New Music From Sheffield’s The Black Dog: Focused, Finely-Honed Objects [Stream, Video, Mix]

Out this week is a new full-length from The Black Dog. The Sheffield, England-based trio – Ken Downie, Martin Dust, Richard Dust – have been making smart, non-boring electronic music for ages. (Let’s not utter “IDM” – but “smart” fits.) From Warp to Ostgut Ton, they’ve been an indelible and irreplaceable part of the creative landscape. What strikes me about Tranklements is its effusive economy and clarity. In a time when music is regularly dripping with reverb or smothered in gauzy effects and nostalgia, this is a record that stands apart from any particular time, dry and direct and witty. …

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Note from the Editor: Music for Dance, Music and Movement

“Dance music” is a term that has lately become maligned all over again. And the press is often fond of deriding the music of machines, as if drum machines and computers are sentient alien technology that climbed out of the smoldering remains of a wrecked UFO rather than the handiwork of someone’s imagination. For me, though, these two materials – movement and machines – are the reason I do what I care about this field, exploring new sounds in a way that is human and gestural, whether the music is in an experimental concert at 8p or a party in …

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Music Video: Untold’s Overdrive (Hemlock) Brings Dirty Techno, Clean Animation

2012 may be without a clear landmark album (at least so my producer friends keep complaining), but the singles scene (ahem) has been terrific. Perhaps that suggests a musical landscape in which electronic artists prefer exploration to tightly-controlled packages. Whatever is going on, techno is dirty and grungy again. Just ask the UK’s Untold. Last week, Mixmag hosted a video premiere for his track “Overdrive,” with animator Iain Acton. Their story and comments: WATCH UNTOLD ‘OVERDRIVE’ VIDEO EXCLUSIVE [Mixmag] Talking about music, as the saying goes, is tough stuff. I love what Untold is doing, a sense of the enduring …

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Accepting Grammy Awards, Skrillex Acknowledges Dance Roots, EDM Community

The Grammy Awards faced controversy long before this year’s ceremony; more than 30 categories faced the axe. With music outside Billboard lists already facing marginalization, the changes angered many artists by combining genders and averaging together genres. More fundamentally, artists can easily argue that the awards lack direct relevance to music they value, and look instead to validation from other sources. But watching the acceptance speeches by Skrillex, you see an impression not so much of how the Grammy Awards view Electronic Dance Music as how Skrillex views the EDM community. Winning three awards – Best Dance Recording, Best Electronic/Dance …

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Bassnectar on Beat Structure, EDM, and Dubstep, Illustrated: Hearing Rhythm

How do you hear? What do you hear? Coming to agreement about something rooted in perception is by definition a doomed exercise. But that means the best thing to do is not so much to agree as to talk about the music – about what you hear – and not just the labels. Amidst glib online comments and the micro-fragmentation of genre, it’s hard to get anyone to give you a straight answer about just what’s going on in electronic dance music. That’s ironic – because, at its essence, it’s pretty straightforward. The situation has gotten worse: as “dubstep,” the …

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A Reader in Electronic Dance Music’s History and Creation, Now Available

I had the pleasure this year of working on a book that draws from over 30 years of coverage of Electronic Dance Music’s evolution. Collecting pages primarily from Keyboard, with additional content from Remix, we retrace the relationship of machines and music, technology and movement, in producing the sounds to which people dance. It’s impossible to be encyclopedic in such an endeavor, but part of what I enjoyed about working on the project was getting to see through the eyes of the artists. You hear them talk in astounding detail about how they actual craft what they make. They curse …

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