Complextro house isn’t dead — not as long as Wolfgang Gartner is around. The veteran producer’s name is synonymous with the complextro movement that sparked around a decade ago and helped boost EDM into the mainstream. While Wolfgang’s style has evolved considerably since the “Space Junk” days, young, fresh talent like k?d seem to be keeping him young on their new joint effort “Banshee.” Widely considered to be one of the sharpest prospects on the rise, k?d wraps his fluid production acumen around Wolfgang’s penchant for ultra-intricate, rousingly dramatic dance compositions.
“Banshee” packs in grainy, distorted piano chords and snappy percussive builds before breaking out into high-octane sonic mayhem. It’s aggressive yet calculated, vintage and futuristic all at once, and ultimately a flawlessly nostalgic return to the beloved Wolfgang Gartner electro of yesteryear, capped by a menacing contemporary flair with the addition of k?d’s forward-thinking production method.
Historically more of a lone wolf, Gartner has famously collaborated with deadmau5 and Skrillex on two of his canon’s brightest hallmarks, “Animal Rights” and “Devil’s Den” respectively. One listen through, and we can safely say “Banshee” is likely to join those ranks in time too.
Chicago’s electronic summer staple, Spring Awakening Music Festival, will return to the Windy City’s Addams/Medill park for its seventh iteration Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10. The largest all-electronic music festival in the Midwest, Spring Awakening has released phase one of its 2018 lineup, a sizable roster of mainstream talent topped by Afrojack, Hardwell, Kaskade, Steve Aoki, Tiësto, deadmau5, and more.
Championed as “one of the most seismic lineups for Spring Awakening yet,” the shock waves spurred by the festival’s first phase only increase in intensity given the reveal of the event’s six branded stage showcases: Trance Arena, Bass Kitchen, the techno oriented Requiem, Sunday School, HELDEEP, and DJ MAG.
3-day GA and VIP passes to Spring Awakening’s seventh edition are now available for purchase, here.
Deadmau5 is a well known fan of the live streaming platform Twitch. He’s used it to stream unreleased music, played live from his studio, as well as broadcast his video game sessions. The producer’s presence on the platform this past weekend, however, centered not around the sampling of new tracks or mashing buttons on a controller, but rather, around philanthropy.
Twitch user /playbattlegrounds, received quite the surprise when deadmau5 dropped by his PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) stream, organized so that all proceeds from the channel were to benefit Extra Life, an organization that has generated 40-million-dollars since 2008, and notably, and cause for which deadmau5 has also actively raised money. The electronic virtuoso donated a staggering $25,000 to /playbattlegrounds’ stream, revealing an altruistic side that is often overshadowed by his cantankerous online interactions.
Modern dance music has procured some of the most iconic stage setups in recent memory. Skrillex‘s mothership rig, Justice‘s legendary cross, and of course, Daft Punk‘s epochal pyramid immediately come to mind.
The conversation wouldn’t be complete, however, without mention of deadmau5‘s illustrious cube rig, and its 2017 upgrade when he launched the “Cube 2.0” and “Cube 2.2” designs. Now, deadmau5 is set to up the ante yet again.
so… yeah… we just built another cube… “other cube” we call it. you’ll see it soon.
The mau5trap head honcho announced a new iteration of his famed live performance weapon, simply designated the “Other Cube.” Tantalizing fans on Twitter, the “Strobe” creator promised the world will see the mysterious new cube soon, noting that it has already been built and, presumably, ready to hit the road.
deadmau5 piqued the collective interest of his fan base when he previewed a short clip of an orchestral version of “Strobe” during one of his live streams on Twitch in December. The sample led some fans to speculate that the mau5trap label head was at work on a full-length orchestral album, while others proposed that the artist could be in the process of crafting a film score. Divergent conjectures aside, all listeners could agree that they would like to hear—at the very least—a complete orchestral version of the electronic classic.
Well… so much for free time… literally hauling ass on what’s probably going to be, seriously, the most epic thing I’ve ever done with my music. Sooon. pic.twitter.com/zqISBU6VeZ
At the beginning of the month, deadmau5 tweeted that he was currently engaged in “the most epic thing [he’s] ever done with [his] music.” Twitter user @cubertmaster responded to the post, asking if deadmau5 would provide “any hints” regarding the project, to which deadmau5 replied:
deadmau5 sharpened the shape of the orchestral endeavor in a live stream on Jan. 15, during which he debuted nearly 40-minutes of unreleased music, all orchestral editions of selections from his catalog. Whether the video of the orchestral offerings signals an upcoming live orchestral tour, or the album that many fans suspected remains unknown, but the sizeable amount of new music should satiate fans until deadmau5 reveals the next step in the orchestral equation.
Deadmau5 just recently trolled the crowd at a tumultuously impressive New York City debut of his Testpilot techno alias, closing out the show with Avicii‘s “Levels” and a beer chug.
Now, Joel Zimmerman has carried the playful, tongue-in-cheek madness into the new year. His Dec. 31 show employed custom cube visuals and was created in partnership with VRChat and the Rick & Morty creator Justin Roiland. The countdown’s an incredibly apt homage to the deadmau5 and Rick & Morty-related string of events that unfolded over the last year, where Zimmerman bought the “last” of the Szechuan sauce at his wedding, only to give it out at a later show in Toronto, complete with chicken nuggets.
2017 would prove to be a career defining year for Zedd, the producer dethroning his 2012 Foxes feature, “Clarity,” as his most recognizable single via the release of “Stay,” a track that would not only earn Zedd his second double platinum certification plaque, but a VMA for Best Dance Video, and a Grammy nomination to boot. Departing with his highly celebrated single and Grey in tow, Zedd hit the road on his 12-date North American Echo Tour.
Photo Credit: @zedd/Instagram
A masterpiece of modern electronic production, the Echo Tour proved to be an intricately designed venture both highly stylized and deeply experiential in nature. Reflective of Zedd’s self professed desire to engage a multitude of “…senses that come together into one experience,” the Echo Tour appealed to sight, sound, feel, and touch via visuals, color and lighting, lasers, smoke, and of course, Zedd’s musical library. Far from hesitant to lay claim to the choreographed quality of his shows, Zedd acknowledges “Every song that I’ve ever played has a specific visual that goes with the song,” but the pre-show preparation extended beyond just that—the producer also matched specific lighting and color effects to each song, rehearsing the ensembles prior to the tour’s debut. The effects that characterize the Echo Tour’s individual shows, however, are produced live, projected to the crowd in real time despite the tour’s various pre-debut run throughs.
Photo Credit: @zedd/Instagram
An exposition of Zedd’s progression as artist, performer, and production strategist, the Echo Tour contained a message that was reiterated on each show date. Those that identified Zedd as an ‘artist to watch’ back in his earliest days had their fingers firmly planted on the pulse of dance music’s future, a rhythm that has beat with increasing intensity given Zedd’s continued ascendance to electronic acclaim.
Mastermind of progressive house and music industry satire, Joel Zimmerman brought his ‘lots of shows in a row’ tour to an international audience in 2017. Kicking off at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom in March, the tour made noteworthy stops at large scale festivals and venues alike including Mysteryland, Creamfields, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Shrine Auditorium, Tomorrowland and Hï Ibiza.
Photo Credit: EDM Tunes
The crown jewel of deadmau5’s recent tour was the new and improved Cube 2.1, which boasted state-of-the-art LED screens and crystal clear, new graphics for an unparalleled visual experience. Standing at 15 feet tall and 16 feet wide, the behemoth showed comedic images of dancing cows, wonky-eyed mice, and even a tribute to the video game Rocket League among other visuals during deadmau5’s sets.
Hypnotic tracks like “Relax” and “Premonition” were brought to life with hauntingly psychedelic visuals, tied together by REZZ’s signature LED goggles. Mass Manipulation was indeed achieved across the Mau5trap supported tour, which made notable stops at Ultra Japan, Electric Zoo, EDC Orlando, Something Wicked among others. After selling out numerous locations along the way, it’s no wonder REZZ was recently named Billboard Dance’s “Breakout Artist of the Year.”
ODESZA’s critically acclaimed A Moment Apart journey has seen the group move between sold out stadium-sized arenas all over the country, with Sofi Tukker and Chet Porter in tow as openers. Since its inception in Spring, the ever-evolving A Moment Apart set has morphed slowly over time to include new songs from the album, live edits with a full drum line, and many unreleased surprises along the way. On a given night, it takes a team of 60 people all working relentlessly behind the scenes to put on a show of this scale.
That the tour necessitates many helping hands is hardly a surprise given the many components it’s comprised of. Among their rotating cast of live instrumentalists, ODESZA play along trombonists, trumpeters, guitarists, and a choreographed drum line. The sonic elements combine with lighting looks ranging from moody hues to glittering whites flank lasers, pyrotechnics, and smoke as the special effects that work in tandem to create the tour’s ethereal aesthetic.
Pictured: Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of ODESZA organize the order in which songs and special effects will appear on The A Moment Apart Tour on a white board with Post-It notes denoting respective songs and effects.
Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel
Beyond the music, the standout feature of the tour is the stunning visual production, headed up by Saxton Waller, former lighting designer to STS9. With all that ODESZA has been able to accomplish this year creatively, it’s no wonder they are rumored to appear high on Coachella’s 2018 lineup
Over his storied career, Richie Hawtin has become an influential part of Detroit techno’s most revered proponents. With a deep back catalog of accomplished releases under his belt and a reputation for crafting fabled live sets extempore, Hawtin has deservedly solidified his status as a global force in the genre.
Richie Hawtin’s Close tour existed at the intersection of anthropomorphic spontaneity and robotic absorption. Utilizing vantage point cameras from a multitude of angles and a plethora of live instrumentation devices including computers, mixers, and drum machines, Hawtin was able to create a fleeting, mercurial audio/visual experience in which audiences could watch — and of course listen to — momentum build in real time.
Photo Credit: Billboard
The 75-minute live audio-visual shows under the Close umbrella are expressive of what Hawtin terms his “very unique way of playing,” an approach that sees every movement that he makes captured by the live-feed cameras and projected to the audience in real-time. The absence of a table to support Hawtin’s mixers lends an additional unusual element to the Close shows, exposing Hawtin’s entire body and in turn, permitting the audience to visually follow each step of Hawtin’s musical execution.
“The very simple act of moving that table away—which is quite strange for a DJ because you’re completely open and naked to the audience—is probably the most important decision we made,” Hawtin says of the alteration. “Without that decision, there wouldn’t be the show. You have to see that human form moving and gyrating.”
The Close tour made its debut at Coachella in Indio, and made stops at Movement Festival, Melt, Primavera Sound, Pukkelpop, and Creamfields, among other banner venues.
“Together we make magic happen.” That is the ethos by which Spanish production company Elrow runs their now legendary party collective. The Barcelona-based collective has hosted more than 100 shows in over 50 cities globally and hosted showcases at more than 25 festivals worldwide including Glastonbury, Disclosure’s Wildlife Festival, and Hideout, to name just a few.
Pictured: shots from Elrow’s Glastonbury showcase.
Elrow’s status as an influential party promoter dates back long before clubbing even existed, with the company’s family roots dating back to 1854. The vibrant party promoters invade the island of Ibiza each Saturday at the world renowned Space Nightclub; the shows regularly feature wild costumes, a genius array of expansive stage production, and no shortage of confetti.
Deadmau5 has released an exclusive collaborative clothing line with Insomniac, to be released at his performance at Countdown NYE (NOS Events Center). The two-day New Year’s festival features anticipated headlining sets from deadmau5 himself, along with Porter Robinson, and artists like Diplo, G Jones, Noisia, Shiba San, and Jauz b2b Zeds Dead within its undercard.
Coming almost exclusively in black, the clothing line features two minimalist beanies in black and grey, a hoodie that features deadmau5 signature cuboid installation, and a bleached t-shirt showcasing the cube setup with the iconic mouse helmet resting atop. The showcase is a collaboration with the seminal counter culture design icon Rick Klotz, who amalgamates influences from streetwear, surf culture, and punk scenes in his designs.
Words by: Christina Hernandez, Katie Daubert, and Kanvar Koli
Today’s electronic music scene is a blessing and a curse. Accessing music across all genres and subgenres has never been easier; same goes for making it. However, with such abundance comes saturation; where to even begin seeking out new music that speaks to the soul?
Such daunting task is thankfully made much easier thanks to radio shows, many of which are generously bestowed upon the public by DJs who go the extra mile to bring their sounds to the masses. These regular occurrences not only shine a glimpse into the artist themselves, but also provide a more concise stream of neatly-organized music to look forward to, and fall in love with.
Given the importance of such shows in the electronic sphere, Dancing Astronaut has chosen 10 radio shows, in no particular order, that have particularly stood out in 2017.
Radio Wonderland (Alison Wonderland)
Alison Wonderland’s refreshing radio show started quite recently, with the first installment of Wonderland’s radio imprint airing on May 1, 2017. Having already featured guests like Slander and Valentino Khan, Radio Wonderland has already established itself as a platform for quality music.
Deadbeats Radio (Zeds Dead)
Deadbeats Radio was launched in summer of 2017, and has wasted no time in climbing to the top of ranks for its forward-thinking look on bass music and overall embodiment of the Zeds Dead aesthetic.
In addition to being a prime source for all things Deadbeats-related, the show also made waves with its nostalgia-ridden 17th episode, which featured a slew of tracks that inspired the influential and well-loved bass duo that we see today.
The Birdhouse (Claude VonStroke)
Claude Vonstroke maintains his reputation as a dance pioneer with his weekly radio show: THE BIRDHOUSE. This year, the show provided an extension of Vonstroke’s carefully-curated musical output where he continues to showcase some of the finest and latest independent house, techno and bass music producers and DJs. Not only did the show celebrate its two year anniversary in the 105th episode with a live mix from the host himself, but also featured a delectable range of legendary and up-and-coming artists like Tensnake, Sacha Robotti, MIJA, Claptone, and more.
Diplo & Friends
Diplo & Friends is easily one of the gold standards when it comes to radio shows. Even after half a decade, Diplo & Friends continues to impress, as it handed mix debuts to breakout stars Illenium and Ekali while also featuring some of Diplo’s best live sets— including his performance at Afrikaburn in South Africa.
AM Only & Sirius XM joined forces in 2016 to create The Cookout as a way to showcase the next generation of dance music icons. Since then, the weekly show has become a fixture within the electronic scene for its impeccable selection of talent joining on for mix duties. This year witnessed another bountiful slate of caliber music, curated by the likes of TOKiMONSTA, Malaa, Giraffage, and Whethan, to name a *very* few. It’s safe to say that this podcast is a “must-follow.”
Night Owl Radio (Insomniac)
Insomniac has stretched far beyond being simple promoters. The behemoth brand, ran by Pasquale Rotella, launched Night Owl Radio in 2015 alongside Sirius XM. It has since become a well-loved happenstance, known for its diversity in guest selection and consistency in quality. This tradition continued on relentlessly throughout the past year, inviting guests like Flosstradamus, Shiba San, and more, and also earning points for its Kaskade takeover.
Radio One residency – deadmau5
Another radio show inaugurated in 2017, deadmau5’s BBC radio one residency has been nothing short of spectacular. The Canadian legend made full use of the platform available to him, helping to break through new Mau5trap talent, reviving his dormant testpilot alter-ego, and consistently delivering some memorable techno/progressive/electronica sets. Though the residency has come to an end, fans were delighted at deadmau5′ announcement that in 2018 he’d be launching a brand new show on his own podcast.
Global Trance Grooves (John 00 Fleming)
John 00 Fleming’s Global Trance Grooves has become a stalwart in the underground trance scene throughout its decade-plus of existence, bringing the best and most underrated talent and songs into its fold each month.
What sets this series apart from others is Fleming’s unrelenting drive to remind the masses of trance’s true ethos, in a time where he feels it’s been diluted and mischaracterized. Everything under the sun is covered, from lush progressive, to Goa, to subtle hints of uplifting. Having amassed a powerful lineup of guest mixes over the past 12 months, including Hernan Cattaneo, Airwave, and Sean Tyas, 2017 has certainly been the year of Global Trance Grooves.
EPIC Radio (Eric Prydz)
This year saw the return of EPIC Radio on Beats 1, curated by the renowned Swedish icon Eric Prydz. A seasoned vet in pushing the boundaries of electronic music, Eric Prydz keeps things interesting in his highly-acclaimed mixes by featuring a medley of exclusive tracks, unreleased bootlegs, and private remixes. Only a few months ago, he used his radio show as a platform to debut eight new IDs in the eighteenth episode of his Beats 1, EPIC Radio, inciting excitement from fans and heightening the anticipation of new music to come.
Fool’s Gold Radio (A-Trak)
A-Trak‘s launched his Fool’s Gold Radio show six years ago, and has since stood as a revered platform of today’s biggest and brightest sounds in dance music – all curated by the famed turntablist himself. Earlier this year, the Fool’s Gold label celebrated its 10-year anniversary, followed by the producer’s return to the Beats 1 lineup on Apple Music with a brand new open format for his Fool’s Gold Radio show which now supports a rotation of news, interviews, and music from his label and music contemporaries.