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Pretty Lights | The Making of A Color Map of the Sun

time June 17th by John-Michael authorTags: , ,

Pretty Lights has not released a full album for two years now. The renown sampled based artist has been hard at work on this new upcoming album, A Color Map of the Sun. Derek Vincent Smith released his documentary that explains how the album was put together. I just finished watching it and completely blown away by the extensive process that went into this album. I would say going forward it would be wrong to call Pretty Lights a sample based producer. Pretty Lights has transformed into a music composer with this album. Contrary to his original process of sampling vinyl records he gathered an orchestra of musicians to record what he had in his head and then pressed it all to vinyl. The complete album was recorded and done in analogue. The synthesis elements of the album were all done with modulators and analogue sounds, NOT digital. The recordings were done on tape and then pressed to vinyl. The end result was a custom crate of vinyl that was created for Derek to use while arranging and piecing together all the recordings into what is the final album.

This past week-end I spent it in Colorado for Sonic Bloom. I had the opportunity to talk to many predominate musicians and producers while at the festival. One of the main questions I asked many of them was where music is going next… Every musician I spoke to mentioned the hybridization of live instruments mixed with the electronic sound. The main artist that was mentioned in every conversation was Pretty Lights and what he was doing with this new album, A Color Map of the Sun.

I believe that if anyone ever doubted Pretty Lights and his future should really think about saying those words… Derek has created a master piece and we haven’t even heard the completed work yet. This album will set the bar for the future. Everyone speaks of this new era of revitalizing the old sounds of soul, jazz, funk, etc… with electronic production. Pretty Lights has done just that and has recorded everything from scratch to the vocals, instruments, and synthesis. We are now in 2013 and Pretty Lights A Color Map of the Sun will become a staple of electronic music for our generation.

Be sure to Pre-order A Color Map of the Sun.
One of the things I’m most excited about this album is the fact that he will be releasing all the live recordings.

Now take a look inside the making of the album below…

Category: Music, Reviews, Videos, Vinyl | commie 1 Comment »

Lazer Sword | Stream Self Titled Album

time October 25th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , ,

Lazer Swords new self-titled album is due out November 4th and Facts has given us the pleasure of hosting and streaming the new album for free via Soundcloud for a week. We’ve all heard the hit single Batman off the album and now it’s time to get a taste of the whole thing. I’ve given it a full listen and you can expect the fattest beats throughout the entire experience. Above is a picture of them rocking it when they came to Miami. I had the pleasure of opening up for them and catching tons of the new material on the FunktionOne at Vagabond. It was a real honor to open for them. Ran into Low Limit again in Seattle for Decibel and real cool dude, true OG.

Much respect to both of them on this. It’s one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year. Be sure to give it a good listen. It’s had my head bobbing all morning at work.

Stream Lazer Sword Album

Buy Lazer Sword – Batman Vinyl

yeah that’s me… lol

Category: Glitch Hop, Music, News, Vinyl | commie No Comments »

How to Destroy Angels – Trent Reznor – Free Download

time June 3rd by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , ,


Trent Reznor is at it again with a new project, How to Destroy Angels, featuring his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, and Atticus Ross. The group released their first album on June 1st, 2010 and has put it up for free download via 320 Mp3s. $2 buys you high quality file formats and HD version of the video. The album consist of 6 tracks including the single, A Drowning. There will be a physical release on July 6th with a vinyl pressing to follow. If you’re not the type to support the artist by buying the music but by buying their merch check out the bands store, it seems like the T-Shirts are going fast.

To preview or download view below:

Here is the video they have released with the album for the song The Space in Between directed by Rupert Sanders.

Category: Downloads, Music, News, Videos, Vinyl | commie No Comments »

Dubplate Culture

time March 9th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , , ,

There is one reason and one reason alone that we should love a DJ, and it’s because of the music he or she plays! Most electronic music has always been fairly exclusive and the era of Dubplate culture is still amongst us. The Dubplate culture refers to producers and record labels releasing an acetate record versus a full vinyl release. The acetate disk is almost a beta of the final version and is limited to certain amount of plays. These copies of the track are very limited and given to a select few. Although records are not commonly used today by DJs a dubplate also refers to a unreleased track that is held by only a select few DJs.

Ultimately what has happened is that big producers make a tune but don’t release it right away and give to a small group of DJs they chose to play the record. This builds hype for the track and good indicator of how much of the vinyl release should be pressed.

It is never a bad idea to test a product or service out on a select audience before releasing it to the general public. That way you know what works, what doesn’t, what to improve or change. Most companies do this, whether they deal in beats, betting party bets, beauty or basketball. Once you feel what you’re offering is as good as it can be, then you can almost guarantee success when you put it out there.

A lot of people have different views on this dubplate culture. On one side you have the people who love this because it makes the song more memorable when you hear a certain DJ drop one of your favorite track and then there’s the argument that music should be freely available. No matter what stance your take on this is it does give a certain aura about tracks and DJs. I can’t tell you countless nights where I’ll be out raving and an exclusive dubplate gets dropped and the place goes WILD because everyone knows it’s an unreleased tune.

This gives DJs power yet almost creates an elitism some say when it comes to music. At the same time some DJs make a living out of playing out and certain dubplates they have are the reason they get booked all over. This is predominate with DJs who play Drum & Bass and Dubstep today.

Now all the hype for this dubplate has gotten has faded once everyone gets their hands on it. This results in certain tracks being played out. It becomes a bit discouraging also as a follower of music and knowing you can’t purchase one of your favorite tunes at the moment especially when you know it won’t be out for months since you first heard it. The flipside is you will search and search for a specific song and have no luck but when you do get a hold of it; it’s this unexplainable feeling to finally have in your possession.

Today in a digital world you don’t see much of acetate records being made because of cost but you will see white label and promo copies floating around on very limited pressings before an official release. CDJs and Serato are so popular now that it has become about who you know and if you’re on that secret mailing list for certain producers.

All things considered now chose wisely on what parties and DJs you go check out this year at WMC. There are some tracks that I’ll never forget hearing last year at WMC events solely because it was something so rare to hear at the time on a big system. One that stands out to me right away was hearing Joker & Ginz’s Purple City dropped by Plastician at London Bass at Black Sheep months before that tune got an official release.

Hate it or love dubplates create a special moment for us all when we hear music played live. It’s what can make a lasting memory of the night hearing a certain song with hundreds of people around us loosing control to what is to be one of the hottest songs of the year.

Category: Music, News, Vinyl | commie 1 Comment »

Serato + Ableton – The Bridge

time January 14th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , , ,

Serato Ableton The Bridge

It has finally been unvieled to the world! The partnership of Ableton and Serato has produced something that looks to change the face of DJing all over again.

The Bridge is an updated version of Serato that integrates the session view that we’ve all come to know in Ableton into the Scratch Live interface. Launch clips and controlling them via decks or CJS. Also they’ve out done themselves with having it all work together and using many tricks that Ableton has for mixing. Sampling couldn’t have become easier either.

One great feature that I know I’m going to take advantage of is Play Hard(ware) where it allows you to hook additional hardware controllers like the new APC20, launch pad, or APC40. It will automatically change the Ableton layout to match your controller and have your clips run like regular tracks using Scratch or Itch. Truly the possibilities are endless.

Those of you who are into recording mixes and tweaking them up to sound perfect can also export recorded sets in Serato into an Ableton file. This lets you go back and edit or add anything into the mix.

The future is now and we are going to start to see DJs and Producers starting to share a common bridge. This to me is big because now a DJ who is use to conventional Scratch setup has oppertunity to finally pick up on Ableton and enter into production a lot smoother. This also gives a chance for producers to get a feel for using decks or CDJs in mixing with an environment they are familar with. Everyone wins here and only helps to push things further along.

Category: Hardware, News, Vinyl | commie No Comments »

The life of a DJ and how I got started

time December 7th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , , ,

I wanted to write an actual post. The past couple of months have been life changing. Mid 2009 I decided that I was going to follow one of my dreams of learning how to DJ. The past 2-3years of my life I spent too much time listening and finding music (dubstep) that it really took most of my energy. It even affected me at home because I was so obsessed. 2009 was a new beginning for me and things had to be rebuilt. I had so much emptiness that I needed to fill.

The thrill of finding new tracks and ordering the latest dub on record took on a whole new purpose. The music was all that could fill the void. All this energy transformed me into a whole new person. I would go out almost every night to catch every DJ set I could from locals and international DJs who spun dubstep.

It had been years since I had begun to party like this. Eventually I began to see familiar faces every night I went out. Facebook and MySpace are quite powerful tools and eventually started networking quite a bit. Kept my distance but would have a conversation here and there.

It really dawned upon me that all these years of following the music I was one of the few. It became apparent to me that the scene was now at its prime and getting ready to explode. The time was right and I had already invested so much time into the music that it only made sense to begin DJing.

Continue reading “The life of a DJ and how I got started” »

Category: Dubstep, Glitch Hop, Music, Vinyl | commie 1 Comment »

Technics stops producing 1200s – Turntables retired rumor

time November 28th by John-Michael authorTags: , , ,

There is a rumor going around that Panasonic the parent company of Technics will stop producing the stable turntables that we’ve all been so familiar with. Technic 1200s have been the industry standard for decades when it came to a DJs setup. The recent transition to CDJs and digital controllers seem to have finally taken away market share of the traditional vinyl ways. This is a major blow to the traditional godfathers of DJing.

As of now I haven’t found a legit source but it if were true, I wouldn’t be surprised. One thing I can’t help but wonder… how will this affect the price of MK5s once they are sold out at major retailers. How much longer will we see DJs using vinyl?

The details explain that Panasonic will completely stop production in 2010. This might be the best time to get a pair of 1200s. Now I almost regret getting a pair instead of the Vestax’s. Who knows MK5s could become a serious collectors item in a few years.

Category: News, Vinyl | commie No Comments »

Audiowood – Turntable’s Handcrafted

time November 22nd by John-Michael authorTags: , , ,

Art Basel is coming on up in Miami and plan to post some more things listed under art. I love with art and design come together with music. Audiowood is a company that is producing some incredible designs of turntables.

thor turntable

pods audiowood turntable



You can check out some more of Audiowood’s creative work at their website.
They also got some matching iPod docks. Audiowood Site

Category: Art, Hardware, Vinyl | commie No Comments »

Fabric’s new series: Elevator Music Vol. 1

time November 5th by John-Michael authorTags: , , , , , ,

We all know about the epic Fabric Live mixes we’ve come to love. The series of mixes has taken the best of all the genres and put together something special. It looks like the Fabric label is looking to expand into actual CD releases now.

This may be the first of the last but from the looks of it I wouldn’t count on that. The first CD they are sticking to the 140bpm bangers! Tons of unreleased stuff that too be honest I haven’t even heard most of these. From glancing over who the producers are though I don’t expect I’ll be disappointed.

One thing that has really excited me about this releases is that we’ll most likely see it come out on wax!

Elevator Music Vol. 1 Tracklist:
1) Hot City – If That’s How I Feel
2) xxxy – Sing With Us
3) Doc Daneeka – Drums In The Deep
4) Hackman – Pistol. In Your Pocket
5) Julio Bashmore – The Moth
6) Untold – Bad Girls
7) Octa Push – Doctor Bayard
8) Shortstuff – Behave
9) Skinnz – Behave
10) Mosca – Gold Bricks, I See You
11) Martyn – Friedrichstrasse
12) Vista – Elixir
13) Caspa & Rusko – One Of The Same
14) Om Unit – Encoded
15) Starkey – Black Monolith
16) Shortstuff & Brackles – Melvin Blue (Digital Bonus Track)

Category: Dubstep, Music, News, Vinyl | commie No Comments »

Julie West Solo Show Miami Pink Ghost

time October 22nd by John-Michael authorTags: , , , ,

julie west solo show

I’m a big fan of vinyl toys. Ever since I saw the customizable Munny’s, I totally dug the whole customize culture.

There are many toy designers out there but one stands out of the crowd, Julie West.

julie west tweet spring toy
Julie West has a definite unique style and theme with all her work. She is not limited in toy design but also creates beautiful illustrations and prints. Although her style is very feminine I can appreciate her work and see how many women around the world collect her work.

Julie West custom VGS Mei Mei

We are lucky enough to have Julie West in town this week-end for a solo show at Pink Ghost! The event is October 24th at 7pm. She will be signing her art book at the store. Be sure to check it out!
julie west book
For more information and directions check out the Pink Ghost site.
Also if you want to check out some of Julie West‘s work online visit her site as well.

Category: Art, Events, Vinyl | commie No Comments »