DA Presents: 2017’s Producers of the Year

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Despite incessant predictions for the trajectory of the scene, 2017 marked a banner year for all things electronic music. As such, producers experienced more freedom to explore more new sounds with the end result not a fractious, rigid delineation between genres, but rather a continuum of experimentation that led to some of the most interesting and forward-thinking music of the year, with the addition of exciting new niches for artists to inhabit.

With this nuance in mind, Dancing Astronaut is proud to present a superlative class of seven producers who stood about the rest in a crowded space. From the more obvious, mainstream mainstays who continually wow to the breakout producers who surpassed everyone’s expectations, 2017 was packed full of impressive productions from this eclectic pack of standouts.

 

 


 

Rezz at The Observatory, photos by Sean Thomson

THE PRODIGY WHO EXCEEDED ALL EXPECTATIONS: REZZ

Isabelle Rezazadeh ripped into the electronic music scene in 2015 with an unparalleled juxtaposition of industrial techno and pummeling bass that immediately carved out an unforeseen niche in the mines of ominously-sinister, singular techno. While Rezazadeh has exuded a singular artistic vision from the very inception of her REZZ moniker, her unique, genuine vision has more recently seeped into all facets of her “brand” in a refreshingly distinct and similarly succinct fashion.

Having signed and released two EPs on mau5trap in 2016 — both The Silence Is Deafening and then Something Wrong Here — REZZ has since earned slots at premier music festivals and become renowned for her craft across the world.

Through her own music, REZZ has widened a sonic space where creative forces can continue to push the envelope in their own creative capacity. To a degree, REZZ’s envelope-pushing M.O. has aided in the present trickle down of underground music into the mainstream light. In both her alignment with underground pioneers and maintsage appeal, REZZ has aided a new generation of electronic music fans on their potential journeys to underground au courant. At the very least, she’s uncovered the lesser known, both stood behind and brought up the independent artists — which is encapsulated most recently in her collaborations with knodis and Kotek on her debut LP, Mass Manipulation. REZZ has also elevated the experimentally inclined that results in a healthy attempt to wreak havoc on the mundane. Surely, her music has driven many to explore what lies beneath the surface of popular post-EDM, but it has concurrently challenged its listeners to examine the very boundaries between the separate sects of EDM and dance music entirely.

Seminal tracks like “Edge,” “Voice In The Wall,” and “Purple Gusher” are some of REZZ’s most well-known tracks, all released in 2016. These solidified the notion that REZZ was truly finding her production footing in 2015. After an appearance on DA‘s 25 Artists to Watch list for 2016, REZZ was duly named our Breakout Artist of the Year one year later. Over the course of 2017 Rezazadeh has only continued to polish her authoritative skills and justify her selection.

If 2016 was the year REZZ defined her signature sound, 2017 marked her ascension into superstardom.

She spent the year honing in on her image, toured the entirety of the fall as a bruising headliner, announced she would be pivoting entirely towards nighttime shows in the following year to enhance the experience, and in turn, established a well-rounded, distinguishable decorum.

As REZZ took her dark, foreboding ouevre across the world this year, she stunned in her meticulous attention to detail, even going so far as to heed fans about watching the videos of her shows online, so even those who missed on the opportunity to experience her sets live could be mesmerized for themselves.

REZZ also elongated her artistic vision in 2017, in a capacity that was internalized for some time. She extended her artistic body of work with a visceral 60-page comic book co-created alongside Luis Colindres, a the Chicago-based graphic designer behind the Mass Manipulation album art and who has worked alongside Rezazadeh since her Something Wrong Here days.

REZZ has announced that she will be slowing down her touring in 2018, and despite her previously announced shows at Holy Ship!, Buku Music + Art Project, Bassnectar’s Chicago-based Spring Gathering, and a few other jaunts, it’s likely that she’ll be laying off on the more direct hypnotism of the masses. Still, even with a reduced schedule on the road, there are no doubts REZZ will continue her momentum into superstardom.

Grace Fleisher


 

Virtual Self

THE SUPERSTAR REINVENTION: PORTER ROBINSON –> VIRTUAL SELF

Porter Robinson‘s ability to reinvent himself at will is a testament to his storied success within the electronic music sphere. In addition to performing stellar solo DJ sets at festivals around the world, the mercurial producer moved into the year by embarking on the Shelter world tour with Madeon, which spanned North America before a few extraordinary dates in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. The duo concluded the immersive tour with two back-to-back performances at Coachella, occupying the coveted sundown slot before Lorde and Kendrick Lamar. The Shelter tour’s impact on electronic music created waves, and was solidified as one of the most memorable live performances in EDM’s nascent history.

In the wake of the gargantuan Shelter tour, Robinson forsook his expansive, outwardly turned production and, not for the first time turned a 180, experimenting with a more introspective sound that birthed his alter ego Virtual Self. On the eponymous debut EP, Robinson created a unique sonic landscape in which computer era — the EP would fit perfectly as a soundtrack for video game from the 90s — is used as a basis to explore motifs and existential despair that establish an otherworldly narrative. Virtual Self utilizes psytrance, deep house, and computer-futura influences in order to evoke emotional purgation in the listener. Everything from the mysterious marketing behind the project to its expansive live debut is an off-kilter dive into the unknown.

Porter Robinson’s dive into the virtual abyss known as Virtual Self is one of the most audacious efforts for one of electronic music’s biggest stars recent years, and becomes even more audacious when one remembers that fans had been clamoring for new music from the producer since the release of his seminal LP, WorldsIt’s a testament to Robinson’s prodigious talent that by utterly subverting his fans’ expectations that he managed to give them exactly what they wanted.

John Flynn

 


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DEEP HOUSE’S MELODIC HERO: LANE 8

The years 2016 and 2017 have functioned synergically for Daniel Goldstein, the Anjunadeep prodigy and Pete Tong-distinguished Future Star who goes by the moniker Lane 8. 2016 would serve as the foundation for a major shift for the Denver-based artist as he established This Never Happened imprint, the label’s foundation followed by the concert series of the same name that derived its immersive nature from its restriction of cell phone use during performances.

Initially met with curiosity and, later, engrossment, the sell-out success of the This Never Happened initiative led Goldstein to extend the tour’s run into a brief summer session that visited Colorado, San Francisco, and New York City from July to September of 2017. Lane 8 effectively bridged the disconnect between listener and live performance in his removal of the cell phone screen from the interpersonal equation, re-engaging audiences, and re-personalizing the live experience.

Amassing a following over the years, listeners enthralled by Lane 8’s Anjunadeep and Suara releases, Lane 8’s conception of the This Never Happened imprint in 2016 would foreshadow the artist’s embracement of an increased independence in 2017, as Lane 8 went out on his own and announced his sophomore album Little By Little, due out Jan. 19 on his label. Concurrently, Lane 8 unveiled the impending album’s accompanying 35-date Little By Little World Tour.

Lane 8’s aural tones, complex choral progressions, and all around intricately produced releases rode an effervescent wave in 2017 that seems to be situated in the realm of the ever rising, the producer’s seasonal mixtapes and ensuing singles — think “Atlas” and “No Captain” — reflective of a continually maturing style that achieves peak after sonically pearlescent peak without plunging. 2017 surfaced as a sort of artistic Bildungsroman year for Lane 8 — one that had the whole world enthralled.

Rachel Narozniak


 

calvin harris 2017 42 west

THE FUNKY CURVEBALL: CALVIN HARRIS

Calvin Harris‘ status as one of electronic and pop music’s most gargantuan auteurs is undeniable. Whether it be a headlining performance at Coachella or his massive Las Vegas residency, the Calvin Harris brand has become synonymous with the hedonistic adventures of clubbing.

Wildly enough, however, Harris’ fifth studio album, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1marked a turnstile departure from the big room atmosphere that popularized him in the first place. If albums 18 Months and Motion were forthright efforts encompassing an expansive, festival prepped soundscape, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 acted as their virtuosic counterpart.

Harris’ status as an EDM legend certainly helped him in securing features from some of contemporary musics heavy hitters including storied R&B darling Frank Ocean, contemporary hip-hop hit makers Quavo and Offset of Migos, Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, Future, and Khalid, to name a few. The album encompassed a forward-thinking landscape of sonic textures, ultimately serving as a beaming playlist in which Harris is the producer and curator. With an unquestionable legacy as a maestro just as capable in the club as in the arena and on the main stage, Harris’ side journey into sunny, funk-influenced territory marked a an unexpected, bold artistic evolution — one that will certainly pay dividends for his long-term contextualization as a producer.

– John Flynn

 


 

drezo

THE GENRE DEFIER: DREZO

In the deepest, darkest, most clandestine corners of the electronic music continuum, Andre Haglund, aka Drezo, can be found in front of bewitched crowds with his self-proclaimed “evil downtempo.” Known for his disdain towards genre-assignment, the 26-year-old wielded his visionary, malevolent soundscapes in 2017 as a cudgel to rid the scene of its often formulaic, drop-obsessed predictability. After dropping out of college to pursue DJing, and eventually production, the “Drowning Pool” remixer caught the fateful ear of Dillon Francis’ alter ego/arch-nemesis DJ Hanzel, later linking up to go one deeper on a remix of Francis’ “Need You.”

In just three tracks, Drezo’s long-awaited Jaded EP, released mid-2017, enraptured the ears and blackened the hearts of even the most unsuspecting listeners. Seamlessly weaving electro, house, and techno through the tainted fabric of the nefariously sampled EP, the result is a rich and driving milestone in Drezo’s still incipient career.

To add to his already impressive release history in aligning himself with industry favorites like Mad Decent and OWSLA, this year Drezo was also featured on some of dance music’s hottest radio shows like Triple J Mix Up and BBC Radio 1’s Diplo & Friends, wherein listeners got a heady sampling of Jaded.

Looking ahead, the “Heaven” producer has announced his nationwide Evil Live tour, set to commence in early 2018. Additionally, Drezo and known like-minded comrade REZZ, have both recently hinted on social media about future collaborative work. According to Drezo, “The future is bright, but the music is dark.” After an incredible 2017, one would be hard-pressed to disagree.

Bella Bagshaw

 


 

Shigeto_1-Photo_Credit-Kristin_Adamczyk

THE PRODUCER POWERED BY COMMUNITY: SHIGETO

Shigeto stands as something of a an outlier as far as 2017’s top producers go. His tracks aren’t going to set records for most streams and it’s unlikely he’ll play the mainstages of the world’s premier festivals. It’s the release of his first new album in four years and his work building a community in his home base of Detroit, though, that makes the Ghostly International artist a deserving addition to the list.

The aforementioned album, The New Monday, is a triumphant, yet restrained, return to form for the producer. Much like 2013’s No Better Time Than Nowthe new LP sees Shigeto reservedly flex his chops across nine tracks. It also marked a homecoming for the artist, as Shigeto returned to Detroit after a multi-year sojourn in Brooklyn where his career took off. Unsurprisingly, the record takes a multifaceted approach that matches Motown’s diverse musical history. Shigeto flirts with genres as wide ranging as trip hop, techno, acid, and house and imbues them with his signature style — a combination of clever production flourishes and dipped in elements of jazz that recall his early career as a drummer. Though only nine tracks long, The New Monday is full without being forced, as the producer opts for compositions with long run times. with the shortest clocking in at just under three minutes while the longest, a heartfelt ode to his city and the album’s opener, “Detroit Pt. II” has a run time of nearly seven and a half minutes. This combination of tracks combine for an LP that is equally at home on the dancefloor or spinning on a record player on a languid summer day in Michigan.

Beyond the new album, though, Shigeto has taken things a step further in Detroit. He’s recently launched his own label, Portage Garage Sounds, that serves as a creative outlet for the city’s local musicians and also launched a free, weekly showcase at Motor City Wine dubbed Monday is the New Monday — the inspiration for his album’s title. Beyond his immense musicianship, it’s this focus and drive to foster a creative and supportive community in Detroit that makes Shigeto an exemplar of what an artist can accomplish, both in the studio and out in the world, in 2017.

Michael Cooper

 


 

ekali-press

 

THE INSURGENT TALENT WHO TOOK THE SCENE BY STORM: EKALI

Though he’s been steadily making a name for himself over the past few years, Ekali became a dance music household name in 2017.

The Canadian producer kicked off the year with a massive collaboration with KRANE just nine days into 2017 and has been gathering momentum since then.

He toured constantly throughout the year, but never slowed down his flow of fresh releases. With each new release comes an entirely new sound from the producer, as he refuses to shy away from challenges like taking on Porter Robinson’s “Language” with QUIX. His production invigorates — it effortlessly combines relatable elements of today’s mainstream electronic music with his own haunting, delicately crafted style.

His collaborations in 2017 have been massive, teaming up with the likes of TroyBoi for “Truth,” Denzel Curry for tour namesake “Babylon,” Opia for “Past Life,” and many more.

As he flexed his production skills throughout the year, Ekali also shone on a wide range of mixes in 2017, including three hour-long Awakening mixes, a Diplo & Friends mix, and a Triple J mix – all packed full of his favorite music at the time.

Instead of following trends, Ekali has been a trailblazer under Skrillex’s OWSLA imprint, creating a loyal and enthusiastic fan base that sold out many of his Babylon tour stops up until the end of December.

Just a few days before 2017 came to a close, Ekali further cemented his power status by releasing a huge collaboration with ZHU, “Blame,” which marries their styles in a powerfully unexpected way.

In a tweet posted on Jan. 3, the producer called 2017 “the best year of [his] life,” and says he’s ready to “give you an even better 2018.”

We can’t wait.

Robyn Dexter


 

Read More: 

DA Presents: 15 artists that rocked the underground in 2017

Dancing Astronaut proudly presents the 2017 Label of the Year

Rezz And Alison Wonderland Make Coachella History As Highest Ever Billed Female DJs

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It is obvious that some sexism still exists in the dance music industry. That being said some seriously badass women are breaking through every glass ceiling imaginable and making sure that the once boys club of EDM is becoming a co-ed throw down. Coachella’s line up dropped this week and many fans were talking about

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How Houston’s Day For Night festival served as a sound intersection of curatorial excellence

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How Day For Night festival achieved curatorial excellence

Houston, Texas’ Day For Night festival has established itself as an unconventional, hyper-sensory utopia. Bolstering an exemplary menu of avant-garde talent, the festival satiates thousands all while blurring the boundaries of performance and offering the utmost in aural phenomena in its industrial warehouse setting.

Day For Night prided itself on its snapshot booking in its third year, by and for the experimentally-inclined. Enlisting artists like Nina Kraviz, Kaytranada, Justice, Jlin, Jamie xx, Mount Kimbie, Solange, REZZNine Inch NailsTyler, the Creator, and Thom Yorke, among others, the gathering has situated itself as an unorthodox standout from an at times mundane, and largely counterfeit American festival circuit.

Words by Grace Fleisher Featured image courtesy of Theo Civitello

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In its immersively emblematic nature, Day For Night’s third edition was a polyamorous union of music, culture, and digital art. It was a multifarious destination, and offered its attendees a mode of escapism while simultaneously defying how they explored their own, as well as others’ relationships with art and reality.

Those who attended were immersed in an epicenter of capitalism’s desolation, i.e the former Barbara Jordan Post Office, only to enter a sprawling industrial wonderland; complete with capacious lasers, fog machines, and immersive visual art open to infinite interpretations. Despite its growing pains, Day For Night was an unparalleled destination in the American festival circuit, protruding the landscape with its singularity in 2017, as it likely will in years to come, too.

Photo Credit: Katrina Barber

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Embracement of Reflection: Houston & Beyond

It would be naive to ignore how Houston’s rampantly evolving cultural and developmental environment shaped Day For Night. A look at almost any sect of the city points to hyper-gentrification and a lack of zoning restrictions that are rendering a city of cultural depth increasingly unrecognizable. Festivals have the potential to be the 21st-century’s greatest linking apparatus, and Day For Night embraced multiple methods of coupling reflection in an immensely immersive fashion. Summits delved into socio-political discourse by way of Laurie Anderson, Chelsea Manning, Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, and more. The gathering challenged its attendees toward an attainment of outward-awareness.

Photo Credit: Charles Reagan Hackleman

 

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Woven into the very seams of artistic discourse at Day For Night was a thread on how the world’s 24-hour loops and radical advances in technology and communication are seamlessly moving faster than behavioral evolution, rendering many helpless in the interim. In a hyper-connected sect of the world, it’s ironically never been easier for one to feel helpless. Day For Night ruminated on how these very advancements can work to foster connections and discoveries in the world which will propel us further as a collective entity.

Photo Credit: Chad Wadsworth

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Post HTX Served As A Model Venue

“The way one sees things, and the expectations one brings to a performance, or any art form, really, is completely determined by the venue,” articulated David Byrne of the seminal group, The Talking Heads.

This phenomenon of a concert space shaping context, and in turn, enjoyment, is explored in Byrne’s book How Music Works. Surely, the way in which performances are perceived en masse is in relation to the space they’re experienced in. At times this is an obvious element. Take the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, for example. Burning Man’s sustenance relies on the desert space it resides in, and while this may be an extreme example, space is becoming a deeply entwined element in the worldwide festival circuit. The relationship between attendees and venues is why scenes blossom, and it’s why destination festivals are becoming increasingly popular.

Photo Credit: Sara Marjorie Strick

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Day For Night’s decision to place a hyper-sensorial paradise across four stages in a dimly lit, abandoned post office was a masterful one. Ironically, the nucleus of the performance venue were the veins of the warehouse, many of which contained captivating art installations. Unlit hallways that separated the “blue” stage from the intimately circular “yellow” stage, for example, beckoned an art form in themselves. For in these empty spaces, attendees prepared to ascend into visual or aural titillation. Whether it be disco balls adorned from a ceiling in netting, illuminating an entire room, moving mechanical cranes paired to ominous music, or synced screens around a ground level stage, the once-vacant warehouse was flooded with an innate intertwinement of senses.

Photo Credit: Theo Civitello

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Exemplary Curatorial Intent

A festival’s success begins in its curatorial intent. Founded in 2015 by the Free Press Houston and the New York-based creative agency Work-Order, Day for Night established itself as a visually immersive music and art festival from the very beginning. By embedding an exploration of the elements of light, space, and sound in its mission, Day For Night has transformed the festival landscape by combining new media art with envelope-pushing musicians. It may still be a young festival, but its surely created a unique experience. Day For Night’s careful selection of artistry and curatorial intent spoke to several sects of music, tech, and art lovers. Planning such a feat does not come without intent or without a deeply embedded audience understanding, though.

Photo Credit: Katrina Barber

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Appealing to the experimentally-inclined, for example, Day For Night brought forth Nina Kraviz, who’s on the heels of a momentous 2017, and largely regarded as a queen of techno. The festival also booked her трип (or Trip) labelmate Bjarki. Jlin, who’s set ironically rivaled her longtime purveyor Aphex Twin‘s 2016 DFN appearance, was also a standout experimental act. Her album, Black Origami, was an exemplary experimental record of the past year. Additionally, artists like Forest Swords, Jenny Hval, Shlomo, and Roni Size, all capitalized on the use of live sets as a medium for either outward, emotive release or social commentary.

Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel

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Day For Night also booked standout artists like the esteemed Nine Inch Nails, who’ve been touring their immensely accessible EP Add Violence. Solange stunned in her Houston homecoming, merging art and popular culture with an affirming image of black pride and femininity.  Cardi B gave the 12-minute performance of the year, encapsulating a tumultuous 2017 with her ominous hit “Bodak Yellow.”  Tyler, The Creator gave a fervent performance which was brimming with tracks off his introspective new work Flower Boy. Pussy Riot, Pretty Lights, Justice, and REZZ — with her exceptional Mass Manipulation tour visuals — all expectedly stunned.

Day For Night displayed a keen understanding of the experimentally inclined, but also served as an apt pop culture gathering.In bringing together artists who continue to challenge the status quo, the festival’s curational intent was two-fold — displayed initially by the festival, and then, by each and every artist that performed.

Photo Credit: Ismael Quintanilla

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Embedding a Festival Framework for the Future

As more and more festivals continue to emerge on the American festival circuit, immersive affairs such as Day For Night will continue to be a saving grace. It’s one thing to have an exemplary understanding of an audience, but as festival-goers grow into an increasingly digitized world, a means of facilitating connection through art and performance will be needed more than ever. Day For Night blurred the lines between its attendees and artists, it’s an environment where everyone was on an even playing field, as an observer, student of performance, and the outside world itself.

Photo Credit: Sara Marjorie Strick

The Coachella 2018 Lineup Has Finally Been Revealed

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Just minutes ago, Goldenvoice revealed the official 2018 Coachella lineup. Coachella is making history this year by leaving off a rock band in a headlining spot. Living up to its rumors comes the announcement of both Beyonce, The Weeknd, and Eminem set to perform at this year’s Coachella lineup. This year’s official lineup will feature

The post The Coachella 2018 Lineup Has Finally Been Revealed appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Dancing Astronaut celebrates the top five electronic tours of 2017

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Zedd – Echo Tour

by Rachel Narozniak

2017 would prove to be a career defining year for Zedd, the producer dethroning his 2012 Foxes feature, “Clarity,” as his most recognizable single via the release of “Stay,” a track that would not only earn Zedd his second double platinum certification plaque, but a VMA for Best Dance Video, and a Grammy nomination to boot. Departing with his highly celebrated single and Grey in tow, Zedd hit the road on his 12-date North American Echo Tour.

Zedd

Photo Credit: @zedd/Instagram

A masterpiece of modern electronic production, the Echo Tour proved to be an intricately designed venture both highly stylized and deeply experiential in nature. Reflective of Zedd’s self professed desire to engage a multitude of “…senses that come together into one experience,” the Echo Tour appealed to sight, sound, feel, and touch via visuals, color and lighting, lasers, smoke, and of course, Zedd’s musical library. Far from hesitant to lay claim to the choreographed quality of his shows, Zedd acknowledges “Every song that I’ve ever played has a specific visual that goes with the song,” but the pre-show preparation extended beyond just that—the producer also matched specific lighting and color effects to each song, rehearsing the ensembles prior to the tour’s debut. The effects that characterize the Echo Tour’s individual shows, however, are produced live, projected to the crowd in real time despite the tour’s various pre-debut run throughs.

Echo Tour

Photo Credit: @zedd/Instagram

An exposition of Zedd’s progression as artist, performer, and production strategist, the Echo Tour contained a message that was reiterated on each show date. Those that identified Zedd as an ‘artist to watch’ back in his earliest days had their fingers firmly planted on the pulse of dance music’s future, a rhythm that has beat with increasing intensity given Zedd’s continued ascendance to electronic acclaim.


deadmau5– lots of shows in a row tour

by Rachel Vensand

Mastermind of progressive house and music industry satire, Joel Zimmerman brought his ‘lots of shows in a row’ tour to an international audience in 2017. Kicking off at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom in March, the tour made noteworthy stops at large scale festivals and venues alike including Mysteryland, Creamfields, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Shrine Auditorium, Tomorrowland and Hï Ibiza.

deadmau5

Photo Credit: EDM Tunes

The crown jewel of deadmau5’s recent tour was the new and improved Cube 2.1, which boasted state-of-the-art LED screens and crystal clear, new graphics for an unparalleled visual experience. Standing at 15 feet tall and 16 feet wide, the behemoth showed comedic images of dancing cows, wonky-eyed mice, and even a tribute to the video game Rocket League among other visuals during deadmau5’s sets.

deadmau5

Photo Credit: EDM Tunes


Rezz– Mass Manipulation Tour

by Rachel Vensand

Isabelle Rezazadeh’s unique breed of dark, bass-driven techno separates REZZ from her contemporaries, and her recent Mass Manipulation tour followed suit. The 22 year old “Space Mom” took her debut album worldwide in 2017, enlisting a star-studded roster of support from Blackgummy, Bleep Bloop, Crywolf, Drezo, Dr. Fresch, Electric Mantis, Eprom, Haywyre, k?d, No Mana, and more.

Rezz

Rezz

Hypnotic tracks like “Relax” and “Premonition” were brought to life with hauntingly psychedelic visuals, tied together by REZZ’s signature LED goggles. Mass Manipulation was indeed achieved across the Mau5trap supported tour, which made notable stops at Ultra Japan, Electric Zoo, EDC Orlando, Something Wicked among others. After selling out numerous locations along the way, it’s no wonder REZZ was recently named Billboard Dance’s “Breakout Artist of the Year.”


ODESZA– A Moment Apart Tour

by Ryan Castillo

ODESZA

Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel

ODESZA’s critically acclaimed A Moment Apart journey has seen the group move between sold out stadium-sized arenas all over the country, with Sofi Tukker and Chet Porter in tow as openers. Since its inception in Spring, the ever-evolving A Moment Apart set has morphed slowly over time to include new songs from the album, live edits with a full drum line, and many unreleased surprises along the way. On a given night, it takes a team of 60 people all working relentlessly behind the scenes to put on a show of this scale.

That the tour necessitates many helping hands is hardly a surprise given the many components it’s comprised of. Among their rotating cast of live instrumentalists, ODESZA play along trombonists, trumpeters, guitarists, and a choreographed drum line. The sonic elements combine with lighting looks ranging from moody hues to glittering whites flank lasers, pyrotechnics, and smoke as the special effects that work in tandem to create the tour’s ethereal aesthetic.

ODESZA

Pictured: Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of ODESZA organize the order in which songs and special effects will appear on The A Moment Apart Tour on a white board with Post-It notes denoting respective songs and effects.

ODESZA

Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel

Beyond the music, the standout feature of the tour is the stunning visual production, headed up by Saxton Waller, former lighting designer to STS9. With all that ODESZA has been able to accomplish this year creatively, it’s no wonder they are rumored to appear high on Coachella’s 2018 lineup


Richie Hawtin– Close Tour

by John Flynn

Over his storied career, Richie Hawtin has become an influential part of Detroit techno’s most revered proponents. With a deep back catalog of accomplished releases under his belt and a reputation for crafting fabled live sets extempore, Hawtin has deservedly solidified his status as a global force in the genre.

Richie Hawtin’s Close tour existed at the intersection of anthropomorphic spontaneity and robotic absorption. Utilizing vantage point cameras from a multitude of angles and a plethora of live instrumentation devices including computers, mixers, and drum machines, Hawtin was able to create a fleeting, mercurial audio/visual experience in which audiences could watch — and of course listen to — momentum build in real time.

CLOSE

Photo Credit: Billboard

The 75-minute live audio-visual shows under the Close umbrella are expressive of what Hawtin terms his “very unique way of playing,” an approach that sees every movement that he makes captured by the live-feed cameras and projected to the audience in real-time. The absence of a table to support Hawtin’s mixers lends an additional unusual element to the Close shows, exposing Hawtin’s entire body and in turn, permitting the audience to visually follow each step of Hawtin’s musical execution.

“The very simple act of moving that table away—which is quite strange for a DJ because you’re completely open and naked to the audience—is probably the most important decision we made,” Hawtin says of the alteration. “Without that decision, there wouldn’t be the show. You have to see that human form moving and gyrating.”

The Close tour made its debut at Coachella in Indio, and made stops at Movement Festival, Melt, Primavera Sound, Pukkelpop, and Creamfields, among other banner venues.


Special sixth spotlight: Elrow

by John Flynn

“Together we make magic happen.” That is the ethos by which Spanish production company Elrow runs their now legendary party collective. The Barcelona-based collective has hosted more than 100 shows in over 50 cities globally and hosted showcases at more than 25 festivals worldwide including Glastonbury, Disclosure’s Wildlife Festival, and Hideout, to name just a few.

Elrow

Elrow

Pictured: shots from Elrow’s Glastonbury showcase.

Elrow’s status as an influential party promoter dates back long before clubbing even existed, with the company’s family roots dating back to 1854. The vibrant party promoters invade the island of Ibiza each Saturday at the world renowned Space Nightclub; the shows regularly feature wild costumes, a genius array of expansive stage production, and no shortage of confetti.

Elrow

Elrow

Pictured: shots from Elrow’s Ibiza residency.

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Wobbleland announces 2018 lineup boasting REZZ, Feed Me, Crankdat & more

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After a fervent 2017 edition, the founders of the traveling bass music festival Wobbleland are bringing the festival back to its home of Northern California, alongside Vital Events and Another Planet Entertainment, where the festival will enter its eighth year in a row. Hailed as the biggest bass festival in the state, Wobbleland follows-up on its vehement previous edition with an astonishing array of bass-adjacent acts.

From artists like REZZ, a Barely Alive b2b with Virtual Riot, Crankdat, Feed Me, Minnesota, Rickyxsan, and more; Wobbleland promises to be a most appropriately-named destination. Wobbeland takes place Februrary 23 and 24 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. Tickets are available here.

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Wobbleland 2018 Lineup:

REZZ

Barely Alive b2b Virtul Riot

Crankdat

Feed Me

Kai Wachi

Minnesota

Midnight Tyrannosaurus

Rickyxsan

Trampa

Whipped Cream

Arius

Bloodthinnerz

Mad Zach

Oolacile

Ponicz

Svdden Death b2b Yakz

Xaebor

Read More:

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No Mana drops sinister remix of Feed Me & Kill The Noise’s ‘Crazy Maybe’

 

 

 

Arizona’s Goldrush Festival brings big beats to the wild wild west [Review + Recap Video]

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Phoenix, Arizona is quickly becoming one of the nation’s hottest music festival destinations, drawing an increasing number of top-tier artists and events to the Valley of the Sun year after year. This year was perhaps Phoenix’s biggest yet, hosting events like the debut installment of Lost Lake Festival and Hundred Waters‘ annual FORM at Arcosanti, an artistic community about 30 minutes outside the city. But for ravers and hip-hop heads alike, one event’s talent roster may have stood head and shoulders above the rest, with Goldrush Festival also delivering its inaugural lineup, stacked with genre-hopping talent. Dillon Francis, Marshmello, Migos, Claude Vonstroke, REZZLil Uzi Vert and a slew of the year’s most sought-after artists flocked to Arizona just as the state’s sweltering temperatures began to break, only to heat things back up again for two days of festival chaos wild west style. Here are Dancing Astronaut‘s top five takeaways from the inaugural Goldrush Festival.

Baauer and A-Trak’s highly anticipated b2b set

Lined up for only a handful of joint shows to close out 2017, Baauer and A-Trak finally joined forces for the back-to-back performance we all deserve, and boy did they deliver. With Baauer’s ever-variant track selections and A-Trak’s brilliant scratch routines, the pair put together a set that hit the crowd from every angle, complementing each other like they’ve been playing together for years. The chemistry was definitely there, it was like watching Carlos Santana and Slash trade solos for a full hour. The Fool’s Gold Records veteran and his LuckyMe counterpart delivered one of the best sets of the weekend and are hopefully planning to bless fans with additional back-to-backs in the very near future.

Goldrush Music Festival @ Rawhide 171118 Photos by www.JacobTylerDunn.com

Dirtybird love

Once the representatives from Dirtybird Records touched down at Goldrush, the endless shuffling began, and the massive cloud of dust didn’t settle over the venue until well after the weekend’s final performance. Claude Vonstroke and his Dirtybird cohorts undoubtedly ruled the roost at Goldrush’s debut weekend. The band of (mostly) California-based house heroes including Walker and Royce, Christian Martin, and more descended upon the desert to deliver some of the weekend’s top highlights. From the label head’s double duty playing by both his Vonstroke and Barclay Crenshaw monikers to Shiba San‘s top-billed performance, Dirtybird Records took over the party with a commanding presence and the swelling Arizona crowds knew exactly what to do.

Goldrush Music Festival @ Rawhide 171118 Photos by www.JacobTylerDunn.com

Curation and programming

For a new event concept in an emerging festival market, it can be difficult to rope together the perfect blend of talent for a debut lineup. Beyond that, there’s an additional set of difficulties in nailing the festival’s overall programming, though Goldrush navigated these challenges impressively well in its inaugural installment. The lineup included hip-hop and dance music’s top-tiered and newly emerging talents alike, pairing acts like RL GrimeExcision and San Holo with Rich Chigga, Lil Pump and G-Buck. The lineup showcased well-rounded bookings that spanned the spectrum, from Flatbush Zombies to Jeremy Olander, Öona Dahl to Justin Jay offering up a balanced blend of talent with a clearly electronic-leaning focus. Beyond the lineup’s composition, the rest of the event’s overall complexion was a highlight worth its own mention. While the wild west motif came off a kitschy at times, with fans panning for gold and old timey saloons selling neon shutter shades, it generally came off as well-intentioned, well-produced thematic appreciation for Arizona. The western town venue was spacious and open, and while stages experienced some clustering at times, the event’s layout generally held sway. Ahead of Decadence New Year’s festivities at the same venue, Goldrush tested the grounds and successfully delivered a wild west experience that comfortably accommodated thousands of attendees.

Goldrush Music Festival @ Rawhide 171118 Photos by www.JacobTylerDunn.com

Completely cashless

Plenty of music festivals opt for cashless alternatives, though few execute as smoothly as Goldrush did. Communication with attendees was thorough and clear, and assistance at the festival was prompt and efficient. The event was strictly cashless. Once an attendee’s personal payment information was secured, wristbands with magnetic tokens managed the sale of concessions, merchandise, and more. The event that was so heavily authentic to its wild west themed production, though Goldrush also directed the proper amount of time and resources at ensuring a safer and swifter experience between performances. It is easy to overlook the small details of such large-scale events, but Goldrush managed to nail down the little details that made the dusty main drag of the micro-western town replica venue an amusing open-air marketplace packed with buzzing ravers.

Goldrush Music Festival @ Rawhide 171119 Photos by www.JacobTylerDunn.com

Hometown heroes

Los Angeles is undoubtedly the foremost incubator of electronic talent in the U.S., but only a few hundred miles east sits Phoenix, which has also been called home by some of today’s top-tier DJs. Goldrush did a credible job of including local Arizona talent on the lineup, but seeing heavy hitters like Mija, Drezo, and Ghastly come home and play before their hometown crowds made for some of the weekend’s most memorable moments. Longtime local fans will remember Mija’s resident sets at dance clubs downtown, while droves came out to support dark house protege Drezo as he continues to carve out his own brooding, club-rattling house fare. Goldrush ensured that Phoenix is on the map, and it brought strong representation along to promote the hottest new stop on the major festival circuit. Among waves of internationally touring talent, Arizona’s brightest exports came home to round out a successful event with some special, personalized touches.

Goldrush Music Festival @ Rawhide 171118 Photos by www.JacobTylerDunn.com

 

Images: Jacob Tyler Dunn

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Goldrush Festival reveals eclectic, inaugural lineup and stage details

Rezz Drops Some Serious Unreleased Heat At Day For Night In Houston: Watch

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Day for Night in Houston, Texas took place this weekend with some seriously mixed results. After the first day was plagued with production issues and an insane rain storm which lead to a dangerous situation at the entrance of the indoor venue of the festival, many were wary of returning back for the final day

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Knodis Releases ‘The Machine Is Feeling’

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Following the release of “Premonition” with REZZ for her debut album Mass Manipulation, knodis is an artist that we can’t get enough of. Four months ago, knodis released “Broken Circuit” and today the Toronto-based artist has released his new single “The Machine Is Feeling.” As we can’t get enough of the up and coming producer,

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Goldrush Music Festival Releases 2017 Recap Video

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DUBAI WAS LIIIIIIIIT! And so was GOLDRUSH Music Festival. If you didn’t follow along via your favorite artists social media’s have no fear! Bringing in over 25,000 die-hard fans this past November, the curators transformed Phoenix into a musical wonderland infused with style, tastes and energy. If you were out of range to attend the

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