UMEK’s fourth full-length album entitled Rhythmia embodies everything we’ve come to love from the Slovenian-born 1605 record label head. Happy, bouncy, sexy tech house beats made with some of his friends who are no strangers to rocking dance floors all around the globe: Mike Vale, Heartik, Simon Doty, Jay Colin, Groovebox, and my all time favorite voice for techno music Chris The Voice. His deep voice perfectly pairs with night time vibes to take a song to new heights every time he is hired on to provide the vocals. Low, dark, and sexy, Chris The Voice needs to be on many, many more tracks.
Why His Music Is Therapy
UMEK has that certain ability only the best of the best have; the ability where as soon as he comes on in the club it’s like the air changes and becomes electric. Not a single person can stand still and if you pay real close attention you can feel the upbeat frequencies permeate through out your body and instantaneously brighten your mood. This is what good music can do for your soul.
In addition to his own production talents, he also has a keen ear for talent in others. He and his 1605 record label have given rise a first exposure opportunities to some of the hottest artists in the recent past like Guille Placencia and staples in the industry such as Pleasurekraft. If you are a good techno producer UMEK will find you; and most likely he’ll be the first.
He has been a staple in the techno community for more years than I am old. It makes perfect sense that someone with his unbelievable list of accolades and repertoire has described what techno music is better than anyone:
“It’s primal. It has balls. It lets your mind wander on its own.
It doesn’t give you some specific perspective on the story, each listener dictates where the music will take them.
I provide the content, the dynamo, the engine of the whole experience,
but it’s on each individual listener to respond to this by creating his or her own visualization, or story, and respond to it.”
I had a chance to chat with the powerhouse producer on the correlation between Buddhist mediation and the repetitive properties of techno. Through our chat you can watch the birth of his label named 1605 Music Therapy come to fruition:
I’m sure you’re aware of the Buddhist practice of meditation where they focus on one word (“om”) and contemplate for long periods of time about one meaning. Western doctors of psychology also teach the practice of the same concept–taking your thoughts down to 1 single, repetitive thought–except they call it Mindfulness Techniques. Scientists have shown through the use of fMRI studies of the brain that there are significant positive changes in the way your brain can handle stress and induce it’s own relaxation if you’ve practiced meditation or mindfulness techniques. There is something so important to our daily happiness to intentionally take your thoughts down to one repeatable plane. I know you have spoke before about the “hypnotic” and “trance-like” state the repetitive properties of techno can bring to a listener… Do you think this could be the “music therapy” your label stands for?
“I’m glad that you noticed this too and I couldn’t agree more with your thesis. The kind of music that I produce and mix is built on a repetitive pattern and this hypnotic sound does affect our brain and general feeling while listening to it in a certain way. I still remember experiencing this for the first time during the Jeff Mills set somewhere in Munich as a teenage raver on the dance floor. The hypnotic power of repetitive records he played (which were more techno tools that properly structured tracks) was amazing. At that point I realized the power of well-produced and played electronic music. Though my first association was not Buddhism, rather chanting and drumming of American native tribes that used these repetitive sounds to hypnotize people as part of their rituals. That’s just another representation of the same concept you are pointing out. So, yes, the repetitive elements in electronic music do affect human body and brain and that’s also important part of the 1605 Music Therapy.”
In A Production Competition Who Would Win: UMEK or God?
Trick Question. UMEK Is God.
My favorite song on the album is the collaboration with Chris The Voice and Mike Vale dubbed “Hard Times”. Undeniably happy and upbeat with an excellent, catchy piano riff this song couldn’t be disliked by any music lover. A well produced track with a token house music voice preaching inspirational lines about how the hard times in life make you who you need to be made this tune a techno anthem:
So never look at your hard times like something that’s going to break you
Look at it like something is going to make into the person you need to be
A person the universe says you need to be
So never let your hard times get to you
Are you gonna cry some time?
You god damn right you gonna cry some time
You gonna love sometimes and you gonna hate sometimes
But you got to look at it like this
You got one life to live
And you got people who are looking up to you
And people who’s following you
And if you let the hard times get to you
They let the hard times get to them
So don’t stress at the test
Everybody is a leader
Stream Rhythmia for free below | Buy Rhythmia on Beatport
Photo Courtesy of UMEK