Reviews/Previews

ICan Studios Presents SUNSET Open Air

Sunset

Hackney’s known for its fair share of gems in its cultural landscape, with iCAN Studios being one of the most prominent and exciting. The Hackney Wick based venue and creative hub launches a new series for summer, meaning a slice of al fresco partying available to those who didn’t make it to Ibiza this year.

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Every Sunday, starting from Sunday May 4th, iCAN invite you to come and enjoy SUNSET in the venue’s newly refurbished courtyard, featuring some of underground house and tech’s finest purveyors for an afternoon of cocktails, BBQ food, dancing and (hopefully) sunshine from 2pm to 10pm. For the launch, SUNSET welcome Frederico Molinari, The Italoboyz and HOLIC’s Tamoki Tamura.

Listen to Italoboyz on our 37th MEOKO Podcast HERE

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It’s setting the tone perfectly as SUNSET plan to bring special guests (and some super special unannounced guests) for your dancing pleasure. You’ll soon forget you’re in London after an afternoon with the SUNSET gang.

More information about the event HERE

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Electron Festival Review

electron fest DEFElectron Festival, Geneva, is not necessarily the first of names that spring to mind when thinking of major European electronic music festivals taking place in April and over the Easter holiday weekend, yet the festival, now in its 11th edition, consistently draws the finest of both established and up and coming acts year on year to its locale on the banks of the river Rhone where Lake Geneva slips away. Yet to label Electron as simply another electronic music festival would be derisory to its intent, rather it is a ‘festival of electronic music culture’ and therefore, one that encompasses all associated art forms such as Vj’ing, dance, contemporary art, visual projections, screenings, conferences and workshops. Whilst this formula most famously associated with Sónar has since been attempted and replicated by many festivals in an attempt to gain artistic merit and credibility, very few festivals around can legitimately lay a claim to actually accomplishing it truthfully. The fact that Electron does, is an immense credit to the team behind the festival, an independent non-profit arts collective, many of whom are students or alumni of the prestigious Geneva Art and Design College, where many disciplines now associated with electronic music such as VJ’ing and visual mapping projections were born out of.

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Thus, whilst Geneva is not on the Easyjet clubbing route map (thankfully!) and whilst the size of the line up can not compare to that of say Amsterdam’s DGTL festival being held over the same weekend (and nor does it aspire to), there is a feeling that this festival celebrating not only electronic music but electronic music culture as a whole and associated arts and disciplines is being held in its rightful home. It is not a festival that sets out to bring hordes of tourists from the UK or wherever else in order to fill the city’s hotels and coffers, yet its record breaking 19,000 attendees this year over 4 days attests to its regional pull and influence. Electron is presented and curated much like a large exhibition, with 11 rooms all within walking distance of each other allowing attendees to freely wander from one concert room to another, sampling and discovering emerging Swiss talent at the dedicated Red Bull Music Academy stage, or listening to more established international favourites such as Ellen Allien, Max Cooper, Ame, Robag Wruhme and Stacey Pullen to name but a few in the other rooms. In between these you might stumble into a cinema showcasing various projections and the cinematic works of French Electronica producer Quentin Dupieux (a.k.a., Mr. Oizo…yes, you know the one who made the catchy song with the fuzzy teddy bear for THAT Levi’s commercial?), or you might suddenly come across a troupe of contemporary dancers performing some kind of Thriller onspeedinspired flashmob performance entited “Even Rael would Agree”; or you might happen to wander into one of the many conferences and get some industry inside tips from the likes of Rick Wade and Perc. You might even come to learn that the Vocoder, famously used by the likes of Chromeo et al. was an instrument of espionage originally developed to encrypt high-level voice communications during World War II, and whilst contemplating this new factoid wandering the little side streets in between each concert hall you might even look up to see beautiful visual patterns mapped onto the sides of buildings gliding and interweaving amongst each other beautifully…

festival-2In terms of musical programming, as with other years, Electron offered up a diverse and eclectic line-up catering to wide audiences that few other contemporary electronic music festivals would dare attempt- ranging from House, Techno, Tech, Electro, Goa, Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Bass, Hip-Hop, UK Funky, Disco and other even more abstract genres such as ‘Orchestral Electro’ (which featured a performance by Francesco Tristano & Geca alongside a full chamber orchestra) and ‘New Beat Folk Psyche’. Whilst the main concert rooms undoubtedly prioritised ‘mainstream’ genres such as Techno, House and Electro, it is nonetheless refreshing to find a festival which provides a platform for the less cool kids in the playground to express themselves when most other European festivals simply regurgitate a who’s who line up of Beatport’s house and techno top selling artists with no apparent desire to actually creating something original (take your cue WeAreFSTVL).

05avril2012-paladium-gesaffelstein-gabriel asper img 9288This is where Electron stands out from other festivals in the genre- free from the need to generate massive profits for investors, the curators are able to offer up a thoughtful, different and refreshing program including many long time established stalwarts such as Rick Wade, Ivan Smagghe, Stacey Pullen, Robag Wruhme and Ellen Allien alongside emerging Swiss talent such as Masaya, Eli Verveine and La Foret as well as stunning live performances in the shape of James Holden presents the Inheritors, Mount Kimbie, and Deltron 3030, all of which are accompanied by excellent visuals by the next generation of leading VJ artists.

Hats off to you Electron, and until next year.

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Meadows in the Mountain Summer Festival Preview

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Who said your festival experience has to be dominated by muddy pools of stagnant water, shit food and toxic teenagers running amok? If, given the choice, wouldn't you prefer to be bugging out in the crisp freshness of a mountain range, surrounded by rolling peaks, clean, illness-destroying air and enough chunky beats and rolling snares to keep your appetite for music well and truly quenched? Of course you would  which is why Meadows in The Mountains festival seems like such a tasty prospect for your festival season this year.

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Nestled away within the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountain range, sitting atop of the Greek border, punters and merry makers are encouraged to go wild with abandon and soak up the beautiful, natural surroundings of the uniquely placed festival. Aside from the likes of Theo Parrish collaborator and Flowers creator Andrew Ashong, San ProperHrdvsn, Jazzanova's Alex Barck and many more underground acts from the world's of house,funk and soul, you can even take a horse and cart ride, have a go at downhill grass bob-sleighing, go on a mountain ramble or for the more adventurous type out there, take a trip on the 'death slide' or  subject yourself to a ride on the mountain top zip line.

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Shunning the ethos of capitalism for community, pre-fab festivals for a unique experience and the arena-packing superstardom of large-scale festivals for intimate personality, Meadows in The Mountains represents a refreshing alternative within a deluge of paint-by-numbers festivals and events. Just make sure you remember to bring your camera along.

 

Check out this madness on the mountain from last year.

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More information about the festival and tickets HERE

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Best New Releases: Reset Robot, Marc dePulse remixed by Kölsch and Floating Points

best releases meoko2

Reset Robot - Let Your Soul Outside

Truesoul

Released 07/04/14

Reset Robot has produced a progressive and melodic album with a satisfying blend of light and darkness. Some really whistful numbers like Ghost Machine are enhanced by the husky midrange vocals of Mr Woo, which is followed by eccentric tracks like The Birth of Terry Burrows. From the soaring heights of Mings of Strife to the abrupt and gritty bass of Unprocessed Layer or the retro throwbacks in Desi Beats, it really is a rich and diverse release. 

Listen and buy it here.

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Marc dePulse - No Need to Worry (Kölsch remix)

Noir Music

Released 31/03/14

Joining Phil Kieran and FreakMe on remix duties, Kölsch turns his hand to Marc dePulse’s recent release, giving continuity, forward pushing motion and that special Kölsch touch of atmosphere. Playing around with vocal loops to create tension and release, Kolsch has readied this song for dance floors, adding a bouncing, flat toned mid line which holds it all together. Hollis P Monroe and Overnite vocal line pops its head in and out, but is no longer the feature of this largely instrumental number. 

Listen and buy it here. 

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Floating Points - King Bromeliad

Eglo Records

Set for a May release.

I hate to be a tease, but this one's not quite available as yet. Don't despair however, as you're likely to hear this out and about already, with Four Tet already supporting this excellent new music from his friend and musical colleague (they tend to swirl in the same creative circles), Floating Points. This particular track is groovy as anything, with the smoothest rolling bassline and jazzy drum kit percussion. Excellently structured, this song is the gift that keeps on giving - be sure to play it right through and appreciate its developments. 

Listen here.

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Jordan Smith

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Tune Talk: Audiofly '6 Degrees'

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I first heard Audiofly’s 6 Degrees in Vondelpark, Amsterdam. It was one of those sunny Sundays when, just like in London, every inch of grass is covered by various collections of hung-over but happy people, except in Amsterdam nobody would dream of leaving behind any rubbish. Love that place.

Anyway the day was young, everyone’s bicycles were taking a casual lean on the grass nearby and I was eating raspberries (frambozen, in the local tongue). My friends had brought their faithful companion Boombox with them, a wonderful piece of portable equipment which had soundtracked many a day in the sun before now.

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Audiofly had just released their album Follow My Liebe and we were giving it a listen as we discussed the adventures of the night before. The whole album is deep, smooth and polished, sounding extremely pleasant but fading into the background somewhat. ‘6 Degrees’ had that something extra, and that something was definitely the lush vocals from Fiora Cutler, which turn the track into something memorable that will float around your head for days after a listening. It turns out I’m not the only one buzzing off Fiora’s dulcet tones, as the Tasmanian native (now living in Berlin) has also worked with Moguai, Armin van Buuren and most recently Tensnake. Some voices were made for guitars – some were made for synths.

So the rest of Follow My Liebe didn’t blow my socks off, but I’m still very much in the corner of Audiofly boys Anthony Middleton and Luca Saporito, whose Flying Circus parties are a thing of great, but understated beauty – much like 6 Degrees. Audiofly consistently explore alternative and unique musical territories and have the best artwork in the scene – no contest.

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6 Degrees got the remix treatment by artists of the moment, Tale of Us but, unusually for a Tale of Us effort, I prefer the original. I’ll let you decide!

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