- Published on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:51
Who said your festival experience has to be dominated by muddy pools of stagnant water, shit food and toxic teenagers running amok? If, given the choice, wouldn't you prefer to be bugging out in the crisp freshness of a mountain range, surrounded by rolling peaks, clean, illness-destroying air and enough chunky beats and rolling snares to keep your appetite for music well and truly quenched? Of course you would which is why Meadows in The Mountains festival seems like such a tasty prospect for your festival season this year.
Nestled away within the Bulgarian Rhodope Mountain range, sitting atop of the Greek border, punters and merry makers are encouraged to go wild with abandon and soak up the beautiful, natural surroundings of the uniquely placed festival. Aside from the likes of Theo Parrish collaborator and Flowers creator Andrew Ashong, San Proper, Hrdvsn, Jazzanova's Alex Barck and many more underground acts from the world's of house,funk and soul, you can even take a horse and cart ride, have a go at downhill grass bob-sleighing, go on a mountain ramble or for the more adventurous type out there, take a trip on the 'death slide' or subject yourself to a ride on the mountain top zip line.
Shunning the ethos of capitalism for community, pre-fab festivals for a unique experience and the arena-packing superstardom of large-scale festivals for intimate personality, Meadows in The Mountains represents a refreshing alternative within a deluge of paint-by-numbers festivals and events. Just make sure you remember to bring your camera along.
Check out this madness on the mountain from last year.
- Published on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 17:21
Reset Robot - Let Your Soul Outside
Reset Robot has produced a progressive and melodic album with a satisfying blend of light and darkness. Some really whistful numbers like Ghost Machine are enhanced by the husky midrange vocals of Mr Woo, which is followed by eccentric tracks like The Birth of Terry Burrows. From the soaring heights of Mings of Strife to the abrupt and gritty bass of Unprocessed Layer or the retro throwbacks in Desi Beats, it really is a rich and diverse release.
Marc dePulse - No Need to Worry (Kölsch remix)
Joining Phil Kieran and FreakMe on remix duties, Kölsch turns his hand to Marc dePulse’s recent release, giving continuity, forward pushing motion and that special Kölsch touch of atmosphere. Playing around with vocal loops to create tension and release, Kolsch has readied this song for dance floors, adding a bouncing, flat toned mid line which holds it all together. Hollis P Monroe and Overnite vocal line pops its head in and out, but is no longer the feature of this largely instrumental number.
Floating Points - King Bromeliad
Set for a May release.
I hate to be a tease, but this one's not quite available as yet. Don't despair however, as you're likely to hear this out and about already, with Four Tet already supporting this excellent new music from his friend and musical colleague (they tend to swirl in the same creative circles), Floating Points. This particular track is groovy as anything, with the smoothest rolling bassline and jazzy drum kit percussion. Excellently structured, this song is the gift that keeps on giving - be sure to play it right through and appreciate its developments.
- Published on Friday, 28 March 2014 17:30
I first heard Audiofly’s 6 Degrees in Vondelpark, Amsterdam. It was one of those sunny Sundays when, just like in London, every inch of grass is covered by various collections of hung-over but happy people, except in Amsterdam nobody would dream of leaving behind any rubbish. Love that place.
Anyway the day was young, everyone’s bicycles were taking a casual lean on the grass nearby and I was eating raspberries (frambozen, in the local tongue). My friends had brought their faithful companion Boombox with them, a wonderful piece of portable equipment which had soundtracked many a day in the sun before now.
Audiofly had just released their album Follow My Liebe and we were giving it a listen as we discussed the adventures of the night before. The whole album is deep, smooth and polished, sounding extremely pleasant but fading into the background somewhat. ‘6 Degrees’ had that something extra, and that something was definitely the lush vocals from Fiora Cutler, which turn the track into something memorable that will float around your head for days after a listening. It turns out I’m not the only one buzzing off Fiora’s dulcet tones, as the Tasmanian native (now living in Berlin) has also worked with Moguai, Armin van Buuren and most recently Tensnake. Some voices were made for guitars – some were made for synths.
So the rest of Follow My Liebe didn’t blow my socks off, but I’m still very much in the corner of Audiofly boys Anthony Middleton and Luca Saporito, whose Flying Circus parties are a thing of great, but understated beauty – much like 6 Degrees. Audiofly consistently explore alternative and unique musical territories and have the best artwork in the scene – no contest.
6 Degrees got the remix treatment by artists of the moment, Tale of Us but, unusually for a Tale of Us effort, I prefer the original. I’ll let you decide!
- Published on Wednesday, 26 March 2014 12:31
Joy Orbison on at 10pm? Was this a test!!?? Shameful failures we were, siphoning into Brixton Academy just before 12 for the Four Tet All-Nighter, feeling like total dildos for missing one of the best acts on the bill. Granted Joy O was playing the field that night, heading off to Oval Space to support Tale of Us for an Art of Muse party after his Brixton appearance, but opening at 10pm? How's a gal to get her disco nap in?
Daphni quickly put a stopper on my Joy O grumbling period however, playing an eclectic set traversing deep and grinding tech, bouncey garage house and disco – lots of it. We all jerked about spilling our beers to MJ Cole, ‘Crazy Love’ (Crazy Dubb) and whipped out our soul boogie double claps to ‘We’ve Had Enough’ – Arnie Love. Nobody seemed too concerned with clever mixing that night, least of all Daphni. It made for someone slightly awkward dancefloor moments, as we were re-adjusting our rhythms every five minutes, but song selection was so spot on that I can easily forgive him that. The talented and slightly dweeby looking Canadian (answers to Caribou, or Dan Snaith) had a lot of goodwill behind him that night, having studied at the Imperial College of London and been wholeheartedly adopted onto the London music scene for many years. I was stuck in a toilet queue for some time, which is only worth mentioning because at one point Daphni sidled past me towards backstage, and when seen out of context he really does look like he’s here to fix your software issues.
The stage set up was as modest as the Brixton Academy was grandiose. Once you brought your eyes down from the elaborate and tall stage frame, with its curled edges and faded paint showing signs of affluence long dried up, you would find a simple long table set up centre stage, lit only by some 50s style office lamps and completely dwarfed by the cavernous space around it. The lighting show consisted of Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) occasionally rotating the lamp bulb towards the current DJ or towards the crowd to highlight someone having a particularly good time, or shame someone picking their nose. Lasers have their place, but it wasn’t here – this absurdly understated approach to production made us feel closer to those on stage; it was basically just like a house party, but with three storey ceilings.
By the time Floating Points came on my friends and I had reached that stage of the night where someone always seemed to have lost someone else and every time we found each other again someone was missing their keys/wallet/hair pins, but had half a beer in a hand where no beer had been before. Messy, I think is the word I’m searching for. Like Daphni before him, Floating Points wasn’t going to let a little thing like continuity get in the way of a good time and had us jumping from gritty techno to steel drum exotic holiday music and back again.
Four Tet continued the theme of eclecticism exploring a whole lot of funky territory and generally showing support for the artists he’d enlisted for the night. Highlights of Four Tet were almost making it to the front of the bar queue then abandoning it all to go dance to Daphni ‘Yes I Know’, plus moonwalking and neck-popping to the uber funky new track from Floating Points – ‘King Bromeliad’. Four Tet also snuck in an unreleased collaboration of his with Burial, just to keep us guessing. We began to flag post-Four Tet, and so called it a night and joined the happy-but-beaten punters spilling out into the Brixton streets.
It was a night of experimentation, diversity and humour, but the lack of continuity put me off staying until the end, as it didn’t feel like one of those epic techno journeys that you just have to see conclude. That’s not to say it wasn’t thoroughly enjoyable while it lasted. Four Tet’s All Nighter continues to guarantee good atmosphere, interesting venues, and music you won’t hear anywhere else - all for a tenner. Clearly in it for the love.
- Published on Friday, 21 March 2014 17:28
I first heard this Daphni's 'Ye Ye' at a Four Tet gig under a great brick archway in London. I unwittingly had my hand on a stranger’s bottom at the time, was unconsciously tipping my drink in a different stranger’s hood and was uncomfortably close to the end of a glowing cigarette attached to a face with bad breath. Most unusually for London, it was very, very crowded.
Fortunately, music solves everything – and the airing of this dark beast from Daphni marked a sharp turning point in a night which until that point had been less about music and more about elbows. It’s a synth line to end all synth lines - a dark, twisted sound which clambers up and down the scale like a menacing spider, its sharply fluctuating tempo creating drama in every phrase. It builds like a mad thing too – rough and raw percussion layers on itself as the song progresses, and double time cymbal crashes spark up the energy and pace. There’s a lot of space in the texture, but that’s not to say it isn’t quite complex if you listen closely. And since that first night I have listened very closely and without distraction – in some ways this song sounds best in a dark room alone. Is that weird? I think Daphni would approve.
There’s something strangely trivial about the ‘ye ye’ vocal snippet in comparison to the rest of the track, but as it’s the only part of the song a human can recreate without sounding like they’ve had eight too many quaaludes, it became a bit of a parrot-cry for those in the Daphni know.
Daphni is in fact an alias of Canadian composer and producer Caribou who, despite living across the Atlantic, is an influential and practically adopted member of the London scene. He plays alongside Joy Orbison, Pearson Sound, Floating Points and Four Tet at the Four Tet All-nighter in London this Saturday.