We’ve featured Streamer here before with his take on Fodencia and some Arabic stuff, more of which is coming soon but here’s a bunch of new stuff that he’s been doing.
Streamer aka Gary is an Englishman living in exile in the Netherlands and he’s been on my radar since the mid 2000’s as he’s been an active participant in the Trans Club/Bass world since then and this dude has got some serious musical chops on him.
Here’s some seriously funky 90’s Big Beat alongside some Dub, Kuduro Glitch Disko, German Disco and bleedin’ T-Rex.
Here’s some Gen Bass trivia for you, one of our label artists was actually once taught to play guitar by the one and only Marc Bolan (RIP) of T-Rex – FACT 🙂
It’s official, Generation Bass has its official biweekly radio show, hosted by S x m b r a live from Utrecht on STRANDED.FM internet radio! Expect the most cutting-edge music from the diverse range of scenes and movements we blog, information and backgrounds, guest mixes and more!
The first session will be entirely dedicated to the Afrofuturism Now! festival Rotterdam which was held two weeks back, giving a taste of what this exciting scene has to offer.
The first three posts (1, 2 ,3) mainly focused on the musical, cinematic and literary side of the afrofuturist movement. Now a special post dedicated to afrofuturism in visual art, spotlighting the artists that featured on the festival: Charl Landvreugd, AiRich, Bryan Green, Boris van Berkum and JoAnn McNeil!
Visual art, perhaps more than any other artform, is a vessel to communicate imagination. Since afrofuturism, in its core, is about imagination, about the envisioning of many different futures stemming from cultural heritage and life experiences, it becomes apparent that art is an important pillar of the movement, which at the same refuses to be boxed into one straightforward formula or genre. This stunning gallery, compiled by the influential culture and lifestyle platform Blavity, testifies of this, showcasing art varying between miniature collages, sci-fi comic style scenery, mysticist surrealism and psychedelic, art nouveau flavoured mural painting.
My first acquantance with the visual art component on the festival was during the Friday workshop with Nyfolt. The workshop took place in WORM’s unique, historical analog synthesiser studio, where we as participants were allowed to play around to freely experiment with the several synths or make free-expression drawings. JoAnn showed some paintings and explained how, in her work, imagination, emotion, painting and sound are mutually reinforcing sources of inspiration. Her art, which we will see below, is a colourful, energetic form of abstract expressionism which questions the world, perception, taken-for-granted identities and experiences of the Self.
The notion of perspectives and perception is a central element that came back in the work of all featured artists in different ways..
The acclaimed Surinamese Dutch multi-talented artist and art historian Charl Landvreugd was the most prominently featured artist at the festival. His multimedia installation, situated in the venue’s concrete club hall, was on display the entire week and in between the day workshops and the night programme, people walk in and at a set time each day, the artist himself gave a presentation about the meaning and story behind the work.
The installation consisted of three walls, divided into five areas to which short fragments of moving imagery was projected. The fragments – a drivethrough through the Gotthard tunnel, a street in Amsterdam, an excavatoin site in Suriname – all showed aspects of spatially distant memories and connections that are common to the experience of people from the African diaspora in Europe, afro-caribbeans as well as several generations of African immigrants, many of whom have lived in different countries and have family all over the world. From this starting point he also hinted to an extension of afrofuturism into a diverse, multi-perspective futurism in which these multiple delocalised social and family relationships will increadingly be part of everyone’s reality.
The original idea was that this space would be most profoundly experienced in a true clubbing setting, with a DJ guiding the multi-sensory experience of the meaning of dislocated connections, but unfortunately, this was not allowed for formal reasons so instead, a minimal, hypnotising trap beat, produced by Landvreugd himself, sampling afro-Caribbean non-verbal sound-language, looped trough the speakers.
An impression of Landvreugd’s installation: art in a minimalistic club setting
Spectators walking through the space
The video’s were drawn from several earlier works, built up over the years of research and art projects in the area of african and afro diasporic experience and aesthetics, such as his project dedicated to the late Surinamese writer and cultural critic Edgar Cairo about the legacy of slavery traumas, expressed in the form of poetic stories.
Video art combined with traditional call & response storytelling for the projec with Edgar Cairo last year
A future-noir styled photoshoot on the night streets of Rotterdam featuring Landvreugd himself, wearing one of the Transformers masks that appear as a leitmotiv in many of his works, legacy of his youth when he was involved in a breakdance crew called the ‘Transformerz’
The Dutch artist Boris van Berkum is another versatile name with a longstanding carreer and experience in different areas of the art spectrum but mainly focusing on sculpture and drawing. His psychedelic style is strongly influenced by traditional cultures, aesthetics and techniques from different parts of the world including Africa and the Caribbean.
A turning point in his artistic carrier took place when he was renting an event location, which was once used by people from the Afro Surinamese community for a traditional Winti ceremony. In an interview (in Dutch), he tells how winti Priestess and community leader Marian Markelo was guided by her ancestors to find somebody to restore the use of traditional, pre-slavery African masks in Winti practice, and was lead to sculptor Boris. Their joint initiative led to a brilliantly afrofuturistic project in which traditional masks from the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam were 3D scanned and, on the basis of this digital information, recreated for practice. This project became an important factor in the protest against plans from the museum to sell the entire Africa collection, going by the slogan “I am not for sale,” referring to the slavery history and the continuing colonialist commodification of the cultural heritage of living people in the city of Rotterdam.
“I am not for sale”: digital 3D scanning technology brings west-African ceremonial objects back to life
Van Berkum’s replicas are curated by the museum but available for use at events and ceremonies. The giant bust of the snake god Papa Winti was displayed at Afrofuturism Now! alternately in the upper entrance hall by day and behind the DJ booth at night.
Close up of Van Berkum’s Papa Winti bust
Papa Winti on display during the friday night party, featuring oldschool afrobeats & disco dj Philou Louzolo
Saturday afternoon, the Wunderbar foyer was decorated by an artist who is one of the most promising upcoming tastemakers in visual art and fashion in the Netherlands, with tons potential internationally as well. I’m talking about the a young, Amsterdam based Surinamese-Dutch photographer, fashion stylist and multimedia artist AiRich. Her photography and short videos excel in creating a rich universe of new realities in a very minimalistic way, without the use of extensive sceneries or attributes but with a powerful combination of bright, often pastel flavoured colors and expressive clothing. By the exclusive use of black models she counteracts the dominant Western ideas of beauty.
#PHOTOBOOTH is a new project of hers, launched last year, born out of dissatisfaction with conventional event photography. Psychedelic afrofuturist backgrounds and atributes transport visitors into the universe ‘Made By AiRich’. Next to and after the day workshop ‘drawing your inner mind-space’ by Ras Mashramani, the festival’s visitors were restyled and captured in the booth.
Moor Mother Goddess & Rasheeda
With the project, she travels to a wide variety of events and festivals such as Amsterdam Open Air, Kwaku and LowLands and will go international very soon. If there are event bookers reading this > CONTACT VIA THE ARTIST’s OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE.
During the film section, two of her short video’s were shown, which also shows her potential in directing music video’s, check them out here >>
Absolutely stunning music video made for and with the Philly born, Krakow (Poland) based experimental vocalistPoet Af Black
Bryan Green, also from Philly and a close affiliate of the Philadelphia afrofurist scene, came over from all the way from Krakow, Poland, where he is a singer and percussionist in Poet Af Black’s Ankh Orchestra. But he is also an amazing video artist who has worked several times with Moor Mother Goddess.
Poet Af Black & Ankh Orchestra live
His freshest work is a video edit: SIFR SUNYA ASUNRA featuring music from Moor Mother Goddess, officially out since yesterday. This was demonstrated during the sci-fi readings, with in the background essay readings by Rasheeda about the ancient egyptian sun god Ra – referring to the legendary musician and philosopher Sun Ra who also appears in the vid – space-time and politics!
Another video featuring Camae before she started the Moor Mother Goddess project, as a lead singer of the Philly punk band The Mighty Paradocs!
Another music video directed and edited by Bryan Green that absolutely blows my mind: ‘Hotel Rwanda’ by Philly songwrited and MC Queen Jo
Even though her work itself wasn’t on display as such, being one half of the duo Nyfolt and regarding the importance of the visual and the sonic in Nyfolt’s work, I wanted to feature some more of her work here. She brought a couple of small paintings to the work shop as a first inspiration but, as I found out on her artist page, she usually works with a combination of acrylic and spray paint on big canvasses. Here two recent examples that I really like.
‘I Am Focused’ (2015)
A work from 2013
JoAnn surrounded by her work at an exhibition in St. Louis in 2013
Prepare for two more posts, one short article about Afrofuturism and the black speculative fiction scene and a big feature about the climax of the week: PANTROPICAL with Islam Chipsy, Mutamassik, DJ Firmeza & DJ Lilocox !
Who are the people behind the world’s most important new initiatives in music right now? Who is doing what and where can you find them? That is what the ‘Trailblazers’ series wants to spotlight. With URL Future Fest 2015coming three weeks from now, the third session the man behind the platform, label and collectiveURL FUTURE: Corey Stetzer a.k.a.Unknown Artist. URL Future connects net-publishing with real-time sharing and experiencing music in the virtual club environment of dubtrack.fm: a formula which is there to stay.
Corey, nowadays a multi-talented artist – dj, producer, designer and promoter – based in Buffalo (NY, USA), is a concept-developer at heart. He started hosting events as young as age 14, in the small town called Springville where he grew up, at a local community center known as Springville Center of the Arts. The music was metal/punk… He has been bringing music people together ever since.
In the early 2010s, while working at Soundlab for touring acts such as Deerhunter or Melt Banana, he started a collective called West Coast NY Bass Music. In those days, Corey was already looking to start an open sourced project to involve underexposed labels, collectives and producers. Trying find his place in the chaotic music world, he got involved in the Future Garage/2-Step/UK Dubstep/Grime room at Turntable.fm, the original precursor of dubtrack.fm, where he found a home among like-minded spirits. It was a time when many people started to launch their own labels on the web. The combination of netlabel-culture and the real-time music sharing experience at Turntable.fm, evolved into the URL Futurefest, a 4 DAY IRL/URL CAMPOUT, first held in the summer of 2014. The try-out, set up to be small, turned out to attract over 900 producers, 32 labels and a steady number of about 500 viewers throughout the festival, virtually out of nowhere.
In Spring of 2015 Corey founded the Greater Buffalo Collective: a non-profit organization aimed towards higher thinking, healthy choices for yourself as well as the world around you. The collective hosted two IRL Festivals and have planned future events for 2016, including a collaberation with the Aquarium of Niagara in the spring. Most recently, they have teamed up with the Silent Disco Event Company ´SE²´ which will be involved in many upcoming irl and url events.
GB: It seems you know a huge lot of people, the moniker Unknown Artist almost sounds ironic..
UA: Well, Unknown Artist started back in 2009, when I was in the UK bass (garage/2-step/dubstep/grime) room of turntable fm, a platform with virtual rooms where you could chat and play music to each other at the same time. During that time people would upload direct to tt.fm. If u didn’t meta-tag your tracks you were “unknown artist”. So that’s where I got my start.
Also I wanted to stay away from the modern spotlight.
GB: Do you still see yourself as part of the UK bass movement?
UA: As a producer, my style of music is atmospheric trill/juke mixed with hybrid hegemon and future bass. I’m inspired by all kinds of melodic and mysterious bass music. Think about names like Dj Paypal, DJ Rashad and the whole teklife crew, spf420 and all the weird and wonky producers making it big on URL Future Worldwide.
UA: I guess the biggest change this year is more organization more structure and we have more experience with making the experience a little easier, more accessible to participate. Music events are a great fun way to bring people together to rally around, learn and give back to the community. Everything is always a big mystery. Sometimes it works, sometimes it flops.
Unknown Artist behind the IRL decks
GB: And music-wise? Is there a direction you feel you’re going into.. fresh sounds you pushed recently that really stick out?
UA:Dead Stare and their insane sounds still have me in shock. Also Dj Metadata‘s EP was crazy. Dj FLP and Shinji also had very unique and eccentric sounds and EndlosKosmos was super futuristic! But somehow it all fits, it’s the internet and online culture that seems to bind us together. When it comes to Futurefest it’s just so mysterious I try not even taking a peak. I trust it’s all good. But Craigomaniac‘s ‘Cosmic Resonance‘ is definitely one of my all time favourites haha.
GB: What’s coming up for you after the Fest?
UA: There’s a new URL FUTURE website coming soon, the site is temporarily offline, but it will be back soon and huge!After the festival we will continue with Biweekly URL Events. Our own label activities will also be resumed, with EP/LP release signups reopened in January. We plan on hosting tons of IRL events as well, and possibly a Silent Disco Tour During Halloween 2016!
OCTOBER’s edition is online, featuring UNKNOWN ARTIST a.k.a. Corey of URL FUTURE. A short mixtape with a variety future beats and indie bass: a teaser for the URL FUTURE FEST which will also feature at Lush Select’s upcoming Sunday School session.
It’s mostly unreleased work so, unfortunately, there’s no tracklist..
One of the most interesting Dubstep releases in quite some time dropped from the heart of Mala, Deep Medi Musik by these 3 chaps. They have followed that up with an awesome mix showcasing that release and including exclusive dubplates.
Their Album ‘Volume 1’ – is available in Japan via Pvine Find it at all good record stores.
This year’s edition of URL FUTURE‘s annual URL FUTUREFEST is around the corner and you can still participate! A year ago, we promoted ‘Time Capsule’, a smaller but similar online streaming event and interviewed head honcho Corey about this exciting concept which takes online music sharing and the collective experience of music sharing in a virtual space to the next level. This year, Generation Bass teamed up with URL Future to extend the concept into new underground and territories of music and we will present a big showcase ourselves as well!