Animaux | UK

Review: Farr Festival 2016

Jul
26

Farr festival, now in its eighth year, has grown considerably since its beginnings as a small party for friends. With a very affordable ticket price and many big names on the bill, a visit to Bygrave Woods this year was a must. I headed down with 5000 other dance music fans to check it out.

Thursday evening was a fairly quiet affair, with only three smaller stages open and music finishing at eleven. Nebraska played an enjoyable live set followed by Detroit Swindle who treated us to ‘Edit Channel XXX’ by JV, the early finish was a little disappointing but understandable for a Thursday.

Image Credit: Michael Njunge for Here & Now

Friday gave us a chance to check out the site in its entirety. Upon entering the arena you find food stalls and attractions (no sign of the dodgems that were advertised on social media) in a field just outside the woods. The woods are where Farr really comes to life. Five stages are dotted around the woodland and real attention has been put into the ramshackle decorations, it really is a wonderful setting for a festival.

Having got our bearings we headed over to the Hidden Palace for a varied set of chilled house such as Pepe Bradock’s ‘Deep Burnt’ along with some funkier stuff from Funkineven. Towards the end of his set he took to the the mic saying, “This is one of the best festivals I’ve played this year so far.” The crowd seemed to agree.

Image Credit: Michael Njunge for Here & Now

Having left to go to the bar I was told the stage was at capacity, this seemed odd to me as I had just been in there and there was plenty of room. After standing around for ten minutes, I found that the place was practically empty. I’m all for safety but this seemed to be overkill and was slightly ruining the atmosphere at the Hidden Palace.

The festival really got going with the brilliant decision for Joy Orbison, Ben UFO and Midland to play a 6-hour back-to-back set at the terrace. It was a great combination of styles and although I had intended to spend more time at other stages I just kept getting drawn back to them. I did drag myself away to see Move D, however, about an hour in, a power cut brought his set to an abrupt halt.

Upon returning to the terrace for the last few hours of the three-way b2b we did notice a serious lowering of volume levels. Fortunately tracks such as Four Tet’s Kool FM edit of ‘God Made Me Phunky’, Boddikas ‘Mercy VIP’ and Bizzare inc.’s 1992 hit ‘I’m Gonna Get You’ kept energy levels high. Hunee closed out the evening at The Shack, playing one of the wide-ranging sets he has become well known for, dropping Kiki Gyan ‘Disco Dancer’ a personal favourite of mine. With a great light show bouncing off the tree canopy above The Shack has a lovely feel to it and Hunee’s selection made for a quality conclusion to day one.

Image Credit: Michael Njunge for Here & Now

On Saturday having enjoyed sets from Maurice Fulton and Young Marco I would have loved to catch Gilles Peterson but due to the hidden palace being at capacity I was unable to. At ten we headed to The Shack for an excellent performance from Palms Trax dropping ‘Music Sounds Better With You’, which went down a storm. He then mixed that into ‘Women Beat Their Men’ by Submission it was a great transition and a standout moment of the weekend.

I was completely blown away by Helena Hauff who played two hours of relentless hard-hitting acid techno that went to show why she has become such a sought after booking these days. Again as the night wore on volume levels at all the stages were a real problem, I had to get really close to the speakers in order to avoid music bleeding in from other stages. As some of the stages are quite close together it may make more sense to reduce the number of stages and keep them further apart to avoid this.

For the final hours, I moved between Optimo and Mike Dunn and finally settling on John Talabot for the closing moments. Towards the end of his set he dropped Midland’s ‘Final Credits’ this was the fourth time I had heard that track over the course of the weekend. Finally bringing the festival to a close with ‘Everybody Dance’ was a nice touch and went down well with those of us still dancing.

Image Credit: Michael Njunge for Here & Now

Farr festival is great value with an intimate feel, however, more food stalls in the campsite would help sooth morning hunger and volume levels can be a little frustrating. These problems aside, the small number of attendees, delightful setting and well-curated line-up mean Farr is certainly one to keep on your radar.

Preview: Farr Festival 2016

May
26

On the 14th July, Farr Festival makes a greatly anticipated return to Bygrave Woods in Hertfordshire. The festival has always prided itself on being located just 40 minutes from London, and its handy location has proved popular with the fans it has amassed over its 7 years in the running. Although by no means a landmark UK festival, Farr has popped up on the radar of electronic music fans from across the country and really made a name for itself. The line-up for 2016 is stellar and makes Farr an unmissable festival this summer.

The likes of John Talabot, Palms Trax and Jungle all appear in the woods this July. Palms Trax’s recent appearance in York was one of the best bookings of the year for this historic city and so seeing the German producer play again at Farr would be an experience not to be wasted. Hunee also appears at Farr after his brief but memorable stint in Fibbers this year. Festival organisers have cannily booked pop outfit Jungle to give a light touch to the otherwise more underground scene of Farr’s line up.

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Dekmantel Reveal Colossal Lineup For 2016

Feb
23

If you weren’t already dribbling with excitement over the prospect of another year of Amsterdam’s Dekmantel festival, then, well.. what’s wrong with you? Even a quick glance at the lineup announcement should be enough to make you look like you need treatment for rabies. It’s an absolute monster.

Set in the idyllic ­ and enormous ­ Amsterdamse Bos forest, about 20 minutes outside the city centre, Dekmantel is thought of as one of the best techno and house festivals on the European calendar and its a reputation which has been snowballing year on year. Ever since more humble beginnings as a series of events and parties (not all legal) in and around Amsterdam, curators Thomas Martojo, Casper Tielrooij ­ and more recently Matthijs Theben Terville ­have faithfully nurtured their concept with an unwavering and inherently simple philosophy “we’re not a festival that changes the lineup year on year” “We’d rather focus on quality.”

Just by taking a quick glance at the latest lineup release you can see what they mean, a good number of this year’s artists and selectors are tried and tested Dekmantel veterans. Theo Parrish, Robert Hood, and Moodymann return, harking back to 2007/8, when Thomas and Casper brought Detroit’s uniquely industrial stylings to Amsterdam’s ­ at the time­ minimal house focused scene. Ben UFO, San Proper and Juju & Jordash also represent a significant part of Dekmantel history, the latter pair being the first to put out EPs on Dekmantel’s own label. The more recent release of EPs from New Jersey master Joey Anderson, and accomplished Ukrainian producer Vakula, not to mention an ongoing partnership with Robert Hood really bolt down a flourishing feeling of trust surrounding the label. Both working on the basis that they “need to release it, because it needs to be heard” the pair further established the Dekmatnel name as a bustling hive of raw talent.

With a long line of successful events and a contact list that would be any promoter’s wet dream it’s no wonder the Dekmantel name has become synonymous with excellence, and looking at the list of djs gracing the selector stage this year you can see why: Ricardo Villalobos, Dixon, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Jackmaster, Nina Kraviz, The Black Madonna, Tale of Us, Fatima Yamaha, Rødhad and Ben Klock all make up just a glimpse of what an utter dream of lineup the trio of music devotees have put together, putting pay to the strong Dekmantel ethos ­celebrating artists that simply need to be heard.

Also on the bill are a number of scintillating partnerships which are not to be missed. 808 state’s Graham Massey and ‘Voodoo Ray’ creator A Guy Called Gerald reunite to showcase a live all-­analogue acid house set. Ben UFO and Joy Orbison also team up again, spinning anything that falls between house and techno, as well as local boys Antal and Hunee putting together what is sure to be a lively and soulful collaboration.

For those who just don’t know when to go to bed, the festivities will continue well after the sun goes down at the long-established Melkweg (Milky Way) club, which will play host to the likes of, Jackmaster, Legowelt (live) and a dizzying swathe of exciting up and coming talent. The festival will kick off on the 4th of August with a series of opening events dotted around the city, all connected by a free ferry, neat huh?

The full line up can be found here, tickets here. Dekmantel will run from the 4th – 7th of August.

Love International Reveal Full Lineup

Jan
19

In 2016 Love International continues the legacy left by The Garden Festival in Croatia, the region’s founding event and the one which inspired the now burgeoning scene of electronic music along the country’s stunning coast.

Making its debut on June 29th, Love International’s ethos might already feel a little familiar, curated by Dave Harvey and Tom Paine who have many years of experience working with The Garden Festival’s crew and shaping its artist bookings. Now they are realising their full vision, bringing back some old friends who have graced Tisno over the years and also introducing many of the world’s most revered DJs and producers for the first time to Tisno.

Five of the just revealed names are all amazing artists in their own right, each bringing something different to Love International. Eats Everything is quite simply one of the world’s biggest DJs and for the last three years he has blown Tisno away; for pure electric party vibes it doesn’t get any better. Bicep had a huge 2015 and the duo are all set to make this year even bigger, sculpting sublime sets across disco, house and techno, whilst Jackmaster played arguably one of the defining sets of last year with Armand Van Helden, their Boiler Room show skipping between French touch to garage and everything good in between. Roman Flugel is a Teutonic legend from the early 1990s crossing ambient, house, techno, electro and leftfield, and prime Swedish export Axel Boman is a bit of a young legend already; his Studio Barnhus label is a source of great material, and he has released and remixed on Permanent Vacation, Moodmusic and Hypercolour. The guys are joined by the already announced Dixon, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Ben UFO, Gerd Janson, Craig Richards, Joy Orbison, Midland, Horse Meat Disco, Prosumer, Hunee and Job Jobse.

Check this handy poster for all of the names:

Tickets and more info at http://loveinternationalfestival.com/

Love International Announces Line-up

Nov
03

After the original Croatian festival – The Garden Festival, closed its doors last year after a decade of parties it seemed as the yearly trek to the Adriatic sea was coming to the end for some. It seems that is not the case, however, as a spiritual successor is starting to shape up – Love International.

By day a harmonious holiday beneath the sizzling sun, and by dusk as the beats shift gear and introduce each balmy night beneath a canopy of stars, the intimate setting holds a unique energy, sound tracked by some of the world’s leading underground DJs and producers, drawing a vibrant and diverse audience from across the world to this tiny strip of paradise.

Dave Harvey, one of Love International’s founders, explains that: “We are feeling really great about Love International and continuing the great work The Garden Festival family created here over the last ten years. What we are doing is going to have its own vibe and some new elements, but at the same time we are seeking to retain and embrace what made The Garden so good – that family feel to it all, everyone knowing everyone else, all set in this incredible site on the coast. For us it’s about continuing that growth in our own way, so people who came to The Garden will find Love International familiar to them, but at the same time it will be a new experience. We feel we have got some great names onboard for our first announcement, with loads more to come in January.”

Love International First Line Up

Many more names will be announced in the New Year, along with boat and club parties and exciting new elements to Love International.

***

Love International
Weds 29th June – Weds 6th July 2016
@ The Garden Tisno, Petrica Glava 34, 22240, Tisno, Croatia
Lineup so far: Dixon, MCDE, Ben UFO, Gerd Janson, Craig Richards, Joy Orbison, Midland, Horse Meat Disco, Prosumer, Hunee, Tama Sumo, Job Jobse, Fort Romeau, Felix Dickinson, Red Axes, Lord Of The Isles, Khruangbin and many more to be announced
£120 for 7 days and 7 nights (club and boat parties extra) www.loveinternationalfestival.com

Review: The Garden Party

Sep
03

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, we arrived at The Tetley in Leeds – a former brewery, now contemporary art gallery complex. The Garden Party was upon us and I could not pick a better setting myself.

The festival grounds were quite small in comparison to other day festivals I have visited before (namely Field Day), which I very much enjoyed – all of the five stages were a brisk walk away. We were instantly drawn to the biggest one – the Fact stage by none other than Ame. A fantastic performance of melodic techno and house left the very varied crowd craving for more while we went on to explore the grounds a little more.

The other stages were considerably smaller in size, however keeping the caliber of the artists performing in mind, this ended up being a very positive experience. My biggest pet peeve of not actually being able to make out artists on stage, or staring at screens here turned into intimate performances. The best example of this was my highlight of the Dummy stage – Roisin Murphy. Seeing her and her band move the few hundred smiles around us really cemented The Garden Party as a place I will recommend not only to those interested in electronic music.

Another stage – Metropolis & Ape (known as Just A Little Stage on Sunday) played host to the more commercially orientated artists such as Redlight, Shadow Child and B.Traits among quite a few more. We managed to catch a good bit of Redlight and even though I would not describe the experience as groundbreaking it was thoroughly enjoyable for what it was.

The Red Bull Truck, which was classed as a stage, was placed in such a way that quite a bit of the sound was drowned out by the rumble of its bigger counterparts, however Ste Roberts and Zutekh deserve a mention for keeping the bar and food stall queues grooving throughout the two days.

My absolute highlight of the festival, however, was Heidi. The woman definitely knows how to put on a great show and as the Saturday night drew to a close I and many others, it seemed, were craving for more of the jackin house goodness. If you ever get a chance – do see her. Other special mentions go out to Joy Orbison, my new love – Black Coffee and Romare for making me get achievements on my phone’s physical activity tracker.

All in all The Garden Party was thoroughly enjoyable. A lot of thought went into curating this city festival, far more than others I have attended in the past and it shows in everything – from the sound, the line-up and the food. Itching for next year’s edition!

More info on The Garden Party here – http://www.thegardenpartyleeds.com/

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

Pitch Festival Review (Side A)

Jul
24

After barely making the plane and after a few train rides we finally reached the gates of Pitch Festival. It was quite a surreal experience since there was literally no advertising anywhere to be seen in town and after a good walk, once you enter one of many parks in Amsterdam, you are suddenly greeted by booming bass and a sea of people.

Photo Credit: PITCH Festival

Pitch returned with its five stages – Westertent, home of bass, Gashouder, the second biggest stage in a massive hall reserved for the darkest performances, Transformator Huis, Westerunie, the most club like experience, Westerfielde, the smallest stage with more leftfield-y performances and the newest addition to the festival – the massive Park Stage, fitting thousands of people, reserved for the most crowd-drawing artists.

The two days seemed to be spread out to appeal to two different crowds – Friday consisting of mainly experimental and darker performances such as Moderat and Massive Attack and Saturday with Joy O and Richie Hawtin, seemed to be catered towards the raver population. Obviously there were exceptions, for example Phon.o’s hour caught me completely off guard. He played quite early – around 10, thus I walked in expecting a more slow, steady, experimental set. I was treated to a four to the floor, chest pounding hour of techno, crammed a long with a few hundred people that seemed to be hit by the same unrelenting 50 Weapons label train.

Photo Credit: Grace Wye

My favourite of Friday night, if not the festival, were Moderat. Every little detail seemed well thought out, from the four screens aligned in an X form to give a deeper, more enticing visual experience, to letting the sub-woofers introduce them after a long interlude. The performance was everything I was hoping for and more – Gernot Bronsert shouting at the crowd “Show me you want “Bad Kingdom”!” and everyone losing their minds will forever stay with me.

I was able to catch tiny bits of Mount Kimbie, who as always managed to dazzle the crowd with melancholy only interrupted by reverberated guitars, all done live, Lunice, who seemed to jump around more than the crowd (they tried, bless them) while ramming them with barely more than 808s and SBTRKT’s finishing touches on Wildfire which seemed even the bouncers sang along to. Majority of people seemed to be heading towards the Park stage, however, where Massive Attack were getting ready. Musically, all I can say is that, while not being a huge fan, I was impressed and whole-heartedly enjoyed their hour. So seemed to the thousands dancing, jumping, crying (!) and singing along. It seemed as if Pitch did their research and one of their main bookings hit the right buttons for everyone. The night ended for me with George Fitzgerald shaking “Gashouder” with a never-ending rhythm of house which let the happy festival goers use up the last remnants of their energy.

Photo Credit: PITCH Festival

I decided to sleep in on Saturday and head to the festival a bit later than everyone else – having seen Theo Parrish and Buraka Som Sistema recently I thought I’d save my ever so dwindling energy for the evening acts as I saw I was going to be moving quite a bit. I arrived just as Caribou was starting, with a full band mind you, which served as beautiful introduction and let me get back into the swing of things. I do feel though, that an 8pm start for Caribou was a weird time-tabling selection. Gaslamp Killer followed and yet again I was blown away by the energy his music and himself behind the decks exceed. The crowd were being treated to fresh and unreleased music straight from LA in his first European performance this year and they were not disappointed.

Photo Credit: PITCH Festival

As it so happens, that Saturday the Netherlands were playing Costa Rica in the World Cup. This was streamed on massive screens at the Park stage where.. Richie Hawtin was playing. I don’t know if it was the football, lack of intoxication, a massive crowd which did not really respond to much or a combination of all of those, but I was not overly impressed and started making my way to the Gashouder, to see one of the other highlights of my festival – Joy Orbison. An unrelenting two hour train of techno hit the massive building like no one else had managed so far. Playing with the crowd by teasing samples of well known tunes (Swerve comes to mind), he did not step out of the dark 130bpm range. Thoroughly engaging, not tiring and awe inspiring experience.

Photo Credit: PITCH Festival

Thus ended my two days at Pitch this year. Coming back to the festival was a bit daunting since I thought I might have sugar-coated a few things in my memory over the two years, however I was pleasantly surprised. The quality increased pretty much all across the board (along with the prices for food and booze, mind you) and the newest Park stage seemed to be a fantastic success. It seems to me that visiting Amsterdam in July might become a yearly tradition.