Best of Wunderground

Wunderground Banner

We all need a good laugh at times. The music industry is loaded with news, cultural trends, and occasional drama, so it’s important to take the edge off and make light of these situations. When it comes to satire, no media outlet does it better than the team at Wunderground. They hold nothing back, and are not afraid to say what we’re all thinking. From the mainstream to the underground…no one is safe. There’s hundreds of noteworthy articles, but here are our picks of the best Wunderground articles over the years.

Kaskade

Kaskade Hospitalized With Exhaustion After Attempting To Play Marathon Two Hour Set

A marathon set, for most dance enthusiasts, is a special opportunity to witness a DJ in their true element. Being able to take the audience on a musical journey for six, eight, ten, hell…twenty-four hours is the ultimate expression of endurance and musical programming. Fans of underground electronic dance music are treated to this more frequently then their mainstream counterparts, which set up Wunderground for the perfect article to poke fun at an EDM marathon set from Kaskade…or lack-thereof.

“It was like his body knew it should be in a green room drinking San Pellegrino and counting cash and not out there hard at work mixing one EDM track that sounds the same as every other EDM track into another EDM track that sounds largely identical to the previous one.”

Read more

apple logo space

Apple Announces Streaming Service To Launch June 30

apple-wwdc-20150348

Given the degree to which the streaming industry has recently flourished, many have been speculating that Apple will enter this market. This morning, Apple held a press conference at WWDC to confirm the rumors and officially announce the details of their forthcoming streaming service. The so-called “Apple Music” service, which launches June 30, offers a 3-month free trial period; if/when you decide to purchase it, you can do so for $9.99/month (or $14.99/month for a family plan with 6 users). Apple, the largest retailer of digital music, is in a prime position to dominate the streaming market, which has potential for enormous growth as we move further and further into the digital era.

soundcloud icon

Soundcloud Reaches Deal With 20,000 Independent Labels

soundcloud logo wide

In a statement released this morning, SoundCloud effectively brought the music streaming business into uncharted territory. Continuing on a string of strategic yet controversial business alliances, the company has signed an agreement with Merlin, a so-called “Global Music Rights Agency” that works on behalf of over 20,000 independent music labels. Some noteworthy labels include Warp Records, Epitaph, !K7, and thousands more. In an ongoing attempt to monetize streaming, and following increasing backlash from much of the music industry, SoundCloud seems to finally be transforming in a positive manner.

With this in mind, the Merlin deal can be seen as a stepping stone for SoundCloud to be a legitimate platform for established artists to release licensed content in an entirely legal manner.

For more information, take a look at this Interview with Music Ally in which they discuss aspects of the licensing deal

 

chrome icon

Google Chrome Adds MIDI Capability

chrome midi

As bandwidth and hosting become increasingly affordable, we are seeing a number of cloud-based audio production apps spring into existense Fortunately, there is now a way to use your favorite MIDI controller with in-browser software; simply download the latest Google Chrome update, which allows Chrome to scan your computer for connected MIDI devices and allow those devices to control cloud-based plugins. This update will facilitate collaboration and is a big step toward making cloud-based production a legitimate means of remote musical collaboration. As of now, only a couple of cloud-based apps have included MIDI functionality, but we expect the vast majority of them to follow suit now that Chrome will be able to transmit MIDI data between your computer and the apps.

Event Roundup: CNTRL LA

richie hawtin cntrl hands up

Richie Hawtin‘s CNTRL tour brought a new kind of event to college students across the country, hitting 8 campuses in 10 days (quite an impressive feat considering the distance between cities). However, this was not your typical “college tour” –  CNTRL featured lectures and equipment demos from the man himself, several other artists, and some of the industry’s leading tech companies (followed, of course, by  amazing afterparties). We were lucky enough to make it to the both the UCLA event and the afterparty this past Saturday, and here’s our comprehensive breakdown of the weekends events.

Co-hosted by UCLA’s EDMC (as well as its extremely helpful and dedicated staff) and Music Industry Program, the UCLA CNTRL event was held in the Jan Popper Theater at the Herb Alpert School Of Music. The room was packed without an empty seat. It was truly amazing to see students lined up all the way around the building for a techno-related event, eager to further explore the intellectual side of techno with some of the genres brightest minds. Across the hall from the theater was the tech marketplace, where some of the top companies in the music tech industry brought an arsenal of gear and software for anybody to use, and naturally we took advantage of this.

Photo Cred - Nolan Isozaki/UCLA EDMC

Photo Courtesy Of – Nolan Isozaki/UCLA EDMC

Native Instruments came with a number of controllers, most notably the D2 and the S8, along with several laptops running Traktor software. Richie Hawtin has been a long-time public supporter of the Berlin-based company, and over the years Native Instruments has grown from a software company to a dominant force in all sectors of the electronic music technology market, including DAW software, plugins, hardware, DJ gear, controllers, and much more. Point Blank, one of the world’s leading schools for electronic music production made a special appearance at both the tech marketplace and the lecture, participating in Hawtin’s discussions of technique, experimentation, learning, and training. Joined by Victor Calderone, Chris Liebing, Ean Golden, and singer Grimes, Hawtin gave an insightful lecture accompanied by a demonstration of several elements of his live performance setup in a masterclass hosted by Point Blank. All of the other artists got to weigh in as well; after the lecture, they opened the room for questions, and people lined up to say hello afterward.

The Lecture

point blank richie cntrl

CNTRL/Point Blank Masterclass w/ Richie Hawtin

The lecture opened with a discussion of live performance in dance music and injecting human feel into otherwise mechanical grooves. Using a TR-8, Ableton Push, and Traktor with a variety of Native Instruments controllers, Richie Hawtin demonstrated a number of live performance techniques he has developed over the years. He stressed the importance of breaking the monotony of 8 and 16 bar loops over and over again, adding that the best way to get lost in the groove is when it is ambiguous which bar is the beginning of the phrase; Richie does this by using obscure loop lengths, bringing new elements in at unexpected moments, and making endless variations on relatively simple material. His workflow, he explained, does not involve digitally syncing Ableton and Traktor, which he avoids for two reasons: first and foremost, differing latencies between the computer programs can cause the musical elements to get out of time with each other. This can be avoided by “beatmatching” the programs by “nudging.” Additionally, not syncing allows him to be free from the monotony that syncing requires; tempos can be adjusted in one program while the other remains independent.

richie talking 1

“The time you spend in the studio is never wasted time, even those days when you’re uninspired.” – Richie Hawtin, CNTRL LA

While the lecture demonstration featured software and hardware, Richie also discussed the role of playing records in a live set, noting that DJ and Live sets don’t have to be mutually exclusive. He adds that the DJ is responsible for creating what he calls the “third record”; this metaphorical record is created when a DJ assembles a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. This can be done by blending records, layering instruments/drum machines, sampling, looping, tweaking FX, and more; he adds that historically, EQ has played an enormous part in the creation of this third record. Often, DJs will crank the highs all the way up for a few bars, creating a sharp, crispy slap, or kill the bass to create a type of low-end vacuum. When the knobs are tweaked, the crowd experiences new musical elements that are not present in the original record.

After the demonstration of live techniques, Richie talked about playing around and figuring out how the gear works since they didn’t have manuals for the used gear they bought back in the day and had no idea how to use it – they had to blaze their own trails with the technology, and that forced them to spend massive amounts of time experimenting with the gear.

DSCF4218

Photo Courtesy Of – Nolan Isozaki/UCLA EDMC

Finally, the floor was opened for questions, and virtually every hand was in the air. One student asked about the place of experimentation, and Richie explained that he is driven by what feels right inside of him, and will continue to do so, experimenting when he feels so inclined. However, he emphasized that while experimentation and innovation are important, they should only be done in an authentic manner that doesn’t betray one’s artistic essence and alienate. This led to an intriguing dialog between Richie and friends about authenticity in music; the consensus was that all that matters is making music that feels right to you. As Victor Calderone pointed out, it’s easier and faster to make music that comes from inside your heart.

Another student asked about promoting oneself as an artist and how to find a label; Richie dismissed the notion that you need a label to get started with your career, noting that the most important thing was enthusiasm and support from your friends. As he told us, if one person in the room produced a track and every person in the room shared it on their social media, that would get the ball rolling. Long-hailed as the king of minimal techno, Hawtin comes from a DIY underground culture, and he explained that a lot of whathe did marketing-wise was just trial and error, just it was when he was learning how to use the equipment he has come to master.

Tech Marketplace

Photo Cred - Nolan Isozaki/UCLA EDMC

Photo Courtesy Of – Nolan Isozaki/UCLA EDMC

The tech marketplace opened at 2:00, 2 hours before the lecture, and remained open during and after the lecture. I began at the Roland booth, where they had set up a number of AIRA instruments, including the TR-8, TB-3, VT-3, MX-1, and System-1. With 5 machines and 5 pairs of headphones, it was evident that a proper jam session was in order – I rounded up a few students and we just started playing around. Next was Subpac, a unique “Tactile Bass System” designed to provide low end enhancement in instances when a subwoofer is unavailable or unpractical, and can either be fastened to a chair or worn on the back. In addition to being well-suited for studio use, this product is an amazing option for DJs as it makes beatmatching a breeze.

 

DSCF4053

Photo Courtesy Of – Nolan Isozaki/UCLA EDMC

Pioneer, a company that needs no introduction, was there in full force to promote their CJDs, controllers, speakers, and new rekordbox update. The booth was packed all day, as dozens of DJs went B2B with friends and strangers alike, and their staff were very helpful, teaching a number of younger students how to use the gear. One of the most iconic brands in the DJ industry, the Pioneer booth was the first stop for many attendees at the tech fair. The last booth we were able to check out was Splice, a free service for artists and producers designed to facilitate musical collaboration; essentially, you sync project files, presets, and samples to a cloud, and they can be shared via the website for collaboration with producers around the world. Projects can be shared as open, public, private, or secret collaborations, and major artists such as Richie Hawtin, Daft Punk, and Skrillex have used the service. Supported DAWs include Ableton, FL Studio, Logic, and Garageband, although they are currently taking requests for new software to include.

la-et-ms-richie-hawtin-ean-golden-cntrl-edm-preview-20150424 (1)

Photo Courtesy Of – LA Times

 The After Party

After the CNTRL event at UCLA was over, we made our way to the afterparty, hosted by Insomniac Events. It had already been a long day of excitement, but we knew things would be getting even more exciting. The Hollywood Palladium was perfect for the event, large enough to comfortably accommodate the crowd and without a bad view in the house. The show, with performances by Lee K, Ean Golden, Victor Calderone, Richie Hawtin, and Chris Liebing was seven hours of techno heaven. Lee K got things started nicely weaving between smooth house cuts, with a highlight being the tropical flows of Supernova’s edit of the classic Beat Me Back.  Ean Golden kept the crowd warmed up on some nice vibey grooves and started picking up the pace with the well known Radio Slave anthem, Don’t Stop No Sleep. For a warm up set the Radio Slave track seemed a bit out of place, but Ean was quick to re-calibrate the vibe setting it up appropriately before Victor threw down some chunky tech-house fire.

victor calderone cntrl

Victor Calderone getting the crowd ready for Richie.

 

As Victor stepped away from the booth, Richie tapped in with some minimal bliss, hypnotizing us in a sea of rolling basslines and glitchy percussion. No real point in attempting to ID any tracks as it was a master-class in beats and technology. Arguably the best part of Richie Hawtin’s set was the final twenty minutes where he slowed the pace down and crafted cerebral minimal textures to a welcoming crowd. To end, Chris Liebing kicked the energy up to a whole new level, delivering a barrage of heavy thumpers all the way to 4AM closing time. Unfortunately it appeared as if tiredness kicked in as the crowd was not as energetic as they could have been during the massive techno display that Liebing put on. That being said, any fan of CLR and techno would have had a great time during his set…perhaps it was just a little much for some of the fresh crowd.

richie live cntrl

Photo Courtesy Of – Mappingjuices.com

Looking back on the event and the tour in general, it is safe to say that CNTRL was an enormous success; the UCLA event saw a a tremendous student turnout, although it drew a great deal of fans of all ages. Families, children, students, and adults came together, united by a love of music and technology, and we can only hope that the future will hold more events like this one. Although much of mainstream society doesn’t know it, Techno is and has always been an intellectual phenomenon, and it’s great to see these kinds of innovative presentations embraced by the academic community.

Techno Museum to Open in Frankfurt, Germany

In 1984, a 21 year old by the name of Andreas Tomalla invented techno… Not the musical genre, but the word (or so he claims). It all started when he was working at a record store in Frankfurt, and he had trouble categorizing the “new” vinyl coming in by Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode. The very same year, he opened Technoclub, the first dance club in Frankfurt that devoted its undivided attention to electronic music. Now, the man better known by his stage name, Talla 2XLC, has forever solidified his name in electronic music by planning to open Europe’s first Techno Museum.

The Museum of Modern Electronic Music – or MOMEM for short, is scheduled to open in 2017 and will be expected to deliver a large spectrum of insight as to how electronic music has contributed to musical culture around the world. As opposed to traditional museums, MOMEM will focus on a wide array of various workshops for any burgeoning DJ’s as well as other bilateral exhibitions for electronic music enthusiasts of all walks of life. The museum will also be host for live events, which in this case, means its pretty safe to assume a club-esque environment and vibe is to be expected. In this day and age, it’s difficult for some people to take an interest in museums of any kind but it’s doubtful to say the least that MOMEM will have any trouble with attendance.

[Photos via the MOMEM website]

 

 

Techno Therapy: CNTRL Los Angeles

Banner

When Richie Hawtin initiated the CNTRL Tour back in 2012 the goal was to go beyond EDM by educating the upcoming generation about electronic music and the rich history behind in. They accomplished this through a series of keynote lectures and workshops at university campuses across the country, with an event that same evening. It’s an all-inclusive package for those eager to learn more about this wonderful culture.

CNTRL Lecture

Photo Credit: CNTRL

The 2015 CNTRL Tour is already underway, and this Saturday April 25th Richie Hawtin will be making a stop here in Los Angeles. At the UCLA Campus, Richie Hawtin will be present for a Point Blank Music Master-class followed by a two-hour artist lecture with guests Chris Liebing, Victor Calderone, Ean Golden, and Grimes.

 

The night event will take place at the Hollywood Palladium, and to get us ready for the evening here’s a heavy dose of Techno Therapy from everyone on the lineup.

CNTRL Los Angeles 2015: Information | Tickets to CNTRL at the Palladium Read more

Kenny Glasgow Leaves Art Department

AD

Kenny Glasgow has just announced that he will no longer be a part of Art Department with Jonny White. The two have released numerous tracks and albums over the years, and collectively have provided sonic bliss to dance floors world-wide.

While this does come as a surprise to fans, perhaps this could have been predicted when Kenny Glasgow released a solo track on the No. 19 Spring Sampler earlier this year. Following up with this release on the sampler and his departure from Art Department, Glasgow intends to release a solo LP later this year through No. 19 Music.

In regards to his leaving Art Department, Glasgow had this to say:

“This kind of a project is like a creative marriage and after 5 years we just feel like there’s more we need to do in other areas. Having already released a solo album, I have felt a strong need to follow that up and explore that side of my production. Art Department is in a great place and I’m not getting any younger, now is the time” [Source – Pulse Radio]

However, just because they will no longer work together as Art Department, this doesn’t mean the musical efforts of Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White are over. The two are planning the launch of a new project, Social Experiment, while Jonny White continues the Art Department legacy as his solo project.

As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM Debuts at Tribeca

Tribecca Banner

As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM is a new documentary debuting this Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. DJ AM’s rise to fame within the music industry is an engaging story filled with tremendous challenges, ending with his untimely death in 2009 at the young age of 36.

Director, Kevin Kerslake, pays tribute to the life of Adam Goldstein through this documentary. To tell the story of As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM, Kerslake includes interviews with friends and colleagues such as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Pasquale Rotella, Z-Trip, and Travis Barker who all provide phenomenal insight about their time with DJ AM. Despite his tragic passing, DJ AM surely left his mark on the industry and helped paved the way for future avenues of music and culture.

As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM has a run time of 102 minutes, and can be seen on the following dates at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Friday, April 17: Regal Cinemas Battery Park
Time – 9:15 PM

Saturday, April 18: Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 6
Time – 9:30 PM

Wednesday, April 22: Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 7
Time – 3:00 PM

Saturday, April 25: Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 6
Time – 9:30 PM

Tribeca Film Festival: Official Site

Record Store Day 2015: Top Store Selections

RSD Banner
This Saturday might as well be an international holiday for music lovers. April 18th marks the official “Record Store Day” across the globe, with hundreds of stores participating and offering exclusive releases for the occasion. With massive turnouts each year around the globe, it is clear that the vinyl industry is alive and well. Record Store Day is also embodied by an aura of exclusivity with many releases being offered in limited pressings, and often times limited to a “one-per-customer” basis. Record Store Day has become an iconic novelty over the years for both fans and businesses alike, with people coming together for a love of the music.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a specific release, or just want to bask in the atmosphere of Record Store Day, here’s a list to help guide you to the right places. Read more