Tonight sees an event that will close the door on a club night/collective that has been one of the pivotal focal points in Iceland’s electronic music scene. I‘m talking about the boys at BREAKBEAT.IS who, after 13 long years as Iceland’s premier club/radio night, will be hosting the decks for the last time tonight in a huge, and slightly emotional, blowout at Volta. All the guys will be there. Kalli, Gunnar Ewok, Skeng, and Tryggvi, along with Suspect B and Hypno.
And the worst bit of all of this – I GOING TO MISS IT! In a few hours I will be driving off to the country with Mrs Sex Farm as it is her birthday wish that we go and see some friends and get away from Reykjavik. Man I do love her, but her timing is bloody lousy. Sigh…
Ever since I came to Iceland in 2007 I became quickly aware of their radio show on X-ið, which I found to be much more enjoyable that most of the other electronic output that’s currently being pumped out on Icelandic radio (People – I’ve tried Flass Xtra, and it is not good!). What I found especially heartening was that they were the only guys that seemed to have a true ear on playing what was happening outside of Iceland, whether it be dubstep, or the emerging juke/footwork explosion, or what was happening with grime and UK bass scene in the last few years. One of their shows from early this year had a crushing intro of Andy Stott.. and RAIME. Fucking Raime! Nobody on Icelandic radio has the awareness, let alone the balls to have something like that.
Ironically in a way, I think that the fact that they were so intent on playing new and other interesting forms of dance music put them in a difficult position with the public towards the end. People who didn’t really listen to them would calmly dismiss them as “being all drum and bass,” while some of the old guard that did listen to them lamented on the fact that they weren’t playing as much DnB as they used too! Add to this the fact that they weren’t churning out shitty house (The sound everyone wants to play/hear right now) didn’t help.
You could also tell that the writing was on the wall with regards to the radio show with the way they were treated by the schedulers over at X-ið over the last year. Starting off at 8pm on Saturdays, they were moved to 10pm (Good), then moved to Wednesdays at 10pm (Err…. why?). Then the show was cut from 2 hours to 1 hour. Fuck! Shows how much they ranked in their priorities. Obviously there wasn’t enough time in the day to hear more of The Lumineers or Muse for the 25th fucking time.
Personally, even though I was a fan, I never actually met them in the flesh until the beginning of last year when I interviewed Kalli and chief designer to the collective Ragar for the Grapevine about the release of their book Taktabrot, which they were crowdsourcing for funds. I very quickly found them both to be cool, intelligent guys and I actually found myself donating funds towards the publishing of the book. Of course their release night, which had UK producer Blawan headlining, was one of the live highlight of 2012 for me. Since then I’ve considered the entire collective to be very much friends and cultural allies,even getting Kalli & Hypno to DJ at the opening RSF club night (And a lot of fun it was too!). During this year’s Sonar, I skipped the main headliners to see Kalli and Ewok play an extraordinary set in the Car Park stage to barely 15 people. It was brilliant!
I do hope that they will be able to continue fighting the good fight for decent electronic music in Iceland in some form or another. But for now, click on the link below to hear one of their Rafio shows from earlier this year. That one with Andy Stott and Raime opening.
And make sure you go to their club night tonight! It’s going to be a Stonker!
Kalli og Ewok með bumbur og bassa
01. Andy Stott – Sleepless (Modern Love)
02. Raime – Passed Over Trail (Blackest Ever Black)
03. Sei A – Flux (Martyn’s Electromagnetic Mix) (Turbo)
04. Darling Farah – North (Civil Music)
05. Hypno – Who You Talkin To? (Dub)
06. Drums of Death – Cold Lazarus (Starkey Remix) (Civil Music)
07. Tyler the Creator – Yonkers (Lil Silva Remix) (MPFree)
08. Pedro 123 – Jetpack Joyride (Get Some)
09. LV & Okmalumkoolkat – Safe And Sound (Hyperdub)
10. Cloaka – Don’t I Know You (Four40)
11. Auntie Flo – I Want To Blow Your Mind (Huntleys & Palmers)
12. Faze Miyake – Take Off (Faze Miyake)
13. Rival – Lock off the Rave (Darq E Freaker UItra Remix) (Pitch Control)
14. Africa Hitech – Caveman Style (Warp)
15. Doc Scott – VIP Drumz (Metalheadz)
16. Throwing Snow feat. Louis Vines – Too Polite (Local Action)
17. Louis Blaise – Love & Gwalla (Philip D. Kick Remix)
18. Dj Rashad – Da Life (Lit City Trax)