Review: Two years in the making leads to creative debut album


Twenty-year-old Hugo Leclercq, also known as Madeon, is a professional at two things. The first is creating music that makes even the most apathetic person want to dance, and the second is causing a prolonged sense of anticipation in fans by taking two years to perfect and synthesize his debut album “Adventure.”

Prior to this album release, Madeon captured the hearts of electronic music lovers around the world via music streaming websites like Soundcloud and Beatport. Mixing songs such as “The City” and creating renditions to famous tracks like Deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon,” Madeon quickly skyrocketed to fame. Then, after countless performances at festivals like Coachella and Ultra, the decision to finally create an album was made.

Cleverly intertwined with dreamy vocals and thoughtful lyrics, the tracks on “Adventure” are unique and refreshingly simple, delving into the imagination of Madeon himself. The album begins with “Isometric,” which is basically three minutes and eighteen seconds of pure electronic dance music. Although there are no lyrics, the distinct and catchy beat is enough to set the bar of expectations high for the remainder of the album.

Indie-pop is embraced in the tracks to follow the introduction of the album, featuring a slew of alternative artists. In “La Lune (ft. Bastille),” emotional lyrics are put to a slow and ethereal rhythm that perfectly contrasts “Pay No Mind (ft. Passion Pit),” a cheerfully upbeat track that is all about embracing individuality and not letting what others have to say get to you.

Mark Foster from indie band Foster the People makes an appearance on song “Nonsense.” Surrounded by a soulful, slow tune, Foster sings about the consuming idea of loving someone, which is something that many people can relate to.

The finale of the album is poignantly marked by the song “Home,” which, shockingly and unusually, features Madeon’s own vocals. This came as a surprise since Madeon is a producer of music and not exactly a “singer.” Nonetheless, the track is beautiful and one of the best on the album, embodying the difficulties of trying not to give up on what you love. “Home” feels personal and touches the soul, perfectly ending the album.

While many artists these days are all about making music that will sell to the masses, Madeon is one of the few that have deviated from the norm and followed what is properly called passion. This album is not only one of the greatest releases of this year, but will go down in history as a classic. Completely flawless and peppered with songs that will never get old, “Adventure” is a marker for unique and creative music in the electronic dance music world.

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Review: Annual Youth Fair should be attended by all


The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair & Exposition, also known as The Youth Fair, is an adrenaline-filled event that should be visited by many. This event, which occurs annually, lasted this year from March 12 to April 5 and was held in Tamiami Park, located in North Miami near Florida International University (FIU).

Having been ranked the largest fair in Florida, with over 589,000 guests who attended, The Youth Fair was definitely worth the visit, especially because of the ticket prices, which were free for children under 5 and adults over 65. For everyone else, the tickets ranged from $8 to $12 for admission and $18 to $35 for rides. The Youth Fair not only had over 90 rides, but also had livestock, live concerts, blockbuster shows and even a European style circus.

The upside about the rides held at The Youth Fair was that there was something for everyone. There were rides for people who were extremely adventurous and loved the feeling of their stomachs dropping, and there were rides for people who liked to take things slow and steady. An Express Pass was also offered, which only cost an additional $15.

Some of these rides included Pharaoh’s Fury, which is the large pirate ship that swings back and forth and the Polar Express, which has seats similar to that of a roller coaster’s, but instead moves backwards at an insanely fast speed.

Adults and children could equally enjoy the fair because of its capacity to fulfill the needs of everyone, to the point where no one should ever get bored.

For adults, there were multitudes of jewelry and other accessory stands, and even places to sit down in the shade and relax. If none of these fit a person’s preferences, then there were concerts, shows and agricultural competitions.

Regarding children, there were two sections in the fair both called Kiddie Land. In these areas, children could play classic carnival games such as the ring toss and balloon darts where they won prizes ranging from pieces of candy to oversized teddy bears. There were also simulator rides and a mini Ferris wheel, called the Century Wheel, and was the only one in the entire fair.

Because The Youth Fair isn’t just an ordinary fair, of course it would have outrageous fair foods. Not only did it have the usual cotton candy and pizza, but it also had miniature restaurant stands from places like Jalapeño’s Mexican Grill and Alessi’s Colossal Onions, with reasonable prices that went as low as $5 per meal.

The Youth Fair was a successful event and should be attended by anyone willing to have a great time. Since this is an annual event, there is always time to attend next year.

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Review: Fleetwood Mac is back


Two years ago, Stevie Nicks told “Rolling Stone” that the chances of original band member Christine McVie returning to Fleetwood Mac were slim to none. But after its sold-out March 31 performance at the American Airlines Arena, it’s obvious that the band is back together and stronger than ever. This was the group’s second Florida concert within a span of three months, with another sold-out concert on Dec. 19 at the BB&T Center.

After almost 50 years of producing hugely successful albums and holding down the reputation of being both one of rock’s favorite bands and its biggest soap opera, the band’s soldout tour was a testimony to its longevity. The fact that the band still sounds like no time has passed at all, or maybe evenbetter than ever, ensured its three-hour, jaw-dropping show was definitely one to remember.

Much like during the band’s first Florida show of the “On With The Show Tour,” much was made of the fact that Christine McVie’s 15 year hiatus was finally over, with the majority of the show dedicated to this remarkable feat.

“She’s back!” Stevie Nicks noted at the beginning of the concert as the crowd roared. It was a feeling of euphoria that continued throughout the concert as the 26-song set drove on into the night, packed with hits, fan favorites, and even the occasional forgotten rarity, like “Caroline” and “Albatross.”

Indeed, it’s well worth noting that to go along with their timeless music, the members of Fleetwood Mac also seemed to have a timeless appearance. McVie, 71, looked at least 20 years younger, and her rich vocals showed no sign of diminishment. Nicks, 66, retained her trademark style, her top hat, her long dresses, and a mystic fairy tale sensibility, spinning in circles whenever the occasion called.

Lindsey Buckingham, 65, showed the energy of someone half his age, captivating the crowd as he jumped across the stage several times during multiple songs, proving yet again that he’s one of the nimblest guitarists the group has ever seen. And of course, the timekeeper himself, Mic Fleetwood, was sitting center stage, somewhat quiet until his breathless 10 minute drum solo, yelling to the crowd all the while.

As for the songs themselves, the most well-known numbers elicited the most enthusiastic responses, and rightfully so. The opening number, “The Chain” was greeted with an uproar of excitement, as were more familiar songs like “Second Hand News,” “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me,” and of course, the automatically, universally recognizable “Go Your Own Way.” Although the set-list didn’t vary between the two South Florida shows, the songs still had the same timeless effect the second time around.

It’s quite remarkable that even now the group’s voices and harmonies are as vibrant as they were back in the beginning. It’s also somewhat of a relief. Being one of the most legendary rock groups of all time, no one wants to see the day that Fleetwood Mac comes to an end for good.

While many older bands needs a bounty of support players to effectively play their classical melodies, the Mac brings along a sparse support team, only consisting of two extra musicians on guitar or keyboard, and three subtle back up singers that only made appearances during select songs.

It’s obvious that those who refer to Fleetwood Mac as the “soft rock” band are way off the mark. This group rocks hard, with an undying drive to perform that rivals any of its contemporaries. As Mic Fleetwood said as the group exited the stage, “the Mac is most definitely back!”

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Music festivals attract fans of different genres


From Tortuga to Sunfest to Ultra, different music festivals attract different music lovers.

Junior Alex Rodriguez attended a music festival in the Dominican Republic in late December called Electric Paradise. The festival offered famous performers from the house music genre such as Otto Knows, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix and Blaster Jaxx.

“They performed all of my favorite songs and seemed to be trying to perform the best they possibly could for such a large crowd,” Rodriguez said.

English teacher Barbara Ehrlich attended Woodstock in 1970 and said the atmosphere was very different compared to today’s festivals.

“At today’s festivals everyone seems so unhappy and unappreciative of the music,” Mrs. Ehrlich said, “At Woodstock, it was very serene and everyone was happy to be there. It’s crazy how now there have been numerous incidents of insane violence, like the incident that occurred at Ultra where the security guard was injured over crazy people trying to get in. No one enjoys music like they should anymore.”

Typically, Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festivals make use of lights being flashed in different patterns during DJ performances.

“The ambiance created by the lights and music made it a night to never forget,” Rodriguez said. “All of the colors and awesome patterns made the music so much more intense and the experience so incredible.”

Tortuga is a country music-based festival occurring this year on April 11-12 at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. The festival will include the top country singers from all over the United States.

“I am very excited to attend this festival, and the talent that will be there is going to be amazing and some of my favorite bands, like Zach Brown Band, are going, ” senior Cale Berger said. “I have heard such good things about it and I can’t wait to attend and really get a feel of this awesome festival.”

Admissions prices vary. Ultra Music Festival in Miami, which just took place in March, costs $500 for general admission three-day tickets and $800 for VIP stage for three days, while Tortuga costs $165 for a two-day pass.“I paid $500 for the three day pass to Ultra and it was worth every dollar I spent,” junior Vince Emanuele said. “Aside from the great atmosphere, the people in the crowd and staff were so much nicer than I could have ever expected.”

Sophomore Olivia Barada attended Chili Cook Off in January. She enjoyed the atmosphere and all of the country bands that it offered.

“At Chili Cook Off, there were not only my favorite bands but there were a ton of stands with really good food,” Barada said. “It also offered bunch of places where I bought t-shirts and other souvenirs to help me remember such an amazing day.”

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Storify: Ultra fun at Ultra Music Festival

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Chorus receives high ratings at MPA

BY ZOE BIRGER Screen shot 2015-03-17 at 2.18.06 PM

Chorus attended Music Performance Assessments (MPA) at Monarch High School and Cypress’ four choirs received superior ratings. They will be attending Florida Choral States competition in April at American Heritage High School.

Junior Katherine Miller said she loved watching all the schools perform and had a good time.

“Cypress Bay sang first before everyone else which was really cool,” Miller said. “We got to watch all the other performances and it was really fun.”

The Bay performed the songs “Poor Man Lazarus” by Jester Hairson and “Dance on my Heart” by Allen Koepke.

“I think there are so many talented people in Cypress’ choir and we all sounded really amazing together,” Miller said. “We deserved the scores we got.”

At competitions, students must go through three different activities. First they warm up, then perform on stage, and then they must sight read, which is where the students read music they’ve never seen before and they have to use skills from class in order to perform the music.

“It’s not just performing songs, it is showing people that you’ve learned how to read music, so it’s a neat experience,” chorus adviser Brad Franks said.

At the States competition in April at American Heritage, around 60 choirs from around South Florida will be attending.

“There can be multiple choirs from just one school,” Mr. Franks said. “There are four choirs just from Cypress that will be attending. I’m extremely excited to go to our states competition.”


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Horror movies enjoyed year-round by teachers, students


When spring break starts, sophomore James DuPre plans on having fun and relaxing while enjoying a spooky evening by watching his favorite horror movies.

“I’m actually thinking that doing a movie marathon with some friends would be pretty fun,” DuPre said. “Watching old horror movies is always the best though, because those are actually filled with lots of suspense and can really scare you sometimes.”

DuPre is not the only who finds watching horror movies fun; other students share his opinion and find other ways to enjoy the horror genre, even when Halloween is nowhere in sight.

“The reason I like watching horror movies is that I think that it’s kind of interesting to be able to see things that can’t be explained but still happen anyway,” said sophomore Ashley Ryskind. “I like to pay attention to the small details, so that I know what’s really going on.”

A few popular scary movies that are considered great classics from horror fans include The Shining (1980), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Carrie (1974), and most recently the Conjuring (2013).

“’The Conjuring’ was pretty cool,” sophomore Amanda Nilsson said. “The plot was great, with a lot of suspense, and the special effects definitely spooked me out a lot in many scenes.”

Sophomore Christina Oliveira said she prefers to read horror through Internet sites narrating haunting folktales, disturbing memoirs, and eerie short stories to a the teenage population.

“It’s much worse when you’re reading horror,” Oliveira said. “It’s hard to explain – like riding a roller coaster because you feel excited and you don’t want stop because you want to know what is going to happen next. Reading it at night is fun, but it’s 10 times as scary!”

AP Psychology teacher Cecilia Fonseca said that there is a scientific explanation as to why people may feel compelled to frighten themselves further and expose themselves to fictional situations that are more capable of scaring them.

“Biologically, we are ‘programmed’ to fear certain things which our ancestors may have considered dangerous,” Mrs. Fonseca said. “Somehow, that made it into our DNA and helped us survive.”

Pre-Calculus Honors teacher Mrs. Amy Bass is an example of how although there are adults who enjoy their favorite shows or movies in the horror genre, they may also take the added precautions to tone down the big fear factors included in their entertainment.

“My favorite shows are ‘The Following,’ ‘American Horror Story,’ and ‘Penny Dreadful’,” she said. “But, I think [TV] has gone a bit too overboard. Sometimes I need fast forward some parts, because it gets too scary for me.”

Mrs. Fonseca said teens may like horror because they feel a natural urge to be daredevils.

“I think this has more to do with age than anything else,” Mrs. Fonseca said. “When I was younger, I used to love thrills, whether they were roller coasters, driving over the speed limit, or watching horror movies. I like my life much slower paced now, probably because I am more aware of my own mortality.”

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Junior stays passionate about acting


Jordan Keller has been acting since she was 6, and she has loved it ever since.

Keller, a junior, got involved in a drama program outside of school called Nadine Shapiro’s Broadway Artists Alliance with her friends and said it was the start to a passion that she would have for the rest of her life.

“I decided to become an actress because I love to become a different character,” Keller said. “It’s a very fun and creative way to express yourself.”

Keller said she remembers her first play like it was yesterday.

“My first show was ‘Grease’ in 2005. I remember loving the spotlight. I had so much fun and fell in love with theater,” Keller said.

Even though she has been in 11 musicals, Keller said the biggest role she has ever gotten was in the play “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat,” where she played the narrator.

“It was such a fun role to play and also very challenging because the whole show is narrated in song by the narrator,” she said.

This past summer, she got accepted into a Broadway program in New York City for three weeks called the Broadway Artists Alliance. Only 50 people got into the program, though about 1,000 applied.

“It was an outstanding experience and I learned so much,” Keller said. “I was able to work with huge people in the industry and actually performed for talent agents and casting directors for Broadway shows including Bob Cline casting, Nickelodeon, Telsey and Company and more.”

Over the summer, Keller also got to perform in front of her idol, Sierra Boggess, who is a famous American theater actress and singer who is in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Boggess is someone Keller aspires to be like one day.

“She is an outstanding actress and such a cool person,” Keller said. “I don’t think I have ever been more nervous in my life.”

Keller’s mom, Jennifer Keller, said she loves watching Jordan light up the stage.

“I am very proud of all the hard work that she has put in over the years to get where she is now,” Mrs. Keller said. “I am excited to see what the future holds for her.”

In the future, Keller said she plans to go to college and be involved in her school’s musical theater program.

“I then will plan to move to New York and work hard to follow my dreams of being on Broadway,” she said.

Keller is also involved in AMT and the drama club at the Bay. She is excited for her new role of playing Belle in AMT’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” The show will be April 8-10.

“I am so excited for the show, I have been practicing like crazy,” Keller said.

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Art Honor Society hosts annual Style Your Sole event



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Trying out ‘Trio': Q&A with creator of new social media app

Imagine putting a movie clip, song and photo together with one tap. That’s what Trio does. The iPhone app, released in the App Store on March 4, allows users to put their creativity to the test by remixing content from all aspects of the media world (from GIFs to videos to iTunes music) and turn them into mashup videos. The app comes from Meograph, Inc., a company based in San Francisco devoted to creating multimedia stories. The Circuit’s Online Managing Editor Jennifer Schonberger spoke on the phone about the new app with Meograph CEO Misha Leybovich: MIT rocket scientist, former UC Berkley student body president, Guinness World Records finalist and world traveler who aims to help technology change the world.

[caption id="attachment_6484" align="alignright" width="333"]Trio founders CEO Misha Leybovich (left) and CTO Clay Garrett (right) Trio founders CEO Misha Leybovich (left) and CTO Clay Garrett (right)[/caption]

Where did the idea come from and how did you get involved?

We’ve been working on Trio for about a year, but our company has been around for almost three years. Trio is an outgrowth of our previous products. We had to learn along the way what makes for a good product – what makes it easy to create but also interesting to consume. As far as where the idea came from, I graduated college in 2005 and spent the next seven years traveling to about 70 countries. During my travels, I collected a lot of media: images, video clips, sound bytes. I was always looking for interesting ways to tell stories, and I would play with bringing in other assets that weren’t my own to remix in. After doing this just as a hobby, I realized it was really fun but also that it was really hard to actually create something. I wanted to make a tool that made it really easy, so that set the company in motion.

What was the process of creating the app like?

It took tons of different experiments. The reason the app took a year isn’t because it actually took a year to code. A lot of it was just iteration. You need to play with constraints, like how Twitter has 140 characters and Vine has 6 seconds. We played with that for a long time. How many pieces of media should be allowed? What things are mandatory and what things are optional? When you look at a simple consumer app, it feels simple but only because so much thought and effort has gone into it. You always want things to move faster, but I’m glad that we had the process that we did because it turned into something great.

What makes Trio different from other popular social media apps?

The primary thing is that you can be creative without having to capture a lot of assets yourself. There are a lot of products out there that say “Hey, you just went on vacation. Take your photos and turn them into a video.” The fact of the matter is that most of us are not on vacation all the time. I can be creative and funny and clever any time of day, but the assets need to come from somewhere. So that’s what we set out to solve – how to put the world of popular media at someone’s fingertips and let them have a playground to express themselves in different ways.

Trio-ScreenshotsWhat qualities will make Trio popular?

For the creators, you have to make the content easy to create. On the other side, for consumers, it’s got to be interesting and entertaining. Being a mashup product, we have to think about the original content owners and make sure that they’re taken care of. We’re relying on other people’s content to fuel the inputs for our content. We do linked attribution, meaning that when you tap on Trio, you see all the assets used, who made it and where it came from, and then there’s a link to go to that asset. If it’s an Instagram or a Vine, it’ll bring you directly into that app, to that post or user. If it’s a movie or video or music clip, it takes you to iTunes where you can buy it if you want to. Here’s a crazy stat so far just based on our beta tests: when you use music on Trio and tap on the music icon, it brings you to iTunes and tells you what song it is. The percentage of people who then buy that song from that link is 35 percent, which is crazy. This is a strong win-win. The consumers get what they want, and the artist gets to sell more music.

Did you have to get rights from the brands that are being used for mashups?

Most of our content comes from public APIs such as Instagram, Giphy or iTunes. They give us access to use their content and they want that to happen. With things like movie clips, fair use comes into play where we can use copyrighted work as long as certain conditions are met. Not only do we not compete with the original, but we also drive sales to the original content, which is great for them. For instance, you might have not seen “Wedding Crashers” in years, but now you saw a clip of it and remembered how funny it was and then you’re one tap away from buying it.

Do you expect there to be any popular themes in what the mashups are about?

There are lots of tributes where people take their favorite celebrity like Harry Styles or Ariana Grande and put a bunch of GIFs and clips of them. People use their favorite sports clips or clips of favorite movies to create highlight-reel type things. There are a lot of funny juxtapositions, like two movie clips that don’t belong next to each other. It can fit whatever suits you best. When you first open the app and consume content, you start with a ‘yes or no’ page. What’s cool about that is that every time someone watches a Trio, we get data. We always surface the best content possible that most people like. As we get more sophisticated, we’ll be able to tell users, “Other people like you like this kind of content.”

What is the purpose of the Challenges tab on the app?Trio icon and wordmark white on purple

You know how trends like the Ice Bucket Challenge and Harlem Shake were successful. We analyzed what made these things work, and it’s that people creating content pick a topic and have a formula so that everyone knows exactly what to do. You sort of have a friendly competition and see who can do it the best and the funniest. We put up a Challenges feature so that everyone can create content around a particular theme. We want that to solve the problem of inspiration, when you don’t know what to create in the first place or don’t have any ideas. You can search what Challenges there are and see what to create from that.

What kind of role do you think Trio could have in exploring different forms of creative expression?

When you look at other apps right now, they’re all about you using the camera on your phone to take photos or selfies. There’s a notion of this success theater that people are almost doing things just so that they can show it on social media and it gets really tiring. People feel like they always have to look good or say, “Look at this good place that I’m eating at,” or “Look at this place where I’m traveling.” With us, it’s a new form of creativity. People still want to be liked by their friends and want social engagement, and that doesn’t change. But to be able to do it based on the strength of your wit and of your humor is a whole different kind of thing and is much more accessible.

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