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Memories of Mutual Dreaming

Sustain-Release co-founder Aurora Halal runs through her top nostalgic moments from her event series and record label Mutual Dreaming

This September a new, experimental music festival, Sustain Release, comes to New York. Showcasing the cream of the crop in dance music alongside emerging artists about to break, we've got a seven-part special today going in deep with the creators – get up to speed here.

If you rewind back a few years in NYC, to when the nightlife renaissance here really started picking up speed, there was a gap in the city needing to be filled. The proper clubs, lounge bars, and large-scale polished warehouse and loft 'dos were plenty of fun for the majority of seasoned clubbers, but what about the burgeoning freaky outskirts of this already fringe movement? This exceptionally creative hinterland (mostly stationed in Bushwick) was approaching dance music from a DIY perspective, and Aurora Halal's Mutual Dreaming parties provided a necessary home and safe haven for this nascent crew to experiment, exist, and wild out...and still does today. Everything from cosmic disco, Minimal Wave, analog experimentation, Drexicyan electro, and especially house and techno were breathing new life.  Due to her visual arts background, Aurora has an impeccable gift for lineup curation as well as transforming venues through lighting, video, fog machines, and other tools that create dizzying immersive spaces in which to best leave your inhibitions behind and soak up the music and vibe. All these components come together to create these otherworldly moments and experiences, that are as fun as they are powerful, and that is the essence of what Mutual Dreaming is to me. – Zara Wladawsky

Halloween 2011 with Traxx, Vidrio, Steve Summers, Ron Morelli, Lori Napoleon

Aurora Halal: Mutual Dreaming started in 2010 with a run of great loft parties at a beat up all-ages DIY space Shea Stadium that sort of felt like a club house. A year in, we made the move to 285, a big square warehouse with 300 capacity, for a Halloween party with TraxxRon MorelliVidrio (from Detroit's Ultradyne), Steve Summers, and Lori Napoleon. It was raining, and soaked revelers with costumes poured in until it was wall-to-wall packed. Working with a Brooklyn public access show ESPTV, we filmed the audience live, processed it through primitive video mixers, and projected it onto the walls, people would look up and see themselves (looking insane), and dance even more.  Traxx DJ'd from a conference table, shaking wildly, looking like he was being electrocuted. It was the second time I had him at one of my parties, and I remembered his speech from the end of the first one about what we were going through together as "Mutual Dreamers": "flying dreams, falling dreams, car crashing dreams..." It was very intense!  Also, one attendee was dressed as a dead Gaddafi, and the week after I spotted a missed connection poster for them on the street. 

Video flier for a Sex Tags Mania party made from footage of Halloween.

Dez Andrés, March 1, 2013

Aurora Halal: Andres played one of the most astonishing, powerful sets that we had ever put on, scratching so well, talking on the mic about his favorite tracks, and blending in Kraftwerk many times. It was the first big party that I set up a parachute installation for, and when I mentioned it in advance, he asked “People gonna be parachuting??”

Container, November 2013 with Joe Hart of World Unknown, DUST & Jan Woo

Aurora Halal: Its great to see guys freak dancing to Container. 

Aurora Halal plays the main stage of the Sustain-Release Festival Sunday September 14th at 3am