Minimal Effort’s Location Change Came With A Couple of Hiccups But Plenty of Potential For NYE and the Future

Photo by Christopher Soltis

Photo by Christopher Soltis

Trial and error is necessary and just like with anything in life, it’s the little failures peppered amongst great successes that build something truly special. Any of the thousands of dance music fans in Los Angeles and beyond who are familiar with Underrated Presents and their Minimal Effort brand know just how big of a leap they took this past Saturday when they expanded their Halloween production from within an indoor venue facility to a hybrid indoor/outdoor festival featuring three stages, 10 hours of music and 24 different artists.

The move didn’t come without a few hiccups, of course, but when all was said and done, Los Angeles welcomed its first festival-scale electronic music production in years, and the first to solely focus on the more underground sounds of house and techno. It wasn’t since HARD and Insomniac left the city that crowds in LA hadn’t been able to enjoy an event of this kind with promises of more in the pipeline. In fact, flyers posted throughout the Los Angeles Center Studios, Minimal Effort’s new home, already announced an exciting first phase lineup for the upcoming NYE event that will take place at the same location and with a similar structure.

 

The choice of location couldn’t have been more ideal, a multipurpose facility in the former Unocal Center building next to the 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles that provided ample space for two outdoor stages, an indoor room, food trucks and rest areas with grass and tables. The area was easy to reach with public transportation, by foot from anywhere downtown and via cab/uber.

Entry was smooth, with hardly any wait and no hassles at security. Similarly, despite a good sized crowd wait times for drinks, bathrooms or food were minimal throughout the night. The music was spread out between The Garden and The Bridge stages outside, and the smaller Suara Room inside. The Garden stage unfortunately opened late due to technical difficulties that were being resolved to host Tiga’s Los Angeles Live show debut during the closing slot of the night. But when it got going it welcomed thousands who partied to the sounds of Waze & Odyssey, Kidnap Kid, Tensnake and TEED before Tiga took over. Under the canopy of the overhanging tree branches, the smaller of the two outdoor stages hosted the more eclectic roster of night, catering to those in search of a more pop-driven, bass-heavy and vocal experience.

Unfortunately The Bridge Stage, considered by some as the “main stage” due to size and caliber of names performing, suffered from sound issues throughout the night. Volume had to be kept low to ensure sound quality didn’t suffer due to what was probably a blown speaker or two. Regardless, sets by Jonas Rathsman, Steve Bug and Pete Tong kept the party going until it was Thugfucker’s turn to close out the party with their signature blend of rhythmic and groovy tech house filled with big hooks, heavy synth lines and permeating melancholy.

Photo by Conner Coughenour

Photo by Conner Coughenour

Interestingly enough, it was in the smaller room that the party seemed to be going at its hardest throughout the night. The Suara Room may have been modest and it was surely a hot box, but it definitely hosted set after set of powerfully-crafted performances, seamlessly blending into one as Edu Imbernon gave way to label head-honcho Coyu before Dosem took the reigns for a final hurrah. While at first it seemed that the room had the least love as far as production value, it gave attendees the most when it came to sheer quality of music, cohesiveness and the frenzied type of party you would expect at a Halloween affair with this kind of lineup. The three closing artists delivered Spanish tech house at its finest with elements of techno, EMB and house sprayed in to beautiful results: the entire room danced as one and didn’t stop moving until the night was over at 2am.

Yes 2am. Minimal Effort’s relocation to the Los Angeles Center Studios meant that the party ended when alcohol stopped being served, but it also allowed for trips to one of several warehouse/after-parties going on in Los Angeles that night. The same will surely be true on New Year’s Eve, when party-goers will look to continue celebrating into the early hours of the morning.

Overall, the brand’s relocation and debut as a one-day festival was a good experience. Not perfect by any means but it cemented the notion that Los Angeles’ love for underground dance music is growing and has room for improvement and expansion in the near future. I had the chance to speak to the brains behind Minimal Effort in the days since and they were undoubtedly aware of the few production issues that came up during the night, apologetically promising that they would be worked on ahead of their return for round two on December 31st.

Click here for Minimal Effort NYE lineup announcement.

Connect with Minimal Effort: Tickets | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

6AM Dives In: Wild SXMusic Festival Recap

DSC_0271Political protests, piña coladas, iguanas, abandoned fortresses, picturesque white sandy beaches, yacht parties, and spring breaker mentality are a few descriptive pointers of SXMusic Festival, the poster child festival of the Ibiza-style party experience which took place last week in the heart of the Caribbean. SXMusic Festival’s Montreal-based founder Julian Prince found sunny solace on the small island, bringing with him a horde of French-Canadian attendees with no regard for tomorrow, yesterday, or time for that matter. Read more

Delightfully Playful Acid House with Mike Servito at Acid Camp 7

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.09.08 AMRemember that one scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas where Hunter S. Thompson goes on a monologue about his heyday during the 1965 San Francisco acid wave to Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody To Love playing in the background, and a sea of hippies are dancing in slow-mo under a huge disco ball? That’s basically how Acid Camp Volume 7 went down, except substitute Jefferson Airplane with three hours of Mike Servito’s mad rad acid house. Read more

Extradimensional Dose of Acid with Michigan Techno Legends at Black Lodge

12573692_10153380842273017_1031924029717602939_nWith a name inspired by the trippy room with red curtains and a chevron-patterned floor in the television series Twin Peaks, the Black Lodge is the party portal to the underground techno dimension that Los Angeles locals need to get acquainted with. After some deliberation and attending countless “techno” parties, Black Lodge is about the closest you can get to a proper dose of straight techno direct from Detroit, Holland, and Germany. Read more

These 10 Parties Ruled Playa Del Carmen for BPM 2016

BPM 16Eat your last taco and say “adios” to the beautiful beaches and people of Playa Del Carmen.  The BPM Festival 2016 is over, but it left us with fond memories to start the New Year.  This year’s festival featured over 375 artists at 8 official venues with a multitude of pop-up parties, and brought well over 60,000 festival goers from around the world to the serene location of Playa Del Carmen.  With an over-abundance of amazing line-ups and conflicting set times, sadly some hard decisions and sacrifices had to be made to survive this marathon party.

Albeit as hard as it was to decide, here are the top ten parties that made The BPM Festival 2016 memorable in our book.

Kraftek at Wah Wah Beach Club
Line-up: Pleasurekraft, Butch, Carlo Lio, Re.You

Pleasurekraft, Butch, and Re.You along with Toronto native, Carlo Lio kicked off the opening weekend proper at this year’s newly added venue, Wah Wah Beach Bar.  Being able to bask in the glory of banging sets from these tech-house gods while shuffling the sand between your toes on beach-front property was an anomaly to the standard techno ambience found throughout Playa Del Carmen.

ADID

All Day I Dream at Martina Beach Club
Line-up: Lee Burridge, Oona Dahl, Gorje Hewek & Izhevski, Seth Schwarz & Be Svendsen (live)

Yes, what a dream to dance to the groovy sounds of Oona Dahl and Gorje Hewek & Izhevski initiating vibes of paradise under brightly colored floral garlands.  The oasis-like space of The BPM Festival conceived Martina Beach Club made for the perfect backdrop to the ADID party.  Then there was Be Svendsen and Seth Schwarz (on the violin) swooning the crowd with their euphoric live performance.  Lee Burridge polished the day off as the sun set over the warm Caribbean Sea in true Lee Bu fashion.

Music oOn BPM

Music On at Blue Parrot
Marco Carola, Paco Osuna, and Leon

All you techno heads know this was an epic party upon looking at the line-up.  Despite the rain, there was a packed house at Blue Parrot, which boasts large indoor and outdoor spaces.  Leon set the tone well for techno giant Paco Osuna to jump on and take the party up to the next level.  When Marco Carola commenced his set the crowd went bananas and  the party went into overdrive all the way until closing.  Unforgettable, and it was Carola in his usual form at BPM 2016.

El Fagon

Techno and Tacos Pop-Up Party at El Fogon
Line-up: Richie Hawtin b2b Dubfire

Techno heavy weights, Richie Hawtin and Dubfire were at it again this year with their infamous Techno and Tacos event at the taco institution of The BPM Festival, El Fogon.  The restaurant, barely fitting 50 people, hosted a massive party which spilled on the streets and shut down the entire block to all traffic.  Everyone and anyone came by to revel in the smell of tacos and the sound of techno – a true staple event of The BPM Festival.

 

Last Night on Earth at Martina Beach Club
Line-up: Kate Simko, Dubspeeka, &Me, Nicole Moudaber, and Sasha

Each artist brought their own flavor of sounds to this day event, and it made for an epicurean 5 course meal for the ears.  Undeniably, Sasha brought everyone to tears with his opening track’s haunting synths and mystical beats transitioning into energetic high hats and dark bass tones.  Watch the party in its entirety here if you’re really trying to relive the Playa vibe.

Solomun

Diynamic Showcase at The Jungle
Line-up: Solomun, Thyladomid, H.O.S.H., Kollektiv Turstrasse

The Jungle, promising a festival within a festival, was all that we hoped for and more.  With its Cirque du Soleil-esque performances from night walkers on stilts to fire dancers, food, teepee lounge areas, and a stage that puts most festivals to shame, The BPM Festival went all out with their newest Jungle concept venue.  Having the Diynamic showcase amongst the organic backdrop was well played and made for a magical experience.  Festival goers were efficiently shuttled in and out from downtown Playa Del Carmen to hear the mystical sounds of headliner Solomun alongside his pals from the Diynamic record label.  A torrential downpour towards the end was not enough keep us from being on cloud nine.  Listen to the magic here.

 

The BPM Festival Presents Danny Tenaglia at Blue Parrot
Line-up: Danny Tenaglia, Chris Liebing, and Simon Baker

Simon Baker evoked the crowd with his opening set, followed by Chris Liebing with an explosive set consisting of his signature brand of techno.  After days of partying and the exhaustion sets in, Danny Tenaglia refreshes the party and crowd with his opening track and ceremonial appreciation on the mic.  Danny Tenaglia’s unique style of mixing and track selection breathes new life into the party and gives me reason to go on well into the wee hours of the morning.  Bravo, Danny, bravo.  Listen to the legend here.

Sian

Octopus Recordings at La Santanera
Line-up: Sian, Pleasurekraft, Oliver Huntemann, Julian Jeweil (live), Justin James, Barbuto, Weska, and Boryana

Eight prime artists, one space, one party for the books. It was both Pleasurekraft and Julian Jeweil’s second show, and both put on stunning performances, with Jeweil playing live both times.  Oliver Huntemann crushed the crowd with proper German techno, and Sian upped the ante with his intense techno set in signature Octopus style. Put simply –  the Octopus Recordings party was unbelievable.

Paradise

Life and Death at The Jungle
Line-up: Konstantin, Mind Against, Nina Kraviz, Tale of Us, Baikal vs the Drifter, Barnt, Job Jobse, DJ Tennis, Thugfucker

We headed back into The Jungle for another promising party and were blown away again.  This time there were two stages housing the extensive line-up. Each stage provided a different environment for one to enjoy.  Stand out sets came from Tale of Us, DJ Tennis and Thugfucker.  Unfortunately, the only hitch was Nina Kraviz’ lack luster, mostly acid house set.  However, DJ Tennis played a legendary set on the second stage in an intimate palapa hut in the middle of Nina’s catastrophe.  Thugfucker and Tale of Us closed down the party on, lamentably, separate stages.  Another successful party at The Jungle.

 

Guy Mantzur & Roy Rosenfeld remix Van Bellen’s Classic ‘Let Me Take You’

Let Me take you Remix (1)

In 1997 legendary Dutch producer Van Bellen released what is now a cult classic among dance music lovers around the world. If you’ve never heard the original track, it has a very progressive and trancy feel to it (link to original track here). It’s the type of track you’d expect a lot of people to have remixed over the years given it’s stature and praise as a classic, but there is a surprisingly small amount of remixes available (names include Sebastien Leger and Nalin & Kane). Read more

Hauswerks Drops ‘The Sound Scientist’ on Resonance Records

Hauswerks press

Hauswerks returns to Resonance Records with a phenomenal 4-track EP, and we’re especially impressed with this one. One of UK’s most versatile electronic artists, Hauswerks has rocked studios and dance floors around the world. The Sound Scientist includes three dance floor-ready tracks and a remix by Detlef (VIVa Warriors). Although he has released records on a number of labels, such as VIVa Limited, Secret Life, and Moda Black, Hauswerks has time and again turned to the Resonance crew to handle his releases. The EP comes right off the back with a Doorly collaboration on Hot Creation, which topped the charts for weeks.

The first track, The Sound Scientist, features a deep rolling bassline perfect for the warehouse, basement, or after-hours terrace, and out of the four tracks on the EP, this one comes closest to that classic Hauswerks signature sound that we’ve all grown to love. However, the style remains consistent throughout, with Groove Love delivering a deep groove that fits right in the pocket of the track, sitting right underneath lush, soulful synthesizers. Everyone is a bubbly jam with hard-punching rhythms, sure to get your feet (and your asses) moving. Finally, Detlef’s remix of The Sound Scientist goes in a much darker direction, evoking sounds and rhythms of generations past, and it is very easy to hear the influence of Detroit, Chicago, London, and NYC.

“The Sound Scientist” will be available 30th November 2015 via Resonance Records

Hauswerks: Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Resident AdvisorBeatport

Resonance Records: Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Beatport

Warped into the Techno Dimension at Time Warp US 2015

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Brooklyn was a site to behold this past weekend, for it was the location of a tunnel into a peculiar dimension riddled with all things techno and the subtleties folded in between the tapestry of electronic music. My weekend excursion to New York for the second edition of Time Warp US was nothing short of eye-opening mind stimulation amongst the finest techno one’s ears could possibly commend on American soil. Read more

100 Hours of House, Techno, and Love Untzin’ at Desert Hearts Three Year Anniversary

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Oh hi, Desert Hearts! I’m so glad I met you, and this is crazy, but let’s be besties because I wanna keep that untz untz going.

One hundred hours of nonstop house, techno, and love at one of the most fun parties ever. Desert Hearts celebrated its third year anniversary with an unreal fall edition; this was my first Desert Hearts party and I was absolutely blown out of this mismatching psychedelic print universe with about a thousand variations of tech house popping at every minute. Read more

We Go Hardest at Hard Day of the Dead 2015

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For one, I think I should be the poster child for Hard’s “We go HARD” campaign. Hard Day of the Dead 2015 wasn’t just two days of dancing at a festival, it was complete and utter nonsensical raging to banging electronic music across the board. While the crowd is less than ideal, it’s the insane lineup and variety that keeps bringing me back for the sake of music. Read more