Category Archives: house music

A Tribe Called Red Stirs Things Up

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tribecalledred decks

For many years, the Indigenous people of (the stolen land known as) Canada remained under the mainstream cultural radar. They simply didn’t seem to exist anywhere; in magazines, radio, newsprint or television. They were spoken of in whispers and when I did see them, they kept very much to themselves. In the back of my mind I found this disparity rather disquieting but had no idea what was wrong. I had yet to know anything about the horrific legacy of residential schools and the effects of post-colonialism.

Along came Idle No More and changed all that. Suddenly First Nations and Aboriginals were in the spotlight, standing up for environmental issues and shaking things up. The pendulum was finally swinging in the other direction. And the time was right for A Tribe Called Red to enter the spotlight.

After the release of their eponymous album as a free download in 2012, things gained considerable momentum for the trio of DJ’s from Ottawa, namely Tim “2oolman” Hill, Bear Witness and Ian “DJ NDN” Campeau. Glowing reviews in NOW magazine tagged them as a group to watch. The plaintive tribal wail of Electric Pow Wow Drum fused with infectious dubby rhythms made millions of heads bop and take notice. Technically their music can be described as pow wow music married with electronica and hip-hop elements. On a deeper level, their aforementioned signature track is a protest song; the singers’ visceral war like cry contrasts sharply with the playfully condescending voiceover of a white American comedian making off the cuff remarks about “Indians.” In an unobtrusive manner, A Tribe Called Red brings deep seated racism to the forefront while making you shake a leg. Which is no small accomplishment, given how uncomfortable a subject matter this is for so many.

At the end of the day, their music is essentially geared to make you forget all your troubles and dance your ass off. Which they managed to do successfully during Panamania at Nathan Phillips Square on August 12th. It was immensely gratifying to see my taxpaying dollars do something useful for a change! Though at times I sensed they needed to stretch themselves artistically, (as if they’d become a wee bit bored with playing certain songs) they were a definite crowd pleaser. It was pretty dope to see the athletically gifted hoop dancer interpret a remix of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Award Tour.”

Anyone who’s ever attended a pow wow can attest to the raw power of traditional chanting with men screaming at the top of their lungs as they whack a huge drum in syncopation while dancers dressed in fine regalia move in a slow circle around the drummers. Big ups to A Tribe Called Red for bringing traditional music to the masses in an easy to digest format. It can only get better from here on out.

Copyright © 2015 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

R.I.P. Frankie Knuckles

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Honestly, I feel like giving myself a knuckle sandwich for taking this long to pay my respects, but I gotta give it up to the late, great pioneer of Chicago house, Frankie Knuckles. Born Francis Nicholls in the Bronx, Knuckles first began DJ’ing in the 70’s alongside the legendary Larry Levan at the notoriously gay Continental Baths in New York City. The hybrid disco-bathhouse featured top notch entertainers and Frankie was no exception. Being at the right place at the right time certainly helped to cement his reputation as a pioneer in dance music. Arguably, disco helped to lay the foundation for house and Frankie was fortunate to be there live and direct, soaking up the sizzling influences of that era. After moving to Chicago in 1977, he began spinning at The Warehouse where he developed the style of music that has come to be known as “house.” His open-minded approach led him to experiment with combining elements of R&B with synths and a drum-machine to develop this rebelliously scintillating genre. It must have been exciting to be on the cutting edge of a new frontier as Frankie was at that time, along with fellow pioneers like Derrick May and Ron Hardy.

After his Chicago club, Power Plant, closed in 1987, Frankie headed off to the U.K. to play a residence at infamous house of rave, Delirium. Are you beginning to see a pattern emerging here? This man was definitely chosen to accomplish great things in the music world. I would give anything to be a fly on the wall witnessing the “Second Summer of Love” unfold, but Frankie was right up there in the mix. Respect.

Knuckles first grabbed my attention with “The Whistle Song” back in the 90’s. That track got heavy rotation and helped put him out into the mainstream. Frankie reached new heights in his career when he earned a 1997 Grammy award for Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical. A slew of remixes for noteworthy artists followed: Lisa Stansfield, Diana Ross, Toni Braxton and Michael Jackson, to name a few. And then, one of the greatest forms of recognition any artist could receive; a street renamed in his honour, “Frankie Knuckles Way” by the city of Chicago. To put further icing on the cake, August 25th 2004 was declared “Frankie Knuckles Day” by none other than Illinois senator, Barack Obama. It’s comforting to know that this openly gay, Afro-American DJ has received such tremendous respect and recognition for his abilities as opposed to his sexual orientation. A great blessing indeed, and a true testament to his hard-working, positive attitude and joyful approach to life.

Sadly, Frankie left us on March 31st, 2014 due to complications from Type II diabetes. Apparently he’d developed the condition after a skiing accident in which he’d fractured the metatarsals in his foot. He eventually ended up losing the leg, but still soldiered on like a true warrior. If anything, we should be happy for him. It might seem that he passed away prematurely, but I think he lived a full life, accomplishing so many wonderful feats and leaving musical treats to tantalize headz for generations to come. This raises the issue that we all have to face at some point: our own mortality. Most of electronic music’s pioneers are at advanced stages in their lives, and they will all leave in the coming decades. Once they’re gone, it will be interesting to see how EDM will continue to evolve. Will that soulful quality born from the early days still be present? Times change, people change and of course, the music will change. As long as there’s electricity, there will always be EDM. It is, however, important to note that consciousness affects sound, so the level of integrity is reliant upon where the majority focus their thoughts, for better or for worse.

Normally I don’t mess with politics, but kudos to The Obamas for remembering Frankie Knuckles in this letter from The White House:

ObamaFrankie
‘Nuff said!
Peace out, my fellow Ecstaticans. Take a moment to listen to “Your Love,” undoubtedly one of the greatest house tracks of all time has a smooth, chilled out ambience that is truly timeless.

Copyright © 2014 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

Martha Wash: Queen of House

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Martha Wash

Martha Wash

When it comes to belting out powerhouse vocals, few can compare to the inimitable Martha Wash. This legendary diva has racked up a slew of chart-topping hits during a career spanning well over three decades. She is the lead vocalist on C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” (released 1991) which was a massive dancefloor hit. In addition, Martha provided lead vocals on Black Box’s landmark album, “Dreamland” (1990). Despite the phenomenal success of the aforementioned acts, there was one glaring omission from the spotlight: Martha Wash herself.

 

The Weather Girls with Martha Wash (l.) and Izora Armstead (r.)

The Weather Girls with Martha Wash (l.) and Izora Armstead (r.)

At that time, Ms. Wash was a much sought after session vocalist within the music industry. Her previous credits included a stint as back-up singer for disco sensation, Sylvester, and as the other half of the bodacious female duo, Two Tons o’ Fun, formed with the late Izora Armstead. They had scored a major hit with “It’s Raining Men” (1982), a dance floor and gay club classic before they disbanded in the late 80’s. Martha was subsequently tapped to do lead vocals for C+C and Black Box. However, she was not credited on the liner notes as the original vocalist. To add further insult to injury, Martha was not included in any of the live performances or music videos promoting the aforementioned acts from that period.

I remember when “Dreamland” took the airwaves by storm during the early 90’s. When “Everybody Everybody” first reached my nubile ears I was like, “Whoa – what’s this?” It was fresh yet soulfully slick, upbeat and ultimately radio friendly. Black Box had accomplished an enormous feat: bringing house music into the mainstream. The stylishly hip video featuring a tall, svelte, attractive sista caught my attention and that of millions of my peers, who were tuned into this new sensation. It received heavy rotation on Much Music and VH1, among other outlets. I thought, “She looks like a model AND she can sing like that? Damn…lucky!” It seemed Black Box had it made. More delectables followed: “I Don’t Know Anybody Else,” “Ride on Time,” “Open Your Eyes,” and “Strike It Up.” Fandom ignited. I bought both Dreamland and the remix c.d. of all the hits from that album. I never thought to question, “Hmmm….who’s really making the music?” I was sold on the image of the attractive sista and the songs themselves, accepting what I was being shown as factual.

A few years later, the proverbial shit hit the fan. The fallout was huge (no pun intended). Martha Wash emerged from the shadows to announce that she was the vocalist behind Black Box’s hits, as well as C+C Music Factory and Seduction (“You’re My One and Only True Love”). It came as a shock to yours truly to know that BB’s frontwoman was a French model who lipsynched her way through live performances and was featured on the cover of the album itself. The message: fat women aren’t pretty enough to be famous (unless they’re funny). Apparently, label execs had decided that Martha was too big to sell records, despite her earlier chart-topping success with The Weather Girls. They somehow managed to convince Martha that her image was “unmarketable” but her chops were solid gold. Gold that they so desperately needed minus the image of the magical goose. One can only imagine the immense emotional anguish Martha suffered, watching from the sidelines as the songs she provided vocals for became massive hits with a skinny model miming her parts while she remained ignored, forgotten.

Wash decided enough was enough and finally put her foot down. She took the labels to court and won, receiving royalties and proper credit for her contributions. As a result of her landmark case, legislation was enacted in the United States, making it mandatory for vocals to be credited on c.d.’s and music videos. At last, Martha had reclaimed her right to be respected not only as a talented singer, but as a human being. Normally, this kind of experience would crush a person with less moxie, but not Martha. She had the absolute audacity, the utter nerve to demand that as a fat woman with formidable talent, nobody could make her invisible any longer.

Ugliness ensued. Remarks were made to the effect that many actually sympathized with the labels’ decision to exclude Martha’s image from their marketing. “Yeah, I can understand why they did that; she’s too big,” was an oft heard sentiment. There was no question that sizewise, Martha Wash was big. But did that give the parties involved the right to discredit her involvement as a vocalist? Hell no! During the scandal that followed, I saw for the first time, pictures of Martha Wash.  Personally I thought that although she was plus size, she was very pretty. I could not understand why they would not want to use her image. She wasn’t a size 4 but she was far from hideous. This debacle proved to be an eye opener. I realized that meanness didn’t stop at high school, but continued far beyond it. The people that were grown up, that should know better, really didn’t. If they could misrepresent a singer on their albums and videos, what else were they capable of? Mind you, this incident occurred during the post-Milli Vanilli period. As a result of that scandal, the general public became aware that on occasion, window dressing tactics were covertly employed in the music biz, all in the name of aesthetics. Subsequently, this paved the way for Wash’s case to be recognized as an indication of serious flaws within the system that needed to be rectified, in order to safeguard the integrity of recording artists.

To her credit, Martha recovered, dignity intact, and went on to record number 1 hits under her name such as, “Carry On” and “Give It to You” (1993). The unstoppable soul diva created her own label, Purple Rose, in 2005. She is very active as a performer within the gay community, having supported numerous events and causes. This can be interpreted as Martha’s way of showing gratitude for all the love and support she has received through her many ups and downs. Just as many gays refuse to accept being marginalized about who they are, so did Martha. Her rich, booming voice has graced dance floors around the globe, and that is a testament to her triumph over adversity.

The good news is that attitudes towards plus size women in the music industry are changing, with the success of vocalists like Susan Boyle, Jennifer Hudson and Adele. Record honchos are realizing that at the end of the day, talent matters more than dress size. Consumers are informing them of this fact by supporting artists that, in many instances, resemble them. Any business that ignores this upward trend is guaranteed to miss out – bigtime.

Perhaps Martha Wash’s story serves to exemplify the importance of demanding respect for one’s abilities, in a world that equates thinness with talent and beauty. It is also an example of how we sometimes allow others to dishonour us in order to gain acceptance. Self-negation might seem rewarding in the short term, but often comes at high personal cost in the long run. By remaining silent about exploitation, we give others permission to continue taking advantage of us. Recognizing your own self-worth is key to reclaiming your power. Then and only then can we attain the rewards we so richly deserve. As a true survivor, Martha said it best in “Carry On”:

I stand alone in the eye of the storm

Pressures  all around, tryin’ to wear me down

But I hold tight to what I know is right

Still can hear the way, mamma used to say

Never, never let your spirit bend

Never give in, to the end I carry on.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Moon Rising @ Cherry Beach

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What better way to celebrate Canada Day than a rave at Cherry Beach! Still reeling from the aftermath of Pride, I cooled off at a pool party before heading down. I’d heard how much it had changed from the good ol’ daze when people would just show up and start raving in the woods on the east side of the beach. It was strictly through word of mouth, never advertised and all you had to do was come prepared to party well into the wee hours. No dress code, ID, or cover charge required. It was absolutely glorious and too good to last. Due to a thoughtless act of naïve journalism about “Toronto’s best kept party secret” by a NOW magazine writer, cops swooped down and killed the last CB party of the summer in 2006. I was told that since that time, the event had been moved to a different location in the same vicinity, wristbands were required and they were now charging $5. Not to mention sketchies galore. So of course, I had lowered my expectations long before I even set foot on the shore. Boy was I in for a surprise! Hundreds of party peeps were chilling out on the beach, grooving to the bombastic sounds of Rollin’ Cash, LeeLee Mishi, Zum One, Machinelf and more. Everyone was laughing, dancing, have a good time. Sizzling samba satisfied the senses courtesy of CB stalwarts, Samba Elegua, with firespinners scorching the shit out of the scene at nightfall.

 It was reassuring to see some familiar faces from the rave and psy-trance community, though we were outnumbered by clubbers and 905-ers somewhat lacking in party etiquette. And there was a bodacious full moon to boot. A full moon party on Canada Day at Cherry Beach? Long weekends don’t get much better than that! Wading in warm water while prog techno bounced and the moon beamed was therapeutic to say the least. At times, the loud pop of fireworks going off made me wonder whether some stoned dandy might not end up losing a finger or 2. The Rave Gods were definitely on duty that night, ensuring that all Ecstaticans remained safe and sound. “This is the best I’ve seen in a while,” exclaimed one attendee. “There’s a lot less sketch than usual.” Sheesh… Maybe frumpy security personnel dressed in black, marching through beach blanket posses whilst wielding flashlights like they’re in a friggin club might have something to do with it. An acquaintance of mine ended up having her knapsack stolen, which really sucked. So if you’re planning to check out Cherry Beach in the near future, watch your belongings! Beach blanket bonanza in effect every Sunday ‘til the end of summer, weather permitting. For the latest updates on CB, follow the Promise lads  on Twitter @cherrybeach. Peace out >>>

 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Honey Dijon, Stacey Pullen and Carlo Lio @ Pride

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Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

HAPPY PRIDE TORONTO!

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Another year, another blast of boiling hot weather at Pride Toronto. Judging from the gloriously summerific reprieve in March, I say the Sun God needs to get pissed off at his royal court more often. But the drag queens, naked queers and fruit loops weren’t the only ones heating things up. The super soakers were out in full force, squirting up a storm on Yonge St., cooling things down on the homefront. After my digicam took a direct hit from a recklessly aimed watergun, I decided it was time to head for higher ground. It was then I found myself at a rooftop party overlooking Yonge St., courtesy of ravemate Greg. We watched colourful floats go by while dancing to the sounds of G Money and J Prez. Afterwards, we migrated to Boystown for a piece of the action. Tom Stephan proved to be a crowdpleaser, which came as a relief after Dee-Lite’s Lady Kier’s lackluster performance earlier on while Honey Dijon took things to another level with a smoking set of funked up house.

The afterparty continued at Phoenixwith the likes of Stacey Pullen, Joey Conns, Carlo Lio and Deko-ze. Pullen’s set was more subdued than what I remembered from Fabric,London, but otherwise quite good while Carlo really got the crowd going. Despite having quality DJ’s on the bill,Phoenix never got packed and the party ended disappointingly early around 4. All things considered, I had a swell time and so did most peeps, judging from the overall lack of spew on the sidewalk. Kudos to Pride for bringing people of all different persuasions together to celebrate life, love and music for over 35 years. ‘Til next year – shine on beautiful people! 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

DIRTY DISCO DELIVERS

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Dirty Disco kicked off on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon with a mouthwatering line-up of local and international talent featuring the likes of Don Berns (aka Dr. Trance), Robb G, Deko-ze, Adam K, Jelo and more. It was a real treat watching Dr. Trance strut onstage in a Superman suit, while “Superheroes Can’t Be Gays” played in the background. The grand-daddy of T dot’s rave scene then proceeded to drop some dirty ol skool classics from waayyy back in tha day. Larry Tee from London, England, delivered with a floorthumping set while Adam K rocked the crowd at nightfall.

Although Dirty Disco was sponsored by T-D, it was freakin annoying to see their logo flashing repeatedly across the screen behind the DJ’s for up to half an hour during some of the performances. It really irks me to see the corporate world pimping underground culture to promote their interests. Like ravers really need to be subjected to their shitty subliminal messages. And don’t get me started about Rogers trying to cultivate some swag off of Digital Dreams. Next time, it would be wonderful if Dirty Disco’s organizers could grow a backbone and curb T-D’s advertising so it doesn’t detract from the performances, seen? Usually, Dirty Disco is on the main day of Pride (Sunday), but it got shifted to Saturday, apparently as a result of Digital Dreams, which meant it was considerably less packed than the rollicking blockos of DD’s past. Aside from the piggybacking parasitic antics of corporate sponsors, it was good times, especially with guest star appearances by ol skool vets like Uncle Steve, Jeff, Paul, and Greg. Happy Pride Beautiful People!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Pride’s On!

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Summer is officially here and things are heating up in Toronto along with the temperature this weekend. Pride Toronto has taken over the streets of downtown Toronto, with the Dyke March in effect this afternoon. Rainbow flags and pink triangles in effect! It seems the average person thinks of Pride as an outlandish display of freaky transvestites and topless lesbians (my God! What about the children…). But really, it’s one of the biggest street parties in Toronto featuring electronic music by quality DJ’s. Over the years, Pride has delivered some of the best blockos I’ve ever attended – all free. Dirty Disco promises to tear shit up with sets by Pride veterans like Dr. Trance, Deko-ze, Jelo and Robb G. Brings back memories of Pride raves in the parking lots around Yonge and Wellesley; the vibe was seriously off da chain back then and I assume it hasn’t changed one iota after all these years. Damn…it’s freaking hot and sweat is pouring down my stomach as I make this entry. Time to get outta here and enjoy the party! Just thought I’d post some pics from Pride 2004 when the Eminent Party Animal aka Ed Mundo was in town. ED! WHERE ARE YA MANN?? WE MISS U!!!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.  

OM Reunion Dazzles with Utopian Bliss

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OM Reunion Project is a gamechanger. Seriously. I don’t even know where to begin. It was absolutely fantastic! Without a doubt, ORP was one of the most beautiful festivals I have ever attended. Big ups to Tom for twisting my arm (read: non violent friendly persuasion) to come after I turned skittish and changed my mind at the last minute.

We spent one blissful week camping out in gorgeous Collingwood, Ontario, from June 19th to the 25th, in celebration of the summer solstice. I’d heard great things about OM, but refused to get my hopes up. “It’s like Club Med for hippies,” Tom postulated. Really now…I was a wee bit suspicious of hippie gatherings in the woods. After all, they might run out of food or something, right? I really didn’t think this was my kind of scene but decided to give it a whirl after it became apparent that two thirds of Kensington cool would disappear for a week.

After a scenic drive on a hot, sunny afternoon, we arrived at OM. As we pulled into the driveway, I spotted some rainbow children fresh from a swim, strolling about, smiling peacefully, while a naked bum flashed straight ahead to my left as its owner stepped into his pants. “Welcome to Om,” that act of casual nudity seemed to say. Indeed, nakedness was a natural state of being in these earthy surroundings. People were free to just let it all hang out without fear of reprisal or molestation. Though nudity was encouraged and embraced by the community at large, modesty prevailed throughout the festival. Why make things easier for the mosquitoes, eh?

With the help of our neighbours, Tom and I erected Chateau Bleu while rain threatened, thunder rolled, and bloodsuckers bled us in earnest. There appeared to be a few dozen tents with more to come on the weekend. Many had clever themes, such as “The Cozy Cactus.” Some revelers pimped their canvas to the max with handmade signs and coloured lights. One crew even built a treehouse for their tent, which made it easy to find ours from the main path. “Yeah, just turn right at the treehouse and you’ll see a huge blue tent with a ginormous tarp – can’t miss it!”

The beauty about spending a week at OM is you get the opportunity to explore acres of arable land, and bond with a community comprised of healers, teachers, massage therapists, ORP staff, psytrancers, hippies and ravers. All like minded souls seeking to transcend mundane reality through music, dance and psychedelics. As ORP’s welcome sign stated, “You Belong,” so I truly felt like I belonged to this colourful tribe of daytrippers. Seeing all the familiar faces from Kensington Market and the psytrance crew in this picturesque setting was like coming home. Pregnant mothers, children, families were all welcome. Different tribes from across the universe had all gathered here for this Lovefest. I left my cell phone in the car and never took it out again ‘til my camera ran out of juice. Time truly became irrelevant as seven daze and nights were compressed into one continuous stream of consciousness, ebbing and flowing to create one dynamic experience. Revelations became a part of my daily diet in addition to the vegan fare from OM’s kitchen. Although I’m not crazy about veganism, the food supply was adequate and I never went hungry. On the other hand, our carnivorous friends had to make the occasional trip into town for a steak as OM’s cuisine was seriously lean on protein. So for all you meat lovers considering a trip to ORP next year, make sure you bring along some beef jerky!

Ommmm the memories…of narrowly avoiding getting leeched in a murky pond, seeing the little bloodsucker swimming enthusiastically towards my leg as I bolted out, witnessing said bloodsucker flopping about on the mudbank, those rambunctious midnight drum circles, naked swimmers on a raft in sweltering 35 degree heat, river dipping with Sylvanna, Ian, Amy and Phil, getting drenched in a thunderous downpour while OMies hooted with joy and a naked hippie raced through the rain with a pack of delighted dogs, rusty orange skippers flitting through an early morning meadow, starting the day with a J and a brewsky watching the sun come up, the tantalizing taste of wild strawberries, strolling through superwarm woods at night without a jacket while music echoed in the distance. True, some nights were cold and challenging. Stumbling through the woods, stoned, with no flashlight is akin to begging for a blind date with a rock. True to form, I strayed away from the beaten path (illuminated with fairy lights, to boot) and took the road less traveled. Which meant I often found myself in a patch of inhospitable pine, batting away vindictive branches, wondering where the hell is my tent (by the way, those mini flashlights from Canadian Tire were a lifesaver – thanks Tom!). But nothing beats the sunrise viewed from a curtainless kybo overlooking the fields. Ahhhthe many blessings of OM. From the convivial generosity of joy dispensers to the carelessness of cavorting ravers, dropping goodies all over the ground, finding $20 was more than a stroke of luck. I considered it a just reward for all the hugs and smiles and good vibes shared with my fellow OMies. Hmmm…I could use it to buy one of Evil Wizard’s hellacious concoctions of dubious origin…. Actually, it went towards the purchase of, shall we say, medicinal mind medicine. Everyone unanimously agreed there was magic here in abundance. As a matter of fact, my volunteer shift date and time, which was inked on my wristband mysteriously vanished without a trace after my shift ended. So did Tom’s air mattress after a blissful afternoon by the pond…

Unexplained disappearances aside, OM is one of the safest, kindest festivals you will ever experience. It attracts an international audience, though the majority are based in Canada and the United States. Theft is rare as OMies sense instant karma wafting insidiously through the atmosphere. Don’t wanna mess with that. Stuff doesn’t really get stolen…just moved around, misplaced, borrowed, misappropriated. Wherever you come from, be prepared to lose something at OM, whether it be your wallet, inhibitions, or attachment to material possessions. Smiles are free and distributed copiously. Everyone smiles here. As a matter of fact, I smiled so much my face hurt. The beauty of the land and its gorgeous inhabitants provides plenty of room for the inward gaze. There is wisdom to be found in silence, especially at night. Anyone who’s been to the meadow and seen the fireflies winking in a fantastic display of bioluminescence can attest to that.

“If this is a dream, I don’t ever want to wake up,” I said to myself on Day 2. I thought one week was plenty of time to soak it all up, but Utopia soon came to an end in the blink of an eye. How could I keep this feeling alive in my heart? This feeling of peace, love and oneness with my surroundings? “Hold onto that feeling and don’t let go. Take OM with you and make it a reality,” said a wise comrade. If it’s one thing that OM Reunion Project has taught me, it’s that it is possible to create heaven on earth. Time to tune out the negativity and focus on creating sustainable communities based on harmonious balance with the environment. With just over 1,000 attendees, ORP embodies a gentle approach towards partying in the forest – eco-raving, if you will. This could easily be a much bigger event, but the cap on attendance ensures an intimate vibe is maintained throughout the festival.

Musicwise, it was a feast for the ears. During the week, there were drum circles and sporadic performances. I once spent several hours listening to some campers hopped up on shrooms giggling non-stop every minute (ear plugs are essential!). And then there was the “Untalent Show,” featuring a stellar line-up of, shall we say, untalented performers titillating the audience with bombastic displays of untalentness. Who could forget the off-key antics of the Ukeladies? Or the guy getting his pubes shaved (not to mention the dude who had a mankini skillfully sheared from his chesthair). And of course, the Shakespearean who made up for his “talented” recital by dropping his kilt upon request from the audience. What laid beneath was, like….super-talented. “You guys are a tough crowd!,” he exclaimed as the audience cheered its approval. A plethora of electronic sub-genres and live bands meant there was never a dull moment from Friday night onwards. Everything from dub, bass, techno, tech house, breaks, psytrance and more, ensured different tastes were all catered to. Outstanding sets by the likes of Brendan Lawless, Tom Kuo, Rollin’ Cash, Hadiman, Sara Dopstar, Transisco, Kadmon, d Boom, Soren Nordstrom, Gavin the Bass and more, made the weekend memorable. Catching Snappy Home Fry playing with an acoustic band at The Hive while I rolled around in the hay was sheer bliss. If you plan on attending ORP next year, I strongly suggest you go for a week (or longer) to get the full experience. You won’t regret it! When it comes to eco-raving,OM is where the heart is.  

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.  

DJ Damage Mixtape Archive

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Ol skool audophile DJ Brian Damage has amassed an impressive collection of mixtapes from Toronto’s musically checkered past. Beginning from the early 90’s all the way up to 2002, Damage has ripped a truckload of celluloid spanning a variety of genres. Everything from breaks, tech-house, ragga jungle, gabber and more, Brian’s got all the bases covered. I even discovered sub-genres I’d never heard of previously – old skool chilly jungle, happy gabber and trance-piano. My personal faves: Marcus, Everfresh and Prime on Prophecy, Dr. Trance’s radio show on 100.7 FM and Adam Beyer’s retro brand of psychedelic techno. The files download instantaneously which is great news for those of you with ADD.

In addition, Brian provides detailed descriptions which turn out to be brief historical accounts of all the players involved in that particular mix. Track listings are actually provided in some cases, either courtesy of Brian himself or an enthusiastic commenter.  Pop over to http://mixtapes.demodulated.com and be prepared to journey back in time when life was a heckuvalot simpler. Kudos to DJ Damage for preserving a portion of rave’s musical past, sharing and educating listeners for years to come.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.