Year after year, the most in-demand electronic acts from across the globe and their cross-continental patrons gather in Boom, Belgium for what is unquestionably one of the most bonkers celebrations in dance music. This year, for its 15th anniversary, the festival saw familiar faces from across the electronic genre continuum, like techno tidal wave and Belgian native, Charlotte de Witte, trance’s enduring patriarch, Armin van Buuren, and the Godfather of EDM himself, Tiësto; while DJ Diesel (Shaq) caused quite a ruckus over at the main stage for his Tomorrowland dubstep-fueled debut.
The quintessential dance music domain saw a colossal main stage revamp of its 2012 theme, the Book of Wisdom. More larger-than-life performances are practically guaranteed for weekend two, which kicks off Thursday July 25, and closing out on Monday July 29.
It didn’t take long, but what began as one of Brussels’ best kept electronic secrets in Charlotte de Witte’s recurring techno parties has bloomed into a full-fledged brand. Now, the Belgian beat maven has announced the intuitive next move in establishing an impactful destination for her trademark sound, with the launch of her very own record label, KNTXT.
“A label has always felt like the logical and natural next step for KNTXT, both as a place to shine the light on the music that I love and as a home for my own productions,” said de Witte in a recent release. “In time, I hope the label will become a respected breeding ground and safe haven for unique talent, both new and established, as well as the main output for my own material.”
The label is expected to put out its first release in early September.
Aside from de Witte herself, the new label head has yet to announce additional artistry expected to appear on KNTXT; but if her party series and radio show, which share names with the label, are any indication, they’ll be ripe pickings from the cream of the techno crop.
EDC Las Vegas can easily be described as the biggest party ever. EDC takes over 90% of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for three days and doesn’t stop all night long. It’s truly its own world. EDC 2019 brought some surprises – such as low temperatures, fierce winds, and some stage closures – but it was
The Yuma is Coachella‘s prime destination for underground strains of dance music. Belgian artist Charlotte de Witte made her debut at the iconic tent during weekend one, shrouding the tent with even more darkness in the form of blistering, heads-down techno. The artist is known for her relentless sound, jolting energy into each of her crowds from Tomorrowland to Awakenings. Weekend two of Coachella is no different; watch now as she makes her return to the Yuma and throws down an equally hard set of tracks to follow up her inaugural performance. Charlotte helps top off an all-star lineup of Yuma stream stars which have included Deep Dish, Chris Lake, Tale Of Us, and more.
Each year, California’s premier music festival outdoes itself by booking an eclectic array of artists from throughout the dance music realm alongside its smattering of other genres. In 2019, these acts spread — perhaps more than ever before — throughout the event’s numerous stages, lending the opportunity to experience the diverse roster within equally diverse environs. While there are, of course, a number of fantastic performances from Coachella’s first weekend that are not represented on this list, we’ve narrowed down 10 sets which particularly impressed us.
Anytime a Frenchman takes the stage in a metal mask, Coachella history is soon to be made. And, amid a lineup filled with prodigal artists from the festival’s past, Gesaffelstein stood out as one of the its most formidable acts. After releasing the pop-laden album Hyperion in March, fans weren’t sure what to expect from Michel Lévy’s Indio return — would he focus on his newer, more mainstream fare, or return to his darker days of yore? Once he took the stage, donned in a shimmering, Vantablack metal suit, little question remained. For the first hour of nightfall in Coachella’s final day, Gesaffelstein melded his new releases with classic favorites and overwhelming live edits, synchronized against an ominously spectacular visual production. Indubitably, a new era lies on the horizon for the harrowing luminary, and Coachella provided the perfect backdrop for its debut.
Gesaffelstein will play the Outdoor stage from 7:40-8:40 PM on Sunday, April 21.
There are few acts in electronic who better embody the descriptor of “stunning” than Jon Hopkins. The British artist’s fusion of melodic ambient with erratic techno influences would set him a cut above the rest of his class, were there anyone else in his class at all. His Coachella set, which closed the Gobi tent for the weekend, dutifully matched the quality of his catalogue. Hopkins dove into mesmerizing, cathartic live edits of Singularity, his Grammy-nominated 2018 album, accompanied by a transcendent selection of video arrangements which culminated in one of the festival’s most emotionally evocative performances.
Jon Hopkins will close out the Gobi tent from 9:40-10:40 PM on Sunday, April 21.
For years, Richard James has been one of the most hoped-for additions to the Coachella lineup. Anyone with a semblance of dance music knowledge knows that his Aphex Twin project is one of the most influential pieces of electronic music history. Because James’ last appearance at the festival, in 2008, predated the “EDM boom,” his 2019 appearance marked the first time that many recent fans have been able to see him perform. Suffice it to say, he did not disappoint. Standing before a surprisingly roomy Mojave tent crowd, Aphex Twin put forth more than 90 minutes of eclectically arresting garage, techno, EBM, IDM, and downtempo music. Piercing lasers and a hysteria of often-unsettling visuals accompanied his arrhythmic score in a chaotic fashion which demonstrably proved that Richard James’ bite easily equals the bark of his hype.
Aphex Twin will close out the Mojave tent from 9:05-10:35 PM on Saturday, April 20.
Within the techno community, Nina Kraviz’s Coachella set was likely the most polarizing of the weekend. The Russian artist and Trip label-head is known for her highly energetic DJ sets, so the confusion at her decision to break from this mold in her live show debut is understandable. Indeed, for the lion’s share of her set, Kraviz dabbled more in avant-garde performance art, interacting bizarrely with set pieces more primed for a playhouse than a nightclub. However, once the peculiar producer moved on to the techno portion in her set’s second act, the patience of those who remained was duly rewarded. Kraviz’s cerebral, thunderous dance selections were awe-inspiring to say the least. And, when paired with the unique visual components which reflected her moves onstage, her set’s climax echoed Richie Hawtin’s stunning CLOSE performance, which debuted in the same Friday closing slot at Mojave two years earlier.
Nina Kraviz will close out the Mojave tent from 10:15-11:15 PM on Friday, April 19.
Anytime Âme graces an American festival roster, they are an absolute must-see. More accurately, “he” is a must-see, as generally, Kristian Beyer performs DJ sets without his partner, Frank Wiedemann. Seeing Âme in the Yuma tent at the height of Saturday afternoon is a sensorily peculiar experience. As a benchmark of Dixon’s coveted Innervisions imprint, Beyer’s deftly crafted mixes of soulful balearic house, deep techno, and tribal club music transport the listener to after-hours parties in the White Isle or Berlin. Therefore, it’s easy to forget that the sun is shining brightly just outside the walls of Yuma’s pitch-black interior. A trip to the bathroom during Âme is a smack in the face from reality, but this just makes the imminent return to Beyer’s darkened fantasy realm all the more delectable.
Âme will play the Yuma tent from 4:30-6:00 PM on Saturday, April 20.
Undoubtedly, Deep Dish is the best kept secret on Coachella’s 2019 lineup. For those unaware, the duo, which disbanded in 2006, is comprised of Dubfire and Sharam. The Yuma tent provided an impeccable setting for this storied reunion, which Deep Dish more than duly reciprocated throughout their 90-minute set. Ranging from the house influences of Sharam to Dubfire’s favored brand of apoplectic techno, the duo’s reign over Yuma stood out as one of the tent’s most diverse — and best — sets of the weekend.
Deep Dish will play the Yuma tent from 6:00-7:30 PM on Saturday, April 20.
Charlotte de Witte
Over the past two years, Charlotte de Witte has grown from a hero of techno’s underground into one of the genre’s most sought-after acts for the festival circuit, and it’s easy to see why. During her prime Sunday slot, the Belgian DJ provided one of the Yuma tent’s darkest sets of the entire weekend — no small feat, considering her competition from ominous legends sharing the roster, such as Nicole Moudaber and Cirez D. From the moment she took the stage, de Witte plunged her audience into a uniquely aggressive realm, ensuring that all in attendance would be reinvigorated for the festivals final sets thereafter.
Charlotte de Witte will play the Yuma tent from 7:00-8:30 PM on Sunday, April 21.
In 2019, Coachella poured more resources into their preeminent onsite nightclub than ever before. The intricate lighting arrangements throughout the stage and ceiling of the Yuma tent exceptionally accentuated the deftly-curated soundsystem for each act on the weekend’s stellar lineup. With this pristine setup, Goldenvoice would be hard-pressed to find a better weekend closer than Eric Prydz. Impressively, albeit unsurprisingly, the Swedish icon artfully claimed the stage as his own during his sinister, 2-hour set as Cirez D. Prydz’s team masterfully executed the lighting system of the Yuma to its fullest potential, creating a monolithic experience which mirrored the environs of the artist’s former residency at Hï Ibiza. Though the bass often obscured the top-lines of Cirez D’s fast-paced, techno-heavy set, the aggressively sleek selections culminated in a larger than life experience, providing Yuma — indeed, all of Coachella — with the conclusion it deserved.
Cirez D will close out the Yuma tent at 10:00 PM on Sunday, April 21.
In the realm of live electronic music, an intricate visual production can be as defining (or more) an element of an artist’s set as the music itself. An artist’s decision to eschew any video or lighting component whatsoever is, therefore, quite the statement. As the sun set on Coachella’s second day, Four Tet shrugged off the visual effects at his disposal, opting to perform his entire slot in front of the Mojave tent’s black screens. With no other stimuli competing for attention, Four Tet’s eclectic selection of experimental house and garage-infused tech took center stage, leaving a masterful impact on all in attendance.
Four Tet will play the Mojave tent from 7:35-8:35 PM on Saturday, April 20.
Chances are, those who catch Bassnectar’s closing Saturday night set at the Outdoor stage at this year’s Coachella won’t be seeing him for the first time. Over the last two decades, Lorin Ashton has cultivated one of dance music’s most dedicated fanbases. And, thanks to his high-octane brand of amorphous bass music and vibrantly chaotic visual productions, bass heads will attend as many of his shows as they feasibly can. However, Bassnectar’s set during the first week proved to be a unique experience in its own way.
2019 marks Ashton’s first Coachella appearance since he performed the Sahara tent six years ago, and the rare opportunity to witness the iconic artist from a spacious, open-air crowd is certainly one to be relished. During the first week, Bassnectar’s setlist echoed performances from one of his most beloved eras, the early 2010s. Perhaps due to his relatively brief time-slot, Ashton spent little time exploring his softer, more melodic influences. Instead, he opted to put forth formidable classics from his own catalogue alongside cuts from the likes of Gesaffelstein and a visually stunning, at times political, light show.
Bassnectar will close out the Outdoor stage at 12:05 AM on Saturday, April 20 (technically Sunday).
Featured image via Coachella 2019 by Charles Reagan.
Mad Cool’s lineup arrives as an exemplification of its name. Madrid’s multifarious music festival, Mad Cool is genre amorphous from its headliners to its flanking acts. Lauryn Hill, Empire Of The Sun, The Gossip, and Prophets Of Rage appear as the newest headliners to top the bill, which already touts Bon Iver, The National, The Smashing Pumpkins, and The Cure. Festival organizers have added several more artists to the festival’s expansive collection of talent, including Marina–formerly of Marina & The Diamonds–Let’s Eat Grandma, SG Lewis, Black Honey, Haiku Hands, and more.
After a shaky start to day one at Ultra Music Festival‘s new Virginia Key location, things started to return to normal as the weekend progressed. Rectifying the transportation errors with extra sets and extended hours, Ultra was successfully able to return the focus of the festival to the music. Between the main stage area and Resistance Island, day three of the festival included performances from a slew of Ultra favorites, including Carl Cox,The Chainsmokers and David Guetta.
From Zeds Dead‘s wonky bass takeover to Armin van Buuren‘s three-hour exploration of all things trance, the talent that closed out Ultra’s final day have left fans itching for more. Whether you were at the festival and want to relive those moments, or missed out while at home, revisit some of Dancing Astronaut‘s favorite sets from day three of the Miami festival.
The music industry is filled with women whose lives revolve around their work and in bettering the scene in general, and they are more than worthy of daily recognition for their efforts. It hasn’t always been easy; even in 2019 quite a few feel the need to work double just to receive the same respect as their male counterparts, or even to be taken seriously in general. That being said, the most admirable thing about women in the industry is that the fight continues anyhow—artists like Alison Wonderland , Charlotte de Witte, REZZ, TOKiMONSTA, Sophie, and more continually break boundaries with their sound, while female publicists, managers, and others work nonstop behind the scenes to propel others careers without taking credit for themselves.
In recent years, some headway has finally been made industry-wide to respect and recognize these women. Public pressure has made for greater female representation on festival billing and greater respect across the industry, while others are seeing tougher consequences for misogynistic behaviors. There’s still a ways to go toward equality, but the optimism is high.
This International Women’s Day, we at Dancing Astronaut feel it’s necessary to pay our respects to these groundbreakers and boundary pushers, and thus present this playlist as a way to mark the occasion. The names above, plus Mija, Nora En Pure, CRAY, Honey Dijon, ANNA, and The Black Madonna are just a few of the many caliber acts featured.
International Music Summit, one of the world’s top hybrid music festival and conference experiences, has revealed the 2019 lineup for its storied closing party, Dalt Vila. Set to take place at a 2,500-year-old former fort and Unesco World Heritage Site in Ibiza Old Town, the annual celebration marks the conclusion of IMS Week, and the start of the Ibiza summer season.
IMS’ Dalt Vila experience will unite house and techno icons like Adam Beyer, Charlotte de Witte, Joseph Capriati and Nicole Moudaber – all under one roof. The party will be hosted by female empowerment network, shesaid.so, and powered by Pioneer DJ.