THIS WEEK: Rusko, festivals galore, Daso and Alias RIP, remixing Paul Simon, MDRNTY cruise, Burning Man, Above & Beyond, NI Maschine and much more...
1. Dubstep star Rusko [pictured] has just released a new EP entitled Has Made Five More Songs that sees him returning to a more overtly Jamaican-inspired sound, in keeping with the 'back to basics' approach that's currently very much en vogue in the dubstep community. It's only his second release since being given the all-clear from stomach cancer back in October, and like the last one (the single Hot) comes of Flux Pavilion's label Circus Records.
2. On a less happy note, this week saw music lovers worldwide mourning the passing of German techno producer Daso and US hip-hop DJ/producer Alias (of Anticon fame). Daso Franke, 37, finally lost his battle with cancer, while Alias (real name Brendon Whitney) suffered a heart attack last Friday, aged just 41. Our thoughts are with the families and friends they leave behind.
3. A collection of artwork from the Burning Man festival has gone on display at the world-famous Smithsonian museum in Washington DC. No Spectators: The Art Of Burning Man can be seen in and around the museum's Renwick Gallery until 21 January 2019, and includes several large installation pieces such as FoldHaus's Shrumen Lumen, a string of giant, luminescent mushrooms.
4. An ambitious new book by UK music journalist David Stubbs sets out to trace the entire history of electronic music, from the musique concrete and Italian futurists of the early 20th Century right up to the thriving global dance scene we know today. The 464-page tome, entitled Mars By 1980: The Story Of Electronic Music, will be published by Faber & Faber in August. Stubbs has form in this area: his previous work includes Future Days, a history of Krautrock.
5. Hot on the heels of The Ark announcing two cruises for 2018, fellow seagoing party animals MDRNTY have published details of their own 2018 voyage. Sailing from Genoa to Sardinia and Corsica and back on 10-13 June, MDRNTY passengers will be treated to DJ sets and live performances from the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Black Coffee, Alan Fitzpatrick, Cassy, Martin Buttrich, Osunlade, Stephan Bodzin, Mathew Jonson, Behrouz, Apollonia, Edu Imbernon, Matthias Tanzmann, Pan-Pot and many more. Full details at their own website.
6. Dimitri From Paris [pictured below] is to play four nights at London club XOYO this June. He'll be there every Saturday from 2 to 23 June, with guests set to include Aeroplane (23 Jun), Daniel Wang (16 Jun) and Alex From Tokyo (2 Jun). Dimitri himself will play a six-hour set on 9 June.
7. Moving on to festival news, and several big festivals in the USA revealed their line-ups this week. Electric Zoo (NYC, 31 Aug-2 Sep) has Kaskade, Marshmello, Martin Garrix, Gabriel & Dresden and Zed's Dead, among others; the multi-genre Outside Lands festival in San Francisco (10-12 Aug) has DJ Snake, Jamie XX, James Blake and Chromeo alongside a host of rock, pop and hip-hop/R&B acts, while Excision's festival Lost Lands (Ohio, 14-16 Sep) can boast the likes of Flux Pavilion, Illenium, Rusko, Snails and Zomboy. Shambhala in British Columbia, Canada (10-13 August) will star Gramatik, Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, Krafty Kuts, Dizzee Rascal, Joker and Machinedrum; and finally Desert Hearts in California (27-30 April) is the place to catch the likes of Damian Lazarus, Doc Martin, wAFF, Nathan Barato and Lauren Lane.
8. A little closer to home, Spring Break Amsterdam (8-10 April) has Chase & Status, My Nu Leng, CamelPhat, Sub Focus, Det Lef, Jaguar Skills, Tom Shorterz and many more. Dave Clarke and Fuse will once more co-host the Cathedral Stage at this year's Tomorrowland (Boom, Belgium, 20-22 and 27-29 July), with guests set to include Pan-Pot, Len Faki and Marcel Dettmann. Serbia's EXIT (12-15 July) have announced the line-up for their No Sleep Novi Sad stage, with highlights including Helena Hauff, Craig Richards, DJ Tennis, Midland and Daniel Avery B2B Rødhåd, and finally right here in the UK, Amine Edge & DANCE, Oneman and Hot Since 82 are the latest additions to the We Are FSTVL line-up (Upminster, 25-27 May).
9. Paul Simon's landmark 1986 album Graceland has been given an electronic makeover. Out on Sony in June, Graceland: The Remixes packs rerubs of classics like You Can Call Me Al and Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes from the likes of Groove Armada, Joris Voorn, Gui Boratto, Thievery Corporation, MK, Richy Ahmed, Photek and Sharam.
10. Other new releases to look out for include: Side Effects, the second album from Luke Slater's house side project LB Dub Corp (Mote-Evolver, 19 May); Age Of, which - if we can count - will the 13th long player from US experimentalist Oneohtrix Point Never (Warp, 1 June); and the latest in the long-running Bargrooves series, Bargrooves Deluxe Edition 2018 (Bargrooves, out now).
11. Above & Beyond documentary Giving Up The Day Job, which follows the trance trio on their 2016 acoustic tour, will be available for download via iTunes from 17 April. Oh, and while we're on the subject, their Anjunadeep label has just released a mini-album from Swedish ambient/neoclassical arist boerd (real name Bård Ericson) entitled Static.
12. Finally, on the studio tip, new bits and bobs announced this week included a "random sample module" from Mutable Instruments called Marbles (out now, €299) and an eight-voice analogue synth from Black Corporation called KIJIMI. Meanwhile, Native Instruments have been busy adding Loop Recording facilities and Logic Pro X support to their Maschine MIDI controller via the latest firmware upgrade, which is available now via the Native Access app.
Tags: Rusko, Daso Franke, Anticon, Brendan Whitney, Burning Man, Smithsonia, David Stubbs, Mars By 1980, MDRNTY, Dimitri From Paris, XOYO, Electric Zoo, Outside Lands, Lost Lands, Shambhala, Desert Hearts, Spring Break Amsterdam, Tomorrowland, Dave Clarke, Fuse, EXIT, No Sleep Novi Dad, We Are FSTVL, Paul Simon, LB Dub Corp, Luke Slater, Oneohtrix Point Never, Bargrooves, Above & Beyond, Anjunadeep, boerd, Native Instruments, Maschine, Black Corporation, KIJIMI, Circus Records, FoldHaus