The UK double Mark Caramelli and Paul Hargreaves have fused a range of their musical styles and influences together into their Death on the Balcony alias which has seen the duo delve through disco orientated techno and all things deep with an eclectic fall back selection suited for any party atmosphere. In a time where genres combine and cross seamlessly their approach has seen great success of recent and they continue to cause a stir. We joined the Balcony based twosome for a Music Through Pictures session for an insight on their image to music based creativity. How the pictures make them feel and the type of sound they see best fit. Some unrelated pictures accompanied with some tracks. Enjoy.
“And they really do care. Lokee is always a proper party.. A family of party people who are there to dance hard and lose it. It is always a pleasure to play the party. The last time we were here we closed a rave under a bridge somewhere in hackney and the only way to access it was via a boat. This just shows their level of commitment to finding those special spaces!
This is a spooky picture, with the ghostly spectre in the forefront seems suitable we connect this equally haunting track from Japan we edited and gave away for free.
“This reminds us of our amazing time in Bogota, Colombia. We went straight of the plane with no sleep to an interview on Colombian Radio followed by the best crepe’s we ever ate! The gig for our friend, Miguel lega was one to remember but perhaps the most memorable is the trip into the favela’s for the afterparty featuring a woman who appeared to have a wooden leg and various other interesting characters. One we will definitely not forget!
This picture conjures up images of the festival season we just left behind and also looking out of the window now we are into autumn/winter and the change in the seasons!
Them 3 Words! “I Love You!”
Ahoy there! This track sounds good on a boat! We played a set for Drop the mustard purely of our own material at Hideout festival… this one got a great reaction… ( FYI , track also works on land too 😉 )
This one’s easy, “Country Roads”, one of our first release’s on a Japanese label. Even though one of our first records, we still think it’s relevant and playable today.
Is this an explosion? While Speaking on the Subject of explosions we have been told this track is a “bomb” by a few people! 😉
Known for their direct approach to dance floor orientated music, the techno combo have made a reputation for themselves in all parts of the world gathering a huge following along the way. Their interesting take on stripped back techno compiled with floaty mysterious melodies allowed them to develop a signature sound. Meeting at Berlin institute for music Tassllo and Thomas have a deep knowledge in music, hardware and all things technical. We join the extravagant and dangerous duo Pan-Pot for a Music Through Pictures session for an insight on their image to music based creativity. How the pictures make them feel and the type of sound they see best fit. Some bizarre unrelated pictures accompanied with some tracks. Enjoy.
Techno, Tresor and Cristian Vogel.
Jule Verne, Adventure and a little bit of science
5th element audience watching Juri Gagarin in first time in Space
Windowlcker „ No Idea why“ But I see Aphex Twin on his Synthesizer:
Bouncers at the Berghain Door: “Not allowed to come in”:
The white shark looking for Jack Sparrow:
I know what you did last summer:
Handicaped lion try to hunt:
Bar 25 closing:
Lemmy Kilmisters childrensroom after ace of spades:
CATCH PAN-POT @ ICAN STUDIOS FOR AN EXTENDED SET 10/10
French born producer, Lazare Hoche, has acheived many admirable milestones for such a young(ish) age (he is 24 years old). Thanks to his DIY initiative, his good eye for music and production skills, milestones include his very own record label, Lazare Hoche Recordings, and EPs and albums, rated highly by RA. His recent track released on Lazare Hoche Recordings, ‘Naughty Mandar’, which he produced with music partners Malin Génie and Samuel André Madsen under the moniker Mandar, was included in Raresh‘s recent Fabric mix series. Lazare’s fresh take on traditional genres like disco and funky house make his productions stand out from the sea of tracks that try to do this, but easily fail. His tracks, no matter what genre, do not disappoint.
Being a student at Paris’s Conservatoire National Des Arts Et Metiers and his experience with A&R make him perfect for our Music Through Pictures series. Did you know his DJ name was taken from historical soldier, Louis-Lazare Hoche who came to be general of the French Revolutionary Wars? We start our Music Through Pictures episode with a tempest during Hoche’s Irish Expedition…
“This lithography, obviously from the 18th century, pops in my mind like a furious french defeat with a lot of colors and violence. Since we are talking about France, let me post this crazy 80’s enthusiastic contemporary electronic Jazz by Jean-Luc Ponty. Almost porn music actually”
“I’ve been always looking for funky obscure music from Middle-East and beyond… Here we go for a sensual Iranian tune by Googoosh.”
“Well, yeah. Soultrain and stuff. But when I think about Soul-Train, I actually think about BEASTIE BOYS !! Posse in Effect what up??”
“Mmm, minimalism ?”
“Nice meditating peacefull Gargouille at Notre-Dame de Paris. Oh wait, we can see the “Tour Saint-Jacques” behind. Paris is my city, I don’t see myself living anywhere else. The summer is always the best part there, especially those early memories as a child, this track was banging my little bedroom stereo back then”
“There’s a sour business in here”
“Wish I’ve been there, RIP George “
“Cigarette & Women, you remind me of some…”
“Looks like a “naturalist” 20th century oil paint, I can see joy in it”
“I’m seasick since I was born I guess, but the only way we can explore sea and synthesizer is with Eric Serra.”
If you are, or have been living in London and are part of London’s long term clubbing community, then the chances are that your Facebook news feeds have been taking a nostalgic overhaul in times of recent in newly set up group ‘Remember The End’:
‘I will never forget seeing Derrick Carter play at the Classic Music Company nights. One night, after what I’m sure was a whole bottle of Patrón, he put me in a headlock at the end of his set, rubbed the top of my head with his knuckles and shouted “You’re disco inferno, baby!” Good times’
And if this means nothing to you, yet you love everything about house and techno, then there is someone out there who aims to put that right, spreading knowledge of the dance music scene and doing it all with a social conscience.
We talk to the man on a mission, the person who is responsible for starting the hurdle of rave nostalgia and won’t rest until all the tales have been aired out in public. Adam Mcloughlin chats to us about how he is urging young talent to get involved, and Dig Deeper.
What is Dig Deep TV?
From a public perspective Digdeep.tv is going to be a hub for all things electronic music. But we plan on doing things very differently to other media platforms. Our aim is to bring something good to the table for everyone concerned. Ultimately our main goal is education. This comes in the form of creating work experience and development opportunities for students and graduates as well as educating music fans about the history of the genres and artists. To date there has not been much out there for people who want to know the backstories of the people who make the music we love. It’s all about good vibes and incredible stories that rarely get told.
What was the turning point that inspired you to start a company like this?
I had worked for a children’s cancer charity as a marketing manager and we were donated some money by a small government funded radio station. We went to meet them are discovered that they had been given over £75,000 in funding. The reason being they were creating work experience opportunities for people who were long term unemployed. I struggled to understand where the money was going. It gave me a few ideas of my own and I had a few contacts in the music industry. Essentially I started to think of how I could things better and what would I do? Then my good friend Richard West AKA Mr.C became a catalyst to some pretty exciting ideas. In typical Mr.C style he pushed things a few steps further than I had previously conceived.
A big part of Dig Deep it seems is creating opportunities for post grads and young people in general wanting to get into the creative field. Why do you think it is necessary to create a platform like this now? Do you think something like this would have had as much impact a few years ago?
What needs to be addressed is the exploitation of young people by corporate fat cats. The problem is this goes back much further than a few years ago. The UK used to be the worlds greatest manufacturer and exporter of fossil fuels. When you take those industries away you are left with trades and higher education. But trade training has been destroyed since the days of the YTS (youth training scheme) and companies wont invest in young people like they used to. University is more popular than ever with a decreasing employment market. So you could spend 3 to 4 years at university only to find yourself having to spend another year on unpaid internship just to get the experience needed to move on in life. Even then there are no guarantees. So imagine a low income family who cannot afford to support a young person on an unpaid internship. Imagine having to struggle for 4 or 5 years only to end up working as an unappreciated cog in a corporate machine. Have you ever had to explain yourself to some jobs worth sad case why you have spent over 20 minuets in a month having a piss? I have. I have also had to be put on “absence counseling” because I was off work with a broken wrist. “is there anything you could have done to prevent this”, said my manager. “Yeah I suppose I could wrap myself in bubble wrap outside of working hours to ensure I am a fully functioning phone monkey for you lovely people”. I didn’t last long there to be honest. Nobody who invests in himself or herself should have to resort to that type of bullshit in my opinion. And the thought of being in that position with a huge debt leads me to believe that perhaps this environment is manufactured to keep clever and ambitions people in their place.
The other element of Dig Deep is educating young electronic music fans a bit more about where the culture comes from, somewhat of a ‘raver finishing school’ before they set out into the big bad world of clubbing! Do you think this historical knowledge is something missing from the scene, which at the moment is welcoming in such a huge influx of newer, younger fans?
For some people “the scene” is a place to wear stupid V neck t-shirts, abuse steroids and be a general burden to the rest of us. Orange cleavages with no banter and that’s just the lads. Our target market is the individuals who are into the music not scenesters. I would say we were more like an open university than a finishing school only there are no qualifications for being a know it all. There is nothing worse than a scene geek except maybe the Geordie Shore wannabes. Obviously I have some personal dislikes to “the scene” but we all do. People tend to either exit the scene early on or stick around and become an integral part of it. The technology available has created a lot of overnight DJ’s and digital downloads has seen a decline in quality music. Our aim is to take people back into the past so that they can experience some amazing quality tracks rather than everyone playing the Beatport top 100 at every after party on a midi controller. Younger enthusiasts of house music are going to be in for a treat when they realize that the timeline of great music goes back in time as well as forward. There is a whole universe of tracks to be discovered and a lot of respect is due to those artists. This is where the name Digdeep comes from. The days of hunting in records shops has seen a decline but we think that we are going to assist with the current vinyl revival. When people discover the art of DJ’ing we hope they come to the same conclusion as us. Djing and collecting music as product of passion and an art form, not a product of the ego and a fly by night hobby. And for those who simply collect and appreciate good quality music we have over 3 decades for you to explore. But its not just about the past. Its also about the future of music because you need to know where you came from in order to have a good grasp on where you are going.
In your promo videos I can see that you have Mr C on board for your first documentary, how did this collaboration come about?
Mr.C is from another planet. I approached him and told him about my ideas and he got what we were about from the beginning. The reason I approached him is because 8/10 people I spoke to about him had no idea he was the lead man out of the Shaman. After singing the chorus from Ebenezer Goode the look the faces told me that people didn’t really know much about his past. When I told them he pretty much created tech-house they seemed gob smacked. It’s a testament to his career because he is always 2 steps ahead of anyone else. I got to know Mr.C at a small festival and after that it was his ideas about life and spirituality that got my attention. When I approached him 7 months ago and explained my idea he was on board. When I did some more research I realized we had a documentary on our hands. When I explained that I had never made a documentary in my life and didn’t know how to use or even own a video camera he simply said.
“Don’t worry mate, the universe will provide”.
As predicted the Universe did provide and it provided well! Out of nowhere all the relevant and like-minded people seemed to fall into my lap and we were off.
What can we expect to see in the final product?
Well that depends on your involvement. On the first of October we are going to announce the details of a post-production party. If you experience the final product at that then you can expect to see a wristband in the post and a rave line number. You can expect to relive 1988 / 1989 by following in the footsteps of the first ravers ever. When you get to the secret venue you can expect to see lots of smiling faces enjoying the final product on a huge screen followed by a giant party featuring some of the most important artists from the past present and future. If you experience the documentary from home you will see an raw and no holds bard documentary that exposes the full truth of those times and Mr.C as an important character of those times. You have to remember that this is being broadcast on the internet and we have nobody to answer to. There are some gritty and dark moments and there are some pretty hilarious stories to be told. The plot keeps thickening as the days go by so at this moment even I don’t know! But what I do know is that people who see the finished documentary will witness the post production party and wish they were there. Its looking pretty special J
I also see you’ve set up a Facebook group ‘Remembering The End’ what has been the response to this so far?
The End club was a place that I was never fortunate enough to experience so I set the group as a research tool for the documentary. I added an employee of Superfreq and a former employee of the End Paul McCormack to the group. 2 days and over 1000 requests later the group was buzzing with activity. People posted pictures and memories that to be honest got be a bit emotional. We felt the vibe from the place when we met Richard there and it all made sense when we witnessed the love of the venue and the love that those people shared for each other.
Can you tell us who else you have in the pipeline or do we have to wait and see?
At the moment all I can say is we have contacted the obvious characters and they are on board with the concept of Digdeep.tv When you do things from the heart and not the pocket you find that people want to help.
Your promo video also mentions a campaign to go along with the launch of the first documentary. Tell us more about this please!
The documentary could have been funded by government funding however we may have been restricted by what we could and could not say. So we decided to fund the documentary with crowd funding. This means that people who attend the post production party will be funding it as well as a few sponsors. The campaign we are running through our Facebook page started as a way to let people know about what is in the pipeline so that fans got first refusal to the party. The places are obviously limited so we wanted those place to go to fans and not scenesters. On the 1st of October there will be a short video and a link to a place where you can buy tickets or order limited edition versions of the documentary, which will be much longer than the online version we release. We created an event to alert people a day before a network of international DJ’s tells the world so they can get in first. We expected a good response but what we did not expect was the response from the USA. We ended up having to cater for both New York and Los Angelies with post production parties. We currently have some amazing artists and a film festival manager working on that for us. After all of this hard work I should be able to treat my team to a well deserved holiday if all goes well!
What do you have planned for the post production event?
Only the post production party attendees will know that. We a few different locations catering to the response levels. The more people that come the bigger and better the experience will be. Even at the bottom end its going to be special and unique.
What are you hoping to achieve with Dig Deep and where are your future plans headed?
It has been like a game of chess. We have several goals and several ways to achieve it with some of the music industries most respected individuals taking part. In order our priorities are
Create careers for people who deserve them
Give artists the credit they deserve
Improve the quality of electronic music through education
Help undiscovered artists to develop and create more opportunity
Turn the corporate world upside-down
Finally, what tune first inspired you to Dig Deep into the world of house and techno?
When I was younger it was about glow-sticks and pulling funny faces in chill-out rooms listening to hard house. They I grew up. The first house track that sorted my head out was Derrick Carter “where you at”. That’s a good question and the lyrics seem to ring true with where I am at now.
The world has changed, or is it me that’s new?
A different set of morals from a different set of clues
So still I wonder, is this all there is to life?
The ever changing cycles, of a world that’s damp and ripe
There must more, yeah in my heart I hold to this
I’ve known the joy of love and I’ve seen the peace and bliss
But as you know, all things must end, except the need for faith
And the spirit that’s within to keep you strong
When it seems you’re ’bout to break
Just call upon the strength within and plant it as your stake
Move forward with power, program yourself to feel
With depth enough to know what’s up and heart to sense the real
Where you at?
In a world that’s changing for the worse you have to call upon the strength within. You need to dig deep if you want to climb high.
Label owner of Prime Numbers, Trus’Me has had a passion for music since his early age by playing with various instruments and then moved on to developing a passion for collecting records. Originally from Manchester, It wasn’t too hard for Trus’Me to be attracted to good music considering the “deep rooted” music scene that the city offers which describes well is constantly evolving tastes as evident in his diverse DJ sets as well as his unique productions. Trus’Me’s musical career has seen support from respected names in the industry such as Juan Atkins, Gilles Peterson, Chez Damier, Move D and Motor City Drum Ensemble to name a few.
‘Naturally developing in an organic industrial structure. Bringing to mind most Rhythm and Sound tracks, but my favorite in particular’
‘Little bit on the obscure side, well that has to be the genius they call Maurice Fulton. For me still his most stand out madness to date’
‘Well the words old love comes to mind, so I guess I should of think of something I still play and have loved a long time. This comes to mind straight away’
‘This has to be a track with a real sting in it’s tail. Adopted Manchester legend, surly his best work’
‘Horse Meat & Club comes to mind, so it has to be something a little off center but with a touch of sleaze and a hint of Disco’
‘Depressed, heart broken or just on some crazy downer – maybe she left you for another man? It can happen in Pbar’
‘Hypnotic tangled maddens, but beautiful in form. There is no other greater example than this guy’
‘That record I just broke? well the last one was this cut, which I played to death till the thing snapped. I just bought a new one this week’
‘Don’t mess with me, I’m a chief! Well there is only one chief, if you ask me’
There is often an image painted of the solo producer, locked away in the studio, an intentional recluse dedicated to perfecting their style and sound. However when two creative minds work together in harmony it can be a beautiful thing, and as Kruse and Nuernberg show, with exceptional results.
Since their first release in 2007 they played a big part in the deep house revival that was to hit dancefloors everywhere and show no sign of stopping. We thought with their positive personalities they would be the perfect candidates to peer into their souls and see what these set of emotive pictures mean to them, in the format they know best, the format of sound.
‘Downtown Manhattan is a very special spot. Where decisions are made that affect all of us. We need more hero’s that say fuck the money, fuck weapons, let’s go back to being humans again’
‘Peace and slowliness! Our all time favourite trip hop tune representing pretty much everything this picture stands for’
‘This picture reminds us of this crazy track here. The Hook is just like: Look Behind The Mirror, Don’t You See? No Reflection Of Me!’
‘It’s just one of these tunes you don’t get to hear very often. Like a winter day with snow and sun, we don’t get that very often’
‘This one is easy!!! THE MOUNTAIN PEOPLE = LEGENDARY.One of our all time favourites’
‘Women… so many beautiful women!’
‘This picture is pure body language and someone has lost her head’
‘Actually this picture deserves silence…’
‘Dancing in the rain is fun and this track is fun, too’
‘Super cute picture! The dog is the kids best friend’
Kruse and Nuernberg have recently started up their new label Save Room Recordings. Check it out here. Already boasting names such a s Huxley, Kellerkind, Christian Nielsen, Jonas Saalbach and Sasse, it’s definately one to watch!
Two weeks ago the Meoko team took the one-hour train ride to Brighton, the “gay capital of Europe” to attend day two of the 2014 LGBT Pride Carnival. The Carnival consisted of three main events: The Parade, the festival at Preston Park, the Village Parties at St. James’s Street. The theme for this year’s carnival was to stand beside global LGBT communities that do not have “the freedom to live”, such as countries where homosexuality is still considered against the law, communities that have to deal with injustices and individuals that suffer from harassment and homophobia. Particular focus was put on Russia, India, Nigeria, Uganda and Egypt.
We all remember the horrifying hate speech against homosexuality in Uganda:
A socio-political atmosphere was definitely present as more than 160,000 participants and spectators joined the streets to partake in the Pride Parade, both for the party and to support LGBT rights. Volunteers carried Freedom to Live placards representing the 78 countries in the world where homosexuality is still illegal. “Queer Resistance” and “promoting people with HIV, promoting sexual health” were written on banners, while music from Disco to Salsa played from speakers on the floats. The floats started at Madeira Drive by the Pier at 10am and ended at Preston Park.
The day before, the weather forecasted storm and on Saturday morning it poured. Luckily by the time the Parade started the sun came through and we spent the next few hours under the somewhat sunny yet overcast skies of Brighton. We were just grateful we didn’t have to spend the next few hours drenched in rain!
We arrived at the train station and made our way to the the North Laine and famous Brighton Lanes to check out the little markets, thrift stores, smoke shops, organic coffee shops and vegetarian cafes. The North Laine resembled Stoke Newington, minus London prices, and Camden, minus tourist prices.
The Guaraná Company‘s boutique bar, the first of its kind in the UK and Europe, is amongst our favourite places to go to in Brighton. Their shop on the ground floor sells a range of Guaraná products. Guarana is derived from the seeds of a Brazilian tree. Find out more about Guaraná here.
Because of its high caffeine content, guarana has become a popular energy supplement, perfect substitutes for red bull and coffee and a perfect accompaniment to a festival. Heard of Guarana energy balls? You can find people selling them at festivals such as Glastonbury and Ozora. In fact, The Guaraná Company has been selling their Hot Guarana Punch at festivals for over 18 years now. You can also find Hot Guarana Punch shakes at their Brighton store and cafe. Their chillout lounge upstairs sells shakes, smoothies and coffees while playing spacey chillout music. We recommend trying their popular Organic Acai smoothie and knocking down a super healthy wheatgrass shot (if you can stomach it!).
There were many tourists on this day, but it was not crowded and we had plenty of space to walk around. We walked and talked with fellow Carnival attendees and Brighton locals from Greenpeace workers, bearded record storeowners and Wholefoods mummies. We met a group of Carnival attendees from Southend, where one girl commented, “Brighton is the most iconic place to see pride”. Another girl explained how she disliked Brighton compared to Southend: “Brighton is really middle-class. Go down to Southend and it’s like Brighton but more real and less stuck up”.
The float included people dressed in all sorts of carnival colours, from rainbow feathers to tangas and nipple tassels. It was quite weird actually, seeing some of the spectators point and gawk at the parade people. Online, people complained in comment boxes under Brighton Gay Pride articles and social media pages about indecent exposure:
“There was a girl naked with nipple tassels on walking down Old Steine at 2pm in the afternoon, if I did that any other day of the week I’d get arrested” and “a scene of hedonistic debauchery”.
It seemed that some people did not really understand the Carnival’s main themes of freedom and liberty. However the streets were indeed filled with drunk and half naked teenagers making havoc while swigging from bottles of vodka. We even saw a group of teenagers harassing a gay couple. This was the only and completely unacceptable indecent behaviour witnessed on the day.
For the first time this year, the parade was the only event open to the general public, whereas the festival at Preston Park and Village Party in the St. James’s Street area were open only to wristband holders. According to the organisers this was for reasons of safety and public disorder. However, it is speculated that this move was done to protect the culture of the event and prevent people that came just to party from ruining the LGBT atmosphere. This move goes against the Carnival’s values of freedom and non-discrimination however it could be argued that participants should agree with and understand Gay Pride values. One of the only rational ways to do this with thousands of attendees is to create a barrier by introducing a ticketing system. On the other hand, perhaps a diverse crowd at Gay Pride signifies the inclusion of the LGBT community in today’s society. Of course, discrimination still exists. You just have to look at policies against the LGBT community and harassment by the public to understand that unity is still a utopia.
Despite a few drunken kids, a warm community atmosphere was certainly in the air on the streets after the parade and in the St. James’s Street area. St. James’s Street was packed with different bars hosting their own parties.
Wild Fruit’s Official Pride Party hosted their event at dance music club and terrace, Audio. The line-up included DJs Paul Heron, Hifi Sean, DJ duo Done & Dusted and local DJs Jon Byrne, Kate Wildblood and Mikalis.
Audio is Brighton’s most recognised dance music club. Most recently they hosted separate nights with DJs Midland and Subb-An. However, they are not an exclusively house and techno club, and according to a Brighton local DJ who attended Audio and Wild Fruit’s party, the club “is one of those places where you need to ask the bouncer at the door who’s playing that night”. They hold 6 club nights including their “Bastard Pop night” and formed an Audio Freshers Group on Facebook.
A particularly obvious change in Brighton during the last few years has been the city’s underground dance music and club scene.
1990-2001 was pretty happening at Club Foot – Lanterna Majica
Brighton’s vibrant underground music scene has apparently floundered, one of the reasons being the rise in university student nights. For example in 2013, The Globe, Brighton’s two floored basement venue and old school boozer changed management when owners Drink In teamed up with Sussex University. One blogger compared their basement parties to Glastonbury’s original afterhours parties.
However there have been a few highlights regarding dance music in the past year, in particular the inaugural Brighton Music Conference (BMC), which hosted a conference, exhibitions and events by major names in the industry such as Funktion-One, Native Instruments and MD Elite Music Management. The conference involved debates about the industry’s latest trends and exhibitions included talks such as “How To Set Up A Label From Scratch”.
London DJ and Brighton weekender, Karl Gonzales, explained that there are many groups of parties in Brighton. “There used to be more”, he explained. “They used to make big parties on the beach. Now you really have to search for parties in Brighton, but they are there, even though they change often”.
Partying and listening to disco on Audio’s terrace, taking pictures in the Lanes and parks of Brighton post parade and walking and supporting the freedom to live at the LGBT parade were some of the main highlights at Brighton’s Gay Pride. We recommend attending next year’s Pride. In the mean time, a day weekend trip from London to Brighton, discovering the Lanes and taking some sun on the beach, is definitely worth it.
In the streaming age, we’re all aware of the need for physical, collectable products. Over the last few years, there has been a gradual increase on the sales of vinyl, showing that music fans not just in the dance world are returning their focus on to a tangible product, one that’s rich with life, passion and design. We all marvel at our own (and our friends) collections of wax, and our contribution to keeping the format alive. A pretty positive thing in this day and age of instant gratification and sharing. But what happens when a passion turns into an obsession and your hobbies begin to ruin your life? What would be the downside of collecting 50,000+ records, seemingly the by product of being unable to stop buying random bits and pieces?
Those ‘trusted’ purveyors of news and culture, The BBC ran a feature in April of this year that explored ‘The Eight Tribes of Vinyl Collectors’, lightly exploring the different ‘types’ of vinyl collectors and those that are buyers. From ‘The new buyer’ to ‘The Nostalgia Collector’ and ‘Shop Owner’, it seems they miss out on a ‘type’ of collector that sadly doesn’t get any thought: ‘the obsessional hoarder’. When collecting and dedicating your life to your aesthetically charged desires, things can often turn rather tricky. Consuming your thoughts, taking up your time and holding your undivided attention, many of us have our vices. From golf to cars, music to video games, we’ve all annoyed and upset our loved ones through our one-track mindedness, seemingly obsessed on inanimate, non emotional, consumerable objects. Musical formats have always been a collectable item but what happens when the obsession for black plastic becomes too much? From divorces, homelessness and mental breakdown, a seemingly harmless past-time of indulging in music can have quite an effect on your wider life at large if you let it. At what point do we become ‘hoarders’ rather than ‘collectors’ and become dispossessed from their family, friends and life?
Esquire magazine recently wrote about a new book, Dust & Grooves, concentrating on the, various cavernous locations where people are hoarding their collections, some of which are reaching nearly 100,000 strong. As an opening line in the book states, written and photographed by Eilon Paz, “Some collections built through crate digging are meticulously organized by name or color with others the wood is warped and sits beside piles of records and used electronics, all covered with dust and grime”. a poignant statement by the author, but after looking at the pictures, there is a positive spin on the obsessional drive of these insane record collections, driven by love, passion and undying dedication.
For some of us, the ability to store and house gargantuan collections is too mammoth and unrealistic a task thank god for institutes such as London’s first ever Vinyl Library in Stoke Newington, enabling vinyl lovers and collectors to deposit and share, whilst accessing a vast and endless collection of wonderful music.
“A musical community sharing space and library full of all kinds of freaky goodness. For £10 a month members get access to events and can borrow vinyl!” explains the company’s mission statement. “To raise the consciousness of the listener through the raw vinyl form and to preserve the heritage of songs and good times whilst maintaining the two elements, tradition and modernity in balance.” Although a great idea, in just under a year since the project started, the library’s popularity growth has well exceeded it’s current home even a public institute such as this is currently looking for a new home to cater for the storage of an increasing amount of vinyl.
Unlike some of the world’s largest and most respected collectors such as Brad Miocevich in Perth, one of many people that have built custom spaces to house collections that exceed 20,00 in a private music library how do some house a collection of this size? What do you do when your floor can’t be seen due to the piles of albums and EPs strewn across it and how is it affecting people?
According to the Vinyl Factory’s blog, an infamous case of hoarding overload can be referred to as one of the most extreme cases of over collecting, with a 68 year old collector in Canada collecting a staggering 250,000 records, even rendering him unable to even use his bathroom or shower due to records filling every nook, cranny and space the house had to fill.
As critics of those who fall foul to hoarding point out, at what point does the act and pleasure of listening to music become lost through the drive to increase? Surely when your collection exceeds tens of thousands, you aren’t really listening to music anymore. And spare a thought for those that are dealing with what’s been left behind. With the aforementioned Canadian hoarder, the house was bought outright by a record label and a mass clean up begun before they even started cataloguing the music. Others have been tipped off to long forgotten graveyards, such as photographer Frederic Thiphagne and his blog Les Mains Noires. Given unprecedented (but guarded access) he was contracted into silence before being able to take photos of an abandoned warehouse stuffed full of records an unsoecified amount at that a few weeks later, the warehouse and all of the potential musical gold and stories behind them were lost as the warehouse was demolished, wiped from the face of the earth without a trace.
Further investigation and research has gathered psychological reasons and studies into the phenomenon of collecting, especially with music, but at a minimum. Russell Belk and Simon Reynolds two of the only writers and scholars to extensively look at the effects of obsessional record-collecting suggest that music collecting can wander off track into destructive behaviour obsessiveness and consumer fetishism often combined with an “idiot savant” level of data accumulation. Reynolds refers to the practice as a “perverse consumerism” that literally “eats up your life”.
Of course the above pointed out are all extreme cases of insatiable desire, when collecting turns into something much larger than mere musical appreciation but with the sales of vinyl rising (already an expensive medium itself), one does have to often consider the life changing, space saving format of the Mp3 and digital formats. Boring, lifeless and non-tangible they may be, but they have offered music collectors and hoarders a chance to amass music from the four corners without having to give up their lives in the process. With this in mind, perhaps it would be fair to say that we are all hoarders of music in our own right so lets spare a poignant thought for those that have suffered for their love of music.
It’s Friday afternoon somewhere near Cambridge and upon sitting on a leather sofa, neatly situated In a specially built ‘sound stage’ room, it’s clear judging from the menacing presence of 4 stand alone 300w speakers and treated, sound proofed walls that something magical is about to happen. To the left of the sofa is a Vivaldi Soundsystem, thought to be one of the loudest and highest quality systems in the world and manufacturers dCS (data compression systems) invited MEOKO to bring a stack of music to test the raw sound quality and sheer power of the audible juggernaut . Worth around £67,000 brand new, MEOKO found ourselves receiving a backstage view the intimate team of electronic engineers devising and producing the kit.
We’re faced with a stereo that has the power to decompress mp3 to analogue quality through one of it’s 4 pre-amp compression systems and deliver pin point precise sound, the company’s CEO starkly warns me: “this is a different way of listening to music. You can hear everything… and I do mean everything. If it’s badly produced or cutting corners, you’ll be able to hear it on the Vivaldi. It really brings your music to life”.
dCS are, sadly, a rare breed in this day in age. After the digital boom, Cambridgeshire’s rich history as a home for audio specialist manufacturing took flight as demand for better sound increased as commercialised sales glanced over quality. The company which have run for over twenty years stake the claim as the most expensive and audibly powerful unit in the world. Hand tested, crafted and built in the dCS factory, it’s fully centralised production model (plus promotion and usage of homegrown British standards) have made dCS one of the only companies to not compromise on their original mantra even in times of economic instability “Nothing But Only The Music”.
Most of the guys at dCS do the industrial design here points out David as we embark on a tour of the factory, pre-listening session. “We make everything including the circuit boards and writing the software by the team in here” he points out as we “the guys we employ have been working in audio for 20, 25 years and they are skilled highly. They are world class engineers and there aren’t that many people that can do what they can”. We’re standing at the end of a short corridor, with two doors on either side. “The room on the left is for ideas, whilst the second on the right is there for assembly and testing” pointing out the dCS’s specific but simple manufacturing model and division of labour. “When we step into the workshop like atmosphere, we’re surrounded by hardware of all shapes and sizes, middle aged men with soldering irons fixing together circuit boards and enough wiring to make the tidiest of people weep with anxiety.”
The way this all start with is a kit of parts which then have to pass the first couple of test stages” he begins at a rack of dCS manufactured parts, “We leave all the fancy stuff like the casing until later and assemble it electronically and of course when it passes all of the tests”. The only two components that aren’t from the UK in this setup are the mechanism (that spins the disc round) and a network board that comes from Austria. Everything else is made in the UK we’re one of the only companies of our kind that are doing that and we’re really proud of that fact.”
A blatantly obvious trait of dCS’s brand is their insistence on quality of the highest order. “You have to be thorough because some of our clients out in places like Japan are literally inspecting the product with a microscope when it’s delivered” laughs David. Not just quality materials and expert design, but a series of rigorous tests are designed to put the machine through its paces, starting with the basic ‘soak test’.
“Some people want to access their music through a network drive, while others want to simply spin a disc; here, we do both” states David of the system’s compression and conversion powers. “People like to own a physical product and sometimes you just want to interact with it a little more” he continues as we are struck in mesmeric awe by the velocity of sound, under the grip of Vivaldi’s spell as it converts digital sound jacked straight from a macbook running iTunes into true analogue sound, rich detailed and widescreen. “I do feel that in the future digital sound may even become such a high quality playback that it will be on par with a CD” explains David. “The people who buy our stuff, they connect to there music, they enjoy it and theyy feel immersed by it” David points out, “so the format isnt always a problem. But the one thing you can’t have with digital is a tangible product in your hand which digital will obviously always sidestep something more real.”
After guided around a series of tests, David showed us the gorgeous, sleek and solid design of the Vivaldi. “The front and unit case are made of hand carved, anodised metal” he informs, caressing the Vivaldi’s minimal but futuristic facia, gleaming and shining in the light. “Again, we insist on perfection there can’t be a single mark, blemish or mistake. It has to be completely perfect before it even gets assembled.”
Meticulous yes, but you can be sure that best part of 100K is buying you bespoke quality to such a tight and professional level. After watching the dCSteam in action (and having been guided through their modest and tight knit factory)run by a total of around 20people in all we were in the listening room with the imposing sound stage setup, ready to listen to music in its greatest depth and clarity of sound. Listening to the likes of Orbital’s Halcyon + On + On, Pan Pot & cari Golden’s Captain My Captain and more diverse sounds from the likes of Jose Gonzalez and Bob Marley. Whatever you threw at the Vivaldi system, all of the converging power hits you square in the face. No mistake can be covered up by the musician on this behemoth there is no escaping the true sound of music you are listening to, be it psych-rock, dub reggae or slamming, driving techno.
With sound like that of the full Vivaldi set up, the colour and life within your music is on full display, in turn adding to the overall aesthetic of the listening experience. Captivating, arresting, demanding the Vivaldi is designed to capture your attention through near-perfect audible perfection.
If after ten minutes your mind starts to wander and you’re not focused on the music, then something is wrong” explains David of his deep connection to sound and the products he dedicates his work too. “Music should immerse you and grab your attention fully whether you’re tech buff, sound freak or not…” he states as this writer feels knocked back. And sure enough, he needn’t worry too much the music sounds so crisp, so alive, that ignoring its prowess and heavy nature is virtually impossible to ignore. Now to save up that cool 67k…. for this obsessional music fan, that’s money well spent.
Home is a place where many of us feel most comfortable, a safe place, a place we share with family and friends, an on Saturday 28th June 2014, I think we all made Studio 338 our home and became members of a unique extended family.
Summer in London is always one where the weather begs to taunt us with grey clouds and tropical style downpours. And without fail at around midday the heavens opened on a day greatly anticipated by many. Nonetheless we headed down to the tunnel approach at the mouth of the Blackwall, where Studio 338 resides. I arrived after the proceedings had begun with a talented pair in the form of Francesco Del Garda and Max Vaahs opened. At this point Dan Andrei was now steering the ship with a selection of boucey summer grooves, gently warming us up for the mammoth session ahead. The venue was perfect for a day when the weatherman couldn’t make any promises. Protected from the rain under the perspex roof the arena began to rapidly fill with a display of smiling faces from across the capital and further.
The walls had been dressed in deep green foliage, detracting from the raw industrial feel of the naked walls adding a sense of nature’s touch to the concrete garden. Among the hustle and bustle of the crowd a member of the Perlon cloth stepped on stage to take us up a gear. The small Japanese figure of Fumiya Tanaka was now in control. Calm, collected and cool are three words that don’t even shed a glimpse of light on Tanaka’s effortless execution. By this time the sun was blazing, with the added warming greenhouse effect of the roof over the terrace. If you’d had shut your eyes for more than a moment you could easily have been on holiday somewhere dancing away to your hearts content. Tanaka carried us through as the sun began to set over the rustic gasworks with everyone now packed in and moving in a uniform groove.
With the atmosphere building at pace, a more intimate setting was stirring on the second floor. Next Wave back to back sessions were underway. Some much appreciated downtime was taken to absorb what could quite easily have so far been the best party I’d been to in a long time. Barac was at work by this point. An undeniable talent, he delivered a set which I was only partially able to appreciate as I was drawn back to the terrace for more of Fumiya’s master class. The HOME insignia was now dressed in a hypnotic display of enchanting visuals constructed by the Dreamrec, bringing the stage’s backdrop to life. Suddenly it felt as if we had taken a step deeper into the mythical forest-like setting. A roar of cheers swarmed the crowd with the changing of the guard. The three amigos had arrived, Rhadoo, Petre and RareshRPR Soundsystem.
With the blur between space and time becoming more apparent a momentary watch check made a steak in my memory at around 10pm. We had only reached the halfway point! For a moment i took a step back to look around at what was taking place. “Home is where the heart is”, and I could definitely feel the love at this point. I was back in the groove and ready to be carried away on a cloud of RPR sorcery. Between the floaty aura of Petre, the oozing flamboyance of Raresh and the devout focus of Rhadoo something magical happens.
An awesome harmony transpired through the hours between sundown and sunup. The people, the place and the music complimented each other to no end. I don’t think there is much more that I would have wished for in a party, whether here in London or even abroad. There wasn’t a moment of consideration at the possibility of lacking energy to go the distance. Once again the sun dawned on the terrace bathing us in its euphoric glow.
We had come full circle and the end wasn’t even a shade in sight. It was almost as if we had started all over again. I wish I could close my eyes, click my heels and be taken back. Right up until the last track played out, I had a thirst for more of the delights they had shared with us over the last nine or so hours. On reflection I can without a doubt say that HOME set the precedent for anything to follow. From cradle to grave it was nineteen hours of pure class, and if you weren’t there then i can only express my sincerest apologies for whatever led you anywhere other than Studio 338 on 28th June 2014, and for those that were privileged enough to share it with me and the other few thousand people then you will know… “There is no place like HOME”