municipalities are willing to turn their central transport hub into an all-night rave?
5 Under 15k is a feature on Dancing Astronaut dedicated to spotlighting talented up-and-coming and largely undiscovered artists who we believe deserve more exposure. Each edition highlights five artists from a wide variety of genres with under 15,000 followers on SoundCloud or Spotify (at the time of writing).
Hailing from Portugal, Hohzo’s signature “melodark minimal” sound instantly diversifies the rising producer from the pack, disregarding the current dance music meta for something more intrinsically expressive. His 2019 album, Yin Yang, invites listeners on an aesthetically sound aural adventure—fusing darker influences, from techno, progressive, electro and even orchestral sound palates for an experience all its own.
“I can say that there are few artists in the world who create the kind of sound that I create,” says Hohzo. “I don’t mean that I’m better or worse. I just believe I’m different and that’s what I always try to transmit in the songs I create. Let’s say that the tracks I produce are more psychological than technical, where my goal is to show my emotions rather than my technical production skills.
Every track on Yin Yang clocks in over seven minutes long (aside from the intro and outro), but where many electronic producers get lost in the loopiness of lengthier beats, Hohzo feels at home there. Each tune is a journey in its own right, courting the listener through the enchanted melodark forest of the Portuguese producer’s sonic envoy.
Further broadening his musical horizons, Hohzo is currently composing the score to director Taha Ismail’s upcoming Innerbloom, expecting to close out the year with tour stops in India, St. Petersburg, and Turkey.
If Colyn isn’t on your short-list of up and comers in 2019, you better hope there’s room. The Dutch producer, who describes his sound as “centered around, but not bound to, techno” has sunk his teeth into the industry through the Tale of Us-led label, Afterlife. In just six months’ time, Colyn has climbed the label’s ranks, first debuting on their Realm Of Consciousness Pt. IV compilation before receiving a long-form accent with a full-fledged EP, Resolve. Finally he closed out Audio Obscura‘s ADE party alongside Tale of Us themselves this past weekend.
Tracks like “Resolve” imbue the evocative side of the genre, but Colyn ultimately defines his sound with well-warranted touches of lucidity and psychedelic sprinklings. A great addition to the Afterlife crew, Colyn fits the label’s sound, while offering its fanbase something altogether fresh.
Made up of Swiss brothers Stefan and Jonas Roos, Theydream has been adding their distinct layer of ravaging basslines and atmospheric techno to Boris Brejcha‘s burgeoning FCKNG SERIOUS label for the past few years. While the group has established themselves as a mainstay at Brejcha’s minted parties across Europe, spinning in Tel Aviv, Prague, and all across Germany, they’ve yet to make it to the states. Though the the duo’s sound would surely hit the mark stateside, if Brejcha’s first US tour this year is any indication.
Theydream recently contributed two singles in as many months to the FCKNG SERIOUS catalog, but the best sampling of their trippy, often obfuscated sound can be heard in their autumn mix from last year; it’s compromised of almost entirely unreleased material. With a shared two decades of production between them, the Roos brothers unfurl purring basslines with hypnotic overtones for a whimsical brand of techno all its own.
For a few years, Lake Haze bounced from label to label, releasing deep, and even some left-field house tracks. But it wasn’t until UK-based E-Beamz allowed him a platform to create a debut LP that “wasn’t 100% dancefloor-oriented” so that the genius of the Portuguese producer fully reared its head.
Glitching Dreams hits all of the sweet spots of a Warp Records original, affixing frenetic drums with just the right touch of acid flare. Though what makes Lake Haze’s latest effort so standout is its blissful wonkiness. It ebbs and flows through different realms of Lake Haze’s meticulously constructed dream world, but retains a common thread of upbeat groove from start to finish
It could be the influx of textures and imagery, or maybe just the afforded space for a producer to flex their muscles within the genre, but there’s something about electro-house that attracts many of the industry’s real sound design junkies. For years, chart-topping acts like Zedd, Porter Robinson, and Feed Me have claimed their stake at the terrain’s apex, not just with their impressive songwriting, but through an ability to make sense of (and masterfully mix) the chaos that a behemoth electro track truly demands.
Enter The Frederik, a Danish electro producer who obviously shares a similar passion for the studio with the aforementioned headliners. At just 23 years old, he made his debut on mau5trap, before developing his sound for UKF’s Pilot Records, eventually championing his own label, Riotville Records. His sound expectedly pumps, but what makes The Frederik’s work so singular is the cohesiveness of the textures and layers that he establishes from track to track.
Checkout some of his latest releases below, with aptly titled highlights “Fuck Tool,” and “Idle.”
German joker-masked king of High Tech Minimal, Boris Brejcha has unfurled another fragment, “Never Look Back” from his debut album due in January on Ultra Records.
A recent staple in Brejcha’s 100% originally soundtracked sets, “Never Look Back” imbues the FCKNG SERIOUS label boss’s penchant for bleeding the boundaries of striking techno, progressive house, and trance. His inspiriting, melodic earmark assumes the driver’s seat, yet again, alongside one of his cornerstone pitched-down vocal cuts. The production is nothing short of cosmic.
Having just wrapped up his first US tour and another successful branded soiree at Amsterdam Dance Event, Brejcha continues to permeate his unparalleled sound design to pandemic proportions. In addition to erecting his own music label just a few years ago, Brejcha made his Cercle debut this year at the Grand Palais, which has garnered over seven million streams on YouTube alone. Those who haven’t heard the news about the one-man High Tech Minimal army taking the global club front for ransom would do best to briskly familiarize themselves.
It’s most important day of the week: New Music Friday. With the overwhelming amount of tunes hitting the airwaves today, Dancing Astronaut has you covered with the latest edition of The Hot 25.
Valentino Khan tackles Tchami’s “Rainforest” in his latest remix, and Gryffin teams up with Maia Wright for “Body Back.” Lost Kings tap Marc E. Bassy for “Somebody Out There,” and Adventure Club unveil their Death or Glory Sessions. David Guetta remixes Idris Elba’s “On Life” as Jack Back, and Sullivan King reveals his debut album, including tracks like “If My Eyes Are Vampires (Your Body Is My Sunlight)” with TYNAN. Fox Stevenson, too, has a debut album out on Oct. 18, featuring songs like “All Night,” and Hardwell teams up with Deorro, MAKJ, and Fatman Scoop for “Left Right.” Henry Fong encourages listeners to “Jump Up” with his new single, and Flosstradamus and Megatone deliver “Bounce Back” after premiering the track with DA. Faux Tales has released his ethereal Hiraeth LP, and Madnap and Luma have collaborated on “Faces.” YehMe2 and Wuki “Throw It” on their new collaboration, and vowl. and Brock Wilson jointly release “recluse.” Justin Jay puts his own spin on NGHTMRE and A$AP Ferg’s “REDLIGHT,” and Boombox Cartel and Griff Clawson reveal “All I Want.”
As each week brings a succession of new music from some of electronic music’s biggest artists, here’s a selection of tracks that shouldn’t be missed this NMF.