AUDIO KULTUR ISSUE 05 JUN 2014 FREE
02 WORD FOR THE HERD
wo years ago I was having a drink with Yousef Harati, one of the owners of Behind The Green Door, chatting about the upcoming summer season. I had done a series of nights at Behind for a few years with the now defunct BCE, and knew that Yous and his partner Olivier Gasnier Duparc had big plans for the summer. I can still remember Youssef reading the names of DJs from the screen of his Macbook and thinking that he was insane. It wasn’t two or three names, but well over a dozen. No one had really committed to a project of that magnitude at the time. A lot of those names would make up what would become the first Decks on the Beach, and I was proved wrong as Sporting became the spot to be at every single weekend. C U NXT SAT took on Saturday duties and brought through some heavy hitters; Shonky particularly stands out in my memory. What I thought was crazy at the time has now become the norm. In this issue we’ve put together a small preview of what’s to come in terms of summer partying. Each of these promoters is bringing top notch international DJs and each of them is doing it on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. That’s not to mention the countless one-offs, nights and festivals that dot the weekends between June and October. With an influx of friends, expats and tourists, our relatively small scene doesn’t exactly feel so small right now. In March I touched on the danger of the scene’s rapid growth and the sense of monotony that has been creeping into nights across the capital. Now, the combination of a relatively quiet spring and the imminent arrival of summer has lifted spirits and restored a general sense of optimism. The mood is lighter, people look better. There’s a greater sense of synergy between different promoters. And after a winter plagued by political instability and tragedy, the prospect of flawless summer has never seemed so appealing. But I guess at the same time, it’s pretty hard to be a melancholy mess when it’s crop top weather outside, isn’t it?
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tres Colacion
Till next time,
Tres Colacion Editor-In-Chief
Got something to say? Write us at Junkmail@Uberhaus.me
Jackson Allers, Emma Gatten, Abigail Hill
TABLE OF CONTENTS 03
10. SUMMER PREVIEW: GET SWEATY
YOUTH CULTURE AT THE KINDERGARTEN COLLECTIVE
14. FEATURED ARTIST: PHILIP BADER
20. FEATURED ARTIST: DANCE SPIRIT
THE LEGACY OF THE TR-808
28. THE REVIEW 30. DAS KOMIC
04 FEATURED ARTIST
TOP FORMAT DJ Format laments old, fat and lazy former hip hop heroes
FEATURED ARTIST 05
AK: How do you approach putting a mix together? When you’re playing a club is everything somewhat mapped out or do you like to play on the fly?
J Format’s 2003 debut Music for the Mature B-Boy was a word-of-mouth hit that set the tone for the rest of his career. Its most famous track “We Know Something You Don’t Know” featured Chali 2na and Akil of the legendary Jurassic 5, with a music video by a then-unknown Ruben Fleischer. Since then Format, aka Matt Ford, has plugged away at his classic hip hop sounds, earning accolades along the way, particularly for his seminal 2006 mix FabricLive.27. He answered some questions for AK ahead of The BGC Presents Funk Ain't Noise Pollution with DJ Format at Yukunkun on May 31.
AK: You’ve been involved with Jurassic 5 numerous time over the years. How did that come about and what’s it like sharing the studio/stage with an act of such legendary status?
I was J5's bus driver when they did their first UK tour in 1998. I spent about two weeks with them so we became friends during that time. It was a pleasure to watch them play their show every night because I was a massive fan of their music, and I could learn so much from the way they put on a great show and entertained everyone. A few years later I saw Chali 2na at a festival in London and I asked him about featuring on a song for my first album. The timing was perfect because I released my album around the time of J5's big European tour in 2003 and I was invited to support them, with Canadian MC Abdominal. It was the best three weeks of my life, that's all I can say!
AK: You have described your sound in the past as
“proper hip hop” and as being most inspired by the sound of the 80s and early 90s. What do you feel about the state of modern hip hop? I don't really listen to much modern hip hop because it doesn't excite me anymore. I'm still passionate about old hip hop but I mostly listen to music from the late '60s and early '70s. Soul, rock, jazz, blues and of course funk.
I always plan mixes carefully and plan short sections to mix in clubs. I like to be sure that the transition between songs will be good and the mood will be right. It might sound boring but I spend a lot of time at home just playing records and trying to find the best way to fit them into my routines. I can only bring a limited amount of records when I travel abroad but when I'm playing in England I like to bring some random records with me to do some mixes on the fly.
AK: Vinyl has made a huge comeback in the recent
years and websites like Discogs have played a big part in that. What do you think about the rise of these sites and their effect on the crate digging? Sites like Discogs are both good and bad. Now anyone can sell their records directly from their house anywhere in the world, which means you can instantly find records that you would never have been able to find before. And that is great! The bad thing is that a lot of people don't have any idea about selling records & describing their condition, also they often don't know the real value of certain records and stupidly list them for crazy high prices. This can have a knock-on effect when other people copy the stupid price and create a false value of a record.
sometimes it's nice to have someone else with you on the journey. My biggest disappointment is usually when I see a live hip hop act, especially an old rap group that used to be incredible...but now they are old, fat and lazy, and don't even have enough respect for their fans to bother rehearsing their comeback performance. I don't want to name any names but there are a lot of old groups doing that at the moment. It can almost ruin the respect you had for them before.
AK: What's the best music to get you in the mood with a girl back at your flat - do you feel a pressure to impress with your choices?
I guess that would depend on the girl but I would probably play some mellow '60s jazz. I wouldn't try to be clever with my choice, I'd just play some classic Blue Note jazz because those albums are timeless. Girls aren't usually impressed by records anyway!
AK: What do you like to do after a gig, barring an early morning flight?
After a gig...I'm usually drunk and want to eat chips! That probably sounds terrible but it's true...I'm a typical English bloke and I always want to eat chips when I'm a bit drunk. Sometimes a cup of tea and a slice of toast is perfect but chips are usually the easier option late at night.
It is definitely getting harder to find good, interesting and/or rare records in shops because most dealers prefer to sell them online. I don't understand why but I guess they think they can get a higher price on eBay. Sometimes that is true, but sometimes they can get much less money.
AK: This is your first time coming to Beirut. What have you heard about the city/scene? What are you expecting?
I've only heard good things about Beirut from my friends that have been there. They say it is a friendly, modern city that is a lovely, interesting place to visit. I hope they are right, I'm really looking forward to experiencing Beirut myself!
AK: What's the most anti-social thing a fellow
DJ/MC can do? What or who's been your biggest disappointment? Sometimes digging for records can be quite an antisocial thing because if you are concentrating on searching through lots and lots of records and then listening carefully to them, you don't want someone talking to you! I prefer to dig alone but
FabricLive.27 [Fabric] Again & Again (DJ Format mix) [Freestyle Records] I'm Good (DJ Format Remix) [ [PIAS] Recordings] Last Bongo In Brighton [Genuine] Run With It featuring DJ Format (Original Mix] [Passenger]
06 FLASHBACKS & REVELATIONS
FLASHBACKS & REVELATIONS A month of the hottest parties for your viewing pleasure
FLASHBACKS & REVELATIONS 07
BPHOTOS018BY CARL HALAL
08 FLASHBACKS & REVELATIONS
CPHOTOSU NXT SAT BY CARL HALAL
FLASHBACKS & REVELATIONS 09
DECKS ON THE BEACH PHOTOGRAPHER: ZEINA SHAHIN
10 FLASHBACKS & REVELATIONS
MIX FM, BEIRUT IN THE MIX AND KICKS'N TIES PHOTOGRAPHER: MIKE OSSMAN
FLASHBACKS & REVELATIONS 11
THE GÄRTEN BY ÜBERHAUS PHOTOS BY VALENTINA LOLA VERA & NICOLAS CARDAHI
12 SUMMER PREVIEW
C U NXT SAT Born from the ashes of the Basement, C U NXT SAT first opened its doors in March 2012. Originally setting up in the Philka Building in Dora, rebranding it as The Warehouse, the established party crew has been hosting their summer events at Sporting since 2012. This year will be no different as the crew looks to hold down your Saturday evening potentially right the way through to November.
DON'T SWEAT IT A guide to where to go to stay cool this summer
Last year saw international acts including Rodriquez Jr, Butch and Kate Simko, plus longstanding residents Jade, TM and Vonclad Jandam. This summer they’ve already got a headstart on everyone else, with their second event of the season taking place on May 10th. Their season opener was a hit, and a hint that Sporting will be a hot spot once again this summer. Their signature, multicoloured dance floor was packed as people flocked to party under the moonlight for one of the first times this year. German maestro Martin Eyerer was on the decks, keeping everyone on their feet with his usual tech-house. They closed out May with another big turn out, but now look to be moving to a new spot. While there are some murmurs about Sin Al Fil’s Garden State as the possible location, we will just have to wait and see where their next move is. With a loyal clientele that swells in the height of summer, C U NXT SAT is not where you go to avoid someone. Pumping out accessible music and regularly hosting cleverly themed nights, C U NXT SAT has become one of Beirut’s most successful party brands in the last two years. This summer, just like the last, they will unveil a new theme and announce several special events. Although they’ve remained vague on exactly what they have in store, we expect some serious quality international talent. We understand that Vincenzo and Ninetoes are on the books. In their bid to support live music, the guys have already hosted local artists including Who Killed Bruce Lee, Adonis and ETYEN on their C U NXT LIVE nights this year and we imagine more is to come on that front.
Previously Sporting. Moving to Garden State?
Every Saturday closing mid- to end-November
WHAT TIME: 9pm-late
Pan-Pot, Vincenzo, Ninetoes
SUMMER PREVIEW 13
DECKS ON THE BEACH
Decks on The Beach was launched in 2012 by Youssef Harati and Olivier Gasnier Duparc. The pair are no strangers to the nightlife scene, having operated the trailblazing Behind the Green Door for over five years, and the night has quickly became a summer institution. Decks, as it’s known, has its origins in the 2011 summer season. “In 2011, rooftop clubs were all the craze, but they all looked and felt the same. The vibe was about bling, showing off big bottles [and] dressing up like you're going to a wedding/funeral, and sadly the music was always atrocious EDM-cum-eurodance,” Harati recalls. “Decks on the Beach was our attempt to bring the rooftop down to the ground floor, or in our case, to the beach.
Electric Sundown made its debut during last year’s crowded summer season at the lavish Iris Beach in Damour. Bringing names such as Lee Burridge, Thugfucker, Guti and Audiofly to the seafront venue, the new brand wasted no time making waves in the scene. Entertainment manager Elias Fox Semaan describes the concept as “a party not unlike those of Miami Beach or Tulum,” promising beachgoers the feeling that they have “momentarily ‘left’ Lebanon, if only for the party itself.” However, in a season plagued with political instability and its attendant cancellations, the all-day affair failed to reach its full potential. That being said, it was the scene for some truly massive events. Thugfucker dropped one of the summer’s most memorable sets and clubbers who went the distance were rewarded with a realtreat. The mid-summer collaboration with Sunsets and Underrated brought Guti, Pillow Talk, Peak & Swift and a great lineup of locals together for a daytime party that lasted past sundown.
The Gärten, from those who brought you überhaus and, this year, Nacht, opened last year in a lot besides what would become Skybar’s winter venue, The O1NE. The pop-up nightclub consists of a massive free standing dome, several platforms of seating, loads of greenery and a “grassy” lounge area. Coming onto the scene just last summer, The Gärten followed in it’s sister club’s footsteps by bringing top notch talent every week. Danny Daze, Catz N Dogz, Francesca Lombardo, Sub-An, My Favorite Robot, Agoria... you get the picture. A who's who international line up and the truly impressive outdoor space ensure that the Biel-based club was last summer's runaway success (and no, we’re not just saying that).
The idea was to revert back to the fundamentals: loud music, easy drinks, an outdoor location in the city that's familiar to all, and dancing. Guys can wear shorts and flipflops, girls can come in high heels or barefoot, drinks are affordable, and most importantly, the music is festive and uplifting,” he continues. And in essence it’s the straightforward, no-frills attitude that has propelled Decks from what at the time some may have said was an overly ambitious project, to become one of the city’s favorite summertime festivities. Decks kicked off this year on May 30 and will run every Friday until about October. A nu-disco tinged affair, the weekly party will bring back Villa, Darius and Attari, none of whom are strangers to the Lebanese crowd. Also expects the likes of Jacques Renault (which should be massive), Jupiter and Manchester’s Star Slinger to make cameos throughout the the season. In a scene where key players are perpetually trying to outdo one another, Decks’ low key attitude is a breath of fresh air. “We like to keep things simple. No flashing lights and lasers, just good music,” Youssef quips when quizzed on what changes partygoers can expect this year. However he does inevitably concede that “the line-up is more eclectic this year; we really want to be able to showcase different trends in today's music, not just deep house or nu-disco. Also we should have more live sets this year, as opposed to pure DJ sets in the past.”
This year the party kicked off on Friday, May 30 and the heralded the return of Audiofly. With some more of last year’s biggest hitters, including Lee Burridge, Thugfucker, Guti and Audiofly already confirmed, Electric Sundown looks to pick up directly where it left off. The experience will be enhanced by adding a happy hour special and providing a BBQ smoker pit for those who manage to retain their appetite. Semaan adds that “the concept itself will be enhanced in terms of lighting, a stage renovation, palm trees and more, lush greenery.” On the collaboration front, Electric Sundown will be teaming up with überhaus throughout the summer to give the parties and venue a “unique touch” (whatever that means). All in all, barring a repeat of last year’s unfortunate events, Electric Sundown and Iris Beach look like the place to be for sun, tunes and a sunset drink this summer.
Sporting Club, Raouche
Fridays, closing sometime in October
Irfane, FKJ, Star Slinger, Jacques Renault, Jupiter, Villa, Darius, Attari
Iris Beach, Damour
Bi-weekly starting Friday, May 30, closing Friday, September 12
6pm-midnight Lee Burridge, Thugfucker, Guti, DJ Tennis, Audiofly
So what’s in store for The Gärten’s sophomore season? General Manager Nemer Saliba was tight-lipped on the specifics but ensured that “something big” was in the works. In terms of music we can continue to expect a balanced mix of forward thinking names and crowd favourites. Word on the streets is that Resident Advisor’s designated 2013 laureate, Dixon, will be plying his trade in the capital this summer. Mario Basanov’s breakthrough audio/visual Ten Walls has already confirmed his involvement via Facebook, and Irish hotshot Mano Le Tough will also be gracing the stage. In terms of venue improvements Saliba was able to tell us that there are plans to create “some sort of playground space, as well as a lounge behind the DJ booth for friends, family and industry people.” Judging by the amount of people on stage at any one point last summer – and it was frankly ridiculous – it looks like that lounge could very well turn into a club within a club...we’re not really sure how we feel about that. Continuing with last summer's program the venue will also host its monthly collaboration with Metropolis Cinema. Starting June 14, four music related films will be screened in the grassy half of the venue before the night kicks off. The club will also be screening the FIFA World Cup matches which coincide with their Saturday nights, so you can trip on Iran v Nigeria while Steve Bug goes to work on everyone that actually has a life.
Weekly starting Saturday, June 7, closing sometime in October
WHAT TIME: 8pm-late
Dixon, Ten Walls, Fur Coat, Mano Le Tough, My Favorite Robot
14 FEATURED ARTIST
GOOD AFTERNOON Daytime partying pioneer Philip Bader talks prepping the dancefloor and that Ibiza feeling
FEATURED ARTIST 15 AK: What makes Off week such a special event and sets
gives the city its edge? Why has it always been such an important place for dance music?
Off Sonar has a special energy every year. It feels like the whole city is throwing one big party! You meet everybody at these special locations. I love the fact that the venues are spread out all over the city, in the mountains and next to pools and of course on rooftops.
Berlin is full of techno clubs. So many different and amazing places. Big, perfect clubs to lose yourself in music, like Berghain or Watergate. Or day and night clubs, out and inside like Sysiphos or Zur wilden Renate. Living in Berlin is [also] cheap. So a lot of freaks come to live and party there. Also many many DJs are living in Berlin now. It’s like a big family. You have the space in Berlin to create things. Especially in the summertime, it’s amazing. All over, [there are] free open air parties...this city burns.
it apart from other festivals?
AK: You were the resident at the infamous Bar 25 in
Berlin. What did you learn from that experience? Are residencies on the wane as electronic music grows? Any advice to resident DJs out there when opening or closing for a big act? The Bar 25 years were such an amazing time. I learnt so much. And found and lost myself. (Haha) No, for real. To play at such a prestigious location was a great experience. A residency is a very, very rare thing these days. But it gives you a great opportunity to learn your trade. If you open for a big act you need to prepare the crowd and not take away too much. It’s a skill most young DJs don’t know anymore. They go out all guns blazing and play all the hits ‘cause they think that’s what the crowd expects…but you need to learn to develop your own style and in the end you bring your sound to the crowd that makes you special and an asset of that club. It’s easy banging out current hits, the real skill is to respect your peers and prepare the dance floor for a big bang when you hand over to the bigger name guests. But in the end, the most important thing is to have fun with what you do.
AK: In 2006 you launched your Dantze label with
Niconé. Why was it important to you to start your own label? Why do you think we are seeing so many artists venturing into label ownership?
erlin owes a lot to Philip Bader’s teenage girlfriend, who took a 16-year-old Bader to his first underground techno party. By the next year, 1998, Bader was playing at the old Tresor club. He went on to start Max und Moritz with a few friends, who kickstarted the city’s Sunday afternoon partying tradition with the Gelee Royal Sunday parties. His carefully placed and haunting vocals have characterized his releases on a string of labels including Electric Avenue, Kindisch, Saved and Stil vor Talent and in 2006 Bader began his own label Dantze with his friend Niconé. This summer he’ll be part of überhaus’s showcase during Barcelona’s Off Sonar, so we caught up with him for a chat.
AK: What’s on the horizon for you? What are your plans for the upcoming summer season and future productions?
A lot. I want to invest and expand my studio a lot over the next few months; buy more equipment and more machines, have more fun. I also want to make more tracks as collaborations with my DJ friends. I love this energy. To create music together .
AK: Tell us about your ideal day off? Pool. Sun. Phone off.
AK: If you couldn’t be involved in music what would you be doing right now?
I don’t know. I love music so much. Traveling around the world and meeting people...I don’t know what else to do?!
AK: What's your greatest virtue and your greatest vice? Dont wanna tell all my secrets...
It’s easy. We just want to release good music/our music, what we love and feel. No discussions, no feedback shit. No “please change this or that”. Just music. And I think that’s the reason why so many DJs [are] starting labels.
AK: When listening to submissions to your label what
are you looking for? Any advice for producers looking to catch your attention? Catchy, groovy, special techno and tech-house tracks... good stuff
AK: Since you started throwing the Gelee Royal Sunday
afternoon parties with a few friends, the concept of a Sunday day time party has gone on to become a bit of a Berlin institution. What do you think makes a good party? How does the atmosphere differ from a daytime event to traditional club event?
Daytime parties have always got a special vibe to them … it’s this summertime feeling. Outside, sun, everybody is smiling. I love the energy from dancing outside in daytime. Little bit of an Ibiza feeling.
AK: Berlin has been something of an epicenter of
electronic dance music since its origins. What do you feel
soundcloud.com/philip-bader/ www.facebook.com/ philipbader.official Mama Simba (Original Mix [Tretmuehle] Lonely (Animal Trainer Remix) [re:mount] Mama Simba (Original Mix) [DJ Series]
YOUTH CULTURE The birth and slow demise of an urban creative collective By: Alberto Mucci Photography: SĂŠbastian Dahl
walked into what later became The Kindergarten last September. A few days before, I had met Norwegian photographer Sebastian Dahl at a party in Hamra. He had a bike and I was looking for one, there was a spare room in his house and I needed a place. He invited me for dinner the week after. As I arrived I met Rich Thornton, an Englishman working for a magazine he disliked while writing a play. He was slouching on a black office chair in the middle of a large empty room surrounded by worn out furniture, empty bottles and seven black cats – all called “Rami,” I was promptly informed with a large smile.
“Yeah, you know" – Rich said after the formal introductions – "we do a bit of this and that,” pointing in the direction of a blue plastic cushion on which a red stylized man was dancing on top of a sign: “We do it Keith Haring style.” Then Boudi arrived. Short, a round face, a large smile, Lebanese, working for an engineering company; our first conversation was about his name: “Boudi is just a nickname, my real name is Abdul Rahman Chamma. Can you pronounce it?” I couldn’t. “Can you say mine?” I questioned him in reply. He could, Italian rolled ‘r’ and everything. “That’s almost sexy,” I answered. I moved in the following week. It was clear from the start that everyone living in the Furn El Chebbak space wanted to work with one another, to make the place something more than the sum of its individual parts. Still, it took a few months to start defining ourselves a collective. We had organized a few events and parties together, but it was not until we hosted Italian artist and filmmaker Pamoa Irata that we decided to give ourselves the name. “Guys, we are like a collective,” Pamoa shouted with a large smile a couple of nights after “Boudi Call,” a party we organized last October. Pamoa’s ideas quickly seeped in. The next day Boudi created a Facebook page for The Kindergarten
and Sebastian designed the logo and chose the name. “Kindergarten”, because that's in fact what the space had once been (it also was a couple of years ago the de facto headquarters of the not-too-successful Lebanese Secular Party), “collective” because we had decided that was what we wanted to be and “unlimited” to reflect the idea everyone who has lived in The Kindergarten could set up his or her own version wherever he or she would move to next. We were ready to host our first exhibition and there was only one rule: everyone staying in the house had to contribute somehow. Pamoa projected a short clip he had directed on the Egyptian uprising; Sebastian printed and hung his work about the Beirut Hippodrome; Imad Habbab, a Syrian painter that had joined the house a month prior, hung some of his paintings on the wall; Boudi showed some of his photographic work; Rich entertained the guests with short personal performances behind a closed door; Livia Valensise, a German journalist visiting the country, made a hopscotch out of tape in the entrance – still there today – and I wrote a mock manifesto that called for the gentrification of Furn El Chebbak.
That evening the crowd was mixed. There were foreigners living in Lebanon, as well as Lebanese. We invited our neighbours to come down and see the art; Boudi and Abir, the Lebanese of the house, made it a point to invite their Lebanese friends and Imad, the Syrian painter, invited his. We were all keen to not be a house catering to Beirut’s expat community and to try not to be insular. Most people left with a smile on their face and the next day we received positive feedback through Facebook. This made us realize for the first time how unique our space was in the context of the city. Beirut has galleries, house parties, clubs and collectives, but we were really none of the above. Rather The Kindergarten was a mishmash of all those things. We were happy with what we had put together and were certain we had fulfilled our desire for The Kindergarten to be somewhere that provided something of a public service, and not just a place of hedonism. Questions started to arise. First and foremost: why were we all so keen to promote arts and culture even though none of us, with the exception of Imad, was an artist. I still have no clear answer to that. On the one hand,
as Rich wrote on the “about us” of the Facebook page, The Kindergarten was “born from the belief that people work better together, not alone.” On the other, the drive to work with others had, I believe, to come first and foremost from the individual itself and his personal initiative. In The Kindergarten it was common to come back home and find the living room turned into a completely new space or to discover that Imad had dedicated the day to building new furniture that everyone in the place could use and enjoy. Everyone understood some things had to be done and that dedicating time to building something others could also enjoy and take positive energy from was essential to create precisely the atmosphere that made The Kindergarten such a unique place; a space that was open, collaborative and warm and where everyone could feel comfortable in themselves. During these eight months I saw people who had no idea how to play guitar pick one up and join a jam-session with no hesitation; I saw one woman who had years previously given up her life as a classical dancer, start dancing again in the middle of the night, on the terrace, when she thought no one was looking. Over the last ten months we have hosted some 30 or 40 people from all over the world. Some were travellers,
some were artists; some stayed with us for a few days, some for almost a month. What they had in common was that they all took in the positive energy of the place and gave back; ideas, photos, a dinner, a small object they made, a contribution to one of the events we hosted. One traveller, Danish photographer Simon Skipper, was so struck by the place that he dedicated the photography project he had come looking for in Beirut to the space. Another, Jenni Ives, an English fire artist, offered to perform one of her shows in exchange for our hospitality. That night we organized a dinner, gathered some drums, cooked some food and sat down to watch a stunning fire dance. That night we also realized we had built a following. We organized the performance in one day, invited some people for dinner and posted an announcement of Jenni’s fire show on Facebook. About 30 people showed up. Sebastian was leaving at the end of December so we decided to throw a goodbye party for him, with a concept. Through Imad we met Wissam Muases, a Syrian up-cycler who transforms beer and wine bottles into cups, ashtrays and lamps. Hassan Nasser,
a Lebanese 22-year-old working in communications who was to move in, helped Wissam put together the presentation and put up a collage of photos and text that helped guests better understand Wissam’s work. Music followed. Beirut-based Hat Lan Shouf and Syrian ensemble Khebez Dawle performed non-stop for almost two hours. After that the party moved to the dark empty garage under our building, complete with candles, speakers and Greg Shaheen, an American-Lebanese living in Akkar, northern Lebanon, during the week and at The Kindergarten during weekends, on the tabel (an Arabic drum). It was only as we organized our last big event, Bikes&Beats, that we realized we might have grown too far from the smaller, more important community that gravitated around the place from the start of the experiment. Bikes&Beats was conceived with the intention of spreading bike culture in Beirut and we put together a great team: Matt Saunders, founder of Deghri Messengers, the first bike delivery service in the Arab world; Siwar Kraytem, a member of the Deghri team and the author of an upcoming book on cycling in Beirut (ABCycling); Monica Basbous, an architect and the mind behind the project for a public space on the Beirut Green Line, which included a bike path, and Tim
Davies, an Australian traveller who the previous month had taken Sebastian’s place and was able to lead a very successful debate. Before the talk, outside on the terrace, Abir (the only female kindergartener – I take the occasion to say thanks to her for her patience in dealing with guys all the time), together with Imad, prepared a performance in which Abir’s skateboard and her tricks became the paintbrush of a gigantic canvas. Bikes&Beats was powerful, but it turned out to be excessive. After the talk the place transformed into a party. There was too much empty talk, little sharing among guests, few new ideas floating around and a lot of hedonism. One interaction struck me above all. Boudi and I went around asking people for a few bucks to be able to give something to the artists as a symbol of respect for their work. Despite the effort, very few people were willing to give anything. After Bikes&Beats a number of us lost some of the original energy and found it hard to find direction. We tried to plan another event, but it soon crumbled under lack of belief. I started thinking that it was maybe time to go back to the roots, to start simple again, from where
it all came from: a group of artists, writers, creatives or simply people with good energy to share hanging out together, enjoying themselves and working on projects together. We are getting kicked out at the end of August. The landlady wants to sell the house or raise the rent by 50 percent. We are bummed, are decrying gentrification (aware of the irony that we, of course, are partially responsible) and our landlady, but in a sense we are glad about it. Not because we regret the experience, but because running such a space has been an intense struggle – with ourselves, the neighborhood and the community that surrounded it – one that has made some of the members tired and ready to move on to new projects. The Kindergarten will most probably slowly fizzle out by September and this thought has brought the last two drifting months here to a halt. Confronted with the possible end of such a special space we have found new energy and the will to consider where we've come from, to understand how unique the space is for us and for everyone who passed through. Because ultimately, the ups of the project have given much more than the downs have taken away.
20 FEATURED ARTIST
LA hipsters Dance Spirit on taking yourself too seriously
FEATURED ARTIST 21
os Angeles producers Reagan Denius and Chistopher Mohn aka Dance Spirit have come a long way since they began making music under their previous Android Cartel moniker. We sit down with the dynamic duo and try to get to the bottom of their self-described philosophy, making the move to Europe and their live set.
buying A-list talent to “break in”, I think has been the worst context for our music from an artistic and cultural point of view. However, the trade-off of the popularization can be good for business; it has just been troubling for us to watch as we have been listening to the music before it was being bought and sold by major corporations. As for our own music, I don’t know if there is a worst context, as we love sharing our music with anyone with an open ear, I suppose if a DJ sped up the BPMs to 180 and mixed it with dubstep, it would be a horrific slaughter of our creations.
AK: What’s been your biggest regret so far with your musical career?
Being compulsive and not organic.
AK: What’s the most anti-social thing a fellow act can do?
Pull diva attitudes and treat their fellow party people like dirt.
AK: Tell us a little about the Dance Spirit philosophy
AK: It’s been said that some people in electronic music take themselves too seriously. What are your thoughts?
The Dance Spirit philosophy is based on our artistic principles and attitudes about life in general. Music just happens to be the channel that we conduct our souls through to tap into the energy of the universe, to bring about our inner creativity and the creative process. It's all about positive mental attitude, good vibes, and using music to bring about the inner and outer peace that we can attain within ourselves and our minds in order to retain the full power of the subconscious.
It just depends on how hard you are trying I guess. It’s a scene of being “cool” and everyone has his or her own definition of being cool. But it’s the divas, DJs, producers, dancers, hipsters, hippies, freaks, clubbers, and party people that weave the colorful cloak of our culture. We all love the music and we are here together because of it, and at the end of the day ego is the biggest killer.
AK: You guys reinvented yourselves in the last couple of
Depends on what time we play and how good the party/ after party is. Meeting people and experiencing them is the best part of being a performer. This world is full of crazy awesome and interesting multidimensional beings!
years, from Android Cartel to Dance Spirit. What brought on that change? We were really inspired by what Maceo Plex, Visionquest, and Tale Of Us were doing. They were (and still are) so creative with melody and emotion and made it tangible and intriguing. Minimal and techno had dominated for so long that the trail these guys were blazing was fun and exciting to listen to so we decided to follow suit.
AK: What do you like to do after a gig?
AK: Why is it so important for you guys to be a solely live act, and how does it differ for the crowd than a DJ act?
Well, it is a lot more exciting to connect with a crowd when you are performing your own music and you can get the kind of reception that you normally would DJing. We have a high level of output as we are in the studio constantly, so we have a wide range of loops, grooves, sounds, and songs that we can work into our sets. We have also crafted music for specific festivals or parties we played at, and generally have the right kind of music to accommodate our set times/party.
Well, we are very possessive of dance music, so the popularization of psychedelic and emotional dance music lately, and other pop stars crossing the lines and
After that it’s all perception: if you can get a party going and people know your performance is live, it definitely has a bit more of a wow factor. The only thing we have noticed
Dance Spirit is who we are, and at this point, when we sit down and create it is as natural as walking around the block.
AK: What’s the worst context you’ve ever heard your
going live is that while we still purchase and keep up with the music, when we do DJ an after party or something it's harder to get into the groove because we are not as in touch with playing the music as a DJ would be. As far as technology goes, manufacturers keep creating products that are bringing the studio into the DJ booth, so live performance is becoming more readily available to the masses.
AK: What’s coming up for you guys? Right now we have a couple of things coming out with our Supernature family. We have an EP slated for June that we are really excited about. Our much-anticipated LP will follow this in July. We are excited beyond words about releasing this album. We actually finished it last year and it still sounds very good, and our intent for the music is still ringing true. We are also moving from LA to Barcelona this summer, which is going to be a thrilling experience. We have a few gigs lined up for the Supernature and Flying Circus Off Sonar parties, as well as multiple gigs at the Flying Circus Ibiza at Sankeys. Other than that we are going to be creating a ton of music and art and enjoying our friends.
AK: What are you guys listening to at the moment? We are always listening to Ricardo Villalobos and Pink Floyd. They are our main musical inspirations. Absolutely love what Ryan Crosson and Cesar Merveille are crafting together. As far as dance music, we listen to a vast array of genres. The recent cart contained the new Chris Lattner & East End Dubs EP which is awesome, Cari Lekebusch, &me, Brett Johnson. We also pay attention to the top 100 stuff a lot, like the new Maceo Plex stuff, or Guy Gerber is always good to listen to as their productions, melody, and ability to build tension is always admirable and you can learn something.
Los Angeles, California
110 Stairs (Original Mix) [Culprit] THIS FREAK (DANCE SPIRIT FLASHBACK REMIX) [Supernature] Patterns (Original Mix) [Superfreq] Fuschia (Original Mix) [Supernature]
THE BEAT GOES ON The Roland TR-808, from failure to iconic status By: Atticus Hoffman
t may never be possible to digitally reconstruct the analog sound of one of Roland's most famous drum machines, the TR-808; its crunchy snares and hi-hats, a particularly poignant cowbell sound, the booming bass drum that drowned out anything in its way. But Roland’s announcement earlier this year that it was releasing an updated version, the AIRA TR-8, is a testament to the role that once humble drum machine has had in popular music. Although its successor, the TR-909, has become a staple of electronic music, the 808 was a flop during the brief three years of its production, but has a mythology surrounding it unlike any other piece of musical hardware.
In a recent promotional video, featuring a variety of house and techno artists, Roland lets the producers check out the new hardware. Kenny Dope and Toddy Terry, house forefathers who built their sound on the original Roland machines, meticulously look over the machine, shifting beats and flipping every switch on the board before coming to a verdict; “That’s dope. It’s all dope.” I was sitting in a studio in Crouch End, North London, when I first heard the Roland TR-808 in its raw form. It was a staple of the drum patterns of my two favorite genres of music, then and now, house and hip hop; instantly recognizable in songs such as 808 State’s “Pacific State of Mind” and Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” But to hear it bouncing along, no vocals, no synths, immediately stirred something. Within the realm of electronic music almost every modern producer has the samples for the classic drum machine loaded into their preferred digital sequencer, but to hear the analog machine at work was something special. Beside me in the studio, Ernie Mckone, previously the bassist for acts such as Seal, Leon Ware and Marlena
Shaw, was nodding along to the thumping kick drum. This wasn’t the first time he’d played around on the 808, but I could see the spark in his eye as if he was rediscovering the sound of his past. He twisted the controls, manipulating the sequence of the drum and shifting their tone from up to down. His excitement grew with each 16-step pattern he tweaked and changed. As he was playing with the machine he recounted various bands and artists he’d worked with that had used the 808 to define their sound. The drum machine was part of his musical history. The808 is not valued for its realistic approach to drum synthesis. Early criticisms of the machine when it first came out focused on the fact its pre-programmed sounds reflected a distorted take on real drums. One review accused it of sounding like “marching anteaters”. The 808 was also in competition with Roger Linn’s LM-1 drum computer, which had already asserted itself as an industry favorite. In its mere three years of production, from 1980 to 1983, only 12,000 units were moved. The music world wrote it off as a failure, preferring the next generation Roland TR-909, which would come to define house and techno drum patterns.
But as with any new sound, there were the visionaries who saw its potential. In 1982 that visionary was Afrika Bambaataa. Gang banger turned Zulu Nation leader, Bambaataa saw a vision for the Bronx in the 1980s beyond the gang wars, crack epidemic and municipal neglect that had left the uptown neighborhood such a mess. The clothes he wore in his music video pegged his aesthetic somewhere between Native American chieftain and gold plated Zulu warrior. For his 1982 debut, “Planet Rock”, Bambaataa looked to a futuristic, synth-heavy, German band called Kraftwerk for the melodies he would sample and the Roland TR-808 for the drum sequences to bring those melodies alive. Where other musicians saw a failed drum machine, Bambaataa saw a sound that he would designate as the future of hip hop. The story goes that Bambaataa and his sound engineer, Arthur Baker, were shopping around for the drums that they wanted use to help define their new blend of synth infused hip hop. They settled on the 808 but at over $1,000 at the time, neither could afford the machine. They turned to the classified section of the Village Voice, where they saw an ad for someone renting their
808 for $30 an hour, and history was made. From that album on, the Roland TR-808 took its place firmly in the history of hip hop. On albums such as Nas’ Illmatic the 808 was used to give an added crunch to the drum breaks selected by legendary producers such as DJ Premier, Large Professor and Pete Rock. The 808’s power of reinvention didn’t stop at hip hop. After the death of lead singer Ian Curtis in 1980, Manchester-based Factory Records had few expectations for what was left of Joy Division; Curtis was seen as the soul and creative genius of the band. Joy Division's status as the forerunners of the new wave sound sweeping through Manchester and across England was in limbo. But pushing past the death of Curtis, the remaining members of Joy Division created New Order. The band went on to become representative of the synthesizer and drum machine trend that dominated British music for a time. New Order's first big single, “Blue Monday”, which featured the 808’s competitor, the Oberheim DMX, created a buzz around the band that would position them at the forefront of the British dance music scene. But however popular “Blue Monday” was, the single
that solidified New Order’s avant-garde dance music status was “Confusion”. The band recorded the single in New York City, under the supervision of one Arthur Baker. Baker and New Order chose the 808 to represent the new sound of electronic music. While the drums evoke a slew of early 80s hip hop tunes, the melancholy synth lines and out-of-tune vocals blend with the electronic bop of the Roland drum machine to create something that at the time was totally fresh. Along with Afrika Bambaataa and New Order, the 808 sound became synonymous with Southern hip hop and helped build the foundation of a scene that is currently at the forefront of much of popular music. In the past five years, super producer Lex Luger has built the sound of trap, a club-ready sub genre of
rap dominated by big kicks, snares and triplet hi-hat rhythms, on the 808. More than anything else the extraordinary quality of the 808 is the way in which producers continue to look back to it for the sound of the future. Many drum machines that were initially chosen over the 808 have been put on producer’s dusty shelves as a nostalgic nod to the evolutionary progression of electronic sound. But the 808 lives on. It’s hard to say whether or not the legitimacy of a sound is left up to serendipity. If Arthur Baker and Afrika Bambaataa had never found that 808 for rent, the history of this drum machine could have been very different. “Planet Rock”, a defining moment in hip hop culture, would have been a very different record.
The updated 808 is a fitting memorial. The real issue is not whether the sound can be replicated, but the fact that a sound once so easily dismissed has been transformed into a cornerstone of music culture. In a subjective world, we can collectively determine whether something has the potential for the future. Maybe you’ll be sitting in Crouch End, maybe you’ll be sitting in the Bronx, or maybe even in Beirut.
TUNEAGE VARIOUS ARTISTS DEETRON
FABRIC 76 FABRIC JUNE 28
4/5 The swiss techno evangelist steps up to leave his mark on the legendary Fabric mix series. And leave it he does. The 28-track record is a barrage of everything from classic cuts (DJ Sneak, Gemini, E-Dancer) to cutting edge tunes from the likes of Four Tet and Terror Danjah. From the opening number – Carl Craig’s seminal remix of Johnny Bias – Deetron plunges straight into the origins of the music from which he’s made a career. It picks up a bit of pace by the time DJ Sneak’s 1996 classic “Who’s Knocking” drops into the mix. Deetron’s warm, soulful sound fills out the remainder of the set, before he illustrates his depth as a selector by dropping more pop-oriented numbers from Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace and Caribou. All around an excellent mix for one of electronic music's most celebrated establishments.
FRIENDS WILL NIGHTCLUBBING CARRY YOU (REISSUE) ISLAND RECORDS HOME MAY 1 PETS RECORDINGS MAY 19
4/5 The final chapter in this massive 18-track compilation is the best yet. It opens with the huge “I Can’t Breathe”, from Danny Daze, who is no stranger to this page. The track is mechanically aggressive and is certainly destined for big things this summer. Label heads Catz N Dogz combine with Bristolian bass junkie Eats Everything to become the aptly named Catz Eats Dogz, delivering the retro-laced anthem “Calling Every Day”. Next up, Kink jumps on Rachel Row’s “L Squared” to churn out a melodic, spacey slow burner. Also on remix duties KRL takes on Jay Lumen’s “Highway” and adds a distinctly disco vibe to the Hungarian’s latest mix. Bearlight & Solangi turn up with a slow rolling selection best for the after party and Eric Volta finishes the compilation with his excellent drum programming. Pets is very much a label firmly rooted in the present and this timely release certainly reaffirms that.
5/5 There is little light that a humble 150 word review can shed on the impact Grace Jones has made on fashion, music or popular culture. Having already conquered the Paris and fashion worlds by the 1970s, Jones turned her androgynous glare to the music industry in the 1980s. Nightclubbing was originally released in 1981, the second of three albums she would record for Island records in the Bahamas, and what would become her magnum opus. Its effect on pop music was immeasurable. With this release Jones sounded disco’s death knell and ushered in what would go on to be called new wave. Her influence can be heard in the groove of Massive Attack or LCD Soundsystem and her persona in the reflection of MIA or even Lady Gaga. The reissue presents a totally remastered take on her formative work and comes loaded with more b-sides and rarities than any crate digger could ever wish for.
SILICON REMIXES ULTRAMAJIC MAY 26
3.5/5 Danny Daze’s Silicon EP from Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic imprint was one of the biggest releases of this spring so this remix edition comes as no surprise. It opens with two versions of “Beatdown” by veteran producers Erika: “Spaced Up” is a massive track with loads of atmosphere while “Spaced Down” is made purely for the club. It’s easy to imagine the latter going off at some of the biggest nights in the world. Dimitri Veimar is on the duties for the brooding “When the Freaks Come Out”, which ends up sounding like a remix just for the sake of it. Ambivalent’s remix of “Silicon” is the EP’s crown jewel. The Berlin techno enthusiast transforms the big electro track, adding a new hook which works so well many will prefer it to the original. Jimmy Edgar finishes things up with a minimal version of “Beatdown”, stripping the track down and turning it into a late night banger.
MY FAVORITE ROBOT MANUEL TUR
ES CUB FREERANGE MAY 19
3/5 Manuel Tur’s music has always had an air of sophistication about it. Even at the age of 16 his debut EP “Caissa/Italo Fake” had the mark of an artist far beyond his years. Now 28, the Essen-raised producer and DJ continues to prove he has little interest in making music just for the dance floor. Here this is most apparent on tracks “Werk” and “Es Dub”, which would sound more at home in a posh restaurant than a club. Though the tracks are crisp and the production is top notch, even after repeated listens they offer little more than a lingering impression. Then there are tracks like “Ara Anam”, which floats in like a breath of fresh air and snaps you into consciousness. ‘Sophisticated’ is an epithet so often used to politely describe something boring when it comes to dance music; Manuel Tur does a great job of breaking and sustaining that stereotype at the same time.
MIRROR IMAGE EP MY FAVORITE ROBOT RECORDS MAY 12
2/5 To celebrate their label’s 100th release owners Jared Simms, Voytek Korab and James Teej, aka My Favorite Robot, have combined once again for the Mirror Image EP. “Dead of the Dance” opens the record with a haphazard start. Half brooding techno, half dystopian film soundtrack, the opener leaves much to be desired. Meanwhile, “Three Points” seems to suggest that the threesome are looking to explore some kind of darker, almost ethereal K-hole, which just never really gets going. “Window To Vertigo” offers up an initial glimmer of light with a decent acid lead. It almost sounds like it could work, but ultimately disintegrates into a repetitive loop that could have come from a 90s video game. Last track “Other Storm” is probably the EP’s best and most cohesive work, but if you’ve made it this far that isn’t saying very much. Pretty disappointing from a group of talented DJs and producers.
28 THE REVIEW
THE E REVIEW
very month The Review looks to tackle a different facet of human existence. This month: the Byblos Festival. The much anticipated summer music festival, which takes place this year from July 3 to August 19, is attended by loads of people from all walks of life. Let’s take a look at four of this year's most hyped events and just how tempted you’ll be to put down your hard earned cash to see them.
MASSIVE ATTACK TUESDAY, JULY 29
Of all the acts, Bristolian trip-hoppers Massive Attack have certainly made the biggest waves on social media channels. This will actually be the second time the duo have played in Lebanon, the first taking place in Baalbek, memorable mostly because one of the band fell and broke his leg during the gig. On the surface this is a pretty solid booking. Lebanon has had a pretty heavy love affair with trip hop in years past (see: Soapkills) and they’ve been cited as an inspiration by a fuck ton of people currently in the Lebanese music scene. Their most famous song also became the theme tune to TV show House, which people seem to be into, judging by pirate DVD shops in the capital at least. It loses points for freshness: a repeat showing in Lebanon, a decade on from their first, which was itself about 5 years after the band’s peak. Shit, there are kids getting excited about this on Facebook who could barely read when Mezzanine came out. Take that as you will…
BEIRUT TUESDAY, AUGUST 19 I give this one points just for being meta. Yes, Beirut is not actually playing in Beirut, but no doubt the band has no idea of any city other city in Lebanon other than the capital. Bonus points if Beirut plays Beirut in a city really close to Beirut. Zach Condon, the dude who started the band, once said the name was a good analogy for his music. Which confuses me because his music kind of sounds like a poor man’s version of the Garden State soundtrack with a madeline and some horns. I guess they also get a few points for not being that old and actually being somewhat relevant in the last 10 years (cf. The Scorpions).
THE REVIEW 29
YANNI SATURDAY, JULY 19
I confess that prior to writing this, I really had no fucking idea what Yanni’s music sounded like. In fact, I kind of got him confused with that dude Raffi, who used to throw massive raves for kids in, like, the 80s. However, Wikipedia quickly set me straight and also, as a bonus, taught me that Raffi is Egyptian. Anyway, apparently Yanni is a Greek guy who moved to America and started making some pretty weird music in the early 80s. After an intensive YouTube listening session I’ve decided he’s like Enya without any kind of vocals. Yanni played Byblos last year and got an invite back, so that must mean something. I think Yanni could be the dark horse of this year’s festival. With a lot of people sleeping on this gig (and probably at it), it could be one of those formative events in music you have to lie about attending, but that no one else can call out because no one was actually fucking there.
STROMAE TUESDAY, AUGUST 5 This last spot was a toss up between this dude and a Dutch symphonic metal band called Epica. Stromae won because I know one of his songs and you probably do too. His smash hit “Alors on Danse”, was so big that everyone from Jean-Claude Van Damme to Kanye West to fucking Nicolas Sarkozy was getting down to it. That being said, it’s probably one of the worst songs ever recorded. It was enough, however, to propel Stromae to international stardom and get his track banged in every shitty club from Malaga to Goa. Which, of course, means Beirut too. In summer 2009, you couldn’t go anywhere in the city without hearing this fucking song, it was seriously like Infinity status. These days it’s been all but relegated to decrepit beach clubs in Batroun and the massive sound systems of 1980-something BMWs. Do your part to keep it there by staying far, far away.
30 DAS KOMIC
DAS KOMIC 31
BENOIT & SERGIO
(DFA, VISIONQUEST, HOT CREATIONS – FR/US)
(UPON.YOU RECORDS, WATERGATE - GERMANY)
(MOBILEE - GERMANY)
(COCOON, OVUM RECORDINGS - IRELAND)
(LEFTROOM, VISIONQUEST - UK)
CRAIG(FABRIC RICHARDS - UK)
(LIFE AND DEATH, MAEVE - GERMANY)
(INNERVISIONS, LIFE AND DEATH - LITHUANIA)
MY (MFR FAVORITE ROBOT RECORDS - CANADA)
(HALLUCINATION LIMITED – NYC)
(CROSSTOWN REBELS - VENEZUELA)
(NNERVISIONS - GERMANY)
MANO LE TOUGH
(POKER FLAT, OVUM – DE)
TEN WALLS THREE
(DIYNAMIC MUSIC - ROMANIA)
(TRONIC, BEDROCK - BRAZIL)
(VITALIK, RHYTHM CULT - UK)
ALIAS ANDRE BULJAT CAB CODEFACE DAVID REYNER DIAMOND SETTER
GUNTHER HOUSECOAT JAVI SAMPOL JAY K LEITH & DA CHE NAMI
PHIL ROMAX & TIA RONIN & NESTA TECHNOPHILE VATCHE XANDER
GATES OPEN JUNE 7