Browsing Tag

Live Performance

Pre Silent Live from Studio 5 at the Orsman Road Campus in London

After Gabby Gunn graced the hub just the day before, Pre Silent dropped in for a special live performance from Studio 5 at our Orsman Road campus in London. This was our second live stream from Orsman of the year and we will be back weekly throughout the year with more live sets and DJ mixes. For access to loads of opportunities like this one and to hone your skills as a musician, take one of our courses in London. We have an open day upcoming on Saturday 17 February which we’ve just released a small amount of extra tickets for. RSVP here to come along and check out the campus for yourself.

Pre Silent is a live performer, sound designer and producer based in London via Gaeta and Milan in Italy. He cut his teeth playing house parties and clubs in Milan while studying sound engineering and mastering tracks for other producers and bands. He later moved to London to be closer to his favoured clubbing scene, and of course, to join the ranks here at Point Blank Music School. He studied the Music Production & Sound Engineering Master Diploma among other courses, and has continued to build on his love of synths and develop his uniquely inquisitive live show. We can’t wait to see what he brings today, live from Studio 5.

Study with us and you can have access to loads of opportunities like this one: live streams, guest radio slots, club performances and more. Find out more about our DJ courses, or our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree, which includes modules covering live performance. If you want to see the state-of-the-art facilities yourself,  book a solo tour with a course advisor.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Pre Silent Live from Studio 5 at the Orsman Road Campus in London appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Point Blank’s Essential Guide to Festivals in 2018

So here we are, barely two months into 2018 and still in the throws of the northern temperate zone’s long winter. Still, there are signs that our corner of the earth is rousing from her slumber; the days are getting longer, and supermarkets have been rid of Christmas songs for long enough that it’s just a faint memory. And of course, festival lineups are beginning to rack up. As our attention returns to the promise of enjoying the outdoors, so too must we begin to consider what to do with all that sunshine. Read on for Point Blank’s essential guide to festivals in 2018. Fair warning – none of them are in Croatia.

If you’d like to play at places like these someday, we can help you at every step of the way, be it learning your craft, getting gigs or navigating the industry in the right way. Check out our school pages for London and online for more info.


Any guide to what festivals to attend wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Amsterdam promoters. They have gradually built up from a series of small parties to become the generally agreed-upon industry leaders. The fact that weekend tickets for this year’s festival sold out in just minutes is a testament to the reputation it has garnered over the years.

In interviews, the organisers maintain that the festival is special because of the line-up. That’s where it all ends and begins for them. Sure, the setting could hardly have been purpose-designed any better, and is remarkably central in one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic cities, but it is the music that people visit music festivals for, and this party is always soundtracked by the exciting, the forward-thinking and the technically-gifted.

This year, that amounts to a huge list of live sets from Mount Kimbie, Shackleton, Phase Fatale and Karen Gwyer, plus festival favourites in Helena Hauff, Floating Points, Shanti Celeste, Young Marco and Juju & Jordash. Two opening concerts featuring Tangerine Dream, Four Tet and James Holden & The Animal Spirits are announced so far, and there’s still the night programme to come. It’s no exaggeration to say Dekmantel is the world leader right now, so if you can get your hands on a ticket, there’s nowhere else you need to be.

Green Man

It’s no secret that dance music has infiltrated practically all aspects of the musical landscape. Whether its the USA embracing EDM or four-to-the-floor returning to dominate pop production, all signs from the last five years suggest it is here to stay, front and centre. Among these signs is the rise of the dance music festival. Despite the history of outdoor raves, festivals have traditionally been the stronghold of music made with live instrumentation, but the flip-side of the rise of the dance festival is a real decline in festivals in a more traditional mould.

One festival that bucks this trend is Green Man in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. Port Meirion’s Festival Number 6 in North Wales is comparable due to the country of its location and the similarly wide scope of its programming and tends to get more attention due to the town’s unique architectural style (that of an Italian village) and vibrant colour scheme. But the natural beauty at the banks of the river Usk is at least its equal, resulting in a dreamlike atmosphere that stays true to the hippy dream of the likes of Glastonbury festival over the border.

There is much still left to announce, but of the already announced acts there are plenty to get the mouth watering. Fleet Foxes and Mount Kimbie each released some of the most accomplished albums of last year. Joining them are the inimitable talents of John Grant and Anton Newcombe (the renegade psych-preacher figure at the helm of The Brian Jonestown Massacre) as well as the all-conquering War on Drugs. John Talabot’s presence proves the festival doesn’t completely shun electronic sounds, while Public Service Broadcasting will fittingly tell the story of the Welsh mining industry’s decline, having released ‘Every Valley’ in July of Last Year. An idyllic escape on this green island.

Field Maneuvers

The self-styled ‘dirty little rave’ returns for its sixth year, somehow still carrying a best-kept-secret reputation. FM is a special weekender due to its absolute commitment to that which makes parties enjoyable. You don’t put on a festival for four successful years without gathering some attention, and you get the feeling that should the organisers please, they could increase the capacity beyond the 700 mark and sell out comfortably. But the reason they don’t is the same reason it stands apart. The site is tiny, less than a five minute walk from one end to the other, which makes it impossible to lose anyone, plus all of the organisers and security’s effort is put into encouraging a friendly and welcoming atmosphere – the recurrence of so many names on the lineup year-on-year is a testament to this – which trickles down to a sense of freedom and safety from judgement that goes a long way to fulfilling its promise of reviving the spirit of rave.

They’ve yet to announce the line-up this year, but given his appearance at every edition thus far, you can bet on Auntie Flo being in attendance. So too Ben Sims, Ryan Elliot and Mark Archer, who have scarcely missed a chance to visit this field somewhere north of London. And of Course Jane Fitz, who since 2014 has curated the Field Moves tent.

Tickets are still on sale but don’t expect that to stay the case long, especially after the line-up is announced. Take a chance on this one.

Oasis Festival

In recent years Morocco has started to become something of an unlikely festival destination, though perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise. The country has a rich musical history (the yearly Gnaoua festival in Essaouira is a fantastic showcase for some of this), and although most Moroccans don’t drink, you can grab a beer or a glass of wine in bigger towns and cities easily enough. Connections with the world of dance music are beginning to ramp up as well – James Holden’s widely-adored ‘The Animal Spirits’ took much inspiration of the musical traditions of the Gnawa, previously explored on collaborative projects with Maalem Mahmoud Guinia. Oasis festival in Marrakech is entering its fourth year in 2018, and Moga festival is tipped to return to Essaouira this year two years on from its successful first year.

We would recommend either if Moga does go ahead, but as much more is known about the Oasis in 2018 at this point that’s what we’re focusing on here. As with previous years, the festival’s first phase of line-up announcements sees a collection of respected stalwarts and those who made waves in 2017. Perhaps taking their lead from last year’s Dekmantel, they have paired several DJs for b2b’s designed to complement each other. Derrick Carter b2b The Black Madonna is a pairing we’re particularly excited by – the pair have been residents at Chicago’s Smart Bar simultaneously, and are highly respected ambassadors for House music’s city of birth, so sparks should fly for this one.

The festival leans to the luxury end of the spectrum, with champagne bars and baccarat among the attractions at the site’s relaxing pockets in the shade. Great music in a great setting is the bedrock of any good party, and Oasis has both in spades.


Last year’s inaugural edition of Houghton Festival felt special. Previously, if you wanted to keep dancing for longer than the regular 3 or 4am cut off, you had to leave these shores and head for a country with more relaxed licensing laws. When Craig Richards and Gottwood Festival got together to organise Houghton Festival at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, the goalposts were well and truly moved, with a license for 24-hour music all weekend. The result was that people could dip in and out the dancefloor at their pleasure, which in turn encouraged a more relaxed atmosphere than the race-to-the-finish vibe of many British festivals. Extended sets of 5 hours or more were the norm, and DJs made full use of the freedom that allowed to take their sets in unexpected directions. Having put all of that together with consistently weighty speakers, and an idyllic lakeside setting, a benchmark was set.

Richards, the esteemed DJ and longtime (former) Fabric resident has built up an enviable address book over the years, and given that first tier tickets last year started at just £80, one assumes many of the massive artists on the bill must have agreed to play for a discounted fee. This year’s tickets started at almost double that, but the initial line-up announcement looks no less impressive, with Monolake playing live, along with Nathan Fake and Smagghe & Cross. Many favourites from last year return to the bill, including Margaret Dygas, Optimo, Ricardo Villalobos, Cosmo Murphy, Saoirse and Nicolas Lutz.

Practically the only gripe levelled at the festival last year was the paltry effort to include female DJs on the bill. We’ve only had the initial lineup announcement thus far for 2018, with more names on the way, but as it stands it’s extremely disappointing to see this unchanged. Houghton remains on this list because last year it felt like a watershed moment for UK festivals, but, in 2018, to have just 8 women on a bill of 80 is not good enough. If this is addressed in the upcoming additions, then fair enough. If not, it will a sad reminder of progress yet to be made and will tarnish an otherwise fantastic addition to the calendar.

Le Guess Who?

Utrecht’s Le Guess Who? flies the flag for those pushing at the outer membrane, in the tradition of All Tomorrow’s Parties (RIP). Every year they ask a diverse group of artists to curate several shows around the city, allowing for a programming about as wide-ranging as you are likely to see anywhere. Last year the list of curators included the wiggy Seattle hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces, who brought with them the murky poetry of Gonjasufi, and Astro-jazz royalty in Pharaoh Sanders. Perfume Genius, of the same city, with his poignantly revealing yet anthemic indie rock, was responsible for the inclusion of Aldous Harding and Cate Le Bon.

Another curator was James Holden, who, as well as performing with The Animal Spirits, shone a light on the Gnawa great Maalem Mahmoud Guinia (mentioned in the Oasis festival recommendation too), London jazz’ man-of-the-moment Shabakah and the Ancestors, and the cosmic genius of Hieroglyphic Being. There was much more besides, but this serves to demonstrate what an amazing breadth of genius was on show last year.

There’s no real info about what’s on this year, but the festival tend to announce the programme in stages. Honestly though, this is one weekender you would do well to trust, especially given that tickets are currently just over £100.

Festivals play a massive role in the economy of music, and there are few greater pleasures in life than wandering around some magical place, with all those man- and woman-hours put in, and discovering something new that you would never have done otherwise. They can be amazing to be a part of as well, and we can help you get there. Learn to produce with us and you could be playing live somewhere like Le Guess Who? Hone your DJ skills in our studio full of Pioneer DJ gear and you could be spinning records at Field Maneuvers someday. Or study live sound engineering with us and end up a key component of a festival like Green Man. Whatever your into, call us on +44 20 7729 4884 to talk to a course advisor, who would be happy to help.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Point Blank’s Essential Guide to Festivals in 2018 appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Top 3 Live Performances of 2017! (Octave One, Sandunes & More…)

The ability to perform your own music is one of the cornerstones of longevity when it comes to success as a musician, and 2017 has seen us welcome some incredible artists to Point Blank to come and show us how it’s done. Featuring everything from pure analog and modular setups to Ableton controlled performance hybrids, read on for some of this year’s best live performances.

Don’t forget, there is the opportunity to learn about the practicalities and application of live performance in our courses, particularly our new online BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering.

Octave One: Live Performance Masterclass

We welcomed Detroit legends, Octave One, to our London studios in October this year to give us a breakdown of their live performance. Beginning with a demonstration of a driving Octave One show and ending with an interview where they go through their equipment, providing tips on how to learn from failure, this performance from the Burden brothers is built to last.

Live Performance at Point Blank – LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER

Earlier this year, modular synth wizard Sam Battle, a.k.a. LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER, joined us at our London studios to provide us with an electrifying electro-punk live performance. Luckily for us, he brought his entire homemade modular synth setup along for the ride.

Live Performance Masterclass with Sandunes at Point Blank, London

Former Point Blank student, Sandunes, came to provide us with an insightful live performance masterclass in June. Taking time from her touring schedule before supporting Bonobo in Manchester, Sanaya provided us with a breakdown of all the elements of her acclaimed live performance, from the synths to triggering scenes in Ableton.

If you’d like to learn more about any of the techniques shown above, Point Blank offer courses for those at any level. Our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree in London is one of the most comprehensive courses out there, with modules covering mixing, sound design, production and much more. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. We are currently offering a huge 25% off online courses and 30% off LA courses, plus a free copy of Ableton Suite until December 31st, so make sure you enrol soon! For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!


The post Top 3 Live Performances of 2017! (Octave One, Sandunes & More…) appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Tune into a Live Performance from Look Mum No Computer at our London Studios

We love Look Mum No Computer, not only did he give us a fantastic live performance back in September (check that out here) but he also came and gave us a demonstration and intro to DIY modular synthesis in November, which you can check below. Never satisfied, we asked him to come back for another performance, which we’re streaming on YouTube below! You can watch a visionary at work live from 1:30pm GMT.

You can also check out LMNC diving into his homemade set-up from earlier in the year, showing off homemade oscillators, filters, envelope generators and analogue drums. After making an entire track on the fly, he finishes up by talking us through how he built everything – you’ll find out that the cost of building this kind of unit will set you back a lot less than you might imagine!

For more demonstrations, live sets and masterclasses, check out our YouTube channel. If you’d like to learn more about synthesis, our sound design modules cover all the bases. Our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, and includes modules on live performance as well as synthesis. Not only will you learn everything you need to know about production, but also how to make your way through the music industry, and there’s even an online alternative. Check out more courses Online and in London, LA, Ibiza and Mumbai. Questions? Contact us.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!


The post Tune into a Live Performance from Look Mum No Computer at our London Studios appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Watch Octave One Give A Masterclass In Live Performance

Here at Point Blank, we’re always looking for ways we can link up with special artists and industry professionals to show you how the very best operate. We’ve recently sat down with the likes of Fred P and MJ Cole who gave the kind of insight that only their vast experience can glean. In keeping with that theme, our latest masterclass is with Octave One, who demonstrate the kind of slick intuition with a live set up that a quarter of a century in the game will bring. Take a look a below at their incredible live performance at our London studios and listen out as they talk us through their set-up, “The Mothership”.

Lenny and Lawrence Burden recently dropped into our London Studio and treated us to a live performance of their gorgeously soulful techno. The video gives the perfect vantage point to watch what the brothers get up to behind the controls of their incredible array of hardware. They also give us the inside scoop on what their live set is about, telling us why they eschew computers, what the art of performing is to them and how to make the most out of the interaction between person and machine. The pair get technical about their gear and we learn why they call their Akai MPC 1000 “The Brain”, as well as how their set up is designed to allow as much lossless experimentation on the fly as possible. Finally, the veteran duo share their thoughts on the possibilities available today vs when they started out, and why the most important thing to learn is how to fail.

Octave One have been a part of the techno landscape since 1990 when they first started releasing on Derrick May’s legendary Transmat label in Detroit, and soon after their own 430 West imprint. Initially, they were focused almost completely on recording, with Lawrence taking care of the DJing and travelling, but when a tour demanded they play live, Lenny devised the show in just two weeks. When on-stage he found he was struggling to get around all of their gear, Lawrence stepped in to help with the mixing and effects so Lenny could focus on sound-creation: an arrangement that still exists to this day. In the years since, Octave One have become synonymous with live, analogue techno. Their set has evolved with technology but they still play with hardware only and every set is defined by feel and the injection of the human element to sequenced music – an approach that has seen them play every big stage in techno, and forge longstanding links with institutions like Tresor and Berghain. In 2008, after the release of ‘Summers On Jupiter’, they stopped releasing, saying they had nothing left to say through music. A smattering of old tracks and one-offs would follow, before their touring schedule inspired their real return with ‘Burn It Down’ in 2015. Between the record’s riotous reception and their seminal Boiler Room performance from Moscow, the band’s legendary live set has never been so in-demand.

Want to up learn how to built sets like these? On our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree you can learn everything you need to know about music production including mixing & mastering, composition and music business, and in our Electronic Music Performance you’ll be taught how to tailor your set-up and play live like the best of them. The module is developed by Saytek, a hardware aficionado and celebrated live artist in his own right. We also offer an online alternative, in the form of our new online BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660. Check our contact page for more options.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Watch Octave One Give A Masterclass In Live Performance appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Dubspot Radio Rewind: Pursuit Grooves + Exclusive Interview

This episode of Dubspot Radio revisits a live performance mix selection executed by Pursuit Grooves, a music producer, vocalist, and visual artist known for delivering eclectic electronic travels through experimental, soul, bass, techno, house, and hip-hop.

Pursuit Grooves

Dubspot Radio Podcast welcomes producer, DJ, and vocalist Vanese Smith, aka Pursuit Grooves with a dynamic live performance delivered on her Boss SP-505, which she has been producing and performing with for nearly a decade. Her set includes exclusive beats, live improvised pieces, and a couple of tracks from her 7-track EP titled “Fox Trot Mannerisms” out on the UK dubstep imprint Tectonic. Following her performance, Vanese talks with Dutty Artz head Matt Shadetek about her creative process, developing an almost second-nature familiarity with her tools to express ideas, and the expanded Japanese version of “Fox Trot Mannerisms.”



About Pursuit Grooves

When speaking of electronic or hip hop producers who have made innovative contributions to their genre, females are rarely mentioned. Whether hard to find or never exposed, Pursuit Grooves is making it her business to deliver an important message to the world…WE DO EXIST!

Pursuit Grooves stands out from the rest not only as a female producer but as a music producer in general. Refusing to be defined or labeled she graciously accepts all of her influences to create something that is distinctly her own while owing much to the past. Inspiration includes soul/funk artists (Cameo, Sade, Loose Ends), trip hop gurus (Bjork, Massive Attack, Portishead) and hip hop producers (DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Jay Dee).

Armed with a modest studio, Pursuit Grooves manages to make a mountain out of a molehill. She is not only poised to make a place for herself in the world of music but is guaranteed to grow and prosper with the changing times. Much like her name, Pursuit Grooves plans to SEEK HUNT and CAPTURE… Your Ears.

Originally from the Washington, DC area, Pursuit Grooves (born Vanese Smith) started producing music as a teenager to accompany the lyrics/rhymes she was writing. She’s been obsessed with sound ever since.

Pursuit Grooves started turning heads and pulsating ears when she was featured on Rush Hour’s Beat Dimensions (Netherlands) compilation in 2007. The following year she earned a spot at the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona. Soon after she released the “Fox Trot Mannerisms” EP and “Frantically Hopeful” full length on the UK label Tectonic Recordings, all highlighting her knack for delivering varying tempos, warm melodies, and equally great abilities to sing, rap, and produce. She has also been featured on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers (UK) compilation, Cosmopolyphonic (Japan) compilation, and albums for Swede:art and Portformat on Tokyo Dawn Records (Germany). She has also produced remixes for international acts Altocamet, Planningtorock, and The Knife.

Never one for staying in a box, she creates her own path and describes her sound as “Electronic Travels through Soul, Bass, House, and Hip Hop.” Over the last few years, she has performed Live PAs (with her trusty hardware sampler) internationally including performances at Sonar Festival in Spain, Elevate Festival in Austria, and Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit to name a few. Smith also creates abstract video art as WifiHifiScifi, which sometimes accompanies her performance. She also creates under the “cinematic dub “alias 91 Fellows on the California-based Deepblak Recordings label.

Connect with Pursuit Grooves on Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Website


DJ Extensive Program

Immerse yourself in the complete art of DJing: from the fundamentals of beatmatching and mixing to using effects and programming extended club sets. Whether you’re a beginner wanting to learn fundamentals or a seasoned pro looking to take your talent to the next level, our curriculum is designed to accommodate all skill levels and styles of music. This comprehensive DJ program covers everything from basic mixing to advanced digital DJing with both Serato Scratch Live and Traktor Scratch Pro.

Click here to view the embedded video.

About This Program

At Dubspot you’ll be working at personal student workstations equipped with industry standard and cutting-edge technology: Technics SL-1200 / 1210 series turntables, Pioneer CDJs, Pioneer DJM or Rane TTM mixers, Apple iMacs and MacBook Pros, Native Instruments’ Traktor Scratch Pro, Serato Scratch Live, vinyl, CDs, timecode, and MIDI controllers.

Our instructors teach you the necessary techniques and draw on their vast collective experience to give you insight into the mindset, workflow, and art of DJing. Graduates of the DJ Extensive Program will have an opportunity to perform at an event in a New York City venue, organized and promoted by Dubspot together with you and your fellow students. At Dubspot, we want you to do more than just learn. We want you to be great at doing what you love. Let us help you get there!

What’s Included

  • DJ Level 1: Rookie Sessions | Essentials I
  • DJ Level 2: Phrase Mixing | Essentials II
  • DJ Level 3: Beyond The Blend | Intermediate Skills
  • DJ Level 4: Preparation | DJ Psychology
  • DJ Level 5: Classroom to the Club | Advanced Techniques I
  • DJ Level 6: Club to the World | Advanced Techniques II

Additional Information

Visit the DJ course page for detailed information on this program here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.


The post Dubspot Radio Rewind: Pursuit Grooves + Exclusive Interview appeared first on Dubspot Blog.

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