This week: Spotify's AI DJ, Datsik disgraced, classic Commix, CVS on tour, RIP DJ Spoko, Don Diablo's cyptocoin and more
1. Spotify appears to be experimenting with an artificially intelligent DJ system that can mix tracks in a playlist together. Nothing's been announced officially, but eagle-eyed listeners to the Drum & Bass Fix playlist [pictured] spotted that if you have the Crossfade option turned off (in Preferences) and the Shuffle option switched on during playback, seamless, beatmatched transitions will ensue. How many other playlists boast the same feature, or whether it will be rolled out right across the platform, remains unclear.
2. Dubstep/EDM star Datsik has been dropped by his agent, his label Firepower Records and his Ephwurd production partner Bais Haus, and had all his forthcoming live shows cancelled, after several women claimed on Twitter that he had sexually assaulted them. The 29-year-old Canadian - real name Troy Beetles - has denied any wrongdoing, saying: "There have been recent allegations against me for things I have not done ... Let me be straight up, I don't condone that kind of behaviour."
3. Dutch DJ Don Diablo is launching his own cryptocurrency, called Hexcoin, which can be earned and spent inside his new VR platform Hexagonia. Hexcoin is underpinned by the blockchain technology Gaze Coin, which essentially rewards VR/AR/MR users for time spent in virtual worlds. Pioneering stuff, though Diablo isn't actually the first EDM star to launch a blockchain-based currency - Gareth Emery and Gramatik have already beaten him to it.
4. Behringer has unveiled another clone of another classic synth. This time around, the vintage hardware being recreated is the Sequential Circuits Pro-One, a mono analogue synth from 1981 that was used by everyone from Soft Cell to Hardfloor. Full details of Behringer's new version have yet to be made public: the German company simply posted a couple of pictures on their Facebook page earlier this week, which means we can tell you that theirs, unlike the original, has no built-in keyboard.
5. Some sad news: RIP South Africa's DJ Spoko - a pioneer of the percussion-heavy, kwaito-derived style known as 'Bacardi house' - has passed away at the age of 35 following a long-term illness. Spoko - real name Marvin Ramalepe - hailed from the town of Tznaneen and worked regularly with DJ Mujava, with whom he made the landmark Township Funk in 2007. You can see the pair in action in the Boiler Room video below.
6. Moving on to release news, upcoming goodies to look out for include: a set of four limited-edition 7-inch reissues of classic Trax material from Mr Fingers, Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson and Adonis (Trax Records, April); Parts Of Life, the eighth studio album from Paul Kalkbrenner (Sony, 18 May); two new albums from The Black Dog, the ambient Black Daisy Wheel and the more club-oriented Post-Truth (Dust Science Recordings, 25 May); and no fewer than 10 previously unreleased EPs by D&B duo Commix, which are available now via their Bandcamp page.
7. On the compilations and mix albums front, Maceo Plex is the selector for fabric 98, which is out on 20 April and features tracks by artists as diverse as Pinch, Joel Mull and Carl Finlow; the 30th installment in the long-running Balance series, which has been compiled and mixed by Max Cooper and is out on 4 May; and the 10th Secret Weapons compilation from Innervisions, which features cuts from Marc Houle and Marc Romboy, among others, and is out now.
8. Moving on to festival news, and Boomtown Fair (Hampshire, 9-12 August) have announced a new 'district' called Metropolis, which will take the place of the former Chinatown district and have a house-centric music policy starring the likes of Dusky, Eats Everything, Josh Wink, Denis Sulta, Paul Woolford, Mella Dee and Purple Disco Machine.
9. Sticking with UK festivals, the line-up has been announced for Anjunadeep's Open Air: festival, which takes place at London's Three Mills Island on 12 August. Jody Wisternoff, 16 Bit Lolitas and label boss James Grant are all featured.
10. Further afield, Belgian festival Tomorrowland is launching a winter edition, cunningly named Tomorrowland Winter. The inaugural event will be held at the French Alpine ski resort Alpe d’Huez on 13-15 March 2019, with four-night packages starting at €685. No line-up details have yet been announced.
11. Claude VonStroke will be touring Europe in April and May. His nine-date trek kicks off at Lab 27 in Birmingham on 11 April, visiting London, Antwerp, Barcelona, Berlin, Manchester, Amsterdam and Brighton before finishing up at Freqklash in Colchester on 6 May. For full details and tickets, see CVS's own website.
12. Over in Ibiza, Resistance returns to Privilege for the 2018 season, taking care of every Tuesday from 17 July until 11 September with the season line-up set to include Carl Cox, Sasha, Richie Hawtin, Maceo Plex, Dubfire, Seth Troxler, Joseph Capriati, Adam Beyer, John Digweed, Jamie Jones, Pan-Pot, Nicole Moudaber, Eats Everything, Paco Osuna and more.
13. Meanwhile at Amnesia, a new night called Pyramid will be taking over the Monday night slot recently left vacant by Cocoon, who've moved to Pacha after 18 years at the club, while on Thursdays - following Cream's departure for Hï Ibiza after a 23-year run - will see Do Not Sleep in charge of the main room, with UK promoters ABODE on the Terrace.
Tags: Spotify, Datsik, Don Diablo, DJ Spoko, Behringer, Boomtown, Anjunadeep, Open Air: festival, Tomorrowland, Claude VonStroke, Resistance, Privilege, Amnesia, Do Not Sleep, ABODE, The Black Dog, Paul Kalkbrenner, Trax Records, Adonis, Mr Fingers, Larry Heard, Frankie Knuckles, Commix, fabric, Balance 30, Max Cooper, Maceo Plex, Carl Cox, Sasha, Richie Hawtin, Dubfire, Seth Troxler, Joseph Capriati, Adam Beyer, John Digweed, Jamie Jones, Pan-Pot, Nicole Moudaber, Eats Everything, Paco Osuna