- Published on Thursday, 25 January 2018 09:42
Lick My Deck’s discography reads like a who’s who of electronic music — Petre Inspirescu, STL and Thomas Melchior have all released on the label. And from the glitchy sound of [a]pendics.shuffle to the loopy Romanian sound of Barac, it also charts the genre’s main trends — always on the leftfield though, which is why you can find Chicago maverick hero Jamal Moss on one of their more recent releases, for instance. Ever dancefloor-friendly, the label yet always leans defiantly towards the abstract side of things, carving its own way off the beaten track, more interested in its own inner world than in the scene’s conventions. In its decade of activity, Lick My Deck has therefore assembled a fine bunch of likeminded daredevil funambulists, sprightly straddling the high wire linking the ethereal world to the dancefloor — doing so without a hint of pretentiousness.
Among those are Shaun Soomro, one of the label’s founders, and Mikael Stavöstrand, one of its longtime affiliates. In 2016, the pair collaborated on the Echoes of Paradise EP, a wistful affair referencing Soomro’s native West London in the same way that Burial references the UK’s storied rave history — with ghostly echoes of West London’s Caribbean and dub legacy haunting the tracks, conjuring a dreamlike world where the recollection and the fantasy become indistinguishable. In keeping with the label’s childlike spirit of playful experimentation, for their latest release the crew decided to throw these tracks in the caldron again, and to extract new hazy visions from this primordial soup: an echo of an echo — hinting at soundwaves endlessly reverberating and changing form, at the infinite possibilities lying outside of our ears’ reach.
“Street Code Symphony (W10)” is remixed by Josh Brent, better known as Schatrax. If the British producer is famous for his sometimes joyful and always bumpy bangers, melancholy is a mood he knows as well, and he’s certainly no stranger to the eerie and dubby atmosphere of the original track. In other words, him remixing this track was never an obvious choice, yet it makes perfect sense. He turns in a remix that ups the ante dancefloor-wise while retaining all of the original’s lurking sense of dread. One of those tunes where euphoria and sorrow blend, faithful to the original’s definitely ambiguous tones.
On the B-side, it’s Soomro himself remixing “Paradise Lost”, a logical choice considering how the Echoes of Paradise concept is close to his heart. This time he goes for a “Warrior Trance” Revision Dub”, fully embracing the record’s origin story. The sub-bass on this one does justice to the sound system ornamenting the record, and combined to the droning tones and the searing strings, it flips the original’s atmosphere into a dreadful world. Just like the new record’s art presents a negative of the original’s palm tree-lined road with the label’s bespoke trippy artwork infiltrating its cracks, Soomro paints a recognizable but disturbing — and yet ultimately bewitching — version of “Paradise Lost”. It is a sonic rendition of dreams’ ability to confuse moods, which makes it a fitting rework for a track that was already mixing up the real and the imaginary, the past and the present.
The original record released in 2016 gained early support from the likes of Craig Richards and Dixon — which, if anything, shows Lick My Deck’s unique appeal in the scene — The Reworked version will be out in March. In the meantime, get lost again in Echoes of Paradise’s uncanny world.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
- Published on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 16:57
There’s something alluring about partying on a boat, isn’t there? After all, ports and sailors have always had a reputation for debauchery and loose mores, just like dance music. A sense of danger, of escaping the norms and sharing a bond. Boats are cool. Now, a boat fitted out with two dancefloors, a tailor-made Funktion-1 sound-system and a team dedicated to bringing the best DJs and producers in the world, is very cool. And that’s what Concrete is, and much more. If you’ve ever been to the club, you know that there’s a special feeling to dancing on the Seine river, the morning sun seeping in through the main room’s shades in the wee hours of the morning. Concrete is also a roster of much-loved residents that counts historic veteran, such as Cabanne, and young up-and-comers like Sweely and Leo Pol; and a label arm which, faithful to the eclectic spirit of the club, is divided between three branches named after different hours of the night and the day.
Perhaps more importantly than anything, Concrete has come to symbolize the French scene’s vitality in the past few years, which seems light-years away from when it was declared dead and buried, dwarfing compared to London and Berlin. Whether you’re a Concrete supporter or not, it’s impossible to deny their role in shaping the current Parisian scene. The club has come a long way too, from its days as one of Paris’ few irreducible Sunday after-hours in 2011. It’s opened a second dancefloor, the Woodfloor, on its upstairs deck, and grew increasingly ambitious in its bookings, which are now a ridiculously reliable weekly occurence of “Is this even real?”.
Indeed, the boat has unveiled its full February programme, and it ain’t no exception. There’s something for everyone — and then some more.
Opening the month on February 2 at Concrete is one of the final dates in Token’s ten-year anniversary tour, so of course it would feature Antigone — one of the club’s residents as well as one of the most prominent affiliates of the Belgian label. He’ll play alongside label-boss Kr!z, expect richly-textured cosmic techno. Ø [Phase] will continue in the same vein, although slightly more abrasive, while Neel will offer the deeper, more hypnotic vibe that can be heard on his brilliant debut for the label.
Not gonna lie, I don’t know much about Philip Jondo and Jules, who are handed command of the Woodfloor that night, but seeing they’re Salon des Amateurs regulars is enough to convince me that this one’s gonna be a trip.
The Concrete crew has always had a soft spot for minimal sounds, as can be heard from their dedicated sublabel Concrete 7AM, and their resident Cabanne’s Minibar label will host a night full of them on the 3rd, headlined by none the less than Daniel Bell. The Detroit hero came up with an idiosyncratic take on techno in the 1990s that still sounds as alien as ever more than 20 years forwards. Denis Kaznacheev and the ever-productive Ion Ludwig will provide the housier, dowsier fare, while some historic members of the Minibar roster, namely Pit Spector and N’Eric playing b2b, as well as Ultrakurt — not mentioning Cabanne himself of course — will deliver the label’s trademark take on the microhouse sound. Expect micro-styled music in all shapes and forms — blips, clicks and most importantly groove.
The following weekend features two veterans on the Friday. Andrew Weatherall is a UK legend, a genre-defying maestro that never left the scene and never did anything like anyone else since the days of London fanzine Boy’s Own, back when acid house was just starting in the UK. Jennifer Cardini, on the other hand, is a definitive Paris local hero. I was too young for the Pulp, but the early noughties lesbian club where she was a resident remains a mythical figure for many older scenesters. Cardini shares with Weatherall an open-mindedness that goes far beyond the constraints of dance music, so expect this one to go awry any minute. Indeed, it seems to be the night’s signature, as they’ll be supported by Mozhgan, who shares such a playful approach, while Toby Nicholas and Hamish Cole can be expected to play anything from house and techno to jazzier stuff and hip-hop on the Woodfloor — where Sofiane, a member of the Rakya crew throwing some of the best minimal parties in the city, completes the bill.
On the 10th, Rebekah is playing all night long inside the boat. The Birmingham DJ might have only recently enjoyed the life of a top tier performer, but she’s actually been in the game for many years and knows how to work a room with techno bangers. MEOKO readers, though, might swarm the Woodfloor that night. Playing all night long under the Monkey Nenufar guise are Ben Vedren, one of the club’s residents, and Leiris, the Berlin-based minimalist. We’re promised both live and dj set, and if it goes as last year’s, it should be booming.
The next Friday, the 16th, seems intriguing, as both rooms will host all-nighters again, the main one being Marcel Fengler and DJ Tennis. The former is one of the Berghain residents while the latter rose to fame with his Life & Death label’s melodic take on the genre (although he’s got more than one trick up his sleeve, since he’s never hidden his past in post-rock circles and has recently launched a label dedicated to the style, Eraclea) — so who knows what their confrontation is going to end up like. Upstairs, two local figures — Na’Sayah and Amnaye — will also play b2b.
Saturday 17th is going to be nosebleed-inducing. Powell has spent the past few years de- and re-structuring techno, EBM and post-punk into a deadly, in-your-face, witty mixture. There’s also Xhin, who I caught on the boat years ago for a memorable set, and who has since built an ever-more impressive discography stacked with hypnotic and banging tunes. But for any French person, the real hero of the night will be Manu Le Malin. The man is a hardcore French legend, one that seems to represent a certain sense of authenticity inherited from the free party scene of the 1990s. Besides Laurent Garnier, I can’t think of anyone so dear to the French scene’s heart. Nosedrip b2b Theorama sounds pretty interesting too, as the former’s Stroom label is a gold mine of demanding yet exciting music, while the latter is one of the Bordeaux scene most active members. And finally, Cuften is a Purusu affiliate already supported by Manu Le Malin.
The 23rd is for the heads. You might be drawn in by Hunee’s well-deserved reputation as a killer house DJ with a bag stacked full of party anthems. Or by Intergalactic Gary, the Dutch veteran with one of the finest ears in the world for all synth-heavy sounds, from Italo to electro. Both of them would be worth the price of entry alone but trust me, this one’s all about Eris Drew. The smartbar resident DJ in Chicago will bless the lucky crowd with her Motherbeat’s transcendental message of emancipatory and healing dance music. Check her recent RA podcast; this is raw, fun-drenched party music in its purest form.
Indeed, healing sounds will be a constant of the night, with D.K. and Suzanne Kraft taking over the upstairs Woodfloor, promising all kinds of chilled-out vibes, from house to balearic to new age to ambient. At ease.
Careful not to spend too much time on the Woodfloor if you also intend to go the next night, or this one might seem excruciatingly intense. The club’s resident and DEMENT3D cofounder François X is hosting some of techno’s gnarliest names on the 24th. Banging is how I’d define Dr. Rubinstein’s style, as she’s been known to seamlessly weave in acid, electro and absolutely jacking techno in her sets; while Oliver Ho will don his EBM-influenced Broken English Club moniker for a live appearance rich in odd synths and punishing grooves. Iceland’s finest export in recent years Bjarki completes the line-up. If you only know him as Nina Kraviz’s protégé or for “Wanna Go Bang”, you’re in for an (extremely good) surprise. His own productions go far crazier and wilder than the easy techno of his 2015 hit, while his bbbbbb label is just as zany — put simply, Bjarki is from this rare breed able to reconcile experimental leanings with good old dance floor fun. Don’t sleep on DEMENT3D’s other boss HBT’s set though. I once saw him rock the bowels of the neighbouring and equally infamous Batofar, and his set on the Woodfloor is not to be missed — nor is YSC’s, one of the capital’s scene most dedicated and yet unsung heroes.
Seems like Concrete’s tagline should still hold on in February: “No standing, just dancing.” If you wanna learn for yourself why Paris est une fête, see you there.
Pictures by Virgil Gesbert
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
- Published on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 11:03
Join us in giving RPMM Festival a warm welcome to the festival circuit this summer, featuring something extra special from the MEOKO box of tricks. Our first ever festival stage. Something we have been working towards for some time, and we can safely say you will not be disappointed.
The 28th and 29th of July a true escapist experience will be taking place in one of Europe’s oldest cities, Porto (Portugal). Powered by the visions of likeminded organisers and brands who have unified to prepare a unique ocassion. Transforming the historic Alfangeda building will be Jonny TV, famously known for his work with The Chemical Brothers and The Rolling Stones. Think contemporary and expressionist heaven via the forms of art and surrealism, and you are on the right tracks.
With years of experience between them, and a variety of highly respected outlets we can also announce the fellow stage hosts. A true party vibe can be expected from the London based Half Baked, as they make the trip with us. Hailing from the Balearic island of Ibiza, are Keep on Dancing and Ibiza Voice. Two brands in their natural habitat of sunshine and partying. A bit closer to home are Lisbon organisers Musik@ll, a reputation built upon providing unexpected venues and sounds to hungry ears.
The first wave of artists in the bill are just an insight of the quality that is hidden in this surprise package from Southern Western Europe. Pioneers and staple names amongst the scene are already revealed with the likes of RUMORS' boss Guy Gerber, and Innervisions co founder Âme bringing their melodic expressions to the board. Crosstown rebels founder Damian Lazarus will be playing a live show with Ancient Moons, a combination familiar to many party goers from around the globe. One of Detroit’s finest, Matthew Dear will also be bringing his live set up to Portugal.
So, there you have it. In the coming weeks and months, keep an eye out for artist announcements, and much more information from us and our partners. In the meantime, book your flights and hotel and get ready for the first instalment of RPMM Festival.
Words by Zac Bidwell
- Published on Saturday, 20 January 2018 11:46
What are you doing for the holidays? Sure, you could go to the seaside with your friends, have a romantic getaway with your lover, or go backpacking across South East Asia. But if you’re into dance music — and, given you’re on MEOKO dot net right now, something tells me you are — you might wanna go for a festival somewhere in Europe.
It’s not just about Ibiza anymore. Take Croatia. After collapsing during the war, the country’s economy now heavily relies on tourism, and music festivals play a large role in this. Come August and half of your Facebook feed is filled with pictures and videos of anyone from your best friends to your most random acquaintances having the time of their lives at Sonus or Dimensions, isn’t it? Hell, even your auntie probably went to a festival in Eastern Europe last summer.
And with a large majority of festival-goers claiming to prefer smaller boutique festivals, this trend has no reason to come to an end, with each festival hyping up its own assets to cater to a specific audience — not mentioning that a lot of them are ridiculously cheap for Westerners. These days, you could pretty much have a full tour of Europe just doing electronic music festivals, from the best of Romanian minimal at Sunwaves to Craig Richard’s very own Houghton in the British countryside, and from the giants that are Sonar or Dekmantel to the more intimate experience of Portugal’s Waking Life, among countless others — something for everyone indeed.
In short, cheap flights and (re)developing countries eager to attract holidaymakers make for a golden age of festival tourism. Enters UP festival, a Prague-based event running from the 11th to the 13th of May organised by local promoter Round UP. The new endeavour appears to be Czech Republic’s very first festival focusing on underground house and techno — the country’s answer to the aforementioned festivals making up the European circuit. And a solid line-up it has, with a particular emphasis on the minimal side of things
See for yourself. Ricardo Villalobos and Sonja Moonear are both present. They’re some of those tried-and-tested headliners that we’re always happy to see at such an event, and the same can be said of some of our Romanian favourites, with Barac and the combined genius of Raresh and Praslea playing as Praslesh.
There’s a nice contingent representing the French scene too, with Yoyaku heavy-hitters Varhat and Janeret playing B2B, alongside Molly, whose reputation has been steadily growing — deservedly so — in the past few years, while the experienced six hands of Apollonia are sure to make us dance and dance and dance.
But it’s also a fantastic occasion to familiarize yourself with the local scene: to name a few of them, Yan & Alfred Czital of Harmony Rec. spin all shades of dubby techno; Fatty M is a local hero that brought the likes of Derrick May and San Proper to Prague with his Kom!ks warehouse parties; em ju es aj si is into the dark Berlin techno (based in Prague) that he helped bring to Czech Republic with his Polygon parties; and Bruno Curtis is the founder of Round UP.
Here’s the current full line-up in alphabetical order:
Agustin Alvarez | Anthea | Apollonia | Ark3r | Barac | Bella Sarris | Brothers Black | Bruno Curtis | Dmitry | Eddie Mur | Ellen Alien | Em Ju Es Aj Si | Fatty M | Ion Ludwig | Janeret | Johanna Schneider | Jorgos | Luigi Tozzi | Magda | Molly | Nils Weiman | Oliver Torr | Oshana | Per Hammar | Praslesh | Ricardo Villalobos | Schwa | Sonja Moonear | Topper | Varhat | Vik | Yan & Alfred Czital
And there’s more to come. The festival’s only got to its second wave of names for now.
Although it’s its main draw, there’s more to attract you to UP in the competitive field of European music festivals than its impeccable music selection. With more than 50 artists spread across 4 stages over 3 days, the nascent festival already establishes itself as one of the circuit’s big-hitters, with a +20.000 capacity. This means we can expect some fine stagecraft; indeed, the festival will be collaborating with digital media studios for audiovisual performances. Did I mention the tickets are currently 45 euros?
All this action is unfolding in Prague’s exhibition centre, a stone’s throw away from the city centre. The Czech capital, one of the most exciting destinations in Europe, is definitely part of the appeal. Prague’s history is reflected through its architecture and an insane amount of museums. If you’re going to UP, you’d be a fool not to take some time to enjoy the city itself. Its reputation as a party spot is no longer to be demonstrated, but it’s no surprise that a festival like UP would come up now, since these days you can catch some of electronic music’s most exciting names in a club like Ankali, and the city seems to have a decent amount of promoters dedicated to pushing this kind of sound. May I add three final words? Ungodly cheap beer. Wink wink.
All in all, we’re therefore quite proud to announce that MEOKO is the festival’s official media partner — minimal beats in one of Europe’s most exciting capitals? Of course we’d be in! This means you can expect some exclusive content coming on the website in the run-up to UP, so keep your eyes peeled — and in the meantime, grab your tickets here before they reach the final wave.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin
- Published on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 10:18
Since its birth in 2016 Berg Audio have built a reputation around meticulously chosen releases with their inspirations at the heartbeat of their outlet. A dub techno label inspired by lost monuments of the soviet era. Last year saw incredible releases from a wide of umbrella of artists such as Janeret, Diego Krause and Traumer. However, something that goes by the name of ‘Directions’ is on the horizon and it will be available to you this March.
The eight release from the label is nothing short of amazing, a 2x12” gatefold various artist compilation featuring legendary innovators of sound, and modern day spearheads of the scene. A combination of forces through the ages. Two tracks on each side of the vinyl.
Taking up the first 180g side is the opening track from Ukrainian maestro iO (Mulen) – Report, and familiar face Traumer with ‘Burning’ sure to be an untypical exploration of raw sounds as always. Stepping up on the flip side is Barac - Glossary, a touch of Romanian class added to the equation. A rare release from the artist. He is joined by one of the most consistent producers right now, East End Dubs, a man whose productions seem to go from strength to strength.
Icelandic techno icon Exos delivers C1 with ‘Ahonui’, highly respected amongst his peers for delivering atmospheric deep grooves with a forward thinking attitude. Ledgend is the flavour of the C side as Mosaic Records boss Steve O’Sullivan delivers, ‘Take it There’, undoubtedly his unique grasp of techno will sit well amongst the release. Next up is Detroit pioneer Delano Smith and for his second appearance Traumer, a combination of artists from two leases of life that is sure to end well. Taking us through to the end of the release is Idealist – Mountain Sky, if that does not sound like a perfect ending to the VA we do not know what does.
A one of a kind release like this wouldn’t become a masterpiece without the help of artwork to back up the solidarity of the sound, luckily Berlin based Juli Jah has worked her magic again with her interpretation of Poland’s ‘Hotel Forum’ located in Krakow.
So you have been warned, it is on its way. A handful of carefully selected artists from around the globe delivering their interpretations of Berg Audio.
Various Artists – « DIRECTIONS »
Label: BERG AUDIO
Format: Vinyl – 2X12’, Gatefold - 180G
Released: March 2018
Style: Dub Techno / Deep Techno
A1 : iO (Mulen) - Report (Original Mix)
A2 : Traumer - Burning (Original Mix)
B1 : Barac - Glossary (Original Mix)
B2 : East End Dubs - Jade (Original Mix)
C1 : Exos - Ahonui (Original Mix)
C2 : Steve O'Sullivan - Take It There (Original Mix)
D1 : Delano Smith & Traumer - Essence (Original Mix)
D2 : Idealist - Mountain Sky (Original Mix)
Words by Zac Bidwell