Tag Archives: drum and bass

Roni Size / Reprazent New Forms Turns 20

Standard

roni-size-reprazent-new-forms

20 years ago on this day, June 23rd 1997, seminal album New Forms was released by U.K. drum and bass producer Roni Size and Reprazent, a collective of artistes including Onallee, DJ Krust, Suv, Die and Dynamite MC. The successful mashup of spaced out jazz with hip-hop infused drum and bass earned Size/Reprazent the Mercury Prize in 1997 and heavy hitter status during the 90’s rave era.

I happened upon this album sometime in 1998. “Brown Paper Bag” happened to be playing on a T.V. where I worked and I was hooked. To top it off, the video was shot in Toronto! An extended intro featuring a double bass doing a seductive number with a flirty guitar, like a conversation leading back to bass place…that conversation par excellence helped that song become a bonafide hit. At first I got the single C.D. but later acquired the double disc. And that, in and of itself, was a revelation.

From the head-bopping infectious rhyming of Dynamite MC on “Railing” to the digital staccato burst of “Morse Code”  this mind-blowing album took me on a joyride through superlatively rich soundscapes. “Share The Fall” featuring Onallee’s éclair whipped vocals became a classic DnB anthem. American MC Bahamadia’s hypnotic heist on “Feeling So High” left heads speechless. Clearly, this maverick collaboration was a critical and commercial success. Roni Size graced the cover of several music magazines, somewhat overshadowing the Reprazent crew. Heck, I even saw Size spin at a rave in Toronto (he’d shorn the locks, I was disappointed! His set satisfied me though :).

reprazent

Roni Size / Reprazent

It’s fair to say that if you have not heard Disc 2 of New Forms, you are truly missing out. If you listen carefully, it becomes evident that water plays a predominant part in the production. Which is hardly surprising when you consider that Roni Size is Scorpio, a water sign. Moody and playfully mellow, “Down” is anything but. I felt like a leaf, meandering down a burbling brook on an overcast day as the water swirled around me. Skillful breakbeats layered with jazzy instrumentals, strategic looping and clever phasing give this double album an atmospheric feel that is unparalleled. It is full of textures, ranging from mysteriously edgy to effervescent. I love playing it on a rainy day as it amplifies that warm cozy feeling that makes me glad to be indoors with a hot cuppa tea, getting a proper rinsing!

20 years later, I still listen to New Forms. It sounds every bit as fresh as it did back then. Sure, I have bigger concerns than getting a fresh pair of cargos for the next rave but you know what? It just makes me all the more thankful that I had this amazing experience. Oh, and “Hot Stuff” is going off in the background, which brings to mind supers and laying down in bed, admiring my silver tone bubble chair and my Liquid Adrenaline poster which I will never forgive my mother for accidentally throwing out.

I could go on and on about the cool sound effects on each track like the windchimes on “Ballet Dance” but I suggest you discover this brilliant gem of an album yourself. Or revisit it from a mature perspective. There is much to love and appreciate about New Forms as we evolve over time.

Copyright © 2017 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.

 

Advertisements

DJ Hadiman Keeps it Real

Standard

Hadiman

 Hadiman’s one of the coolest cats in town. So cool that I thought he was Brazilian. Forgive me Hadi, ha ha ha…. Actually, he’s from Dubai but currently based in Toronto.  He blew me away with his banging drum and bass set at OM Festival in June, not to mention a killer turn at Bassculture. After hearing his name whispered with admiration on the lips of psytrancers , I decided to sit down and have a chat with the affable DJ to see what makes him tick.

F: Hi Hadi, it’s a pleasure running into you like this and I’d just like to ask you about some of your influences. What inspired you to become a DJ in the first place? 

H: I think my inspiration came from what’s in me. It really was just the idea I can go home and mix music that was just really, really interesting and fun for me personally. It all started when I went to school for sound engineering and I remember one of the first classes I attended, one of the teachers asked who was a DJ and I remember everyone raised their hand except me; I was the only guy who wasn’t, and that really sparked interest in me; just DJ’ing and mixing music in general, so a friend of mine lent me some records and I would just go and borrow people’s turntables and I just really picked up from there. People started supporting me and I did it in my own bedroom for three years without even telling people that I’m DJ’ing and I started getting small gigs here and there, so yeah, now I’m here. I do play a few very different things. One of which is drum and bass and I was influenced by the South American tropical rhythms. 

F: Like cumbia for example?

H: Cumbia, actually I love cumbia, especially the old cumbia. Cumbia and chicha and Afrobeat or Afro-Latin and all the subgenres of Latin music. And I’m not South American but I have really good appreciation for that music from the past 40 or 50 years ago. I think they made incredible music that we still listen to today, so I would hope to see more Brazilian or Latin drum and bass influences in music, and I think that at some point in the mid 90’s, there was a lot of Brazilian drum and bass. It’s not around anymore and I wish someone would start mixing Brazilian drum and bass.

F: Can you name some of your favourite Brazilian artists from that era?

H: I don’t really remember the names, but where we had records, we would go buy records that didn’t even say any name on it or not even the track; you know it would just come blank, what we’d get in a sleeve and we would put it on and it would be Brazilian drum and bass. So it was poorly advertised let’s say, in North America or in Toronto, and I may just not have enough knowledge about it. I started DJ’ing at a time when this genre in particular was dying so I didn’t pick up on it.

F: What about guys like DJ Marky?

H: DJ Marky is one of my favourite DJ’s, and it’s like he’s really one of the pioneers of drum and bass, and I wasn’t aware that he’s Brazilian. Is he?

F: He is.

H: Ok, now I know! DJ Marky…yeah, I’m a fan of DJ Marky. So many good liquid drum and bass that you could use, old and new and I love him, I love DJ Marky for sure, and I’d love to see him in Toronto if he comes.

F: Speaking of Toronto, in terms of the scene that Toronto has at the moment, where do you see it going?

H: Well I think we have a very good music scene in Toronto, and it’s only germinating right now and the vision I have is that it will really flourish in 10 years. I think Toronto is going to be one of the coolest cities in the music industry. What we have here is very eclectic and the multiculturalism is creating something new that not many people have. For instance all the art collaborations that are happening in Kensington Market; we have people from all over the world collaborating so naturally, and that creates you know, the future for Toronto and a reputation. And you go all over the place now, even in New York and you say you’re from Toronto, and all of a sudden they speak very highly of the music scene that we have cuz now we have more top artists in the world; they all come to Toronto very often so that’s a good sign that our music scene is very healthy.

F: Tell me more about some of these collaborations.

H: Well we’ve been doing the Pedestrian Sunday Collective day and what we try to do is something very interesting; collaborations between DJ’s and bands. We have a gypsy band, we have Brazilian percussion bands, we have just indie music bands and then you mix all of those bands together in a one day event and have an incredible event that keeps people really happy and people are talking about the event for a long time. I think it would have been different if they came and saw only one band at a time; it wouldn’t be the same as coming to see a bunch of bands, say 10 bands performing in one day in a very eclectic way.

F: Can you tell me whether you’ve worked on producing tracks of your own that you’ve released independently or are you signed to a label ?

H: I have worked with a lot of different music but unfortunately I never took the step to get signed. We had a band called Masala Sound Kitchen; you can check them on Google. What we did was really interesting. We actually were, just in a way, jamming and recording at the same time, and we made lots of world fusion music mixed with some electronic and that was one of my biggest projects but then I think I got sidetracked  by DJ’ing for a bit and hopefully I’m coming back to producing and it’s gonna be mostly electronic music, ambient and chill out music; downtempo.

F: On a final note, do you see DJ’ing as a career that you would like to pursue on a full-time basis or is it just more of a hobby for you at this time?

H: Well, it all starts as a hobby it’s becoming very, very serious for me, but I do think I’d like to focus on producing now, I want to create my own sounds and my own music. It’s been a pleasure mixing people’s music, but I think a good balance between the two, mixing your own and people’s music would be very satisfying for me and more interesting.

F: Great! Thank you Hadi.

H: Thank you.

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.

Frankenräver’s Ol Skool Jungle Playlist

Standard

For those of you who like ol skool jungle / dnb of the jump up variety, this playlist ought to make you wax with nostalgia. Eargasms are most certainly guaranteed with the likes of Adam F, Topcat, Congo Natty, Aphrodite and Chatta B in da house!!! Can’t have proper jungle without an MC spitting rhymes all over it now, can you? Copy paste rewind>>>>

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8BE0A44DBF14A030

Rave Reviews: Cable Nightclub

Standard

          

Photo: Theo Sindica

          It’s after 8 on a Sunday morning, you’ve just left Fabric or whatever hole you’ve managed to crawl from, and you’re whacked out of your friggin skull wondering where the hell you’re gonna end up next. Going home is not an option. Not when you can’t read the bloody directions on a TFL map cuz all the words are scrambled in some unintellible jargon. You know it’s time for an afterparty when some kindly stranger has to help you make sense of the Jubilee line, lost in a snakey tangle of colour coded tubes like some cruel cosmic joke. Come on down to Cable! Inconspicuously tucked away beneath the tunnel at 33a Bermondsey Street near London Bridge, this joint is perhaps the most happening afterhours club in town. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty easy to walk right by and miss the damn thing if you don’t know where it is.

            At 9:30 a.m. I found myself waiting in line with an assorted cast of characters; clubbers, stoners, 9 – 5ers, semi-wastoids, and an odd selection of eurotramps. Two Russian girls dressed to the nines are chatting amongst themselves, passports in hand. A socialite wannabe tries to blag her way in ahead of everyone else, but the stone faced bouncer dude’s not having it. She is told to get in line like everyone else. Miss Cosmopolitan had no choice but to trot indignantly to the rear, while everyone snickers at the Blag-gate debacle. Cosmo tried to save a little face by sweet-talking a few guys in the queue but to no avail. So far, it looks like Cable espouses an equal opportunity ethic, which I find difficult to disparage. And they’re not letting people in without wristbands either. Fortunately my acquaintance and I managed to score some coveted wristies from a steward before we skipped Fabric. If your name’s not on the guestlist or you don’t have a wristband, you will be denied entry. Talk about strict door policies…

            As we approached the entrance we were greeted by two formidable slabs of security muscle who politely demanded to see our I.D. These guys looked like no-nonsense, seasoned old pros, or better yet, former porn star extras hustling extra dough on the side. My bag was then passed through a metal detector. One of my newly acquired party friends had a membership and tried to get me in for free, but to no avail. However, bouncer dude decided to make concessions for my cuteness at £8. After the airport security drill was over, we were given the all clear. “Welcome to Cable! Enjoy yourselves now,” chirped the hostess at coatcheck. 

            Banging house greeted my ears in the main room. A well stocked bar conducted brisk trade to my right while revelers grooved to pulsating rhythms on the dance floor. Cable is packed at 10 in the morning. Oddly enough, it seems rather small despite the 1000 strong capacity. I attribute that to my currently rampant state of blissful inebriation. Evidently, this is the place to get your afterhours freak on in L-ville. All the cool party peeps from Brick Lane and elsewhere are here, smiling and having a wicked time. “Hey man, long time no see! So this is where you’ve been lately.” Incidentally, Cable offers an interesting mix of mature ravers and clubbers; no kids or riff raff up in here. People are friendly, outgoing, and easy to talk to, so you don’t have to worry about catching wallpaper syndrome if you show up solo. And all you tabloid freaks will rejoice to know that sometimes the occasional celebrity can be spotted getting a slice of underground action.

            A semi-swanky mezzanine hosts an additional bar/chill out lounge, but the real action’s to be had downstairs. Louis Vega style deep house is swinging in the back room, making us nightowlers go nuts. I clambered up onto the mini stage facing the DJ booth and danced my ass off. The über friendly vibe and warehouse atmosphere makes Cable an absolute delight for hardcore ravers. They also cater to drum and bass, grime and dubstep with events featuring Metalheadz, Chew the Fat!, Shogun Audio and more. I can’t recall who the heck was spinning but let’s just say they effing killed it. Sunday mornings never felt so good! At this urban audiochurch beneath Bermondsey’s arch, you could get twisted ‘til the cows come home. Sometime in the afternoon, I decided to call it quits before I passed out from overnight exertion. Apart from losing the back cover for my mobile and barfing orange juice at London Bridge station, I had the wickedest time. For those of you craving the ultimate afterhours fix, Cable ties it all together nicely.

 TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF CABLE:

– Get on the guestlist or obtain a wristband ahead of time if you can.

– Remember to bring your I.D.

– Blagging’s a bust unless you happen to be a rockstar, superfamous, or super hot.

For more info, visit www.cable-london.com/

 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.

Shy FX, Goldie and Metalheadz Soundclash

Standard
Souvenir tee Soundclash flyersoundclash flyer1Tres amigosGoldie and Andy CFrankie & Shy Fx
Dj Storm Goldie & StormShy Fx on tha decksDon Letts & FrankieGoldie rinsing outPICT0126
Waiting in da wingsSkream & BengaMC GQ heats things up for tha Metalheadz crewRoundhouse crowdChannel 1Chillin in the VIP lounge
Bungalow 8Chic chess Chess furnitureDining room in St. Martin's hotelPICT0167Printing press

Culture Clash October 14, 2010, a set on Flickr.

In search of something far more stimulating than Ex-lax, I took off and went to England for a few years. During my time abroad, I’ve experienced the magnificent scope of London’s underground scene. I’m happy to say that drum and bass is alive and doing quite well, dubstep’s on its way out and techno is enjoying a revival (supercheesy style electro & minimal were huge between 2007 – 2010. It drove me nuts!). Anyway, here’s the scoop on my adventure at Culture Clash. Some of the biggest names in drum n bass – Goldie, Shy FX, Andy C – faced off against dub giants Channel One and Scream & Benga (refer to above photo album). It was a dream come true, meeting the men behind the music I used to rave to back in the day.

Photography: Copyright © 2010 Frankie Diamond. If you are using the slideshow option, click on the “Show info” button on the top right corner for more details. Enjoy!

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.

 

Tuned In, Mashed Out: Halloween Rave of ’98

Standard

 
 The following is an excerpt from my e-book on Toronto’s rave scene. More excerpts can be found in the December and January archives on this blog. Like what you’ve read? Remember to click on the Facebook “Like” button at the bottom of this post 🙂

TUNED IN, MASHED OUT: Confessions of a Rave Junkie

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved.

Griff & co. rolled out in a raucous spliff smoking, candy chomping convoy of 3 automobiles. We touched down at the Automotive Building shortly after 9:30 p.m. The line-up was already starting to get hectic, but we got in after a 10 minute wait which was pretty damn good considering there must have been at least 300 people waiting outside. The AB’s interior was divided into 2 ENORMOUS rooms crowned with ridiculously high ceilings. Hard house boomed away in 1 while drum & bass rumbled in the other. The sheer magnitude of the space resulted in audio overlap which was kind of annoying. In its entirety, the AB was roughly the size of a few football fields put together. Holy shit….Dose & Syrous really outdid themselves this time! And it was still early, judging from all the empty space we had to explore. Already, there were a few hundred ravers milling around inside. Our posse consisted of Da Underground Crew: Griff, Tonya, Blaine, Christine, Renée, Chris, Tara, Jake, Ryan & myself. Reese, Anna, Deb, Pete, Tippa & his girlfriend evened out the score. And of course, we all had friends & others we expected to meet, rolling with their individual crews. We screamed and hi-5’ed each other for having made it inside & some1 took group shots with a camera. Next, we picked a sweet spot in the house room at a perfect distance from the speakers. This was our designated chill-out / meeting place for the night. Griff, Jake & Ryan gleefully inflated their bubble chairs with an air pump. WIKKED!!! Oh my God…I could hardly fucking wait!!! Multi-colored lasers were going full tilt & funky visuals played out on giant screens. Us girls started dancing & chatting, chilling out for the time being cuz we had a long fucking night ahead of us. I checked out T.R.I.P. & scored a couple of condoms. There was a bar available (not that we were gonna be drinking since we’d be dosing) & a coat-check which Tippa & his girl decided to use. Can you imagine the line-up for jackets at the end of the night? They’re out of their fucking minds. The rest of the gang stashed our coats into garbage bags (which we marked with fluorescent tape) & knapsacks. 

            After the chairs were inflated, I plopped down next to Jake. It was a pretty tight squeeze but it was alright. Besides, Jake’s kind of cute too in his cyber gear complete with loose fitting shirt & tie, colorful beads & polychromatic hair. He’s half Filipino, half Italian. We shared a bag of jellybeans while speculating how great this party was going to be. “Hey, I really like your costume,” he mused as he touched the knobs of my antennae. A formidable charge was already building in the atmosphere. My skin was tingling & I hadn’t even dosed yet! Across the way, Griff was chatting with 1 of his friends. He was dressed in a super colorful, kaleidoscopic looking outfit. His bells were completely covered in stuffed animals & plush toys, while glo necklaces illuminated his fluorescent orange & purple psychedelic tee surmounted by loops of multi-colored beads. A luminescent rod glowed inside of his mouth while he spoke and that spiked, green hair added a couple of inches to his 6′ 4″ frame to make him look even taller & freakier but in a good way. Way to go Griff! Blaine & Christine shared another chair as they rocked back & forth as if riding a wave. I swear if they popped that fucking chair I was gonna burst out laughing. What a night this was going to be…

            By 1:30, the place was absolutely rammed. You could not see the floor for the trees, Freakin’ in full swing if you please. Thousands upon thousands of ravers of every possible shape, size & description were hyping shit up like I’d never seen before. Every1 was reprazenting: from candys to cybers, gravers to gays, ginos, trannies, originals & of course, costume freaks. I’d already dosed a Superman & was waiting for it to kick in, hopefully soon. Tonya, Jake, Christine & I decided to take a walk, hoping to find Joi & the dance crew. It was so fucking loud that we had to scream to make ourselves heard above the ruckus. We waded through an ocean of optical mindbuggery as ravers tripped one another out in crazy, colorful costumes. Vamps, witches, werewolves, fairies, comic book heroes, cartoon characters, manga maniacs & freakazoids decorated in fluorescent tubes & glo-stix were in order. A girl wearing a bodysuit covered in candy rings giggled as a guy proceeded to munch some off her chest. Nice…. Meanwhile, I kept my eyes peeled for Shastri & any1 from his crew but to no avail. If I spotted them in the midst of all this madness it would be a major stroke of luck. Carlos was supposed to be here with his friends as well. Soon we were caught in a traffic jam halfway between the house & the jungle room, right where the sound was bleeding. It was a muddy jumble of scrambled beats which proved highly disconcerting to my increasingly heightened senses. Not to mention, steaming HOT. It was pure hell as we waited for our compacted bodies to get going. Christine was so lucky she had 1 of those little toy fans. My wig began to feel horribly scratchy & it was all I could do to prevent myself from ripping it right the fuck off. Christine, all dolled up as Snow White, suddenly decided she was a real princess after all & shoved the dinosaur dude standing idly in front of me. “What the fuck are you waiting for Barney, GET MOVING!” she snapped. Barney took 1 look at this snarling, Asian Snow White & decided it was best to follow orders. Tonya & I cracked up as we instantly progressed forward. It always helps to have at least 1 pushy person in your crew, especially at a megarave. 

            As we got closer to the jungle room, I started rushing really, really hard. Holy shit…Eric wasn’t joking – this stuff was strong. My heart raced like mad as my body tingled all over & I began to feel tremendously pukey. I hoped to God that I wasn’t gonna hurl right here, right now, in the middle of a fucking crowd. And if so, Barney would be the 1st to get it. I swallowed desperately as I struggled to keep my upchuck down. A pair of Jedi warriors engaged in mock combat brandished their swords ahead of me. I was seriously tripping out on their light sabres as they wiggled before my eyes. An ecstatic fever swept over me as I broke out in a sweat. Penetrating basslines from that monstrosity of a sound system were beating in sync with my heart. Doof doof doof doof…. My entire being pulsated in time to the music. Even my gums were vibrating. Suddenly I became distinctly aware of this amazing, uptempo house track with a bouncy groove & wobbly sub-low resonating through the atmosphere, tripping me out even further as I heard this vocal loop cresting above acid horns like a happy surfer :

            “When you feel that rhythm, moving thru your system… feel that rhythm, moving thru your system…”

                        Apparently other ravers thought it was amazing too judging from the massive screaming, head bopping, whistle blowing session which ensued. I turned around & said, “Guys, I’m fucking rushing!” I put my arms around Christine & Tonya who were behind me. Jake joined in for a group hug as we danced on the spot. I heard him singing along as the happy feeling spread like wildfire through the crowd. Even Christine got caught up in contact high delirium as she screamed with excitement.

Tuned In, Mashed Out – On Sale Now for only $0.99 on Amazon! (£0.75 for the UK massive).

To take advantage of this limited time offer, visit:

http://amazon.com/author/frankiediamond

*Check out the original Freakin 98 Flyer in the Vintage Rave Flyer Gallery under November archives*

PLUR >>>>> Frankenräver

Rave Reviews: Fabric London

Standard

 

 Located at 77A Charterhouse Street in Farringdon, Fabric is a force to be reckoned with. After all, how many clubs do you know of that boasts a 24 hour drinking license? Things can get mighty hectic on a Friday night, especially when super heavyweights such as DJ Hype, LTJ Bukem, MC Conrad, Goldie, Fabio and Pascal hold court over hundreds of screaming ravers at weekly soundclashes. Techno -house rules the roost on Saturdays where special guests like Adam Beyer, Mark Farina, Magda and more preside over the decks. Saturdays can be good; however, it can sometimes be hit and miss with an occasionally mediocre lineup and sparse crowds. Quite frankly, Stacey Pullen and Brendon Moeller were the only ones that prevented me from abandoning ship prematurely during my last techno night in August of 2011.

Mayhem at Fabric in Room 1

 Fabric is renowned for its stellar roster of international talent, featuring a mixture of well established acts and blossoming newcomers. Craig Richards as resident DJ and program director ensures the lineup remains fresh while staying true to its classic roots, alongside fellow resident Terry Francis. Founded by Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie in 1999, the club has somehow managed to survive the  recession – thank heavens! During my time in London, this erstwhile edifice was a mecca of sorts for lovers of underground music. Fabric was the name on virtually every clubber’s lips, spoken with a kind of whispered reverence. People’s eyes literally glazed over when they mentioned the F-word, as if slipping into some kind of euphoric trance. Free entry wristbands were frequently distributed outside of 93 Feet East on a Sunday night for the lucky souls who didn’t have to work Monday morning. Of course, I wanted to know what the fuss was about so I ventured down one Friday night to find out. 

Ever the resourceful clubber, I bought my ticket online to avoid getting stuck in the queue. Actually, my ex-boyfriend was generous enough to buy it for me! Cost: £19.50. I must admit I was impressed by the pristine layout of Fabric’s website. They’ve got student discount rates, a fabricfirst membership option with tempting perks such as free mix cd’s and line bypass privileges. A monthly calendar of events proudly displays all the luminaries in attendance so pilgrims can plan their next outing in advance. Already, an impression had been made: Fabric was geared towards providing the ultimate party experience by engaging their audience on multiple levels through their website. I believe that’s called clever marketing.

I arrived just before midnight. Other peeps planned to get down there around 4 am for the half price special, but I wasn’t having that. No sirree Bob, I wanted the whole shebang from the get-go! With printed voucher in hand, I was waved through the advance ticket line faster than floral bacteria in a sheep’s digestive tract. Once inside, I was cordially greeted by a female bouncer. She proceeded to check my purse and frisk me silly. A guy bouncer struck up a friendly conversation (well, flirty was more like it) and advised me to have a good time. Have a good time. Did I hear right? Bouncers that actually smile and say “Good night?” Every last one of them! I didn’t know what kind of alternate universe I’d fallen into, but I was definitely feeling this. The coatcheck was located up a winding staircase to my left. I braced myself for what I thought would be extortionary rates (£5 at least) at this first rate venue, but was amazed to discover it was only a measly £1. I experienced immense gratitude for the respect management showed towards patrons by not insulting our intelligence with jacked up coatcheck fees – unlike many other clubs.

The highly organized security team kept traffic flowing smoothly by directing everyone downstairs as soon

Fabric holds a 24 hr. drinking license…rahtid!

as we’d finished up with the coatcheck and digital ticket scans. It was obvious Fabric ran a tight ship. Blagging odds: 1 in 10,000. Damn….anyways, I ventured into the cavernous depths of this nocturnal beast to Room 1 or should I say, Portal 1 where Hype was mashing tings up large. After all these years, Da Big Dog was still on top of his game, sending the next generation of 20 something junglists off their heads. Room 1 was a hot, steaming jungle of pure mayhem. Heat was damn nigh unbearable but  shit was insane up in here! Frankenräver was forced to strip down to her bikini top (yes, I came prepared). A virtual moshpit had metastasized on the dance floor, with ravers gleefully pushing against one another. The floor was so wet that people slipped and fell down – if there was enough room to fall. Room 1 was jampacked to the nines. Despite the absence of ol skool whistlecrews, this screaming crowd of euroravers compensated for it with sheer enthusiasm. What I found especially fascinating was the semi-ravey atmosphere of what many would consider a commercial club. There was more than a smidgen of underground flavour here that harked back to the good ol daze of yore; hi-5’s, non-intrusive security, random conversations and guys decent enough to buy you a drink – and drinks at Fabric ain’t cheap either. I must admit I had not encountered this kind of friendly social vibe at a club anywhere in a long time… 

Upstairs afforded a different perspective on the action where one could look down at the dancefloor and trip out on vortex style lasers. At the back of Room 1 was a stage facing the DJ booth on the opposite end. It was occupied by mostly shirtless, sweaty guys who decided to brave the sweltering heat and strut their stuff. More power to them. I only lasted about 3 minutes before I had to come down – or risk passing out from the intensity.

Room 3 was a tiny antechamber with not much in the way of excitement going on as a lesser known DJ was spinning here. It’s easy to lose your sense of direction in this place – Fabric is fucking huge (for a nightclub that is) with a capacity of 1800. Even the toilets are a trip; unisex, clean, and well attended by security. The communal handwashing fountain provided interesting opportunities to bond with fellow ravers. And bond I must for I’d received a text from my friend saying the line-up was thick outside and he couldn’t get in. Oh well… Pascal, Zinc and Fabio rounded things off beautifully, dropping dirty ol skool gems in da mix. Fabric has state of the art soundsystems installed in each room, including the bodysonic vibrating dancefloor in Room 1. Honestly, I didn’t notice any vibration in the midst of all the ruckus going on in there, but I thought it’s worth mentioning anyway. 

Nevermind the bodysonics; there was one man that I had journeyed here especially to see. A drum and bass maverick that I had somehow managed to miss during the 90’s and I simply could not live with myself until I had seen him in action. At 5 am, this phenomenal High Priest took to the stage after Hype, Fabio and others paid their respects to the legendary master with honorary 5 minute guest spots. What can I say? It was absolute heaven as LTJ Bukem ripped shit up tremendously on the decks with flawless mixing, augmented by skillfully woven melodies on the verge of transcendence. Ravers screamed their heads off and demanded more, more, MORE! Danny Williamson continued to dish it out, track after track after track, killing us all with fantastically resonant sub-lows. The energy flowed pure and true from his superbly gifted hands. Bukem was cool as a cucumber, smiling beatifically while MC Conrad played off rhythms with the confident skill of a seasoned veteran.

“It’s like a dream come true!” gushed an Italian raver who’d befriended me. He came especially to see Bukem too. “What’s he doing in Room 2? LTJ Bukem is a star – he should be in Room 1,” the Italian opined. I had to agree, though LTJ seemed right at home in his present location. It seemed as if nothing could faze this dude. He was totally in his element. Supreme confidence is naturally alluring, so I went to the front of the stage to get a gander. LTJ looked so handsome in his trademark tinted visor, charming smile and flat cap. Heck, even his arms were buffed! Bukem exuded a gentle, charismatic vibe all his own. I felt blessed for having such ravishing eye candy in addition to the spectacular aural stimulation I was receiving. Bonus! Damn it Danny, I think I’m in love! 

The Celestial Boomfest ended around 8 am when we shuffled out into a gorgeous Saturday morning. From the moment I entered Fabric, I did not sit down. The music was far too brilliant to waste precious time that could be spent transcending the boundaries of material existence. I was completely energized and bouncing off the walls on nothing but pure energy. Upon arriving home, I raved to my flatmates about how wondrous the night was and how they missed out. At 9 am, I was still trying to settle down so I could get some sleep. With its relaxed, übercool atmosphere, Fabric is a haven for the Spirit of Rave in a post 90’s party world and an absolute must for any raver visiting London. It is more than just another concept club – it’s an experience.

 Check out Fabric’s jaw dropping roster here: www.fabriclondon.com

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.