In a frenzy of insanity-driven self-discovery trip, some nine years ago I left Prague for London after two years living in the city. It wasn’t a heartbreak to move on then. It felt like Prague missed something at that time. But last few years I am re-discovering it, full of pulsating new energy, the youthful mad rush of fresh ideas, initiatives, collectives, happenings, spaces. I find it fitting that music, which turned out to be my calling over years, is what brought me back home, allowing me to finally appreciate all that I have left behind. It feels like this place is alive and well and we should celebrate that by dancing together.
It is only natural to expand this heartfelt positivity about the local scene into a few more words in connection to the first dancefloor gathering of November. I strongly believe that a thriving music scene is all about forming and sharing opportunities, encouraging and supporting promising local talent, learning from and respecting one another, creating collectives and cultivating initiatives, building new venues and resurrecting old ones – together, as a community. Surely, there are many more things to be added to this list, but it’s a good start. In any case, that’s the kind of scene that anyone would be proud to be part of and I feel happy that I can.
In many ways, club nights like Ankali’s Own are upholding those very values, working towards a more inclusive, local line-ups. Giving the artists an opportunity to freely embody their vision and allowing them and everyone else involved to get to know one another and collaborate. This special collective energy is something that bubbles through the mood of such nights, transcending into some pretty elevating trips. This particular one is going to be elevated by my favourite mystical temptress Eva Porating back2backing with Deviant’s Sinnan, joined by Luft’s Møreti and peculiarly eclectic Mutuju. It would be silly not to check this one out!
Me and Karenn go way back and it has always been a bit of a love/hate thing. We had it strong when I started getting into techno, when I was looking for that angry intensity, when I needed to let the steam out while raving. Then there was a period of soft-focus and slowing down, and that was a real low moment between us. So, when I planned to see the two do their thing earlier this year it could have gone both ways. And I have to admit, they’ve grown up. I was used to the craftsmanship of their live performance and the energy they share with the crowd and together. The way they both live it, each in their own particular way, and manage to find this uninhibited space in the middle where the music happens, was always there. But the fluid boiling energy perpetually on the verge of exploding, sounds at their most raw but somehow with a gentler edge, insanely detailed sound-design and movement that renders the tracks totally alive, and the plastic density pulsing through them, is something I didn’t recognize from those intense rave days. All this is perfectly rendered on the debut release on their own imprint, Voam.
The succinct darkness of local nrmn is a perfect fit to compliment the night’s programme and so is the hypnotic shamanism of Steffen Bennemann who I have (re)discovered time and over in different corners of Europe without knowing his name. It was an unconditional affair. The music he played and the way he played it always lured me in. I wondered how far it would take me and if I would ever make it back to Earth. There are too many great mixes to pick from so I decided on the one that best compliments this specific line-up. Buckle up, folks!
This one is a real soft-spot affair. I have followed Lucy and his Stroboscopic Artefacts since their early days and always appreciated its undivided character. That holistic approach to curation of releases, their visual identities and their division into conceptual sub-series goes a long way in a market saturated by half-heartedly run labels. Lucy is a tireless experimenter and forward-thinker, someone who is curious about the expanded potential of sound as an artform transcending club environments. It’s this extraordinary sensibility that keeps cutting it for me.
Rrose will always find a special place in my heart. Fluidly fluxing through spiritually-tinted techno and air-pressured experiments, with obvious enthusiasm for the avant-garde, she is a true veteran in sound sculpting and sonic wizardry. The set I decided to share with you is so f****** special to me. I remember absolutely living it at the time, early afternoon, the UFO tent at Dekmantel. Me and my best friend woke up early, had breakfast, smoked a spliff and were there for the start of this insanely powerful sonic crusade that was oscillating somewhere between meditation and rave. Still shivering now just thinking about it!
I stumbled into Silvia Kastel’s set by chance at Re-textured, a new festival for adventurous electronic music in London. She played a dark and hazy concrete room, banging out the most unexpected tracks, not giving a damn about anything but making it an unforgettable experience for everyone. She was gliding through glitchy experimental electronica, ambient, jungle, UK bass and hefty breaks with remarkable ease. There was no time to think, I jumped right in, dripping with sweat in about five minutes, and danced all the way through to the end. Definitely one for my brain-benders collection.
Honey Soundsystem was at the periphery of my attention for a while but only while plunging into this dig, I finally had a chance to familiarise myself with what this bunch is all about. If you are looking for that San Francisco gay subculture lushness, you need not look any further. The collective “came together inspired by pivotal gay underground parties and dance music history” and offered a “take on dance music in direct opposition to what was blaring on mainstream club speakers.” Jackie House as one of the founding members is truly adept at stirring life into the party with his uplifting yet sophisticated selection and trademark energy.
Recently on my radar is Rhyw with his stripped back loopy techno with industrial and breaks influences loosely tied in. Under his belt are releases on Avian, Bassiani Records or Fever AM which he co-runs with Mor Elian. His ‘output has always been deceptively simple – favouring economy of elements over a crowded sonic space.’ This silence-appreciative direction in music making is something I find quite daring and insanely inspiring.
Strong support comes from the local crew consisting of Scannt and Citty, both presenting their modular-heavy hypnotic live shows, and Come In boss, Segment. Scannt is well versed in masterfully blending fizzy Nordic dark ambient and Italian liquid techno influences, his tracks characterised by slow-burning urgency, each of them a seductive black hole inviting you in. A unique take on deep techno with monumental textural elements, cinematic sound design, circular basslines, ritual-infused and breakbeat drums and energizing percussions. Citty offers and equally enticing sonic palette, with a deep focus on harmonics and nuanced atmospheric plateaux. An impressive spectral sensibility both in terms of timbre and spatial distribution of all those spellbinding sonic swooshes and swirls.
Avsluta has just released her beautiful Skinned Landscape EP on XYZ Project, with remixes from Oliver Torr, Nathan Solo, Steffen Bennemann and St. Jakob: