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The Bad Boy great left hip-hop for religion in the ’90s.

New York rapper Craig Mack has died at age 46, AP reports. He died of natural causes at his Walterboro, South Carolina home Monday night according to the Colleton County coroner.

Mack is best known for his 1994 hit ‘Flava in Ya Ear’, which later received an iconic remix featuring Biggie Smalls, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, and Rampage. After releasing his debut album, Project: Funk da World, Mack released the 1997 follow-up Operation: Get Down before retiring from hip-hop to devote his life to religion.

Tributes to Mack have poured out on social media. Find them below and revisit his iconic singles.

Denver’s GILA turns in a syrupy blend of bass-heavy rap-influenced bangers.

Based in Denver, Colorado, Kyle Reid (aka GILA, previously Gila Monsta) has been engineering unpredictable rap-influenced beats for longer than it might appear. While his debut solo 12″ was 2016’s XL-released Genkidama EP, he’s been releasing as part of rap duo Gorgeous Children (alongside Face Vega) since the early 2010s – the two even contributed a FACT mix back in 2013.

Last year, Reid dropped Pick Six on Benji B’s Deviation imprint and this year he dives even deeper into his own idiosyncratic blend of woozy cloud rap and cavernous warehouse techno with Shedskin Pt.33, the first release on his own Hunnaban Inc. Influenced by the filtered Atlanta blueprints of Mike Will Made It as much as M.E.S.H. and Lotic’s clubwise deconstructions, GILA’s new material shows an impressive layer of genre fluidity, never fitting snugly into one particular sound or other.

It’s not surprising, then, that his FACT mix is equally slippery. Alongside a healthy selection of his own material, Reid blends tracks from Lil Reek, DJ Shadow, Plump DJs, Hoodrich Pablo Juan, Pangaea, Gage and others, offering a mid-point between Europe’s bass-heavy club sounds and the neon bump of contemporary Southern rap.

GILA’s Shedskin Pt.33 12″ will be out on Hunnaban Inc. this month and can be pre-ordered now.


GILA – ‘Hour of the ATV’
DJ Shadow – ‘Mutual Slump’
jak3 – ‘keepin y’all in...

Although the late R&B innovator Aaliyah is one of the most beloved pop stars of the past three decades, her music has been kept off major streaming platforms — unless you know where to look. Vanessa Okoth-Obbo investigates the bizarre underbelly of Aaliyah bootlegs on Spotify.

Ola* has been using Spotify since 2011. When his phone service provider Vodafone partnered with the streaming giant two years later, Premium membership — high-quality audio, unlimited track skips and no ad interruptions — became just as essential as placing and receiving calls. The relative ease of curating playlists from the platform’s vast selection of music — over 35 million songs as of publish — is what drew Ola there in the first place. Since signing up, he has spent years perfecting playlists, particularly one called Old School Hip-Hop. It lives up to its name but, in true modern fashion, the genre criteria is flexible. That’s how ‘More Than A Woman’, the second single from Aaliyah’s 2001 self-titled album, wound up alongside tracks by Craig Mack and Jay-Z.

Aside from her 1994 debut Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, most of Aaliyah’s music has never officially been available on major streaming platforms. Ola added ‘More Than A Woman’ to Old School Hip-Hop via the album R&B Divas (International Version), one of two compilations with the same title released simultaneously by, it seems, Universal Music International in 2007. While listening to the playlist from his phone last month, ‘More Than A Woman’...

Why Ableton’s new “curated collections” are some of Live 10’s most useful tools.

Ableton Live 10 does a lot of things right: its new Wavetable synth, the brilliantly weird Echo effect and Pedal, a versatile guitar pedal-inspired sonic mangler, are all some of the best things to come out of Ableton’s Berlin HQ in years. What I didn’t expect to be quite so useful are Live’s included sound packs. I’ve avoided sound and sample packs in the past because they usually feel too genre-specific, but Ableton’s approach in Live 10 is different: a genre-agnostic take on sound content that encourages experimentation rather than forcing users into a restrictive, pre-defined box.

The bread and butter of Live 10’s sound content comes in the form of four packs of samples and presets covering acoustic drums (Drum Booth), drum machines (Drum Essentials), vintage synths (Synth Essentials) and multi-sampled electric pianos and organs (Electric Keyboards). These are useful things to have, but fairly vanilla (three of them are also only part of the more expensive Live 10 Suite). The more interesting sound packs are what Ableton calls “curated collections”: sets loosely grouped around a common music theme that capture “the musical threads that tie together evolving styles and scenes”.

Ableton has produced six in total: Chop and Swing, a collection based on old-school hip-hop sampling; a dark techno collection called Punch and Tilt; Drive and Glow, a collection of indie pop sounds; Glitch and Wash, which is loosely inspired by...

The center of Tokyo’s youth movement, Shibuya has served as the unofficial dance music capital of Japan for years, with record stores, nightclubs and vibrant fashion. Mike Sunda investigates the borough’s history in a short documentary.

Home to the world’s two busiest train stations, Shibuya, a bustling commercial borough in Tokyo, is where young Japanese music fans connect with the city’s nightlife. Shibuya has long been a center for fashion and art and in the 1990s became the go-to place for interested listeners to hear the burgeoning dance sounds emerging from the US and Europe. “Shibuya was the place you would buy vinyl,” says M-Flo’s Taku Takahashi. “It became a cultural melting pot.”

Jounralist and producer Mike Sunda has put together a short documentary highlighting Shibuya’s importance, from the early ’90s, through the opening of superclub Womb in 2000 and to 2018, where young artists such as DJ and producer Mars89 are looking to break into the wider Tokyo scene and beyond. The film is part of a series of short documentaries called Tokyo 20XX that highlights the city’s diversity and the artists responsible for its importance.

Watch the film below and read an exclusive interview with Mars89.

What’s exciting about the Tokyo scene in 2017?

Unfortunately, I can’t really say that much of the current scene is that interesting, but it will be soon. It feels like it’s the calm before the storm at the moment.

How has it changed over...

From the label’s incredible 20th anniversary show.

Last fall, Dominick Fernow aka Prurient‘s influential noise label Hospital Productions celebrated 20 years with a massive show at Warsaw in Brooklyn. One of the many highlights of that night was techno great Regis, who is now releasing his set as a mixtape titled Play Neutral.

The tape follows Regis’ 2017 full-length Gymnastics which saw the producer remaking his 1996 debut album from the original stems.

Take a look at the cassette below and order it on Hospital’s website.

The post Regis releases <i>Play Neutral</i> mixtape on Hospital Productions appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

The ‘Big 14’ star reveals the last text he received and more in our latest tell-all episode.

At just 18 years of age, Ohio rapper Trippie Redd has had quite the career. With two gold-certified singles and the Travis Scott-assisted ‘Dark Knight Dummo’ already to his name, now it looks like a Drake collaboration is on the horizon.

During a recent visit to the UK, we caught up with Trippie just hours before his sold-out London show. Guiding us through his obsession with Crash Bandicoot and his love of Cartoon Network’s Squidbillies, he also revealed his hidden talent and other juicy tidbits.

Listen to Trippie’s new song ‘UKA UKA’ below.


The post Trippie Redd –...

The follow-up to 2014’s heartbreaking Ruins.

Liz Harris, aka Grouper, has announced the new album Grid Of Points on Kranky. Today you can hear the first single, the tender, piano-led ‘Parking Lot’.

Grid Of Points follows the 2015 debut album from Harris’s band Helen, but is her first under the Grouper moniker since 2014’s Ruins. In the past years she’s released several one-off singles including ‘Children’ and the Paradise Valley 7″.

“Grid Of Points is a set of songs for piano and voice. I wrote these songs over a week and a half; they stopped abruptly when I was interrupted by a high fever. Though brief, it is complete,” Harris says in a statement. “The intimacy and abbreviation of this music allude to an essence that the songs lyrics speak more directly of. The space left after matter has departed, a stage after the characters have gone, the hollow of some central column, missing.”

Grid Of Points is out April 27 via Kranky. Take a look at the artwork and tracklist below.

1. ‘The Races’
2. ‘Parking Lot’
3. ‘Driving’
4. ‘Thanksgiving Song’
5. ‘Birthday Song’
6. ‘Blouse’
7. ‘Breathing’
8. ‘Coal Train’

The post Grouper announces new album <i>Grid Of Points</i> appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

The ring-shaped controller has just launched on Indiegogo.

Icelandic startup Genki Instruments has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Wave, a new MIDI controller for gesture-based music making. The wearable ring device fits on your fingers and allows you to pan, tilt, roll and tap to generate sounds.

The futuristic-looking device connects to music software and mobile apps over Bluetooth and even has its own partner Eurorack module that lets you generate control voltage with gestures. It offers both haptic and visual feedback and has five buttons to control functions like stop, play and record.

Wave appears to have lots of applications, such as adding vocal effects while singing, triggering samples while drumming, modulating synths and even adding effects while DJing. It charges with an included cable and has an adjustable, sweat-resistant band to fit all finger sizes.

According to Genki, Wave works “works out of the box with all major music software and apps” and has been tested with Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Reaper, Bitwig, Studio One, FL Studio and GarageBand, among other apps. It’s also customizable, allowing you to store up to seven patches (which group combinations of gestures) for quick recall.

Wave isn’t the only gesture-controlled wearable to have hit the market in recent years (see OWOW’s Wiggle Kit), but it does look as if it could...

The first US MUTEK festival begins this spring.

MUTEK has announced the initial lineup of its inaugural San Francisco edition including Tim Hecker, Equiknoxx, Telefon Tel Aviv and more. It marks the iconic electronic music festival’s first US iteration ever.

Other announced artists include Francesco Tristano performing with Derrick May, Lee Gamble, recent FACT Rated favorite rRoxymore, N.A.A.F.I. member DEBIT fresh off her great debut album and many more. More artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

MUTEK.SF takes place May 3-6 with performances, parties, panels and art installations spread throughout the city at 9 separate venues including Bimbo’s, Heron Arts, Mezzanine and more.

Take a look at the full lineup so far below and buy tickets here.

214 (US)
Article C (US)
Artificiel (CA)
Bézier (US)
Austin Cesear (US)
Braille & Chelley Sherman (US)
Christina Chatfield (US)
Convextion (US)
Debit (US)
Equiknoxx (JM)
Francesco Tristano feat. Derrick May (LU+US)
Indy Nyles (US)
Jackie House (US)
Jesse Woolston (NZ)
Kyoka (JP)
Lee Gamble (UK)
Michela Pelusio (IT)
Night Sea (US)
Nonotak (FR/JP)
Orphx (CA)
Perera Elsewhere (UK)
Roche (US)
rRoxymore & Trece Cielos (FR+MX)
Russell E.L. Butler (US)
Secret Sidewalk (US)
Siete Catorce & PE/COO (MX)
Solar & C.L.A.W.S. (US)
Tim Hecker (CA)
Telefon Tel Aviv (US)
Topazu (US)
Vague Terrain (US)
Watkins & Peacock (US)
Woulg & Push 1 stop (CA)

Read next: Dancehall scientists Equiknoxx...

FACT Rated is our series digging into the sounds and stories of the most vital breaking artists around right now. This week, Jumi Akinfenwa meets Australian singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly, whose lo-fi bedroom folk-pop is spiked with wit and feminist defiance.

NAME: Stella Donnelly
FROM: Perth
MUST-HEAR: Thrush Metal (Secretly Canadian, 2018)
FOR FANS OF: Angel Olsen, Japanese Breakfast

“My poor mother,” laughs Stella Donnelly, reflecting on the title of her breakout EP, Thrush Metal. Released last April, the name of the rising Australia lo-fi songwriter’s debut began as a punchline between friends: “I was playing in a sort of punk-thrash metal band of all girls and we were talking about thrush one day and it stuck,” she recalls, adding that she still gets a kick out of seeing such a ridiculous pun on Spotify for all to see.

The stark, minimal, Angel Olsen-inspired heartache the 25-year-old specializes in, however, is no joke. “It literally sounds like a guitar and mic in a lounge room because that’s exactly what it is,” she says, of a release that turned her almost overnight into one of Australia’s buzziest new names, and packed a powerful feminist message beneath its finger-picked melancholy.

“It’s a really hard song to play and I always give a content warning before playing it live,” the songwriter explains of ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, the standout track on Thrush Metal, which addresses the culture of victim blaming in relation to sexual assault. With probing lyrics...

An FL Studio master shows us how it’s done.

You might not know 5ive Beatz, but he’s already worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop: Krept & Konan, Nines, Rae Sremmurd and even Young Thug are just some of the artists to have appeared on one of his beats.

The North Londoner and reformed hacker has been honing his FL Studio skills since he accidentally downloaded a copy of Fruity Loops 4 at the age of 14. We visited his London studio and challenged him to make a track in 10 minutes where his speed and ability left us stunned.

Listen to the finished track below.

Watch next: Kwake Bass – Against The Clock

The post 5ive Beatz – Against The Clock appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

The US tech entrepreneur admits to using “false documents and information.”

Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges and is facing a potential prison spell of up to 40 years, the BBC reports.

The tech entrepreneur admitted in a federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday (March 6) to defrauding 80 investors in Fyre Media, the company behind the luxury Bahamas festival, while using fake documents to claim a $3 million bank loan. Investors poured more than $26m (£18.7m) into the company.

With ticket prices ranging from $12k to $100k, McFarland’s private island getaway descended into chaos last April amid reports of “refugee-like conditions” from festival-goers. In May, the FBI began investigating Fyre Media for fraud charges. McFarland was arrested in June.

“I grossly underestimated the resources that would be necessary to hold an event of this magnitude,” he told US District Judge Naomi Rice Buchwald. “In an attempt to raise what I thought were needed funds, I lied to investors about various aspects of Fyre Media and my personal finances. Those lies included false documents and information.”

The two counts of wire fraud carry a maximum of 20 years in prison each. McFarland initially pled not guilty to the charges in November, but under the plea agreement would face a sentence of eight to 10 years, and a fine of up to $300,000.

On top of the fraud charges, McFarland and festival co-founder Ja Rule were hit with a...

The Apron boss’ new record Bloodline is an 808-heavy affair.

London producer Steven Julien (aka FunkinEven) has announced his first solo release since 2016’s excellent Fallen. Titled Bloodline, the six-track mini-LP is a nod to the influence of his family on his music and pays respect to late Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi, whose iconic instruments helped shape modern electronic music.

Released in April on Julien’s Apron label, each of the six tracks features a Roland TR-808 drum machine in some way. As with 2016’s Fallen, the mini-album shifts between jagged, acid-soaked club tracks and lighter, jazzier moments – though it rarely loses sight of the dancefloor.

“I grew up around music 24/7 with some of my uncles being in the system culture and others being MCs and dancers,” Julien tells FACT over email of the LP’s title. “This influenced me to try all of it – MCing, dancing and now obviously DJing – but on a deeper one I’m also talking about rhythm from tribes in Africa and natives from the Caribbean which streams through the family bloodline.

“Rhythm’ in the drum programming I produce ain’t coming from just me, it comes from a long line of ancestors.”

As Julien explains, Bloodline is the first project he’s recorded using a set of new outboard gear that...

Their goal is to become the “Bandcamp of streaming”.

Berlin-based streaming platform Resonate has received new support for what it’s aiming to be the next evolution in streaming with a $1 million investment from Reflective Ventures, Resident Advisor reports.

While companies such as Spotify continue to be criticized for models that benefit only top-earning musicians, Resonate is one company trying to apply a blockchain (the same technology used in Bitcoin) to a music streaming platform. Their aim is to use the transparency and power of blockchains to create the ethical and technological next step in streaming.

In more simple terms, the company eliminates monthly subscriptions and applies a “stream-to-own” model where users can pay for a song or pay a fraction of the price to stream it before simply owning it after nine streams. Early adopting labels include Planet Mu, Halcyon Veil and RVNG Intl.

Longtime Holly Herndon collaborator Mat Dryhurst is a key Resonate board member who spoke to FACT about its potential in our in-depth look at blockchain-based streaming last year.

“An artist could choose to attribute and automatically pay anyone who has contributed to the production of a record,” he said, “which could lead to all manner of interesting, principled distributions of money through music, transparent to the public and the archive.”

Read next: How the technology behind Bitcoin could change the music industry – and help everyone get paid

The post...

Jonny Greenwood fashioned romance, intrigue and flashes of horror from a 60-piece orchestra on his score to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, nominated for Best Score at this Sunday’s Oscars. Could history one day remember the 46-year-old more for his soundtrack work than his guitar histrionics in Radiohead? Al Horner tries to find the answer in a haunting OST that balances tension, trauma and tenderness.

Last month, Jonny Greenwood turned up to a London screening of Phantom Thread – Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about a controlling dressmaker who obsesses over every button and every stitch of the lavish garments he creates – in trainers, baggy jeans and a crinkled blazer. “I hope he comes to the Oscars,” the more sharply-attired Anderson joked with the crowd, unable to resist a friendly poke at his friend and four-time collaborator. “If only because then, he’ll have to wear a tux.” The room laughed, before Anderson went one step further in sharing his Academy Awards dream. “Actually, I hope he wins,” he said, gesturing over at the notoriously shy composer. “Then he’ll have to give a speech.”

Greenwood deserves to win Best Score at this Sunday’s ceremony. Partly to right the wrongs of Oscars past: this is somehow only the Radiohead man’s first nomination, despite incredible contributions to There Will Be Blood, The Master and Inherent Vice as well as the odd non-Anderson film, like Lynne Ramsey’s We Need To Talk About Kevin. But mainly, Greenwood deserves the Oscar because his Phantom Thread score is a fever dream...

It’s almost impossible to keep on top of everything that SoundCloud, Mixcloud and online radio has to offer. In our monthly column, FACT guides you through the must-hear mixes of the last 30 days, whether you want a club session to warm you up for the weekend, ambient soothers or a set of vinyl-only obscurities.

Beyond the big-room bonanzas and show-off selections that make up most of the internet’s monthly GMO (gross mix output), you’ll occasionally stumble across a few outsider treasures: mixes of music so niche, or on themes so obscure, that they probably didn’t need to exist. They’re certainly not boosting any DJ fees, anyway – but really, this kind of narrowband exuberance is the stuff the internet was made for, and we are endlessly grateful to the likes of Zilla Rocca and Earoh, the Wu-Tang obsessives who this month made a whole new album out of Ghostface Killah’s shortest songs. Likewise, big up gaming buddies Straw and Geng, who dropped a haunting ambient mix made entirely from save room and title screen music.

We should also applaud London-based mix series Shock World Service, a provider of collage-heavy, loosely hauntological soundscapes, whose latest installment is a 50-minute brain-dunking of found sound, disembodied voices, awkward grooves and ambient levitation by Dublin’s Sias & Lumigraph, which you can even own on cassette.

Those are the worthy outliers, then – onto the finalists. This month we hammered Jay Simon’s dusty...

After IDM flourished in the UK in the post-rave mid-1990s, the US struggled to respond to a sound that felt so distant and alien. But a diverse group of ambitious teenagers began to make the links between Autechre and Aphex Twin’s glitchy electro experiments and hip-hop, Miami bass and breaks. Laurent Fintoni examines how the USA re-cast IDM in its own image, birthing Phoenicia, Prefuse 73, Machinedrum, Push Button Objects, Richard Devine and more.

In Britain in the early 1990s, at the confluence of rave’s commercialization and the idea that there could be more to dance music than just dancing, new ideas arose. And with those new ideas came new terminology. Following the growth of “ambient house” and release of Warp’s 1992 Artificial Intelligence compilation, British music weekly NME took the term “intelligent techno” one step further and applied the adjective to dance music in July 1993. A month later, Alan Michael Parry, an enthusiastic fan, set up the Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) mailing list to discuss “music that moves the mind, not just the body.” The first reply to the list was: “Can Dumb People Enjoy IDM, Too?” And when Warp released the second Artificial Intelligence compilation in 1994, it sent journalists four pages of arguments printed from the list. In its modes of production and discussion, IDM was wed to technology from the start, for better or worse.

In America, IDM took on a peculiar life that affected the sound of the...

We get a look at Varia Instruments’ impressive new boutique turntable weight.

Varia Instruments has made waves in DJ circles over the past few years with its the RDM20, a hand-made rotary mixer that counts Motor City Drum Ensemble and Jeremy Underground among its fans.

The Swiss boutique company has just launched its next product, a turntable weight with a difference: it’s for both 12″ and 7″ records and incorporates both a disc stablizer and a 7″ adaptor. We hooked up with Varia Instruments in Berlin to get a demonstration of the TTW10 for ourselves.

Filmed at The Store, Berlin.

Watch next: Learn how to use a rotary DJ mixer: Varia Instruments demonstrates its awesome RDM20

The post Varia Instruments shows its new handcrafted TTW10 turntable weight appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

FACT Rated is our series digging into the sounds and stories of the most vital breaking artists around right now. This week, April Clare Welsh talks to electronic adventurer and viola player Astrid Sonne, whose Escho debut Human Lines, released earlier this month, is one of the most breathtaking experimental albums you’ll hear all year.

NAME: Astrid Sonne
FROM: Copenhagen
MUST-HEAR: Human Lines (Escho, 2018)
FOR FANS OF: Laurel Halo, Holly Herndon, Posh Isolation

Astrid Sonne’s computer broke down at the very moment Lorenzo Senni turned up to her performance during Copenhagen’s CHART Art fair in 2017. “There was this multi-channel thing going on and my laptop just crashed,” laments the rising Copenhagen-based producer. “I’m such a big fan of Lorenzi Senni, so of course it had to happen right there and then.”

Thankfully for Sonne, the glitch was only temporary and the show went on, but for a classically-trained musician who had barely even clapped eyes on a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) like Ableton Live or Pro Tools or messed around with an Access Virus synth until two years ago, it was another lesson learned about the unreliability of software and machines.

Sonne – who began playing viola aged six – was born and raised in Bornholm, a little Danish island outside of Sweden, before moving to the Danish capital at 16. She endured a strict classical training as part of a pre-conservatory program in Copenhagen that she quit at 18, shifting to digital composition....