Amsterdam – According to organizers, Amsterdam Dance Event drew more than 400,000 visitors from more than 100 countries – including more than 7,000 electronic-music-industry professionals – to its annual conference/exhibition/festival.
Held this past Oct. 17-21, the 23rd edition of ADE offered more than 450 evening and 600 daytime events at over 200 Amsterdam venues. Over 2,500 DJ/artists performed, and more than 600 speakers participated in keynotes, workshops, panels and master classes on a variety of industry-related topics. As usual, DJ Times was there to take in all the action.
Notable Tech News: Soundcloud CEO Kerry Trainor announced that the platform has partnered with leading software companies to integrate SoundCloud’s massive catalog (190 million tracks) into their DJ software – it’s the first time that DJs will have unlimited, immediate access to stream and mix such a catalog through pro-DJ software. Those companies include Native Instruments, Serato, Virtual DJ, DEX3, Mixvibes and DJuced/Hercules and the development will enable users to stream and mix original tracks, DJ sets, mixes, beats and loops more via SoundCloud Go+ subscription and their favorite DJ app. To support the integrations, SoundCloud also announced that it has added high-quality audio streaming to SoundCloud Go+, its premium-content subscription offering.
“Until recently, digital workflows for DJs were limited to downloads and physical media, but streaming workflows are the future,” said Trainor. “Through the partnership, DJs will have the largest, most diverse streaming music catalog ever assembled, instantly accessible within the tools they use every day.”
Also, at the Gear Test Lab at de Brakke Grond, gear-makers and technology developers displayed their wares. Major manufacturers like Pioneer DJ, Denon, and Ableton showed their latest and a few companies demonstrated brand-new products. In addition to its TRAKTOR PRO 3 DJ software, Native Instruments debuted its TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 controller. Among its new features: Jog wheels uniquely transmit cue points to DJs’ fingertips.
At the Aptec booth, Audionamix, which specializes in audio-source separation, debuted XTRAX STEMS 2. An update on its original software, which automatically separates songs into three parts (vocals, drums and remaining music) for DJs and remix artists, the new version is equipped with an advanced algorithm offering 30-percent faster stem isolation.
Also, tech companies ROLI and nura collaborated at their booth, showing the nuraphone headphones, which uniquely controlled sound (attuned to your personal hearing) through touch on BLOCKS, ROLI’s modular music-making system.
Notable Seminars: On Oct. 18 at DeLaMar Theatre in a keynote Q&A with rock manager Merck Mercuriadis, legendary musician/producer Nile Rodgers, who had big disco hits with Chic and helped create chart-topping albums by Madonna, David Bowie and The B-52’s, filled 60 minutes with terrific anecdotes and juicy dollops of inspiration.
For example, he told the story of an illuminating, early-career conversation he had with the late jazz guitarist Ted Dunbar. After Rodgers conveyed his reluctance to playing pop songs of the day – like The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” – with a cover band with which he was playing, Dunbar replied: “Man, any song in the Top 20 speaks to the souls of a million strangers.” It was then, Rodgers said, that he began to view music differently and was inspired to write future hit “Everybody Dance,” which, he noted, was “the beginning of Chic.”
Later, on the same day within the same venue, Dutch DJ/producer Laidback Luke went “Back to the Future” with a gear-heavy workshop/presentation that deftly drew a technological timeline for DJ gear – beginning with turntables and mixers, and eventually evolving to CDJs and modern touchscreen controllers. Luke, currently a Denon devotee, explained his own career path, which included working for a year in a grocery store as a teen in order to save enough money to buy just one Technics SL-1200 turntable. “If you want something bad enough,” he said. “You should be willing to work for it.”
He also explained how he balances work and life, which includes dedication to the martial arts. “I’ve had two big burnouts as a DJ/producer,” he said. “But overall, practicing kung fu has helped me remain balanced with my music. Think about this: I’ve never seen a 90-year-old DJ, but I have seen a 90-year-old [kung fu] grand master.”
Notable DJ Gigs: On Oct. 17 at Claire, a venue in the Rembrandtplein, Scottish prog-house DJ Denis Sulta drove the club’s tight dancefloor into intermittent frenzies with his tasty and diverse late-night set of funky flavors, deep-house dives and trippy excursions. Though the thick fog and the slick dancefloor created some issues – dancers were occasionally careening like bumper cars – the roomful of ADE revelers whooped it up during every build-up and breakdown.
On Oct. 18 at Sugar Factory, an intimate Leidseplein venue, Berlin’s Monkeytown imprint threw down mightily for a revved-up audience. Label founders Modeselektor headlined the evening with a rousing techno set of big rumbles, quaking grooves and ripping sound effects. Before the Modeselektor duo did its damage, Copenhagen-based Solid Blake dropped a satisfying set of rolling grooves that featured clattering peaks followed by ethereal passages. Ultimately, she reverted to ominous techno breaks, wrapping up a nice mix of harder-edged flavors.
At the legendary Melweg on Oct. 19, American trance titan Markus Schulz played an energetic and varied open-to-close set to a sold-out room of “Schulz Army” conscripts. On the other side of the same Leidseplein venue, veteran Brit jock Dave Clarke (aka “The Baron of Techno”) laid waste to Melkweg’s main room with plenty of late-night buzzbombs. Two very different parties, perhaps, but plenty of satisfied customers.