Philip Sherburne



  • Destroid, San Francisco, 2013

    Cowabunga! Dubstep Supergroup Destroid Plot Revenge

    Move over, Daft Punk: Now there's something even cyberer. Meet Destroid, the dubstep supergroup featuring Excision, Downlink, and former Pendulum drummer KJ Sawka. They played their debut gig at San Francisco's Warfield Theater on Monday, and from the video of the event, these three are clearly intent upon taking live EDM to the next level. Or unlocking the next level, at least — because with Destroid, it's hard to tell where the line between IRL and X-Box lies. (You can stream their new album, Destroid - The Invasion, right here on SPIN.)Their costumes look like Daft Punk's robot suits as re-imagined by Eurovision champs Lordi. Excision and Downlink might be playing modded Rock Band game controllers.

  • Mathew Jonson

    Dance Tracks of the Week: Mathew Jonson's Entrancing Techno Sweet Spot

    Mathew Jonson Her Blurry Pictures (Crosstown Rebels) Mathew Jonson likes his techno rippling, rubbery, and slightly bent — full of gracefully arced melodies, twanging analog timbres, and crisp, swinging drum machines — and over the past dozen years the Canadian producer has become a master of rearranging those elements into entrancing new configurations. Sometimes it hasn't been easy to tell where his signature becomes a formula. His debut album, 2010's Agents of Time, riffed on his favorite themes in a way that often made the new tracks seem like tangents sprung from old ones, and not always productively. But here, those forking paths lead back to the source of what makes Jonson tick. Her Blurry Pictures is silkier and milkier than anything he's done before (with the exception, perhaps, of "When Love Feels Like Crying").

  • Christian Marclay, 'Groove'

    Christian Marclay's Ambient Masterpiece 'Groove' Available Again on Limited Vinyl

    Long before The Clock turned him into the world's best loved video remixer — the 24-hour video installation is essentially the supercut to end all supercuts — Christian Marclay was best known as a sound artist. Much of his work treated "sound" only glancingly: For his Body Mix series, he created uncanny, sexually charged collages out of classic album covers; The Beatles is a pillow woven from magnetic tape containing the Fab Four's entire discography. One constant, however, has been his interest in the material culture of recorded media. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Marclay began as a DJ — or a kind of DJ, anyway, carving locked grooves into thrift-store vinyl and bringing turntablism into the world of free improv.

  • Hyetal

    Hyetal: Bristol Bass Traveler Intertwines Grime, Krautrock, and Devo

    Who: "What attracted me to the whatever-you-want-to-call-it," says Hyetal (a.k.a. David Corney), referring to the purple/wonky/dubstep-not-dubstep scene of the late 2000s, "is that there didn't seem to be any obvious boundaries. People were bringing all sorts of different influences, and I found that really interesting." Beginning in 2009, the Southampton transplant put his own stamp on Bristol's bass-that-shall-not-be-named movement with a string of flickering, percussive singles; both solo and in collaboration with peers such as Shortstuff, Baobinga, Peverelist, and Julio Bashmore. The scene, which played fast and loose with elements of dubstep, house, and U.K. funky, flirted with each genre without committing to any one of them. But, he says, "as it got more formulated, in a more traditional dance-music sense, I lost interest.

  • Aisha Devi

    Hear Willie Burns' Shimmering, Shuddering Remix of Techno Spiritualist Aisha Devi

    Between 2004 and 2011, Aisha Devi kept her music — released under the alias Kate Wax — focused on the cosmos. Inspired by her grandfather, a researcher at CERN, she gave her albums titles such as Reflections of the Dark Heat and Dust Collision, and mapped unthinkable distances with measured pulses, patient analog sequences, and her own voice, wispy as the fogged breath on the inside of a space helmet. Now, returning to her own name, the Tibetan-Swiss artist has charted a new course, one headed deeper and deeper into the inner space of mind, body, and soul. Hence "Clean Ur Chakras," a lo-fi techno cut suffused in hackle-raising gothic chants, or "Jesus & the Math," which sounds like a Sunday School choir covering the Knife.To round out her debut outing under her own name, Devi has turned to Hyperdub's Cooly G and L.I.E.S. and WT Records' Willie Burns for remixes.

  • Afrojack on the set of 'As Your Friend' video

    Afrojack Fans Perplexed by EDM Superstar's 'Weird' Ambient Detour

    Wolfgang Gartner recently caused a stir when he complained on Twitter about DJs playing it safe with their set lists. After calling out an unidentified jock for "playing [a] straight up Beatport top 10 hits marathon on the dance stage" at El Paso's Neon Desert Festival, he admonished his peers to "fucking DIG, lazy ass fucks," and closed with the advice, "moral of the story: YOU DON'T HAVE TO PLAY THE HITS TO GET THE MONEY AND PLEASE THE CROWD."Unless, of course, maybe you do. Consider the case of Afrojack and the ambient techno track that he posted to his SoundCloud account over the weekend.

  • Disclosure / Karl Walter/Getty Images

    Disclosure, 'Settle' (PMR)

    Disclosure's debut album opens with an extended sample swiped from a motivational speaker's pep talk. Over a rippling, pulsing 2-step beat, a voice bellows, "How do you stay motivated in the midst of everything that's going on? How do you build your personal momentum, and how do you stay in the zone?" It's fitting, though, because nobody in dance music better exemplifies the spirit of world-beating self-actualization than plucky brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, ages 22 and 19, respectively.Since releasing their first single in 2010, Disclosure have transformed from promising unknowns in a very crowded scene — the legions of eager young laptop producers rising in the wake of ex-dubsteppers turned house revivalists like Joy Orbison and Julio Bashmore — to standard-bearers for a new generation of British stars, boasting two legitimate U.K.

  • Gregor Schwellenbach, 'Spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt'

    Dance Tracks of the Week: Kompakt Goes Classical

    Gregor Schwellenbach Spielt 20 Jahre Kompakt (Kompakt)There have been a few examples of classically inclined takes on techno in the past few years, like Brandt Brauer Frick's four-to-the-floor chamber ensemble pieces or Hauschka's rhythm-centric studies for the prepared piano. But Gregor Schwellenbach's album for Kompakt is a little different; it endeavors to convert the Cologne label's back catalog into repertoire. It seems like a daunting task, given how much the label's signature depends upon the timbre and heft of electronic sounds and samples; you're unlikely to find yourself spontaneously humming the melody of Studio 1's "Grün 4," for example.

  • The 10 Best Things We Saw at Primavera Sound 2013

    The 10 Best Things We Saw at Primavera Sound 2013

    Despite wintry temperatures that led some festival-goers to joke that it should have been renamed "Invierno Sound," Barcelona's Primavera Sound generated plenty of heat during three long nights of indie rock, rap, noise, and electronic music playing out alongside the Mediterranean. With one of the most expansive lineups on the worldwide festival circuit, Primavera offers a little something for everyone — from nostalgic crowdpleasers like the Postal Service and the Breeders to far-out propositions from Nurse With Wound and Guardian Alien — and delivered marvelously under the light of the full moon. Here are our ten highlights. PHILIP SHERBURNE

  • Boards of Canada and Daft Punk / Photo by Getty Images (Daft Punk)

    How Daft Punk Saved Pop Music (and Doomed Us All)

    "There's a tidal wave of laptop kids making music at the moment, which on the one hand is a great thing, because it's a whole new generation being encouraged to create. But on the other hand, it seems to have become a bit of a pissing contest between non-musicians who are more interested in computer components than art, all trying to elbow each other around to create the most impressively detailed, clicky sci-fi sounds. [But] at the end of the day, emotional melodies are going to last a lot longer than impressive drum programming."Can you guess who that is? You probably can. It's a press-shy duo who has just returned to the scene after a lengthy break between albums, a group known for its innovative viral campaigns and a nostalgic fondness for the sounds of the 1970s and 1980s.Daft Punk, you say? Sorry! But close: It's Boards of Canada's Mike Sandison.

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