Monthly Archives: December 2012
DJ/Producer Goldroom is giving up the tables and transforming his tropical funk psychedelia project into a live band, debuting early 2013.
Josh Legg (aka Goldroom), is a coastal Massachusetts native residing in Los Angeles for the last several years. Just a few years into his solo project he’s already received stern attention from artists including Aeroplane, Gigamesh, and The Disco Biscuits. In 2008 he formed his own label Binary with partner Kyle Peterson, conquering feats in producing, managing, and performing dynamic beats. In recent months he’s received recognition as a promising new DJ from magazines/media organizations like Gotta Dance Dirty and Fader. His cool confidence transposes into his work beautifully, and negates any doubts you might have about the potential in this scene. This has surely been a prolific year for the 80’s electronica comeback. The rapid influx of emerging artists and DJ’s can be overwhelming but it constantly changes the standards. What resulted is a once thought simple, outdated genre, has branched into a plethora of dynamic subgenres and styles that you can’t imagine until they’re right in front of your face.
Goldroom is like a musical interpretation of the dreamy sequences in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey mixed with the synth-pop vibe of 80’s disco. The solemn melodies in his song “Pacific” could have easily been placed in the score of any John Hughes film. He has a tendency to experiment with cosmic synth-heavy segments over walking funky bass-lines that are comparable to Ichisan, but with a Southern California touch. Unlike the more house oriented variety of retro-electronica exploding in LA right now, his beats carry a smoother tropical groove. Somehow Legg ventured beyond the limitations of island style disco and breached into a psychedelic plane. Rather than just diving into the science of intricate dance patterns and beat-making, he pieces together a world where you can simultaneously get lost in its perpetual rhythm and painted dreamscapes.
Recently, Legg has expressed multiple times his longing to go back to playing music on live instruments. Formation of the live band has been in the works since January last year. He was part of a Los Angeles synth-pop trio called Nightwaves before going solo, and his musical background is an important precursor to the immense potential of this upcoming live act. In this case, the music may have an even more powerful effect translated live than in the studio. Playing his songs live will leave more opportunity for improvisation, passionate peaks, and most importantly the musicians in their most raw state of creativity. The incorporation of traditional samples in his tracks like guitar licks, steel drums, and bass lines already present a live element with his style. By staying away from over using unnecessary samples and obnoxious beat patterns and mash-ups, his sound always remains smooth. Electronic methods of producing music (reason, ableton, logic, etc) open up a door to infinite sounds and possibilities, but that doesn’t mean that EDM has to be restricted to DJing. Goldroom believes in that ideal and is taking it further than anyone else, and because of this he’s an independent visionary.
As of now he possesses an impressive stage presence as a DJ. All the radio mixes he releases are both cosmically radiant and fun and clever. His closing set at Pacific Festival in Orange County was remarkable, not a single dull moment. The meticulous manner in which he orchestrates his music is a little exciting to be honest for this day in age. His tracks are engineered in a studio that would make James Murphy proud, writing all the music using drum machines, analog synthesizers, guitar, bass, and percussion himself. The digital productions are minimal and done on Logic, and he only uses Abletonlive to record the DJ mixes, not performances. In all it’s rare glory, “DJ” who makes music for the sake of music
With the experience and momentum that Goldroom is moving forward with we predict a tight, crisp live presentation of his compositions. Right in the beginning of relatively initial success as a DJ he’s onto the next move, hungry to expand. Collectively his originals(excluding remixes) don’t even make up an hour of music right now, so this could mean they’re composing songs exclusively for the band. More artists should take steps like this, not dropping the turntables, but taking risks and pushing the envelope. Too many up and comers are assimilating to rising trends in the electronic industry, due to an almost unanimous public demand for it in recent years. Fear not, hope for musical ingenuity in an era of seldom artistic progression is still alive ladies and gentlemen.
Goldroom will be debuting his full live band at Dim Mak Studios on February 26, 2013.
Sound Tribe Sector 9 will embark on an extensive tour across most of the West and part of the South early 2013, starting with a three day New Years Eve run in Denver (a change from their once annual five day stretch in Atlanta, GA), and ending at the Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina.
STS9 are pioneers in live electronic jam music, having a fierce reputation in the tour scene. Each audience serves as a canvas to their carefully planned compositions and array of sounds. Seeing them live is like watching the weather play music, and just as variable. This band has persevered through so much over the years, including their bassist David Murphy overcoming a rare form of skin cancer. Even that can’t stop them. Sound Tribe hasn’t missed a beat since forming. Minus the situation with Murphy, they manage dozens of amazing artists on their own 1320 Records label, and have continuously toured this year and every year previous, grasping tightly to the concept of live music. Through all the internal style changes and obstacles this group has faced they are still unlike any other band around.
A lot of buzz has been surrounding their performances this year, including at the Disco Biscuits’ Mayan Holidaze Festival in Mexico this past week. The band has a new set of stage theatrics and lightshow, and a passion in their playing that we’ve been missing for a long time now. STS9 got a second wind in their career and were looking forward to what happens next.
Early this morning Space-funk sensation Cinnamon Chasers premiered his new music video for “Lights”, off his recently dropped album Dreams and Machines.
CC is the same galactic maestro behind the Abakus moniker, Russ Davies, the son of The Kinks’ founder Dave Davies. Not only did Davies put a large portion of his heart and soul into the album, he took the reigns on supervising and contributing directly to the music video, inadvertently turning it into yet another Russ Davies sideproject rather than a routine music video to help push the relevance of his new release. He was a core instrument in directing, editing, and producing the video, and features himself in the final product, but not in an exploitative position. Ego is certainly involved, not for self-gratification or his fifteen seconds, but for making sure that the integrity of the song and he himself as the creator, remains untainted.
Dreams and Machines is an aesthetic compilation of digital space beats and psychedelic soundscapes, and a likely contender for one of the top albums of 2012. “Lights”, although perceived as softer than the other tracks on the album, is able to personify the themes and styles present throughout the entire release. Great factors for choosing a target single, and furthermore, an appropriate greeting to the listeners as they enter the extraterrestrial world of Cinnamon Chasers.
Tensnake (known to his parents in his native Hamburg as Marco Neimerski) is a force to be reckoned with. This producer knows what he is doing and this is just pulsating through every beat he makes. As far as releases go he is slightly shy but his remixes and originals are instant classics, though quite frankly his mixes just don’t do him justice. His live performances are just incredible. If you’re ever presented with an opportunity to see this guy do his thing, it will forever change your standards as to how a DJ should properly deliver a perfect set. There’s disco-house musicians sure, but then there’s Tensnake. There’s just a perplexing quality within this artist that enables him to simply throw it down better than most of his peers. Luckily we have a testament to that belief.
Enjoy the show
Once again DFA Records has found itself in the streets of Hollywood. Pat Mahoney, co-founder and drummer of LCD Soundsystem, and The Juan MacLean performed at Dim Mak Studios last night with support from Urulu, Dirty Dave, and club resident Bones.
For those not familiar, DFA Records is a Brooklyn based label co-founded by LCD frontman James Murphy, and is known for signing some of the most elite underground indie and disco artists today. John MacLean, the brains of former live band gone solo act The Juan MacLean, has earned a great deal of respect among fellow DJ’s, becoming one of the most acclaimed names in vinyl spinners. Aside from an unmistakable niche on the turntables, his role as a producer may even supersede that. Colleague and friend Nancy Whang collaborated with John on the hit “Happy House“, which had a large effect on his chart presence at the time. His single “Feels So Good” (a serious heater) remains a frequently circulated classic across the globe, and one of our Top 20 originals in the 2000-2010 decade. In addition to the entries in his discography, he is responsible for producing a substantial amount of tracks for fellow artists on the label. Truly his own brand of DJ, his taste for vintage funk and disco and energetic live mixing are key factors in making him one of the most entertaining electronic acts one can see in a live setting.
The attendance at Dim Mak was particularly small for an ages 18+ electronic show, which was interesting when considering the turn out for past DFA oriented events in the area (however it was a little depressing when thinking of how well the TRAP shows out here do). Fortunately this didn’t affect our headliner’s performance any and they proceeded very accordingly with unexpected intimacy. Dirty Dave surprisingly played a fairly decent set and completed his task as an opener with more grace than most. He switched over to The Juan MacLean around 11pm, who opened up with Penguin Prison’s Multi-Millionaire (Pete Herbert Club Mix), immediately setting the tone for what’s to come.
What followed was pleasantly intense. Right after the introductory segue I could tell something different was going to happen. The set’s atmosphere was rich in deep/tech house, descending into perpetual notes of disco grooves as a base. A lot of the tracks featured a strong focus on female vocals, something trademarked in his own original productions and past DJ sets. Although it was the most house music I have seen either him or Pat Mahoney play, especially with the tasteful disco both perform adamantly and which the record label is predominately founded upon, Juan played all the right sounds and with all the right class a DFA superstar would.
I would attribute the content of the set to the location; being in Hollywood and playing in Steve Aoki’s spot, I can see where the house would be appropriate. Contrary to any assumption that MacLean is just another mass produced stage puppet for taking this change in direction live, the track selection was choice. If he was in fact trying to adapt to the setting, far away from his underground empire of New York, he only did so in a small amount. This was no dime-a-dozen Los Angeles house gig. The tracks had a minuscule line between disco and club music genres and always held a hometown funk rhythm to fluently guide them. Although Juan strayed from a vintage 70’s selection and veered into more extrinsic beats, it was still executed in classic form. We’re suckers for a properly filtered blend of disco mixed with early millennia club-house, and when you pit those characteristics with someone with as much experience on the decks as The Juan, the payoff is explosive.
Indeed the show was different from anything I’ve heard either of the two do in the past, but at the same time it wasn’t, and this is because of the level of expertise they possess. They could spin anything and their signatures will still radiate through the speakers. All that Pat and MacLean did last night was took their Brooklyn style confidence and applied it to old school house grooves and beat patterns, and that accents LA. The quality that puts these veterans in a different class is that they treat the turntables as a true instrument and tool for bringing lost and forgotten tracks back on the public’s radar. DFA Records is just the dose of class the streets of Hollywood need to get these kids free from the restraints of the overplayed and overly mundane sounds of Hardwell or Skrillex that the City of Angels embraces so fully.
The Juan MacLean DJ set at Dim Mak Studios 7/10
Drop Out Orchestra recorded a live performance they did earlier this month, and much to our satisfaction, it’s content exceeded far beyond our already presuming optimism.
Drop Out are quite possibly some of the best producers in the scene currently, and much of that is due to their unique approach to how their music is made. Similar to Tiger & Woods or Daft Punk, they remain evasive in all media interactions by never disclosing their identities, participating in seldom interviews, and blacking out their faces in any public released photos to preserve the music. They firmly believe that image is irrelevant when juxtaposed to music, and the hour of super-funk disco in this set will strongly aver those convictions. Although most of the music is done by two Swedish partners, other artists from around the world are constantly being brought in their projects, keeping a fresh spin on every original they put out. For their on stage performances they do live mixing in accompaniment with half of the duo playing live bass, something actually really hard to pull of without sounding slightly annoying, and he’s got it down.
It would be naive to categorize them as DJ’s. These guys work with so much diligence and strict adherence to their direction. All the other aspects of their manufacturing process greatly outweigh their time on the decks. Not only does one play the bass live, he plays it really well, with an onslaught of effects, and he plays it for songs in the mix they didn’t even produce or remix, what few there are.They are literally composers of a sonic orchestra. All these factors result in megatons of radiating energy on stage. This show is a ten.
Oliver (Vaughn Oliver and Oliver Goldstein) are perhaps some of the most influential, rising stars in the disco universe, and the new upcoming EP will further propel them through the tests of time and trend. Their talent and ingenuity as producers is borderline revolutionary, specializing in constant heavy hitters, but always with a guiding synthetic melody.
The duo was signed to the legendary Eskimo Recordings along with Drop Out Orchestra, Aeroplane, The Swiss, Blende, and more, and they have long since proved their right to make themselves quite at home there. Rather than put their time into lots of remixes and DJ radio sets, they meticulously build upon each note of their works until the final product is inarguable. What ensues through this method is a detailed slew of intermittent, but always boundary pushing releases with a payoff only achieved through their diligence and imagination. Have I mentioned they did a masterpiece remix of Aeroplane’s “We Can’t Fly”, a truly flawless composition when untouched, and Oliver definitely earned the honor.
Oliver is now putting together an EP on Fool’s Gold Records and its easily one of our most anticipated drops yet. Here’s a preview of “MYB” off the upcoming release. Much more agressive than some of the previous works were used to, but when accompanied with a Clapton-esque guitar and snyth progression, it can’t be beat. I’m confident I will be hearing this track at the clubs very soon.
The Beat Broker, San Francisco’s go-to for Italo moonlighting, released a new remix this week. This artist is uncanny in his forte and has never disappointed us with his skills on the decks. Enjoy the jump.
ON REPEAT: This installment of his Classy Dancer series, one of our top ten times of all time.