Countdown in Budapest

Lima is his most recent musical spot landing, Budapest is an already known terrain and Berlin hasn’t seen him for ages. Even only one of those reasons is already enough to get one’s socks on to celebrate the New Year’s Eve somewhere else, for example at Budapest-based super club Studio; a pretty sexy and perfect place to start the midnightly countdown and letting the corks pop together with a “fisherman, who is djing occasionally” – Nick Warren.

Year number 2008A.D. was a quite successful one for Nick Warren, and not only in terms of fly-fishing ;-) While touring the planet to delight us with first class electronic music, he also made it to spend time in the studio compiling and mixing the much lauded continuation of the Global Underground series entitled Lima. To boot he teamed up again with his long-term production fellow Jody Wisternoff to bring us a new Way Out West album. At the moment Nick and Jody are putting the finishing touches to the last tracks and they expect its release at the end of January. Measured by their recent single Spaceman, we can look forward to a Way Out West album that will surely hit the international stage like a musical cruise missile, even despite their more less longer lasting studio abstinence.

When visiting Budapest last time, time thwarted a bit my plans, as actually I would have loved to attend to a Studio party. According to pictures currently doing the rounds and having heard diverse positive reactions of the international DJ league, that location on the Hajógyári Sziget (an island amidst the waves of Danube river) must be sheer party madness. The entire island seems to be dedicated to the hedonistic vice, as additionally to the Studio there are several other well running clubs, such as Dokk and Coronita. In summer it’s even more, when Bed Beach, Dokk Beach, Mokka Cukka and Dokkolo are open.

Crossing the doorstep of a yet unknown club is still a very interesting moment; when your curiosity gobbles the first hearable beats and you abandon yourself to the intimity of a yet alien atmosphere. The first impression in terms of clubbing to say so. In case of the Studio club the personal union of DJ and priest could have commented things the following way: “Hallelujah! Lord, let me thank you for this cathedral of hedonism. Enlighten my path to the DJ booth and let me preach here.” Shortly before leaving towards the venue, Nick and I stroke up a conversation about the global club scene. For him the Studio belongs to the best clubs worldwide: “It’s not always about exhibiting that you’re having the best sound system around or the most way-out interior design. The people and their spirit are definitive – and in these terms the Studio won’t disappoint you at all.” Speaking in footballing terms: the Champions League of all things called atmosphere and vibe.

The club’s native place is a big hall, providing enough space for up to 5000 people. However, you won’t notice much of a hall’s character as everything is disguised and even the ceiling is covered with large cloths. That creates a certain intimate feeling despite being a big room super club. All things called dancing happen on two levels, while the gallery next to and behind the DJ booth are the VIP area. On special occasions the venue gets a fairytale-like atmosphere when masked dancers are hovering above the crowd, sitting on huge swings.

The mandatory countdown was displayed on a huge screen behind the DJ booth; in the last minute of the year 2008 it even ran down accurately to a hundredth of a second. After a marathon of clinking glasses Nick took over some minutes past midnight and transformed the hootin’ and hollerin’ dance floor already from the first track played (Andy Chatterly’s “Access The Future”) into a waving mass of dancing bodies, which optically got constantly inflamed by not less than 8 lasers. A remix of Sasha’s “Xpander” took the roof off and set the place literally on fire. Another corker making the crowd go wild was Sasha’s wicked remix of Ladytron’s “Destroy Everything You Touch”. Though, it’s no easy djing when the photographer comes back totally bewitched with tons of autograph wishes ;-)

Before the night started Norwegian DJ and producer Nils Noa, friend Odi and some chewing tobacco joined our dinner. He had a New Year’s gig in Budapest as well, but didn’t hesitate to come with us to check out the much lauded Studio. His pick-up turned up late, which wasn’t a too big annoyance as he could stay and enjoy the great vibe. When eating together Nils introduced us his new record label Troll. A very cool name from my point of view and surely we’ll hear everything but supercooled sounds from him soon.

After an almost three hours lasting roller coaster ride from funky progressive to hypnotic tech house and back, with tracks like Robert Babicz’s remix of “Spaceman” or remixed classics like Bedrock’s “Heaven Scent”, a frenetically celebrated Nick Warren handed over the reins to Slam Jr., a local hero from Budapest. Latter one didn’t hesitate to force the bass pressure to a different level; additionally combined with live played drums, his massive techno melange ploughed through the crowd like a knife through butter. Early in the morning not a few people were gratefully accepting such a tougher way of rocking down the night. It didn’t take much time and Hungary’s extraordinarily attractive ladies discovered the bars as an extra playground for all things called dancing and booty shaking. That party could have been everlasting, but at 5 o’clock the fun was over already, unfortunately. However, the night saw a continuation as the neighbouring Dokk club started a big after party. Due to an early flight back to Berlin I had to leave though. It was snowing a little that night and the way back to my hotel, through the beautiful streets of historic Budapest became a romantic Winter’s Tale.

Experts say, 2009 will be a so called average year. Worse than 2008, but significantly better than 2010 ;-) With that in mind: Happy New Year to all of you.

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