The best Satellite Voices of 2014

Crisscross the globe with our top on-the-ground reads from international writers

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Thai anti-government protesters in BangkokSpike Morris

Satellite Voices is our rolling column of field reports from all over the world – and this year, our global stable of writers didn’t disappoint. They went deep into Osaka’s forests to look for Japan’s hidden psytrance raves; discovered a blossoming of Ukrainian art in the unlikeliest of protest sites and spoke to the young Thais propelling the pro-democracy movement forward.

FROM CHICAGO TO BELGRADE: HOW FOOTWORK TRAVELLED THE WORLD

You don’t expect an obscure form of American house to leapfrog to the former Yugoslav Republic, but that’s exactly what happened with the Teklife crew. The trans-national footwork collective is proof that music crosses all kinds of boundaries – and especially national ones.

THAI YOUTH IN REVOLT

At the height of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement in February, almost a million people poured into the streets and shut down the capital of Bangkok. But unlike the unrest of old, this wasn’t about class warfare or political infighting – according to young Thais, this was a battle for the heart of the country. 

ETHIOPIA'S RISING ELECTRONIC PRODUCERS FIND THEIR VOICE

Where do you go to find the most exciting producers in the world? Try the outer fringes of Addis Ababa. Ethiopia’s crew of rising electronic musicians melt and mould tribal beats, jazz and UKG garage into a sound all their own. All they need is Ableton, a creaky PC and a mobile phone to spread the message. 

SAN FRANCISCO, GET OFF THE GOOGLE BUS AND JOIN US!

Upscale Silicon Valley types moving into a historically anti-establishment city? Yeah, there were always going to be problems. Housing rights activist Erin McElroy explains why Glassholes and gentrifiers need to shake off their apathy and join the locals to save San Francisco.

INSIDE JAPAN'S WILD PSYCH RAVES

Want to dance in a forest to unrelenting performance-noise psytrance? Of course you do. We took a trip to Osaka’s no-holds-barred mountain raves, where anything goes and the only things separating you from a weekend of nonstop partying are acres of rice fields and woodland wilderness. 

UKRAINE'S ART UPRISING

The Euromaidan didn't just topple Yanukovych’s government regime – it also led to a flowering of protest art. Even as police trained their guns on protesters, politicised young artists made the Maidan their second home, creating a new wave of art that demanded change in a voice all its own.

GLASGOW RECOVERS THE DAY AFTER INDYREF

While young Scots creatives like Eclair Fifi and Numbers co-founder Richard Chater threw their lot in with breaking away from the UK, voters opted to stay in the union. As the dust settled on the Scottish independence referendum, we hit the streets of Glasgow to find out how happy Scots were to stay in the union.

BATHSALTS: A DRAG SHOW FOR FUCK-UPS

For States of Independence, Chez Deep member Colin Self took us into the dizzy underground depths of BathSalts, New York’s premiere drag night – a club show full of toothless queens, queer debutantes and deliberately bad wigs.

PROTESTERS IN MEXICO VOW TO FIGHT ON

After 43 student protesters disappeared following an altercation with police, many demanded that corrupt local politicians take the blame. But as the days stretched into weeks, Mexicans all over the country rose up in fury.

THE ARTISTS TAKING ON GENTRIFICATION IN SOUTH AFRICA

In the 70s, over 60,000 South Africans were forcibly removed from their homes in District Six, an inner-city area of Cape Town. 50 years on, post-apartheid developers are trying to bulldoze the empty homes to make way for a sanitised tourist-friendly ‘arts hub’ – but not if a fierce collective of local artists have their way.

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