Brussels Highlights w/ Altinbas

Rapidly rising as a prominent figure in Brussels' thriving electronic music landscape, Altinbas has made a name for himself through his role as a resident DJ at Fuse and a producer avidly releasing on labels like Token Records, SK11 and Non Series. The Turkish Belgian artist, despite a packed touring itinerary across Europe's clubbing hotspots, has gladly set aside time for Listen Festival, offering his perspectives on music and discussing his personal highlights from Brussels, the city where he was born and has always called home.

When we talk, Altinbas is in the midst of readying the latest offering for his personal imprint, Observer Station. Exclusively showcasing his own musical creations, the label distinguishes itself with its striking, space-themed artwork. The techno tracks he has unveiled under this label are similarly cosmic-themed and forward-thinking, embodying a deep and dubby techno style that has garnered acclaim in techno communities worldwide.

Altinbas first got in touch with music around the age of eight, learning how to play the saz, a traditional string instrument emblematic of Turkish culture. It is approximately a decade later he delved into IDM, short for Intelligent Dance Music, a subgenre that emerged in the early 1990s and is known for combining intricate rhythms with experimental soundscapes. Think of Aphex Twin, Clark, Warp Records, … Around 2013 Altinbas found himself on the dancefloor of Fuse, with Planetary Assault Systems and Psyk headlining the club. He eternally fell in love with techno music. Fast forward to a few years later, when he released on Psyk’s label Non Series, a full circle moment pivotal in Altinbas’ growing career: ‘The funny thing is that I was preparing demos to spontaneously send to Psyk, when all of the sudden I found an email in my inbox from him, requesting for demos. You can’t make that up. I was flabbergasted.’

His residency at Fuse originated from his friendship with the club’s artistic director, Steven Van Belle, formed long before Van Belle began his career in Brussels. As the founder of Voltage Festival, an innovative event held in a former electricity plant near Kortrijk, Van Belle was impressed by Altinbas' discerning techno expertise, leading to a fruitful collaboration. Altinbas counts Fuse among the pivotal contributors to the city's scene, alongside C12 or Kiosk Radio among others, crediting it with fostering the positive atmosphere prevalent in Brussels.

Reflecting on a remarkable year of releases, Altinbas expresses his gratitude for the warmth and recognition he's received from the global techno community. His recent visit to Berlin served as a poignant reminder of the enthusiasm surrounding his work. Describing his experience, he shares, ‘I was at Berghain and it felt surreal to hear almost every DJ spinning a track of mine. Even when I stepped out for a few hours, friends kept sending me audio snippets of my tracks being played. Experiencing your own creation on the Berghain sound system is incredible. The nerd in me can't help but spring into action, moving around to attentively listen to the different layers of the music from multiple perspectives.’

During Listen Festival, Altinbas will play at Fuse, gracing a line-up alongside living legend Blawan, KRTM and Verraco. Having lived in St-Josse and Schaarbeek for all his life, Altinbas is a real connoisseur of our capital city. For Listen Festival he exclusively selects a few of his

Nature: Parc Josaphat

Parc Josaphat, nestled in the heart of Schaarbeek, is a picturesque urban oasis. This charming park is renowned for its beautifully landscaped gardens, winding paths, and serene ponds. The park dates back to the late 19th century and was designed in an English landscape style, a popular trend of that era, and has since become a cherished green space in the city.

Altinbas: ‘I used to spend my high school lunch breaks in Parc Josaphat, or linger there before heading home. Now, I still often visit, just for a walk, seeking some peace and quiet. Its unique topography – where you feel like you're descending into another world – is what I love most about it. Thanks to its design, the park truly stands as a world unto itself.’

Music: Fuse

Fuse is one of the longest running nightclubs in Belgium, renowned as a cornerstone of the global electronic music scene. Situated in the Marolles district of Brussels, Fuse opened its doors in 1994 and has since maintained every bit of its original spirit.

Altinbas: ‘I discovered my passion for techno at Fuse, which set me on a journey that has shaped who I am today. Fuse strikes the perfect balance, featuring a mix of well-known artists, underground legends, and emerging talents. I recently experienced a night on the dance floor curated by DVS1, where I had the chance to hear American DJ Traxx perform in Fuse's upstairs Motion Room. His set was mind-blowing – he's such a uniquely talented and incredibly skilled DJ.’

Food: Nona Pasta 

Nona Pasta, located on Vlaamse Steenweg in Brussels, presents a seasonally changing menu, complete with weekly new suggestions. The restaurant is famed for its classic pasta dishes such as pasta amatriciana, paccheri with pesto, and spaghetti al ragu, alongside specialities - dishes with bold and adventurous combinations.

Altinbas: ‘Nona Pasta is a safe bet, always delicious. My girlfriend is French-Italian and she loves it as well. If you have the Italian stamp of approval, you must know what you’re doing, right? When I have friends in town, I often take them there. By the way, a Nona visit goes very well together with a blond beer at Chez Lutgarde a bit further down the street.’ 

Hidden Gem: Metropolis

Metropolis is an underground gathering of devoted techno enthusiasts on Sunday afternoons in Brussels, that has become one of the most talked-about parties in the city lately. 

Altinbas: ‘I was part of the founding team of the Metropolis party, but had to step back from organizing due to time constraints. Hosted by Souleiman and Sonhan, two incredibly passionate and talented DJs, the event is known for creating a distinctive atmosphere—a top recommendation for a unique clubbing experience on a Sunday afternoon. Metropolis takes great care in every aspect, from the sound system to the lighting, and, of course, the line-ups.’

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