Old school meets new school as Wolfgang Gartner and k?d join forces on ‘Banshee’

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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.

 

Premiere: Jeremy Olander – Shuttle (King Unique ’94 Remix)

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King Unique

King Unique sought to turn back the clock for a nostalgia-fueled re-work to Jeremy Olander‘s “Shuttle,” and it is safe to say that he succeeded in his mission to do so.

Like a piece labeled “’94 Remix” might imply, this interpretation of “Shuttle” is rife with influences from the decade. The original track’s touching progression is doused in punchy, classically-inspired percussion and dramatic builds that develop across a multitude of soundscapes. Tying together the overall effect, King Unique adds nostalgic filtering and laces the finished product with subtle guitar flutters — vintage indeed. Despite its classic elements, however, the piece still fits perfectly into the present, and makes for a well-rounded take on Jeremy Olander’s beloved single.

“Shuttle (King Unique ’94 Remix)” will be released on February 23. Pre-order a copy here.

 

Dirty South’s third album ‘XV’ is an aural exploration [Album Review]

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Dirty South

Four-years after the release of Dirty South’s cinematic album, With You, Dirty South has re-entered the album release ring with XV.

The expression “the third time’s a charm” could be applied to XV, which is indeed the visionary’s third LP. Such an application, however, would err in its adjectival minimalism — for the art of XV’s craft warrants a stronger classification.

XV is a cerebral exhibition of Dirty South’s maturity as both artist and producer, and  is as fluid in its overall arrangement as it is complex in its construction. Put briefly, XV is the heart of Dirty South’s years of experience as an artist, and it beats duly with the wisdom and expertise that Dirty South’s activity in the electronic industry has conferred upon him.

Listeners familiar with Dirty South’s catalogue will know, and know well, that the producer’s previous albums, Speed of Life in 2013, Dirty South’s debut product, and With You in 2014, likewise were musical “charms” that effectively enraptured the electronic sphere. Speed of Life and With You evinced Dirty South’s possession of a golden touch in the studio, of not simply a talent for the conceptualization of euphoric progressive house productions, but an ingenious mastery thereof.

XV is no exception. The album effectively retains, exemplifies, and deepens hallmarks of Dirty South style: piercing, reverberating commercial house tones, rousing vocal work, inquisitively optimistic lyrical content, and complex chord progressions that enticingly drive the listener of XV from one track on the list to the next, until the album is finished. The work is furthermore miraculous in its sonic diversity, working with a variety of different sounds and associated moods over the course of its ten tracks to forge a release that remains impeccable and refined in its balance despite its roving.

Such fluidity between different tones can be witnessed in cuts like “Night Walks” and “Higher.” “Sonar” and “Love Story” surface as other sweet spots on XV’s track list. XV additionally invites the return of previous Dirty South collaborators, Rudy and ANIMA!, on “Higher” and “Love Story,” and “If It All Stops,” and “Next to You,” respectively.

XV is emblematic not solely of Dirty South’s command of the melodically entrancing, but of the Serbian-Australian producer’s longevity. Dirty South would release his first ‘official’ production under the “Dirty South” stage name in 2004—14 years later, Dirty South continues to enthrall listeners with ease, and last, but hardly least, with dexterity.

Premiere: James Zabiela – X-Ray

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James Zabiela

Balance has a way of recruiting premium talent to create their mix compilations. Their 29th edition is a particularly special one, as the brand managed to tap the legendary James Zabiela on mixing duties.

Zabiela hasn’t put out a mix CD in over seven years; furthermore, he was roped into Balance duties amidst a tumultuous time in his life. Luckily, however, the British icon persevered, healing himself in the process and presenting an eclectically delectable mix in the process.

“X-Ray” manifests itself in the dance-oriented portion of the mix, and it is indeed a weapon of a track. Taking inspiration from house sounds of old but built with contemporary sensibilities, “X-Ray” sears into the brain with its infectious grooves and percussion and leaves movement in its wake.

Balance 029 comes out on February 9. Pre-order the compilation here.

Upcoming USA Tour Dates:

15 March – Houston, TX – Gravity
16 March – Charlotte, NC – Bassment
20 March – Orange County, CA – Focus presents @ Circle
23 March – Chicago, IL – Sound Bar
24 March – Dallas, TX – It’ll DO

Exclusive: Meet FANGS, the breakout artist with an all star team that’s poised to take 2018 by storm

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While ascending artists usually come out of the gate ready to prove themselves with a SoundCloud full of music and a hungry drive, few make their entrance with a live show and a stacked artist team. For FANGS, producer Danny D’Brito, this is exactly what his foray into his solo music career looks like.

In fact, the artist recently  enlisted one of the top agents in the industry, Ben Hogan, who represents the likes of NGHTMRE, Slander and Elohim, to take his career to the next level. Hogan was one of the many agents vying for the artist due to his ‘triple threat’ potential, which is a position even the most high profile producers in the game rarely face.

FANGS’ great ‘potential’ is the sum of a multitude of factors. He’s a self-taught musician who plays guitar, drums, bass, and the keys. He is a former member of the group Brass-Knuckles and opened his own recording studio at just 22. This collection of experiences led him to the fortuitous position he is currently in for his artist debut as FANGS.

The production quality of his releases speak for themselves, and FANGS’ newest track “Venom” will almost certainly find its home as a club hit with an other-worldly vibe and an upbeat tech-house backbone. Deep vocals propel the melody onward, and the dynamic track leaves the listener wanting more at its close. It also begs the question of what the artists’ live show will look like, as the track is practically manufactured to captivate an audience.

To accompany the track, the artist has released a glossy music video — premiered exclusively via Dancing Astronaut — with visuals that are equal parts harrowing and intoxicating. Poisonous snakes and models writhe across the screen as the track’s spare vocal refrain flashes atop the melee.


 

While “Venom” is distinctly tech house, FANGS’ future productions range from house to radio worthy progressive hits, lending him the versatility it takes to make it in today’s electronic music scene.

Dancing Astronaut spoke with the rising artist about what we can expect from his impending live show, how his team will be instrumental in his 2018 ascension, and his view on the industry today. Read the full interview below:

 


 

1. If you had to set specific goals for yourself in 2018, what would those be? What can we expect from you this year?

I feel the 2018 goal is really all about my music exploration! I’m really looking forward to finally bringing the FANGS live show out to the public. It’s been a lot of late nights curating and planning all the details for this upcoming year. We’re now just focusing on implementing my music in phases, and feeling out the markets and rooms we will launch in.

 

 

2. Your live show has been described as a ‘multi-dimensional’ experience. What does that mean, and when will we be able to see it?

I feel music and visuals make the perfect marriage in expression. My goal has always been to have my music tell a story and evoke feelings — I’m definitely keen on visuals helping to paint that picture. I just feel the two work so well together, so in my eyes, they are one in the same. That’s why I’ve made it a point to have all my releases accompanied by a music video or visual vignette.

With that said, when it comes to the live show experience, I want to be able to utilize all of our exploratory senses. I’d reference ‘Pink Floyd’s The Wall’ tour which is still going strong these days thanks to Roger Waters. He puts on a complete live musical and visual spectacle with a narrative from beginning to end.

I want to focus on incorporating projections, physical props and performers that help tell the story. We are currently working on some exciting plans and incorporating some unconventional technology that can potentially take my live show format to a new experience.
3. You’ve got quite a team behind you. You’ve also been in this industry for a while. How integral would you say having a stellar team is to an artist’s success in the commercialized electronic world we now live in?
Having a stellar team is vital and the ultimate key to success for any artists’ career. It would be an understatement to say how proud and grateful I am for my management team, Summer Chàpin and Tom Williams, as well as my agent Ben Hogan at Circle. They are a constant inspiration to me and their belief in FANGS is what propels us forward.

There are many moving parts in this industry and it’s nearly impossible for one person to properly cover all the various aspects alone. I’ve got a team of professionals that are experts in their given field, which allows me to focus on producing the art. They help orchestrate my career and are the spearhead to so many new opportunities.

Having a team that is not only qualified, but that you consider family is essential for getting real skin in this game.

 

4. Does your previous experience of being a part of a production trio, opening your own music studio, and producing a variety of genres give you a different view of the celebrity DJ/Producer world than your peers since you have been involved in so many different layers of this scene?
I have no doubt that when it comes to this world, experience can mean everything. I’ve experienced many high moments, and extreme low blows in my journey in music. Experience develops foresight and keeps your ego in check. You learn not to get too excited and interpret things for what they are. You take in your good and bad experiences as lessons to better your journey moving forward.

I’ve also had the opportunity to produce and collaborate in so many genres across the spectrum. It really allowed me to have versatility when it comes to not being pigeonholed musically and allows me to evolve freely with the times. You will learn a lot from others when collaborating. It teaches you how to work, listen and take criticism from others.

By understanding how others work, you get a better understanding of yourself. Some of the biggest producers I had the opportunity in working with were the most open minded and inquisitive people I’ve ever met.

 

 

5. What kind of music would we find you listening to at home when no one is around?

I’m definitely a student of music. I have a decent sized record collection spanning classical music to music from the 1930’s to today. It’s fair to say I listen to everything. Music is music.

The more variety I listen to and the more that absorbs into my brain, the bigger the palate I have to pull from when creating new music. When working in the studio, especially with songwriters, I tend to pull the most left-field obscure references that end up being totally relevant to the project at hand. I think it’s important for all artists to open their creative minds to the decades of music out there for us to feast on.

Don’t limit your ears to just the flavor of the week or month. Genres I’ve been listening to heavy in the last couple of weeks have been Industrial, Indie, experimental, electronic female artists from Nordic countries like Hanne Hukkelberg, Jazz / Bossa Nova, Trip Hop, Deep, Tech, G house and Metal.

House heavyweights Hardwell and Quintino team up to produce, ‘Woest’

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Hardwell and Quintino have each carved a deep niche in big room since the subgenre’s rise during the EDM boom. Now, they have teamed up to create an intensely energetic collaboration titled, “Woest.” However, this isn’t the first time these two power houses have worked together. With their hit original, “Baldadig,” as well as their remix of J Balvin‘s “Mi Gente,” they have a long history together as an invigorating producing duo.

“Woest” is yet  another testament to both Hardwell and Quintino’s big room technique. Featuring prominent beats, colorful yet unpredictable melodies, and intriguing builds of distorted vocals, it comes as no surprise that the record is bound to dominate dance floors with a signature sound that Hardwell and Quintino have helped make famous. “Woest” is the first release of the year for both of these artists, and without a doubt will have fans hooked upon first listen.

 

Weekend Rewind: Kevin Anderson enthralls in two-hour 2017 Desert Hearts set

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Kevin Anderson is the life of the party.

The artist rolls with a cheeky crew whose house, techno, and love mantra permeates through all possible facets of their work — paramount to the Desert Hearts ethos. His eccentricity  stands out not only in his propensity for finding rare tracks, Anderson also manages to impress with his of injection of love and non-stop danceability into his sets.

His involvement with Desert Hearts dates back to the 2014 edition of the festival, and since then the producer’s become a staple in the underground community. Much of his work is with fellow producer RYBO, although the Los Angeles-based artist recently released a brand new EP with Ghostea titled Kablam!.

Now, he’s shared his enthralling two-hour set from this Spring’s Desert Hearts festival and it’s a thrilling mix to kick off the day with.

 

 

Scene rising: Ocaso Music Festival is a testament to the searing underground potential of Costa Rica

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Tamarindo, Costa Rica’s Ocaso Music Festival is already finding its sweet spot.

Such a feat is not an easy one to accomplish — especially in an increasingly saturated festival market where success rides a fine line of talent booking, production, and risk-taking. Nailing a major festival production can take years, even with a strong team and a prime location. However, Ocaso only took two editions to get its footing in the contemporary event-organizing arena.

 

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What originally began in 2017 in Tamarindo as a free event has since transformed into an unparalleled, explorative venture diving deep into the realms of underground house and techno. This year, Ocaso Festival focused on delivering a more concise lineup of house and techno artists than it had last year. 2017’s lineup boasted artists like Hot Since 82Art DepartmentLee Burridge, DJ Tennis, Doc Martin, Cristoph, Anthony Attalla, Dance Spirit, Edu Imbernon, and Andreas Henneberg. Although 2017’s curation doesn’t appear to be any less concise than this year’s artistic assemblage, the main shift for 2018 was allowing extended DJ sets from a plethora of acts throughout the weekend.

Found on the 2018 lineup were underground house and techno pioneers like Doc Martin, Hector, Claptone, and Carlo Lio, plus live sets from Rodriguez Jr and Tone Of Arc, as well as a local takeover from Costa Rican DJs like Javee, Oneiro, Maria Wabe, Samu, and more. The rambunctious, SoCal Desert Hearts party crew featuring Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, MARBS, Porkchop, and RYBO also held it down for two surprise nights of the festival.

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Tamarindo, Costa Rica’s appeal lies in a multitude of offerings: great weather year-round, a party atmosphere near the beaches, ease of air travel, and a somewhat equidistant geographic location to major markets such as North America, South America, and Western Europe. Aside from the music, the Tamarindo Playa can be explored in a number of ways, from snorkeling the coral reef to scuba diving, surfing, or zip lining through nearby jungles. For those looking to err on the side of relaxation, Tamarindo offers luscious, local cuisine, as well as a superfluous number of bars and spas.

What Tamarindo’s nightlife lacks, one could argue, are the gargantuan dance venues similar to those of Ibiza. Though Costa Rica’s San José does bolster an array of nightlife institutions and party organizations, Club Vertigo and ANTIK being on the leading edge of the scene, the city is significantly less developed than much of the leading destination festival world. Rolling green mountains stretch beyond the city limits, where the jungles carry on as far as the eye can see. In this regard, one could argue that Costa Rica is ripe for its growth in the scene, but cities like Las Vegas and Dubai are light-years ahead. Even other “would-be Ibizas” such as Punta del Este in Uruguay, Cyprus, Bali, Romania, and Croatia, are too.

Though it’s important to understand: Costa Rica’s not aiming to be “the new Ibiza.”  

Unlike other destination festivals, Tamarindo’s Ocaso Festival points to a budding underground and a scene whose deserving musical and cultural celebration is deeply embedded in the country’s very livelihood.

Costa Rica will likely not in two lifetimes approach what Ibiza has done for the dance music — it’s unlikely any new “hotspot” will, for that matter. Providing a niche destination and unique attraction between that of a boutique and underground festival experience for the scene though is growing increasingly appetizing. To this effect, Costa Rica is well-positioned, and Tamarindo’s Ocaso Festival is leading the front.

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Tamarindo is the biggest beachfront city in the area on the Pacific side, also within an hour drive of the new international airport in Liberia, making the ease of travel to Ocaso Festival a major attraction. Being on the Pacific side of the country is also incredibly important, the festival’s founder Devin Ellis has articulated to DA; Costa Rica’s dry season occurs only on the Pacific side of the country from mid-December to May, making the destination a key player in attendee’s delight.

Having organized underground warehouse style shows in the early nineties, “We have always had house and techno as our main attractions but added genres like hip-hop, drum & bass, and jungle at some of the bigger events,” the sonically well-rounded founder of Ocaso Festival is unequivocally rinsed in the underground scene.

After traveling to Acapulco Mexico in 2001 for an event called the ACA Soundfest, Ellis became drawn to the hedonistic and ground-breaking open-air possibilities a music festival could offer, and so he incorporated these elements into Ocaso.

It was “unlike anything I had ever experienced,” he’d said of ACA, also telling the Huffington Post prior to Ocaso, “I wanted to find a similar setting for my own destination festival. Removing people from the everyday stresses of life, and immersing them in an isolated setting produces a truly paradisaical experience full of freedom. In my first full night in Tamarindo a few years ago, I knew then Costa Rica was going to be home for Ocaso.”

After traveling extensively for a few years, Ellis remembered how much he enjoyed good music and its versatility no matter where he was.

“We just wanted to throw a destination festival to give people the opportunity to listen to world-class techno and house music in some of the most amazing locations on the planet,” Ellis told us of the mission behind Ocaso.

To pull off a world-class party, Ellis and the Ocaso organizers capitalized on a threefold relationship with the natural environment.

Beginning with the beach, the lifeblood of Ocaso festival was the relationship cultivated between the attendee and musical setting. Named after the Spanish word for “sunset,” it was incredibly apt that Ocaso’s second incorporation of an environmental element was a driving force of the country’s ethos: its sunsets. Ocaso’s decision to move from the opening party on the beach to a rooftop of a hotel for its days and final evening was a masterful one. In doing so, they displayed a threefold understanding of the need to entertain, but also to delight with the country’s natural beauty, and aid in attendees’ cultivation of a memorable experience with one another.

The most integral piece of Ocaso’s environmental planning though was its ascendance into the Costa Rican jungle for two nights. A sublime union between attendees and their environment, Ocaso’s underground roots were elongated with the use of the “La Senda” venue. Ocaso’s organizers paved the road leading from Tamarindo to La Senda, which was previously a dirt path, and quite literally allowed attendees to descend into the festival’s jungle accolade.

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Citing natural beauty as one of the number one attractions of Costa Rica, Ellis’ move of Ocaso to a natural amphitheater and next to an open Labrinyth structure for two evenings was immensely felicitous.

Besides the musical venue lied the Tamarindo Labyrinth, which according to both its website and locals, serves as “a maze you get lost [in] and have to find your way out, a labyrinth has only one path which symbolizes our life’s journey and takes us inward guiding us to find out who we really are. ”

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Photo Credit: La Senda Costa Rica

Translated into the design of a labyrinth by Ronald Esquivel, the jungle’s labyrinth uses sacred geometry and the number three, uniting two opposing centers — the feminine and the masculine into a third center, the Vesica Piscis — which is believed to be the point of creation.

In sacred geometry, the Vesica Piscis is the passageway from “the One to the many,” or the portal through which all forms and patterns of our universe are created. Since symbolism flows so deep within many, this figure is intended to allow inner expansion, exploration, inspiration, and spiritual self-discovery.

Respectively, Ocaso didn’t disrupt the landscape of La Senda, instead, they laced the jungle stage beside it, but the natural labyrinth’s proximity to the music and the natural amphitheater where it instead took place still beckoned an embracement of the country’s holistic energies — indeed propitious to the festival’s spiritual ideology.

Other than Ocaso’s optimal choice of venues, and its oneness with its destination, the festival soared in its palpable energy, although such a feat is rendered impossible without a diverse booking of world-class acts like Doc Martin, Claptone, Kenny Glasgow, Desert Hearts, and more.

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Ocaso’s not looking to make any drastic changes in its programming in the years to come, though Ellis hopes to continue to build on the vibes that have exploded since they began. 

Ultimately, it’s the energy of the underground that will keep people coming back to Ocaso. After all, that’s what’s kept the underground scene bubbling beneath the surface worldwide. With both Ellis’ and Ocaso’s investments in the Costa Rican scene, as well as their dedication to creating goosebump-inducing moments, and allowing the spaces to do the rest; its no surprise that Ocaso will be returning to Tamarindo next year with the same devotion to its natural environment, and most importantly, with the same love for the music that keeps it going.

All Photos Courtesy of Pablo Murillo

HI-LO and Dada Life team up for an entrancing collaboration, ‘Love Vibrations’

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“Love Vibrations,” an enrapturing collaboration by none other than house music’s heavy hitters Oliver Heldens, under the alias of HI-LO, and the enthralling duo, Dada Life, is out now on Heldeep Records.

Undoubtedly, when it comes to these artists, unpredictability dominates the production. Their mastery of deep house vibes contrasts with higher hitting synths makes for an irresistible combination of intense energy and melodic undertones.

“Love Vibrations” features unbridled, oscillating synths complimented by pulsating waves of dark bass progressions that is all tied together by intriguing vocal samples. HI-LO and Dada Life make for an incredible team, with each musician flaunting a different aspect of their artistry by contributing unmatched stylistic details. Although Dada Life has taken a hiatus from producing, their latest work will have listeners up and ready to go for what’s in store from the banana-tastic, champagne showering, beloved duo.

Read More:

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HI-LO reworks Moby’s ‘Go’ for Black Lacquer remix project [Q&A]

Launchpad: Lose yourself in this sweeping house playlist

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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

House music’s appeal runs deep. From the jackin’ house that pours out of Chicago to this day, characterized by its repetitive 4/4 beats, drum machine rhythms, off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and synthesized basslines, to the present tides of “deep house” and future house that are washing over the music world, the chances are high that listeners will fall in love with the genre — especially considering its deeply entrenched, continual evolutions and odes to the past. Today, we’re premiering a sweeping Launchpad playlist of house music. It’s filled with tribal house and progressive house, but no matter what you’re into, it’s plenty easy to get lost in this playlist.

DA Launchpad Selects:
Domenic Cappello – “Time to Begin”

Domenic Cappello’s “Time to Begin” is one of three lush cuts on the Sub Club resident’s debut EP which came out in early-December under his own name. Over the years, Cappello’s gone on to headline some of the UK’s best underground clubs. Between Back2Basics to Plastic People, to Fabric, as well as Berlin’s Panorama Bar and Paris’ The Rex. Domenic’s work has certainly aided in solidifying Sub Club’s legacy for years to come, so it’s only right we commemorate the release of this legend’s new EP with a feature on this playlist.

Kim Anker – “Stay (ft. Andrew)”

Newcomer Kim Anker’s “Stay” is a chilled-out track that beckons its listeners to throw it on in rotation.

Tracklist:
Demuir – “El Latino Es Negro”
Domenic Cappello – “Time To Begin”
JR from Dallas – “Downtown City (Sebb Junior Remix)”
Jackson Snapp – “Another World”
Kim Anker- “Stay (ft. Andrew)”

 

 

Read More:

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Launchpad 50: Keep the New Year’s party going with this expansive playlist

Launchpad: Dance your worries away with this expansive house playlist