- Published on Friday, 26 April 2013 16:57
Διονύσης, or Denny as we know him, is the newest addition to the MEOKO family. Only 21 years of age and recently moved to London from his hometown in Greece, Denny has a neverending passion for all things house and techno and his enthusiasm is highly infectious. Denny lives and breathes dance music and we love that! When we discovered some months back that Denny had NEVER actually been to a club in London, we concocted a plan to make his wildest dreams come true by sending him to some of the city's most-loved raving institutions and underground parties, whilst also asking him to document his adventures - the result was My First Time at...fabric. Now we've done it again, but this time we've granted him VIP access to one of the most iconic Sunday afternoon parties currently running in London...Fuse.
Photo credit: Daddy's Got Sweets
#2 My first time at...Fuse!
Sunday 21 April, 2013
It’s now been a couple of days since experiencing the institution that is Fuse for the first time, and still at this moment I can feel the vibe and atmosphere like it was happening here in my bedroom! Last Sunday was a very special day for the Fuse family, as they were celebrating the 2nd birthday of their own imprint Fuse London at Village Underground, and lucky for me, my beloved MEOKO colleagues had a plan to pop my “Fuse virginity” with the best way ever! Funnily enough I’ve been outside Village Underground distributing MEOKO flyerpacks almost every time Fuse has had a party and, believe me, even from outside I knew that something REALLY good was occuring inside those walls. So trying to keep myself out of the place until this Sunday wasn’t easy at all…but today, I can say it was totally worth it!
Photo credit: Daddy's Got Sweets
As I approached the doors of Village Underground, the anxious excitement was building up inside me with every step. Inside, my excitement was fully satisfied and I loved what I saw; the space was different from any other venue or warehouse I’ve been to previously, the whole atmosphere seemed to be dripping with great memories...with more to come. 700-800 people capacity, super high ceiling, and the whole building oozing the underground philosophy that gets me mad. The space was already brimming with the crowd’s energy, even as the music was just warming up; beautiful people and hundreds of smiley faces all around made me immediately comfortable and relaxed. I got myself a beer and I wandered onto the dance floor, where I found, in the middle of the floor, that the low frequencies were very noticeable (something that I personally like a lot) and the sound was warm and spreading all over the venue from front to back.
After familiarizing myself with the venue more, I moved to the DJ booth to meet Tony Cannatella and Enzo Siragusa (Fuse’s founders). Meanwhile, Seb Zito and Luke Miskelly were already going back-to-back; a crazily perfect match, the duo showed how it’s done with great rotation and proper Techno sounds. One did not have to say much about their mixing skills as these gents knew exactly what they were doing. Behind the booth, I spoke with Tony in detail about the whole Fuse philosophy, how it began and what their expectations are for the future. More that eight years of experience in throwing parties here in London and five years of running Fuse, Tony and the team are more than experienced in how to create the proper vibe and cater to the crowd in all ways! The importance of the sound system was one of the main things we discussed, both with Tony and his sound engineer, and hearing their perspectives and knowledge on the subject blew me away. Working hard and paying extra attention to detail, like these guys do, obviously pays off, that’s for sure! After our chat and as the evening approached 19:00 I ventured once again for a wander amongst the crowd, and made a little a video to give you a taste...
Ben Rau was on the decks at this point...and whilst I was in the crowd, I bumped into Ittetsu. Sadly I hadn’t had the chance to listen to him play (other than imagining it via his MEOKO mix) but when I asked him how it went, he said he was really satisfied with the result and had a great time. This seemed to be a running theme throughout the night; all the DJs were on top form and the unity of the whole Fuse family was noticeable even in the few hours I had been there! It’s undeniable there’s a specific sound associated with Fuse, a signature style of techno that creates a harmony and flow throughout all of their sets, whilst still each individual has their own unique flair. While dancing our arses off to Ben Rau, the crowd really started to heat up and Ben proceeded to take the party to the next level – and I was lucky enough to capture on video one of my favorite parts of the night!
After Ben’s set I headed backstage, grabbed a beer, and chilled for a couple of minutes trying to mentally and physically prepare for Enzo Siragusa’s imminent set. As he told me himself earlier in the evening, Village Underground is awesome and Fuse is an experience that won’t let you down – so I was eager to hear what kind of lethal shots to the heart he was going to bring. And actually…that’s exactly what happened: Enzo did the job! Mixing effortlessly on vinyl, and turning the crowd into a sweaty, dancing mass of bodies, I captured Enzo doing his thing...
Time having flown past, suddenly it was 10 o’clock and I found myself with my MEOKO mates, enjoying the rest of the party as a family. Rich Nxt was on the decks, continuing to hammer the crowd with his cheeky basslines, affecting them in such a way that it seemed literally impossible to stop dancing! As a DJ myself, I recognized how important this amazing crowd were to the Fuse experience, and why all the jockeys were enjoying the party so much. A good crowd almost controls the DJ psychology, in such a way that they give more as the crowd gives more: it’s a “give to receive” thing and is hard to explain, although everyone knows it’s there! So a note to my fellow clubbers: if you want to party, guys just show some love and enthusiasm to the DJ, because at the end of the day you’re going to be the one benefiting from it more than anyone else!
It became even clearer to me later on, after spending some time backstage chatting with the Fuse crew, just what these beautiful people represent and why they do things the way they do - I was in love! Subsequently, I managed to catch about half of Alex Arnout’s set from behind the booth. The place was still rammed (it hadn’t seemed to lessen at all since they announced earlier at 7pm that it was at full capacity) and people were enjoying themselves more than ever, as you can see below...
Sadly the time came when I had to leave the place and catch the last tube home. Nevertheless, I left completely exhilarated from the whole day and after such an amazing first time Fuse experience, I am already counting down the days ‘til the next one. From beginning to end, the music and atmosphere was so intense it made me feel like I was tripping (and the emotional comedown the next day was equally as intense!) Massive thanks to Fuse for the incredible hospitality and amazing night, and to MEOKO for making it happen. Until my next ‘first time’, take care of yourselves and keep partying!
- Published on Friday, 12 April 2013 17:02
Various Artists (Mixed by Jaymo & Andy George)
Moda Black Vol.II
While Jamie Jones et al. gallivant the globe over, infusing their brand of sun-soaked fare into the minds, bodies and souls of all that will listen, Jaymo & Andy George offer a grittier, more UK-centric focus on this nouveau-house craze. With residencies at We Love and fabric, the northern pairing's Moda brand has brilliantly straddled the divide between the commercial and the underground, dealing in strong, accessible house music tailored directly for the floor. Following on from the popular Moda Black Vol.I mix, the duo return with Vol.II, intent on offering a healthy, robust cross-section of where UK club music is at today.
Bringing together about as enviable a list of talent as they could muster, Jaymo & Andy George get right to the heart of the sound. With no time for flowery intros, Ben Pearce gets the ball rolling with 'Pale Ale', an exclusive slice of emotionally charged house. Replete with heartfelt dance-floor vigour, it provides the mix with a more than steady lift-off platform. Zesty synths on 'Remember' by Jaymo & Andy George keeps things pumping, before a trio of cuts courtesy of Eats Everything, Lrusee & Bleecker and New York's M A N I K offer up a subdued, if still lively, breather.
With plenty of air in our lungs, Huxley cranks us back up to optimum speed, delivering a typically upfront, gravelly UK-garage infused effort in 'Diesel'. Continuing to fly the flag for the revivalists, Ejeca drapes classic 90s stabs in a dense fog of emotive pads and infectious vocals, before Celsius and label favourites Hot Since 82 hint at darker, tougher territory, their contributions awash with hefty, swirling breakdowns and sinister synth lines. Swedish vocalist Karin Park teams up with Shadow Child to give the mix that Bjork-esque glint before full-frontal tracks from Walker & Royce and Danny Daze & Maxxi Soundsystem see us out in the trippy, sweaty haze of a night well partied.
While no one can deny the impact and current popularity of this sound, there exists always the fear that we're on the brink of over-saturation. I'll admit, I wasn't sure I'd hear much to enthuse me on this mix, judging the release by its proverbial tracklist and deeming it safe, if a little tired. In fact, Jaymo & Andy George have collated something thoroughly entertaining here, conveying an intelligent passion to portray the music and the scene that they inhabit in as true and honest a light as possible. Most importantly however, it will just make you really want to dance.
We've teamed up with the Moda Black team to offer one reader a copy of the new Moda Black Vol II on CD, which is officially released on Monday 15th April.
- Published on Thursday, 11 April 2013 11:59
In this second feature of our MEOKO Horizons series, we head to Germany for Time Warp Festival's flagship Saturday night event.
10.30am, Saturday 6th April 2013, touchdown Frankfurt International Airport. Judging by the faces and looks I can see around the baggage hall, I’m clearly not the only early arrival for the event comparable to every techno lover’s birthday and christmas rolled into one. After a day spent killing time in Mannheim, we arrive at the gates of the Mainmarkt Expo hall circa 11.30pm. Clearly this is a popular time to arrive, with everyone aiming to get it in for Gaiser at 12. After a 30-minute scrum to get in through the single entrance (!!!), we make it in just after Gaiser has started in room one. This being my first time at Time Warp (TW), I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the crowd in attendance, which seems to stretch a mile back. As we arrive, the Minus stalwart is already pumping out 'Some Slip', one of my favourite tracks of all time, upon the revelling masses. The reception of every percolating note is greeted with a collective deafening roar more akin to what one expects after the winning goal in a world cup final has just been scored, and this set against a light show straight out of a Star Wars galactic battle scene makes for a pretty mind blowing introduction to Time Warp 2013.
Gaiser, Room one
I watch another half hour or so of Gaiser’s wacky party-starting techno, gradually accustoming to my surroundings before gathering the troops to make our way over to catch the second and final hour of Dubfire in room 2. Dubfire was one of the undisputed highlights of the previous year’s edition and half the reason I even made the trip over. Having watched him absolutely tear up the “Cave” (a kind of 3-dimensional hellish portal structural cavernous installation) countless times on Youtube over the last year, I’m pretty surprised and disappointed to find Dubfire going through the motions with a pretty mundane and disinterested set- half the time he’s even got his back turned to the crowd and seems more interested in chatting to Sven Vaëth hanging out behind him. Swiftly moving on, we head next door to check out Dixon, the Innervisions mogul playing the kind of crystal like tech-minimal that the German imprint is best known for. Dixon is immediately more absorbing than Dubfire and the crowd here seems more genuinely interested in actually listening to fine sounds rather than watching the large shows next door. Sinfully, the sound itself in the room is not up to scratch; it’s simply not clear enough to do justice to Dixon’s delicate tonalities nor loud enough to overcome the wobbly bass interference coming through the rather thin walls from next door. Nonetheless, there is genuine heartfelt appreciation for Dixon from the crowd, perhaps simply due to his impeccable track selection and musical nous, and he brings his set to a mellow term with the ethereal 'You Need the Drugs' by Westbam feat. Richard Butler.
'You Need the Drugs' by Westbam feat. Richard Butler.
After an emotional embrace, Ricardo Villalobos takes over and changes the mood completely, laying down some dark, grumbling techno sounds. The room instantly fills and it’s evident that regardless of your opinion of him, Ricardo remains one of the most influential Dj’s on the techno circuit.
In much need of a drink but penniless having, like an amateur, failed to withdraw cash before coming in, I have no choice but to head outside in search of an ATM. Incredulously, the whole site has but a single ATM to cater to the 15,000 fans in attendance, and I spend about an hour in the cold and rain waiting in line to get some funds to sponsor my night, whilst some French bloke on god-knows-what chews my ear off with some absolute gibberish. Although sober already, coupled with the disappointing few hours I’ve had so far this experience has now downright put me in a foul mood, and in the back of my mind I’m beginning to wonder if TW really deserves the mythical reputation that precedes it. Fortunately, this marks the end of my frustrations for the night (in part due to my newfound ability to buy drinks) and I head back in to the warmth to catch the end of Carl Cox. The legendary British DJ is one who tends to divide opinion, but having seen Master Vaëth innumerable times, I’m happy to give him a proper listen. Following numerous acts that have thus far failed to grab me, I’m happy to report that old Carl was definitely holding the fort down, playing pounding fast paced sun drenched Ibiza techno and getting the crowd going with his big personality and engaging chat, his pre all the more felt due to his holographic image projected above him on a kind of 3D graphite screen. Its now 3am, and Marcel Dettmann takes to the stage, looking somewhat like Jesus in a long sleeved white tee and shoulder length golden locks.
Marcel Dettmann in The Abyss
Over the course of the next two hours, the Berghain lynchpin proceeds to save me and resurrect my night with dark, thumping, multi-layered unnatural sound, permeated throughout with acid-tech glitch. Dettmann is all throughout calm and composed, never once affected by the scale of the occasion nor by the crowd in front of him. He is backed by another stunning 3-dimensional encapsulating display, this one entitled 'The Abyss' which fits the eeriness of his sound like a glove and leaves the entire audience in total trance and complete silence for a full two hours. This kind of spectacle leaves me to reflect on the difference in musical and experiential appreciation of crowds in Europe versus those in the US at shows of this magnitude and production level. You can watch his full performance here on be-at.tv.
Marcel Dettmann live @ Time Warp Mannheim 2013
Following such an intense, draining auditory and visual experience, despite having previously resolutely resolved against setting a foot at Jamie Jones, I decide that a bit of cheesy easy-listening is in fact just what I need to replenish my life force. I’m also a tad curious to hear how he would play at TW given its techno-puritan identity and what kind of people would be in attendance. Jamie and the Visionquest crew are playing in a long corridor shaped room with a triangular tunnel like installation running right down throughout which ends with a psychedelic pyramid visual in which one gets truly lost. In true Hot Creations style, the lights are monochromatic, slowly morphing from shades of blue to purple and to red, and the atmosphere is very dark and club like. The hour or two that I spend in here proves to be a wise decision, as in comparison to the other rooms at TW, this one is pretty much the chill out lounge and people are able to chat and take the night a little less seriously for a while knowing that it is far from over.
Jamie Jones and Visionquest
Im eyeing my watch conscious that Matador, the revelation of TW 2012, is on at 6.30am. Sources on the inside have told me he will be playing lots of previously unheard material, with TW seen as the most deserving occasion on which to do so. Before heading back in to the unforgiving cauldron, we make the transition from the warm embalming environment of room four by way of Matias Kaden’s funky, rhythmic and playful tech-house which gets us going again.
Deciding this time to watch the show from the large booth areas behind performers that TW proposes to guests, I head back into room two and make my way backstage to get a stunning view of the sea of people in attendance- what it must feel like to play to a crowd this large…The room is absolutely packed to the rafters, and Ireland’s own proceeds to shred it from start to finish with his dark driving eerie sound. I definitely get the feeling that TW sound engineers have pushed the knobs up for Gavin, as the place is absolutely shaking with bass to the point that each percussion almost chokes the air from your throat. Matador plays all of last year’s classics: Kingswing, Klay, BamBam, Spooks and Kenekt , the latter two of which have people climbing up the walls and pulling eyeballs out. Most impressive however is the new material Matador plays (of which I’m sure we will all be hearing plenty of in the coming months) that shows an evolution and maturity in his sound which suggests Matador will be around for a while.
Like the second coming of the messiah, the wait for Richie Hawtin has been long and much anticipated. Richie needs no introduction; one need only know that he first played at Time Warp in its second edition back in 1995, to understand the special relationship that exists between these two entities and how significant each one is to the other’s identity. To try and describe what happens over the next 7.5 hours during which he plays would be futile and near impossible. It would also be a dishonour to the level of dedication and minutious perfection Richie Hawtin commits to his artistry. If you haven’t already seen him live, make sure it’s on your list of things do before he or you die.
Master at work
I am completely transfixed for a full six hours by what comes to be one of the most profound musical experiences of my life, such is the effect that Richie Hawtin has and such is his knowledge of his trade and his ability to completely take listeners on a journey. His sound is an omnipresent, living and breathing entity, a concept fully supported by the backing visual display which infrequently has reptilian eyes watching you all throughout. Speaking to fans after his marathon set from 7.30am to 2pm, the general consensus amongst most is that it is the best set of his they have ever seen (if one were to even call it a set as not a single track was distinguishable, it was more a collection of sounds seamlessly stitched together in an auditory canvas).
Richie Hawtin fans
I have to literally be dragged away to catch Pan-Pot close room three from 12 - 2pm. Although reluctant at the time, in retrospect, this serves to be a nice return to reality after the surrealism of Richie Hawtin. Pan-Pot play some fun, big room techno such as Maetrik’s 'Reason' which often sounds like a jumbo jet coming in to land, pretty much how my calves are feeling at this point after 14 hours on my feet, dancing. Despite my fatigue, I manage to stay the course until the very end and even manage to catch up with an ecstatic Thomas (1 half of Pan-Pot) after the show and we argue about where the best Currywurst in Berlin is to be found.
This last goofy personal interaction with one half of Germany’s most popular acts leaves me thinking that despite its massive size and big stage shows, TW really is a community of techno lovers who come from the world over to listen to music and to assemble together on a kind of yearly pilgrimage to the center of the techno universe. One fan I speak to outside sums it up best when I ask him what makes Time Warp special for him:
“For me this was the first techno festival that I went to four years ago - I didn't know that much about it then, and went on a friend's suggestion. It blew my mind! I think most DJs make an extra effort at Time Warp. I've always enjoyed their long sets at this festival, more than anywhere else. There's almost a family atmosphere here, even with thousands of ravers - I always end up seeing familiar faces at Time Warp. It all makes up for a very special festival”.
MEOKO Highlights: Richie Hawtin (all 7.5 hours!), Marcel Dettmann, Carl Cox, Matador, Pan-Pot, the visual installations.
Time Warp 2013 reviewed by Bj Daly @_bazmatazz
- Published on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 12:01
MEOKO has been digging deep to bring you the best in up and coming brands and designers for the coolest unique creations out there. Each brand representing positivity, creativity and a fun and friendly vibe, to tie in with what we stand for here at MEOKO. Over the coming weeks we’ll be presenting some our favourites, as well as some fresh undiscovered talents for you to feast your eyes over.
For the fifth instalment of our 'Hidden Treasures' series, we bring you another budding creative brand, a real tasty treat in the form of Yoghurt Warrior. We came across the brand's eclectic and eye-catching tropical wares at a recent pop-up event held by The Secret Emporium at Box park in Shoreditch. We later discovered that its founder, designer (and DJ) Jimmy Herrtage started up the brand from scratch three years ago, whilst studying at art college with just a £500 loan from his dad. Jimmy decided to merge his love of art and electronic music by designing and manufacturing tees that he would take along for his fellow DJs, whilst gigging at events (as DJ Shark Bait) - and from here the brand has grown organically, attracting the support from the likes of Annie Mac and Foamo.
In essence, Yoghurt Warrior produce a range of streetwear apparel, including unisex tees, sweatshirts, leggings and hats, which incorporate quirky designs and slogans with aztec and animal inspired prints. Since Jimmy moved to London the brand has grown from strength to strength, as Yoghurt Warrior has increasingly collaborated with a host of underground music brands, such as Troupe, Flux, Real Nice, Gottwood, WAYF and Secret Garden Party, helping to cement the clothing line's association with youth culture and underground nightlife. Yoghurt Warrior have even produced merchandise for some of the event brands they've worked with; they currently stock a Troupe beanie and will soon be releasing a Gottwood Festival 2013 tee. Not only are Yoghurt Warrior's designs the right amount of casually cheerful and seriously du jour, but MEOKO also has huge respect for the story behind the brand's growth, from one man's personal project to gaining recognition in a whole musical scene and culture.
This year you can find them hosting stalls at Love System Festival in Croatia at the end of May as well as Gottwood Festival, Secret Garden Party and Bestival. Yoghurt Warrior can also be found on the white isle this summer as they are hosting a week in Ibiza for the first week of July with Together Ibiza, Troupe, Flux and WSS.
Yoghurt Warrior have kindly given us a full pot of scrumptious goodies for you to get your hands on:
1 YW sweatshirt
1 YW tee
1YW Troupe Beanie
1 pair of tickets to Panoramic Launch party w/ Kevin Griffiths, Milton Jackson - 5th May @ 360 Rooftop
1 pair of tickets to X w/ Art Department - 10th May @ The Egg
1 pair of tickets to Troupe w/ Dense & Pika, South London Ordnance - 11th May @ XOYO
Visit the Yoghurt Warrior website here
Like Yoghurt Warrior on Facebook
Follow Yoghurt Warrior on Twitter
For more information on the Together Ibiza package click here
- Published on Thursday, 04 April 2013 19:25
MEOKO’s brand new feature sees our correspondents set foot on foreign soils - in this first edition Bj Daly ventures to the land of cheese and mountains to see what our friends on the Continent are getting up to.
Geneva, Switzerland, is not a city one associates with a thriving underground scene. A financial city by nature, Geneva’s picturesque waterfront is fronted by banks, luxury goods shops and old world watchmakers. Yet this Easter weekend, tucked away a little downriver from where Lake Geneva drains out and becomes the River Rhone, a scene of a quite different nature is unravelling- Electron Festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
Touching down into Geneva airport at 10pm on Friday night nursing no small hangover due to the previous evenings’ festivities with Mulletover (which did much to restore their reputation), with no time to lose I immediately make my way into the city centre and downriver past the Batiment des Forces Motrices, an imposing opera house and exposition center which sits in the middle of the river and previously served as a hydroelectric power station until 1980. On the opposite riverbank, I happen upon the 'Usine', French for 'Factory' which is the main nerve center from which the festival started 10 years ago. The Usine is much akin to the legendary Kunsthaus Tacheles art center in Berlin (closed as of September 2012) and in a similar fashion houses concert halls, a nightclub, art spaces, studios, a theatre and a cinema, all used to various extent by a non-profit artist collective to promote art, culture and music.
Temple of Boom- L’Usine Cultural Center
With no time to hang about, I immediately head over to pick up my press pass in the staff area and bump into Andre Joye, one of the festival programmers, who gives me the quick low down on what Electron is all about.
“What did you set out to achieve with the artistic programming of Electron on this, your 10th anniversary?”
AJ: “We wanted to take a look back retrospectively at music on the international circuit over the years. A lot of hype is created over artists who don’t yet deserve the acclaim and we endeavoured a return to old school values. As such, whilst the programming is very diverse in genres and offers a nice mix of established and emerging artists, we have tried to place the emphasis on legends and pioneers of many varying genres. This edition for instance will feature techno and acid-house pioneers LFO, House legends Derrick Carter, Theo Parrish and DJ Sneak, digital punk-hardcore act Atari Teenage Riot and mythical reggae collective Trojan Soundsystem. Let’s not forget either the legend that is Daniel Miller and also special mention to the 20-year anniversary showcase of the seminal German Techno label Kompakt, to which the opening night was dedicated and which featured Mohn, Sascha Funke, Justus Köhncke, Saschienne and enchanting Brazilian producer Gui Boratto.
“How do you feel Electron is positioned within the over saturated electronic festival scene in Europe?
AJ: “The Internet creates so much buzz around artists who may have only released a handful of records. As a result, festival line-ups easily become influenced by this hype and many across Europe begin to look a bit identikit in look and feel. We try to offer a programming both musical and artistic which is diverse and different as we feel our public is curious and hungry to discover new artists that have perhaps hitherto been underrated. It is also important to us to respect our own artistic scene without which none of this would be possible. As such the festival features many talented Swiss and local artists such as Quenum, Crowdpleaser Dachshund, Oram Modular and Kadebostany - to name but a few featuring alongside more established international contemporaries.”
“Finally Andre, what is your “Coup de Coeur” of the Festival?”
AJ: “For me it’s got to be The Bug feat. Daddy Freddy. I’ve been a Drum n’ Bass DJ and producer for many years and he has been a massive influence on me.
As soon as I finish with André, I’m on the run again as I’ve scheduled an interview with French producer Rone. On my way over from the Palladium concert hall, the largest capacity venue of the festival’s eight separate sites, I can’t help myself from pulling up at the Kompakt pop up store, loaded with almost every Kompakt release over the last 20 years. The place is a goldmine and I make a promise to myself to come back and dig through the crates.
I meet Rone, or Erwan Castex in the backstage area of the downstairs venue of the Usine, meandering first through graffiti covered corridors and staircases that typify this kind of European art center, which feels very much like a mansion squat in places (that’s a good thing!). Rone is one of the revelations of 2012 following the release and widespread critical acclaim of his album, Tohu Bohu, French for 'Hurly-Burly', on Agoria’s Parisian label Infiné. (catch the full interview next week on MEOKO).
Aside from being an excellent producer, Rone turns out to be a really sound guy. Something about producers who don’t DJ typifies them in the loveable geek mould. After a long 30 minutes spent chatting over some vodka red bulls served up by Rone himself, I return to the press area to drop my gear and on the way back manage to catch about 20 mins of LFO from the VIP balcony area. Although LFO was originally a 2 piece act consisting of Gez Farley and Mark Bell, Mark Bell is now the sole representative of this groundbreaking, pioneering act, and has since achieved notoriety as the producer behind Bjork, as well as remixing the likes of Depeche Mode and Dave Clarke. Given that LFO predates me, I am particularly excited to catch him / them live for the first time after growing up listening to them at a tender age. As I watch from afar, I see Mark with a minimalist table set up entice a curious crowd with glitchy, frantic high-octane noise. As for me, this is no doubt the first time most people here get to see first-hand what LFO is all about and the massive influence they have had upon electronic music.
LFO’s Mark Bell
Eager to catch up with some old friends, I make my way back to L’Usine and head upstairs to the Zoo, the main club venue. This place smells like sweat, smoke and alcohol, a good combination for any club. With just the right amount of production value put into lights and visuals, the place is professional but raw – a fine balance to achieve by any means. As I arrive, house maestro Derrick Carter is playing his signature blend of Jazz infused Chicago house. The crowd in here is busy and pent up with TGIF party energy- people are dancing, chatting, and whistling as the main man DC effortlessly takes us to Ibiza and back to Chicago with another saxophone infused house track.
A glance at my phone tells me it’s just gone 2am, which means its time to go back downstairs to see Rone, a concert I have been eagerly anticipating. As I push my way into the crowd for a better position, its clear that this guy is not unheard of here- the crowd is bumper to bumper and wolf whistles are going out before he’s even come on stage. Playing on Ableton live, he starts out his set with dreamy, melancholic tracks to which the crowd sways, gradually building up and interspersing long beautiful synths with more tech-minimal, glitch wizardry. In between tracks, which last on average 12 minutes, there is rapturous applause and you get the feeling this is a really special moment for Erwan, who is humble in his appreciation as he bows and bows again before getting on with the show. He gradually builds his set up to an intense crescendo, and the crowd go wild, lost in rapture. Finally, he closes with “Bye Bye Macadam” sending shivers and goose bumps down every spine in the room.
Rone “Bye Bye Macadam”
Rone is swiftly followed by Drum N’ Bass twosome Loadstar. The contrast in energy and genre is markedly different, a smart programming move which serves to re-inject fuel into the crowd, who’ve just been lulled by the magic of Rone. Loadstar proceed to whip the crowd into a UK-style frenzy, and the smell of joints in the air is palpable. After such an intense auditory experience, I head back upstairs to the Zoo making my way past people hanging out on good vibes in every corner. I finish the night listening to Anja Schneider play some deep and reasoned afterhour’s techno, allowing people to breathe and catch up on each other’s nights. Anja’s forever big smile and infectious charisma permeates through her sound and makes this the ideal end to a great night- Thugfucker and Tale of Us’ “Morgana” is a particular highlight.
Anja Schneider closing Friday night in Zoo club
I make it back to the festival site late Saturday afternoon in time to catch a showing of “Real Scenes: Detroit” in the Sputnik cinema, again housed within the Usine building complex. Detroit’s influence on electronic music is often referred to in the past tense, but this short documentary shows us that despite the bust of the auto industry and economy, Detroit will continue to be an influence on electronic music for years to come with old hands like Kyle Hall passing on their knowledge and skills to a new generation of beatmakers, including 14-year-old Reuel Walker (you heard it here first!).
With a bit more time to kill before the night’s action begins, I head over to the centre of contemporary art and check out some of the expositions, workshops and conferences going on there as part of the festival. This area doubles up as the festival chill out area, a nice touch given what’s on offer for those with sore legs and tired ears. I’m particularly drawn to the art installation of teamlab (Tokyo), an interactive walk-through structure supporting a collection of helium-inflated balloons that react to actions provoked by the public. Other attractions include ‘Feel the Food’ an experimental sensorial experience mixing sight, sound and taste and an exhibition put on by students of the Haute Ecole D’art & Design entitled “Sound experimentations, hallucinated landscapes & sharing the atmosphere”.
Interactive art installation by teamlab (Tokyo)
Later on, with not much more of real interest to me on the programme I head to the large venue Palladium to catch a bit of Erol and Tiga. A guilty pleasure perhaps, but both of these know how to make people dance and Erol is particularly bumping, playing classic electro and tech house backed by visuals which would make a blind man have an epileptic fit. Elsewhere, Jon Convex (half of duo Instra:mental), Shackleton and Mala in Cuba are playing, these acts among other lesser known ones in the genre - an indication of the high level of appreciation for Reggae-Dub in this part of the world and again the diversity of the programming to cater to a unique, international crowd of all ages and backgrounds. At one point I am intent on going to see Theo Parrish who’s playing a six-hour set but it’s a bit of a walk to the venue and security tell me I cant get back in to the main area if I go. As it turns out, Theo Parrish’s set was fraught with sound problems and the feedback I received was disappointing, a real shame for a guy of his stature. I end the night back in trusty Zoo, with Geneva local Dachshund playing a blinding minimal-tech set. The vibe is positive and groovy, best summed up by the 2012 anthem “Future” by Kevin Saunderson / Inner City (Kenny Larkin Tension Mix) which gets dropped at some point to the general merriment of everyone present. Dachshund epitomises the kind of burgeoning Swiss underground talent who are well respected on the continent but have yet to feature prominently in the UK.
* (Dachshund featured for MEOKO back in September 2012- if you haven’t already heard the mix, give it a listen here- you won’t be disappointed! Click above.)
Dachshund (left) and Erol doing their thing
By the time Sunday rolls around, I’m feeling the effects of three nights on the go, including an official after-party hosted by up and coming Swiss techno label Wasserflasche. Nonetheless, I make it back to the festival site for one last hurrah. On this final night the festival is scaled down to just the two venues inside L’Usine. I catch Quenum first, a legendary Swiss DJ who has a CV that reads like a book. Along with Luciano (also Swiss), who founded Cadenza Records and has released over 60 records over a long career spanning back to the 80’s and is also behind one of the most seminal techno tracks ever in “Orange Mistake”.
Luciano & Quenum “Orange Mistake”
Next up I catch Australian Berlin resident Deepchild, who plays a dark and quirky techno set, the kind you would expect from a guy who plays regularly in Berghain and Tresor. DJ Sneak follows, driving the room with his gangsta take-no-prisoners attitude and slamming house, marked by his signature sound of tight snares and high hats. He moves back and forth through genres including tech house, ghetto tech and techno and at one point he drops Shadow Child’s “23” as the crowd continuously go mental. You can tell there is real appreciation for Sneak and he seems to be enjoying the real, raw and unpolished atmosphere of the club, taking several videos on his phone and hanging about after his set on stage as Swiss house maestros Round Table Knights take over until close.
DJ Sneak- The Original House Gangsta’
Unable to move my legs to the jackin’ beat anymore, I head downstairs just as Peaches and a posse of scantily clad female dancers wearing devil-goat masks and covered in fake blood are finishing up terrorizing an audience with some kind of transgressive/S&M show backed by her trademark electroclash-punk head banging sound. Swiss act Luluxpo follow playing slow deep, hypnotic Peyote-Techno similar to Rebolledo and Matias Aguayo, and like with Peaches, the emphasis is on the show as an enchanting Burlesque dancer takes to the stage to tease the audience with intense sexual energy. It’s an intelligent programming decision and the ideal end to the festival, as the focus on the performance element in both these shows allows listeners to rest tired ears and legs and watch the theatrical displays on offer.
Luluxpo feat. Emma Mylan (Burlesque dancer)
It’s hard to sum up Electron in one word. I guess for anyone who’s been there, its most similar in its DNA to Sonar by day, with a diverse array of cultural and artistic offerings to be enjoyed, from an eclectic musical programming to dance performances, art expositions, cinema screenings, conferences, workshops and more. In all areas of the festival, one can feel the omnipresent influence of extremely well heeled programmers of art school backgrounds who appreciate a range of genres and offer up a fine selection in order to not only please audiences with well loved acts but also to make them discover and appreciate new music and art that they might not have otherwise been exposed to. Perhaps most striking is that as Geneva does not feature prominently on typical clubbing calendars, unlike say its bigger regional brothers Amsterdam, Barcelona or Berlin, Electron promoters are free from Internet buzz hype, the need to appear outwardly ‘cool’ or to meet pre-defined rave culture stereotypes. The result is a friendly, convivial festival that celebrates art and culture in all its forms and an embracing, appreciative crowd is of all ages and backgrounds.
Meoko highlights: Rone, Dachshund, Quenum, Dj Sneak, Deepchild, Kompakt Pop Up Store, Art exhibitions
Special Thanks to Danièle McClellan, André Joye and Erwan Castex
Meoko Horizons is next reporting from Timewarp, Mannheim, (April 6th)