One for the singles, one for lovers: Valentine’s Day playlists curated by Dillon Francis [Stream]

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One for the singles, one for lovers: Valentine’s Day playlists curated by Dillon Francis [Stream]Blank 1920 1280 2

Ah, Valentine’s Day—everyone feels some type of way.

Whether it’s a romantic evening with hearts and flowers and your significant other, or its a singles night on the town back on your finest bullshit, Dillon Francis has your back this year. We linked with Mr. Steal Your Girl this year for two specially curated playlists to get you in the mood for whatever Valentine’s Day 2020 brings. With one for the lovers, and one for the ragers, we’ve got two mood-setting playlists on deck courtesy of the man, the myth, the legend, Dillon Francis.

So, whether it’s all mushy love songs today or “forget love, time to party”—we’ve got you covered. From David Guetta and Daft Punk to Eptic and Kill The Noise, today’s Valentine’s vibes await below. Enjoy.

Lil Nas X, DaBaby, Kaytranada make the cut on Barack Obama’s best of 2019 playlist

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Lil Nas X, DaBaby, Kaytranada make the cut on Barack Obama’s best of 2019 playlistBarack Obama Mic Drop 2016 1

True to his annual tradition, Barack Obama has shared a playlist of his favorite releases of 2019. As in past years, the 44th President of the United States highlights a diverse array of songs spanning a variety of genres. On the hip-hop end, Obama issues a nod to DJ Mustard‘s Migos feature, “Pure Water,” J. Cole‘s “Middle Child,” and DaBaby‘s “Suge,” among other high profile works from the genre, such as Frank Ocean‘s “In My Room.”

A genre-fluid goodie bag of speaker-satiating singles, Obama’s playlist embraces Lil Nas X‘s viral hit, “Old Town Road (Remix),” and additionally features some multilingual flair, courtesy of Ozuna‘s “Baila Baila Baila (Remix),” and the Rollo Tomasi rework of Angélique Kidjo’s “La Vida Es Un Carnaval.” The year-concluding collection also includes productions from Maggie Rogers, Bruce Springsteen, Koffee, Lizzo, and other artists.

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Apple Music debuts Replay, new personalized year-end mixes and stats

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Apple Music debuts Replay, new personalized year-end mixes and statsApple Replay Playlists

Whether it was Lizzo scoring your days or Diplo soundtracking your nights, 2019’s running playlist has certainly been a memorable one. Now, Apple Music users can go back and hear their year in review with the launch of new personalized playlists and statistic breakdowns called Apple Music Replay. While Spotify users have had this year end feature for some time, Apple is following suit this year, providing users with customized playlists with their favorite cuts of the year.

Where Apple Music Replay differs from Spotify’s Wrapped—Apple is tailoring an ongoing listening experience with retrospective lists so users can go back and revisit their personal rotations from previous years. Furthermore, Apple Music Replay will function as more than just a shareable snapshot of the year. The feature will continue to update throughout the year, giving listeners a real-time look at their current favorites week-to-week. Check out Apple Music Replay here.

Looking back on 24 years of ADE with Ferry Corsten [PLAYLIST & Q&A]

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Looking back on 24 years of ADE with Ferry Corsten [PLAYLIST & Q&A]Ferry Corsten Photo Credit Getty

For more than 20 years, the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) has brought tastemakers from across the industry to The Netherlands for an experience that manages to be half conference, half festival, and all-encompassing. This year, ADE is said to have brought over 2,500 artists from around the world, satisfying fans across the spectrum with events ranging from Monstercat showcases to Berghain-inspired techno parties. Anyone who’s been is bound to have their own ADE story, but very few are able to share the seasoned perspective of Dutch icon, Ferry Corsten, who, over the course of his illustrious career, has had the opportunity of watching the event grow from his Rotterdam-based studio.

We had the opportunity to go one-on-one with Corsten to talk ADE memories, advice for newcomers, and how to stay motivated after so many years on top. Press play on the trance legend’s Day/Night themed ADE playlist and dive in.

So to start, what was the first concert that you ever went to? How much of an impact, if any, do you think that had on the trajectory of your life?

I can’t really remember at this point what first concert I went to, but I remember when I was younger going to a club in Rotterdam called Tomorrowland. It was the first real club that I went to as a young teenager and it blew my mind. I had always been into music but the combination of clubbing and seeing dance music played in a setting was mind-blowing. I think I got more hooked into making music after that.

You released ‘Looking Forward’ right around when ADE first started. Looking forward from 1996, could you ever picture the event becoming what it is today? Where do you see ADE in another 20 years?

I think that ADE is an amazing event and I applaud Richard [Zijlma] and all the guys there how they have made it into the success of what it has become. As to what ADE will be in the future, I think that just has it has evolved itself over the years, it will continue to offer the demands of what dance music will require in the future: in terms of technological developments, and trends. Nowadays, the pace of music and technology is moving a lot faster than it did many years back. ADE has over the years managed to anticipate this and I don’t see why they will not be able to continue doing this in the future.

How has your process of writing a song changed from ‘Looking Forward’ to now? 

I still continue to start working from a melody line. As a music producer that has always been my start and I continue further from there.

I’ve heard a bit of controversy between the two, and figure you can chime in on this one, Rotterdam or Amsterdam?

Rotterdam all the way! Don’t get me wrong. I’m a history freak and I love what Amsterdam has to offer in terms of its history and the charm that comes with it. It’s a beautiful vibrant city and is known all over the world not only because of its picturesque setting but also because of what it has to offer in terms of business and pleasure as well. Having said that, Rotterdam as well has its own history that over the years have had a lot of impact to the world. It’s always been known as a “modern” city due to its architecture but recently I think it has become more exciting as there are more foreigners moving in and it has started developing its own style that is unique to the country and really hip!

“Punk” is a track that has stuck with us for ages. In an industry that is so flavor of the week, where releases come and go so quickly, what allows certain tunes to have that timeless edge to them? Is it more about innovating and presenting something new or sharpening your tools and striking at the right time?

I think it’s a combination of both, but in the case of “Punk” it’s just a damn catchy melody!

Many producers and DJs get burnt out on the industry after just a few years, both mentally and physically. The sense that we get is that music ends up feeling much more like work than play, and it kind of drains their passion. How do you think you’ve kept yourself so mentally in the game and creative for so many years?

I think to begin with I would like to think that I am very balanced person. To be in this industry you have to have a good sense of who you are and not “believe in the hype.” Sometimes it is good to say “No” and not say “Yes” all the time. Over the years, I’ve learned to create a certain structure in my life regardless of where I am, so it becomes easier to adapt wherever I go. For example, I make sure before I go to any event that I mentally prepare myself, have a specific ritual so it is easier to for me to “get” in the flow. I am also lucky that I have a team around and family that keep me grounded. You can go to a huge festival or packed club and feel like the king…only to go home and realize that you still have to clean up after your kids or help out doing odds and ends. It’s a crazy spectrum yet it somehow keeps you sane.

What advice would you give to those experiencing ADE for the first time?

ADE is an amazing experience as it allows you to cover so many facets in the scene. You can go to various workshops to hone your craft, talk to various labels, management, and agencies and get a foot in the door, or just talk to colleagues and other artists you look up to and talk shop. Don’t forget to try and meet the people you have been talking to online face to face. It’s always nice to physically meet someone and get to know them better.

Do you have a personal favorite ADE memory?

I have loads of great ADE memories over the years, but there was one time when I had a show with Paul van Dyk at a club and about an hour beforehand my wife had an accident and ended up having to go to the hospital. My agent at that time took her as I was going to play soon, only to realize once he had arrived, he had all my music! Thankfully he got back in time so all was well, but it was a pretty stressful evening to say the least!

When was the last time that you played a Moonman track live? Any chance we will hear some at ADE?

I’ve actually started playing the Moonman track live in my sets recently since the beginning of this summer when I released a rework of ‘Galaxia’ together with Kristian Nairn. I’ll definitely be playing it during ADE. It’s been a crowd favourite.

There’s no doubt that ADE represents the Dutch music scene on the global stage. As someone who grew up in the Dutch club world, is it a fair representation of the culture’s nightlife?

I think what ADE represents at this point has become more than representing the Dutch music scene. ADE has become a hub for the international scene. The Dutch music scene has given the world a platform to do all this. Obviously, this would have not been possible if the Dutch music scene was the forerunner of all this, but it’s amazing how we have managed to embrace this and everyone internationally to come together during this special week.

Thanks so much for your time Ferry, it’s a real honor to get to pick your brain a bit.

Thanks for the interview!

Photo credit: Getty Images

ORBIT Playlist: Illenium selects some emotionally charged bass ahead of Breakaway Festival

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ORBIT Playlist: Illenium selects some emotionally charged bass ahead of Breakaway FestivalIllenium Coachella 18

On October 5, Charlotte, North Carolina will be transformed into a dance music haven when Breakaway touches down at the AvidXchange Music Factory Fest Grounds. With the roving festival brand’s arrival comes an array of top DJ talent, with the likes of Ekali, Fisher, and Kaskade all set to fill the dancefloor with their distinctive styles.

Illenium will also be headlining the event, and to celebrate, he’s kindly fixed up an exclusive playlist for Dancing Astronaut. It’s packed with to the brim with high-charged bass and flecked with sentimentality, emulating the curatorial prowess often seen during the artist’s sets. San Holo, DROELOE, REZZ, Seven Lions, and Adventure Club are just a few of the artists comprising this euphoria-inducing playlist; expect to hear similar tones during Illenium’s Breakaway set as well, alongside some new cuts from his latest LP.

The producer also shared some thoughts around the playlist:

“These are some of my favorite songs that I’ve been listening to lately along with a few tracks from my latest album ASCEND. I can’t wait to be back in North Carolina to play Breakaway on Oct. 5th and share my new album set with everyone!”

2019 has been a momentous year for Illenium from the very start. Not only has be been touring at a peak heavy schedule and testing out a new setup, but he’s also on the tip of his third studio album, ASCEND. September 21 marked a particularly special night in his career, with the beloved producer packing out Madison Square Garden during his album tour.

In under a decade, Prime Social Group has become the premier electronic music promoter in the East, South, and Midwest, consistently bringing high tier talent to the likes of North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and more. Their calendar for 2019 alone boasted 11 festivals across the East, Midwest, and Southern regions of the states.

Make sure to grab a last-minute ticket to see Illenium at Breakaway in North Carolina here.

Photo credit: Nainoa Langer

Exclusive: Claptone chronicles first Ibiza residency, soundtracks the season [Interview/Playlist]

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Exclusive: Claptone chronicles first Ibiza residency, soundtracks the season [Interview/Playlist]Claptone

In an auditory age when an artist’s popularity is largely predicated on clicks, likes, and oversharing, secrecy is sexy—now more than ever. And who on the house music hierarchy has remained more surreptitious than Claptone?

Little is known about the man behind the beak who averages an improbable upwards of 260 performances per year, often traversing multiple continents for performances across a single weekend. Soaked in soul and powered by four-on-the-floor club grooves that range from pumped-up to plaintive, Claptone’s production has been tapped for official remixes from a litany of likeminded counterparts: from the Pet Shop Boys to—most recently—Mark Ronson (a forthcoming release). Despite the explosive success the plague doctor-themed project has secured since its 2012 inception, the Berlin-based Claptone camp solidified a fiercely coveted milestone, even among bluechip modern electronic acts, in 2019: an extended summertime tenure in the White Isle. Claptone’s first Ibiza residency touched down at one of the island’s quintessential after-dark playgrounds, Pacha. The perpetually poised puppet master attracted an auspicious flock to his Monday Masquerades, which spanned this past May-September and included the likes of Diplo, Duke Dumont, Eli & Fur, Shiba San, and Bob Moses (to name only a few).

While he’s lauded for laying low, Dancing Astronaut caught up with Claptone to get a closer look at the man who’s made his mark with myth.

Along with a stylized playlist to score the summer residency, Claptone shared insights on the bygone summer season, some fond moments at Pacha, and a bit about what’s hiding in his aural incubator. He also reflected on the longwinded lore breathing life into his immaterial persona. Claptone’s face may remain never to be seen, but one facet of the DJ’s smoke and mirrors act is certain—there’s substance behind the subterfuge.

Did Pacha live up to your expectations for your first Ibiza residency? Why or why not?

It was my first season and I didn’t have any clear vision of how it might be really. I only knew it’d be a great party cause I know my fans and the international popularity of Claptone. I knew they’d come and enjoy this experience and they did. To be honest for the first season it surpassed my wildest expectations. So many amazing people that appreciated all the quite various line ups I had been programming. The greatest compliment surely was that so many of these great DJs whom I booked like Todd Terry, Kerri Chandler, MK as well as DJs whom I couldn’t have on the bill like Solardo, CamelPhat, Paul Oakenfold, Roger Sanchez, Erick Morillo, Martin Solveig came in private on some Mondays to just enjoy the party and the great vibe of the night. That for me says it all.

Tell me about the stylistic approach you took to your summer residency in the White Isle…

I made a huge effort in growing the regular stage setup of my The Masquerade parties—the huge golden mask above the booth and the smaller masks with the LED-lit eyes hanging from the ceiling, to match Pacha and come up with interior design ideas to go along with that. Same with the dancer and performer costumes. I had tailors from Pacha as well as tailors from Torture Garden in London work out details on costumes and designs I came up with. That’s why in the end there are about 30 amazing characters from futuristic Venetian carnival to cinematic Eyes Wide Shut from classic Circus to Dia de los Muertos dancing, wandering or even flying through the club. 

Can you tell me about a particularly impactful moment or night from this past season’s performances? 

It’s hard to pick just one or two moments when you just had 19 weeks of mayhem on a Monday at Pacha Ibiza at your very own night with your very own concept The Masquerade. The pure fact that I was able to program the line up, invite and play with Armand van Helden, Andhim, Audiojack, Basement Jaxx, Bob Moses, Catz ‘n Dogz, Chus & Ceballos, Danny Howard, Danny Tenaglia, David Penn, Dennis Cruz, Dennis Ferrer, Diplo, Duke Dumont, Eli & Fur, Faithless, Felix da Housecat, Hannah Wants, Heidi, Illyus & Barrientos, Jon Hopkins, Kerri Chandler, Lars Moston, Maya Jane Coles, Mat.Joe, MK, Nhan Solo, Nora En Pure, Pirupa, Purple Disco Machine, Riva Starr, Route 94, Shiba San, Shir Khan, Sidney Charles, SG Lewis, Sonny Fodera, Tensnake, Todd Terry, Tube & Berger, and Weiss was such a game changer for me.

It’s tough to put that into words and even harder to pick a favorite moment. But the back to back with Diplo was certainly a highlight for me as this was my very first and to date my last back to back ever, [considering] it was Diplo playing house music in front of a super excited crowd. 

Any new music in the works you can speak to?

You know I love secrets, but, well, I’ll make an exception. I just finished some remixes that went to mastering the other day. You are more than welcome to look forward to what I did to Mark Ronson as well as Charlie Puth and Michael Kiwanuka. Fasten your seatbelt. 

Describe the significance of the golden-beaked mask and white gloves…

This mask is part of my personality, one of my many faces. Its origins lie in the old Italian city of Venezia and for me hints at the rich history and culture we all share and of course at the masquerade balls [we’ve held for] centuries. A social tradition which allows us to explore our identity and to fathom our freedom as individuals in performative play. One aspect of it is being able to question authorities and hierarchies, structures of self-sustaining power, question the ones we kneel down before.

The beak with its birdlike shape is giving me access to perform beyond human abilities. At the same time it ridicules pop idols, who think they are more than just human and love to run around presenting their tail feathers. The resemblance to a plague doctors mask is not by accident either. You are welcome to perceive me as some kind of sonic plague doctor. The mask was casted out of titan’s gold. Gold for me reflects the treasure that I found in music. It simultaneously ridicules the greed and materialism of your average rock star or Hip-Hop hero. Last but not least, wearing a mask is liberating and it’s shielding your privacy, extending your personal freedom. This, together with reflecting on the mechanisms of media and popular music, empowers me to be in charge of my image and perform my artistic identity much more consciously. The gloves I just wear to not get my hands dirty.

A great deal of secrecy ensconces the Claptone masthead, specifically in reference to your identity(s). Can you speak to this? 

Claptone declined to comment.

Photo Credit: Jackmode

ORBIT Playlist: Guy Mantzur & Khen supply a sultry progressive collection following their Bedrock release, ‘Where Is Home’

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ORBIT Playlist: Guy Mantzur & Khen supply a sultry progressive collection following their Bedrock release, ‘Where Is Home’Gm Khen

Two of Israel’s finest, the seasoned veteran Guy Mantzur, and next generation hero Khen, were brought together on John Digweed’s illustrious Bedrock imprint for another shimmering EP, Where Is Home. Their chemistry has only grown stronger in the nine years they’ve been collaborating; this latest effort shows two styles flowing effortlessly into one another for a clean, striking sound. Both of the record’s moody, yet distinctive tunes are primed to become set staples in the melodic realm.

Dancing Astronaut has brought them together for a follow-up round of creation, but this time they’ve been tasked with curation. The latest in our Orbit series is ideal for those who like their sounds silky and progressive. They’ve assembled a rich collection of pieces that are each a journey in themselves, from Eli Nissan’s polished “Arpu” to Whomadewho and Rampa’s effervescent vocal number, “Tell Me We Are.”

Mantzur and Khen share quite the history together, beginning with their mutual circle of friends in their native Tel Aviv. The former got his start during progressive’s golden period in the early aughts, eventually growing to become a top rated talent, label owner, and resident of the legendary Cat & Dog club. Thanks to his brother Vic F, Khen’s been immersed in the world of underground electronic from a very young age. He found himself in the same circles as Guy Mantzur by the time he reached his teen years, beginning his climb in 2010 after showing an equal knack for melodic arrangement. Their collective journey began that same year with “Dysfunctional Superstar.”

In 2016 they had a huge hit on their hands via “Children With No Name,” the lead single off Khen’s debut album that we had the pleasure of premiering. Expect no shortage of future anthems from these two as they continue fine-tuning their craft.

Photo credit: artist teams

Tycho designed an app to curate playlists based on users’ local weather

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Tycho designed an app to curate playlists based on users’ local weatherIphone Rain

Accomplished producer Tycho is diving into the realm for technology with the launch of a brand new a web application that is the first of its kind. The artist worked with app developer Lee Martin to create Forecast, the web application that designs playlists based on the weather in the users’ location.

The app is simple in its design, inspired by many of Tycho’s single and album cover artworks. As it is simple in design, Forecast is also easy to use. The application locates the user, and within seconds curates a weather-inspired playlist that can be saved either to Spotify or Apple Music. Whether you’re looking to lean into the rainy day blues or you’re reaching for poolside pop, Forecast is ready for action, so give it a try.

8.08 Day: A bass lover’s neck-breaking nirvana [PLAYLIST]

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8.08 Day: A  bass lover’s neck-breaking nirvana [PLAYLIST]808 Day

8/08 day is an annual cause for resounding celebration. The iconic Roland drum machine played a quintessential role in electronic, hip-hop, and pop’s development, with its imprint permanently stamped on a vast amount of top-charting singles of the ’80s and ’90s. While, the mechanism became antiquated by the turn of millennium, on account of oversaturation, lack of availability, and Roland’s plans to propel newer gear to the forefront, this was far from the end of its legacy. 

Fast-forward another decade: the 808 revival had begun. Rappers like Kanye West found that the instrument added a unique, crisp edge to the low-end of their productions, whilst dance music innovators like Aphex Twin found other creative ways to utilize the 808 for maximum impact. Today, a good deal of producers appreciate the vintage appeal it offers; so much so, that Roland even revived the 808 in 2017. 

We honor this musical staple with a series of larger-than-life tunes by Skrillex, Eptic, RL Grime, Dillon Francis, Bassnectar, Doctor P, Flux Pavilion, and more from heavy-handed listeners’ legion of 808 legends who have allowed this instrument to shine in the dance space over the years. In 808, we trust.

Sunday Morning Medicine Vol. 170, featuring Bob Moses, Kasbo, Hot Chip, and more

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Sunday Morning Medicine Vol. 170, featuring Bob Moses, Kasbo, Hot Chip, and moreSMM 2400

Sunday Morning Medicine is a feature from Dancing Astronaut’s Bella Bagshaw, dedicated to the mellower side of electronic music. She brings you her favorite therapeutic selections—old and new—in attempts to alleviate the often agonizing effects of a long weekend of partying.

Bob Moses has that rare amorphous sound that makes listeners want to dance, cry, and wonder all at once—which is oddly perfect for Sunday morning restlessness. “Enough To Believe” will surely offer its consumers bouts of all three.

Beach House singer, Victoria Legrand may be a jack of almost all trades, but she’s certainly a master of one: dispelling end-of-weekend woes with her dream-pop croons.

One of the earliest San Holo-sponsored bitbird offerings, Kasbo‘s “Found You” is a like a one-way flight to the sonic heavens—expedited.

Taken straight from Hot Chip‘s latest LP of the same name, “A Bath Full of Ecstasy” is an indie dance track in the iridescent, off-kilter vein Hot Chip has remained renowned for throughout their tenure in the studio. The track’s whimsical guitar strums and quixotic vocals catapult a sea of swimming colors through the listener’s unsuspecting psyche: a paragon hangover cure, if one ever existed.

ALT:Vision’s Laxcity is all too adept in the art of chill-out. Taken straight from his brand new EP, “Refined” is the nuanced, sonic equivalent of letting your hair down and getting lost inside some sunny Sunday musings.