Hello, friends and compatriots. It's been a long time, but Deep Cuts is back, with our most ambitious, sprawling, varied article yet. The prompt question for Deep Cuts edition 15 was 'when does the club feel like a church (or home)?'. To anyone out there isolating, shielding, or pushing throught this most recent wave of anxiety and uncertainty in your own way, once again I hope that this article brings you warmth.
Our first Deep Cuts article / mix / playlist, Head Space, was published in December 2019, asking contributors what music helps them transcend their environments, published in December 2019, with Jemima Presland writing 'At these times I listen to music which carries the sun, turning the season's fog to steam.' Now we have come full circle, with an article about a very different kind of transcendent experience, a different ideal for music to achieve.
Much love to everyone who contributed, what a wonderful, harmonic array of feelings we have gathered here. Thanks to Trav for the artwork, and to Gavin Watson for allowing Trav to use his photos (check out their recent Raving '89 collaboration here). As always, tracks from each contribution are gathered in the mix below, this time delivered with by the bonafide rave legend that is Kim Cosmik, and all Spotify-able tracks mentioned in the article or included in the mix are gathered in the playlist linked here. Enjoy...
It was August 2020, back when I was still in London (before I returned to Palestine). It was the closest to a dark room experience I had since March; cathartic, spiritual, liberating. I was at the Design Museum with a close friend, visiting an exhibition on electronic music, which was actually fascinating. Towards the end of the exhibition, you'd enter this room where lights are off, and a big screen is showing brilliant visuals, screaming pink silhouettes dancing to The Chemical Brothers' Got To Keep On [26:30], the room slightly fogging, maybe the fog wasn't really there but that’s how I remember it.
We danced, and it took a while to get into the rhythm, it felt like I kinda forgot how to be in a club, how to move in total darkness, but the music quickly took control. For the whole 3 minutes I was filled with all kinds of emotions, I was happy and ecstatic and confused, I was sad for all the missed dancing opportunities, I was struck by how close to home it felt. It was short-lived and when the music stopped I almost didn’t want to leave.
Somehow that experience changed what it means to be on the dance floor, especially since I hadn't had many opportunities to go dancing since.
Sarah works in Palestine's arts and culture sector developing organizational strategies, communication plans and resources development. She opened Deep Cuts: Stand Up with an essential piece covering contemporary Palestinian rap and electronic music with a place in this year's struggles.
I have huge faith in ecstasy. Feeling good and spreading good vibes can have a huge, positive impact on people’s lives, which is one of the reasons I decided that I wanted to be an entertainer, and later to produce music and DJ. When I went to my first club (Shoom) in 1988 I saw so many different types of people dancing together and thought "I feel safe here, this is where I want to be".
Since I was a young kid I loved music and dancing. I'd often dance and sing in front of the mirror and make up routines with friends. Dancing is where it all started for me, from break dancing in crews on the estate to watching street dancing and Jazz dancing in music videos and on the TV. In my early teens I was a major Prince, Kate Bush and Janet Jackson fan and copied their styles of dancing. This led to work dancing for TV shows and videos, performing as a tribute dancer in Greece and even meeting both Janet and Prince!
When I went to my first free festival a year later it changed my life. I felt even more at home than I did at Shoom. The liberty and community of it all totally grabbed me and I danced my socks off! I became a fully-fledged raver! I grew up going to my family's gospel church and although I didn't believe in religion, I saw how it provided an important sense of community for a mainly West Indian congregation. The musical talent was immense also, with artists like Mica Paris and many other big session musicians coming out of it. When I started raving with the traveller community, I felt a similarity with my family's church. It was a place where all were welcome and at times supported and the celebration of life was for the common good. The message and dress code were slightly different but they broadly stood for the same thing which was to provide somewhere for people to enjoy and be happy and feel connected and supported. Somewhere to dance or sing those troubles away!
During that time at a friend’s house party I had a go on my friends’ decks and was instantly hooked! I bought a knackered Technic deck off my then boyfriend Orin Afronaught and one belt driven technic deck and started buying tunes. It was very male dominated behind the scenes at that time but I got inspiration from the only female rave DJs at that time, the awesome, badass DJ Rap and DJ Lisa, and thought I can do this! Apart from it becoming a huge passion, I felt it was important to try and redress the balance and I still do to this day! For me the rave scene should be universal. There have been moments but we still have a way to go!
A year or so later I went to my first Spiral Tribe party and I was blown away by their commitment to this new cause of entertainment! They also provided me access and the opportunity to do what I wanted to do. It was not across the board, there were still some old misogynistic punks knocking about but in the main it was an inclusive environment and having the awesome Debbie and Mark as my mentors was hugely encouraging! Spiral Tribe became more of a cult as it went along. We were all very serious about having fun and what that meant for society. We didn't agree with the status quo and felt that humans need to feel free, come together and celebrate life. We all saw the power that this can instil in us and how important it is for the health of humanity. Sadly the other side of a cult is problems, rules start to form, power corrupts and causes conflict. Money gets involved, beliefs mutate and diversify. I can see why after a huge bloom of Spirals that it has imploded back to the core group. This is a natural progression. Spiral Tribe among many other crews and offshoots have spread the vibe and created mostly beautiful things and long may it continue!
In a modern age where religion is questionable at best, we have found an alternative which is to rave. We have so many types for raves and factions just like churches, however for me the rave church should encompass all of those factions and diverse groups. Let's not forget that, and end up fighting against each other like religions do! Let's remember that raving is about celebrating your own life, and all life! We must remember that we all need to come together to connect and not feel alone. We need to live in the present more to forget our troubles even for a moment because in those moments you can sometimes find respite, happiness or even asses those troubles to face or deal with them. Life can be tough but also amazing too so we should celebrate this amazing world we live on with the attitude of making it better and more fun!
Kim Cosmik is the world-class DJ who provided the mix for this article and also for Deep Cuts: Euphoric Apocalyptica. Check out her recent LL mix it is ruuuuuude, and also her Rave Memories piece for more of her 90s rave yarns.
I just played in Lyon, one of the first proper club nights I’ve been to since pre COVID. Even though I was playing in a city that I’ve never been to before, it felt like a return to home, the DJs were playing lots of dancehall, sounded so nice on the sound system. Very positive vibes, infectious carnival atmosphere. Growing up in London, especially Ladbroke Grove, it’s music that makes me feel at home when played out, live. I rediscovered some dancehall gems, and found some that I missed in the past.
[Don Sinini's first selection Pat It Up appears at 1:58]
The club feels like a church, home or a place of communion when I would look around the room - as a performer or organiser - and see people sharing love and passion for the music that has gravitational pull on them. I haven't hosted an event since 2019 and I truly miss the moments when I got to hear new music performed live, or played in a dj set before it was ever released. That moment when a select few were the only ones who had experienced a new song or live set from an artist before anyone else.
[Anzola ran a pre-covid clubnight named Subtle Blend which was focussed purely on instrumentals, embedded in Toronto's 'lo-fi scene... people using samplers, drum machines, even their own laptops… my focus was very much on live performance, or a production-based performance, of your own material. Remixes were welcome but I didn't want people to come in and do covers, I wanted them to showcase their own work']
When I start thinking about live sets, performances and music played at Subtle Blend here in Toronto during its 7 year run, a few artists come to mind that really elevated the sound of our scene with new and interesting directions. Here is are a few artists and projects that I had the pleasure of hearing and knowing before their work hit streaming platforms around the world.
One of my dear friends and the Art Director of Subtle Blend, CY has been releasing music with El Sereno Records in Los Angeles for a few years now and this is his latest project called Coordinates. He really brings his production and sampling to a different plain by adding the texture and emotion with the chords and ambience.
2nd Son and C.J. Robertson: Having both produced and collaborated with other artists before this, they teamed up for the release of this full length album called Grey Matter. 2nd Son has done production and composition for artists like Tanika Charles and Selah Sue. C.J. has been producing and arranging music for rappers and vocalists here in Toronto, making a brilliant vocal debut with this collaboration. This project is a combination of futuristic sounds, blending Funk and Synth Basslines with a brilliant combination of nostalgic R&B and NeoSoul.
Naman Cale was the first artist in our shows that truly speared live looping Jazz and Ambient performances. With a Jazz degree and a wild amount of experience in live sound; he started performing live using his vibraphone, different percussion elements, synth bass and a loop pedal. The result was this ethereal soundscape he created with lush improvisation and texture.
Pursuit Grooves: producer, DJ, designer, community organizer extraordinaire. Vanese has years of experience in producing and live performance, and she's shared the stage with some of the biggest entities in the Beat and Electronic Scene as an alumni of the RBMA Barcelona chapter. Her sound has a distinctive character built on the foundation of heavy Bass and experimental Electronica. She produces from a place of pure taste and rhythm where her ideas can take you from different genres and styles in one album. [Pursuit Grooves' Wonderment appears at 4:22]
When it comes to live sets, there is no one quite like Masayuki Tomita here in Toronto. I've never encountered a live performer who not only pours his whole heart into the music but also dances like he's life depended on it. The crowd has no option but to watch in awe of what this man does with 45 minutes to an hour of live music. His influences range from Hard Techno to Ambient and Breaks but you can hear the early sampling techniques and Instrumental Hip Hop direction in his earlier work. [Stay Sane by Tomi Rosewell & Masayuki Tomita appears at 45:32]
Anzola is a wonderfully talented producer who has recently released a series of lovely tracks, some House-y some more Hip Hop all of them distinctive and rich like butter, check out LL editor Elina's recent interview with him to learn more.
|What I know about churches||What I know about night clubs|
|Cold, uncomfortable, but intriguing.||Hot, sweaty, but intriguing.|
|On first encounter, a mysterious place that weighs heavy with ancient stories and fables.||On first encounter, a mysterious place, buzzing with amusing stories and jaw-dropping tales, from recent past to present moment.|
|A tension hangs in the air of a departed (but residual) power, of an institution lost in time that is struggling to find a meaningful role in today’s society.||A tension electrifies the air, something exciting and unexpected is about to happen, an anticipation of free flowing creativity, of new memories about to be made. The concept of time is lost, this is now the centre of the universe.|
|A place where I’ve consciously gone looking for answers.||A place where I’ve gone, not consciously looking for answers, but all of the answers I would ever need have been imbued wholeheartedly and affirmatively: a deep knowing that everything will be okay, that I am safe and understood, that we are all one.|
|Claims of unity are sermonised, yet dogma, dissent and division linger in tabloid papers and history books.||Unity is an unavoidable by-product of the sonic art that we become enveloped in. The music draws people together as we shake off the worries of the 9-5 and peel back the layers we’ve carefully built up to play our parts for family, colleagues, and clients. Here, the layers melt away and our truth can play. We all feel the same, yet different. There’s equality and acceptance, curiosity and connection.|
|A place for one definitive belief, and a belief in the one God. There are always pleasant exceptions to the rule.||The only beliefs, or unspoken laws prescribed are: do no harm, and have a fucking good time, no matter what God you believe in, or spiritual bent you ascribe to. There are always unpleasant exceptions to the rule.|
Muther's selection, Parallaxis (Traumprinz' Over 2 The End Remix) by Efdemin, emerges in this month's mix at around 6:30, read on for the second part of her submission...
I don’t often feel the warmth of home or the communion of a place of worship in a club. Perhaps not surprising in London, city of rising rents, frozen wages and noise complaints. It’s not just the building - it starts with the aesthetics of the flyers, the programming, ticket prices, whether you feel welcomed and represented in all of that. Are they building a community, will I want to return again and again? When you start recognising people, that’s the feeling.
What’s the security like, who’s working the door - are they regulars too, are they safe?
Inside, there should be a cheap cloakroom, plenty of gender neutral toilets. Is there wheelchair access throughout, proper ventilation and jugs of tap water at the bar? Someone to talk to and a quieter spot to sit down, if you need? And no single-use plastics.
That being said, great music covers for many a mediocre dancefloor. Seeing Andrew Weatherall was always a homecoming, and often like a group meditation or prayer - and he did that in a lot of venues that wouldn’t pass the test.
For me, Weatherall’s sets have even transcended living rooms, streamed through Youtube on the big telly. It was in the early hours, just after seeing him at Lakota. We’d been in his world all night and we weren’t ready to leave, so we streamed a Liverpool gig from several years earlier, tumbled on carpet and sofas, shoes off, scarf over the screen. I listen often to this track he played, Paradiso by Smagghe & Cross [21:01] because it takes me back to that morning, when we didn’t know it would be the last time.
Rosy Ross is a charity fundraiser, DJ and also senior producer at Threads Radio, where she presents her essential En Vacances show, whose jilted rhythms are inspired by a seaside childhood. She contributed to Deep Cuts: Double Sustenance back in December 2020, writing about the new Jayda G album.
Lost in Ecstasy – Creamfields 2021.
Counting down the years, months, weeks. Gosh, its close. Okay, nervous now, do I sell my ticket? 70,000 capacity festival during a pandemic? Ok, it’s totally getting cancelled. Days, Christ. Car is packed, annual leave has started, my friend arrives at mine. Okay, we’re going! The roller-coaster of emotions that happened before Creamfields was intense. With friends dropping out and the media fear of festivals being COVID hotspots made me anxious. But the thought that we had waited two years to laugh and dance with my pals again, to forget about these troubles, it was too much to give up.
Thursday night at Creamfields is a silent disco, but it’s enough just to get everyone settled and pumped for the 3 nights of dance music ahead, alongside a drunken 2-hour walk around the campsite shops, looking for food and duvets, and dancing to the snippets of music from the fairground rides. Friday night was unforgettable for me. We stood amongst a crowd starting at 10,000 and swelling to maybe 30,000 people watching Bicep and Chemical Brothers. My best friend (Rory) and I were two stepping away, both quite emotional listening to tunes we’ve long waited for. Opal by Bicep was full of hugs and kisses, it will always remind me of this exact moment, reuniting with loved ones. Chemical brothers, wow, don’t they put on a show? Go is a badass tune. ‘Everybody jumpin’ out of they mind, everybody out of their skins, see, we get to the end that’s where we begin, you feel it?’. The whole set completed a perfect day, and walking back to the campsite I realised that all the media-fuelled anxiety and fear and stress had been worth it, just for these first moments.
As a big tech house fan, I was super excited to see the don that is Fisher on Saturday. Not only is he an Australian surfer, but his lifestyle, humour, and his beautiful wife and friends make him adorable. Absolute respect to the guy, especially due to some hard experiences he has had to face during the past few years. His set didn’t disappoint, and I smiled and danced from start to finish. One track that just WENT OFF was Tornado by Volkoder and Sam Supplier [39:53]. He absolutely created an early evening groove in preparation for another 8 hours on the dancefloor, and he is a firm must for anyone who hasn’t seen him yet. Armin Van Buuren closed one of the big stages and played Castles in the Sky by I_O. Very old school trance, but this created such evocative images and atmospheric vibrations which filled the crowd. A friend who I met at the festival (Ben) mentioned that this song sent him on a nostalgic trip back through all the gigs and festival he had ever been to.
I would like to give you a detailed documentation of my night, but quite frankly I don’t remember it. I do know that, Hot Since 82 dropped Let me Be Your Fantasy by Baby D, which hit my friend (Greg), allowing him to embrace a special moment surrounded by his friends. The night was continued with Carl Cox, Charlotte de Witte, and Roger Sanchez. Even though I can’t remember much, I did over 67,000 steps that day, so I guess I danced a lot! And then it was Sunday, the last day. We had made some great connections with people, so by this day we were all together. Patrick Topping’s set in steelyard was a highlight for sure. He played some incredibly bass face tracks, and one that was memorable was Tell Me Something Good by Ewan McVicar. What a funky little ass dance this created.
Half the fun of a festival is the camping. Yes, it’s hard, and yes, it’s messy. But how many days do you wake up to the sweet wild words of ‘NICE ONE BROTHER’ and your best pals looking like shit? Not many. We all have busy, stressful lives, an inevitable part of adult responsibility. We all get lost in ecstasy, and I will forever treasure and be grateful for these rare moments. Fatboy Slim’s Demons really embraces this feeling for me. “All of your demons will wither away, ecstasy come, and they cannot stay, you’ll understand when you come my way”. I may have missed his set but my close friend (Darryl) got to see him and, might I add, he’s the best Fatboy Slim lookalike you will ever meet. Creamfields, you were unforgettable. I can’t wait to be inside your cream-coated fields again in 2022. A big thank you and shout out to the group of friends I made and not forgetting Rory, Greg, and Danny; you really did make this festival for me. Until we dance again.
Amber lives in a small town named Leominster way out in the countryside. She contributed to Deep Cuts: Sexy, covering Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg and Beyoncé.
I was stood in a dim lit, dusty old Church with my parents, back when I used to get taken to church on the odd occasion. I distinctly remember this poignant moment when the music moved and rippled through my mum, evoking and provoking buried memories and old feelings she connected with singing hymns in Church. The songs meant nothing to me, but for her it was a wash of nostalgia, of sharing a moment with elated neighbours, disconnected from life’s troubles, from their own discomfort and own ego and successes – they were one. United. Nothing more, nothing less. With a shared comfort and purpose. They looked to their God through the lyrical ups and downs, the sounds of each other’s voices echoing and bouncing off of the walls, the ceiling and reverberating back through each and every one’s souls. They felt alive. Buzzing.
This suspended happiness, a capsule of momentary bliss, this shared ecstasy that everyone was devouring.
Who could have thought you could relate or compare it to the late night escapades where fidgety, twirling and crawling humans tear off their daytime façades and give themselves to the night.
They are both havens for united ECSTASY. Where everything is left behind. Left at the ancient, stone arched church door or the club’s dim lit, guarded and noisy entrance. Everyone becomes one. Melting into the rhythm of the beat, breathing as though you are the church organ, flashing across the room on each punch or sweep of a strobe, grounded on each hum of the hymn, absorbed into the embraces and eyes, glistening with longing – as if you are tied by ropes to all the souls in the room.
Moods which rise like steam and fill the room with the sweet sound of ecstasy. Two scenarios which seem so strikingly different can be so similar in the way they elevating us. ECSTASY is like electricity buzzing through our veins and pumping in our chests, trying to escape like shards of sunshine breaking through and filling the cracks.
It can be the same. Just for that moment, that day, that night - be present, united and simply submit ourselves to the frequency which runs just above our everyday reality, like a transfixing and tantalising silver sheen - a life line to escapism, enlightenment and release.
The club feels like home when the music is strong enough to take over your body and you dance for the entire set, so good that you don’t need any other stimulant, you just need a crowd and you’re high with anticipation over what will drop next. Here are a couple of times when that has happened...
Saoirse - Waterworks Festival, September 2021
Closing to the only festival I went to in the UK this summer… I was travelling a lot, but there is something so great about the UK music scene which I really missed when I was away. The whole day felt communal and the stages were well curated to celebrate different scenes. Saoirse did not hold back at all for this set. It was such high energy and everyone was on exactly the same wave. Here are a few tracks she played, including Rubin by Oliver Huntemann & Stephan Bodzin [53:20].
SOPHIE at Fabric, October 2018
One of the most memorable nights for me. The atmosphere was really electric because it was such a rare event. SOPHIE was so so striking and poised, controlling the vibe perfectly. I found a shaky recording of the night's performance of her collaboration with Big Freedia MAKE IT GO DOWN , love the drop 50 seconds in. [Sophie and Big Freedia's other collab Blaze That Ass appears at 1:07:50 in the mix].
I also heard this track a few times this summer, it’s sadly still unidentified (5th video in this post). But it’s a great one, by Pépe, hopefully to come out someday…
Olivia McShane's debut single, Every Colour Of You, a warm fuzzy ballad with an appropriately comforting, pastel-toned music video, is out there waiting for you.
For this one I’m just going to attempt to regale you with a couple of tales from the dance floor to be quite fucking honest, as it’s this kind of togetherness which is often the only thing in my life that’s reminiscent of any kind of religious experience or an attendance to a place of worship.
I’ve always really liked Disturbia by Rihanna, ever since it was played constantly on TMF when I was a couple of years into secondary school. I heard a snippet a few years ago for the first time in ages, and thought “this is actually fucking hypnotic and even better than I remember!”. Next I Googled the BPM, and… shock horror; it’s a hundred and twenty four, with that beat pattern it’s a House track. Anyway, aside from the sick little lick of auto-tune and the great driving beat that make it A-grade pop, I talked about it to a friend who was stuck looking for a few curveballs in an upcoming DJ set around said BPM. I was going to be attending the event and it was the first one I was going to post-lockdown in the summer of 2021.
Long story short, a few minutes after I arrived during their set they blended it in and everyone on the dance-floor was absolutely beaming from ear to ear. At that moment I could see that, now that things have reopened, at least for the first while, attendees will be up for a bit more mischief from DJs. What would’ve previously been seen as silly will now be a welcome release. For instance, there’s been a really good speed garage bootleg by Mattik of Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love which did the rounds across the board, from big dance tents at festivals to one-light-and-some-decks type events in Manchester. It’s doing damage all over. I think that’s sentiment to my point here. This shared jubilance is probably somewhat similar to belting out the classics from the pews on a Sunday morning.
Right, picture this; It’s 2011, I’m sixteen years old, and me and a couple of friends spend our bored science lessons drawing soundwaves in the margins of our exercise books, dreaming of hearing crazy bass frequencies from huge sound systems, possibly in the sun somewhere. Out of the blue, one of us discovers that a festival in Croatia called Outlook fits the bill. We instantly get excited, it’s got artists on the lineup that span the whole spectrum of Dubstep, from the originators right up to the new broader Post-Dubstep/‘Bass music’ stamp people were beginning to refer to. Once we got there, one major stand out set was Hudson Mohawk B2B Rustie, but what really stuck with me was the 5 hour set that Night Slugs (Girl Unit B2B Bok Bok B2B L-vis 1990 etc) did on the last night at the ‘Void’ stage. The calling card of which was Wut by Girl Unit [56:24]. I think it must’ve been played and wheeled and wheeled and played about five times across the whole set. Every single time it was played the whole crowd absolutely lost it.
Listening to the track now it gives me euphoric flashbacks and perfectly encapsulates that short period of the post-dubstep era in which LuckyMe and Night Slugs (and its US sister-label Fade to Mind) were patron saints of a kind of high production value sound, so well engineered, just weapons basically. I would also mention that this kind of sound probably led me into my current love of Hyperpop; the big euphoric drop coupled with airhorn etc. I certainly had an awakening around that time, through listening to a lot of the blends theses DJs would play (in soundcloud mixes or at gigs) to my love for big US Rap and R&B production hooks. I’d almost forgotten until thinking back on this now that Hudson Mohawke was playing Kanye West tracks that year and just a few months later was actually producing tracks for him, surreal. It speaks for how quickly people were enthralled by that sound, from its birth to its adaptation and collaboration into a mainstream production sound.
Joel is one of Deep Cuts' longstanding contributors, he wrote about Namasenda and Sophie in Deep Cuts: Fantasy Realm, writing the immortal line 'To quote the track “…and it makes me feel and it makes me feel and it makes me feel..”. Makes me feel like lobbing my fucking hands in the air with a grin on my face.'
I was at the water tower, a 360o stage at Waterworks festival, when I had that tingling sensation that comes when you can’t quite place a tune but your body is already familiar with it. It was Anz' Unravel In The Designated Zone, instantly memorable from the cosmic synth line, causing my arm to do a caterpillar whine rippling my hand in time with the synth. I forgot about the track until I went to a rhythm sister DJ workshop recently. A girl I met, Beccy Dallimore (absolute boss), played ‘panrico’ from Anz’ first ep which I saved it to listen to later. When I got home I played it and stumbled upon Unravel In The Designated Zone and was suddenly transported back to Waterworks – faith in ecstasy. Here’s the only pic I took of Waterworks but I thought the grey with the essence of pink shining through matched the steeley set and funky tunes of that festival beautifully.
When I was thinking of Faith In Ecstasy, and what this theme meant to me post-lockdown, I decided that the connection has been a revived thirst for music, inspired by my nearest and dearest, and the desire to know it through my body. Listening to the Anz tune was SO much better after Waterworks. There were anguished times in lockdown for this reason, listening to music, being consumed by it but not devouring it. I was in a heightened state of anticipation this summer, longing to hear music beyond the four walls of my house and let it simmer through my being. My faith in ecstasy was restored when this finally happened and it was just as euphoric as I was hoping it to be. I danced outside most of summer with the highlights being the Scottish peaks, a live psychedelic dancehall mash-up and Baby T’s set at Naked City all with a huge smile plastered across my face coming home.
Pritika is a programme manager supporting renewable energy projects. She's originally from Manchester, and loves a rave.
[Will’s note on Pritika's contribution: the Baby T set from Naked City, a four thousand capacity day festival in South London, is listenable here, check out the monstrous Ms 04 (138 Remix) by SDX and Scram by Plump DJs [1:00:05] from it. I was there with Pritika, and it was beautiful, partly because there was a pair of dads with daughters on their shoulders dancing in the crowd. One daughter looked about 8 years old, stayed up there for most of the set, a massive grin on her face, which we could see when her dad turn around, displaying the world to her. There was another Dad whose daughter was basically a toddler. I saw him put her down, and let her walk her own careful steps away from him, to stop, look around and wander back. I say I saw him, I moved out of the way of the kid! It was so cool watching this tiny child looking up at the world, making this mysterious shadow zone where people dance together.]
You are invited to join Anz on a journey through time and space. Angelic high ends, earth shuddering lows and all soul soothing tones between, the genre spanning electronic experience of her All Day EP provides the listener insight into the sounds that shaped Anz. Each track stands, out without stepping on its siblings’ toes, unique and fresh but never self-indulgent, each with the same fundamental theme, music conceived to induce the need to move.
I’ve only recently had the chance to experience Anz’ work and enjoy it in its correct environment. The loss of that critical context for dance music - spaces to dance - has only been back in our lives for a short time, with the hiatus having sapped many artists, producers and creatives of their drive to create music for clubs, but the same cannot be said for Anz. Consistently releasing music of such a standard to carve herself out a reputation in the UK scene, lover of the old, creator of the new, and ultimately one to watch. [Last Before Lights, the penultimate track in the All Day EP, appears at 1:06:00 in this month's mix]
Haig Binnie works delivering community-based rehab for people with ongoing neurological conditions. The music he loves is often humorous or spooky.
Aphid / Julia Barbour
We originally had India Jordan booked in the calendar to play for us in April 2020 if memory serves me correct, and had just contracted when the pandemic shut everything down. I kept working, and I felt very privileged to be safe and at home with my partner, but the new landscape of life was frightening and felt very lonely at times. When India’s EP, For You, came out in Spring of 2020, it slotted right into my regular rotation. It was bright, brilliant, sparkling, and the title track felt like something buoyant to cling onto. It was an EP about finding and loving yourself as a queer person. When I played a livestream for New Year’s Eve, I chose For You [1:11:02] as my closing track, wanting it to be the energy I went into 2021 with.
So when we were able to return to clubs and we finally got India to come and play for us - them having hit new heights in the meantime, with an Essential Mix, Boiler Room, Radio 1 Residency, and another EP - it was absolutely joyous. India played For You as their final track of the night, and it reaffirmed my love for it as a song when I saw the room, still full at 3am, moving and dancing and singing together, I took a video of the moment, embedded below. To me, it’s a track that’s about acceptance and love, and it was one of those brilliant moments where a club feels like a church, a congregation coming together in joy.
Religious ecstacy doesn’t begin at revelation but at heartbreak, penury, shipwreck. It sets you up for deliverance, tragedy. It’s probably why dance music, with its buildup and release, has the same connotations. Nicolas Jaar’s It’s Me Oh Lord [1:17:32] is possibly one of the better examples of tracks which have tried to make that link explicit. It’s also one of the most popular. I remember what I was cooking when it came on a decade ago in the opening stretches of his classic BBC1 Essential Mix. Jaar was 22 then - there’s your miracle. The build up is immaculate, sounds like prime Jai Paul and Foals spliced with the choicest sub bass rumblings from James Blake’s pantry. When the gospel choir comes crashing in, we are children and believers again.
Apocalyptic hymn Mountaineers by Susanne Sundfør (who can do no wrong) and the brilliant John Grant, has a similar muscular build up and divine revelation. This time it’s Sundfør’s soaring vocals in earshot of St Peter: “Now I know what we are, what we want, will never change.” Grant is completely in character as a watery-eyed doomsday priest ranting and raving about jumbo jets and boiling tar. Fittingly, it was performed in Brutalist cathedral the Barbican a few years ago. Full marks the two of you.
Khalid writes for Responsible Investor about subjects varying from palm oil through to surveillance.
A lot is said about the worship or idea of God as a DJ, and parallels are frequently drawn between ravers and church goers. With good reason. Whether we are stomping together in beat to the bassline emanating from a Funktion-One, moving as one pulsating dance floor, or singing hymns side by side to the tune of an organ, as one harmonious congregation, there is an inevitable feeling of togetherness. Perhaps I’m idealistic about club culture, and disillusioned by the church. Perhaps I’m as appreciative of electronic music and clubbing, as the Sunday School teacher is of praying and reading the Holy Text.
All I know for certain is that, at Warm Up, we are lucky to experience these moments of joy, expression, love, and understanding almost every weekend with our club shows, raves, and now with our annual festival. There is a reason we’ve been told, ‘Warm Up changed my life’ or, more powerful still, ‘Warm Up saved my life’. No club, promoter or DJ ever claims that they’ll ‘save you’. It just so happens that DJs play art, and that art speaks to us. A track can feel like the most reassuring of hugs, the rawest release of emotions. It can offer the clearest perspective on life you’ve ever had, and inspire you to change the course of it. That’s the beauty of art. It is subjective. It is personal. It is powerful. It is necessary. DJs are accidental ministers and therapists, and your fellow ravers are your community. Whilst you might hear, see or feel something different to them, you’re united by a belief and a faith of sorts - that music and movement is the answer.
For those who don’t know, Aidan Doherty founded Warm Up back in 2013, as a pre-party. The idea was to provide a starting point for the evening, where friends could enjoy the anticipation of the night ahead together before moving on to see headline acts in the major London clubs, hence the name ‘Warm Up’. He was also creating an opportunity for himself to practice DJing and develop his craft. Very quickly he realised that actually this wasn’t a pre-party, it was turning into the main event. We set out to mix sick tracks and create a party atmosphere for people to dance. I guess that this single most innocent, most primal, most simplistic of intentions is our creed. In the absence of too much structure, of hierarchy, of rules, there is space to have a truly spiritual experience. And it is here we can all be ‘saved’, by living in the present moment for hours of prolonged ecstasy (with or without the help of its chemical namesake).
What became clear is that music isn’t the sole ingredient for creating a memorable clubbing experience, more than that it is the people and their connections, the unification that Warm Up enabled. It’s what the party was built on and was a tangible quality to newcomers who were stumbling across the party. Religion isn’t the sole ingredient for a successful place of worship either, the devout are often quoted as enjoying a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves, among others with shared values.
In the first year of Warm Up, Aidan knew he needed reliable and consistent resident DJs to join him in shaping the sound of the party, DJs who would play the freshest music and had the skills to jump on the decks at any time of night. They needed their own distinct style while still representing the sounds we love within the wonky walls of the Warm Up house. Those DJs were Jorge Martins and Gus Emmett. Over the next few years, together they tempted in new ravers with their sets, and grew Warm Up to be what it is today. They were our clergy, preaching sermons selected from their music collections, week in week out, and the congregation grew organically and at a natural pace.
My role within Warm Up started in the early days. I was, and still am, creating the visual identity of the party, from the logo to the poster artworks. I also stepped into a typically matriarchal role with the residents and earned my moniker, Muther. During lockdown I had plenty of time on my hands and the opportunity to finally try my hand at DJing. I haven’t looked back. I have an appetite for collecting music, seeking new artists and pulling together tracks in a way that says something, or means something to me. Most DJs start out looking for nights to play at, whereas I’ve been fortunate to play a big role in building the platform on which I now get to play. The community came first, and the DJing came afterwards. It’s been an unusual and blessed journey for me, building my confidence in front of a crowd who are rooting for me. The faithful believe!
More recently, we’ve been able to channel our creativity into Warm Up’s evolution from club and rave party to a four-day festival in Hertfordshire. Aidan and I run the festival together, with help from members of the community and a handful of very special, highly skilled and experienced people we’ve thankfully managed to attract. The challenge has been scaling up at a rate in which we could still maintain the community environment while also being extremely ambitious with production. I can honestly say we delivered on this.
Music is the initial and infinite unifier for Warm Up, and it needs to be for any authentic club brand or party. I’d like to share with you one of my sets from the Warm Up Festival in the summer of 2021, opening the main stage on Sunday. It was an opportunity to play a slice of my music collection that fits those early afternoon vibes. My favourite track from the set is an iconic record I closed with, called Parallaxis
(Traumprinz’ Over 2 The End Remix) by Efdemin. It’s a track Aidan introduced me to during one of our memorable underground raves on Tottenham Marshes, back in the summer of 2016, as the sun rose on a clear blue Sunday morning over the remaining ravers, swaying happily in a forgotten corner of London. It was our own, special kind of Holy day.
Parallaxis is a euphoric, nostalgic, uplifting and life affirming piece of electronic music and it defined that morning perfectly, as we clung to one another. It’s a track that resonates with my feelings on rave as a kind of non-dogmatic, spiritually-elevating, alternative religion, built by the people for the people. It’s something to count on in the dark moments, something to connect us when we feel alone, a reassurance that everything will be okay.
That Sunday at the festival turned out to be a very memorable day too, biblical of sorts, with people announcing it to be their favourite day at a festival ever, a kind of rebirth for many. I think that’s something to do with being immersed in the community and the music for four days, in our own kind of spiritual retreat. There was an accumulative shedding of layers, probably laced with fatigue and whatever uppers people were dabbling in, and of course an unforgettable series of sets delivered by the artists on the line up that day, including Jorge Martins, Timanti, and Max Cooper closing the main stage, among the other incredible DJs and artists who levelled up to create a spectacular Warm Up Sunday Service. Our ‘Father’ Aidan, blessed us with an unannounced and unplanned four hour ‘afters’ session to reward those whose legs could still carry them. Below is a photo taken of him after he played his last track.
It’s a Sunday that will stay with us all forever. Perhaps we should mark it as our own ‘Warm Up New Year’, giving gratitude for the past year and welcoming in the good intentions of the months ahead. While we’re not perfect at Warm Up, we do our absolute best by the music, by the people and by the artists, wherever and however we can. I hope, and believe, this holy trinity is worthy of worship week in, week out, whatever club or dance community you choose to support. Either way, if God is a DJ, they are certainly welcome at our church. As are you. Whenever you want to pray.
Massive shout out to Muther for this contribution, can't say anything that hasn't been said, except that all the photos included were taken by Jake Davis.
On the face of it, this theme is asking writers about clubbing experiences, but this is made more complex by the request to share music from or associated with these experiences. We’re not just asking about clubbing moments that felt good, we’re asking for moments that stuck with them, that still sounded good when removed from the sound system and put onto your little personal headphones. It’s about music that sounds like ecstasy to the writers, that makes you feel ecstatic, that carries the things that you loved about the last night and makes you think about the nights that could be on their way.
This residual ecstasy waxed and waned for me in the first lockdown of 2020, and returned with a vengeance at the start of 2021, when our roadmap out of lockdown three was laid out, ‘all restrictions to end in June'. Just as Boris Johnson originally told us back in March 2020 that lockdown could last up to three months (ie until June 2020), he returned in January 2021 to tell us that lockdown should now be ending in June 2021, if everything goes to plan. I have been filled with anticipation ever since, this flood of faith could not be stopped by Boris Johnson’s lifeless eyes and the bitter cold outside my window, I could feel the hive of humanity waiting on my doorstep.
I remember exactly what I did after the early evening announcement, I went for a walk with my headphones on, listening to Turismo by Jossy Mitsu and attempting to convince my mates to get tickets for a July festival in Wales, ordered a big pepperoni pizza, picked it up, took it home and ate the whole thing myself. Jossy Mitsu and I had been planning to do an interview sometime that week, thankfully she was free this evening, so I phoned her up, put my phone loudspeaker next to my laptop (recording the chat for transcription). We talked about her debut EP of rave fire (including Turismo) named Planet J, which was partly inspired by a lone walk she once took through Hong Kong, and also by video games she played as a teenager like street racer Midnight Club II. We also talked about the EP of moody, Hip Hop-tempo ‘rain music’ named Wet Play that she had recently released as Celiiine. She said that making it ‘felt a lot more natural and therapeutic. All the dance stuff is so tied to playing out, I find it hard to listen to it without thinking about how much I miss the club, missing my old life.’
Now let's be clear, I was feeling pretty hyped at this point, and there were a few other club bangers like Turismo that channelled my hype, but I could still feel the same instincts that Jossy had when making Wet Play. Most of the tracks that I rinsed in 2021 were not dancefloor weapons, some were slow-tempo, some were bouncey but sparse, but almost all of them could be interpreted as odes to nascent ecstasy, songs about feeling a small, private ecstasy or a steady confidence that beautiful things are to come. There was also a practical angle to this; I had recently found out that my flat was not as soundproof as previously assumed, my downstairs neighbours could hear my speakers through the ceiling, particularly ‘fast, bass-heavy music’. At one point I asked them if they could hear specifically what I was listening to, and they said 'yeah mate I could hear you blasting End Credits by Chase and Status yesterday in the middle of the day whilst I was working.' Oops.
So I moved further away from the big beats, and focussed on tracks with swelling, flourescent chords that spread through the track like the first rays of morning sun through stained glass, whether they be neon green as in Trek by Rico Cassaza & CPSL or a rich amber as in Say That Again by Anzola. Some of these tunes also have great lyrics about giving yourself over to the moment, like Love In The Dance by Don Sinini, "wear my heart on my sleave oh lord" and Space Cadet by Flume & Autre Ne Veut, "can't stop spacing on a daydream." The actual award for best ballad to rave has to go to the absolutely perfect give it up 2 me by London R'n'b chanteuse Ojerime, it's so chill and so smooth and it bubbles with anticipation. This is partly because when she sings "help me lose my mind" the delivery of the word 'mind' is taken from the main hook of one of the most recogniseable, irresistable House bangers of all time, Kenny Dope's The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind) released under his The Buckerheads alias. At Waterworks festival I got to see both Fauzia and Moxie play remixes of give it up 2 me, so yeah it's official this is the flourescent anticipation banger of the year.
[The NELSON remix of give it up 2 me opens this month's mix]
I originally planned for this theme to gather experiences and track IDs from the third summer of love, '21 babyyy, but the funny thing is that I still haven't got to that definitive ecstatic experience, my mind has visited lovely places but I still haven't lost it. If you think of the buddhist idea that we are not really constituted by our ego, it is a thing that serves us in some situations and limits us in others, I think that ecstasy is letting go of the ego and soaking your surroundings up into the hole left by the sensitive abscence left over. I started a new job just before lockdown ended, meeting a new team of coworkers for the fourth time in a year, and I haven't taken any full holidays since, just a day or two here and there, so my ego is pretty clearly defined in my head, it's hard to have fun around people without getting distracted by concerns about how I'm coming across or what I'm doing to make things better in other's eyes. Of course this combined with the general tension of covid never actually leaving London, plus instances of simple bad luck; events which were cancelled on the day, overcrowded to the extreme, or blighted by music that was too quiet or too moody or too aggressive.
That's not to say I haven't had some great times though, I'd just say that the best times have been inspiring, as opposed to ecstatic. I have found myself listening to more solid dance music, my most listened to album of 2021 was this amazing band called The Paradox, which Pritika and I saw live at Naked City, a blend of smooth jazz keys and techno drum machines programmed live by Jeff Mills. Exquisite stuff and so inspiring that it can make working with my laptop propped on my lap on the London underground feel fun. As for DJ sets, I think my favourites have come from OK Williams, Josey Rebelle, Chloé Robinson and Shanti Celeste, with Celeste delivering my favourite dancefloor ID Jaden Thompson's pumping House remix of Doin' It by LL Cool J, those pummelling bass kicks sound like the good times banging on your door, and lyrically 'doin it and doin it and doin it good' sounds like the divine spirit of our soundsystem, confirming to us that the DJ is indeed doin this real gooooood.
I love that tune, I've turned to it for energy many a times since I heard it out. But this is not a scratch on the amount of time I have spent listening to the last track for my contribution, God’s Chariots by Oklou [1:23:51]. It's actually my second most listened to track of the year according to Apple Music, I became clinically addicted to it in the second half of 2021, partly because the sound design it like pure butter for my brain, its production is rich but also sparse, so it can sit beautifully on top of other sound-environments, evens ones as screechy as the tube. But it's not just the sounds, the way this track builds is just perfect, finishing with this muted explosion of emotion in the last verse, "day in day out I float down south (ooooh), so that I don’t ever feel the ground beneath me, be with me right now, maybe I’m the only one falling through right into your arms, goddess of a lonely night, you’re with me like a blow of light."
The way that synthetic noise swells up through the track in time with that "(ooooh)" bit, it’s so emotional even though I didn't know the exact lyrics until recently, which is so fun as the particular lyric I had missed was "goddess of a lonely night." I had previously imagined she was singing to a lover, but I also knew that it was about more than that. The song is about faith in a higher power, about having faith in love itself, a bountiful energy that connects and elevates people in the most beautiful way. It hurts feel isolated from love, it hurts not to know when it will wash through our spirits and be clear to see, but faith and music allow us to know that it is coming, it is already here, like dewy droplets in the morning air.
Will Soer is Deep Cuts' Mama, he has also written a series of post-lockdown event reviews which you can find linked here. Also fun note, Don Sinini shared a track by Oklou's previous moniker Avril23 in Deep Cuts: Dead Inside But Its Ok!
Ojerime - Give It Up 2 Me (NELSON Remix)
Tommy Lee Sparta - Pat It Up
Pursuit Grooves - Wonderment
Efdemin - Parallaxis (Traumprinz' Over 2 The End Remix)
Latin Soldier - Affinar Celestial ( Hembra Conqistadora Remix )
grayscayle - fitting in
Smagghe & Cross - Paradiso
The Chemical Brothers - Got To Keep On
Sgt Slick & John Course - Love Vision (Extendended Mix)
K-hand - Dusty (Andrew Duke remix)
Volkoder & Sam Supplier - Tornado
Tomi Rosewell & Masayuki Tomita - Stay Sane
Pushkin - Amourote revisited - Return to Traal
Oliver Huntemann & Stephan Bodzin - Rubin
Girl Unit - Wut
Plump Djs - Scram
parts project - free party
Anz - Last Before Lights
SOPHIE - Blaze That Ass (feat. Big Freedia)
India Jordan - For You
Diffuse Reality Records - Woof
LaShun Pace / Nicolas Jaar - It's Me Oh Lord Acapella Praise (Valdou Bootleg )
Oklou - God's Chariots