Wednesday
Jul292015

Cool Free Stuff: Justin Jay & Chris Lorenzo-Storm (House)

Los Angeles-based producer Justin Jay just put out a free track courtesy of Black Butter Records. “Storm” (featuring Chris Lorenzo) instantly struck my attention with its highly prominent use of the amen break at 125 bpm, something rarely attempted in house music nowadays. With some diligent EQ work, Jay manages to keep the classic break tamed in the background, leaving plenty of breathing room for some vocals and a reece bassline. As the harmonics of the reece really start to open up midway through, you almost have to wonder what Storm would sound like pitched up a bit to a breakbeat speed! Thunder claps in the breakdown play on the track’s obvious theme, and help tie the piece together. Nice work here.

Tuesday
Jul282015

Cool Free Stuff: Dan Milnar-Surfing (Deep House)

Nice free house track from German producer Dan Mlinar. “Surfing” is the perfect beach accompaniment, with its soaring synth sounds and splashy hi-hat programming mirroring the ocean. A bit of a hypnotic piece, Surfing is relatively anti-climatic, opting to focus on the interplay between the pads, synth riffs and the three-note bassline as it evolves over the course of it’s seven-and-a-half minute duration. This one’s got summer written all over it, but without the mosquito bites and sunburn. Check it below.

Monday
Jul272015

Beat Box: Free Akai S950-Processed Roland TR-707 Sample Pack

Following in the footsteps of the 7/07 pack I uploaded earlier this month, I’m sharing with you more one-shots from my Roland TR8. This time it’s the TR-727 expansion pack, just in time for 7/27! Like the last time, I’ve run every hit through my Akai S950 to add some gritty textures to the formula.

The TR-727 is sort of the lost dog of the Roland classic drum machine series. Released in conjunction with the TR-707 in 1985, the TR-727 had the same functionality as its brother yet focused entirely on Latin percussion.

Included in this pack are the majority of the sounds from the 727, including bongos, congas, agogos, cabasas, quijadas, whistles, and the star chime. There are around 25 different combinations of tune and decay settings for each. The streamable file above can be downloaded as-is, but be sure to grab the link below as well. This includes a ZIP file with all the individual hits in folders, as well as a collected Ableton project with all the hits converted to drum racks.

Be on the lookout for 8/08 and 9/09…I shouldn’t have to explain things much further!

Here is the link to the individual hits & Ableton drum racks.

Monday
Jul272015

Ticket Giveaway! Elements Presents Aphrodite @ Phoenix Landing, 7.30.15

One of the most prolific producers in drum and bass in the 1990s was Aphrodite. A guy who marched to his own beat and often operated on a parallel path to the rest of the UK scene, his production resume from that era is easily a mile-and-a-half long. From his early rave anthem “Some Justice” (under his Urban Shakedown alias) to his jungle collaborations with Tony B (Amazon II) and Micky Finn (Urban Shakedown), Aphrodite had no shortage of projects to keep him busy by the latter half of the decade. 

 

People perhaps know Aphrodite best from his remix work, much of it as part of Urban Takeover. He had his hand at penning official remixes from everyone to the Jungle Brothers to Luniz, Fatboy Slim, Nine Inch Nails, Alabama 3, and Apollo 440. 

He also helped define the sound of early jump-up drum and bass, being one of the first to use prominent and modulated basslines in tracks like “Badass” (which, for better or for worse, has manifested itself into an entirely different breed of bass music which some appreciate more than others). Aphrodite also followed in the footsteps of DJ Hype in his ability to seamlessly fuse hip hop into both his productions and DJ sets, leading to his legendary Urban Jungle mix series. Two full-length albums soon followed.


Aphrodite has largely been on hiatus over the past decade, spending most of his efforts on repressing and re-issuing some of the plentiful releases in his back catalogue. But that has since changed, and he’s back to touring full time and producing!

Aphrodite is touching down at Elements at the Phoenix Landing (512 Mass Ave, Cambridge) this Thursday, his first appearance in Boston since 1998. Expect a plethora of peeps to come out of the woodwork for it. It will be interesting to hear what direction he takes his set and whether he chooses to focus on classics or upfront things…hopefully both.

And thanks to Elements, I’m giving away a free pair of tix to this jam. All you need to do is “like” Elements and Beantown Boogiedown on Facebook, and leave your name and email in the comments section below. I draw the winner this Thursday. Good luck peeps!

Facebook event page

Wednesday
Jul082015

Beat Box: Free Akai S950-Processed Roland TR-707 Sample Pack

In honor of 7/07, I’m sharing with you guys some one-shots from the TR-707 expansion module from my TR8 drum machine. But as TR-707 samples are already quite ubiquitous, I decided to make these ones unique by running them through my Akai S950 sampler.

The S950 was a fixture in early 90s hip hop, jungle and house music. Because it’s a 12-bit sampler, it adds a bit of unique grit to the sound that no software has ever quite been able to emulate as of yet.

I recorded every sound from the 707 (kicks, snares, toms, claps, hats, rimshot & crash) with around 25 different combinations of tune and decay settings for each. The streamable file above can be downloaded as-is, but be sure to grab this link to download the files as well. This includes a ZIP file with all the individual hits in folders, as well as a collected Ableton project with all the hits converted to drum racks.

I’m going to be making more S950-processed packs on 7/27, 8/08, and 9/09 honoring those respective drum machines as well so watch this space!

Wednesday
Jul082015

Ticket Giveaway! Shake Presents Bok Bok & L-Vis 1990 @ Goodlife, 7.10.15

Both founding members of the seminal Night Slugs label are making a return to Boston for Shake this Friday at Goodlife. Bok Bok hasn’t been to Boston in a minute now, and if you missed L-Vis 1990’s set there earlier this year, then here’s your second chance!

The success of Night Slugs over the past five years goes well beyond Bok Bok and L-Vis’s knack for knocking out baseline-driven dancefloor weapons. Their curatorial skills are second-to-none; they’ve introduced to the world a fluid roster of otherwise-unknown artists such as Jam City, Girl Unit, Kingdom, and Lil Silva. They’ve hosted a highly-regarded radio show on Rinse FM. Their output has a distinct visual identity which extends across all their cover art, flyer designs, and merchandising. But most importantly, their unique sound, which takes cultural cues from both sides of the pond has galvanized listeners, who serve as their foundation.

Shake recently did a revealing interview with Bok Bok on his influences, DJ’ing, and the club scene in the UK versus the US. Check that out here, and have a listen to some recent mixes of his alongside Shake resident Fens below.

 
 
We’re giving away a free pair of tix to this party on Friday. All you need to do is “like” Shake and Beantown Boogiedown on Facebook, and leave your name and email in the comments section below. I draw the winner this Friday at 12pm. Good luck and see you there!

Facebook event page

Tuesday
Jul072015

Cool Free Stuff: Omdose-Boccaccio (Techno)

Omdose is the latest alter ego for Boston-area artist Wigbert Caro, who is perhaps best known as Moduloktopus right now. Well-renown for his tendency to re-invent himself on a whim, Omdose now serves as an outlet for Caro’s techno-influenced work. A different direction from his earlier work centered around bass and the broken beat, Omdose’s 4x4 style is dancefloor driven and takes no prisoners. “Boccaccio” is the first free download on his newly-created Soundcloud page. Clocking in well past 130 bpm, Boccaccio ramps up its energy almost immediately and is spearheaded by classic rave stabs in the breakdowns. You can check his inaugural live set tonight at the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge for Vault Boston!

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