Thursday, February 28, 2013

Video | HASHTAGS | Don't Call it Beats

Red Bull Music Academy presents HASHTAG$

Don't Call It #BEATS

For a brand that most people recognize solely for hocking energy drinks and extreme sports, no other has captured, promoted, embraced, and helped give the proper voice to underground electronic music better than Red Bull and its Music Academy

Aside from it's foray into reinventing the classic DJ Battle with its Thre3style competitions, and of course, all the work it does supporting up-and-coming artists or breaking new ones with its yearly academies, RBMA recently launched the web video series HASHTAG$ at the end of January. With the goal of dissecting, defining, and clearing the air around the obsessive genrefication of emerging trends in electronic music, episodes range from #AltRnB to #postdubstep to this week's episode, #beats. Each is an entertaining and enlightening watch that gets to the heart of the music thanks to first-person interviews from the source, the artists that create it—not outsiders that label it.

Watching "Don't Call it #BEATS" today, I was especially struck by the value of a series like this. As a journalist who has grappled with informing the general public about new strains in electronic music making, while struggling to resist the confining genre tags that invariably come along with them this is a series I'm envious about not being involved in. 

Flying Lotus put the underlying theme of #beats best saying, "what keeps it going is the fact that there's no label on what it's supposed to be." The episode—and the series as a whole—gets into the space of this music by letting it speak for itself. And without further ado, we shall too.

Joshua P. Ferguson

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Allure | Music Journalism and Advertising Online

The Allure | Music Journalism and Online Advertising

In an isolated incident of cosmic collective thinking the other day—an occurrence I'm less and less surprised by everyday—a friend sent an e-mail with some 'food for thought on how to monetize Dialogue Inc. Within the same hour, we stumbled across an article written by David Johnson-Igra for Noisey entitled "How Online Advertising is Killing Music Journalism." This post marks Dialogue Inc's 400th since we launched the site in June of 2008, and we figured it was as good as any to comment on our ongoing endeavor, how it's always been a labor of love, and how it's one that doesn't get nearly enough traffic to warrant advertising.

Both our friend's e-mail and Johnson-Igra's article got us thinking about all the reasons we wish it did though. More respectable traffic would certainly open up a world of new opportunities for us: Money to spruce up the design, clout across the far-reaching World Wide Web, greater opportunity to feature artists, and the ever-alluring opportunity to be a greater voice within the music community. We've had a taste of this through outlets like Time Out Chicago and XLR8R, so why not bring that power home, where our various ramblings, opinions, and observances were first given voice?

Of course there are practical obstacles—like holding down a day job—that prevent us from supplying content with the regularity that is crucial to running a more successful site. But there is also the concern that Johnson-Igra raises in his think piece: To get the hits that will ultimately determine your success, you must track your coverage in towards the status quo in order to truly drive your traffic up. Occasionally, we are in a position to be early to market with news bits that give us that coveted page view spike, but really we're just a long-winded proto-Tumblr page (follow our actual Tumblr here:  Dialogue Inc | Tumblrthat posts about music we love, artists we respect, culture happenings we find intriguing, and the business behind it all.

We've done our SEO 101 but that's about it. We're not going to drop in written content in reference to your online gaming site in exchange for $100 in credit, we'll promote things we like—and hopefully things you like too—but this was never about chasing after hits. We'll continue to write too much in each post and hope that you read at least half of it. We'll continue to be proud of posts that get 500 hits because we covered something the Web decided was cool. But mostly, we'll continue to do our part to feature things that deserve to be getting page views, and hopefully one day, will.

— Joshua P. Ferguson

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shuffle | Little Boots + Zagar + Hank and Cupcakes + The Crystal Ark

Shuffle | New Sounds from our Inbox

by Joshua P. Ferguson

LB "Superstitious Heart" (2020 Vision remix instrumental)
Here, thinly-veiled London Chanteuse Little Boots (who we interviewed back in 2009 when she was just making her rise out of Youtube) joins with Ralph Lawson and company for dynamic house excursion that recalls the boogie funk of artists like Tensnake and 2020 Vision alums PBR Streetgang who also chime in with a remix on the commercial version of this release package. This freebie serves to wet your whistle a bit, as it were.

DOWNLOAD: LB "Superstitious Heart" (2020 Vision remix instrumental) | WAV (big file!)

Zagar "Space Medusa"
Falling somewhere in between '70s cosmic rock, Aeroplane and Daft Punk, Hungary's Zagar mixes vocoder wizardry, epic synth build-ups and waves of atmospherics into a sci-fi soul that would fit right in with the Kitsune catalog. A viral hit thanks to its use as a soundtrack to Bang & Olufsen's recent ad campaign, the group recently let it go as a freebie:

DOWNLOAD: Zagar "Space Medusa" | 320 mp3

Hank + Cupcakes "Sweet Potion" (RJD2 remix)
Brooklyn's rebellious pop duo Hank + Cupcakes have tapped stalwart beatmaker RJD2 for a remix that's equal parts boom-bap and '80s electro soul. Drummer/vocalist Cupcakes has pipes that rival  a classic rock chic like Pat Benatar, and somehow, laid over RJD2's moody production, it all comes together like the duo's namesake Charles Bukowski and his onetime lover with the cute cake name.

DOWNLOAD: Hank + Cupcakes "Sweet Potion" (RJD2 remix) | 320 mp3

The Crystal Ark "Rain"
The unique pairing of LCD man Gavin Rossum and vocalist performer Viva Ruiz, marks a new chapter in the DFA story with the Crystal Ark. Eclectic live-band disco in the vein of Escort or Midnight Magic, the The Crystal Ark's is quirkier than most, mixing mysticism, spicy Latin flourishes courtesy of Ruiz and Rossum's signature electronic funk.

DOWNLOAD: The Crystal Ark "Rain" | 320 mp3

Monday, February 18, 2013

Heavy Rotation | Asphodells + Lusine + Deetron + Factory Floor

Heavy Rotation | XLR8R Reviews

Corralling our latest commentary from around the Web.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

We're two months into 2013, and our web-based music musings haven't abated any. We've been steadily contributing  reviews for XLR8R and figured it was time to collect them all in one place, to give readers a sense of how the release landscape is shaping up for this year, and what we've had to say about it. 

Album Reviews | XLR8R

"[Andrew Weatherall and Timothy J. Fairplay]'s debut full-length, Ruled by Passion Destroyed by Lust, is a tripped-out excursion through disco, psych rock, post-punk, new wave, and cosmic grooves; the album massages these sounds into a singular being, which is then left to mutate into something all its own. In the end, we're left with a sort of tie-dye disco, held together with safety pins and pomade."

"Picking up right where A Certain Distance left off, the Seattle-based producer [Lusine]'s latest LP shows the same passion for methodical soundscapes, which are no less thoughtful for their glowing warmth. McIlwain's ability to toggle between tempos and textures is no less prevalent either."

Singles Reviews | XLR8R

"'Two Different Ways,' [Factory Floor]'s first single for seminal indie-dance imprint DFA, was a sweat drenched, acid-meets-punk-funk workout, and "Fall Back" doesn't deviate from that concept much—which is a good thing. Leading with a bass modulation that vibrates tighter than a rubber band stretched between New York and Manchester, it sets a relentless pace and demonstrates the group's nuanced appreciation for both of those musical meccas."

"By the time We Can't Fly, the [Aeroplane]'s debut full-length, rolled out in 2010, anticipation was at a peak. Unfortunately, the members of Aeroplane had already passed their own. The record lacked the impact of much of the pair's earlier work, and Fasano actually left the group even before it was released. Given that, offering up another single from We Can't Fly, especially one as dubious as "I Don't Feel," several years later might seem like overkill, but enlisting Swiss deep-tech authority Deetron for remix duties does brighten the prospects considerably."

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chicago | Joy Orbison + Abstract Science DJs + Subnoxious

Joy Orbison @ Smart Bar 


Abstract Science DJs | Chris Widman + Mister Joshua

Subnoxious (Wolfpack)


VALENTINE'S DAY (TODAY) | February 14, 2013 | 10pm | Chicago

Following up the run-away success of Abstract Science's 15th Anniversary Bash with the UK's Ben UFO, we're back at Chicago clubbing Mecca Smart Bar for another go at forward-thinking bass, techno and garage grooves, this time with a man whose music WIRED Magazine has described by saying "the clear, pure dancefloor high this formula provides is unarguable." With that, we welcome none other than the mighty Joy Orbison.

Abstract Science DJs myself and Chris Widman are on warm-up duties alongside the ambassador for Chicago dubstep crew Wolfpack, Subnoxious. Guaranteed to get a little rowdy, and be entirely uplifting. If you're in the Windy City, you have no excuse not to stop by.

And if you need a taste, press play on this, our set from December's Ben UFO show:

Joy Orbison joins the Abstract Science DJs and Subnoxious at Smart Bar in Chicago on February 14, 2013 at 10pm. Tickets are available at

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dialogue Incorporated | Podcast #27 | 2012 in Review

Dialogue Incorporated | A Change is Gonna Come

Dialogue Incorporated Podcast #27 — 2012 in Review

Compiled and Mixed by Mister Joshua

Music | Dialogue Incorporated #27

We'll be the first to admit it: 2012 was not the greatest year for Dialogue Incorporated's podcast series. We managed to release a paltry two... and in the process we switched to a new server, lost our page on iTunes, and subsequently lost any subscribers we might have had. Womp. It is what it is. And at least we've already manage to rally in 2013, presenting our first in what we hope are many mixes over the course of the next 12 months as well as renewing our podcast feed in iTunes. That's two big successes for us and very early on this year. Now if we can only keep this streak up right?!

Listeners will notice something right off the bat in this Year in Review mix—house beats ruled.  From  the dub-techno-skank of Rhauder's "Sidechain" to the stepper's disco of "Your Kisses" from Mancunian talent The Dead Rose Music Company to the deep tech-house of Guy Gerber, Âme and Maya Jane Coles. That's not to say 2012's installment is without our indie, bass, and downtempo highlights. Au contraire! But for us, more than any time in the past 120, and the bpms surrounding it, ruled our world.

Subscribe to our revamped podcast: iTunes Podcast

Dialogue Incorporated #27: Listen | Download | Enjoy


John Talabot "So Will Be Now" — Permanent Vacation
Hot Chip "Flutes" — Domino
Maya Jane Coles "Getting Freaky" — Heidi's Jackathon Jams
Photek + Pinch "M25FM" — Photek Productions
Orbital "Stringy Acid" — ACP
Disclosure "Latch" — PMR
Eveson "Bluebirds + Powder" — V
Lockah "The Sour Drink from the Ocean" — Jeffree's
Mala "Changuito" — Brownswood
Beach House "Myth" — Sub Pop
The-Drum "/SYS" — Mishka
Monokle "Swan" — Ki
Yeasayer "Fingers Never Bleed" — Secretly Canadian
Grizzly Bear "Gun-Shy" — Warp
Chromatics "At Your Door" — Italians Do It Better
The Dead Rose Music Company "Your Kisses" — Let's Play House
Only Children "Down Fever" — Nuclear Family/Nurvous
Simian Mobile Disco "Seraphim" — Wichita
Daphni "Yes I Know" — Jailong
The Globe "Adventure Party" — International Feel
Danny Daze "Your Everything" — Hot Creations
Scuba "July" — Hot Flush
Tanlines "Not the Same" — Matador
Rhauder "Sidechain" — Ornaments
Guy Gerber "The Mirror Game" — Visionquest
Frank Wiedemann + Ry "Howling" (Âme remix) — Innervisions
Maxxi Soundsystem "Regrets We Have No Use For" (Herbert remix) — Hypercolour
Burial "Loner" — Hyperdub

Words | Letter from the Editor


Even with dance music's current popularity, things won't sit still long.

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 12.27.12

While perusing my Facebook newsfeed the other night, I came across a telling quote from a Pitchfork review. Writing about a compilation from prolific U.K. bass label Hemlock, Mike Powell states, “In 2008, the term ‘dubstep’ meant something different than it does now: There was no such thing as Skrillex or Taylor Swift songs with vaguely dubstep-influenced choruses.” Negative connotations of Swift aping bass music for her latest radio hit aside, Powell’s quote speaks volumes about the speed with which electronic music evolves. 

Futuristic sounds heavily intertwined with the progression of technology: Dance music has always been this way. The only difference now is that, here in the States at least, more people are paying attention than ever before. Producers who once would have thrived in their own way underground are striking viral gold, being touted as creators of some new genre and inspiring legions of imitators. This explains moombahton, which swept the scene in the last 18 months, and the current obsession with trap rave, which has assumed the mantle as the current “it” sound. 

A natural progression of crunk Southern hip-hop beats and heavy low-end, trap rave is being applied to remixes of everyone from pop tart Ellie Goulding to veteran ravers the Prodigy, and is undeniably infectious on the dance floor. Familiar yet edgy, it has thrust artists like Brooklyn’s Baauer and L.A.’s RL Grime into the spotlight, not to mention rekindled the career of local duo Flosstradamus. But is it built for longevity? Not likely. Trap’s too narrowly defined to have any long-lasting staying power—only the top of the heap will be lucky enough to inspire this same level of enthusiasm by the time 2013 comes to a close. 

The number of run-of-the-mill producers jumping on the genre bandwagon only serves to quicken that pace of obsolescence. In the world that Powell is writing about, those same producers who made dubstep in ’08 have moved on to a loosely defined gray area generally just being referred to as bass music. While the term is often used as a catchall, for consummate boundary-pushers like Hemlock’s Untold, Hessle Audio’s Ben UFO and Hotflush’s Scuba, bass music is coming to mean specifically speaker-rattling polyrhythmic techno. Listen carefully and you can hear its roots in dubstep, but this is another beast entirely, one that’s guaranteed to bare its fangs well into 2013. 

In Chicago, the fad-averse are looking backward instead of forward. All-vinyl DJs are returning to the club, and the sound they are championing is a blast from the past—even if the record on the table just came out last week. Artists like Innerspace Halflife, Amir Alexander and Chicago Skyway are all examples of local artists getting international praise for their retro futuristic sound. It is in diametric opposition to the EDM movement that’s dominated 2012, the biggest electronic-music bubble of them all, and one sure to burst. 

As fast as electronic music moves, it is at its best when this happens naturally. Even with the dollars being sunk into Electric Daisy Carnival and the dizzying array of other rave-centric festivals, the hangover on this supercharged bacchanalia must eventually set in. When it does, the last men and women standing are the ones who are truly in for a treat. This next generation of faithfuls discovering what lies ahead for them beyond the monotonous tempos of 70 and 128 bpm: That could be 2013’s biggest trend of all.