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Isaac Elejalde

Afriqua collaborates with Ableton to commemorate Black History Month

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To commemorate Black History Month the R&S musician will provide a lively and well-informed look into the origins of ‘Black Music,’ and how practically every current genre can trace its roots back to Africa. Afriqua will be presenting a series of essays and videos in the coming weeks examining the four principles of black music — Call and Response, The Blue Note, Polyrhythms, and Improvisation.

The American-born, Berlin-based musician is well-positioned to deliver this voyage through history, as his traditional origins blend seamlessly with the distinctly tilted electronic music. Appearing on labels like Soul Clap Records, Raresh’s Metereze imprint, and All Inn, he draws on a wide spectrum of inspirations to create his unique sonic palette.

“As a Black guy in a European city who had never seen the phrase written before, I must admit I was taken aback, even a little – dare I say – triggered when I saw “Black Music” on that banner.” Say Afriqua in the first part of the video.

“After all, funk, soul, and disco are distinct genres with distinct histories, admirers, and heroes. Sure, we all know where they come from and who they are. But using the word “Black,” which is a political term by definition in my own country, to describe such a broad range of music struck me as out of touch and reductive.

The roots depth insights start with an honest look at Afriqua coming to Berlin and learning a new meaning for the label Black, as well as his relationship with his background. Much has been made about the appropriation of black heritage, as he argues, but Black History Month is a time for celebration, not restrained finger-pointing.

Although the commercial had an impact, I must admit that despite inspiring hours of reading, pondering, an album, and now a series of articles, I didn’t attend the party. Still, as my mind became more open to the “Black Music” concept, I began to suspect that the event’s programming was insufficient. After all, on top of funk, soul, and disco, they might have pulled at the emotions with some jazz and blues, invigorated the crowd with a hint of gospel, rock, and perhaps a dash of reggae for good measure.

As much as Black Music has progressed from its primitive African beginnings, many musical approaches have remained constant. This is where our investigation into the Principles of Black Music begins. With your attention attracted to musical elements that appear prominently across the Black musical tree.

Links of interest

Resident Advisor | Soundcloud |  Facebook | Discogs | Bandcamp

Closer opens a new DJ school in Lviv, Ukraine

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Closer Connections is a studio and DJ school in Kyiv and Lviv sponsored by Closer. During its first year, it graduated more than 100 students. AnnyRock, Bambu, Gael, Pavel Plastikk, Ponura, Roma Khropko, Roman K, SE62, Vera Logdanidi, and VH10 are among the professors in Kyiv.

The Kyiv section of the school offers three primary courses: digital DJing, vinyl DJing, and producing (in Ableton and hardware). More than 50 grads’ mixes, produced by students in a variety of styles, may be found on the school’s Soundcloud page. Depending on their grades, some students are permitted to pursue level-up courses after graduating.

There’s also a Bandcamp compilation of tracks generated by students who graduated from the producing course.

Closer Connections began their party series in HVLV in Kyiv in January 2022, which, as promised, will become a regular series of events. In addition, several of the graduates have joined the newly formed booking agency and are performing in Kyiv venues including Gram, Golda, and Vognyk.

As a result, Closer Connections chose to expand into the second city in February 2022. AC130, Aliana, Lstn, Mike Trofimov, and Ocean T will be among the teachers in Lviv. Closer Connections Lviv will be handled by the Night Ambassadors team and will be located in the basement of the People Place pub. The location is most often known as -1 PP. The inaugural session has been declared to be extremely limited (10 students only), with classes beginning at 6.02 p.m. (the first course is full already). On 4.02, there will be an opening celebration with the entire Lviv roster of professors and Roman K, who will represent the Kyiv crew.

Links of interest

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Resident Advisor

Closer connections
Website | Soundcloud | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp

The Houghton Festival reveals the full lineup for its 2022 edition

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The four-day festival, which will take place in Houghton Hall from Thursday, August 11th to Sunday, August 14th, will be held as usual, and the lineup of artists, if you can call it that, is ridiculous. To say Craig Richards and his staff have been collaborating behind the scenes to make up for their last event would be an understatement of the century. We’re confident that the festival’s production will undergo significant changes, but the musicians alone are worth missing three years in a row.

We won’t name all of the performers who will be attending but expect to hear from Ricardo Villalobos, Voigtmann, Fumiya Tanaka, Raresh, Rhadoo, DJ Masda, Craig Richards, and a slew of others. With absolutely something for everyone, you just need to look at the artwork to get a sense of how massive this event is and how much it has been missed.


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Links of interest

Houghton Festival
Website | Instagram | Event

Elektron Digitone and Digiton Keys get a new OS upgrade

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Elektron focuses on the FM-enabled Digitone and Digitone Keys, bringing exciting new features, upgrades, and bug fixes.

The Digitakt often receives all of the attention, making the Digitone and Digitone Keys feel neglected — not anymore. Here’s a substantial upgrade to the FM synth operating system which should make users feel much better about themselves and their Elektron box of choice.

The effects section now can connect to the rest of the unit via a GLOBAL FX/MIX menu. All of the settings on the internal mixer, external mixer, chorus, delay, and reverb pages may be set to global so that changes to one pattern affect all of the patterns in the project. This also applies.

The external stereo input may now be divided into two mono inputs with distinct effects sends, giving the effect engine a lot more room to experiment with other devices.

Other changes include the addition of a delay parameter to the filter envelope and the improvement of the LFO Fade envelope. Overbridge audio and sync bugs have been addressed.

There has been a lot of work done to smooth out the images and improve the looks in several locations. You may now adjust the brightness of the LEDs and OLED screen, which is a much-desired feature.

Links of interest

Website | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram

SXM Festival returns to the Caribbean island of Saint Martin this year

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Sweet crystal blue waves lapping on Saint Martin’s gorgeous beaches during the day and jungle adventures at night, all sound recorded by the industry’s top talents. This intoxicating combination will be one of the talking points of the Q1 tour, and the SXM Festival 2022 will be bringing out the major guns from March 9-13.

With such a vast assortment of activities going place over the festival’s breadth, there is always a need for a diverse array of musicians. The first leg of the lineup features a diverse group of minimal artists, as is customary.

One of the pulls from prior years is Ricardo Villalobos, but nearby former colleagues are a close second. Names like Raresh, Maher Daniel, Sonja Moonear, and Steve Bug are among them.

There will also be a variety of satellite parties taking place across the island, including boat parties aplenty, and for that VIP experience, there will be The Panorama party, which will provide 360-degree views from the pinnacle of the Caribbean’s tallest hill. If the Cercle events are on your radar, you should look into this event venue.

You may purchase your tickets here and participate in the Facebook event.

Links of interest

SMX Festival
Website | Facebook | Instagram

The positive impact of Record Store Day is chronicled in a new book

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Record Store Day: The Most Improbable Comeback Of The Twenty-First Century, a new book, will be released in April.

The book, written by New York writer Larry Jaffee, examines how the yearly event—which will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2022—helped to resurrect vinyl throughout the world. Artists, record shop owners, and the creators of Record Store Day were among the people he spoke with.

RSD (Record Store Day) was founded in 2007 by six Baltimore record store owners and swiftly grew into a global sensation owing to the assistance of big labels and famous artists, who often issue limited-edition vinyl for the event. This tradition has spread throughout electronic music, with dozens of labels and businesses frequently participating, including Warp, Ninja Tune, and London’s Phonica Records.

According to music sales statistics provider MRC Data, vinyl sales in the United States reached a 30-year high in December. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said that sales in 2021 increased by 8% over 2020, marking the 14th consecutive year of growth.

On April 12th, Rare Bird Books will release Record Store Day: The Most Improbable Comeback Of The Twenty-First Century. Rough Trade has it available for pre-order now.

Links of interest

Record Store Day
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Sunwaves returns in April with a 7-day spring edition

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Sunwaves, a staple of Romanian electronic music, comes to Mamaia in April.

The sweet flavor festival comes back to its homeland for the first time since 2019, beginning on May 28th and lasting nonstop through May 4th. Following an off-piste edition in Zanzibar, the heart of minimal comes home for its 28th episode, where we can anticipate long sets, unexpected B2B’s, and the gorgeous beachfront location on the coast of Romania.

Over the years of the Sunwaves event, many record labels, relations, and experiences were formed. The amazing project, known for its great sound, breathtaking location, and devoted audience, is poised to blow listeners’ minds once more. The full lineup of artists will be announced soon.

Tickets are now available here.

Links of interest

Sunwaves Festival
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Lemondrop Granular and Fireball Wavetable synthesizers by 1010Music

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Lemondrop Granular is a four-voice polyphonic sound made up of two granulators and a single oscillator. Two multimode filters, two envelopes, and two LFOs are packed inside the brightly colored box to get things going in that sweeping, scanning manner people like to mistreat granulated waveforms. There’s also a modulator sequencing and two effects sections, one for modulation style and the other for delay and reverb, for a total of six effects.

Lemondrop comes with 100 presets and a microSD card containing wave files. There is a line output and input, a clock input, and a MIDI in/out minijack for connections. A USB-C port provides power.

Wavetable Fireball

With two wavetables and an extra oscillator, this cherry bomb of a box can produce up to 8 notes of polyphony. The filter, envelope, and LFO configurations are the same as on the Lemondrop, as is the modulation sequencer.

Fireball includes the same effects, connectors, and settings engine as Fireball, as well as a microSD card for wave files. I believe you’ll find they’re very similar in form and function.

The touchscreen interface that 1010Music likes to plaster on the front of their gadgets take us to this point. It is quite feasible to explore the complexity of both granular and wavetable synthesis using a nicely designed menu system, two encoders, and a few buttons.

Many settings may be swiped about with your fingertips to provide some pleasant interactivity. You can always connect a MIDI controller if you want a more believable hardware experience.

These look fantastic in a grab-and-go, lively and fruity way. The display looks great, but how much fun it is to program remains to be seen. They certainly have a little toy-like appearance, but that is not reflected in the €449 price tag.

Links of interest

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Youtube

Teenage Engineering introduces the Line I/O module for the OP-Z synthesizer

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Line is a new hardware extension module for Teenage Engineering’s OP-Z synthesizer.

The line module is intended to bring in and out external audio signals from your OP–Z. It adds a stereo line input and a second stereo line output to the machine, as well as MIDI, trig, and PO sync input and output, similar to oplab.


Reasons to get the Line module for the OPZ

  • Line in may be used to add external audio sources to your mix, while line out can be used as a second stereo output within OP–Z.
  • Individual songs may be routed to the module output rather than the main mix to isolate and process them, or effect loops can be created using your favorite effect pedals. You can choose between mono and stereo streams based on your needs.
  • The output may also be utilized for headphones cueing your songs before sending them to the main mix.

According to TE, the new Line module will be ready in Spring 2022. Pricing will be revealed later.

Links of interest

Teenage Engineering
Website | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram

Dimensions Festival has revealed the complete lineup for its 10th anniversary edition

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Dimensions Festival takes place between September 1st and September 5th in Croatia’s Garden Resort on the gorgeous Dalmatian shore of Tisno.

One of the final summer festivals to take place, the line-up constantly draws attention, instead of limiting themselves to just a few genres, they manage to offer a lot of them into five days.

The landmark event commemorates the tenth anniversary of the legendary festival’s inception in 2012. Some DJs you shouldn’t miss are Raresh, Sonja Moonear, Gene On Earth, The Ghost, Sweely, and Margaret Dygas.

“The Dimensions Festival line-up for 2022 has been finalized, marking the festival’s tenth anniversary.” “Tickets are on sale now, but act quickly since space is limited,” Dimensions said on Instagram today, accompanying the entire lineup.

For the time being, we can announce the whole lineup of artists and partners who will be giving all of the highlights during the prolonged session throughout the different boat parties, beach shindigs, and overall open-air parties.

Links of interest

Dimensions Festival
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Mixcloud | Youtube