Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 74

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 74Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here.


After a massive collaboration with Netsky in December, 1991 returns with an original of his own, “Guiding Light.” The London producer asserts his energetic style of drum & bass in this emotive number. “Guiding Light” contains an impeccable balance of vocals and instrumentals, with the lyrics guiding the verses and the beats driving the chorus. While 1991 was relatively quiet in 2018, one can only hope that this early-2019 release will be the first of many this year. He’s off to a great start.

It takes a special touch to modernize and revamp a 23-year-old song for today’s dance music scene. Oliver Nelson and Tobtok are up to the task, though, as they bring Judge Jules & John Kelly’s Stix ‘N’ Stoned 1996 club anthem “Outrageous” into 2019. This sizzling house heater is ready for dance floors of any decade with its groovy beat and thumping bass. The producers ramp up the energy in the first half, dipping the tempo in the middle for a brief intermission, before building momentum back up again to finish their “Outrageous” rendition off.

After being propelled into the EDM limelight via two REZZ collaborations, 13 is having what is hopefully an extremely lengthy solo moment with a daunting original of his own. “Uppercut,” out via Mad Decent, shows the artist flexing his glitched-out production skills in full form. It’s a shadowy release right from the start, introducing filtered vocals that lead up to a bass-heavy drop, pounding listeners’ ears with the distorted sounds 13’s become known for.

Both halves of The M Machine have built captivating solo projects. Luttrell‘s made a name for himself with a unique strand of melodic techno, gaining notoriety through a variety of Anjunadeep releases over the past few years. His most recent release is a six-plus-minute adventure into the depths of Tycho‘s “Epoch,” which stemmed from their meeting at Burning Man. “It was an honor to share the stage with him that night and even more of an honor to recently be asked to remix his wonderful track, ‘Epoch,’” Luttrell said of the remix. “When I play this one out at shows recently, I always feel transported back to the playa – feeling the warmth of the sunrise over the Black Rock Desert.”

Draper has been making music since late 2010, shifting his sound from dubstep to house to drum & bass to glitch hop and everything in between over the years. He’s shown incredible versatility throughout his career, putting his Draper stamp on anything he’s making with ease. His latest, an EP called Pâro, kicks off with a serene soundscape titled “Her.” Its intro is simply beautiful, painting a vivid picture of two people in love. While the choruses are lighthearted and full of energy, it’s the spaces in between that truly make this track breathtaking.

Reliving Holy Ship! – Dancing Astronaut’s favorite moments from weekend 12.0

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Reliving Holy Ship! – Dancing Astronaut’s favorite moments from weekend 12.0Holyship19c 031

Holy Ship! 12.0 was truly one for the books. With an even mixture of new and old faces across DJs and attendees, the vibe felt particularly special this time around, with talent from Mikey Lion to The Black Madonna all gushing about the magic that transpired over the weekend. The programming was as on point as the open, jubilant crowd, with a myriad of hidden stages, activity areas, and well-planned DJ sets happening all across the ship’s decks to create an even, enduring flow for all four days. Ultimately, the vibrant energy output by all involved—from the #shipfam, to the crew—made for yet another unforgettable voyage to the Bahamas.

While picking top moments of the festival feels akin to being forced to pick a favorite child, we masochistically put ourselves to the task and selected five highlights of 12.0. Without further ado…

 


JAUZ, Slander, and more at Bite This for an epic B2B

Reliving Holy Ship! – Dancing Astronaut’s favorite moments from weekend 12.0HS2019 0105 234055 6307 ALIVECOVERAGE 1

Credit: aLive Coverage

JAUZ went all out for his set at Bite This stage, playing more-or-less a producer’s set with mostly his own productions. While he’d already gotten off to a great start, onlookers got to witnessed something magical. Slander joined the bass house don on stage, followed by Holy Goof and Skepsis for what wound up being one of the most epic B2Bs of the weekend. We’re pretty sure people’s necks and feet still hurt from the chaos.


Claude VonStroke doing what he does best

Reliving Holy Ship! – Dancing Astronaut’s favorite moments from weekend 12.0HS2019 0109 064455 0114 ALIVECOVERAGE 1

Credit: aLive Coverage

Claude VonStroke played multiple times throughout Holy Ship! 12.0. Two moments were especially memorable, however. At the DIRTYBIRD private beach party, the label boss worked some serious wizardry behind the decks. This same atmosphere was present, and even more amplified, as the voyage came to a close and he took over the Theater stage with boisterous ease.  The energy in the crowd almost created a full-on second wind.


 NGHTMRE doing some damage on the Pool Deck

Reliving Holy Ship! – Dancing Astronaut’s favorite moments from weekend 12.0Holyship19a 021 1

Credit: Rukes

Ironically, NGHTMRE’s sailaway set was actually something out of a dream. Each tune he selected was an absolute knocker, be it his own original works, or numbers like Slander’s “Zombie,” which made the crowd completely lose it. Even more cerebral was that we got the chance to watch it from the 17th floor outside deck, which made the visuals completely surreal.


 JOYRYDE brings out the hidden gems

Reliving Holy Ship! – Dancing Astronaut’s favorite moments from weekend 12.0Holyship19b 124

Credit: Rukes

Those in attendance of JOYRYDE’s two Holy Ship! performances were lucky enough to catch a special preview of his upcoming album, Brave. The swiftly-rising producer pulled out a ton of IDs in each, treating his onlookers to a fresh, unheard of aural feast. Pairing with the tunes was both of his crowds’ energies. There was no stopping of the wild dancing that night, and snatching snippets of the night to look back on afterward.


Heroic substitution by Habstrakt

Reliving Holy Ship! – Dancing Astronaut’s favorite moments from weekend 12.0DwwfYkoU0AA8RfF

Credit: Nate Vogel

Sadness could be felt across the Shipfam when news arose of Audien missing the cruise due to sickness. That being said, the Holy Ship! crew had an excellent substitute up its sleeve: Habstrakt. The classically-trained Frenchman read his crowd with ease, throwing down some three of the weekend’s most noteworthy sets that, while wildly varied stylistically and through track selection, remained connected in their wildness. One might even say him coming on board was a blessing in disguise.

 

Happy Birthday, Skrill! A playlist dedicated to a modern dance pioneer

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Happy Birthday, Skrill! A playlist dedicated to a modern dance pioneerSkrille Live Aug 2017 Billboard 1548 0

On this day in 1988, a dance music prophet was born. His name was Sonny Moore, and he would eventually grow into a living legend by the name of Skrillex. By 2010, he had a new subgenre of bass on his hands with groundbreaking records like 2010’s “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites.” It wouldn’t be long before he parted the proverbial Red Sea of the music industry and lead electronica into the promised land of the mainstream with his consistent innovation and ear for the cutting-edge. Now, Skrillex is partially responsible for ingraining dance music deeper into pop, with countless production credits to his name.

It’s only natural that we celebrate this icon’s birth with an homage to his craft: a 31-track-strong playlist of entirely his own productions, representing the years he’s lived on this Earth. Few tables were left unturned in our efforts, featuring everything from the classic “Cinema” remix, to more modern cuts like “Would You Ever.”

Happy Birthday, legend – we’re looking forward to continued greatness.

 

 

Photo Credit:  by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]

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Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Bradford Watkins

With 2019’s festival circuit taking shape, we’re starting to see a shift in the landscape that largely began last year, where middle-of-the-pack festivals began to drop by the wayside. The events pool reached a point of dilution where there weren’t enough ticket buyers to go around, and this year, what remains are the established power players like Coachella and Lollapalooza and smaller, curated boutique experiences that rely on setting, intimacy, aesthetics, and talent to draw in a calculated crowd of a much more manageable scale. Envision Festival, now preparing for its ninth edition, takes place the heart of Costa Rica’s jungle paradise each year — and at a critical point in the aging process of a festival, amid an otherwise tenuous and unsustainable atmosphere stateside, Envision’s roots seem firmer than ever.

The key ingredient that differentiates Envision isn’t just a focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness — its the way in which Envision’s Co-founder and Production Director Josh Wendel and CEO Reuben Walker weave those characteristics into every granular aspect of the event. The attendee essentially gets to choose their own adventure. Ahead of Envision Festival’s ninth weekend, running from February 28 – March 3, Wendel and Walker sat down with Dancing Astronaut to delve into the how the brains and braun behind a continually growing and evolving boutique festival experience in Costa Rica manage to stand out in new ways each year.

“Envision is not about a specific concept. It is about you, the festival goer,” emphasizes Wendel. The Envision co-founder continues, “It is about you discovering what you ‘Envision;’ for your life, for your business, for health and making sure that you are following your own highest path. We implore our audience to come to Envision with an open mind and experience something new, whether it be music, performance, workshops, yoga, diet or just walking around nature barefoot.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]ManuelPinto.Sunset

“We aim to create an environment that sheds the ego and opens each person up to true connection and self discovery.”

The type of sustainable outlook that fuels Envision’s longevity hasn’t just been on a weekend-by-weekend basis once a year for the last decade. The thought process runs much deeper than that, and ultimately it only works as well as is does when paired with a genuine year-round care for the festival’s host community. Reuben Walker elaborates on Wendel’s thought, clarifying, “Sustainability is a process. It isn’t as if a festival is sustainable or not, It is a journey of figuring out what things can be done better and taking the steps to put those concepts into practice. Now, with a new operating baseline, the event can re-assess and identify even more conscious goals than before. It is a practice that is embodied in the Calling, or Mission Statement, of Envision: Awaken the self to a higher consciousness in alignment with the natural harmony.”

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Envision EricAllenPhoto Beach Sunset 35

It has been nearly a decade of trial and error, planning, and building a year-over-year effort to harmoniously provide a moment of breathtaking escapism to festival goers while also lifting up the community where the event takes place. Walker continues, “It sounds like this grand and massive challenge but really it is a slow and gradual process that requires taking one step at a time. Sometimes the strides aren’t as long as we like, but the important thing is to keep moving forward. Personally, I’m focused on supporting our internal team to be as synced up as possible so that they’re able to deliver an event that is as curated, minute-to-minute, as can be.” 

Walker speaks passionately about Envision’s inextricable tie to Uvita and how an event that draws an international crowd with the likes of GRiZ, Tycho, Lee Burridge and more, manages to bring such a concerted, localized effort to uplift its community. “We are constantly looking for ways to support the local community. [One] group we try and support each year are local farmers. We go directly to these hard working local people and submit very large orders that provide secured work for the next few months allowing for them to have the security of those large purchases and we benefit from having such well cared for food and happy relationships. We have a full roll out of beach clean ups up and down the coast which has become more important than ever as more trash is finding its way ashore,” says Walker. 

“We put a lot of attention into listening to the local community to understand how they want to be supported, not just rolling in with what we think is best for them.”

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Reuben Time Photo By Jess Bernstein

Other events are starting to place a heavier emphasis on the where, the how, and the why — so to speak. Creating a truly impactful event experience has outgrown the confines of a decent talent roster and carnival rides in a big open field, or worse, some parking lot. Wendel, who directs the annual four-day production, posits, “I am always the most excited to see how fast our dreams become a reality; from spreadsheets and pencil marks on paper, to elaborate fire breathing structures with world class sound. Every year amazes me more than the last, as we turn fantasies into reality.” Wendel and Walker can create this escapism for their attendees because ultimately, they’ve found the best way to rise above the noise, enveloping themselves in Costa Rican culture between iterations of Envision. “We have the unique advantage of being based in one of the most lush places in the world, with an abundance of natural resources. It’s easier to build a stage out of natural materials in Costa Rica, we don’t have to ship water in and we even have a wealth of food growing right on the land. Most other festivals don’t have that advantage.  That’s also why we live here. It makes it easy to speak about the message of sustainability, permaculture and natural building in a place where you can thrive in the natural environment.”

“It feels good to be a human in Costa Rica. It just feels right. Locals call it ‘Pura Vida’ and it’s one of the most important awakenings people have when they come here.”  Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]Josh And Jules Photo By Shaun Hunter 1

Fans want more, and festivals’ survival depends on intentional, thoughtful programming and ultimately its committal to safety and accountability. “I certainly hope that Envision can inspire other event producers to implement more sustainable practices and stick closer to their ethos and values. That is the beauty of when you view profitability not just in terms of financial, but environmental and social impacts as well. We are happy to share that wealth and are always looking to other like minded events for inspiration on how we can do our job better,” says Wendel. 

Now, that’s not to say that a lineup isn’t important to the average festival goer nowadays. It just means that the overall festival experience relies more heavily on atmosphere than it may have before. Wendel’s admiration for the programming side of the festival is clear in the way he talks about billing this year’s lineup — one of Envision’s most diverse, and ambitious billings to date. This year’s lineup includes some risks, and even potentially some unknown curveballs, according to Wendel. Envision’s 2019 lineup also places a special emphasis on Latin American sounds, representing the festival’s hosting region in with a blend of bass, techno, electro, and more. Wendel explains, “There are so many factors to consider when booking a lineup, but we always prioritize the experience.  It has to fit into the story that we are trying to tell. We obviously consider headliners that turn heads but the most exciting [thing] to me is how we introduce new artists or sounds to an audience that doesn’t know them. There are a lot of different styles of music that we bring, including a lot of genres that are relatively unknown. The fun part is how do we present them to our audience.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]JessBernstein.Luna .TroyBoi Envision2018 JBPhoto150 Copy

This year’s billing includes acts like CloZee, The Floozies, Electric Mantis, Bedouin, and more. Walker, the festival’s CEO gushes, “Many of these artists are coming to Envision for their first time and seeing these favorites of mine out here in the jungle is going to be a highlight of my year.” Bottom line, in terms of event programming the pair seem to genuinely view the festival’s music offerings as merely the vehicle for human interaction on the beaches of Uvita. Walker expresses,

“Festivals have far greater potential as cultural cultivators than we’re currently seeing and as events continue to explore these frontiers we’ll find that we’ve only just begun to benefit from these celebrations of art, creativity, and the human spirit.” 

Envision Festival co-founder and CEO delve into curating a boutique experience in Costa Rica’s jungle paradise [Interview]386 Envision EricAllenPhoto Luna

As the final weeks of preparation begin ahead of Envision’s early spring kickoff and fans plot their returns to Uvita come early March, Walker and Wendel are primed for what they believe will be Envision’s most vibrant and impactful iteration yet. When asked for a word of advice to the incoming festival goer this year, each responded in kind with messages of open mindedness and compassion. “More than just a sustainable experience at a festival, let’s be a bit more ambitious than that. Be conscious in each action you take. Whether that is packing your bag and thinking about what goes into it or deciding how you’ll make that final leg of the journey. Are you creating a lot of waste in your wake? What steps can you take to whittle away at that? Are you being efficient with the resources that you’re using to accomplish your journey? Do I do this all the time? Absolutely not,” concedes Walker, “but it’s a process and the more we work at it, like all things, the better we get.” Wendel completes his counterpart’s thought, emphasizing the idea of sustainability outside of just travel or festival practices. “I’d say, make an effort to implement small things you can do everyday. Whether it’s water or trash or another resource, I’ve found keeping a practice of considering the lifelong journey of waste in the ecosystem and who it impacts along the way to be a sort of compass at festivals as well as in life.” 

Envision brings the party to paradise with real intention and purpose, without having to compromise in any direction. See the full lineup and purchase your tickets to Envision Festival here.

 

Sunday Morning Medicine Vol 161, featuring Big Wild, Lucian, MELVV, + more

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Sunday Morning Medicine Vol 161, featuring Big Wild, Lucian, MELVV, + moreSMM 2400

Sunday Morning Medicine is a feature from Dancing Astronaut dedicated to the mellower side of electronic music. We bring you our favorite therapeutic selections—old and new—in attempts to alleviate the agonizing effects of a long weekend of partying.


Alina Baraz enlists the help of Danish producer, Galimatias, for “Unfold,” from her Urban Flora album. Dripping in sensuous escapism, this track aids in actualizing those halfhearted midday musings of whomever the heart sings out for.

Lucian‘s “Trndsttr” remix, with its swelling reverb and strutting breakbeat, will instill confidence in listeners this Sunday morning in places perhaps its been previously exhausted from extended weekend vexation.

From his brand new EP, Be On Fire, comes Chrome Sparks‘s cosmic “Ultraviolet Rainbow,” soaring into the depths of our subconscious with every analog arpeggio.

“Maker,” off Big Wild‘s brand new City of Sound project, is indie electronica dipped in nostalgia and laced with ’80s undertones. Its subtle riffs and winding, perrenial lead synth, blossoming, only to disappear once again, are a whimsical means of Sunday idealism and thoughts of “if only…”

MELVV’s twinkling, childlike production quirks serve as potent subterfuge, shrouding “Not Me”‘s poignant center. We’re leaving the track here, in the case any listeners are in need of a dose of Sunday refuge.

Saturday Night Session 007: Jay Pryor gets quirky and crafts the perfect mix for house lovers [Q+A]

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Saturday Night Session 007: Jay Pryor gets quirky and crafts the perfect mix for house lovers [Q+A]JayPryorDJ

Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.

23-year-old Jay Pryor has one of the most quintessential stories there is when it comes to his foray into dance music. A night out with friends at a Calvin Harris show inspired him to ‘become’ a music producer. To this day, he notes that Eric Prydz‘s “Everyday” is his favorite song because when Harris played the track, that’s when he knew that music production was what he had to do. So, he dropped out of college and did it. Pryor notes, “He (Harris) played this song, and it was a moment of clarity for me when I heard it.” He continued, “The place, the song, and Calvin as a figure was just so incredibly inspiring. When I got home from that trip I started teaching myself how to create dance music.”

A few years into this decision, Pryor has gone platinum thanks to his co-production credits with Steve Aoki on “Just Hold On” featuring Louis Tomlinson, and the rest is recent history. Many people who have produced music for decades will not hit platinum, and even fewer who drop out of college to chase this glamorous dream will be able to sustain themselves financially through music production. Pryor has seemingly defied the odds, and he is a true testament to the idea that nature can beat out nurture. He is innately wired to be a producer, drawing sonic inspiration from everything from an Ikea store to the Marina outside of his home in Ireland. In fact, a recent track of his titled “All This” was created after he heard a boat passing by and he captured the sound.

While he has successfully navigated the entry into being a successful DJ and Producer in terms of achieving high streaming numbers on his productions and booking club sets, he is the first to admit there is work to be done. Pryor has spoken about how, with every success, his goals have only gotten bigger. This is especially the case when it comes to live performance, and he says he will not stop until he fulfills his dream of headlining the 3arena in Dublin. Pryor mentions, “I used to go there as a kid, and it’s always been a dream of mine to headline it and play to 13,000 people in my homeland.” A big 2019 will be instrumental for Pryor when it comes to achieving this feat.

Anyone who does get the chance to see Pryor perform live may notice the DJ wearing war paint on his face. No, the paint is not a fashion gimmick, but rather a sentiment to give him the courage to go on stage and perform in front of thousands of people. He explains, “when I was younger I used to be a really anxious kid.” Pryor continues, “My mam used to tell me that I wasn’t a ‘worrier,’but a ‘warrior.’ When I started playing shows, I would get nervous and anxious. I decided to apply the war paint to remind me that I’m not a worrier, but a warrior.” The war paint has now become a trademark of sorts for the producer, who is usually seen sporting the paint during his live shows.

Another location the producer draws inspiration from when it comes to live performance is house parties. He lives in a community in London that houses many DJs and Producers who all get together to play for each other when they don’t go out to clubs. Pryor’s Saturday Night Session mix is an example of what he would play for one of their nights in with each other, and he dubs the hour long Saturday Night Session as the perfect backdrop for a low-key pre-drinks before the night gets too crazy.


For those who are curious to hear more of Pryor’s productions, he has just released a brand new remix pack for his track “Make Luv” featuring remixes by Redfield, Crush Club, Illyus & Barrientos in addition to his own VIP mix of the track.

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You have said that with every success you have, your goals get bigger and bigger. What are your goals right now for 2019?

Yeah that’s true! In 2019 I want to release as much music as I possibly can. I have so much content ready to go as I’ve been in the studio 12-16 hours a day since this past summer. I also have a lot of collaborations lined up for this year, which is something I haven’t really thought about doing until now. A big goal for me this year is to get out there and tour as much as possible. I really love throwing parties and playing to people, aside from working in the studio, it’s my favourite thing.

What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night that you are not performing?

As much as I love working in the studio all day, an important lesson my brother taught me was to create balance between work and social life. I live in London in a sort of campus of apartments where a lot of my DJ and producer friends also live. Most weekends we’ll go to clubs, parties, or host parties ourselves. I love DJ’ing at house parties because there’s a certain vibe that you can’t match at a club or festival. An intimate vibe. I tried to capture that with the majority of this mix.

Do you have any venues you dream of playing in?

One of my biggest goals is to headline the 3arena in Dublin. I used to go there as a kid, and it’s always been a dream of mine to headline it and play to 13,000 people in my homeland. Another venue I’ve dreamed of headlining recently is Printworks in London. That venue is next level. I’ve played Ministry of Sound a couple of times, but headlining Ministry is also on the bucket list.

Can you tell us about your nacho disappointment and how you find sounds from stores, like IKEA?

Haha, sometimes on my Instagram I vent my frustrations. And particularly on a certain day, a restaurant I had been ordering from had forgotten nachos from my order 3 times in a row. It was frustrating because I feel quite passionate about the burrito bowl/nacho combo, it’s unmatched. I called them and complained and they gave me some free meals so we’re even now. Regarding IKEA, I decided to drive to my local IKEA recently, sample sounds from the store and make a song out of it. You can check it out on my instagram, jaypryormusic. Shameless plug.

What is the weirdest place you have taken sonic inspiration from?

Back in Dublin I live in a marina, so there’s lots of boats around. I remember one day I was going for a run, and I heard a series of boat noises that somehow became the main melody line for my release ‘All This,’ that would have to be one of the most interesting forms of inspiration I’ve ever taken sonically.

Tell us about the new stripes on your face!

When I was younger I used to be a really anxious kid. My mam used to tell me that I wasn’t a ‘worrier,’but a ‘warrior.’ When I started playing shows, I would get nervous and anxious. I decided to apply the war paint to remind me that I’m not a worrier, but a warrior. I also want to use it as a way to connect people who feel the same way. I want my music to connect people and help them strive for their goals and best lives, despite that inevitable fear at the back of our mind.

What is your all time favorite dance music song?

It would have to be ‘Everyday’ by Eric Prydz. The reason I wanted to create dance music is because I saw Calvin Harris perform in Spain a couple of years back. He played this song, and it was a moment of clarity for me when I heard it. The place, the song, and Calvin as a figure was just so incredibly inspiring. When I got home from that trip I started teaching myself how to create dance music.

What do you think the biggest dance music trend to come out of 2019 is going to be?

I’m not entirely sure. Obviously in the pop space, urban music is still killing the game. Personally, my music has shifted back to my housier roots. I naturally fell back into love with this type of music, and coincidentally I feel like it will make somewhat of a comeback this year. I hope to help bring it to the masses once again.

What kind of a Saturday night is your mix going to get us ready for?

I recorded my mix as if I was playing at a house party. So I think it’s a good mix to stick on at a party, or something more lowkey like pre-drinks (I think you call it pregaming in the US). I really hope people like it and can party hard to it!

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 73

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Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 73Deters Beat Lab@0.

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA managing editor Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.

Listen in playlist format here.


After months of anticipation, Gammer‘s much-hyped remix of Ran-D’s “Zombie” has finally arrived. Its comment section is full of fans saying “finally!” – and with good reason. Gammer plays up the emotive intensity of the original, which was initially performed by The Cranberries. Ran-D redid the vocals himself, and Gammer uses them to drum up anticipation for the quickly building drop. It’s ready for festival stages around the world with its energy-loaded hardcore beat.

The Lion King‘s “Circle of Life” has been making its way into the EDM scene for years. It’s popped up in Skrillex sets, been remixed by Mat Zo, and most recently, revamped by Wuki. Uploaded to his Wukileaks channel on January 10, this edit of the iconic track sees the classic introduction worked into a grooving house anthem. It’s primed for the dance floor and guaranteed to have all listeners embracing their inner “hakuna matata” attitude — even 24 years later.

Russia’s Sound Quelle was a huge presence on Silk Music’s channel in 2018, so label has kicked off their 2019 with a three-track EP from the multi-faceted artist. In the Esalia EP, he’s teamed up with Referna for tracks like “Lauria,” an ethereal deep house number rooted in an easygoing bassline and dreamy vocals. This nearly six-minute track has an otherworldly feel to it and features a minimalist synth melody that drifts in and out of progressive beat.

In their latest, Win & Woo take a journey across the pond to craft a new original, “Tea Time.” The duo have fashioned an infectious house beat around a catchy British vocal sample that declares “it’s time for tea,” making this track one of their most entertaining to date with the help of some cowbell. Win & Woo have called the track “something fun for being awesome to us in 2018,” promising even more to come in 2019.

In his debut Mad Zoo appearance, Canada’s Brock Wilson has created an intriguing and diverse two-track EP. “hollow shell” is a thrilling and slightly spooky track that showcases the artist’s curiosity and experimentation in a variety of electronic styles. From glitchy, grinding bass to an eerie, minimalist melody, Wilson shows us what he’s all about. “I’ve never really been good at making bangers or high energy songs, but I’ve always been interested in tight mixing and sound design.” It shows, in the best possible way.

Welcome to the Jungle: the local event brand shaping China’s flourishing electronic music culture

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Welcome to the Jungle: the local event brand shaping China’s flourishing electronic music culture8

The air at China’s Electric Jungle music festival is rife with more than just thick blankets of meandering cigarette smoke. The untethered Chinese electronic festival goers beam with the enthusiasm of a culture not yet jaded by the “put-your-fucking-hands-up” of it all. 

China’s sprawling electronic music scene, while invariably unique (despite Western influences), follows the traditional counter-culture-becomes-the-culture plot. Among the local efforts to secure dance music widespread recognition, Jungle Events is most notable for working, not just to throw sensational, world-class festivals with the most sought-after electronic acts, but to promote camaraderie among its supporters.

“Jungle is one of the only domestic festival brands in China. The team is made up of Chinese ravers who want to establish a community of ravers in China, not just throw festivals,” says Chinese trance titan and perennial Jungle billing, Luminn, echoing the company’s distinct ethos.

Signed to Armin van Buuren’s army of global trance talent, Armada, Luminn (real name, JunLiang Fan) speaks ambivalently towards the influx of foreign festival brands embedding themselves in the Chinese market. As the first Chinese artist to secure a clean sweep of spots on the Ultra, EDC, and TRANSMISSION lineups, he posits with authority: Jungle stands out. 

It’s simple enough. The Chinese want to go to raves thrown by Chinese ravers. That’s not to say international muscle hasn’t amassed a robust following in recent years. Ultra China’s first swing in 2017 drew over 40,000 awestruck attendees to its inaugural weekend in Shanghai. The goliath outfits also make an effort to book domestic talent. EDC China’s official flyer from last year sprinkled the hometown heroes alphabetically alongside Alison Wonderland, Disclosure, and the lot—same-size font and all. 

“Rave:” an antiquated term on US or European soil. But inside China’s cocktail of fresh-faced organizers and authorities privy to the most arbitrary whims (event permits count for little), the tired term has earned its wings here. Even the most meticulously planned festival is an inspired act of valor for the Chinese—clandestine warehouse setting be damned. 

KSHMR, born Niles Hollowell-Dhar, reckons he’s performed in China more than any other country outside the US. Resting on the upper-most echelons of both the international big-room scene and Jungle’s most recent lineup, the California native revels in the laundry-fresh feel of China’s developing dance scene.  

“They are probably the most enthusiastic of any fanbase that I have around the world—showing up at the airports when I arrive, and even at the hotels,” says KSHMR. “There’s a vigor and a zeal to the Chinese people that I feel it’s a shame that a lot of the world doesn’t understand.”

Once the effects of the awe-inducing elixir comprised of Skrillex, REZZ, and Martin Garrix, (just a few of Jungle’s other active ingredients) subsides, we remember Jungle 2018’s auspicious undercard. Radiating sweet heat akin to her effervescent live sets is DJ Lizzy. Chinese-turned-New-Jersey-native, Lizzy Wang was the first female Chinese DJ to book a slot at Ultra. Inspirited by Newark’s omnipresent hip-hop culture, Wang started making music to relate to her more rambunctious American peers. Like a video-game heroine, she began unlocking levels of newfound confidence with every DIY production skill acquired from days spent poring over YouTube tutorials.

Wang attributes Jungle’s loyal following to its keen and ever-domestic ear. 

“[The Jungle Team] cares about what the Chinese ravers want to see on a lineup,” says Wang. “It’s about more than selling tickets.” 

Both the Jungle founders, a collective of former University of Southern California transfer students, and Chinese EDM at large, owe at least their root infrastructure to dance music conventions from the states; though what’s evolved since their most nascent notions of EDM world-building is unmistakably domestic. Luminn observes the recent rush of Chinese producers opting to include Mandarin and Cantonese lyrics in their tracks. 

As with nearly any art form, there is a degree of reciprocity inherent in Eastern and Western influences that travels through the global dance music scene. Just before his Saturday performance at Jungle’s most recent installment, globetrotting English-born, part-Chinese trap talent, TroyBoi spoke of his manifold use of Asian instrumentation in his productions (“KinjaBang” and “Souls,” are two of the starkest examples).

“I like to create a worldly sound, with an electronic/hip-hop backbone to it that will translate wherever I play,” he says. “It gives me an edge when I come to tour in places like China.”

In comparison to TroyBoi, the LA-based Drezo was one of the most unanticipated additions to the 2018 lineup. Sporting visuals suited for a biopic on Satan himself, and a nefariously pulsing electro/house sound to match, Drezo’s performance was certainly liable to send Jungle patrons into a head-scratching frenzy. Instead, Drezo’s prescribed dose of strange was just what Saturday’s Bass Stage ordered, accruing a commendable crowd that was as excited as it was confounded.

“Something about the atmosphere here reminds me of the [US] scene around 2011,” says Drezo just after his set. “They go crazy for everything.”

Repeat Jungle dignitary, Terry Zhong, a recent grad of Boston’s Berklee College of Music cites Justin Beiber and Lady Gaga’s blurring the lines of pop and dance music as a vessel for EDM’s Chinese infiltration. The Insomniac talent began fine-tuning his piano prowess at the age of five—since then cracking a sundry of local lineups, including EDC Guangdong, as well as prominent bookings throughout the domestic club circuit. 

“[The Chinese] are trying to emulate what’s happening in the US,” says Zhong. “But now we’re starting to grow our own dance scene, to find a Chinese PLUR.”

Sound familiar? 

 

Orbit Playlist: Eli & Fur share swelling selects before hitting the high seas for Groove Cruise Miami

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Orbit Playlist: Eli & Fur share swelling selects before hitting the high seas for Groove Cruise MiamiEli Fur 1

Anjunadeep‘s favorite new two brooding Brits, Eli & Fur, have taken a moment to parse their favorite tracks (including a few of their own design, of course) from the last year, before they kick-start 2019 aboard Groove Cruise Miami.

The cinematic house duo spent 2018 eclipsing mundane DJ/producer expectation, with their visceral, reflective aesthetic rendering their productions deliriously dance-worthy, but also ideal for a relaxed listen outside the club setting. Their most recent EP, Night Blooming Jasmine serves as invariable evidence of their tone/mood-fluxing capabilities Unsurprisingly, the ladies’ selects reflect this chameleon-like dance-ability, spanning the mystifying, high-spirits “Buggin” by Hot Since 82 to Bob Moses’ slow-burning subtleties by way of “Back Down.”

While Groove Cruise Miami is totally sold out, pre-sale for West Coast Groove Cruise is available here. Fans should keep their eyes peeled for Eli & Fur’s new remix with Maya Jane Coles out next month on NYX Music.

“Cannot wait for Groove Cruise. For some reason we have become cruise ship regulars. Think this is our 5th or 6th. Fur loves the casino and Eli likes the fact you can’t leave. It’s like a huge floating hotel of craziness and it’s always one to remember.”

1. DJ Dep – Stop Talking (Tiger Stripes Edit)

This has been a real stomper on the dance floor. One of those ones that works every time. Been a favourite to play out and a great tool to pick up the energy.

2. Eli & Fur – Night Blooming Jasmine (Rodriguez Jr. Remix)

When we asked Rodriguez Jr. to remix this we were so happy when he said “yes.” We have been fans of his for a while and had met before at a few parties. He totally smashed it and took the original to another level.

3. Jimmy Edgar – Burn So Deep Ft DAWN (Maya Jane Coles Remix)

This one is a moment. Maya is a genius producer and remixer, have played this a lot this summer. It’s not in any way generic and sticks in people’s memories. The best recipe for any track we like to play out.

4. Bob Moses – Back Down

Have wanted to see them live for a while now. They balance the electronic and live world perfectly and have such a great catalog to dig into.

5. SL2- DJs Take Control – (Shadow Child Remix)

We have worked with Shadow Child in the past and he’s so so talented. This is another banger that’s been great. Played this at Ants in Ibiza quite a few times and it always gets the party going.

6. Eli & Fur, OC & Verde – Sweet Perfection

This came out on Yoshi Toshi at the start of 2018, loved collaborating with OC & Verde.

7. Kaz James and Nick Morgan – Twisted Instrumental Mix

Another we have been playing out in most of our sets, so much melody and emotion. This is right up our street. Was a great moment when we played it at Nocturnal Wonderland in San Bernardino, with the wind blowing and all the amazing lights out in the crowd.

8. Anotr – Bend

Bad ass track. These guys are so good. Play a lot of their tunes out and this is our favourite so far.

9. Mathame (With Lyke) – Nothing Around Us

This pulls at your heart strings. Like anything from Life And Death it’s full of emotion mixed with aggression and is such an intense dance floor experience.

10. Blond:ish – Circus

This is wacky and amazing, played this at Treehouse Miami and it went off. It’s a great one for more intimate party vibes and one of our favourites of 2018.

11. Eli & Fur – Something Was Real

Yes, plugging ourselves here but this is a special track to us both personally and felt super happy to get something a bit different on our last EP. It’s more down tempo than our usual releases and one of our favourites on the EP.

12. Hot Since 82 – Buggin’feat Jem Cooke

Great tune from someone we are very excited to see play on the ship. Love all his tunes.

13. Eli & Fur x Harry Romero – Be Somebody

Harry is a legend and an amazing producer. This one started with a vocal we wrote. We loved the vibe and felt like it could really work over something groovy. “Be Somebody” was born with the help of Harry. It was wicked to collab with him and love playing this one, will definitely be dropping it on the boat.

14. Bronski Beat – Why (Wax Wings)

This is genius. Love Wax Wings, love this track. Been playing it out a lot recently. One of the great moments to remember again. If you haven’t got this go get it.

15. Eli & Fur – Parfume (Athea remix)

James (Athea) is a mate of ours who’s super talented. So we asked to remix “Parfume” on our latest EP. Love how dark this version is. Heads down vibes, here.

Photo Credit: Whet Travel

15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019

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15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019Coachella Undercard Image Final

The release of Coachella‘s lineup is a highly anticipated event every year, with fans attentively looking out for their favorite acts and fresh new talent amid the festival’s legendary annual billing. Aside from the drama surrounding Kanye West‘s departure from his headlining slot, the festival released their full lineup to considerable fanfare this year. Presenting one of the most diverse and electronic-heavy lineups in recent memory, Coachella has drawn both praise and criticism for their underground selections and electronic skew.

With such a deep pool of electronic acts, this list is a guide to the most crucial sets from the bottom portion of the Coachella lineup. From the debut of techno newcomers to emerging producers and vocalists, Dancing Astronaut has selected the fifteen undercard acts that you can’t miss at Coachella this year.

Rachel Narozniak, Christina Hernandez, and Alex Krinsky also contributed to this article.


Four Tet

Known for his truly inspiring live sets, Four Tet consistently amazes crowds with thoughtfully curated shows in intimate venues, while also adapting his invigorating performance for larger festival audiences. Striking a balance between analog and digital, between funky and rigid, crisp and distorted, Four Tet displays his mastery of sound and space with every set he plays. The highest billed artist on this list, this show will please everyone from casual house and techno fans to audio aficionados, without sacrificing creative ambitions and impulses.

15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019Tet Live 2019

Rosalía

Singer, songwriter, and producer Rosalía released her sophomore album, El Mal Querer, at the tail end of 2018. Following up her mostly flamenco-leaning debut, Rosalía embraces textured electronic production behind her vocals, drawing comparisons to James Blake, Sampha, Blue Hawaii, and more. With her powerful voice, intensely executed choreography, and top notch production, Rosalía is a star on the rise, taking on what may be the largest performance of her career this April. 

SOPHIE

Few know their way around sound design like SOPHIE — a true master of eclectic electronica. Her groundbreaking album, Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides was a breathtaking evolution of her signature experimental sound, taking listeners on a wild ride across its nine tracks and eventually leading to her making Grammy history as the first transgender woman to be nominated for the honor. It was a true culmination of years spent exploring different soundscapes, and shows off a mature artist primed to continue leading the charge in her creative realm. Catch her on Friday for what’s set to be a hauntingly brilliant live performance.15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019SOPHIE

Jon Hopkins

While Grammy-nominated artist Jon Hopkins needs no introduction, the depth of talent on Coachella’s lineup makes it easy to miss even the most impressive of names. Infusing his live sets with synths and a variety of gear, Hopkins’ house and techno is filled with textures and subtleties that have gained global recognition. With an international superstar bringing an acclaimed live set to one of the largest stages in music, this set is guaranteed to bring entrancing vibes to the Polo Grounds.

Tara Brooks

With a career of performances spanning from Burning Man to Berlin, Tara Brooks is a perfect example of Coachella’s expanding body of house and techno artists. A Desert Hearts veteran with co-signs from Joseph Capriati, Sasha, and John Digweed, Brooks puts forth some of the best that deep and progressive house out there to date. Though an L.A. native, she will bring the experience of the world’s most coveted nightlife and festival scenes to Coachella this April.

Idris Elba

It’s a surefire fact that when people saw Idris Elba’s name on Coachella’s lineup most of them went straight for Google. Many articles were written up on the fact that the man who portrayed Stringer Bell, Luther, and Nelson Mandela was going to be spinning beats at California’s biggest festival. CNN actually put out the headline “Yes, Idris Elba is playing Coachella” no doubt to many clicks. The fact of the matter is DJ Big Driis has been spinning for a minute — since he was 14, actually. He told Dancing Astronaut not only about his strife balancing his image as an actor and sexiest man alive with his passion for dance music back in 2017. Though it may be unbeknownst to many, Elba has collaborated with Fatboy Slim, was remixed by Pete Tong, and remixed Skepta. Far from his first major appearance, the 007 prospect made his mark in Ibiza, Atlanta, played Glastonbury festival, and has his sets on YouTube. He’s got that English charm, major relevance across multiple fields, and the skills to back it all up. Besides, it’s Idris Elba — you don’t need us to tell you to go see him.

15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019Idris Elba Djing

Nora En Pure

Deep house and indie dance aesthetics intermingle with polished precision when Nora En Pure takes the decks. A melodic songstress, the South African phenom smoothly crafts live sensory experiences that invite attendees to delve into deeper house territory alongside the renowned producer. Nora En Pure’s catalog conveys her seemingly magnetic gravitation downwards to the lower boundaries of house music. It is with unparalleled finesse that the Don’t Look Back producer lifts her listeners from these deeper house stylings, to provide contrast in the form of airy, mellow sonic constructs that showcase Nora En Pure’s versatility, and the effortlessness with which she seamlessly bridges the ‘dark’ and ‘light’ tonalities of her music. Dulcet and fluid in the way that it unfurls, a Nora En Pure set is a Coachella must see.

Ross From Friends

Back in the 80’s Felix Clary Weatherall, better known as Ross From Friends, had a mobile sound system created by his dad, stationed in a van that bumped beats and toured around Europe, bringing a shared experience to music lovers wherever it wound up. Since his childhood, Ross From Friends wanted to create and connect like his father, through the use of music. However, one can follow in their father’s footsteps for only so long, eventually Ross From Friends carved his own path — one that led to a stage at Empire Polo Club. Only a few years ago Brainfeeder’s head honcho Flying Lotus casually recruited Ross From Friends and gave him the freedom to create with the advice, “make the album you want to make.”

In April of 2018, Ross From Friends released his Aphelion EP, displaying his sonic mobility while defining and fine-tuning his sound. Just four months later he put out his debut album on Brainfeeder, Family Portrait.

The Guardian deemed him “one to watch,” his sound has been compared to Jamie XX, Boards of Canada, and Four Tet. Fly-Lo gave him absolute freedom to astounding results, and that guy just knows. Whether the pull is musical curiosity or the desire to see an artist that is in the process of blooming, Ross From Friends’ performance at Coachella should not be missed.

15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019Rossfromfriendsportrait

Burna Boy

In 2018, Burna Boy went from local Nigerian treasure to a global phenomenon. Dropping his major label debut, Outside, on Atlantic Records and nabbing a feature on Major Lazer‘s “All My Life,” Burna Boy has been exposed to a whole host of new audiences. The energetic 27-year-old rhymer is making sure his presence at Coachella is known, already taking to his Instagram to demand that his name be printed larger because he is an “AFRICAN KING.” Eccentric and talented, Burna Boy is slated to bring down the Polo Grounds with his distinctive Afrobeat style.

Polo & Pan

French indie-electronic duo Polo & Pan spent much of 2018 on the road, with two US tours and gigs around Europe and the Middle East allowing them to fine tune their live show. Coming hot off the deluxe re-release of their debut album, Caravelle, the pair now have a deep body of work to play out to the masses in Indio. With a fleshed out stage set-up coming in 2019, Coachella may be Polo & Pan’s biggest and most impressive show yet.

CloZee

The French up-and-comer has breathed fresh life into bass music. Her avant-garde sound draws from a multitude of influences and her own classical training, making for captivating original productions and even more infectious live sets. CloZee’s growth has been particularly impressive as of late, where she released her long-awaited debut LP, Evasion, in 2018 and quickly earned slots at a variety of high profile festivals including Bonnaroo, Lightning In A Bottle, and even Coachella. We suspect her return to the Southern California institution will be pumped full of brand new music, and special edits of deeper cuts in her discography.

15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019DA WM 22

Stephan Bodzin

For house and techno lovers, Europe’s diverse club and festival circuit can leave American fans yearning for talent that often stays on the other side of the Atlantic. A prime example of this is esteemed German DJ Stephan Bodzin – though he tours relentlessly in Europe, playing his gripping techno tunes to engrossed crowds, a US appearance from Bodzin is a rare treat. With pounding bass, a melodic skew, and enough gear to fill an entire studio, Bodzin is set to tear down Indio with his old school style and boisterous swagger for one of his few US shows of 2019.

Rico Nasty

Since coming onto the scene in 2016, Rico Nasty has blossomed into one of the more colorful and abrasive characters in D.C.’s ever-growing hip-hop scene. Ranging from hard trap music to a punk take on rap, the 21-year-old and her rowdy personality are only boosted with production from Kenny Beats, one of hip-hop’s most in-demand producers of the moment, formerly of LOUDPVCK. With high energy music and a lively stage presence, Rico Nasty’s Coachella performance is a great opportunity to catch some of hip-hop’s finest rising talent.

Kölsch

Denmark-based DJ and producer Kölsch has built a path for himself by adding a melodic twist on four-to-the-floor techno production. Having graced the main stages of much of Europe’s techno festival scene and played a DJ set atop the Eiffel Tower, Kölsch has a deep catalog of work, most recently including his 2018 joint EP with Tiga. Bringing his anthemic sound to Indio, the Danish DJ’s set is sure to be one of many stellar techno performances headed to Indio this spring.

15 acts that define Coachella’s undercard in 2019Kolsch Dj Set Eiffel Tower Cr Adrien Combes 2017 Billboard Fea 1500

Superorganism

Bridging the gap between electronic and indie music, Superorganism defy genre in a completely unique way. Using a mix of harmonic vocals, distinctive sampling techniques, and electronic instrumentation, the band is sure to make an impression on any audience. Whether it’s jamming out on a funky synth or blowing bubbles through a straw, every track will be packed to the brim with intriguing textures. Check out their Tiny Desk Concert to get a taste of the creativity to come at the band’s Coachella debut.