Flying Lotus 3D show added last minute to FORM Arcosanti lineup, festival drops new compilation ahead of fifth installment

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As FORM Arcosanti nears its fifth annual installment, the festival is gearing up to host its largest edition yet with Skrillex, Charli XCX, Fleet Foxes, Hundred Waters and more heading to the Arizona desert over Mother’s Day weekend. Unfortunately, just ahead of the event, Chance The Rapper has been forced to cancel his FORM debut, which was slated to be his only North American booking of the year. Replacing the Chicago rhymer is a tough last-minute spot to fill, but luckily Friday night’s headlining duties have been picked up by Brainfeeder mastermind Flying Lotus, bringing his sensory overloading 3D live show to Arcosanti’s amphitheater.

While Chano won’t be making it to this year’s event, the rest of FORM’s lineup is comprised of impeccably curated talents including Blood Orange, Daniel Caesar, Mija, SOPHIE, Beach House, The Black Madonna, and more, all of whom are featured on a new 19-track compilation released by the festival. See the full track list and download the compilation below:

FORM ARCOSANTI COMPILATION TRACKLIST
Charli XCX – Dreamer feat. A .G Cook (Bibi Bourelly version)
Mija – Notice Me
Bombino- Deran Deran Alkheir (Well Wishes)
Courtney Barnett – City Looks Pretty
Dirty Projectors – Break Thru
(Sandy) Alex G – Rocket
Julie Byrne – I Live Now As a Singer
Kelsey Lu – Running Backwards
Half Waif – Salt Candy
CEP – Lilian’s Pavilion
Hundred Waters – Mushroom Cloud
A1 – Untitled 6 (Ebow) (Paul Corley Remix)
Beach House – Lemon Glow
Julie Byrne – Natural Blue
Lawrence Rothman – Wolves Still Cry
Show Me Love (Skrillex Remix) ft. Chance the Rapper, Moses Sumney, & Robin Hannibal
The Black Madonna – He is the Voice I Hear
Zola Jesus – Exhumed
Ho99o9- The Dope Dealerz
Featured image: Emma McIntyre

Beyond the headliners: DA presents the top 10 must-see acts of Coachella 2018

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America’s cornerstone music festival is fast approaching its Empire Polo Club descent. As Coachella Music Valley Music & Arts Festival enters its 19th annual celebration, the festival reflects on music’s past, relishes in its present, and amplifies its future. It’s an exuberant apex promising the land of milk and honey for its frenzied fashion frolickers and music aficionados alike.

Those that secured passes this year conquered its fastest selling edition on record despite having endured a price hike. This year sees the Goldenvoice brainchild packing punches and taking names as per usual. Rock ‘n roll’s presence has dwindled, giving rise to rap, pop, and R&B. Beyoncé, The Weeknd, and Eminem are headlining. In the electronica arena, rising acts like Louis the Child, Alan Walker, AC Slater, Petit Biscuit, Whethan, Cash Cash, and San Holo are carrying the torch of a new era of radio-friendly, pop-centric dance music, which Coachella’s clearly noticing based on their booking choices. 

We here at Dancing Astronaut have taken to compile a complete list of acts we deem unmissable ahead of the gathering’s first weekend. By now the set times have dropped and there are inevitable conflicts, but these acts are among the most exciting debuts, performances, and compasses for where dance music has been and will shift in the years to come.

10) Ekali

Photo Credit: Brandon Artis

If a cosign from Skrillex doesn’t entice you, perhaps it’ll behoove you to know that the OWSLA signee Ekali sold out his Babylon tour through December of last year. Maybe you’d like to know that the trap maven moves through genres with ease, having collaborated already with TroyBoi, Denzel Curry, and KRANE. Last year, he released a huge collaboration with Zhu and dropped a wide range of mixes, including his three-hour-long Awakening mixes, a Diplo & Friends mix, and a Triple J mix. Ekali became a household name in the dance community in 2017, and accordingly, DA named him one of the producers of the year. This year, he’s moved from his 2016 DoLab performance slot to an afternoon slot in the Sahara tent and if that isn’t an impressive testament to his own, and a rising class of new dance acts’ versatility, growth, and impact in the modern dance realm we truly don’t know what is.

9) Petit Biscuit

Photo Courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Nineteen-year-old Mehdi Benjelloun, known musically as Petit Biscuit, has already proven his music production talents are well beyond his years. Classically trained in the cello by the age of five, Benjelloun’s monumental remix of ODESZA‘s “Memories That You Call,” drew comparisons to the duo with a refreshing injection of poise. Not to mention, Petit Biscuit wrote, produced, and mixed his debut album Presence over the course of the last year, somehow finding a balance between high school exams and sold-out tours across the world. Petit Biscuit’s Coachella debut is a testament to a new class of classically trained electronic musicians. May there be plenty more to come.

8) Kölsch

Photo Credit: Adrien Combes

Just last year, Kölsch ran through a slew of high profile festivals, had a stellar BBC Radio 1, an Ibiza residency at one of the island’s most renowned new destinations, played the iconic DC 10, Berghain‘s Panorama bar, and performed on the Eiffel Tower for five million people around the world. With both ease and great comfort, Kölsch’s sets implement an articulate understanding of his surroundings, and though Coachella 2018 marks his debut at the festival, his ability to read the room will surely see that he delivers here and for the rest of the world in the months to follow.

7) Barclay Crenshaw

Photo Courtesy of Artist

Dirtybird head honcho Claude VonStroke, also known by his hip-hop alter ego and real name, Barclay Crenshaw, is elevating one of dance music’s mightiest messages. As the founder of the Dirtybird Campout, Crenshaw’s proven the Dirtybird flock is much more than a tantalizing tech house home base, but an embodiment of the true meaning of dance music. He’s bringing the tribe back to the dance floor and proving that love and passion, for music, but more importantly for one another, will see it all through.

6) Chromeo

Photo Credit: Tim-Saccenti

One could argue that a Chromeo set in 2018 is outdated. But, that would be to ignore the duo’s immense cultural permeability, not to mention their timelessness, and an ultimate ushering in of contemporary disco music. Chromeo’s releasing a new album in June. For now, they’ve released a new bop with D.R.A.M and renowned Prince and D’angelo collaborator Jesse Johnson for what appears to allude to their grooviest album yet. Their Coachella set will undoubtedly feature a plethora of classics and new material alike, and you’d have to be crazy to miss that.

5) Detroit Love (Carl Craig, Kyle Hall, Moodymann)

Photo Courtesy of Artist

Keeping current and experimental with underground techno bookings proves to be no easy task. This year, Coachella’s dance bookings cater to the techno heads — see Maceo Plex, Chris Liebing, Joseph Capriati, and more — while simultaneously paying respect to the birthplace of the genre with the booking of Detroit Love. Detroit Love is a trio comprised of dancefloor experimentalist and top Detroit techno producer Carl Craig, Kyle Hall, and Moodymann. Ultimately, it’s small wonder Goldenvoice looked to this crew. If any group were to lay siege on the compelling concoction that is Motown, jazz, and techno, there would be no better choice than these homies from the “D.”

4) The Black Madonna

Photo Credit: Aldo Paredes

In the era of #MeToo, where women are speaking out against their oppressors, The Black Madonna uses her music as a means to amplify the voices of the fringe dance community. Her sets raise up the central voices of club history — ones that have been forced to the periphery or silenced entirely — through a provocative exudence of acid house, disco, and outright emotion.  Her music seeps groove and love that’s made to replenish the soul.

3) Peggy Gou

Photo Credit: Dan Medhurst

Peggy Gou is going to be here for a long time. Having graduated from the underground circuit with the highest honors of club-polished sounds in 2018, Gou brings forth sets that are a dynamic testament to her compelling curation and outpouring love for the craft. She wanted to the be the first female Korean DJ to play Berghain, which she was, and along the way she also became the first female Korean DJ to play BBC Radio 1‘s Essential Mix. Now, her Coachella debut solidifies that her electrifying electro and disco will only perpetuate her meteoric rise to stardom.

2) Alison Wonderland

Photo Courtesy of Artist

Alison Wonderland is speaking her truth. She’s just released her exquisite sophomore album, AWAKE, which is a compelling collection of EDM and hip-hop crossovers. From rappers to Grammy-award winning songwriters, Alison Wonderland is successfully holding the attention of her listeners, while offering one of the most refreshing perspectives of women in the genre’s history. It’s rife with sarcasm, and yet, poppy in its deliverance. The album sees Wonderland wielding her moniker’s trope as a weapon with ease, and it’ll be no surprise if she’s a household name come the end of the year. Considering how much the EDM world is a man’s microcosm, at least onstage,  the very presence of Alison Wonderland’s perspective tends to come off as a revolutionary, dare we say, awakening.

1) REZZ

Photo Credit: Will Selviz

Dancing Astronaut named REZZ 2017’s producer of the year, “The prodigy who exceeded all expectations,” we called her. And yet, to reduce REZZ to our expectations, in hindsight, feels wrong. She’s an artist. Mercurial and acting on her own unique vision. She’s promoting the consumption of water during her sets, like many, she’s working on the little things, improving her jumps during her sets, and she’s taking on the world. As the Coachella set times were looming we began to wonder if the outside world had caught up, whether it was ready to recognize Isabelle Rezazadeh’s global ascension. Having ripped into the scene three years ago with an unparalleled juxtaposition of industrial techno and pummeling bass,  REZZ carved an unforeseen niche in the mines of ominously-sinister, singular techno, and now, the world has taken notice. REZZ will close out the Sahara tent on Friday and the world will be watching. There are no doubts REZZ will continue her momentum into superstardom after this performance, and continue to exceed our expectations, but it’s probably time we let go of those and let the Space Mom do her thing.

Featured Image Courtesy of Coachella

Creamfields announces unmissable 2018 lineup

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Creamfields announced their 2018 lineup and it’s looking to be behemoth year for the Cheshire-based extravaganza. Rich in both depth and considerable breadth, the festival will bring together 300 artists across 30 stages from August 23–26.

Techno don Carl Cox will be making his return to the festival for the first time in over a decade, where numerous other artists will be making an appearance, showcasing the festival’s keen ability to tap into the full spectrum of dance music. From artists like Skream, Kölsch, and The Black Madonna, to The Chainsmokers, Tiësto, and Above & Beyond, Creamfields 21 promises to be an unmissable installment for all dance aficionados.

creamfields18-lineup

More information and tickets are available here.

FORM Arcosanti delivers impeccably curated lineup including Chance The Rapper, Skrillex, Charli XCX and more for fifth annual installment

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It has been half a decade since Hundred Waters began bringing their creative friends to Arizona’s high desert micro-city, Arocosanti. Now, the OWSLA-championed trio have curated their finest lineup yet ahead of the fifth installment of FORM Arcosanti. The model-challenging festival alternative is gearing up for its biggest edition in yet, with a bill topped by newcomers Chance The Rapper, Charli XCX, The Black Madonna, Fleet Foxes and Beach House. FORM participants experience intimate annual performances by Skrillex and Hundred Waters, along with slated appearances this year by Mija, SOPHIE, Tennyson, Daniel Caesar and more. Local Arizona legends, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra are also scheduled to make their festival debut.

form5-dancing-astro-flyer

The weekend-long event applies meticulous focus on creating an inclusive, inviting, and creative space not only for performances and visual showcases, but for education and social discourse as well. This year FORM has partnered with the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Chance The Rapper’s youth-empowerment initiative SocialWorks.

The fifth iteration of FORM is scheduled to take place from May 11-13.

Groove & love are at a high in The Black Madonna’s second BBC Radio 1 residency installment

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The Black Madonna — or as many know her, “the riot girrrl” of dance music — has dropped by the BBC Radio 1 decks and served up her second residency installment.

In just over an hour Marea Stamper delights in a beautiful amalgamation of funk, disco, soul, electro, and Italo.

Stamper’s in excellent form behind the decks, hinting at an absolute airway domination till the month of June. She’s piquing the interest of listeners in the sublime worlds of disco, funk, and more with a sweet and subtle educational gospel of love and appreciation for each genre’s respective pioneers.

She delves right into the funk as she drops off Masterstroke’s “Speak the Truth” and then invites listeners to join her on the global express where she moves to the late and great Nigerian William Onyeabor’s African dance classic “Better Change Your Mind.”

Before Stamper leaves the mix, she leaves listeners with the latest selection of her “History of the World” installment, where she pays homage to MFSB, or Mother Father Sister Brother and their monumental work of art “Love Is The Message.” It’s a tune that “transcends every other dance record ever made,” Stamper says.

“This record has been a hymn, a rabbit hole, and the key which unlocked a lifelong love of disco and I’m not alone. Few records have been sliced and diced by as many sample warriors or have exerted as much influence as this next one.”

She continues, “Love Is the Message transcends not only the sound of Philadelphia, but for my money, virtually every other dance record ever made. Its towering movements, bringing strings, and keys, and more to the front defines and surpasses the word iconic.”

The Black Madonna will continue to grace the BBC Radio 1 airways with crate classics through the month of June.

Listen to The Black Madonna’s second BBC Radio 1 residency installment here

Tracklist:

Paul Woolford- Son
Masterstroke- Speak The Truth
William Onyeabor- Better Change Your Mind
Herbert- Something Isn’t Right
Arp Frique- Nos Magia
Mallek Mohamed- Rouhi Ya Hafida
Homegrown Syndrome- Confrontation
Sylvester- Dance (Disco Heat)
Superprince- Start Again
Hi-Voltage- Lets Get Horney (Joey Negro Remix)
Randy Muller- Beautiful Feelin’
Chewy Rubs- Disco Chicago
Skream- An Ode To Mr. Smith
MSFB- Love Is The Message

Primavera Sound drops spectacular 2018 lineup

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Primavera_Sound_2014_Stuart_Philkill - 12

The vibrant affair Primavera Sound has announced a stunning 2018 lineup. Over 200 artists across a bevy of genres front the eighteenth edition set for May 28–June 3 in Barcelona.

Primavera Sound lends a glimpse into generational references with a pulse on contemporary music. The bill presents a push towards comprehensiveness, grrrl power, and once in a lifetime experiences in the live event sphere. With zero small print in the eminently danceable lineup, attendees can look forward to performances from Four Tet, French duo The Blaze, Chromeo, Jlin, Mount Kimbie, and Peggy Gou.

Hunee will go b2b with Antal. Both Seth Troxler and John Talabot have their own disco sets. Björk will perform her resplendent new album Utopia. Floating Points will perform both live and a six-hour DJ set. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein from S U R V I V E will perform the entire soundtrack from Stranger Things. Discwoman‘s Umfang and Volvox will go b2b. Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, DJ Koze, Lindström, Dekmantel Soundsystem, Palms Trax, The Black Madonna, Daphni, the killer DJ Shanti Celeste, and many more will see that euphoria and sweat reign supreme on the dance floor.

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More information can be found via Primavera Sound’s website.

Photo Credit: Stuart Philkill

Morocco’s 2018 Oasis Festival boasts Carl Cox, Derrick Carter, The Black Madonna & more

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Morocco’s exotic destination festival Oasis has announced the first wave of acts for 2018.Held September 14–16, 2018 on the outskirts of Marrakech, industry heavyweights like Carl Cox, The Black Madonna, Derrick Cater, and the underground head honcho Rødhåd front the bill are all set to make appearances. Oasis’ fourth edition will also see Lanza, Mount Kimbie, Nastia, Octo Octa (live), Paula Temple, Tim Sweeney, and William Djoko playing amongst its Atlas Mountains backdrop.

Festival-goers will also be presented the opportunity to immerse themselves in one of Northern Africa’s richest cultural destinations, relax amongst its lush tropical gardens, palms trees, and stunning views of the spectacular North African landscape.

Oasis Festival Phase 1

Tickets and more information are available here.

Featured Image Courtesy of Oasis Festival

Lightning in a Bottle drops off diverse 2018 lineup

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Bradley, California’s uniquely immersive festival, Lightning in a Bottle, has revealed the first phase of its 2018 musical line-up, set to take place May 23–28.

In an increasingly monotonous festival market, LiB defines itself in defying the norm. The festival’s forward-thinking curation has presently landed a diverse array of acts from Anderson.Paak & The Free Nationals, to Zhu, GriZ, Fever Ray, The Glitch Mob, Sofi Tukker, TOKiMONSTA, Modeselektor (DJ Set), Emancipator, Nicole Moudaber, The Black Madonna, and more.

Lightning in a Bottle’s strive for diversity in its programming can be best summed in music director and co-founder Jesse Flemming’s words:

“We’re definitely not trying to play the same game we are seeing with all the massive festivals these days when we book our music programming. Forget the big names you can see at 10 other festivals this year. For us the goal is to craft a musical playlist that will perfectly guide people along the experience we’re trying to create. We book each stage to be its own separate journey on any given day and we try to diversify it as much as possible so when you’re wandering around during the weekend you can always find something just right for you. This has been our goal since day one and it continues to shape how we book today.”

More information and tickets to Lightning in a Bottle, which go on-sale January 18 at 10 am PST, are available here.

LIB 2018 Lineup - HiRes

Featured image by D Zetterstrom

Read More:

5 artists not to miss at Lightning in a Bottle 2017

The Do LaB capture ‘Lightning in a Bottle’ in their fully-integrative festival experience [Review]

Dancing Astronaut’s Soundtrack to Lightning in a Bottle 2017

 

 

MUST LISTEN: The Black Madonna makes her stunning BBC Radio 1 residency debut

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The “riot girrrl” of dance music, The Black Madonna, has made her 2018 BBC Radio 1 residency debut.

Marea Stamper kicked off her residency with zeal, digging into the crates and serving up an archetypically Black Madonna array of deeper cuts from the likes of Talamanca System, Detroit’s Parliament, and the groove-God Kiki Gyan.

It’s going to be a decalescent ride through the new year, as Stamper’s already gathered a healthy bevy of her prized disco, techno, and house expertise in the very first episode. She’ll be dropping off an array of new tracks throughout the show, all while enlightening the masses to some of the should-be-known cultural pioneers. Right off the bat, she threw on Juan Maclean’s new project Ambivalent and made the world debut of his galvanizing new cut “Faded Pictures,” featuring Shaun J. Wright.

Stamper spliced in acid house, literally, from fellow BBC resident Artwork, and a range of tunes that were aptly out of the very city that bred her DJ prowess. She closed out the show with the tear-jerker classic, Gloria Ann Taylor’s “Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing,” and brought back her  History of The World segment which was the title of her first residency series in London at XOYO, a three-night collection of expansive music selections. The series will see Stamper selecting a track at the end of each mix, talking about its origins, as well as its socio-economic and artistic significance. “It’s one of the most gorgeously arranged pieces of dance music or soul music that’s ever existed,” she said of Gloria Ann Taylor’s “Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing,” and we couldn’t agree more.

Stamper’s Radio 1 residency kicked off January 11 and will continue through June of this year.

Listen to The Black Madonna’s BBC Radio 1 residency debut here

Tracklist:

Talamanca System- The Past Is The Future (Beatless Stars In Space Mix)
Parliament- P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
The Dynamics- Miracles
The Trammps- VIP
Kiki Gyan- Disco Dancer
Prince- Sexuality
Roni Griffith- Love Is A Drug
Ambivalent- Faded Pictures (feat. Shaun J. Wright)
Artwork- Let Go Of This Acid
Mike Dunn- DJ Beat That Shhh
Kirk the Flirt & Peter Pressure- My One Desire
Kitty Grant- Glad To Know You
Gloria Ann Taylor-Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing

Read More:

BBC Radio 1 announces 2018 residencies will include The Black Madonna, TOKiMONSTA, Mura Masa & more

The Black Madonna confirms debut album

DA Presents: 15 artists that rocked the underground in 2017

 

DA Presents: 15 artists that rocked the underground in 2017

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DA Presents: 15 artists that rocked the underground in 2017

Dance music’s second wind persists at a seemingly endless rate. In fact, its current boom has resulted in a complete infusion of the genre and into the fabric of the mainstream; megastars like Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers, and Kygo have helped shepherd in a new age of ubiquity and recognition from the masses.

The mainstream isn’t the only area of EDM that has flourished. A renaissance of sorts is currently underway below the surface, with subgenres like progressive, techno, and house exploding back into the public eye with new vigor.

As 2017 comes to a close, Dancing Astronaut undertook the arduous task of selecting 15 underground artists that were particular standouts throughout the past year — in our subjective opinion, of course. We also made special mention to two artists that consistently push music forward in their respective arenas.

 

Words by Christina Hernandez, Grace Fleisher, and John Flynn

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DVS1

Zak Khutoretsky, better known onstage as DVS1, has brought warehouse techno to some truly interesting places. The Berghain/Panorama Bar resident has pushed the sonic boundaries of techno in obvious places like London and Berlin, but has also found himself at more all encompassing festivals such as Florida’s Okeechobee, Belgium’s Tomorrowland, and Ibiza’s CircoLoco event. Equipped with an arsenal of more than 30,000 records, experience at some of the world’s most established techno clubs, and an admiration for purist techno, Khutoretsky has broken ground in the global technosphere by forming his own dark sonic landscape.

Words by: John Flynn

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Amelie Lens

Amelie Lens is on the ascension as Belgium’s latest techno stalwart. After debuting on the Italian Lyase Recordings, Lens is paving her way as an impenetrable force in the genre. She’s finished off the year with her Stay With Me EP, which is a heightened juxtaposition of both the beauty and form of techno. In an utmost surrendering to the astounding, Lens boasts her ominously pulsating prowess, complete with a thrilling remix from the esteemed Perc.

Considering Lens’ 2017 standing with Drumcode labelmates, an occupation of copious underground lineups around the world, and her own nights at Labyrinth club in Hasselt, she brought her foreboding techno to a circuit where it will deservedly reign for quite some time.

Words by: Grace Fleisher Photo Credit: Guy Houben

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Jeremy Olander

Jeremy Olander had an undeniably powerful 2017 — a result following his creativity down a path that has since placed him among the ranks of fellow Swedes like Eric Prydz and Adam Beyer. The year saw his Vivrant imprint come into its own, defining its dark, progressive ethos with releases by Khen, Tim Engelhardt, and more recently, André Hommen. Additionally, the former Pryda Friend released some of his most well-loved pieces yet on his label, in the form of his Damon and Gattaca EPs.

His success extended outside Vivrant in plenty of other ways as well: in May, he made his debut on Bedrock alongside Cristoph, only to move onto Anjunadeep in December with a euphoria-inducing Crossed. Having also underwent an enormous year of touring, which included a residency in LA, it’s safe to say that 2017 was the year of Olander.

Words by: Christina Hernandez

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Floating Points

Floating Points — real name Sam Shepherd — has been a mainstay in experimental techno for quite some time, but it was only until this year that he began to boil to the surface of mainstream music. After releasing the wildly innovative Nuits Sonores/Nectarines, he released his debut album Elaenia much to the acclaim of critics. Performances at large scale festivals such as St. Jerome’s Laneway, Disclosure’s Parklife, and Pukkelpop under his belt, 2017 marked a capstone year for Floating Points.

Possibly the largest indication of mainstream infiltration, though, were Shepherd’s performances at Coachella this year, performing both with his expansive 11-piece live band The Floating Points Ensemble and in a packed Yuma tent for a three hour back to back DJ set with colleagues Four Tet and Daphni. Needless to say, 2017 marked a momentous year for the intellectual techno auteur.

Words by: John Flynn

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Honey Dijon

With the release of her highly anticipated album, The Best Of Both Worlds, in the fall of 2017, Honey Dijon has delivered a testament to her extensive background and immense knowledge of dance music with a compelling bevy of material. As a black, trans woman, Dijon’s relationship with dance music is a culminated collection of necessity. Her music is beyond passion. In 2017, her cross-genre sets at Berghain, Space, Smart Bar, as well as her speaking out on issues of gender in club culture, solidified the need of cultural representatives like Honey Dijon in underground dance music culture. Considering Dijon’s involvement in the dance scene dates back to when she was 12-years-old, it’s likely that the future has even more in store, and thankfully so.

Words by: Grace Fleisher

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Bedouin

Bedouin‘s late 2016 Essential Mix served as an indicator of the kind of year the pair would have in the coming months. However, 2017 brought even more milestones than one might have expected, and secured their reign over the deep, desert-inclined tech realm. They have been utterly unstoppable in past months, charting releases on Cityfox, All Day I Dream, and Crosstown Rebels with their sought-after remix of Pink Floyd’s classic, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.” While dominating the music sphere with a plethora of new records, Bedouin also broke new ground in the promotion arena with the foundation of their SAGA series Ibiza, which saw the likes of Guy Gerber, Damian Lazarus, and more transform Heart into a mecca for all things mystical. The duo will only continue to build upon their strong 2017 foundation until they’ve reached the top.

Words by: Christina Hernandez

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I Hate Models

Green to the techno world, the mysterious nature of I Hate Models is part of the purist techno producer’s M.O. Steeped in nebulous synth work and carried by the gut wrenching thud of fibrillating pulsations, I Hate Model’s brilliant soundscape is the result of authentic emotions and nothing less than a perfectionist desire to create near perfect techno music. Their 2016 EP Warehouse Memories catapulted I Hate Models to stardom with the seminal tune “Daydream,” which amalgamates a rapidly paced, thunderous kick pattern with Detroit-inspired space synths and acid melodies. “Melancholy, nostalgia, passions, the suffering self,” reads their official Biography, “The expression of personal feelings” it continues, “The taste for loneliness, the desire to flee, travel, dream…” IHM’s State of Control EP was another step in their artistic evolution, further solidifying them as one of underground techno’s most audacious newcomers in 2017.

Words by: John Flynn Photo Credit: Helena Majewska

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Chicola

Despite having over two decades of music production experience, and releases on Hernan Cattaneo’s Sudbeat, Guy Mantzur’s Plattenbank, and more, Chicola just released his debut album Could Heaven Be on Guy J’s esteemed progressive label Lost & Found earlier this year. The LP spans twelve tracks and is an eloquent exploration of the Israeli artist’s personal dealings. Could Heaven Be boasts sinister drum work, but soars in its serene, cinematic soundscapes. Such sophistication is exactly what has allotted Chicola’s impressive array of work and sustained friendships in the underground. Chicola’s delectable builds and swathing beauty are inching towards the work of Dixon, Sasha, John Digweed, and Hernan Cattaneo; which is certainly something we can’t wait to watch come into fruition.

Words By: Grace Fleisher

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Fur Coat

Venezuelan duo Fur Coat have asserted their authority in the melodic techno realm, helping pioneer the rise of this relatively new sound with innovative new music and in purveying it to the global masses. After opening their year with an EP on Sasha’s Last Night On Earth, they proceeded to carve an even deeper niche into the underground with the foundation of their Oddity imprint and the subsequent release of a breathtaking Genesis EP. While only containing two bodies of work thus far, the fact that Dubspeeka, Natural Flow, and Slam have signed work onto the fledgling label demonstrates its caliber moving into the new year.

Fur Coat’s recognition extended into the indie pop world in 2017, with the outfit being tapped for re-working both Röyksopp and Sailor & I into their own ethereal interpretation.

Words by: Christina Hernandez

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Charlotte De Witte

Charlotte De Witte spends most of her days traveling for gigs or at home in Belgium, where she is working steadfast to promote up and coming talent on her local radio show. Her native Belgian roots in the underground have provided a more than apt framework for the young DJ & producer to work from, but the world is also calling Charlotte De Witte’s name. The myriad festivals that De Witte has performed at in 2017 is striking: Dour Festival, Awakenings, Tomorrowland, EXIT, Oasis Festival, the list goes on. With four EPs under her belt in 2017, and a plethora of commanding live performances, Charlotte De Witte has solidified herself as one of techno’s most forthright newcomers.

Words by: John Flynn

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Shall Ocin

Maceo Plex pupil and Argentinian techno phenom Shall Ocin has carved himself a unique niche in sinister techno over the last few years. Ocin has a knack for the foreboding analog, which is largely driven by the use of modular synths. The underground mainstay has even established his very own Clash Lion imprint. The label’s very first release was from Maceo Plex himself, albeit under his Maetrik alias. Shall Ocin’s doubled down on his diverse output of gut-wrenching techno in his latest EP Bounty Hunter. It’s brimming with atmospheric modulations, slow pulsating synth work, and an experimental analog amalgam. Ocin’s passion for innovation is clear, and with a demonstrated ability to continually work outside of his previous material — he’s even closed out the year with a Beatport artist of the week mix — Ocin’s proving to be an impenetrable installment in the underground circuit.

Words by: Grace Fleisher

13

Rinzen

The word “Rinzen” translates to “sudden awakening” — a definition that couldn’t be any more pertinent to Michael Sundius’ development under the moniker throughout the past year. He found a new home on Mau5trap beginning with his original debut “Renegade,” and has since shown the dance sphere just how deep his creativity runs. Years of hardwork culminated in Forbidden City — his first ever EP — which stole music afcionados’ hearts with its enchanting, yet sinister storyline that depicts a hero’s journey by way of cinematic string elements and clever synthwork. Not to mention, his skills attracted promoters at Brooklyn’s prolific club Output, who placed trust in him to spend the entirety of NYE weekend opening for both Cristoph and Eric Prydz. With a fire that burns stronger, tangible passion for his craft, and a strong sense of humility, we predict great things are in story for Rinzen after such a dynamic first year on the scene.

 

Words by: Christina Hernandez Photo credit: Michael Drummond

14

Palms Trax

UK based Jay Donaldson — aka Palms Trax — has acquired a taste for a plethora of world influences ranging from Chicago house to European Nu-Disco, and everywhere in between. Donaldson has made waves with his Cooking with Palms Trax radio show (which has now become a full blown residency at Glasgow’s intimate , expansive boiler room sets, and performances at festivals such as Dekamantel, Glitch Festival, and CRSSD, as well as in such legendary clubs as Berlin’s Berghain. By amalgamating sounds from across the entire globe, Palms Trax’s sets feel like a voyage from nation to nation, plucking groove heavy flutes, synths, and drums from nearly every geographic region and time period.

Words by: John Flynn

15

Rødhåd

Since the inception of Rødhåd’s first record on his Dystopian label in 2012, the underground purveyor has been praised by innumerable global mavens. Artists like Jeff Mills, Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock, Laurent Garnier, Sven Väth, and more, have praised Rødhåd as the king of the anti-establishment underground. He’s built his reputation on an immersive idiosyncrasy and delivered dramatic, engulfing sets at industrial utopias around the world. More recently Rødhåd’s slung out a cavernous catalog of brooding, cinematic techno. In 2017, the Berlin native delivered his enveloping 10-track album Anxious. The record’s an aptly-named theatric affair, which Rødhåd’s described as “the time we live in.” Expectedly, it served as an integral timepiece of the brooding, underground circuit, which will propel the brand of afflicted release to entirely new heights, and continue to allow listeners to lose themselves, only to discover new dimensions in the acts that will follow in Rødhåd’s foreboding footsteps.

Words by: Grace Fleisher

16

Henry Saiz

Henry Saiz is an artist in every sense of the world, pouring his entire being into each production and going above and beyond to seek innovative new ways to compose music. Having succeeded in crowdfunding his expansive new audiovisual album project, 2017 saw the artist and his band travel to new realms to both create and roadtest new musical concepts. This endeavor bled into his outputs for 2017; at the tail end of September, he earned a nomination for the Essential Mix of the Year after making his debut on the series. Prior to that, he celebrated the 10th anniversary of his Natura Sonoris label with a rare second contribution to the Balance mix series. Progressive and electronica are having a moment currently, and Saiz has proved himself to be one of the leaders in this new revolution.

Words by: Christina Hernandez Photo credit: Chris Soltis

17

Special Mention: The Black Madonna

Marea Stamper told Resident Advisor in 2014 that she hoped to embody “the core values of inclusion and pure dance euphoria.” In the year of #MeToo, where women spoke out against their oppressors, and where sexual assault outings, misogyny, and political turmoil seemed to unravel on an endless timeline, The Black Madonna doubled down on the use of her platform as a voice for the voiceless. Her music amplified the voices of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. Stamper’s sets raised up the central voices of club history — ones that have been forced to the periphery or silenced entirely — through a provocative exudence of acid house, disco, and outright emotion. In 2017, the Black Madonna seamlessly linked the past and the present through her track “He Is The Voice I Hear.” Dedicated to a string of disco legends —Larry Levan, Walter Gibbons, and Loleatta Holloway — the multifarious number rode out a spine-tingling idiosyncrasy, encapsulating her aforementioned goal — as if she hadn’t already — with an apt juxtaposition of anxiety and groove. Without uttering a word, the harrowing empowerment of “He Is The Voice I Hear” spoke volumes and epitomized the socioeconomic atmosphere of an entire year that had still yet to unfold.

Words by: Grace Fleisher

18

Special Mention: Hernan Cattaneo

There’s a reason why Hernan Cattaneo is called “El Maestro” among fans. He possesses an uncanny ability to mix records, making seamless transitions and taking his audiences on a deep journey within themselves through each of his sets. While he serves as a continual pillar of inspiration within the progressive, and underground sphere as a whole, the Argentinian legend also had some key milestones in 2017 to date. His Sudbeat label saw an abundance of releases, and he was also able to assemble a powerhouse slate of artists to help kickstart the year with a Balance compilation. We imagine this incredible artist will continue to use his platform to proliferate top quality music as 2018 sets into place.

Words by: Christina Hernandez