Bunch Of Fives: Onism | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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With a penchant for biting 303 lines and mashed up breakbeats and armed with synthesisers, drum machines and samplers, Onism crafts frantic, energetic acid-techno and rave music not out of place in a dark, abandoned warehouse.

His new EP, Ego Melt (released via Kaneda Records), drops on 13th March and to celebrate he’ll be holding a rave on Saturday 14th March at The Globe, Newcastle (alongside Lurch, Simon Leeks, Fields and Pad Thai Hifi don Thomas Dublord). Ahead of its release, Onism gives us both his top five tracks and club nights in the North-East.

From Techno, Electro & House to D&B, Jungle and Psytrance, Newcastle is home to a close-knit and active underground electronic music scene. In no particular order, here are my top five tracks and club nights from artists and promoters in the North East. 

TOP FIVE TRACKS

Kovert 
Om10 – Hoegaarden (Kovert’s Gnarly as Fuck Mix) 
The opener from Om10’s recent remix album of his Range Anxiety release, bright, sharp sounding rave stabs gradually draw the listener in as the reverb swells and a crunchy clap builds up the momentum before descending into an absolutely filthy, stripped back distorted bassline over sparse beats. 

I think apart from the obvious bass-oriented aspects of this track, what makes this tune work so well is the pad sounds that fill out the higher frequencies, allowing the lower frequencies to hit hard without having to fill up the whole dynamic space.  

Nectax
Kahn – Abattoir (Nectax Bootleg)
Repurposing Kahn’s dubstep classic Abattoir, this DNB roller hits hard, with a drop based around a solid, pitch-bent bassline, modulated very lightly to keep it minimal. Dark and deep, punchy snares and kicks give the track a constant forward momentum, with sampled reverb chords and delayed vocals keeping the sinister, dark feel from Kahn’s bass-heavy original alive.   

Rohli 
Untitled #2 
A selection from their recent improvisational based live release, this tune showcases sparse, wonky lead lines and stuttering metallic polyrhythmic percussion, with everything glued together by a pounding, reverb-heavy kick hammering throughout the track. Evolving gradually and naturally over time, the drive of this track constantly builds with momentum being shifted by gradually evolving layers of gritty synths shifting in and out of the spotlight. 

Tunnel Club
Focus 
One of the things I love most about dance music is the way tracks are given the opportunity to build and evolve naturally in a longform way, this aspect of the genre being developed by ravers protracted engagement when in the zone on the dancefloor. 

This is definitely showcased in this track from duo Tunnel Club’s Exit Space release, with an extended spacy opening featuring layered pads and some teasing percussion building up the tension for the first two minutes before a hammering kick leads the track into some squelchy 303-driven acid. Keeping a progressive feel throughout, this tune consistently builds towards the next beat, with warped lead lines creating a tripped-out layer covering the driving beats and bass.  

Xaatu 
Paradise Lost 
Newcastle producer Xaatu creates a darkly melancholic atmosphere in this Wave/ Future Garage influenced track, its title comes from John Milton’s poem of the same name. With a deep distorted bass driving the song, subtle vocals low in the mix give a human feel to the electronic wall of sound, with a dreamy lead line counteracting the bass, layering out the top end. 

 
The thudding lo-fi kick and tight 808-sounding snare is reminiscent of trap, but the beats have a stuttering, unquantized feel, similar to garage, though they are less speed-driven, contributing towards the overall organic sound. 

Other recommended NE electronic tracks:
Om10 – Nawaz 889_27_4
Bert Verso – Crosswinds 
Simon Leeks – Dietary Requirements 
Cass Lamb – Coming Up For Air
Fields – Galactic Bonsai 
DIZ – I Told You Not To Come In
Mr Fuji – Liquid Scissors

TOP FIVE CLUB NIGHTS
 
Lively Up
For lovers of mashed up breakbeats and deep fat basslines, wherever Lively Up is shelling out dubs is the place to be for any Junglist in the North East. 

Since their first booking with Serial Killaz back in 2011 Lively Up have hosted some big names in the DNB/Jungle scene, with acts such as Goldie, Dillinja, Chase & Status and DJ Hype stepping behind the decks. 

I always find their yearly NYE parties at World HQ are a good way to enter a new year with some bass, and their upcoming event with Bladerunner on 27th March is sure to get some gunfingers going. 

Kitchen Sync 
With previous bookings such as DjRUM and Dr Rubenstein attracting a passionate, music-loving crowd, the atmosphere at Kitchen Sync events are some of the best I’ve seen in Newcastle. 

DJ sets at this event often resist specific genre labelling, with sets evolving from one vibe to another naturally. Peach’s mainly 130 ish BPM set morphing into 20 minutes of jungle bangers before flowing into an ethereal Aphex Twin track springs to mind. DjRUM’s recent set is another example, with bass-heavy, electro-tinged breaks eventually evolving to end the night with intense, pounding hardcore. 

Kitchen Sync is the kind of party where the audience is willing to follow the DJ on this journey, allowing their boundaries to be pushed as opposed to turning up their nose because they want to hear one specific sub-genre of music all night. 

With their events taking place at Void-sound system equipped World HQ, they also have a sofa packed chillout room for ravers who want to take a breather (though it has been known to blast Jungle beats every now and again). 

Pushback
Describing themselves as a celebration of electronic music within Newcastle’s queer community, Pushback draws from the origins of clubbing culture, creating a super-inclusive, unique space for members of the LGBT scene to get down to some banging techno. 

Selling out every time since its first event in February of 2019, the decks have been some graced by acts such as Love Muscle’s Michael Upson; Ireen Amnes, and night founder/runner Richard Finch, all going against the preconception that queer music is solely based around pop.   

It’s also the only place in Newcastle where you can see a fabulous, glitter-fuelled drag show leading into pounding techno, so what more can I say. 

Tyne Psyde
Representing an often-underrepresented corner of dance music, Psytrance, the Tyne Psyde crew’s brightly neon-lit, wall hanging adorned nights stand out from the usual minimal décor on display at electronic events. Many tight kickdrums and rolling, side chained basslines covered by psychedelic gated sound design are to be heard here. 

I’ve always found the underground subculture nature of Psytrance leads a greater sense of unity, with any aggy or vibe killing behaviour generally nowhere to be found. With Psytrance, the transcendental, trance-like state the music evokes is similar to House and some Techno, where it brings the crowd into a headspace where they are in “the zone” and hours seem to slip away in no time.    

Municipal
With an aim to promote acts that are pushing the boundaries of the genre, Municipal’s events are always a significant occasion for the Newcastle underground techno scene.

In a scene generally dominated by DJ’s, leftfield techno night Municipal places an emphasis on the live side of electronic music, with acts often putting the decks to one side and breaking out synths, drum machines and other live equipment. This gives the night a raw, spontaneous feel, with sets often incorporating improvisation, creating an unpredictable edge to the atmosphere that keeps the crowd moving. 

Highlights would be Container’s seemingly entirely groove box-based live set of February last year leading into Randomer, or more recently the double whammy pounding live techno sets of Giant Swan followed by Rohli at the Star and Shadow. 

Other recommended nights: 
Ape – X – Techno, Electro
Dilate – Heavy Drum and Bass
Quest 808 – Techno, House
Ricta Discs – A variety of sounds from Disco and House to Dubstep. 
Gunfinger sounds – UK Bass
Skew – Wiff – Techno, Electro
Heavy Salad – Liquid Drum and Bass
 

 

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