boing boom tschak

8 12 2008

KRAFTWERK Hong Kong 12/05/08

After  30+ long years, finally i’ve seen the masters live and even without the original Karl Bartos, (co-founder) Florian Schneider and Wolfgang Flur, last Friday’s Kraftwerk gig in HK was truly an experience. The present line up of Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert, Stefan Pfaffe and original member, co-founder  and vocalist Ralf Hutter performed extremely well, as expected. It’s amazing too how they showed so much charisma without uttering a single spiel in between songs.  Now, i can’t really say i’m their number one fan but i am definitely a huge fan of Kraftwerk and electronic music in general and i’m glad i can finally tick off “watch Kraftwerk” on my wishlist.

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Initially, as much as i already knew they would blow me away, i prepared myself to be a little jaded being that i pretty much know how their concert set up was from acquiring their most recent live DVD a couple of years ago, the larger than life visuals, the ultra clean sound(much like listening through an audiophile’s tube gear), the stage gear etc.  I was wrong and despite what i knew, it’s definitely different seeing and hearing Kraftwerk LIVE. My only complaint was that it wasn’t loud as i expected it to be. Kinda expected the bass to rattle people’s rib cages. It would’ve been good as the venue was packed to the gills( the size of two halls of our local World Trade combined) with young Hong Kong hipsters and music geeks, foreigners from everywhere and Germany of course plus us, the few “delegates” from the Philippines.

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I went with Mario S. and Dino A. to be joined at the gig itself  by Ean of Up dharma Down, his brother in law Chi and our very own original visual graphics guy and good friend Koro Fujiwara. Some of our other friends/djs within the Groove Nation circle couldnt make it due to schedule conflicts but i really was expecting “electronic” musicians and ahem, DJs from Manila to be there being that this is one of those once in a lifetime deals from an act that’s highly influential and deemed as one of the main progenitors of electronic music and a direct influence, especially to techno, electro and even hip hop. Before you can say,we were able to go because we had the funds to throw away, i’m sorry but that’s not the case, no, not at all. It’s something we had to work for and worked around on just to make it last weekend. It’s just simply too important to pass up. It really validates my observation that majority of the local electronic producers and superstar djs are merely in it more on the surface and have no foundation nor sense of history.

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It’s Kraftwerk for crying out loud, the very group who influenced the likes of Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Carl Craig , Richie Hawtin etc.!

Oh yeah, i forgot, in this country majority equate electronic music to Tiesto and Armin Van Buren. Talkin’bout “provincial disco”.

Totally related story HERE.





dance with me

7 10 2008

…or just by yourself or with other people. Whatever. The point is to take it all in and celebrate life through music and dancing. This is an advance warning for the second installment of Deep Fried on November 29. I know ya’ll do the right thing. Be there early. Saguijo neighbors complain around 2-3am so make the most of it that by 10pm you should be on the floor warming up and preparing yourself to surrender to the gorgeous grooves and relentless beats.

Help build this new community of discerning electronic fans and dance aficionados together from the ground up just like how it was built back then. Be a part of the quality,underground dance set. See ya on November 29!

your soon to be monthly electronic fix

your soon to be monthly electronic fix





and the results of the experiment…

8 09 2008

Ok. As for last Saturday… it was both good and bad.

Good because it was actually a fun night and i had a great time spinning. The vibe was good from the people who went and from friends who gave their support. It didn’t have the numbers but sometimes it does not have to be packed to the gills for it to have a great vibe.

Bad because it clearly shows how narrow or close minded most “rock” people are about dancing and for the most part listening to electronic dance music.  Just as expected, the local rock majority still has problems with it. How did i come up with this conclusion? Simple. The venue is a known place for bands and the radio plugs, even though bombarded by NU107 just reached local rock’s ears and despite Deep Fried the radio show airing every Wednesday, it really just started so still, the general rock audience definitely stayed clear last Saturday. Maybe it’s too simplistic an analysis but i think it’s accurate. Now, we’re not forcing it down your throats, it’s just an observation that’s quite an eye-opener, at least for me. It’s the opposite of what i experienced abroad where people from all sorts of background and music tastes actually do get down together in underground clubs and raves. Here, there’s obviously a division. The rock people go to rock events and gigs, the hip hop people go to hip hop parties and the “Tugs” go to the commercial clubs, raves and to gigs like Deep Fried last Saturday.  Yes, i know there are tribes but they do crossover abroad. Not here for the most part.  A bit sad but well, with the radio show, some will probably warm up to it and appreciate something new to their ears and eventually go to the next one. I’m counting on the rock community to be the ones to embrace it and make a real underground scene different from the average “party person” or the “Tugs” as they call them. Yeah, I’m still optimistic.

But No, we’re not going to change the venue as that’s precisely the point why Angelo (Saguijo) and us (Groove Nation) chose to do this. To get people who don’t normally go to clubs in the metro to enjoy electronic dance music and dance in a non official club environment wherein you don’t have to be dressed to the nines or rub elbows with social climbers. It’s purely for the music, the vibe and dancing in an intimate, small setting.

What makes it underground? Well, first and foremost, the music. It’s what sets it apart from the clubs who claim they play underground dance music. I don’t think i have to justify that. Those who go to Consortium or any of the parties before or just last Saturday can attest to it. No anthems, no trance, no proghouse, no cutesy stuff (Sorry but we’re purists). Just quality underground house and techno,the way we dish it out. Secondly, the atmosphere and feel of the place. Lastly,the type of people who did check it out last Saturday.

If there’s another thing good about this Deep Fried experiment is that last Saturday, we more or less got a sample of people who are really into it and they will be essential in influencing their friends that for November, the number doubles and so forth and so on. Congratulations and hats off to these people who can say they were there from the  very start.  Much appreciation also given to those who normally don’t dance but let their hair down last Saturday and participated in this electronic revolution. Same goes to the loyal GN followers, friends and some Terno bands like Up Dharma Down, Swissy, who gave support and participated in  the experiment.

We’re already bringing it to you people. Giving you an option from what’s the usual in this city. It’s up to you now to open your minds,ears and embrace it.

Next one’s November 29. You have more than a month to overcome your inhibitions and really, just have FUN and DANCE but with really GOOD dance music.

SPECIAL THANKS to Mario Benipayo of Forerunner Technologies for the RCF ART-325A and the new Cerwin Vega CVA-21 subs last Saturday. Thanks also to Audio Technica for our amazing ATH-M50 headphones.

Pics courtesy of Chico Limjap.





Deep Fried

5 09 2008

Tomorrow Saturday, we launch Deep Fried, the only dance night at Saguijo. Perfect size for a more intimate, underground feel. It’s an experiment, a bold one if i may say so. As everyone knows, Saguijo is a venue mostly for bands, all sorts of bands, the past 4 years or so. I really don’t know what to expect but I’m hoping it’ll be good enough as far as response and participation.

I still think that the average fan of rock music here in Manila has certain perceptions and misconceptions about modern electronic dance music and that age old mentality that it’s taboo to dance or listen to other non-rock music, all the more dance music. In a way, i don’t blame them because they’re only, mostly exposed to the crap kind of dance music they hear in variety shows, in between band set up during gigs etc. Either that or some really overplayed, commercial dance drivel or worse, Trance.

I guess, what i would want is for people to open their minds and go beyond the four on the floor or the “tugs tugs” (If you just listen to the 4/4 kick, it could be anything from Disco to Gabba so it’s a generalization being made by those who use “tugs” ) as most local rock people refer to it . In fact, they do to a degree without them realizing it. If it’s something that’s closer to rock like electroclash, locally referred to as, uhm, dance punk then it’s OK but ironically, when it’s real House music and Techno, be it Deep, Minimal,Tech, Chicago, Garage, they close their minds to it. Also, i have to point out that nowadays, just about every bar, radio station (with mix shows) and DJ whether fake,amateur,club,professional,superstar claim to play HOUSE music. Sure. Ok, I’ll give them that even though some used to proclaim “trance is the way” but now all espouse House this, House that but really, 90%  just play the anthems, hits and what’s on every Hed Kandi compilation.

Well, actually, most people can’t tell the difference and that’s precisely my point, If they would only listen and not just focus on the 4/4 beat they would. Slowly but in time it’ll be more apparent. As for tomorrow, I’d be happy already if 10-30 people are actually dancing or swaying to the beats and there are new converts.

Tomorrow the 6th of September, is the time to celebrate life through dancing and  QUALITY electronic dance music, served… DEEP FRIED.





Scenester

2 09 2008

Recently, i overheard some indie kids bitching about how this and that person’s such a “Scenester” and it made me think if i actually had something to do with that term. Of course, i’m not that narcissistic to think i actually invented it but if memory serves me right no one locally pre-mid 90s ever used it in a sarcastic, negative way.

So, just what is a “Scenester anyway? According to the dictionary it’s “a person associated or immersed in a particular fashionable culture scene”. Close… but in my book, it’s someone who associates him/herself to just about ANY scene. Art, Music, Literary, Film, Dance, High Society, Politics, he’s/she’s there. A Scenester knows the key people or pretends to know and try his/her very best to show they’re down with the homies. Nothing wrong to be well rounded and interested in different things for sure but a Scenester is a different beast, much like a pesky mosquito that won’t go away, an irritating fixture to places, things and events that you will want to avoid, eventually. There are levels of tolerance, yes. Some you can still take but most are really out to get their 15 minutes of fame at all costs.

A Scenester also loves being photographed and being in broadsheets as well as the “right’ magazines and publications. Fashion, lifestyle, teen, street, gadget, car etc. magazines, you name it, you’re bound to come across a Scenester in the back pages where they have pictures from various events. A Scenester also loves to namedrop and most especially the “it” names from the respective scenes. So basically, a Scenester is both a leech and a social climber, just slightly hipper. This to me is the definition of what a Scenester is in the local setting.

The other kind of Scenester was a quartely, risographed fanzine of sorts ( yes, honorable fanzine expert, we didn’t know the aesthetics of the fanzine cottage industry then but who cares?). Anyway it was a geeky, psychotic, feeble attempt at literature and ahead of its time ranting vehicle, originally as companion bible to Consortium goers. It definitely raised eyebrows but was destined to disappear instantly due to lack of funds, until, then stranger, turned good friend Kristo Babbler (his nom de plume) offered to rescue it from its impending doom and (gasp!) actually published the zine for his Focal Publishing House much to the delight of its writers, a mixed bunch of people tied together by music, film, watches and quality footwear.

That was a very exciting time, loads of coffee and alcohol, allnighters, good and bad ideas, midnight snacks, ego clashes, personal differences and lots of love in a Melrose Place kind of way. Alas, some people took it way seriously and things went sour. As they say nothing good lasts forever. Yours truly started it and named it The Scenester, inspired by the many attention seekers of the day and the many horrible parties and events that gave birth to Scenesters more than a decade ago.

To commemorate its short yet glorious existence in the mid 90s, here are cover samples in their magnificent monochromatic, cheap-ass style.

If you enjoyed that. Imagine the content.





jack of all trades and master of none.

30 08 2008

Yes, i wear many hats. I might be selling myself short though with the post title but it sounds good so it stays.

Recently, i revived my DJing career and the Groove Nation entity though it doesn’t mean i DJ every weekend. It’s whenever i feel like it. I’ve slowly learned to enjoy it again and play the other kinds of music I’ve championed from the start. There was a time when i couldn’t listen to HOUSE music be it Chicago, deep, tech, micro and TECHNO, from minimal, Detroit, dub and hardcore to electro, the way i would listen to it everyday before, not because i grew tired of it but more because of just about everyone here in Manila were DJs and each one tooting their own horns with proclamations of being “The No.1 DJ in the country”,”The Best Local DJ”, “The Most Exciting DJ”…something i’d give to anyone IF they backed it up with TALENT,SKILL and TASTE.

As it is though, most lack history and foundation in music or to be specific with Soul, Funk and Disco onto the “House” music that they play and it shows. Being a DJ doesn’t mean just because you learned to BPM mix from one record,cd,mp3 to another,then you’re already a DJ. Worst of all, if you just throw “anthems” one after another. The argument I’ve heard is that the DJ is an entertainer and should please his/her audience and i agree to some extent, especially if you’re a DJ in a bar or a club wherein you’re expected to play the hits or you have to have a more populist mindset but if you’re propping yourself up as THE DJ much like how the famous international ones are then you’re expected to guide and influence your audience to new ideas and sounds and not just give them what they have in their Ipods which they know inside out. If you’re going to promise me that cliche, “I’ll take you on a journey of valleys and peaks” then by all means i for one, expect you to push the envelope and not play what the 100 other DJs play day in day out in bars and pseudo-clubs around the metro. Back it up so to speak.

Now that’s not to say I’m the best in the land but one thing i can say is that i push the envelope and provide an option and to a point, educate that “Everafter” is not really a good representation of what House music really is or that this new rave/fidget scene is not the modern electronic dance music I’m referring to…to a local audience who mostly are uninformed and ill-informed or just plain apathetic. Sadly, in this country it’s more about schmoozing,partying,to see and be seen and the music is more background than anything so it doesn’t matter if they’re dancing or partying to crap dance music or something that’s played from TV variety shows to Alibangbang Beer Garden to Decades or Embassy.  Despite of that short rant, i have cooled down ,the bad taste has left my mouth and while the country is still overflowing with superstar and fake DJs who continue to disappoint and simply, just don’t get it, I’m feeling good about playing every now and then.

Groove Nation also has a new show on NU107 every Wednesday night 11-12midnight  called DEEP FRIED with an accompanying DEEP FRIED bi-monthly dance night at Sagujio. The first of which is to be held this Saturday the 6th of September. It’s obviously experimental being that Saguijo is really more of a rock venue and i really don’t know what to expect for Saturday but Angelo of Saguijo’s open with it so we’ll see how long we need to build this. It is perfect for its small size and somehow i know there are people out there who are really looking for a place where they can dance and have fun but cannot really see themselves going to the commercial chi-chi clubs.

It’s also about time to get rid of the “I only listen to rock music therefore i can’t dance and won’t listen to anything else” mentality. It is 2008 after all and if you’re a true music fan you would’ve heard of the late 80’s Summer Of Love, Manchester or how your favorite foreign bands have embraced the rave/electronic dance music culture. I’ve seen for myself how for example, Bobbie Gillespie and the rest of Primal Scream dance and party at various underground raves in the late 80s,early 90’s why can’t you?