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SugarBeats headline an all-ages dance party

Ashland glitch hop and future funk artists Luke Estes and Ananda Goldsmith cite a new Mac Pro as the processing power behind their advanced electronic dance music.

"My laptop was just dying trying to keep up," Estes says. "We create sounds from scratch with synthesizers and use advanced software techniques to break sounds apart and rearrange them to sound completely different." 

Estes and Goldsmith, both 23, have been SugarBeats since 2012, though they've produced hip-hop beats since 2010. Glitch hop is a style of dance music that fuses dubstep, hip-hop, and often funk influences.

SugarBeats will headline an all-ages hip-hop and EDM party at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 26, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St. Hip-hop and EDM artists X-Massive, Latenight, JoshisLow, Silowet, TFMarz and NoWa also will perform. Tickets cost $12 in advance and can be purchased at Music Coop, 268 E. Main St., or online at liveatthearmory.com. Tickets will cost $15 at the door; $12 for students. Doors open at 8:30.

Known for jazzy chords, funky leads, heavy bass, and traditional instrumentation, SugarBeats' new EP, "Groove City Romance," deviates from Estes' and Goldsmith's earlier recordings by moving away from pre-recorded samples.

"With 'Groove City' and future releases, we're creating our own samples from scratch," Estes says. "We're also collaborating with local vocalists and a local guitar player Isaac Marr and violin player Hanna Winters for this EP. It should appeal to a broader audience."

"Groove City Romance" is set to be released Monday, Dec. 29, on Adapted Records based in Sydney, Australia. SugarBeats plans to follow up with an Australian tour in June. 

SugarBeats was approached by the Adapted label company this year.

"We popped up on their radar because there aren't many artists producing the genre that we do," Estes says. "We worked with them this summer on a recording called 'Stay Fresh.'"

Other EPs by Sugar Beats include "Fizz Pop," recorded in 2013 by San Francisco Bay Area label Muti Music, and "Cherry Bomb," by Street Ritual, also a Bay Area studio and the duo's booking agency. 

Of the four songs on "Groove City," vocalist H. Mills is featured on "Pretty Young Things"; Eugene vocalist Jared Pangan and Ashland vocalist Em Harriss are featured on "Riding Through the Darkness"; hip-hop vocalist Ruby Red's voice can be heard on "Settle the Score," along with Winters' violin; and Veronica RockStar from local bands Organik Time Machine and Launch Code 33 and Pangan provide vocals on the title track. Of the four tracks, Marr plays guitar on three.

As SugarBeats raises the bar for its own brand of glitch hop and future funk, the level of its sound has garnered shows played alongside prominent artists. They've play Osiris, a large sound camp at Burning Man, and at SnowGlobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe with Snoop Dogg, The Floozies and Gramatik in 2013. The duo also played alongside Noisia, Rusko, Madeon and others at a Halloween show called Escape from Wonderland in Los Angeles.

Estes and Goldsmith recorded a single, "Down to the Science," this year with Harriss that won first prize in the dance/electronic category of the 2014 U.S.A. Songwriting Competition. 

Luke Estes and Ananda Goldsmith are Ashland-based Sugar Beats, a glitch hop and future funk duo. Photo is courtesy of David Vonnegut Chambers.