San Holo shares heartrending ‘Always On My Mind’ music video

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San Holo shares heartrending ‘Always On My Mind’ music videoSANHOLO 05 Com

San Holo offers a heart-wrenching depiction of grief in his new music video for “Always On My Mind,” featuring James Vincent McMorrow and Yvette Young.

The video tells the story of a poignantly profound romance, depicting a woman during her moments of deep sorrow juxtaposed with nonlinear snippets of a relationship. Happy moments the couple share fade to the background, as viewers watch as he discovers her in their room, no longer breathing. The four-minute narrative lends the track’s subtle future bass notes and the sullen vocals a paradoxical appendage.

Sharing the video to Twitter, San Holo wrote, “This video goes out to anybody who’s ever felt hopeless watching somebody they loved suffer without knowing how to help.”

Sunday Morning Medicine Vol 159, with Point Point, Blackmill, Casilofi, + more

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Sunday Morning Medicine Vol 159, with Point Point, Blackmill, Casilofi, + moreSMM 2400

Point Point certainly executes their eponymous goal in “A Piece of Sun,” from their 2016 Family Portrait EP. The ultimate mood remedy, “A Piece of Sun”‘s thumping percussion, mallet insertions, funky breakdown, and invariably catchy beep-boop melody is the perfect dose of eccentric escape.

All is well inside Washed Out’s hallucinogenic wonderland, “It All Feels Right.” The song’s floating strings and melting, vocoder vocals are best suited to pristinely preserve and replenish depleted serotonin.

San Holo is kickin’ it old school this week, with the release of his Create Create Create EP under his nascent Casilofi alias. Taken from the EP, “Little Treasure” is a paragon of slow-motion splendor, with its tender synth plucks and airy percussion. Dancing Astronaut has just deemed the song the only known phenomenon to move slower than a Sunday morning.

The master of majestic chill-step, Blackmill narrows the gap between violence and delicacy with his anesthetizing dose of “Evil Beauty.” The track’s jarring snares and winding, transcendent piano progressions arrive as an emotional emblem of end-of-weekend paradox.

Place your dreams inside Catching Flies’s remix of Mt. Wolf’s “Life Size Ghosts,” and watch them furrow and expand atop your eardrums. The remix’s twinkling bell synths, rattling harp strums, and syrupy saxophone light up this week’s playlist—as rare and radiant as Northern Lights.

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.

San Holo returns to lo-fi alias, Casilofi, for ‘Create, Create, Create’ EP [Stream]

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San Holo returns to lo-fi alias, Casilofi, for ‘Create, Create, Create’ EP [Stream]Casilofi03 1

Using his now lofty label housing, bitbird, San Holo (Sander van Dijck) is bidding adieu to 2018 with a retrospective release under his former alias, Casilofi.

The “Light” producer concocted the dreamy, yet utterly minimal, four-part EP, Create Create Create, entirely sans studio equipment, using only his laptop: a nod at his primordial production days spent drumming up tunes from his bedroom. Through the EP, the bitbird boss says he was able to rediscover the beauty of creating music all on his lonesome.

“Casilofi is the first electronic project I ever started in terms of producing my own music… I didn’t have to rely on a band, I could just take everything into my own hands,” says van Dijck.

Now, it’s time to let the languorous and self-referential Create Create Create send listeners through its warm kaleidoscope of simpler times–as it did van Dijck.

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

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Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Dancing Astronauts Top 10 Albums Of 2018

Since the advent of recorded music, albums have reigned as the supreme vessel through which artists put forth their most hallowed creations and define their oeuvres. In the modern era of streaming, wherein declining royalty rates demand that musicians tour incessantly and the necessity of instant gratification demands a correlative, unending supply of singles and remixes, the process of producing a full-length record is perhaps more daunting than it’s ever been.

However, the LP is far from a dying art form, as legions of artists have duly proven in the past year. In the realm of dance music alone, 2018 saw an abundance of stellar, individualized efforts, providing our editorial team with quite a difficult feat in selecting a Top 10. Below, we’ve compiled ten innovative, stylistically diverse, and evocative albums that shook the scene and stirred us so resoundingly that they manage to stand out among a formidable pool of contenders.

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018San Holo Album1 Review
10. San Holo, album1

Since its founding in 2014, San Holo’s bitbird label has made monumental strides, helping propel his releases — along with those of artists like DROELOE and Taska Black — to notoriety. Perhaps the label’s biggest buzz this year was that of San Holo’s inaugural LP, appropriately titled album1, which made its debut in mid-September. After pouring months of passion into the record, San Holo wasted no time incorporating live instruments in album1, kicking off the compilation with a wistful guitar melody in “everything matters (when it comes to you).” This theme continues throughout the album’s 12 tracks, with each song exuding pure emotion and spirit. In its entirety, album1 is sonically pleasing and a fresh breath of air in an often monotonous EDM scene.

Words by Robyn Dexter

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Pleasurekraft Friends Lovers Other Constellations Hi Res Art
9. Pleasurekraft, Friends, Lovers, and Other Constellations

It’s hard to believe that, prior to this year, Pleasurekraft had yet to release a full-length record. The transnational duo have been regarded as lodestars in the genres which they’ve graced for practically a decade, thanks to their acutely analytic approach to producing. The past few years have marked an evolution of sorts for the Kraftek label-heads, as they’ve shifted toward establishing their cinematically-infused brand of cosmic techno. And, their inaugural LP, Friends, Lovers, & Other Constellations, which kicked off the duo’s year in January, showcases their progress from its opening act (the genre-defying “Interiors”) until its closing bow (the similarly mellifluous “Last Transmission”).

Words by Will McCarthy

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Justice Woman Worldwide Hi Res Art
8. Justice, Woman Worldwide

After a two-year gap following the release of Woman, French electro luminaries Justice returned in 2018 with Woman Worldwide, a “live” album — perhaps, more accurately an homage or counterpart — to the live production which accompanied their much-lauded third studio LP, rebuilt in the studio through what Xavier de Rosnay described to Dancing Astronaut as a “proper Justice record.”

De Rosnay and Gaspard Augé didn’t spend their lapse between albums by writing “new” music. Rather, they spent this time fine-tuning every minute of the their live performance, ultimately recreating the Justice concert experience in their studio. The final product speaks for itself: Woman Worldwide has yielded the duo’s third Grammy nomination, and showcases what wound up being one of the most in-demand touring electronic music performances of recent years.

Words by David Klemow

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Rufus Du Sol Solace Hi Res Artwork
7. RÜFÜS DU SOL, Solace

Weaving a follow-up to an acclaimed album is a formidable task for any artist to face. It has to be different enough from its predecessor to keep fans’ attention, but it also has to retain the signature sound that initially drew people in initially. After gaining major recognition from 2016’s Bloom, Rüfüs Du Sol were faced with that exact challenge.
On Solace, the Australian trio stepped up every part of their production process. Tyrone Lindqvist’s vocals are more emotional and over-stated than ever before, while the instrumentals are crisper and full of new textures. Though the vocal-house formula of Bloom and their debut album, Atlas, is still intact, what Rüfüs Du Sol have presented with their third record is a growth of their sound to the precipice of perfection.

Words by Anthony Manganiello

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Rezz Certain Kind Of Magic Review
6. REZZ, Certain Kind of Magic

Rezz’s Certain Kind of Magic solidified the mau5trap mainstay into the electronic music history books with her gritty synth-work, head-banging rhythms and uneasy melodies that juxtaposed uncertainty and confidence throughout the LP. Looking forward to 2019 with a grip of festival headlines, the Canadian artist took the rock tinged genre into a new realm with a cohesive haunting narrative centered around a carnival in hell. Rezz even took to an emo rock, acoustic track, “Toxin,” with the Berklee College of Music artist Fytch to showcase her versatility and early influences.

Isabelle Rezazadeh also used her album to shed a light on up and coming producers. Through promoting talents from the likes of 1788-L, 13, Deathpact, Kotek, and the aforementioned Fytch, the mau5trap favorite reaffirmed her dedication to highlighting industry newcomers in the face of her now-innumerable accolades.

Words by Chris Stack

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Rl Grime Nova Artwork
5. RL Grime, Nova

For the duration of trap music’s prominence as an EDM sub-genre, Henry Steinway has been a key figure, thanks to his unparalleled ability to weave simplistic, but devilishly effective pieces as RL Grime. Yet, some of the most evocative tracks of his career have resided in a more melodic realm. Such is the case with NOVA. In his sophomore album, Steinway looked beyond the dark melodies, aggressive, layered bass lines, and fast paced ascents characteristic of trap, to tinge traditional trap aesthetic with pop and hip-hop tints. His embedding of pop and hip-hop stylistics within the trap oriented inclusions of NOVA helped to further the appeal of thoughtful, trap-infused productions, marketing trap to listeners who might very well have written the sub-genre off as one simply “not for them.” For those who like pop, there was the digestible, vocal-centric single, “I Wanna Know” with Daya, which stood alongside hip-hop features such as the Ty Dolla $ign assisted “Take It Away” and the Chief Keef joint, “OMG.” Boasting a laundry list of highly demanded collaborators and the production deftness to warrant them, RL Grime’s sophomore showing effectively merged musical worlds, while expanding conceptions of what trap music might sound like, and to whom it might appeal.

Words by Rachel Narozniak

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Jon Hopkins Singularity Artwork
4. Jon Hopkins, Singularity

Throughout dance music culture, accolades such as “seasoned” or “veteran” are often thrown around all too liberally. After all, when the pace of an industry moves a mile a minute, a producer with two years’ professional experience can arguably be considered a “long-time luminary.”
That said, when an artist truly is a master of the craft, the results speak for themselves. Jon Hopkins stood out in 2018 as a truly veteran artist, with the release of his fifth studio album (and first in five years), Singularity. From energetic, mesmerizingly erratic pieces such as “Neon Pattern Drum” and “Everything Connected,” to more subdued, mystifying pieces “C O S M” and “Recovery,” everything on Singularity is indeed connected via the English artist’s unparalleled aptitude for creating mellifluous, lo-fi opuses.

Words by Will McCarthy

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Dillon Francis WUT WUT Album Art
3. Dillon Francis, WUT WUT

Dillon Francis’ WUT WUT feels like the culmination of his entire career thus far. A call-back to his first big hit, “Que Que” alongside Diplo in 2011, WUT WUT is a full circle return to Francis’ moombahton roots which perfectly describes where Francis has been, and, ultimately, shows off where he’s going. The record also feels like a rite of passage of sorts for Francis, who moved from merely being a superstar DJ to a taste-making A&R that has helped boost lesser known Latin artists into the spotlight in 2018 — a year in which Latin music experienced a head-on collision with mainstream pop.

WUT WUT has earned Francis a well-deserved Latin Grammy nomination, and while Francis’ moombahton revival project didn’t bring home the hardware this year, it not only kept artistically true to Dave Nada’s beloved blend of genres, it helped progress his flagship style and introduce it to a much wider audience in 2018.

Words by David Klemow

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Medasin Irene Artwork
2. Medasin, Irene

Medasin’s Irene takes all the right risks. The glistening offspring of the producer’s climb out of a deep, former addiction, the eponymous album was inspired by Medasin’s outpatient counselor, the real-life Irene. Sounding at times like underwater elevator music from a far away realm (“Ramen” or “Slinky Man”), and others radiating smooth, saccharine R&B (“Tired”), the project seamlessly reconciles its differences floating through its duration with effortless cohesion. Irene oozes Medasin’s invariable experimentalism, with minimal vocal interruption—though the two vocal features do add an accessible flavor to the otherworldly recipe—letting his playful, quixotic production do the talking.

While Medasin’s blissed-out, slow-motion rendition of Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” won his fellow artist’s respect (garnering him official remix opportunities from the likes of Martin Garrix, Khalid, and more) Irene spoke to listeners, ravaging Reddit threads and streaming services alike months after its release.

Words by Bella Bagshaw

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Zhu Ringos Desert Release Date
1. ZHU, Ringo’s Desert

ZHU has certainly come a long way since “Faded.” The producer’s sophomore album, Ringo’s Desert arrived as a sensuous, cross-genre scorcher that showed off ZHU’s signature, haunting vocals, while all the time seeking to evoke the landscape of the desert. The album’s environmental influence taken into account, and considered alongside the album’s overarching lyrical narrative of love that leaves one bereft, left to wander in search of the kind of solitude that satiates, much like the drink of water dreamt of by the eponymous desert nomad, Ringo’s Desert easily constituted one of the year’s finest, most meticulously woven concept albums. With its breadth of musical emotionality and mainstream appeal via collaborations with heavyweights such as Tame Impala, it stands out from the crowd in an inimitable fashion.

Words by Rachel Narozniak

Dancing Astronaut’s Top 10 Albums of 2018Steve Angello Human Artwork

Honorable Mention: Steve Angello, Human

Steve Angello’s Human is a symphony of self-exploration. While the Swedish icon has proven himself a master craftsman of the album in the past, his newest album saw him pivot from the avant-garde take on dance pop crossover on his preceding record, Wild Youth, over to a personal journey fueled by electronica and rock inspirations. The 21-track Human is a tale of creating art out of therapy, as Angello explored his own relationship with spirituality and religion. The product is beautiful, moving and memorable — certainly something to be proud of as the remainder of 2018 shifted from a focus on Steve Angello to the triumphant return of his beginnings with Swedish House Mafia and their reunion in the next year.

Words by Steph Evans

What So Not sets forth takes from 12th Planet, AC Slater, Daktyl and more on ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’ remixes

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What So Not sets forth takes from 12th Planet, AC Slater, Daktyl and more on ‘Not All The Beautiful Things’ remixesWhat So Not Press Pic Supplied 2017

Earlier this year, What So Not released his watershed debut album, Not All The Beautiful Things, featuring a number of supreme collaborators such as SkrillexSan HoloRome FortuneSLUMBERJACK, and more. Soon after, he kept the brilliance breathing, releasing a four-track remix pack with VolacKaz James, and ZEKE BEATS of the third single off the album, “Beautiful.”

Now, the Australian solo act has unleashed an 11-track remix compilation album with additional reworks from Kidswaste, 12th Planet, AC Slater, Daktyl, graves, as well as a wealth of up-and-coming producers in the electronic space. From bass music to melodic pop to house to psy-trance, this project profoundly reflects What So Not’s versatility since the project’s inception when Flume was in the picture.

The singles tapped for makeovers include “Goh” with Skrillex and KLP, “Stuck In Orbit” with BUOY, “If You Only Knew” with San Holo and Daniel Johns, and again “Beautiful” with  Winona Oak. Some of the highlights off the project include glittering guitar melodies on Kidwaste’s rendition of “Stuck In Orbit,” Champagne Drip‘s contrast between celestial and earth-rumbling grittiness on “Goh,” Yvng Jalapeño‘s jungle-infused “Beautiful,” and 12th Planet’s mellifluously heavy version of “If You Only Knew.”

Bitbird favorite, Duskus, releases kaleidoscopic ‘Longtime’

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Bitbird favorite, Duskus, releases kaleidoscopic ‘Longtime’Duskus Press

It’s not at all hard to fathom why uncommonly colorful producer and bitbird label-head San Holo plucked a young Duskus from the monotonous slew of SoundCloud producers and designated him his very first bitbird signee back in 2014. The London-stationed Duskus’s vivid, vivacious sound echoes a similar celestial center to that of his esteemed bitbird boss.

Duskus’s latest release, “Longtime,” released through his own Kaleido (think kaleidoscope) imprint, manifests his signature sound design: equal parts serenity and benevolent drive. A twinkling synth melody permeates throughout the track, simulating a star-sprinkled night sky. Meanwhile, ripply vocal chops and brimming bass kicks penetrate the otherwise delicate foundation, allowing for a bountiful and compelling sonic landscape.

In 2014, a then-teenage Duskus’s “The First Route” served as the very first bitbird-housed release, paving the way for the technicolor assortment of talent Holo harnessed soon thereafter. Still early on in his flourishing career, Duskus has also secured auspicious releases through Monstercat and Buygore, to name a few.

San Holo releases fourth episode in documentary series for ‘album1’

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San Holo releases fourth episode in documentary series for ‘album1’San Holo Freddy Mercury Stance Goldrush Rukes

San Holo has released the fourth episode of his album1 documentary, highlighting more behind-the-scenes footage from writing “surface” with Caspian in the bitbird label boss’ Vestal Avenue Airbnb. During San Holo’s narrative moment, he dives into praising his collaborator, the guitarist from Caspian, mentioning his amazing instrumental, post-rock style. Ambient guitar flutters over instrumentals throughout the video, flashing sticker visuals of the forward-thinking bitbird imprint as the two stay deep in thought about each and every part of the composition.

In the first episode, San Holo gave viewers a look at what his debut album means to him. The second episode features The Nicholas, who co-wrote “voices in my head” off album1, and is meant to showcase collaboration and friendship. The third episode highlighted the making-of  “brighter days” off the album. Watching the collaborative process with moments of San Holo listening by himself creates authentic in-studio moments valuable for any budding artist.

Photo credit: Rukes

Ultra releases rousing official 20th anniversary recap

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Ultra releases rousing official 20th anniversary recapUltra Recap 1

Nearly six months after celebrating its landmark 20th anniversary, Ultra Miami has unveiled its exultant recap of the historic weekend surely no attendee has forgotten (at least not deliberately). The short picture boasts its seemingly endless stream of EDM hall of famers, including Tiësto, Steve Aoki, Oliver Heldens, and Dash Berlin: a mere fraction of the 2018 roster.

Inundated by glistening bikini bods, a thundering mass of pyrotechnics, and a kaleidoscopic sea of swirling artist emblems, the video may appear hyperbolic, albeit, only to those who have never had the chance to attend. The recap illustrates the round-the-clock celebratory nature of the fest, shifting from day to night with no loss of vigor, mirroring that of the perpetually enthused, perma-smile patrons. Additionally, those Ultra attendees brandish not only a full spectrum of artist memorabilia, but national flags from all ends of the universe, solidifying the festival’s overwhelming scope of attraction. Even Will Smith can be seen taking the sparkling city up on his eternal “Welcome To Miami.”

San Holo shares epic and emotive new Caspian collab, ‘surface,’ from upcoming debut LP

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San Holo shares epic and emotive new Caspian collab, ‘surface,’ from upcoming debut LPSan Solo Caspian Collab Surface

After months of buildup, the wait for San Holo‘s highly anticipated debut album is finally almost over. In the days leading up to the release, the bitbird label boss has been piecing out tracks from the LP, with the most recent being a melancholic collab with Duskus called “Forever Free.” With just a short work week between music fans and the first-ever San Holo album, the artist has shared what could be his emotional track yet: a majestic collaboration with Massachusetts-based post-rock band Caspian titled “surface.”

The song begins in a bed of pillowy synths and Caspian vocals that delivers major Porter Robinson Worlds-esque sonic flavor. Robotic harmonies flow into a detuned lead line that instills an instant sense of longing in the listener. The build erupts into a San Holo-helmed drop, combining arena rock drums with a wall of elevating pads and vocal textures. The song pauses momentarily on a delicate breakdown of acoustic guitar and sweeping strings, before the epic chorus begins again. The collaboration brings the best out of both artists, and promises a project bursting with creativity and emotion when San Holo’s album1 drops in full Friday, Sept. 21.

Photo credit: Rukes