Reviews/Previews

Music Review: Revivis - Slung EP (incl. Nick Beringer Remix) [EWax]

EWax resident and Berlin-based Revivis steps up for his first outing on the German label. Over the last year, the British producer's output has been just incredible, raising the quality level release by release. After appearances on We_R House and Talman, he delivers "Slung" EP, which also sees another Berliner, Nick Beringer, on the remix duties. 

 

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Title track "Slung" gets straight to the point from the very first kick drum, showing Revivis' usual approach into a perfect melt between classic house and modern, minimal sounds. Bass is fat and liquid, with French male whispers that give a very lo-fi mood to the whole piece. Housy pad opens up gently, enlighting the scene and making the track breath. It is reduced from time to time to a low hum, but when the filter opens up again, it slowly fills up the piece with soul, contrasting the noisy drums move fast for a powerful dub shake. Despite the few elements in there, the track is immersive and goes on by itself, neverending.

 

 

 

Up next, Rubisco label-head Nick Beringer offers a more minimal and tighter interpretation of the main original track. The whole groove, starting from the hi-hat is shorter and lighter and everything is more swingy and dried-out, with wise processing creating the necessary variations. The vocal part is now in front, acquiring importance, whilst the bass is very thick and groovy, with short notes riding the kick and the FM pad sounds metallic, almost as slowed down bell hit. The drums, alongside the subtle acid line, are relegated in a small room, while pad and vocal lay in a wider space, creating two separate grounds that never collide. While the track walks, it gets weirder and more complex, changing chords, exploring jazzy progressions, standing out for its constant movement. 

 

 

 

On the flip, "Chicago Trippin" perfectly captures an old-school flavour with the classic 303 acid vibe. Who doesn't love acid? The massive sub-bass noisily flows underneath, sharing his space with a gangsta-inspired bassline. There's a lovely back-and-forth between the vocal sample and the main stab, in a crescendo that never stops making your feet move, as the track keeps on getting more and more crowded till the break. Tiny synths are zapping around and stabs are looped in short repetitive patterns, nervously crossing each other. Hard bouncy feeling and headbanging guaranteed.

 

Rounding out the package, "We Go" combines breakbeat patterns with lo-fi old-school sounds. Some classic house stabs meet a deep and soothing bassline, echoing the elastic behaviour of both kick and drums. When the arabesque arp kicks in we are catapulted in timeless space, with short lead sounds lift the heavy groove with a touch of sweetness. For the second drop, extra-drums are added, layering below the initial groove. Again, the stab doesn't rest and keeps hitting, mental. 

 

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Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Curtea Veche celebrates 5 years of uncompromised minimal

Labels are often remembered for a record, maybe for two or more. Then there are labels that are remembered for an idea, a feeling, something that goes beyond the simple music. That's the case of Wales-based Curtea Veche, which is celebrating its 5th birthday with a special various artists compilation that includes tracks by Tulbure, Guy From Downstairs, Herck, Clarkent, Direkt and DragoshDespite the clearly Romanian inspired name, the label has never got stuck into the fashions of the moment, resulting instead one step ahead of many other imprints, successfully dictating new trends and style difficult to imitate, both because of the top-notch quality music released, and because of the close link with his evocative abstract artwork realized by no one other than Halo Varga. Over the years the label has seen incredible music, including the sister-labels Curtea Veche LTD and Curtea Veche Serii Speciale, straight from studio wizards around like Einzelkind, Giuliano Lomonte, SEPP, Viceversa and Cally, receiving support from heavyweights such as Rhadoo, Pedro, Barac and Raresh, but also coming to hands of unexpected but equally appreciated names like Marco Carola and The Martinez Brothers. 

 

To celebrate the label's birthday we've decided to give the floor to the head-honcho Haydn, and then we will have few words from three of its most representative producers.

 

Happy birthday Curtea Veche!

 

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Click HERE to buy CV5 Five Years Of Curtea Veche

 

  • Starting from the roots: how's the project started and what the name "Curtea Veche" means? What pushed you to open the label?

So I started the label with a friend in 2015 when the hype with that minimal Romanian sound was rife. My friend chose the name after the old princely court in Bucharest... don't ask why because I couldn't tell you haha!! But we were going I guess for that Romanian sound so it was pretty apt.

 

 

 

  • What's the artist that you've most satisfied to have on the label? And who is the want you still deeply want to have?

I'm happy with the all the artists I've had on CV all have given their own stamp on the label and its sound. My good friend Sergiu (Herck) has been with me on my journey from the start with all my labels so I could say him, but no, really, all artists have been amazing and I'm super grateful if the output I've been able to give on CV. Going forward I just want to keep the ethos that I've tried to stick to, to be honest, good music and artwork, nothing more, nothing less.

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  • Since the very beginning, the label has seen some amazing feedbacks and support from lots of the biggest DJs around. Do you think that there's one particular release that was a game-changer? Or is it because of the constant quality of the music and research on creating a kind of CV-brand that you've provided over the years?

Haha, tough one... there have been some really good ones I guess. Having Arno (Einzelkind) was a big deal for me, especially as it has been his last release under the Einzelkind alias before moving on the Arno moniker once and for all. I've been following him and his music for years, so I was pretty chuffed, to say the least, to get him on. That EP with Giuliano Lomonte was great, with the artwork and splatter vinyl was pretty special, seen as it was the 10th release too. But if I'm honest I've got to go with CV002 by Herck: Cookie Jar was a huge track that's been hammered all over the world by people from DeWalta. Barac, Raresh and even people like Carola and The Martinez Brothers. It was definitely a big crossover track, that boosted both the profile of the label and Herck's one.

 

 

 

So yea, that for me was the game-changer. Also, I have to say one of my personal favourites is Victor's Rodul EP (CV008) I still play his track "Drumul Spre" all the time, timeless stuff.  

Also, having Halo Varga got on the artwork from, I think the 5th release, he has given the label identity. As soon as you see a CV cover, you know it's a CV cover, so yeah, he does an amazing job, one of the best at his game, and a massive pleasure to have him on as I grew up with his music in the early '00s.

 

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  • Tell us more about the 5 years compilation. Why you not here? Will we ever see you on the label? 

Yea so the 5 years free EP we are giving away on Bandcamp is just "a thank you to all the support we have had over the last 5 years". I think it's good to give our supporters that have spent money on buying our releases something back. There are 6 tracks on there by artists from the past and future, CV favourites Herck and Guy from Downstairs, Tulbure who is on the next CV013 EP, Dragosh, Direkt and also Clarkent. Not a bad EP for a free download for sure! So yeah, thanks to these guys too for providing some lovely tracks! 

Regarding the second question... who knows... I've got not much time for production when I'm running 4000 labels hahaha! But yes, it's something I want to do in the near future, let's see! 

 

  

  • After this 5 years milestone, what should we expect in the next 5? And what in the next 100? (or maybe I should ask this to Herck haha)

Haha yes! We just want to keep releasing good music an, that's the foremost thing I think, keeping the quality high, always!

We have a couple of spin-offs (CVLTD & CVS)  so keep an eye out for some really good stuff coming on these, from some well-established name like Cristi Cons, Franco Cinelli, Mihai Pol, and also some amazing up and coming guys that you need to keep an eye on!

There is this amazing duo we just signed from Tel Aviv called Oskar Pink, the demos blew us away, keep an eye out for their Track 'Donnie' coming later this year, so good! 

Its been good having my friend Martyn (TIJN) on board too for the last year or so, he's got a great ear and is a godsend with the A&R stuff. He also does an amazing job with the mastering too! 

 

 

 

Now let's get right into some of the protagonists of this stellar VA compilation and lets' see what they have to say about the label...

 

Guy From Downstairs

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"Curtea Veche...ah, just another vinyl label from Wales, with a Romanian name, that releases a specific sound with a soulful touch, leaving its mark on the (so-called) minimal music niche for the last 5 years. Loads of those fit that profile, right? 

Difficult to write "just a few words, mate" about the good Olden Yard. Almost impossible to remain objective when you've watched it grow and move people on dancefloors around the world since its early stages (is there anyone on the planet that still hasn't dropped Giuliano & Einzelkind tracks?)

 

 

When everything sounds the same these days, somehow, our friend and label-captain Haydn always manages to find rhythmic gems from (known or not-so-known) artists and put together all those releases that are each so unique in style, always different, yet keeping the smooth, impossible to pinpoint, trademark flavour of CV. 

It won't do justice and it's not easy to choose a favourite release from the back catalogue, but...let's say that SEPP's La Gura Sobei EP (CV006) never leaves my bag. I don't know many artists that can truly envelop the Romanian traditional spirit in the minimal realm, without sounding clichéd or tedious. Not in this case! Those two tracks are so enchantingly executed in such subtle way that, every time I listen, they really make me feel like I'm on a plane, back in the day, watching peasants working on fields under the sun, but at the same time also grooving with aliens from planet Bass.

 

 

 

"I love the Curtea universe - modern sound, old school, timeless or eclectic, colourful or at times outlandish. I'm happy to be part of it along with other (way more) talented, crazy producers and hope that new music will keep flowing for many years to come!" - Guy From Downstairs

 

Herck 

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"Well...nothing much to say about the label, the music speaks for itself. My first release there was a huge impact for me, and for the label also because we helped each other to grow in the industry. Haydn (the owner) had and has all his respect for me and I have for him, and of course, we trust each other when it comes to releasing new material on the label. Over time, the label released great music, with great artists, and I personally don't have a favourite one, because every release has a story to tell..." - Herck

 

 

  

TIJN 

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"Since first discovering Curtea Veche through the "Cookie Jar" release it became very clear that the consistency of the output was exceptional and it's continued that way endlessly. For me, the label is the complete package the sound as well as the detail to the artwork is perfect and work hand in hand. It's really hard for me to choose a favourite we have so much amazing stuff coming but for now ill go with Einzelkind & Giuliano Lomonte - This N That. its been a goal to release on the label and to now be apart of the projects moving forward it's even better." - TIJN

 

 

 

 

 

 Words by Francesco Quieti

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Introducing Clubify - Stream Me Up, Scotty

In these dire times of human disconnection, we need now, more than ever a unified solution to help save our scene and bring music to the people whenever they want, wherever they are.

As the first subscription and VOD based platform dedicated to live-streaming, Clubify.tv has been working hard behind the scenes to keep us connected to our beloved club environment. Now they’re ready to launch. Embracing high-performance technology, Clubify has come to the rescue of poor quality live-streams with their 4K adaptive bitrate technology. Supporting quality performance even in low internet bandwidth, Clubify offers discerning clubbers an all-in-one live stream solution - providing a technically sound outlet for labels, artists, fans and clubs alike.

 

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The ‘Netflix’ for live content, Clubify is a dream-come-true for many music lovers and stream aficionados, enabling artists to stay in touch with their audience in a direct and personalised manner. MEOKO is proud to support the new platform which promises to redirect the subscription fee back to the contributor in order to help save our scene. Subscribers get a professional service and contributors get paid - as professionals. Fair pay, fair play. Bringing many aspects of the industry together through an ethos built on collaboration, their high-quality content and channels for DJs, promoters, clubs, and festivals will not leave much unanswered. MEOKO is excited to introduce them to an industry which is trying to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic threat in a future-forward, creative manner.

 

In The Studio With Clubify

 

Clubify.tv lauched during Corona, which has hit our scene super hard, with a well-curated event live-streamed in collaboration with Egg London. Almost every single artist and club out there is reaching out to their fans via stream right now, resorting to donations as the last-straw to save their livelihoods. Live streams are everywhere. But until now, the more we streamed, the less we earned.

 

Traditional platforms might offer exposure, but they don’t compensate the artist. They’re often disorganised, hard to find and archive, the artists don’t get paid (“donate here!” they cry but artists aren’t a charity, donations don’t pay the rent) and many sets are cut short because of copyright issues.

 

Can’t Stream My Love

 

During the Pandemia, the struggle to save our scene has led to bouts of solidarity between artists, clubs and labels. For some, streaming is saturation, for others, it’s a call to innovate. Stages and empty venues become a blank canvas where anything can happen now. Creative boundaries are meant to be pushed. We see music through our eyes these days - Clubify is a great tool for this, it’s a video platform for music; providing artists with extended possibilities for creative collaboration between visual and audio. The opportunity to think big is there. It’s time to stream out of the box. Even before Covid-19, streaming was dubbed the fastest-growing segment of music consumption. Listeners have consistently increased their consumption and the inclusion of AI and VR powered tools are shifting the experience in new directions that weren’t possible before.  

 

Clubify brings a new dimension to the show. It is not only a powerful tool for promoting live events, it is a fully-fledged business model to connect fans to artists and create something that’s both innovative and sustainable. Once an artist, label or club has their own channel, they’ll be able to promote their events, draw a crowd, connect to other artists and sell their own custom merch and vinyl through the Clubify boutique. Unlike Mixcloud and lots of other services (who charge artists a fee to stream), contributors can activate their own channel for free and get paid for the use of their content. Copyright issues are also being resolved through their licencing partners' ICE and PRS, so a lot of legal obstacles are being taken care of. This is a professional platform, so the content will be selective: the criteria for opening an artist, club or label channel are a sound standing in the scene, (a strong fan-base and RA page for example). No more trawling through home videos on Periscope...

 

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Love it or hate it, streaming is here to stay. Let’s see what Clubify have to say: 

 

  • Who are you, who is involved?

Clubify is driven by a passionate team of internationals based in London and Berlin. We are all excited about the potential for the project and think Clubify’s going to be a game-changer for the industry.

 

  • What is the motivation behind your initiative?

To bring the industry together - to give clubs and artists a dedicated platform to promote their music and to give the public a new, streamlined way to enjoy the music they love. Clubify is the first centralised platform dedicated to promoting live-stream events. We want to make it easier for people to access live music, wherever they are.

 

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  • Did you have the idea before or after Corona?

It actually started just before Corona. I know lots of people in the industry, and whilst it’s exciting, it’s tough. Nightlife’s changing and nightclubs are expensive to rent and run. Especially in central London. Lots of historic venues are having to close. And when they close down we lose a part of the history that goes with them. We wanted to work out how to change that. How to make a new model that’s sustainable for everyone.

 

  • Do you think your launch right now is clever, is it perfect timing?

So the idea started before Corona - thinking about how we might be able to adapt the industry to the times, and then Corona came along and everything shut down. We knew we had to do something quickly. The government’s not especially known for its support of the club industry, so if we want to make a difference. Change has to happen from elsewhere.

I think Corona really helped illustrate the power of the collective spirit - in so many ways. People singing from their rooftops in Italy, musicians and DJs making and sharing music from their homes. The number of live-streams multiplied by a million during this time and it was obvious it was something people enjoyed. But there are so many different platforms - from Facebook to twitch to Instagram - it’s almost impossible to track. Live streams are exactly that - these incredible trickles of performances, scattered all over the place. We wanted to make it easier for everyone to see what’s going on. So yeah, it’s necessary and timely. I’m not sure there’s ever such a thing as perfect ‘timing’ - but time is of the essence and it’s definitely time to change.

We are seeing people donate to support their favourite artists and venues, but a donation-based system is not sustainable in the long term. Clubify is allowing a user to support the whole ecosystem of the scene with a monthly subscription which is lower than a London club entry ticket, with the goal of helping the whole electronic music industry to develop a sustainable model during this time and for the future. Moreover from a product perspective, Clubify will be always providing very high-quality content both in terms of video and audio on a high performing, usable platform - this is completely different than FB for example, and furthermore, it will not have the same copyright issues that the other platforms are currently facing.

 

  • Do you think this crisis will have an effect on people's habits of music consumption?

People need music. It brings us together. I think lots of people have been turning to music during lockdown to help them through - music’s a mood changer (!) Whether it’s putting a record on or tuning in to the radio / watching a live concert... I think people have more time to listen to and enjoy music at the moment. So we need music more now than ever (!) but maybe live events will change after the crisis - we don’t know if we’ll ever see huge crowds like we’re used to seeing at Glastonbury ever again. Maybe mass gatherings will be a thing of the past once this is all over... we need to think about what the future might look like and how that’ll impact the industry.

 

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  • Let's get back to Clubify, what is the incentive for labels and artists to participate? How does the business model work?

We centralise and promote live events. We make it easier for subscribers to discover and enjoy live music. And we give artists and labels a risk free platform to host their live-event.

One of the tricky things with live-streams is it’s hard for an artist to earn money from their set. By bringing everyone together we can simplify the model. We pay you a fair share of the subscription fee and we make sure you’re reimbursed for your music copyright. It takes the stress out of it or the artist. We take care of the logistics so the creatives can focus on being creative.

Having a centralised space is great for labels as they can promote their artists through their own channel. And fans can discover something new.

 

  • How do you think this can work right now, at a moment where absolutely every club streams for free and donation-based?

Clubs are streaming for free and for donations as they need to keep alive. But it’s not a sustainable business model. You can’t rely on donations forever. And I think we all know nothing comes for free... it’s time to respect the makers and pay them fairly for their talents. Artists are used to getting ripped off - because they do it for the love - but it’s time we stopped that. Makers need to make money too. We need to plan ahead to think about how we can create a model to sustain the industry not just now but in the future.

 

  • What do you think about their “business model” to help the scene as they have a transparent system about the donations they receive and redistribute the money equally. In moments of crisis, the ego-based scene does get less relevance whereas solidarity-based models seem to work well. Where do you see the future of both models?

So solidarity is absolutely key - we need each other. The industry’s full of big names, but it’s surprising how few of these names actually collaborate or work together.

The Clubify platform’s great as it gives everyone their space to shine - clubs can host their own branded channel, artists can promote their new material etc. It’s their name, their image, their sound... their content. On Clubify everyone has space through their own channel, but it’s a space that’s also shared. As there are hundreds of channels to choose from... it’s just a way of bringing content together and organising it. Together but apart. Haha. Like corona. We bring everyone together to a single platform. And then give them their space to grow. Centralise the content, decentralise the power...

 

  • Where do you see the future of dance music?

The future’s bright. There are so many exciting possibilities out there - technologically. I think we’re going to start seeing VR and AI integrated into the user experience - with 3/4/5D visual mapping, 8D sound technology.... dance music’s always been about bringing people together. Maybe Clubify is the future of that. We can connect artists to a global dance floor. Collaboration is the key. When we all work together anything’s possible. Time to make it happen.

 

→ Please click HERE or follow the link in order to join Clubify and get on board for a 2-weeks trial subscription: https://www.clubify.tv/checkout/subscribe/purchase

 

 

 

Words by Kat Richter

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Music Review: Nate S.U & Elijah Something - Electrode EP (incl. Josh Baker, Ben Balance Remixes) [Conspiracy Music]

Straight from the other side of the world, the Conspiracy Music crew joins the always longer list of proactive and vibrant Australian solid realities. The Sidney-based label reaches the 15th release from the hands of the figureheads Elijah Something and Nate S.U, to which are added European talents Ben Balance and Josh Baker, which respectively provide a version of the two originals. 

 

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Long time collaborators Elijah and Nate are specialists in up-tempo house with a tasteful electro flavour and hints of 90s rave-reminiscent melody. From hosting their own 1000 person+ parties with the Conspiracy Crew to hitting festival main stages like Lost Paradise in Sydney, Your Paradise in Fiji and 121 Festival in New Zealand, Elijah and Nate’s sound is thoroughly in demand in the Southern Hemisphere. Now the boys are ready to take it to the next level with their latest EP together: Electrode. It's their first combined EP on Conspiracy since the label’s very first release three years ago.

 

 

 

Title track "Electrode" is a fuzzy banger. Aggressive and harsh drums are kept together by a lively layer of rampant synths, whilst melodic and harmonic elements nervously alternate in a swingy dance. The low-end area is dominated by the combination of a twisted bassline and a hefty 303 acid arp. Pitched effects and filter sweeps are wisely arranged to raise and release the tension, just like an electrode would do, until reaching the epic peak time drop. Hands in the air ensured.

 

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The thing gets funkier with second original, "Provocation". Here too, there's a powerful fusion of an acid bassline and jackin' sub-bass, both helping on keep the groove up. The thick groove patterns progress fast and syncopated, with tiny harmonic elements restricted to the maximum, almost shotted as lethal bullets. 

 

Up next is the young talented Josh Baker (Tamango Records / META) who makes of the original a percussive monster, rising the heat with a naughty bassline, clean drum patterns and sinister pads. On his version of "Provocation", Josh uses only a few parts from the original, keeping the acid lines alive and adding his typical dribbled percussions for a more straight forward house piece. Drums are fattened and dried out, being tighter on the beat and more prominent. That bold techy attitude is Josh's favourite colour, and also ours.

 

 

 

The second remix comes from BE9 affiliate and Sukhumvit head-honcho Ben Balance, who's also half of the Ho Do Ri duo with Fabe. He provides a joyful version of "Electrode", featuring swingy drums that hit with enthusiasm. Electro synths are thin and shiny, exasperating the retro imprint of the original also thanks to the numerous old-school cowbells, shuffling hats and warped digitalized shots. Once all the elements are playing, we are completely lost in a rich texture of synthetic sounds and drums.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Vincent Floyd - Music Therapy EP (incl. Nico Lahs Remix) [NICEPEOPLE]

After the highly acclaimed ‘Positive Vibes’ EP by Orlando Voorn and the follow-up "Feel Good" EP, courtesy of label-head honcho Giuseppe Scarano, NICEPEOPLE drops a blissful brand new wax from the veteran Vincent Floyd. The US maestro is famous for having released house classics in the mid-'90s for labels such as Dance Mania, Relief and Gerking Records. In 2014 he experienced something of a career renaissance, with the release of ‘Moonlight Fantasy’ on Rush Hour, and since then he’s been totally on fire.

 

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Vincent kicks things off the lovely "Music Therapy", delivering a laid-back track, perfect for some sunny (after hour?) moments. The track offers some joyful and retro-sounding drums, with the hi-hat being sharp and clean at the right point. The melodic pluck has something retro too, hitting high into a majestic progression, assisted by vintage arpeggiators and deep stabs that give to the track some extra-power. 

 

 

 

Thus, "What We Have Done" is an amazing 808 ballad, with the closed hat that presses right on the kick drum, almost getting over it. Again, the track is filled with celestial sounds, starting with the epic pads that set to the track almost a holy mood. The beat insists in short loops, simple but effective, while melodic elements give an housy romantic touch. Overall, the atmosphere is playful, making this track sounds like a real 90s anthem as if it were coming out of a lonely stereo near a basket camp.

 

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On the flip, Italian powerhouse Nico Lahs, turns the original of "What We Have Done" into a jackin' dancefloor tool with a harmonious repartee of housy stabs that flow above a clean interplay. The groove is nothing but classic, with a powerful kick that perfectly fit with the long-tailed snare, blinking an eye to the last century house. The jazzy and soul chords do the rest, adding energy to the original but without ruining the smooth house feels.

 

 

 

Rounding out the package is the more melancholic jam "You Never Knew Me". With fewer elements in the drums, the beat moves syncopated and rigid, almost felt uncomfortable. Some retro synths are arranged around a deep and steady arp sound, whilst moogish melodies arise from the filter sweeps. melodies are glidy and cut in the mix easily, laying on top of everything else. The arp cycles inexorably, with only the rimshot breaking its regularity, as if, at least, he really knew him.

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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