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Listen Amsterdam

Autumn 2023

Zine for KEF

For their launch of a series of global listening events, Hi-Fi brand KEF (also behind music editorial platform Sound of Life) published a zine on Amsterdam’s (electronic) music scene and nightlife. I wrote a few short pieces on elements of that (including labels Music for Memory and South of North) and interviewed three DJs (Marcelle, Carista, Noise Diva) for what became a feature titled ‘Sound of the Underground’. See highlights below.

Read here

Photo: Matilda Hill-Jenkins

[Intro to ‘Sound of the Underground’ interviews]

Like the city itself, Amsterdam’s club culture is full of contradictions and qualifications. Steeped in counter and queer culture, but per- haps less so than somewhere like Berlin. Deeply international and rooted in Black history, but more quietly than New York or London. Rich with local musical traditions, but often skewing hip, towards UK hardcore, Detroit house or German techno over homegrown gab- ber. Progressive and fluid—but still somehow catching up to other capitals. Ultimately, this means its most vibrant scenes and figures are often found at the fringes.

The three DJs interviewed here each cut singular figures, but they also show this culture at its strongest. Noise Diva points to Amsterdam’s artsier, noisier cutting edge—inspired by idiosyncrat- ic veteran DJ Marcelle / Another Nice Mess, a scene unto herself. Meanwhile, Utrecht’s Carista is a unique talent and local figurehead, now well established internationally. Together, they represent a nightlife abundant with variety, ever changing and respectful of its icons, old and new. So don’t forget their names at the door.

[Note: images in .pdfs below inverted, see full .pdf for how they were originally published]