Babel Pressed is a electronic record label and publication based in Vancouver British Colombia. The Printed & Pressed series, documents artists and their relationships to the communities they shape.Our inaugural release contains two retrospective original tracks and accompanying remixes from two members of the electronic music collective “Lighta Sound; Taal Mala and Michael Red.The publication contains first hand accounts from members Jamie Abugov and Andrew Ryce about the early days of” Lighta”, and a defining time in Vancouver’s electronic music community. Artwork contributions for the publication aswell as the music video were created by Endtask.
In Vancouver during the mid 00’s, there were a handful of artists that played a central role in the development of underground dance music in the city. One of the most notable groups was Lighta! Sound.
Lighta! Sound and its crew of artists are largely credited with bringing dubstep and UK bass music into Vancouver’s consciousness. Hugely influential to the fabric of dance music in the city, they are at the heart of a dynamic community built on inclusion and respect. Celebrating their tenth year in 2015, they remain firmly rooted in many facets of Western Canada’s electronic music subculture.
A core member of Lighta!, Taal Mala is known for his precise, high tempo DJ sets and bold, hardware influenced production style. He is a major highlight at vital west coast festivals Bass Coast and Shambhala, events the Lighta! crew has had a pivotal role in shaping. Taal Mala has previously released tracks on labels such as Modern Math, King Deluxe, 10Pin and Aufect Recordings.
The founding member of Lighta!, Michael Red also runs his own record label, Low Indigo, from his home in British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. Also a late night event in Vancouver under the same name, it serves as a platform for carefully crafted, left field electronic music. Michael has released music on labels such as New Kanada, Modern Math, Low Indigo and South Fork Sound. He has also had a recurring curatorial role at Vancouver’s New Forms Festival.
The Babel Printed & Pressed series documents artists and their relationships to the communities they shape. Our inaugural release contains two retrospective original tracks and accompanying remixes from Taal Mala and Michael Red. The following pages contain first hand accounts from the early days of Lighta! and this defining time in Vancouver from community members Jamie Abugov and Andrew Ryce.
I was one of those people who got into dance music well before I was old enough to go out. At first I had very little idea of what went on in Vancouver, but once I started digging, I found a wealth of parties and shows going down at strange addresses in East Vancouver. These were places I had never heard of, in areas I would never venture out to, which held a mysterious allure for a young kid who didn’t even realize there were other people who liked this kind of music in his hometown. And there was one common word associated with most of these gigs—Lighta!, the insignia of a crew who would come to have an enormous effect not only on me but on the wider musical culture of Vancouver itself.Lighta! place as much emphasis on the talent and worth of the crew themselves as they do on bringing in big names from across the ocean. Their approach taught me that bassweight was a global thing.
It showed me me that these dark, urban energies could reverberate just as powerfully in the back alleys of my own city as they could in London or Berlin. They proved that community was important even in the internet age, and that you didn’t always need to have a big headliner to have a big impact—that sometimes, all you need is family. Most importantly, however, Lighta! laid the groundwork for a stunning underground culture in Vancouver that learned from the mistakes of a generation past. They used that knowledge to thrive in a difficult, often hostile climate that still values greed, money and gentrification over the vitality of art and human connection, fostering a hard-fought spirit that has come to define their city. Lighta! have never gotten the full credit or international recognition they deserve, but their legacy is the Vancouver that exists now: a bustling network of parties,
crews and DIY spaces that play host to some of the world’s most exciting dance music. It’s difficult to look at the world-renowned scene exploding in the city right now and not think back to classic Lighta! parties—nights where you might have heard Michael Red dipping into cerebral dubstep, Self Evident letting amen breaks loose and Taal Mala blazing through footwork tracks all in the same night. And as each member of the group embarks down their own increasingly individual paths, listen carefully to the din of underground parties that stretches through Chinatown, Strathcona and the Downtown Eastside in 2015 and you’ll hear Lighta!—not only in the echoes of their past glories but in glimpses of Vancouver’s future, too.
— Andrew Ryce,
— Andrew Ryce,