Tuesday
Jun302015

Cool Free Stuff: Smeed & Suspence-Falling (Tech House)

Boston-area producers Smeed and Suspence have been busy in the studio as of late. While a lack of output these past several months may imply otherwise, this duo has spent much of the year tightening the screws on a number of projects, the first of which have begun bearing fruit. “Falling” is a prime example. Released last week, this track showcases a moodier and minimalistic side to these gents. Touting an omniscient string section and a punchy bass riff, Falling quickly ventures into a cavernous no-man’s land thanks to its use of long delays and vast reverb on many of the higher-frequency elements. Vocals slathered in a twisted array of effects compliment the tundra-filled landscape. I bet this one was written last winter! Free download on Soundcloud.

Friday
Jun192015

Ticket Giveaway! Enei Touches Down at Elements, 6.25.15

When it comes to drum and bass, few can deny the strides the Critical label has made over the course of the last half decade. Boasting a talented array of producers who can navigate the genre’s fast terrain with an almost scientific approach to synthesis, every release on Critical has become an impulse purchase for many a listener.

One of Critical’s top acts at the moment is Russian artist Enei. Well-revered both for his original work as well as his knack for collaborating with the likes of Mefjus, DRS, Kasra, Sam Binga, and other notables, Enei’s success did not happen overnight. Similar to many underground drum and bass producers, Enei built his following organically off the back of consistently-crafted rollers on niche labels like Fokuz, Cyanide, Revolution, and Citrus. Keeping his head down and generally avoiding over-hyping his sound, Enei’s formula is not unlike many other successful drum and bass acts. It’s a commendable path to take, yet one that requires a pretty good deal of discipline to build a respectable resume.

 
Enei plays Elements in at the Phoenix Landing in Cambridge this coming Thursday just in time for his first (and long-awaited) release of 2015: the Inside the Box EP, co-produced and released in conjunction with Critical label boss Kasra. A 5-tracker, Inside the Box showcases a focused, yet stylistically diverse array of sounds from this duo. From the juke influenced half-step romp of “Inside the Box” to the sparse and expensive “Words” and a noteworthy guest appearance by MC DRS on “Overthinking”, this is a solid effort that I’m sure will be played in full at the Phoenix during his set. Getting there early would probably be a good idea as Elements resident Lenore will be warming things up. 

Thanks to Elements we’re doing a ticket giveaway for this one. All you need to do is “like” Elements and Beantown Boogiedown on Facebook, then leave your name and email in the comments section below. I draw the winner at 12pm this Thursday, the day of the show. Winner also gets a +1 for a guest. Good luck and see you there!

Facebook event page

Friday
Jun192015

Long-format DJ sets dead? Not true, according to the Immersion Project. Debut event + Ticket giveaway

It’s painfully obvious we live in a world of short attention spans and instant gratification. We want the destination straightaway, and we’re no longer willing to travel the journey to get there. Music events are often relegated to a maximal approach: more performers means greater turnout, and greater profit margins. Why listen to one good DJ or band play for two hours when you can listen to four good bands play for a half hour each? Four times the awesomeness, right?

Not so much.

With multiple performers squeezed into limited time allotments, any sense of cohesion gets tossed out the window. Every artist playing has a slightly different sound, and each is forced to rush through their best content straightaway with little bandwidth to roll things out more organically. With each change-up acts there is an alteration in the flow of the dancefloor, especially if each act has even mildly different musical preferences. What originally was “OMG look at all these people playing!!” turns into getting served a pizza topped with steak and ice cream…all of which are good, but best enjoyed individually. Without diarrhea!

The Immersion Project is a New England-based initiative designed to combat the rise of short-form DJ sets booked for economic reasons. Based on founding member Daniel Sevelt’s vision of focusing on the music rather than the lineup, it has turned into a collective consisting of himself, his finance Lydia (co-owner), Jada Sinn (promotions and artist management), Dave DiWrecked, Jonathan Santarelli, and others. Their first event takes place on June 27th at a secret location in Worcester. Jack McDevitt and Sopforic are well-known veterans around New England and are very-well equipped to navigate the expanse of their four-hour set formats. McDevitt is guaranteed at least 4 hours but could go past 6am if the crowd is up for it! Jonathan Santarelli will also be warming things up. Facebook info and ticket giveaway contest below.

 
 

I caught up with Daniel over email to talk a bit about the project and his thoughts on long-form DJ sets. Here’s a bit of insight from the man himself:

Nick: Events where DJ’s are booked to play extended sets seem to be few and far between these days, especially here in America. Why do you think this is? Could it be because of the short attention span of patrons these days? Or possibly the programming preferences of the promoters?

Daniel: Why the short sets is a good question. I think the answer at it’s roots is with technology and promotions. From what I’ve seen over the 15 years while I’ve been in the game spinning and working production primarily for dance music in clubs and raves, the strongest factor I see is the ratio of DJ’s to gigs + of course, venues closing early in the night. The tall barriers of entry of vinyl format only, pinch point access to music, arguably difficult and expensive equipment to use with a steep learning curve, are gone. It’s a fantastic moment of growth for the genre right now, albeit, with the growing pains of losing a tried and true formats from the Zeitgeist, and the pains that comes with any scene’s explosive growth. 

With more of DJs than ever out in the wild and more social networking tools at their disposal to compete with, DJs naturally came to be able to promote just as strong as the promoters as themselves. To me, the shorter sets are a leverage of that promotional capacity. A promoter has to have a certain amount of a dollars and cents view, so it makes a low hanging fruit type of sense to me. Why book one self promoting artist when you can book 4, arguably quadrupling your events exposure in a saturated market?

I think attention span plays into the proliferation of one hour sets, but the peoples capacity to appreciate a deeper journey is still there. The impressions I hear from people regarding extended performances by seasoned pros is always, overwhelmingly positive. It’s a unique thing these days to hear a DJ play for more than two hours. The Immersion Project aims to offer up that classic format again with and it’s own unique possibilities.

Nick: I read that the Immersion Project is a decade in the making. What components of this undertaking have taken this long to complete? What were some of the challenges faced that took so many years to accomplish these tasks?

Daniel: This was one of the harder questions to answer and I think adherence to my vision and cultivating it has been the biggest obstacle to getting the project past it’s first event. Never good enough, you know? Frankly, it kept growing and refining until it came into a focus that passed my own muster. Attending *large* parties with elaborate and responsive designs, (15K attendance,) exposed me the formulas and elements that I’ve applied in different presentations. I’ve always wanted The Immersion Project to be fully immersive, unique, and visually responsive to the DJ’s artistry and whims. Fresh and new until the night is over. 

Knowing what event you want to see, knowing how to build and run it are two different concepts so I started learning production. Once I was sure production is what I wanted to do professionally and I created AR Productions and went into it full time. It’s also important to point out that if it wasn’t for a network of fantastic people, it wouldn’t be remotely possible. The Immersion Project is no longer just my project, it’s now theirs as well.

Sponsorship and years of advice from Shane Burke at Supreme Lighting and Sound, Professional promotions and artist management from Jada Sinn at MJS Productions, Dave DiWrecked from Beatdown Productions who is building us a sexy custom DJ booth, (I’m helping but, I would be lost with out him!) the tireless efforts of my long friend and new AR conceptual and production partner, Jonathan Santarelli, who has long been a long part of this dream, and his help and expertise is bringing it into reality, a network of street promoters getting the word out; and last but most certainly not least, my Fiancé and co-owner of AR Productions, Lydia, who has been with me for this whole crazy ride since the start. The list goes on and on and could fill a page so I can’t possibly catch all the people behind the scenes. This event wouldn’t exist with out them, their support and belief in the vision.

The biggest challenges the project has faced is it being so different and that I’m not a promoter. I’m a DJ and a production engineer. Outside of finding the right venue that can handle the extended build time with out breaking the bank, (that was a huge issue,) I hired on Jada Sinn from MJS Productions who works as my promotions and artist manager. She has spent the last year on my team building up a presence for us, teaching us how to move things forward, broke through this challenge and AR is off and running with our biggest project to date. I can’t tell you enough how excited we are to see this coming to reality.

Nick: What was one of your favorite extended sets you personally witnessed? How was the music programmed throughout the duration of the set? Did much of the crowd feel as captivated as you did?

Daniel: I have to say, Danny Tenaglia at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC 2011 absolutely takes the cake and I love telling this story. He performed an 11 hour set to a sold out room and an already packed floor of thousands. He began at 6:45am and ended at 3pm Sunday afternoon. He started off with a stunningly dramatic opening in complete blackness that spoke to the people in a deep resonating voice, calling out the different types of people at the party, their motivations for being there, ending each call with, “I am with you.” 

His set built a consciousness of tribal power in that enormous space, purposefully, incrementally, mechanically, piece by piece, until it was at this amazing four deck peak around 8am where no breakdowns had happened for what seemed like 20 minutes with the lights, video and lasers putting the most exquisite icing on that cake. It made you look around at the spectacle of it all. The party and the lighting performance went on and *then* he started with a few lavish breakdowns. He had broken through that barrier of disbelief and everyone was certainly with him on a journey. He was true to his word, he was with us. He knew what just what the dancers wanted, in fact he was surprisingly demanding about it and everyone ate it up. Over the morning, the music slowly changed from music for your body to music for your exhausted mind and his selections turned very cerebral, classic and rewarding. Some weren’t even proper dance music per se’. It’s worth pointing out that the operator of the massive lighting rig was right there with us as well. He remained fresh and original, appointing every mood with expressions of color and visuals. Nothing short of hypnotizing. You would have paid the ticket price if you were deaf.

The morning was a landscape of music inaccessible to a short performance. Early in the afternoon, he played a solid minute of just rain and thunder, the lighting rig responded in kind and flashed to the thunder claps. The room became other worldly with it’s saturated colors and green motif for that moment. When he mixed in David Bowie’s, A Space Oddity, it was a moment. I cried a bit as Major Tom was accepting his death in the song. Danny went back to the thunder and rain, giving everyone the space to experience what that moment was, the slow death of the party. The whole party was full of great moments, all more then the last, but Space Oddity stood out for the level of expression that was possible in the extended. A great song in an of it’s self, reached that even more rarefied space and context because it was placed on a pedestal built by the seven hours that preceded it. There where so many musical constructions that happened that just can’t be done in an hour. Everyone I saw, left the dance floor awe struck and it was another moment that cemented The Immersion Project’s vision.

Nick: Do you think the strict 2am curfew in Boston has been a major obstacle when it comes to booking acts to play long sets in downtown Boston? 

Daniel: Absolutely. Most rooms don’t get that critical mass until 11pm or so, meaning they aren’t settled in and really dancing till almost midnight. Two hours left and I think everyone’s just getting warmed up at the end of that. The hours just aren’t there. This culture functions, thrives even, at night, and the afterparties are where that can happen. We’re surrounded by local talent who can masterfully and gleefully take those extended sets on a solid system and a pro lighting rig. That’s what we want to address with this project. 2AM not enough for you? See you on the 27th. Thanks for having me Nick.

Ticket giveaway

As per usual, we’re going to do a giveaway thanks to these guys from Immersion Project. All you need to do is “like” AR Productions and Beantown Boogiedown on Facebook, and leave your name and email in the comments section below. I draw the winner on June 26th at 12pm, who will be going for free with a guest. Good luck!

Facebook event page

Thursday
Jun182015

Cool Free Stuff: Pherotone & Magnus-Silence is Golden (Nu-Disco)

Spanish artist Pherotone debuts a slick, slow-tempo heater titled “Silence is Golden” which is a free download on Soundcloud. An easy compliment for your summer poolside excursions, the vocals of Magnus ring loud and clear on this uplifting ballad, which is also complimented by elegant rhythmic guitars and sparkly synth fills. A hat tip to the glory days of Italo disco and other vestiges from a bygone era, “Silence is Golden” is well-crafted and released in perfect harmony with the first days of summer. You have to visit La Tropical’s Facebook page to grab it, but there are a slew of other freebies for your listening and downloading pleasure on there as well.

Wednesday
Jun172015

Cool Free Stuff: DEVI.-Pound Cake (Bass/House)

17-year-old producer Denis Vladimiro (aka DEVI.) is a house producer who has already amassed quite a following for his age. While much of this was likely due to his unofficial remix work at first, DEVI. has proven he can make an original track that stands up to the hype of his remix work. “Pound Cake” is his most recent original. In this piece, which many will file in the “future” folder, we see DEVI. work his magic with just a few simple elements: a bouncy bass riff, a wordless vocal loop, and bright synth keys that revert to a grand piano in the breakdown. Add some swing to the template and you have a feel-good formula a large array of listeners can appreciate. Approved. 

Monday
Jun152015

Cool Free Stuff: Capital-Bassline (Garage/House)

Capital is a bassline house and UK garage producer who has already hit his stride at the age of 18. Something that many musicians even twice his senior fail to accomplish, Capital is dialed in and already has a vision and aesthetic for his projects. “Bassline” is a free download on Soundcloud that comes correct with a punishing bassline and military-grade percussion swings. With the bass’s upper harmonics calling-and-responding with the track’s vocal samples, Bassline certainly doesn’t come with a misleading track title. Old school rave stabs are the remaining part of the package, and overall this one is polished and uncomplicated. Check his Soundcloud for other free jams, surely he’s just getting started!

Friday
Jun052015

Let's Boogie! Upcoming Boston Events For June 2015


Upcoming Events 

Free Scratching Workshop @ MMMMAVEN HQ :: Cambridge MA :: 6.5.15
A-Trak, Araabmuzik & Ape Drums @ Paradise :: Brighton MA :: 6.5.15
Freshh!! (J.Zamora, KosKos & Guests) @ O Sushi :: Cambridge MA :: 6.5.15
Tardisco (Czargb, DJ Silence & Kibbles N Beats) @ Wonderbar :: Allston MA :: 6.5.15
Binary (Beckwith, Mikey Maags, Jaminic & Convoi) @ Wonderbar :: Allston MA :: 6.5.15
Commrads (Thvmpr vs Dream Inventur, Roman, Ghast & Kerry) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 6.5.15
Uncle Bob’s Family Party (Uncle Bob, Darko & Lightt Blue Laboratory) @ Prime :: Boston MA :: 6.5.15
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Heroes (Chris Ewen) @ TT the Bears :: Cambridge MA :: 6.6.15
Triple Platinum (Durkin & Evaredy) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 6.6.15
Vrare (Tony Quattro, Waldo & Melizard) @ 49 Social :: Boston MA :: 6.6.15
Elastic (CS, GMGN, Audioprophecy & Anton M) @ Bella Luna :: Jamaica Plain MA :: 6.6.15
Fresh Headz Party on the River (Jay Prouty, David Paglia, Matt Carey, B3RA0 & more) @ Marsh Post 442 :: Cambridge MA :: 6.6.15
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DJ Odi & the Russian @ Wonderbar :: Allston MA :: 6.7.15
H.O.M.E. (Shadow Kings & Lee Wilson) @ Machine :: Boston MA :: 6.7.15
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Femi Kuti & Positive Force @ Paradise :: Brighton MA :: 6.8.15
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Milo & Otis @ Naga :: Cambridge MA :: 6.10.15
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The Opiou Band @ Brighton Music Hall :: Allston MA :: 6.11.15
Make it New (Eats Everything) @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 6.11.15
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DJ Tennis @ Marsh Post 442 :: Cambridge MA :: 6.12.15
Pink Noise & Pinko/MSG @ Milky Way :: Jamaica Plain MA :: 6.12.15
Radio Skotvoid & Nick Minieri @ Gulu Gulu Cafe :: Salem MA :: 6.12.15
PVRPLE (Sicko Mobb, Knife & Amadeezy) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 6.12.15
Some Like it Hott (Ali Berger, Matt Gavris & Peter Corvaia) @ Lilypad :: Cambridge MA :: 6.12.15
Veritae (Max McFerren, Randy Deshaies, John Barera & Audioprophecy) @ 49 Social :: Boston MA :: 6.12.15
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Drown (Blind Prophet & OnTheS) @ 49 Social :: Boston MA :: 6.13.15
Nanodisco (ABSRDST, Maxo, Colin Domigan & Noms) @ Wonderbar :: Allston MA :: 6.13.15
Shake! (Wheez-ie, Lindale, deMC, Damian Silva & Fens) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 6.13.15
Dusk Till Done (Dave Rosario, Patrick Barry, Sudo & Daniel Santos) @ TBD :: Boston MA :: 6.13.15
Sounds of the Underground (Finley, Charles Mazzola & Matt Foley) @ Cantab Lounge :: Cambridge MA :: 6.13.15
CSC (Mike Servito, Sitting Adult, Alfredo & Brenden Wesley, Matt Mcneill & CS, Oscar Huang & Andrew Gallagher) @ TBD :: 6.13.15
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H.O.M.E. (DJ Soulmedic) @ Machine :: Boston MA :: 6.14.15
Back Bay Block Party (DJ Tatiana, Frenchie Davis & DJ Andrea Stamas) @ St. James Ave :: Boston MA :: 6.14.15
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Make it New (Butch) @ Middlesex :: Cambridge MA :: 6.18.15
Scanners (W00DY, Solid State Entity, In Sonitus Lux, Trollita & DJ Won’t) @ Deep Thoughts JP :: Jamaica Plain MA :: 6.18.15
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Gaudi @ TT the Bears :: Cambridge MA :: 6.19.15
Pioneers of Bass (SQUNTO, Uncle Bob & more) @ Wonderbar :: Allston MA :: 6.19.15
Acoustica Electronica (The Wig & Asher & Nico) @ Oberon :: Cambridge MA :: 6.19.15
Celebration of Summer (Donna Summer Memorial feat. DJ Kon) @ Boston City Hall :: Boston MA :: 6.19.15
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Sin-O-Matic (Shivar & Devil’s Advocate) @ Machine :: Boston MA :: 6.20.15
Sweet Shop (Pittsburgh Track Authority) @ Goodlife :: Boston MA :: 6.20.15
Fractaltribe Prelude (DJ Rikam, Strangefunk, Cirrus, Mizeyesis, Levitation Theory, ManipulatioN & more) @ TBD :: 6.20.15
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Wednesday
Jun032015

Cool Free Stuff: DJ Simi-S Up/Nebula Charging (Tech House)

Italian house artist DJ Simi provides us with a double dose of grooving tech house today thanks to Yoshitoshi. “S-Up” and “Nebula Charging” are both extended instrumentals that compliment much of the 20-year veteran label’s recent output. S-Up is the dubbier of the two; its marching rhythm prods along in the spirit of a dub techno suite with a singular riff that subtly evolves with long-term effects. Nebula Charging approaches the nine-minute mark and is mellow, yet quite groovy. Similar to S-Up, it’s based on a single-bar riff which is given volumes of space to take on a life of its own across the track’s cavernous passages. A very DJ-friendly track to boot as well.

You can download both of these tracks here by following DJ Simi on Soundcloud.

 

Tuesday
Jun022015

Cool Free Stuff: Xypo-Attracted (Bass/House)

Rapidly rising UK artist Xypo just added a new free track titled “Attracted” to his Soundcloud. Like many others from his London hometown, Xypo fuses the best elements of British garage and traditional Chicago-derived house together to create a modern formula that works in the club. Attracted’s calling card is its signature plucked bassline. Not only is it massive in size and shape, but Xypo also manages to layer lots of stuttered vocal chops and other atmospherics on top of it with some clever EQ work. Attracted also sports a feel-good piano riff, helping put an end to many years of producers of all styles of dance avoiding the use of grand pianos in their work like the plague. Maybe they’re alright after all, no?

This one’s a free download that is behind a like-gate; click on the embed for additional info.

Monday
Jun012015

Backyard: Colin Domigan Releases Sophomore EP on German Covery Imprint

Boston’s own Colin Domigan returns to the spotlight with his sophomore EP on German label Covery. His track “Free Beer”, which went semi-viral when debuted on Do Androids Dance last year, makes an appearance alongside a remix by yours truly. This EP is shared with Montreal-based artist Antae, who makes his label debut with tandem with Domigan on “Filter”, plus two more remixes by In The Night and Illusive Man

You may recall Domigan’s Across the Pond EP which showcased the track “Guns and Drugs” two years ago, alongside powerhouse remixes from (then-unknown) JSTJR, ABSRDST and Two Sev. While the contents of that EP varied in tempo, rhythm and style, the Filter EP reels things in a bit by focusing directly on the melodic, no-nonsense side of house music.

A slightly more legal theme than “Guns and Drugs”, “Free Beer” makes good with nary a small handful of carefully-selected samples. Many of them compliment the boozy theme, including chants that wouldn’t sound out of place at a frat-house pong tournament and the signature can opening sound at the drop. Free Beer’s got a bit of bounce thanks to its bassline, and some shakers to stir some groove into the mix.

My remix to Free Beer literally came on a whim during a holiday weekend back in January. I was just noodling about with my Aira TR8, TB3 and TR-909 while reading a post on Colin’s Twitter about him looking for someone to remix it (and I was already well familiar with the tune). I had a vibe going in literally under an hour once I transposed and chopped the keys and dropped in the squelchy bassline. To this day it’s the fastest track I’ve finished; most of it was sequenced and mixed down in an afternoon. Sent it to Colin and he straight up dug it; I’m really happy it got a proper release!

Flip over to the other side and we have Domigan working alongside Antae on “Filter”. Another bouncy melodic piece not unlike Free Beer, Filter incorporates Antae’s catchy, motivational vocal riffs and raps to give it mass appeal, but without compromising their knack for condensing the atmosphere with a wide palette of one-shots and other glitchy samples. In The Night’s remix reworks and places emphasis on the bassline, giving it the UK Garage treatment and therefore instant dancefloor appeal. Illusive Man’s remix opts to focus on further refining the atmospherics rather than the bass; it’s a nice stripped down version that works quite well early or late in the night. 

This EP is available for purchase now from your favorite online MP3 dealers!

Beatport: http://btprt.dj/1Fkg55C
iTunes: http://bitly.com/1LNMm9X