Animaux | UK

Jamie XX’s ‘In Colour’ tour – Hackney and back again [Luxembourg]

Oct
23

Warming a chilly autumnal evening, Jamie xx visits Den Atelier in Luxembourg. His “In Colour” tour is elegantly designed to offer the world a taste of the UK’s clubbing scene and its heritage, as well as to challenge first impressions by exploring the vast and varied sound of his debut album. Jamie xx offered a surprisingly heavy set to a very demanding audience, occasionally dipping into the mellow sounds of “In Colour” that have so pleasantly painted our summers.

Jamie XX

Just as days shorten rapidly and the October skies turn grey, suddenly invaded by uninvited clouds, Jon Rust opened lulling the crowd into a colourful flashback, bathing the room in countless shades of blue, red, and green. He welcomed the swelling crowd with sounds reminiscent of summer and spring. His opening set leaped from mellow ambient tunes to house bangers, before eventually introducing the audience to the characteristically rich basslines that thump in London clubs every weekend.

Acclaimed by the impatient pack of 800, Jamie xx cheekily announces his arrival on stage with his own “Stranger In a Room” and quickly follows with Radiohead’s ethereal “Everything In It’s Right Place” to produce a misty, tense atmosphere. The haze quickly dissipates, however, as the unsuspecting mob was thrust deep into what was to become the body of Jamie’s performance: an all-round guided tour of the unique sounds of British clubs. A tour regularly punctuated by an encompassing selection of Jamie’s own repertoire, exploring the malleability of the tunes that we have become so accustomed to hear since “In Colour”’s release in late May.

Throughout the night, Jamie xx provided a hand-picked selection of the sounds that define British nightlife steering the set through years of morphing musical realities, meshing UK garage with house, grime, and bass-heavy techno. All along the way, the set highlighted similarities between Jamie’s production and the varied genres that were touched. With imposing delicacy, the crowd was teased into appreciating the versatility, depth and complexities of Jamie’s top-charters. Complexities which can often go unnoticed given the ease with which the album flows from open to close, and the seemingly simple sounds that permeate every track, from “Gosh” to “Girl”.

As the bass subsided a little, leaving scope for more melodic genres, the room was again submerged in a colourful haze and tracks thought to be known inside out revealed new dimensions. Introduced by tribal percussions and jungle beats, and followed by the hottest grime tune of the night, the single “All Under One Roof Raving” morphed into a distinct yet identical version of itself, acquiring a new location in the spectrum of electronic music. “I Know-How There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” was announced by The Persuasions’s 1972 tune that it samples, highlighting strong R&B vibes otherwise muted by more prominent features of the track. After flirting briefly with trap, dub finally fades over the tail of Popcaan and Young Thug’s lines: the beginning of the end.

Jamie xx leaves the stage after engulfing the room with Girl’s warm flow. Like his album, this fantastic musical journey could only have ended with an ode to the cradle of Jamie’s unique and irresistible sound.

Animaux: Apéritif LIVE Now!

Sep
12

Vous êtes tous des Animaux.

Apéritif is aimed to provide an intimate setting, where you can kick back, listen to some quality music and taste some amazing cocktails

This week its Endeser all night long! We start at 9 and finish late.

Enjoy!

Preview: The Garden Party

Aug
20

The Garden Party returns to Leeds for its 10th rendition on 29th of August with two days packed of great artists and amazing food! This bank holiday weekend they are taking over The Tetley (Hunslet Road, LS10 1JQ Leeds) 10 AM – 11 PM on both days with afterparties running afterwards.

The Garden Party is offering a very impressive and wide array of artists spanning the two days – Roisin Murphy, Todd Terje, Joy Orbison, Âme and Grandmaster Flash to name a few.

As well as music they are reaching out to independent food and beverage sellers for the highest quality grub and drink – FISH& / BOOZY Q BBQ / NORTHERN BLOC / BÁNH MÌ BOOTH / PIZZA FELLA / RŌLA WALA / SELA / CRAFT BEER BAR / COCKTAIL SHACK.

With club and promoter partners such as Warehouse Project, Canal Mills, Mono_Cult, and KMAH Radio among others, the quality is assured as the best the North has to offer come together for a fantastic two-day party. See you there!

ROISIN MURPHY / LITTLE DRAGON / TALIB KWELI / TODD TERJE / SOUL II SOUL / KERRI CHANDLER / JOHN TALABOT / JULIO BASHMORE / JOY ORBISON /  BLACK COFFEE / HEIDI / GRANDMASTER FLASH / ÂME / BICEP / REDLIGHT / PATRICK TOPPING / B.TRAITS / MR SCRUFF / CRAIG CHARLES / SHADOW CHILD / PAUL WOOLFORD / CHRIS LORENZO / FATIMA & THE EGLO BAND / PREDITAH / ROMARE / PBR STREETGANG / CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM / FUTUREBOOGIE / ADY SULEIMAN / ERRORS / DUTCH UNCLES / BAMBOOMAN / GALAXIANS / HONNE / LONELADY / HAELOS / FORMATION / BERNARD AND EDITH / WHILK AND MISKY / ARKIVE / DISKO KID & TOBIAS / PEOPLE GET REAL / KRYSKO & GREG LORD / THE SONIC EMPORIUM / GRAINGER / STE ROBERTS / CHRISTIAN MAIDEN / OLI PATTEN / SIAN BENNETT

More information & tickets via www.thegardenpartyleeds.com

We chat up Beatsofreen about his new Dimensions EP

Jun
26

“The process of Bloom started with the idea that the world we perceive is a reflection of what’s inside us, subconsciously or not. It is about coming out of your shell, about expanding into the space around you. We just have to take the walls down, and bloom.” – Joanna Borromeo

Born and raised in The Netherlands, producer Beatsofreen has gained major attention by releasing his first well-received beattape “Future Memories” back in 2011 at the age of 17.

After a successful collaboration (Global Soul EP) with Medaforacle (USA), he was signed to the Darker Than Wax family, celebrating his new EP “Coloured Dreams” (2013), a little tribute to the late & great J Dilla. With his alter ego Stan Forebee , Beatsofreen also creates more jazz-orientated beats, and most recently landed himself a feature on Okayplayer for his remix of Flying Lotus’ ‘Siren song’.

We managed to have a quick chat with Mr. Beatsofreen as he is prepping for his newest release – “Dimensions EP”.

Mantas: Why Beatsofreen? Was the name inspired by something or was it just something you thought would be memorable to people?

Beatsofreen: The alias Beatsofreen originally comes from a Dutch pronunciation of the word schizophrenia. Given the fact that my head is musically inspired in so many different ways, I’m referring to that term by deriving Beatsofreen from schizophrenic. A friend once came up with that one and it actually never got out of my head.

Mantas: Could you shed some light for us on how the whole production game started for you?

Beatsofreen: I grew into the production thing naturally. I played a few instruments before realizing I could create beats and record instruments myself. At the time I started, I was triggered by this dude who moved to my little village, a few blocks away. We were the only two listening to hiphop in our neighbourhood back then. Imagine: green flat landscapes, farmers, mills and cows, local folk people, and two strange guys rapping and making beats together.

Mantas: Could you guide us a little through your sound? What makes the cut?

Beatsofreen: I would consider my sound as warm, organic and full with colors. With that approach I always try to create music that is surreal and imaginative.

Mantas: Who inspires you? Flying Lotus is the obvious answer, but do you have any hidden gems?

Beatsofreen: Most of the inspiration comes from nature and other experiences than music at the moment. I’m inspired by not too many artists. But to name a few: Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Ben Frost, Sigur Ros, Thom Yorke.

Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen at a gig?

Beatsofreen: That was at the solo debut release party of Perquisite, former half of the duo Pete Philly and Perquisite, a few years ago. Live band went crazy on stage, solo’s and everything. I don’t know what happened, but in the middle of a massive jam, his self-build setup broke in pieces and half of his gear fell off stage. The other band members didn’t even notice and went on playing.

Beatsofreen’s official first single ‘Bloom’ of his upcoming ‘Dimensions EP’ is out now on electronic music label Darker Than Wax. The track features Canadian songwriter / vocalist Joanna Borromeo. You can stream and download it for free below:

Stream Four Tet’s new album “Morning/Evening”

Jun
22

Four Tet has announced a new album, Morning/Evening. The album is just two tracks, one titled “Morning” and the other “Evening”, each approximately 20 minutes in length. The album was produced between August 2014 and February 2015, according to a small note  on bandcamp.

This music was created on a laptop computer using the Ableton Live software to control and mix VST synthesizers and manipulations of found audio recordings. – Kieran Hebden

You can stream it and download it below. Physical copies of the album will be available on July 10th.

 

Love Saves The Day Festival Preview

Feb
20

Love Saves The Day is back for its fourth year at Eastville Park in Bristol on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th of May 2015 and is bigger than ever before. Seriously, there are loads of class acts this year across eight stages and people are well excited about it. Hannah, a real life Bristolian says “I’m going”. Good for you, Hannah.

DAY ONE:

Saturday will be headlined by Jessie Ware, the English Rose with the thorns still attached, giving us a lesson that British soul and R&B is still alive and well. Berlin based Âme will get us all moving while Tale Of Us bring out the emotive side of electronic music. Northerner Patrick Topping will also be bringing those summer techno vibes while elsewhere one of Bristol’s most loved, Julio Bashmore, is sure to keep the party going.

But that’s not all. Saturday will also get down and dirty. The hard-hitting, high-energy Hannah Wants will be bringing her unique style of bass-house, meanwhile the Cardiff kings, Bodhi, do what they do best by bringing the ultimate deep house. To top it all off Just Jack, the Bristol-based club and record label will have their own stage this year.

DAY TWO:

The not-so-lazy Sunday welcomes Azealia Banks to the main stage, best known for her hit “212” that everyone sings despite not knowing all the words. Straight from New York Banks brings us the best in fresh rap and hip-hop. Joining her will be the revolutionary hip-hop DJ Grandmaster Flash and the insanely cool alternative R&B singer Kelela.

Alongside the more urban sounds Day Two brings some Animaux favourites. Four Tet, Daniel Avery, Dark Sky, Joker and Ghost Culture are going to smash it, with loads of skill, stage presence and sick beats they’re bound to make Love Saves The Day a city festival with a difference.

Of course, being Bristol, Love Saves The Day have also made room for loads of great local DJs on both days. To name just a few on Saturday we get the likes of Yanis Piff, Third Son and Harry Buggé and on Sunday we are treated to Lojik, the collective Dutty Girl, and Seka. The vast range of local talent on display promises to enshrine Love Saves The Day as a festival for the people; by bringing big names while showcasing the underground Bristol scene we get the best of both worlds. Now we just have to hope it’s sunny.

Confirmed acts include:

Saturday:
Âme//Artwork//Bodhi//Christophe//Craig Richards//Crazy P//Dan Wild//Disciples//Dyed Soundorom//Felix Dickinson//George Fitzgerald//Gorgon City//GotSome//Hannah Wants//Indiana//Jessie Ware//Joel Fisher//John Barera//Julio Bashmore//K15//Kidnap Kid//Lapsley//Leon Vynehall//Maxxi Soundsystem//Patrick Topping//Rae Morris//Session Victim//Shanti Celeste//Sly One//Soundstream//Tale Of Us//Tayo//TCTS//Tom Rio//Tourist//Vaults//Waifs and Strays//Will Martin//Work It//WOZ

Sunday:
Artful Dodger//Azealia Banks//Babyhead//Barely Legal//Champion//Daniel Avery//Dark Sky//Dazee//Dismantle//Dr Meaker//Erol Alkan//EZ//Floating Points//Four Tet//Ghost Culture//Grandmaster Flash//Hodge//Joker//Jus Now//Kelela//Kiko Bun//Klose1//Loyle Carner//My Nu Leng//Newham Generals//NiceUp!Soundsystem//NYTA//Pinch//Ratking//Redlight//Shy FX//Skepta//Stormzy//Typesun//Wiley

Local DJs:
Alfresco DJs//Apex Collective//Arkist//Banoffee Pies//Billy Disney//Bodywork DJs//Cedric Maison//Co-Exist//Daffy//Dirtytalk//Dutty Girl//ELA 303//Feel The Real//Halfnaked DJs//Hannah Mulvany//Harry Bugge//Jam The Channel DJs//Jambo//Jethro Binns//Joel Fisher//Kemback//Koast//Lojik//Luke Langson//Mr. Gordo//Origins Sound//Pato//People Like Us//Psyched//Pursuit//Robin Sure//Sam Mole//Seka//Shapes//Shenk//Side A//Sip The Juice//Slowey//Soulworks DJs//Studio 89 DJs//Third Son//Thrilogy//Tomas Moor//Tristan & Jake//Unkey//Wulfpack//Yanis Piff

For more information check out http://lovesavestheday.org/

For tickets go to http://lovesavestheday.org/tickets/

Listen: Carmine Rose – Occupy Your Mind (World Premiere)

Nov
20

Carmine Rose is a journey that is being taken”, explains the Brighton-born songstress. “The destination  is still unknown but there is a certain sense of strength of character and hope for an eventful future”. And so the journey begins, with the reveal of ‘Occupy Your Mind’ – the first taste of Carmine Rose’s  forthcoming debut album ‘Naked’, out December 1st.

The track hints to a sultry and soulful trajectory for the dazzling debutante; adorned in soft keys, billowing bass and minimalist smarts. Stream it below:

While born in the UK, Carmine Rose soon relocated to a small town called Rongai, not far from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. It was there that she discovered an innate fascination with people, and the sweet escape that music provides: “the isolation [in Rongai] made music the only constant point of connection to other people’s worlds and perspectives”, she says. “It inspired me to dream…”

Musically, Carmine Rose draws on a rich heritage of R&B and pop (Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, Prince), sonically sitting alongside contemporary peers FKA Twigs and Banks. But ultimately, the singer-songwriter strives to find a sound that is uniquely her own, one that defies categorisation: “lush is a word one of my friends used to describe the sound, but it is definitely explorative in nature – there wasn’t a specific goal in mind, I just tried to design and set the scene about each moment”.

‘Occupy Your Mind’ is the first single to be lifted from debut album ‘Naked’, set for release on December 1st
.

Bestival 2014 Review

Sep
19

If there’s been one reason to wish the summer away this year, it’s the end-of-summer flock to the Isle of Wight, where sandy beaches and palm trees (!) lie at Bestival’s desert island disco. In “the best Bestival yet”, 50,000 castaways migrated to Rob & Josie da Bank’s curated giant playground for those who’ve grown up in physique, but not necessarily in mind.

Photo by Howard Melnyczuk

By Thursday’s mid-afternoon, attractions on site start opening up and it’s a dubbed day for exploration. Since music doesn’t kick off until dusk, the Bandstand, with less familiar bands, gets the biggest audience it’ll have for the rest of the weekend. Fellowship of Groove served up some afrobeat in the sun, with a sweet selection of brass (special kudos for the gorilla playing the trumpet) and a female dancer jiving for the crowd.

As the Sun goes down, the lights sparkle on and music arises. Formerly a comedy marquee, the ‘Invaders of the Future’ tent gave us Glass Animals, kicking off the evening with some kooky indie rock. Sadly, a sound-check overrunning by 45 minutes meant a honeyed but condensed set, half of which there still remained technical issues with the vocals.

The headline of the night, Beck, gathered a nicely sized crowd to the Big Top; and the American rock band gave us a ‘real show’. Musically speaking, it was a great performance, but I couldn’t help cringing at the “improv” towards the end and feeling like I’d caught a pre-rehearsed jam session. More convincing improv could be seen on Grassy Hill at the people’s Front Room, which is exactly what it sounds like, but in a tent and with musical instruments.

Photo by Dan Dennison

Friday kicked off through the temple entrance into the hand-stitched shelter of Bollywood, where Brian Shimkovitz played to laid-down onlookers a selection of his Awesome Tapes From Africa. Launching from a state of ambience, Shimkovitz shifted to merry African disco, almost completely unaware of his onlookers.

At the Red Bull Stage, the heavily bearded and hyped-up DJ Harvey introduced Harvey’s Discotheque to a smaller bunch, snail-pacing through a little-too-minimally-ambient music that occasionally teased a driving upbeat force, but sadly, failed to deliver. Repaying a visit to the Discotheque later in the evening, we caught the engagingly slower, sensually emotive side of techno from Daniel Avery, followed by the playful, future-friendly “Hippie Dance” nature of the Pachanga Boys. The duo seemed to glide from strength to strength, with a selection of dreamy house-cum-disco and enough fire to satisfy everyone’s inner pyromaniac.

Photo by Victor Frankowski

Moving to the main stage, Laura Mvula graced Bestival with charm and flair. Mvula possesses something in her nature candid enough to make the vast area feel like a small, personal plot, and her melodies seemed to encourage the gathering around the stage to dance and illustrate visible shades of love.

The energised pop mavericks tUnE-yArDs exemplified as the sun was setting just why the Big Top is notorious for its electric eclecticism. In a spacious yet intimate venue, the face of tUnE-yArDs Merrill Garbus demonstrated skill in live impulsive drum loops, polished with ukulele melodies and textured vocals. It was at the Big Top our Friday finished, catching an unexpectedly bold and brilliant show from La Roux. It’s been five years between their original appearance in 2009 and their new release; travelling through a darker realm of synthpop, Jackson’s vocals were entrancing and well worth the wait to listen to.

Photo by Dan Dennison

Saturday at Bestival is renowned for being a haven of fancy dress. The theme being Desert Island Disco, castaways donning disco ball masks and grass skirts, disco pants and leis, ambled around the arena for a jam-packed schedule of music delights. Soul-infused legend Candi Staton set the disco dynamics on the main stage for the afternoon – and then proceeded to advertise herself on Facebook and Instagram to the audience (wince).

Showing knowledge of music that exceeds his twenty young years, Karma Kid played two sets throughout Saturday, with a fresh assortment of material to paint contrasting atmospheres. The afternoon-ravers at Temple Island danced into a house-meets-disco frenzy, keeping things light and funky, rolling into a heavier atmosphere in Bollywood Field later in the night.

Gem after gem hit the Big Top on Saturday night. Plunging into the elusive air of DARKSIDE, Jaar and Harrington conquered the hearts of Bestival in what will allegedly be one of their last shows together. The signature dark and subdued lighting empowered the sultry guitar riffs and percussion gradually oozing throughout the set, disappearing off into the night as the smoke and white noise took over the stage. By the time SBTRKT came to the Big Top, the masses gathered from all directions for what turned out to be a pretty downtempo live set, with pressing vocals from the likes of Sampha protruding over beating percussions. The simplistic sound of Bonobo followed, and though technically precise, it seemed to lose its charm and spirit in the space of the tent, unlike Green’s hypnotising concerts.

Vocalist, producer, and DJ Pional was an absolute treasure on The Invaders of The Future stage, and it seemed a shame that so few people were there to witness his gentle and delicate voice sliding over soft synth and electronic goodness. With so much talent in his fibres, Pional is someone to keep a beady eye on for the looming future, until a moment of apt recognition greets him.

The most visually stunning stage, The Port, targets its audience as fans of EDM and commercial electronic music, such as the uninspiring Annie Mac, who clearly has a better publicist than innovation. It was an interesting turn of events, then, to see 1-800-Dinosaur emerge with a four to the floor and bring intelligence and intrigue to the decks, as acrobats slowly span from a crane over the crowd. Regrettably, the dreary noise of an MC slumped over the sound throughout.

Photo by Dan Dennison

My personal favourite area of Bestival, the Ambient Forest, is a true labyrinth of vibrant splashes of light and hammocks stretching between the trees. Soothing notes led us through the maze to the fairy-tale setting of the Ambient Lake, where Flying White Dots treated us to a moment of complete serenity, somehow managing to shadow out the noisy antics of the Port. Finishing with the timeless To Build a Home, Bryan Whellams ended Saturday night in an upsurge of euphoria.

Photo by Carolina Faruolo

Sunday saw The Radiophonic Workshop reunite once more in an experimental electronic fusion, drifting through the sounds of sci-fi, while the Dub Pistols played the desert island the twisted tune of rebellious skank from a handful of dub, ska, punk and a pinch of techno. Finishing our night in Bollywood, Âme stirred up a cocktail of Detroit-influenced deep house with a dash of eroticism, in a tent so crowded, sweat showered from the roof. Visible from the very parameters of the campsite, fireworks bedazzled the island’s castaways. To top off the show-stopping finale, the world record-breaking sized disco ball was hoisted into the air, with bewitching illuminations reflecting in every direction, sending Bestival into dizzying heights of disco.

Photo by Dan Dennison

FKA Twigs – LP1 Review

Sep
09

Releasing her first EP via Bandcamp in 2012 FKA Twigs has come a long way in the past couple of years working with Kanye West and being nominated for BBC’s Sound of 2014. Her latest release LP1 has gained a lot of attention for a girl from Gloucestershire, and I’m sure the suggestion that she’s dating Robert Patterson (that sparkly vampire guy) will only get her more interest. So as I lay down on a hot, still afternoon to listen to LP1 I wondered whether I’d get sexy electronic R&B at its best, or whether I’d get a rushed pop album full of worn-out get-rich-quick success formulas. I got neither. The first thing I noticed was the rich bass sounds and plenty of thoughtful layering. So was this just a crap pop album to peddle to the poor sods who don’t know any better? No. Pop albums are meant to be heard through iPod earphones and you ain’t gonna get that depth and detail without real headphones or real speakers. More so it’s not blaringly obvious what songs are the singles and what is just for the record like so many inferior pop albums. LP1 was designed to be listened to in its entirety. It’s a story; a true LP. Plenty of time and effort has gone into making this album an album that is going to last the test of time. It starts with Preface, a short experiment with a Grimes-esque feeling that is so unlike the rest of the album with its different vocal pattern and resonance. Though different it makes a captivating (if misleading) start lulling you into the slow, sultry sounds which are to follow. Preface tells you that LP1 is not a party album; it is more reflective and introspective. Perhaps the highlight of the album is Video Girl where FKA Twigs’ ability to create emotion, power and a real sense of gravity out of relative simplicity is best demonstrated. This song comes from the heart rather than the mixing board. Referring to her time as a dancer Video Girl is the difference between FKA Twigs being yet another woman with a microphone and a true musician.

However after FKA Twigs is off the radio and forgotten by celebrity magazines will anyone still be listening to her? I don’t think so. LP1 isn’t bad. Like I said, it’s had a lot of energy go into it but through all the clever details and creative layering that make it better than a lot of mainstream R&B available today it still isn’t special. There’s no bite. No moment I’m desperate to relive. It also starts to drift slightly in the second half suggesting that it doesn’t matter how much time you put into an album, if it doesn’t have that spark it’s never going to be quite right. As I caught myself wondering if it was nearly over so I could listen to something else I knew that despite FKA Twig’s best efforts she hasn’t written a classic.

P.S – If I haven’t put you off in October she’s doing some shows in the UK:

Oct 3 – Library, The Institute – Birmingham
Oct 6 – Oran Mor – Glasgow
Oct 8 – Hackney Empire – London
Oct 9 – Trinity – Bristol

Pitch Festival Review (Side B)

Jul
25

Few conquer electronic music like the Dutch. From drum and bass to techno music, the Netherlands is a hub of artists producing synthesized sound. It’s a somewhat golden opportunity then when a festival that is “traditionally electro-tinged” takes place on the outskirts of Amsterdam. 

The Venue

On Friday 4th July, PITCH festival once again came to Amsterdam’s Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek for a two-day party, with a mixture of live artists and a variety of DJ sets. The Westergasfabriek is a post-industrial site that for the weekend provided five indoor venues and an outdoor Park (main) Stage. A renovated factory site just a short walk from the city centre is a undeniably rare place to hold a festival, giving PITCH a special and eccentric atmosphere to what you might expect after going to other festivals of muddy country parks in the middle of nowhere.

Photo Credit: Grace Wye

What was again different from the typical festival experience is the absence of on-site camping – if you’re coming from anywhere outside of Amsterdam and surrounding areas, booking accommodation is essential (fortunately for the Animaux bunch, a university student took us under his wing). From a personal perspective, calling a tent home for a couple of days with hundreds of other festival-goers is part of the festival spirit, since it becomes one of the best times to meet other people and to get involved with activities other than listening to music. Whether it’s seen as a good or bad thing, music is the sole provider of a good time at PITCH.

The Line Up and The Unexpected

PITCH festival presented some of the biggest names in intelligent electronic music today. We saw the literally blinding performance by DARKSIDE, the visually stunning works of Moderat’s set, and a show-stopping concert by Massive Attack throughout the weekend.

One of my favourite things about any festival is that as well as seeing sets of the artists we know and love and get initially excited about when we see the names on the line up, we get to see artists that we’ve never heard of before, or know very little about. From a personal perspective, what was impressive about PITCH was the dynamic range of music, especially in sets throughout the daytime. This couldn’t be truer than the performance by Tinawiren on Day 1. Having known very little about the band, the collective and slightly rebellious sound was fascinating; I (along with many others there) struggled to take my eyes off them. There are clear influences of world, folk and blues in Tinawiren, and vibrant colour takes the stage everywhere. Visual aspects included using the space of the Gashouder (an old industrial building) to create a colourful surrounding and a communal feel.

The early birds of Day 2 could hear the upbeat sound Dutch MC Typhoon, who kicked off the Park (Main) Stage, as they passed through the entrance barriers. Though it’s his thoughtful lyrics that are accepted as his musical strength, Typhoon did a solid job of pumping up the masses with a hip-hop sound unique to the festival and interacting with the audience (throwing in a little crowd-surfing for good measure). It was possibly the only way to reawaken the Park Stage from Massive Attack’s mesmerising performance the previous night.

The Park Stage also played host to a fantastic group of artists throughout Day 2: Jungle by Night, a Dutch instrumental band that varied their set from afrobeat to funk to dub carried on the upbeat atmosphere that was unlike any other stage throughout the Cultuurpark.

Buraka Som Sistema proved to have one of the best stage presences of the day, fusing techno with kooky African beats to get people moving and bring them together. Female MC and dancer Blaya was captivating, and almost single-handedly managed to fill the stage with girls from the crowd.

Who I would label the “underdog” of PITCH – the artist I held no high expectations of but dazzled me sideways – was Shigeto, who performed in the Westertent. Combining electronic sounds with a fantastic percussion set, it was truly entrancing watching him perform in a technical frenzy and clearly putting everything he had into the set.

Photo Credit: Grace Wye

Getting There and Around

Travelling and from Amsterdam is generally easy and cheap, especially by plane, ferry or coach. Our own journey began from York in utter chaos, after a speedy race to Leeds Bradford airport and dashing through customs ten minutes before the plane was due to set off. We took a bus back from Amsterdam to London and another from LDN to Leeds, and I would *strongly* advise against anyone doing the same – the second bus journey killed us all and with a little forward planning, trains can be just as cheap and half the time.

Amsterdam itself is pretty easy to navigate, especially by bike – using a map of the city should be enough to get you around, and bikes are quite cheap and save a lot of precious time. Also It’s weirdly a much safer way to get around the city and to the Cultuurpark than by walking.

Photo Credit: Grace Wye

General Info

As mentioned in Animaux’s preview for PITCH festival, a token system is used for the weekend to prevent unnecessary queues and delays at the numerous bars and food stalls. 10 tokens would set you back about €13.50, and could get you basic spirits, beers, water, and all different kinds of food.

One of my major and only issues of the weekend was that although people were not permitted to take bottled drinks into the festival (it seemed a bit unclear about the situ with taking food into the arena), a 250ml plastic cup of water cost 1 token – as did the same amount of beer. We were lucky enough to befriend the log technician Jeremy, who spent the two days making sure that the fire in a huge log burner didn’t go out (what a job), and gave us a couple of bottles to refill each day. 

From a festival like PITCH, expect older locals and kooky youths. Expect a wide array of nationalities that share a mutual appreciation for electronic music, and expect to unexpectedly fall in love with less recognised artists and performances.