“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” ~Robert Frost~
And so what is sleep but the cousin of death? Perhaps a timeless poet’s chance to dream? In my case, it was an opportunity to be baptized into the atramentous realm of the Stereo underground.
On Sunday, September 4th, the underground music gods beckoned me to the lovely, dark and deep Stereo Sound bar in Montreal to witness Innervisions music magicians Dixon and Âme weave their music tapestry. I had made a promise to myself that I would one day finally visit Stereobar, an entrancing place where music legends leave their legacy and creatures of the night gather to collectively move to the richest sounds of the underground, revelling in dance music’s layered complexity and mesmerizing qualities. The Stereo experience is something that is difficult to explain, and near impossible to recreate but what I can say with great conviction, is that this venue (and this event) was the highlight of my summer and the beginning of a new love affair that would most likely last for an eternity.
A quick synopsis of the club’s inception has us learning that DJ Angel Moraes, a devotee sound enthusiast, creator, innovator and the club’s founder, opened Stereobar nightclub in Montreal, Canada in the late ‘90s. Sadly, later in 2008, It was burned down and thankfully re-opened later in 2009 by co-owner Thomas Piscardelli.
Filled with palpable tension, raw edges and sophistication, the space performs its alchemy with its brightly lit dance floor where your feet never tire and eargasms come in multiples.
“Music truly is the answer for this club’s creation and existence”
The club’s main feature, is its top notch, second to none acoustic quality, thus meriting its name Stereo. It is hailed as one of the greatest sound systems in modern clubbing history thanks to Angel’s passion and inspiration from people like Richard Long, Larry Levan and Steve Dash. Music truly is the answer for this club’s creation and existence.
Starting a Sunday fun-day morning off proper, local resident DJ Jesse Zotti had us warming up to his sound with sultry, bass thumping tracks that set the pace on the dancefloor creating that insatiable rush of euphoria when you know you’re breaking a sweat, and loving every second of it. Jesse provided the perfect lead in to what was set to be the best and only way to end my summer music adventures.
Frank Wiedemann was representing the German duo me (pronounced “AHM”) in fine form, laying down a deep, slow burning and heavily distorted drone layered, against an eerie, warbling siren-like sound. Turning up the heat, and serving up a staunch banquet of stomping techno, and driving beats lacerated by wailing synth to elevate us all into kick drum heaven with such tracks as “Viola” by Kellerkind,Omid 16B & Alex George’s “In Deep Water” (Nantais & Hazendonk Remix) and Marc Romboy’s “Counting Comets” ( Ruede Hagelstein Remix).
It was hard to believe we still had a solid 5 hours of intoxicating music ahead of us. As the light show began and the humongous disco ball glittered and glowed, there was an unearthly feeling that combined with everyone’s excitement, formed an irresistible arousal amongst us all. This is the instant effect of what listening to any Innervisions music imparts onto you, you quickly come to understand that your emotions and senses will be toyed with and you will need to relinquish all control where you become the willing participant on a journey to new music heights.
Once again I found myself opening my ears and closing my eyes so that I could truly appreciate and absorb the bewitching effects of the sound happening around me. I was in a room with hundreds of people and had been for 4 hours already, but for all I knew, I was alone, just me and the music. When I opened my eyes, me had slipped into the shadows and Dixon was launching into his visceral techno assault. It wasn’t the first moment of evanescent beauty that morning, nor would it be the last but for me it was the most heartrending.
“The music took a distinctly emotively tribal turn with offbeat percussion and pounding bass…”
The first half hour of Dixon’s mix was clearly dedicated to elevating our states of consciousness. Dixon isn’t one to play it safe and stick to one sound for too long, and this became evident after as he progressed into his set. The music took a distinctly emotively tribal turn with offbeat percussion and pounding bass that made people dance without consciously choosing to. Considering the syncopated rhythm of each track Dixon played, the German label boss had no problem keeping transitions perfectly in time, as you would expect from a DJ with that much experience in the industry.
As we headed into the last half hour of the morning melange, thunderous bass and arpeggiated melodies were the order of the day which, when delivered through Stereo’s analogue sound-system they packed an unbelievable punch! Even Shazam was at loss for tags. Dixon infused such tracks as Auntie Flo “Waiting On A Woman”, and an old anthem “Rachel Row-Follow the Step” KiNK beat, that had us in a seemingly never ending music reverie.
Dixon and Frank Wiedemann are certainly no strangers to playing music together, as co-founders of the inviolable Innervisions label, they have achieved the status of supremacy among the underground scene thanks to their infinite commitment to mastery of their craft both in the studio and behind the decks; their Stereo performance was a testament to that and will go down in my underground music history books as the best performance I have experienced to date.