There’s this old saying about you never know what you miss till it’s gone and I’m pretty sure that we all can relate to this after over one year of pandemic lifestyle. We all have things we took for granted before Covid took it away from us, whether it’s visiting our grandparents to having a night out at a shady bar. The current crisis gives us a sense of revaluation when it comes to these aspects, sometimes with quite surprising results. Before Corona I occasionally enjoyed joint dancing and club nights but not to the degree I attended them in my twenties. I’ve gotten a bit lazy, maybe also due to the excessive supply here in Berlin and its often pretty mediocre and tourist-overrun events. I started to prefer smaller and more “real” raves outside the sticky clubs (see, I was already pretty Corona-conform before that) and on an open field where people appreciate the music and the hypnotizing aspects of the groove. I’m a bit too young to have lived through the golden days of “the second summer of love” in the late 80s but as I mentioned before I’m quite attracted to that era.

Maybe it’s because dance music culture was a more pure and honest affair back then, not exploited and commercialized in the form we witnessed it in the past decade.

Over the years I started digging for material from those days but also new electronic music that follows this spirit. I was actually more or less ready to throw myself in the DJ scene a bit more because raving on your own isn’t nearly as funny as it is with other people around you. But, well, then Covid happened and these plans got cancelled and my alter ego Burnout Sumner remained what it has mostly been in the past years: A digital DJ, Soundcloud/Bedroom producer and all that stuff I told you about before when presenting you my Daft Punk tribute mix, the ones about the Manchester rave scene and also the meditative ones I did around the first lockdowns. Each of those sets is telling its own story and I really love the form of an ongoing set to do this, rather than a Spotify playlist. It allows the songs to blend into each other, creating a blend of sound and atmosphere. In a time of declining attention spans it “forces” the audience to stick to the narrative of the set instead of skipping the parts you don’t enjoy. Just enjoy one of those weekly ambient mixes of the Deep Breakfast series and you get an idea of what I mean.

That BICEP video for Glue pretty much represents the vibe of my tapes pretty well.

When I dropped my first Imaginary Rave Tape about a year ago it was really just a way of distraction from the uncertainty of the first lockdown, thinking “Hey, why not throwing a few groovy tunes together I like?” So, I did that and it was fun mixing old funky tunes from the 70s, next to house music from my youth and some contemporary floorfillers. A month later, I did another one … and so on. Now, I just released my tenth Imaginary Rave Tape and somehow these small mixes (usually around the 90-minute mark) turned to be my personal soundtrack to this whole madness. They aren’t associated to actually parties, obviously but more celebrations of dance culture in my mind. Over the course of this little series they’ve also gotten personal and included tracks from my own musical past, whether it’s early 90s rave sounds or remixes of high energy 80s pop gems. This new edition, for example, features a pumping 2003 U.N.K.L.E rework of a song by the band South about which I recently wrote a longer piece here on NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION, since I found myself listening to their music a lot lately. The longer the pandemic lasts the more abstract these ideas of a perfect night out for me and I’d like to see these tapes as musical representatives of this longing and these fictional party fantasies.

So, If you happen to be fan of electronic music, cosmic grooves and that special vibe of joint dance celebration these Imaginary Rave Tapes might also be interesting for you. Compiling them and listening to them brought lots of joy and positive spirit to my life during these past twelve months and they will continue to do so (this is not the end, just a brief stop). And maybe … just maybe … in the not so distant future we will be able to turn these imaginary parties into real life moments. You’ll surely find me in the first row then.

Listen to the first ten Imaginary Rave Tapes right here (they are also up for free download) and if you’d like to dive a bit deeper into Norman’s musical cosmos you’re kindly invited to follow Burnout Sumner on Instagram.