Tag Archives: electronic music

A Guide to Dancing in Lisbon

Lisbon

Photo by Cecile Lopes

As life in London, Berlin, Paris, and Northern Europe as a whole becomes increasingly costly, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon is emerging as a real alternative for young artists in the EU looking for a fulfilling, creative, affordable existence. (The start-ups and investors have already begun to follow suit.) But Lisbon has a long history of dance music and club culture, one that existed long before this influx—and it’s now at the start of a radical new chapter. Continue reading

Joker’s Rave Roots Are Showing

Joker

For someone with one of the most distinctive sounds in all of club music, and with over a decade of DJ-ing legendary raves, Liam McLean, aka Joker, can seem very unsure of himself. Continue reading

High Scores: Jon Everist’s “BattleTech” Soundtrack

Battletech

Not too long ago, Jon Everist was a musical weekend warrior, producing hip-hop with his friends in Seattle, Washington, and playing a lot of video games. “My three favorite things in life were always making music, hiking, and playing video games,” he says. He found himself increasingly enamored with video game scores—particularly, Amon Tobin’s work on Chaos Theory: Splinter Cell 3 and Disasterpeace’s music for FEZ—and he saw an opportunity to combine two of his passions. “But I really knew nothing about the processes for writing for games,” he says.

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Beyond J-Core: An Introduction to the Real Sound of Japanese Hardcore

DJ Shimamura

DJ Shimamura

Japan’s hardcore scene is a vast web of substyles and fusions. There’s the grinding industrial elements of the label Murder Channel, the gothic speedcore of Japanese Stream Hardcore, the traditional four-to-the-floor hardcore rave sounds of Shimamura’s Dark Agenda, and the hyperactive aesthetic and energy of Psycho Filth Records. Yet as sprawling and exciting as the scene is, it often gets loosely tagged under the same umbrella: J-core. Continue reading

Found Sounds from the Edge of Earth

Found Sounds

Sound Field recording in Iceland.  Photo by Finnbogi Petursson.

There are certain sounds that can’t be born in the confines of a studio or created after countless hours spent fiddling with expensive synthesizers. The meditative drone of a rainforest can’t be replicated by a Juno, and a drum machine will never echo the repetitive, crashing pulse of a waterfall. Field recording, the act of capturing often unexplored terrain with a microphone and a pair of headphones, is one way to archive these sounds. Continue reading

Album of the Day: MASTER BOOT RECORD, “Direct Memory Access”

If Yngwie Malmsteen had grown up with computers instead of guitars, MASTER BOOT RECORD’s synthesis of chiptune and baroque metal might not be such a wonder. The mysterious solo Italian recording project—self-described as “100% Synthesized, 100% Dehumanized” on social media—shares the kind of chugging rhythms, blasting percussion, and precise arpeggios favored by the pioneering metal guitarist. But MASTER BOOT RECORD does all of that it minus guitars and plus a lot of 1s and 0s, adding a healthy diet of bleeps and bloops that will sound instantly familiar to students of 1970s and ‘80s arcade games. That combination—menacing metal and glittery game sounds—is something unique, similar to early Daft Punk’s marriage of vocoder, techno, and disco sounds. Continue reading

Album of the Day: Various Artists, “Now That’s What I Call Trax! Volume 1”

There’s no denying the massive weight TRAX Records has in the history of house music—the name conjures up the sights and sounds of a beautifully diverse, extremely creative and hedonistic Chicago dance underground. Founded in 1983, the label was by no means the only one releasing house music when the style exploded onto the mainstream in the 1980s and 1990s, but it remains one of the most influential and pioneering names in the genre, releasing music by greats like Frankie Knuckles, Screamin’ Rachael (TRAX’s co-founder and current president), Jesse Saunders, Marshall Jefferson, and Farley Jackmaster Funk, among others. Keeping up with the label’s cutting-edge and independent spirit, their newest compilation, Now That’s What I Call Trax! Vol. 1, showcases the best of TRAX Records’ releases in the past decade, giving a nod to house music’s roots and steering it towards the future. Continue reading

Better Know a College Radio Station: University of Oregon’s KWVA

College Radio, KWVA

For many obsessive fans who grew up in the pre-Internet era, a passion for music was sparked in the dingy basements and dark booths of college radio stations. Despite sound boards that are decades out of date and tastes that are rapidly changing, the collegiate airwaves tradition has endured. The best college stations remain dedicated to delivering music that fall outside the purview of Billboard-charting mainstream radio. Continue reading