On a personal level, 2017 will remain as the year I stopped being an elite triathlon racer (my last ever race was completed in September in Barcelona). As a result I found myself with 15 to 20 hours of ‘spare’ time every week, which I can now dedicate to M.U.S.I.C. Expect to see me DJing a lot more in clubs/venues outside of the trusted BEAUTY & THE BEAT and BRILLIANT CORNERS events. Expect more from the label too, which has seen 2 releases this year but will surely take up more of my time in the coming months. Expect also a return of me fiddling around with music softwares, who knows. + more
2016 will forever be remembered as a year to…forget ! Much has been said about the passing of David Mancuso and as far as I’m concerned it felt like losing a family member. I had come to the point where I thought David was immortal (as some people should be, really) and that he would always be around to guide us…well I guess he will, though not physically any more. With David’s passing, I for one have learned about my own mortality all too suddenly, and this came as a shock. I wasn’t prepared – no one was. However, if anything this has reinforced even further our essential need of dancing with friends, as often as can possibly be. Love is the message and music is our way of life, let’s never forget.
As if that wasn’t enough we lost other luminaries like Prince (whose music I will forever be playing and carrying around with me – starting with CREAM at the gong of midnight this past NYE), David Bowie, George Michael, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, and too many more…and that gave us a really shitty year…which became officially one the worst year of my generation as we witnessed the Brexit, Trump and the rise of populism and xenophobia across the world. These times we are living they ain’t easy. Sometimes I wish I could just be transported to that first Loft party on Valentine’s day 1970 on Broadway, NYC, and just stay on that magic carpet ride to eternity…
However we still have a life to live, and we might as well bounce off and fight back…and party more ! In terms of musical output at least, 2016 was a vintage as good as any, be it for new music or quality reissues of timeless music. A lot less edits these days it seems, as people prefer to put out straight reissues, which can only be a good thing. As always I will try to compile my own personal favourites of these last 12 months. There are still many reasons to stay positive and look forward to better days. I’ll start with the best of the best releases, the ones that really were unmissable this year, before listing most of my personal highlights.
In March 2014 I moved in a new flat , and ALL my records got mixed up in the process. What seemed like a disaster at the time actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as once I decided to listen each and every one of them I got quickly addicted to rediscover my collection. I was literally digging in my own house. It took me about 18 months to go through everything, filing every record on the shelves and in the discogs database (6007 and counting), getting rid of a few hundreds (only keeping the ones I love 100%), and more often than not taking a trip down memory lane.
Obviously though, in the midst of all that, it’s not like I stopped buying new music…au contraire! Discogs tells me I’ve acquired 269 (!) new records this year, meaning records that were released in 2015 (old or new, whatever format)! If I were to add all the second hand records I also bought on top of that while digging and do a bit of math, I believe I would come up to a scary amount of ££$$€€¥¥ spent exclusively on wax…a number which I’d rather not know to be honest! The vinyl junkie is indeed an addict – but a healthy one bien sûr.
And what a year it was!
Music, whether listening to, dancing to, digging and filing records has once again been my drug of choice, keeping me sane and smiling always. Countless hours were spent week in week out socialising, dancing, listening, debating, upgrading audio, etc from the natural hub that has become Brilliant Corners, which has now completed its first year in style -and we’re all ready to keep growing and push things forward. Too many great memories in that space to mention, but on a personal note playing alongside Floating Points back in March was a definite highlight (what a master!), as well as a private after party post Journey Through the Light back in June, house party style…the Klipschorns were literally singing that night. The man Tako Reyenga (of Red Light Records / Music From Memory, more below) also played the best DJ set I’ve heard all year. Inspiring!
Our Beauty & the Beat parties have kept on growing and evolving, selling out every time and culminating with a 17 hour (!) NYE/NYD marathon to ‘celebrate’ the closure of our home for the last 5 years, the New Empowering Church. Unforgettable. Those moments are what I live for, simple. With the best crowd around and such a great momentum, we will hopefully find a new suitable venue soon, at least before our 10 years anniversary in June (!). + more
Mon 1er Charlie c’était un cadeau de mon papa quand j’avais 16 ans (après ou avant il y a eu les bouquins de Cavanna, je sais plus). Depuis plus de 20 ans je suis abonné fidèle, la seule année où non c’était quand j’étais aux States, mais même là ma maman m’en envoyait des exemplaires de temps à autres. Charlie c’est ma famille quoi. Val, Font, Siné, Cabu, Wolinski, Charb, Oncle Bernard, Honoré, Polac, Tignous, Riss, Renaud un temps, Caroline Fourest, Philippe Lançon et Catherine plus récemment…ce sont tous mes oncles et mes tantes. Je ne serais pas qui je suis aujourd’hui sans la lecture hebdomadaire et passionnée du journal depuis 2 décennies. Tous ces monuments de culture ont façonné ma façon de penser, ma façon d’être finalement. Ce ne sont pas des grands optimistes, loin de là, mais ils aim(ai)ent la vie. + more
Despite the naysayers this was another great year in music, whether for the feet, the soul, the body, the mind, all of it. More and more music is being released every year, most of it is crap but digging (literally or not) for treasures is an art, and very rewarding it can be.
There are 6 records I can think of that were ubiquitous at our Beauty & the Beat parties (and pretty much everywhere else I played for that matter). Records we will be dancing to for years to come, pure dance-floor pleasures: + more
So finally here we are, the dirtiest leader of a dirty sport has now -sort of- come clean – with lots more to come in the future months / years no doubt. The story was almost perfect as LA said, but indeed it was a story. Quite unbelievable how one can be living a lie for that long, was that 20 years ?! + more
Just stumbled across Sweden’s DJ Zyron thanks to my mate Chris Morris and this feels like discovering a soul brother you never knew existed. His mixes show impeccable tastes across genres but most importantly are masterfully put together, with – yep – feeling, giving the listener “a musical journey without boundaries” as the man rightly puts it. You can find a great interview here, and here‘s his most recent radio mix which I can’t recommend enough. Quality. + more
Nice surprise to be the poster boy for XTERRA Guam 2013 ! I so so wish I could include another trip over these shores in 2013. Last year’s was unforgettable…Unfortunately at the moment I am the sorry owner of an inflamed achilles, a strained calf, a sprained ankle and a fractured rib…And I just signed up for Ironman Lanzarote in May. Vive le sport ! + more