Get Lost In The Darkness Of Scuba’s Techno-Filled ‘Fabric 90’ Promo Mix

Photo courtesy of the artist

Fabric doors may be closed (for now), but its fighting spirit lives on. Amid a heavy schedule of fundraisers for the London clubbing institution, UK DJ and producer Paul Rose, aka Scuba, has shared a techno-filled promotional mix for his contribution to its long-running mix series, fabric 90.

The Hotflush label head is an appropriate fit for the series’ latest installment as its future, along with the club’s, remains uncertain pending an appeal. Rose is a Londoner himself, and as the fabric website points out, he was the last artist to play the club before its voluntary shutdown in August to investigate two drug-related deaths. All proceeds from fabric 90 will be donated to fabric’s #saveourculture fundraiser, which will pay for the legal costs of the appeal. To date, the club has raised nearly $350,000 (281,208) in donations.

The half-hour, high-intensity promo mix is the next best thing to spending a night in the pounding darkness of fabric’s Room 1at least, until the fabric 90 mix drops in its 75-minute entirety. It includes tracks from Dense & Pika, Ben Klock, Truncate, Donato Dozzy, Pearson Sound, Markus Suckut, Tessela, and others.

Listen to Scuba’s promo mix below ahead of its release on October 21. A launch party will be held October 22 at The Steelyard in London with Scuba, Recondite, and Terry Francis. All proceeds from the event will also go to the #saveourculture fund.

A History Of The Laser In Dance Music

“Lighting is to disco as love is to marriage, as tonic is to gin, as music is to dancing,” wrote Billboard editor Radcliffe Joe in This Business of Disco, a club owners’ guide published in 1980. “Disco would not be disco without it.” It’s a claim that applies to disco as much as it does club music as a whole. While light shows proliferated during the disco era of the 70s, the history of lasers and dance music goes back even further.

An acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation,” the laser had been in commercial use for decades; starting in the 60s, the technology been used for cutting steel and diamonds, as well as in microsurgery. In the early 70s, pioneering DJs like Nicky Siano, Grandmaster Flowers, and Pete “DJ” Jones, as well as their late-70s successors Larry Levan and Tee Scott, were bringing their own laser lights to parties they threw in hotel ballrooms and other venues around New York City. Siano helped invent modern dance DJing in the early 70s, while Flowers and Jones are a pair of uptown legends who helped pave the way for hip-hop. “They created techniques and styles that people use today,” New York native and veteran DJ-producer Boyd Jarvis told me in a 2012 interview, referring to the primitive light shows they created to accompany their sets.

But the occasional refracted high beam showering a dance floor with colored light via a spinning disco ball was peanuts compared to the way lasers were infiltrating rock at the same time. On November 19, 1973, Los Angeles’s Griffith Park Observatory hosted the debut of Laserium, the first-ever evening of laser images set to a recorded-music soundtrack. Founded by engineer Ivan Dryer in Van Nuys, Laserium did so well that on the final night of its month-long residency, a crowd showed up that was nearly double the observatory’s capacity.

At a time when digital technology seemed practically Martian, Laserium shows featured something positively space age: colorful, high-powered beams creating flashy, constantly morphing 3-D displays of color in real time, all set to music. “Laserium is the definition of a laser show,” says Jon Robertson, Laserium’s associate creative director. “Lasers are the show; they’re not part of the show.” That first run at the Griffith Park Observatory set the stage for much more: “Other planetariums came to us and said, ‘We’d like to make some money at night too,'” Dryer told Spin. (The company’s “Inside Laserium” page for the still-active business features a helpful overview of laser’s technical aspects.)

Though its first program was a mixture of classical music like Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” progressive rock from the likes of English supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and all-synthesizer recordings, Dryer’s company soon became so closely identified with epic classic rock that you could forgive a person for thinking that “Laser Zeppelin” and “Laser Floyd”as Laserium’s shows devoted to those groups were dubbedwere actually band names. Coincidentally, the cover of Dark Side of the Moon, released the same year as Laserium’s debut, even depicts a laser refracting into a rainbow.

Though the imagery could be corny (during one Dark Side Laserium show, you’d see cash registers during “Money”), an environment in which participants were encouraged to stretch out on their backs naturally led to other forms of relaxation. “It was just a place to go and get high,” Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne told Spin. In 1999, his band released the song “Laser Show,” where Schlesinger sings, “They come from Bridgeport, Westport, Darien/ Down to the Hayden Planetarium/ We’re gonna space out to our favorite tunes/ We’re going straight to the dark side of the moon.”

Big rock bands were soon using lasers as well. “Laserium did Alice Cooper and Tangerine Dream way back in the 70s,” says Robertson. In 1975, the Who’s production manager, John Wolff, obtained a four-watt Spectra-Physics argon beam that he’d seen Led Zeppelin use, keeping a garden hose on hand in case the laser accidentally burned something. “He covered the laser with a piece of cardboard and, during the band’s dramatic ‘See Me, Feel Me,’ he slowly pulled it back to reveal a ‘ceiling of light,'” wrote Steve Knopper in the Washington Post. Knopper quotes Wolff: “When Pete The music was getting too belligerent, too ravey, too circus-like. You know, lights, lasers, smoke, and not the reality, no kind of social commentary.”

Artists and DJs have raised similar charges against the EDM movementan era that was catalyzed by a show that combined every kind of lighting trick imaginable, helping to translate the sensory experience of a rave for fans of larger-than-life rock concerts. Think: Daft Punk’s carnival-of-lights show at Coachella 2006. “They’re obviously revolutionary,” says Laserium’s Jon Robertson of Daft Punk’s eye-popping sage presentation. “They definitely set the bar, then raised it and redefined it, and smashed the envelope several times.”

Still, he’s disparaging about what’s come in their wake. For Robertson, the newer stuff, made more cheaply (and oftentimes in China), doesn’t measure up to the more expensive, water-cooled lasers of yore. The light isn’t as sharp; the colors aren’t as vivid. “Some of the biggest EDM stars out there, the biggest showsthey still do the same stuff. Nowadays, practically every club on every corner has some kind of laser tchotchke,” he says of Intellabeams and their ilk.

(Photo via Jrg Weingrill)

Still, not every modern-day laser show is cheap. Take the Disco Duck, the $2 million moving installation that has appeared regularly at Burning Man since 2008. In an account of Black Rock City for Dancecult, scholar Graham St. John described the Disco Duck as “the most audacious sound art vehicle on the playa.” The mobile, three-level club was shaped like a yellow bath-time duck, and came attached to a fur-lined, double-decker bus stocked with champagne. “After dusk, the giant duck with its green lasers for eyes and a fire-spitting Mohawk, became integral to the nightworld at Burning Man,” wrote St. John.

The relationship between lasers and dance music has come a long way, from DJs bringing rudimentary lights to a hotel ballroom to help their dancefloors feel a little more like Shangri-La, to the multi-million-dollar spectacles at today’s EDM festivals. But the ultimate power of lasers their ability to connect electronic dance music’s space-age futurism and love for technology with a visible, if not tangible, experience.

Take Madison Square Garden on March 30, 2013, the site of Armin Van Buuren’s A State of Trance show, which hit a dozen cities worldwide that year. At the climax, Van Buuren stood atop the decks, wrappedlike so many imports before himin an American flag emblazoned with the words “A State of Trance” written on it. A blast of rainbow-colored lasers refracted off his body as he luxuriated in the glow of his CDJs. He wasn’t just a star in America, he wasn’t just a star around the worldhe was a star in the galaxy. The vividness of laser light takes us all, for at least a moment or two, to a similar place. Beam us up, Scotty.

Follow Michaelangelo Matos on Twitter

The Untold Story Of The Small Canadian Town That Was Haunted By Radio Transmissions

Since World War II, residents of Sackville, New Brunswick heard voices in their sinks, refrigerators, and radiator pipes. Lights glowed on and off at random, and even transmitted thoughts into their minds, causing one spooked soul to dream in languages that he was unable to speak. For anyone unaware of their source, these broadcasts from beyond could sound supernatural.

The foreign tongues filtering into the east coast Canadian town with a population of less than 6,000, were actually due to shortwave transmissions, unintentionally picked up from 13 radio towers located in the saltwater Tantramar Marshes. Built by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1944, Sackville’s Radio Canada International (RCI) site relayed content in multiple languages across the ocean. During the Cold War, the 120-meter towers became the first allied site to transmit Radio Free Europe across the Iron Curtain. Their transmissions weren’t meant for the Maritimes, but they haunted homes like friendly ghosts.

For her latest documentary, Spectres of Shortwave, Moncton-born experimental artist and filmmaker Amanda Dawn Christie spent the last seven years exploring this otherworldly phenomenon. While working at Sackville’s Struts Gallery in 2009, she heard stories from local residents about voices in sinks where “pipes acted like antennas and the bowl became a gramophone speaker.” Christie was jealous that hers didn’t pick it up, so she spent her pay cheques for the rest of the summer at a plumbing store, extending her pipes to bring the sink to the marsh.

“People thought I was crazy,” Christie tells THUMP after a story about her project ran in the Sackville paper. “I set up at an agricultural fair, where I met people I normally wouldn’t bump into. The farmers whose families have lived there for generations had amazing stories. There was one woman who heard it in her clothing line when it rolled over the wheel.” It was then that she decided to start recording their stories and make a film.

Sackville is also home to SappyFest, a beloved music festival taking over the town every August since 2006, with performances from local and internationals artists. Fred Squire is one of the former, and it’s his story of dreaming in foreign languagesdue to transmissions from an amp in his bedroom entering a hypnagogic mind statethat provides the documentary’s centerpiece.

“Fred would fall asleep and dream perfectly coherently in Chinese or Russian,” Christie explains. “He decided to call the radio towers to see if they were doing anything that would cause it. Then about 40 minutes later in the film there’s a story from a technician who describes his call from a guy dreaming in different languages. The stories are similar but contradict each other, leaving the viewer wondering which one is telling the truth.”

Though the director reveals Squire’s identity in conversation, no faces or names are shown on screen, instead letting the audience hear these voices over dimly lit rooms or slow-moving landscape shots. She originally intended to depict the RCI shortwave site throughout four seasons, but when its demolition due to budget cuts was announced in 2012 (with the towers falling in 2014), this introduced a dramatic conclusion.

“For the first hour and half, no one is identified,” she says. “There are a few of my own stories but I don’t identify myself as the filmmaker. I’m just one other person in the town. Then when the last Canadian broadcast is sent over shortwave, the speaker breaks down crying when he says ‘Thank you and goodbye.’ You see the first tower fall and for the last 20 minutes of the film no one speaks.”

The final two years of Christie’s labour of love found her filming alone in the marsh with a 48-pound 35-millimeter camera, and climbing the towers to capture their droning soundtrack with contact microphones. Though the uneasy demolition crew initially expected a TV news team to be there for one day, they developed a cooperative relationship with their obsessed documentarian.

“I was at their safety meetings every morning at 7:30 AM to find out which tower was falling. At first they were apprehensive but I was allowed to show up if I interfered as little as possible,” she recalls. “They would tell me right before a tower would fall with one minute or 30 seconds’ notice. Sometimes I wasn’t ready so I asked if they could wait two minutes, and they’d say ‘OK, make it fast.'”

Spectres of Shortwave premiered at Halifax’s Atlantic Film Festival, along with a simulcast of the film’s audio as a radio documentary on New York’s Wave Farm. It will screen next in November at FICFA in Moncton, and Christie is currently pitching to festivals around the world. Meanwhile, the shortwave site continues to haunt her sound art performances and interactive installations. On October 15 at Halifax’s Nocturne, she will present Requiem for Radio: New Dead Zones, a scale model of the RCI site where visitors can trigger her contact mic recordings to “play the ghosts of the towers.”

“Even if you study antennas and understand how they work there’s still something amazing about radio waves,” Christie concludes. “They’re all around us and passing through our bodies. That’s why I like voices in the sink and in the fridge. All of a sudden you’re an unintentional witness to a broadcast that was meant for someone else. I’m sure some people find it annoying but to me it’s a magical gift.”

Jesse Locke is on Twitter.

Craig David’s New Album Just Topped The UK Charts

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

It’s never too late for a comebackjust ask Craig David. The British R&B singer has just topped the UK album charts with his sixth LP, Following My Intuition, reports.

The achievement comes 16 years after his debut album, Born to Do It (home to radio hits such as “Fill Me In” and “7 Days”), debuted in the same spot. “To have another and to share it with so many amazing peopleit’s surreal,” David told Official Charts. “I’m seeing two generations connectingthe people who have been with me since 1999 and the crew who are just discovering me, both connecting on the same music, it’s the most amazing feeling.”

After Born to Do It, David released his second through fifth albums between 2002 and 2010, none of them quite reaching the success of his debut. He then moved to Miami, telling Noisey, “Even I needed time away for a while. Time to let people move on. To move off the radar and then wait for the moment.”

Though the newest album was already in the works by 2014, that moment he was waiting for came in the summer of 2015 during a performance on BBC’s Radio 1Xtra, when he let loose a jaw-dropping mash-up of “Fill Me In” and Jack ‘s Justin Bieber collaboration “Where Are Now.” From there, he performed it at fabric and at Alexandra Palace with Diplo and Major Lazer. In March, he performed a collaboration with Hardwell on Ultra Music Festival’s main stage during the big-room ace’s headlining set.

Following My Intuition was released on September 30 and features collaborations with Big Narstie, Sigala, Blonde, and Kaytranada (whose team-up, “Got It Good, also appears on his own debut album); the deluxe version also includes the Hardwell collaboration.

Meanwhile, we’re still crossing our fingers for a Craig David workout DVD.

Listen To Little Boots' New “After Hours” Mixtape

Photo courtesy of the artist.

Victoria Christina Hesketh, better known as Little Boots, has shared a mammoth mix in support of her current “After Hours” tour. Known for pairing hard-hitting disco beats with suave synth work, the English songwriter and DJ has masterfully crafted a cocktail of italo-disco, house and suave Motown. With her bold use of vocal samples and strut-worthy beats, Hesketh will help you find the confidence inside yourself to master this weekend. Her mix seems to have but one messagecatwalking is encouraged.

“For this mix I wanted a more danc floor friendly club direction to coincide with the tour,” Hesketh told THUMP via email. “And feature some of my favourite new acts and remixes of artists like Lapsley, Roisin Murphy and Kiddy Smile, along with edits of some of my all time favorites.”

You can catch Little Boots on October 20 at House of Yes. Check out the mix below.

Little Boots 2016 Tour Dates:

October 5 – U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC

October 6 – Middle East Upstairs – Cambridge,MA

October 7 – The Westcott Theatre – Syracuse, NY

October 8 – The Great Northern – Mighty, SF

October 14 – Lowbrow Palace – El Paso, TX

October 20 – House of Yes – New York, NY

October 22 – Fox Cabaret – Vancouver

October 23 – Kremwork – Seattle, SE

October 29 – Virgin Hotel – Chicago, IL

Autograf Believes Ice Cream Is A Good Motivator

Photo courtesy of Autograf.

Autograf, a bi-coastal house music trio, believe making visual art is just as important as making their music. In the past, they’ve elevated their live shows beyond the quirky background visuals and blinding lights of most electronic acts by crafting pop-art installations of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes to accompany their performances. Now, for each new song they write, the group creates an accompanying piece of visual art.

Here, the band discusses the inspiration behind their summer hit “Don’t Worry,” the accompanying visual art project they created for the song, and why ice cream is the ultimate form of inspiration.

None of us are vocalists, so we usually either work directly with a vocalist or we get vocals from a sample pack. And with our song “Don’t Worry,” that’s what happened.

I went through an old sample pack I found. For some reason, that phrasethe don’t worry phrasejust kind of lept out at me. I’ve dealt with stress for a while with various things in my life. When I worked on that song, and doing any small act that may be perceived as positive.

This New Group Plans To Protest "Harmful Or Illegal" Tourism In Ibiza

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Ibiza residents have planned a series of public protests to address problems stemming from excessive tourism. According to Diario de Ibiza, the protests will be organized by Prou!, a campaign group formed about a month ago on Facebook.

Around 200 people gathered earlier this week to announce “peaceful and silent” protests addressing “harmful or illegal tourism activities,” including the privatization of the coast, noise, and illegal performance venues which turn hotels, boats and country houses into nightclubs. Many in the group are afraid the levels of tourism will “collapse” the island and turn it into a “theme park.”

Neus Escandell, a historian, teacher and editor who attended the gathering said, “tourism must serve to improve the quality of life, not to make it worse.”

The group has organized itself into several subsections to address the issues and prepare for the summer of 2017.

Police and citizens in Ibiza have begun to address noise and other issues in Ibiza in 2016. Ibiza Rocks’ license was temporarily suspended in September for failing to comply with San Antonio noise regulations. Earlier that month, police also seized several million Euros from clubs Pacha and Ushuaa. And council members in the San Antonio region of the island voted and unanimously passed legislation in the late summer banning the construction of new beach clubs and outdoor hotel venues.

This Potential Cure For Tinnitus Turns Your Music Into Therapy

Photo via Pixabay.

The effects of tinnitus far outlast a memorable night at a club. For many, the common affliction can make everyday life unbearable. Now, a German company has created a new prescription app that aims to alleviate the constant ringing.

Sonormed, a German company, has created Tinnitracks, a new prescription app that re-equilibrates a person’s hearing to reduce the effects of tinnitus. According to Labiotech, a European biotech news website, Tinnitracks uses software that targets the brain (instead of the ear) to create more lasting relief.

Tinnitus sufferers will have to visit a doctor who will prescribe patients a card to certify their condition. Patients may then send music to Sonormed. The company will remove the frequencies in the music that causes tinnitus and return it to the patient.

Not all music will be able to serve as effective treatment. According to Sonormed and the Tinnitracks website, “music suitable for therapy has high power in the frequency ranges that are above and below the patient’s individual tinnitus frequency.” Each track will be assessed for its music spectral qualities and the patient’s tinnitus frequency.

According to Labiotech, “Your sense of hearing, however, is able to quickly adapt to this unfamiliar input. This systematically changed input can cause the brain to re-shift its imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory nerve signals in the auditory centre, back towards a healthy balance between the two.”

The method is based on research in neurophysiology and neuroacoustics conducted by medical faculty at the Institute for Biosignal Analysis and Biomagnetism at the University of Mnster.

Patients who have used it reported a reduction between 25% and 50%. According to Labiotech, the company recently opened an office in Boston, though they still have a while to unveil the program in the United States as they will need to contend with FDA regulations.

In August, we wrote about the proliferation of tinnitus among DJs.

SoundCloud Beware: Apple Music And Spotify Are Now Streaming Unofficial Remixes

Photo via Pixabay.

As part of a deal made with digital music distributor Dubset, Apple Music and Spotify have begun streaming unofficial remixes. Apple Music signed a deal with Dubset in March and Spotify did the same in May. The new initiative directly targets the popularity of streaming services like SoundCloud and YouTube, which have become popular due to their large numbers of remixes.

The first remix stream is a DJ Jazzy Jeff remix of Anderson .Paak’s “Room in Here.” Dubset matches samples in a remix to the original music. Therefore, the rights holders to Anderson .Paak’s track would receive royalties for streams of DJ Jazzy Jeff’s remix.

Dubset CEO Stephen White also confirmed mixes will also eventually appear on streaming platforms, telling Techcruch, “Mixes are coming next!”

Last week, it was reported Spotify was in advanced discussions to acquire Soundcloud. In 2015, SoundCloud began takedown acquisitions as part of an aggressive offensive toward copyright claims.

The Hammer Museum Will Premiere Oneohtrix Point Never's New Video For "Animals"

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The Hammer Museum will host the world premiere of Oneohtrix Point Never’s new video for “Animals,” off his 2015 album Garden of Delete. The video, which was directed by Rick Alverson and stars Val Kilmer, will premiere on October 18. Oneohtrix Point Never collaborated with Alverson on the video’s story which features a frenetic visual portrait of Kilmer.

The video premiere takes place on the first day of the film series “Ecco: The Videos of Oneohtrix Point Never and Related Works.” The film series was organized by Hammer Museum curator Aram Moshayedi and includes a mix of self-produced music videos and video collaborations with Alverson, John Michael Bolin, Nate Boyce, Takeshi Murata and Jon Rafsman.

On November 9, the museum will also present “Oneohtrix Point Never: Visual Cues and Eccojams,” a screening featuring films that “share the formal concerns apparent in the music work and the visual output that surrounds Oneohtrix Point Never.”

Watch the trailer for “Ecco: The Videos of Oneohtrix Point Never and Related Works” below. In May, we spoke to Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never on his latest album and making people hallucinate.

The Best Things We Saw On The Dance Music Internet This Week

1. The history of the laser in dance music

THUMP columnist Michelangelo Matos looks at how the nightlife staple has developed over time for dance floors across the globe.

2. Space Ibiza: 27 Years of Clubbing History

Never made it to Space Ibiza? Experience the historic venue for yourself in this in-house produced documentary that explores the club’s history.

3. Wedding DJs

James Mulry never imagined himself as a wedding DJ. But years into the gig, he details how he became one of the most popular wedding DJs in the game … and learned to love it along the way.

4. Seth Troxler’s Essential Mix

Listen to the latest BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix featuring Seth Troller. Recorded at Output, the mix features a number of strong tracks from the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Luciano, and Green Velvet.

5. Joris Voorn’s family

Home is where the heart is, at least for Joris Voorn. We interviewed his family to learn how his unique upbringing influenced his current musical path.

6. Scuba’s fabric 90 mix

Listen to a 30-minute mini mix of the DJ’s fabric 90 mix, scheduled to be released later this month.

7. The other C & C Music Factory

The history and ongoing legacy of C & C Music Factory and their uber-hit single “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” is a lot more complicated than anyone could imagine.

8. Patrick Cowley and Candida Royalle’s archival recordings

Wire has archival recordings of disco innovator Patrick Cowley and Candida Royalle’s Candida Cosmica. Made between 1973-75, the recordings were arranged and recorded for Candida Royalle’s shows with The Angels of Light and performance projects at Warped Floors and White Trash Boom Boom.

9. Moscoman cooks

We spoke with Tel Aviv producer Moscoman about cooking, a secret skill of his, and gained a recipe for his delicious chickpeas trio. Listen to his new album, A Shot in the Light, while fixing your next meal.

10. The legend of The Loft

Resident Advisor published an excerpt from Tim Lawrence’s new book, Life and Death On The Dance Floor, 1980-83, which explains why David Mancuso’s The Loft was the most influential party in the 1970s.

Discwoman's Volvox Seeks Out Lullabies For Long Nights

Photo via Volvox.

Ariana Paoletti, who performs as Volvox, is a multi-faceted artist and writer. A veteran of Boston’s electronic dance and techno music scenes, Paoletti is now based in New York and has made a name for herself with energetic and progressive sets full of acid, tech and deep house. She is also a part of Discwoman, the eclectic and influential cis women, trans women and genderqueer collective .

She currently holds a residency with JACK DEPT. NYC 1st Fridays at underground spot Bossa Nova Civic Club with John Barera of Supply Records in Brooklyn. In 2013, Paoletti wrote THUMP’s Time Travel column which explored the history of techno.

Volvox will make an appearance later this month at Chicago’s Smartbar as part of the Discwoman takeover. For the latest edition of The Last Record, Paoletti selected a mix of tracks, including one that is perfect for the seasonal bite now in the air.

“Silent Mechanism” by TX Connect

JACK DEPT is a new label based on the party of the same name founded by myself and John Barera. This track is my personal favorite off our first release. Gavin Guthrie had been a guest at our party in New York a couple times and as one of my favorite US producers, it just made sense to invite him to inaugurate this new initiative. Honey Soundsystem decided to include this track on their latest mix for Dekmantel which was a great surprise!

“You Pay” by L-SEDITION

As we settle into fall, I find myself snuggling up to warmer tones and seeking out lullabies for long nights. This track by Los Angeles-based producer Lorene Simpson is just the thing to fill that dream-synth pocket in my heart. I’m looking forward to hearing more new material from her as she’s clearly masterful.

“Miami” by Violet (Ursa’s Reef Trance Edit)

This track is from my favorite DJ/Producer couple, Violet and Photonz, out of London. They have a great label called One Eyed Jacks that’s really hitting all the right notes for me lately. I can’t get enough and I’m definitely blowing up my own spot telling you all about them!