Tag Archives: Electro

Scene Report: Electronic Music at Beat Hotel


HAAi by Alec Donnell Luna

This past March the Fellah Hotel—a palm-lined, pool-dotted, argan-scented resort complex—was the site of a delirious musical experiment. Sub-Saharan folk met art pop; Ethiopian jazz collided with vintage hip-hop; minimal techno was augmented with choral arrangements. The inaugural Beat Hotel festival, held just outside Marrakech, Morocco, showcased electronic and globally-oriented music from artists who were primarily based in Europe and North Africa. 

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A Guide to Drexciya’s Futuristic Electro

Drexciya-1244Of all the music that sprung from the explosion of techno and electro in 1980s Detroit, there is little that matches the scope and output of James Stinson and Gerald Donald’s project Drexciya. For one thing, they were more productive than many of their peers, releasing scores of albums, both as Drexciya and under other guises involving extra players and mysterious configurations. The pace of their output steadily increased until Stinson’s untimely passing in 2002; Donald has continued the work on his own ever since.

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10 Essential Electro-Industrial Releases From the Millennium’s Edge


Front Line Assembly, Hypnoskull

Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle may have flipped the “on” switch, but industrial music’s machinery really didn’t kick into gear until it discovered its humanity. Electronic body music, typically abbreviated to the letters EBM, drew as much from the noisy experiments of those English art brutalists as they did the German synthesizer servants in DAF and Kraftwerk. Groups like Belgium’s Front 242 and Great Britain’s Nitzer Ebb made unconventional anthems out of 1980s keyboards and unusual vocal approaches.

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Finding Meaning in 0s and 1s: The Rise of Sheffield’s CPU Records

CPU Records

Taking a look at the roster of Sheffield, U.K.’s CPU (Central Processing Unit) Records, it might be hard at first to spot a musical or geographic throughline in its roster of eclectic international electronic artists. Tryphème, whose Online Dating LP features glossy, aerobic patterns and tightly interwoven arrangements, is from France; Mikron, whose zappy, saturated electro is featured on Sleep Paralysis and a few other releases for CPU, hail from Ireland; while Cygnus, whose Radical User Interfaces EP combines raw 808 patterns with crunchy arpeggios and spacious pads, is from Dallas, Texas. These artists all share a certain common sensibility, though—one that places melody and atmosphere in equal standing with groove and rhythm, one that keeps the listener’s interest at a continual high. It’s this range of idiosyncratic yet cohesive output that has made CPU a name in the growing electro scene.

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The Flourishing Electro Scene in the D.R.

Volt Phonic

Volt Phonic

The Dominican music scene is in the middle of an electronic revival. Well, a slow revival. But as musicians and fans across the island can attest, something is happening. Clubs are beginning to host more nights focused on electronic music. Encouraged by both ease and price point, teenagers are swapping electric guitars for ProTools. And in April at the Isle Of Light Festival in Santo Domingo, an event that features artists from across the Latin world, the music of over half of the artists contained some kind of electronic element.

“The scene’s still in diapers,” explains Dominican beat maker Bacayne, of his country’s emerging electro fascination. “It’s underrated. We have the capability of growing and being more global.”

House music is currently king, according to a few of the musicians listed below, but a subtle shift is on the way, as the way as more artists are beginning to play with beats inspired by disco, Detroit, vaporwave, and even their dreams. From electro pop to synthwave Merengue, here are eight artists from the Dominican Republic who have mastered the machines.

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Radioactive Man and the New School of Electro

Radioactive Man

Electro has an odd place in the pantheon of electronic sounds. The music that crystalized at the start of the 1980s, when New York b-boys and Detroit sci-fi lovers repurposed the sounds of Kraftwerk, has injected its rhythms into so much of our modern soundscape. Electro shows up in the most mainstream of hip-hop—through highly localized sounds like Chicago’s juke/footworking beats and Rio De Janeiro’s baile funk, and the work of genre-agnostic producers like Kode9, Objekt, or Helena Hauff. But as a pure sound, it’s never quite achieved the reach of other long-lasting styles like house or drum & bass, and has often piggybacked on the more successful techno scene. But for long-serving producers like Keith Tenniswood (aka Radioactive Man), it’s a way of life.

To date, his most recognizable work has been with Andrew Weatherall—together, they’re known as Two Lone Swordsmen. Between 1996 and 2007, they were prolific remixers, released new music on WARP Records, and ran the notoriously hedonistic Haywire Sessions parties. But Tenniswood’s solo work since 1999 as Radioactive Man—rich with the funk drum machine programs, booming bass and trippy robotic sounds of electro—is just as beloved among a hardcore set of discerning party people. In addition to multiple EPs and remixes, and the new Luxury Sky Garden, he has five albums to his credit, ranging across tempos and rhythms, all incredibly focused in their sound.

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