Moved to Montreal in 2009 to pursue a career in electronic music, Ohm Hourani is ready for his time in the sun. The Jordanian-born DJ/producer is the founder of Montreal’s newest record label, Anoma, which launched with a bang this past weekend as the vinyl-exclusive collective of electronic music artists, curated by Hourani, took over the outdoor decks of Piknic Elektronic on a sun-filled Sunday afternoon.
It was perfect weather for dancing underneath Alexander Calder’s iconic L’Homme at Parc Jean-Drapeau, and the thousands who attended were treated with a jazzy and upbeat opening set by Parisian party couple Alex and Laetitia Katapult. This was the second appearance at Piknic Electronik for the peppy representatives of their famous Katapult parties and Karat record labels, and they set the bar high for the rest of the afternoon with a saucy set of house music interwoven with some fresh mini-tech beats.
Hourani dazzled the crowd with his unique brand of euphoric minimalism in his second Piknic Electronic appearance. It’s been a busy month for the Plateau-based DJ/producer, whose recent performances at EM15/MUTEK and Stereo Afterhours have been drawing excited praise amongst audiophiles familiar with the Montreal electronic music scene. A couple of tracks from his folkloric I-ON project which premiered outdoors at the Quartier des Spectacles during EM15 found their way into the Piknic set, much to the delight of the multi-ethnic crowd.
Hourani’s infectious smile seemed to peak just before the end of his set as the needle found the wax of Anoma’s first EP release, Triple X/She’s Gone, a sinfully groovy collaboration between the label’s founder and Dutch funk master San Proper. The man known affectionately as Dr. Beat lends his acid tongue to both tracks, but it’s the A-side which really stood out as a sure fire crowd-killer.
Rounding out the event was psychedelic dub house duo Joan Costes and Adrien de Maublanc, better known as French outfit Masomenos. The playful Parisians finished up a North American mini-tour which also saw them play long-awaited sets in Miami and New York. The tempo picked up as the sun began to fall behind the Montreal skyline, and the dance floor tight-roped along with the knee-bending, head-bobbing house riffs of the painfully good-looking couple until close.
The Anoma crew found their way to the expansive and newly renovated and reopened StereoBar for the club’s resurrected Les Beaux Dimanches nights, proving that there is no rest for the wicked. It’s a welcome addition to the city’s 10-to-3 club scene, with a brand new sound system that is matched only by the legendary afterhours a couple of floors above. An excellent end to a jam-packed weekend for music lovers.
Christopher Sykes is a Montréal-based freelance writer, editor and translator.
Photo by Leif Tiltins