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end-of-year-2015

This year, FACT Magazine offered me the opportunity to compile a “25 Best Club Tracks Of 2015” list and after weeks of agonizing over the selections, it went live last week to many readers’ consternation. Unfortunately, a good deal of tracks that I would have liked to include didn’t fit in to the feature’s scope, which was more of less limited to club-focused material and original works (a self-imposed limitation). The following 25 tracks either aren’t aimed at the dancefloor, fit the club-theme or just didn’t quite fit the rubric for the column. Like the FACT list, we’ve kept this one in alphabetic order and considering that these songs come from across a ridiculously wide spectrum we felt there was no need to order them otherwise. Hit the links below to listen to each respective track and enjoy. Big thanks to anyone and everyone who has stuck with us, enjoyed our releases and/or followed the FACT column.

Acre – Always Crashing

Acre x Justine Skye – Never Physically Leave (Prince Will Edit)

Angel-Ho – Yah Cunt

DJ Haram & Mhysa – No Ordinary Love

DJ NJ Drone – Banger (Fools)

Elysia Crampton – Lake

Faro – Hold U (Hi Tom Edit)

Fis – Kal

GAIKA – Sodium

Haleek Maul – Medicine (ft. Kit) [prod. Haleek Maul & Shy Guy]

Iglew – Urban Myth

Jacques Gaspard Biberkopf – Spirit

Joey Labeija – Euphoria

Kadahn – Arc Eye Matter

Kuedo – Cellular Perimeter

Lotic – Heterocetera

Mechatok – Mass Appeal

Mr. Mitch – Dru (Peace Edit)

Rabit & Myth – Lonely Backseat Love

Pan Daijing – DISEASE 疾

Pitcheno – K1. 不明白” (feat. Organ Tapes)

Smurphy – Missing2MyBB

Strict Face – Into Stone

Teeflii x Mr. Mitch – 24 Hourz x Feel (Rabit Blend)

Tim Hecker – Stab Variation (SHALT Edit)

Outlook-Festival-2015-Dan-Medhurst-8253

Photo by Dan Medhurst

A few years back, while on time off from a study abroad period in Morocco, I was able to attend MS Dockville, a smallish festival in Hamburg featuring the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never, Holy Other and Michachu and the Shapes. Having only attended American festivals to that point, my opinion of music festivals was bleak to say the least, literal fights for space and air in what could easily be described as gigantic cesspools of humanity. MS Dockville was a welcome reprieve from the glut and general decrepitude of the American festival, both in terms of programming and general respect on the part of attendees. There was no more space at the festival grounds in Hamburg than a midsize US soiree, but the way attendees interacted with the music and each other gave the whole event a neat, cozy overtone.

Since that weekend, I’ve been aching to return to a European festival and when a friend proffered the idea of making the trip to Pula, Croatia for Outlook Festival, the soundsystem culture-focused event happening across five days in an Austro-Hungarian fort on the Adriatic Sea, the opportunity was almost too good to pass up. The legend of Outlook and Fort Punta Christo runs deep and feasting on the lineup, especially names like Boy Better Know and Kromestar that us Americans can only dream of seeing on normal terms, became a regular activity in the months and weeks before the festival, the anticipation becoming almost overwhelming as we began our 30 hour jaunt across ocean and land to reach the small coastal city.

Looking back now, a week after Outlook’s world class soundsystems finally shut down, it’s hard to imagine we were on a beach watching Hatcha and DJ EZ play out classic-laden sets or at the festival’s unmatched Moat stage brucking out as Acre and Mumdance shook down the entire Fort at the Tectonic 10 party. And more than any individual set, the opportunity to attend a festival with near-total support for its modus operandi. In short, most of the people at this year’s festival were there because of their dedication to soundsystem culture and/or its various modern forms. With a few exceptions at the top of the bill, Outlook’s lineup was composed of labels, parties and artists outside of the general public eye, meaning the likes of Amy Becker, Parris and DJ Milktray having the opportunity to lay down high energy sets in front of huge, adoring crowds.

Hit the jump for a full run down of The Astral Plane team’s experience at Outlook Festival in Pula, Croatia…

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Outlook - boat by sunset - credit Marc Sethi

With Outlook Festival 2015 under two months away, anticipation is nearing a fever pitch and planning has begun in earnest, much of it focused over the past few weeks on the festival’s infamous boat party circuit. And while several of the daytime parties have sold out, there are still tickets available for a number of absolutely out-of-control soirees. If you already have tickets to the Butterz, Bandulu, Deep Medi or Swamp81 (the list goes on) parties, then the rest of us can only look on in jealousy, but we still do have an opportunity to catch DJs like Kode9, Mumdance, Paleman and many many more. The following three parties are our personal selections (you’ll find us there) and hopefully offer up a good cross-section of what the day time programming has to offer. This is all purely hypothetical as 2015 is our first jaunt over to Pula so bare with us.

1. Resident Advisor Sunset Boat Party w/ Kode9 & Mumdance – Friday
The Hyperdub boss and grime provocateur take over this sunset boat party from start to finish and are sure to bring out a huge range of sounds. Considering that each has covered a remarkable amount of ground in their own productions, it’s almost inconceivable where this party will go. We do know that it will be a carefully curated experience covering the finest in on-the-cusp grime, dubstep and maybe a little mahraganat and footwork if we’re lucky. We’ve been lucky enough to catch Kode9 come through the United States a few times, but had the chance to see Mumdance so this will be an exciting occasion for our traveling team.

2. Wavey Garms w/ Artful Dodger, Hatcha (old skool garage set), Spooky – Saturday

It’s not often that we in the US get an opportunity to catch garage legends and when they do come, they’re often shoehorned into overproduced house clubs or tacked onto the end or beginning of populist dubstep parties. It’s unfortunate, but there isn’t much of an American garage massive and even though the occasional DJ EZ jaunt across the country brings out droves, the groundswell of support needed to sustain a culture is rarely found. Which makes the Wavey Garms (“the kind of Facebook garment groups”) party that much more exciting for us, that once in a lifetime chance to catch legends like Artful Dodger and Hatcha bringing their livest records to a boat in the Aegean Sea. Spooky rounds out the lineup to complete the circle, offering different eras and perspectives on the classic 2 step sound and while others parties might offer more in terms of contemporary talent, Wavey Garms might just be the highlight of the whole trip for us.

3. Just Jam w/ Paleman, Big Narstie, Barely Legal, DJ Milktray b2b Tim & Barry – Sunday
While not the most stacked bill compared to some of the label parties bringing out their entire rosters, the Just Jam boat affair is sure to bring out a good collection of heads for buzzing Swamp81 repper Paleman, commentator/MC Big Narstie, Just Jam regular Barely Legal, and Glasgow’s DJ Milktray going back to back with Tim & Barry, the duo behind the whole operation. Not only will the boat party have a spectrum crossing array of sonics, the Just Jam folks know how to throw a good party as they’ve been doing in London for the last 15 years. One for the heads.

Check out the full Outlook Boat Party schedule after the jump…

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