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Red Bull Music Academy 2012 Coming To The Big Apple

Red Bull Music Academy 2012 Coming To The Big Apple

It’s official. RBMA 2012 is happening in NEW YORK CITY.

Let’s get all the important dates straight right away:

Apply: February 2 – April 2, 2012
Workshop 1: September 30 – October 12, 2012
Workshop 2: October 21 – November 2, 2012

This news is all kinds of awesome as we believe every place touched by RBMA will never be the same, in a very good way. And we cannot wait for New York to be touched and more talented people in this city get inspired. Just see what happened to Salva during his RBMA experience.

We have been holding off to publish a review by one of our reporters making pilgrimage to RBMA 2011 in Madrid for a weekend, and now is the right time. Make yourself a cup of tea, or better yet pop a can of Red Bull, get comfortable and read on…

Review by Brecht De Vleeschauwer


After watching hours of lectures and listening tons of radio shows on my laptop in the past, this weekend it was time to check out the Red Bull Music academy in person. The first days flew by. Roman Flügel on day one and Modeselektor (on an amazing soundsystem in Macumba) on day two were a great way to start. 

On Saturday it was time for the mighty RZA, who was going to play a special dj session in a cinema. What was announced as “A cinematic journey into sound with a true musical mastermind” became the biggest disappointment of the weekend. RZA started off with what could be described as an ‘influences set’. Lots of old rock’n’roll, funk and soul that he had sampled over the years. Unfortunately most of RZA’s mixing was horrible. Without any sequencing dropping the next tune, with some scratches now and then, although I wouldn’t even use that word. The visuals, provided by Alba G CorralI, weren’t that bad but definitely didn’t add that much to the whole performance. It was a shame to see that by the end of his set 1/3 of the crowd had already left the venue of this sold out show.

On Sunday I headed to La Casa Encendida for the Open Sessions of the academy. To start the afternoon I had a look at the “15000 jazz records” lecture by Juan Claudio Cifuentes and Carlos González. Only a few people took the effort to come over for this truly interesting lecture that gave us some history of jazz lessons. Two passionate gentlemen taking their time to explain all the different elements and angels of jazz music. I felt like I was listening to my granddaddy telling stories about his youth.

Unfortunately I had to leave after one hour because the lecture with Benji B, one of BBC 1’s finest radio hosts, was about to start in the patio. As the Benji B show on Wednesday night is one of my favorite moments of the week, it was great to hear the man himself talking about his (musical) past, present and future. Always honest and humble (“I’m not used to this, normally I’m at the other side”). From jungle to models and bottles clubs, to pirate radio, freestyle, groove, J Dilla… One quote about the start of his career definitely stayed in my memory. When they started talking how he got in contact with Gilles Peterson and Radio 1, Benji just said that one night as a teenager he was in a club, went to Gilles Peterson and told him “You have a great show but I can make it a lot better…” That’s how it started. Hopefully the lecture will appear online as well.

As we were running a bit out of time and as Dorian Concept is better in producing than in talking, his lecture was a lot shorter. Musical education, States vs Vienna, love for cheap hardware etc… A few minutes later it was already time for him to get on stage. As it was still early, the crowd needed some time to get into it. But by the end of his set, when he played his more danceable stuff like the magical ‘Trilingual Dance Sexperience’ he got the place moving.

 Next up was Oneohtrix Point Never. He just released a masterpiece called ‘Replica’ but live he couldn’t fulfill my high expectations. An uninterested crowd and the slightly uncosy venue for this kind ambient-avant garde-beatless-electronica music was probably one of the main reasons. The title song of their new album gave me goosebumps anyway.

Last one of the afternoon program was Stones Throws’ James Pants. With his energetic mix of rock, soul, funk and hip hop he got the whole patio moving. We closed down the weekend at ‘Generation bass’. When I entered, the place was already packed and XXXY was going strong. Unfortunately the sound system in the club didn’t like any bass sounds… Pearson Sound was definitely man of the night. When he dropped ‘Arp 3’, a Floating Points dub, the place went off! And then Scuba took it to a more techno vibe. Around 5, the lights went on and I realized that I probably just experienced the best musical Sunday of my life so far.

.. RBMA, see you next year.

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