Beatport unveils new product roadmap and annual genre rankings, techno reigns supreme

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Beatport has introduced a new product roadmap as a part of their continued “commitment to developing independent music and labels” at Ibiza‘s annual International Music Summit.

Hype Charts, Beatport’s most outright effort to support rising labels, will arrive in early-June.

“With so many incredible releases added to Beatport each week, there’s a lot of competition for the attention of our DJ customers,” said Beatport’s Chief Product Officer Terry Weerasinghe.

Hype Charts will ensure that smaller labels get “greater visibility” by shining light on up-and-coming imprints, releases, and artists. Adding the Hype Charts also makes it easier for DJs to identify unique, up-and-coming releases worldwide. Considering that 96 percent of Beatport’s music sales are comprised of independent music, with nearly 25,000 new releases each week, Hype Chart’s an immensely commendable commitment in so far as supporting the independents.

In addition to the new rollout, Beatport also released their annual genre rankings, aka the platform’s top-selling genres. Techno has reigned supreme, with tech house, house music, deep house, drum ‘n’ bass, electronica, melodic house and techno, trance, progressive house, and indie dance falling behind accordingly.

Considering that Beatport’s track sale revenue also grew by seven percent this year, the future of the platform looks immensely promising. Their IMS presentation also divulged into their future plans to launch a DJ discount subscription service as well as new streaming capabilities for DJ software.

Having recently acquired the former DJ streaming service, Pulselocker, there has been considerable wonder surrounding just how Beatport would be expanding the service. Beatport saw the 2018 IMS Business Report as an opportunity to confirm that its entire catalog will be streamable as DJ software by 2019, which means an enormous shift of the DJing game is imminent.

Revisit Resident Advisor’s 2011 ‘Real Scenes: Detroit’ film ahead of Movement

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Via: Resident Advisor

Navigating the technosphere with Ø [Phase]: a pre-Movement discussion

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An enigmatic persona exists deep within the techno rabbit hole. Using the moniker Ø [Phase] (né Ashley Burchett), the stalwart DJ and producer has made his mark on things dark, atmospheric, and downright technical. His productions are as hypnotic and diverse as his sets, covering a mélange of stylings that range from subdued and almost tribal, to acidic, to deep, to sinister and driving. He refuses to be boxed into any one category, which is why he’s remained firmly at the cutting edge of his arena.

Ashley’s expertise has been cultivated over quite an extended period of time; over two decades, to be exact. As a mastering professional and a budding musician inspired by the new, innovative sounds imported from Detroit, he soon found his way onto Steve Bicknell’s Cosmic Records imprint before moving onto his primary home label of Token. Techno, with its wide range and malleable structure, was particularly appealing to his sound engineer’s ear, and he has certainly taken this notion in stride with his production MO.

The word “techno” stretches beyond a mere genre, however. It’s built to be paired with the right setting, atmosphere, and mindset. Nuances within it demand appreciating subtle musical details, and an environment that allows for full focus on these aspects.

Who better to dive into the nitty gritty of techno than Ø [Phase]? Given his imminent arrival to Los Angeles, and later, to Detroit’s iconic Movement Festival (where he will be making his debut), we nabbed him for a chat on the sound and the scene. Additionally, Ashley shares his excitement for Movement, and offers a little taste of what to expect from his set at the Underground stage.


How do you think your career would develop/be if you started out today rather than two decades ago? Do you agree with people saying it was ‘easier’ then to ‘make it?’
No I don’t think it was necessarily easier, it was just a lot different. Changes in technology have altered things beyond measure for good and bad. On the one hand you have social media and the internet which make it so much easier to reach and connect with potential fans, while on the other the ability to make electronic music has become much much cheaper and easier. This means there’s a far wider pool of competition for new artists. I still believe despite all that that if a piece of music genuinely is great it will find its audience eventually.

Who are your favorite artists at the moment, or ones that you’re finding particularly cutting-edge?
Well, if we just stay within the bounds of straight techno; I’ve been listening to Randomer in a lot of detail recently. Blawan’s approach to production and dynamics and his general originality – to me – stands way out in front. Actually Jamie was kind enough to send me his forthcoming album ahead of time. It really is superb. Stanislav Tolkachev is also a long standing favourite.

What place would you say has the most underrated scene? We hear so much about Germany/Spain/Argentina etc, but we want to hear more about places like Lebanon/Georgia/Croatia.
Techno in Georgia is thriving yes (in fact its thriving a little TOO much according to ‘certain factions’ as we’ve recently seen) and has gained a lot of international attention for it so I’m not sure I would class it as underrated. To be honest, these days I find it hard to pinpoint specific cities or places because it feels as if the scene is constantly connected through the internet. It’s almost as if manifests itself when the conditions are right and certain clubs and promotors have nailed the setting and presentation – Kompass in Ghent is a good example. Drugstore in Belgrade another.

Space/setting as important as music itself – how do you go about choosing places to play through the year? Do you turn down gigs, or do promoters approach you that you’d generally work with in the first place?
I work closely with my agent regarding the shows we do and don’t take. It’s a mixture; there are some clubs and promoters we have worked with on multiple occasions – sometimes going back many years – but always new opportunities to be discussed and considered. There’s no set pattern.

What are the details, exactly, of a perfect techno party, and how can we find that in the States?
I touched on it above and have said it before; to me this kind of music requires good sound, low lighting and minimum distractions. Over the top lighting just doesn’t work as far as I’m concerned. It’s should be an immersive experience.

I’m still discovering the US so can only really speak for the places I’ve played so far. Obscure in Chicago was a great underground vibe. The Synthetik Minds/Compound guys in LA have a perfect attitude and approach to what they’re doing. Output club in New York is very cool too.

Do you have a specific starting point when making a track? Ex: making a perfect low-end before adding samples and synths.
No, I’ve always worked in a completely unstructured fashion.

You’ve said in the past that the influx of new music is a blessing and a curse. what is your MO for finding the good stuff?
I wish I had one! I currently have around 1000 unopened promos in my mailbox because I simply can’t keep up with the release rate.

Finding good stuff is always a challenge. Ultimately it just takes time and the gathering of knowledge.

What are the sonic elements that make a song click for you?
It’s difficult to say. It might be an arrangement it, might be the baseline, the hook. It might just be wildly original. It might be dynamically perfect or dynamically inventive… Maybe all of these elements together and you’re close to a hit.

Name a piece of music people wouldn’t expect you to be keen on.
Bert Jansch – The Waggoner’s Lad

You’re about to play Movement Detroit – how do you like the city? What excites you most about Movement?
Again, I’ve only visited Detroit once before at last year’s Movement so can only speak within those terms. I got the feeling – through talking to people as much as actually being there – that the city is changing for the better and I think Movement has had an influence on that. I could feel a sense of creative energy lurking amongst the concrete. I’ve no idea whether that was just because it was the festival weekend or if that’s a permanent vibration. I expect it’s the latter. Either way I’m looking forward to returning next week.

What can people expect from your set there?
Expect pace! I’ve been pushing the BPMs a lot in recent months.

Any interesting things in your pipeline?
I have a fair bit of new material I’m currently testing but no set release schedule as yet. Also one or two remixes lined up. Besides that I’ve been in the studio with Underworld at various points in the last year; that is still a work in progress at present.

Feature Image Credit: Radlibb

Tickets to Movement, here

Premiere: Anton Dhouran feat. Ed Begley – The Myth of Tarae (Third Son Edition)

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Third Son

The Myth Of Tarae is a veritable story in LP form, and a powerful porfolio of Anton Dhouran’s abilities as a producer. Therefore, he had to ensure that those he chose to remix his originals are equally adept at conveying, and enhancing his vision.

Third Son thus came as a shoe-on for the job. The classically-trained Brit has one MO: make good music. And that he did with his re-work to The Myth Of Tarae’s vocal-laden title track, using his usual level of trance-inducing brilliance.

He bases his interpretation around Ed Begley’s haunting verses, crafting a drawn-out progressive record around them. Subtle hints of synth fall gracefully around Begley’s voice, landing in a bed of intricate percussion. It builds slowly, but carefully, remaining driving all the way through. The final product is one built for a dimly-lit dancefloor, and a standout among the other remixes in the pack.


Pre-order a copy of “The Myth Of Tarae (Third Son Edition)” here

Feature Image Credit: Lauren Commens

Techno Tuesday: Avision tells a tale of techno and working hard for success

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Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Passion, patience, and persistence are three especially crucial ideas when it comes to making it in the music industry; especially during a time where the market is more saturated than ever, and less friendly overall to creators. Most musicians don’t become overnight superstars, and for most, the process of transitioning into music full time takes years on end. But, when that goal is accomplished, it’s worth the effort.

Avision is intimately familiar with passion, patience, and persistence, imbuing this principal into his everyday life and career. He is quite the prodigious talent, having first stepped behind the decks at the young age of 12 and scoring his first residency by age 16. Over a decade-and-a-half after making his entrance into the scene and moving with intense drive and desire, he is finally breaking through the surface. Furthermore, he made himself an internationally-recognized talent while staying based in the United States — a rare feat in electronica, where artists often move to Europe to advance their career and receive higher amounts of support and income.

We got him to open up a bit and tell his artistic story — from the trials and tribulations, to the triumphs. Additionally, Avision just released a dark, scintillating new EP on Matter+ titled Free Your Mind. Its three originals are bursting with soul and hints of funk, capturing what made early techno great and tossing this sound into a modern ambiance. Let it provide a background as he tells the tale of his comeup.

 


I started out DJ’ing around New York & New Jersey 10 years ago when I was 14. My first residency was at Club Abyss in New Jersey, which was the hottest club night for teens in that area of the U.S. and it would average at least 1500 kids per night. I also started producing around that time; working on remixes first and then original tracks. When I was about 16, I went to Electric Zoo festival in New York. It was the first time I realized who my cousin (Victor Calderone) really was, and also the first time I heard Techno and Tech House. It changed everything for me, and I started digging deeper into those genres and began finding new tracks and artists that I really liked.

After that, I started to change my sound and began making tech house and techno, which led to me going out a lot in the NY scene. The first real night club I went to was District 36 when I was 17 to see Victor, and it got me to see how everything worked outside of the teen clubs I had been playing. Then I started going to Pacha NYC when I was 18, and those nights really helped me learn everything, how to go through certain tracks throughout the course of a night and control a crowd. That’s when I started DJ’ing at 21+ clubs when I was 18.

Before I started releasing music as Avision, I hadn’t really found my sound yet. I had been releasing music on a bunch of labels under my real name, but I was really just finding my sound and experimenting on who I was as an artist. Once I finished around a hundred tracks, I really figured out what my sound was and the direction I wanted to take with my music. The first Avision release was just over 2 years ago on Victor’s Waveform label, and it went over really well. There was pretty strong feedback from a lot of DJ’s that I respect, and Carl Cox and Joseph Capriati played my track “Conception” at Awakenings in 2016.

After that first Avision release, I sent Mark Broom a Facebook message saying that I was a fan of his and his label Beardman, and sent him an EP that same week. He ended up signing it and he remixed a track from it as well, and this release really kicked things off for me. Mark is such a highly respected figure in techno, and the release on his label really helped give my name credibility in the scene. Ben Sims, Truncate, and many more DJ’s were playing that EP. Having top techno artists supporting my music has been a big foundation of my career so far. I had a release on Carl Cox’s Intec label last year which was a highlight, as videos started popping up of Carl playing my track all over the world (he opened his set at Movement Detroit last year with my “Mind Of The Man” track). I’ve also released on Carlo Lio’s On Edge Society (and have a follow up planned for later this year), another release on Beardman, and also an EP on Ben Sims’ Hardgroove label up next (which will be my first vinyl release).

One of the most challenging things for me has been patience when it comes to gigging. I first started playing at Pacha NYC and building my name in the NY area, and at that point I was taking pretty much any gig that came my way. In NYC, there’s enough parties going on where I could probably be spinning somewhere every week, but since I’ve been releasing as Avision, I’ve really been picky on how many gigs I’ve taken as my goal is to be touring globally in the very near future. Now in NY I probably spin every couple of months or so, and I try for the most part to make sure that the gig is with a bigger DJ I respect and/or with one of the leading promoters and venues in the area so that I’m able to keep building my name up. Lately, I’ve been able to tour more around North America, and have crossed off some key gigs at venues like Stereo Montreal, Space in Miami and The BPM Festival in Mexico.

In the U.S., the techno scene keeps growing and getting larger, but a lot of the people that go out in the U.S. pay attention to what’s going on overseas, and what artists are big there. As an American artist in Techno, in a way it feels like you really need to “make it” and have that stamp of approval by the right clubs and fans overseas in order to breakthrough as a bigger artist here in the States. The club culture in Europe is highly respected, and over here it feels like a new cycle of that club culture has started only in the past decade (with the current wave of electronic music). My focus next is on breaking through in Europe, and I’m working on my first dates there for later this year.

Some key things that have helped me so far in my career:

Mentors: I think it’s really important to have mentors to learn from, and I’ve been lucky to have one right in my family. Victor has been a great mentor to me, and when I started producing I would constantly send him big groups of tracks at a time. He would always give me constructive feedback, but in a positive way so that I was never discouraged.

Networking: Building relationships is something that takes time to create, and I think it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity that comes to you. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve gone to see a DJ that plays my music, and from that have built a connection and now have an amazing relationship. Everyone likes to put a face to a name. I like to try and take advantage of any opportunity I can to say thank you to a DJ for playing my music, or ask them where I can send new music to, etc.

Work Ethic: I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and I haven’t taken a day off since. What you put in is what you get out of it. If you’re not in it for the long run, there’s no point in starting. It’s important to take pride in your work and know how to change and evolve over time. Really focus on your strengths and improve your weaknesses.

Team: Having a team behind you is a big aspect in having & building a career – you can’t do everything alone. It’s important to have people in your life that care about you & your career, and to help you build and grow as an artist.

Love: Lastly, it’s important to just love what you do, and to recognize that things will be up & down, and not everything will be sunshine & rainbows all of the time. Keep your focus on the big picture and your long-term goals!

 

Order a copy of ‘Free Your Mind’ here

Techno Tuesday: My Favorite Robot select the tracks that define their MFR Imprint

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Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

My Favorite Robot maintain an enduring mission: to spread love for more nuanced shades of dance music as widely as possible, all while refusing to define themselves under any one label. The result of this mission? A diverse repertoire of compositions, each containing a skillful balance of house, progressive, and tech elements that are fused into a cohesive whole. Their approach to musicmaking and their unique sound in general has led to the Canadian duo landing on multiple prolific labels, the likes of which include Last Night On Earth, Crosstown Rebels, and No. 19.

My Favorite Robot - 2018

Beyond releases on other labels, My Favorite Robot have one of their own, dubbed MFR Records. Their brainchild has come far from its humble beginnings, signing Kenny Glasgow, Clarian, Emerson Todd, and other greats into its fold over time, just to name a few. The label has just crossed into its milestone 10th birthday, moving at full speed ahead into its next decade of existence.

We wrangled the outfit ahead of embarking on their celebratory label tour, which kicked off mid-April, and got them to give us a list of what they’ve deemed to be label-defining releases over the years. Enjoy the selections!

 


2008 – My Favorite Robot – In The Dark

2009 – Kenny Glasgow – ‘Something Special’

2010 – Jonny White & My Favorite Robot – ‘Desensitize’ (Chloe Remix)

2011 – Nitin – ‘Blink Twice’

2012 – Fairmont – ‘Old Ways’

2013 – Tim Paris – ‘Outback, Stones, & Vinyl’

2014 – Clarian – ‘Unrest’

2015 – My Favorite Robot – ‘Glass To The End’

2016 – Jori Hulkkonen – ‘Black Books’

2017 – Rodion & Local Suicide – ‘Abu Dhabi (Los Mekanikos Remix)’

2018 – Sebastopol – ‘Friday To Sunday’

 

Remaining Tour Dates:

May 12 – Enter the Dragon [Munich, GER]
May 12 – Groove Club [Mexicali, MEX]
May 15 – Techno Taco Tuesdays [Las Vegas, NV]
May 18 – Solset at Firehouse [San Diego, CA]

What are Lady Gaga and Boys Noize up to?

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God bless Twitter. It’s a lawless breeding ground for the Internet’s worst moments, but among many other uses, it has become a powerful vehicle for speedy, viral marketing grabs and not-so-subtle distribution channel for our favorite artists. Whatever Lady Gaga and Boys Noize are up to with the recent exchange of some very juicy tweets — we’re already salivating for more. In just three tantalizing sentences between them, the day’s reigning techno don and pop megastar respectively may have confirmed the collaboration we’re likely not yet worthy of.

“And it spit out beautiful weirdness afterwards.” 

Yes, of course it did, but what could this mean? Perhaps BNR‘s head honcho is writing a new track on Gaga’s next project? Is the Perfect Illusionvocalist lending her iconic vocals to a dark, industrial masterpiece? They each sound like a long shot, but the writing is on the Twitter wall for us to relentlessly pick apart. Who knows what came from Lady Gaga’s rather careless episode in Boys Noize’s studio? Whatever they’re up to, Lady Gaga and Boys Noize sound like a strange match made in electro heaven, and we’re already hooked.

Pan-Pot and Chus & Ceballos try their hand at Carl Cox’ ‘Your Light Shines On’ [EP Review]

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Carl Cox

Beloved icon Carl Cox cast his 2016 single “Your Light Shines On” out into the electrosphere, and it returned to him reimagined by two stalwart duo.

Chus & Ceballos offered up a house-based rendition of the original, opting to stay truer its roots. That isn’t to say they didn’t make it into their own. The outfit laid down the grooves with a pronounced bassline and minimal synths, creating an enduring piece. It’s infectious as ever, per their usual tendencies.

Meanwhile, Pan-Pot naturally took a darker and more industrial turn with their rendition, injecting cloudy white noise, robotic bloops, and throbbing bass into the mix to create a knocking techno tune. They too maintain the soulful elements of “Your Light Shines On,” however, summoning nostalgia at the end of the their edit.


Purchase the Remixes to ‘Your Light Shines On’ here

Desert Hearts lets 2018 lineup loose, gives away free pair of tickets for the wait [CONTEST + ANNOUNCEMENT]

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DesertHearts2017_MichaelDrummond-8391

The time to enjoy three unhindered days of House, Techno, & Love under one Desert Hearts stage is imminent, with April 28 less than a month away. Accordingly, the beloved tranformational brand’s crew has unveiled potentially its most stacked lineup to date.

Damian Lazarus stands out as a veritable “star of the show,” with the wizard-esque DJ slated for a four-hour set. LA staples-turned-underground-icons Dance Spirit will be doing a special live set, as will Doc Martin alongside Sublevel. Other highlights include Tim Engelhardt, Lauren Lane, Kenny Glasgow, SHADED, and Nathan Barato. Of course, the Desert Hearts of Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, Marbs, and Porkchop themselves will be playing as well.

There’s more: since tickets to the weekend have already sold out, the crew have decided to stage a free giveaway as well to a loyal fan who might have missed the mark before the sellout. Mikey Lion has also made a celebratory playlist for the occasion. Simply follow the link for instructions on how to enter.


Desert Hearts
Photo Credit: Michael Drummond

Adana Twins go dark on ‘Sequence 01’ [Premiere + Interview]

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Adana Twins

If the name “Adana Twins” doesn’t ring a bell, their music is certain to conjure memories of nights out, or days spent dancing in the open air.

The German duo has caught the house and techno world by storm, crafting up melodically-inclined releases that fulfill cravings for both sentimentality and grittiness. Having spent well over a decade on the underground circuit, many point to the release of their widely-proliferated Diynamic anthem “Uncompromising” as the point where their names became cemented into celebrity.

Their newest release is yet another on the reputable Watergate label, which has become their home base of sorts. Dancing Astronaut has the privilege of premiering its B-Side “Sequence 01,” which sees the pair exploring their darker, groove-driven side. Featured originally on Tale Of Us‘ Fabric 97 mix, “Sequence 01” opens with warm arps strung together with crisp percussion, slowly unfolding into a celestial journey through brooding melodies and hollow vocal accents. It’s one of the Adana Twins’ most shadowy offerings to date, and is built to control the dancefloor.

They also graciously answered a few burning questions we had on their musical development, perseverance, and their go-to labels for finding new music.


You guys have been pretty well-known for quite some time, but it feels like your career has really taken off over the past few years with notable singles like “Etah” and “Uncompromising.” What are some words of advice you have to offer on perseverance, patience, and sticking with something while maintaining faith it will all work out?
Believe in what you are doing! There are ups and downs. But never take the downs to serious and focus on the positive things. When the time is right you will have success. In case you don’t have success, it might be good to have a second thing running. For example, we worked in design & advertising for a long time, but music was always our passion and we spent every free minute in the DJ both and in the studio. However, with our jobs, we always had a backup and we only quit when our music career was full on running.

In your eyes, which songs of your discography capture your ethos as a group the most, and why?
Strange, Flower of Cane, Uncompromising, Sequence 01 and an upcoming one called Ebrietas. All those tunes show our love for melodic or bass driven dark dancefloor tunes.

You guys have been putting out some real hypnotic cuts these days, which the dance world now seems to be labelling as “melodic house & techno.” What draws you to more nuanced, melodic strains of dance music, and what have been the biggest influences over your sound recently?
Maybe it’s because we both are emotional guys with a big heart ;). Straight and cold tunes are nothing for us. We need emotion. The influences may have been some 90s trance anthems, old school techno and everything else that touches us.

What is your process for writing music, and what inspires you most in the studio?
Mostly our gigs inspires us. We are DJs and ravers, and the dancefloor experience helped us a lot to find our style. The process is different from project to project. Sometimes we remix our own tracks and take an already finished project and do something new with it. Other times we just start from scratch. The computer-mouse in the right hand and a good glass of rum in the left.

How did the writing process go for the ‘Jupiter’ EP? How did those records come about?
It was a project we started from scratch and we finished it straight in one day. Some days are better than others.

Which labels and artist are your top “go-tos” when it comes to finding fresh music for sets? Or, do you use a different methodology for hunting down tunes to play out?
Afterlife & Innervions are always great. But we don’t focus too much on labels. We focus more on good records stores. Muting the Noise and Hard Wax have a nice selection and we always find some nice stuff there.

You’ve worked primarily with Watergate lately, including for the release of your new ‘Jupiter’ EP. What do you like best about working with this imprint, compared with others?
Watergate became family for us and we are really close to the guys. We definitely had some of our best nights at this magic place. We are super happy to release on this great imprint.

Where have your favourite places in the world been to play and why?
South America is always amazing. Especially Brazil and Argentina. The crowd is always so emotional and totally into the music.

Feature Photo Credit: Vitali Gelwich