[Event Review] Grooving Through Wonderland

Looking at the NOS Event Center from the outside, you’d never think that Insomniac would be able to transform the traditional fairgrounds into the Alice & Wonderland themed massive event that it is.

It was somewhere between walking into the Queen’s Domain Stage for the first time, with royal banners draped down from a regal dome and the stained-glass windows of a virtual castle dance on the huge Main Stage LED screens; Between fairytale teapot art cars that stood comically 15ft high just outside with their caretakers fresh out of mind-bending tea party with the mad hatter himself; and between watching every rendition of Wonderland’s vibrant characters stream into the venue all around me that I realized I had already I had already tripped and fallen deep into the Rabbit Hole.

The event was outstanding, even through a chilly rain the first day. If anything the stages had even more memorable crowds with everyone dancing and staying in cover to keep warm and dry.

The Mad Hatter’s Castle was the favorite music stage this year, featuring outrageous sets from the likes of R3HAB, Electric Mantis, Black Tiger Sex Machine, & Australian artist Just A Gent. Christofi dropped an awesome, intimate set early on Day 2 at the Queens Domain that went off too. Personal best set of the weekend? Valentino Khan.

With VIP experiences being hit or miss, I was excited to see what this years looked like. The Gypsy Shrine was there in all their glitter & jewels making people fabulous and there was a massive recreated mad hatter tea party table for photo ops. What truly stood out as I explored the space was an explosion of what was referred to as “wellness technology”.

A massive spinning bed that rotated 13 times per minute to balance the body’s equilibrium. Light therapy masks. Vibrating beds known as SoundLounges. Virtual Reality Experiences. Live Art. An Augmented Reality wall. The list goes on, but I was blown away.

The Courtiers were brought in by Insomniac to curate the space known as ‘The Quantum Lounge’ and they partnered with a company in the emerging cryptocurrency space called Swarm Fund to do it. The Virtual Reality was using the game Sound Self, where the object is to fill objects with your voice. Using tones, fractal patterns actually respond to the user’s voice to create intricate, hypnotic patterns. It was a trip watching how people interacted with the game, with one girl singing into the game creating incredible patterns.

After my experience there, I moved onto the SoundLounge. I was given headphones and laid down on a futuristic black bed, choosing a 5 minute audio track called “Abundance” that had been designed by a doctor to facilitate relaxation in the body. Almost instantly after I was placed in the lounge and the track started, I could feel a massive bass wave pulse through the my body and drop all tension away. It was way beyond my expectations, with one guest sitting up saying it was one of the best festival experiences they’d ever had.

I spent more time here engaged than any other VIP space I can remember. The live art was truly outstanding and left plenty of room to lounge around on light-up, fiberglass pods that were essentially art installations and seating at the same time. The Quantum Lounge was a perfect recharge and entertainment experience that every VIP experience could look to for inspiration. Truly the last piece of the puzzle to bring me fully into Wonderland and send me back onto the festival dance floor feeling my best.

All in all Beyond Wonderland was an awesome event, and a perfect introductory experience for me – showcasing how far they’ve come in the event’s 8yr run. With an amazing lineup, art installations, stages, and an outrageous VIP I left remembering why I come to these events. To connect with myself and the other amazing humans that call this otherworldly combination of music and immersive art home.

Related items:

[Electronic/Techno] George FitzGerald & Bonobo – Outgrown

Earlier in November, we featured an excellent slice of blissed out techno from superstar tastemaker George FitzGerald: “Burns”. Near the end of the article, we promised to solidify any rumors of a 2018 full-length LP from the British producer, and alas, that day has come. Just last month Fitzgerald announced the impending release of a brand new long-player, All That Must Be, confirming our excitement and gifting a few more slices of the album in the process. The latest from All That Must Be to trickle out in single form is an all-star collaboration with fellow British electronic artist, Bonobo, “Outgrown”.

One of the many collaborations from All That Must Be (including tunes with Lil Silva, Tracey Thorne & Hudson Scott), “Outgrown” showcases FitzGerald’s trademark aural aesthetic which bounces intricate electronics on top of his emotive piano tones, culminating in one of the central moments of the record. We’re getting all geared up for the rest of the world to hear All That Must Be in its entirety, but until then, listen to another piece of FitzGerald’s forthcoming LP below, and check out his recently announced worldwide tour dates after the jump.

Continue reading

Related items:

[Festival Preview] BUKU Music & Art Project – Where Art Comes to Life

Watch out New Orleans! BUKU Music and Arts Project is coming March 9th & 10th to the party of all parties in downtown New Orleans. As expected, this festival is bringing the underground industrial nature of techno culture back to the festival circuit with an incredibly diverse genre-crossing line up that will keep you movin’ and groovin’ for two days straight.

Get lost in the multi-genre performances from electronic acts like Bassnectar and Borgore, rock bands like A Day to Remember and MGMT, hip-hop artists like Migos and Isaiah Rashad, and tons more. Talk about buku bands! There will also be live street art, custom-made industrial art installations, local food vendors, and a ton of “pop-up” performances to keep the thrill alive.

If you’re looking to up your experience, the festival also offers a VIP ticket option that gets you access to the Buku Rooftop, a multi-level structure with special amenities and VIP-only artist performances. Checkout the playlist below featuring every artist that’s been announced so far, then click here to get your tickets rolling.

Related items:

[Techno] George Fitzgerald – Burns

It’s been just over two years since we’ve been privy to any new music from tastemaking producer George Fitzgerald, who released his debut LP Fading Love in 2015. Luckily for us, the English artist has blessed us with latest single “Burns”. Premiered as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World on BBC Radio 1, “Burns” sees Fitzgerald effortlessly blending the radio friendly aesthetic of his native house and garage with the muted robotics and tinny percussion of warehouse-leaning techno. Leaning on fortified melody, “Burns” manages to maintain a healthy swath of house based soul, while rolling through arpeggiated synths, stacks of vocal samples, and understated techno drums to bring home its central thesis. About his latest tune Fitzgerald remarked: “The track started life as a studio experiment making a beatless chant out of loads of contrasting vocal samples, and then morphed over time. It works as a moment on a dancefloor but at heart it’s meant to be quite meditative, which I guess is where I’m at right now.” Which we agree, is the choice word about his latest work: “meditative”.

Rumors have been swirling around Fitzgerald’s full-length followup, and we’ve found out that it will be slated for an early 2018 release. “Burns” is out now via Domino Recording Co. offshoot Double Six Records, which you can stream below and buy here.

Related items:

[Ghoul Pop] Soul Bandit – A Tribute To Dancing Queen

Soul Bandit
A Tribute To Dancing Queen [Premiered on NEST HQ]

Today we have the newest single by LA-based musician Soul Bandit,”A Tribute To Dancing Queen,” a track made famous by the group ABBA in 1976. Interestingly enough, I had to sing that song for my high school radio show, but I digress.

This release comes two months after her previous single. Today’s offer, “A Tribute To Dancing Queen” is a dark, yet still upbeat, spaced-out take that’s completed by airy, beautiful vocals and well put together production. It should offer up a warm sense of familiarity for electronic and indie music fans.

This is the first time I’ve heard a song by Soul Bandit and I can’t wait to listen to more of her work.

Related items:

[Techno] Allen French – Nova Vida (Captain Planet Remix)

Allen French
Nova Vida (Captain Planet Remix)

It’s amazing to see the variety of sounds artists can create using the same materials. A string of remixes for Allen French‘s song “Nova Vida” were just released and it’s one of the more noteworthy remix projects in a while. A total of five producers were chosen to flip the original into something of their own, you can check out the full playlist here via Kitsuné. But Captain Planet‘s version stood out as one of the best. The producer transforms “Nova Vida” into a deep cut and the tech-house approach is spot on, perfect for a late night club set. If you’re into quality techno or deep house you’ll be glad to hear this. So get into it and be sure to explore some of the other remixes, Motez’s version is also highly recommended.

Related items:

[Tech-House] Ross Kiser & Black/Tuesday – Ancona EP [TMN Premiere]

As we roll into Fourth of July weekend here stateside, it’s only fitting that we share some tasteful, party-appropriate, speaker jack with our readers. As is our civic duty, we’ve unearthed yet another superb set of tracks for your afterhours club focused listening to land upon. Denver based producers Ross Kiser, formerly of Need & Necessity acclaim, and rising duo/label/fashion collective Black/Tuesday have called upon their collaborative force on  the Ancona EP, which finds a home on the Lee K helmed Circulate Records.

Featuring a pair of tunes, “Ancona” and “Developing Story”, Ancona‘s aural combination of Kiser & Black Tuesday work symbiotically to pull their sounds into newer territory than we’ve seen on past releases. The EP’s title track rides on layered techno and acid house synths while wonderfully fragmented vocal samples and lurching bass swells flit around its edges to bring together a beautifully cohesive production. On its B-side, “Developing Story” finds its anchor in the form of a jackin’ set of shuffled hi-hats, encased around a thumping kick-clap, and a hypnotically simple synth progression. Kiser’s proper, soulful house roots and Black/Tuesday’s tastefully tinny, metallurgic minimalism coalesce effortlessly, and as we’ve heard rumblings of more collaborations between these three, you can expect the Ninja gang to be all over it. For our DJ contingency, you can cop both of these tunes on Beatport, but until then, stream the Ancona EP below.

’Ross Kiser & Black/Tuesday – Ancona’
’Ross Kiser & Black/Tuesday – Developing Story’
Related items: