Early 2020, I started STASIS. Then I moved to the city of Eindhoven and shortly after went into lockdown. My cat Adorno and I needed to find a new way to live together. Listening to music and writing about it became our ritual. Suddenly, STASIS was the outcome of our joint effort. Although I have to admit Adorno mostly slept during the process.
Adorno and I haven't seen each other in five months. During the first month, I still wrote four entries on STASIS. Then it stopped. Writing without my best mate was complicated. I had to come up with a new ritual but also didn't want to. The mourning cycle is a classic. Do not worry: Adorno is still alive. He lives with my ex now. I still miss him, but I also know that I have to move on.
I am ready to pick up STASIS again. Adorno would understand. Initially, I wanted to move my blog to Substack but decided to use Ghost instead. It has the same functionality, but it is open source and has a cool mission statement: "We're a proud non-profit organisation building open source technology for journalism". I am a sucker for these kinds of initiatives. Did you subscribe to my blog on Substack? I hope I can seduce you to join me here on Ghost.
So, what am I going to do here? Well, STASIS 2.0 will definitely be more diverse than the first version. The structure will also be different: at least one blog post/newsletter weekly with one large(r) or more compact reviews of exciting music or pop culture. Furthermore, I'll add links to stuff that is worth checking out. As always, I'll take the broader cultural perspective. If I wanted to keep writing about the music itself, I would have stayed in the mainstream popmedia.
Earlier this year, I was appointed as learning director at the International Music Industry Lab (IMI Lab). The aim of the lab is to build a healthier music ecosystem. So there is also a chance that I will write about the music industry and music ecosystems, in general, more often.
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In this first edition, you will find three short pieces on interesting music projects and the permanent section HYPERSPEED with links to exciting content.
Hope you enjoy ;- )
How to become a successful independent artist? Ask Meresha. A couple of weeks ago, she did a surprisingly entertaining concert in virtual reality. Strapped to multiple sensors, she performed live as an avatar in a virtual environment. Warsaw-born Meresha moved to Florida at the age of fifteen and immediately started releasing music and videos.
For me, her EP Enter the Dreamland (2017) is the best example of Meresha's talent as both producer and singer. Her songs are a perfect blend of 80s and early 2000s pop (think Kylie Minogue). The lush dream-pop fits her voice well and gives away her love for Aphex Twin and James Blake. The recent album Look How Far (2020) has a smoother production and more dominant influences from soul and more contemporary pop. Again, cool album, but I somehow miss the rough edges of her earlier work. Make sure to check her Bandcamp.
Although Meresha won music prices in the USA, she resisted the seduction of signing to a record label. As an independent artist, she nourishes her relationship with her fans by connecting with them via social media (see her twitter). Her virtual concert was like an intimate gathering. I joined via my MacBook and watched her performance passively. Others joined via a gaming device and virtual reality goggles and participated with their own avatars in de crowd. Must have been a memorable experience. The short video for 'Game of Video' doesn't do right to the experience. You should have been there.
After a dozen of plays, Foofi still has secrets to reveal. Because of the richness of the sounds present, the conversations in French sound different with every listen. My knowledge of French is lacking, so I focus on intonation, speed, pitch, and background noises. It is so soothing to play the tape over and over again. Especially as ambient. For me, it also works as background music while working. No need for those lofi beats playlists anymore. The sounds on Foofi are recordings by Eric Desjeux.
The tape is named after one of his multimedia projects that tells the tale of young Africans who make their way to Europe, fleeing from the lack of prospects caused by climate change and dire economic circumstances. Desjeux is a known filmmaker, music composer, and sound artist living in Brussels. He collaborated with artists like Steve MacKay of The Stooges, Minutemen Mike Watt, and Marshall Allen of Sun-Ra Arkestra.
The tape Foofi is just 30 minutes long (two sides of both 15 minutes), but it captures the mood of Desjeux's project really well. Listen to excerpts on Bandcamp (embedding doesn't really work well in Ghost).
What is the impact of the pandemic on young musicians? Will they be able to perform for large crowds in the future? How does it influence their urge to share their music? How to start a new music project during the covid19 lockdown? In her documentary Foreign Bloom, musician and filmmaker Jessica Kulka explores these questions with fellow musician and producer Frederik Tings. The documentary follows the start of their new musical project during the outbreak of a global pandemic. The storyline is focused on Kulka's urge to perform and the pressure that comes with it.
In 2013, Kulka started to write her own songs and made a couple of drum N bass tracks with producers Low5 and T: Base. At the Maastricht Institute of Arts, she always tried to combine her two loves: music and filmmaking. Her film Vaarwater (2018), about her parents who work as skippers in inland shipping, debuted at the DocFest festival and was broadcasted on Dutch national television.
Last month she graduated with her Visual EP Echoes. The story about a young woman entering an old house that triggers memories of the past is supported by three lush and moody synthpop songs by Foreign Bloom. You can listen to the EP here on Spotify. Tings just released the more ambient album Conversation with Myself as Glückskind. It's also on Spotify.
Kulka is still looking for festivals or organizations that want to screen her documentary about Foreign Bloom.
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Dutch celeb pop star Nina de Koning, one part of Disk Space and lgbtqi+ protagonist, compiled her own compilation album FACTORY 001 with eight cool Dutch electronic music productions.
Is Olivia Rodrigo just another mediocre pop idol? Don't think so. Besides that, she is so much more than music. Just watch her brilliant video SOUR Prom. What a cool way to promote your new album.
Happy birthday, Ostgut Ton! Thank you for this spectacular sweet sixteen party in Die Halle am Berghain (and thanks Arte Concert for broadcasting this amazing event).
Another birthday: Electronic Beats turns 20 (congrats!) and takes us on a multidimensional journey through the past and present of nightlife, fashion, and innovation. Looking forward to the next 20 years.
Serious old school indie vibes with this short but super nice concert from a couple of days ago by Dinosaur Jr. for NPR Music's Tiny Desk.
During the pandemic, producer Martyn started the 3024 Mentoring Program: helping producers of all experience levels to find their own voice and develop is. The results till now are collected on these two albums.
Spotted something interesting? Let me know!
Don't forget to follow the STASIS playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4ccGKmnxEV1CBFJWyxFwZ7?si=a2c1d6f869664a8f