Courtesy – Adding nuance to the Copenhagen techno sound (interview)

English November 30 2018 Courtesy-4-Please credit Kasia Zacharko

Interview and reportage by Cameron Pagett. Additional photos by Kasia Zacharko.

A liberal array of red and blue light columns course across a very crowded floor. The beginning hours of morning have fallen over the city and again I am perched at the lighting desk in Volume KBH. Another year, another chapter in diy-organiser Fast Forward’s history unfolds in a smokey warehouse. The speakers are loud, it is nearing halloween and many of the patrons arrive and move with the music in outlandish costumes bringing an extra flair to the scenery and special ambiance this Copenhagen-based collective is known for.

Standing in the dj booth, tenderly and carefully managing the controls stands almost certainly Copenhagen’s most recognized techno-dj, Courtesy (Najaaraq Vestbirk), founder of the now closed renown local label Ectotherm and current creative director of new project based label Kulør. Music swirling like a ravishing tailwind after a hurricane, bodies swaying in the heat, she is taking the audience through a joyous and energetic set full of feeling, emotions and dancing bliss. The lights begin to beam as fire strobes reaching down and the familiar nostalgic and present melody from Kulør’s first release and Schake track “Automated Lover” fills the room.

From the lighting desk situated near the ceiling I feel as if the room is standing still. The mood is strong in this track, it’s the type of song that makes one feel as if you can see time unfold in slow motion while your feet move a kilometer per second. The strobes turn to glorious pillars of lightest blue and drape over the walls romantically, Courtesy sways her head rhythmically from side to side residing in her element, hands on the controls and heart seeping into the speakers. She is in a special place. Læs resten

Sugar – Submerged on the dance floor

English Kritik October 25 2018 sugar

Sugar “No Sex Only Feelings” (Euromantic, 2018) – review by Cameron Pagett

Sometimes it’s good to let loose… really loose. Have the ability to let yourself go and simply move and enjoy the moment, twist your hips, turn your head and give in. It’s nearing 3 AM in Volume KPH at the gateway to spring with the windows shaking and nearly giving out from the booming speaker and footsteps pounding on the pavement. “I’ve never heard him this good,” one remarks.
This show in March was one of the first times an audience got to hear the much awaited new material from local DIY legend and Fast Forward co-founder Nikolaj Jakobsen (aka Sugar). He played a real cracker of a set including a lot of the tracks from his album “No Sex Only Feelings” which was released some months later, in the beginning of September.
The night at Volume was marked by many memorable performances, and from close memories and some worthwhile video evidence the party hit full tilt and begat a frenzy during a fast, furious and melodic 2.5 hours. It was the perfect setting and size with bursting prismatic lights, expansive sound and an attendance hitting the over 1,000 mark.

Now, the album is finally out, and it is fantastic. The diligent and precise mixing is accompanied by a wonderfully executed work in mastering from local wizard Joel Krozer. If you have any familiarity with the Copenhagen techno world which is characterized by a 140 BPM tempo, a hard, pulsing kick with a lean toward dancy melodic bliss, then this album is a coronation of sorts to a style defined and raised in numerous studios across the city. Læs resten

Fast Forward – The past is recent and the future is wide open (interview)

English March 10 2018 IMG_0388

Interview and images by Cameron Pagett

“I like it,” Nikolaj Jakobsen remarks with a gratifying sip of beer as I inquire about the infamous Fast Forward Alien Head logo. Lukas Højlund pauses in the moment and mentions; ”Yeah, it was never supposed to be the logo … on the first party at Ungdomshuset we put all sorts of things on the poster … We also had the bio-hazard symbol, but it’s not really the logo.”

I still have the first Fast Forward poster on my desktop, 2015 is not so long ago, but looking at the visual building block and having a reasonable understanding of what happens next after 400 people danced the dark away at Ungdomshuset I am feeling nostalgia. The poster feels retro now and it’s undeniably cozy when I reckognize some of the same people have played at recent shows and one played at the two year anniversary in November. Two years really isn’t so long ago, but after 30 raves, an eternity of shared memories, an explosion of growth, a new, unique agency and thousands of stories within a growing community the first party with the first Alien Head feels ages away.

Two years after the first poster I have the same alien head on my scarve shielding my face from a cold wind off Istedgade, I am finally on my way to a Fast Forward Party. A fairly recent resident in Copenhagen I mostly heard about Fast Forward through my girlfriend after buying her the Alien scarf from Posh Isolation’s 8 year celebration in March, 2017. I didn’t realize then that the unofficial official logo was connected to the agency and collective currently throwing the biggest techno parties in Copenhagen. Now less then a year removed I’m stuffing a warm durum in my backpack to hold me through the night and I’m cycling to work past kl. 23 at the much anticipated two year anniversary party located centrally in the large former train warehouse KPH Volume in Vesterbro. The windows are shaking and the walls pulsing to the opening tracks from Bunker Bauer power group Sella Turcica and Osvald Lund Rønde, and I am feeling any late night fatigue fade from my body as each sound wave pushes it out. It’s still early, I greet familiar faces, meet new ones, orient my camera and enjoy a nice beer with the door girl while devouring a now lukewarm durum kebab.

The floor is already vibrating with a small contingent of earlies enjoying an explosive, seething opening set from Sella Turcica and Rønde. I begin to wander through the space and start my night. Volume consists of two rooms with the entry room consisting of a large coat area and a rather impressive visual installation made specifically for the event by Fast Forward Collective Artists Ida Engelhart and Sara Konoy. The artwork and excellent lighting system from Tobias Molter and Paloma Cuesta is already bringing a special ambiance to the half full warehouse, and is not at full strobing power yet, but is still pushing out enough vibrant streams of color and mystery onto the floor to inspire. My camera begins to feel ready after the first couple of beers start to hit me and I feel myself unthaw from the cold ride. I’m feeling it’s time to start work and take my first pictures. Læs resten

Astrid Sonne – Balancen mellem gentagelse og fornyelse (interview)

Blog February 12 2018

astrid sonne

Af Alexander Julin

Astrid Sonne er et af de nyeste navne inden for den blomstrende eksperimentelle, elektroniske musik i Danmark. Med alsidige og livlige kompositioner har hun på sit debutalbum, “Human Lines” (Escho), skabt et værk, der både bærer præg af improvisation og en velovervejethed om, hvordan værkets numre komplementerer hinanden – stilistisk, kompositionelt såvel som stemningsmæssigt. Astrid Sonne dyrker gentagelsen uden at udelukke muligheden for fornyelse og uforudsigelighed.

I anledning af “Human Lines” har vi interviewet Sonne om bl.a. improvisation og tilfældighed, indflydelsen fra hendes musikalske skoling i bratsch og sang, om ikke at tøjle musik til bestemte følelser og udtryk, at placere bestemte æstetiske udtryk i alternative sammenhænge og at droppe “den kristne arbejdsmoral”. Læs resten