Deadmau5 has been locked in for two massive shows during this year’s Miami Music Week. The producer will don his helmet for the first show as deadmau5 before performing as his techno alias TESTPILOT for the second. The announcement comes by way of event promoter DiskoLab’s Instagram post.
The back-to-back events will take place March 18 and 19 during MMW2020, with deadmau5’s mau5trap Pool Party at Delano Beach Club and his TESTPILOT’s deadmau5 Warehouse set at Magic City Innovation District. Both showings will feature special guests, undoubtedly from the mau5trap boss’ own label.
Pre-sale begins Thursday, February 20 at 10amET. Registration is open here.
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.”
ATTLAS‘ debut album on mau5trap has been half a decade in the making. The Canadian producer has steadily garnered a devoted fan base over the past five-plus years with numerous singles and remixes, a well-rounded set of EPs, and a celebrated Storyline mix series. He was largely quiet on the release front in 2019, spending time putting together the latest Storyline episode and tackling an even bigger project: Lavender God.
In the final month of 2019, ATTLAS announced the LP was on its way and shared its first single, “Sinner Complicated.” The six-minute track showcased the full-bodied auditory experience that was to come, and he followed it up with “Hotel” with Maylyn shortly after.
Lavender God was released on Jan. 31, featuring 10 tracks that span from contemplative instrumental pieces to lighter collaborations with artists like Alisa Xayalith of The Naked and Famous.
ATTLAS’ meticulous attention to detail is evident in every angle of Lavender God‘s 48 minutes and 21 seconds. He sets the scene with “Shatter,” an adventurous, multi-faceted introductory track that leads the listener down the rabbit hole to fully experience the captivating twists and turns he has composed.
With the help of Lambert, ATTLAS moves gracefully from “Shatter” to “A Winding Path.” This delicate tune feels like one gorgeous four-minute build, as the artist continues to introduce his listener to the longer format of this collection.
“Half Light” with Xayalith delivers a more pop-friendly atmosphere, as the songstress’ vocals soar over relaxing instrumentals. A dreamy piano melody serves as both the intro and outro to this song, tying it together beautifully.
The album’s namesake, “Lavender God,” follows. The tune continues the introspective tone set by its predecessors. Its purposeful pace gives the listener ample time to immerse themselves in its mellow melodies, and it’s easy to see why the artist chose this track and its name to summarize the 10-track collection.
The late fall and early winter months are impeccably captured in “November,” a track that leads off with a scattered melody. The theme builds in gradual layers, adding delicate background piano before fading back into its original singular refrain.
The shortest track on the LP is followed by one more than twice its length, “Sinner Complicated.” The song arrived as the album’s debut single in mid-December, giving a taste of the complex world-building fans would be able to experience when the full LP arrived. It nestles cohesively in the middle of the album, paving the way for “Ray of Light” to follow.
“Ray of Light” lends a more optimistic tone after the shadowy atmosphere of “Sinner Complicated,” introducing itself with bright synths just as its name suggests. A calming piano melody and soothing orchestral elements balance out the bold synthwork, making it a stunning example of all ATTLAS is capable of.
An air of mystery returns in “Home.” Though it begins with a slightly haunting introduction, “Home” eventually opens up to a warmer soundscape, and ATTLAS delivers dramatic ebbs and flows throughout the course of the tune’s nearly five minutes.
ATTLAS brings Maylyn aboard for “Hotel,” which arrived as the LP’s second and final single before its full release. This upbeat number is sure to thrill dance music fans at its steady 120 BPM and encourages swaying or head-bobbing with a steady beat.
The LP wraps with “More Than That,” the second-longest song in the collection. This orchestral piece is destined for symphony play, punctuated by dramatic horns and intriguing percussion in its first half. ATTLAS switches it up just before the 3:30 mark to deliver a second half that takes on an entirely different form, illustrating his versatility in a way that makes the listener think back on the journey from “Shatter” to the ending notes of “More Than That.”
Over the course of this LP, ATTLAS masterfully demonstrates the deep-set roots he’s taken painstaking care to establish over the past five years. At the same time, he’s able to showcase what’s to come: years of top-notch, unique productions that make him invaluable to the ever-evolving music scene.
Lavender God is an unprecedented adventure, with ATTLAS fearless at the helm.
The lead up to ATTLAS‘ debut album has been virtually spotless. The longtime mau5trap member released a pair of contorting, psychedelic visualizers to compliment lead singles “Sinner Complicated” and “Hotel.” The remarkably nuanced tracks (along with ATTLAS’ preceding body of work) sparked high hopes for the LP’s release. Lavender God is here in full, and the Canadian producer has certainly lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him.
Lavender God‘s tracks take their time, never rushing through a musical idea too quickly. The album is largely instrumental, though featuring vocals from MAYLYN and The Naked and Famous‘ Alisa Xayalith. ATTLAS’ commitment to pensive atmospheres makes the eventual payoffs much stronger. For example, “Sinner Complicated”‘s pulsing rhythms hit home harder following the lackadaisical and effervescent melodies intertwined throughout “November.” Overall, Lavender God‘s emotive production portrays a powerful cinematic and momentous tone throughout. Despite it being his debut full-length release, it demonstrates concise veteran craftsmanship.
ATTLAS described the ideas behind Lavender God in a press release:
“[The album is me] trying to learn who I am and tell my story through music, which has given me so much and has been a home for me: a place to create, a shelter from the storm, and a launch pad into the greatest adventure of my life.”
Following a consecutive four-night romp in Brooklyn for his Cube v3 tour, deadmau5 continues into the night under his less recognized moniker, TESTPILOT, with label friends in tow. Held at New York staple nightclub, Avant Gardner, the six-hour after-party slightly overlaps with the end of mau5’s third Cube show of the week, featuring a bevy of performances from mau5trap artists such as ATTLAS, BlackGummy, MSTRKRFT, Rinzen, Sian and Speaker Honey. The headlining slot is manned by none other than deadmau5′ techno alter-ego himself.
Using each of the venue’s three halls for this one-off event, attendees can also expect an appearance from special guest Layton Giordani, and sets from Seven 20 artists Todd Edwards, Jay Robinson and Goooey Vuitton.
Ahead of the event, Dancing Astronaut is giving away a pair of tickets to the Cube v3 Afters. Enter below for your chance to win.
After 14 UP EPs and a grip of tracks released on deadmau5‘s mau5trap imprint, No Mana releases the first single from his debut album, Secret Level. The track is called “Strangers,” featuring serene, airy vocals from Jantine driven by bright, stabbing synths whose reverb grows with the anticipation of the track. After the air is let out at the point of tension, a calming trance atmosphere takes over with the kick and synths taking center stage. The the vocals join the melody and percussion for a progressive cooler. “Strangers” is the first from No Mana’s 11-track debut album, set to drop Friday, February 14. Secret Level is set to evoke a sense of progressive bliss, with punches of No Mana’s love for tech-house and trance throughout.
Starting January 24, No Mana will embark on a 13-date headline tour across North America featuring support from the likes of Bentley Dean, Speaker Honey, Sian, and Sysdemes. Click HERE for ticket info.
Talented DJ-producer No Mana has officially released the first single off his upcoming album. “Strangers” features the beautiful vocals of Janine and has lyrics so catchy that you will be singing along in no time. Techno and tech-house lovers are sure to fall in love with this new track. If you haven’t heard of this
It may not seem like it through the lens of an Instagram filtered helicopter ride, but that doesn’t negate the fact. Artists require honest feedback on their work for the sake of progress. But they equally require encouragement from peers, critics, and consumers. When they’re receiving both, the music scene is at its healthiest.
The union of encouragement and appraisement invoke a sense of balance under the critical microscope. Honest feedback is well-rounded and multi-pronged: pointing out well-founded shortcomings, areas of oversight, regression, or misguided efforts, while real encouragement resides in helping the artist make use of critiques. Too much of either and the scene stalls.
Power like this, on both ends of the artistic experience, is frequently abused, often unknowingly—with people wielding words like weapons, either unaware or irreverent of their impact. Apathy, in this particular regard, in both fan response and critical exegesis is starkly embodied in Getter, who months after being abused about the shift in sound on his latest album Visceral is once again playing shows, producing music, and contributing to social media.
“No matter what you think, we are all humans with the same emotions and thoughts,” Getter tells Dancing Astronaut. “You have to remember that musicians aren’t here to serve you music sculpted by fans on a platter. There’s shit you’ll like, and shit you’ll hate, with every artist.”
An excess of encouragement means lackluster music permeates through the helm of the industry unchecked. On the inverse, too much criticism can stifle an artist’s creativity, curbing their hunger to try new things.
This illusive balance puts artists, critics, and fans in a precarious position. Unfortunately baseless detractors are often the loudest. And critics and fans, now equipped with the ubiquitous social media mouthpiece, have to be conscious of the power of their input.
Those familiar with Getter know that Visceral is a glaring shift in both sound and style from the jarring dubstep upon which he carved out an indelible niche. The album came out on deadmau5’s mau5trap label housing—known for its ghostly and symphonic approach to dance music.
“I’ll always be proud of Visceral,” Getter says. “Moving forward, I want to put out all kinds of music and mix it up. That way everyone’s happy.”
Getter was admirably trying to expand his musical range with Visceral; yet the most pervasive feedback he received from listeners on his album and tour was vile, hurtful, and downright destructive. So much so to the point that he eventually cancelled the remainder of his tour dates.
In an emotional address to his social media, Getter said,
Consider the gravity of Getter’s statement. Visceral long stood as the focal point of his life, albeit a luxurious life that’s coveted by many and shared by few. However, the razor-tongued naysayers who opted to use this fact to excuse their myopic comments are egregiously misguided. Money and VIP vacations don’t assuage robbing someone of their professional resolve.
Those who have spent a minimal amount of time on the internet know that its inherent separation from face-to-face interaction invites cruelty to run rampant. Because the chances of tangible retaliation are practically non-existent, it’s an open door to proceed without caution.
“At the end of the day, social media is enabling a part of your mind that you wouldn’t normally notice,” Getter says. “It inflates your insecurity.”
For the most part, it’s not against the law to type hateful things. If Getter was someone’s dubstep idol, and that person spent money to watch his Visceral tour only to discover that he wasn’t going to play any dubstep, that person has a right to be disappointed in the show.
That person does not, under any circumstances have the right to attack Getter personally. That pushes the needle nowhere and incites progress for no one. Not Getter. Not the person posting. Not the dance music community as a whole.
Getter’s a professional, though, and he audibly attempted to hear the concerns from his detractors and act on them. He understands that he needs to take feedback seriously if he’s going to succeed as an artist, and he tried his best to do so:
“Been thinking about the criticism of the visceral tour so far and have started to adjust a lot of shit in the performance,” Getter wrote to Twitter. “It doesn’t make sense for me to expect everyone from previous shows to be 100% down w the new stuff. Ima make this super special thanks for the pointers”
He acted professionally. Made adjustments to his set. But the trolls whittled his patience thin.
When he canceled his tour, he emphasized the importance of honest criticism:
“Criticism is healthy. My friends and I frequently critique each other’s work and it helps the final product. However, the constant hate and the disgusting attitudes I’m faced with are destroying me.”
As Getter noted, artists are not hired guns, paid to deliver a singular product to an eager, esoteric fanbase. Art is too often reduced to a commodity, and the state of music suffers.
The only reason to be so upset with an artist’s performance that it merits condemnation is if they’re too intoxicated to perform, show up late, or bail on the show. Other than that, it’s mutually understood that they’re doing their best to deliver for the crowd and themselves.
“I think that sometimes people forget what a concert, or a live performance is. For a lot of musicians, you go in, do the job, and leave. It’s a paycheck, it doesn’t have to be a well thought-out performance. But… you should remember that you are going to see them… if you truly appreciate an artist, you’ll know if its done for money or for the art. And if you’re going see your favorite artist or any artist for that matter, rather than thinking about how much it sucks or if they are selling out cuz of a new style, think about what they are giving the crowd. Maybe you don’t like it, but maybe someone around you is really attached to it.”
Again, there is a balance to consider here between criticism and encouragement. If negative comments can have such a staunch and lasting effect on him, then positive comments would theoretically do the opposite to a similar degree. It’s possible to share a negative review while praising an artist’s will to experiment in a single stroke of communication.
If every artist were condemned when they wanted to try something new with their music, the scene would go nowhere. Everyone would be stuck making the same songs over and over again, and dance music would die. Consumers need to understand this fact. But this is also why critics also have a necessary place in music, as Diplo recently articulated.
music journalists gotta eat too even if they dont like our music. we need critics
Among critics, Visceral was a modest success. Some reviews were more critical than others based on the more concrete musical merits of the album (which is commonplace given their subjective nature). But most of them were complimentary based on Getter’s willingness to expand his sound and express his emotions through his music.
Being a frequent habitué of digital critique in music, most critics are inclined to praise artists who try to expand their sound with verve. They often understand that is how the scene moves forward; how new sounds come about. This level of praise for Getter was probably one of the reasons he threw himself into his Visceral tour with as much vigor as he did, and in that sense, the critics did a good job. They encouraged Getter to continue on his musical journey.
“Critics stir shit up. They tell you what they think. And that’s fine, the world needs people to be real sometimes. I always appreciate constructive criticism, or if someone calls something ‘trash’ that’s fine too. But the understanding of why is a little more satisfying. There’s no comfort point you get to as a musician, you always want to move forward, good or bad, movement is key. Trying new things, innovating.”
Unfortunately, critics can often be too encouraging, as represented across every genre of music in the modern scene. When critics stop doing their jobs properly, commercialism has its way with music, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now.
This is why Instagram personalities are signing record deals. The general public has meshed the ideas of what sells and what’s good which is a result of critics cowering to offer honest and well-founded opinion.
Believe or not, people still listen to critics. People hear about albums that are widely praised like To Pimp a Butterfly and Lemonade because those albums deserve every bit of admiration they receive. So when critics let cookie-cutter party tracks pass unchecked, it devalues authentically brilliant music, it inflates the egos of the artists, and it erodes the role of critics themselves thus opening the door for the debate Lizzo started recently.
After receiving a few lukewarm reviews (alongside an influx of exceedingly positive ones) on her album Cuz I Love You, the steadily ascending pop artist tweeted:
“PEOPLE WHO ‘REVIEW’ ALBUMS AND DONT MAKE MUSIC THEMSELVES SHOULD BE UNEMPLOYED.”
The fact is, it’s better for non-musicians to review music. That way they focus on the product itself rather than the process. When critics review an album, they aren’t reviewing the effort the artist put into the album. They’re reviewing the album itself. If an artist were to do that job they would be inherently biased simply because they understand how hard it is to produce an album.
Critics understand the effort in the abstract, but their job isn’t to pat the artist on the back for trying. Their job is to explain the merits of the final work. In a perfect world, every album would be the best of the best, and the artists who made the best music would be the most successful. Of course, the world isn’t perfect and the music business will never work that way, but the critics are obliged to do their best to make it that way.
That includes being truthful when a piece of music isn’t up to par. Think about it. Just like when critics universally praise album, if critics universally denounce an album there’s a considerable chance that the album simply isn’t good. This is how inspired artists are separated from the contrived. A true artist will take that criticism and work harder as Getter did. Untrue artists will point fingers and find fault in critics.
It’s not right for any artist to have to cancel a tour, as Getter had to, after receiving endless vitriolic pelting for taking a chance. That is not the dynamic this industry needs. The artistic reward system for thoughtful risk is, frankly, off-kilter as it is now.
Music is, of course, subjective. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and no piece of music is loved by literally every human being in the ear-having macrocosm. But objective elements of quality are inseparable from music as well. That’s how songs like “Imagine” by John Lennon can actually change the world. Regardless of whether one or two people (including your humble author) don’t like the song, it is expertly written, exquisitely performed, and culturally galvanizing to the point that it helped inspire a generation to do the just thing.
This may come as a surprise, but talented artists are making music of that caliber every day, and with the right support system from fans and critics that music will come to light and change the world all the same. We here at Dancing Astronaut are fans and critics alike, and we do our best to support artists like Getter in this way because they are people, too.
ATTLAS’ latest builds on the sonic themes of his preceding single “Sinner Complicated;” both tracks achieve multiple aural auras and qualities without compromising their core identities. Additionally, digital artist Cyclo joins ATTLAS again to provide accompanying polychromatic visuals. So far, all signs are indicating that Lavender God should be an excellent exhibition of ATTLAS’ strong artistic vision.
The ninth installment of mau5trap’s annual we are friends compilation hits the streets Dec. 13, giving fans of the label’s production-heavy sound a smattering of 23 tracks to spin this holiday season.
First and foremost on the release (both figuratively and literally) is a refreshing new take from the deadmau5 himself in “ASEED,” a tune that starts somber and evolves into a symphony of acid synths and broken beats. The man behind the mask has been dropping the track for the better part of two years, making “ASEED” one of those elusive IDs that diehards have fawned over for years.
We are friends vol. 9 goes on to feature some of mau5trap’s finest homegrown and up-and-coming talent, next highlighting the whimsy-filled soundscape of ASHE with the sputtering melody of “Human.” One area that mau5trap has been highly successful in over the years is in defining its own sound as a label. WAF 9 drives this point home, with tracks like “Magmagat” by Egomorph, which acts as the eccentric cousin to deadmau5’s 2009er “FML,” sharing strands of pulsating bass DNA with the iconic song from the label boss’ For Lack of a Better Name.
Additional highlights on the release include Corvad’s bass-forward and careening “I Am Control,” with a vocal sample reminiscent of Adam Freeland’s “We Want Your Soul” and “Wanted,” a deep-electro collaboration between the ever-rising C.H.A.Y. and Monstergetdown.
We are friendsvol. 9 is available now for both stream and purchase.