Sunday, 30 October 2011
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Here is a review I did for Resident Advisor on Omar S at PS1. It was a great day, much enjoyed by all.
Having been held for 14 years now, MoMA PS1's Warm Up, a series of parties in the Long Island City venue's giant courtyard, have set something of a benchmark for summertime electronic music in New York. Acts like Chez Damier, DJ Harvey, Spacetime Continuum, Afrika Bambaataa and Carl Craig have provided New Yorkers with the sort of uniquely euphoric moments that this wonderful space was tailor-made for, and the recent booking of Omar-S lay the groundwork for another healthy event.
For those arriving from Manhattan, there are a number of ways of accessing the venue, but few can claim to be as good a warm up for the Warm Up as taking the water taxi from East 34th Street. After an edifying walk from the shore side, we entered to see Beppe Loda, a PS1 veteran, guiding the small but growing crowd through a selection of his trademark afro-cosmic electro. Lindstrom's "I Feel Space" sidled up comfortably alongside Henrik Schwarz's "Kuar" remix. Like a muddled cross between New Order and Oneohtrix Point Never, Steve Moore's 45 minute synth excursion after Loda's set failed to set feet a-tapping, the dance floor thinning as the beer tents bulged.
This lull played into Simian Mobile Disco's hands. Feelings tend to be divided over SMD, with harsher critics accusing them of straying closer to pop than heads down house and techno, even if Delicacies and some of the tracks on Is Fixed showed that they knew their Blake Baxter from their Burt Bacharach. Here they started strongly. Levon Vincent's "Man or Mistress" and Axel Boman's "Purple Drank" provided early highlights as a wave of cooling rain ruffled hipster hairdos. Then came Oliver $'s "Doin" Ya Thing." And then the crowd went wild. Much digital ink has been spilled over the relative vices and virtues of this Moodymann-sampling ditty. Having witnessed its rapturous reception here, it seems safe to assume that this particular crowd wasn't overly caught up in issues of intellectual property.
Omar-S took to the stage as the rain started falling more heavily, and "Here's Your Trance Now Dance" was welcomed by a patchwork of bobbing umbrellas, each a toadstool of approval. The precipitation did nothing to cool the crowd's enthusiasm, and the Detroit resident's vocal-heavy set provided a glorious complement to the simple enjoyment of dancing in the warm summer rain.
These parties do an admirable job of walking a difficult tightrope between anaesthetised commercialism, art world bureaucracy and dance floor mayhem. It is in the crowd's recognition of how unique these events are that provides the stimulus, year in, year out, for collective explosions of smiling faces and hands in the air. When the last record stopped spinning at 9 PM, most were too grateful to complain.
Monday, 22 August 2011
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
On Good Friday (April 22), we will be hosting the second PUEBLO at Miss Tipsy Champagneria, Falckensteinstr. 16. The last one was a real success so if you find yourself in Berlin this Easter, pop down. Music comes from myself, Tommy, Will Davis, and Jack Haighton (RA).
A few weeks ago, as a wave of unseasonably warm weather hit Berlin, I found myself one Saturday afternoon in Golden Gate, one of Berlin's most underground spots. I've spoken about Golden Gate at length on this blog and don't plan to write any more about it now. For those that are interested, there is another nice piece on it here. Suffice to say though, that it stays open pretty much non-stop from Thursday through Monday, and features some of Berlin (and Germany's) younger, up and coming talents, rather than the big names you tend to see at Berghain, Arena, etc etc. Although it's not unusual to see house acts here (I remember one memorable set from Oskar Offermann and Edward), the music policy tends to be more plonkety plonk tech house, and marching minimal. Not everyone's cup of tea, but those inside don't seem to mind much. The soundsystem is compact, but punchy and always seems to deliver. On this auspicious Saturday, a young female DJ from Cologne was playing called Anna Steffens. After the show we shared a beer and a Jaegermeister and she agreed to answer a few questions. Thanks a lot to Anna, and if you find yourself in Cologne, go check her out.
Hi, could you tell me a bit about yourself, and where you come from?
Hi, I'm from Cologne and I've been living there for ten years now. I grew up in Remagen, near Bonn, and after school I moved to Cologne to work in the media. But then I decided to study (Music, English, Communication) and started DJing by the way.
How did you end up DJing in Golden Gate? How did your set go?
Two years ago I played in Wilde Renate and someone listened to my set. He's a friend of the guys who do the 5vor12 parties and he asked the booker to invite me to play one afternoon. I liked the atmosphere and the staff and crowd were really nice. It was fun to play there and i think they liked what i played, I didn't hear any contrary. :):)
Is Golden Gate well-known throughout Germany?
If you know the clubs in Berlin I think you may know Golden Gate as well. It´s a Berlin institution and exists for a long time now.
How would you describe your sound?
I don't like this stereotyping in describing sounds but i would say it's groovy deephouse going ahead.
How does playing in Berlin compare to playing in Cologne?
In Berlin the clubs are open from Friday til Monday. In Cologne we don't have this afterhour phenomenon, clubs close at 7/8 in the morning. Apart from that it's not very different.
Do you release music? Do you have any plans to do so?
I go to the studio with a friend whenever we have time. I have Abelton at home and I try to learn a bit more now and then. But i have a job as well and not the time to be a full-time DJ or spend my time in the studio the whole week. We already did some tracks but we haven't yet sent them to anyone. But I don't stress myself with releasing something.
What's your next step in terms of DJing? Do you have any goals?
I don't have any concrete plans in terms of DJing. I just go with the flow and stay with my style of sound. What will be, will be. :):)