Playful Death’s New Track is a Dystopian Rave in Black and White

Greek mythological figure Dionysus was known as the god of wine and ecstasy, both of which ran aplenty in the fabled music-filled, altered state ceremonies known as the Dionysian Mysteries. Since 2013, San Francisco/Berlin-based collective Dionysian Mysteries have also been creating their own brand of dance music bacchanalia, initially as a Miami event promoter, before expanding as a record label last year.

On July 28, they’re releasing their latest EP, a five-track compilation titled Nightshade (the same name as their blog and mix series). Focusing on techno and EBM, it features tracks by YXAN (Swedish artist Michael Idehall‘s techno alias), Necropants, Culto Verona boss Bellatrix?, and label co-founder Playful Death.

The latter offers his dark version of ecstasy and wild frenzy on “Berliner Muertos,” which sounds like a dystopian rave captured in black and white. The sci-fi number could cut a club in two with its scythe-like synth swipes, further flattening with its fat kick drum, and looming, ominous sounds. As Playful Death tells THUMP over email, the track was inspired by the imagery of Biomega, a cyber-punk manga created by Japanese artist Tsutomu Nihei, and dystopian landscapes.

Listen to it below, and pre-order Nightshade here.

Maya Jane Coles Wants You to "Werk" on Devious New Single

Maya Jane Coles‘ track “What They Say” was always undeniable, but it quickly became one of the most instantly recognizable house grooves in recent memory when Nicki Minaj sampled it for her 2014 single “Truffle Butter.” Top 40 prestige clearly didn’t give the London producer writer’s block though, as her recently announced sophomore LP, Take Flight, clocks in at a whopping 24 songs.

Today we’re premiering “Werk,” which like many of Coles’ best tracks, finds a way to make a catchy, pop-leaning loop sound subliminally haunted. It’s a precise feeling, achieved by splicing micro-snippet samples together like puzzle pieces in keen, UK garage-indebted style. A distorted organ that wouldn’t sound out of place in psychedelic rock whirrs in the background throughout, making the song’s sense of mirthful dread perk up in transfixed attention.

Take Flight will be released August 25 on Coles’ own label I/AM/ME.

Take Flight tracklist:

1. Weak
2. Bo & Wing
3. Old Jam
4. Take Flight
5. Darkside (feat. Chelou)
6. Lucky Charm
7. Blackout
8. Unholy
9. A Chemical Affair (feat. Wendy Rae Fowler)
10. Misty Morning (feat. Wendy Rae Fowler)
11. Keep Me Warm (feat. GAPS)
12. Let You Go
13. Won’t Let You Down
14. On My Way
15. Go On And Make It Through
16. Cherry Bomb
17. Chasing Sunshine
18. Golden Days
19. Werk
20. Passing Me By
21. Trails
22. Stay
23. Pulse
24. Starlight

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House of Feelings Is All About Celebrating Your Pals' Hidden Talents

New York producer and songwriter Matty Fasano started a party called House of Feelings to help his friends get out of a rut, after noticing that they—like so many bogged down by life in the big city—were keeping their heads down at day jobs with little outlet for some of their other talents.

“In New York, everyone’s friends are so talented,” Fasano says, sitting in a coffee shop in Brooklyn. “More often than not someone’s a writer, but they’re also an insane DJ. With the first [party] I was like, ‘Make a stupid DJ name and come play this thing!'”

The very first House of Feelings event took place in April of 2014 in the kitchen of an apartment space in Bushwick and Fasano says he mostly remembers it being cramped and sweaty. He played a live set accompanied by three saxophones (“It was so stupid,” he recalls with a laugh), and a number of his friends hopped behind a laptop to DJ for a crowd that turned out to be too big for the kitchen. Midway through the show, they even had to move to the nearby main room at Silent Barn because of space constraints.

Fasano’s friends are involved in every step of the party, helping create fliers, design art installations, and of course, provide the bubbly sound that give the party the uplifting feeling that its name hints at. He and his high school friend Joe Fassler lead a house band, also called House of Feelings, that often opens the parties otherwise records more dizzy disco for them to drop in their DJ sets. Over the years, they’ve also started enlisting some bigger guests around the scene, including the likes of of FaltyDL, Olga Bell, and Mr. Twin Sister, among others. Fasano also started hosting a show on Newtown Radio last year with guests that have DJed the party.

On August 11, House of Feelings (the band) will release their debut EP, Last Chance. Continuing the party’s collaborative spirit, Fasano, Fassler and producer Dale Eisinger work with a vast cast of old pals to create eight tracks of blistered disco-punk, blunt house tracks, and squirrely techno. Listening to the record captures that unquantifiable feeling of just watching friends blowing off steam in a studio.

One of the record’s standouts is “Falling,” a collaboration with singer-songwriter Shamir, who sings a disco duet about forging into the future, which Fasano says mirrors both Shamir’s move in his own work away from dancier realms and House of Feeling’s formal arrival. Catch that below, along with a condensed conversation with Fasano about the roots of the party, and its place in the oft-crowded New York nightlife scene.

THUMP: What’s your personal relationship to dance music?
Matty Fasano: I’ve been a musician my whole life. I studied funk and soul growing up—one of my first instruments was saxophone. It totally changed into an obsession with dance music when I sang with LCD Soundsystem at their “last” tour, for all the Terminal 5 and Madison Square Garden shows. I was in their backing choir.

How did that happen?
I had been singing in a choir with some friends, and one of the guys happened to be friends with James Murphy. His name was Nick Sylvester and James told him he needed a male backing choir. Nick was like “I’m in one.” [After being in that band], I went for it [with electronic music]. I started simply with beats and stuff and then got really into it. I was also on a dance label at the time called Godmode.

What was the impetus for the very first party?
I didn’t think there were enough awesome dance parties around, unless you went to Bossa Nova or something. Also, in New York, everyone’s friends are so talented…

…And they’re just ignoring that part of themselves.
Or they’re nervous. Or there’s no forum. With the first one I was like, “I have so many friends who are not doing stuff. Come DJ this thing!” That was it. I expected it to just be my buddies but it spread.

Did it crystallize right away musically?
I wanted it to be more of a disco vibe. When I go dancing, I mostly hear about techno or deep house or raves. There’s so much posturing. Not to throw shade, but it’s really intense. I really rejected that because it’s so not fun. I wanted something more open, and more open in the type of music you can play. The vibe is kind of disco but there’s elements of techno house and punk. There aren’t rules. You don’t have to play this BPM or this type of music.

It seems united in a spirit of fun.
Uplift. Fun. Openness. Community. There’s not a lot of pressure. Some of the parties are really big but some aren’t. It’s just about letting my friends do what they’re awesome at doing.

Is there anything you do specifically with your party to create that alternative?
One of the main things is that it’s a dance party but it’s also an art installation. I feel like that gives it a sense of coming in and it’s a whole experience. It’s not like, “You must dance.” For the last one at Silent Barn, Kris [Petersen] created these magical lights out of nothing that were all around the room. That allows people to relax a little more and see it as a more holistic experience. Also, quick successions between sets. The live sets are really short so nothing gets too involved. It’s less “come watch me play” than being a part of the broader thing.

Has it been a struggle to maintain that as House of Feelings becomes more prominent and you have access to bigger guests?
The “bigger guests” started with just my friends. I’ve been playing music in New York for like 10 years, so there’s just a lot of people that I knew. Slowly but surely I started going out on a limb and asking someone, “Hey, would you come DJ this party?” Then it’s like, “Hey do you want to come on the radio show?” We’re friends now.

The collabs on the EP for example are very in the family. Shamir was on Godmode, we’ve been friends for like four years now. GABI who sings on it is my girlfriend, so that helped. Meredith Graves is on it. She is really good friends with our producer Dale [Eisinger]. She just walked in and we were hanging out and asked her “Do you want to try singing this thing?” And she just crushes it. Even with bigger guests I want it to be very natural and organic.

How did the EP come together?
My best friend from high school Joe and I are kind of the musical center. We got really inspired by the idea of dropping a House of Feelings song in the middle of a House of Feelings set. Then, it was that friend process. We got one of my best friends, Dale, and asked him if he wanted to produce. He doesn’t usually do that but he was like “Uh, okay.” We just started meeting at his house, which became like a clubhouse.

There’s never too much pressure. If we were an indie rock band making an EP it’d be a calling card. What’s fun about this is, it’s out there, but we’re just going to keep on throwing parties.

You don’t have a responsibility to go on tour and sell it. You’re not forced to do so many of the debasing things you have to do as a “band.”
We’ll just sell it at our parties, which we throw anyway! Stuff like that. Having been in so many bands…being in a band is one of the worst things in the world. Or it can be. This band also rotates a lot. My friend Tim Angiolillo plays guitar and sax. Hunter [Giles] who runs [Infinite Best, which is putting out the record] also plays alternate percussion. My friends Jared Olmsted and Monica Salazar from the band Courtship Ritual. GABI sings in it. Then it’s kinda just whoever’s around. If someone plays tuba, it’s like great, come play.

Every single one of your friends is probably very deep. It’s also a way of accessing those secret talents. It keeps em busy. It’s always a question with my friends, why doesn’t someone have a regular gig somewhere? They’re so talented. It’s impossible to make money in music nowadays, but why is that. Let’s fuckin throw a party where they’re the main DJ.

It’s so easy to get sucked into a routine and let the creative stuff fall to the side.
It is. And it’s so easy to get sucked into the rules of consumption of what music is supposed to be—who’s supposed to be famous and who’s not. We’re getting to a point where that’s all BS and more and more people realize it’s nonsense. Most people you know have a pretty awesome and deep taste in music. It’s almost like a mental thing. Anyone can do this.

House of Feelings’ EP release party is on August 18 at Trans-Pecos, tickets are available now. Last Chance is also available for pre-order in advance of its release on August 11.

Moon Boots Wants to Relieve Your Tension With His New Single

When one door closes, another one opens. Such was the case for Brooklyn producer Pete Dougherty, aka Moon Boots, who after the disbandment of his former French Express collective, found a new home for his slick, soulful house sounds on London label Anjunadeep. In 2015, he first appeared on the Above & Beyond-founded imprint with “Red Sky,” and now he’s gearing up to release his debut album, First Landing.

Out August 4, we’ve already heard singles “Tear My Heart” and “The Life Aquatic,” and today we’re sharing “I Want Your Attention” featuring Australian singer-songwriter Fiora. Sweet, swirling, and serene from the first note, the vocal-heavy track contains all the flirtatiousness of locking eyes with someone from across the dancefloor.

“It’s got a few of my favorite things: soulful chords, cosmic arps, ambient textures, a galloping bass, and crisp vocals and lush harmonies by the amazing Fiora,” the producer told THUMP over email. “We want your attention and we’ll relieve the tension.”

Listen to the track below and pre-order First Landing here.

Balako Host an Off the Wall Game Show in "Hora De Balako" Video

Something about Rio de Janeiro duo Balako‘s debut single begs for it to be made into a music video. While “Hora De Balako” is undeniably carried by funk momentum, it’s just as memorable for its cinematic, tongue-in-cheek style—if you close your eyes it’s not hard to imagine some kind of freewheeling clown car scenario, or a hilariously campy action movie sequence.

What they ended up going with is even better: a satirical game show where contestants wrestle one another to compete for personal hygiene products. Using a combination of grainy archival footage of real TV shows and original scripted material, Diogo Strausz and Rodrigo Peirao give their spaghetti western-esque disco track the visual accompaniment it deserves.

“I co-directed the video with Mauro Lima and we were responsible for everything—the scripting, casting, and production. It was totally guerrilla and we missed a few nights of sleep, but with a lot of help from our friends we managed to make crazy idea become reality with very little budget,” Peirão told THUMP over email. “It explores the grotesqueness of Brazilian TV shows, depicting a surreal contest in which eight participants battle each other over soap tablets inside a bathtub. [My bandmate] Diogo has done a bit of acting but it was my first time since kindergarten.”

“Hora De Balako” is out now on Joe Goddard’s label Greco-Roman.

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Skyshaker Shares Volatile Remix of Banjee Report's Chemsex Tale "pNp"

After recently penning a powerful essay for THUMP about the queer community’s meth and GHB epidemic, Chicago artist Anthony “aCe” Pabey’s group Banjee Report has released an explosive new single engaging with the same themes.

The track is called “pNp,” which is short for “party and play”—terminology for chemsex parties often organized on dating apps where people combine sex with hard drugs. The FUTUREHOOD founders’ song approaches pNp from a first-person narrative, bringing the extremely complex emotional space of its subject matter to life with mercurial, rapid-fire verses. The remix comes courtesy of Qween Beat affiliate Skyshaker, who lends the tune some of their signature hardcore-influenced kinetic flourishes to create a visceral sense of volatility.

The artists told THUMP about their creative mental space while making “pNp” over email. “Reporting from the underbelly of queer life, this track for us is linked to instinct, purity and the drive of the physical body to release powerful and emotional forces—like rage with ensuing chaos and destruction,” they said.

Back in May, Pabey joined THUMP for a roundtable discussion on the state of gay nightlife in the US.

Listen to “pNp” below, and look for the group’s full-length album on FUTUREHOOD in October.

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Luttrell's 'Generate' EP Shimmers Like a Late-Summer Heat Haze

Few people may cherish a San Francisco sunset like Luttrell. When the Bay Area artist is not producing as one half of bass experimentalists The M Machine, he’s crafting melodic house and techno solo with the goal of creating “a musical equivalent to the hazy sunsets in [his] hometown,” a colour-streaked image found often on his Instagram.

“The fog tends to create a perfect mist in the air as it rolls in for the night,” he tells THUMP over email. “That, mixed with the Victorian architecture can create quite a surreal and dreamy vibe. I love sitting up on the hill near my apartment. There’ll be cute dogs running around, people picnicking, some person laying down a nice guitar riff—all under an orange/pink/purple hue. It’s always a great way to get out of the studio and clear my head.”

After previous releases on Above & Beyond’s deep house-leaning label Anjunadeep, Luttrell has returned to the imprint for his latest EP, Generate, out today. Consisting of four tracks with appropriately effervescent titles such as “Float,” “Waking Dream,” and “Daylight,” the record feels meant more for moments in the open air than within the confines of a blacked-out club. Overall, the EP possesses a balmy sound that shimmers with the fuzzed-out distortion of a late-summer heat haze—where “Float” and “Daylight” linger in the air, “Generate” and “Waking Dream” balance out with grounding bass.

Stream the EP in full below, and check out a brief Q&A with the producer below.


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THUMP: What separates your work as Luttrell from your work as The M Machine? Do you find that your work as one influences the other?

Luttrell:
I’ve been sticking to mostly melodic house and techno with the Luttrell project so far, whereas The M Machine tends to be much more stylistically experimental. Not to say I wont go outside 118-125 BPM at some point with Luttrell, but for now, it’s just a lot of fun to experiment and work within this certain range and style.

You studied abroad in Berlin and are currently based in San Francisco. As both cities have such rich underground scenes, are there any experiences that you can pinpoint as having influenced your solo music?
Yeah. I was living in Berlin for school about ten years ago; I got refused at the door at Berghain by that famous guy with the gnarly face tattoo. Maybe next time I’ll make it in… I think the thing I take away most from those two cities, Berlin and San Francisco, is the general aura and soul. And that feeds a lot into the kind of music I want to create and put out into the world. The cities both have a sort of beautiful, haunting magic to them that I don’t think ever leaves you. I’m sure that seeps into my music in some form.

You mentioned once that your goal with Luttrell is “to create a musical equivalent to the hazy sunsets in [your] hometown.” What about this particular imagery do you find so inspiring?
I can’t get enough hazy SF sunsets. The fog tends to create a perfect mist in the air as it rolls in for the night. That, mixed with the Victorian architecture, can create quite a surreal and dreamy vibe. I love sitting up on the hill near my apartment. There’ll be cute dogs running around, people picnicking, some person laying down a nice guitar riff—all under an orange/pink/purple hue. It’s always a great way to get out of the studio and clear my head. With all of the crazy and depressing things going on in the world right now—of which there seem to be a general fuck-ton—recognizing and really enjoying beautiful moments like the one I described is something I do not take for granted.

Tell us about the Generate EP.
I really think the Generate EP is my best effort so far. I wrote the title track the night that I got home from Burning Man last year, so to me, it always makes me think of the desert at night. “Float” is a slower, little more 80s synthwave-infused chugger that seems to make people smile when I play it out. “Waking Dream” is one I actually started on the guitar and at that time it was more of a Neil Young-y, folk-type song. But I realized the bassline could sound really cool on a dance track, so I tried it out and wrote that track from start to finish in a day, which never happens! And finally, “Daylight” is a chilled out, melodic techno journey. There are actually cricket sounds in the song in the middle break which, to me, give the track a bit of a night time vibe—right before the sun comes up.

Dusk Beckons in Rico Casazza and Melanie Houston’s “Amphibian Twitch”

For their latest compilation EP, P!LWHT003, Polish vinyl-only label Play !t Loud is offering up an international smorgasbord of sound, calling on producers including Sweden’s DJ Different, Hungary’s S Olbricht, and Australia’s Hymns.

Ahead of its July 28 release, today THUMP’s premiering “Amphibian Twitch,” a collaboration between Londoners Rico Casazza and Melanie Houston made “on a cold October night” according to the former. Deep and driving, the track evokes a melancholic feeling through its cinematic, sprawling synths, though it livens up with a flitting acid line that illuminates the duskiness like fireflies during sunset.

Listen to “Amphibian Twitch” below, and pre-order P!LWHT003 here.

Pan Daijing's New Track Pairs the Horrific with the Sublime

Using language that wouldn’t sound out of place in a horror film, Berlin-based experimental producer and sound artist Pan Daijing has described the process of making her debut album Lack 惊蛰 as “like a mind game.” The scathing tone of the record’s noise experiments lends the statement a certain sense of perversity—what kind of mind game was this, exactly?

“Act of The Empress 皇后之作” raises more questions than it answers, but the track’s bracing for the way it lingers in this ambiguity, producing a kind of exhilarating strain that’s as disturbing as it is sublime. Over email, the artist explained the inspiration for the song.

“I grew up watching a lot of Chinese historical documentaries, the idea of empire had a very strong impact on me. This was a one take recording with my vocal and pieces of gear that I’ve owned from the beginning. During these five minutes I was just simply letting go a fantasy with the sound.”

Lack 惊蛰 will be released by PAN on July 28, and is available for pre-order.

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Juan Atkins and Moritz von Oswald Team Up for Luxuriant New Track

Over two decades have passed between Juan Atkins and Moritz von Oswald‘s first collaboration in the early 90s, the classic LP 3MB Feat. Magic Juan Atkins (with Thomas Fehlmann), and their acclaimed artistic reunion in 2013. In that period, their status as techno luminaries was unequivocally cemented, and the music they gathered in their album Borderland reflected an hard-earned sense of mature virtuosity.

Last year they released their second album together, Transport, and now they’re back with a two-song single on Tresor entitled Angles. It finds the duo exploring subtle new counters of their sound, as exemplified by the luxuriant dub techno of lead track “Concave 1.” Balancing endorphin-pumping beats with fluttering ambiance, the tune is adaptable to the listener’s mood: it can offer some daydream-like respite, or be plugged into as a form of jacking psychedelia.

Listen to “Concave 1” below and pre-order Angles here.

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Rae Morris Goes Dark with Ikonika's Bass-Filled "Reborn" Remix

Last month, Blackpool singer-songwriter Rae Morris released “Reborn,” the lead single from her forthcoming second album. Coated in colorful, triumphant buildups, it’s a track she previously described as being about “new beginnings, finding clarity and head space.”

Today, we’re premiering a remix courtesy of UK producer Ikonika, who recently put out her own LP Distractions on Hyperdub. If the original version is saturated in electro-pop brightness, the rework goes darker with mind-numbing bass and thick synth stabs, grounding it while still maintaining the song’s uplifting message.

“It’s a real pleasure to hear how another artist reimagines your vision when they do a remix,” the singer told THUMP over email. “Ikonika is such a brilliant musician, and she’s added a brand new energy to it with the 80s synth pads and moody beat. It has this really understated vibe that I just love.”

Listen to it below.

FNP Paints Pastel Visions of Summer Sunsets With "Somewhere South"

For those love the idea of beach sunbathing, yet are prone to turning into a boiled lobster upon stepping outside, UK producer FNP (Fake Name Preferably) has a new track with all the warm bliss and zero risk of peeling.

The laid-back “Somewhere South” evokes pastel visions of summer sunsets, combining soothing piano lines with soft conga rhythms and shimmering effects. About halfway in, an acid bassline laps up to the forefront, adding a carbonated punch before fizzing back out into airy ambiance.

“Somewhere South” was recorded in South London, according to a press release, and was inspired by nights in Peckham venue Corsica Studios. Over email, FNP told THUMP how the track came together.

“It’s kinda two tracks that somehow became one really,” he said. “I wrote the acid bassline as an idea for something much heavier and then on one of my rare, bright moments, decided it could work with a piano structure I’d written. Chuffed with how it came out though, quite light and summery, but also with some tricky production stuff for the heads.”

Listen to “Somewhere South” below or on Spotify.