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.

Callahan – Callous EP

Nov
30

As we race, headlong through November into the ever shortening nights of December, it’s hard to remember the sun soaked and beat drenched parties of the summer. It’s a time to look inwards, to the warehouses and basements where the onset of winter is nothing more than an opportunity for a good stomp.

Callahan

So it’s with perfect timing then that Callahan returns to DEXT with his second offering on the label – Callous EP . Kicking right off with a warped, haunting synth and a raucous bassline, the title track Callous makes no attempt to ease you in softly. The pace of the kicks and the dystopian tones of the synth are a blissful assault on the senses, which leaves your foot tapping absent-mindedly.

Bringing you back down to a more familiar – well – planet, the second track OB, really hits home Callahan’s ability to mastermind a four to the floor techno groover. Rolling drums and an infectious pace come together, fists will pump for sure to this one.

Chipping in on remix duty is another DEXT ally, Lo Shea with his scintillating 4am Strobe Tunnel Remix of Callous. The remix’s title alone, paints a pretty clear picture of Lo Shea’s intentions on this one. Vicious kicks, masterful hooks and dark yet playful synths hiss through a brilliantly industrial techno roller.

Stripping everything right down to basics, Callahan hasn’t worked from a particularly varied pallet for the final track Memorex. Yet, defined by a cacophony of 808 kicks and a hypnotising three-note hook, he really condenses everything into a formidable and potent peak time stormer.

Give DEXT a follow HERE and buy the release HERE.

Animaux: Au Feu

Oct
07

Vous êtes tous des Animaux.

Very very excited (and nervous!) to announce that our next instalment will take place at the historic York’s FIRE STATION! This has been a dream since we saw the For Sale sign above the door for the fire engines. After gruelling negotiations with York’s council and the police, we were finally able to format an event that would make everyone happy.

We are investing heavily into the sound and light aspects of this, in order to truly transform the venue into something you will remember for a while – how many parties at a fire station have you been to? Add on great DJs, art pieces as well as visuals, a cheap bar and a place for those that want to chill and sit, a dance floor for those who don’t and you’ve got yourself an Animaux: Au Feu!

We are running the night in partnership with Blank Canvas, a Skippko.org project to find new and interesting venues in derelict buildings so that artists can practice, have workshops and galleries. Their motto is ‘To advance the education of the public in creative and visual arts and crafts and the techniques and practice thereof’ which we cannot support enough, thus are dedicating all of the profits towards their development. To accomplish this, we are collecting a tiny fee on the door (you are encouraged to donate more!) as well as a few donation boxes across the venue. We wouldn’t be able to do this without their support, so please give back – support the local art!

Cannot wait until you see what we have in store (or FIRE STATION)!

Event on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/298470707202068/

Until Friday,
– Animaux Team

Top Six Things To See At Boomtown 2016

Jul
29

Lions Den -­ The UK’s Biggest Reggae Stage

Rising up on the edge of the woods, this colossal Mayan-esque temple looks like an immovable relic from an ancient past. On closer inspection, however, there are signs that this is a place of very different rituals. Surrounded by a vast amphitheatre of a hill, a formidable array of speakers bulge from the time hardened masonry, vivid lasers pierce the sky while eruptions of flame turn this venerable shrine into a living, breathing roots leviathan. Carrying on his father’s infamous legacy, Damian Marley flies in, continuing to spread the message with his celebrated roots / hip­hop blend. Joining him in a line up as gargantuan as the stage, are the internationally renowned Fat Freddy’s Drop, their jazz-filled dub reggae is more than capable of causing a groove frenzy within the Trenchtown walls and begs for a venue like The Lions Den.

Bang High Palace -­ The Nine-story Behemoth

Erected last year by Comrade Jose, as an imposing symbol of power, this nine-story phosphorescent landmark looms high over the rest of Boomtown. Its formidable spire pierces the skyline as bursts of seismic activity and fire give this whole structure life. It’s bellowing electronic drum & bass voice echoes for miles while the ground palpitates to the rhythm of its beating heart. The palace was erected as a monument to the new totalitarian alliance between the brainwashed ‘Comrade Jose’ (formally Mayor Burrita José) and ‘The Sheriff’, 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 this year’s chapter in the Boomtown legend. Whispers hear mention of this year’s revolutionary prophets, Dj Hype, Dj Hazzard, Mefjus, Critical Music and Full Cycle are just some of the names that hint at a biblical alliance of bass the likes of which are rarely seen on such an epic scale.

Sector 6 ­- Chapter 8’s All New Industrial District

As rumours of revolution bubble over throughout the alleys and dark corners of the town, unexplained rumblings can be heard from Boomtown’s new nuclear power station, sitting in the centre of the recently completed Sector 6. Guttural roars and deeply resonating gurgles can be heard in the quiet of night. Many have heard whispers of heavy garage and grime, others say dubstep, but all say they’ve felt the tremors of palpitating bass. The facts remain to be seen, but propaganda has been circulating, suggesting potential sightings of UK garage emissaries So Solid Crew and DJ Barely Legal within the Sector. Bass representatives Gotsome and Deadbeat UK are also thought to have been spotted in the shadows. Whether the rumours of revolution hold any substance, we will have to wait and see, but one thing is for sure, Sector 6 will not go quietly.

Into the Forest -­ The Woodland Raves

The woods and forests skirting the edges of Boomtown are an ever-present intrigue lurking on the periphery of the madness within. They loom on the fringes like mysterious dark boundaries, occasionally bursting with a diffuse green and blue light which pulsates from underneath the canopy, tempting the residents with a hypnotic tribal rhythm. Here, in these dense and secluded woods, the explorer is always rewarded, woodland parties and forest raves are a growing culture for Boomtown’s more rural residents. Celebrating all things psychedelic with a bit of everything thrown in, three such gatherings have made their name in previous years; Psychedelic Forest, Tribe of Frog and The Rave Yard all gaining reputations as some of the most magical places to lose yourself under a canopy of green.

Vamos -­ Boomtown’s Newest House And Techno Venue

Vamos is a brand spanking new venue to hit the loudly exotic streets and bouncing favelas of Boomtown’s carnival district ­ Barrio Loco. Bringing together an intoxicating mixture of fresh blood and experience this fledgeling venue is set to be an exuberant hive of house and techno, and looking at some of the names ready to christen this bad boy it’s one that really can’t be ignored. House legend Derrick Carter, rightly renowned as one of the best DJs in the world sets up alongside; Drumcode’s Alan Fitzpatrick, electro trailblazers Simian Mobile Disco and joining what is already a scorching collection of talent, the highly revered eclectic spinner Jackmaster. Considering this will be its first year at Boomtown, it’s pretty clear that this is a stage that won’t be pulling any punches.

Whistlers Green Mastercrafted Relaxation

Boomtown is a hell of a festival, famed for its detailed approach to immersion and its untameable energy, but there is also a side to it that and be as calming and tranquil as a lilo on an infinity pool, on a cloud, with a brew, and cake. Whistlers Green offers the weary, hungover or curious a vast variety of chilled out activities, workshops and experiences. You can try your hand at jewellery making, blacksmithing, and even chainsaw carving. And for those a who don’t want to get so hands on, you can get your morning yoga in, go for a skate, get a massage, or just chill by the fire. There are also two stages nestled within the tranquillity of Whistlers Green, both providing the perfect soundtrack to this secluded oasis. New to the green this year is the Windmill Stage, a mecca for Reggae, Folk, Funk and Soul, with Radio 6 funk and soul maestro Craig Charles stepping up as well as global electronic innovators Banco De Gaia. Floating Lotus is back as well, showcasing some of the finest singer-songwriter and folk performances around, including The Rubber Wellies and Rhain.

You can read our full guide to Boomtown here or check their website for more information.

Preview: Dekmantel Festival 2016

Apr
28

Dekmantel Festival is back to the Dutch capital with its fourth installment and it is a doozy – they promise over 150 artists spread out their day and night programs as well as the opening concerts. Have a quick gander at the very stylish video they cooked up:

Dekmantel are heavily expanding on their opening concert idea and offering not one (like last year) but nine (!!) concerts spread out across Amsterdam’s beautiful city-centre locations. All venues are linked with free ferry services and promise an additional free cultural program. These range from James Holden’s dreamy techno ventures with a live band to Alessandro Cortini’s (Nine Inch Nails) live electronica experimentations. You can check the full opening concert line-up over at Dekmantel’s website.

August fifth marks the first official day of the festival in the stunning natural surroundings of the Amsterdamse Bos park and it is hard to describe the amount of musical talent spread out throughout the weekend. Just the first day sees the likes of Jeff Mills, Ben UFO, Surgeon and Moodymann among many other very talented folk. And this theme continues throughout the weekend – I can hardly imagine what it will be like deciding if I should see Dixon or Aux 88, Roman Flügel or Daniel Avery on Saturday and picking between Palms Trax or Motor City Drum Ensemble on a Sunday afternoon just seems cruel. To top it all off at Amsterdamse Bos, the organisers promise: “We aim high with everything we do, but the festival terrain is an exception. We want to give our visitors an open view on the landscape, and thus the decorum will incorporate no skyscraping elements of any kind.” You can check the full day-by-day line-up here.

The night programme returns to the Melkweg – which is one of Holland’s most well-known and iconic music venues. The large building is a former milking factory, and has been in full effect since the abandoned factory got discovered in 1970. It’s a perfect spot for an adventurous club night, offering you a chance to wander and get lost somewhere between the four separate areas, including the majestic Rabozaal, and the coiling hallways that lead you there. Some of the names throughout the weekend include The OrbTama SumoOptimo and Jackmaster (full night line-up here) and yet again, Dekmantel showcase their prowess in offering a huge collection of talent with focus on great music as opposed to specific genres or styles.

It is clear that Dekmantel are continuing their strive towards building the greatest city festival in Europe. It oozes quality – from locations to the talent, everything has been meticulously planned in order to create an atmosphere like none other and if you are one of the lucky ones that managed to grab a ticket, I salute you as we are in for a ride.

http://www.dekmantelfestival.com/

Dixon & Âme – All Night Long – Albert Hall, Manchester.

Mar
26

Although both Dixon and Kristian Beyer (one-half of Âme) are very well known for their individual work, it’s hard to talk about either of them without mentioning Innervisions. Now in it’s eleventh year the label has grown to become one of the most talked about and innovative institutions in the industry. Since breaking away from Sonar Kollektiv Dixon, Beyer and Frank Wiedmann,­ the other half of Âme,­ have slowly, and not so quietly established the label as a beacon of quality in a saturated digital world. Their simple approach to their work, placing quality above all, has clearly paid off, with Dixon topping the resident advisor DJ chart three years running, and Âme (Beyer) in the top twenty in the last four, they have developed a solid pedigree. So when I discovered the Warehouse Project was bringing them to Manchester, I needed about as much persuasion to get tickets as a dog eyeing up an unattended burger stand.

More recently Innervisions have become known for their ‘Lost in a moment’ parties, a concept which has hosted some of the most unique, and perfectly crafted events on the industry calendar. ‘Lost In A Moment’ is all about finding that sweet spot where everything at a party clicks; location, sound system, music and lighting. Now I know it can’t really be said that The Albert Hall is not different compared to many other venues out there, it’s a four-story gothic chapel after all, but it is in danger of seeming run of the mill to a collective who are used to holding parties on their own island (Osea Island). Nevertheless, the atmosphere is gripping as we enter the main hall. The floor and upper tier are filling up with an excited looking rabble while the Innervisions pair gear up for what is sure to be a night of palpable emotion and energy. The stage is framed by the huge, century-old organ towering high above them, which seems to be pumping out the music with an almost demoniacal efficiency.

As we enter its Dixon who is in control, moulding the mood, his famous brand of melodic, brooding music, softly washing over everyone. With impeccable subtlety, the gentle harmonious tracks coerce our attention away from the bar to the stage. A slick lighting set up pulsates into view, greeting those arriving with lush vibrant orange and blue rays. His his first stint comes to an end and the headphones are casually passed to Kristian, the crowds movement starts to synchronize with the beat, the room submitting to their spinning wizardry. Kristian steps in, providing a new sense of urgency to the starting pace set by Dixon, his masterfully picked techno starts to reverberate round the room to a chorus of whoops and hollers. The crisp punching kicks are layered over and under with haunting dark distortion that gradually increases over the next 45 minutes, building in intensity. We’re 3 hours in and already it’s pretty clear, the German masters have no intention of slowing down, quite happy to leave a good many people around me in a state of hypnotised anticipation.

As the next few hours flowed over us, Beyer and Dixon casually rotate every 45 minutes or so, always with a few words of intent into the others ear. The energy still continues to build, Beyer coming in with the injections of heavier, driving techno, fueling the throng of bouncing heads oscillating up and down, with military precision. Dixon moves in again, black cargo pants tucked into heavy black boots, it looks for a second like an army is drilling in front of its stern unflappable leader. He uses Beyer’s change of pace to weave in his felicitous beats, no doubt bespokely edited to fit exactly where he wants them. He cements the atmosphere with a newly flourished vehemence as track after track of pounding techno permeates everything in the ex-methodist church shelter.

Unable to pinpoint exactly where the time has just gone the night draws towards its ultimatum. In the last hour and a half, we are emotionally dragged between hair-raising hand in the air build ups riddled with feverish anticipation, and colossal mind mincing drops that smack a look of ecstatic perplexion onto everyone’s faces. All except Dixon whose steely demeanour is replaced with a sly, cheeky grin. Gradually the house lights begin to brighten, the organ is bathed in a diffuse deep orange light, the inky shades of night artificially turned to dawn. Dixon, sympathetically switches the pace to an ethereal chorus, chiming around a lingering bassline which slowly fades out, leaving the room to revel in the contented afterglow of what has been, simply a special night.

Meet “Thing” – Lithuania’s Klock [Naktiniai Paukščiai]

Mar
10

Thing (Alex Krell) has been making absolutely massive waves in the Lithuanian techno scene. Alex listened to lots of hip-hop and rap while growing up but his passion for Techno came from his dad who owned and played him records throughout the 90’s. Currently he is one of the hosts to ZIP FM’s (national radio) show – “Naktiniai Paukščiai“, is finishing up his newest EP and is heading to Belfast on April 9th among countless local performances with local and foreign talent alongside him.

Mantas: Hi Alex – what are you up to these days?

Alex: Hey! Right now I’m finishing my new EP which should be released next month, so I’m putting final touches on it.

Mantas: Could you tell us more about your inspirations? Who do you follow and what makes “the cut”?

Alex: Inspirations…Wow, there are a lot of them! Maybe I will be banal at this point but Berlin and it’s Berghain music and residents inspire me the most. I couldn’t name only ONE of them… But if there’s anyone I would aspire to be as – it’s Ben Klock. I mean he is more than 40 years old and he tours like a 20 year-old dude. Despite that his production and dj sets are just amazing. 🙂 I produced my EP just after listening to his Essential Mix so this tells how much he inspires me.

Mantas: Why ‘Thing’?

Alex: Oh wow, that`s a funny one! We have to go back to 2012, when I was studying  in Belgium via the ERASMUS programme and I started my solo career as Thing. I’ve made a couple of tracks and one label offered me to release it, so I had to think of a stage name that is easy, sounds good and is easy to remember… There was Adam`s Family TV show on in the background and I heard “THING!” there. I wrote it down, it looked cool and I decided to keep it.

Mantas: Lithuania and Eastern Europe are not generally well-known in the techno scene. Could you tell us why – or what steps are you taking to amend that?

Alex: I don’t know what the situation in Latvia and Estonia is, but Lithuania? I would deny that! We had Ø [Phase], Function, Ben Klock, Tadeo, Kobosil, Par Grindvik, Gary Beck, Regal, Deadbass, Benjamin Damage and many others since summer of 2015 till now, so I think techno is “on its wave” now and everybody’s loving it. Many thanks to such promoters as HOOKED:ON, Minimal.lt, ResoluteDAI and my colleagues from Naktiniai Paukščiai (Nocturnal Birds) for making this happen in our country

If I look to this question as a producer – yes, there are many great producers that make good music, but it’s very hard to release your own productions on big labels when you don’t have “friends” there. If labels paid more attention to production from talented people as opposed to their “friends” we would have been taken techno market in Europe, haha! Anyway, I’m trying to produce as much quality music as I can and I often send it to techno “big-heads” on SoundCloud and sometimes they give me feedback, they download it and etc., so maybe I would say little step by step moves and we`ll make it. 🙂

Mantas: Future plans?

Alex: I have some projects started for my future EPs, I even have some tracks for my 1st album but an album is a lot like wine: the more it gets saved in the basement – the more delicious and expensive it gets. It’s the same in music industry. 🙂 I also have a project for my live show, but it needs time and more hardware to make it a stunning one, so we’ll see about that.
Mantas: And finally – what is the funniest / most absurd thing you have seen in a gig you either attended or played at (or both!)?

Alex: Oh my. I have a radio show with my colleagues Roads and Pakas called Naktiniai Paukščiai so I played b2b sets with them only once and both sets for me ended with drinks spilled on the CDJs. Thank God my colleagues are playing with vinyl – they saved my ass from silence. 🙂

Mantas: Thanks Alex!

Tessellate: Konstantin Sibold @ The Pickle Factory, London

Feb
16

It would have been hard to find The Pickle Factory if we weren’t looking for it. Its anonymous façade artfully conceals the many wonders that lie beyond the sound-proof doors, squeezed between the street and a modest tower of stacked shipping containers. The Pickle Factory, I am told, used to be an actual pickle factory back in the days, stoking the wild fantasies of many pickle enthusiasts. It’s glorious pickle days came to an end some time later when the building was converted into a medical supply storage. Eventually, the building found its true calling when Oval Space — the iconic East London music venue — carved out of a derelict storage facility the slick and intimate venue that it has now become.

The Pickle Factory

Sometime in 2013, Oval Space took over the neighbouring used-to-be pickle factory envisioning a polished, fresh, and cosy environment; a welcoming nook in the grimy, punchy skyline, dominated by the towering gasometers of Bethnal Green. The venue was specifically designed to deliver unrivalled sound quality and clarity. Stripped of visual tinsel of any sort, at The Pickle Factory the spotlight shines on the sound system as warm, curvy bass lines and limpid highs wash through the minimalist room. The unrivalled sound quality is complemented by the venue’s impressive booking policy. Indeed, The Pickle Factory can boast amongst its guests some of the most interesting names in contemporary electronic music. Up-and-coming event brand ‘Tessellate’, brings to The Pickle Factory, London non other than Konstantin Sibold of Innervisions.

Konstantin Sibold

“Konstantin Sibold (Innervisions/Caramelo) [All nacht long]” read the RA event description. And indeed, as commanded by a longstanding German tradition, Konstantin Sibold thumped the dance floor for seven long hours until the crack of dawn. Known for becoming Stuttgart’s club Rocker 33 youngest resident in 2009, Konstantin Sibold was newcomer of 2013 for Groove Magazine and is widely appreciated as an innovating force across the spectre of electronic music. With Mr. Sibold, techno and house meet as if for the first time; brushed by indie and disco, his sets reinterpret the intersection of these genres in a distinctively fresh, full-of-life way.

The format at The Pickle Factory, seven hours of Sibold and only Sibold, met exceedingly well with his style, allowing for a thorough induction to the sounds that define Konstantin Sibold as an artist and a music lover. The marathon-set allowed for a nuanced understanding of Konstantin Sibold’s work, highlighting the unity of his style: eclectic, one could say, when contrasted with some of his colleagues’ lengthy sets. Heavily indie-influenced, the set alternated fuzzy, dazing tunes and thumping beats: and the crowd faded into a subsided lull, only to rise in frenzy again, as if rhythmically breathing with the set. Disco also made occasional appearances, much to the audience’s delight. Indeed, if you needed further proof of disco’s resurgence, Konstantin Sibold at The Pickle Factory would probably have convinced you. Masterfully weaved into the fabric of the set, its joyfully forceful entrances stoked boys and girls alike, and the crowd devoured any tune that would only just hint a 70s resemblance.

Leaving our beloved Pickle Factory, the clear blue sky slowly drifts from a deeply intense blue to a glowing pastel azure, against the suggestive post-industrial relics of East London. Bathed in the dawn’s chilly wind, I make my way back through the shuttered gentrified streets leading to Shoreditch. All in all a fantastic night! Special thanks to Konstantin Sibold and the guys at Tessellate!

Konstantin Sibold will next play in his hometown, Stuttgart, on the 23rd of February at Kraftwerk Rottweil. Check out his schedule HERE.

Tessellate returns to Corsica Studios in London with: Space Dimension Controller (Clone / R&S), Murat Tepeli (Potion/OstGut Ton), Dorisburg (Aniara / Bossmusik), and residents on the 12th of March. Check it out HERE.

Intergalactic Journey or Bart Skils – “Black Vans”

Feb
12

It was a busy summer for Amsterdam’s revered techno zealot, with his own festival ‘Voltt Loves Summer’ celebrating a decade at the forefront of the dutch techno scene. Opening it’s doors to some 20,000 people it’s fair to say that Bart Skils’ 20 year-long mission to bring the world’s most exciting and innovative techno to his home city looks to have been, somewhat accomplished. However, I don’t think he sees it that way. Somewhere between hand picking a line up of some of the most exciting artists from around the world, and juggling a tour schedule with more dates than the Mayan calendar, Skils always makes time to retreat into his studio, or as he calls it, his “personal music heaven”.

Renowned the world over for creating some of the most spellbinding and concise techno of his era, an esteem reinforced with the release of his fourth EP ‘Lost Boys’ on Drumcode last June, there is no doubt that the announcement of his new offering produced a ripple of excitement amongst the techno faithful. ‘Black Vans’ marks a fifth release on, Adam Beyer’s Swedish behemoth Drumcode, a feat which is a testament to Skils’ consistency, and luckily for us his scintillating recipe for creating deep, driving techno hasn’t lost any of it’s potency. Leading the charge, title track ‘Black Vans’ definitely fits in with Skils’ own description of his music as “stripped rolling techno”. A deep pulsating kick drum forms the backbone, lurking beneath an undulating, and menacingly tentative bass synth which teases you throughout. Occasionally pierced with sharp, discordant highs, the combination produces a subtle sense of urgency, which slowly grows, becoming a theme throughout the release.

The next track ‘Fifth Gear’ feels like a step up in energy. Flowing well from the urgency of ‘Black Vans’, the leap in key creates a feel of imminence, almost as if the two songs have been building up to a climax and have now reached the precipice. Once again foreboding and heavy bass forms the foundation, slowly followed by a carefully woven high synth which reverberates during the build ups to elicit a tense choral effect. The well crafted mixture of repetition and subtlety work together to create a solid tune, one that reflects Skils’ description of “stripped techno”.

‘Starfighter’, the third installment, really puts pay to Skils’ versatility in the studio. A heavy
repeating drum loop is overlayed by a lingering, distant vocal, dripping with an almost static charge. Suddenly the atmosphere is perforated, high-pitched needle like notes sting through the established beat, heralding the introduction of the lead synth’s repeating, warped verse which seems to orbit your ears. The way this track’s illusive groove resonates inside your head like a trapped wasp really sets it aside as something that feels genuinely fresh.

The fourth and final track in his latest offering, really outlines what an accomplished producer Skils is. Filled with deep, piston like drums, delicately placed reverberating vocals and clever, enticing lead synths, ‘Rising Sun’ has a real kinetic feel, with bags of potential energy. To my mind, ‘Black Vans’, as a whole, seems to hold a real feeling of motion. It’s as if each song represents a new stage of a compelling, evocative journey. A theme which is prominent throughout the release, Skils uses a clever combination of tension and release giving each track a definite purpose or destination. Whether you agree or not, one thing is certain, Skils and Drumcode have produced an EP that continues a long running theme of dark masterful techno from a partnership that continues to push boundaries.

You can get Bart Skils – “Black Vans” EP over at Beatport.