Retro Review: BangOn! ft. Sydney Blu, KOAN Sound, Minnesota, Felix da Housecat, & Power Rangers.

Bang1The space reminded strongly of times long ago. Nights when I had little money in my pocket and even less sense. We walked past go carts that carried ravers, shaped like glowing beetles, and of course, boy did they glow. The beetles, not the kids, though, they glowed too I suppose. The main dance floor felt like an underground ocean with islands of metal fence protecting stacks of subs/equipment under hung speakers. The system was massive, filling the stunningly large venue with sound. The entire notion that an event like this could occur indoors three blocks away from an L train stop had been simply put to rest in my mind. The sheer audacity of it wasn’t helped as we moved through the space.

The LEDs were out in force and some of the hoops, poi & glow toys that had been brought along by some of the party people were impressive. There’s nothing worse than people using toys that require space in a supremely crowded party and it makes me clench my teeth when I see people with hoops on line for close-quarters parties. However, the space was large enough that people got the room they needed to do really cool stuff.

Bang3The sound of modern day “what the kids are listening to” music pulled us away from the main stage, where I experienced my very first trap/bass sound stage in the city. I saw Minnesota 8 months ago at Brooklyn Bowl and couldn’t wait for the style/sound that he & artists like him put out to get popular. It seems that it has. The bass/trap/garage/dubstep room was full all night, and the younglings were into it. They judged it on its merits, rewarded it with their attention and and when it became boring/repetitive/uninspired for the genre the performers were performing, they walked to the other stage like self-respecting ravers. I tipped my hat and sipped my beer to them as I watched The Chainsmokers finish a banging set of house, electro, some wubby goodness, an appropriate remix/cover when needed and a good crowd sense. They were playing an early slot but I turned to my companion and remarked that these guys were going to be huge. They were rocking the main room and everyone who was here early will probably tell their friends they saw these guys way before they were famous.

I was here to see KOAN Sound, Minnesota, my two friends 2melo & DJ Shakey and most importantly, Sydney Blu. As the first female producer with a top 10 Beatport hit and a list of gigs longer than the line for the bathroom, her radio show has had my attention for a while now, and I was eager to see what she’d do to/for the kids. I had a little time before the main/second stage acts came on so I got on the teacups-esque carnival ride on the side of the main stage dance floor. Because carnival ride, for real. I shit you not. Poetry in motion, and I am astonished at the total lack of puke associated with the ride.Bang4After getting off the ride and debating a hard boot into a garbage can for a moment or two, my companion and I headed out into the open area to get some air. Apparently we were the eight zillionth person to have this idea at the event. The gigantic slide, the additional live stage & the silent disco with two channels of DJs killing it all night, all creating a party inside of the other party. This is something that happens occasionally, where, there will be people that never went inside, except to use the bathroom once or twice. They were going to a qualitatively different party than I was, which, says something about what a good event could offer. Bang5As we were watching the 1-3 AM talent entertain, we looked up and saw some amazing House of Yes-trained aerial silks performers dazzling the crowd. We first saw them in the shadows of the lights projected onto the back walls. I can’t say I was prepared for what we saw. Dressed in full on Power Ranger (Super Sentai for the nerds among you) outfits, they moved from side to side, place to place on the dance floor…they just did so, while staying IN THE AIR. The gawking rave kids had no idea what to do, except to squee and take pictures with their cell phones. Because when the power rangers are dressed in boots and dancing on silks above you, that’s when you know it’s a good party.

Bang6They finished up just as KOAN Sound was coming on. Their bassy, garage-y, wubby milkshake brought all the boys to the yard. There was a serious re-adjustment of the sound when they took the stage, and a switch over from the previous performers. This got the attention of a lot of the crowd and began to siphon people off of the main stage. KOAN Sound was a very quiet, UK Garage’y sound when I discovered them, but this was not what was going on this evening. The full, bubbly bass could still be felt on the other side of the wall where there were a few vendors and a cool altar/ art piece.Bang7KOAN sound made the main stage & Felix Da Housecat’s set seem old, almost stale. There’s something about hearing new bassy sounds and watching the club kids eat it up that gives me hope for the future. That, and of course, how they gave mad respect to Sydney Blu when she relieved Felix of the decks. She’s one of the pioneering female producers in the electro, big room & tech house spaces, a mau5trap alum and globe-trotting DJ. There was only one problem. She was going on at the same time as Minnesota!

This turned out to be the best problem ever, as my two favorite DJs in the lineup were performing right next to each other. The dance floor was packed and the projections, the rave kids, the hipsters and the bros were all flying around, almost moshing to the epic set that Sydney Blu was dropping. She dotted her set with originals, her own work and hit after hit that the kids knew immediately. There was this electro-but-tech house vibe to the set, but it would occasionally just bust into some massive prog or anthem track to the amazement of the crowd.

To cool off, I had the notion of heading into the second stage to see what Minnesota was doing, but the idea that the second stage was any less dripping with sweat & epic was the most hilarious misconception I had the entire evening.  He was dropping some of his anthem tracks, bookended with some sick nasty dubstep, bass music and trap. The kids were grinding, sweating and raging out to the amazing sound and I got to hear Stardust on a system way better than the one I have at home.Bang8We headed back to the main stage and there she was, continuing to drop bombs like the Air Force, blowing minds that were packed tight trying to get as much out of it as possible. The party was going until 6 but this was the hour they paid for and they knew it. The space throbbed with bass, serotonin and LED lights, so my companion and I drunk it in before fading into the Brooklyn night.

This is Terry Gotham, see you on the dance floor.

Photos with permission by Sarah McDaniel.

Release of the Summer: Balance & Ruin by OverClocked Remix (Old Timey Hedgehog Review)

(Check out my latest guest review for Old Timey Hedgehog, your source for geeky goodness. This was a big one :D)

Balance & Ruin

I have been waiting for this remix project for probably close to 15 years. One of the first places I discovered new electronic music was, one of the perennially under-valued resources for video game and chiptune music online.

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Daft Punk to Appear on “The Colbert Report” Tuesday, August 6th LIVE!

Daft Punk’s first live appearance anywhere on the planet in years will be on The Colbert Report. Confirmed by Pitchfork and a number of other sources, this is the first rumor of a DP appearance in 2013 that holds water. Oh, and Colbert tweeted it too.

Besides his whole appearance on The Jimmy Fallon show where he just walks on stage, dances to Get Lucky for a minute, and then leaves. YouTube video for the interested:

There you have it folks. Don’t miss this Tuesday’s Colbert Report if you’re into the Daftest of Punks. An amazing pick up for Colbchella 2013, and a huge re-introduction for Daft Punk to the US audience.

Double EP of the Week! Infected Mushroom’s “Friends on Mushrooms Vol. 2” & Shpongle’s “Museum of Consciousness”

You should be excited. If you’re not. Get excited. This week, I’m bringing you not one, but two psychedelic locomotives for your face.

First up, Infected Mushroom are continuing their fantastic collaboration series “Friends with Mushrooms” off Dim Mak. This time around, 5 tracks, featuring 2 guest artists and a vocalist, really punch up the muscle when it comes to bass, synth and wobble. It seems Erev & Duvdev have really gotten into dubstep, but as opposed to using loops/beatpacks or something, they’re doing what they do best, making the sounds themselves. If you don’t believe me, listen to the first track with Savant on a system with bass. Savant’s a surprisingly heavy choice for the track, but 4:40 into the tune, you find yourself in a very nice trancey place, with the Inf. Shroom vocals teasing you. Make sure to check out Savant’s tunes here (and his video game, which is pretty ill as well).

Now is Gold has the quintessential IM feel, with their triumphant vocals, guitar-driven beats, and everything you remember about Meduzz, Muse Breaks & Becoming Insane. The beat remains on point and there’s an almost groovy feel to the chords that dance along the persistently hard pacing & beat. Definitely a new favorite when it comes to a track to play people when they ask what the hell the Israeli dudes with the crazy mushrooms at festies is. Bomp it. You’ll thank me. Nerds on Mushrooms brings in the Pegboard Nerds, a sound I wasn’t familiar with before. There’s a glitchy, dubby, almost ragga feel to the collab that jives (what? it works.) with the rocking style of IM.

Trance Party is my favorite of the 5 tracks. I know, you’re super surprised. Totes. But their full-on, rock-drenched psy-trance chops come swirling back into view and you wonder why they ever left and for how long they’ll be staying this time around. The answer is almost eight minutes. It’s the dance-y, driving stuff that they melt faces with all over the world. There’s a lot to like here, and I hope it finds its way into a set or two before the end of the summer. The French is a track to round out the EP, focus on the rock side of IM, let them cut loose and confuse the fuck out of us when it comes to titles. The tune has some stabby synth work and heavy guitars to back them up. There’s a signature focus on original sounds and big room sounds at that. The lack of vocals give it a muted feel and it lets you down a bit more gently as the last track. Hit it up in the youtube below, and get at the iTunes and Beatport portals to pick it up.

Next up, I am delighted to present the next offering from Shpongle. The jaw-droppingly talented, well outfitted and completely insane duo of Raja Ram & Simon Posford return to bring you a circus of delight and some creepily gorgeous music. Brain in a Fishtank was released a week or two ago (the days, they bleed together), and less than a minute in, you’re being whisked into a fantastical world with the sounds of Simon and the flute of Raja pulling you deeper into this swirling miasma of sound. The bass drops and you’re off. Top-notch vocals compliment the totally original soundscape, building a lush jungle of harmony and discord. It goes a bit mad at times, but comes back to itself as your mind often does. I’ve been a fan of Shpongle since 2004, and they remain some of the best producing duos around. How The Jellyfish Jumped Up The Mountain both continues the long, storied tradition of Shpongle tracks having superbly surrealist names, but it’s pretty cool too. The bass that it pulls into is barely there but really keeps it hurtling along, like a rock skipping across a lake. As if it slowed down it would sink. The song pushes into more of the wacky universe that is the mind of Simon Posford, and makes me think of a lot of people dancing around a fire. The classical violin, the banging organic drums and the tribal feel will keep you jumping in the night. Plus, creepy-as-shit vocals at the end.

Juggling Molecules brings in some fun world-beat-y & power guitar work. And some wistful, chanty vocals, some bizarrely appropriate…is that banjo work? You really never are sure, at least when you listen to it sober. Oh, and there’s some weird jolly sounds too, so run around and enjoy. Further Adventures in Shpongleland starts ominously, as many of Shpongle’s can, but smooths into the echoic beats that we’ve loved since Tales of the Inexpressible. The more downtempo track throbs along and gives a good background to a nice glass of red wine, if that makes any sense.

The Epiphany of Mrs. Kugla starts off vaguely panic inducing. There’s a surprisingly operatic feel to the tune that reminds of Zimmer, with the same level of swarm as a Batman movie theme. There’s a pull down into some fun bassy string work, with some past-invoking chromatic steel drums that remind strongly of Nothing Lasts to my delight. The vocals combined with some lovely strings swing the track back into this euphoric feel that almost shimmers at times. Tickling the Amygdala (really spell check, you don’t know that’s a word? For shame.) has some fun with tuning bowls and modulated resonance and harmonics in ways only Shpongle can. It almost feels like it stalls and melts into your ears, being replaced by a much more high-powered beat that almost baits you to keep up and rambles forward ahead of you, spouting gibberish to throw off your focus. All the while the actual soaring guitar powers into your mind. There’s a fun dovetailing of a lot of the elements heard over the EP on the back end of this track, as you’d expect from the Impresarios of UK Psy. It glides away and leaves you wanting to go play the Shpongle discography. Put it into your face, and don’t stop rocking.