What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
We wanted to create a journey with music that excites us and has a slightly wavy touch. Before we started, we discussed the idea of a landscape of sounds, which integrates the different sources of inspiration. A landscape, which pulls you into itself, which drags you down into darker spheres and allures you to lose yourself in it.
Can you tell us a little bit more about certain tracks you selected?
It is difficult for us to pick out a few. You also don’t pick your favorite children, right?
Unfortunately we do not have any glorious stories connected to certain tracks. It is just music we listen to and that we gathered over a longer period of time. Now they are all arranged and united so maybe that’s the story you were looking for?
What’s the story of Equations Collective?
We came up with it because we needed a name for a party with improvised live sessions. We all had a love for old jazz records, the free spirit atmosphere, the unlimits of improvisation of it and we especially all shared admiration for Sun Ra and his following. It was a common factor in all our musical development. We did some research about his DIY approach, his philosophy and in the end also read his poetry, which he himself called “Equations”. We liked it for several reasons. First of all it was connected to his approach but it was also still far away from it. We did not want to be understood as white-european copy-cats. Secondly we recognized the slogan “The first true universal language” of the Mathematics label and saw a connection that we could relate to.
Who’s involved and what’s the idea behind it?
For the first party at Sameheads in early 2015 it was Derek Van Beelen (D), George Konstantoulakis (Aphelion, Archaic Space), Michael Kraus (Sphera De Noumenon), Nick Lapien (Artefakt, Metropolis, Lapien) and Robin Koek (Artefakt, Cyspe).
After an excellent edition at Acud with Jesse Scherwitz, Julius Richter and Magnus von Welck (Aroma Pitch), we invited them to join the collective, because we shared a similar approach and love for no-rules-no-plan live sets and collaboration. Some of us share time in the studio now and help out wherever necessary in order to push the collective effort in, Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin or Athens.
We all try collectively to find a similar rhythm, a common wavelength and collective frequencies within our time and space with our music. We do this in the form of the Equations parties with improvised and collaborative live sets, which can last all night long.
Unfortunately, until now, we are a boys club and we would like to involve more ladies, who are up for some live impro action in the future!
On your Soundcloud account it says: „Intimate vibes served for life-long improvisers“. What is it about improvised music that speaks to you so much?
With our musical background we all see synthesizer and drum computer as real instruments, which we like to experiment with. Improvisation is automatically part of our every studio-day life and we like the idea of transporting that moment of “here and now” to clubs and stages. Sharing unexpected rhythms and sounds with other musicians on stage and an audience just makes so much sense for us, even if we take a gamble with it.
Improvisation in the techno context is still a niche and we like to push that more, creating new formats in clubs, where musicians engage emotions, challenge technique, and free the imagination, while the public is part of the “extempore”.
We believe that the dancers are aware of the fact that the music is improvised and are more attentive than usual. With the function of syncing all instruments, endless grooves and endless dancing it offers the same possibilities as dj sets. Using the same set-up for one whole night of jamming live techno gives a unique possibility of falling in trance even more.
As Derek Bailey once said: “When a species can not improvise, it will die.”
Besides all that, it’s just so much fun to fuck around with your favorite gear and see people enjoying it!
Are there any upcoming shows or projects we should know about?
We just got a new date at OHM for Equations on the 31st of August and we do the Hinterland party together with Philipp Matalla at Schrippe Hawaii on the 7th of October.
Thank you, Guys!
Alaaf and Kickin’ Mixtape 043 is here! The man Marat Beltser gives an insight on how his life sounds at the moment and also spoke to us about music, arts and hummus!
What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mixtape?
I haven’t done a mix for some time and actually you approached me to do a mix more then a year ago, so I guess the road map was to be able to make a mix, that would sound some how as my life does, which is always my main road map in making a mix, sort of a self portrait.
Can you tell us a little more about certain tracks you selected?
Well, I think most of the tracks I’ve choosen are my soundtrack at the moment, I’m obsessed with 5 Gate Temple (John T Gast’s label) and anything Seekersinternatonal does. And UV (Young Druid) is the main theme for me, a summer, but a one that burns and leaves marks on your skin, that’s my summer, I wonder how’s yours..
You’ve done a great series of mixtapes in the past called „Uganda Mixes“ with about 40 episodes. What was the Idea behind it?
Uganda was a shop that opened for around a decade in Jerusalem (now it’s located in Tel Aviv) , it was a home for me and many of my friends. At the end of 2009 me and the owner (Itamar Weiner) wanted to bring Hype Williams for some shows over, but realized no one really knows them, so the Uganda mixtape was a way to feature stuff that was sold in the store (vinyls, cd’s and special editions) and some other stuff that was soundtracking our lives.. after I moved here I continued to do them while knowing what’s in store, at some point I lost it, at times I feel like making the 41 …
You’ve studied Photography in London, Fine Arts in Jerusalem and also went to the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne. What are you doing now?
I believe I’m done with studies, I actually still take photos and being romantic about the things I do, but I’m happy to be out of the otopic structures of art studies, at some point it didn’t feet real anymore. I guess I do the same things I’ve been doing beforehand, just in berlin, and focusing on hummus…
We heard you started a small Hummus-Business in Berlin. How is that going?
Actually today I will take part in a hummus face-off taking place in o tannenbaum, I hope to win! Besides we (Vanunu) had a small popup running here in march. It was great to be open and to create a home in a very short time, now working hard to re-open in order to have a permanent location, good news coming soon. Hummus 4 eva!
Thank you Marat!
What was your initial idea or roadmap for the mix?
Actually there was none – it is a super impulsive selection, following difficulties with both some fucked up CDJs and my “something is always wrong”-USB drives. In the end, the mix is a neat combination of my all time favorites and impulses.
Can you tell us something about certain tracks you selected?
A lot of the tracks are by either friends or acts that I have invited to Cologne before or with whom I plan to work in the future. To point out just some of them: I am obsessed with the Lee “Scratch” Perry Dub Remix of Forest Swords’ Thor’s Stone, an artist who played one of the most magical shows we ever had at Baustelle Kalk.
Also I couldn’t resist adding two of my favorite tracks of our baumusik Christmas Compilation “It is a rose, a raisin”:
- CAMP INC’s track “Dizzy Plants” which features Han Brock, one of the most promising and inspired young musicians of Cologne – a mysterious artist with a thousand different names.
- Abel’s “Das Blaue Nichts” is a very special track for me, not only because it is his first production after 10 years, but also because the Danish poem is recited and translated by the great Janina Warnk, Cologne’s infamous performance/scenographic/fantasia-singer/artist.
You’re running a number of really interesting projects in Cologne: the concert and art space “GOLD+BETON”, “Baustelle Kalk” and the concert series “Sounds Wrong, Feels Right” – only to name a few. What is the coherent idea behind all these projects?
I like to describe myself as a hybrid in all my presence. I feel like I found my own way to describe my work in its whole and it is kind of fun to plant the new idea of a fluid life-work-fun quality into the heads of let’s say black & white thinkers, capitalists etc. Don’t assume other people’s borders are your own borders, just because it is convenient or something. Especially if it comes to music, I value the fact that our guests come to the show with the expectation not to know what to expect. See what’s possible, what’s available and turn it into something real!
What do you think is lacking in the nightlife in Cologne? And what potentials do you see?
Like all of us I too, have a quite ambivalent relationship to the city of Cologne. Of course I wouldn’t be living here, if I didn’t love it. But the fact that you sense zero willingness from the city council to appreciate, support, fund or even just tolerate alternative club-/art-/(sub-)culture adds doubts to all your work constantly. I am happy that I did not yet reach the borders of my very own possibilities in this city. I am not yet finished with this town and I am still confident that the page will turn within the next 2 years. I do have several bigger projects and plans in the pipeline. If only one of those could get some official support, it would send a very strong signal and new input for a lot of us. But if nothing will change in the near future, I wouldn’t have a lot of hope for Cologne ☹
Plans for the next months – DJ-Gigs, Parties, Concerts?
- 1st prio: summerbreak, now!
- My season kick off is on 29.8. with a live show of the legendary kraut/world/hippie combo Embryo, down at GOLD+BETON.
- Night Of Surprise on 20th Oct will be one of a kind as usual and of course accompanied by me and Nicole Wegner as the Night of Surprise all time residents ER&WE.
- Unfortunately I am not yet allowed to reveal our Sounds Wrong Feels Right artists. Dates: 24th Oct, 8th November. Stay super tuned for updates, because: lit!
- Other dates:
6.10. Diana Jones @female:pressure, w/ Electric Indigo, Kyoka, Waltraud Blischke / STUDIO 672
7.10. Art Initiatives Cologne – AIC ON Abschlussparty w/ live shows, performances, DJs / details TBA
Thank you Meryem!