Hear an Unreleased Daphni Track on Jon Hopkins’ BBC Radio Show

Jon Hopkins returned to the radio waves yesterday for the fifth episode of his BBC Radio 1 Residency show, where he conjured up yet another hour of masterfully crafted mix of electronica and leftfield selections.

His special guest in the studio this week was Dan Snaith aka Caribou, who played out three records for the occasion. The first, created under Snaith’s other alias, Daphni, was an untitled and unreleased track, which he tells Hopkins is “something that I threw together to play at DJ sets…” He further jokes, “It doesn’t have a purpose…It’s sloppily put together, poorly mixed, it’s ineffective on the dancefloor.”

The second track is a Thai record, which he brought because he noticed Hopkins’ affinity for Thai music in recent shows, and the third comes from Head High aka Shed, who remixed Caribou’s “Mars” off his most recent album Our Love. They join a heavy tracklist that includes artists such as Bob Moses, Daniel Avery, Fort Romeau, Four Tet, Hodge and Radiohead.

If you’re seeking a weekend wind-down, press play on Jon Hopkins’ latest Radio 1 Residency show below (fast-forward to 27 min for the Daphni track), or listen to it on the BBC website.

Tracklist:

Fort Romeau – IKB
Bob Moses – Interloper
Hodge – Tail of the Snake
Randomer – Stupid Things I Do
Daniel Avery – Platform Zero (Volte-Face Remix)
East India Youth – Hinterland
Clams Casino – Waterfalls
Daphni – Untitled
ไวพจน์ เพชรสุพรรณ – Ding Ding Dong
Caribou – Mars (Head High ‘Venus’ Remix)
Four Tet – Reversing
Radiohead – Untitled
Jon Hopkins – Vessel (Four Tet Remix)
ISAN – Ship
Talk Talk – I Believe in You

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Trouble & Bass Founding Member Ben Deitz Has Died

Ben Deitz, one of the founding members of NYC’s Trouble & Bass collective, died on Saturday (May 9).

Deitz, who produced and DJed under the aliases Math Head, Passions and Campos Verdes, and released on Trouble & Bass, Kitsuné and Terminal Dusk, has been eulogized by fellow T&B founder and longtime friend Drop The Lime, in a earnest post on the T&B SoundCloud.

“In 2002, before T&B even existed, Drop The Lime put together this compilation called ‘Nobody Compilate’ of various young NYC based artists, and Math Head was the first to contribute and help curate the compilation,” Drop The Lime writes.

“Given that both had such punk rock roots, they illegally placed these home printed CD-R copies of the compilation in shops like HMV and Tower Records in sections like IDM, D&B, and Electronica to reach the right people and it hilariously caught buzz. All that was printed for contact info was random AOL email address but the excited/confused mails of – ‘I tried to buy your CD and was told I could just have it for free as it wasn’t in the system’ were frequent. Soon after, Star Eyes, Zack Shadetek, The Captain and AC Slater joined forces and the same DIY attitude evolved even more, creating Trouble & Bass.

“With the recent tragic passing of such a magical, influential, and driven soul, we felt it was important to share the track Math Head had contributed. It’s such a strong and honest glimpse into the furiously original production of music he soon progressed into. You will be missed greatly Ben. We love you.”

The cause of Deitz’s death has not been made public. His impact in the music community, from NYC to Australia, however, is quite clear.

Stream Math Head’s “Loc.cit,” below.

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The Beatport Chart Report: Jack Ü’s Winning Week

Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü, the debut album by the dance superstars’ new team-up, dominates this week’s Beatport charts – shocking, right? International festival headliners, producers to too many stars to count (several of whom appear on the album), the two of them had first joined forces in September 2013 and announced the album the following June. An EP of “Take Ü There” remixes by the likes of Zeds Dead, Netsky, and TJR dropped right ahead of Christmas.

Nevertheless, there was little advance notice when the album dropped on February 27. It entered the Releases chart at number 1 the next day and has refused to budge ever since. Moreover, with one exception – the intro track, “Don’t Do Drugs Just Take Some,” a slurred spoken-word goof – nearly every track has charted high on the list of its respective genre.

In fact, the only non-“Drugs” track not to land in a single-style Top Ten is also the album’s top-selling track: “Jungle Bae,” featuring Jamaican vocalist Bunji Garlin, currently number 17 on the Electro House chart and number 82 on the overall Top 100 Tracks; it entered the latter list today. It’s also the only track on the album to make either Jack Ü member’s Top Ten bestsellers, at number 10 on Diplo’s list, though this will clearly change, likely soon.

By contrast, the only track from Skrillex’s Top Ten currently making noise on the genre lists is the nearly-four-month-old Ragga Twins collaboration “Ragga Bomb (Skrillex & Zomboy Remix),” which is number three for both Sonny Moore and for the Dubstep list. Ahead of it on the Dubstep chart are — who’d ever have guessed? — a pair of Jack Ü tracks: “Holla Out” at number 1, “Febreze” at number 2.

The other Top 100 track after “Jungle Bae” is “Beats Knockin’,” featuring Fly Boi, at number 98; it’s also the easy number 1 on the Hip-Hop chart (and the only Hip-Hop entry on the Top 100). The other two Jack Ü selections there are two versions of the same song: “Take Ü There,” featuring Kiesza, is at number 9 – six spots behind its remix featuring Missy Elliott.

From her show-stealing Super Bowl cameo with Katy Perry to her recent shepherding of Jersey club-indebted rapper Sharaya (detailed this week by Puja Patel for The Fader), Missy’s one-step-at-a-time comeback has been one of the most heartening musical developments of the year so far; certainly, her turn as a producer-writer turned performer acted as a blueprint for the paths of Diplo and Skrillex’s careers.

That leaves three Jack Ü tracks, each filed under Electronica. Nodding at each producer’s propensity for bulbous low end, let’s take ’em from the bottom: “Mind” is number 8; “Where Are Ü Now” at number 4; “To Ü” at number 2. The latter has the most purely lovely melody on the album, thanks to the tremulous vocal by AlunaGeorge, as well as the most cartoon-like noises cut up over it — a good indication of both producers’ strengths, as well as the album’s.

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The Beatport Chart Report: Plastikman’s Pulling Power

From the Top 100 to the individual genre rankings, the Beatport charts never stop moving. Every Tuesday and Friday, veteran dance writer Michaelangelo Matos examines the big hits, big moves, and hidden stories from Beatport’s rich data trove, in the moment and in history.

Richie Hawtin records so infrequently now, under any name, that even a Plastikman remix package is sure to grab attention. Especially a remix package, in fact – what better way to really gauge Hawtin’s current standing than to see who’s signed up to remake his tracks this time around?

Plastikman’s EX (Club Mixes) leaped into Beatport’s Top 10 Releases instantly upon release eight days ago and was number 1 for four. (It’s currently number 2, behind the “Beatport Deluxe Version” of Hardwell’s United We Are.)

Moreover, each of the EP’s four tracks is doing well in the chart. Three of them are in the Beatport Top 100: Tale of Us’s remix of “EXpand” is number 12; Dixon’s “Just A Different Mixdown Version” of “EXhale” is number 43; and Recondite’s remix of “EXplore” is number 79. In addition, Dubfire’s remix of “EXposed” is number 14 on the Techno list.

In fact, these new versions – which Beatport had for a week ahead of other digital music retail sites, which just put the EP up today – are already doing substantially better than the original versions of the songs. On Plastikman’s Beatport page, all four tracks on EX (Club Mixes) are in his Top 10 (which measures sales over the past year): Tale of Us first, Dixon third, Recondite fifth, Dubfire ninth. By comparison, only “EXhale” (sixth) and “EXpand” (tenth) are on there from the original EX, and both fall below the new mixes.

What else is in that Hawtin Top 10? The original “Spastik,” of course – a classic that no one’s stopped playing for decades – is number 4. Gaiser’s “Out of Touch Mix” of “Disconnect,” from Replikants, off the 2011 Arkives package, is number 8. And, well, a lesson in the hazards of list-making from raw data: In second and seventh place, off slightly different versions of the same compilation, 2007’s Nostalgik, is “Spastik (Dubfire Rework),” which no one seems to have stopped playing for the last decade, either.

It’s partly because Plastikman is taken out of mothballs so infrequently that the EX (Club Mixes) is showing up more sparsely on its respective remixers’ artist Top 10s. That, and all four of those remixers tend to stay very busy. The “Spastik” remix is still doing great for Dubfire, for example – it’s number 9 of his artist Top 10 – his list is dominated by another collaboration, “Exit” with Miss Kittin, is the easy number 1; at numbers 5 and 7 are its remixes by Brodinski and the Hacker, both from December. And Tale of Us’s “EXpand” mix is currently number 9 for their artist Top 10. Their number 1 is their remix, with Mano Le Tough, of Caribou’s “Can’t Do Without You,” which is still number 6 on the Electronica chart.

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Staff Picks: Our Top Tracks Of The Week

Every Tuesday, we round up our top recommendations in house, techno, indie dance, electronica, drum & bass and more. Here are this week’s best selections, featuring essential tracks from Dauwd, Daylomar, Dixon, Skeptical, Silent Servant and more.

Nick Tsirimokos
Editor / Berlin

Following the release of Ghostly artist Beacon’s L1 EP late last year, we were pleasantly surprised to be debuting a new rework by Welsh producer Dauwd in our electronica section last week. Tackling the lead single “Fault Lines,” Dauwd delivered a deep, melodic and groove-heavy rework that shot straight up our electronica charts in a few days. If you missed it, definitely take a listen, it’s well worth it.

Further Listening:

Matt Ferry
Editor / Berlin

Continuing their meteoric rise within the minimal house scene, London-based duo Daylomar have dropped another blistering EP. Calibrated with the razor-sharp precision of a fine timepiece, the title track “Here Under” will find a fitting home either on a sweaty dancefloor or in your cozy headphones. It’s truly space-age, micro-house perfection.

Further Listening:

Steven Dermody
Editor / Denver

Silent Servant, aka Juan Mendez, continues to subtly push boundaries within techno, as he has since first becoming a member of the influential Sandwell District Collective. His productions on outstanding label The Corner typically swell to a wild intensity without being overbearing, while still clearly getting his emotional intent across. Tightly wound synth stabs keep the energy flowing as waves of haunting echoes are introduced and intertwine, to an awesome climax. Mesmerizing and moving sounds from the US-based producer that could go on and on and on…

Further Listening:

Sean Lewis
Editor / L.A.

Last week, I previewed “Delusions Of Grandeur,” and instantly knew it would be my top pick. Undoubtedly, Skeptical nails this one — the driving, gut-churning synth stays in relentless motion throughout, and those minimal but strong, punctuating drums. Excellent! Seriously sinister business on Exit from this UK-based drum & bass producer.

Further Listening:

Jason Black
Contributing Editor / S.F.

These days, it’s super rare to say that all the remixes on a given EP are worthy, but once again, Richie Hawtin proves he’s a cut above. Tough to pull out a true winner amongst top caliber talent like Recondite, Tale Of Us and Dubfire, but I’ll stick with Innervisions boss Dixon’s spine-tingling version of “EXhale.” If techno ever had a euphoric hands-in-the-air moment, this would be it. Emotive and essential.

Further Listening:

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Caribou Proves His Great Taste (Again) With a New Mix

Right now, Canadian maestro Dan Snaith is leading the Caribou live band around North America, hitting New York City, Miami, New Orleans, Austin and many more stops in-between. Before taking on the road, though, Snaith put together a special 47-minute DJ mixtape to accompany copies of Caribou’s new album Our Love sold through music retailer Rough Trade. This week, it’s turned up on Caribou’s official SoundCloud for us all to dive into.

As we heard on his recent Essential Mix, Snaith’s a wide-reaching selector, bringing together the likes of garage trailblazer Todd Edwards, house hero Pépé Bradock, Cómeme crew member Christian S., French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and even Lil’ Wayne in under an hour. He also finds room for handiwork under his club-focused Daphni alias.

Meanwhile, the Mano Le Tough and Tale Of Us remix of Caribou’s “Can’t Do Without You” continues to sit high on the Beatport ‘Electronica’ Top Ten. Check the Caribou website to see when the tour’s rolling into your town.

Tracklist

Aphrodite’s Child – The System
Lata Ramasar – The Greatest Name that Lives
DJ Nori – Happy Sunday (Maurice Fulton Mix)
Black Truth Rhythm Band – Ifetayo (part 2)
Danny Hunt – What’s Happening to our Love Affair
Christian S. – Jagos (Original Mix)
Andres Lewin – Spectrum
Bernard Parmegiani – Ondes Croisées
Jerry Green – I Finally Found the Love I Need
Todd Edwards – Winter Behaviour
Cricco Castelli – Life Has Changed
Tyree – Video Crash (Crash Mix)
Lil Wayne – I’m Single (Instrumental)
Robert Armani – Ambulance
Jean-Luc Ponty – Computer Incantations for World Peace
Jessie G – It’s Hot
Pépé Bradock – Démarre le Chauve
Daphni – Ramblin On
??? – ??? (Daphni Edit)
TCB Band – Children of the Future
Aphrodite’s Child – Break

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The #BeatportDecade in Electronica

#BeatportDecade is a series celebrating the past 10 years of dance music, providing insight into the artists, tracks and labels that drove the evolution of its sound and culture, and interviews with the people who made history.

It’s one of the very loosest of genres – if genre we can call it at all – yet electronica in all its many-splendored forms provokes a very special form of passion in its fans. Right from the halcyon days of WARP Records’ ‘Artificial Intelligence’ compilations that brought together the likes of the Aphex Twin, Richie Hawtin (in his FUSE guise), Autechre, Plaid / The Black Dog and others to jointly define “listening techno” (as opposed to that directed purely at the dance floor), the Interzone between club and living room has been a place for misfits to congregate and experiment.

It’s a wide open space that allowed producers to reach both deep underground and towards mass audiences, create music that is resolutely future-facing yet also understands electronic sound-making’s pre-history. It ventures furthest into the blissed-out explorations of the pleasure principle, but can equally make the most confrontational and mind-frazzling noise. And for every time naysayers write electronica off as the music of over-studious dorks, it’s come back again and again to influence both more streetwise forms and the mainstream. It is Revenge of the Nerds writ large.

Even in those 1990s glory days, there was disagreement about what constituted electronica. For American audiences, it was a very broad term encompassing the arena dance of acts like The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers. For Europeans it was more esoteric, interchangeable with “IDM”, featuring the bearded likes of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher as poster boys. In the new millennium, things became even more confused, and audiences with a penchant for the experimental diverged in all kinds of directions: into post-rock, freak-folk, and the newer, edgier emergent forms like dubstep and grime.

Still, many of the old guard kept on keeping on. Inveterate sonic sculptors like Björk (“Oceania”), Matthew Herbert (“Celebrity”) and Autechre (“Iera”) were still constantly chipping at the boundaries of what electronic sound could do and be, their music full of unpredictable delights and provocations. All of these artists have continued pushing on through the last decade, still as vital as ever.

In the meantime, another area began to open up, a place where electronic artists could occupy the roles of indie and alt-pop bands.

On the one hand there was the millennial electroclash movement: cheeky, poly-sexual and provocative, prone to a lot of dressing up. Though it dissipated as a scene, it created a climate for experimental electro-pop as a living movement, setting the stage for the likes of The Knife (“Silent Shout”), Ratatat (“Loud Pipes”), Planningtorock (“Misogyny Drop Dead”) and Grimes (“Genesis”) to create vividly individualist identities and sounds, for electroclash veteran Peaches (“Talk to Me”) to keep strutting her stuff, and even for someone like Royksopp (“Monument”) to reach the mainstream.

On the other hand, there was a sound that begun to coalesce as the never-very-wide gap between electronica, experimental indie rock and instrumental post-rock closed up. As the Aughts progressed, what you might call “indietronica” moved from being a few lonely souls in bedrooms to a fully-fledged movement. Boards Of Canada (“Dayvan Cowboy”), with their layered mixture of shoegaze, trip-hop and detailed IDM, and the ever dissatisfied, ever-questing Thom Yorke (“Black Swan” and “Deafult” with Atoms For Peace) were godfathers of this sound.

Both directions offered rich seams, and had amazing international reach. From the strung-out Canadian electro-dreamers Junior Boys (“In the Morning”), through the David Lynch atmospheres of Denmark’s Trentemøller (“Moan”), the bizarre art-pop of The Knife’s offshoot Fever Ray in Sweden (“If I Had a Heart”), the sultry New York jams of Nicolas Jaar (“Space is Only Noise”), electronica as a vehicle for songwriting proved globally useful. Meanwhile M83 in France (“Midnight City”), Moderat in Germany (“Bad Kingdom”) and a whole raft of Australian acts led by Presets (“Ghosts”) turned indietronica into something that could reach out to vast raves and arena rock audiences alike.

Whole subgenres rose and fell. “Chillwave” (aka “glo-fi”) was essentially indietronica with a psychedelic haze enveloping it, epitomized by acts like the dreamy Washed Out (“Feel It All Around”). Elsewhere one-offs were finding personal blends of introspection and digital embellishment: acts like Purity Ring, whose hip-hop-bass-indie collision shouldn’t have worked but clearly did (“Ungirthed”), Jon Hopkins who wove song structures into a high-definition take on ‘90s electronica (“Open Eye Signal”), or The xx, translating vulnerable and intimate epics to huge audiences (“Angels”).

The xx also owed a lot of their sound to the wide-open spaces and chiasmic bass of early dubstep, just as plenty of other people began taking inspiration from various soundsystem cultures (dubstep, grime, hip hop, Chicago’s footwork scene and urban undergrounds emphasizing the low-end theories). Long-serving troopers like Bonobo (“Cirrus”) and Massive Attack (“Atlas Air”) continued trip hop’s legacy, while California’s Flying Lotus created a whole new generation of sound that was simultaneously trippier and more hip-hop – in the process spawning an entire worldwide scene around his “Brainfeeder” sound (“GNG BNG”). Rustie (“Hyperthrust”) and Hudson Mohawke (“Fuse”) also turned hip-hop weird, but did so with an intense injection of wide-eyed rave energy.

This “post-dubstep” sound has created a new Interzone, allowing the likes of Ramadanman/Pearson Sound (“Glut”), Lone (“Airglow Fires”) and FaltyDL (“Uncea”) to open up a rhythmically diverse dance-floor groove brimming with all kinds of influences, underpinned by dubstep’s deep throb. Four Tet (“Angel Echoes”) used it as a springboard to rebuild his sound as a vortex that could draw in global (though, mostly British) underground currents; while the similarly IDM veteran Machinedrum (“She Died There”) was equally rejuvenated and re-focused by the complex rhythms of footwork. Others went darker, whether it was master of dub hypnosis Shackleton (“Death is Not Final”), veteran industrialist Kevin Martin who as The Bug drew grime, dancehall and dubstep together into scary new forms (“Poison Dart”), or Death Grips who turned 21st century hip-hop into terrifying decay (“Guillotine”). Even that most confrontational of sounds, grime, is now being melted into contemplative instrumentals by acts like Mr. Mitch (“The Man Waits”).

It’s a dizzying array, but somehow it all connects. 1990s electronica shattered into a thousand forms, but those forms constantly flow around one another, combining, splitting again and re-combining. In 2014, all these threads feed a genre-melting new generation of soultronica stars like James Blake (“CMYK”) and FKA Twigs (“Two Weeks”), or unlikely figures like Dan Snaith (whose Caribou is electronica as all-inclusive pop-house music – “Can’t Do Without You”). Today, The xx’s electronic mastermind, Jamie xx, can come full-circle to music that is blissful home listening but also aimed at the heart of the rave (as “All Under One Roof Raving” makes abundantly clear). Electronica remains a mercurial form – that’s the joy of it. No matter how jaded we get, or how taste making we think we are, electronica’s dazzling flows and unusual twists are still capable of surprise.

Joe Muggs (@joemuggs) is a regular contributor for FACT, The Wire and Mixmag, specializing in electronic music.

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TomorrowWorld: 5 Sets You Can’t Miss

Even by festival standards, the second edition of Atlanta’s TomorrowWorld this weekend, is a smorgasbord—three days, seven stages, some 150 acts running the dance-music gamut. This list of five performances (really six, five time slots, let’s say) is a mere skim—but as with any seemingly endless buffet, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Tokimonsta (Fri 9/26, 7PM, It’s a Trap!!)

Tokimonsta (Los Angeles producer Jennifer Lee) came to prominence via the Low End Theory scene; Flying Lotus issued her early work on his label Brainfeeder. Like FlyLo, her work brings together electronica intricacy and immediacy with hip-hop rhythms, and the new Desiderium EP is her most convincing statement yet. Here’s hoping the crowd isn’t too aggro to appreciate the lushly melodic vocal sweep of tracks like “Steal My Attention.”

Zedd (Fri 9/26, 10PM, Dreamville) vs. Zeds Dead (Fri 9/26, 10PM, Mythical Frames)

And they say dance music festivals have no sense of humor… So, is it mere coincidence that TomorrowWorld scheduled two wildly popular acts with incredibly similar names to play at the exact same time on the same night? We’ll go ahead and guess that it wasn’t. Not that there’s ever been much similarity between the smooth, straight-forward, Grammy Award-winning melodicism of Zedd (Anton Zaslavski) and the bassier tracks of the Canadian duo Zeds Dead (Dylan “DC” Mamid and Zach “Hooks” Rapp-Rovan), but the latter’s July-issued Something Else EP—full of guest vocalists like Twin Shadow and Perry Farrell—suggests they’re looking for some of that EDM pop cheddar, and if the garage-leaning “Lost You” is any indication, they may find it. Who will win the battle of the Zed(d)s? There’s only one way to find out.

Coone (Fri 9/26, 10:30PM, Q Dance)

Harder dance styles are making a dent in the U.S., thanks to crunk-y crossover hits like DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” and Bassjackers’ “Derp.” Yet while it’s hard to imagine Belgian hardstyle’s head-banging anthems making the same sort of impact, that sound’s been gaining plenty of traction within the festival scene. TomorrowWorld’s Q Dance stage is serving up the fast-tough stuff all day Friday, climaxing with Coone (Koen Bauweraerts), founder of the Dirty Workz label, and, lately, a frequent collaborator with Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and Lil Jon (all but the last will be appearing as well). Coone’s spanking-new track, “Aladdin on E,” sums up his appeal, both jubilant and cartoonishly menacing.

Deorro (Sat 9/27, 5PM, main stage; Sun 9/28, 8:45PM, Dim Mak)

Last year, “Yee,” the debut single from Los Angeles native Erick Orrosquieta’s new moniker, Deorro, jumped out of the pack thanks to a playfully darting central riff and a battery of crisp, funky percussion touches. His new collaboration with Glowinthedark, “Rave Century,” has a similarly infra-red bass bounce and keyboard squelch—an electro house stomp that smiles as it pummels. Expect the same from both his appearances this weekend.

Keys N Krates (Sun 9/28, 8PM, Dim Mak)

In the Eighties, people who worked in radio formats would often use the acronym DOR (dance-oriented rock) when referring to bands that grooved hard. Exhibit A: Talking Heads. Maybe we should refer to Keys N Krates as DOT, dance-oriented trap, full of icy synths and detuned 808s made over for ravers rather than rappers. The Toronto trio pull this sound off more creatively than most on the new six-song Every Nite EP; it’s busy without being cluttered, a good place for their live-oriented performances to spark from.

Michaelangelo Matos and his nocturnal adventures at TomorrowWorld 2014 can be followed here.

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