The 17th edition of the Miami-based Ultra Music Festival succeeded again by showcasing world-wide talent, first class production and positive vibes from a more mature audience (thumbs up for the new 18 and over only policy). From humble origins (the first Ultra festival drew in about 10,000 people), this year’s three-day festival was nearly sold out with well-over 100,000 very happy fans attending the mother ship of both Ultra festivals (there are now nine Ultra “franchise” festivals worldwide) and EDM concerts.
Per norm, it was not so shocking for Ultra Music Festival to throw in a few surprises on top of their already top-notch production. With guest performances by celebrity musicians such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Usher, Diplo, CL and Diddy, the festival truly exhibited prominence in the electronic festival spectrum. However, the real testament to this year’s rendition laid in the depth of talent attributable to the performances of the non-headliners and side-stage acts. With the inclusion of the Resistance stage, along with “live” performances (more than a dude spinning a disc or pressing playback buttons) throughout the March 27-29 weekend, it’s safe to say Ultra veterans or first-time festival attendees were satisfied in that they had the option to experience their favorite SoundCloud producers regardless if they played at 2 pm or 10 pm.
Oliver Heldens’ infectious banger “Last All Night (Koala)” has conquered the radio as the widespread introduction to this fresh-faced talent. The 19-year-old producer is the newest in a series of adolescent Dutch prodigies. Named as an “Artist to Watch” by Rolling Stone, Heldens has carved a niche in the ever-expanding world of EDM.
Signed at 17 by Spinnin’ Records, Heldens has climbed swiftly up the ranks as a pioneer of “future house,” weaving deep bass lines with the melodic grooves of classic house. He showcases his prowess with a diverse range of productions, abandoning the rigid confines of genre and preferring to conjure beats of his own liking.
Day one of BUKU Music + Art Project set the bar high for festival attendees, but wait till you hear about day two.
Taking place in New Orleans’s very own Mardi Gras World, over 50 artists performed over the two-day span of the festival. After experiencing an incredible first day on the river, it was hard to believe Saturday would come close to matching up. Yet, with a diverse lineup ranging from underground beat-connoisseurs like Hudson Mohawake and ILoveMakonnen to idolized DJ’s such as Bassnectar and Porter Robinson, fans could’ve easily spent the day between stages as every group put on a headline-worthy performance. Make sure to check out Joonbug's full review of BUKU Day 1.
Following the release of his positively received collaborative sophomore LP, Young Rising Phenoms (YRP), back in 2013, Milwaukee rapper, singer and producer, Klassik delivers his latest set, Winter. The new EP is the first installment of Klassik's four-part project entitled Seasons. Pulling musical influences from iconic acts like Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, John Coltrane, Pharell Williams and Steely Dan, Klassik continues to construct his own lane in the world of hip hop and neo-soul with his innovative approach to crafting songs that emit a timeless sound, a talent that in 2014 earned him recognition as one of the top ten Wisconsin artists to watch.
After the sucess Sam Smith had last year, this soulful British singer truely needs no introduction. Smith first caught the world’s ear when he was featured on Disclosure’s hit 2012 single, Latch. However, it wasn’t until the release of his debut studio album, In The Lonely Hour, that Sam Smith really blew up, with the album’s third single Stay With Me reaching number one in the UK and number two in the US. Nominated for six Grammy Awards at the ripe old age of 22, Sam Smith promises to be one voice we haven’t heard the last of. See for yourself this Saturday at Agganis Arena, and make sure to keep some Kleenex handy.
What: Sam Smith at Agganis Arena
When: Saturday, January 17th, 7:30pm
Where: Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
End the weekend right, with some more dance music with another Dutch native artist Wildstylez. Known for his taste that demonstrates anything goes. Wildstylez paved the way for different feel of hardstyle genre of music, Mixing elements from many forms of music, he never ceases to amaze. Hardstyle is a music genre that shows similarities to trance, gabber and hardtrance. Hardstyle is known as hard dance, hard trance or hardbass in countries outside the Netherlands, often described as hard beats with a strong melody.
Popular for their unusual blend of rock and electro house, Dirtyphonics first hit the scene in 2006 as a metal band. That's right, a metal band. With the motive to transcend the energy of a rock show, over the next few years, the band evolved their sound by fusing house music, drums & bass and dubstep to create the perfect balance of electro rock. The last few years have brought the band to music festivals both in USA and worldwide to lead to this moment: their brand new EP, Write Your Future.
With all the new artists that we see entering the EDM scene, Ferry Corsten is one to make sure that the early pioneers of Techno and EDM are still alive and kicking! Corsten is one name that's been in the game since 1999, remixing some of the most iconic music we've heard over the years, co-creating his own dance label named Tsunami, of course, seven albums and now, his much-awaited EP.
Hello World is the first segment in a series of three. With seven tracks on the list, the EP features some of the most exciting names in the world EDM and Trance. The first single, released in 2014, is the quickly popular electro-pop track, "Hyper Love" featuring Nat Dunn. "Back to Paradise" is another track to look out for with vocals by Haris. As seasoned as Ferry Corsten is, this EP is definitely a sure shot party-starter!
Queens-based artist Princess Nokia has released a dark new track, “Anomaly!” Nokia is a collaboration between vocalist Destiny Ortiz and producer OWWWLS aka Chris Lare. “Anomaly” will send shivers down your spine in the best way possible. We here at Joonbug originally discovered Destiny when she was featured on Mykki Blanco’s fierce banger “Wish You Would.” She blew us away with her Lil Kim-esque vocals, and spot-on Tank Girl reference, and now we’re pleased to report that her talents have continued well into her collaboration. “Anomaly” pairs Ortiz’s dreamy vocals, with Lare’s steady, pulsing beat replete with sinister undertones, creating a soundtrack befitting both dreams and nightmares alike. The track is a complete 180 from her hardass verse in Blanco’s track; it’s hauntingly gorgeous, filled with lyrics discussing everything from social injustices to personal insecurities. Check out the track below and let us know what you think!
Popularly known for his weekly radio show titled Global DJ Broadcast and his quirky formats of mixing and releasing music for the last eight years, Markus Schulz has released compilation albums dedicated to the city that had inspired him each year. The last few years include Buenos Aires (2013), Miami (2005), Ibiza (2006), Amsterdam (2008) and Los Angeles (2012), to name a few. 2015 seems to have called for new ideas because this year's mix called "City Series" will feature one brand new track released every month dedicated to a city that he'll be subsequently performing in.