Aug 20, 2008

Anticipation Mounts for DJ Awards, Ibiza

As the season there draws to a close, the votes are being counted in this year's DJ Awards Ibiza 2008. And the winners will be announced at the special awards ceremony, taking place on the White Isle at the incomparable Pacha, on Thursday 25th September.

Now in its 11th year, the categories in this year's DJ Awards Ibiza have undergone a recalibration to reflect changes in the ever-shifting dance scene.

Nominees in the minimal category include Anja Schneider and Loco Dice, while Deadmau5 and Mark Knight are flying high in the electro-house category. Elsewhere, Brazil is being celebrated as the Dance Nation of the Year, with major DJs in the running for the prize including Gui Boratto and Marky.

Each of the winners will receive the distinctive green Kryptonite award, and with former winners including everyone from Pete Tong, to Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Sven Väth, Tiësto, Paul Oakenfold, Danny Tenaglia, Ferry Corsten and Carl Cox, you can bet this will be a star-studded affair! More details at

Aug 10, 2008

Crystal Castles - Alice Practice

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles is a Toronto-based band, consisting of multi-instrumentalist Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass. Crystal Castles are known not only for their own efforts as a band, but also for commissioned remixes for a number of groups, including "Hunting for Witches" by Bloc Party, and "Atlantis to Interzone" by friends, Klaxons.


Crystal Castles, named after the Crystal Castle from the She-Ra franchise despite never actually watching the show, formed in December 2003 as a project started by Ethan Kath. In April 2005, Alice Glass recorded vocals for five original instrumentals by Kath. The band's first single was recorded "accidentally": a microphone test by Glass was released through MySpace as "Alice Practice" in September 2005. Glass was not aware that it had been used until record companies heard the song and contacted the duo to offer them record deals.

Since the release of "Alice Practice", the duo announced plans to release their first full-length album on Last Gang Records, which was released in North America on 18 March 2008 and released in the UK on 28 April 2008.


Crystal Castles have toured Europe and the USA numerous times since 2006, including a US tour with Australian, electronic group, The Presets in February 2007. The band also played at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England, August 2007 and were set to play the CMJ Festival October 2007. They supported Metric on certain dates throughout their North American tour in September and October 2007 and also headlined Vice Magazine's UK tour in November 2007 called Unitaur, which also featured These New Puritans and The Teenagers.

In May 2008, Crystal Castles headlined the UK's NME New Noise tour along with Friendly Fires, Team Waterpolo and White Lies.

Crystal Castles performed at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2008, where the on-stage antics of Glass which included her climbing the stage rigging and constantly stage-diving, led to the organisers curtailing their set. Crystal Castles are set to tour with Nine Inch Nails in dates across July and August 2008. Crystal Castles are also set to play various European summer festivals including England's Reading & Leeds Festivals. Then were expected to return to the UK in September 2008 for a headlining tour but had to cancel due to recording commitments. Instead they will play a handful of dates as a warm-up for their festival dates.


Crystal Castles are featured in Season 2 of the English television show Skins in which they perform live at a concert two of the characters, Sid & Tony attend.

Copyright disputes

In mid-2008, Crystal Castles was involved in controversies related to sampling and artwork permissions. Pitchfork Media and The Torontoist published stories about Crystal Castles' use of Trevor Brown's artwork without permission. The image, depicting a black-eyed Madonna, was used by the band on merchandise, after being found on an "old flyer, without credit", with the hope "that the artist might reveal themselves and make contact". The issue remains unresolved. The band also allegedly incorporated samples taken from the chiptune community without credit in several of their songs released on Myspace, such as "Insecticon", which apparently uses chopped up samples from a song by Lo-bat called, "My Little Droid Needs a Hand" (released under a Creative Commons license), and "Love and Caring", which apparently samples the kick and snare from Covox's "Sunday". Pitchfork published an article in defense of the band, saying that the band had never released the songs nor performed them and thus were not responsible for breaking the Creative Commons licensing on the songs.

Musical style

Crystal Castles' music is easily recognized by their heavy use of samples and distorted female vocals. Crystal Castles claims to use a modified keyboard that uses an Atari 5200 sound chip as an oscillator. Their musical style has been described as having "ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast pierce [the] skull with sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever". Indie music review website, Pitchfork, gave a positive review of Crystal Castles' remix of "Leni" by GoodBooks, and described the style as "pitch-shifted vocal snippets [that] ricochet like pinballs around Crystal Castles' patented 8-bit synths".

Band Members

* Ethan Kath - Instruments / Production
* Alice Glass - Vocals


Studio albums

* Crystal Castles (March 18, 2008) - Lies Records / Last Gang Records (UK #47)
* Remix Album (TBC) - TBC
* Untitled Second Album (2009) - TBC

Singles and EPs

* Alice Practice 7" EP (June 01, 2006) - Merok Records (ME002)

* Limited edition of 500 copies. Sold out in three days.

* "Crimewave" 7" (Crystal Castles vs. HEALTH) (August 13, 2007) - Trouble Records
* "Crystal Castles/HEALTH 7" (September 18, 2007) - Lovepump United Records (LPU013)
* "Air War" 7" (December 17, 2007) - Trouble Records (TROUBLE001)
* "Courtship Dating/Tell Me What To Swallow" (March 31, 2008)


* Live at Glastonbury 2008 EP (2008)

Aug 8, 2008

Lewis Dene's Inside Track

More inside knowledge on the freshest tracks across the board...

Greg Stainer's 'Long Verb' on Kinky Malinki is one of those irritably catchy instrumentals that just reeks of crossover potential and smacks of instant familiarity. No samples, just some 'inspired by' reference points add up to make this haunting number a must-have item - that's if you know what you're looking for! The same could also be said of Andy BopH's 'A New Day' on Nukleuz's new Big In Ibiza imprint. Living up to the label's name, this is another strong offering, a wonderful melodic Dutch progressive instrumental with big tribal drums and afro-centric percussion adding a twist that really reminds of Sensurreal's 'No White Clouds In My Blue Sky' from back in '99. It's screaming for a vocal but creative DJs will already have their favourite a capella lined up to drop over it.

It's taken Italian Monica Bragato, aka Moony, far too long to come up with a follow-up worthy of 2002's pan-European hit 'Dove (I'll Be Loving You)', but in 'I Don't Know Why', on Airplane, she stands her best chance yet. Her haunting delivery sits best atop the foundation created by remixer Jerome D'isma-ae that blends synthetic chords with electronic strings to great effect.

Never short of production quality, Philly's King Britt has a trio of new mixes emblazoned with his FiveSix moniker. Solange's soulful 'I Decided' sits in juxtapose to the abstract eclecticness of his 'Nude' mix for Radiohead, but best of all is the return of '70s soul great Dee Dee Bridgewater with the scrumptious 'Children Go Round'.

The 'Elmore Grove EP' by newcomers Captive State is produced by Nick Franglen, one half of acclaimed leftfield/chillout act Lemon Jelly. None other than Roxy Music keyboardist and ambient pioneer Brian Eno has even endorsed the group's debut on Genuine. Their sound has been described as "akin to Air remixing the Beta Band".

DJ/producer/vocalist and all round nice guy, Ron Carroll has been working with Cece Peniston on a song called 'Crank It Up' for the Dutch Spinnin' stable. The same label is also releasing his upcoming single 'Bump To Dis'. Meanwhile, 2009 will see a new chapter in the Chicagoan's career as he's set to work with rappers Shawna and Lupe Fiasco, who plan to dip their toes into house music.

Acclaimed reissue compilation label Strut Records launch a new album series under the banner 'Inspiration Information', exploring some mouth-watering one-off collaborations from artists at different ends of the music spectrum. The series kicks off next month with a heavyweight soundclash between Detroit soul maverick Amp Fiddler and reggae legends Sly & Robbie. Then fresh from his vocal work touring with Massive Attack, reggae legend Horace Andy embarks on his 'Inspiration Information' sessions with Ashley Beedle.

Next from Rebirth Records is Silky Sunday's summery vocal offering 'Friend', mixed by Sandy Rivera, Ripperton & Alex Attias and Tomas Hedberg followed by Rennie Foster with 'Devil's Water' - a biggie we're told with Sasha, Holden and Zabiela. Plus they've got 'Funky Music', a new single from Outmode mixed by the Buick Project and Beat Pharmacy. Incidentally, the rather wonderful NUfrequency track 'Go That Deep' with Shara Nelson has just been signed to NRK Records with new mixes in the pipeline too.

Several decades after John Lennon released the optimistic cry to arms 'Give Peace A Chance', the song returns with Yoko Ono now getting top billing (her vocals originally featured on the choir in Lennon's version) with her adding a new speech to underscore the song's topical plea. Ono's dalliance with the dance market in recent years is nothing new, with Twisted releasing the single backed with a dark, stark and moody Morel version and an uplifting string orchestration from Brazil's DJ Meme.

Contrary to popular belief, both Classic Records and Music For Freaks have not gone anywhere. Instead, according to Luke Solomon, they've just regrouped and as Classic Digital plan to engulf their digital presence with a series of download-only releases of new and remixed material from their extensive catalogue. This will include Rob Mello's 'Critical' (with an amazing new Fabrice Lig remix); the Freaks featuring Robert Owens with 'Right Now' (with a new live version and remixes from Mark Farina, Fine Cut Bodies and Freaks); Brett Johnson's 'Stucco Homes' (mixed by Luke Solomon, Derrick Carter and Greenskeepers); 'Everything Is Changing' from Robbie Hardkiss (inc Justin Harris remix); plus LDOE's sought-after punk-funk track 'Crimes' made over by Solomon and Carter.

EDX is working on a remix of Axwell & Bob Sinclar's 'What A Wonderful World' for Yellow Productions, along with restylings of Kaskade's 'Angel On My Shoulder' and 'Say Yeah' for Yves La Rock.

In Glimmers news, seven months after DJmag gave you 'The Glimmers Are Gee Gee Fazzi', the boys are adding their unique touch to releases by Crystal Castles, Munk and Adam Freeland to name just three. The twins are also close to completing 'The Glimmers Presents Disko Drunkards', which they say will hit the clubs, not the shops, on 1st January 2009.

Burial Steps Out of the Shadows

Feted dubstep producer reveals secret identity

Mysterious, Mercury-nominated beat-smith Burial has at last unveiled his identity. On his MySpace blog, the man behind the two genre-defining albums 'Burial' and 'Untrue' has revealed himself to be Will Bevan, a South Londoner.

On the blog, he explains that up until now, he's wanted to let the music speak for itself, but now feels duty bound to remove the mask.

"For a while there's been some talk about who I am, but it's not a big deal," he said. "I wanted to be unknown because I just want it to be all about the tunes. Over the last year the unknown thing become an issue so I'm not into it any more. 
I'm a low-key person and I just want to make some tunes, nothing else. My name's Will Bevan, I'm from South London, I'm keeping my head down and just going to finish my next album, there's going to be a 12" maybe in the next few weeks too with four tunes," Bevan confessed.

Burial's much mooted compilation for the 'DJ Kicks' series remains under wraps for now.