Category Archives: Reviews

Deadly Buda’s reviews of music, culture, hardware, and anything else.

More Than Meets the Eye: Nocturnal Wonderland 20 Year Anniversary

by Joel "Deadly Buda" Bevacqua

Insomniac’s Nocturnal Wonderland celebrated its twentieth year over the 2015 Labor-Day weekend. It was a sight to behold, but when the eye candy wore off, I realized there was more to this rave than met the eye. Each day had its own distinct musical character pulsing through the visuals. Day one was “New School.” Day two was “Pop.” Day three was “Old School.” The contrast of the three days raised interesting questions about the future of rave culture and its history.

The main stage, named “Labyrinth,” was amazing, knock-out, eye-candy—seriously more jaw-dropping than a Disney World amusement. It had sort-of a chess and playing card theme (not sure why actually, but it worked)—fireworks, water features, lasers, massive hi-def screens, crazy fresh opticals.

The smaller stages were paid just as much attention, if not budget. Each stage was unique and generated a sense of place so strong that I literally forgot what my apartment looked like over the weekend. This temporary place in the desert had become my home. On day three I entered early with the set-up crew, and marveled at the festival site before the crowd entered. The breathtaking view made me feel like a little kid in his own fantasy playground. I bounded down the grass covered hill from the “Queen’s Ground” stage, past the Sunken Garden and Temple of Om, to the Labyrinth, making airplane sounds all the way. Some of the workers thought I was going bananas but I just had to do it since I had the opportunity! It occurred to me then that “fun” really is the same at any age—that appreciation of existence itself so often evident in those younger than us, no matter the age!

Da Tweekaz at Nocturnal Wonderland 20 Year Anniversary at Sunken Garden StageThe sound systems were crystal clear and banging as one has come to expect from Insomniac. Day One’s music was comprised of the newer underground variations of the quintessential rave styles such as hardstyle, happy hardcore, drum and bass and dubstep. If you were a new raver 100% dedicated to the scene, this was your night. Admittedly, they could have used a little more hardcore in the line-up, but nonetheless things were sonically interesting enough to keep you running from stage to stage. I found myself rocking out in the hardstyle-heavy Sunken Garden most of the night, with frantic trips to the Queen’s Garden for a dose of drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep.

Day two: Oh brother, day two… was a Saturday. This is the night for your new potential ravers and pop-radio listeners to hear and see David Guetta on a really, really, big video screen, rather than a smaller one at home. All the amazing visuals, banging systems and top-notch production for all three days comes at a cost, and I guess Saturday was the day to pay the piper. I totally understand its necessity. However, the stark contrast of crowd between day one and day two brought a lot of issues to the surface for me. I was attracted to the rave scene because I don’t identify with pop culture’s ever-increasing glorification of sex, money, and consumption. I’m more attracted to a lady with a Fresh Jive t-shirt and Phat pants, than one just wearing a thong. When people talk about cars, jewelry, or whatever material things, I force myself to pay attention. I want to be “into it” to know them better, but I just can’t get that excited about it. The music on day two, and the crowd, was like that for me. Lots of popular, obvious music (often the same songs), danced to by people who were unabashedly interested in those things. I want to relate, I try, but I really don't.

Nocturnal Wonderland 20 Year Anniversary Labyrinth Stage, Blasting VisualsI still had a good time bopping around the grounds though. I danced to some House music at the Temple of Om and examined the other features of the rave. I actually missed a very important feature that sounded fascinating: a 360 degree virtual reality recording of EDC 2015. Mostly, I spent time at the History 101 tent featuring DJ Demigod, Rap, and Meanstreak spinning classic rave tunes while pictures of old flyers, photo collages and records were projected on the tent. They even had a “ghost DJ from the past” playing on the decks between sets.

Day three was what Noc 20 was all about: History. Many of Insomniac’s DJs from “back in the day” played at the Upside Down Room to old schoolers and new schoolers delight. The way “History” was handled at the show was frankly the most clumsy—yet fascinating—aspect of the event. Like many an old school raver, I have a strange compulsion to convey some sort of “history” to a new generation. Obviously Insomniac does too. But I kept thinking, “WHY?” Does the new generation care? Are we “old folks” just trying to make ourselves feel better with a nostalgic white-wash of faded memories? Does anyone need a history of this music?

After the eye and ear-candy wore off and I got a good night’s sleep, things became clearer. Back-in-the-day, the original ravers thought they were the dawn of a new era, a new culture, a new attitude. A lot of crazy stuff happened over those decades and experience created wisdom. An older generation is struggling to convey its wisdom to a new generation that might not care—through no fault of their own. Subconsciously, this culture is planting the seeds for its survival and perpetuation. The rave culture is only now dealing with a generational shift, and it’s trying to figure out how.

It is important. To disseminate a history of creation (the history of art) as opposed to destruction (the history of war), is essential and must be attended to. On a practical, personal level, wouldn’t you want your daughter to know she will more likely get a boyfriend at a rave if she wears pants, than stares or worse if she wears a thong? But how do we convey such practical things without sounding prudish or preachy? The details and messages still need to be worked out and opinions will vary; but Insomniac took a great step forward in the transfer of wisdom with their 5 minute historical interlude on the main stage. It was a proper sensory overload that appealed to new and old school alike. Thousands of attendees were lucky enough to record it on their phones. Here is one of those recordings:

EDC Las Vegas 2015: An Old-Schooler’s Perspective

Let’s get it out of the way: Despite its multi-million dollar budget, Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2015 was an old school rave. As a writer, you really want to criticize SOMETHING about the festival, so you can seem like you are giving a balanced portrayal. But really this rave lived up to its hype.

Tiesto DJing on the Kinetic Field stage at EDC Las Vegas 2015
Tiesto DJing on the Kinetic Field stage at EDC Las Vegas 2015

The scope and attention to detail is beyond what any aspiring rave promoter “back in the day” (including Insomniac I’ll wager) even dreamed of, seriously. I should know. I was one. I threw my first rave in 1991, owned one of America’s first techno record shops, have written for rave fanzines and magazines on and off for decades, produced music, and I’ve DJed all over this fine country. So with a certain amount of credibility I can say that EDCLV 2015 was so over-the-top, so lavish from a classical rave perspective, that my mind boggled.

Basscon Wasteland area at EDC Las Vegas 2015
Basscon Wasteland area at EDC Las Vegas 2015

Despite the 450,000 people at over $300 a ticket, one might still marvel at how this event broke even—another old school rave trait. Not content with their last success, Insomniac went even bigger. Many an old-school rave promoter lost their shirts that way, but it didn’t stop Insomniac. First off, the fireworks were more intense than I’ve seen at Disneyland. It was a non-stop finale from beginning to end. The various dance areas were visually artistic. The sound-systems were kickin’ and clear. The DJ and live-act talent had a major representative from nearly every EDM sub-genre. They could’ve had a little more hardcore in my opinion but at least EDC had some, unlike a lot of mainstream raves today.

Circuit Garden Arena at EDC Las Vegas 2015
Circuit Garden Arena at EDC Las Vegas 2015
Crowd at the Bassrush Basspod area.
Crowd at the Bassrush Basspod area.

Amusement rides were at the ready for festival goers. Street performances, if not done to absolute perfection, were done with so much heart their enthusiasm was contagious. And, THERE WERE CHILL-OUT AREAS. So many raves today have forgotten about the importance of the “ambient chill room” so you can escape the sonic maelstrom and relax. It was back in full effect at EDCLV 2015. There was something even for the snobby ravers, such as VIP areas. But those were few and far between and didn’t interfere with the vast majority’s good time. In fact, they were kinda hard to find.

Chill Out Area at EDC Las Vegas 2015
Chill Out Area at EDC Las Vegas 2015

Over the years some things have changed. The fashion is far removed from the baggie pants and hoodies of the 90’s. Basically it was a lot of bikinis and anime-inspired costuming. It was however, 91 degrees just about every night, so the dress was arguably appropriate. I didn’t hear or see anyone selling drugs, amazingly. Obviously at any big event drugs and alcohol will be present but Insomniac seems to be taking the most forward-thinking, advanced steps in crowd safety. We will have to wait until our society finally demystifies, legalizes and stops glamorizing so-called “recreational drugs” if we want to truly solve America’s drug problems.

Crowd at Kinetic Field
Crowd at Kinetic Field

Two important words: FREE WATER. That’s an improvement on the old days. Imagine being in a sweaty warehouse where the promoter turns off the water faucets so you have to buy bottled water. That happened all the time back-in-the-day. Those shady cat promoters charged $5 for a bottled water back in the early ‘90s!

Another shot of the Basscon Wasteland stage
Another shot of the Basscon Wasteland stage

Corporate sponsorship. Yes, 7-Up had their own stage but 7-Up’s logo wasn’t plastered everywhere you looked. Practically every promoter back in the day would have loved corporate sponsorship and pursued it. So, I’m not crying “sell-out” by any means. Camel and Marlboro used to sponsor MayDay, Love Parade, all kinds of stuff. At least we didn’t have to rave around jittery chain-smokers this time around. An improvement, in my opinion.

Another Chill-Out area at EDCLV 2015
Another Chill-Out area at EDCLV 2015

So this might shock you—but I’ll lay it on the line. If you raved “back-in-the-day” I’m happy to say you would have found a lot to like at EDCLV this year. The same spirit and energy you might have remembered from your rave-days is present and noticeable in this new generation, and Insomniac obviously took great care to make that happen and even improve on it.

Monday Morning at EDCLV 2015
Monday Morning at EDCLV 2015

Deadly Buda Track Reviews March 3, 2015

Last January I got booked to play Techno Belligerent’s “Jason Takes Los Angeles” party in downtown LA. Once again I sent the call out to producers everywhere to clue me in on their latest and greatest so I could come out the box slaying. Well I got a lot of stuff that came in. It took a while to go through it all but I did. There were a lot of great tracks that unfortunately I couldn’t play, just because of the time I had for the set (about 50 minutes). So I didn’t get to play everything, but listed below is the stuff that made it into the set. At bottom I list some other stuff that was interesting as well, but didn’t quite fit in that night. Immediately below is the actual mix from the event.

Deadly Buda - Jason Takes Los Angeles February 13, 2015 Set by Dj Deadly Buda on Mixcloud

Skandal (aka slave maker) - Kill Him –https://www.facebook.com/Geoffrey.Raes

Ripping hardcore crossbreed from Belgium. For those of you struggling to keep up with the dizzying new array of hardcore sub-genres, “Crossbreed” is like a combination of 4-to-the-floor hardcore techno, and drum and bass rhythms. This track has a nice lead and really gets the crowd pumped when you play it. It’s about 175 BPM. I don’t have a direct link to the track, so get in touch with Geoffrey Raes on Facebook and he can tell you where to get the track.

TechDiff – Eat Drink Fuck https://soundcloud.com/peace-off/techdiff-eat-drink-fuck

Tight ripping breakcore from the legendary Peace Off Label. This track is taken from the Brothers in Blood 02 release. Already available digitally, this might be available on vinyl by the time you read this review. Clocking in at about 233 BPM, the beats are hyper chopped-up but still danceable and fun. A real crowd-pleaser.

Mindcontroller – Go! **Preview** https://soundcloud.com/mindcontroller2011/mindcontroller-go-preview

Blasting OG Hardcore from Mindcontroller with all the classic elements. Thundering kick, screaming hoovers, stabby stabs, cool samples, and even some high hats. Somewhere around 172 BPM, one of the things I like about this track is that it has some hi-hats and cymbals in it, and a snare that just doesn’t make a guest appearance. This track is a well-constructed song that doesn’t simplify itself to the point of ridiculousness just so that it sounds louder after being mastered.

Pink Abduction Ray - Roguelike https://pinkabductionray.bandcamp.com/album/roguelike

Periodically slicing through the Darkmatter Sound System is a shocking pink ray beam. Why? We don’t know. But this traction beam has a dope sound as evidenced by this track, “Roguelike.” 160 BPMs of quirky, in your face… hmmm techno? It’s honestly hard to classify a track like this now days, as there are elements of breakcore, hardcore, tekno, techno and acid. The classicist in me wants to label this techno or “tekno” as I could hear P.A.R.’s tracks going over big at teknivals. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.

Twin Braids - Baseck (featuring Joy Through Noise) https://soundcloud.com/twinbraids/twin-braids

Baseck of Darkmatter Sound System and Joy Through Noise teamed up to create a new project called Twin Braids and this is one of their first tracks. Innovative, melodic 200 BPM hardcore techno made with all outboard analog instruments. This is one of those tracks you just sort of let play because there is so much cool stuff going on you just let the crowd get into it. The ending really picks up so be ready to mix in something high energy to follow it up. This track appears on the compilation PHOTON COLLISIONS (Curated By Somatic Responses) by Various Humans . There are plenty of other great tracks on this compilation so you might as well download the whole thing. https://somaticresponses.bandcamp.com/track/baseck-feat-joy-through-noise-twin-braids

S L A C K E R Y O U T H 2 – Hinoi Team Night of Gabba https://soundcloud.com/s-l-a-c-k-e-r-y-o-u-t-h-2/hinoi-team-night-of-gabba

A fun 175 BPM Anime-inspired breakcore track that really is 350 BPM. The sample says “Nights on Fire” and quite frankly I’m not sure what the heck it is about, but it really picks the crowd up and is a lot of fun.

Mismasta – The T3rrorBass https://soundcloud.com/kevin-mixmasta/mixmasta-the-t3rrorbass

200 BPM Frenchcore with some classic well-known samples. This well constructed track covers all the basics of hardcore, bringing to mind old Chosen Few tracks from the Mokum Label. A real nice kicking mix.

Monad – Influenced Bruv https://soundcloud.com/monad/influenced-bruv-sample

Mad effects-laden breakcore from the Legs Akimbo Label. This 200 BPM break explosion is dense with synths and sweeps washing over a wall of bass.

DJ Filth – Revenge, Serve Cold https://soundcloud.com/djfilthmusic/dj-filth-revenge-serve-cold

This 202 BPM Hardcore track has a nice hoover-groove to it and some cinema samples to jazz it up.

Ambivalence – Gyroscope + Ambivalence. = https://soundcloud.com/ambivalence1/gyroscope-ambivalence

A nice 170 BPM breakcore collaboration of Gyroscope and Ambivalence. And something about a chicken… see for yourself at the link above.

DJ Freak – 4 to the Floor 4 To The Floor (available on Amazon)

I ended my set at Jason Takes Los Angeles with this old classic from DJ Freak. Though released more than a decade ago, this track devastated the crowd. Mass distortion, super hard kicks, and if you think the tracks now are mastered loud, you ain’t heard this. 250 BPMs of super classic hardcore that rocks to this day and probably forever. It’s on iTunes too, https://itunes.apple.com/album/id218474426

Johnny Sideways – Tales From the Darkside (Johnny Sideways RMX) https://soundcloud.com/johnnysideways/johnny-sideways-tales-from-the-darkside-rmx

Johnny Sideways updates the classic Tango and Ratty hardcore drum and bass track. Clocking in at 175 BPM, it really pumps up the kick drum and gives it that rolling hardcore feel that Johnny Sideways is known for.

Paralysed Monch - D.I.E (Paralysed Monch Rmx) https://soundcloud.com/paralysed-monch/d-i-e-paralysed-monch-rmx

Paralysed Monch does his take on the classic eRRe & Hardlogik vs. Syrinx track. Ball-busting Frenchcore that sounds more like pumped up breakcore or crossbreed to me. 177 BPM and cut loud. Watch your levels!

Deadly Buda & Seppuku – Wolf Love

I know it’s cheesy to review your own track, but no one else has it, and I did open my set with it that night. Right now it’s still unreleased while we finish mastering the track, but when it’s done you all are gonna like it. Super hard 4 to the floor Kicks and Synths and a touch of breaks and cool samples to jazz it up. It answers the question, “Where am I going?” Stay tuned for more info. I will post it on my Soundcloud page when it is ready. https://soundcloud.com/deadly-buda

Here are some of the other tracks that were sent in:

BAD MiND - If This Ain't Hell -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8cawfyohT4

Unnatural Selection & Cik - Day Of Judgement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68C9VDAgorI

Cik & Cee-li - Salute (Cap Remix) - INNERCORE - NEW ISR COMPILATION OUT NOW! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R50ICgMZ4g

3p - A World Without You (work in progress) https://soundcloud.com/sm1rt/3p-a-world-without-you23

Akuma (Official) Bessie feat. DJ Virus & Jules (Original Mix) https://soundcloud.com/akumaofficial/bessie-feat-dj-virus-jules-original-mix?in=akumaofficial%2Fsets%2Fposeidon-full-album-out-now-on

C-POLOCK - Jason Returns & Minimal Horror Techno Begins (Original Mix) https://soundcloud.com/cpolock/svgtrlep0001-c-polock-jason

Shyft Vs. K.H.D. - The Projekt https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDmHZkWrmXA

Hawawa - Over the Roof https://soundcloud.com/hawawa/over_the_roof

DEVOTION TO CORRUPTION - I WILL KILL YOU https://soundcloud.com/devotion-to-corruption/i-will-kill-you

CATDOG – This guy has a lot of cool breakcore tracks and you can check them out on his soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/catdog

TimShopp - AHHHHH https://soundcloud.com/timshopp/ahhhhh

Breakforce One - Virgin By Choice https://hormonalvibrationz.bandcamp.com/album/hvz021-breakforce-one-virgin-by-choice

DJ Pano https://www.facebook.com/PanoRmx

Dark Angel https://m.soundcloud.com/timshopp/dark-angel-official-1

Martin Poison https://soundcloud.com/martin-poison

Mr. Looter - Did I Do That https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwd8IXuDUM4&feature=youtu.be