Friends

Spearhead presents @ Egg

Last Friday night, 19th May 2017, Spearheads records took over Egg for a night of uplifting drum and bass extravaganza with one of the most promising line ups I had seen in quite a while. Making it no surprise that I had it firmly booked in my calendar for best of 2 months, I mean, just look at this lineup:

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Big shout out to Spearheads for posting the lineup all over their social media a day ahead of the event, as there were some tough decisions and compromises to be made on who to see when in order to get the maximum raveisfaction out of the night. We were on a mission: starting off with how ever much we got to see of Dexcell, followed by the full set of Hybrid Minds, then down to garden for the second half of LSB, up again for the second half of Riya, followed by everything left to come in the garden: 2nd half of Makoto, full set of Logistics, and whatever we’d manage to see of BCee before heading back home.

And we even managed to stick to the plan the entire night! Naturally when the lineup is as good as this, there will always be a few acts you will have to sit out. I would have really enjoyed seeing a bit of Commix, Lenzman, Villem & McLeod, or Nymfo, but overall am very content with the choices we’ve made – especially Makoto, who is not over from Japan that often, so it was an easy decision really. I haven’t been to EGG in several years, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how it turned out after the big refurbishment they had since. It still is a maze to find your way around and the staircases turning into bottle neck situations between sets, but the old smoking area has been turned into another main room and there’s a new upstairs area as well now where the new smoking area is as well as another bar / small stage area.

It happens very rarely that one of the main acts I want to see start off the night. That was exactly the case with Hybrid Minds taking over the loft, and I could not have been happier. Since first discovering Hybrid Minds maybe two year ago, they have swiftly become one of my top DnB acts by continuously delivering deeply beautiful heartfelt lyrics, combined with soulful and melodic beats and a rolling bass.

Back to the night. Only a few caveats to note about the loft space: size, layout, and sound. Think of it as an upstairs area with low ceilings in the shape of a L. The problem about this set up was that the stage was on the short side of the L, with there only being enough spaces for maybe three or four rows of people – and even less as people were confused as to where the exit to the loft was, meaning they’d fight their way through the crowd in this small space only to go back again. All in all you can imagine it was bit of an annoyance. And lastly, the space was not equipped well enough to take the bass and energy radiated by Hybrid Minds.

The set started off strong with the Tokyo Prose remix of Touch, at which time we were still confined to the back area, and increasingly got pushed further and further towards the back where the room again got divided into a sofa and chill area – meaning even more limited space at the back as well. Downside of this spot was that, for one, we could not see the stage (which if you actually go out to see an act is quite the downer), and second I literally could not here a thing. Yes, literally – not figuratively. We did the only thing you could at that point and braced the crowds, made our way to the front, and found ourselves a nice little spot in the corner right at the front. From there on the set was one big magical dream. We were close enough to the speakers to actually hear the music, but even so it still wasn’t loud enough to overpower a conversation held at normal or bit-above-normal volume. The crowd was on point as well, and a few tracks in the loft soon turned into a stuffy sweat-box thanks to the low ceilings (I’m around 6ft tall and could easily touch the ceiling to give you a better idea of the situation). This unfortunately also meant that it became too much to handle for the already poor sounding speakers as all that humidity started to interfere with it before getting readjusted on several occasions during the set, but more on this later.

The biggest surprise of the set was when Charlotte Haining made a special appearance and performed Brighter Days live, the new track she is featuring on taken from the forthcoming Elements album which will be out on Hybrid Music! I can barely contain my excitement about the new album and really am looking forward to getting lost in their music once again. When I first heard Brighter Days I was at work, and luckily it was already late enough for there not to be too many people around, because it felt like I was having such an intimate moment with the song: it was almost as if there was nothing and no-one else around me other than being all encompassed by the music; every single hair on my arms and neck stood up from the goosebumps I was having… it was a real special moment.

The atmosphere during the set was one of a kind, but it was too much to handle for the speakers. So much so, that during the last track from Hybrid Minds’ set, the Nu:Logic Remix to Birdy – Wings, the speakers completely blew out and the final verse of the track got looped over an impressive 5 times before I stopped counting. The crowd did not seem to mind though, and everyone was having a blast. What a set! What a way to start the night! Anything from here onward was a nice little bonus to an incredible night. That’s what I was there to see, and Hybrid Minds once again delivered big times.

 

 

 

 

 

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DnB

YouTube DnB Radio Live Streams

Drum and bass all day, every day!

I am lucky enough to have a job where its socially acceptable to listen to music all day long. Needless to say I take full advantage of the situation, and depending on the kind of work I need to do each day, I usually switch things up between Liquid and Neurofunk (a general rule of thumb I have is that the more focused I need to be, the darker and nastier I need my music). And of course it also goes without saying that I am constantly on the hunt for new music to listen to.

This is where YouTube radio live streams come into play! I’m not entirely sure when YouTube radio started becoming a thing, but I have noticed more and more pop up over the past few weeks / potentially coming up to a month now. They are great as they provide a constant flow of music, meaning you don’t have to waste any time anymore on deciding on what to listen to next and can stay fully in the zone. The other benefit being that it helps discover and rediscover little gems that have somehow managed to slip right to the back of your go-to selection, but now that you’ve rediscovered them it’s like why have you ever stopped listening to them??

And without further much ado let’s get straight into it! Here are my top picks:

UKF Drum & Bass 24/7 Mix – Liquid Radio

This was the first radio live stream I’ve discovered. It includes the likes of Etherwood, Lenzman, Technimatic, Hybrid Minds, Dawn Wall, and Keeno (in no particular order). A sweet sounding combination of deep, soulful and mostly vocal DnB. The only downside is that the stream sometimes crashes. ‘Sometimes’ is actually a bit harsh; it only happened twice so far whilst I was listening, but when you’re left in uncomfortable silence for too long as you’re eagerly awaiting the stream to pick up again, and you actively have to start thinking about what to listen to next, then it becomes a problem for a 24/7 Radio stream…

 

Drum&BassArena 24/7 Radio – Laid-back & Liquid D&B mix

And the title means business. Including tracks from the likes of Icicle, Commix, and [], the DNBA liquid radio is quite different to that of UKF. As some of the purists out there might agree with me, we can probably put this down to the different approaches the two of them have to drum and bass. As such expect less vocal DnB, and overall more minimal liquid DnB goodness. The one downside I can think of, which has nothing to do with the music, is the constantly moving background image. I find this very irritating as I always tend to have my music visible in a small screen to know what I’m listening to and the moving blocks in the background.

 

Drum&BassArena 24/7 Radio – Heavy-Hitters & Neurofunk D&B mix

You gotta leave it to the guys at Drum&BassArena to come up with fitting titles. The stream punches way above heavy hitters weight including, but most definitively not limited to, bangers from the likes of Spor, Noisia, Emporor, Mefjus, Audio, Enei, Mefjus, Black Sun Empire, and many many more. The stream provides banger after banger, making it the perfect soundtrack to any Friday! The transitions between tracks are really smooth and keep up with the tempo of the previous track so it always has a consistent flow to it, and you’re not left subjected to the randomness of YouTube’s ‘up next’ auto-generated playlists.

 

What are your favourite YouTube radio live streams to listen to? If you know of any other ones please please please let me know in the comment section below.

Peace.

DnB

Review: Synergy EP

Alix Perez joins forces with the boys from SpectraSoul to bring us four new tracks nicely wrapped into the Synergy EP, which dropped little over two weeks ago on both their respective labels 1984 and Ich Chat music.

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I for one can’t get enough of it, and to be completely honest there have already been a couple of days where I’ve listened to it nonstop on repeat, as I find it perfect to work to. The rolling bass carries through nicely throughout the whole EP, accompanied by melodic piano and soulful twinkly chords, giving it the perfect summer vibe and overall just combines the best both Alix and SpectraSoul bring to the table in terms of production. You can still hear out both their unique sounds, but together they work oh so beautifully!

It is no surprise that this collaboration sounds as good as it does. One only has to think back to ‘Forsaken‘, which – I think – was the first collaboration of Alix and SpectraSoul. Taken from Alix Perez’ debut album on Shogun 1984, Forsaken had a Calibre-esque highly melodic and somewhat melancholic sounding feel to it that I love so much in liquid DnB.

If I had to put down a wild guess, I would say that the track ‘So Close‘ was more heavily produced by Alix Perez, while ‘The Need‘ was more on the dynamic duo that is SpectraSoul. The soulful intro to ‘The Need‘, as well as the piano and distorted-flute-like-sounding components give it that certain SpectraSoul ring to it and reminds me of their work such as ‘The Mistress‘ and ‘Shelter‘. ‘So Close‘ on the other hand pays more attention to beats and breaks, is generally a bit more fast paced than the other songs, and has less coherent vocals that drift in and out of focus – perfect for a wondering mind. Last but definitively not least, ‘Undone‘ again more on the melancholic side, with fast snares and slow melodic piano setting the scene for DRS’ heartfelt lyrics.

All that being said, the title of the EP really could not be more fitting as it does exactly what it says on the box: ‘Synergy’ is the combined effort greater than that of separate effects and, to me, showcases a homage to melodic liquid drum and bass.

 

Give it a listen on SoundCloud

 

Peace.

Food

Chickpea Juice Chocolate Mousse

aka Vegan Chocolate mousse.

I recently discovered Alex French Guy Cooking on YouTube and, as one does when discovering new content, went on a massive binge.

As the name of his channel suggests it’s all about tasty food and cooking. His videos are inspirational, with some fantastic close ups and camera angles for the ultimate food porn experience, and above everything he’s super entertaining to watch! To the point that we all sat down together as a flatfam (or flatmily?) and watched episode after episode.

The reason I am telling you all this is that one of his videos particularly stood out to me: a mini series on the humble chickpea. Now I myself am quite the chickpea enthusiast and with the amounts of chickpeas we consume as a flat, what we next found out thanks to Alex is literally the most exciting thing to have happened last week. It turns out chickpea juice (i.e. the liquid from chickpea cans) behaves just like egg whites! Meaning they can be whisked up into stiff peaks and used for baking!

And having thought about it for a bit, this actually makes sense as well. Chickpeas are very high in protein, so it would also make sense for the brine in which they have been cooked to have picked up some of that through the cooking process as well (and to link it back to egg whites, they are of course pure protein).

Aquafaba has the ability to mimic functional properties of egg whites in cooking, [and] can be used as a direct replacement for them in some cases, including meringues and marshmallows. Its composition makes it especially suitable for use by people with dietary, ethical, or religious reasons to avoid eggs – thanks Wikipedia 😉

Needless to say I had to try it for myself. And with a bit of tinkering with Alex’ recipe (big up!) and another raw vegan cheesecake recipe I made with the following:

Chickpea juice chocolate mousse tart

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Fluffy chocolate mousse – check those air bubbles!

 

The recipe for this is easy and straight forward to follow. Start to finish you will only need about 30 mins to prepare this – excluding the 4hrs the mousse needs to set in the fridge!

For the base, begin with prepping a loose bottom cake tin by lining the bottom with cling film. This will make it easier to get it out of the form later on.

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For the base, combine 1 1/2 cups of pitted dates with 1 1/2 cups of almonds and a dash of water in a food processor and blitz until you’re left with a uniform base. It will be quite sticky to touch, but that’s exactly what we’re going for as it will make it easier to press the base into the bottom of the tin and along the sides. If you can, try and get it as even as possible both in terms of height and thickness along the border. Set aside in the fridge to allow it to firm up while we move on to the chickpea mousse.

Pour the chickpea juice (aquafaba) into a clean mixing bowl and start whisking with an electric mixer. You’ll want to mix at a high speed until you get to stiff peaks – it took me a good 10 minutes to get it to that point and I was having my doubts on whether this would work for about half the time, so don’t be alarmed if your aquafaba won’t firm up at first. Once you’re getting to soft peaks (at this point it will also start looking like something you’d expect whisked egg whites to look like), start adding in 3 table spoons of sugar one at a time. Set aside once your peaks have stiffened up completely.

Microwave 1 cup of dark chocolate in 10 second intervals until melted. Add a few table spoons of the chickpea peaks and stir to combine. Next, pour half of the chocolate mix back in with the chickpea peaks and carefully fold under – you want to make sure not to beat out too much of the air that you’ve just spent 10 minutes getting into the chickpea juice! Fold in the other half of the chocolate mixture and you’re good to go.

Once that’s done pour the chocolate chickpea mix into the base and leave to set in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, or even better over night.

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I have to say I am really happy with the result! The mousse is light and airy, not too sweet, and super chocolaty! The one thing I’d do different next time is either use a different tin – a bigger one ideally – or divide the mouse into several smaller tins, as the weight of the mousse was pushing down on itself as you cut into it and it had to hold its shape by itself. As you can see from the pictures above it did for the most of it, but just not quite…

All in all this is a great little treat that can be put together in no time at all. Oh, and did I mention you can also freeze chickpea juice?! I will definitively be making this more often and can only recommend it!

Recipe breakdown

Base:

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates

Chickpea mousse:

  • Liquid of one can of chickpeas
  • 3 table spoons sugar
  • 1 cup dark chocolate

 

Enjoy!

Friends

Reggae Roast – Sunday Skank!

The latest installment of Reggae Roast’s Sunday Skank sesh held yesterday, Sunday 14th May, at Brixton Jamm was one not to be missed! The weather gods most definitively were on our side, as we enjoyed a few ice-cold beers out in the sunshine of what I can only describe one of the most chilled out outdoor areas Brixton has to offer.

Brixton Jamm is one of the many gems in and around Brixton that has the best of both outdoor and indoor fun. The outside area is big enough for it never really to feel too busy, especially with plenty of benches, spots to sit and chill, and palm trees adding to the general laid back atmosphere, it is one of those places that once the sun is out you don’t want to be anywhere else.

And timing wise things couldn’t have worked out better yesterday either; the music started playing inside just around the time it started to get a bit rainy out. As you walk through the double doors and under a sign that most fittingly reads LET’S GO DANCE you are first greeted by a hefty bassline. I was half expecting Reggae Roasts to bring along their own custom built multiple stacks high sound system, but either way the sounds did not disappoint.

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As expected the music was spot on with a good mix of roots, reggae, and dub. The vibes were flowing, with the Reggae Roast crew passing the mic back & forth and everyone was having a great time. Shumba Youth and Leo Samson launched their new single ‘Check it out’, which got released on the label a few weeks back, and performed some tracks from their EP as well. Unfortunately I could not stay to the end to witness Benny Page dropping a Reggae X Jungle set, but I can only imagine how good that must have been!

These monthly installments of Sunday Skank are taking Sunday-Funday to the next level! Especially with summer coming up, I am looking forward to some sunshine, BBQ food, happy hour all accompanied by the best UK reggae has to offer.

Boom, Caro out.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

What now?

Blog post number two. Only a few days in and already going in strong! Not that the content has been anything other than streams of consciousness so far, but nevertheless content is content!

There are still a few practicalities I need to figure out. Particularly around WordPress and how to separate the blog into different sections and how these can be linked back through to the main Menu, but I guess all it takes is for me to sit down and learn how to ‘do’ WordPress by watching a few YouTube videos…

So I thought it would make sense to give you a little outline of what I have planned for this space. Because once it’s out there, there’s no taking it back and you can all hold me accountable for what I am saying on here! Content: Friends – Food – DnB. The three pillars of my life. That’s what you can expect from this place. And to give context to content, here’s what I’ve got planned:

Friends. In this section I will write about places we go, what we do, and general cool things. In other words you can probably think about it as a Things To Do or Places To Go section, but that did not sound as good as Friends and on top of that I usually do stuff with my friends so there we go.

Food. Without sounding cliché (or douché) I consider myself a foodie. I love food. I love cooking food, tasting new foods, experimenting with new things in the kitchen and as a general rule I have whenever going somewhere new is to try something the person working there would recommend… unless it’s something basic that I can make at home… unless the place is known for that… unless there’s something that someone else has ordered at a different table that I saw and that looked amazing… there are exceptions to the rule – rules are to be broken! With regard to home cooking, I have always been intrigued by different ingredients coming together and being turned into a mouth explosion of flavours. But more than anything else I love baking up a storm in the kitchen. So expect some crazy tasty recipes on here, as well as as my honest review on all sorts of food places I end up at.

DnB. Nothing compares to drum and bass. I struggle to put into words what it is exactly, but there is something so unexplainable pleasant about the beautifully crafted sounds of DnB that makes my heart jump at 175 BpM… Expect some banging reviews on pretty much anything ranging from set and recent night out reviews, my thoughts on new tunes, tunes that I am loving at the moment, and of course my weekly top tune aka the #FRIDAYFILTH! As the name suggests this is more on the filthy side, so let’s see what I can come up with for something a bit more liquid.

Brace yourselves. Caro out.

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Hello…

… and welcome to what feels like the millionth time of me having a blog. I have tried to set up and maintain a blog quite a number of times before, and usually fail within a few weeks – if that! So why try again? What makes me think this time will be any different to the times before? Well, a number of things in fact! For starters I think the discipline of sitting down and pouring out my thoughts in a clear and concise manner will do me a lot of good. Second, I don’t really expect this to go anywhere, so there won’t be any need for  self induced pressure. And most importantly, I have found a new appreciation for my life in London! From the things I get up, the people I hang out with, the stuff I do, say, and even feel, all seem to shine in a positive new way by the fact that I know that my time here in London is coming to and end. And please don’t get me wrong; I absolutely adore this place! But I feel it’s time to move on and up to new challenges and places.

It seems that now the decision has been made, everything else is falling into place quite nicely as well. Enter stage: Blog.

First post = done.

Boom, Caro out.