Animaux | UK

Sūpynės Festival: Mud, Woods and Techno [2017]

Jul
03

Sūpynės Festival returned after a year hiatus for an eleventh time to the majestic Dūburio Ežeras’ woods with an onslaught of art, talks and a variety of niche electronic dance music. The year off seemed to let the Minimal.lt team focus on what made Supynės great in the first place – they reduced the capacity to make it more intimate while, increased focus on quality local talent as well as expanding on some ideas from the past.

The festival boasted four stages – MORE, LESS, HIGH and PLAYGROUND. The MORE stage hosted local newcomers and indie-music types during the day but during the night turned into a house and techno Mecca with artists such as Awanto 3, Brawther, Shed and Neel bombarding the crowd with bass. My favourite has to be Shed who delivered a UK bass tinged set mixed with the finest selections of German quality. The rain and unrelenting techno did make the field into a muddy mess, however, that did not stop the festival goers to keep dancing well into the morning.

The LESS stage played host to the more minimal side of things. Set snuggly among the trees it has to be one of the most beautiful stages I have seen in my life. More eclectic sounds of noir electronics to new wave, drone and experimental filled the woods with highlights being Black Merlin, Dataline, INRA and Patricia Kokett. This stage specifically is why I can wholeheartedly recommend checking the festival out.

The aptly named HIGH stage was only open from six am as a unique after-party place. Incredible sets from one of Lithuania’s greatest export Manfredas and the Smala crew as well as Mountak kept the late (or early) dancers moving up until noon.

PLAYGROUND stage was new to this year – a place intended for interesting talks: everything from glitch art, headliners talking about their approach to creating music to the more interdisciplinary and freeform activities with emphasis on collaborations, discussions and workshops. During the night though, artists such as Octatanz and one of my highlights of the festival – Elektrus Erektus showed off their talent.

For the first time in Lithuanian history, the festival also had a drug awareness tent. With the support of the Lithuanian drugs and tobacco control department (NTAKD) anyone interested in the effects of psychoactive substances had someone to talk to without fear. This is a huge step forward as beforehand most festivals would have a single ambulance to which they would not go even if they had issues due to the absurdly strict laws. Free condoms, tea, water and people who you can talk to were there not to promote drug use but to inform those who choose to do them on how to do so safely.

All in all the festival was a massive success, even though the revellers were drenched in rain and mud all you could see were smiles and all you could hear was incredibly selected music. Cannot recommend it enough!!

Primavera Sound Review [2017]

Jun
24

From a personal perspective, Primavera turned into a prime example of times when you might enter a festival rattled up for particular artists and perhaps see a few that almost seem dispensable to the acts you’re eager to see. In an interesting twist of fate, these dispensable acts might just be the highlights of the night, or even, some of the most memorable shows you will ever witness. When was the last time you went to a concert and ended up watching a fully grown and talented man fashion his boxers as a g-string and set fire to his leg hair? What about seeing a 69-year-old performing while wearing a strap-on? What script could we have written that would have showcased any of this?

Aphex Twin

Thursday kicked off in jazzy hip-hop high-tops by BADBADNOTGOOD, and Kate Tempest – who through conveying complex emotions musically was example #1 of unexpectedly entrancing performances. Headlining the evening was Aphex Twin, with a set filled with drawn-out, aloof and prickly transitions that left many describing it for the rest of the weekend as “I’m not too sure what I just watched.” Things were turned down a notch with a theatrical-like show from Tycho, which looking back perfectly resembled vanilla – nice, pleasant, safe. Nothing to get too excited over.

Some sort of effort has kind of happened with Primavera’s stage layout, which results in most alternative/”mainstream” artists performing in the main body of Parc del Forum, with a long, constantly overcrowded bridge connecting this torso to a predominantly electronic music limb. Here, as #2-5 of unforeseen goodness, Fatima Yamaha gave a fittingly lofty and upbeat set, followed by a deliverance of subterranean levels of deep house by German producer/cult figurehead Henrik Schwarz and a truly chilling live set of breakbeat and broken vocal sample wading into moments of old school dubstep from Bicep to an enthusiastic and amicable crowd.

Mogwai

For many, Friday was from the very start not going to live up to the heightened expectations people had set themselves, considering that just the Sunday before, headliner Frank Ocean pulled out his performance as a result, the momentary trend of the festival “Prank Ocean” was born and available on t-shirts, bags and hats.

Regardless of this, the bill promised a rather organic affair of indie and alternative acts, starting with an impromptu show of smoke which somewhere amidst, Mogwai was playing. Mirroring recent albums, things were, once again, a bit vanilla – if anything, they were a perfect beginning for those just arriving and talking to each other while laying on one of the only grassy areas on site.

If anyone were to ask me what Primavera 2017 was like, seeing Mac DeMarco get halfway through “Together” before jumping onto a speaker, giving himself a thong and in the process the cameraman a good old view of his behind whilst carnally lowering himself towards the naked drummer and wincing when he caught himself burning his armpit hair would probably be the first thing that came back to mind. As someone who doesn’t take himself seriously, even as a musician, we, as spectators, were truly given a performance.

The contrast came heavy, then, when on the main stage of the festival, The xx somehow managed to give thousands of people a truly intimate and slightly sombre piece. I was someone who saw the debut album as a lover you never really got over and felt like everything that you experienced afterwards couldn’t compare to. Yet, a compelling interaction between singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim throughout playing, not to mention the iridescent personality of the group conveyed something that I’d never noticed before in the recent albums I’d so strongly stayed away from. In the vocal harmony alone lies a duet that is captivating and yet is almost obsolete in music today. It was clear that the trio had considered a wide range of elements for the set and combined a well-ordered set list with glistening visuals and faintly subdued lighting, which together exhibiting patterns of refracted light, left many in absolute awe. It was, in many ways, so precious, that it seems a shame to have to denote serious issues with sound, as was, in fact, to become a recurring theme throughout the weekend.

The xx

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, sound troubles continued on the Bowers & Wilkins stage, which considering is celebrated for its ingenuity in sound systems, it was almost agonising to listen to legendary force Âme play a live set through a crackling speaker. Despite this, it is impossible to characterise the tandem as anything other than a pure energy drive; it’s instantly clear why the duo has such a powerful reputation between them. This kind of vigour consequently feeds into its audience, which was spaciously formed of techno freaks and house heads.

Friday was signed off with panache by Flying Lotus, who has created himself as a type of cosmic jazz/contemporary electronic music alien. Exalting oomph in both a collision of musical genres and accompanying visuals (of which at one point starred a computerised human tied up on the floor, another feminine body with a face similar to FlyLo’s own twerking over) he unceasingly showed himself to say “no thanks” to conventional style, obscure and haunting one moment, hilarious and mocking the next. Talaboman, the duo outfit that is John Talabot and Axel Boman, moved light-dark/dark-light as the final act of the night when it starts to become morning. Stragglers of all stages transfixed to modern day landmarks of intelligent electronic music, a subjective climax peaking with the sunrise and moving to “The Sun Can’t Compare” in its full and entire glory.

Grace Jones

With a tendency to present older names and long-celebrated artists on Saturday, the atmosphere at Primavera is usually significantly different. The atmosphere gets a bit more relaxed, the crowd dies down and things become, or so it seems, a little more for the locals. The groove sets in earlier than previous days – this time in an oriental fusion with Junun, a project of different cultures and nationalities, usually including Jonny Greenwood. As a mixture of traditional Indian instruments and Israeli influences with electronic coding as the backbone of the outfit, Junun is a multi-cultural, polyrhythmic discourse; their performance giving colour and vitality and making it impossible to stay still. Later, diva/musical icon/Jamaican disco goddess Grace Jones created an absolute storm on the main stage, her entrance somewhat improvised after a dramatic and wind-induced curtain fall. Between bearing a force of a stage persona by asking for a “Coke” in an ambiguous manner midway through the set, to unveiling herself wearing a dildo, she showed herself to a society obsessed with youth and as limitless and unapologetically ageless.

John Talabot

In fact, Primavera proceeded to go down a Saturday Night Fever route in which disco proved to be king. Since Primavera is also an international phenomenon in both acts and audience, there is something intangibly special when John Talabot, who hails from Barcelona, comes back to his roots and performs in front of an appreciative and melody-hungry audience. Playing a disco set, Talabot continuously manages to capture this essence of bliss and yet take the whole of humankind on the same journey at the same time. Weval were a stones’ throw away making some similar magic – as a live and downbeat edition. The Dutch duo is a bit like how a priest might describe God – personal yet impersonal; transcendental yet immanent. Moving away slightly from the intricate power they’ve consistently mustered throughout their studio work, Weval led all eyes on an emotional thread and offered an all-encompassing performance that takes electro-pop, dreamy dance and touching vocals to finish in a state of rapture.

Regardless of the hushed-up malfunctioning sound system and the constant clashes of interest in the programme, reputations happen for a reason. Primavera is now recognised in international lands as a leading festival for its line-up, and this year, excluding the heartache of Prank Ocean, was no exception. An almost predictable outcome of this is a melting pot that allows attraction of like-minded people from a plethora of countries. Where other festivals might offer better food, boutiques and camping, few festivals can compete with the feeling of leaving in the early morning sun to head to the beach and walk back to base in the magical city with borderline mythological architecture and infinite springs of culture that is Barcelona.

Check out http://www.primaverasound.com/ for more info.

Boomtown Releases Its 2016 Mainstage Line­ups

Feb
07

So it’s coming to the time of year when everyone starts crawling out of the gym wondering what the hell happened to January. We’ve just spent a month trying to reverse what a couple of weeks binging on Aldi’s finest booze, and sugar riddled treats can do to our otherwise, I’m sure, trim and sculpted bodies. Nevertheless memories of sunnier and happier days start to filter through, hazy flickering memories of a time when being outside didn’t mean wearing more layers than a family sized lasagna and when sitting in a field listening to music was not only possible, but a pleasurable experience at that.

Yep you guessed it, it’s time to think about festivals, and Boomtown is one I have been itching to see a line­up for. It’s a festival which is well-known for its rich atmosphere and freedom of expression. It even comes with its own warped dystopian storyline, one that develops year on year, with last years saga seeing the union of the brainwashed ‘Comrade Jose’ (formally Mayor Burrita José) and ‘The Sheriff’. A move that led to the building of the ‘Bang High Palace’, a huge, nine story fire-breathing behemoth of a main stage. Erupting with vicious drum and bass, the palace was erected as a monument to the strength of the new totalitarian alliance, and it worked, right up until the end of the four days, when a speech by ‘Comrade José’ was hijacked by a masked figure heralding the beginning of a new uprising and a new revolution, the tantalising cliffhanger for the next chapter in the Boomtown legend.

Never pinning itself down to any specific genre, Boomtown really rewards the wanderer, you can find yourself raving in a hidden wood one second then skanking on a sun drenched amphitheatre of a hillside the next. Quite literally, the nine different districts making up this brilliantly peculiar pop up city each boast its own flavour of musical delights, from the Latino carnival mood of ‘Barrio Loco’ to the futuristic neon drenched buildings of ‘DSTRKT 5’, a stroll around boomtown is as spicy and unpredictable as a liger (Editor’s Note: Liger) in a curry house. So all in all I don’t think I can be blamed for my, let’s be honest, childish anticipation for the “immersive audio­visual joyride” that is Boomtown. Especially when you look at the wide variety of well known names hitting the many stages this year.

Damian Marley, reggae legend in his own right, returns to the UK’s biggest reggae stage ‘Lion’s Den’, alongside the Kiwi seven ­piece Fat Freddy’s drop and classic skank merchants Madness. In the centre Boomtown’s self proclaimed musical “melting pot” ‘Town Center’ looks to be living up to its reputation this year, setting up to host electronic dignitaries Leftfield and Parov Stelar alongside the ‘Fun Lovin’ Criminals’’ eclectic mix of hip-­hop, funk. Over in ‘DSTRKT 5’ ‘Bang Hai Palace’ is back and immense as ever, looking ready to blast its drum and bass propaganda to the masses with Roni Size and DJ Krust reuniting to mark 20 years of Full Cycle Records, as well as a b2b from DJ Hype and DJ Hazard. Boomtown wouldn’t Boomtown without it’s vast menagerie of hidden spaces and secret stages, and this year looks to be no different. Names like the unpredictable Glaswegian house, disco (and.. well, everything else) connoisseur Jackmaster, renowned for being “one of the most talented and versatile DJs there is” lining up alongside Radio 6 funk and soul stalwart Craig Charles to grace some of the more enigmatic stages sprinkled around Boomtown, the spirit of exploration is clearly still alive.

But anyway, here it is, the first major line­up announcement for Boomtown Chapter 8.

The Warehouse Project, unique every time.

Nov
17

For the past few years, since my interest directed itself towards the clubbing scene, there has been one event everyone around me has been talking about. The annual line-up announcements are preceded by weeks of chatter; booking speculations and defiant statements of intent, swearing attendance to this apparently momentous occasion. I never quite understood the hype, the cynic that I am, associating excitement with inevitable let-down; and so with mixed emotions I made my way to Manchester, home of the Warehouse Project, to see what the fuss was about.

One of the most historic Warehouse Projects yet, showcasing the final stand of the 50Weapons label, with Rødhåd, Siriusmodeselektor, Truncate, Dark Sky, Clark, Addison Groove, and the rest testing British build quality. The label’s end has been lamented as the biggest tragedy of dance music this year, as saying goodbye to ten years of service and an all-star roster can be, but there were no tears shed at this event.

The venue is hidden away near Manchester Piccadilly station, the entrance a gap in a wall under a bridge. I say hidden, but it was hard to miss with the amount of security set up outside – from pat-downs to dogs – methodically ushering the crowds into the dark innards of the bridge. There was a feeling that I wasn’t supposed to be seeing this location, hidden in plain sight, that hundreds of people unknowingly walk past every day. Upon entering the structure I was immediately lost in cavernous red-brick (as if you can tell in the dark) rooms full of bustling ravers, all facing two stages at opposite ends of the venue. The light shows were impressive and unique to every artist, each performance is clearly separated from the last, making it seem like a kind of honour for the artist to be present. Surprisingly, I found gourmet food being served in the smoking area and a variety of affordable cocktails at the bar. This is an event that is prepared for anything its patrons might desire, leaving it hard to not have a good time. After a short wander around the space the fuss friends, strangers and acquaintances had been making was explained.

Even more impressive was the religious following of this event, as it seemed people had travelled from around the world for this night. These were not just students or young professionals living in Manchester, they were people who had travelled from France, Switzerland, Spain, even Germany (a Berghain regular proclaimed his love of the event to me) just for the weekend, or even the night. If this is the crowd that attends every Warehouse Project, then it is a crowd that has invested hundreds of pounds to live it up on this one night, undoubtedly contributing to the unique atmosphere.

Of course, the system and the music did not disappoint. I was particularly surprised by Clark’s live set, beginning with the somber melodies that define him before ramping up into, what must have been over, a 140 bpm marathon set. From this Truncate made his appearance on the main stage, delving into what a bystander announced to be “sounds of scratching metal”, in a set showcasing the best of 50weapons techno. From the gloom of Truncate, Modeselektor built up to a live-set with Siriusmo. The performance was unbelievably varied, moving from left-field house to dub before the crux of German Clap and Evil Twin. The level of interaction with the crowd was incredible, Gernot Bronsert grabbed the microphone and began cheering “modeselektor” before breaking out the deep vocals of Evil Twin, joining the crowd’s cheers. Last but not least, I enjoyed Rødhåd’s militant thumping, that I’m sure we are all acquainted with by now, adequately placed in the closing slot. I remember the bitter-sweet, minor-key synths escorting me to my 4.50 am train.

Needless to say, I will be attending the Warehouse Project again. If you haven’t been you should go, there aren’t really any excuses especially if you live in England and enjoy dance music. This is the closest you can get to a festival in the winter months, without the inconvenience (to some) of having to camp out. Those Europeans were having the best time, and you could be too.

More info on the rest of WHP shows: https://www.thewarehouseproject.com/

Dekmantel: Highlights – An Eye Witness Account

Aug
10

Day one at the much-anticipated Amsterdamse Bos site, is like entering a dystopian playground. This is going to be my haven for the next three days and I can’t wait to start exploring it. Some of my absolute favourite sets take place during that Friday. On my first visit to the famous Boiler Room stage I am greeted by an uplifting and feel-good set by Tripeo, who gave us an hour-long House set highly influenced by Disco beats. The bright sun instantly transports my thoughts to a chilled summer in  Majorca as I dance along to the sound of summer.

After the attending the start of Robert Hood‘s ruthless set in the UFO stage, my impatience grows as I am aware the time for Ben Klock to grace the Main Stage is fast approaching. Arriving before his set, I am happy to find that his predecessor Model 500 is closing his set with a hard punch. After a long anticipatory silence Ben Klock takes the stage. The sun behind us is setting to the perfect soundtrack and we are all on the same train to sundown as he transitions into darkness, seamlessly easing into a steady beat. The next set by Marcel Dettmann is perfectly complementary. His sound descends all God-like and you know that the darkness has finally taken over. The bright sun has set with Ben Klock and the dark moon is rising with Marcel Dettmann.

I leave the main stage half-heartedly to catch another set I am dying to see in the UFO stage. I arrive whilst Blawan is ending his set with a surrounding embryonic sound as a clash of machineguns blasts through the speakers. Squarepusher has signalled his presence. His signature mask, often slightly different with each appearance, is easy to make out in front of the geometric colourful visuals which appear behind him and his white fencing suit. The white iron mask completely hides his face. Feelings are intense, like stepping into a Matrix world of which he is the leader. The deck might as well be controlling us and not the beat. It’s something amazing to witness; his control of both the unpredictability of the beat and the crowd. He stops after every track to impose seconds of torturous silence before hyping the next one and backtracks the tempo just to test us before the track climactically ends.  If I had to use just one word to describe his set it would have to be ‘orgasm’. Pure orgasm. Mixing in Andy Stott’s ‘Damage’ was just the cherry on the top. Definitely my personal highlight.

As the second day kicked off, I move straight up to the tower between the Main Stage and the entrance. Aphrohead’s ‘Let’s Prance’ echoes from Mano Le Tough‘s set, who played before John Talbot took the Main Stage. I move to The Lab stage in time for Palms Trax. The vibe during his set reminds me of an exotic house party; chilled, light groovy house music with a nice selection of vocal samples and melodic synths. I notice the groovy track by Jack J, ’Thirsting’ come on and instantly everyone is whistling and swaying to the beat.

The glorious weather persuades me to leave The Lab and return to the tower. The vantage point towards the Main Stage and the crowds gives me no reason whatsoever to want to move. The long silence between John Talabot and Four Tet was agonising but the soaking sun and friendly vibe on the tower made up for it. When his set kicks off I know I’ve made the right choice. His musical choices such as ‘OAR003-B’ by Oni Ayhun are another perfect soundtrack to the perfect sunset. My only regret on that day is not witnessing what must have been an impressive 5 hour long set up to the end of the day by Antal RH, Hunee and Floating Points at the Selectors stage.

On the last day I decide to see a majority of female artists. Helena Hauff in The Lab is going to be my first lady. I see her standing behind the deck, nonchalantly smoking one cigarette after the next whilst she spins the crowd into motion. To my surprise the German techno artist shies away from her usual acid techno touch and brings in some hard-core bass lines into what can only turn into an extremely ruthless set.  Instead, she surprises us with some ‘on your feet Disco’ beats and RnB samples which put the pop and lock into her classic techno. It turns out to be a highly experimental and varied set impossible not to dance to.  One look at the stacked speakers in the lab and you can see them helplessly emerged into a continuous tremble. Each beat feels like a punch and the more she punches the more we yearn for. She is certainly giving us all she has.

The other lady I am dying to see is Nina Kraviz. Upon my entrance to the UFO stage the black widow of techno descends like a dark cloud. The vibe on the dance floor is animalistic and she is ruthless from start to finish, playing some of her favourite tracks such as the relentless ‘All Aboard The U.S.S. Severe EP’ by Barcode Population from 1996.To finish, she brings in some groove to calm us down with Cafe del mar song ‘Energy 52 (remix by DJ Kid Paul)’. And although the energy and undeniable talent bursts out of the stage, part of me leaves the stage with a desire to see her bring something new to her next sets.

I return swiftly to catch a bit of Clark‘s visually stunning dark set before setting off for the main stage to catch UK hit artist Carl Craig. His set brings the UK scene to Amsterdamse Bos with its groovy and vocally rich tracks. It is now only one set before the end of the last day and the crowds are going wild. A drone-like voice echoes around the main stage ‘You have been the best audience that we ever had’ and the words are being projected on the massive screens ahead. Germans Siriusmodeselektor (Modeselektor + Siriusmo) appear on stage. Hip Hop, RnB vibes and vocal samples blast from the speakers after a majestic intro. Their monkey logo appears playfully on the screen as the presenter stands on the control panel with a microphone reaching out to the audience. the hype is rising as he waves his hand in the air as if saying ‘Dance monkeys dance!’. He does the same throughout random moments of the set; a powerful figure on top of our world reminding us to dance as if it is our last chance …because for some it is. Some of their hit tracks featured in the set include ‘I’m not into twerk I’m into Kraftwerk’ and ‘Evil Twin’, which comes in towards the end to leave the Main Stage in a cloud of smoke and dust for the last time.

Special kudos have to go to  the techies for putting together a jaw dropping personalised Siriusmodeselektor visual show. I would also like at this point to congratulate all visual artists and lighting technicians as the level and quality of atmosphere was truly amazing to witness and added a serious bonus to the whole experience. Each stage both at Amsterdamse Bos and the Melkweg had its own personal atmosphere and the variety between stages was fascinating. Special mention has to go to Heleen Blanken, visual artist of my visually favourite UFO stage and to the lighting team of The Max in the Melkweg, who managed to add a colourful touch without compromising the underground and eerie set up of this main stage.

On the third and final night I am visiting the Melkweg, the after-party which runs till the early hours of the morning. I am pleased to find that it’s refreshingly different to the day site; a predominantly underground vibe with four stages and an indoor smoking area, each stage with its own unique character – its perfect for an after-party. There is one person I am lucky to be watching playing a live set tonight; Andy Stott. Well before the clock strikes 2am I abandon my roaming of the spanning three floored club and enter the Oude Zaal stage. I arrive just as the last set ends in a funky disco tune which I find odd as a prelude to Andy Stott. However, the short silence and the slow emergence of an intro as he takes his place beneath the smoke and swirling lights has me catching my breath. A hypnotic, angelic voice sounds from the speakers reminiscent of a combination of his two tracks ‘Leave’ and ‘Time Away’ I can’t shake the feeling that there is incredible pain in his intro and the same feeling remains throughout the entirety of his set. It is influenced by various genres such as Industrial, Noise and Dark Techno but he surprises us with some Gabber, which through his dark dexterity feels like repetitively and mercilessly being shot by a shotgun.  All in all, what I’m feeling is a disturbingly beautiful pain and strangely I do not want to let go of it. His final beat comes as a sigh of relief and a cry for more.

Dekmantel is certainly an event no one should miss. The selection, variety and dexterity of the artists is like no other; the team is devoted like no other; the site is breathtakingly beautiful like no other and the experience, well, it is like no other

Photographs courtesy of Dekmantel. 

Preview: Dekmantel Festival 2015

Jul
09

This will be the third, ongoing year of the young festival of electronic music, hosted in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. From the opening concert on the 30th of July to the last beat of the closing act in the early hours of August 2nd, Dekmantel will vibrate all the way throughout the capital with its new improved and expanded layout; and I sure as hell can’t wait to be shaken by it.

For the past two years Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest) has been the main and only location of the festival. The 1,000 hectares of the entirely artificial landscape park –that is three times the size of Central Park if you need a comparison are located just outside of the city on the borders of Amstelveen. Although artificially created, don’t expect to see fake trees and little ponds. The site is a host of immense natural beauty and amongst other things you can expect to see lush forests, grassy meadows and large water areas including lakes and rivers. It is also a host of a variety of animals but I doubt you’ll get to see any before they are chased away by the boisterous vibes. De Heuvel (The Hill), is one thing you shouldn’t miss; an artificial mountain turned massive slippery slope in winter for kids to enjoy winter sports on. But who says you can’t use it for your regular adrenaline rush tumble? And if you want to fully embrace nature in all its glory there’s even a ‘Naturalist area’ where you can ‘kick your clothes off’ and relax. This year, the space will host five stages (MAIN, UFO, THE LAB, SELECTORS, BOILER ROOM) and not only will you have the chance to experience all of the above, but also another two additional venues!

Treating the opening concert (30th July) as a proper concert, the team have decided to host it in the concert hall for contemporary classical music, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ (Music Building on the IJ). The building features two massive venues -one for music, one for theatre- and is located above the IJ tunnel by the waterfront, just a 10 minute walk from Centraal Station.

The second, newly adopted venue for the night programme is one of significant importance to the Danish electronic music scene. Former dairy factory, the Melkweg (Milky Way) has been the city’s most well-known electronic music venue ever since its renovation and re-opening in 1970. Located in the nightlife hotspot of Leidseplein, the venue features a number of multi-purpose rooms including two on the ground floor with ridiculous capacities (Max: 1,500 and Oude Zaal: 700) which will most likely be used for the purposes of the festival.

The Dekmantel team lives by the ethos they started with: quality over quantity. The music scene is grand and there really is something for every taste.

I for one can’t wait for some of the big names that will hit the stages of Amsterdamse Bog. The king of the infamous Berghain in Berlin, as well as producer and label owner, Ben Klock, will be gracing us with his presence, followed by the equally influential techno master Marcel Dettmann. Both will play on the Friday evening as a perfect reminder of what is to follow in the next couple of days. Two of the biggest American names in techno, Carl Craig, Detroit master and experimentalist and Jeff Mills with his relentlessly hard and industrial sounds are certainly going to grant some life-changing dance floor experiences I do not want to miss. One of my personal favourites, Nina Kraviz, will be one of the last to share her unique blend of acid house and techno with the festival crowds on Sunday at the UFO stage, clashing with the deep beats of Dixon from the Main stage –it’s going to be a hard choice. Incorporating more styles into his techno beats than anyone, from hip-hop to jazz, grime and live instrumentation, our very own U.K. artist Four Tet will also be gracing the Main stage and is certainly someone I never tire of seeing. Certainly, there are more names that strike a chord and a lot more genres for you to look out for. Squarepusher will be bringing us some drum & bass, musique concrete and acidic beats with jazz influences, Ricardo Villalobos his mad dance beats, Madlib his hip-hop influenced sounds and Siriusmodeselektor will give us the opportunity to feel his mad bass live. And if you need a break from all the electronic music just for a little while, Roy Ayers will be there to chill you out with his funk, soul and jazz.

Last but not least, I have to mention the treats the team has lined up for our evening entertainment in the Melkweg. Again, I just have to praise one of the headlines as I am monstrously excited to see this guy. After his recent release ‘Faith in Strangers’, Manchester dub and techno producer Andy Stott will be playing a live set. Another highlight will certainly have to be watching the U.K. father of disco/garage/house, DJ Harvey, mix another one of his incredibly varied sets. Moreover, two artists will be returning to the Dekmantel stage after their successful sets last year: the granddad of U.K. techno Surgeon and U.S. experimental house boss Traxx. Once again, there will be something for every taste. Answer Code Request will be bringing the industrial punch and fierce determination, Basic Soul Unit the deep house, Boris Werner the house and others a lot more.

My expectations are big, but my excitement is bigger. I know I’m not missing this for the world… why should you?

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.

 

Roughion – Luna Baile Review

Mar
11

Roughion have released their 3rd EP Luna Baile. 3rd already? Where does the time go. Based in the scenic Welsh town of Aberystwyth, Roughion have shown they’re really coming into their own with Luna Baile. The overall impression is that they have built more confidence and are now producing more interesting, intricate songs that show these guys are getting a better understanding of their abilities.

The EP comes in strong with Cymdeithas, a hard, pumped up song that demonstrates that Roughion know how to get a party started. This is followed by one of two remixes on the EP – BlumenKind – Shorts Weather (Roughion Remix). We go from hard-hitting beats to a melodic, swinging abyss that pulls us deep in, then slowly builds back up, bringing us back in the room. Control follows with its lullaby intro then smooth R&B vocals demonstrating that Roughion can do energetic and soulful equally well. But Luna Baile is the real gem of the EP. It’s elaborate yet catchy, and makes me smile. It’s a vibrant and wonderful song that is one of the best that Roughion have ever produced. This song turned me into a Roughion fangurl. The EP ends on another remix – Delyth Mclean – Lost In Sound (Roughion Remix), which unfortunately falls a bit flat after the heights of the previous 4 songs but is nonetheless alright.

Roughion are too interested in music for their own good; they want to prove they can do it all, and as a result Luna Baile feels a bit hodge-podge with the wide demonstration of what they are capable of. But, I don’t really mind, because if you can’t do that in an EP when can you! With solid tracks that I enjoy listening to Luna Baile shows that Roughion are hitting their stride and I look forward to seeing what they do next.

Check Roughion out in the flesh on the 13th March at Funk’d in Aberystwyth Boat Club bar. Our resident DJ, Endeser will also be playing making the night doubly special.

Gottwood Festival Preview

Feb
23

Taking place in a now infamous Welsh forest locationGottwood boasts a mystical fairytale-like setting. Entering its sixth year, the Gottwood team are excited to be bringing the most established and forward thinking line-up to date to their wholly independent, electronic music based festival.

I haven’t had the pleasure of attending Gottwood yet, however a friend – Alex Hughes, had this to say:

Great music, great crowd. They put the effort in making the site look amazing with the added bonus of it being in the woods. They’re keeping the capacity at 5000 now which was worked really well last year, didn’t feel too busy. Just a proper good small festival in the woods.”.

This is what attracts me to Gottwood. With the ever-expanding festivals, hour-long queues to bars / loos, it seems they are starting to forget why people decide to go and live in mud for days – the music. And oh do Gottwood crew deliver on that:

Honestly haven’t been this excited for a small festival in years. See you in a forest somewhere in Wales in June!

Full Line Up 2015: 

Adam Shelton / Andrew Ashong (Live + Dj) / Artwork / Brawther / Craig Richards b2b Ben UFO / dBridge FaltyDL / Frank & Tony / Hunee / Leon Vynehall / Marcellus Pittman Margaret Dygas / Maxxi Soundsystem / Midland / Motor City Drum Ensemble / Mouse Outfit (Live) / Move D / Om Unit  / PBR Streetgang / Point G (Live) / Radioactive Man / Ralph Lawson / Subb-an  / Tornado Wallace / Zenker Brothers / Zip

2 Bad Mice / Al Dobson Jr / Alex Arnout / Alex Jones / Bad Passion / BEHR (Live) / Bell Towers  Blackhall & Bookless / Bradley Zero / Brinsley / Casino Times / Cassio Kohl / Cedric Maison / Chimpo  Cottam / Denney / Dom Chung / eLDOKO / Francis Inferno Orchestra / Futureboogie DJ’s  / General Roots (Live) / Hesseltime / Ishmael / Josh Tweak / Lee Coombs / Luv*Jam / Michael James Morris Cowan (Live) / Nils Diezel / Prequel / Real Nice / Red Eye Hi-Fi (Live) / Romare / Ruf Dug  / Sean Brosnan / Sisterhood / Soul Jazz Soundsystem / Sounds Of The Universe DJ’s  / Steevio (Live Modular) / Tenderlonious / Tristan Da Cunha / Wolf Music / Zoo Look

Alec Function / Assheton / B&W / Bobby Pleasure / Brothers Of Jah / Chad / Charles Jordan / Charlie McFarley / Cherrie Flava / Ciaran Hansen / Congo Tuff / Croz / Dan Jordan / Daniel Orestes / Dave Beer Ed Mackie / Ed Steele / Ed Sweet / Edward Antonio / Em Williams / Endaf / Everything Is Everything / Farrer / Fox / Gold Wing / Good Block Dj’s / Hamish Cole / Herukajon / Hijinkx / Hizatron / Hugh Bailey Hunter Giles / In A Lonely Place / Indra / Itchy Rich / Jigsaw / Jonny Dub / Jonny Sleight / Jonny Tawn  / Jordan Plange / Kaim Shah / Kostas G / Kris Davis / Krywald / Lauren Lo Sung / Lorcan Mak  / Low End Grooves / Maff C / Master & Commander / Metrodome / Metske / Mr Paul / Nanny Banton  / Nick Wood OJsmooth / Optimus / Phase 2 / Rankin / Reme / Rich Reason / Rob Amboule / Sharkbait Silas & Snare Surgeon / Sison / SoulJam Dj’s / Spam Chop / Sparkz / Studio 89 DJ’s  / T-Man / Talk & Smoke / Toby Nicholas / Tom Saunders / Truthos Mufasa / Will Brockbank

Tickets can be bought HERE, more info on their website: http://www.gottwood.co.uk/

Squarepusher Announces New LP

Feb
20

The Warp veteran and favourite of ours here at Animaux, Tom “Squarepusher” Jenkins, has an announced a new LP, Damogen Furies, due out on Warp April 20th. To celebrate, he’s released one of the albums tracks, Rayc Fire 2, for free download on his website (www.squarepusher.net).

All of the album’s tracks were recorded live in one take, and if the new single is anything to go by, it promises to be a brutally psychedelic and glitch ridden work that i’m thrilled to explore.

This will be his first LP in 3 years, although his output has remained steady with a number of EPs and side projects, including last year’s “Music For Robots”- a collaboration with Japanese robot designers.

Dates for Squarepusher’s upcoming tour are below:

March 15 – La Cartonnerie, Reims, France
March 16 – Le Grand Mix, Lille, France
March 17 – The Old Firestation, Bournemouth, UK
March 18- Barbican Centre, London, UK
March 22 – Bangface Weekender, Southport, UK
April 4 – Electron Festival, Geneva, Switzerland
April 10 – Coachella, Indio, CA, USA
April 17 – Coachella, Indio, CA, USA
May 3 – Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham, UK
May 8 – Brighton Festival, Brighton, UK
May 15 – Garden Hall, Tokyo, Japan
May 16 – The Star Festival, Kyoto, Japan
May 30 – Life Festival, Belvedere House, Ireland
July 31 – Dekmantel Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands
August 14 – Boomtown Fair, Winchester, UK