- Published on Wednesday, 06 September 2017 23:02
The Craig Richards, Gottwood combo was always going to get the festival juices flowing, yet expectations were unusually high for Houghton’s debut last month. With such an exquisite line up, beguilingly minimal marketing and promises of spontaneous back to backs, this was the festival to be at this summer.
Even as I traced my car through Norfolk’s gorgeous B roads, my passenger and (appalling) co-pilot Fabianski fuelled the fire further, abandoning her navigational duties to skim Facebook for updates. The music, she announced, was apparently going to be non stop all weekend.
Such a rumour was true, and the twenty four hour license developed into being a pivotal aspect of the weekend. It meant that I could eat, sleep, party, relax whenever I wanted over the three days and dip my toes in and out of the musical waters as and when I pleased.
A gold star must go to the sound, and from the bespoke Klipsch setup in the Giant Steps tent to the mighty four point system in the Terminus, every stage (for the most part) was brilliant. And I mean really brilliant. I have not heard such weight and clarity in any club in London, ever.
Joy O was the first to kick things off on Friday with a superb set in the Quarry. There was care in his mixing, an easiness, and flare in his track selection as he wove stinkers like ‘Hackney Parrot’ into classy, soulful house. A housed up edit of Blacker Than Black (4 The Good Times) was a particularly smiley moment, along with another stunner that Fabianski and I have gone to laughably long lengths to ID. Seeing people scramble up the banks of the Quarry to huge jeers was comical later on in the weekend, even moreso were the bouncers trying to catch them.
Just down the hill from the stage you could grab a £2.50 tea, (with optional vegan brownie, of course) delicious paella, or an overpriced sourdough pizza. Go a little further and you would find the place which would turn out to be the beating heart of Houghton, Giant Steps. I would love to see more stages like this next year. The tent was really something, drenched in beautiful plants, big cushions and sweltering heat. Much attention has been given to the BBC turntable console that the DJ’s did their business on, but I couldn’t really tell the difference. Donna Leake was incredible both times I saw her over the weekend and played the sexiest, smoochiest, tropical grooves I have heard in long time. Bravo to Brilliant Corners for stamping your mark on an otherwise minimally decoured event.
The main, Derren Smart stage was next across the road, and home to some of the most eagerly anticipated acts of the weekend. Here there was ample room to groove, a wicked system and enough space to chat and appreciate the attire of my fellow partygoers. 1995 footy tops were heavily on the menu this year.
Standout performances came from Derrick Carter, who worked up a big crowd with the likes of Boz Scaggs ‘Lowdown’ and similar, slutty disco early on Friday. I also sobbed during Kamaal Williams’ special ninety minutes on Sunday.
More disappointing was Vilod, and despite my wanting to enjoy Ricardo and Max Loderbauer’s noodling on their modules, the whole thing felt a bit out of place and slightly unprepared. Loderbauer ended up rolling his eyes as Villalobos fidgeted with the jack leads, causing static to spray embarrassingly through the rig.
All was not lost though, and I got my minimal fix in the form of Rhadoo instead. I remember repeating his 8 am set time to Fabianski with a sense of disbelief when we arrived at the festival. ‘There are two days to go… Let’s pace ourselves.’ She reminded me.
Anyway, there we were, late Saturday morning, Rhadoo prowling around the decks, shimmying his shoulders in front of a diminished crowd of thirty five. It was an unbelievable spectacle as the Romanian stunned us with groovy, sludgy tracks marked with sublime sound design. As my body started to tire (I ended up on my haunches, as usual) extensive cheers forced a smile out of the maestro as the clock struck twelve. This was the highlight of my weekend.
With minor tweaks to the programming and decour, the festival will improve next year. Sunday night was screaming out for a Ricardo, Dygas, Craig or Raresh closing set, for example. Perhaps some more spontaneous back to back action?
Houghton can be proud of it’s first attempt though. The size was great, the vibes were nice and the stages were all cool. The music license was brilliant too and is something that the other UK festivals will be looking at enviously.
Just being able to watch the DJ's do their thing on fat, custom systems was the real joy for me all weekend though, and I’ll be back next year for round two.
Words by Marlon George
Photos by Jake Davis
- Published on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 12:21
One of the most sought after records in the past year is about to land. Partygoers and music lovers alike have been on the hunt for this old school bomb, with many people failing to identify the track. This is all thanks to the master of the Paris underground scene, Dan Ghenacia. Known for his ability to seduce his listeners with his smooth grooves and infectious house selections. This is a track that once emerged from his collection last summer; it has never left the bag.
The Apollonia outfit begun as an outlet for the French trio Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundorom and Shonky to release their own material, but also repress some of their personal favourites. Here we have a special record that made the cut. Italian duo Laser initially released the Body EP on Pin Up in 1993. A deep house project that they may not have realised would become so special, with the original ranging from 35-50 euros on Discogs.
‘Body Beat’ is one of those game changing tracks you can mould your set around. Immediately lifting the atmosphere of the room.From the word go, you just know you are in for a treat. An organ takes the lead role, bouncing the course of the track; with strong female vocals fading in and out, it sets a feel good vibe. When caught off guard on the dancefloor by this irresistible sound, you will definitely struggle not to dance.
On the B side ‘Body Under’ is a distinctive moody affair, weighed down with a chunky rolling bassline. Heads down, hands up. Cosmic percussions seem to appear out of nowhere, creating a sense of mystery for the listener as it twists and turns.
An early 90’s treat at its finest. Expect to hear this groove far and wide, and if it was not a classic before, it is safe to say it has become one. Do not worry the wait is nearly over. The days are gone of watching the clip of Ghenacia unleashing this weapon at a villa party in Ibiza, whilst you sit there trying to work out what you are witnessing. The highly anticipated release is coming at the end of this month.
Villa Party Clip - HERE
Words by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Monday, 24 July 2017 21:34
Sunwaves – Memories that last a life time
The magical non-stop festival that takes place twice a year on the Romanian black sea shore. There is much more to Sunwaves than meets the naked eye. Clearly it begins with the incredible sounds you absorb during the festival, but the experience as a whole is something that simply can’t be compared. The people you meet become friends for life, the location and surroundings; as the sand continuously laps up the calm waves rolling in, and the pure fact you will never get to see such high calibre artists deliver extended sets on quite frankly some of the best systems we have ever experienced. It’s basically like seeing RPR in their own living room, where they feel well and truly comfortable to deliver a unique experience. Here at MEOKO we have a special place in our heart for Sunwaves, and we know the feeling is mutual for many of our readers; so join us as we recap our highlights of SW21 this past April, and as we discuss what makes the trip to Mamaia, so special. Jogging the memory for a time of reflection.
Two months ago, the 21st instalment took place, as likeminded people from across the world gathered to let loose and appreciate a careful selection of home grown talent and artists the Sunrise family believe in. Personally, we believe this encounter was one of the best so far, with a ridiculous amount of special moments to choose from (even the woman standing on the decks when Perlon boss, Zip, was playing). Memories that will last a life time, moments engraved in our mind. May we add, this is in no particular order, because that is just impossible to narrow it down.
The Thursday night arrives and the buzz around the area is beginning to reach a high, the stage is set ready for the next chapter. Over the course of the night two stages are opened, the warm atmosphere has lifted immediately. Now we are not sure if this is because it was the first morning, but there was something extra special about this occasion. The sun rose and around 8am Suciu and Herodot stepped up to the mark in stage 4, and what a journey we was in for. Anyone who has seen these two play together have a true understanding of chemistry, they bounce off each other from one groove to another, a trip through all kinds of sound. Romanian talent at its finest. At some points there must have been no more than 100 people on the dancefloor, but that’s what made it; if you was lucky enough to be there then you will understand. Steaming through till mid-afternoon the real transition for us was Lee Burton – 15:30 (The Jam). The mood of the night time lifted when this track come on and you just knew things were in full swing. More and more people arrived and without even realising you was drawn within Sunwaves 21. A morning we will never forget.
- The SIT Journey
When it comes to raw and natural talent it doesn’t get much better than Romanian duo SIT. We are sure we speak for many when we say their Sunwaves appearance is highly anticipated every time. Starting off with a much lighter atmosphere before they began chopping and changing between driven crazy loops, taking the crowd deep in to the night. As far as a unique sound goes, none can quite compare to the productions from Vlad Caia and Cristi Cons. Therefore, it’s pretty incredible when hearing around six solid hours with SIT, it makes you wonder how many unreleased productions are jam packed in to this extended set. Pure masterpieces, journey work, always with elements of their classical music history. When seeing SIT on the beach it really does sum up why we make the trip to Mamaia, homegrown talent delivering the special sounds that only they can capture and deliver. We distinctly remember Loopu – Marbles rumbling on the beach, lifting the atmosphere.
- Villalobos Saturdays
You just simply can't beat Ricardo when he is on fire. Diversity at its best. Flickering and fluttering in and out of all varieties of records from across his many years of experience. Rushing techno tracks, mellow ambience, and all out 4/4 90's house jams, laid down so perfectly. In such a way it is appealing to all audiences. There has been much hype regarding his 20+ minute edit of Nightmares on wax - Aftermath, and the recent release on Digwah, Unknown artist - Something Else. With the sound and lights cutting out (was this done purposely?) before hand; opening with this had the crowd engaged immediately, ready to party, whilstling and cheering from the off. Villalobos was his usual self swaying around and hugging everybody in sight. Priku performing his live set as Atipic certainly painted the perfect picture for the wizard. Saturday night with Ricardo is some what of a tradition, and we believe it's also a special time for him, immersing himself within the festival atmosphere.
- Sunrise with Pedro
Stage 4 beside the Black Sea is where the magic happens when the sun comes up. Pink skies surround the area, the waves glide in as the sun begins to appear from the ocean. The giant wooden structure of this stage is pleasing to the eye, cleverly made as its own speaker. But let's focus on what you can hear. Pedro. Petre inspirescu, one third of RPR. Depending on the elements you took from the sounds you was hearing, made that specific moment. Two experiences in one set. There is a constant layer of dreamy and magical percussions taking you far away, but simultaneously rolling and vicious bass lines would suck you in. The highs seemed as if they were trickling from the Funktion One stack, all the way out to the open sea. Too many fantastic tracks to choose from, but it was special to hear Durrred - Quarter to ten at this special time.
- Mihigh Finale
One word. Energy. No where else in the world after 4 nights of partying would there be such an electric atmosphere, and such an up for it crowd. The Midi man himself Mihigh was called upon for probably the hardest set of the festival. Slick, vibrant minimal grooves from the off till nearly 2 in the afternoon. A masterclass. Mihigh showed no signs of easing up at any point, if feet were moving the music was definitely not stopping. A freedom to continue until he wanted. Even once the music was done, the beach was full of smiling faces, relaxing and enjoying there final drinks and spliffs. Conversation was flowing as everyone tried to take in what exactly had happened over the last week. Not a single person was ready for it to be over. Feeling fully inspired.
Attention to detail. This is something the Romanian scene as a whole capture. No glitz and glam, no egos. Just the basics of what's needed for a perfect party. The Sunrise family, the organisers, take everything in to consideration. Beginning with the visuals that allow your mind to be twisted and moulded in to their bubble, or the incredible sound on each and every stage. Behind the scenes people are working tirelessly to ensure making this perfect experience, thank you. It feels as if the systems are created perfectly for each individual artist, and this is something that many clubs/festivals can struggle with. There are not many places you can go and party, with the stage leading out on to the open sea such as this, completely wall-to-wall sea. This adds to the timeless feel, time does not matter, there is no sense of urgency, no worries, what happens, happens.
All of this combined is what makes Sunwaves special to so many people. It simply can not be put in to words, it can only be experienced. See you in August for Sunwaves Festival - SW22.
Lee Burton – 15:30 (The Jam)
Loopu - Marbles
Nightmares on Wax – Aftermath
Unknown Artist – Something Else (Digwah)
Durrrred – A Quarter to Ten
Words by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Saturday, 22 July 2017 12:59
5 tracks listed below by Dan Primaru will do all the talking;
1- Amorf - Blending Light LP [Understand]
Yes it's hot summer and the sound warms itself under the sun, hot waves coming from Romania's minds, yet a collaboration that our scene needed. Mischa Blanos, Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia take on the ship of Amorf, delivering us their imposed sound and beats with the clarity and musicality of a piano always being added on, being experimented and embodied by Mischa, expanding the rulles of classic. No words really can describe this for the clubber point's of view or for the classical experimentalist listener. So enjoy and dive deep.
Back to rrrrrhythm, who is also expanding the rules if that is Durrrred. Showly but shurely getting our attention with his tracks, this EP is a great weapon when needed. Durred just showing us other parts of the sub-rhythm we yet have to explore and Arapu delivering a smooth liniar remix, as he enjoys himself to do. He raises a bit the same rrrrrhythms under more mids and dreamy frequencies. Another great release by Kusi Records.
3- Silat Beksi -Amaranth EP - JBLTD003
One player that got our attention in techno import is Mr. Silat Beksi, Ukraine's export. Coming back with a second release to Jelly Beast Limited, this EP it's so complete. Techy beats and good vibes on A1, atmosphered and chilled out track on A2, perfect for meditation. B side comes with Tibet track which purely represents the expansion of broken rhythm that Silat is always developing and a Daniel Sanchez banger on B2, what else do you really want ?!
And yes, you can call me mr. Good Vibes and excuse me for always picking up the YYY releases. They are a definition of it, of uplifiting melodies and smooth grooves. They are a trend setter for the House melodies and Minimalistic grooves. And one might ask... who is really behind the YYY series, well for sure is a team of french pioneers behind yoyaku store.
We play and we play but there is a time when you want to chill and just be. Well that is what Mr. Petre is doing more and more, coming back with a second album of orchestral music, on Mule Music, the album already got a live concert in one of Bucharest's theatre and we're looking forward to this kinds of events where we can taste another part of one of our greatest DJ, Petre Inspirescu. Enjoy a trip of the wind between willows. Space yourself out.
Words by Dan Primaru
- Published on Friday, 14 July 2017 12:45
It is official, Offline Records is born. The brainchild of companions Christopher Groove and Brad Wilder. Just by chance, the two talented and music loving artists became friends, immediately realising the similarities in their passions and desires within the industry. After spending much time together in the studio in Vienna, and Ibiza last year, the Offline journey has naturally progressed presenting you with what is a highly anticipated outlet for music. Endorsed by Ricardo Villalobos from their very first release.
Chris Groove, native Austrian, has somewhat of an incredible and interesting ability in the depths of his studio. Villalobos has clearly acknowledged this from an early stage. Flying the flag for his own imprints first release, the A side is offering up ‘Secret Garden’. Gloomy hypnotic loops driving the track, a sense of suspense as in depth layers are flickering in and out, the whole record is laced with trippy vocals taking the listener on a trip. A real attention to the inner details of the record.
Ricardo’s remix on the flip side is crammed full of his signature obscurity; a tight central groove that you can imagine swaying to at any given after party. Totalling up at nearly fifteen minutes this is certainly one for trained ears, as a variation of percussions continue to appear from all angles, a swirling case of mystery. A typical expectation from the maestro, a true pioneer and storyteller. To feature Villalobos on your first release, is a fantastic achievement in its self.
After what is set to be a successful initial release from Offline Records, there is much more where this came from. Several various artist releases are in the pipeline, and an opportunity to get to know Groove’s partner in crime Brad Wilder. We welcome Offline Records to the world with open arms.
Release Date – 28th July