One of the most relevant clubs of the Minimal scene in Bucharest is hosting its annual event on 29th of June for a special Night Out. CLUB GUESTHOUSE since its inauguration is becoming the point of gravity off all the roaster Artists of the European Underground Scene. The event held at their home will kick off at 10pm on Friday night and estimated finish time is 6pm on Saturday night. Get your dancing shoes ready for the long marathon. (P.S.: As we all know club guesthouse, it would not surprise us if the party lasts until sunday morning.)
Petre Inspirescu and Raresh, big cheeses of the Romanian scene subtitled [a:rpia:r] for an intense and memorable music journey will drive this crispy line up.
Cabanne and Lowris, the French wheels, have started on 2017 a new and fresh collaboration called K.O.D. released already on Minibar, which is going to be introduced for the first time in Romania as the Kings of Delay.
For an impeccable set, Priku one of the most promising DJs in the minimal scene also for his stunning soft techno and and deep house productions talent, is going to join this high finest order line up.
Definetely not to miss will be Charlie very young DJ and on developing his auspicious carrer is going to join this wicked line up. Also a special mention to Cote that will be in charge of the visuals to make the event good for ears and eyes.
Take your well-needed rest today and be ready for this special night out, a mini marathon in other words!
Now in its 9th year, Gottwood Festival has become known as one of the best small festivals in the UK, with a loyal following who keep returning year upon year, for a lineup of the best in underground music and beautiful location. After hearing so many glowing reviews, I felt it was time that I had to experience it this year.
Setting off first thing in the morning on Thursday to reach the site at Holyhead in Anglesey, there was already a magic in the air. I travelled through tunnels and over bridges, passing sheep and mountains, before arriving at the campsite, overlooking calm seas on the Welsh north-west coast.
After pitching up the tent and getting to know the neighbours, who were Gottwood regulars and who soon became friends, I went to check out the arena where the stages lie. Walking into this area it was a joy to the senses. Initially walking through lush green woodland with tall trees, where the sun was breaking through, this plays host to lots of the smaller stages. Individual pieces of interesting, colourful, hand painted artwork are scattered throughout. The largest stage named ‘The Lawn’ is an open grassy area from the trees and is opposite an old manor house bathed in ivy; this is where the majority of the live acts and more chilled out sounds would feature across the weekend. In the middle of all the stages is a shimmering lake with lily pads and fountains, providing relaxing tranquility. With pure blue skies overhead it couldn’t have been more perfect and I spent some time just taking it in sat down next to the lake, I couldn’t think of anywhere more picturesque for a festival.
With the sun starting to drop behind the trees it was time to get stuck into some music. What better way to kick it off than with FUSE boss Enzo Siragusa and label stalwart Archie Hamilton. Playing on The Curve stage, a fairly large tent, the boys had got it filled from early on. Archie was first up playing some of his own signature tracks with distinctive percussion such as ‘Confusion’ on his own label Moscow. Enzo then took over, by which time the tent was bouncing. He played a festival party set laden with house and tech-house bombs including ‘What was Missing’ by Jamie Trench forthcoming on Seb Zito’s ‘Seven Dials’ label. To cap things off the pair then finished the night going b2b with some classic house tunes, smiles and hands raised all round. This was a great energetic start to proceedings.
Following a good sleep and with the sun continuing to glow, waking up on the Friday was made easy, with the prospect of plenty of sunshine vibes to come on the day. It became a ritual over the weekend to head to The Lawn first thing to recover, listening to some down-tempo, live electronica and dub/reggae. Ready to dance again after eating some delicious wood fired pizza, just one of many outstanding food stalls; it was time to head to the Trigon Stage.
Arguably one of the most impressive, the area is surrounded by walls of hay bales, with a wooden triangular tunnel structure leading it’s way to the DJ booth. Secretsundaze were playing, with music perfectly suited to the blistering skies, including the Dusky remix of ‘Do You Want Me Baby’ by Cloud 9. One thing worth mentioning here is the friendly attitude of everyone at the festival, it was easy and comfortable to strike up a conversation with everyone who I bumped into, including the bar staff and security. Due to the small capacity of 5000 you would often come across the same people you had been chatting to at the campsite on the dance floor and this added to a great feeling of unity and positivity that I haven’t really experienced at a festival before.
Special Request aka Paul Woolford continued the mood, moving things up a gear as it progressed into the evening, with music from his UK rave inspired album ‘Belief System’ including the wobbling bass and euphoria of ‘Make it Real’. For the night time hours it was all about the Hypercolour stage at the Walled Garden, another outstanding venue that is situated in the garden behind the manor house. It has a secret garden feel to it, as you pass under the old brick walls, through the low hanging plants, before reaching the stage that is sunk into the garden with a terraced grass area behind it. Kate Miller was playing here and was one of my surprise highlight sets of the weekend, a diverse blend of electronic music summed up by the classic dubstep anthem ‘Night’ by Benga & Coki. The legend that is Andrew Weatherall closed out the night, taking the crowd on a journey and telling a story through a progressive nature that only someone with such knowledge in the game can.
Saturday fast came round and the daytime hours were again spent with some down time in the open areas of the festival. Some amazing live music featured on The Lawn all weekend such as the stripped back meditative rhythms from the Cuban Iranian group Ariwo and uplifting worldly inspired melodies of Africane 808. This was the perfect tonic after a night of heavy raving. The night held some of the most anticipated sets of the weekend with Half Baked in Ricky’s Disco, featuring Zip and Margaret Dygas headlining and playing for a combined 7 hours. Ricky’s Disco was a great tent and felt like one of the most intimate, spherical in shape, with a large disco ball and hanging flowers. The vibe inside was probably the standout of the weekend for Margaret Dygas. She played an awe inspiring set, with long flowing mixes and plenty of unknown and unreleased grooves. A discerning crowd of Perlon and Half Baked supporters loving every moment, particularly big receptions came when she dropped the timeless classic acid tinged beat of ‘The Sun Can’t Compare by Larry Heard, the vocals on everyone’s lips. Zip continued the raucous atmosphere with music like ‘I Have You On My Sound’ by Son of Sound & Jus Ed, a peak time Underground Quality US house stomper. Cheers, whistles and hugs between friends and strangers could be seen and heard all around the tent for the duration. There was even time to catch the final hour of Ben UFO who was constructing a mix at Trigon of music without the borders usually put up by genres.
At many festivals I have been to Sunday can often feel like a downer as people are tired and ready to go home, but this was not the case at Gottwood. With radiant skies still overhead reflecting on the lake, it was easy to get out of bed to grab a Bloody Mary and get back to a spot on the lawn, where Craig Richards was playing the first of two sets, a special dub and reggae set. Wearing a trademark patterned shirt, he demonstrated the diversity of his record collection, pulling out 7 inches like ‘I Man Can’t Live Like this’ by Barry Brown. A pure Sunday afternoon ambience was being created, almost as if you were on a beach, as I sipped a drink with my toes in the lake to cool off. It felt like a real honour to be part of such a special event and it was great to see the owner of the Gottwood site, an older gentleman, walking around the site and enjoying seeing people appreciate the natural charm of the landscape around them. In the afternoon I caught City Fly Records over on the other side of the lake at the open Cpt. Cabeza stage. A label based in my hometown city of Leicester, they played a great disco and house set that even got what looked like the youngest member of the crowd, a small young boy (not sure how he passed the challenge 25 policy!) dancing.
On the final evening I was spoilt for choice with One Records at Ricky’s Disco, Butterside Up at Trigon and The Nothing Special at the Walled Garden. Fortunately due to the long set times, another great feature of the festival, I managed to catch a bit of everything. One Records had John Dimas, Voigtmann and label owners Adam Shelton b2b Subb-an playing their brand of always high quality house and techno, aimed squarely at the dance floor and with rolling beats aplenty. Over at the Trigon it was a slightly different affair to the daytime flavours, as Nicolas Lutz went b2b with Binh. Another highlight of the weekend, the pair made their way through a devastating set of some of their cosmic electro, spacey house and garage tinged minimal tracks on vinyl, from their respective My Own Jupiter and Time Passages labels. This included the forthcoming ‘Tschuss’ by Draculas Lutz & Omar. The Trigon at its best underneath the dark red lasers and smoke cannons, with the crowd going for it and using every single last drop of resource in their limbs. The anthemic reach for the sky ‘Atmosphere’ by Luca Lozano came out the stacks and provided another boost. Sonja Moonear maintained the high intensity, producing another all vinyl masterclass of house and techno.
To close out the weekend it only felt right to catch the end of Craig Richards hosting The Nothing Special all night at The Walled Garden. A far cry from his earlier set, this time he was in the midst of a high octane mix of techno and electro. A DJ that is arguably one of the most experienced in underground music, with his long running residency at fabriclondon, where he has played before so many names. He crafts together mixes that include multiple genres and records that you may never have stumbled upon before.
Also painting abstract art outside of DJing (some may be fascinated by his label artwork) his expression through music is always mesmerising to watch and the tent was a carnival of warm emotion as a chant of DJ Otzi’s ‘Hey Baby’ rang out on top of the serious music, bringing a smile to Craig’s face. As the last track was played and I made my way back to the campsite, I was immediately thinking of when this enchanting, all-encompassing musical and arts experience could be absorbed in again. My mind was on Houghton, Gottwood’s sister festival, curated by Craig himself and where many of the people I had spoken to over the weekend would be heading to next. Four days had taken place where we were blessed with outstanding weather, an extraordinary location and you become part of a community brought together for the love of great music, the Gottwood family as it is described. You return with new friends, inspirations, favourite artists and a yearning to taste what is a truly unique environment once again.
Hot on the heels of his appearance at Eagervision on May 11th, Javier Carballo flies back to the Canaries to celebrate the 11th anniversary of his and partner-in-crime Berna’s Underyourseat party. The party’s a staple of the island’s nightlife, and going stronger than ever with the recent launch of the in-house label to celebrate the 10-years mark. The first EP was provided by Javier himself with Lowwaxx, and encompassed the broad range of the party, with four enchanting groovers of dub and minimal allegiances.
At such a good time for Underyourseat, no doubt Javier and Berna will be in the mood to celebrate. Both are proponents of a stream-lined and hypnotic sound, that carries the crowd seamlessly into the night up to those wee hours of the morning — sunglasses on, head-bobbing to the tunneling grooves til the sun is well up. There’s probably no better way to enjoy it than catching them in their home turf. After 11 years of inviting over the best names in minimal, from Onur Özer to Cabanne and Raresh, there’s a reason they’re now the ones headlining events across Europe.
For this special occasion, they’ve invited a good friend of ours, who we interviewed back in December: Traumer. Since he steered his alias into a more micro/minimal direction, here at MEOKO we can’t get enough of the Frenchman’s drum-heavy rollers. And in that regard, we’ve been treated: even more productive than usual, Romain is already four releases in since the beginning of the year, including one on his ever-special GETTRAUM label. A very special guest for a very special occasion.
So there you go: on May 12th, it’s in the Canaries that the good things are, so it seems. you can already book your tickets here. See you there at the front-left speakers — after-party on the beach.
It is that time. Yet again, another masterful release is on its way from genius Romanian producer, Ada Kaleh. ‘Nedeslusit in Amurg’ is the seventh release on his up close and personal outlet named after himself, Ada Kaleh Romania. A vinyl only label, with a desire to enforce the full package with each release. From the sound, down to the artwork, simultaneously aligned with the stories behind them. For this release artist Anca Buzilan has made her mark with two detailed images, one on each side of the sleeve telling the tales of the music.
Taking up the whole of the ‘Sunside’ is ‘Nedeslusit in Amurg’ inspired by the whirling dance of the Sufi Dervishes. A physical form of meditation, an aspect that reflects within the sound with hypnotic loops and choppy vocals. After several days trapesing the desert, the sun begins to set (amurg; in Romanian) and the dervishes gaze in to the distance to find an image of a woman holding a blue pot of water. Flickering in and out of focus, a ‘Nedeslusit’ (Mirage). All senses vanish and the Dervishes’ are lost amongst the whirling dance, in ‘Amurg’ they remain. The image accompanying this side shows the dervishes stranded in the desert as they realise the mirage.
On the ‘Moonside’ there are two interpretations of ‘Morgana Avidoma’. Morgana representing the female in the image, rolling, off the bat rhythms proving her capability to remain, whether in the distance or in front of your eyes. There is a sense of confusion, but the beat keeps coming back, two tracks that would sit well in a mix. Morgana herself features on the artwork of the ‘Moonside’
Kaleh, is known for his ability to curate atmospheres of an extraordinary variety, sometimes the subtlest of tones go such a long way due to his attention to detail. Never short of magic, with his special touch. Quality of the highest order, for listeners who will immerse themselves in minimalistic and stripped back sounds with a touch of class.
We did warn you, the summer dates are coming thick and fast; and certainly packing a punch. Every June, OFF Week in Barcelona is a time for party promoters and label heads to display what they offer in off key and historical locations around the city.
This year two dates firmly allocated amongst this hectic week of music is the 13th and 14th of June, as Prague based Round Up agency and newly formed Romanian promotion team Drums join forces for two parties, taking over two separate locations for journeys in to the early hours. A combination of special guests and several artists from the Round Up agency roster.
On the Wednesday (13th June), the debut party of this original combination will take place at This Side UP, a new movement in the city created in recent times. SIT (Cristi Cons & Vlad Caia) bring their melodic hypnotic sound to the city, joined by what is set to be a spectacular journey in the form of Praslea b2b Cezar. Familiar face in Prague and Round Up representative Bruno Curtis will also play bringing fellow artists Agustin Alvarez, JADA, Dafoe and And.re along for the ride.
Cue Barcelona will play host to the second day (14th June) of festivities with more sounds of Romania from Liniar founder Arapu, and masterful mixer Priku. The raw talent that is Traumer will be blessing the surroundings with his organic and genius music. JADA and Dafoe will be rounding off what is set to be a special experience this summer.
As an official media partner of these magical events, working with Round Up Agency and Drums, you can visit our site or keep up with our socials for more information. More on times and event info is to follow, also keep an eye out for more collaborations further down the line. It’s worth it.
Guti. Roustam. Equals Grusti. The outcome of several years of priceless moments performing together and many late nights spent jamming in the studio; sharing their musical flavours and knowledge. Here, they deliver three personal productions accompanied by a remix from prolific producer East End Dubs. The vinyl only release comes on Tervisio, an outlet born last year as a rebellion to the conventional, bringing forward new sounds and textures with high energy.
The percussive influences of Buenos Aires meet the raw and cutting edge of Moscow, for a masterful release. An insight of the magic that happens when these two worlds combine, the years of experience between them reflect in the solidarity of their sound. A long-term friendship of two accomplished artists that have paved their own paths as solo musicians, have decided it is time to present us with their creations.
The title track aptly named ‘Re:introduction’ certainly has a healthy groove to it, a particular bouncing loop leads you in to a blissful breakdown fitting the title perfectly. Straight off the bat is the dancefloor ready remix from East End Dubs. A sound we have become accustomed too from the UK artist, distinct punching kicks and a ready to roll ethos. One for the peak time flow. Touching down on the B-side from outer space is ‘Dating a Comet’. A journey of broken rhythms, and brushing highs help to build a special atmosphere, allowing the listener to escape in the moment. Rounding things off pleasantly is ‘Rude Track’. A heads down affair begging to be played on a club system, rotating percussions coming in and out bring something unique to the track.
The Re:Introduction of two familiar names under one alias. A personal release from Grusti; a concept that Guti and Roustam have spent much time creating and built a solid friendship upon. You can sense the pride and energy within the release that they created in all corners of the world, Barcelona, Miami and Moscow.
Check out the full East End Dubs remix only here on MEOKO;
Sometimes you go to a festival just to let off some steam. Be a bit hedonistic in a field with some cool people, have a nice time. But what ends up happening to you is so internally transformative you plot that place forever on your memories map as ‘somewhere special’, a place that induces a private wave of nostalgia every time you think about it. Things happen there. You changed in a very small but significant way there.
Meadows in the Mountains in the stunning heights of remote Bulgaria is a place with that kind of magic. This festival occupies such territory in my 2017 emotional landscape for a whole number of reasons, and I’m pretty sure the same is true for every person I partied with (our catchphrase for the weekend was “heart chakra – activate!!”, says it all really). Judging by the mountaintop atmosphere in June last summer, and the heartfelt sentiments you hear from every single person who has seen a life-changing sunrise in Polkovnik Serafimovo, we weren’t the only ones feeling the vibe.
Everyone’s impressions seem to be so wrapped up in the holistic experience of this strange and wonderful little festival, it’s kind to talk about it in terms of highlights and features. Scrambling up a mountain to explore stunning stages made of locally sourced wood, seeming to emerge from the forests themselves. Doing yoga on outcrop platforms perfectly placed for you to stare deep into a mountain valley and ground yourself after a night of partying hard. Eclectic electronic and live music bumping all day and all night, everyone congregating at the Sunrise Stage to bring in the day. Talks and treatments and therapies and expanding experiences of every kind to help you make the most out of being in a stimulating, spiritually refreshing environment.
It’s just one of those places where things come together – and it’s pretty much impossible not to be radically inspired by the high altitude beauty of The Rhodopes mountains. Everywhere you look dense forests, stunning valley views and green fields signal your departure from the world of contactless cards and daily underground travel spent silent and miserable. Bulgaria’s mountain towns have a rustic charm meaning that some conveniences aren’t quite so convenient, but the locals are ready for the festivalgoers every year. We stayed with a bad ass woman known to all as Mama Irena who seemed to have the undying respect of every dude in the village, and cooked for us in the morning while we lounged on inflatables in open-mouthed wonder at the mountains around us, enjoying a Budvar with our hot breakfast.
When you’re partying in another country it’s always nice to feel like a welcomed guest rather than a plague of hedonistic locusts wreaking havoc on the natural beauty you came to explore. It says it all that the fondness of Polkovnik Serafimovo residents towards the festival is about more than the yearly influx of tourist income. Meadows is committed to a ‘Leave No Trace’ policy on litter and the use of the land. The festival feels fully integrated with its natural place in the mountains, which means by extension that so do you during your time there.
It’s still kind of a place for those in the know – it’s definitely up a big old mountain, and you have to bring your own cup to the bar to buy your drink. No disposable plastics are allowed on site – one of the festival’s many innovations to battle waste and carbon emission. Fair weather punters who want to be led around an enclosure like a prized sheep and get a non-biodegradable plastic cup filled with booze in exchange for money might find those two conditions a bit much. But that’s OK, because the people who can get down get to revel in the sense of adventure that comes from taking a hike to find out what lies at the top of the mountain. Savvy travellers who had been to Meadows before had their tin cups dangling from their bum bag straps on carabiner clips, and this simple solution makes you feel like an outdoorsy disco adventurer prepped and ready for almost anything.
As well as hands-free cups this festival is definitely all about sturdy footwear, as you are hiking to the top of a Bulgarian mountain to dance in beautiful (but certainly uneven) meadows and hilltops. What your eyes take in whilst you’re dancing and socializing is so very much worth it. Worth the mission to Bulgaria (Meadows Eco Organiser Ash Brown highly encourages travellers to take the scenic train route through Europe to cut carbon emissions from flying – something to consider). Worth venturing into the woods with your buddy system in place because of your many previous tumbles down the mountain. And most definitely worth the ticket price. How many other opportunities will you get in your life to watch the sun rise up while you are quite literally above the clouds?
I can’t quite describe the effect watching the sun slowly rise through the blanket of mist below had on me. The whole sky was a vivid, purple, watercolour dreamscape, and it was so beautiful I completely lost the ability to speak for about two hours. So many places you go in the world you can experience a unique and special sunrise that makes you glad you stayed up (or got up) for it, but there’s a reason sunrise is such a big event at Meadows in the Mountains. It’s vital to be up that mountain for at least one. And then of course, when you have regained the power of speech, bounce straight to the Sunrise Stage to dance it off with pretty much the entire rest of the festival.
This truly is a place for horizon expanders, and I met many people there who made me feel empowered to further embrace certain ideas – ideas about protecting the environment, about exploring spirituality, about connecting with others through communal hedonism and celebration.
One of those people was Mike Matania, a new friend who was in our festival expedition team and who was also speaking at the Hara stage on the Sunday afternoon. A mental health professional and meditation teacher with the UK Psychedelic Society, it was quite fascinating to watch him party all weekend and then hold an audience rapt on a hazy Sunday afternoon. His packed out talk at the Hara stage meandered peacefully and provokingly through a wide range of existential ideas, bringing us all back into ourselves (and surprising the shit out of us) by ringing a huge sound bowl whilst we had our eyes closed in meditation.
Connection is a big thing people seem to take from Meadows. Connection to nature comes easy when you’re in such a remote place of whimsical natural beauty. At one point we were taking a wooded shortcut back from the festival site, finding our way by the torchlight of our phones. We heard the quiet sound of bells tinkling behind us, and a completely unattended horse trotted from the darkness and came up to me to nuzzle my hand for an extremely surreal five minutes.
Connection to nature also comes easier when you’re at an event so completely committed to limiting its impact on the environment, and gently educating its crowd and the world by setting a laudable example. Whether they’re crowdfunding to plant a forest in Jhapa, Nepal to offset the impact of the festival, creating natural cigarette butt recycling bins around the site, or dedicating a lot of energy to new composting toilets and food waste management, this is a festival that truly lives and breathes its ethics.
The feeling of community and being part of a tribe that people talk about when they come back from Meadows…. It’s hard to describe the beauty of it and also the painful longing for it when you’re back in civilisation, living a sometimes hard and confusing existence marked by disconnection, isolation, big questions looming over us at all times about the future of our species on this planet.
Being a part of something like Meadows reminds you – even if just for a weekend – that we are part of a collective. We can embrace the core humanity of everyone on this planet, we can empower and support people who are doing things to help this planet, and we can become more conscious beings by selectively exposing ourselves to positive experiences that make us rethink who we are when we’re away from it all, how we spend our time when we come back.
Maybe you’ll also get a tattoo within days of landing back in the UK to remind yourself of how you felt forever, or write a song about it like I did. I don’t know. That’s up to you. I just hope to see you there, smiling like a euphoric idiot at the Sunrise Stage, and celebrating something bigger than yourself.
With the current popularity of electro-, IDM-, 90s- and whatever else-influenced minimal music, it’s hard to keep ahead of the tide with all the new labels popping up — and harder yet to separate those truly worth keeping an eye on from those merely trying to cash in on a trend. Antam Records, though, seems to belong to the former category. Firstly because it’s the label arm of BinarySound who hosted DJ Koolt, Riccardo, Audri, Le Loup or Zendid and Distrikt, the Parisian promoters who brought to the French capital the likes of Barac, John Dimas, HardWorkSoftDrink or TC80 — on remix duty on this first EP — along many of the French scene’s rising stars.
The two are
on their own ( Antione Sy & Bassam ), but before anything else DJs with a demanding and curious ear, which is what you want from a label head.
That’s for the nascent label’s pedigree. But their first signee, Mag0, has some good credentials of his own — and is testament to the label’s will to dig deeper than most. Although until now off my (admittedly fallible) radar, the Italian producer appears to be a regular at Veniceberg, the Verona venue that supplies the Northern Italian city in all things minimal, and whose label arm has released a string of quality EPs over the past two years. As this record shows, the club and its residents offered Mag0 a good education. Mag0, has some good credentials of his own. Although until now off my (admittedly fallible) radar, the Italian producer appears to be a regular at Veniceberg, the Verona venue that supplies the Northern Italian city in all things minimal, and whose label arm has released a string of quality EPs over the past two years. As this record shows, the club and its residents offered mag0 a good education.
All the charm with this music lies in the balance between out-there oddness and dancefloor functionalism. Too many producers seem to add a few token bleeps and beeps to demonstrate their supposed quirkiness, or go full-on on a weird binge that ends up sounding forced. But as soon as the kick returns after the one-minute mark on “Ode to Venice”, you can tell that Mag0 has nailed this balance. The track is peppered with drops, and with each one elements come and go, keeping the general sense of oddness interesting — nagging synths here, bubbling burps there; it sounds like the digestive system of a robot in full action, with a hell of a lot of groove on top of it.
“Ode to 90’s” is just as playful, and the funkiest of the lot thanks to a sprightly 2-note pattern dancing around a synth gone awry and a stamping bassline, while “Ode to Dino” is meatier, but retains an improvisatory tinge in its mid-range. This is how mag0 manages to keep his tracks interesting. It seems like the producer is always about to lose control of his machines, but he’s only letting them go loose before reasserting his mastery with a well-timed drop. Synths suddenly detuning or going far into the high-end give the brain something to focus on, while the low-end does the rest of the job. And with patterns unexpectedly changing track or ad-libbing like in the second half of “to Dino”, these tunes sound, at their best, like jam sessions between virtuoso aliens — a bunch of scruffy, nerdy, stoner aliens, that is. Of course, we’ve paradoxically come to expect this supposed unexpectedness from producers dabbling in this genre; but once again, it’s his sense of balance that sets mag0 apart from the mass: his weirdness is not too much, and seems to come from a sincere place.
The pick of the bunch is TC80’s remix. The Berlin-based French producer and Sequalog boss, coming off a breakthrough year, lets his experience speak by opting for a less flamboyant approach. Whereas mag0’s tracks are bouncy, his is reduced — an invitation to the curious listener, rather than an interpellation. Ghostly synths gleam in the background, teasing you to follow them while keeping safely out of reach. When they disappear mid-section, you’ve already fallen down the rabbit hole at their pursuit, and find yourself in the midst of a gorgeous soundscape that retains the original’s lively atmosphere, but filtered through a haze. This time, the UFO that is Antam’s logo flew to a misty Jurassic-like planet with thick air and bubbling underwater volcanoes. By the end of the track, the ethereal synths return and gently guide you back to reality. Back to your starting point, slightly dazed, the stroll was worth it.
All in all, it’s a well-rounded EP that proves there is still much creativity within this scene; that even a tired lexicon — the science-fiction references that adorn the record, the throwbacks to electronic music’s past, and all the quirky sounds — can work magic in the right authors’ hands. The EP has ealry support from Voigtmann, Dj Koolt, Zendid, Yakine, Lamache and Niff. More importantly perhaps, it lets us expect the best both from Antam and Mag0, two welcome newcomers to the scene. Indeed, we’re already told that a second release from another Italian producer is in the works for the label. I for one am keeping my eyes peeled.
Everyone knows that after the chaotic mess that is NYE, an unforgettable NYD is mandatory to conclude a year of excess by starting a new one right away. After all, no one wants to begin the year in bed with a hangover to boot. Out of all the alternatives for this 1st of January, LWE’s sounds particularly hot. As per the line-up, there’s something for everyone, from the casual clubbers to the seasoned heads.
Two very special guests top up their bill this year. Maceo Plex is the first one, under his Maetrik guise. Maetrik used to be the Spain-based Detroit son main outlet in the 00’s, and he returned it with new productions earlier this year. This is a grittier sound than what the man’s become famous for, but whatever alias he’s using, rest assured that years of touring the scene’s biggest venues mean he’ll know how to move the crowd — and more importantly perhaps, this is his first time playing live as Maetrik, so don’t miss it. The other is none other than Marcel Dettmann. The beloved Berghain resident will come straight from the club’s infamous Silvester party, bringing London some of that licentious Berlin techno flavour. There’s your New Year’s Day brunch!
But that’s just the icing on the cake as LWE has come up with a varied line-up that’s sure to appeal to anyone. On the one hand there’s the big room techno of Alan Fitzpatrick. An LWE regular, you know what to expect from the Drumcode stalwart. Nastia might pummel you with the bouncy techno she’s famous for, or she might opt to show off her lighter side like on this year’s CD mix she did for Cocoon — surprise. If that’s what you’re into, this balance of bumping house and tougher techno should also be reflected in Lauren Lo Sung’s set. And if you’re one of those techno freaks for whom the year needs to start with twisted transmissions, Ø [Phase] will provide the headier, trippier alternative.
The crowdpleasers are out in force as well: Robert Hood dons his Floorplan alias for this one. Now a family affair as his daughter is integral to the act, it promises booming kicks along gospel anthems. The maverick KiNK is of the party too with his playful live act — get close enough and who knows,
. And Italians Agents of Time provide the day’s other live act with their melodic brand of techno.
On the mellower side of things, Axel Boman will deliver the sort of Scandinavian free-spirited and playful weirdness his label Studio Barnhus specializes in, while Lord of the Isles will no doubt drench you with his soothing, synth-heavy excursions. We’re also more than excited to see LWE booked Frankfurt legend Roman Flügel. Few people can claim to have had such an impact on current house and techno as he had — put simply, half of this line-up would probably not exist without him — and you can always expect the unexpected with this veteran iconoclast.
Like last year, LWE invests Tobacco Dock in Wapping for the event, a gigantic awe-inducing, laser-filled venue with a sound-system worthy of its scale. So come along and book your ticket — you’ve got all the rest of the year to get some well-earned sleep.
For ten fantastic years UK based label Lick My Deck have been delivering touching and high quality sounds, staying true to themselves by abiding to their quality over quantity ethos. Over the years, they have seen releases from the likes of Thomas Melchior, Ion Ludwig, and Petre Inspirescu back in 2012. To celebrate the momentous milestone, and 20th release of the introspective electronic music label they welcome on board Romanian master of magical rhythms, Barac. ‘Pata Din Mijlocul Naturii’ is a three track EP, inspired and curated around the basis of Barac’s passion and love for natural surroundings and shamanism. This is something that is certainly evident via the sounds you are hearing but also the ever-unique artwork that accompanies each and every release on Lick My Deck.
The whole of the A side is taken up by ‘Asa E Omul’ sitting at 14 minutes long this record is a journey in itself, setting the overall mystical tone perfectly. Driven by infectious breaks grooves, and a sweeping bass line. The extended track is laced with fascinating strings and percussions, something we are familiar with when gifted with the rare opportunity of a release from Nicolae; A must listen.
Kicking off the B side is ‘Cursul Resparatie’ in English this translates to the “course of breathing”. The arrangement and layout is really something special, a stripped back mentality carried through with the sounds of a flute, and just when you are thinking it can’t become any smoother the lick of an Indian tabla drum strikes just before the drop, breathing more life in to the song. To round things off is ‘Sapte, Numarul Magic’ and this doesn’t distance itself from being an actual dream. If you close your eyes and allow the harmonies to take over, something special is bound to happen. A steady drum ticks away, leaving an open invitation for the mysterious pads and piano stabs to take control. So all in all a true exploration of a variety of creative territories.
For us, this is a personal encounter with Barac himself and we find it a more than fitting release to celebrate the years of hard work Lick My Deck put in to their label, all starting with founder Shaun Soomro. Nothing is left behind with so much care going in to every chapter of their story, from track selection, mastering, and as we mentioned before the hand designed artwork created personally every time. Here’s to many more years of Lick My Deck.