The return of The Groove / Top 5 tunes

This weekend welcomes the triumphant return of fun-time fiasco The Groove, after almost a year in hibernation.

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As well as a new night launching this Friday, this weekend also welcomes the triumphant return of fun-time fiasco The Groove, after almost a year in hibernation.

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Brainchild of local party starter Omar Sultani, these intimate events are effectively an organic progression of the all-welcoming house parties he’s been known to host for those closest to him. With The Groove, these feelings have been captured and packaged up into an evening affair for all to enjoy, all night long – and who wouldn’t want to join?

‘The rhythmic allure that pulls you in, moves your feet and puts a smile on your face every single time.

The instinctive feeling that brings people together and ignores social boundaries.

It was here before us, and it will go on long after us…

The Groove.

Preferring not to put a name to the style of music played, we can assure you that our music is about diversity which feels soulful, upbeat and with a lot of love.

Raid your wardrobe and bring your most colourful garms…’

Starting life at The Lacehouse in 2015, then The Lofthouse in later years, (with the odd rooftop afterparty thrown in for good measure), this phoenix rises from the ashes at Jam Cafe this Friday 23rd February.

The name and psychedelic flyers (created by artist, Lily Wales) reflect the atmosphere whipped up by Omar at his nights – a funk-filled, disco dancing affair with smiles as its ultimate goal.

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Once more, we’ve let the music do the talking for those new to the night.

Here are Omar’s top tracks that epitomise The Groove:

Bileo – You Can Win

The Blade Family – Sweet Dream

Teaspoon & the Waves – Oh Yeh Soweto

Rare Pleasure – Let Me Down Easy

Glenn Underground – Shiloh(A King’s Return)

 

The Groove comes to Jam Cafe this Friday 23rd February. Learn more about the event online.

 

Minimal is coming to town / Watercolour Records

If you like things deep, dubby and stripped back, with accents of ridiculously crispy beats and a leftfield flavour, then you’ll probably be excited for the new ‘do that’s about to launch at Red Bar.

If you like things deep, dubby and stripped back, with accents of ridiculously crispy beats and a leftfield flavour, then you’ll probably be excited for the new ‘do that’s about to launch at Red Bar.

Watercolour records is a new label from Paul Gribby (musical alias, Still-Life). As part of the imprint, he’s hosting label showcase parties at the Talbot Street basement, the first happening on 23rd February.

Alongside Still-Life, it’s been announced that Leftback’s Dudley Strangeways will also be resident, with Initial (who’s set to release on the Watercolour Records label soon) headlining. Both Dudley and Initial have provided an exciting promo mix for the night, and Still Life’s recent production output on Kubu have given us a taster of the types of sounds we can expect to hear at the night, and probably from the label too:

I spoke to both Still Life and Dudley Strangeways for Leftlion – read it here for a more in-depth look into the brand.

But ultimately, it’s fantastic to see another output – label and event – offering this delightful sound to Notts, a fresh injection of tunes is always most welcome!

 Way I see it, these Watercolour Records nights look set to fill a wonderful gap recently left by promoters such as South Jack Street (now booking the likes of Steevio and Suzybee in London), nestling nicely beside Leftback, becoming the slightly spacy cousin to its crazy sharp tunes. Excellent.

Young Marco’s Ransom Note takeover was great

Ransom Note recently invited Young Marco (who is playing at Wigflex soon) to take on the role of editor for a week. I felt the urge to write an article about his output.

The Ransom Note really is a cool platform, serving up enjoyable reads based around electronic music culture, but not like you’ve seen before.

It recently invited Young Marco (who is playing at Wigflex soon) to take on the role of editor for a week. What resulted was a series that was so good, I felt the urge to write an article about his output.

Ultimately, a mixture of Wunderground style codswallop and words written with a tongue firmly wedged in one’s cheek was produced. Yet the farce features he commissioned tread on the fine line of what could be true in this weird and wonderful world of repetitive electronic beats.

Yes, although I felt disgruntled, I too believed that Richie Hawtin had actually decided to open STYLEdifferently, his own chain of hair salons, and that Boiler Room had partnered with Greggs. And that’s why they’re so good.

Fake news aside there are also some great interviews in there, with acclaimed music critic Philip Sherburne and ex-journo now DJ Gerd Janson. Whether intentional or not, both follow a theme of interviewing the interviewer, offering insight into the media game that surrounds electronic music. Being an artist who, like many, is often on the other side of it, my guess is that Young Marco decided to utilise his editorial position to give them a grilling for once…probably.

Finally, another notable contribution throughout the takeover took the form of Jay’s Cheese Of The Day. Apparently, Palms Trax (who also touched down on Notts turf recently) used to work in a cheese shop, so YM invited him to share his favourite fromages, alongside some song pairings. I’m not sure if I believe Palms Trax’s CV claim, but as a funny 5 minute read coupled with tune discovery – what’s not to love?

Guest edits open the doors to some excellent reads and R$N has had some awesome takeovers in the past, but this one particularly tickled me. As the electronic music scene lies divided in a state of RA poll controversy, it presents dance music content in a way that is entertaining at its core while still paying homage to the culture, rather than pandering to any press paradigms.

To quote his interview, if you can ‘at least dance to’ Gerd’s music, then at least this guest edit from Young Marco makes you smile, ey. Read the whole thing here.

Words regurgitated / Essential listening w. Maceo Plex

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Many years ago, I used to work at Nottingham nightclub Stealth. I had lots of fun and unusual memories there – getting cosy with Maceo Plex was one of them!

He really was a super guy, so when there was an opportunity to talk through his discography for Ticketarena, I absolutely had to do it. Read in full here


Favouring productions over partying, his authentic love for creating music screams through in his varied yet distinctive discography – perfectly polished, but never failing to infuse a snippet of his, sometimes, tongue in cheek take on the industry in which he has made such an impact.

Choosing five tracks from this artist spans a number of genres, painting a picture of the signature style he’s honed and developed throughout his career and, of course, provokes some critical dance floor memories along the way.

Crush On Me (Maetrik)
Even those who weren’t aware of this track by name are sure to have heard the instantly recognisable stabs that define this record, forming the addictive melody and making it so special. Starting with a paired back drum beat that slowly builds, ‘Crush On Me’ teases the listener with miniature drops, giving a taste of the carnage that’s about to follow.

Part of the fun in this track lies in this build up, accented by futuristic loops and spaced out vocals that sigh, scream and stutter throughout before its vocal line kicks in, edging us closer to its sonic climax. This doesn’t appear until over halfway through the track, much like Pleasesurekraft’s iconic tune, ‘Tarantula’, but the satisfaction felt when it does is golden. It’s hard to explain how or why particular melodies capture the listener’s imagination more than others – but ‘Crush On Me’ is definitely one of the special ones.

Words regurgitated / Loose Connections w. Nathan Fake

A Nathan Fake gig at Nottingham Contemporary (which I reviewed for Leftlion) sparked a chain of thoughts, thanks to another piece of dance music journalism I’d consumed.

Those thoughts found a home on Plates’ website. Read in full here.


 

“Being someone who writes about dance music, as well as someone who loves the culture, I read a lot of articles and every so often, there are some that stick out in my mind. Thomas H Green penned one of these excellent pieces of writing for an issue of Mixmag last November – ‘Slow dance: Why is dance music so slow and polite?‘. Ultimately, it was a rally call for people like you and me, as well as the DJs and producers out there to get a grip and lose our mind in the way that dance music had always intended.

 “A generation on, dance music is a bunch of online cottage industries run by nice, boring, professional guys, ready to cordially cut a business deal rather than cause a fuss, better versed in synch rights than boundary-pushing, spiritual inheritors of the old soul boy mantel. Sure, we need these people to make the whole thing tick, but we need some frothing-at-the-mouth, dangling-from-the-chandelier maniacal mavericks too.”

When these articles do make an impression, I have a habit of recalling them at events that may not seem related to many. This time, it was when watching Nathan Fake perform a live show to promote his latest album, ‘Providence’, at the Nottingham Contemporary one Wednesday evening. To get a feel for the evening, a full review on Leftlion can be read here.

While Nathan Fake may not be quite the ‘dangling-from-the-chandelier maniacal maverick’ that Thomas H Green was referring to, he portrayed an attitude that I think he’d most certainly approve of…”

Words regurgitated / WhereWax piece in Leftlion

Something I wrote about Where-Wax, a pop-up record shopping event in Nottingham.

Originally featured in Leftlion. Read the full story here.


 

“By now, the resurgence in popularity for vinyl records can’t be argued, and the hard figures back up the cultural observations. In 2016, The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) found that sales of vinyl albums surpassed that of digital downloads, earning the industry £2.4 million in a week compared to the £2.1 million that digital made. While the end-of-year figures for 2017 are yet to be released, it’s clear that love for the wax has made a comeback, with music fans far and wide once again investing in some slabs of sound.

Right here in Nottingham, Where-Wax founder Dec Shutts delves deeper into where his love affair with wax began: “It’s only really been over the past three or four years that I’ve been collecting records, I started to get more and more into it, but I didn’t have anything to play them on at home. I would always use CDJs when I was playing out, until I found an old set of [Technics] 1210s in the office of a bar I was resident DJ at. I decided to hook them up and start learning how to mix vinyl and it went from there. I started spending all my DJ wages on new records to play at the bar the following week, and haven’t really stopped since.

“Vinyl quickly became a hobby and a passion. But I found that when I was crate digging around the city, the music I wanted just wasn’t there, so the next logical step for me was to put this music into my city for myself and for others alike.”

Like most great ideas, the inception of the pop-up was the result of an idle mind and subliminal external influences. “Where-Wax was the brainchild of an Ibiza hangover. Last year while sitting at my villa after DC10 or Underground, I’m not 100% sure which club it was, I uploaded a photo onto Instagram; the photo was taken at a Where You At event, and it was of a record spinning with a needle on it. The tagline I used was ‘Where-Wax’. The idea was born there and then.”

 

 

Clothes to creep in / Shopping local

clothes to creep in

As we grow older, Halloween celebrations rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

Once the novelty of trick or treating wears off, we’re left with a few years of limbo where Halloween is left reserved only for youngsters in black binbag outfits to go bobbing for apples. But years later, those involved in electronic music learn that as the nights get darker, this holiday opens the door to all manner of devilish dancefloor debauchery, filled with tunes and characters, equally as warped in nature.

Yes, listening to techno is much more fun when you’re kitted out in suitable clothes to creep in, and Halloween provides the perfect opportunity to embrace your inner spook.

Here are some makers in the area to help:

Adorned

Everything you find at Adorned is either re-worked by hand or ethically sourced, so while a ‘happy hippy’ lies at its core, a haul from the store is sure to satisfy your inner gypsy queen.

Top picks: Teaming one of its heavy-duty Halloween rings with a hand painted celestial sweatshirt, and maybe even some shooting star Dr Martens. 

Images sourced from: http://adorneduk.co.uk/ and https://marketplace.asos.com/boutique/adorned

Vix Kimono

Vix is a talented seamstress with a penchant for kimonos, so decided to share her skills and passion with other like-minded party guys and gals.

Top picks: That’s up to you! Speak to Vix about the look you had in mind. and she can whip you up some flare-armed gold.

Images sourced from: www.instagram.com/vix_kimono/

Headcase 

No Halloween outfit would be complete without a head accessory, and Headcase has you more than covered. Now into the scary season, it’s adapted its festival range suitably.

Top picks: These oversized flower crowns are perfect for any outfit, from day of the dead to vampish maiden – they just work.

Images sourced from: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HeadcaseHeadwear

Studio LBW

Sassy streetwear that is certified to spook.

Top picks: Pretty much every outfit from Studio LBW would look perfect on a deathly dancefloor, but the black cowl neck dress, full body fishnet tights and thigh high platform boots are my personal fave.

Images sourced from: www.studiolbw.co.uk

 

Warped wardrobe in tow, I’ll be heading to Brickworks for the Wigflex 11th birthday celebrations this year, getting weird with Machine Woman, Overmono and Levon Vincent . Get involved online. X