The number-one thing to know about me is that I self-identify as a wave music journalist.
So, when I was asked to write a travelogue about wave music, I was so excited. Truly. I was.
I clocked over 26,000 miles while chasing wave this year. I went full insane person. I’ve travelled locally; I’ve travelled internationally. I even went to my least favorite place in the world—NYC—more than once, all for wave.
I’ve asked over thirty people what wave meant to them, just so that I might have a chance to fully understand this beautiful, magical thing that united hundreds of strangers from the Internet since ~2013.
Yet, for some reason, I struggled with writing this piece.
Check out some NYC vibes, ft. Djedi, Nick Neutronz, SBU, Wevlth & Barnacle Boi:
I realized that I struggled with writing this piece because It’s impossible to capture the magic that permeates the spaces that which the wave community occupies–be it the front room of a club during one of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, or on the living room floor of someone’s home the day after a small “homies-only” event somewhere in Colorado.
It doesn’t matter where the wave crew is settled in, there’s always a sort of magic that inhabits the space. It’s special. It’s transformative–healing, even.
It’s impossible to describe.
“Sounds of the Homies” AKA Wave @ The Black Box – Denver, CO.
Some may try to capture wave’s magic in words…
Alessio Anesi’s “Last Night Wave Saved My Life”, published via FUXWITHIT in April, was a heartfelt account of Liquid Ritual’s “Conference” that resonated with me a lot.
Wave honestly saved me, too.
That weekend was bigger than either of us, though.
The Liquid Ritual event was a historic moment that truly set the stage for the rest of the year, which was filled with huge firsts for the wave scene: the first-ever “Wave Stage” at a festival in St. Petersburg, Florida, this summer; the first time wave music had its very own showcase at the Amsterdam Dance Event in October; the successful launch of the first North American wave music festival in December.
That “Conference” was a moment where the international wave community came together to support each other in a big way, in the middle of what was still a literal world health crisis. People flew in from Australia—from California—from Germany—from Holland—from everywhere, it seemed.
It didn’t matter how far away London was because this “Conference” was basically a family reunion for us. There were friends who have been connected for years who met “IRL” for the very first time at this event. There were strangers who made lifelong bonds at this event… and every iteration in between.
The community saw a chance to connect after almost two years of disconnect, and took it.
Was it a risky move? To travel internationally during a pandemic?
That’s for you to judge.
But for us? It was a simple choice.
We needed our family, so we went.
The “Conference” Announcement That Started It All…
Here’s a final, fun fact about the Liquid Ritual “Conference” for you–
That “Conference” was never supposed to be a full weekend event.
But, the lads behind Liquid Ritual saw how much this event meant to the scene, and pulled together a successful two-day event in record time. It’s honestly because of Liquid Ritual and this event that things like Pantheon, North America’s first-ever wave festival, were possible this year. They showed the scene what was possible, even with off-the-cuff planning.
Liquid Ritual showed the world that when the wave community comes together, literally anything can happen.
Check out the Liquid Ritual “Conference” recap video on YouTube:
I suppose maybe that’s the magic of the wave community—the possibility.
The raw creative power. The genuine mutual support.
There is no group of people out there that came together because of love, and continue to exist because of that love. After all, the community exists because of a shared love of the “melodic bass music” it creates…and a love for each other.
As far as a travelogue goes—
Wave music brought me all around the western world this year.
What I learned in all of these travels is that your family isn’t who you’re related to, but who you relate to.
Family is who sees you when you feel like an outcast and welcomes you into the fray. It’s the people who will wait for you in the rain when your phone is dead so that you don’t fumble around a foreign city in the dark–the people who will get you out of bed in the morning because they know what’s most important to you–the people who know exactly what you need to hear, when you need to hear it–the people whose mere presence is all it takes to feel less alone.
These are the kind of people I found among the wave scene.
Wave music isn’t so much about the reese bass, but about the community of people obsessed with the reese bass.
Like Just Connor said to me last year–
Wave music is all about “homies supporting homies”.
That’s the point of all of this.
These are the lessons I carry with me.
You made it this far — so do you want to know a secret?
I used to be afraid of flying.
Not any more, though.
Now I do the same thing on every flight: just as we begin to taxi away from the gate and I feel my heart sink into my stomach… and I put on a vibe.digital podcast.
I close my eyes, and remember the most important thing—I’m going to be okay.
After all, once this flight is over, I know I’m going to be surrounded by my family. I’m going to be fully immersed in love–once again made whole, as if by magic.
Ambur Masen is a wave music journalist writing with MendoWerks Magazine, Lightwood, and others. She is a Hudson Valley local who loves nothing more than driving up and down the local highways with her windows down, blasting the latest & greatest from the electronic underground. Find more about her work in the wave scene at www.breakingwaves.quest & more of her writing at www.amburmasen.com. Connect with the author on Twitter.