2021 is in full swing and a Summer of mischief and delights is ahead of us. With so many events popping up it can be hard to navigate even where to start… that is until you cast your eyes on UNUM Festival!
With recent editions to the line up including Sven Väth and Ben Klock, plus Mathew Jonson, Dana Ruh, Tobi Neumann and many more global greats, as well as local talents who are quickly on the rise. Combine this with forward-thinking partnerships with iconic brands like Sunwaves, Modernity Events, Club Der Visionaere, Nordsten you can’t go wrong.
The festival also comes assured from the Albanian Ministries Of Tourism and Environmental Health that the event will go ahead from 3rd – 7th June.
UNUM has already cemented itself amongst the European elite for a number of reasons – the close-knit first edition was a memorable gathering of real music lovers in an upcoming region of the world. The festival really shined a spotlight on Rana e Hedhun, the last untapped corner of Europe in the town of Shengjin, on the idyllic Albanian coastline. It is a rare natural, organic and uncommercialised setting that allows for non-stop music night and day, plus sunrise and sunset parties, beach parties, water sports, plenty of local culture, food and drink offerings as well as isolated bays and gold sand beaches to explore.
This year the bar will be raised again with the news that world class clubs and promotions will line up as partners. Each of these collectives will bring their own special know how and sense of underground style to UNUM and include cult Romanian techno festival Sunwaves, the unique party in the Alps that is Modernity, Berlin’s underground haven Club Der Visionaere plus the River Rhine’s floating nightclub Nordsten and more.
Now also playing across the five days of enchanting and escapist hedonism will be techno pioneers like Cocoon‘s Sven Vath and Berghain‘s own Ben Klock, plus the always essential master of his machines that is Mathew Jonson plus deep house’s finest Dana Ruh, Cocoon’s long time taste-maker Tobi Neumann as well as Manu Gonzalez, Jamie Roy, Andy Luff, Colin Chiddle and over 15 local artist who bring their own distinctive house and techno flavours and perspectives. Already announced are the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Priku, Praslea, tINI, Sonja Moonear, Shaun Reeves, Raresh, Cesar Merveille, Dyed Soundorom, Leon and more.
Brexit has created another unnecessary issue for us in the UK when recently innocent bystanders have been charged excessive import / VAT taxes on top of the cost of products purchased online.
There’s nothing worse than you finally coping that extra rare bit of wax off Discogs that you’ve paid good money for then having to pay an extra 25% just to get it off the delivery driver! We’re hearing some car crash situations of buyers purchasing large amounts of records from record stores and having to pay fees on top.
At a time where saving money is at the top of most our lists here are a couple of hints and tips Meoko have discovered when ordering wax online to avoid any surprise charges.
ASK SELLER TO ISSUE AS A GIFT
You can receive a gift up to the value of £39 without any taxes or charges added. Ask your sellers to declare the value of the package as under £10 (to be safe) and that is a gift they are sending.
SPLIT YOUR ORDER AND KEEP COST DOWN
You can order up to a value of £135 and not be charged any import taxes or charges. Got loads in your cart? Your best splitting your orders, so the value of the packages are reduced below this.
ENSURE UK VAT IS APPLIED
If you are purchasing records from a record store not based in the UK make sure they are adding UK VAT on at their shopping cart when you come to pay. If they don’t UK VAT can be added when it enters the country.
It’s with great regret that Pete ‘Woosh’ Birch, founding member and influential figure in Nottingham’s DiY Collective, has passed away after a five-year battle with cancer.
If you scratch under the surface of dance music heritage in the UK it won’t take you long to stumble across DiY Soundsystem. The outfit was a seminal part of the acid house raves scene back in the early 90s, to many most notably being a part of the collection of sound systems which threw the infamous party at Castlemorton 1992. An estimated 20,000 – 40,000 party revellers enjoying the delights of the party which went on nearly a week. This resulted in the Criminal Justice Bill driving parties from fields into clubs full time in the UK. In a weird way, you could say we wouldn’t be here doing what we do today in this capacity without people like Pete pushing the way forward.
He was also responsible for one of the hottest nights in the UK at the time; Bounce which welcomed guests including Sasha, Laurent Garnier, DJ Pierre, Andrew Weatherall, Larry Heard, Derrick Carter and many more. From parties all over the UK, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Dallas and Ibiza it’s safe to say the DiY we’re absolutely on fire in their prime years. The collective was holding multiple parties a week at some stages. The infamous DJ duo Digs & Woosh along with Simon DK and many others of the DiY entourage were known for their dedication to music and bringing joy to many dance floors across the world.
Pete was also responsible for launching the labels Strictly 4 Groovers and DiY Discs releasing 100s of records. The imprints brought artists like Nail, Atjazz, Rhythm Plate, Inland Knights and many more to light. These records are still found in many of favourite DJs sets to this day and are an essential part of any serious house diggers collection.
After being diagnosed with highly aggressive head and neck cancer in December of 2015, Pete decided to take a natural approach to treatment and launched his The 52 Card Trick project. He wanted to give something back to everyone that helped him when he was diagnosed. The label would release 3 tracks a week for 52 weeks. It saw the likes of Brawther, Yueseke, Nail, Hot Toddy and Schmoov, as well as many others, release a brilliant selection of diverse music. All proceeds from the project went towards organisations which offered support with cancer, none of which received government funding. These included Active Cancer Therapy Support, Together Against Cancer and The Penny Brohn Centre.
DiY recently celebrated their 30th birthday in 2019; an achievement which is truly unique and special in its own right. How? Still sticking to the ethos that has served them so well over all these years. A family of like-minded people coming together for the love for music.
You only have to look on the DiY facebook page to see how many people Pete inspired over the years with floods of testaments, stories, nods of respect and admiration.
Thoughts going out to everyone suffering from his loss. The world we love has lost a rare breed indeed.
Cynosure Recordings celebrates its 20th anniversary with a Compilation of epic proportions including Dewalta & Shannon, Brett Johnson, The Mole, Matthew Johnson and many more.
20 years is an impeccable length of time to keep any imprint current and relevant. You only have to look at the support they have received from across the industry over the years to see they have done just that with their records being played by the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Raresh, D’Julz, Sonja Moonear, Doc Martin and Ryan Crosson to name a few.
The label still continues at the same pace and consistency that it always did. Never flooding the overly saturated underground market and only releasing a handful of quality releases a year.
But how did it start and where did it all begin?
Many moons ago when a couple of friends in the sleepy Canadian town of Kitchener, Ontario got together and merged their studios. Mike Shannon and Jason Hunsberger put together the little gear that they had and created a makeshift studio called the Onom room.
Together the two would create a project called the Sunaj Assassins and would later create a record label to showcase their work. At the time the two young producers were involved in a provincially funded arts collective called K.O.R. The initial idea of the Cynosure Recordings label was meant to showcase a number of the artists and musicians involved in the collective as well as other artists in the province. But shortly before the first release was set the project funding was pulled and the project was momentarily sidelined.
But it was too late for all the work to be wasted and the project shelved, so in 1999, Mike and friends got the funds together and continued to make the dream Cynosure Recordings a reality.
In 20 years the underground market has gone through some big changes but things with Cynosure’s releases remain the same. Timeless Dance Tracks.
You can actually enjoy the digital version of compilation by purchasing it on Bandcamp today from here.
Earlier this month, the Government announced a £1.57 billion rescue package for the arts, culture and heritage industries to help weather the impact of Coronavirus.
However exactly who this money will go to and how is yet to be announced. It is still unclear whether electronic and dance music sector in the UK will be covered by this. This is really uncertain times for our industry and the people who work within it.
On Thursday 23rd July the entire industry, from artists and promoters to workers & freelancers, venues, festivals, publishers, companies and all associated organisations will come together to urge the Government to take action and save this vital industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of people and contributes millions to the UK economy.
So how can you help? Spread the word and create some noise!
1. SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS #LETUSDANCE
Post your favourite picture from a recent nightclub, festival or event with a note supporting its place within arts and culture. Pre-made social media graphics can be found here. Please use the hashtag #LetUsDance with all posts.
2. EMAIL LETTER TO YOUR LOCAL MP
A draft letter to local MPs will be available via an automated online system for fans, artists and industry professionals to access and send automatically. Access the letter here.
This campaign represents a major moment in the future of our industry – please do give the #LetUsDance campaign your support. Hopefully, by working together we will get the answers we need for us to move forward.
More positive news this week for nightlife in the UK as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today ‘Audiences adhering to social distancing will be able to return to indoor theatres, music and performance venues from 1 August’.
This is subject to the success of pilot schemes that will be taking place this month. Audiences, performers and venues will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times. Guidance for the performing arts, published earlier this month, also sets out further measures to support the safe return of audiences, including:
Reduced venue capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing can be maintained
Tickets will be purchased online and venues encouraged to use e-tickets to reduce contact and help with track and trace
Venues should have clearly communicated social distancing marking in place in areas where queues form and adopt a limited entry approach
Increased deep cleaning of venues
DJs must observe social distancing wherever possible
This follows the government’s announcement of £1.57 billion funding for the arts, culture and heritage sector earlier this month. Details of which are still to be announced.
Safe to say this is a major step forward to us returning to normality. We now wait in anticipation to see which promoters will be coming back first. Safe to say I’ve missed standing front left and this a step closer to that.
Many months have passed since the COVID emergency and the music industry remains the most affected. Governments and health organisations, faced with pressure to reopen the world economy, are starting to outline guidelines for the return of clubs, discos and music festivals including The BPM Festival, Epizode, YZY Sound, Kiesgrube, Real Gang x Weetamix, Pikes, Supermarket, The Cause, Number 90 and Distrikt Leeds.
If the culture of clubbing is much more than that, if it is much more than a group of people united in the same club, this feeling will use whatever tools are available to connect the public and support this sector. The modalities, in some cases in the experimental phase, are many, without neglecting an important aspect: the support to the artists in this transitional phase. Helping the electronic music community during the current coronavirus pandemic is the goal of the different online resources and live streaming events that arose as a result of cancellations that are currently decimating the live music industry. Many of the creators and supporters of club culture and events, deejays and producers, are fighting this war against Covid-19 with the entertainment of their audience, with the production of music, with streaming live around the world.
With over four million cases worldwide, the reopening of nightlife will be gradual, probably the last of the areas that will show new signs of openness. The clubbing sector is not just about social and entertainment, the so-called “club culture” is much more.
Its features refer to the aggregation, relationship, exchange, sense and feeling of belonging that young people of the world feel towards their club, their subculture, their group, their movement. These are chapters in the history of events, artists who have approached the dancefloor to new emotions, clubs that have welcomed behind the console deejays and musicians from all over the world. Everything that the new epidemiological enemy is trying to raise to the ground, paradoxically at the time of a generation that is equipped with all the tools to be united, close, but which is forced to remain momentarily distant.
But now something starts to change. We take a look at festivals, parties and venues which are bringing our scene back to life.
After months of blocking, the iconic BPM Festival (Malta) now lands in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. From 11 to 13 September, the beautiful island of Malta will be the perfect setting for those who can not wait to return to dance under the notes of great artists.
The first wave of artists has been announced and we will have the pleasure of listening to artists like; Adam Beyer, Archie Hamilton, Chris Stussy, Enzo Siragusa, Yaya, Sonja Moonear and the master Ricardo Villalobos.
Fabulous Epizode in Vietnam has confirmed the news that all their fans have been waiting to hear and that is that they will indeed be returning for a fifth time later this year. With large scale events being cancelled left and right due to the pandemic outbreak the news of the marathon festival is very welcome.
After Yoyaku’s first memorable Warehouse party in Paris, they return with a second edition that will take place at Bourget Airport. The event should have taken place on 7th March, but it was postponed until a later date because of the pandemic situation. Now, 6 months after, the crew will celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the project see’s the whole of the roster on the line up including; Arno, Audio Wener, Cabanne, Janeret, Lamache, Lowris, Maayan Nidam, Roger Gerressen, Varhart and Zendid. Ricardo Villallobos will also be joining the crew as an honorary special guest.
Kiesgrube hosts their seated open-air series seeing us a step closer to normality complemented with a soundtrack to get you moving, with artists including; Chris Stussy, Prunk, Tapesh, Marlie, Lazar Hoche, ANOTR, William Djoko and more.
The Real Gang crew are back in full swing with all night long showcase at Weetamix. The lineup comprising of residents and friends; Alui.w, Cally, Kevin Cook plus founders Nicolau and Miller, who will be joined by last-minute guest Reiss for an unexpected b2b.
The venue needs very little introduction with so much character being left behind by many great artists over its years who have graced the decks to play underground music. Swiss greats Luciano and Sonja Moonear were part of the team of residents pushing the sound in Geneva, with international artists of the legendary status coming from far and wide. It’s safe the lads are picking up where they left off. Throwing quality parties.
The island of Ibiza is still full of life despite larger venues not opening yet, there is still plenty going on in the island with some venues starting to open with social distancing measures in place including the infamous Café Mambo where you can enjoy the soundtrack to Ibiza whilst enjoying the west coasts unforgettable sunset.
Pikes is back in action with its Sunday at Pikes series. Residents the Brothers Grim welcome us to a weekly slice of Balearic bliss. 12 hours of poolside music soundtracking a relaxed afternoon and evening of cocktails and food.
Supermarket will host its Daytimer event series welcoming the likes of Alci, Guti, Priku, Stimming and Ricardo Villalobos. Another one of the world’s staple venues managing to open its doors which can only be a great sign for the industry we love.
Turning our attention to the UK and we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel. The Cause has recently developed a new terrace area which floods with natural light with vibrant design. The new space is a perfect addition to their already staple London venue. It will be the home of their summer events, at this stage capacity is still limited but as we look to the future this can only improve!
Number 90 celebrated its long-awaited re-opening party 4 July and will continue to hold it’s outdoor summer series. Every weekend their front yard will play host to some of London’s best DJs. So you can grab a drink, order one of their infamous burgers and (finally) relax with friends in the sun.
Distrikt in Leeds has used the time to tweak the soundsystem and add new monitors as well as giving the place a cosmetic facelift. The venue is a hotspot in Leeds which has played host to the likes of Dan Ghenacia, Francesco Del Garda, Sonja Moonear, Sweely, Voightmann and many many more. It’s great to see the guys back up and running with weekly outdoor events and making positive changes while they’re at it.
Finally, the music industry is coming back to life. We are running out of live-streamings that in these months of lockdown have kept us company and we are all going back to buy airline tickets to reach our favourite club or festival. It was definitely a very difficult year for the music industry but now everything starts to go back to the way it was before and stronger than ever. The world needs music and fortunately, things seem to be getting back to normal slowly but surely!
It’s the recent news that VAT has now been cut In the UK from 20% to 5% for concerts and festivals this is an excellent opportunity for venues and promoters to recoup some of the costs lost in recent months. Read more here from theguardian.com
From a club viewers point of view, this is also great news as tickets could be more affordable for events. Again encouraging for us to get back out there and enjoy the party.
Open Music Lab launches Open Culture Lab, a new project for diversity in electronic music, kicking off July 20th with Maayan Nidam
The Open Music Lab is a Berlin-based, space and platform that works as part of the Give Something Back To Berlin (GSBTB) community, a non-profit organization that aims to promote cultural and social projects in the German capital. Their new venture, the Open Culture Lab, is a collaborative project with renowned DJ and producer Maayan Nidam, that further celebrates musical diversity in electronic music.
The Open Culture Lab event series will kick off on Monday, July 20th as part of a series of open-air events promoting a wide variety of musical journeys and cultures. The first event will focus on African musical heritage and culture. The day will start with a panel discussion by Tracy Bakala (Yoyaku’s senior booking agent and partner) Mista Wallizz from (Freak de l’Afrique), and DJ Ukai Ndame, as they will discuss topics around community organization and the heritage of African music. Floyd Lavine (artist and producer from the RISE crew), will host music production workshop and afterwards, attendees will be able to hang out with event hosts, enjoy some food and listen to music by DJ Dede.
Through the experiences of musicians, producers, activists and members of the music industry the Open Culture Lab will bring different key players from the scene together while also promoting diversity and cultural exchange. This holistic approach is distinctive as it mixes cultural and social aspects together for the fostering of creativity and community. The Open Culture Lab is a remarkable initiative, and while we face troubling times, one thing is certain, unity and solidarity are key to continue growing and reinventing the music and arts industry, now even more so than ever.
For the past 6 years – catching up with the musically gifted trio Wareika has somehow become a tradition here at Meoko and we absolutely love it. This time we are thrilled to premiere this exclusive Live Jam coming straight from Henrik’s studio in Bingen / Rhein (near Frankfurt). Henrik is one of these artists who channels his emotions through music – in his own words “music comes first and foremost from the heart”. After experimenting with hundreds of different devices and their possible combinations Henrik has even built his own custom-made instruments as he couldn’t find what he needed “out on the market”. Such is his artistic genius!
Since school time he and Jakob have been inseparable, creating music together for two decades now. It was however on a warm mid-summer afternoon in 2008 when Jakob, Florian and Henrik met, “just to play a bit around” and through that session Wareika was born. Forming a new sound by the clever use of elements from Techno, House, Jazz and Classical music, they simply felt the need in experimenting with polyrhythm arrangements and developed their very own signature sound.
In this video, Henrik captures the emotion of an Indian Raga (Raga Yaman) and transported it into music that does not sound Indian at all. “I tried to express this emotion without using any typical Indian sounds, to avoid this cliché. Yaman is one of my favourite Indian Ragas, it always evokes in me the feeling of longing for something yet unreachable or yearning for a better life. I feel this emotion very strongly in our world right now, so I tried to express it in music” he explained.
Technically speaking, he continued – “I simply programmed a drone on a Synthesizer with “hold” function to create a background layer of sound, as the tanpura does in Indian Classical music. Then I recorded some congas with a mic and some electronic drums and made loops, then programmed a bass line and additional drones. The bass sound is my beloved “non-vca patch” which sounds especially warm and round. I routed everything to my mixing desk’s channels to be able to arrange on the fly and according to emotion rather than thought (would need a few more arms here, hehe) while playing the guitar. I improvised melodies on the Guitar, using an A Minor Pentatonic scale ascending, and a B Flat Lydian scale descending, which leads to typical phrases of Raga Yaman. In Indian music almost every note is approached with various slides, vibratos and other ornaments, which I avoided, to not sound very oriental in this case. Instead, I tried to embellish the melodies with a more jazz-like approach, with little chords and licks here and there”.
Yaman emerged from the parent musical scale of Kalyan. It is considered to be one of the grandest and most fundamental ragas in Hindustani music and is often one of the first ragas taught to students – but it also has great scope for improvisation. This is an example of the diversity Wareika possess. The club rutted trio is a talented bunch and continues to impress dance floors worldwide.
credits: Photophunk (Wareika at Funkhaus / 01.04.2016)
In recent months Wareika announced the launch of their own record label Wareika Music with a 45-minute track “Tizinabi” put out as a free download on SoundCloud so keep an eye as some really exciting stuff will be released via their own imprint soon! Happy listening!