Music has always been an important thing in cafes, restaurants and coffee bars. And Caffenation is no exception to it.
That's why we decided to bring our music to the people on this new Radio channel CAFFENATION RADIO.
When founding Caffenation in 2003 I was very fanatic about HIFI equipment with vinyl records or CD's on hand.
Very soon we discovered that playing vinyl and making coffee was not the easiest of combo's, so after one year of jumping record needles/arms we made the switch to only a (NAD) CD player music. The amplifier was a separate pre and end from Rotel, the speakers made by Wharfedale, later I bought Piega speakers.
Because we used the same cabinet for discs and equipment, as well as for our espresso machine to stand on, it was our head barista's task to fill up the room with tunes. Yes, there was a big difference in musical preferences among all baristas but everyone was pretty fanatic. For every occasion they were able to change the music style to stay in sync with the atmosphere at that moment. Simply said: in terms of song selection and volume, a Monday morning sounded very different from a Saturday afternoon.
During our Hopland years Bert and I were mostly in charge of the music selection as we were making most of the coffees. Luckily, at that time, we were also the most fanatic music lovers known in coffee town. I even had a yearly top 10 record of the year-post, when I started blogging all my coffee adventures in 2008. Not specifically new releases but just the ones we discovered and played that year. Let me give you the winners from 2008 till 2015:
2008: Jacques Dutronc, Jacques Dutronc (at Disques Vogues, 1966)
2009: Mulatu Astatke/The Heliocentrics: Inspiration Information (2009 on Strut)
Ethio Jazz Hybrid, Hypnotic beats, wicked breaks and a touch of Addis Ghetto funk.
2010: Fela Kuti: Box Set1. Favourite track : Alagbon Close
2011: Best of Mainstream CD, called The Message. Wicked Jazz Funky fat bass groovy horns kinky keys. Soul Makossa is magic!
2012: Jack White: Blunderbuss. This genius sounds like a Jimmy Page/Robert Plant kind of hybrid and back at full force with this epic album.
It's funky, soulful, bluesy, romantic and aggressive at the same time. It's melodic and funny, very acoustic, feminine and with touches of country and garage rock.
2013: Sixto Rodriguez : Searching for Sugar Man (Soundtrack '71). Rodriguez sounds like Bob Dylan meets Henri Mancini meets Neil Diamond meets Johnny Cash. The lyrics are incredible, his voice as sweet as honey, the music poetic, exotic, minimal, vulnerable and very addictive.
2014: The War on Drugs : Lost in the dream. This CD won dozens of prices this year, and with reason. It reminds us at the young Springsteen and some Pink Floyd and goes on where Phosphorescent left us with Muchacho in 2013. Addictive rhythms, mysterious voices, brilliant composing, good lyrics. Lost in the Dream has it all.
In 2015 we launched Caffenation Amsterdam and Bert and me went into separate ways, also musically. While I wasn't in music control any longer, he became even more fanatic and underground, ending up in a totally different top 5 for both bars, with these two as favourite records of the year:
Caffenation Antwerp: The Mattson 2: Feeling Hands
Caffenation Amsterdam: Coxsone’s music: the first recordings of sir Coxsone the downbeat 1960-63 on Souljazz records.
So a bit more Jazzy tunes in the list on 1. We probably played more Jazz than anything else, certainly in the early Hopland years, but the list of good music was so long.... and also we liked making fun and most Jazz was often way too serious.
What happened after 2015? Well, new baristas brought new music into the bars, spotify took over and music selection felt less important than it used to.
Until now. Many years ago our graphic designer Patrick already suggested starting an online radio channel or playlists but the time was never ripe. Up to this point where our roaster and music lover Giel picked up the idea again and really went for it. Insert CAFFENATION RADIO.
The basic idea is that every month one of the Caffenation people presents you with a playlist of coffee bar tunes. It's not necessarily their favorite music, but good stuff they want to share with the world. Very playable music for (espresso) bars on any given day. All music from every playlist will also go into our shuffle played Radio station to offer you endless Caffenation infused musical atmospheres.
If you are a music lover yourself and want to check out our project: search Caffenation Radio on Spotify or Apple Music and enjoy with or without your favorite cup of Joe on hand. Cheers. Rob
(the launch is planned on February 14th)