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Wednesday
Mar062013

Ultra Weekend 1 Highlight: Live Stage Amphitheater (Saturday)

We all know that Saturday of UMF Weekend 1 has one of the best lineups of any dance music festival to ever hit the shores of the US. But beyond the main stage there are still a lot of offerings for those searching for other-worldly auditory journeys. The prevailing theme of the day at the Live Stage amphitheater Saturday is psychedelia. From psytrance to Indie pop to Glitch-Hop, the live stage is your go-to stop for transcedental vibes and feels that are sure to open up your senses to unchartered territories. 

Afrobeta

Afrobeta opens up the Live Stage on Saturday with an infectious, upbeat, funky vibe sure to put you in a happy party mood for the rest of the day! This Electro-Dance duo hails from Ultra’s backyard, Miami, and it’s hard to imagine their music without the influence of beach club life that is so derivative of Miami culture. Cuci Amador and Smurphio comprise Afrobeta, and their combined influences and interest in twisted electro-pop are what make their tracks so fun. Sugary sweet synths get dirtier with super danceable basslines, and Cuci’s voice is like the more melodic version of Ke$ha, spitting out party-themed lyrics with girly poise. A super fun, sunny way to start off Saturday in Miami!!

Icona Pop

If you haven’t heard of Icona Pop by this point, your other habits might include accidentally writing 2012 on all your papers. The Swedish Electro-Pop and House duo is comprised of the lovely Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, who are the voices behind that insanely catchy dance-pop anthem “I Love It” which has been licensed to HBO’s show “Girls” and several television commercials, including those promoting Governor’s Ball. The girls display influences ranging from indie rock, punk, and Electro-House, but there’s a reason their single has blown up as of late: it’s so fucking fun. This song absolutely makes you want to jump up and down, thrash around and yell along to the best chorus ever: “I DON’T CAAARE!” 

 

Azari & III

(Pronounced Azari and the Third!) What began as a DJ duo between Dinamo Azari and Alixander III transformed into Azari & III with the addition of two vocalists, Starving Yet Full and Fritz Helder. This foursome have a distinct sound, which can be described as a reinvention of 80s style Deep House; it incorporates smooth synths, a dance-y, repetitive bassline, and soulful vocals. Azari and III are relatively new to the scene, breaking in 2011 and enjoying a steady, successful incline since then.  They’ve played at major shows in England like the Glastonbury Festival and Lovebox Festival, so they’re quite comfortable performing live. This should be a set full of seamless mixing and smooth tracks

Disclosure 

Not to play favorites but… I cannot say enough good things about Disclosure! This is one set I will flat out recommend, as Disclosure is proving again and again that they deserve every ounce of fame and praise they’re receiving right now. English brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence are the tastemakers behind Disclosure, and each track is more exciting and enticing than the last. They’ve been around since 2010, but the 2012 release of their EP The Face launched them headfirst into the spotlight, with singles like “Tenderly / Flow” and “White Noise” (ft. AlunaGeorge). Their sound is a refreshing mix of indie-garage, deep house and funk, and it's purely addictive. There was a point when I had replayed Latch (ft. Sam Smith) so often that now I have to force myself not to sing along every time it comes up on shuffle (I usually lose that inner battle). This is one live set I will not be missing!

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Tuesday
Mar052013

Ultra Weekend 1 Editor's Highlight: Main Stage Saturday

Ultra is all about Main Stage memories. There's something magic that happens when tens of thousands of people collide with the pulsating sound, the humid air, and each other with the twinkling lights of Downtown Miami as the backdrop. I've been from LA to Las Vegas to New York and beyond in search of that ultimate main stage experience, which often leaves much to be desired. It wouldn't take me long to say that Ultra has the best main stage of all the US festivals, but that was so last year. This year the lawn at Bayfront Park is about to transform into something never done before. While I admit that we hadn't seen the lineup when choosing between the first and second weekend, I have to say that this is without a doubt the most I've ever anticipated a single day in my life. Festival curation is a gift, and Saturday March 16 is the crème de la crème.

Miss Nine

Starting off the afternoon steamy is one of EDM's hottest female stars. Kicking off her career as a model at the age of 16 in Germany, she soon found her first residency after moving to Amsterdam in 2003, playing alongside veterans John Digweed and more. Flash to 2006 and Nine is at the top of the iTunes dance charts with her massively well-received Yoshitoshi Ibiza mix. Kristin Schorat continues to be a force to reckon with both within dance music circles and the international modeling circuit as an ambassador to Levi's.

Tommie Sunshine

No one reps the NYC EDMC harder than Tommie Sunshine. The veteran House DJ has held dominion over the Tri-State EDM circuit for many years, but in most recent developments has emerged as one of our scene's fiercest advocates. There's no doubt in my mind that Tommie will bring to the table an eclectic set of deep groove when he takes to the Main Stage Saturday afternoon. It takes true talent to bring down the house at 7:00 PM, but that's exactly what he did last week opening for Zedd at Webster Hall. This is Tommie's time to shine and I'm sure he'll impress the crowd with his expertise.

Datsik

Here's where the afternoon starts to really shine. Unlike last year which relegated many of the bass acts to a smaller stage, Saturday afternoon this year is all about the bass. With his Firepower tour now "Reloaded," Datsik has throughout the past few months accummulated a lot of support from up and coming bass acts, giving him a huge advantage in the form of new music to play. And with the Vortex ready for the mainstage, I'm not sure if I'm ready. Datsik may have never played a crowd this big but it will be interesting to see what the notorious dubstepper has in store for the huge party. 

Borgore

Borgore's a simple guy. He likes girls. He likes bass. He likes both together even more. The loudest sets I've heard have all been from this Israeli Doctor of Dubstep, most recently his set for the UKF launch party here in New York City. As a go-to face-melter for the scene for many years, Borgore has in most recent months worked on getting his foot in the door of the emerging Trap phenomenon. Whether you go for the bass or just the booty you'll be drenched by the time it's over.

Flux Pavilion vs. Doctor P

If the sheer excitement I'm feeling right now just from writing these names down isn't enough to convince you, I'll take a stab at it. There's a certain exclusivity of the long roster of tracks these two put out. After you get past the obvious Circus hits "I Can't Stop" and "Gold Dust," these two when combined put on a show like none other. I'll be honest and say a lot of dubstep DJs just aren't good at mixing overall, but this couldn't be further from the case for these two. With a stacked playlist of hits and new tracks at their disposal, on a scale of 1 to 10 this set will be gnarly. 

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Monday
Mar042013

Ultra Weekend 1 Highlight: MegaStructure Friday

15 years is a huge landmark for Ultra Music Festival. Starting as a single-day beach festival, the event quickly drew a larger and larger crowd each year. Not only has the scope of the weekend changed, but so has the vibe. Yet the one thing that will always keep Ultra as the premiere dance music event is its loyalty to the style of music that launched it, in the form of the MegaStructure stage. Miami has seen many scenes throughout the years, but this is 2013. It's about to peak, and I hope you're ready. 

Fatboy Slim

English DJ and record producer Norman Cook has been a world-renowned phenomenon for over two decades. As one of the major pioneers of the big-beat sound, Fatboy has held many pseudonyms over the years but always held true to the same sound that led him to top the US pop charts for 20 weeks ("Praise You") and to play for the Olympics ceremony last summer in London! From House to Funk to even a touch of Rock, Fatboy Slim experiments with different sounds, paving the way for many other artists to follow in his footsteps. For all you dance music lovers who have yet to experience in some Slim, get ready for a mega show at the Mega Structure!

Carl Cox

Another British DJ/Producer who's been taking over the world for many years, Carl Cox is the grandfather of Tech House, and the genre's most vibrant character. He has been part of the scene since disco and still going stronger than ever as one of earth's most prominent dance music forces. With a mix of passion, flavor, flair and soul, Cox holds a legendary Ibiza residency and a global radio show reaching millions of listeners. The Carl Cox & friends arena has been the spot to be the last few years I've been at Ultra, so I can't recommend anything more than catching his set Friday right before Swedish House Mafia! Prepare yourselves for the very best of what Ultra has to offer.

John Digweed

Another Brit, Digweed first started DJing at the young age of 15. From a weekly two hour radio show on Kiss 100 in UK, to holding a Saturday residency at Ibiza's Vista Club, Digweed has had his ups and downs over the years but has never faded into obscurity. In 2001 he was voted the best DJ in the world, though he held a coveted spot in the top 10 from '98-'08. As an artist with a stacked discography, Digweed has in recent years aggressively targeted the record sales industry, taking under his belt the commanding roll of Bedrock Records. His last North American tour was a huge success as he ripped through the nightlife of the USA with fellow House legend Sasha. Be sure to check out their mix below, it's widely known as one of the best mixes of our time.

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Friday
Mar012013

Ultra Weekend 1 Highlight: Live Stage Amphitheater (Friday)

With all the talent at Ultra 15, it can be insanely hard to pick which stage to go to, and when! If you’re looking to hear a wide variety of EDM, ranging from Electro House to Trap to Funk to Moombah to Indie… then the Live Stage is absolutely the place for you! Each day of Weekend 1 at the Live Stage has a vastly different lineup, and is sure to keep you entertained throughout the entire day. The setup of the amphitheater at Bayfront Park is breathtaking (check these photos from last year), and with the fresh sounds heading there this spring it's going to be too hard to resist!

Friday March 15

Goldfish 

The past few years have showcased a steady rise for Goldfish, the innovative electronic duo that are opening up the Live Stage on Friday afternoon.  Starting out in 2005, Dominic Peters and David Poole quickly proved themselves in the South African EDM scene and went on to set the record the most nominations in the South African Music Awards.  In 2008 during their residency at Pacha Ibiza, they dropped the album "Perceptions of Pacha" which featured "Fort Knox," a track that made it into the iTunes top 10 on the dance charts.  Since then they haven’t slowed down, and are set to release their fifth studio album, "Three Second Memory", this year. They boast sick Electro House beats that are sure to keep you dancing, but with some clear jazz and African musical influences. The first single released from the album is called “Take Back Tomorrow”, and is a great sample of the unique sound that sets Goldfish apart from all the rest. Combined with live instruments, thousands of ravers, and the Miami sun, this is the best way to start off a killer weekend at the Live Stage!

Araabmuzik 

Who better to see live than Araabmuzik?? I remember the first time I saw a video of him DJing on YouTube, and just watching his fingers fly across the pads was literally astounding. As a Hip Hop producer, Araabmuzik provides an interesting genre contrast to the act that comes before him. He’s best known for beats, which always have that distinct Araabmuzik touch: specifically his rapid, rhythmic drum patterns and his skill at sampling.  Versatility is also another strong suit for this producer/DJ, who will be sure to give the crowd a display of his other talents, including Electro and Dubstep too. Check out the sick drum-step on the track "Runway Bass" below... here's hoping he drops this one on Friday! With two albums out this year, one already released and one in the works, Araabmuzik is definitely a name that we’ll be hearing for a lot in 2013.

Modestep

Modestep is a fairly new name to the EDM scene, but as this band proves, fresh talent can be just as exciting as an artist with years of experience. Modestep is comprised of four musicians who are all skilled in electronic music but with other talents as well, such as singing and guitar, thus creating a sort of Dubstep-Rock fusion which is really exciting to hear. Their debut album, “Evolution Theory” was released just this past month and includes five hard-hitting tracks that not only deliver some MAJOR bass but also derive a strongly soulful quality from the vocals. This is the kind of music that you can sway to during the chorus, but then immediately break it down once the wobbles kick in. For their short time in the industry they’ve already played several festivals, so I can’t wait to see how they translate their powerful music into onstage presence. Definitely looking forward to this set!

Boys Noize

As Friday at the Live Stage evolves throughout the day, it seems that variety is the theme of the lineup here. Boys Noize, a well seasoned DJ and producer, knows exactly what it takes to please a crowd. No stranger to the festival scene, Alex Ridha has performed live at some of the biggest most prestigious stages in the world, both as his own name and now with Skrillex forming the collaboration duo, Dog Blood. His origins lie in Hip Hop and Funk, but his sets incorporate a lot of Electro House and Dubstep as well. I’ve heard and seen great things about Boys Noize live, especially the visuals and his carefully crafted skill at mixing. He is after all the founder of Boysnoize Records, which today houses 24 impressive artists. There's a reason Rolling Stone magazine hailed Ridha as one of their Top 10 DJ’s Who Rule The Earth in 2012, and I’m sure his Ultra set will stand testament to that fact!  

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Friday
Mar012013

Ultra Weekend 1 Highlight: UMF Worldwide Stage (Friday)

My favorite part of festivals lately has been the way in which individual curated stages become my home-base for the day. When it comes to a festival as massive as Ultra, there is no doubt that you'll find fun whether you're chilling on the hill behind the mainstage or getting down to some underground sounds at the Eco Village (my favorite place to relax and dance last year). But either way, we want you all to introduce you all to new sounds and info before the festival so you can enjoy it more. The Lounge family will be at the festival both weekends, though the majority of us will be attending Weekend 1. We'll be getting to Weekend 2, but for now I proudly present my guide to the first day of the Ultra Worldwide Stage, bringing us the best of Trance & Progressive Friday. Watch out later this weekend for the other two days, where UMF Worldwide becomes the center of Electro Saturday, and pumps enough bass to blow your ears out Sunday. And don't worry, we'll be making a page soon where you can easily sort through our info on both of the weekends. CAN YOU FEEL IT?!

Friday March 15

Norin & Rad

Opening up the festival Friday afternoon is the dynamic duo from California who have been aggressively attacking the norms within Trance & Progressive. Bruce Karlsson & Nick Sember were first brought to the spotlight after being scouted by Above & Beyond to release productions under Anjunabeats. Their sound is tricky to identify but leans towards Electro-Trance, but that description doesn't do it justice. Though their typical releases may not have the compositional qualities identifiable with the traditional uplifting Anjunabeats sound, the feel you get when they're on stage is indescribable. With quick cuts between loud, punching basslines and Electro breaks, their sets are redefining the divisions between Progressive, Trance, and Electro. Their closing set for the Volume 10 party recently in New York City was nothing short of innovative, fresh, and unexpected. Watch for our interview with the two soon.

 

Tritonal

Chad & Dave have made it clear for several years that you don't mess with Texas. With an uplifting sound that defies the ASOT & ABGT camps, yet still gets a lot of airplay, Tritonal have been redefining the sound since their inception in 2007. Last year was a record one for the trio, and after falling off the maps for a few months I am confident they will be bringing their best for Miami music week. Set for release March 25 is their newest studio EP Metamorphic I, which has already seen "rave" reviews. With a zest for life and a true appreciation for their fans, Tritonal bring to the table a personal set that truly captures the prevailing theme of dance music: living for the moment.

Markus Schulz

The King of American Trance always brings his best whether to festivals or extended all-night club sets. His performances are haunting and chilling, but uplifting at the same time. Markus has mastered the craft of music curation through his weekly Global DJ Broadcast, which consistently rolls out new music every week. This gift provides for the perfect DJ set filled with new music with catchy Progressive hooks and reverberating breaks that will make you look together to the sky.

Ferry Corsten

Whether or not I can truly recommend this set depends on what Ferry's feeling that night. I have most recently seen him blow the roof off at Electric Zoo with his traditional sets which are much like what you'll hear on Corsten's Countdown, but I've also seen his blander side. I was a bit disappointed at his most recent performance at POP NYE which was a rather boring Electro House set. Nevertheless, Ferry can also be magic, and given the fact that this stage is "Trance & Progressive all day," I'm sure he'll be packing the heat.

 

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