Ekali’s debut LP, ‘A World Away,’ is an unforgettable masterpiece [Review]

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Ekali’s debut LP, ‘A World Away,’ is an unforgettable masterpiece [Review]Ekali Biseual

Ekali has long been a staple of the electronic music scene, consistently providing fresh, masterfully produced, emotion-evoking soundscapes that many hold extremely close to heart. His latest artistic achievement, a 12-track album filled—but not oversaturated with—complimenting collaborations and breathtaking originals, is a diverse masterpiece representing the pinnacle of Ekali’s years of hard work and evolution. A World Away is a beautiful and exciting journey from start to finish.

The anticipation for Ekali’s debut album has been building exponentially since he teased its release last year and an additional secret side project. The album was undoubtedly worth the wait, and not only meets, but exceeds expectations in every way imaginable, beginning with the very first track, Elohim collaboration “Fairy Tale.”

Self-described by Ekali as “my favorite song I’ve ever made,” “Fairy Tale” is a flawlessly mixed sonic cocktail overflowing with infectious lyrics and impeccable sound design. The sheer level of emotion and passion fans of Ekali have grown accustomed to has never been so explicitly felt than in this beautiful song that amply sets the tone for the remainder of the album. Ekali’s creative implementation of unique drums and blending of diverse sounds breathes fresh life into an increasingly stagnant and oversaturated genre of music.

The authenticity of this album is supported by Ekali’s character outside of his work. Ekali has always been a generous and passionate supporter of young musicians without the financial means to develop their craft. In early 2019, Ekali used funding from an edit pack he released to create a music studio space in Vancouver open to young musicians completely free of charge. Tweets from Ekali in July also indicate plans to reopen the charity studio in Los Angeles, developing a community for young producers to hone their skills and advance their craft. Ekali’s admirable character, charitable heart, and genuine care for the electronic music industry add a depth to his sound simply unattainable by artists lacking pure intentions.

A standout track from the album, Nitti Gritti collaboration “Power” adopts a more defiant tone, allowing Ekali to highlight his diverse production skills. This massive trap-fueled hit offers a listener a chance to collect oneself and refuel on energy before moving forward into another sure-to-be emotional half of the LP. Boasting massive low frequency hits in an encapsulating and invigorating drop, “Power” is truly a powerful piece that is sure to make its rounds in this year’s festival circuits.

This flawless album reaches its climax at its simultaneous conclusion with track 12, Illenium collaboration “Hard to Say Goodbye.” With both Illenium and Ekali being undisputed industry leaders of future bass, this highly anticipated collaboration released last November perfectly embodies everything these two talented musicians have worked towards their entire careers. “Hard to Say Goodbye” is an emotional masterpiece that concludes the album as strongly as it began.

For many artists, a full-length album is the penultimate achievement of their career. For Ekali, A World Away is a phenomenal commencement to the next chapter of his already-accomplished career. Whether it’s during those long car drives, sleepless nights, or just spending time with friends, this album is certain to be on repeat for many months to come.

Photo credit: Brandon Artis

Dog Blood, The Martinez Brothers, ZHU’s Blacklizt all top HARD Day of the Dead lineup

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Dog Blood, The Martinez Brothers, ZHU’s Blacklizt all top HARD Day of the Dead lineupDog Blood 10 Min

Last year, HARD revived its beloved Day of the Dead festival for a long-awaited return to LA Historic Park. To celebrate, HARD delivered a lineup teeming with electronic forward-thinkers, topped by Justice and Die Antwoord. This year, Day of the Dead rises once again, returning to its host venue at LA Historic, though for the festival’s seventh iteration, Dog Blood will hold down headlining duties with The Martinez Brothers, TOKiMONSTA, and ZHU’s Blacklizt project also topping the bill.

The Dia De Los Muertos-inspired festival is set to take place on November 2, with additional star power coming from rising songwriter Elohim, enigmatic low-end force 1788-L, Justin Martin, Damian Lazarus, and more. Team Brownies & Lemonade also features on the lineup, suggesting a tightly curated mini-lineup of talent may spring up within the larger Day of the Dead roster. Following a successful outing with the event brand’s flagship summer event, HARD is riding high as we approach the impending Red Rocks Halloween run followed by a stacked Day of the Dead lineup.

Dog Blood, The Martinez Brothers, ZHU’s Blacklizt all top HARD Day of the Dead lineupImage 10

Indie songwriter Hobo Johnson enlists Elohim on love-tinged single, ‘Uglykid’

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Indie songwriter Hobo Johnson enlists Elohim on love-tinged single, ‘Uglykid’2019 BW 1 Tiziano Lugli E1557506429148

In her journey to share both her boundless musical nuance and mental health-motivated motifs, enigmatic electro-pop queen, Elohim has had a fledgling year filled with validations by buzz-worthy collaborations and support from particularly high places. In the past year itself, the singer/songwriter co-produced with Skrillex on singles “Buckets” and “Connect,” tapped Wiz Khalifa for the Rock Mafia remix of “FYM,” and released her Braindead EP in the midst of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Now, Elohim has teamed up with “Peach Scone” performer, Hobo Johnson, on the latest single from the indie act’s forthcoming sophomore album, The Fall of Hobo Johnson.

“Uglykid” contains all the ingredients for the soundtrack to a lovesick summer story. Jazz improvisations, upbeat guitar strums, plucky harps, and snaps provide the easygoing structural groove for the track, as Elohim and Johnson respectively trade off lines — juxtaposing Elohim’s sweet vocals of “You look so pretty, awfully pretty,” against Johnson’s self-deprecating sing-rapping “But I’m an ugly kid,” insistences. With comedic lyricism as the backdrop to a crooning trumpet, “Uglykid” is as equally charming in its listen as it is veracious in its topic of choice.

Photo Credit: Tiziano Lugli

Elohim opens up about mental health on ‘Braindead’ EP [Interview]

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Elohim opens up about mental health on ‘Braindead’ EP [Interview]2019 BW 1 Tiziano Lugli E1557506429148

Los Angeles-based Elohim has released her new Braindead EP in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month. The extended play delves into Elohim’s mental health obstacles, a centerpiece of her artistry dating back from “Xanax” in 2016 through “Hallucinating” in 2017 to “Panic Attacks” featuring Yoshi Flower in 2018. Braindead takes listeners on a roller coaster of emotions, through energetic panic, distraction, sedation, meditation, and brain fog. She ends the project with her version of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” featuring AWOLNATION, a song about society driving its members mad.

For the month of May, all proceeds from streams on the Braindead EP will go to a selection of charities focusing on providing outreach and support for those suffering from mental health issues. Elohim has also released a series of breathwork videos for each song on the EP as a form of guided meditation. She will also release a docu-series about the EP to be released in the coming month on her YouTube channel.

Elohim is Skrillex‘s muse these days, co-producing with the storied producer on her recent two singles, “Buckets” and “Connect” on the OWSLA imprint’s limited output. The rising producer also hit high marks on “Sleepy Eyes” with Whethan and “Love Is Alive” with Louis The Child. She will also hit the road on tour with Blackbear this month. Find tour dates here.

Can you tell us about your mental health obstacles and when you began realizing you had them?

I had my first memorable life-altering panic attack when I was 7 years old. It seemed to start there, and then everything changed. The following year, I couldn’t go to school without having a panic attack. I would be at the market, and if I was alone in the next aisle over from my mom, I would go into sheer and utter panic, which instantly made me think, “I’m going to throw up.” When I was a child, it was hard to control the physical nature of it, and I would often dry heave or throw up.

My parents never put me in therapy or identified it as anxiety or panic, so I was lost until I became old enough to understand. I was OK throughout high school and a couple years after, but as soon as I created Elohim and started performing, it kind of all came back to me full-force. I felt 7 again. I am not sure what exactly triggered it again and brought it all back, but I went through some incredibly difficult times.

What steps have you taken to alleviate your symptoms?

I began therapy, and that is helping tremendously. The idea was to work with my therapist (she specializes in trauma) through my issues without the use of medication. After consistently working with Susan for a year and a half, she suggested I see a psychiatrist and try full time medication, while continuing to see her. That is when my life clicked into gear and totally changed for the better.

I also started taking vitamins, developed healthier eating habits, and I try to stay consistent with physical activity.

What industry or life battles are you currently facing with respect to your mental health obstacles?

Everything has a way of being a trigger at times, but for me, it is important to recognize that and be smart about it. I have to tell myself it is OK to take the “me time” that I need.

What is something you’ve learned about mental health that you wish you knew earlier in your diagnosis?

I learned that it is OK to take monitored medication. I was so scared of any medication for years. I have become more self aware of what I am going through and have realized that hundreds of thousands of people also feel these feelings, which makes me feel a lot less isolated. Having that sense of community is remarkable.

What steps are you taking to raise awareness and build your community around a positive discussion about mental health?

The first steps I am taking are to start real and honest conversations. Every aspect of it: no frills, no sugar coating. We are ALL HUMAN! I don’t know where it comes from or why we are programmed to keep things a secret and inside. I want to tell my story so other people are brave enough to tell theirs. I want people to know that it is not something to be ashamed of, and it is OK to ask for help.

Why did you chose to cover Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta?”

I was driving one day, and I think KROQ in Los Angeles was doing a flash-back hour and they played it. I had the chorus in my head all day after hearing it, so I got home, sat down at the piano, and started learning it. I looked up the lyrics, and as I was singing it, in that moment, I was kind of floored with how relevant the lyrics were to my life right now. I had no idea they were speaking about mental health! It was serendipity at its finest.

How has your courage been lately?

I am feeling really good! I feel strong and ready to conquer all. I am consistently working with my therapist and being proactive about taking care of myself. It is important to take what you learn in therapy and incorporate it into your everyday life. Keep yourself on a schedule. Everything takes practice and work. I know that at any moment of any day, I could sink back down but I keep pushing forward and collecting tools to make that experience less traumatic for me.

Photo credit: Tiziano Lugli

Lightning in a Bottle releases stacked lineup featuring Disclosure, Gramatik, Big Gigantic, Santigold, and more

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Lightning in a Bottle releases stacked lineup featuring Disclosure, Gramatik, Big Gigantic, Santigold, and moreLIB 2017 Aaron Glassman 3

Do LaB festival producers present a stacked lineup for this year’s Lightning in a Bottle music festival, featuring Disclosure, Santigold, Gramatik, Toro y Moi, Big Gigantic, Elohim, and Flying Lotus‘ 3D concert experience. Artists taking over the beloved Woogie stage include Lane 8, DJ Koze, Damian LazarusLutrell, Shiba San, Recondite live, and more. Bass heads will reunite at the low end-heavy thunder stage with sub-booming performances from G Jones, 1788-LCloZee, EPROM and Alix Perez’s SHADES project, the funk bass stylings of OPIUO, and more.

For the past five years, the festival took place at San Antonio Reservoir Recreation Area in Bradley, California; and the last two years were met tragically with the death of a festival attendee at each. Now, the festival has moved to a new venue at Buena Vista Lake in Central California, with lush, green pastures, a shaded tree line, and accessible shoreline that’s sure to bring festival-goers in full force.

Tickets are currently on sale for Lightning in a Bottle 2019. Purchase them here.

Lightning in a Bottle releases stacked lineup featuring Disclosure, Gramatik, Big Gigantic, Santigold, and moreDzi14OwWoAALqTt

Photo credit: Aaron Glassman

Elohim breeds intimacy through the disconnect with new single ‘TV’

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Elohim breeds intimacy through the disconnect with new single ‘TV’IMG 0139

Elohim recently delivered a new single titled “TV,” exhibiting once again the sincerity and depth of her unbridled ability to express. One might expect a track that starts off with the phrasing, “I’m depressed as fuck,” would have difficulty steadying listeners, but the composition and sweetly somber vocals etch themselves across the consciousness.

The electro-pop track is well-fleshed out and has an abundance of layers and transitions. Like changing channels, she evokes mental images of a glitchy heaven. Elohim harmonizes with a chorus in one round of the hook and sings, “I keep the TV on to tune out the sound/my mind’s way too loud/my mind is way too loud.” This message creates a feeling of interconnectedness through individual anxiety, and for the moment, reconciles it.

“TV” is the first track from an upcoming project that Elohim has been quite vocal about on social media. She has gone far to be direct in her message and even posted a well-written explanation of her lyrical use of “spaghetti legs” from the track on Instagram.

Elohim shares her strength through her songwriting and in doing so enables her fans to cope in a hyperactive often disjointed society. She creates a space where admitting to these sometimes senseless habits is okay and connects people. Elohim paradoxically and fluidly uses the great unifier—music—to connect people through their disconnect. Truly an inspiriting concept delicately wrapped for a troubled yet idealistic generation.




Elohim and Skrillex share cerebral video for ‘Buckets’ [Watch]

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Elohim and Skrillex share cerebral video for ‘Buckets’ [Watch]Elohim

Skrillex knows a star when he sees one, and his recent backing of emerging Danish vocalist Elohim should be a telling signal. We’re watching a breakout moment unfold for the young OWSLA recruit, behind the recent success of two Skrillex co-signs, “Connect,” and the ensuing “Buckets.” The latter is a buzzing anthem of unrest, and now we have an equally angsty video to round out the pair’s collaboration.

The new Jonas Risvig-directed video for “Buckets,” takes a deep dive into Denmark’s teen spirit, delving into the anxiousness of European youth culture, evoking distant visual remnants of Skrillex’s Lost Boys narrative from 2011’s “Bangarang” video. Elohim’s shrill vocals ride a gritty trap-influenced foundation as the track’s aesthetically dark video feature perfectly complements the Skrillex-produced beat. See the video for “Buckets” below, and keep an eye on Elohim, 2019 is primed to be her year.

Dancing Astronaut’s Top Tracks of 2018

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Dancing Astronaut’s Top Tracks of 2018Skrille 1

Paring down an entire year’s worth of songs is no easy feat.

2018 saw the explosion of songs like ZEDD‘s “The Middle” and Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa‘s “One Kiss,” dominating both the dance music charts and the radio airwaves. Ear-catching tracks like these, along with fan favorites like FISHER‘s persuasive “Losing It” and Anti Up‘s entertaining “Pizza” wiggled their way into festival sets around the world and — love them or hate them — stood out as notable tracks that do their part in immortalizing this whirlwind of a year.

We also saw a creative collective of remixes surface in 2018, including Rinzen‘s compelling take on deadmau5 and Rob Swire‘s hit “Monophobia” and Skrillex‘s intoxicating rendition of Travis Scott‘s “Sicko Mode.” We celebrated the return of Gesaffelstein with “Reset” and welcomed new projects from Diplo in LSD and Silk City. We welcomed collaborations from Ekali, Medasin, and Elohim in “Forever,” Tiësto, Dzeko, Post Malone, and Preme in platinum smash hit “Jackie Chan,” and ZHU and Tame Impala in “My Life.”

Ultimately, though, we’ve narrowed 2018 down to 30 tracks that stole our hearts and smashed streaming records.

Elohim taps Skrillex for their second collaboration, ‘Buckets’

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Elohim taps Skrillex for their second collaboration, ‘Buckets’Elohim

Though many were expecting a Skrillex album at some point in 2018, the missing follow up to Recess doesn’t mean Skrillex has had a quiet year. From his collaborations with Joyryde and Mariah Carey, to his remix of “Sicko Mode,” the emo-frontman turned superstar DJ has been busy working behind the scenes with other artists. After signing Elohim to OWSLA and co-producing her single, “Connect,” the pair have teamed up again on their hard-hitting new track, “Buckets.”

With a simple yet eerie flute melody, Elohim kicks the song off with her sultry vocals – only to switch things up with anguished cries atop a booming, distorted low-end. Showing a full range of vocal styles and track energy, the emerging artist and the powerhouse producer  have come together for another dynamic track sure to please Elohim’s fans, and hold over Skrillex’s until the album finally emerges.

NMF Roundup: Hotel Garuda delivers infectious melody on ‘One Reason,’ ORIENTAL CRAVINGS embody Alison Wonderland’s ‘Sometimes Love,’ Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ receives a disco edit + more

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NMF Roundup: Hotel Garuda delivers infectious melody on ‘One Reason,’ ORIENTAL CRAVINGS embody Alison Wonderland’s ‘Sometimes Love,’ Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ receives a disco edit  + moreAlisonWonderland SHAKYBEATS2017 0505 192823 8517 PP Copy

It’s most important day of the week: New Music Friday.

Electronic artists have blessed out eardrums once again with heavy-hitting percussive projects, sultry harmonies, catchy melodies, and crisp vocals. Fatboy Slim‘s festival classic, “Praise You,” receives a funky edit from Purple Disco Machine. Hotel Garuda lends his crafty melody-chop work alongside Imad Royal and Kiah Victoria, while Taska Black continues to show why bitbird is bending boundaries in the future bass space. Midnight Kids and Tritonal do what they do best with uplifting atmospheres and infectious melody drops. Former member of Krewella — Kris “Rain Man” Trindl — caresses Vikki Gilmore’s vocals amongst bouncing guitars and driving harmonies on “Take It Closer.” JayKode and ORIENTAL CRAVINGS go hard on their projects for Flux Pavillion & Doctor P‘s Circus Records imprint and a remix of Alison Wonderland‘s single with SLUMBERJACK, “Sometimes Love,” respectively.

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.

Photo credit: Shaky Knees