Author Archives: Damion Pell

Introducing BLOND:ISH’s Saturday live streams ‘Human Nature’

With her revolutionary interactive Saturday shows, DJ Vivie-Ann Bakos aka BLOND:ISH turns Twitch on its head to let the audience in, adding much needed real-time human connection to the usual livestream format. Fans miss the sense of community, sharing and fun of live gigs, and Viv has found ways to supply that. As a passionate communicator of positivity, this is ‘Human Nature’ to the Canadian-born, nomadic DJ/producer.

Have you ever seen a DJ do a full set but include the likes of ‘Spin Spin Sugar’ (a Spin The Wheel with prizes), ‘Meditation Minute:ish’, or ‘Dance Hotline’ (an onscreen Zoom backstage)? Each Saturday, alongside an uplifting, genre-busting DJ set, she welcomes you into a magical space for 90 minutes of pure escapism. ‘Human Nature’ puts the viewer in the driving seat for once, with real-time audience interaction all served up with special guests (such as legendary Andy King (Fyre) and industry luminaries like Mixmag’s Nick DeCosmo), and a blaze of energy only Viv can generate.

‘With gigs being cancelled, and no tours in sight – I was deeply missing that connection with my community. That energy, from the music and moments we all shared, to the group hugs at the end of a set. There was such a need for a space to bring my community together, something which is even more important right now.’

Streaming on Twitch on Saturdays, plus a full DJ set on Wednesdays, continuing BLOND:ISH’s mission to unite humanity and nature through the power of music and her Bye Bye Plastic foundation. During lockdown, what do we need most? Connection on a human level. What is the most powerful communicator of all?…. What matters most? Connection on a human level. What is the most powerful communicator of all, across any distance, language, culture? Music. Who better to step up, create space for such a connection, but Vivie-Ann.

‘This is really bringing people together all over the world. We’re getting the same people coming back week after week, friendships have been formed in the chat, we’re connecting on a deeper level. It’s been incredible to see!’

When: Saturdays, 4PM EST/9PM BST

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EXIT Festival share message of Hope and Unity at first post-lockdown event

EXIT Festival, known for supporting social change since the Serbian revolution in 2000, has sent the message of hope and unity in the first official event after the lockdown ended in Serbia. One of the biggest European festivals has joined forces with popular local actors and musicians to celebrate Victory Day but in a slightly different fashion than usual. Several of country’s top internationally acclaimed DJs played for a crowd of just 50 people in a colossal Dance Arena moat at the Petrovaradin Fortress, an impressive 18th-century venue that during EXIT festival usually fits over 50.000 visitors each day.

The event was organized in cooperation with the national creative industries platform “Serbia Creates“ and had the additional symbolism for the award-winning EXIT Festival and its team members. Two decades ago they had to exit from the oppressive regime of Slobodan Milosević and the era of civil wars in former Yugoslavia, and nowadays it’s unprecedented crisis caused by the pandemic. Just two days before the event took place, the Serbian government officially ended the state of emergency entering into the reopening phase after several weeks of lockdown that included police curfews, some of which even lasted for 84 hours.

The reason for this invite-only event was not just to mark victory day and end of state of emergency, but to celebrate life in general, since all the attendees helped spread the message of hope and unity. Symbolically they created a big number 1 raising large banners with EXIT’s core values such as love, unity, freedom and revolution and in the festival’s recognizable red and white logo. Inspiration for this aerial image came from the lyrics of the song “We Come 1” by the seminal British band Faithless who played one of the most remarkable concerts in EXIT history calling people all over the globe to unite.

“We gathered here at the EXIT’s magical home, the Petrovaradin Fortress, to send a message of hope and optimism to the whole world that we will win this battle united”, says the EXIT’s founder Dušan Kovačević, who also added: “The health crisis is slowly moving behind us, but there are still many obstacles such are the economic consequences”.

The event industry was hit the most in this pandemic with events being the first to shut down and the last to reopen. “We have to preserve events and festivals not just for the sake of economics and tourism benefits that they are bringing. Events serve to a much more meaningful purpose; they are one of the spices that make life worth living. People gather and connect, ideas are shared, friendships forged and last for a lifetime. We get this all the time, people tell us how EXIT changed their life.” – says the festival’s founder adding: “Our festival started as an exit from the isolation and civil wars that former Yugoslavia had in the ’90s, but now the whole world needs to be united in order to exit from this huge crisis.“

During the state of emergency in Serbia, EXIT stopped all its promotion and rerouted all of its resources into socially responsible activities including the regional “Super Neighbour“ campaign that called volunteers to help elderly and vulnerable people in their communities. EXIT also launched its own online TV program that premiered never seen before shows from the festivals each day, making the quarantine that much easier for millions of people that tuned in from around the world during the past two months. Since health and safety of visitors, employees, volunteers, artists, partners and suppliers come first, EXIT team is following the health situation on a daily basis, and the decision on postponing the festival will be made in accordance with the future official government measures in the following period.

In next few weeks, a special “Fortress Stream” will be broadcasted on the official FB page of the EXIT festival, with performances by artists who also sent a message of hope and optimism from the Petrovaradin Fortress on May 9, including Runy, Kristijan Molnar, Marko Nastic, Lazar Nikolic and Miroslav Miletic. EXIT. Where Hedomism meets Activism.

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Paul Kalkbrenner studio sessions

Paul Kalkbrenner came of age in East Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when techno arrived in the city. His two plus decade career is intertwined with the genre that emerged from Detroit and became a global cultural force.

Paul’s grand techno sound has seen him fill stadiums and top charts, yet this new EP is deeply club focused music. It’s evidently Kalkbrenner, but Speak Up is also lean and hard, its four tracks that return Paul to his rave roots, music for late nights, dancing in the dark. Laser In opens the EP, with a broken beat sound. It’s all drums, skittery and distorted sounds that coalesce as the track moves along. It’s is a spikey track, dancey punk; it’s almost the opposite of Eyes Open, whose dark, squelchy and warm synths and melodies envelop you and pull you deeper.

Check Yourself is pure techno, propulsive, percussive, frantic and big. It’s music centered around the kick drum, an anthem designed to move a dancefloor. The EP closes with Speak Up, an example of what Paul does best when working with vocals. The track is simple, haunting and beautiful, full of melody and warmth, but minimally produced. Speak Up follows the recent success of Kalkbrenner’s last vocal single ‘No Goodbye’, which has received over 15 million streams to date.

This past weekend, Paul debuted a special studio session livestream from his studio. The stream has already netted hundreds of thousands of views – Paul goes into the detail about why he’s not so focused on creating albums anymore, talks about his similarities between him and his character Ickarus from the famed Berlin Calling, growing up with the legendary Sascha Funke and playing out 2 new songs off the EP including the eponymous Speak Up.

Paul’s Speak Up EP will be available as a limited edition vinyl – only 500 copies available worldwide on June 5th and it will feature an exclusive extended version of Speak Up. The vinyl pre-sale begins May 22nd.

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New SendMusic Mobile App brings free 3GB music file transfers, instant messaging and In-App music player into one secure platform

UK tech start up, SendMusic, has launched its mobile app, an essential, all-in-one music file transfer and collaborative platform that gets music heard. The free-to-use mobile app brings large file transfers (up to 3GB free), music playback (listen before downloading) and real-time feedback into one easy, quick and secure platform removing the headache of files, links and feedback coming from multiple sources. SendMusic is a must-have tool for anyone who creates, shares, plays or promotes music. The desktop version is already favoured by tastemakers including Mistajam (BBC Radio 1), Benji B (BBC Radio 1), Jamz Supernova (BBC Radio 1Xtra), Paul Woolford / Special Request, Toddla T, DJ Q and many others. The mobile app adds instant messaging and push notification features alongside file management and collaboration on the move. SendMusic offers three subscription options; Free (up to 3GB files per transfer), Personal (Up to 5GB files / $5 monthly / $50 annually), and Security (Up to 10 GB files / $10 monthly or $100 annually) with increasing storage terms, customisation and security options in each. Download from the App Store (iOS only) or sign up at

The unreleased music ecosystem is vast and complex. Every day, music producers, DJs, mixing and mastering engineers, A&Rs, label managers, radio producers, radio presenters, pluggers, publicists, artist managers and many more, use different platforms to send remix parts, demo tracks, mixdowns, masters, promo’s, DJ mixes, and other content. Large music files need to be sent securely, quickly and easily, and in most cases, feedback is needed as quickly as possible. SendMusic’s mobile app solves this problem, connecting and bringing individuals together through a single, versatile platform, saving time, enabling collaboration and providing new creative opportunities.

A SendMusic profile is also a calling card, built as a promo tool. Users can add links to new releases, videos, merchandise, live dates, social media accounts, websites and anything else, then generate a single short-link which clicks back to this central location. For example, check out Mistajam’s at This link can be added to a signature or shared with an invite to upload new music. The versatile app then allows a sender to drag and drop a music file to the profile, choose whether the recipient can ‘stream only’ or ‘stream and download’ as well as choosing an expiry option for the file of ‘1 day’, ‘1 week’ or ‘1 month’, and send with a message. If more than one file is sent to stream it arrives as a playlist, or if sent to download it arrives as a ready-made zip file.

The inbox is a key feature of the mobile app allowing instant messaging back and forth. The app will support push notifications and will link with e-mail messages on the desktop version. This means a user may hit reply to an e-mail and it will appear as a push notification in the app which gives a powerful and instant communication tool. The in-app music player is simple to use and is persistent around the app ensuring an uninterrupted listening experience even when the user is moving between pages. The music player can also expand into full screen and shows a full waveform of each track with play, pause and seamless track scroll function.

The desktop version is already a success. Respected producers, Waze & Odyssey invited demo’s for submission via SendMusic and subsequently signed two artists to their Street Tracks label who have gone on to receive support from Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1 and high-profile DJs including CamelPhat, Hot Since 82 and Andrea Oliva. Similarly, Dutch label Barong Family used SendMusic to run a successful remix competition for their latest album release. They hosted a link to download remix parts on their profile then invited producers to send remix entries via the Barong Family SendMusic profile link. SendMusic makes creation and collaboration easy.

SendMusic was created by Kemal Mermutlu and Ben Bowler. Kemal has been a producer at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra for over 10 years working with the likes of Pete Tong, Annie Nightingale, Mistajam and more. He brought Diplo to Radio 1 and still produces the Diplo & Friends show. Ben Bowler is an experienced start up founder and developer. He built, launched, and sold, DJ live streaming platform Chew TV which grew to a community of over 500k members. The team brings a wealth of knowledge, industry experience and contacts which have helped shape the SendMusic concept and user experience.

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WATCH – Mathame launch PHOENIX – a 3D live stream & interactive universe

Following their latest single ‘Never Give Up’ via B1 Recordings/Ministry Of Sound which was awarded ‘The Essential New Tune’ accolade by BBC Radio 1’s Pete Tong, Mathame now launch their new multiplatform cinematic project, PHOENIX. The interdisciplinary brothers Amadeo and Matteo Giovanelli have innovated PHOENIX as an online stage and interactive space for both artists and music lovers.

PHOENIX is an enigmatic planet in orbit around the Earth. Using the latest 3D real-time technologies, it has hundreds of different settings where DJ’s and musicians can perform in outlandish scenarios and backgrounds. The groundbreaking project took two months to develop and, in future, will also be a web community akin to computer game and virtual universe, Second Life, where people can meet with their own avatar.

The virtual-reality world of PHOENIX recreates a kind of magic and emotion that listeners can immerse themselves into. Mathame’s reimagining of what the landscape of live streaming is capable of, gives the medium a uniquely innovative dimension. The project isn’t only a visual experience; PHOENIX is also raising funds for CESVI (Bergamo’s Hospital & Old Persons Assistance) via streaming platforms.

Soundtrack: Mathame
Director: Matteo Giovanelli
Executive producer: Amedeo Giovanelli
3d VFX Artist: Pierpaolo Mantuano
Art Assistant: Pedro Barbosa
Management: Enrico Mutti, Guillaume Thollet

Special thanks to:
Cesvi Bergamo
Unreal Epic Games
Ghisleri Antica Casa Musicale
Encode talent
Ultra Music Publishing
H Intelligence

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The School of House launches e-learning platform for upcoming artists and dance music entrepreneurs

As this year’s festival summer grinds to a halt, Amsterdam-based The School of House rises to the occasion with the launch of their international e-learning platform

Bringing together the expertise of some of Holland’s leading artists and industry experts, they offer a comprehensive curriculum with education and consultancy from industry professionals—including DJs Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, José Woldring (the PR-manager of Martin Garrix, Charlotte de Witte and Joris Voorn) (The Media Nanny), the social media strategist for Hardwell (NXTLI) and one of ID&T Events’ Brand Directors.

This is the first time The School of House’s content becomes accessible to aspiring and upcoming artists and dance music entrepreneurs around the world. The unique approach integrates video masterclasses, workbook assignments, feedback and consultancy, and covers a multitude of fields: DJ Skill & Performance, Career & Bookings, Music Production, Artist Profile & Social Media, Legal & Business and Press & Public Relations.

Hands-on Growth Strategy
Upcoming artists and entrepreneurs will find clear, in-depth answers to crucial questions like ‘Who am I as an artist?’ ‘How can I get booked at festivals and clubs?’ or ‘How do I make my fan base grow?’ A hands-on growth strategy is laid out in a series of useful assignments, arming students with purposeful skills, a broad understanding of dance music culture and a customized career plan for the future.

Courses and bundles come in all sizes and levels. Beginning DJ/producers can buy the complete Artist Starter Bundle, while more experienced can opt for the Artist Career Bundle—DIY only, or with added personal consultancy. They can also buy separate courses like Producing Your First Track in Ableton, Signing Your First Record Deal or Creating Content With Impact.

Founder Jan Maarten Hartong acknowledges these are trying times for the electronic music industry. “But I firmly believe in the agility and resilience of our scene and worldwide community. With this new platform, we hope to bring a positive and meaningful contribution to the future of both dance music’s culture and industry.”

The most promising artists are also linked to partnering festivals and labels to kickstart their career. Check out all the courses and bundles here.

“Throughout our career we always felt we needed to give something back to the community that gave us everything. You just need to share your knowledge with talent. Give them the opportunities to become better than we are. That’s why we started our label SONO, hosting our own events and now created a course for The School of House. Great partners to spread our knowledge and insights to help talent all over the world in becoming better DJ’s and performers!” –  Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano

About The School of House is the digital companion to the physical School of House in the A’DAM Tower in Amsterdam—founded together with Dutch dance enterprise ID&T in 2015 on the idea of sharing 30 years of experience in electronic music and dance events. Its aim is to transfer knowledge within the dance industry and to further dance music culture, by instilling a deeper understanding of the history and core values of dance music.

The School of House operates with a world-wide network—the exchange of knowledge, experience and opportunities benefiting both the status quo and the new generation. Over 2500 talents from all over the world have already followed classes at the A’DAM Tower. Together with the Conservatory of Amsterdam, the school has also set up the Amsterdam Electronic Music Academy (AEMA), the first two-year course of its kind, educating talented musicians to become professional DJ/producers.

For more information, please visit

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Exclusive Premiere – Brlee – Visions (Magdalena Remix)

Brlee‘s most popular track to date probably is the title track from the forthcoming album “Visions”, which can now also be enjoyed via a well-deserved remix by Magdalena.

The track already has received a lot of support from many great international DJ’s and music producers, only to continue by being recognised and catching the attention of Magdalena, who approached Brlee with the idea of collaborating on the remix.

The collab brought together these two talents in one outstanding track that will surely be played by many names around the world. This powerful floor filler inspired both Brlee and Magdalena to make this mix the best announcement of the forthcoming album, along with the three other singles that were launched in the past few months on Overload Records.
This remix is scheduled to be released on the 21st of May, 2020. The album (including the remix) will be released on the 24th of June.

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Tresor to release Drexciya graphic novel – ‘The Book Of Drexciya, Vol. 1’ is out May 22nd

Tresor is pleased to announce the Drexciyan journey’s continuation with the release of The Book Of Drexciya, Vol. 1, a graphic novel which covers the first 5 vivid chapters of this powerful mythology, a crucial Afrofuturist work.

Abdul Qadim Haqq’s legendary concept imagery associated with the Detroit techno community and beyond for almost 30 years and his contributions to the mythology at the time of conception makes him uniquely positioned to lead this endeavour. Dai Sato is most known for his screenwriting for animes Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell.

In the legend of Drexciya, African pregnant women thrown off the slave ships gave birth underwater to amphibious creatures. They could breathe as they did in their mothers’ wombs, they had webbed hands and feet and became the Drexciyan wave jumpers: great warriors of the abyss. Revealed in the inner sleeve notes of The Quest (1997), through a map of the diasporic black culture, Drexciya illustrated four phases: The Slave Trade, Migration Route of Rural Blacks to Northern Cities, Techno Leaves Detroit, Spreads Worldwide, and The Journey Home (Future). It introduces the very creatures and warriors found in these pages, such as Wavejumpers and Deep Sea Dwellers. The return home is of destination future, where lays the population of their abyss.

Follow the story of the first Drexciyan, his subaquatic birth, growing up in the caves of Ociya Syndor, later to become Drexaha, the empire’s first king. Get introduced to Dr. Blowfin, Master of Alchemy and Quantum Genetics, who masterminded Drexciyan computer systems and network, based on Genetic Intelligence and DNA matrix systems. Hear the story of the birth of the wavejumpers, the mightest warriors of Drexciya. Enter Bubble Metropolis, thriving with its central command, aquabahns and aqua wormhole gateways to the cephalopod-like oceanic Cruisers.

This project comes with the full support of living Drexciya member Gerald Donald and Helen Stinson, the surviving mother of James Stinson. The Book of Drexciya Vol.1 releases May 22nd as a hardcover 76-page graphic novel.

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An audio-visual project by Skapade Studios and Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich, a family run distillery which has been making globally revered single malt Scotch whisky since 1887, has partnered with Dumbarton’s own state of the art production team – Skapade Studios.

The new documentary reveals how Glasgow DJ and Skapade director Stephen Kirkwood worked alongside Glenfiddich ambassador David Allardice, to produce an ambient-electronic masterpiece using only sounds recorded from the Highland distillery. As it turns out, Skapade and one of the country’s oldest distilleries share a very similar approach to production – using a blend of carefully selected elements to create one, perfectly balanced product. Whisky barrels, copper pot stills and huge industrial machines were all used as original sounds in the project. However, perhaps the most significant and unique addition to the track was the voice of whisky making legend Dennis McBain, who has worked in the industry for almost 60 years.

The coppersmith’s lifelong passion for Glenfiddich runs throughout the track, providing an authentic listening experience that perfectly encapsulates the love that has gone into 130 years of making Scotland’s favourite whisky. Based in the village of Dufftown, The Distillation of Sound celebrates Scottish heritage with a glimpse into one of the country’s most beautiful distilleries; and the creative process behind the production of a piece of music like no other.

Dave Paradice, Glenfiddich ambassador and project creator said: “The idea came to me a couple of years ago to fuse my passion for electronic music and whisky by creating a unique track using sounds recorded at the whisky distillery. I needed to find the right partner. Someone that could bring their own creativity to the project and that had an appreciation for all the elements involved – whisky, music and Scottish heritage.”

An old friend of mine, Andy Begg suggested that I connect with Stephen on Instagram. I was already aware of Stephen’s reputation as a DJ/ producer and we started to message via social media. Within a few months we had built a rough plan. We lined up an amazing video production partnership with Enterprise Screens and off we went to the Scottish Highlands to record the sounds of distillation!”

DJ/producer and Director of Skapade Studios Stephen Kirkwood said: “I was approached by Dave about a project that involved two of my favourite things – music and Scottish Whisky! As soon as we got chatting about the idea, I knew I was the person for the job. Ideas started flowing between us and before we knew it, we had Glenfiddich’s distillery booked out for a couple of days to record sounds of the whisky making process. What an honour it was to get the chance to go behind the scenes of one of the world’s most popular and sought-after whiskies!

“The documentary we produced gives a window into the traditional process of whisky making, a beautiful distillery and its people, as well as a unique look at how everyday sounds can be creatively transformed into a piece of music. What a truly amazing experience.”

Skapade Studios is a state-of-the-art studio space that’s tailored to give students’ a boost in all areas of electronic music production – from mixing and mastering, to developing business skills.

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Roman Flügel’s lost 1994 IDM collab with Jörn Elling Wuttke reissued on Apollo/R&S

Apollo / R&S are delighted to welcome back The Primitive Painter, aka the duo of Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke for a timely reissue of their 1994 lost classic self-titled album of sonorous IDM.

Growing up in Frankfurt, in the 80s and 90s the duo met at an indie rock club in their home town of Darmstadt, bonding over their shared obsession with the first wave of acid, Chicago house and early Detroit techno as well as their patronage of now iconic Frankfurt club nights like The Omen or Dorian Gray or the infamous Delirium Record shop run by scene stalwarts Ata (Robert Johnson) and Heiko MSO (Playhouse). Taking inspiration from the likes of The Black Dog and Transmat as well as seminal compilations such as Planet E’s Intergalactic Beats and Warp’s Artificial intelligence compilation the duo honed their inventive take on the Detroit techno blueprint under the moniker Acid Jesus, debuting on their freshly minted Klang Elektronik label. The label was started in conjunction with Ata and Heiko after Fluegel & Wuttke (regular patrons of the Delirium store) pressed a demo on them, muttering the immortal line; “Please listen to the tape, we are big Mr. Fingers fans.”

Through the mid ’90s the project flourished giving rise to a classic album and a brace of singles that number amongst the best of the era’s techno, winning them influential fans most notably Sven Väth, David Holmes and Andrew Weatherall who invited them to play live at one of the legendary Sabresonic parties in London. Alongside the success of the Acid Jesus project, the duo found great inspiration in outside of the club, including an ambient happening when the KLF came to play Frankfurt; “There were live sheep eating grass on stage while they played at Mark Spoon’s club XS”, as well as cinematic influence from the likes of Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders. It was however the euphonic IDM grandeur of Apollo Recordings self titled compilation of 1993 that really got their creative juices flowing:

“It was a ten track compilation with artists like David Morley, Model 500, Aphex Twin which still sounds so good today,” Jörn enthuses. “ It was really the trigger to go away from the Detroit sound and more towards the big melodies of B12 etc.”

Deciding to make their tribute to this style of music the duo turned out 10 tracks of gauzy, melodious electronica in a white hot fever, one after another over the ensuing months. Settling on a name for the new project they picked ‘The Primitive Painters’ taking inspiration from the band Felt. “We are both children of the C86 movement,” explains Jörn. “this attitude of noisy art school influenced rock like Primal Scream, MBV, The Jesus & Mary Chain really inspired us to take a DIY approach to our music.” They sent the resulting demo cassette to Renaat at R&S / Apollo. “We really had no expectations,” Jörn explains. “So we were shocked and delighted when we received a fax saying that he wanted to release it”

The resulting release was bungled by an R&S mix up that attributed the album to the duo’s own Klang Elektronik label which confused both fans and distributors alike, denying the release the critical boost and attention that it so richly deserved. Accordingly the release slipped out without much fanfare, with a chastened Fluegel & Wuttke returning to their Acid Jesus activities which would eventually lead to their blockbusting success as Alter Ego. Over the ensuing years the reputation of The Primitive Painter album has only grown, with second hand copies (only 500 vinyl were pressed) changing hands for exorbitant amounts on Discogs, leading us to this opportune moment of a richly deserved ‘first’ release on the label for which the project was started, Apollo / R&S.

“This really brings us full circle,” says Jörn. “Apollo / R&S meant and means so much to us as artists and so it was bittersweet to not have the official release – to put that right all these years later feels really good.”

This new vinyl release comes in re-created original gatefold artwork and includes all original 10 tracks (Stoned Soul Picnic was previously on the CD only). It also contains an exclusive previously unheard track ‘Testing’ on the digital release.


01. Hope
02. Disfigured Phantasy
03. Levitation
04. Psycho Kinesis
05. Cathedral
06. Invisible Landscapes
08. A Pagan Place
09. Orgon Akkumulator
10. Stoned Soul Picnic
11. Testing

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