On their debut EP, the multi-instrumental collective Mèraque brings contemporary electronica together with traditional sounds from the Balkans and the Middle East. Their Symbiosis EP features a dynamic mix of compositions where danceable rhythms, lyrical melodies and dreamy soundscapes conjoin.
Rhythms are reminiscent of typical Balkan grooves, which are embodied by the djembe, tapan and darbuka. All this is served on a bed of electronic elements, which provide extra punch and danceability. In addition to three instrumental tracks, the song “Zweef” contains Turkish lyrics. “Zweef” is about everyday wonder: how you can lose it, but also how to find it again. The mysterious intro and rippling rhythm evolve into a powerful track that leads to introspection.
The cover artwork is painted by Helena Arturaleza and is called “Dancing Birds”. It symbolizes the symbiosis between the band members of Mèraque and their different musical influences of both folk and electronic music. Remixes are provided by Bliz Nochi (DE), Alaix Pulse (FR) and Soul Safari (NL).
RELEASED December 8, 2022
// RECORD LABEL: KROOKS RECORDS // PUBLISHER: THE MISSING SYNC X KROOKS // DISTRIBUTOR: THE ORCHARD // ARTWORK: Helena Arturaleza // MASTERING: Noraj Cue
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BALKAN BEATS NIGHTS
During a live performance of Carlama Orkestar, in between the powerful saxophone harmonies and percussion grooves, Mèraque’s founders, Jorick and Martin, met for the first time. At the time they had no idea what a huge role and impact it would later have in how they realize some of their musical directions. They continued visiting other genre-related gigs, to find the right inspiration for their own compositions. A major influential moment was experiencing Balkan Beats in clubs like Melkweg Amsterdam and Aknathon, where they experienced the integration of world music, percussion and vocals with deep electronic productions as done by DJ Tommi and Raromski. With their project Mèraque, Jorick and Martin ended up bringing those elements, among some other musical wind directions, together on stage and in the studio.
Folklore consists of traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth. In our Western society, it is harder to maintain those traditions in music nowadays. One of the ways how Mèraque keeps traditions alive is to apply them in a contemporary setting: mixing modern and traditional influences together. Artist Filip Petkovski is an inspirational example: he used traditional Macedonian folkloric customs to address current social themes. Through his exhibition “Vita”, he critiques the objectification of women’s bodies and the complexity of human emotion. Movie directed by: Filip Petkovski.
There are multiple bands from the Balkans and Orient who combined folk music with electronic beats. One of them is Oratnitza. They created an original sound by using typical Bulgarian vocal choirs, woodwind instruments and percussion on a bed of slow beats. By adding the didgeridoo, they created something really unique, never heard before in modern music. These trailblazing combinations and journeys of experimentation inspired Mèraque to explore their own paths in a much broader way in both electronic and folkloric music.
Through the journey of creating their EP, Mèraque was inspired by the colorful paintings of Helena Arturaleza. Her work is characterized by spirituality and nature, also known as Visionary art. This art form inspires a worldwide movement, which brings a deeper understanding of life communicated through images. Her paintings are like mirrors, reflecting insight. The artworks are a reminder of how beautiful life actually is. Mèraque’s cover artwork “Dancing Birds” is a painting created by Helena and will be released on December 8. The Artwork that you see here, is “Eternal Sunset” (Acrylics and oils on canvas) and is inspired by one of the sunsets Helena experienced in Costa Rica.