Before Porter Robinson was known as the audio-visual creative powerhouse behind the immersive Worlds tour, he was recognized as a DJ of exceptional skill and talent, whose high-energy sets were unmatched in intensity, mixing skill, and straight up danceability.
After his planned show at Digital Dreams was cancelled last weekend, Porter made it up to disappointed fans by returning to his roots for a one-off DJ performance at the Monstercat Showcase Afterparty in Toronto. The set he came up with – filled old and new classics, bangers and downtempo glitchy grooves, and, of course, some throwbacks to your favorite video games of the ’90s – is everything you’ve missed since Porter officially renounced DJing last year.
It’s an eclectic set that was clearly engineered for fans of the Monstercat sound (best exemplified by Haywyre, Pegboard Nerds, and other polished bass-heavy producers who meander somewhere around trap, electro, and drumstep, depending on their mood). Plus, it’s got the deliciously rough touch of a DJ who may have gone rusty, but still knows how to do his job better than most of acts on the mainstage.
Listen to the magic yourself, below, which is also a free download through Soundcloud.
I’m headed down to Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2015 this weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I will be snapping all weekend from my snapchat account (theEDMist), if you want to follow along with my EDC journey. Here’s a preview of what I’ll be wearing on each day. If you spot me, say hi, and I’ll give you a sticker! 😀
Alright… It’s rave time. 😉
On Friday, I’ll be representing the San Francisco EDM Meetup Group with our awesome logo
On Saturday I’ll be wearing all rainbows.
I’ll be wearing a T-shirt with the blog logo and snapcode on Sunday.
I made some stickers, and I’ll have one on the back of my Camelback all weekend.
For the first episode of the EDMist Podcast, I invited my good friend Jon Guerrera onto the show. I met Jon through SF EDM, a meetup group of San Francisco-based dance music lovers that he founded. Jon has grown SF EDM from naught to 2,500 members. The group has been directly responsible for creating hundreds of friendships and countless priceless moments – which strikes me as a pretty good legacy no matter what organization you’re running. I ask Jon about how and why he started the group and where he thinks it’s going.
EDC is only a few weeks away, so we also talk about what to expect this year, how to prep for it, and who are the must-see acts. (Short answer: everyone.) Jon and I discuss the merits of daytime and nighttime festivals, whether trance is best enjoyed at a festival or at home, and the tradeoff of proper ear protection.
And the sounds of the M Machine show us the way out with the song “Pluck pluck.”
I like talking about EDM. Since you’re reading this blog, you probably do too.
The only thing is: there’s not a lot of places on the internet where you can actually talk about it.
There are a plethora of EDM-focused websites, blogs, and social media profiles you can visit/read/follow, but not so many forums for real, live conversation. Even where there are active forums, like on Reddit, you still don’t get the opportunity to hear people talk in real time.
That’s why I’m starting the EDMist Podcast: a monthly discussion group and conversation among fans about everything and anything related to the world of dance music.
I will be inviting guests on for every episode to discuss the most recent developments in dance culture. Many of the guests will be my own friends and acquaintances within the San Francisco music community, but diversity is important to me and I will be looking to highlight interesting and unique perspectives through the podcast.
Myon & Shane 54 have recently been teasing the idea of doing a “classics tour,” on which they would play only their own tracks, remixes, and mashups over a full set. On last week’s edition of their podcast, International Departures episode 280, host Shane 54 talked about the realization that they have enough back material to play their songs 6–10 hours straight through.
“We will talk about Gabriel & Dresden‘s new Classics Tour, when they play as [if] it was 2004. We are also preparing for our ten-gig tour, since in Dallas we also decided to have a classic set – after all, we’ve been working together for more than seven years, and we just realized we could play only our stuff more than six hours straight without repeating anything. Well, if we think close enough and count the mashups as well, we could entertain a large crowd for ten hours even. That would be something! But we highly doubt it will happen like that. However, we are excited to be back on the road, and if you will come to see us, you’ll see how much!” (Emphasis added.)
Despite Shane 54’s caveat, yesterday, the duo asked on Twitter what songs people would like to hear on such a tour.
Which classic MS54 productions,remixes,mashups do you wanna hear on our MS54 classic live shows?
The tweet mentions “our classic live shows” – so even if we don’t get a tour, it sounds like we can expect at least a few one-off shows like Dallas in the future. And that’s good news.
Embarking on a tour in which an artist plays only their own productions is a huge accomplishment; in the EDM world, it’s an achievement that solidifies your legacy as an artist. Among the few DJ-producers who do it are Deadmau5, Porter Robinson, and Madeon.
What do you think? Is this going to be the Summer of Love for Myon & Shane 54? Leave a comment below, or shout out on Twitter.
Big room music is made to fill large venues like clubs, arenas, and festivals while bringing in a lot of revenue.
Big room is a commercial style of EDM made for big clubs, festivals, and arenas. Like pop music, it is designed for mass appeal in order to generate large profits for the artist. Because of this, big room music is frequently criticized for being uninspired and less creatively challenging.
The typical big room EDM song has a strong four-to-the-floor beat using a heavy kick and snare, a simplistic structure, vocals (with lyrics about dancing, partying, drinking, drugs, or love), several large buildups and big drops. Big room songs often rely on a very simple melody (such as Martin Garrix‘s “Animals” or Avicii’s “Levels“).
The term “big room” comes from dance clubs, where the most accessible or popular music is usually played in the biggest room of the club in order to fit in the most people. Some clubs offer multiple rooms with other DJs playing at the same time to accomodate customers with different musical tastes. The music in these smaller side rooms is likely to be less commercial and more underground, experimental, or genre-specific.
Matt Langehas released a dark, downtempo, and altogether incredible remix of Nine Inch Nails‘s “Discipline.” If you’re a fan of NIN, and Lange’s signature broody, moody production style, this is something you can’t miss. Luckily for you, it’s a free download from his Soundcloud page.
The original is a straightforward rock song off the band’s 2008 album The Slip, propelled by a catchy riff and drum beat. Under Lange’s touch, the song is transformed into a subtle, melancholy meditation that builds from a spare and etherial start into an aggressive and defiant climax, in a fitting tribute to a band known similar song structures. The production is stunning – and of the caliber you’d expect from this talented Anjunabeats producer. The overall sound recalls his Counterstrike Global Offensive music kit, which he recently uploaded to his Soundcloud page.
With his “Discipline” remix, Lange integrates all of the elements that make NIN great – from the overall depressed-yet-determined mood to the glitchy effects – with skill, style, and creativity, while making the production uniquely his own. I was certifiably obsessed with Nine Inch Nails for a good four years, so I feel pretty qualified in saying that this is a high-quality remix that pays tribute to the band in a very faithful way.
What really makes it stand out, though, is the way it carefully builds to a powerful climax in the tradition of the best of NIN songs (see: “Somewhat Damaged,” “Just Like You Imagined,” and “The Becoming“). The high dynamic range lures us closer to the speakers during the quiet moments, forcing us to listen closely as the song gathers strength like a tropical storm. At 4:25, that hurricane makes landfall when Lange drops on us a metal-inspired, deliciously overcrompressed glitch riff that could have been taken straight from “The Great Destroyer” (or “Demon Seed,” or…). Lange rides out the fully unleashed tapestry of sound he’s built while weaving in yet more noise, tension, and glitch, until there’s just nowhere else to go, and the song cuts out. I love that he lets you go right at the point of most intensity, with no time for mental decompression. It’s a refreshing choice in the DJ mix-driven world of dance music that demands lengthy, sometimes lifeless, song intros and outros.
The track is released under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share-Alike license, meaning that you are free to remix or otherwise modify the track as long as you don’t sell it and you release the resulting work under an identical license. (You can thank Reznor for choosing to release The Slip under such a license in the first place.) It’s because of these terms that Matt can offer the song as a free download. I’ve embedded the file from SoundCloud above, but if you decide to download it, do head over to Matt’s page and give him a follow. And check out another of my favorite Matt Lange tracks below – his remix of Versa‘s “Illusion.”
A bootleg is an unofficial or unauthorized production – usually a remix or a mashup of another artist’s work.
Some artists, like Myon and Shane 54, specialize in creating bootleg mashups.
Technically, any remix or mashup made without official legal permission from the artist whose work is sampled is a bootleg. Not all bootlegs will be labeled as such, though, because it’s pretty easy to figure out if a song is a legitimate release: If a song is available on music services like iTunes or Spotify, or otherwise available to buy, it’s almost certainly authorized. If a remix is only available as a free download, for example through an artist’s Soundcloud page or website, it’s probably not authorized. (This is because the original artist or their label could sue the remixer for damages if the remixer were trying to make money off of their work.) DJs big or small can still play bootlegs live – after all, mixing together other people’s work is the core of the DJ’s job description – so bootlegs will often make appearances in live settings as a special treat for the audience.
Some bootleg remixes are actually rejected remixes that had been commissioned by the original artist. Artists will frequently ask other producers to remix a song of theirs, to be released alongside the original mix on a single. When the commissioning artist is not happy with the remix, though, he or she can choose not to officially release it. Often, these rejected remixes will never see any release at all, but sometimes the remixer will release the song for free, just to get it out into the world. In other cases, the remixer may end up turning the remix into an original production of their own – as was the case with Above & Beyond‘s “Sticky Fingers.”
Dub mixes are a useful tool for DJs to create mash-ups, since the DJ can put vocals from another song on top of the dub mix. Many longtime producers will mash up their own works by putting vocals from old songs on top of dub mixes of their newer songs as a way to please old and new fans and keep the music fresh. However, dub mixes may be enjoyed as finished productions in themselves, without vocals from the original or any other song.
As a side benefit, dub mixes allow other DJs (who did not produce the music) to extract the vocals from the original mix of the song through phase cancellation, creating what’s called an acapella. The DJ can then use the extracted vocals over the dub mix of another song to create a mash-up.
Dub mixes are usually created by the producer him/herself, as it is easy for them to do so from the original project file. It is possible to remove vocals from finished song files, but the process can be tricky and the quality of the final song will suffer.
On set lists, “DJ Set” indicates that the artist(s) will be mixing pre-recorded music, not creating music or incorporating live elements (such as instruments, vocals, drum machines, etc.). This term usually appears when the artist(s) are known for performing with elements beyond the traditional DJ setup.
You can think of the term DJ set as being the opposite of a live set, in which the artist will be performing some elements of the show live onstage. (Another term for a live set is “live PA,” or live performing artist. While this terminology is still used, Google Trends indicates that it is not as common as the term live set or liveset.) Similarly, the term “vocal set” indicates that the performer will be singing in addition to mixing a DJ set, but not incorporating other live elements.
In this 2010 post, the performing artist Quiet Entertainer outlines an episode in which a fan approached him after a DJ set, disappointed that he hadn’t performed in his normal live manner which incorporates performance art. Quiet Entertainer then vows to clarify on future set lists if he will be playing a DJ set instead of his normal live set (or live PA, as he calls it), to prevent confusion.