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PREVIEW: meakusma in Brussels
Theo Ploeg , February 13th, 2014 11:14

Ahead of this weekend's events taking place at the Goethe Institut, we bring you a rundown of the three acts we are most looking forward to

It’s becoming a tradition in Brussels: the Meakusma collective and the international Goethe Institut teaming up together to organise a night of cutting-edge electronic music coming out of Germany. Starting tomorrow, they are treating the Belgium capital to a series of all-night events for the fourth time, at The Brigittines Art Centre on the 14th, and Recyclart, a venue in an old railway station, on the 15th.

Upon closer examination, the collaboration isn’t as strange as it first seems. Meakusma, formerly a record label but now an all-round collective who organise club nights, events and workshops, is based in Eupen, the informal capital of German-speaking Belgium, in the east between Liège and Aachen, while the Goethe Insitut, with branches in London and further afield, is an organisation that represents German culture abroad.

This weekend promises to showcase the most daring electronic music coming out of Germany at the moment. Although it’s almost impossible to choose, the Quietus recommends the following performances:

Jeri-Jeri

Berlin-based Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald work under the name Basic Channel, responsible for some of the finest techno coming out of Germany at the moment. Their record labels, Basic Channel and Chain Reaction, are hugely influential and have made a practice of putting out new artists on the cusp of recognition. Rhythm & Sound, a sub-label of Basic Channel, has been hailed for its uncompromising blend of dub and techno releases since it started in 1997.

Jeri-Jeri is Ernestus working with Senegal musician and percussionist Bakane Seck and his band of Griot singers and drummers who perform with them. The result is amazing: a clash between the principles of western electronic music and West African rhythms that sounds naturally harmonious. The fast rhythms on tamas (Senegalese ‘talking drums’, shaped like hour glasses), traditional Wolof dance music, elements from hip hop and funky guitars have a weird, broken groove. It’s not only the reverb and echo that makes Jeri-Jeri’s music so interesting. The combination of imperfect dance music and the reduction and isolation of rhythm structures by Ernestus - his specialty - makes it addictive to listen to. One layer of drums could consist of up to 14 drum patterns played by live drummers, which combined with the gradual shifts in the music are evocative of something between euphoria and sweaty work-outs.

Porter Ricks

Porter Ricks are back. Most likely just for the moment, but let’s hope Thomas Köner and Andy Mellwig, who performed as a duo from 1996 to 1999, find new inspiration in playing together. Porter Ricks are best known for their two albums Biokinetics (Chain Reaction, 1996) and Porter Ricks (Mille Plateaux, 1997). Although their collaboration with Techno Animal gained them acclaim, Porter Ricks are notable for constantly searching for techno that pushes boundaries. Call it ‘art techno’ or ‘techno art’, the music of Köner and Mellwig is simultaneously abstract and physical. Two years ago Biokinetics was re-released on the Type label: a particularly funky album perfect for a club environment. Drawing on music from their three previously released EPs, the debut release was an excursion into ambient, dub and techno. Reminiscent of German electronic producer Wolfgang Voigt’s ambient project, Gas, Biokinetics flirts with percussion driven music, in the vein of ‘90s Photek. Will Köner and Mellwig play new music in Brussels? There is only one way to find out - go see them.

Tapes

Born in the UK but currently living in Berlin, Jackson Bailey is obsessed with tapes. The son of Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie, Jackson releases his music on the Jahtari label, amongst others. Tapes is something of a family affair: his mother’s boyfriend, Jimi Cauty of The KLF, designs the album covers of his C60 cassette releases. Bailey is somewhat rigid in his attitude to tapes, which are not easy to get hold of. Enigmatic in his methods, he has a SoundCloud page but posts no music there and his live set contains only two tape decks, a mixer and tape delay. It’s good stuff. Make sure to check out the Jahtari website.

meakusma Night IV takes place on February 14 and 15, in The Brigittines Art Centre and Recyclart, Brussels. More info: www.meakusma.org

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