Machinedrum to Teach Master Class for Underground Producers Alliance Program


On November 17, the Underground Producers Alliance will be launching Art of the Soundclash, a new music education program, in New York City. This master class will feature mentoring from Ninja Tune beatmaster Travis Stewart, better known as Machinedrum (pictured above), among many others.

The UPA is a diverse collective of musicians, producers, and broadcasters teaming up to give music students a leg up in the production world. Stewart has previously worked as a mentor for the UPA for their intense, boot camp-style mentorship, known as the Ghost Program, which ran last September.

Through the Ghost Program, the UPA teaches music production in a hands-on fashion, which each teacher explaining the way they first got into it themselves. There, students learned numerous aspects of contemporary music production such as composition, instrumentation, arranging, sound-design, and sampling. The next Ghost Session is set to run in January 2015.

The Art of Soundclash will run from November 17-30 and will also feature instruction by Raz Mesinai, Mike Slott, Moldover, Val Jeanty and others. The course will be delving into live performance methods not typically covered in most music schools from performance-based instruments and effects, to creating and organizing sound libraries and custom MIDI controllers. For fledging DJs looking to expand their horizons, this is definitely a course worth crashing.

“My role in the UPA is to prepare the students for battle,” Travis Stewart (a.k.a. Machinedrum) exclusively told Big Shot. “I plan on showing students ways they can set up Ableton Live for live performance as well as DJing/Live hybrids. I’ll be using my own MIDI controllers as well as custom MIDI controllers built during Moldover’s course.”

Added Raz Mesinai, “This class delves into crucial aspects of live performance typically not covered in most schools, from building advanced Ableton Live Instrument and effects racks, effect processing, PA system mechanics, mapping, performance strategies and building your own customized MIDI controllers, in an effort to build new ideas, artistic freedom and awareness around sound systems themselves being the instrument.”

Album Review: Machinedrum / ‘Vapor City’ (Ninja Tune)

Machinedrum Vapor City


Vapor City accurately pinpoints a post-fallout environment powered by quicksilver scurries and reverbs decorating requiems in dub and bass. Like skimming a blimp across a lake, Travis Stewart’s IQ in dynamics and hydraulics gives the bulky and burdened a frothy quality in subzero.

Sustaining junctions in post-dubstep, footwork/juke, and jungle/hardcore, “Infinite Us” is near enough jungle jazz/intelligence from the 90s, and “Don’t 1 2 Lose U” plays at being Zomby, rave chords picking at the brickwork of a mausoleum. Provocative to a point in rigidly setting out chord structures and triggers, Stewart’s highs tunnelling towards daylight, referee face-offs between the restful and the unsettling, skeletal against billowing. “Center You Love” very nearly aims dubstep for the coffee table, where the atmospheric shaping of layers, hazing and fading on the timeout “Vizion”, close eyes in the infinite space between club and headphone while tugging at the throttle.

With a longing glance at Hyperdub-style electro/R&B on “U Still Lie”, any moments of tension have a way of nixing themselves, and predicted dirges – jump-off “Eyesdontlie” one to fix an unflinching gaze – end up wearing a daisy chain in a world, despite so many signposts, that’s easy to get lost in. When it comes to the continuity of Room(s), the ubiquitous pitched down vocal saps some of the excitement, and similar still, for all its undeniable cutting edge, somehow it doesn’t quite feel it’s doing enough to pull away from its peers.

File under: Sepalcure, Burial, Benton