Tchami confirms debut studio album is finally on the way

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Tchami confirms debut studio album is finally on the wayTchami Facebook

In a world of cryptic social media hints and announcing upcoming announcements to stir up buzz, it’s refreshing to see an artist come out directly and explicitly state what fans can expect to see next. And that’s exactly what house music monolith Tchami did when he revealed his debut full-length project is now in the works.

“My next project will be my first album,” said Tchami in a tweet earlier this week. Though no release date was mentioned, fans can rest easy knowing the LP is underway, and likely due to land sometime this year. The Confession label head has been hard at work lately, remixing Diplo and Valentino Khan‘s “JustYourSoul,” and dropping a slew of remixed takes on his collaboration with DJ Snake, Malaa, and Mercer. Between those releases, and the upcoming album, it’s safe to say 2020 will be one for the books for Tchami.

Stream Claude VonStroke’s fourth artist album, ‘Freaks & Beaks’

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Stream Claude VonStroke’s fourth artist album, ‘Freaks & Beaks’Claude Vonstroke Aaron Glassman

In preparation for Dirtybird Records‘ biggest year yet, Claude VonStroke has dropped off his fourth artist album and sixth full-length project, Freaks & Beaks. Embracing the pursuit of funky, fresh eccentricity, VonStroke harkens back to free-spirited ethos of the decade-defining label’s formative years in his latest album. Celebrating his imprint’s 15th year anniversary, the Dirtybird boss has a full arsenal of festivities in store for the milestone moment—encompassing over two dozen parties including new party CampInn, three festivals, an art gallery show, and more.

Freaks & Beaks showcases a genre diversity inspired by corners of VonStroke’s world, from family to friends, dance floors and old memories. With an irresistible groove that persists throughout the various influences of hip-hop, ghetto tech, breaks, and more, the album thrives on its experimentation with inside jokes, samples, and obscure ideas. Weird and fun, Freaks & Beaks epitomizes the principles of VonStroke’s creative intention, leaving no wonder as to why Dirtybird has become an undeniable cornerstone of the house and techno party scene.

Stream Freaks & Breaks below.

Photo Credit: Aaron Glassman

The Weeknd shares alluring title track from forthcoming LP, ‘After Hours’ [Stream]

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The Weeknd shares alluring title track from forthcoming LP, ‘After Hours’ [Stream]The Weeknd After Hours Album Art

The sexy mystique specific to The Weeknd’s catalogue expands with dark grandeur on “After Hours,” the title track from the crooner’s forthcoming LP, due later this spring. Between its slithering mid-tempo pace, crepuscular chords, and the tantalizing velvet of The Weeknd’s vocals, “After Hours” harkens back to Abel Tesfaye’s Trilogy days.

Constructively and tonally distinct from the two singles that arrived in November 2019, “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights,” on “After Hours” The Weeknd conjures the alluring ache of his earlier discography. Like the contentious romances of which the vocalist so frequently sings, parting from “After Hours” is no easy endeavor. Primed for repeated midnight listens, the new record invites heavy replay action, and that’s presumably what fans will be doing right up until the moment After Hours arrives in full on March 20.

No Mana rewards patience on transcending debut album, ‘Secret Level’ [Stream]

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No Mana rewards patience on transcending debut album, ‘Secret Level’ [Stream]No Mana Chris Koeppen 2020

Good things come to those who wait, and fans of mau5trap artist No Mana know that better than almost anyone else. After 14 editions of his UP EP series, No Mana has released his long-awaited debut album, Secret Level.

Blending elements of trance, progressive house, and tech-house, the 11-track debut picks up where lead single, “Strangers” featuring Jantine, left off. The high-tempo album offers a symphony of well-polished, beautifully-designed beats that are perfect representations of the producer’s ELECTROHOUSE2020 Twitter-driven campaign.

The Secret Levels producer teams up with mau5trap labelmate (and fellow ELECTROHOUSE2020 supporter) EDDIE on “Fragile Human,” a trance ballad that mesmerizes with its synth build-up and enchanting lyrics—guaranteed to make its way into sets at EDC Las Vegas‘ circuitGROUNDS stage. EDC itself was a festival that helped inspire No Mana to craft the chord progressions on “Strangers” after attending the event in 2019. Fans of Mat Zo —who may remember when No Mana designed the artwork for the “Vice” VIP — will gravitate to “VVVR,” the album’s last track, which originally started as a bootleg for Zo’s “Hurricane.”

No Mana is currently on his Secret Something headlining tour, with support from Speaker Honey, Sian, and Sysdemes.

Photo Credit: Chris Koeppen

Spencer Brown manifests complexity into flow state with, ‘Stream of Consciousness’ [Review/Q&A]

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Spencer Brown manifests complexity into flow state with, ‘Stream of Consciousness’ [Review/Q&A]Spencer Brown Press Shot

Creating music with the listening beauty of mass appeal akin to a radio hit, but defying the essence of the rinse-and-repeat mentality—this is a feat Spencer Brown is privy to. In a few flashy years, the 26 year-old producer has toured with the late Avicii, debuted his first album Illusion of Perfection, risen as heavyweight label Anjuna‘s prodigy, collaborated with Above & Beyond on dance floor staple, “Long Way From Home,” exponentially grown a dedicated fanbase, and to top it off, graduated from Duke University with a distinction. As if his lengthy attainments were simply starter courses, Brown has decidedly delivered his sophomore album Stream of Consciousness less than two years after his 2018 debut LP.

As music stands in its current state, there has been an undeniable loss of the album as a body of work, complicated by the growing appeal of a cash-out, declining listener appreciation, and other factors. Brown could care less; rather, his agenda is the complete opposite; his commitment to the presentation of his art remains steadfast. While both albums boast striking standalone tracks, their true power comes in a listening experience packaged collectively in full-length. Where Stream of Consciousness diverges from its predecessor is its purposeful conception as a mix album, building upon the idea of “flow state.” In Brown’s intention for his second album, he hones the art of mixing in an execution that truly exceeds his debut.

Stream of Consciousness‘s movement from track to track contain an effortlessness that speaks to Brown’s lucid grasp on the album as as whole. The 12-track album finds ingenuity in its ability to portray multiple nuances of one central identity as opposed to conjoining separate characters. Paired with crisp production and meticulous engineering, Brown’s latest effort encompass songs as their borderlines morph into fleeting dispositions, succumbing to the mix wizard’s disintegration.

With acutely-tuned sensitivity, Brown knows that for an album to make an indelible impression on a listener, it requires patience. True enough, Stream of Consciousness grows more sublime with every listen—the tiny details become more attuned while conceptual themes bloom. Opening track, “SF to Berlin” provides the subtle building ground to introduce the “flow state” experience, intertwining Ben Böhmer‘s nostalgic touches with Brown’s melodic structures in a celestial sonic playground. The pace inches along as the mix moves along to “Love & Pain” which introduces low-end frequencies embellished by twinkling melodies. Catalyzed by snares and driving beats, the Marsh-assisted, “Pursuance” delves into deeper progressive territories, its full-bodied layers of otherworldly choirs and multi-synth lines crescendoing in-and-out of tension before evaporating into repose.

The two tracks come after serve as an interlude that give emotional lightness without loss of movement—”LA ID” take on a downtempo appearance while Paperwhite‘s airy vocals permeate throughout, “Chance On Us.” What follows in the second half of Stream of Consciousness depict more curious undertones as Brown explores the eccentricity of percussion and craftsmanship of layers with Qrion in “Foggy August“, mystifying arpeggio progressions in “Everything’s a Cycle“, and tingling buildups reminiscent of progressive masters like Eric Prydz in “Resilience.”

Stream of Consciousness has been years in the making with Brown fruitfully gathering the pieces to complete the puzzle. His presence on each track is undeniable, yet the immaculate construction of each in its own individual qualities remains distinct. No idea, drum pattern or song anatomy read the same; meanwhile, his signature stylistic elements of progressive, techno, and trance continually interweave in dexterous ways. Unlike those who fall into their old habits of repetitive and formulaic artistry, Brown whittles away the limitations of creative walls. Uncovering evocations of wistfulness, rumination, allure, tranquility, insomnia, and more through his manifestations of “flow state”, Brown has proved once again his craft transcends an art form.

Congratulations of releasing Stream of Consciousness. What draws you towards making music that keeps listeners in a flow state? 
Thank you so much! Grateful that it’s finally out. I’m obsessed with making music that’s interlocked with a specific memory or experience. When that moment in your life is forever tied with that music. I find my concentration/flow breaks when the music changes too much.  I make music for myself—and flow state music is how I love to study, drive, travel, and work. I hope it resonates with you all too.

You’ve been gathering tracks for Stream of Consciousness since 2015; I’m sure you’ve been sitting on tons of unreleased material as well that may or may not ever see the light of day in the form of a completed project. What is your mindset towards this process of continuously creating?
I’m always making music; I only use my laptop. I can bring my projects anywhere I go and don’t need to rely on external equipment. Sometimes I notice certain tracks mesh with others very well…and that’s how my albums organically sprout.

What were some of the challenges you faced conceiving a mix album? 
Dance music has gravitated toward blasting radio-edited singles on streaming platforms. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it’s simply not the way I want to present my art. It’s certainly a mental challenge getting over the fact that if I play ‘the game,’ I may get more streams/popularity. But I’d rather make exactly what I want to make and have my work deeply resonate with loving fans. I’m very grateful I have a team and label who sees eye-to-eye with my vision.

You mixed Stream of Consciousness entirely on your own. How were you able to strive for perfection in revising your product repeatedly without tiring out and keeping a pair of fresh eyes? 
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tire out. I did. In the final few months of mixing my album, I felt as though I couldn’t be myself until the album was done. The 20 times I thought the album was done, I’d make some major change that would require a ton of extra work. I was starting to lose my mind and was becoming moderately depressed. Thankfully once I finished the final product, the stressed-and-depressed headspace faded rather quickly.

Were there any technical changes you made going into the studio for the mix album as opposed to Illusion of Perfection?
Definitely. I learn something new every day. My production/mixing skills have matured since I wrote Illusion of Perfection, so mixing took significantly longer on Stream of Consciousness. I’m hyper-focused on every little detail.

Do you have any favorite tracks off the mix album and why? 
Each track serves a purpose in my sets and within the album, so I can’t really choose a favorite. But I am very pleased with how it came out; I feel as though I created the vision in my head.

You were joined by a few Anjuna label mates and previous Illusion of Perfection collaborators on the new album as well. Can you tell me about your relationship with any of them and the collaborative process that goes on?
Most of the collaborations I’ve done in my career are simply hanging out with friends in the studio. We don’t really attempt to make ‘a record’ — we are merely messing around. All the collaborations came about that way except “Pursuance” with Marsh. For that track, Marsh sent me over a little idea he made via email, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I worked on it in pure flow state for 4 hours…and the track was finished.

How much of your passion for the art of DJing influence your production craft?
They fuel each other. I create pieces in the studio that I want to play in my DJ sets. Likewise, I find missing pieces in sets while DJing that I need to create in the studio. I don’t plan sets and always read the room—that’s how I learned to DJ almost 15 years ago at little 8th-grade birthday parties and Bar Mitzvahs. I love it this way, but it requires a huge repertoire of music and an ear for what is missing in the record bag (and how to create it!).

This tour will be the biggest one of your career yet. What are you looking forward to? 
I’m grateful to share my work with so many amazing people around the world. Language, culture, beliefs, sexuality… labels do not matter on the dancefloor. I love this environment. Music and shows have healed me beyond any words, so I hope to do the same with all the loving fans.

As an openly LBGT individual, what was your journey embracing that part of your identity and how has that found a place in your development as an artist? 
I did not realize I was gay until I was 21 (I am 26 now). Before then, I was an anxious and depressed mess. I didn’t know who I was personally or musically. Through discovering myself personally, my life has gotten much better; through my self-growth came an understanding of who I am as an artist too. If you don’t know yourself, how are you supposed to create music from your heart?

Who and what are some of the major influences for your music currently? 
Guy J is my favorite artist. I’ve been a fan since 2012 or 2013, but my love for his music has grown over the years. I’ve seen him live many times and had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times. He is such a friendly guy, and I’m always low-key fanboying inside when we say hello.
Outside of Guy J, I love Hernan Cattaneo, Tame Impala, Sasha and Digweed. I’ve been extremely inspired by old Sasha and Digweed mix albums that were popular long before I was into dance music (and before I was born). I find some of the purest inspiration can be found by looking long in the past.

Any last words? 
Always do you. F*** anyone who tells you otherwise.

Mija toys with idealism on ‘Digressions’ [Stream]

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Mija toys with idealism on ‘Digressions’ [Stream]Mija Desert Trash Credit Quasar Media

Though her FK A GENRE movement may be in her rearview, Mija keeps the motto close, invoking its untethered ethos on “Digressions,”— her latest song from impending LP, Desert Trash

The latest track from the album begins with Mija greeting a familiar stranger over tender keys. But then, blissful liquid drum ‘n’ bass madness washes over the listener like a rush of endorphins. The new single evokes both nostalgia and romantic optimism, which is a creative goal of Mija’s as she blends electronic production with emotive indie songwriting.

The track features additional writing and production chops from UK producer and instrumentalist, Gammer, who trades in his signature happy hardstyle sound for the melodic, stylistically fluid collaboration. Gammer, along with Noisia’s Thys, stand as the only two features on Desert Trash.

The day after Desert Trash arrives (February 26), Mija will embark on a tour with a fully loaded band — Mija, of course, taking on vocals. The live tour, which features HANA and Foxy Panic as support, concludes with Mija’sperformance at Electric Forest Festival.

Photo Credit: Quasar Media.

Apashe teases impending album with raucous new Tech N9ne collaboration

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Apashe teases impending album with raucous new Tech N9ne collaborationApashe Credit Adrian Villagomez 5

Orchestral bass music titan Apashe has been slowly unveiling his upcoming album, Renaissance, with the release of two singles: “Distance,” a collaboration with an actual orchestra, and “Uebok,” a high-energy anthem featuring Russian rapper Instasamka. Now he’s back with an raucous third single that continues to build anticipation for the full-length LP.

Released courtesy of Kannibalen Records, Apashe has tapped the talents of rap icon Tech N9ne to release their devastating new hit “Insane.” The track opens up with Apashe’s signature mastery of ominous ambiance tapped with ad libs from Tech N9ne himself, followed by a high-paced flow topped over Apashe’s massive basslines.

The full length LP is slated for release at the end of winter.

Photo credit: Adrian Villagomez

Phantogram share ‘Pedestal’ from forthcoming studio album, ‘Ceremony’

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Phantogram share ‘Pedestal’ from forthcoming studio album, ‘Ceremony’Phantogram

Phantogram have announced their fourth studio album Ceremony due in only a month’s time: March 6 to be exact. They’ve simultaneously dropped off a new single from the project, titled “Pedestal.” The new LP follows their 2016 album Three. Prior to releasing the latest track, the duo, consisting of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter delivered singles “In a Spiral,” “Into Happiness,” and “Mister Impossible.” All three tunes also appear on Ceremony‘s official tracklisting.

Replete with upbeat energy, “Pedestal” is a full-bodied offering about the complexities of love. The upcoming album was recorded in Los Angeles, with a week at the Rancho de la Luna studio, with the remainder at Barthel’s home studio, Harmonie West.

Ceremony is what Phantogram is to us. Everyone has their own ceremony and they don’t have to relate to anyone else’s, but Phantogram is our ceremony: our process, our ritual. Playing shows is our ceremony for everyone. And for us,” states Barthel.

Ceremony Tracklist:

1. “Dear God”
2. “In A Spiral”
3. “Into Happiness”
4. “Pedestal”
5. “Love Me Now”
6. “Let Me Down”
7. “News Today”
8. “Mister Impossible”
9. “Glowing”
10. “Gaunt Kids”
11. “Ceremony”

H/T: Spin Photo Credit: Charles Reagan Hackleman

Delve into a digital maze to hear new Purity Ring, from upcoming album

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Delve into a digital maze to hear new Purity Ring, from upcoming albumPurityring Emmaswann 20150302 2

When news of a Purity Ring revival sprouted along the musical grapevine, the internet expectedly went ballistic. At first, it was a mere rumor based on shaky speculation, but after a few festival bookings including a confirmed stop at Lightning in a Bottle, there was no denying a return from the supreme witch trap twosome.

Purity Ring have materialized with what can only be described as preternatural poise. Fans could only pray that this return would include the first new music since 2017 (standalone single “Asido”). But, likely, few had premonitions that the return would include a full-fledged album rollout. The announcement of Womb means Purity Ring’s first LP since 2015’s another eternity.

The first single is entitled “Pink Lightning.” Fittingly, the Canadian avant-gardes didn’t make it easy to uncover this news, setting up a trail of digital breadcrumbs as cryptic as Megan James’ diary-derived lyrics.

Through a website coded, fans must embark on a treasure hunt with no map. Aimlessly clicking sporadic sets of images that depict everything from landscapes to cursory animations, fans must click the hidden key that one will spark the next batch of images, which appear even more confusing than the last.

The maze is strewn with lyrical fragments from the new tune. Find them in full below without jumping through hoops.

Delve into a digital maze to hear new Purity Ring, from upcoming albumAqv80lbo6lf41 1

Photo Credit: Emma Swann

Ekali’s debut LP, ‘A World Away,’ is an unforgettable masterpiece [Review]

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Ekali’s debut LP, ‘A World Away,’ is an unforgettable masterpiece [Review]Ekali Biseual

Ekali has long been a staple of the electronic music scene, consistently providing fresh, masterfully produced, emotion-evoking soundscapes that many hold extremely close to heart. His latest artistic achievement, a 12-track album filled—but not oversaturated with—complimenting collaborations and breathtaking originals, is a diverse masterpiece representing the pinnacle of Ekali’s years of hard work and evolution. A World Away is a beautiful and exciting journey from start to finish.

The anticipation for Ekali’s debut album has been building exponentially since he teased its release last year and an additional secret side project. The album was undoubtedly worth the wait, and not only meets, but exceeds expectations in every way imaginable, beginning with the very first track, Elohim collaboration “Fairy Tale.”

Self-described by Ekali as “my favorite song I’ve ever made,” “Fairy Tale” is a flawlessly mixed sonic cocktail overflowing with infectious lyrics and impeccable sound design. The sheer level of emotion and passion fans of Ekali have grown accustomed to has never been so explicitly felt than in this beautiful song that amply sets the tone for the remainder of the album. Ekali’s creative implementation of unique drums and blending of diverse sounds breathes fresh life into an increasingly stagnant and oversaturated genre of music.

The authenticity of this album is supported by Ekali’s character outside of his work. Ekali has always been a generous and passionate supporter of young musicians without the financial means to develop their craft. In early 2019, Ekali used funding from an edit pack he released to create a music studio space in Vancouver open to young musicians completely free of charge. Tweets from Ekali in July also indicate plans to reopen the charity studio in Los Angeles, developing a community for young producers to hone their skills and advance their craft. Ekali’s admirable character, charitable heart, and genuine care for the electronic music industry add a depth to his sound simply unattainable by artists lacking pure intentions.

A standout track from the album, Nitti Gritti collaboration “Power” adopts a more defiant tone, allowing Ekali to highlight his diverse production skills. This massive trap-fueled hit offers a listener a chance to collect oneself and refuel on energy before moving forward into another sure-to-be emotional half of the LP. Boasting massive low frequency hits in an encapsulating and invigorating drop, “Power” is truly a powerful piece that is sure to make its rounds in this year’s festival circuits.

This flawless album reaches its climax at its simultaneous conclusion with track 12, Illenium collaboration “Hard to Say Goodbye.” With both Illenium and Ekali being undisputed industry leaders of future bass, this highly anticipated collaboration released last November perfectly embodies everything these two talented musicians have worked towards their entire careers. “Hard to Say Goodbye” is an emotional masterpiece that concludes the album as strongly as it began.

For many artists, a full-length album is the penultimate achievement of their career. For Ekali, A World Away is a phenomenal commencement to the next chapter of his already-accomplished career. Whether it’s during those long car drives, sleepless nights, or just spending time with friends, this album is certain to be on repeat for many months to come.

Photo credit: Brandon Artis