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Archive for December, 2013

The Daily Playlist for December 31, 2013

  • Stream The FADER’s 2013 Soundcloud Super-Mixtape
    3:13, via The FADER
  • 2013-soundcloud-art

    As 2013 rides into the sunset, the editors of The FADER have compiled a big SoundCloud playlist of our favorite tracks—both celebrated and slept-on—of the year. In no particular order but for the whim’s of … read more »

  • FACT mix 418: Gorgeous Children
  • The duo behind one of the year’s best mixtapes close 2013 with a bleak, beautiful mix.
  • Capital Cities – Nothing Compares 2 U
  • Love is treated as this whole big, amorphous concept that no one can quite explain. Is it physical? Opposites attract? Pheromones? Genetic? It’s the soul? Who knows, and frankly, who cares? When you’re in love, the answer is obvious. And it’s circular. Love is what I feel for that person. Your feeling becomes the definition. […]
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Sunday Night Soul [Vol. 7]
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • It’s the final Sunday of 2013, meaning it’s the perfect time to reflect fondly on the year that was and look forward to the year … Continue reading »
  • Je$u$ || Rollin’ Rough
  • Atmosphere || Color In The Snow (feat. deM atlaS, Joe Horton & Toki Wright)
  • Meet the 15-Year-Old Boy King of Black MIDI
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Meet the 15-Year-Old Boy King of Black MIDI
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Meet the 15-Year-Old Boy King of Black MIDI
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Meet the 15-Year-Old Boy King of Black MIDI
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Have you ever tried to cram five million MIDI notes into a two-minute composition? No, of course not. That would be impossible.

    Or would it?

    You can thank the wonders of modern processing speed for the Internet’s new weird micro-genre, a YouTube phenomenon known as “Black MIDI." Imagine the bastard love child of Mozart, Steve Vai, and Final Fantasy, or the sound of a million pianos being run through a blender, or a nightmarishly, impossibly difficult game of Dance Dance Revolution being played by aliens on amphetamines. That's what Black MIDI sounds like.

    Popularized in the mid-80s for digital music composition, MIDI is a pretty humble computer protocol used for telling electronic musical instruments like synthesizers what notes to play and when. Every producer in the world uses it, and it’s traditionally transcribed on a grid, using dashes laid out to indicate the pitch, volume, duration and the timing of musical notes.

    But you can also transcribe MIDI notation into standard sheet music format, and a couple years ago some bedroom producers in Japan started trying to stack as many MIDI "notes" into a score as they could, sometimes clocking up to 100,000 in a single piece. As more and more notes get stacked in insane multi-octave chords, arpeggios, and overclocked melodies, the score literally blackens. Here's one of the earlier examples:


    The “blackers” first cropped up in Japan in 2009, sharing videos on the Japanese video site Nico Nico DougaAccording to the Black MIDI Wiki page, the movement first spread to Korea and China, and in 2012 to the United States and Europe. 

    Blackers across the globe, many of them teens and preteens, are embroiled in a ferocious game of one-upsmanship, battling to see how many notes they can cram into a single composition. First it was 100K, then 500K, then a million—now upwards of five million notes are common.

    The songs aren't just sheer noise. Many are based on the music from video games and cartoons, thanks to a healthy crossover in interest between blackers, anime heads and gamers. And once young dudes start competing in nerdiness, you know it's going to end up on YouTube. Videos are appearing with mesmerizing patterns of criss-crossing notes representing insane scales flipping back and forth in front of your eyes. Tunes cram in “crash” notes—hyper-stutters where every key on the “piano” is “playing” thousands of times a second. There's so much visual info happening that your computer is likely to choke and sputter unless you’ve spent a couple Gs on a high-end graphics card.

    But don't take our word for it:

    Of course, we’d understand if this was your reaction:

    Tracking down the young note-wizards for an interview has proven difficult, because none of them have official websites with email contacts listed. But they’re all quite active on YouTube, so I was able to contact TheTrustedComputer, aka TTC, one of Black MIDI’s reigning kings and the moderator of The Impossible Music wiki. Though he asked us not to reveal his full name, we do know that the 15-year-old Californian’s leading video has over 1,361,551 views at the time of publication. His wiki is a Black MIDI bible—your source for Black MIDI everything, from leaderboards of tunes ranked by MIDI note count (the currently leader clocks in at 280 billion notes) to links to other Black MIDI champions like TheSuperMarioBros2Gingeas, and RetroUniversalHT.

    Through a series of YouTube messages, comments, and eventually email, TTC answered our burning questions about Black MIDI, taught us the basics for making a Black MIDI tune, and even made us an exclusive cut for the holiday season.

    THUMP: What do you think Black MIDI is exactly?
    TheTrustedComputer: Black MIDI has been around since 2009. It actually falls under a remix category, rather than [a genre] of electronic music. The term "Black MIDI" was derived from a sheet music being "blacked out" by tons of notes. The MIDI part is MIDI, nothing special about it. I believe all that came from the idea of these "bullet hell" games. [“Bullet hell games” are the visual equivalent of Black MIDI, shooter games with "so many bullets at a time your eyes can't keep up." Check Touhou Project and don’t forget to breathe periodically! –ed.]

    How did you get started making Black MIDI?
    My first Black MIDI was the opening theme of the anime, Fushigi Yuugi, “For My Loved One.” It only consisted of about 102,916 notes in under a minute and 30 seconds. I was not good at blacking songs at the time and my first black was published somewhere around September of 2012; furthermore, it sounds kind of ugly too because of the notes that take away the melody.

    As I practiced blacking songs by making more, I was able to improve my blacking skills a lot. “Dream Battle” and “Love-Colored Master Spark”—yet another one from Touhou Project—are some of the examples of my early Black MIDIs. “Dream Battle” has 200,000 notes, and “Love-Colored Master Spark” has 300,000 notes. Then I messed around with “Necrofantasia” quite a bit and eventually hit a million notes! I was the first one to have a million note MIDI in history.

    What advice would you give to someone trying to make Black MIDI songs?
    Blacking songs is really complex and cannot be explained in a few sentences. When you do attempt to black a song, make sure the notes maintain the melody, harmony, chords, progressions, and anything music-related. Modify these notes to make the notes even shorter. Frequently, 16th notes and smaller and high note density will be enough for a basic setup for a Black MIDI. If you black a song the wrong way, chances are that you may end up a scary, creepy song, or a garbage mess of notes playing that does not even sound like music.

    In fact, MIDI has the ability to have extremely short notes—up to 65,536th notes! Ensure that the notes are quiet enough to make it count as music, if these notes are not supportive to the melody. The "crash" notes which often appear in Black MIDIs shall not be tolerated as literally crashing ones will just be too much and may ruin the piece. Reduce the amount of notes so it can be playable to many computers—those are some basics of blacking some songs. Normally, they are remixes of existing songs on the Internet. You can, if you like, make a whole new song by yourself. Use your time wisely before blacking any songs.

    What programs do you used to make these songs?
    Mostly educational programs, and some non-educational programs like MIDI players. For example: Synthesia, Piano From Above (an educational program like Synthesia), MIDITrail, vanBasco Karaoke Player, MIDIPlayer (Java program), MAMPlayer, Music Studio Producer, Singer Song Writer, Tom's MIDI Player, TMIDI, and Timidity++.

    Archaically, the blackers from 2009 through 2012 only used MAMPlayer, Music Studio Producer, Singer Song Writer, and Timidity++. I would very, very appreciate it if people created programs just for the purpose of Black MIDIs, yet none of them are meant for Black MIDIs at all.

    We asked TheTrustedComputer to create a Black MIDI composition for THUMP in the holiday spirit. He came back with no less than six songs all crammed into three and a half minutes! Check it out, and all hail TheTrustedComputer, the reigning king of Black MIDI:

    Matt Earp is the DJ and writer Kid Kameleon. He currently lives in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter -@kidkameleon

  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Best Drum & Bass Albums You Missed in 2013
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • While 2013 saw many important evolutions across all styles of dance music, one particular genre that stands out is drum & bass. We witnessed the likes of Machinedrum, Rockwell, and Om Unit integrating the stateside sounds of juke, trap and ghetto-tech beyond the 170 BPM context in recent months. We also saw artists like Dub Phizix and Sam Binga experimenting heavily with off-kilter rhythmic patterns and fresh-sounding percussive samples. Sub Focus, Chase & Status and the Hospital Records crew perfected the radio-friendly formula with long-play releases that achieved both commercial and critical success. To say it was a busy year for drum and bass would be a massive understatement.
     
    With all of these fresh sounds speeding along in the fast lane, coupled with the chaotic pace at which music is released digitally these days, a lot of great drum & bass albums got lost in the shuffle. While many producers and DJs are rushing to find a way to incorporate TR-808s into their toolkits, there are plenty of others who are still making proper tunes with little more than an amen break. I’d like to showcase several full-lengths that may not have scored high in hype-factor like the artists described above, but still pushed the bar as far as the music itself is concerned. Because isn't that what it's all about at the end of the day?
     
    5. Fanu – Departure (Lightless Recordings, December 2013)

    Finnish beat-chopper Fanu just released his fifth long-player, Departure, earlier this month. And unlike some of his peers, what Fanu brings to the table isn’t a whimsical collage of sounds that alter with every passing fad. Instead, he focuses with laser precision on the breakbeat-heavy sounds known as drumfunk. Fanu dives deeper through dusty boxes of everything from funk to folk to derive the drums heard across these eleven tracks. Signatures like “The Unconscious” are awash in layers of swaggering snares, while the opening track “Drumso Fuzz” touts a serene mix of layered pads. Almost half of Departure splits the tempo in two, allowing Fanu to explore newer textures afforded by the space that 80-100 BPM hip-hop provides. “Too Blessed to Be Stressed” is a nod to the fledging early-90s sounds of jungle à la Dee Jay Recordings and Good Looking, while “Dirt” fast-forwards a couple years to toast the sounds of early techstep a la No U-Turn. It’s a solid effort, evened out by a heavy reliance on sampling over synthesis and meticulous editing techniques.
     
    4. A-Sides: Based Upon Bass (Eastside, January 2013)
     
     
    With over 20 years of releases under his belt, A-Sides is a drum & bass veteran. While most of his output has consisted of 12" singles and EPs, he’s delivered three full-lengths in as many years since 2010, with Based Upon Bass as his most recent. Like Fanu, A-Sides is steady in his production style and manages expectations quite well over 12 tracks of heavyweight-yet-digestable low frequencies and carwash-clean breaks. Based Upon Bass’s flagship is definitely the Notorious B.I.G.-inspired “Flashback” featuring longtime collaborator MC Fats. Other highlights: the ragga-tinged “Off the Roadside," the sedate and serious “Dramatic Eyes," the rough-riding growler (and ironically titled) “Crystal Clean," and the closing track “Spiritual Synergy," featuring the vocals of another drum & bass veteran, Jo-S. A sleeper favorite of mine is also “Sentinel," which reminds me of his late-90s output—stripped back and subtle, with the occasional stab from a hip-hop joint you can’t quite put your finger on. It's a shame this well-crafted album was released with minimal promotion or distribution.
     
    3. Rawtekk – Sprouted and Formed (Med School, July 2013)

    If the technical, brash, and synthetic sounds of neurofunk stalwarts like Noisia and Phace tickle your fancy, I highly recommend a listen to Rawtekk’s Sprouted and Formed LP on Hospital sister-label Med School. The German duo reveals two dramatically different musical personas on their full-length debut. The tension between these two styles are most palpable in the opening track “A Magnanimous Kind’s Will,” which begins with sedative piano keys that give way to slamming, gated drums and tense risers as the song unfolds. The sedative side of Sprouted and Formed also emerges in the slow-burning “Anywhere” and “Halo," both of which incorporate textural female vocals and scant, mercurial percussive bits. Then we’ve got the uncompromising and relentless chaos of the dancefloor-ready “To Be A Space Monkey," the explosive “Monopolists and Robberies," and the drastically muffled “Amber’s Love Was Like A Marble,” a track I can only describe as the distorted rumble from a slamming party that you might hear in the lav during a piss break. With its healthy mix of dubstep and downtempo, Sprouted and Formed is easily one of the most eclectic drum & bass albums I’ve heard this past year.
     
    2. Mixmaster Doc – That Now (Driven AM, April 2013)

    Stateside producer Mixmaster Doc penned his debut long-player That Now last spring, straight off the back of almost a decade of steady singles and digital downloads. While drum & bass fans who prefer the traditional style of liquidfunk might be taken aback by this affair, those in search of fresh sounds won't be disappointed. Tracks such as “In Bloom” lean heavily on half-tempo TR-808 sequences heavily inspired by hip-hop and trap without sounding too generic. “That Now” applies a similar aesthetic to the dubstep template, while “Jealousy” takes cues from juke. The remaining songs incorporate more of the rolling breakbeats we all know and love. “Cancellation Dub” is sparse and dub-heavy with a sprawling sub that can still do dancefloor damage, while “Never Loved You” is a liquid roller that most closely resembles Mixmaster Doc’s signature sound from his 12" singles. What ties this batch of songs together is the pads, which are layered in spades in every passage. This is an album I’d gladly show anyone who's ringing the death knell of drum & bass in America.
     
    1. Stranjah – Visionz of a Future (Architecture, May 2013)

    Toronto’s Stranjah dropped his debut LP, Visionz of a Future, following 15 years of 12" singles released on well-respected labels from both sides of the pond. While this album tells a better story of where Stranjah is currently at rather than where he might be five years from now, it’s a musically-enriched album garnished with a variety of styles, moods, and tempos. The first quartet of songs (“Eminence," “Decadence," “Assassinz Redux” and the title track) are relaxed and digestible openings for even the most casual of listeners. The synths reign supreme across these four cuts, with the drums & bass serving as an exoskeleton. “Interrogator” and “Sorry” focus on dubstep, with moody spectral atmospherics and pitch-heavy drums. Similarly eerie vibes are translated at drum & bass speed in the latter part of the album with “Medusa” and “Undertow." We then close with “Amen Fury," five minutes of distorted, chaotic breakbeats and gut-punching bass. As the listener travels through this album in a linear fashion we see a complete unveiling and transformation in Stranjah’s personality, as well as his impeccable ability to convey these moods musically. If stylistic diversity is what he hopes to continue achieving in the future, then I’m certainly on board with his vision.
     
    The Runner-ups: 
     
    Manix – Living in the Past (Reinforced, October 2013)
    The equivalent to traveling in time back to 1992, breakbeat hardcore legends Manix give us 10 high-octane cuts of chipmunked vocals and pitched-up samples. We’re left Googling the album in shock to confirm these are, in fact, new tracks, as opposed to ones spent collecting dust on the cutting floor. (Beatport)
     
    Justice & Metro – Oxymoron (Modern Urban Jazz, April 2013)
    Still experimenting after almost 20 years, Justice & Metro continue to navigate through less-traveled soundscapes on this space-maximized compilation. (Beatport)
     
    Thing – Depthwise Collected (Depthwise, December 2013)
    With 12 tracks that hinge heavily on the mid-noughties heyday of liquidfunk, Thing provides the tools for any DJ to properly build up or bring down the night, depending on their timeslot. (Beatport)
     
    Critical Waves – Elevation (Melting Pot, November 2013)
    Up-and-coming producers Critical Waves provide an hour of melodramatic landscapes paraphrased by pastel pads and hefty breakbeats. (Beatport)
     
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • EARMILK’s Top 50 Albums of the Year [50-26]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • While the world exclaims up and down that the world of music is dying, we at EARMILK are seeing something profoundly different. Sure, there are some disappointing moments, our favorite artists may not be reaching the Billboard Top 100 quite yet, but as we reflect on the end of the…
  • Ryan Hemsworth – "Ribs" (Let’s Have A Sleepover Version)
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • 2013 has been a huge year for the alternative rnb and the trap sector of electronic music. A name associated to the success of this movement would be impossible without Ryan Hemsworth. The Canadian producer and DJ first started to turn heads in August last year when he put a…
  • Lilies On Mars – "Dream of Bees" [Video Premiere]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • Multi-instrumentalists Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo together form the psychedelic, dream pop duo Lilies On Mars. Both moved to London from their native country of Sardinia, Italy, in search of more opportunities as musicians and started the band in 2009. The two have collaborated with Italian composter and filmmaker Franco…
  • BROODS – "Never Gonna Change"
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • The brother and sister duo out of New Zealand, BROODS, has just released their track “Never Gonna Change” as a follow up to the debut success they saw with their first track “Bridges”. They were picked up with Captiol and Polydor for the release of their first EP, which we…
  • Hefna Gwap – "Trap Wit Me" (Feat. Jona Grizz)
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • While all Mariah wanted for Christmas was you, Hefna Gwap and Jona Grizz were all about bad females this holiday season as they dropped “Trap Wit Me”. The Cali bred emcee grew up in East Palo Alto and these roots inspired the title for his current mixtape EPA. A member…
  • Drake – "We Made It Freestyle" (Feat. Soulja Boy)
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • Over 1 million copies sold of “Nothing Was The Same”, 3 Grammy nominations, and multiple remixes have resulted in an unbelievable year for Drake. The Toronto rapper, inches closer to an embossed nameplate on the wall of hip hop legends with every release. As we transition into 2014, Drizzy drops an…
  • Chox-Mak – "Bound" [Download]
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • If like me you’ve just started to recover from a frantic festive period you’ll appreciate a little familiarity in your hip hop. But also if you’re like me you always enjoy new heat in the winter. Familiarity and newness can work together though as Chox-Mak and Bunty Beats have proven…

The Daily Playlist for December 30, 2013

The Daily Playlist for December 29, 2013

The Daily Playlist for December 28, 2013

  • Run the Jewels – “Pew Pew Pew”
  • We’ve already heard some gems from the European edition of El-P and Killer Mike’s self-titled…

    Read more articles like “Run the Jewels – “Pew Pew Pew”” on PMA – Pretty Much Amazing.

  • Unreleased: Talking Heads – “Theme” from 1976
  • Here’s one of the coolest things about the internet – it’s a never-ending goldmine of…

    Read more articles like “Unreleased: Talking Heads – “Theme” from 1976” on PMA – Pretty Much Amazing.

  • Skream remixes The Smiths’ “This Charming Man”
  • Twenty years after its original release as the band’s second single, here’s the London producer…

    Read more articles like “Skream remixes The Smiths’ “This Charming Man”” on PMA – Pretty Much Amazing.

  • Camp & Street Kwanzaa
  • COME OUT TOMORROW, SATURDAY 28 DECEMBER @ BROOKYLN BOWL FOR CAMP & STREET KWANZAA W/ LE1F, DONCHRISTIAN, HOUSE OF LADOSHA, RAHEL, IAN ISIAH, BOODY, LAKUTIS, JUNGLEPUSSY, PRINCESS NOKIA, & MESS KID. HOSTED BY JULIANNA HUXTABLE & SUPERPUSHA
    $12 DOOR / $10 PRESALE VIA [TICKETFLY].
    [FACEBOOK INVITE]
    CAMP & STREET’S UJIMA (COLLECTIVE WORK & RESPONSIBILITY) MIXTAPE
  • Eminem – Rap God
    3:13, via Salacious Sound
  • Today’s my Birthday and I chose to listen to my all time favorite rapper, Eminem, also known as his alter ego- Slim Shady. I started with his OG shit, the […]
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Get Crunk] Clayton’s Friday Party Playlist #82
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • What is up, ninjas? We hope you had a lovely holiday with your friends and families. We know that we’re you’re probably ready to cut … Continue reading »
  • [Mixtape] Ryan Hemsworth – ☺RYANPACKv.1☺
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Mixtape] Ryan Hemsworth – ☺RYANPACKv.1☺
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Mixtape] Ryan Hemsworth – ☺RYANPACKv.1☺
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Mixtape] Ryan Hemsworth – ☺RYANPACKv.1☺
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Mixtape] Ryan Hemsworth – ☺RYANPACKv.1☺
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Mixtape] Ryan Hemsworth – ☺RYANPACKv.1☺
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Christmas may have already passed us by, but the season for giving isn’t quite over yet. To prove that point, DJ extraordinaire, Ryan Hemsworth, decided … Continue reading »
  • [Hip-Hop] Fabolous – The Soul Tape 3
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Hip-Hop] Fabolous – The Soul Tape 3
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Hip-Hop] Fabolous – The Soul Tape 3
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • [Hip-Hop] Fabolous – The Soul Tape 3
    3:13, via The Music Ninja
  • Fabolous has struggled with consistency throughout his entire career. Anointed as a successor to Jay-Z in the New York hip-hop scene during his early days … Continue reading »
  • Say Yes Dog || Get It
  • Released: April 2013
  • DCUP || I’m Corrupt
  • Royksopp || Twenty Thirteen (feat. Jamie Irrepressible)
  • Making Tracks: Chicago Footwork
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Making Tracks: Chicago Footwork
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Making Tracks: Chicago Footwork
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Making Tracks: Chicago Footwork
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Making Tracks: Chicago Footwork
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Making Tracks: Chicago Footwork
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • “Footwork is both a music and a dance,” says the light-footed dance crew leader Lite Bulb. “They coincide together. It feels like you’re getting a one-two punch.”

    It’s 8PM on a Sunday on the South Side of Chicago—87th street off of the Dan Ryan Expressway. The street is dead except for the sound of muffled bass rattling the glass door at the entrance of a linoleum-floored, fluorescent-lit storefront. You’re standing in front of Battlegroundz, one of the half-dozen Chicago venues where crews and individuals get together every week to defend their honor with their feet. And just like last Sunday, the dancers are out and they’re starting to get riled up.

    Walking into the slightly claustrophobic community center, the heat is thick, the circle has formed, and somebody is heckling someone else about how they can’t dance for shit. “Talking trash, or whatever you want to call it, is all about footwork being a competitive sport,” says DJ Earl, who you can find posted up behind a mixer and two CDJs. “Footworking is like a never-ending competition,” Lite Bulb admits. “There’s always gonna be the next dude who thinks he’s this or thinks he’s that.” So yes, they’ll be back.

    Footwork has a few different homes across Chicago, and with the recent momentum that its DJs and producers have amassed across the global landscape of dance music magazines, festivals, and record labels, there seem to be more and more every day.

    Making Tracks follows the genre’s most successful DJs—the Teklife crew—and the city’s best footwork dancers from their basement studios in Markham to the Pitchfork festival to a Boiler Room warehouse party on the North Side. 

    We meet DJ Spinn, one the movement’s international figureheads, as well as DJ Earl, footwork’s rising star, and DJ Taye, the young-gun of the Teklife collective. Dancers J-Ron and Lite Bulb tell us about the rough streets of Chicago’s South Side, and footworking as an outlet for that day-to-day pressure. DJ Spinn, DJ Manny, and DJ Rashad make a beat in Spinn’s basement—Sirr Tmo is in the background vibing out. We even learn a little bit about the basic moves. Keep an eye out for more work from director Wills Glasspiegel and collaborator Oliver Rivard as they continue their work documenting this now-international movement of game-changing electronic music and dance.

    Starting next week, you can catch DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn on tour with UK record label Hyperdub, alongside Ikonika and label owner Kode 9, also featured in Making Tracks.

    Tour dates:

    09.11.13 – Calgary, AB – Hi Fi Club (Ikonika)
    09.12.13 – Victoria, BC – Rifflandia Festival – Lucky Bar (Ikonika)
    09.19.13 – Middleton, CT – Wesleyan University / Eclectic House (DJ Rashad)
    09.20.13 – Burlington, VT – Signal Kitchen (DJ Rashad)
    09.21.13 – Westchester, NY – The Stood, SUNY Purchase (DJ Rashad)
    09.25.13 – Seattle, WA – Decibel Festival, The Crocodile (DJ Rashad/Kode9/Ikonika)
    09.26.13 – Denver, CO – Casselman's (DJ Rashad/Kode9/Ikonika)
    09.27.13 – San Francisco, CA – 1015 Folsom (DJ Rashad/Kode9/Ikonika)
    09.29.13 – Los Angeles, CA – Los Globos for SMOG (DJ Rashad/Kode9)
    10.01.13 – Detroit, MI – The Works for Datswotsup! (DJ Rashad/Kode9)
    10.02.13 – Los Angeles, CA – Low End Theory (Ikonika)
    10.02.13 – Boston, MA – The Good Life for Bassic (DJ Rashad/Kode9)
    10.03.13 – New York, NY – Output for Input (DJ Rashad/Kode9/Ikonika/DJ Spinn)
    10.04.13 – Montreal, QC – Club Lambi (DJ Rashad/Kode9)
    10.05.13 – Mexico City, Mexico – Mutek MX, Plaza Condesa (DJ Rashad/Kode9/Ikonika)


    Footwork dancer Frost from Leaders of The New School

  • 2013’s Most Pretentious Dance Music Moments
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Richie Hawtin live at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Photo by Billy Farrell.

    pre·ten·tious (priˈtenCHəs/, adjective)
    1. “Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.”

    I love and hate all of you equally. While I often fantasize about punching the plastic glasses off techno snobs' bespoke domepieces, I also can’t be bothered to walk among the gnarled masses at EDC unless I’m getting free booze from the VIP section. But here at THUMP we’ve wasted enough words taking the piss out of kandi-strapped 16-year-olds and it’s time to roast some snobs!

    This year the term EDM did more to polarize our global village of machine-music aficionados than ever before, with "tastemakers" lining up under websites like Resident Advisor and WIRE and the YOLO squad flocking to colorful blogs with lots of free tracks, bad spelling, and use of the phrase “turn up." But while I do love all you artsy fuckers, I’m here to shake it up a little bit. So let's shine a light on some of the most pretentious bytes and pieces of 2013.

    ALL THE NOISE KIDS HAVE TECHNO CAREERS

    Pete Swanson live in Amsterdam. Look how much fun they're having! Image via.

    You know noise music: sounds not organized into discernible rhythms or melodies; mixer feedback screeches; droning guitars and pedals and synths. It was big in, like, Providence, Rhode Island for a couple of years and there were some zines about it or whatever. 2013 was the year all those brooding art-school weirdos got into Autechre and deep house 12"s. What is this, the 90s? Pete Swanson from Yellow Swans took white noise and put a kick drum underneath it and all the Bushwick dudes got jizz on their beards. James Ferraro left the California noise duo The Skaters and now he’s making post-R&B techno clicks. Ricardo Donoso decided drones weren't the jam, so he started hitting the sequencer. Wolf Eyes’ John Olson, a former noise icon, even declared to the Miami New Times that noise music is basically dead. ::thug shrug:: I know it’s nice over here on the dancefloor, but you weren't about that life last year.

    BOARDS OF CANADA GOT ALL DAVINCI CODE UP IN DIS

    Speaking of indie crossover, these Pitchfork faves are so freaking banal that they had to get an edge on the viral marketing game if they wanted to get their records off the shelves. The story goes something like this: in April of this year, one confused fan at New York City’s Other Music record shop found a 12” “labeled only with the words Boards of Canada, set atop a series of slants, dashes and X’s [sic],” or so says NPR Music. “When it plays, a robotic voice intones a string of numbers — 936557 — over music.” How pretentious is that? Well it worked.This little Easter egg set off an Internet-wide shitstorm involving clues on the group’s Youtube channel or something, and fans went straight banana flambé trying to complete the puzzle that would lead them to the release of Boards’ new album. Which wasn't all that exciting, but it did earn a place on Beatport's Top Albums of 2013 chart anyway. 

    “OUTSIDER HOUSE” HAPPENED 

    Are you sick of being seen as a ditzy, drug-addicted airhead? Do you desperately want to be perceived as avant garde? Do you hate fun? All you have to do is feed antiquated drum machines through a distortion pedal, pick an unpronouncable DJ name, and voilà—high art! Rinse FM selector Ben UFO apparently coined the term “outsider house” to describe a group of labels and producers coming from experimental, DIY backgrounds—Bill Kouligas’ PAN label, Silent Servant and Regis, the L.I.E.S. dudes, Huerco S, and Oneohtrix Point Never—basically all favorites among the type of people who start flame wars on Resident Advisor forums. That's cool. While y’all are enjoying the live PA sausage fest and standing with your arms crossed watching a dude in a turtleneck slide faders up and down on a mixer, I’ll be over here dancing on top of stuff and talking to babes. Later!

    LADY GAGA DOES BERGHAIN

    This woman desperately wants to be in the cool kids club. And what’s cooler than Berghain, Berlin’s debauched techno tomb, where even the most fabulous of club kids shiver in fear of the venue’s ultra-exclusive door policy? The world’s most famous wannabe recently held her Artpop release party in the storied dancefloors and dungeons of this German temple of hedonism. “This is sad,” tweeted German techno hero Apparat, when news broke that Gaga had reserved one of the club’s rooms for an evening. The online magazine Club Planet likened it to when "Paris Hilton ruined Amnesia in Ibiza.”

    Reeling from insane gentrification and an increasing tourist presence in the city, Berlin’s freedom-seeking cosmopolitans will tell you it’s just one more chip in a headstone that reads “There goes the neighborhood.” Lucky for the regulars, though, Gaga rented out a separate off-limits area of the club’s labyrinthine complex, thereby proving that she is still more VIP than all of us.

    GRIMES TROLLED BOILER ROOM 

    Grimes DJing at Richie Hawtin's village. Zero fucks given.

    The only thing more pretentious than Boiler Room is trolling the Boiler Room. This summer our man Richie invited Grimes, the delightful indie songstress, to DJ at his villa in Ibiza during the height of the Spanish island’s storied festival season.

    Rather than attempting to impress the livestreaming phenomenon’s oppressively anti-mainstream viewership, Grimes went and played Venga Boys and Mariah Carey while a posse of bikini-clad island babes did the slip-and-slide on Richie’s lawn. We can’t tell if Hawtin was in on the joke or not, but nobody pulled the plug when Daddy Yankee came on and we even saw some dudes trainspotting her selections, so we assume it was all in the cards. Pretentious? Yes. Totally awesome? Uh huh.

    RICARDO VILLALOBOS OUTDOES HIMSELF AGAIN

    This month Ricardo Villalobos released a 30-minute remix of Sparky’s “Portland,” re-issued by the Scottish tastemakers at Numbers, and designed to work at either 33 or 45 RPM. Because let’s be real—you do need a whole 30 minutes to get out of a K-hole.

    RICHIE HAWTIN BROUGHT HIS BIG LIGHT STICK TO THE GUGGENHEIM

    The techno titan played a special set for the Dior gala at this iconic New York landmark in October of this year, and we were there to witness it. He told THUMP that he had prepared something special for the occasion—something “risky"—but in fact he just played techno loops without any hi-hats or kick drums because I guess that’s what artistic integrity sounds like? Also, he had a gigantic light-up obelisk installed in the Guggenheim’s rotunda that interacted with the sound. This was fun to look at until our view was so crowded with iPhones that we could barely see it. Yes, the cornbread and salmon nigiri in the VIP section was delicious, but we’d have much preferred a techno tent in Barcelona or something.

    MAKING ENTIRE SONGS IS SO LAST YEAR

    The trend in 2013 was all about making snippets of songs… and then not bothering to finish them. I think Zomby the Ultra-Troll started it in June, when he released With Love, a two-part album that essentially sounds like a bunch of unfinished, unmastered demos (and that's probably what it is). Ron Morelli of L.I.E.S. follows suit on Spit, a double album for Dominic "Vatican Shadow" Fernow's cooler-than-Jesus nu-industrial label Hospital Productions—it's the kind of thing that made a few nerds cry over its raw beauty, and the rest of us (including even Pitchfork and RA critics) go "Hmm." This is what Morelli told Fader about said record: "All of the songs or whatever they are, as they are not really “songs”—they’re made without intent. They are the victims of their own doing, and end up dictating themselves. 'Sledgehammer II,' for instance, was a field recording. I took this 15-second recording, threw it into the computer and messed with it until it sounded like something that made sense for what it was. Then it was done." I get it. I really do. I mean, I would rather order pad thai to my bed and Tinder than finish tracks too.  

    NICOLAS JAAR > EVERYTHING

    Nicolas Jaar L'Uomo Vogue from Rushka Bergman on Vimeo

    Nicolas Jaar may in fact be a genius—the recently graduated Brown University philosophy student loves quoting John Cage and making bad music on purpose. (“Failing beautifully, you know?”) According to a recent interview with UK paper The Guardian, his label Clown & Sunset Aesthetics is working on an "art-house" film and he wrote a song with Scout LaRue Willis—Bruce and Demi’s child—based on “a strange, baroque, almost Shakespearian idea of this queen and the story of a strange forbidden love in the Middle Ages.” Oookay. Then the writer asked him to tell a joke and he quoted Slovenian Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek. And who could forget about this wonderfully coy video he starred in for Italian Vogue where he hides under a tarp in a suit stolen from Coming to America?

    Max Pearl really likes Nicolas Jaar, has never actually read anything written by Slavoj Žižek –@maxpearl

  • Meet The Voice of "Damn Son, Where’d You Find This?"
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Meet The Voice of "Damn Son, Where’d You Find This?"
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Meet The Voice of "Damn Son, Where’d You Find This?"
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • "Damn son, where'd you find this?" That mixtape drop is about as close to a meme as you can find in dance music. Popularized by its use in the late 2000s on Gucci Mane and OJ da Juiceman's Trap-a-holics mixtapes, trap music producers incorporated the sample from the jump as a hat-tip to the EDM genre's hip-hop forebears. Shadoe Haze, a 42-year-old voice-over artist, is the man behind the voice.

    After about a year of making inside jokes in Shadoe's voice about disco—“Damn son, that's Balearic as hell!!”—DJ Ayres and I did some sleuthing, found Shadoe through the Internet, and bought some drops. In the process, we discovered that he is a drum and bass DJ in the backwaters of Northeast Louisiana. He also owns a Taekwondo studio. Then our voice-over work came back from Shadoe's studio. The folder was full of pornographic ad-libs and hilarious off-script jokes. 

    Obviously we had to know more about the man behind the “drop heard ‘round the world,” so we gave Shadoe a call to find out what kind of drops he's been sending to Justin Timberlake, and where I could find a good rave in Monroe, Louisiana. And yes, he knows what trap music is.

    THUMP: I'm gonna read you a question that I found on Yahoo Answers when I googled "Monroe Louisiana rave" and you can answer it. It sounds like it was written by a narc:

    "Where can I find an underground rave near me? Or just a rave in general? I realize that I really want to go ravin'! I want to see a bunch of people at an all-night party with strobe lights and rave sticks and intense music, and have FUN! I live in West Monroe, LA. So if anyone knows where I can find one, that'd be great help. Also, I'd like to be able to find one anywhere I go!  Also, where can I get decent rave clothes (and some ski goggles)?"
    Shadoe Gaze: That's fantastic [laughs]. If I had to guess I'd say it would probably be underground somewhere. Old school guys like me, we used to go to all-night parties. That's just what people did back then. I go play a show, I try to be nice because I'm headlining and stay through the other guys' shows and encourage them but it's at a point where I can't stay past 3AM anymore.

    A lot of the older DJs that are still playing now are burnt out. That party life—they don't care anymore. There's always a place to find a party, but I don't know where you'd find an all-night rave anymore.

    So where are you playing these days?
    I have a mobile DJ service.  People are like, "Man, with all the stuff you've got going on why are you still doing that?" And it's because I can't tell you how many times I've played a song on a dance floor and someone cried or laughed or smiled and said it was the best time they've had their entire life or whatever. Back in the day, when I wanted to cut out and relax and spin what I enjoyed, it was the break beats and the drum and bass. There you were like an artist.  You can paint whatever kind of picture because no one tells you what to play in your set.  When I do private parties it's a lot different.

    Do people in Monroe have any idea that you're kind of a cult celebrity for your voice-over work in this particular kind of dance music called trap, or in the Trap-a-holics Mixtapes?  Do they have any idea what that is?
    There's a little bitty town on the other side of West Monroe called Ruston.  I have a guy that's a close friend of mine that lives there. He produces dubstep and now he's doing trap. He lives in that little bitty podunk town. That dude called me one day. I had no idea that ["damn son, where'd you find this"] drop had been out.

    That drop had been cut, it was just ad-libbed in a bunch of crap I sent out to a bunch of people.  Once it came out I couldn't track down who the original client was because back then I wasn't keeping in my library that I had ever done.  He called me and said "Hey, did you know that your voice is on this?" I was like "No, what are you talking about?" He sent me the link and he played it for me. I had no idea. He said "this is like, everywhere." There are people around here who do know, but the average Joe that talks to me, even the people who listen to me on the radiothey don't know. It cracks me up a little bit.

    I remember the drops that you did for DJ Ayres and for me, you did a bunch of hilarious adlibs. It was a lot of filthy shit. What kind of adlibs are you doing for your other Twitter friends—like Justin Timberlake?
    I'm actually not doing Justin Timberlake. But it got your attention didn't it?

    You just did that to bait them into trying to give you voiceover work?
    I just did that because I knew they'd never reply and it's funny to me. I also did it for Paris Hilton.

    The drops you gave us had adlibs for DJ Ayres' Rub radio show like, "Time for a big old giant nutsack! Rub one out with Rub Radio!" And I was wondering what kind of nutsack drops you're giving Timberlake.
    [Laughs] I've got some clients like DJ Rectangle. I don't know if you know him.

    I know who DJ Rectangle is—he does break records.
    Yeah, I give him that kind of stuff too. It's funny to me.

    Since you've been involved with underground dance music for a long time, what's your feeling about trap music?
    There's a lot of good stuff out there. And then you've got that trap stuff—just like any other genre—where you're just like, "No, turn that off."  

    You have people who love it—they think it's the best thing since cereal. Then you've got other people going "that's just a shitty version of dubstep." Well before that you were calling dubstep a shitty version of something else. You're just gonna have those negative people out there. If you like it, listen to it, play it. Don't give a shit what anybody says, man. When I go play a set, man, I'm gonna play whatever the hell I want and you're either gonna like me and you're gonna come back or you're not gonna book me again. I don't give a shit, that's up to you.

    Do you have a favorite trap artist or record?
    Not really. I know just about enough about trap that I could get by playing a few cuts. If it came on I'd bob my head to it. But if I had to go build a set, I couldn't. People have been requesting me to play drum and bass and breaks, so that's where I spend a majority of my free time, of which there is very little.

    I'm a single dad raising a five-year-old daughter and I also own a Taekwondo school.  My free time is very little. But with trap, I just don't have time. There are a lot of people who are awesome that I just haven't gotten a chance to hear yet.

    For voiceover work from Shadoe Haze, visit awesomevoiceguy.com.  For Shadoe's mixes, visit soundcloud.com/shadoehaze

    Michael Fichman is a DJ, record producer and writer living in Philadelphia.  Follow him on twitter at @djaptone.

  • Blondtron Had More Fun at Burning Man Than Anyone In The Entire World
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Blondtron (left) and friends, via Instagram

    When I read that Vancouver DJ/Producer Blondtron had just gotten back from Burning Man and she was really upset with "people from LA that just didn't know how to have fun" I literally ran to the closest Internet machine so I could to ask her about it. When I asked her if she knew I was going to quote her on that she said, "What the fuck do I care? I would rather suck a white-guy-with-dreadlocks' dick than ever see those fucking morons again." Before I could type "LOL" she said "let me get my vodka."

    It's not a secret that Canadians know how to party. Every time I try to drink with a Canadian I come close to dying. But really when I say "party" I'm not referring to boring old drugs and alcohol—they just really know how to have fun. I'm not sure if it is all of the outdoor sports up there, or the fact that they have better healthcare so they can afford to do stupid shit and hurt themselves, but every time I've raged with our fine Northern friends it's been unforgettable.

    Canada also has very good DJs. Blondtron is not only a skilled DJ, but she is absolutely the life of the party, has the funniest Instagram account ever, and had more fun at Burning Man than anyone else. I have spent some weekends with her in the past, and at points I often can't decided whether I want to punch her or hug her or both. It depends on the day or where we are, but she is always keeping it real, so I knew she would tell me everything I needed to know about the perfect Burning Man experience. 

    THUMP: Start from the beginning.
    Blondtron: 
    Okay, so the first day we arrive and are super tired and I park my van on the outskirts of our camp, "Brack Frag"—whatever the fuck that is. I was invited by a friend to stay there and it's run by a super cool dude who just so happens to know way too many people that are douchebags. It's a pretty dialed camp with lots of generators and showers and shit. So I wanted to camp there because it was my first Burn and I had no idea how to be super prepared. There were probably about 30 people there at peak time.

    Does everyone pitch in and pay for it or does someone just set up a camp out of the goodness of their heart?
    People are supposed to throw in a little bit of money to cover storage for the year but he really doesnt ask people to give him money. But you can be rad and helpful and give him money of course.

    So when everyone arrives there at first are they like, "YEAH WE DID IT LET'S RAGE?"
    Fuck if I know. We went on a tear and started butt-luging tequila.

    Butt Luging?
    You know luging? The Olympic Sport?

    Guess not. I should Google it.
    You can make an ice luge for vodka. But you can also pour tequila down your ass crack over someone's face.

    Oh sweet, so there were some good first impressions then.
    No, this happened up on the Thunderdome, which was the fucking best. It's a giant geodesic dome and they play techno viking metal. I got lowered into the dome by my ankles. It was rad. My legs got all cut up from the guy's spiky jacket. But then we went to Capitol Wreckids, which was a big stage there—this kid Chris B from LA was Djing there. Chris Brown; Such an unfortunate name. I am going through my friends photo album right now so I can piece all of this together. But yeah, the first night in my camp was fun. I helped set up the trash and the recycling area, we did some acid and got to know eachother, whatever, you know, not that bad.


    Then Tuesday Major Lazer shows up. Then all of a sudden the camp is dead silent and everyone is just on their phones, and worried about wi-fi usage and all that.

    You told me everyone got annoyed with you because people were eating bacon out of your butt.
    OK so the butt-tequila lounge was happening and this guy was walking around with a giant bag of bacon so then it became tequila-butt bacon-butt. Then it was like, "Who can I get to eat bacon out of my butt on the dancefloor?" And it's Burning Man so the answer is lots. But then it's like, "Well, where do we go from here?" So the next day my friend Christina and I were like, "Let's hide things in our pussy and party and then remember what we put in there and have a big laugh about it." Wow, it sounds so fucked up when I write it in words, but our group of friends is fucking nuts.

    So each night it became a funny thing. Mini-Gherkins, candy, a flashlight, and then all of a sudden hours later you're standing in the middle of the desert laughing so hard and Christina gets a look on her face that's like "OMG" and it's because she laughed so hard that a Gherkin had fallen out of her lady garden.

    Jesus Christ! If you were freaking people out at Burning Man I am not really sure where to direct you.
    It just all seemed so normal. And it's not like we were doing it in the middle of the camp.


    Your Twitter bio says "Set Your Pussy Free"
    Exactly. Burning man is like that. The guys a couple of camps down had a slinky dinky limbo. They just had a slinky attached at wither end to two guys' dicks and you had to limbo under it.

    Wow!
    Yeah that's the whole thing. Every clever pun you have ever thought you were so great for coming up with not only exists there but there is an entire camp of it. And being too cool seriously gets you nowhere there. You will miss everything. If you see something awesome and you want to do it you have to do it in that moment or you won't see it again. "Oh we'll go roller disco later." Nope!

    "Hey they are casting butts. Let's do it." YUP! And then you park your bike and cover your butt in coconut oil and lie down on a cushion with your friends and 20 minutes later you are the proud owner of your glutes as art. But if you don't stop you miss it all. The whole mentality of like, showing up to the club not too early, and standing in or near the dj booth, or checking to see if cool people laugh just gets you nowhere there. I did some crazy shit. Even for me. Like Stevie Nicks love dart kinda stuff.

    Did you hear any music that blew your mind? It sounds strangely not about that.
    I was perpetually disappointed with the music. Just too glitchy and trancey for me. The best music I heard all weekend was at the Dr. Bronners foam tank. The Dr. Bronners camp wins Burning Man forever.

    They have a camp? What?
    They have a big tent. And the best music. So you go in and you get naked and you're all dusty and dirty with a bunch of other naked people and there's this big plexi glass chamber that looks like a gas chamber and it had metal grates on the top and on the bottom and a super hot naked dude that looks like Jesus—WWJDM: When Will Jesus Do Me—is herding all the naked people into this gas chamber of joy. Then all these people with hoses start hyping you and getting you to dance and when you dance enough they spray you with magical lavendar Dr. Bronner foam and you just get covered in it, and everyone is like blissfully laughing and screaming. I was scared to open my eyes because I thought it would sting so I was just bouncing off all of these foamy naked people in a big tank. Then I rubbed my eyes and opened them and it didn't sting at all and I have never seen any group of people so happy in my life. It was awesome. It was like when you show a puppy snow, but the puppy is actually a fucking guy with a hemp necklace.

    So you were basically in a giant town of weird.
    It really was like a big city. I went to the temple and had a big cry. And I am totally happy in my life and never feel like I needed to go to a temple. But that's what is so rad. It's just important to feel human and when I went there I could feel it before I could see it. It's so heavy in the air I've never felt anything like that except for the few times in Berlin when I was at the wall or something. I couldn't even go near it for the first few minutes, but then I did and started reading little shrines they've made and it's so weird because it's so personal and I felt like I was reading someone's diary or a personal love letter.

    With Burning Man it's just rad because that is what it's all about, well to me anyways, it's about letting go of that energy, like a shirt you don't wear but you have great memories of wearing it and it just sits in your drawer. Or all of your dad's shirts in a box, or your wedding dress, you know? 

    And the temple burning is so crazy. People just sit around in silence. Everyone cries. Everyone! Some of my friends brought their mom's ashes. It's just cool to be eating bacon out of your friend's butt and then jumping in foam with strangers and then crying in silence. It's fucking perfect. We were in line for eights hours to leave and we all had a potluck. Everyone pooled their food together and there was a team of people carrying around a buffet table of Ding Dongs and tofu salad and tequila.

    I swear everyone did not suck at my camp. Some people were not that sucky. I just forget that my best friend is a stripper and I was raised on an Island.

    I got really into this whole not-having-attachment thing. Everyone I met and partied with or had sex with on a segway I just walked away from because, what are going to talk about? I mean do you really want to know what this magical girl covered in gold sparkles wearing a crown of Barbie doll heads is like in real life? Probably not. Just like I don't care about your boring doctor life, or if you financed this whole camp. You can't care about who people are when you are there because it will just ruin the whole thing. That's why I just got upset with that whole LA crew—this is the one place you can truly live and the whole concept is to not have attachment.

    Do you have any advice for first time burners?
    DO: light a cigarette in your butt then make someone in the crowd take it and smoke it.

    DON'T: hand your lighter to the girl with a cigarette in her butt trying to light tequila on fire.

    DO: put tootsie rolls in your vagina, forget about them, dance on your head for 4 hours, then have your friend remind you they are in there on the bike ride home, make your friends eat them to prove they are real friends, go back to camp and hook up with an artist that hates you's tour manager, have your friend shout "TASTE THE TOOTSIE ROLLS?!" and him say, "actually yes, I couldn't figure out what it was."

    DON'T: play the exact same set two nights in a row and yell on the mic, "Who wants a free Major Lazer bandana!?" Everything is free at Burning Man you douche canoe.

    DO: light the free bandana on fire and stare blankly back at them.

    DON'T: camp with anyone from LA that isn't Mike B, the crazy idea you had to make a giant bottle out of plastic wrap and PVC pipe and put a massage table in it and have a giant print out of sting's head with a sign that says "MASSAGE IN A BOTTLE" is not actually a crazy idea at all and you totally should have done that. You will get sick of chips and salsa, stop loading up on vodka because you will always want a cold beer. Treat everyone with socks and sandals on like an undercover cop, Ask all people in socks and sandals if they are undercover geologists or just new to being undercover cops. Get a fucking art car and play your own damn music so you don't have to listen to whatever the fuck everyone else is playing. Pour tequila out of your butt, get a real torch and walk passed people with L-wire like you're better than them because you are (you're not, but fire is AWESOME). Make out with as many people as you can because sex is to burning man like drugs are to Shambhala and head dresses are to Coachella.

    Ok I am drunk now.

    Blondtron is out of her fucking mind. Follow her on Twitter @blondtron

     

  • The Five Most Unbelievable Places Richie Hawtin Has Ever Played
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Richie Hawtin doesn't have to dream about DJing from a ferris wheel because he's the motherfuckin' Plastikman and he does whatever he wants. And tonight he will drop hypnotic techno bleeps from atop the Guggenheim Museum's majestic rotunda, one of New York City's most iconic pieces of architecture. The minimal techno demi-God—occasionally known by his alter ego Plastikman—has had the chance to hypnotize crowds at some of the most insane locations across the globe; a testament to the fact that nightclubs and festival stages aren't the only place where the magic can happen. Richie has proven that if you give him a crowd and a controller or two you can pretty much place him anywhere in the world and he will shut shit down. Lets take a look at some of the more interesting places where this has happened (or will happen very soon).


    Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona, Spain 
    Leave it to the foward-thinkers at Sonar to throw one of their legendary off-Sonar events in the beautiful palm-tree laden oasis that is the Parc de la Ciutadella in one of the worldwide meccas of dance music, Barcelona. Who better then to play a one-of-kind techno set to thousands of Spanish revelers than Richie himself? I can't imagine a better view from the DJ booth. 


    Guggenheim Musuem, NY, NY
    Tonight, November 6, Richie Hawtin will become the first DJ to perform live in New York's Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, overlooking the East Side of Central Park. Yes, we're serious. Richie is such a boss that he was hand-picked to be the so-called "musical director" of the annual fundraising event The Guggenheim International Gala. Aren't you totally jealous that Manhattan's art world socialities will get the exclusive chance to shuffle along with the Plastikman himself at this city landmark? I am.


    The London Eye, London, UK
    The folks at Red Bull Music Academy are no stranger to throwing parties in strange locations. This year for the second time running they will be bringing their Revolutions in Sound series to a moving capsule on the London Eye. Yes, they will be throwing a dance party in a tricked-out section of an enormous f-ing ferris wheel. Richie Hawtin, in addition to Skream, Ben UFO and more, will be bringing their beats to the UK eye in the sky. It really doesn't get any cooler than this. 


    La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
    In the summer of 2012 Richie took part in another epic off-Sonar event—this time in the legendary Barcelona market La Boqueria. If you've ever been to this place then you know it is one of the city's many gems. It's a giant market filled with fruit, jamon iberico, pastry and just about every other sweet and sundry delight you can imagine. Richie played a set from inside one of the market booths among a full spread of peaches, apples and cucumbers. No lavish DJ set up here—give Richie his gear and he's good to go. If only he would throw down a set from the Whole Foods near my apartment. One can dream…


    Leviathan, Grand Palais, Paris, France
    Every year the folks at Monumenta invite an internationally renowned artist to create a unique installation for the Great Nave of the Grand Palais in Paris. This is a large atrium space—which spans some 13,500 square meters—has been decked out by some of the most famous artists in the world. In 2011, Monumenta teamed up with British sculptor Anish Kapoor to transform the space into a chamber of mind-boggling installations that played with shape, color, and illusion. The peeps also turned to Richie to perform through a creative partnership between the VICE homies at The Creators Project and WeLoveArt. Check out more coverage from this event here.

    David thinks that Richie should play a Plastikman set on his fire escape. –@DLGarber

  • It’s Called Afrobeats And It’s Taking Over London
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • It’s Called Afrobeats And It’s Taking Over London
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • It’s Called Afrobeats And It’s Taking Over London
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • It’s Called Afrobeats And It’s Taking Over London
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Afrobeats star Fuse ODG reps Raiders.

    In the navel-gazing world of London dance music, we're used to nursing life-changing sounds and then letting them go, like weary mothers watching our progeny fly the nest. So long, acid house. Farewell, drum and bass. Bye bye, dubstep. You were once our little ray of sunshine, and we know that when you come home for Christmas you'll be a different person, with cargo shorts and a Skrillex tattoo.

    The latest member of the family tree to flourish on London's dancefloors wasn’t born in the UK, and has more complicated DNA than most. It's also the most thrilling sound to come of age here in years.

    What has come to be known as Afrobeats (note the “s”) is an umbrella name for mostly Ghanaian “hiplife” and Nigerian “Naija.” Broadly, the sound draws on the rich legacy of highlife and Afrobeat (à la Fela Kuti), contemporary American hip-hop and R&B production, a bit of Jamaican dancehall swagger, and Britain's grimy take on house music.

    UK artists with African roots are being drawn towards the sound too. Born in Britain but raised in Ghana, Fuse ODG is the first British Afrobeats star. His unabashedly poppy hits “Azonto” (also a phenomenally popular dance, and a byword for this whole sound) and “Antenna” have taken Afrobeats to mainstream daytime radio for the first time in the UK. The towering big-room synths probably helped make it more accessible to unfamiliar ears, but really, it's the track's irresistible rhythmic drive that made it the UK's first homegrown Afrobeats top ten single. The US industry wagonjumpers are growing ever more common, not least from stars looking for a fresh sound: Wyclef's addition to the track above is kind of cute. He's old enough to be Fuse ODG's dad, but with his skater backpack, seems determined to look like one of his peers. Meanwhile Akon has signed several Nigerian stars to his label, most notably Wiz Kid, and Kanye West has signed top producer Don Jazzy and vocalist D'Banj, following their collaboration with Snoop Dogg on "Mr Endowed."

    “I like the fact that it’s inclusive but proud,” says one of the most prominent London-born MCs, Mista Silva. “It shouts, ‘Hey, I'm of African heritage and I'm proud, and if you’re from somewhere else who cares?’” Silva’s career began in London’s UK funky scene in the mid-2000s, MCing over heavy, percussive club grooves. After spending time in Ghana, he returned in 2011 and turned his attention to Afrobeats, producing glorious singles like “Boom Boom Tah” and “Now Wats Up.” In his breakthrough tune “Bo Won Sem Ma Me,” accompanied by A-Star, Flava and Kwarmz, the MCs switch languages in a way that rolls naturally over the insistent four-to-the-floor rhythms. “It’s great to see that it is teaching and inspiring young British Africans to embrace their roots and their culture rather than feel ashamed,” Silva said last year.

    Many of today’s Afrobeats producers grew up to the street sounds of grime, house, and UK funky—as well as their parents’ highlife records. “It didn’t used to be cool,” explains DJ Abrantee. "But now they’re going through their parents’ record collections, saying, ‘Have you got this old song by Daddy Lumba?'” It's an exciting new twist for the UK's tired rap scenes to see an MC spitting about being a “tribal master” on the grey streets of London, surrounded by their mates in a scene reminiscent of any of the thousands of low budget grime videos on Youtube.

    Or partially reminiscent, at least. There's one key difference that seems so blindingly obvious it's not often pointed out: after the moody, skunked-out head-swell of dubstep and the macho, contorted screw-face of grime, this music is just so freaking… happy. “When we bust through the doors it's party time—bare dancing, bare laughter” spits Flava, bobbing up and down in a barber shop wrapped in a Ghanaian flag. In a decade of following grime obsessively, I don't think I ever once heard an MC extol the virtues of laughter.

    Many of the UK’s older urban music stars of African descent were touring in Ghana—and making musical connections back to the mother country—long before the more recent explosion of interest in Afrobeats. In 2010, Sway collaborated with Ghanaian rap superstar Sarkodie on “Lay Away,” while UK vocalist and producer Donaeo has been making trips to Ghana for years. The influence is clear on his UK funky beats like “African Warrior,” as well as collaborations with Sarkodie on “Move to da Gyal Dem” and EL on “Life Saver.” Silvastone, who produced tracks for Blak Twang and Estelle the best part of a decade ago, is now making stirring Afrobeats tracks, with the kind of high-gloss pop production you might expect of American Top 40. Here he reworks 90s legend Mark Morrison's gospel-Popeye comeback “I Am What I Am.”

    Black British music has long been caught in a tug-of-love between US hip-hop and the Jamaican diasporic influence, from UK reggae back to lover's rock, ragga jungle, 2-step garage, UK hip-hop, grime and dubstep. Increasingly, London’s most compelling sounds are emanating from a different Atlantic coast—the former British colonies of Ghana and Nigeria. Professor Paul Gilroy, leading scholar on what he terms the Black Atlantic, told me in a discussion about UK funky in 2009 that the key to understanding the music that followed the grime and dubstep of the mid-2000s was “the contemporary transformation of Britain's black communities. We are moving towards an African majority which is diverse both in its cultural habits and in its relationship to colonial and postcolonial governance, so the shift away from Caribbean dominance needs to be placed in that setting. Most of the grime folks are African kids, either the children of migrants or migrants themselves. It's not clear what Africa might mean to them. Their ambivalence toward it is the key I'd guess. As the old song says, ‘the dances are changing.’”

    Via Afrobeats, some of this ambivalence now seems to be smoothing out into a kind of giddy positivity—audible in the beats and gleeful dance videos, as much as the lyrical references to black stars (aka the Ghanaian flag, and indeed football team), linguistic code-switching, and flag-waving. Fuse ODG has even taken it on himself to coin the phrase, hashtag, and—if you look at what he and Wyclef are wearing in the Antenna video, even a clothing line?—#TINA, which stands for This Is New Africa. Earlier this year, he was even invited to Stanford University to discuss it. He told the readers of Young Voices in June:

    “This movement will shed light on Africa in a positive way and focus on how we can improve Africa. It’s not about just plying your talents in the Western world; it’s about going back home and helping Africa. The same way I believe you can’t forget your roots in music, you can’t forget your roots in life; where you’re from. It’s our duty to make noise about the positive things that are happening in Africa. It’s on us to make noise about the good things that happen and spread the word.”

    In fact some have expressed discomfort with how the word has spread, calling Afrobeats a clever re-branding that lumps together music from “diverse places and historical contexts into one new category.” Boima Tucker elaborates in a recent article for Africa is a Country, explaining “If we want to be pan-African, then let’s be pan-African, but let’s not pave over local identities and histories solely for the sake of an easier marketing plan.”

    There are good intentions behind those concerns, but they seem a little pernickety. The music we're talking about is almost all from Ghana and Nigeria, and the historical context is, um, now. Nobody is trying to erase the million nuances of a continent's history and cultural diversity. As long as it's recognised as an umbrella term, a piece of shorthand, there doesn't seem to be too much to worry about. We've been here before, of course, not least with the highly controversial term “world music,” invented in a pub in north London in 1987, by evangelists who decided the only way to sell non-Western music in the West was to give it its own category in record shops. Afrobeats may suggest a pan-African musical unity that isn’t there, but since when has a genre name ever been accurate, or even popular? Taxonomy is important, but a name is much less important than what it describes.

    And what it describes is just dazzlingly good fun. I've not even had the chance to delve into the music of Wiz Kid, R2Bees, D'Banj, Ice Prince, Atumpan, Tiffany, Castro, Don Jazzy, or a hundred others. Get thee to YouTube, pronto.

  • Don’t Call Me A DJ in 2014
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • DJ/producer/purple lover MartyParty (PANTyRAiD) has heard a lot of misinformation thrown around during his travels, and now he's here to set the record straight in his monthly column, where he explains the inner workings of electronic music from his perspective. It's Everything You Wanted to Know About EDM, but were afraid to ask.

    As an EDM producer, I cringe with frustration when I am called a DJ. Personally, I am not a DJ. I dont play records. I don't “spin” anything. I don't use CDs. Most of the time I don't even wear headphones! I am a musician. I compose original music on my computer and in my live show I play compositions that are all mine. When I play shows, I literally “mix” my creations together, sometimes three or four of them at a time using software on a laptop.

    Yet I’m still referred to as a DJ.

    So who, exactly, is a DJ? And who is a producer? It's a heated topic that causes tension in the industry trenches and on your Facebook feeds. There used to be relatively few producers (people who make electronic music) compared to the number of DJs (people who play mostly other people’s music). But in the last few years, it’s not enough to just DJ. Software has made DJing easy to do and commonplace—everywhere from your local bar to the laundromat has one. And EDM is the new pop music—it’s on the radio, in TV commercials and movie trailers, and headlining the mainstages at festivals (even former rock-oriented festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza). The DJ—once faceless behind “the booth” or tucked in the corner—is now the centerpiece of the mainstage. They’re recognizable. They’re celebrities.

    In order to survive in the new landscape, DJs have had to BECOME producers—that is, creating and releasing their own music—to actually gain a fanbase. It is no longer enough to simply play other people’s music; you have to be an artist in your own right. At the same time, producers have had to become performers. The money is on the road playing for masses of fans. You can’t just be in your bedroom in sweatpants making beats all the time; you have to learn to be on stage (with the help of massive LED walls and speaker stacks, of course).

    Mixing music has changed radically. Technology has removed most of the “art form.” Beatmatching is no longer a magic skill—everyone can do it at the press of a button. And in my opinion, vinyl and CDs are dead—it’s all about digital files, bits of information that fly around the internet, making them readily available to anyone. From the minute you post a new digital audio file, it is emailed, torrented, posted, uploaded, and downloaded. The greatest and most relevant tracks of any given genre of music are easy to get for free via Google search. Nothing is sacred on the internet, not even your masterpiece that took weeks to produce. For the DJs looking to get the edge on their competition, it's all about “unreleased” digital files—that is, files that are not on the internet yet.

    And not just any file—to make faces melt, you need high-quality audio files, which are larger and way harder to come by as a download. Producers own the highest possible quality audio files because they made the song, and they can make a super high-quality version to play.

    NOTE: When I play my songs I play 80-90 MB WAV or AIFF versions. I try and stay away from any MP3 compressed file under 320kbps if possible.

    I'm not knocking the art of DJing. I love watching and listening to a great DJ who has perfected his or her own magical way of maneuvering through a music collection in a fresh way. But in 2013, I believe you have to produce original music to be relevant. You have to craft your own sound and take ownership of that sound—you need to make your own hits. The future is now. And I believe the future is the EDM artist, rather than the DJ. 

    I believe the goal of an EDM artist should be to play sets of relevant, original music. EDM may stand for “electronic dance music” but it’s a genre-bending term. Whereas before, it was all about staying true to one genre—playing only dubstep or deep house, for instance—now it’s about having a “sound” all your own. The generation of kids that have grown up with EDM are starting to make it clear that they want to hear artists with their own sound. They want to connect with the people on stage, not just be blasted with the Beatport Top 40 over and over again. This is most evident in my own career: when I dont play my own music in my sets, I get a lot of negative comments and typically fans are let down. They want to hear the MartyParty sound, rather than the big-room hits played by every DJ at every festival—hits which are widely available online.

    We should expect EDM artists to perform mostly their original productions the way we expect bands to perform their own songs when they go on tour. If you’re just playing the Top 40 EDM tracks, isn’t that the equivalent of Queens of the Stone Age headlining and only playing Beatles or Nirvana covers?

    The current competitive nature of the EDM industry has pressured artists into playing the hits—usually as loudly as possible. Why not? It's easier and way more reliable than playing unproven, experimental music, which leaves you vulnerable on stage. What if people don’t like tracks they don't know? A lack of confidence keeps artists from playing even their own tracks, even their own hits! Fans walk away asking why they didn’t hear the artist's music and the overall quality suffers. We lose creativity, we lose experimentation, and we lose art.

    The business of EDM has, like all other businesses, become a game of numbers. Who has the biggest LED wall? Who has the loudest tracks? Who sells the most tickets? And these numbers are affecting what music and what performers appear on the biggest stages and what music gets into the most ears. The real question is: where is it going next? 

    I currently see the 70/30 rule as the most successful ratio for delivering a consistently successful set on tour. That means 70% original tracks, 30% other tunes that fit your "sound.” The ultimate set is when that 30% consists of unreleased, unknown gems from very unknown producers—which typically come via the traditional DJ route of friends of friends, affiliations, or email pools. To me, it's the perfect look for 2014. Try it out and see. 

  • Hardstyle is Back, Bitches
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Hardstyle is Back, Bitches
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Hardstyle is Back, Bitches
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Hardstyle is Back, Bitches
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • The Sound of Q-Dance at LA's Shrine Expo Hall last Saturday.
     
    For the first time in its 13-year history, the Dutch-born genre of jaw-clenching, heel-stomping dance music known as hardstyle is rallying its troops and storming the American coasts. Last weekend, Belgian festival Tomorrowland rebranded itself as TomorrowWorld for its US debut, devoted an entire stage to hardstyle and drew 150,000 ravers to a horse farm in Chattahoochee, Georgia, where somehow no one overdosed on molly. Then there was The Sound of Q-Dance, a massive concert in LA with some of hardstyle’s most exciting up-and-comers, including Dim Mak’s newly-minted star Coone, Dutch duo Psyko Punkz, and the seriously creepy Gunz for Hire
     
    A close-up of Q-Dance's trademark: elaborate stage spectacles with a sinister theme. 
     
    Characterized by brutal kick drums often bordering on 150 beats-per-minute, urgent melodies, and a complete lack of syncopation that gives it a feel not unlike polka, hardstyle is not for the weak-nerved. To untrained ears, like my friends who live for Willie Nelson and quinoa, hardstyle sounds like a torture chamber, or maybe just a bad European joke. But the same demented malevolence that freaks out the uninitiated has limitless appeal to young misfits sulking in society’s fringes (or just wishing they were)—one of the reasons why hardstyle has thrived over the past decade, growing from a Dutch microgenre into one of the most popular EDM subcultures in the world. 
     
    But what is hardstyle, exactly? Its phat pants-wearing adherents insist it’s more than just music—it’s a way of life. A way of life that is often ridiculed for its lack of a cheese filter, sometimes looked down upon for its working class roots, and occasionally lauded for its seratonin-fueled earnestness. It's impossible to deny that a big reason why hardstyle is so appealing—or repellent, if you cleave to snobby notions of "good taste"—is its blatant appeal to the lowest common denominator. Like big festival dubstep, hardstyle has perfected the dance music formula that sandwiches only the most euphoric build-ups between the gnarliest and most satisfying drops, with no fluff to get in the way. And with its coordinated shuffle dances and Hot Topic aesthetics, the genre has never been too concerned with being "cool," which is inevitably part of its appeal. But as the wheels of the hype cycle churn, hardstyle is finding plenty of new fans who are earnest, ironic, and somewhere in between, while creeping into the sound of everything else. (Even Krewella!)
     

    Born in Amsterdam in the late 90s, hardstyle grew out of other pharmaceutically-fueled, testosterone-heavy genres of electronic dance music like hard house, hard trance and gabber. It quickly developed its own culture of dance moves, record labels, and superstars, with giant festivals like the (now defunct) Qlubtempo, Qlimax and Defqon. 1 propelling the movement across Europe and Asia. Australia, in fact, is now home to some of the genre’s most die-hard devotees. 
     
    But only now does hardstyle appear poised to break into mainstream America’s iTunes libraries. Several signs point to the likelihood of it becoming the “next big thing” in EDM: the US debut of hardstyle festivals TomorrowWorld and Q-Dance; Ultra Music signing one of hardstyle’s first and most prominent producers, Headhunterz, who also played closing sets at Electric Daisy Carnival in New York and Las Vegas; Dim Mak honcho Steve Aoki signing rising hardstyle talent Coone after hearing his song “Madness,” which was made in collaboration with Dimitri Vegas, Like Mike, and, um, Lil Jon. Coone himself told me that “the main goal for working with Dim Mak is bringing hardstyle to America. We want to globalize the scene.” 
     
     
    But why is hardstyle only breaking into the US now? Billboard reporter Kerri Mason, who was one of the first to predict hardstyle’s impending takeover of America, explained over email that the support of powerful, influential, and moneyed US-based companies like Ultra Music, Williams Morris, Insomniac Events, and even Q-Dance has been especially helpful. “Some people in the Dutch scene are wary of this top-down approach though,” she added, “because over there it still has elements of an honest-to-God subculture… When you talk to guys who have been promoting it for a decade in the Netherlands, it’s connected to a fierce subculture of misfits. It’s not just the music.” 
     
    When I asked label reps from Ultra and Dim Mak the same question, Ultra’s GM and Senior VP of A&R David Waxman pointed to the huge appeal of hardstyle’s robust melodies, which he believes are just as big as those coming from other electronic chart-toppers. “It’s a bit extreme to dive head first into an all night hardstyle event,” Waxman acknowledged, but “mainstage marquee names like Hardwell, Steve Aoki, Tiesto and Porter Robinson have been dropping hardstyle in their sets… and fans are reacting positively.” Waxman has a point—even Diplo has been dropping hardstyle into his music… and promptly getting called out on Twitter by GHE20G0TH1K’s Venus X, who herself made a killer hardstyle mix with her DJ partner $hayne for V Magazine which they described as “a best-of hardstyle apocalypse mix with Nicki and RiRi cameos and mega witchcraft and cats.” 
     

    Similarly, Dim Mak’s Director of Marketing, Bryan Linares, attributed hardstyle’s rise to US audiences' tendency to move in trends. “We saw dubstep have its moment. Trap is having its moment now. Hardstyle is making waves in America because fans are looking for a new and exciting sound. It’s fast, and kids love fast.” 
     
    If hardstyle’s infiltration of America is bound to happen eventually, then so is its inevitable Americanization—just as dubstep mutated from melancholy, high-minded bass music into hyperactive, mindless “brostep” when it crossed over from the UK to our shores. “Hardstyle promoters are dreaming of a US hardstyle artist to emerge that would make it sound more ‘American,’” says Mason, “That could include the addition of hip-hop or punk elements—which could, in fact, make it more like a harder brostep. Get ready for the inevitable ‘grandparents listening to hardstyle’ YouTube clip…” 
     
    Even the Dutch hardstyle OG Headhunterz acknowledges that some kind of change is bound to happen. “Some ingredients of the hardstyle formula will probably be picked up more than others, and while touring in the US, that becomes more and more clear to me. How the genre will change is a mystery, and I’m just going with the flow. But I don’t see change as a negative thing,” he said. 
     
    Regardless of whether its championed by label execs, old hardstyle masters, or trend-hunting tastemakers, one thing is clear: hardstyle is back, bitches. Better start learning how to shuffle. 

    Michellez is hardstyle 4 lyfe – @MichelleLHOOQ
     
  • Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Is Vaporwave The Next Seapunk?
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Where were you when seapunk died? Let’s never forget how Twitter shuddered like a baby that just got its favorite toy yanked away, then exploded into a histrionic chorus of WAH WAH RIHANNA STOLE MY SEASHELLS WAAAH! That shit was ridiculous. But even though seapunk was the first Internet-fueled subculture to be thrust so awkwardly into the mainstream, it definitely won’t be the last. 


    credit: PrismCorp Virtual Enterprises Tumblr http://newdreamsltd.tumblr.com/

    Already gearing up as seapunk’s bigger, flashier and coming-this-summer-with-10-times-more-explosions sequel is vaporwave—the next lucky hashtag that could end up on SNL. Like seapunk, vaporwave is another Tumblr-spawned micro-genre that’s obsessed with Geocities graphics and spacey electronic music… but with fewer dolphins this time. 

    credit: Marilyn Roxie RYM Box Set cover art http://marilynroxie.com/

    What is vaporwave? According to commenters in various music forums, it’s “chillwave for Marxists,” “post-elevator music,” “corporate smooth jazz Windows 95 pop,” and (my personal favorite) “better than that witch house shit.” 

    credit: Macintosh Plus Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/modern.computing

    To put it another way, imagine taking bits of 80's Muzak, late-night infomercials, smooth jazz, and that tinny tune receptionists play when they put you on hold, then chopping that up, pitching it down, and scrambling it to the point where you’ve got saxophone goo dripping out of a cheap plastic valve. That’s vaporwave. 

    But even though sampling “cheesy” and “trashy” music is vaporwave’s M.O., parodying commercial taste isn’t exactly the goal. Vaporwave doesn’t just recreate corporate lounge music – it plumps it up into something sexier and more synthetic. Vaporwave makes the banal sound luscious, like the kind of beats you’d twerk to at the top of an empty skyscraper looking out across Dubai. 

    Everything about vaporwave is tied to capitalist sleaze; even its name is a spoof of the term “vaporware,” nonexistent products that companies announce and heavily promote as a corporate strategy to keep their competitors at bay. Vaporwave’s deliberate affiliation with techno-capitalism distinguishes it from seapunk’s pastel land full of prancing sea mammals. Unlike seapunk, vaporwave is actually “punk,” in that it’s driven by a subversive political objective: undermining the iron grip of global capitalism… by exposing the alienating emptiness underneath its uncanny sheen. 

    With these philosophical undertones, it makes sense that the poster children behind vaporwave’s newfangled sound skew towards the intellectual end of the electronic music spectrum—like the Kuwait-born, avant-garde beatmaker Fatima Al Qadiri, who scrambled the gyrating booties from hip-hop culture into oversaturated dreamscapes in her video for “Hip Hop Spa,” and the multitasking James Ferraro, whose Far Side Virtual from 2011 was one of the first albums to patch together digital detritus into a glossy, blank-eyed ode to capitalism. In two separate interviews, Ferraro called his album both an “opera for our consumption civilization” and “16 ringtones you can download.” To me, these two quotes perfectly capture how vaporwave works—by becoming a product of the techno-futurist commercialism that it is trying to be about. 

    Of course, there are many other lesser-known vaporwave artists than Al Qadiri and Ferraro—some are completely anonymous, like the Portland-based producer Vektroid, whose NEW DREAMS LTD. album was considered “scene-defining” when it dropped in 2011. NEW DREAMS LTD was actually released under one of Vektroid’s other aliases, Laserdisc Visions (he or she goes by many different names that all sound like extras from the Matrix: Macintosh Plus, esc 不在, and情報デスクVIRTUAL. (About those last two: Japanese characters are ubiquitous in the vaporwave world, partly because of an obsession with Japan as a cyberpunk wonderland, but also because these unreadable characters act as signifiers of a globalized and impenetrable future.

    As for what vaporwave looks like, at first glance, its aesthetic looks pretty similar to seapunk’s: screensaver graphics, cloudy horizons, a giant David sculpture with his dick covered by a neon pink triangle, etcetera. But even though they share the same nostalgia for 90's Internet culture, you won’t find a stray pastel seashell in the vaporwave universe. Instead, you’ll find virtual renderings of model homes, Shibuya billboards, and alien landscapes—exactly the kind of soulless imagery that pairs perfectly with vaporwave’s corporatized music. If seapunk’s visuals can be summed up as internet pirates wearing barnacle-studded track jackets, then varpowave is Japanese businessmen grinning like Aphex Twin's Come to Daddy video.

    chris††† – quivering (Music Video) from John Zobele on Vimeo

    But not all vaporwave imagery has to be virtually-rendered. I consider these photos of #HDBOYZ, a satirical boyband, in keeping with the vaporwave aesthetic—everything from Ryder Ripps’ techno-punk bondage gear to their deadpan aping of Mickey Mouse Club boyband culture smacks of vaporwave influences. The #HDBOYZ add an extra element to the picture: humor. The guys are smirkingly self-aware of their ridiculous corporate fetishism. 

    From DIS Magazine's "The HD Boyz Defined" 

    I have to acknowledge that my prediction that vaporwave will be this summer’s seapunk runs against the prevailing opinion. (According to some publications, vaporwave is totally oooover before it began. As the Chicago Reader noted, a vaporwave festival called SPF420 that took place on Tinychat in January was supposed to be the genre’s “final eulogy,” at least according to the producer Metallic Ghosts.) 

    But judging from the fact that another SPF420 show took place in March, a new vaporwave collective launched in June, and the vaporwave subReddit is still alive and kicking, I think these prognostications of its impending demise are totally full of shit. 

    Vaporwave will keep on building steam, if only because it’s perfectly synchronized with the times we live in: our world is choking on the invasive omnipresence of corporate and government forces. Our financial system is being slowly disrupted by the increasing viability of Bitcoin. Our cultural appetite for high-definition imagery and stock photography knows no limits. Our technology is moving so quickly, the iPhone in your hand is already looking a little retro. Vaporwave’s deadpan embodiment of our hi-fi reality coudn't be any more relevant. Seapunk started as a joke and ended that way. Vaporwave won’t.

    For more on vaporwave’s guiding philosophy, I suggest reading Dummy Magazine’s excellent analysis here

    Michelle Lhooq is growing a kombucha mushroom the size of the Arctic Circle and trying to figure out how to buy Ryan Gosling's panties on Bitcoin. Find her on Twitter at@MichelleLhooq

  • Halloween Costume Hunting With the Creepy King of Ibiza, Guy Gerber
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Halloween Costume Hunting With the Creepy King of Ibiza, Guy Gerber
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Halloween Costume Hunting With the Creepy King of Ibiza, Guy Gerber
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • Guy Gerber is freaking the fuck out. I’m watching him unravel from a corner of his room in the glitzy jewel of New Williamsburg, the Wythe Hotel. He scrambles from one edge to the other, flipping over sofa cushions, crawling under his bed, and anxiously scratching his chin of three-day scruff. Shit is not going well. 

    The Tel Aviv-born DJ has just arrived in Brooklyn after spending the “best summer of his life” in Ibiza, the Mediterranean island that basically turns into the Disneyland of dance music over the warmer months. The nightlife mecca’s political and economic landscape is constantly shifting, and this year, Pacha Ibiza—one of the most profitable nightclubs in the world—lost its regular A-listers Tiesto, Luciano, and Pete Tong to its competitors. 


    Guy recorded this Essential Mix in his Ibiza apartment. He describes it as a farewell to the biggest summer of his career, and it features unreleased music from his forthcoming 11:11 album with P Diddy. 

    This led to the club doing a 180 and awarding residencies to underground legends like Guy, John Digweed and Solomun instead. Guy’s big break came in the form of a weekly party called Wisdom of the Glove, a carnivalesque bacchanal where acts like Four Tet and the Chromatics spun next to magicians, fortune-telling machines, and puppeteers. The New York Times championed the party as symbolic of Ibiza’s return to its weirder yesteryear—before the big money rolled in. By all accounts, Guy should be elated. But instead, he’s losing his shit. 
     
    Apparently, a series of small calamities have been trailing him since he left the party island. First, his airline lost his luggage. Then, his management sort of “disappeared.” And now, his phone is missing. He won’t tell me how it disappeared, but based on his stressed-out mutterings about two women who are now at war with both him and each other, I suspect it was the result of a ménage-a-trois gone wrong. One of them had just called, leaving her number at the front desk. 
     
    I’m starting to get anxious too—we have less than two hours before Guy is slated to headline a massive rave in Bushwick, organized by the Burning Man collective Robot Heart. It’s going to be a costume-required kind of bacchanal, and I’ve been charged with helping Guy find his Halloween getup. After 20 minutes, Guy finally gives up. He flashes me the kind of apologetic grin that probably landed him in the ill-fated liaison to begin with. “Just wait,” he says in a heavy French accent. “In five minutes, my mood will completely change.” 


    Guy's trademarks—lush melodies, exotic instrumentation, and an air of ethereal melancholy—are on full display in his track "Claire."

    We hop in a cab and speed into Manhattan, swiftly crossing the Williamsburg bridge as the dull lights of the city skyline loom above us. Guy sighs and turns towards me, leaning his tousled curls into the leather seats. “I think the collective sub-conscious is testing me,” he says. “But in a sick way, I enjoy getting stressed by other people… so I can stress them back. People think I’m like the Larry David of techno.” Why? Does he get histrionic about everyday trivialities? “Because I take it as my duty to society to stand up against douchebags.” 
     
    Getting under people’s skins seems to be Guy’s favorite hobby. His main goal for his party at Pacha, he says, was to bother people—because everyone takes themselves so damn seriously. The idea for Wisdom of the Glove came to him at a jungle rave in Mexico, before he even landed his big Ibiza residency. 
     
    “I was at kind of like a Burning Man party, and someone gave me a cheap Michael Jackson glove,” he explains, “And because it was a cheap glove, I would touch everyone and think, ‘How creepy is that, this texture is touching you.’ But after a while, I realized that the outside of the glove was soft and pleasant. Which means that by touching someone, I’m actually just creeping myself out.” The more he rubbed up against ravers, the more he realized the glove was charging him with weirdness. That, he says, is what the Wisdom of the Glove means. He raises his arms at me and pretends to shoot electricity from his fingers. He leans in. “Are you following me? Are you understanding?” Sort of, I say. I do know that this guy is a hell of a lot weirder than most of the Ibiza-crowd DJs I’ve talked to—and it’s really fucking refreshing.  
     
    Unlike Afrojack, Swedish House Mafia, and the rest of the EDM royalty in the New Yorker’s recent story about Vegas’ exploding nightlife scene, Guy has never been paid $100, 000 for a gig. He came up in Tel Aviv, before moving to Madrid to start his own record label, Supplement Facts. He landed the Pacha gig through a combination of good fortune and good timing—much like how he also landed a collaboration with P Diddy, who he’s been working on an album called 11:11 with over the last three years. 


    "Stoppage Time," one of Guy Gerber's biggest hits, came out of a five-hour jam session. 

    We finally pull up at Halloween Adventure—the biggest costume store in New York City—which is, predictably, a mob scene. Guy wanders in like a kid in a candy store, eyes open wide, with a goofy smile plastered on his face. “Wow,” he laughs, “This is so cool.” He peruses a pile of light-up white gloves. “We need to find gloves,” he announces. “Now that I have this Wisdom of the Glove character, kind of like an alter ego, I can be anything—because it’s so ridiculous. It’s actually real freedom. I can do controversial things, and people don’t know if I’m joking or not.” A teenager with bright pink hair and heavy eyeliner asks if we want to try on some masks. “No thanks, I have lots of these at home,” he says, then turns back to me. “With this alter ego, I’ve started, for the first year in my career, to really enjoy myself.” 
     
    We push through the swells of people to find something more bombastic, more over-the-top, more appropriate for a DJ who’ll be spinning in front of a crowd of several thousand people later that evening. “If I brought Wisdom of the Glove to an underground club, it would be pretentious,” Guy continues, “But bringing artists like Nicholas Jaar and Four Tet to Pacha, the most commercial club in the world, it becomes ridiculous. In Ibiza, people were bothered by this. They were like, ‘Who do you think you are, coming with this ridiculous thing? People were freaking out.’” He reaches up to grab the most elaborate headpiece in display—a red and gold number that looks like something a medieval court jester in drag would wear—and slid it on to his head. “It was great.” 
     
    Guy likes the red-and-gold headpiece. But he wants a few more options, so we soldier on into the crowd. He swipes random objects: desert-worthy sand goggles, zebra print masking tape, a crab-shaped glove that he wiggles at me, describing it as “so creepy, so awesome.” We’ve only been in the store for 45 minutes, but the swells of human bodies pressing in from all sides makes it feel more like two hours. Finally, we take a breather in a corner buttressed by skeletons and crystal balls. 
     
    In the spirit of the season, I ask him if he believes in the afterlife, or has ever reached out to the other side of the ether. “Let me tell you a story, it will blow your mind,” Guy says. “I was in therapy and depressed, so I went to a psychic. She said that there are two 'characters' in my head who are trying to help me, but that I always go against them. Then she lowered the lights and told me to try and find them. But because I have ADHD, when I concentrate, I get stressed. So I said, ‘No, not for me, forget it.’ But she made me do it anyway."
     
    “And this time, immediately when I closed my eyes, I started crying—just pouring. I told her, ‘I feel like I’ve disappointed them for so many years.’ And she said, ‘No, it’s tears of happiness because you’ve come home.’"
     
    "So I went home to my studio, opened a track, and erased everything so I just had the beat I could jam on. The track already sounded kind of possessed—there was an energy in it. And all of a sudden these drums kicked in, in perfect rhythm; out of nowhere, as if I'd planned them. But I hadn't. I just had forgotten to erase them." 
     
    He takes a deep breath, and looks into the distance with glazed eyes. Everything around us—the shouting security guards, the jangling Halloween music, the shrieks of sugar-loaded children—fades into a background din. We are sharing a Big Moment.  “It’s not necessary whether you believe in it or not, but life is just more interesting like this,” he says. “I feel lucky to be a believer. If you don’t, life is just what it is. There’s nothing beyond that. I find that boring.” 
     
    And then, just like that, the Big Moment is over. It’s getting late, and Guy has an army of event promoters and PR reps waiting for him back at the hotel. We jump back into a cab and hightail back to Brooklyn. Guy looks exhausted. Arabic pop floats out of the car’s speakers. He looks up and smiles, “That’s so funny. I was planning to play exactly this kind of music tonight.” 
     
    Michelle will not be a sexy cat for Halloween – @MichelleLHOOQ
     
     
  • Dance Lawyers Are Fighting Japan’s Club Crackdown
    3:13, via THUMP RSS Feed
  • You’re in Roppongi, Tokyo’s wondrously seedy nightlife district. Elbowing past throngs of girls painted like kabuki dolls and their slouching Nigerian boyfriends, you slip into a storied nightclub, where you start uncurling your limbs to the acid techno pulsing out of monolithic speakers. But as soon as you start busting out your best Robo-cop, a staffer taps you on the back. Politely but firmly, they direct your gaze to a wall where a “no dancing” sign is lit up by strobe lights. Stop dancing, you’re commanded. Despite your innocent intentions, your wild twerking could end up shutting the whole place down.

    This ridiculous scenario is fast becoming the norm in Japan, where “dancing licenses” are required by law if nightlife joints want the privilege of letting clubbers grind against each other. Even then, doors have to close at the ridiculous hour of midnight or 1AM. Obviously, few clubs comply with these rules; when I lived in Tokyo from 2003-2005, the city’s after-dark scene ran parallel to that of any other global metropolis—wild, techni-colored, and most importantly, curfew-less. Until recently, this no-dancing law, called fueiho in Japanese, went largely ignored by both nightclub owners and the police as an outdated anomaly—just a silly wrinkle in the law books.  

    But according to James Hadfield from Time Out Japan, that all changed in 2010, when a university student died in a brawl outside a club in Osaka. His death was the final straw in a string of nightlife-related scandals, Hadfield explains, and the “Osaka police instituted a systematic crackdown, targeting any clubs that were flouting the fueiho law.” Over the span of 18 months, dozens of venues were shut down, turning the hedonistic beach party scene into a creepy dead zone. Jesse Mann, a Brooklyn-based DJ who spins regularly in Japan, trekked over there earlier this month. “Even on a clear Sunday afternoon, almost every seat in every restaurant was free all the way down the beach,” he told me over email. “There was no music to speak of… it was eerily quiet for an area so perfectly setup for daytime partying.”

    So why now?Hadfield’s Time Out Japan piece explores why the police have decided to start enforcing the fueiho law after decades of inaction. The speculation points from fear mongering by the media about Japan’s corrupted youth to plain bureaucratic stupidity. But even in Japan—where Kafka-esque absurdity can often be the norm—not being able to dance in a fucking nightclub is just too bizarre. As a result, all kinds of nightlife insiders have banded together under the shared goal of convincing the government to excise this outdated law. In the nine months since the Time Out Japan piece was published, these activist groups have swelled in numbers, and their efforts, in fits and starts, have made some promising headway. 

    The largest and most prominent organization is called Let’s Dance, a consortium of high-profile club owners, music journalists and DJs whose biggest effort to date has been a petition that they’ve been circulating online for more than a year. After collecting 155,879 signatures from their supporters, Let’s Dance submitted it to the Diet, Japan’s national parliament, in May. It’s difficult to judge the splash the petition made within elite political circles, but Yuko Asanuma, an advocate for Let’s Dance and a journalist who contributed to a recent book on the unfolding issue, insists that the petition was successful, “in a sense that they've managed to get attention and understanding of the problem from some of the politicians [who are now] actively trying to amend the law.” Mike Sunda, a music writer for The Japan Times, thinks change is just around the corner. “With everything building towards [the] general election, I can't imagine there's been much chance for politicians to focus on anything else,” he said. “Hopefully now we might see some progress.”

    Meanwhile, a group of lawyers in Let’s Dance have splintered off into their own group, the awesomely-named Dance Lawyers. Obviously, their legal expertise is crucial to this effort, especially when smaller battles are continually cropping up between frustrated club owners and the courts. Club Noon, a legendary Osaka hotspot, was shuttered last year for violating the fueiho law; a four-day festival called Save the Club Noon was thrown in retaliation, and a documentary under the same name was successfully funded last month, reaching 4 million yen3 million more than the targeted amount. 

    The popularity of Save the Club Noon goes to show that while getting rid of the fueiho law is fundamentally a legalistic battle, raising awareness about the issue is equally important for the cause’s success. The prevailing sentiment amongst the movement's leaders is that the reputation of nightlife itself needs a PR boost. And to do that, they'll need to convince everyone that clubbing isn't evil, and in fact, has important cultural value in addition to economic worth. A small NPO called "Kurabu to Karuchaa o Mamoru Kai" (literally translated as "Association for the Protection of Clubs and Culture"), with the hip-hop artist Zeebra at the helm, is setting out to do exactly that while using Zeebra's superstar status to attract the public's attention. 

    Protest groups are also turning to Berlin, a nightlife wonderland where megaclubs bring in droves of tourists looking to let loose for a weekend. Leaders of Let’s Dance have sought advice from the Berlin Club Commission, a coalition that acts as a buffer between politicians and club interests. And widely-read newspapers like the Asahi Shimbun have published features analyzing how the 24-hour party-mecca managed to develop its thriving club culture. Asanuma, who is based in Berlin, says she believes this moment is the “biggest chance we’ve had in the last few decades to make this change happen,” but it’s particularly difficult to change clubbing’s negative image in Japan because “most of the politicians grew up having no clubbing experience—unlike Berlin! [This makes] it difficult to prove why they are worth protecting.”

    For now, the movement against dance regulation is getting pulled in opposite directions. Since the petition was submitted in May, police have paid more unscheduled visits to Tokyo’s biggest clubs, including Sound Museum Vision and Vanity Restaurant. These drop-ins have “smacked of retaliation,” as Hadfield put it. “The police have warned that they aren't backing any move to change the law with regard to clubs,” elaborated Takahiro Saito, a lawyer and one of the main figures in Let’s Dance. 

    Japan's struggle against the "dancing police" is remarkably similar to New York City's own discontent with its cabaret law, which also prohibits unlicenced dancing. The cabaret law was enacted in 1926 with racist undertones: it was designed to "crack down on multiracial Harlem jazz clubs." Giuliani resurrected the law as part of his quality-of-life campaign starting in the mid-'90s, cracking down on raves and nightclubs with his iron fist. And while Bloomberg tried to propose a "nightlife license" to replace the cabaret law, bars and clubs protested against that too, claiming Bloomberg's alternative was even worse than the status-quo. 

    Whether or not Japan follows the tumultuous path trod by New York's nightlife history, the savviest critic of the protest movement is not a politician or stodgy grandma, but the theoretically-inclined, queer-identifying and Japan-based DJ Terre Thaemlitz (aka DJ Sprinkles), who released a mix CD titled Where the Dance Floors Stand Still in April. Thaemlitz argues that the current campaign against "no dancing" laws is both dangerous and backwards, "because their objective is simply to exclude acts of dancing from government regulation." Fueiho laws actually apply to both Japan's nightlife and its brothels, strip clubs and love hotels; Thaemlitz argues that by distancing themselves from the sordid sex industry, Let's Dance is is also distancing themselves from "the issues that have the most impact on people living in poverty.” Perhaps the right to dance isn't so simple after all. 

    Michelle is turning Japanese she really thinks so – @MichelleLHOOQ

  • Yahtzel – "Jungle Feels"
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • If you’re currently dreaming of that warm, exotic vacation spot you’re going to so as to escape the frigidness of winter, this track will hold you down until you hop on that plane and reach your tropical destination. Australian born producer Yahtzel has made this dance and head-nod worthy tune equipped…
  • Prohibition NYE Mixtape by Dr. Fresch
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • In just three short days you will be ringing in the New Year with loved ones and friends across the country, and if you’re lucky enough you will be ringing it in at Prohibition NYE in Los Angeles. Over the past few weeks we have shared the news of the…
  • Beyoncé – "Heaven" (Vancington Remix)
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • Vancington is a Louisville based house/disco computer music maker who has pulled off quite a feat in remixing the legendary Beyoncé. Showing off his skillful and meticulous craftsmanship while using her vocals in seamless unity on this stellar remix shows that he is a force to be reckoned with. An interesting and…
  • EARMILK’s 12 Decibells of Christmas Day 12: Jimmy Q
    3:13, via EARMILK.COM
  • On the 12th day of Christmas, EARMILK gave to thee, a Jimmy Q mix that’s smooth and sexy.  Jimmy Q’s happy trappy mix is best served with a healthy green juice.  With the holiday hangovers beginning to set in and the buttons getting a bit tigheter, it’s best to listen to this mix whilst…

The Daily Playlist for December 27, 2013

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