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      Machinedrum with Lone, Ghostband and Angelica Ottavia in Washington

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      May 23, 2018

      Wednesday   8:00 PM

      Washington, District of Columbia 20436

      Machinedrum with Lone, Ghostband and Angelica Ottavia

      Line-up /

      Angelica Ottavia


      North Carolina-born artist Travis Stewart, known as Machinedrum, occupies a perhaps unique place in US electronic music. A pioneer and a populariser, a restless and relentless seeker, Stewart brings together coasts and continents in projects which are both conceptual and heartfelt, clever and banging. He has produced and composed over a dozen albums under various aliases since his first independent release in 1999. Covering an astonishing variety of styles with ease, through solo Machinedrum work and with collaborative projects Sepalcure, JETS, Dream Continuum, or other mutations, Stewart has established himself as electronic music's true Renaissance man.

      His debut as Machinedrum, Now You Know, was released in 2001 on pioneering Miami-based Merck Records and gained worldwide attention and praise from musicians, fans and critics. Having a strong background in both acoustic and electronic instrumentation, he was quickly able to navigate those various elements on his early releases, from field recording and vintage synth-laden Urban Biology to his seminal production and mixing of This Charming Mixtape with MC Theophilus London and his critically acclaimed 2009 album Want To 1 2?

      2010's Many Faces EP ushered the next phase of Machinedrum's career and a fruitful relationship with Glasgow-based label LuckyMe. Sepalcure, a duo launched with Praveen Sharma (aka Braille) shortly after, became one of the most intriguing names in the bass music scene and a series of releases on bubbling imprint Hotflush has given the duo US-ambassadorship of this UK-based genre. Relocating to Berlin for a few years, Machinedrum maintained a steady flow of releases including the Alarmaa and SXLND EPs with LuckyMe and the critically-acclaimed Room(s) LP on Planet Mu Records, a fresh new exploration of juke, jungle, and drum&bass that garnered high praise across the music world. The dance floor blitzkrieg JETS, his latest project with longtime collaborator Jimmy Edgar, has kept him ahead of the curve, serving as yet another showcase for his musical evolution.

      Perhaps his boldest release came in the form of the full-length LP Vapor City on Ninja Tune, a conceptual universe which included an interactive website, digital citizenship program for fans, and an art exhibit in NYC that launched with the album. With subsequent EPs, exclusive remixes from a series of heavyweights including dBridge and Om Unit, and a critically-acclaimed world tour, Vapor City carried on his rich exploration of multimedia arts and music. Since that record’s release, he has collaborated with Jimmy Edgar (as JETS) on The Chants EP; released Movin’ Forward, a tribute EP in memory of (and using unfinished collaborations with) footwork legend DJ Rashad; revisited his long-running collaboration with Braille as Sepalcure on the LP Folding Time, as well as delivered a bunch of superb remixes for acts including Rudimental and Daktyl.

      Stewart puts his unique signature on everything he touches, carving out a career as a world-class producer on top of releasing solo material and remixes. In addition to the likes of Azealia Banks, Jamie Liddell and Jesse Boykins III, in the past few years Machinedrum has produced for English singer-songwriter Obenewa, and many heavy-hitting tracks with the hotly-tipped Dawn Richard (AKA D∆WN). Since the release of Vapor City, Stewart has once again relocated, moving from New York to Echo Park in Los Angeles. His new record, Human Energy, “reflects a period of great change in my life. I moved across the country to a new city, I proposed to the girl of my dreams, I moved into a new house, bought a brand new computer and set off to write a new album.” Lighter, brighter, full of energy and warmth, with a stellar cast of guests, Human Energy is set to take Machinedrum from an aficionado’s best-kept secret to his rightful place amongst the biggest stars of American dance music.


      Whether it’s his long-standing love of 90s hip hop, passing penchant for the bright lights and sounds of hardcore or career defining old school house releases, Lone’s music is steeped in nostalgia. Studio or club born, he teases a dance floor ready sound from the in-between places of your consciousness, making you feel warm and fuzzy without quite knowing why.

      Prolific from an early age with six album releases to his name already, it was Nottingham born and now London based Matt Cutler’s energetic 2010 LP, Emerald Fantasy Tracks which truly put him on the artistic map. The accolades amassed from there on, Lone’s last two long-players – the sweet as candy Galaxy Garden and dusty hip-house hitter Reality Testing – catching the ear of the critics, whilst his high profile remixes, including Radiohead, Disclosure, Friendly Fires, Nathan Fake, TEED, Underworld, Steffi and Midland spread his sound to the masses.

      Whilst Lone’s sampled and swinging beats speak for themselves, it can’t have hurt to be vindicated by signing with the prestigious R&S Records, where house tracks go to become house classics. This was exactly the fate reserved for his 2013 R&S release Airglow Fires, one of his best-loved releases to date which captures everything we love about the old school house revival of the last few years and was quickly filed under ‘classic’ in the proverbial music shelves of all.

      For his freshest release, the intense LP Levitate, Lone has dragged a collection of feverish breakbeats out of hibernation to create a short-and-sweet 34-minute soundscape that was born in the hallucinatory depths of an actual fever, the breakneck psychedelic journey described by Cutler himself as ‘an intense blast’.

      The golden imperfections of all Lone tracks have transported many a bedroom listener to aural planets unknown, but the experience is completed by seeing Lone interpret his own music in the flesh. His live set weaves the best and brightest of his entire discography into an audio-visual tapestry, gilded by visual artist Konx-om-Pax and live drummer Chris Boot. As a house, soul, hip hop and techno fan, you can also find Lone throwing down the best of all four during DJ sets – his Magicwire x NTS residency a good indication of the kind of heat you can expect when he gets behind the booth.

      Cutler has focused his wandering creative mind into a rapidly growing discography which is vibrant, surprising and – like the crackle of an old vinyl – intensely evocative. No matter how you choose to experience it, Lone’s contribution to music is unique.


      Calling to mind artists like AFX, Bogdan Raczynski, Venetian Snares and Luke Vibert with a string of well-received cassette releases on his own Valhallic imprint, Anticon-affiliated multi-instrumentalist Jon Davis (aka Ghostband) has his own distinct methodology, blending 90s junglist sensibilities with tasteful accents of hip hop, techno, house, braindance, grime and dubstep. Strictly hardware to the core, Davis elaborates on his production feats live, brandishing samplers and drum machines to demonstrate the difference between the mechanical and the musical, what’s merely cool and what’s stone cold.


      A regular at the monthly Dark Energy party at the Kitty Cat Klub, Ottavia has become a notably diverse DJ, equally adept at specialty sets of techno, Goth, industrial, house, and experimental music as an opener or closer, and just as good at commingling those styles. And at Deeper, which takes place the last Thursday of every month at the Loring Bar’s Red Room, Ottavia plays more aggressively outré, oftentimes beat-less records. (That makes a certain amount of logistical sense as well—the Red Room’s carpet isn’t exactly conducive to dancing.)

      Ottavia, who turns 30 in April, is a Los Angeles native who moved to Minneapolis in 2006 for school. “I grew up in Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes,” she says. “I wanted to be in a city, and I also went to a small, private high school, and I wanted to be at the biggest public school I could find. My mom grew up in Minnesota, so I have some family here. I visited, and was just like, ‘This is what I want.’ I’d grown up listening to punk—Green Day and Blink-182 were the first things I downloaded on my own—and had a lot of friends who played in bands. And then I came here and it was just nothing like what was going on in L.A. Minneapolis definitely has a punk scene, but it’s more of a classic punk scene.”

      At the U, where she majored in physiology, Ottavia played Variety Hour slots on Radio K and co-hosted a short-lived show there playing “psychedelic, experimental, old industrial music, and a lot of Krautrock.” She also bought her first decent guitar and amplifier. “Now I live in an apartment and have no place to play my really fucking loud tube amp,” she says, with a little frustration. “I fell into it,” she says of her more recent music career. “I’d never thought of becoming a DJ. I got into techno before I knew there was a scene in Minneapolis for it, or knew anyone else [who] was listening to it. I got into techno at the very end of 2011. I was introduced to Sandwell District and I’d never heard anything that sounded anything like that—minimal and maximal at the same time. That stuff had a huge, huge impact on me. Before that, I thought of minimal techno or, like, Vengaboys, and no in-between. I think that’s how a lot of people still think about it.”

      Then, in 2014, a friend was moving out of her house. “It was in the process of being foreclosed on,” says Ottavia. “She had a PA, and planned this big house party. I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll pull together a DJ set for your party. Who cares?’ I picked out a bunch of music, I practiced, I had a MIDI controller and a laptop, and I brought over basically my boom-box speaker setup—a bunch of tea lights, so I had some mood lighting going. I played in this big bedroom. I wasn’t expecting much out of it or anything to come of it, and people came up to me after that like, ‘Where the fuck did you come from?’”

      Her first booking was at Too Much Love at the First Avenue Record Room. “I really wasn’t ready for that,” she says. “It freaked me out. I’m kind of hard on myself. I didn’t feel great about it. But they were super encouraging, and I got asked back. I didn’t have anybody to learn from, and I had to teach myself—I really didn’t know what I was doing. What I was into at that time, what I was playing, was really heavy. When I started, I was just playing techno. I quickly started mixing industrial in: I never didn’t play really dark.”

      [Michaelangelo Matos for City Pages, February 2018]

      Cost: $12 adv./$15 at the door

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