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Weekend Primer #121

13 things to talk about on the smoking terrace

2018 May 25     
2 Bit Thugs

THIS WEEK: IMS 2018, Solomun, Defected, Diplo, US DMC finals, Studio 54 trailer, Amnesia, 20 years of Bedrock, Southampton's Junk to close and much, much more

1. This week has seen the International Music Summit taking place in Ibiza for the tenth year running. Following the #MeToo movement and the death of Avicii, issues around mental health, wellness and personal safety have been a big priority this year, while there was also much chatter about the annual IMS Business Report, which showed that the total global value of the electronic music industry worldwide has fallen for the first time in years - albeit only by 2%, to $7.3bn, so there's probably no need to worry too much just yet.

2. Meanwhile, DJs who weren't at IMS were certainly cropping up in some unusual places this week. Solomun played a set at a Roman amphitheatre in Orange, France that was streamed live via Cercle - click here to watch, and to get details of Cercle's next live stream on Monday, which will see Etienne De Crecy playing at a science museum in Toulouse. Not to be outdone, the crew from Defected were busy scaling London's Tower Bridge so that Sam Divine and CamelPhat [pictured] could play the first ever DJ sets there, with Sam playing 45 minutes atop one tower and CamelPhat playing 45 minutes from the other. Watch that one here.

3. Diplo has produced the official anthem for the 2018 World Cup. Credited to reggaeton star Nicky Jam, with Will Smith and Kosovo-Albanian pop star Era Istrefi as featured artists, the track's called One Life To Live, Live It Up and is out today.

4. This year's US DMC finals are to be held in Denver, Colorado on 5 August. The US DJ Championship will take place at the city's Temple nightclub from 5pm-10pm, with nine regional champions and defending champion DJ Perly each performing a six-minute routine. The winner will receive a Rane Seventy-Two mixer and a bunch of other DJ hardware, and be flown to London to compete in the DMC World DJ Championships at Koko on 7 October.

5. The Bassiani nightclub in Tbilisi, Georgia is now back in the hands of its rightful owners, after a heavy-handed police raid saw them being arrested last week, only to spark huge street protests by Georgian clubbers. Suitably inspired, DJs, clubs and promoters in Berlin have teamed up to organise an event called Reclaim Club Culture that will take place this Sunday (27 May), as a counter-protest to a far right march in the city the same day.

6. Not such good news from Beirut, where The Gärten nightclub has been forced to close after German DJ Acid Pauli allegedly played verses from the Quran during his set - although the club insists he did so unwittingly, having simply used a few seconds of audio sampled from local radio. Nor from Southampton here in the UK, where local club Junk is shutting down after 13 years, citing increasing overheads and, in particular, the £200K spent fighting off a recent legal challenge to their licence. But they're going out with a bang, staging 13 final events over the summer before closing for good on 1 September - details here.

7. That's about the halfway mark, so let's have a break to watch Claptone's new video, shall we? New single Birdsong is taken from his forthcoming album The Fantast, and was produced in collaboration with indie-dance four-piece Zola Blood.


8. Other new and upcoming releases to look out for include: a posthumous album from Avicii that's coming later this year on Geffen, further details TBA; the 20th anniversary Bedrock XX compilation, which has been compiled by John Digweed and is available as a four-CD or five-vinyl boxset (Bedrock, 22 June); Heart Of Sky, the second album from Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons (Crosstown Rebels, 20 July); and funk originators Parliament's first long-player since 1994, Medicaid Fraud Dogg, which is out now on C Kunspyruhzy Records.

9. Over in Ibiza, there were line-up announcements this week from Pyramid, ABODE and Wax The Jam. Pyramid, which has taken over the Monday slot at Amnesia vacated by Cocoon, will welcome the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Solomun, Maceo Plex, Nina Kraviz, Ben Klock, Stephan Bodzin, KiNK, Charlotte De Witte and Eats Everything from 4 June to 1 October, while the club's Wednesday nights are in the hands of ABODE, who between 14 June and 27 September will welcome Groove Armada, Skream, Steve Lawler, Heidi, Yousef, Dusky, Max Chapman, Mark Knight, Secondcity, Nathan Barato and many more. Meanwhile the far more intimate Las Dalias will see WDJ hosts Nightmares On Wax joined by guests including Simon Dunmore for a series of four parties (28 Jun, 19 Jul, 16 Aug and 8 Sep) that will once more raise funds for the charity Last Night A DJ Saved My Life - last year's parties funded the building of a well in a Ugandan village that previously had no access to clean water.

10. On the festivals tip, this week's big reveals included Romania's Neversea, Belgium's Cirque Magique, Turkey's Big Burn Istanbul and US festival Together. Neversea (5-8 July) has a wide-ranging line-up featuring everyone from Black Coffee to Pendulum, via Chase & Status, Âme, Jamie Jones, Nina Kraviz, Camo & Krooked, Mumdance, Claptone, BLOND:ISH and many more. The more techno-oriented Cirque Magique (3-5 August) will star the likes of Sven Väth, Luciano, Ben Sims, Miss Kittin and Monika Kruse, while at Big Burn Istanbul (20-23 July) you'll find Claptone, Seth Troxler, Dubfire, Peggy Gou, Adam Beyer, Tale Of Us, Sonja Moonear and more. And finally over in Boston, the multi-venue festival Together has moved from its usual May slot to 23-30 September, when headliners will include Floorplan, Jon Hopkins and Palms Trax, with more names TBA.

11. In studio news, Sonivox has just released a new supersaw/FM soft synth called Stratum that's said to be "ideal for synthwave, vaporwave and retro electro productions". Featuring the new Qubiq Audio sound engine struQture, it's available now from Sonivox's own website, with an introductory price of $99.99 until 30 June (after which it's $199.99).

12. Meanwhile, Spanish mastering specialists MasteringBOX have just made public the 2.0 version of their popular (and eponymous) online mastering suite, which now has an improved audio engine and a more user-friendly interface, as well as support for 24-bit mastering. There's a wide array of payment options to suit different users' needs, starting at 'free', so check it for yourself here.

13. Lastly this week, the official trailer has been released for the Studio 54 documentary, which is out in cinemas and on demand from 15 June - check it out below. Meanwhile, fashion house Gucci and online arts magazine have commissioned a series of short films to mark the 30th anniversary of the acid house explosion - full details here.