15 House and Techno Tracks That Ruled Summer 2015

As long as we’ve had sound recordings, we’ve had summer jams. Some say there’s a science to it, a formula for crafting the perfect summer anthem. It must be “infectious, uptempo and a little bit different,” iHeartMedia’s ‘programming guru’ Tom Poleman told Billboard.

Well, not for us. As far as we’re concerned all it takes for a song to be significant, is to be, well, significant. It has to mean something, to signify a time and a vibe. You heard it at all the right moments, all the best times – and now it takes you back.

We spent the summer traveling, dancing, DJing and taking notes, from Brooklyn to Berlin, Ibiza to Mexico City and every dancefloor in between – under stars, open airs, warehouses, clubs, beaches and basements  – we were there, from Sonar to EDC.

We got our crew together – with some outside help from a few heroes like Alan Fitzpatrick, Noir, Dave DK and the like – and gathered our collective top 15 tracks of summer 2015. These are the cuts that DJs couldn’t stop playing this season – everything from techno stompers and ecstasy-inspired pool jams to beefed up edits of house classics.

Bicep – “Just”

We first heard these chirpy synths during Jamie xx’s set at Sonar in Barcelona, where “Just” struck the perfect chord, becoming one of the week’s definite anthems. We’ve since heard “Just” everywhere, championed by Jamie xx at Glastonbury, Sasha in Ibiza and Fehrplay at Verboten in New York, thanks to one of the year’s catchiest melodies and just the right dash of rave nostalgia.

Harvey Sutherland – “Bermuda”

A record for stepping poolside, if there ever was one. Harvey Sutherland’s debut on MCDE Recordings is another welcome slice of the Melbourne man’s trademark cosmic boogie; a sparkling tune you’ll want to jump into and splash around in. Tensnake, Hunee and the venerable duo of Joy Orbison and Ben UFO have been playing it out, and you should too.

DJ Koze – “XTC”

We caught a glow from the celestial pads and pulsing bass of Pampa boss DJ Koze’s latest dose of future euphoria, “XTC,” when we first heard Jackmaster break it out during a killer B2B set with Gerd Janson at Resident Advisor’s off-Sonar party in Barcelona, and we’ve subsequently heard it everywhere since.

“The dry vocals are fitting with the uplifting summer touch. I could feel the people packing the dancefloor, just ready for their nighttime journey,” Dave DK told us, after playing it at Kompakt’s off-Sonar night at Nitsa. “Two days later, Michael [Mayer] played it once again at the DGTL KOMPAKT Open Air, proving once more its magnificent impact.” No argument here.

Paul Woolford – “MDMA”

Seems like a lot of people had euphoria on the mind this summer. Paul Woolford’s “MDMA” offers up a decidedly more straight-ahead take on the subject, delivering a piano-powered summer hit that was audibly enjoyed by everyone from Pete Tong and Annie Mac to Joseph Capriati and Adam Beyer.

“I’ve been genuinely excited about this track since Wooly put a clip on his SoundCloud a few months ago,” UK techno legend Alan Fitzpatrick told us, after playing the track at the Hotflush off-Sonar party. “There is always something unique about a Paul Woolford track, and I think this way he captures an ‘old school’ feel with this track is to be admired. That’s actually something that is a lot harder to achieve as a producer than you might think.”

Fatima Yamaha – “What’s a Girl to Do” (DJ Haus 4/4 Edit)

“What’s a Girl to Do” was originally released back in 2004 by Dutch DJ and producer Bas Bron under his Fatima Yamaha alias, and has built up a mystical rep ever since. DJ Haus dropped his 4/4 edit of the “Glasgow classic” at the Clone showcase at Moog during off-Sonar and it opened up the floor, remaining one of our favorite tracks of the year – both the OG and edit – which we’ve heard everyone from Catz ‘N Dogz to George Fitzgerald playing out since.

Jack J – “Thirstin’”

DC label Future Times made our summer, thanks to this blissed-out record by Jack J. Its laidback groove shimmers and lilts like a cool breeze, getting rinsed by everyone this summer, from Fred Everything and Junktion to Kraak & Smaak. The perfect choice for day parties on the beach or balmy nights on the roof.

Frankey & Sandrino – “Acamar”

When “Acamar” first started swelling onto dancefloors, it was very clearly an Innervisions cut – or at least a diligent imitation. After months of defying Shazam in Dixon sets, Frankey & Sandrino’s handiwork had its release in June, setting it up for a summer of caning. In sets from Jamie xx, Adriatique and others outside the Innervisions family, “Acamar” was a dependable injection of drama.

Scuba – “PCP”

The Hotflush label mastermind released his fourth full-length album Claustrophobia back in March, featuring standout cuts like the pulsing “Why You Feel So Low” and the ominously titled “All I Think About Is Death.” The one we heard most though, popping up in sets by everyone from Laidback Luke to Anthony Parasole, from Weather Festival in Paris, to the platter at our own office in Berlin, was Scuba’s grooving stormer “PCP,” an undeniable big room techno ripper.

Waze & Odyssey – “Bounce”

“Just released, and already thoroughly caned. A slammer for sure,” our resident disco whiz Travis Kirschbaum – aka TK Disko of Split Secs – told us earlier this summer, when we asked him what he’s been playing out. Heard everywhere since, from TK’s Machine Limited warehouse party in LA to UK’s Farr Festival, where W&O had their own stage, this acid jam hit hard this summer, the world over.

Floating Points – “Nuits Sonores”

This one’s from last December, but that hasn’t stopped it from being on of our summer favorites. Four Tet played it at Dekmantel, Sasha’s caned this typically jazzy, late night vibe journey at various parties in Ibiza – we even heard it as far back as Guy Gerber’s Rumors party at BPM festival in Mexico back in January. We’ve just heard that the UK producer’s long-awaited debut LP will be in stores November 6 – we can’t wait.

Danny Daze – “Ready2Go”

Danny Daze’s Detroit-inspired single on Ultramajic, “Ready2Go,” was another track we heard out this summer, beginning at Sonar, and thoroughly rinsed by everyone from Danish boss Noir and Pleasurekraft, to Daze himself – and of course it’s getting play in Ibiza.

“It’s a record that stands out and really doesn’t sound like all the rest,” Noir told us earlier this year. “I think it will be a grower over the summer, and many DJs will pick it up and start playing it. Instant reactions and great summer vibes, when that melody hits the dancefloor.”

Scuba – “Back to Black” (Len Faki Goes Black Remix)

Here’s another track from Scuba’s Claustrophobia album, given the remix treatment by Berghain legend Len Faki, and turned into a something far darker; a menacing, coil perfectly suited for that black techno temple from which it no doubt sprung. First heard on Scuba’s Essential Mix back in May, if you can believe that, and since heard everywhere from Concrete in Paris to Output in NY.

Fort Romeau – “Insides” (Roman Flügel remix)

Roman Flügel’s majestic remix of Fort Romeau’s single “Insides” is one of those tracks that you wait for in a set, when you know things are really taking off. Perfectly exaultant and restrained, we still remember hearing this rising synth line during Dixon’s Boiler Room during Sonar – it felt like it was made for the moment.

Bjarki – “I Wanna Go Bang”

There’s something about the murky thud of bass in the opening minute of “I Wanna Go Bang” that demands attention. Then those ominous vocals start spiraling to the surface and its hooks are in. This slab of warehouse techno from Icelandic producer Bjarki made a strong impression in the sets of трип boss Nina Kraviz, and before long everyone was playing it. Thoroughly rinsed at Dutch techno massive Awakenings, “I Wanna Go Bang” has been a summer touchstone in the sets of everyone from Dave Clarke to Maceo Plex.

&ME – “Woods”

It was no surprise to hear Dixon air &Me’s “Woods” in his Boiler Room session from Barcelona – it’s exactly the kind of slow-building, tension-filled record that defines his DJ sets. While the originality of “Woods” has been called into question, it hasn’t stopped those distinctive arpeggios turning up in the sets of Âme, Solomun and other Diynamic affiliates. &Me is one of the star players in Berlin’s Keinemusik collective, so we don’t think he’s done making summer anthems either.

Continue reading

Weekend Weapons: Soul Clap’s 8 Labor Day BBQ Bangers

No matter how you’ll spend this long US holiday weekend, music is a must. So, for this edition in our ongoing Weekend Weapons series, we needed some bona fide party-rockers for you, whether you’re throwing a poolside gathering, crashing a poolside gathering, raising a rooftop rager or a kicking back at a classic backyard BBQ. Enter Soul Clap, the Boston-based duo who delivered these selections with a simple dedication: “This is the ultimate Labor Day BBQ playlist. For cooking, eating and then dancing.”

Settle into what Soul Clap’s got cookin’ this weekend on their playlist below, including delicacies from New York garage veteran François Kevorkian, Seven Davis Jr., Bosq, and more.

Soul Clap’s Weekend Weapons playlist

“P-Funk affiliates FSQ turn out a sunshine-dripped remix of Crew Lover Navid Izadi. Put it on when you fire up the grill.”

“Life On Planets’ debut album is full of gems, but this one has been our ultimate opener for so many sets this summer. Make sure you have it on when people arrive to get them in the mood.”

“John Camp grew up with the guys from No Regular Play and is a master of the keys. This one features NRP’s Greg Paulus on trumpet and sets the mood just right for chowing down on those dogs.”

“So psyched that Joey Negro put out this compilation of classic garage house jams all re-mastered. There are tons of essentials on here, but this François K remix of Fonda Rae was a Body & Soul anthem and has been in our DJ bags for years. Play this when you’re done eating and ready to start grooving.”

“The Boston don of Afro-Latin disco house brings the multi-cultural funk on his new EP. This one goes straight to the Caribbean with Puerto Rican legend Tempo Alomar on vocals. Throw this one in for extra booty shaking.”

“A cosmic dancefloor re-work of Venezuelan disco legend Daniel Grau. Been bumping this at our basement jams at Brooklyn’s Black Flamingo. Drop this jam when it’s time to get sweaty.”

“Auntie Flo’s Highlife label always brings that multi-culti party vibe. This is the standout on the latest World Series release featuring collaborations with Kenyan musicians. Afro-footwork to keep the party moving.”

“Our other favorite Davis Jr. (Roy is the other one, duh).”

Continue reading

5 Mixes to Get You Hyped for North Coast Music Festival

5 Mixes to Get You Hyped for North Coast Music Festival

Today begins Chicago’s “last stand of summer,” otherwise known as the North Coast Music Festival. Independent local promoters React Presents, Silver Wrapper, Cold Grums and Metronome have teamed up to bring out some of the biggest artists across the music spectrum, from soul maestro D’Angelo & The Vanguard and veteran rockers Widespread Panic to hip-hop group The Roots and jam band Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.

Electronic music fans will also have plenty of incentive to spend the extended weekender at Union Park. Iconic block-rockers The Chemical Brothers are finally back with a new album, Porter Robinson’s bringing his anime-inspired Worlds live show and Chromeo are getting future-funky, among other performances from the likes of Snails, Booka Shade, Kill The Noise, Sweater Beats and Haywyre. Of course, it wouldn’t be right to have dance music in Chicago without some house, courtesy of Roy Davis Jr., Green Velvet, Terry Hunter and more.

There’s no work or school on Monday, so why not come early and stay late? If there are holes in your festival agenda, here are five mixes that just might fill the void – and if fans still can’t get enough, all the more reason to keep the party in full swing at the afterparties.

[Photo via North Coast’s Facebook]

KnifeParty_RukesPhoto2014

KNIFE PARTY

Fresh off a string of European festival dates, Knife Party are heading overseas to close out North Coast’s first day on the 630 Stage. The Australian duo always bring the energy with their self-described “seizure music” and are still showing their debut album, Abandon Ship, much love in their sets, but trust that there will be some new tracks slipped in to keep avid fans on their toes – case in point: their recently unveiled, as-yet untitled collaboration with Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello.

When: Friday, 8:45-10:00pm
Where: 630 Stage

Booka Shade

BOOKA SHADE

As electronic music veterans with over two decades to their name, Booka Shade aren’t exactly the first names to come to mind as an opening act, but the title is almost a prestigious one when warming up the floor for D’Angelo. The duo are presently taking their live show across the US, along with a new EP, Wildest Thing, so festival-goers looking to head up the main stage early are in for a mesmerizing experience at the hands of the German stalwarts.

When: Saturday, 4:45-5:45pm
Where: 312 Stage

JAUZ STEREOSONIC

JAUZ

After two years of climbing the dance music ladder, Jauz has broken through the surface in a big way. The LA producer’s gone from just bootlegging heavyweights to working alongside them, from contributing a guest mix for Diplo’s radio show and officially remixing ‘Song of the Summer’ “Lean On” to collaborating with Skrillex and booking a ton of festival gigs.

Jauz maintains “music has no boundaries,” but one can find him commanding the rowdiest of crowds with the bass dialed to full volume. Though he’s locked in for a mid-day set, expect him to perform with headliner-worthy fervor.

When: Saturday, 3:30-4:30pm
Where: 630 Stage

Green Velvet

GREEN VELVET

North Coast wouldn’t be a true Chicago festival without some house music on the program to celebrate the genre’s birthplace – and that’s precisely where Green Velvet comes in.

The hometown hero otherwise known as Curtis Jones (and as Cajmere) is briefly stepping away from his collaborative project with Claude VonStroke, Get Real, to show crowds just how the Windy City gets down with heaping portions of jacking house, funky techno and sizzling acid. In short: it’s going to get weird, but Green Velvet wouldn’t have it any other way.

When: Sunday, 5:30-6:30pm
Where: 630 Stage

Tycho_PhotoByReubenWu_1

TYCHO

After a sweaty dancefloor workout from Green Velvet comes a major cool-down session from Tycho. The rock-electronic live band, headed by producer Scott Hansen, make music that’s expansive and calming – appropriate as the festival heads into its last leg on Sunday evening. Enhancing the music are the psychedelic visuals (created by Hansen himself) buried in color-saturated washes to create a vibrant and hypnotic experience. If the timing goes well, this could be the ultimate sundown set, so be sure to catch it.

When: Sunday, 7:00-8:00pm
Where: 630 Stage

Continue reading

Mysteryland 2015: How Holland’s Oldest Dance Festival Does It Differently

Mysteryland 2015: How Holland’s Oldest Dance Festival Does It Differently

While there’s no shortage of audacious, spectacle-heavy summer festivals on offer, with event franchises like Tomorrowland, Ultra and EDC gradually spreading their tentacles across the continents, it’s easy to forget Mysteryland was one of the first.

The Amsterdam mainstay threw its 22nd annual party over the weekend, extending from its traditional one-day format into a camping weekender for the very first time. Given the level of detail that ID&T weaves into the rolling green plains of the Voormalig Floriade, you really do need the luxury of two days to explore it all.

With all the hype that’s built around the ostentatious stage designs and YouTube simulcasts of Ultra Miami and Belgium’s Tomorrowland in recent years, Mysteryland has certainly lost some lustre as an international festival favorite. That’s definitely a shame, as Mysteryland arguably offers the best experience out of them all for the more seasoned clubber seeking a sprawling, large-scale festival experience.

JT_4105

The mainstage designs of Tomorrowland and Ultra have taken their cues from Hollywood summer blockbusters these past few years, employing so much spectacle it becomes almost numbing. In contrast to those behemoths, Mysteryland might seem even a little quaint.

The main stage featured the same design seen at its US edition this year – a pair of Trojan Horses locking eyes over the central booth. Instead of audacious spectacle, the main stage made its mark by deviating from the standard-issue lineups of its peers.

Saturday was the day that most closely resembled your regular EDM festival (albeit with a little less star of the power that’s purchased with Avicii, Guetta and the like). Dutch ‘future house’ favorite Oliver Heldens ushered in the headliners, followed by Laidback Luke, Nero and Nicky Romero, before a closing set from Alesso. In general, the DJs showed a little more restraint than expected, with less of the absurdity that’s begun to characterize mainstage EDM in 2015.

It was Sunday, though, where Mysteryland really mixed it up. The masked Claptone was an early wildcard at 1pm with house music on much more classic bent, followed by the reunited Deep Dish, who dropped 90 minutes of trance-y house and progressive. US prodigy Porter Robinson followed immediately after in live mode, with the more mellow selections from his Worlds album seamlessly seguing into anthems like “Language,” as well as UK drum n’ bass favourite Netsky, who also performed live with a cast of MCs and vocalists in tow.

Main stage scheduling has become so predictable in 2015 that it’s almost unthinkable to expect euphoric drum n’ bass alongside groovy house, but at Mysteryland it seamlessly transitioned into EDM headliners like Martin Garrix, who closed the weekend.

Meanwhile, the excess of the Q-dance stage was a weekend-long talking point. As divisive as hardstyle is, it’s remarkably popular in the Netherlands, accounting for as many as a third of the tickets sold to Mysteryland. The stage design this year was stunningly simple and effective; the face of a monkey that grew even more mesmerizing when lit up at night by red and blue lights, as smoke billowed out its nose and flames shot overhead. Whether you love or loathe hard dance, the synced lights and fireworks of the ‘Endshow’ are a marvel.

20150830_23.53.58_Rudgrcom_2156

While Tomorrowland is expected to deliver bigger and better mains stages each year, Mysteryland instead concentrates on the small touches; creating an otherworldly atmosphere across the natural beauty of the Voormalig Floriade. The north of the grounds is dominated by a man-made pyramid formation crafted by Dutch farmers, and you can climb to the top for an aerial view of the festival. It’s dotted with flags in circular formations that can be admired from a distance, and looking up towards the pyramid at dusk is a breathtaking sight.

To the left of the pyramid is a lake that’s peppered with floating colored spheres, which light up vividly after sunset. To reach the mainstage, you cross a smaller lake via a zig-zagging platform, which is set so low that it appears as if punters are walking on water. Mysteryland is full of serene moments like these, and it definitely makes for a contrast from the bombast of flame-throwers and CO2 cannons.

11882654_10153476308476550_3007737782172791592_o

The charm of Mysteryland is found in the colorful details, although the arts and culture element of the festival appeared a little lighter than in previous years. (The change might have something to do with the departure from ID&T of Duncan Stutterheim and Irfan van Ewijk, the co-founders who championed the more cerebral side of the festival over the years.)

However, there was still an impressive number of immersive art installations to be found deep into the forest. Across the Voormalig Floriade, walkways were lined with giant red hearts and a Healing Garden offered rest and recuperation, while costumed performers appeared at every turn.

11953352_10153476339051550_7880974871438516148_o

While the side stages of the major festivals often seem like an afterthought, at Mysteryland the crowd is spread evenly across the grounds, with each of the 15 or so stages proving to be consistently well attended.

Turning the corner of the pyramid that overlooks the Q-dance arena revealed a stage that blasted out party hip-hop for the whole weekend. And while the standard EDM can be heard at the mainstage in the south of the grounds, the HYTE tent catered for those who enjoy their tougher techno, with the likes of Chris Liebing, Planetary Assault Systems, Jeff Mills and Pan-Pot ensuring the party was moving non-stop during the festival.

Nearby, a stage constructed of several shipping containers boasted a ‘Vinyl Only’ selection of performers over the weekend, while arenas curated by Joris Voorn and Beatport catered for deeper dancefloor sounds. Elsewhere, the ubiquitous Spinnin’ Records and Steve Angello’s label Size Matters ensured all the crowd-pleasing boxes were ticked.

JT_4668

A concrete bunker delivered rumbling bass music and broken beats, while a sprawling area was curated by Amsterdam’s famous LBGT Milkshake Festival, whose stage resembled an oversized pink children’s toy house. Hidden deep in the woods somewhere between the mainstage and the HYTE tent was a tiny yet impressive stage curated by the Kojade performance art collective, with a cast of elaborately costumed dancers and live percussionists complimenting its slinkier house sounds.

If you’ve ever complained of feeling ‘old’ at one of the larger dance festivals, Mysteryland is a welcome surprise. There’s a truly varied range of ages amongst the tens of thousands that attend, with newcomers partying alongside veterans who’ve been at nearly all of the parties in its 22-year history. Sometimes, the original is hard to beat.

Follow Angus Paterson on Twitter. Mysteryland 2016 is set for the weekend of August 26-27; find out more at the official festival website.

Continue reading

Technics is Releasing a New Turntable for Audiophiles in 2016

After being discontinued for five years, the Technics turntable is back.

“We are sure that retailers and consumers will understand that our product range has to reflect the accelerating transformation of the entire audio market from analogue to digital,” parent company Panasonic explained, when they discontinued the SL-1200 back in 2010.

Now, they’ve changed their tune, announcing that Technics will return with a new turntable at its annual IFA press conference in Berlin recently. “Turntables are a very iconic product for the Technics brand,” Technics director Michiko Ogawa told Wired, who broke the story. “It is important to show our sincere dedication [to that]. The turntable market is very small, but it is a very important brand product.”

The updated model will differ from the classic SL-1200 body that we are used to, however. The as-yet-unnamed turntable boasts an aluminum redesign that appears geared towards audiophiles, for whom the market is indeed “very small,” more so than DJs, for whom the market would presumably be wider (albeit less willing to spend $100k on a turntable), given Technics’ iconic status. In fact, the new turntable doesn’t even appear to have a tone arm. Check out the specs here, if you speak audiophile.

There are no further details on the product’s price or availability, but it appears that the turntable is not alone, as Ogawa also announced several other new Technics products, including a high-end HiFi network amp, a ‘Premium Class’ all-in-one Hi-Fi speaker system and premium stereo headphones with 100Hz-capable sound quality.

Panasonic initially relaunched Technics back in 2014 with a pair of high-end (in the $20K range) audio systems, so the new direction is not completely out of the blue. Can’t wait to see the audiophile outrage when Craze does his first routine.

Continue reading

Listen: Nero’s New Mini-Mix Has a Very Unexpected Tracklist

Leading up to the release of their sophomore album, Between II Worlds, UK trio Nero are keeping their momentum strong with a new ‘At The Movies’ mini-mix made for Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1.

Clocking in at just over five minutes, the mix somehow manages to pack in a wide array of cinematically inspired music clips into its short duration. It opens with the iconic 20th Century Fox intro before delving into a disco-tinged riff of the Star Wars theme. Keeping the disco flare at the forefront, Nero layer in the famous Kill Bill siren along with Paul McCartney’s “Live And Let Die,” the signature tune for the 1973 James Bond movie of the same name.

The entire mix is a slice of nostalgia that spans multiple generations; even overlaying Kavinsky’s anthem “Nightcall” (made popular by the Ryan Gosling epic Drive) over Underworld’s “Born Slippy” and Eminem’s 8-Mile rap ballad “Lose Yourself.” A few classic sound-bites also make their way into the mix at strategic breaks to give the mix a full-bodied representation of cinematic history.

Listen to Nero’s ‘At the Movies’ mini-mix below. Following Between II Worlds‘ release on September 11, they’re heading out on a North American tour that’s stopping in cities such as New York City, Washington DC, Boston, Detroit, Edmonton, San Francisco and more.

[Photo via Nero’s Facebook]

Tracklist
20th Century Fox theme
Vangelis – Chariots of Fire Theme
Galactic Force band – Theme From Star Trek
Meco – Star Wars: Title Theme
Brad Feidel – Terminator II Main Title Theme
Alan Silvestri – Back to the Future
Lalo Schifrin – Theme From Enter the Dragon
Quincy Jones – Ironside
Wings – Live and Let Die
Kool and the Gang – Jungle Boogie
John Williams – E.T. Main Theme
Richard Strauss – Thus Spake Zarathustra
John Williams – The Conversation
Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild
Blondie – Atomic
Ennio Morricone – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Titles)
Harold Faltermeyer – Intro / Bakersfield
Vangelis – Bladerunner (Main Titles)
Underworld – Born Slippy
Nero – Into The Past
Bernard Herrman – Prelude and Rooftop (Vertigo)
John Carpenter – Escape From New York (Main Title)
Eminem – Lose Yourself
Kavinsky – Nightcall
Michael Jackson – Speed Demon
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells
Queen – Flash’s Theme
Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F
Clint Mansell – Winter Overture (Requiem for a Dream)
Mahler – Adegietto (From Symphony No.5) (Death in Venice)
Sound of Cinema – James Horner (BBC Radio 3)
Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
Prince – Purple Rain
John Williams – Jurassic Park Theme
John Williams – Main Title (Theme From ‘Jaws’)
Elton John – Circle Of Life

Continue reading

Watch This Classic Documentary Featuring Young Versions of Your Favorite DJs

Modulations: Cinema for the Ear is a 1998 documentary which Create Digital Music recently unearthed, featuring an insane lineup of pioneering DJs and innovators, covering a vast swathe of the “electronica” scene, capturing “a moment in history where humans and machines are fusing to create today’s most exciting sounds.”

The film features interviews with Arman Van Helden, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Arthur Baker, LTJ Bukem, Orbital, Pierre Henry, Prodigy, Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, Squarepusher, Robert Moog, John Cage, a young turntablist named A-Trak and many more. The cast is basically a who’s-who of electronic music in the late ’90s – it’s interesting to note which names are still relevant which are now unfamiliar.

Modulations also includes some pretty classic footage, from the Love Parade in Berlin to Popkomm, Sonar and WMC, to Seurgon playing a rave in Brooklyn that gets busted up by NYPD. If you ever wondered what it was actually like back in the (latter) day, here you go.

The film “examines the kids who have turned the turntable into a musical instrument, disillusioned disco lovers who created acid house out of primitive synthesizers, Motor City mavericks who saw the drum machine as their escape route out of urban neglect, and a generation of British youth who transformed these blips and bleeps into dance floor anthems of their own alienation.”

It also features a kid sampling a fax machine. Watch Modulations in full below.

Continue reading

There’s a New Movie Coming About the Days of Legal Ecstasy in Dallas

Remember the days when ecstasy was legal in Dallas, Texas? No? Good thing there’s a movie coming to school you, then.

As reported by Variety, a scripted feature film about one of the most fascinating chapters in US rave history has just been green-lit. It’s set in Dallas, Texas during the 1980s era of legal ecstasy, when clubs and warehouse parties across the city were feeling the uninhibited serotonin rush.

The project has a pretty intriguing team behind it, too. Former NBA player Steve Nash is one of the executive producers (he spent six seasons in Dallas), local dance music trailblazer Wade Randolph Hampton (aka DJ WishFM) is involved, and the director is Dori Oskowitz, whose resume includes music videos for Pharrell, Cee-Lo and Jack White. Oskowitz also directed the 30-minute original film Blackout for Thump, which no doubt helped him land the gig.

“I am excited to bring this remarkable story and piece of cultural anthropology to the screen with my partners at Meathawk and Prettybird,” producer Braxton Pope told Variety. “Dori is a skilled visual storyteller with a narrative sensibility, and with his extensive music background is the perfect choice to explore this world.”

The Dallas story also inspired an earlier film project, the low-budget documentary Warriors of the Discotheque: The Starck Club. Director Joseph F. Alexandre focuses on the reign of the Starck Club, a converted warehouse that hosted the city’s wildest parties in the 1980s. After ecstasy was made illegal in 1985, the club found itself at the center of a police crackdown. The Starck Club closed in 1989. You can watch the eye-opening trailer for Warriors of the Discotheque here.

There’s another documentary coming on the subject, too. After raising funds on Kickstarter, filmmaking team Michael Cain and Miles Hargrove are putting the finishing touches on The Starck Club. As Hargrove put it to the New York Times, “There’s this image of Dallas that it’s all big hair and big boobs and vacuous people. [The Starck] was the first time that Dallas was put on the map for something else, something that was cool and ahead of the curve. That’s probably the reason why it still resonates with people to this day.”

Continue reading

Movement Festival Heads Back to Europe With a Killer 2015 Lineup

Movement Festival Heads Back to Europe With a Killer 2015 Lineup

After its stateside sibling logged in another massive year in the birthplace of techno, Movement Festival Europe is readying for its tenth anniversary edition by sharing the first names on its 2015 lineup.

The event is scheduled to take place at Lingotto Fiere in Torino, Italy on Halloween (October 31). Going 12 hours strong from 6pm-6am, its five stages will host a roster of house and techno’s rising stars and heavyweights, from Chris Liebing, Derrick May, Len Faki and Marcel Fengler to David August, Robert Hood performing under his Floorplan alias and Tale Of Us.

Also advertised on the lineup is a back-to-back set between Mathew Jonson and Minilogue, in addition to showcases for Innervisions (featuring Âme, Dixon, Henrik Schwarz as Schwarzmann and Mano Le Tough) and ‘The House That Chicago Built’ with Windy City luminaries Lil’ Louis, DJ Sneak and Derrick Carter. More artists are soon to be announced.

View Movement Europe’s initial tenth anniversary lineup below and head to the official website for tickets and other information.

[Photo via Movement Europe’s Facebook]

MOVEMENTEU

Continue reading

11 Tracks That Ruled San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival

Outside Lands presented its eighth annual extravaganza at San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Park this past weekend, hosting 70 acts over three days, further solidifying the massive outdoor festival’s reputation as Northern California’s answer to Coachella. Besides main stage headliners like Sir Elton John, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Sam Smith, and Kendrick Lamar, there were plenty of dance and electronic artists, including Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Green Velvet & Claude VonStroke, Caribou, Porter Robinson, Classixx, Odesza and more.

We wandered across the grounds, navigating all eight stages for all three days so that we could gather the essential tracks that rocked Outside Lands 2015. Check ’em out below.

RL Grime — “Kingpin”

On Friday afternoon, the West Coast massive made a strong showing for RL Grime. A cheer went up as he took the Twin Peaks stage in the late afternoon sunshine. From the start, the LA resident controlled the crowd with cuts like “Golden State” from his 2014 album VOID.

“It’s so good to be back in the Bay,” he said between tracks as he lead the packed crowd on an hour-long ride across classic rave bits, recent trap hits, a bouncy bootleg of Tove Lo’s “Habits,” hip-hop snippets from Drake, Missy Elliott and more. In the midst of his diverse, high-energy set, RL dropped his Big Sean-featuring single “Kingpin,” which was an instant crowd-pleaser.

Porter Robinson – “Flicker”

Following RL Grime, Porter Robinson brought his Worlds live experience to Golden Gate Park. Featuring classic Japanese anime, electric colors and pixelated electronica, the Carolina native took the crowd on a slow-rolling trip. Although many selections from the album stood out, including “Sad Machine” and “Fresh Static Snow,” it was his melodic Worlds track “Flicker” that proved the perfect companion to the sunset behind the mammoth pines.

Amon Tobin – “Slowly”

The uninitiated hoping for the EDM drop may have been disappointed by Amon Tobin’s Isam 2.0. But what the UK veteran lacked in build up, he made up for with an intense, immersive live show. Tobin started out by creating a somber mood with “Journeyman,” then raised the energy with tracks like “Bedtime Stories” and “Lost & Found,” but ultimately it was “Slowly” that won everybody over. An essential, mindbending trip, yet again.

Jonas Rathsman – “Wolfsbane”

Judging from the crowd at the House dome Saturday evening, the secret’s out about Jonas Rathsman. The Swedish Disclosure affiliate delivered a seamless hour-long set of refined deep house, keeping the energy up and rewarding us by delivering “Wolfsbane” right on cue.

Classixx – “Holding On”

Later in the evening, Classixx played the smaller Panhandle Stage to a packed lawn. The LA duo delivered blissed-out house vibes with tracks like “I’ll Get You” and “Dominoes,” but it was their 2013 single “Holding On” that captured the twilight, inspiring many in the crowd to sing its refrain back to the stage.

Hot Chip – “Flutes”

Hot Chip brought live dance vibes to the Lands End main stage on Sunday’s muggy, overcast afternoon. After warming up the crowd and drawing in more onlookers with hits like “One Night Stand” and “Night And Day,” the UK band delivered a standout moment with their 2012 single “Flutes,” taken from their fifth album In Our Heads. We can still hear it now.

Odesza – “Say My Name”

The West Coast rave crowd came out in full force for Seattle duo Odesza as the Twin Peaks stage filled to capacity. Odesza responded in kind, delivering their unique brand of slow-rolling breakbeat and deep house vibes displayed on their 2014 sophomore release In Return. Building to a blissful crescendo, favorites like their remix of ZHU’s “Faded,” and their stellar single “Say My Name,” made the most noise.

Caribou – “Sun”

As Dan Snaith stepped onstage at Twin Peaks, a roar went up from the crowd, and he waved back with a warm smile. The band has clearly come a long way. Dressed in all-white, the band launched straight into favorites like “Our Love”, “Odessa” and “Can’t Do Without You,” all of which were incredible. Yet, it was the psychedelic chant, “Sun” that really whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Catching Snaith and company was definitely one of the most memorable highlights of the festival.

Claude VonStroke – “Barumph”

Together as DJ super-duo Get Real, Green Velvet and Claude VonStroke did some serious party-rocking while closing out the Panhandle stage on Sunday night. The US house veterans appeared to be having a fun time playfully one-upping each other on the decks, one record on, one record off. For his part, CVS stuck to the crowd-pleasing Dirtybird canon of booty-shaking cuts like “Barumph.”

Green Velvet, Harvard Bass – “Lazer Beams”

Green Velvet responded with a salvo of his own – his quirky 2012 collab with Harvard Bass, “Lazer Beams” – just one volley in a perfectly matched set of bass-heavy jams and classic acid house.

Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso – “Dream Bigger”

After Get Real, it was Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso’s turn to showcase their head-to-head skills, closing the three-day weekend on the dance-centric Twin Peaks stage. The Swedish duo brought the whole arsenal; main-stage-ready progressive house, insane visuals and plenty of awe-inspiring pyrotechnics. Alongside the usual festival fist-pumpers, they had some surprises, like Skrillex and Dillon Francis’ latest single, “Burn Up The Dance,” snippets of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for the SF faithful, and Tove Lo’s “Habits,” but ultimately, the track that killed it was their Daft Punk-reminiscent stormer “Dream Bigger,” featuring Pharrell Williams. See you in 2016.

Continue reading

LA County Supervisors Vote to “Study Ban” After HARD Summer Deaths

Los Angeles County officials called for a temporary ban on “raves” Monday (Aug. 3), after two teens died at electronic music festival HARD Summer in Pomona on Saturday (Aug. 1). Though the sold-out event hosted many well-reviewed performances from the likes of Saturday’s headliner The Weeknd, live electronic bands Ratatat and Caribou, rappers Schoolboy … Continue reading