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AltFreq’s Daily Dreamscape Guide: Thursday

Posted by on Apr 30, 2016 in Featured, Latest | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

We’re less than a week out from Badass Raves’ annual festival season kickoff, so it seemed a good a time as any to give our readers the inside track on the festival. Where you should be, who you should listen to, what the heck else there is to do; if you’re looking for assistance in planning your Dreamscape experience, Alternate Frequency is here to help. Friday’s guide can be found here, and Saturday’s is right here.


First Thing: Arrival at Camp Ramblewood is permitted beginning at 11am on Thursday, May 5. Attendees are encouraged not to arrive earlier than this, as they’ll most likely be turned away and told to return at 11. Music will begin poolside in the aptly named Poseidon’s Playground at 1pm, so those looking to max out their weekend should plan accordingly. AltFreq also reminds all attendees to thoroughly review the rules & regulations – some of which have changed since last year. The biggest change involves alcohol; none will be allowed to be brought onsite, but there will be adult beverages available for purchase each day until 2am. The full list of allowed/prohibited items, plus plenty of other important info, can be found on the Dreamscape website -> http://dreamscapefestival.com/info/.

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Better Know a Genre: Five Post-Rock Bands You’ll Probably Love

Posted by on Apr 10, 2016 in Featured, Noise | 0 comments

-Written by Kevin Madert

Earlier this week, Explosions in the Sky put out a highly anticipated record called The Wilderness. It’s less a step in any specific new direction than a pivot around the central themes and styles that have defined their career – one foot stays grounded in their post-rock roots while the other spins through sonic inspirations ranging from spacey electronica to down-home folk.

Listening to The Wilderness a few times through inspired a digital crate-diving adventure courtesy of Spotify. After much clicking around, and even more headphone isolationism, here are a few bands amply equipped to satiate your post-rock craving. Some should be familiar to long-time fans of the genre, while others may be brand new to readers (much as they were to this writer).

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Dreamscape 2016: Hear Music From Every Act Playing This Year’s Festival

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Featured, Latest, Noise | 0 comments

Words and list by Kevin Madert

You can feel it in the air. The sun’s a little warmer, the days a little longer, blizzpocalypses and snowmageddons all but forgotten. Spring has sprung (officially, if you doubt it) and for us in the musicsphere that means something wonderful: Festival season is upon us.

Our year is shaping up to begin with Dreamscape, the longtime Badass Raves brainchild that began as an indoor all-nighter known as Psychedelic Dreamscape before expanding last year to a two-day fest at secluded Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, MD. This year it’s a full-weekend affair, with three days of 11am-5pm music slated for May 5-8.

In the dual interest of channeling our anticipatory excitement and educating anyone who cares to listen, we’ve compiled a playlist to kick off our coverage of the festival. Organized into loose genre categories, it features every artist slated to perform* and is intended to acclimate readers to the lineup; plenty of in-depth writing on all things Dreamscape will follow.

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Show Spotlight: Emancipator Brings The Ensemble to Philadelphia + Pittsburgh

Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in Featured, Latest, Noise | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

Trip-hop veteran and general expert on all things chill Emancipator (real name Doug Appling) released one hell of an album a few weeks ago. Since then, the Pacific Northwest’s downtempo gem has been beating feet across the United States, backed up by his full-band Ensemble and with hand-selected opening support from Wax Tailor and Yppah.

While the last Ensemble tour made a stop at Baltimore’s Soundstage, DMV natives hoping to catch them  this time around have a little trekking to do. The two closest stops on the Seven Seas tour are Friday, October 16 in Philadelphia and Tuesday, October 20 in Pittsburgh. Trust us when we say these drives are worth it – AltFreq will be hitting the road bound for the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh next week.


The Emancipator Ensemble performing “First Snow” in 2014

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AltFreq Weekend Planner (10/15/15-10/17/15)

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Featured, Latest, Noise | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the events going on in the area, so we’re here to let you know what’s happening in live music over the next few days. Watch out on Sundays for our “Weekly Planner,” where we’ll cover the remaining four days of the week.

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On “Seven Seas,” Emancipator Dives Deep, Sails Far, Stays Chill (Review)

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Featured, Latest, Noise, Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

These days, Doug Appling should be feeling pretty good about himself. In less than a decade, the man better known as Emancipator has grown from a promising young producer & performer into a well-respected, scene-renowned artist with a slew of stellar releases under his belt. He’s founded Loci Records, a music label which he utilizes to curate some of the finest sounds trip-hop and downtempo have to offer. He’s started a band – the eponymous Emancipator Ensemble – and toured the world, allowing him to reinterpret his studio-based music in a live setting. And now he’s stuck another feather in his plumage-laden cap with his fourth full-length album, Seven Seas.

The experimentation and maturation we first saw on 2012’s Dusk To Dawn continues here. Like a track and field star working his way from single events to the all-encompassing decathlon, Appling’s arsenal seems to grow with each subsequent release. From the gentle, intentioned bounce of album opener “All In Here” to the closing notes of the slow-building, multi-faceted “Barnacles,” Seven Seas is a work of serious merit from a producer both comfortable within his self-defined musical boundaries and eager to push against them in all possible directions. His ear for that intangible sonic space between steady chill and forward progression is also stronger than ever – the hurried, echoing guitar anchoring “Delta Trance” and frenetic violin-led, bass-drum backed breakdowns on “The Key” attest to that.

Of course, it never hurts to have good friends, and on Seven Seas Appling showcases his excellent choice in musical mates. Aside from longtime collaborator Ilya Goldberg – whose silken violin tones feature on five tracks – a plethora of additional guest appearances go miles in adding depth and texture throughout the album. “Canopy,” with its non-traditional percussion courtesy of Cedar Miller & Jamie Janover, plus the heavily augmented vocal work of Amy Obensky, is one of the album’s most fully realized songs. And while lyrics have rarely factored in Emancipator’s catalog, vocalists Molly Parti and Madelyn Grant prove they fit snugly into the puzzle, lending their talents to personal album highlights “Land & Sea” and “Seven Seas,” respectively.

Above all, it’s worth noting the entirety of Seven Seas exists on the same metaphorical tapestry. Thanks to little, seemingly inconsequential details – the occasional lapping of waves against the shore, guitars fed through effects pedals as if being played underwater, synths manipulated to create aural ebbs and flows – guide us through the album in one coherent trip. Chalk it up to a deftly crafted, purposeful ambiance – something Appling has explored, tested, and honed from day one. In 2006, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough took us on a melancholy, introspective stroll through snow-covered hills and woodlands. Four years later, Safe In The Steep Cliffs found us even deeper in the wilderness, a dark and often somber place. A few years after that, Dusk To Dawn saw us forgo the woods for a crackling bonfire at the water’s edge, feeling at many moments more upbeat and sporting some of Emancipator’s lushest production to date.

And now we have Seven Seas, wherein we abandon the safety of the shore in favor of the contemplative endlessness of the 0cean. Once more, Doug Appling has put painstaking effort into the conceptualization, writing, recording, and post-production of an album – perhaps his best to date.


You can grab a copy of Seven Seas now through all the standard channels (Bandcamp | iTunes | Physical copy). Emancipator is also currently on an extended North American tour in support of the album, with Yppah & Wax Tailor(*) / Blockhead & Manatee Commune(^) along for the ride – check the full schedule below + purchase tickets right here.

Seven Seas North American Tour Dates

10/14/15 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground*
10/15/15 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club*
10/16/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts*
10/17/15 – New York, NY @ PlayStation Theater (formerly Best Buy)*
10/18/15 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom*
10/20/15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater*
10/21/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom*
10/22/15 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue*
10/23/15 – Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection*
10/24/15 – Detroit, MI @ Fillmore Detroit*
10/27/15 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room*
10/28/15 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note*
10/29/15 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre*
10/30/15 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Miramar Theater*
10/30/15-11/1/15 – Chicago, IL @ Freaky Deaky
10/31/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights*
11/10/15 – Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo^
11/11/15 – Victoria, BC @ Sugar Nightclub^
11/12/15 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue Nightclub^
11/13/15 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater^
11/14/15 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox Market^
11/15/15 – Eugene, OR @ Hi-Fi Music Hall^
11/17/15 – Ashland, OR @ Ashland Armory^
11/18/15 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst^
11/19/15 – San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom^
11/20/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Regent Theater^
11/22/15 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House^

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News: Lineup Announced For Rhymesayers 20th Anniversary Concert

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Featured, Latest, News, Reads | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

In a hip-hop landscape overpopulated by inconsequential lyrics tracking at the third grade level, manufactured radio-friendly rhymes, and whatever the hell Iggy Azalea is, Rhymesayers Entertainment shines bright as a last bastion of hope. Born and bred in Minnesota, the independent label has come a long way since being founded by Sean Daley, Anthony Davis (both of Atmosphere), Musab Saad (aka Sab the Artist) and Brent Sayers (aka Siddiq), but the music over profit mindset & consistently thought-provoking lyricism present from day one has never wavered.

In the aforementioned climate of the genre it’s laudable for anyone to stay relevant for twenty minutes, much less two decades, yet here we are. And in true RS fashion, the twentieth anniversary shindig slated for December 4th at the Target Center in Minneapolis is shaping up to be a hell of a celebration.

rse20

Atmosphere, Grieves, Dilated Peoples, Brother Ali, and Aesop Rock top a bill stuffed to bursting with Rhymesayers-signed talent – an indicator of just how influential the label has been in the underground hip-hop community since the mid-90s. You can bet AltFreq will do everything we can to make the trek to the Twin Cities in December to take part in this party for the ages.

Tickets for Rhymesayers 20 go on sale to the general public starting this Friday, October 16 at 10am CST (that’s 11am EST, local friends). A general admission ticket will run you a whopping 20 bucks, with VIP options also available. All other pertinent information can be obtained via the Rhymesayers website.


Rhymesayers 20 Lineup (in alphabetical order)

Abstract Rude | Aesop Rock | Atmosphere | Battlecats | BK One | Blueprint | Boom Bap Project
Brother Ali | deM atlaS | Dilated Peoples | DJ Abilities | Evidence | Felt | Freeway | Grayskul | Grieves Hail Mary Mallon | I Self Devine | Jake One | K-Salaam | Los Nativos | Micranots | Mr. Dibbs | Musab P.O.S | Prof | Soul Position | The Uncluded | Toki Wright

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Meet Boston’s Wessanders, Hear His Futuristic Flip of “Too Original” (Interview)

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Featured, Latest, Noise, Reads | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

On Tuesday, longtime friend of the blog and general musical wunderkind Wessanders put out a nifty little flip of Major Lazer’s “Too Original.” Clocking in at just over three minutes, it’s conceptually concise, executed with the calm and collected precision of a consummate professional. Sharply crafted, awash in lush nuances, and catchy as all hell, it’s the latest in a string of commendable releases from the Boston-based producer/DJ.

We got the chance to sit down with Wessanders to delve deeper into his creative process, career progress, and plenty in between.


Alternate Frequency: Your music, while often containing similar sonic components, seems to eschew any kind of genre categorization. Is this a conscious effort or just a product of your approach to production?

Wessanders:  I’m still learning the basics, so right now I’m doing a lot of exploring. There’s no use in lying and saying I have any real idea what I’m doing. But I do think there are certain things my ear just loves, so there are reoccurring elements in my music. I’m also constantly honing my ability to make and recycle sounds.

AF: Take your most recent effort, a rework of Major Lazer’s “Too Original.” You took an arguably generic tune and morphed it into a unique, deceptively simple midtempo future track – deftly juxtaposing darkness and light with a roiling zipperlike bassline and wavy pulsating synths. Tell us a bit about your process in creating this remix/remixes in general. How does the approach differ from your approach to producing originals?

W: While I’m definitely trying to lean towards more original works, remixes are a lot of fun for me. When I really love an element in a song – and when it’s something I think I can augmented without destroying –  it comes easily. For a while I fell into a trap of throwing vocals on top of my original tracks for the sake of attention; I’ve since learned to hold off unless they fit so perfectly you can’t say no.

I love working with Major Lazer vocals. They’re always upbeat and fun and make me wanna throw stuff at other stuff in a non-destructive way. Messing with those came pretty easily, and after that it became all about the bass sound. Once I had something steady bouncing around I got a little bored, and I didn’t want the track to lose its rawness. So I duplicated the sound and processed it. Panned that ho’ and there you go.

AF: You’re a part of the Friends With Robots collective, which we often feature on our site. Tell us a bit about your involvement with FWR. What does the group mean to you? Any unheralded names on the roster we should be watching out for?

W: All my homies have something to offer in the bigger picture of what we’re doing. Something different. That’s why they’re all my favorite people in music right now. We work off each other and drive each other to create real art. It’s one thing to watch someone from afar and try and figure out what they’re doing just by listening. It’s another to be able to ask a friend and have him show you the way to start perfecting it. You grow so much with forward-thinking people around you. You gotta spend time with the people who make you a better you, and when you find them keep them around. That’s why Friends With Robots isn’t just a place for us to stack plays; it’s a place us for us to develop our ideas and track our growth as both individual and collaborative artists.

We decided to make this edition of our mixtape series open submission because we have so many amazing friends that make music; I’m super excited to see what hits the inbox in the next few weeks. If you make music, we want to hear it.

AF: As a Wessanders listener for some time, I’ve noticed a steady, marked increase in your production prowess. That’s not to say your earlier works weren’t enjoyable and well-crafted, but with each successive release the sounds have become crisper and the hooks catchier. Is there a specific area musically where you believe you’ve grown most? Where do you see your continuing maturation as an artist taking you in the future?

W: I’m working on everything. Sometimes I see progression in my music, but that just reminds me I’ve barely breached the surface, which in turn drives me to work way harder. Right now my work ethic is shit, so I wake up every day and try and make it better. I’ve recently found myself obsessed with a whole new world of sound design in techno, tech-house, and minimal. The focus is on crafting different atmosphere, with a heavier emphasis on progression. So that’s what I see myself chasing for the next little bit – generally I’m trying to pay attention to sound better. I’ve also started working with a few producers on a vocal project called Kaiiak; that’s been fun and I’m hype to start making more and different tunes.

Inspiration-wise, the last two years would be so much different without dudes like Choppa Dunks, Sevnth Wonder, Encanti (ZebblerEncantiExperience), Nacho Marco (Spain) and especially all my Young Travolta boys. I’ve learned something imperative from all of them.

AF: Now just for fun; you’ve got a time machine and the ability to collaborate with any three artists, living or dead, at any point in their careers. Who do you pick, when, and why?

Jeez. There are so many dead that I’m going living…

1. Dave Tipper
2. Tigran Hamasyan
3. Kendrick Lamar

AF: Thanks for your time!


If you’re interested in submitting music for FWR06, all inquiries should be directed to contact@friendswithrobots.com. You can stream “Too Original (the lost flip)” below.

Connect with Wessanders: (Facebook / Soundcloud / Twitter)

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The Daily Frequency (8/25/15)

Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Latest, News, Reads | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

1. All sorts of nostalgia kicks off today’s installment of The Daily Frequency: after much speculation, Underoath will embark on a thirty-date nationwide reunion tour in the spring of 2016. At every stop on that tour, the group will perform their albums They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line from front to back. On the end of the band’s two year hiatus, frontman Spencer Chamberlin told Alternative Press, “I hated the idea of Underoath being ‘over’ and I’m not sure what we are, but we are all friends again and that’s really the most important thing…That being said, we felt like now is a great time to do a tour and celebrate Define The Great Line turning 10.” Never fear, DMV Underoathians (wonder if I just invented that term now?): the group will take the stage at the Fillmore Silver Spring on April 20. A full list of dates and additional pertinent information can be found on the band’s website. (via Alternative Press)

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New Tune Tuesday (7/28/15)

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Featured, Latest, Noise | 0 comments

Written by Kevin Madert

Ludge – Void EP

Kicking off this week is Ludge, a new favorite here at AltFreq. With crisp, clean sound design and technical prowess that often escapes producers of far greater experience and renown, the Philadelphia native is flying criminally under the radar. Perfect example? His latest effort, the deep and dark Void EP – self-released today. The three track offering is rife with slow-churning dubstep phrases and abrasive, staccato synths, held together by the constant presence of ominous atmospheric undertones that serve to further flesh out each tune. “Light Speed” features pleasant builds and bridges juxtaposed by futuristic dub breakdowns (with bonus points for a Dr. Dre sample that isn’t from “The Next Episode”). The title track is dark through and through (as the name might suggest), sporting the heaviest moments on the EP. And “Limbo” is future trap played through molasses, with subtle horn and hi-hat accents that keep it oozing in a forward direction. In fewer words, we love this dude – and you should too. Head here to download the Void EP for free, and be sure to connect with Ludge on all relevant social networks: (Soundcloud / Facebook / Twitter).

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