Like many art collectives, Uniting Souls was born out of the need to accommodate a shared vision around a growing group of friends and artists. Originating in San Francisco, it was founded by Ramiro Gutierrez and Michael Tello in 1997, and expanded to Los Angeles and Seattle in 2000. With a roster of 15 resident DJs, as well as its booking of well-respected touring DJs and musicians such as Doc Martin, Mark Farina, King Britt, Marques Wyatt, DJ Buck, LTJ Bukem, Perry Farrell, and Soulstice, Uniting Souls has contributed to setting standards as to what the Seattle electronic music community has to offer on a local and international level. It is because of organizations like Uniting Souls that Seattle is rapidly becoming a favorite stop among touring electronic musicians.

Upon meeting Ramiro Gutierrez, with his soft-spoken and articulate demeanor, it doesn't take long for me to pick up on how his love for what he does as the events director for Uniting Souls directly reflects on the quality of its events. With monthly, weekly, and quarterly parties such as Life, Sound Textures, Gravitate, Refokus, and Sounds of OM, Gutierrez is trying to chip away at what people's misconceptions of dance culture might be about. "My favorite thing is when someone at the end of the night thanks me and says that they didn't even know that a community like this even existed," Gutierrez says enthusiastically. "I soon realized that I had like-minded friends that extended all over the world."

With e-mail, cell phones, cheap flights, and declining costs in music production, and the explosion of information technology, the face of the global music community is rapidly changing, but it is collectives like Uniting Souls that are evolving right alongside to help define and retain humanness in the often impersonal world we've created. NICOLAE WHITE