Since the late '90s, the Belgian collective Meakusma has consistently showcased artists at the forefront of progressive and avant-garde electronic music in unlikely locations across the country. Recent happenings have seen Moritz von Oswald given carte blanche to curate his own night of techno, dub and bass music in a disused train station, Monolake playing a six-channel surround sound concert in complete darkness and a performance from minimal wave outfit Tropic of Cancer.
Their latest event in Brussels was spread across two venues, with an audiovisual and ambient schedule programmed for the earlier part of the night. Opening performances took place at Les Brigitinnes, a beautiful converted ex-chapel now primarily used as a center for theatre and contemporary dance. German multimedia artist (and Porter Ricks member) Thomas Köner filled the near-darkness with appropriately atmospheric drones and sub-bass frequencies that literally shook the surroundings into a state of hypnosis both disorienting and bizarrely comforting. While Köner temporarily detached attendees from their environs, Wolfgang Voigt and Jörg Burger, performing as Möhn, made us distinctly aware of them. With their visuals projected against the back wall of the chapel, the red and white brick of their backdrop washed out the accompanying imagery, almost as if the performance was bleeding into the church itself.
Photo credit: Caroline Lessire
Diving through the thick black curtain that masked Recyclart's doors and into the dimly lit hall that was once a train station ticket foyer, those arriving directly from Brigittines were greeted with a scene not dissimilar to what one might have imagined Berlin's krautrock-defining Zodiak Free Arts Club to resemble: a mass of instruments, both electronic and acoustic, sprawled out over numerous tables across a large section of the room. Unlike the Zodiak, however, the slow trickle of visitors arriving at the second venue of the night were not invited to experiment with the equipment on display—though many did take the time to wander up to the instruments and trainspot the gear. Tucked away in a dark corner of the room, Kompakt Records artist Barnt sped up records by hand and added splashes of his own percussion before he dropped the beat in at exactly one minute to midnight.
Photo credit: Caroline Lessire
Hunched over his microphone and hidden behind a mask of jet-black hair, former Can lead vocalist Damo Suzuki led the audience through an hour of groove-based improvised electronics alongside fellow Groupshow members Jan Jelinek, Andrew Pekler and Hanno Leichtmann. The spontaneous nature of their performance was so loose that it felt like it might collapse at any moment, yet this was part of the appeal. The intensity of the relationship between the musicians had the audience enthralled, eyes and ears glued on the performers and the kinetic energy between them. This exploration of spontaneous music continued with a muscular performance from MM/KM (AKA Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup), whose 909 hats and acid-tinged basslines sent the crowd into a frenzy. As the early morning haze set in, Anthony 'Shake' Shakir masterfully rounded off what had been one of the most expertly curated, enriching and ambitious nights Brussels has seen in some time.