Vinyl: A Source of Musical Inspiration
for Meso Creso DJs
at PEX, 7/4-7/8

This Fourth of July weekend, musicians and artists far and wide will participate in PEX Summer Festival. Held on campgrounds in Darlington, Maryland, it celebrates many of the idiosyncrasies of Burning Man—the festival from which it draws inspiration. No matter how they’re expressed, idiosyncrasies and quirks are welcome.

Diversity, too, takes many forms at PEX. One particular camp that sheds light on such variety is Meso Creso. Per their website, Meso Creso “cultivates creativity without boundaries.” The name, a coinage of Mesopotamia’s Fertile Crescent, “fuses the whimsy of the Burning Man community with DC’s cultural diversity and social consciousness.”  And one of the co-founders, V:shal Kanwar is a vinyl-head with some colorful roots.

V:shal is a co-founder and resident DJ with Meso Creso. His connection to vinyl goes back many decades. “As a child growing up in Africa in the late 1970s, my parents… alternated between classical Indian records, fresh disco beats, and everything the Nigerian funk scene put out.  My parents would host parties that featured a blend of American funk, European disco, and the deep African rhythms of legends like Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey, and King Sunny Adé.

“Some of my favorite records are still ones that I heard echoing through those Nigerian summer nights of my childhood, long before digital home production software made beats mathematically precise. Every teenager with the means could produce dance tracks in their living room. Those old recordings still reverberate with the smoky warmth of musicians sitting in a room together and playing off each other’s subtle imperfections. They are organic, alive, and inspiring because they are purely analog and digitally imperfect, just like the human experience has always been.”

Like V:shal, Meso Creso DJs have an affinity for tribal music. DJ Meegs, for example, finds parallel between indigenous sounds and her own Irish roots. Her travels to New Zealand and predilection for South African house music give her equity in many club scenes in DC and beyond. She will be featured with the Meso Creso collective during PEX weekend.

Synz, a DJ based in DC and part of Meso Creso, also has a deep love for vinyl records. One of Synz’s favorite records of all time is a white label remix of Portishead by Sultan & Tonedepth.

He asserts, “Vinyl was my first love and will always hold a special place in my [heart]. The connection with vinyl is so unique it will never be replaced, and for that reason, the sound of vinyl will be instantly recognized and experienced with a natural, aural perception.“

Sequoia, a journeyman DJ, who celebrates the heyday of tech-house with vocal samples and international grooves, is also scheduled to perform with the Meso Creso collective.

The Meso Creso collective also features DC-based Mettabbana. He started as a vinyl collector with an emphasis on world beats. He developed his ear for African beats buying records during his travels to Angola and Mozambique.

As a DJ, Mettabbana’s sets usually consist of organic global bass tracks (including his own remixes), raw analog, and urban music from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, the Balkans, and beyond. Mettabbana’s also found also experiments with a post-afrobeat form aptly called afro-tech.

Like Mettabbana, BEATrix, a DC-based DJ, weaves Balkan, Afro-Latin, and tropical bass. She is the co-founder of the Ottomania and Tropic of Bass parties at Jimmy Valentines Lonely Hearts Club. She will also be featured as part of Meso Creso’s ongoing festivities this weekend.

Other Meso Creso DJs include Zakhm, a pioneer in the Asian Underground music scene in the United States, and Boing, a “mystery DJ,” whose sounds are as culturally mercurial as the world in which we live.

We certainly still live in a generation where vinyl is recognized as a lasting medium. Electronica DJs understand, metaphorically, that within the grooves of a vinyl record are sounds that help them cultivate their own. Notably, the DJs of Meso Creso represent many parts of the world whose music was once unknown but is now getting widespread recognition. Small wonder that such an event as PEX would make a suitable home for Meso Creso. The former is, after all, an conscious experiment in self-expression through music and arts.

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