Mathangi Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., is much more than meets the eye, and now she has a documentary to show fans why and how. The piece is named MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A, and earlier this year it was shown atSundance Film Festival. It then made its way to cinemas, and now the Steve Loveridge-directed film is available for rent or purchase.
The documentary takes a look into Arulpragasam’s upbringing in London living as an immigrant family from Sri Lanka. This was during a period of time when there was a large stigma on immigrant families living in the city, and as she dubs it in the trailer, “I lived through a war, came as a refugee, and I’m now a pop star.”
The documentary is also available to stream through Amazon and iTunes.
On the heels of its recent qualification for Oscar consideration, the much-talked-about “Avicii: True Stories” documentary is headed to theaters at the end of the year in order to complete its eligibility. Now, fans can begin planning their pilgrimage to the emotional doc’s theater debuts, with a limited theatrical run hitting New York City’s Cinema Village December 21 to 27 and LA’s Laemmle theater December 14 through 20.
The documentary’s week-long stints will fulfill the bare minimum Oscar consideration requirements, and in doing so give a brief window for dance music fans to see the project on the big screen. Providing an intimate glimpse into Avicii’s difficult decision to quit touring and painting a stark picture of the pressures of international superstardom, the Levan Tsikurishvili-directed documentary is rumored to make a return to streaming as well. The film was pulled from Netflix in the wake of the artist’s passing and has since taken on additional meaning and poignancy for Avicii fans and the electronic music community at large. For those who would rather take in “True Stories” in a movie theatre experience, the limited NYC and LA runs may be their only shot.
Avicii‘s death almost seven months ago sent shock waves not only through dance music, but throughout the greater music industry at large. The 28-year-old legend’s passing prompted heartfelt tributes, but also ignited dialogue pertaining to the darker sides of the industry: anxiety, depression, brutal touring schedules, and more. Now, Avicii: True Stories’s director has revealed that the documentary that unabashedly delved into the musical and personal life of the departed superstar has qualified for auspicious Oscar consideration.
Containing years of raw and powerful footage from director Levan Tsikurishvili, the documentary was discreetly removed from US Netflix shortly following news of the “Levels” producer’s death.While there’s still no word on whether or not it will be reinstated for streaming, it appears the project will be making a return to the public eye with theatre showings in New York and LA beginning this December. It’s clear the documentary left as big an imprint on its director as it did on viewers who caught it before its prompt departure.
“[The] importance of looking out for one another has never been more important than now,” said Tsikurishvili in an Instagram post. “I do hope that we’ve changed something [for the] better in this industry, especially for the younger generation.”
Relentless sonic experimenters of The Glitch Mob have released a new mini documentary, The Glitch Mob: Behind The Blade 2.0, with the help of collaborators, Alienware, in attempts to shed light on their unique processes and artistic mission statement.
The seven-minute feature traces the band’s enduring efforts to travel a less-trodden musical pathway and discover original ways to advance their narrative. One way The Glitch Mob—who is known for their unfettered ability to blend live instrumentation and intricate electronic production—says they have achieved this one-of-a-kind sonic status is through innovations like Blade 2.0: an unparalleled instrument of the group’s own creation that delivers a categorically immersive live experience in ways such as “creating a visual companion piece with each track.”
The group uses the documentary ultimately to emphasize their intentions to bring people together in a time when “people are more divided than ever,” noting their sheer awe of the unifying effect music can have on people.
“In a day in age when everything is about hit singles and pumping out content, we still believe in the album to tell the deeper and more enriched story,” they said. “Good stories have no expiration date, and that is where we have continued to put our focus.”
After 10 years, Soulwax has re-released its 2008 documentary Part of the Weekend Never Dies for the first time in HD and for free on YouTube. The rockumentary follows the dance music pioneers on what seems to be a never-ending tour, during which they capture the evolution of a scene from 2005-2007 – an alchemist’s golden age of music. The film captures Soulwax and their confidants bump and jam literally all over the world from Japan to Scandinavia, Europe to Australia, Brazil to the States, leaving spun minds and good times in their wake.
Like all great rockumentaries, Part of the Weekend Never Dies is honest and unflinching in its presentation of the band. Through one camera, they capture Soulwax evoking release in people through an unprecedented combination of dance and rock music. This human release isn’t always pretty, but it is always honest. The level of humor and chaos presented in this film is something worth seeing and even harder to look away from.
Part of the Weekend Never Dies features clarifying and fascinating interviews from an eclectic group of notable individuals and friends of the band. Tiga, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Nancy Whang, Klaxons, peaches, and Justice all speak to the ridiculous energy, desired remixes, and innovation Soulwax/2ManyDJs gave to the scene. It’s clear from the footage that these guys are rightfully godfathers of the dance scene. Through their live drum beats, musical innovation, and ability to keep going, Soulwax set the stage for how big dance music would become, which is probably why they were so impossible to follow. Their continued commercial success is also a testament to this.
Diplo grew up in Florida, cut his teeth in Philadelphia, and moved to California to pursue music as a career. It only makes sense he made this mini-documentary that showcases the beginning of his career when he dropped his 2004 debut Florida to his latest California EP, which dropped in March.
Diplo’s ability to connect with others continues to make him a good fit for the dance music industry. As a producer, his job is to create a story around his vocalist, and LA came with a diverse group of artists, genres, and styles. He grew up listening to a variety of genres from classic rock to rap to hardcore punk, shaping his willingness to defy genres at a young age. Today, Diplo is one of the more culturally conscious producers in the game, working within hip-hop because “there wasn’t this open-minded feeling in hip-hop yet that you have right now, where anything is possible.”
A new insight into Nic Chagall and Bossi — known collectively as Cosmic Gate — has materialized.
“Materiameans ‘matter’. . . the substance . . . everything around us,” explains Chagall about Cosmic Gate’s latest album endeavor to a cameraman at the beginning of his group’s first ever documentary. It follows the duo across the globe in pursuit of finding deeper meaning musically, and the purveyance of the new message that they wish to spread to international audiences.
Polished cinematography and in-depth interviews expose a supergroup who, despite their stardom, remain more passionate and committed than ever to their craft and in creating a positive impact for their audiences. Their ultimate goal with Materia? To synthesize all of the elements, or “matter” of their past & present music into a modernized sonic story whose message points to the next step in the Cosmic Gate evolution.
Each track’s production, they state, is a product of intense writing and re-writing and collaboration with a selection of singers. These are then arranged carefully into album form, in which they use their “creative freedom” to branch out and fully embrace what they wish — be it softer shades of vocal trance, or rougher, more cavernous tunes for the main stage.
“We love DJing and the whole club scene . . . we love producing. It’s our world!” – Bossi
That said, Materia is distinctively Cosmic Gate; by encapsulating their aesthetic so concisely into this new project, in turn they hope to help push the musical envelope further into the future. We then see this taking effect in their sets as they tour through ADE, LA, London, and Tomorrowland performing their new music in narrative form. To their delight, emotions captured on their fans’ faces shows open acceptance for what they have to offer.
Materia – The Documentary will be available through all streaming platforms on June 8. In the meantime, Dancing Astronaut has the pleasure of debuting an advance stream of this stunning audiovisual tale.
An enlightening new feature-length documentary, Girl, that follows several of the top female DJs of the early 2000s, and its Director Kandeyce Jorden’s own personal journey in the male-dominated industry, is now set for release on June 1.
Fifteen years in the making, Jorden emerges with intimate interviews and conversations with the top female EDM artists of the time such as DJ Rap, DJ Irene, Colette, DJ Lady D, and Sandra Collins.
Having spent years getting to know the American DJ, Sandra Collins, Jorden made it her mission to chronicle the parallels between Collins’ life and women’s ascensions, highs, and lows in the industry at large.
Hundred Waters have shared their first new music since last year’s Communicating LP, which found the band taking a deep dive into the intimate nature of their creation method and the struggle each of their personal connections to one another have endured as the band has evolved over the years. Now, the OWSLA-signed synth-folk trio has dropped off a new single, “Mushroom Cloud,” which was derived from the same studio sessions that led to their most recent album. The ballad is carried by weighty, melancholic piano chords and lead singer Nicole Miglis’ raw, expressive vocalizing, culminating into a cloud of textured white noise — appropriately setting the tone for the accompanying Communicating mini-documentary.
Releasing the new tour documentary between the band’s two Coachella appearances, and just a month ahead of their fifth annual FORM event, Communicating largely explores the six-year relationship between Miglis and her band mate and boyfriend Trayer Tryon. The relationship appears to be deteriorating as the band prepares to embark on a three-month road trip, with Tryon suggesting that Hundred Waters may even dissolve as a result upon their return home. Interestingly, the mini-doc is shot through a keyhole perspective, suggesting there’s more to the story than what meets the eye. And while Miglis, Tryon, and drummer Zach Tetreault have created a catalog of beautifully haunting electro-folk masterworks together at the expense of their now-strained relationships, perhaps Hundred Waters’ incredibly special run may sadly be nearing the end of its course.
Recent converts to electronic music in the last few years may not realize exactly what has transpired in the last half decade or so. The short of it is essentially a massive worldwide overhaul in dance music’s popularity — one that happened seemingly overnight. Dance music completely transformed from a historically underground network to a colossal entertainment subset that’s raking in nearly $10 billion globally every year, and growing. On a cosmic scale, it all happened in a snap, but a new documentary, What We Started, aims to dive deep into dance music history over the last 30 years and examine exactly how we got to where we are today.
What We Started is set to bow in Miami on March 22, followed by a New York premiere the next day, and finally show on March 29 in Los Angeles. The new feature, co-directed by Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi, offers in-depth interviews with industry pioneers including Carl Cox, Tiësto, Moby, and Pete Tong, juxtaposed by the trajectory of bright new torch-carriers like Martin Garrix and discussions with frequent dance music contributors like Ed Sheeran and Usher.
Stitched together by archived footage from the rave scenes of the 1980’s and 90’s, What We Started may provide an important history lesson with informed look back at where this all came from, and perhaps a hopeful look at where we might be going from here.