Tale Of Us & A Tale of Two Cities

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Apgrade Tale Of Us Hangar Belgrade review

I was amazed few years ago when I realized that, towards both of my favorite music composers, I felt the magnetism long before I’ve heard any of their tunes. Remarkably, in both occasions that was due to their inspiring names. When it comes to Pink Floyd, despite the fact that it happened almost 20 years ago, I vividly remember how dreamy echo of the band’ name instantly made it my favorite, although the first album that I had a chance to listen (notorious Division Bell) came to my hands at least 6 months later.

In terms of Tale of Us, actually the same thing happened. When I’ve heard for this staggering name I knew that this guys are profound and delicate. I was struggling to survive until EXIT 2015 in order to hear the sound and, when that happened, I was listening for “Astral”, their co-work with Mind Against, gazing towards Dance Arena in awe, knowing that this amalgam of techno and classical music is a life changing experience, at least for me, although they were everything but anonymous at the time since later that year Mixmag marked them as the best DJs on planet. This memory was gorgeously refreshed in late June this year when Mind Against set Belgrade’s Fair on fire with this track.

In a meantime, always when I was googling this mind-blowing denomination, I notice that Charles Dickens’s novel, A Tale of Two Cities is the first thing that pops-up. Yet merely a coincidence, this weekend, when Matteo and Carmine made Belgrade’s audience astounded at Hangar, I found some sense beneath… The sense which I’ve omitted to notice last year when I enjoyed their open-air gig in the trench of the Military Museum on the slopes of the Belgrade’s infamous fortress Kalemegdan.

We shouldn’t mix up the unmixable, we should get rid of stereotypes and simplifications and why it is necessary to be tolerant, open-minded and patient enough to let everyone to show you what they have to offer. However, I believe that it is not blasphemy and contrary to this to say that certain geo-political, historical and social environment will more easily digest certain music sub-genre rather than the other. I mean, the sound that comes from Berlin’s abandoned factories, underground facilities and squats will more easily get under the skin of someone who lives in Belgrade than of someone who inhabit non-ex-communists, traditionally peaceful, meteorologically well-treated and historically uninterrupted settlements like Miami or Melbourne. Just saying…

Simply stated, the impression is that, while sometimes struggling to catch up with flashing EDM tunes that are lighting-up the venues in Las Vegas or with occasionally hollow and drug-requiring pieces of minimal and micro house, average clubber from Belgrade will smoothly resolve the enigma behind that subtle note of mysticism that comes from the sheets of Tale of Us’s romantic techno, even if he/she is faced with it for the first time. Simply, we are familiar with the vibe which is not so cheerful but it brings thoughtfulness as well as comprehensive and versatile approach to music and, what is the most important, the story behind it. The reasoning behind this good understanding and well-educated approach, which was shown by our audience on Saturday, (maybe) partially originates from rather gloomy episodes in the (hi)story of these two cities – tale of us and tale of Berliners.

Apgrade Vaal Hangar Belgrade review

When it comes to the party itself, we should put first things first. Few hundredths of people had a chance to listen very good local duo Akioki which opened the event. Instead of paying more attention to youngsters, the audience was having fun with some accompanying activities such as polaroid-alike, free of charge photo shooting powered by Danish brewery, which brought the venue dangerously close to amusement park, at least in the opening hours when the lights were strong. However, that was only a brief expedition into unnecessary, as the lights were dimmed and the huge gap between the stage and the first row was starting to fill promptly when Vaal opened the set with her edit of Jocelyn Pook’s theme from Stanley Kubrick’s movie Eyes Wide Shut – “Masked Ball”.

The atmosphere of ritualistic masquerade painted the ceiling of the Hangar in some very shady colors, puzzling the people, making them speechless. They didn’t see it coming and that was clearly a statement as slowly we were driven through sometimes melancholic and even morbid prelude of ghastly sounds and previously unheard percussions. After a brief period of adaptation that appeared to be an amazing journey through a world which was, on the shoulders of Vangelis and other giants, created by Vaal.

Closing half of the act was very rewarding for our slightly inexperienced but extraordinary talented crowd, as we gained an opportunity to enjoy not only dissonant, arrhythmic and inexplicably elegant “Seahnak”, with a little bit of BPM level increase which made the atmosphere pretty vibrant in the early hours of the evening, but also “Monument” to which we will refer later on. Anyhow, Vaal showed us that, while she obviously filled in one hell of a shoes, her will be pretty big too.

Final chapter of the Vaal’s performance brought some bad news from the outside world as the people were stuck in the entrance, standing in the guest list queue and ticket line for an almost an hour. These things shouldn’t happen and, although the improvement in the organization is expected as well, vast majority of the criticism for this error goes to our audience which is used to come to the parties much too late, targeting the headliners only. Usually they skip something very good, this time they’ve skipped something extraordinary…

Finally, the moment has come and the Italian duo from Berlin showed up on the stage. They’ve started to melting down the core of the crowd driving us through the realm of consciousness with some unrecognizable melodies arranged with the sheer confidence and artwork. The Hangar was packed and some of us were to exciting and inpatient to hear the epic crashes and brakes even in the first quarter of the gig.

Yet the guys in the booth were patient enough and we had a chance to enjoy in some obscure sounds, outstanding resemblances to classical music and scales beautifully paused with interstellar silence and piercing beats between. And they shouldn’t have to persuade us to catch up with the vibe at all… The shared destiny and psycho-historical structure allowed us to figure out what those Berliners want to demonstrate, slowly driving us with some rarely flamboyant but always spiritual mixes. The audience figured out the message at once and, very maturely, they’ve disregarded any desire for pompous, cheap, bone-braking and childish fun, letting the guys from Berlin to take them on a trip.

Matteo and Carmine soon made very good and subtle contact with the crowd, making it very joyful but also reflective and thoughtful. We had a chance to hear some epic tracks such as “Red Sky” and “the Hangar” and soon enough it seemed that this warehouse became the only place in we all wanted to be at the moment, although the heat was close to unbearable (yet still nothing in comparison to the Afterlife parties in Privilege on Ibiza).

Tale Of Us Apgrade Hangar Belgrade review

“Morumbi” was at the deck when amazing thing happened at 3AM. Namely, the Daylight Saving Time has ended at that moment making the night longer for about an hour. When noted by already daydreaming crowd, the eve became even more special. Some of us would say that the time was perfect for “Monument” but the Barnt Remix of this masterpiece, forged in collaboration between Vaal and the headliners of this evening, was already played this Saturday, contrary to the practice used during this summer on Afterlife parties. They’ve shown their appreciation and let the lady take the credits…

Traditionally ending up with Hans Zimmer’s score from Christopher Nolan’s movie Inception, they broke Belgrade’s audience to myriad small pieces, drowning us in sheer elusiveness of time. That was the big finale of 200 minutes long performance.

Apgrade Tijana T Hangar Belgrade review

Final episode of the party had one very special protagonist, also an Afterlife heroine. Namely, the last set was properly shaped and adapted by virtue of Tijana T, local girl with international title and experience, which infamously served as a guide to Matteo and Carmine several years ago, getting them acquainted with the essence of Berlin’s atmosphere for the first time in their life. Although merely a coincidence once more, it appears nonetheless that there is an invisible bond.

In any case, a night to remember, if that is the subject…

Words: Stefan Dobrić (Beat)
Photos: Apgrade, Benny – Take A Moment
Videos: Bojan Bojanović
YouTube Video Playlist is here

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