Now in it’s 21st year, the mystique surrounding Burning Man and its ability to draw in the biggest names in electronic music have shown now signs of abating. This year was no exception, with contributions from Diplo, Skrillex, and a Burning Man favorite — Tycho’s sunrise set.
One particular guest to Black Rock City that has until now remained rather elusive has been the legendary Carl Cox. Thanks to the folks at The Radio Department, fans of tech-house can now hear Carl Cox’s first-ever guest mix (beginning at the 58 minute mark) on John Digweed‘s radio show, Transitions.
Recorded live from deep within the playa this past September, expect to hear a carefully curated mix of techno and progressive DJs who are pioneering their respective genres, including Dance Spirit, Satori, Markus Homm, Connan Mockasin, Tiefschwarz & Yawk, and more.
UK producer Dave Tipper has been relatively quiet since his solar eclipse special event, 4321, held last month in central Missouri. Now, the “godfather of glitch” has climbed out of the woodworks to release his 4-track EP, Lattice.
Chock full of material that the producer has been playing at his themed gatherings over the past year, Lattice does a tremendous job cataloguing the full spectrum of Tipper’s psychedelic bass-driven directionality as of late. The project is Tipper‘s third EP in two years, following the release of Flunked back in January, and 2015’s It’s Like.
From the EP’s leading track, “Lattice,” with it’s unpredictable half-time tempo, all the way to the closing track, “Dreamsters VIP,” which gives the original ambient track a bass-boosted hip-hop treatment, Lattice takes listeners on a wild sonic journey through time and space. The EP is both tribal and primitive, futuristic, and multi-dimensional, with frequencies that both confuse as much as they ignite curiosity into music production outside of the given norm.
Over the past two decades, dance music pioneer Paul Kalkbrenner has become one of electronic music’s bonafide superstars, filling arenas with his live shows and headlining major festival’s worldwide On Friday, November 3rd, the Berlin-based producer will venture to Los Angeles to deliver a singular journey through the history of techno.
The live show, titled “Back to the Future,” underscores a previous three-volume project in which Kalkbrenner personally curated over 5000 underground works in Berlin between 1987 and 1993. The compilation was meant to channel the freedom and abandon felt in the warehouses of East Berlin during this seminal period.
By proxy, Kalkbrenner’s US debut will showcase the evolution of techno and rave culture throughout the late 80s and early 90s. “Back to the Future” marks a rare chance to witness one of electronic music’s true pioneers in an intimate setting, and become exposed to the music that shaped not only Berlin’s club culture, but the global techno landscape.
Kevin Saunderson, a veritable forefather of the techno genre, is celebrating three decades of his label KMS Records and his career in general. The Detroit native assembled his colleagues Dubfire, Marc Houle , and KiNK to lend their talents to the special edition celebration EP, creating a well-rounded list of pieces that define the genre they were made under.
Dubfire’s contribution shows off his brilliant skill at sound design, painting a menacing mental picture with cunning bursts of synth and pungent kicks. “Bottom Dweller” steps aside from the veteran’s usual minimal style, showcasing his equally top ability in forging atmospheric pieces made for open air settings. The piece has been rinsed with success thus far, and will likely continue to be throughout the fall season.
Launchpad is a playlist series showcasing music we love, hand selected by our staff. The tracks come from both emerging and mainstream artists; it’s all about the quality and the unexpected. If you’d like your music featured in Launchpad, submit it for considerationhere.
Festival season has wound down for the most part, but there is no shortage of energizing bass music to provide a shot of energy that keeps a jubilant mindset in place. Thus, we’ve decided to gather a batch of ten pieces on the lower end of dance music that stimulate the brain and encapsulate sounds that will set a new precedent for their arena. No subgenre is left unturned, from drum ‘n’ bass, to glitch hop, to dubstep — their onw commonality is their artistry.
DA Launchpad Selects:
Minnesota – HiLow
Berkeley-based maven Minnesota has taken the bass world by storm, bringing forth an eclectic and experimental sound to his audiences and dominating the transformational circuit in bookings. His latest effort, “HiLow,” is a gritty dubstep piece that harkens to the genre’s roots while also maintaining a contemporary twist. Vocals eggs the piece on, which is also laced with futuristic synth work that hooks listeners until the end. Minnesota recently had the honor of playing the Oregon Eclipse festival, and is amidst an extensive tour that is taking him across the United States.
Hans Zimmer – Time (Opae Remix)
Opae is a fresh face to the EDM sphere. Hailing from Chicago, the 20-year-old act is currently experimenting with an array of sounds across the spectrum and slowly defining his sonic identity. One particularly fine piece of music he crafted was his edit to Hans Zimmer’s “Time.” Labeling the composer as one of his “biggest inspirations in music,” Opae respects the original’s emotive and cinematic elements by keeping them as his remix’ centerpiece. However, his future bass twist makes the song applicable to dance-floors.
Jeremy Olander is one who manifests success for himself by sticking staunchly to his guns. Carefully biding his time after breaking out through Pryda Friends, the Swedish phenomenon grew into his true artistic self through a series of carefully-selected releases and through the foundation of his own imprint Vivrant in 2015.
His moves and undying passion have thus far brought nothing but success, with freedom to release as he pleases and nurture the next generation of progressively-inclined talent, and access to the top of the music industry with accomplishments like his own night at ADE’s 2017 iteration and also a residency at Sound Nightclub that will be wrapping up in December.
The blissful horizon that is 2017’s conclusion officially kicks off with the release of Gattaca, a four-track EP carefully compiled by Olander as the milestone tenth release on Vivrant. Gattaca opens with an impressive title track, which possesses a refined nature that is conveyed through gentle synth work and percussion. Its melancholic, yet hopeful atmosphere is one that Jeremy is expert at creating, and will easily lead to many hands in the air when rinsed on the dance-floor.
“Gaansvort” is even more poignant than “Gattaca,” raising goosebumps with a moving, almost trance-y progression and a soaring breakdown. Nine minutes seem to fly by as the body is quickly entangled in the piece’s intriguing layers and gripping notes.
“Galheera,” which closes Gattaca, is a veritable gem of the EP. Originally dubbed “Bahrein ID 02” by fans, “Galheera” is the type of production that pierces the heart with striking melodies and sweeping background notes that amplify the already heavily bittersweet effect. It serves as a catalyst to introspection and getting in touch with one’s emotional side, transforming dance-floors into deeply bonded communities.
Music made with the heart had a profound effect on the listener, and Olander’s deep process of writing songs translates into an infectious energy that captures hearts and leads to a committed fanbase of Vivrant soldiers. Luckily, the coming months will be bringing his gleeful spirit to many corners of the globe, including a Vivrant showcase at ADE, his final residency stop at Sound nightclub in Hollywood, and various stops across the United States.
Chloé is not one to subject to ubiquitous trends on the electronic market. The classically-trained guitarist and veteran dance music composer is continually searching for depth in both what she consumes and what she creates; this quality mixed with innate talent has carried her career for over two decades.
She is nowhere near reaching stalemate, however, despite her long years as an industry figurehead. In fact, the French songstress is helping break new ground by openly embracing new technologies and sounds that others might feel hesitant to work out. Her knack for innovation gives her music a distinctive edge that has led to a great international demand for her presence.
October 27 will bring about a new milestone: her third artist album, which will be released through her own Lumière Noire imprint. Having taken great time and care to create it, Endless Revisions promises an immersive auditory experience that explores various soundscapes and genres through a cohesive development.
Prior to releasing her album, however, Chloé provides Dancing Astronaut with an exclusive mix showing where she’s currently at musically. She presents an intriguing mélange of psychedelia and deep grooves laced with dissonant vocal samples and eclectic electro elements — all within the span of an hour. As a whole, the mix feels like a a futuristic, otherworldly journey where listeners are opened to her true self.
19 year-old Tim Engelhardt has landed himself on top of the progressive game despite his young age. He has an innate sense of musicality that leads to magic in each of his productions — a trait that makes him one of the more recognizable acts of the new generation.
Having released on Diynamic, Vivrant, and even Anjunadeep this year, Engelhardt’s newest EP landed on HOSH’s fledgling Fryhide imprint. Reality is quite the four-tracker, exploring often poignant themes within each track’s melodies, pads, and rhythms.
“Heart Resonance” exemplifies the themes of the EP well, truly leading to goosebumps with its haunting central melody and slow, arpeggiated synthesizers. Chimes and UFO-like samples line the background, adding to the overall forlorn effect that is communicated through the composition. Here, Engelhardt demonstrates his expertise once more at layering sound together in a moving fashion.
Music lovers around the world are familiar with the legendary Colorado venue Red Rocks. Artists dream of playing the world-class outdoor venue for sometimes their entire careers.
Slow Magic is one of the lucky ones chosen to share his music there as an opening act for ODESZA, and he vivdly recalls the myriad of emotions coursing through him as he stepped up to the stage amidst a sold-out crowd.
“I was actually just telling myself throughout the set, ‘This is really scary, and crazy, don’t mess up,’” he announced in a conversation a few days ago.
The clean, crisp elevation air chilled the audience’s skin, as the Mile High sun set over the Rockies. That’s when Slow Magic stole the show last May with his energetic showmanship and impeccable production skills, balancing live and electronic instrumentation.
“It was an incredible experience,” continues the enigmatic producer, “and after the show it kind of all sunk in.”
It wasn’t always this way. Before the young musician was playing Red Rocks, Slow Magic was still learning his instruments of choice back in 2011.
“On my third [ever] show, my laptop completely fried just before my set so I handed an iPod with all my tracks to the sound guy and borrowed a drum from my friends who were also playing that night. I had played drums for a really long time but never connected the dots until that moment. I played the drum in the center of the crowd for the whole set and by the end my hands were a bit bloody.”
Armed with his instruments of choice — a computer, a MIDI keyboard, and a couple of drums — Slow Magic has become known for his unmistakable sound and his imaginative, animalistic persona. “Music by your imaginary friend,” reads his Twitter bio.
His image, a tribal-inspired live ethos, has become synonymous with his sonic identity, with its ethereal mix of distorted vocals, swirling synths, and light jazz.
Yet, it has been three years since the release of his sophomore project, How To Run Away, which the producer says was focused around themes of escapism, and of disconnecting from a sense of place.
October 4 marked another milestone in Slow Magic’s career as he releases his third studio album, Float, on the Sony-distributed imprint Downtown Records. And, while he’s far past the point in his career of having to explain why he chooses to stay hidden beneath the neon zebra mask, the 13-track LP lays out his innate, authentic sound while asserting a clear artistic vision for where he’s been (and where he’s going).
“Its also an album about Love, in a happy and a realistic sense, even sometimes in a dark sense.”
Work for Float began during Slow Magic’s time in Iceland. Referring to the album’s major underlying message, Slow Magic points a similar theme of his last album: “To me its about escapism, wanting to float away. Not exactly to disconnect but to float above.” Yet, on Float, Slow Magic refers to his newly-minted vision of ‘escapism’ in the transcendental sense. It is about transcending physical place, rather than a need to disconnect from it.
Once the instrumentals began to take shape, Slow Magic turned to vocalists Peter Silberman (from The Antlers), Kate Boy, Tropics, Toulouse, and MNDR to add more layers to Float.
Speaking to his vocalists, which he alluded to as a completely new challenge, Slow Magic lightly quips about his collaborators never having met him in person.
“Funny enough I realized that I never was in the same room with any of the collaborators, which is fitting as no one knows who I am anyway.”
One artist Slow Magic lamented on not being able to work with in person was MNDR, who’s laid down vocals for the likes of Feed Me and Flume. “MNDR is amazing, and her vocals have a lot of depth to them. The song really came together naturally, and I think it’s because her vocals were so strong from the start.” Standing as the album’s fourth track, “Shivers” spotlights MNDR’s Grammy-winning vocals, with it’s airy, narcotic allure, pulling them together into a distinctly chill track with distorted synths and Slow’s signature budding drum work.
When one thinks to Slow Magic’s theme of escapism, and how it resonates across multiple albums, it speaks volumes to the spaces with which Slow Magic lives and inhabits. Elaborating on the Float‘s theme further, Slow Magic mentions how “its also an album about Love, in a happy and a realistic sense, even sometimes in a dark sense.”
He elaborates, “It’s kind of a balance on the whole album between happy and sad or dark emotions.”
One track he cites at the center of this thematic is the Peter Silberman-assisted ballad, “Belong 2 Me.” The album’s centerpiece track is haunting and mysterious, yet relaxed and unrestrained, speaking to the yin-and-yang duality in which Slow Magic calls attention to. “Love is something powerful and sometimes uncontrollable,” he finally reveals.
Looking to the future, Slow Magic says he would love to see himself working with a distinctly eminent type of artist – from DNTEL and Ben Gibbard to Sufjan Stevens, Sigur Ros, and Yung Lean.
As for the extremely well-rounded vocal talent on Float, Slow Magic seems drawn to certain type of vocal quality — airy and atmospheric, bright and elegant — for which the producer says adds to the particular kind of aesthetic he’s working to create.
“Since it [Float] was my first time working with vocalists for features, I approached it very carefully. I think the challenge is to bring a lot of people in on the project but still to keep it cohesive sonically, and I think it ended up working very well. All of the vocalists compliment a each other in some ways.”
From the sprawling warmth of “Light,” featuring Tropics, to the 80s indie-pop throwback style of “Mind,” featuring Kate Boy, Slow Magic’s thoughtfulness to vocals really shines. There is a keen balance between his erratic, raw sounds and what each vocalist brings to the track.
Take, for instance, Kate Boy’s energetic pop-sensible style that calls on the “shoegaze” style of late 80s/early 90s British indie-rock. One almost feels as if they’re center stage in an angsty John Hughes teen movie. For “Mind,” Slow Magic wanted to take a step back from the original sound of his debut album, Triangle, while still doing something new.
Perhaps what makes the entire Float LP come together so coherently are the album’s instrumental tracks. The album’s first couple of instrumental tracks — “Valhalla,” “Skeleton Pink,” and the previously released “Drums” — string together the entire first half of the album so seamlessly that the tracks begin to take on a quality of their vocally mastered counterparts.
Yet, the album’s twelfth track, “Midnight Sun,” may just be the standout instrumental track of the album. Equipped with quirky synths, changing tempos, and a fun and elegant song structure, the track is light-hearted and laid-back. Its the type of piece one would find themselves chilling out to in a hammock down by the creek or gearing up for a night of partying with the friends.
One cannot speak about the musicality of Slow Magic’s third studio album, Float, without speaking about his visceral live production. The experience is so authentic and imaginative, so ethereal and raw, that one is transported to another time and space. Perhaps that is the kind of full circle experience of his cross-dimensional appeal. To listen to the Float LP in full is to be certain of an eventuality that one will see the songs performed live somehow, someday soon.
As an artist, though, the break-out producer says he’s always looking for new ways to grow his live production set-up. “The more I think of expanding the more and more i feel like I can do with the simple set up and the more I want to challenge myself.”
Watching Slow Magic on stage, as he balances the many moving parts of multiple instruments, is as intimidating to think about doing as it is an impressive sight to behold. “I am working on a ton of new things for my upcoming tour though, things I can’t say at the moment. So I’m always thinking of ways I can make the show a better experience.”
“I tried to stay away from listening to current electronic type music while I was working on this record.”
Above all, Float is transcendental, creative, and other-worldly. It is at times soothing and melodic, while, at others, staccato and upbeat. What stands out most about the album, however, is how it stands in complete opposition to itself. Like the yin-and-yang, the album reminds us of the duality of the human experience. It is both light and dark, gritty and soft, imaginative and real, both deeply conflicted and profoundly enlightened – and, ultimately, Slow Magic’s message is about learning to love ourselves in all those spaces.
Slow Magic will embark on a world tour in support of Float this fall. Stream the full Float LP below.
Kid Froopy has been making a strong impression on the scene over the past year. After releasing “Drive Slow” and “Dreams” over the summer, the Deadbeats producer has put out a funky new track, “Down.”
The third single off his newly-announced Drive Slow EP, “Down” is a lighthearted, yet moody song that Kid Froopy describes as a “depression track.” Opening up about the song, the producer hopes to convey a deeper feeling that the listener might not initially notice. He states that “it could mean a lot of different things, but for me it’s about change and realizing the things you’re doing aren’t working anymore.” The track will stand among 4 originals and 4 remixes on the forthcoming EP, due out October 20 on Deadbeats.