Caribbean beats may be in Miami's blood, and when you track the rhythms back to Africa, their enduring presence does make a sort of sense. But of all the beats in all the world, wouldn't it make just as much sense for us to embrace the rhythms of East as well as West? But unfortunately, even in a town as wildly diverse as Miami, that kind of collision of cultures is damn hard to come by.
That's why next Thursday's set from DJ Ipek is so heavily anticipated. The Munich-born, Berlin-based superstar spinner happens to be the offspring of Turkish immigrants, and was raised appreciating the finer threads in rhythm. Consequently her patented blend of East/West electro fusion sounds as if it springs straight off the Bosporus.
Of course it helps her fusion that Ipek "keeps one leg in Istanbul," and that she spent a "few years in [the Turkish city of] Izmir." A year in London obviously didn't hurt either. But it's Berlin, where she's lived since 1982, that truly informs Ipek's form-splitting swing between worlds. It's a swing, by the way, that many considered anathema till Ipek came along and showed everyone just how it was done.
And it gets done at the club Gayhane, in the migrant district of Berlin-Kreuzberg, as well as at Stockholm's Re:orient Club, the Berliner party Absolute Balkanizm, and at Pink Istanbul in Amsterdam. And though to some, regular appearances at the above might constitute residencies, Ipek insists that she's "not really into residencies." "I want to feel free with my bookings," she explains, "clubs, festivals and travel everywhere. For this reason I don't really accept residencies."
Ipek's career highlights include winning the World Beat DJ Award in London, being chosen as "the hippest queer DJ" in 2006 by QX Magazine in Sweden, and having the German Label Association dub her compilation Beyond Istanbul "an extraordinary album."
So what does she call her sound? "Eklektik BerlinIstan," she says, "an eclectik mix of Orient/Balkan/electro/minimal. A sampling of such sounds can currently be found in tracks like Yavuz Ak's "Bugs in My Attic," Elvissa's "Ayami bik" remix (Orient), and Shantel's "Planet Paprika," three of Ipek's hottest tracks of the moment. But when Ipek's in a more classic mode, she might drop the Tocadisco remix of M.A.N.D.Y.'s "Body Language" amid the usual Röyskopp, Shazakalokoo, Swami, and Pryda.
If this all sounds Greek to you, well, listen again, because it isn't. It's Turkish. Or it's largely so, anyway. And it's undoubtedly the very next step in crossing the great divide between cultures and truly uniting this wild world of ours.
And to that unifying end Ipek is touring the States as part of "Rise and Fall," which, according to its site, is "a revolutionary art and music event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall." Equal parts "mobile art installation and DJ event," the aurally driven exhibition is slated to hit New York, Boston, Providence, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles before it's all over. More importantly, it's hitting Miami next Thursday, when Ipek's bringing the beat that's sure to charge our hearts.
Thu., Nov. 12, 2009