Reviews/Previews

A Walk On The Wild Side - Gottwood 2013

GOTTWOOD BANNER CAPS

Despite still being relatively new to the game, the organisers of Gottwood have proved over the last three years that they really know what they’re doing when it comes to putting on a festival. Not focussing merely on the music – although the line ups are always on point - each June they host a celebration of life, love and creativity with a stunning display of artists and installations, carefully constructed deep within the Anglesey woods. With rave reports from previous events combined with a line up boasting some of the most exciting acts on the circuit right now, I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to visit the magical Welsh woodlands to see for myself just what all the fuss is about. After all, you don’t get nominated for Best Small Festival 2012 and Best Dance Event 2012 for nothing! With that in mind, a small group of us packed our bags, loaded up the iPod for the trip and set off…

DAY 1

Following an arduous five-hour car journey, we finally arrived at the festival site, where a somewhat confused girl attempted to chaperone us into a parking space. After having our bags searched by the surprisingly cheery security, we discovered that the actual festival site was around a fifteen-minute walk away, although a pick up truck would shuttle us there for just a tenner a group. There was no chance our flimsy plastic bags filled with supplies would survive the walk, so we happily accepted the offer and piled in along with another group of enthusiastic Mancs, the excitement mounting as we passed more and more eager revellers flocking across the gorgeous landscape, overlooking the sea...

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Shuttle truck

We arrived at the campsite to find plenty of space left to set up in the ‘overflow site’, despite only arriving mid afternoon on the Friday. The sun had finally come out after a good few hours of rain, and in no time at all we’d set up a little village and started cracking on with boxes of cheap wine to catch up with those already in full swing. Eager to get going, we made our way towards the main festival site to kick things off with Zoo Look. It was on this journey that we got our first taste of just why people seem to cherish this festival so much; everything about the area is enchanting. Walking through the grand archway, you’re transported to a land usually restricted to dreams and acid trips – but there was no need for drugs as we drank in these sights. This year's theme was 'Wild Things', and with each step came a new surprise; whether it’s a giant multi-coloured spider web, makeshift swings hanging down from backlit branches, or a massive sofa draped in whacked out hippies. There was a real sense of unity radiating between everyone as we revelled in the mystical atmosphere, and with the entire forest cloaked in a sea of lights and colours, you couldn’t help but smile.  

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The archway entrance

Zoo Look were playing at The Barn, and despite having a relatively early set, the atmosphere was electric as they pumped out a set of playful deep house that saw the room fill up in no time.  Glowing lights hung down from the ceiling, illuminating the crowd, and it was clear that many had already started tucking in to some pretty potent narcotics. As of yet I had seen nothing but amicable exchanges from friendly strangers, but there was one particular incident which really dampened the mood when a couple started laying in to someone for the fact he was ‘shuffling’ – literally tugging at him and sneering ‘you can’t do that here mate…’ Granted it was an isolated incident, but it's become a sad truth that this sort of snobbery has started to infiltrate dancefloors everywhere. Isn't dancing meant to be about about freedom of expression? 

Detroit Swindle were next up. By now, the room was packed to the brim as the duo threw down some serious heat, and the crowd literally erupted when they dropped Todd Terje’s summer anthem ‘Strandbar (Disko Version)’. We used a trip to the bar as an opportunity to explore the Boxford Caravan, where Richard Rowell was mid-set. Being open air (and raining again), there was a lot more space to move; a welcome change to the packed out barn, and the crowd were drinking in the smooth and funky mixture of organic house tinged with disco flavour.

Gottwood is famous for its legendary ‘Walled Garden’, where 360-degree overhead visuals provide one of the most captivating experiences you’re likely to witness at a venue. We made our way through the twisted pathway shrouded in reeds and vines, the sounds of Christophe becoming ever clearer as we approached the entrance. Even after all the hype surrounding it, nothing could have prepared us for what we saw upon entering. Almost everyone was gazing up at the ceiling as sequences morphed into each other, before transforming seamlessly into a vast robotic head (that was to become somewhat of an emblem throughout).  Before long, Crazy P Soundsystem took to the stage, filling the room with their sexy brand of funk infused disco that never fails to impress, with Ron Basejam laying down the beats whilst Danielle Moore provided the vocals – always a powerful combination, my personal highlight being their performance of Stop Space Return.

It was a difficult decision, but there was no way in hell I was missing out on seeing Extrawelt, who unfortunately happened to clash with Crazy P. With one final gaze up at the roof, we made our way over to the Wild Thing stage. Despite the rain, anticipation pulsed through the crowd like electricity, a sea of colourful umbrellas acting as a makeshift marquee that bounced along to the rhythm. Playing a live set, Extrawelt’s distinctive melodic techno couldn’t have been better suited to the festival, and fists were flying up with every track he dropped, a highlight of the festival for many without a doubt!

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Extrawelt

Soaking wet and minds completely blown, we ambled back over to the Walled Garden to get down to the Futureboogie All Stars. I’ll be honest… things were becoming a blur by this point but my god did those visuals look awesome! Someone dropped Paris Dub 1 by Paranoid London and the magician behind the visuals cast a blanket of white over the entire dome, lighting up the whole room to reveal hundreds of (quite literally) ecstatic faces! There are always certain memories that linger long after any festival has ended, and this was one of them. There was nowhere in the world I’d have rather been, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone in feeling that. As the night drew to a close, Ryan Davis took to the Wild Thing stage, eventually closing the night with his anthem Zodiac, to the delight of many. The clock struck four, and the music was over for the night. We trudged back to the campsite, ears ringing, legs aching, but all grinning from ear to ear. 

DAY 2

Friday night had really taken it out of me, so by the time we managed to venture out of the campsite towards the music it was getting on a bit to say the least. We lounged around on the giant sofa to the smooth sound of Louche’s own Josh T warming up the Boxford Caravan, before realising that Tom Demac was about to start his live set at the Walled Garden. His set was packed full of energy and the crowd were really feeding off it, including my group of friends who seem to have mustered up energy out of somewhere… It was a nice surprise to see my shuffling friend from the day before getting down; evidently shrugging off the comments from yesterday’s snob to enjoy the DJ he’d travelled all the way up to Wales to see. That’s one of the things about Gottwood – being such a small festival, there’s a real feeling of community that only grows as the days go by… something which lacks from some of the larger events in the country.

Back to the Louche stage, and Brinsley was pumping out some real gems, although sadly the music was too quiet! Disappointed and bemused, I discovered that they’d had to cap the sound after a council official had gone round with a noise level tester. This didn’t faze Brinsley, and he made up for the lack of volume with a brilliant selection, my personal favourite being Kerri Chandler’s iconic System remix. After the initial shock, the volume became irrelevant as the crowd pushed towards the front near the speakers, the atmosphere more than making up for it.

Move D was closing the stage, and as the clock struck one, the house veteran stepped up to the platter to show us how it’s done. To anyone that has yet to experience one of his sets… they’re about as deep and raw as they come, and crafted with the sort of creativity to put most other DJs to shame. No fads, no crowd pleasers as such – he seems to play music almost for himself – lazily raising a fist every so often, with a cigarette hanging nonchalantly out of his mouth as he plucks out another record. It’s fucking cool to watch, and a joy to listen to... I just wish it was louder!

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Move D

Wanting to explore the festival a little more before the site closed once again, the woodlands were beckoning us. After meandering amongst the trees, we stumbled upon ‘Happy Hookah’, a cosy shisha lounge serving a selection of flavoured smokes and tea. We opted for an apple one, made a little nest amongst the pillows and enjoyed the opportunity to take a moment’s time out, one which Gottwood have got covered without a shadow of a doubt.

 

DAY 3

It seemed to have crept up on us far too soon, but the final day was upon us. Although, being out of fresh clothes and with only half a pack of biscuits and about a fiver to get me through, it was probably for the best! The fact that everyone is usually in the same boat is usually enough to console, and such was the case at Gottwood. Joonipah did a great job of getting the party going at the High & Dry Lake stage, playing a hard hitting mix of house, techno and bass to a crowd caked in face paint and glitter, all eager to make the most of the last day. I took a moment to look around and drink in the whole atmosphere. Bubbles floated above the patchwork mob, a dog weaving around legs to chase a balloon – getting more attention than the DJ at times. The backdrop to the stage – as the name suggests – was a glistening lake, providing that extra touch of serenity that helped the festival stand apart just that little bit extra from normal life.

Over to the Gottwood stage at The Barn, the Mancunian’s Alex Lewis & Willow, decided to mix things up a bit, splitting their two-hour set into two separate parts – allowing each to really get into their own groove. Alex Lewis was first up – effortlessly throwing down one of the best set’s we’d seen with a quintessential blend of underground house and techno oozing with style, and a healthy dose of acid thrown in for good measure – all vinyl only of course. The room was filling up by the second as people piled in, ears pricking from the roars that could be heard from outside in the courtyard. Willow followed up with ease, her signature selection of equally refined house and techno, coupled with the way she toys with her audience, culminating in a final hour that really did the duo justice, my highlight being when Die Vogel’s ‘Maikaferbenzin’, a stripped down, ultra smooth roller completed with a typically Vogel brass section.

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Alex Lewis & Willow

Tief were supposed to be hosting the Boxford Caravan, but in light of the sound issues due to the council, the organisers made the decision to move them over to the Wild Thing stage... a decision that didn’t really bother me as I wasn’t really feeling the Boxford Caravan anyway. We headed over to catch KRL, one of the lynchpins of the Wolf Music family, and proudly showing the love with a wolf tee. The first half of his set was largely disco orientated, much to the appreciation of the substantial crowd that had gathered for the final showcase… although later he delved into his own unique style of garage infused 4x4 music he’s so well known for.

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KRL

Following them were Wolf Music themselves and then finally Bicep, who kept things light hearted, reeling out classic after classic. The atmosphere was perfect, everywhere you looked people were laughing and getting down with the sort of energy usually unseen of three days into an event. Even the security guards were dancing on top of the wall of hay bales –causing the crowd to erupt in waves of clapping and cheering each time. As tends to be the case when you’re having the time of your life, 3am came along way too fast, much to the dismay of everyone. Everyone had got so lost in the magic of the festival, no one had really prepared for the end. But in a flash, it was over.

Stumbling back up to the campsite, we reminisced over the last few days – swapping stories and highlights, stopping every so often to waste a bit more money on laughing gas (which seemed to be in constant supply throughout). Proving they really had thought of everything, a huge ‘chill out’ tent just opposite the main archway acted as a haven for those not wanting to face another night in a freezing tent. A friendly stranger handed me a cider and I sprawled across the floor, eyes starting to droop as someone tapped away at a bongo drum to the faint sound of house music coming from some portable speakers. I was filthy, exhausted and could feel the mother of all comedowns beginning to creep in... but in spite of this, nothing could wipe away my grin. See you next year!

Words: James Ellis
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REVIEW: JEROME SYDENHAM - BICEPT EP

JEROMEDESOLATREVIEW

Desolat are back with the 32nd release on their imprint, calling upon Jerome Sydenham to do the honours. A true house veteran, Jerome has already contributed to the likes of Planet-EDrumcodeDefected and Renaissance, and now he throws down four colourful productions with ease with to form his debut Bicept EP for the label.

The EP opens with title track ‘Bicept’. A brooding cut – the driving force being a persistent bassline that fills the gaps between a simple yet heavy beat. Brusque percussion sporadically cracks through the noise, as do aggressive vocals that ricochet around the room. Changing the tone dramatically is ‘This Door’, making fantastic use of an uplifting keyboard lead that has all the potential to serve as a real summer anthem this year. It’s always a pleasure to hear such variety in an EP; it shows real versatility as a producer in contrast to merely dishing out four reinterpretations of the same sound.

With The Bone’ changes things up again with an almost warehouse feel that stems from sharp stabs that pierce through a blanket of warm synth pads. The simple yet ever effective addition of an open hat, coupled with chopped vocal interjections, complete this dynamic example of rolling deep house. The final cut sees a collaborative effort between Jerome and Berlin based Greek producer Quell, who has been causing a real stir in his own right with his debut album on Ibadan. ‘The Jockey’ packs a real punch. Relentless and up-front, it will undoubtedly be the weapon of choice out of the four thanks to a viscous mixture of raw, pounding flavours.

On the whole it’s an interesting EP throughout, with the sort of diversity that really makes it a valuable addition to your collection, never lingering on any particular sound yet all encompassing the distinct style that Jerome Sydenham has carefully refined over the years. A first-rate addition to the Desolat catalogue! 

RELEASE DATE: 24/06/2013

{soundcloud}httpss://soundcloud.com/desolat-music-group/sets/jerome-sydenham-bicept{/soundcloud}

Words: James Ellis
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Review: Echo Festival 2013, Croatia

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Photo credits: Here & Now

After the success of their inaugural event last year, a festival purportedly built off the back of the organisers’ student loans in their final year at university, Echo Festival returned last weekend (7th – 10th June) for its second instalment with a much grander plan of action: brand new location, larger capacity, and a hugely more sophisticated approach to programming.

After outlining their ambitious plans for the second event, Echo Festival 2013 quickly became one of the most exciting looking purveyors of underground electronic music on the Adriatic coast, with exciting artists such as Magda, John Roberts, Kassem Mosse, Audio Werner, Nick Hoppner and Andres gracing the roster. Though small and not as established as many of the other festivals lining the Croatian coastline (Soundwave, Hideout, Garden Party, Outlook/Dimensions etc etc.), Echo boasted a musical programme that was diverse, forward-thinking and didn’t pander to big-name headliners or mainstream attractions. Within a limited scope of electronic genres, the lineup still reached out to underground music lovers with a taste for the deeper side of life, whether it be coloured by techno, drum n bass, UK house, or more experimental beats.

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Photo credits: Here & Now

Although boasting over 64 artists performing over four days, Echo Festival still remained a toddler of a festival, with around only 600 weekend revellers in attendance alongside some several hundred Croatians and other locals buying day-tickets. This is anything but a fundamental negative; the intimacy was obviously a huge bonus for people averse to 45-minute treks across festival terrain, long queues for stages, or constant battles for dancing space/a view of the artist. In essence, the fact that Echo is small and new was both a virtue to be celebrated as well as an factor behind some of its weaknesses. This little paradigm makes an objective analysis very difficult: yes, there were flaws and definite room for improvement...but it was still one of the best four days of my life, and perhaps the most perfect way imaginable to begin summer 2013!

Travel

Much to my surprise, getting transport from the airport (Venice Treviso) to site in Kanegra, in the North Eastern part of Croatia, was largely a hassle-free affair: the Echo transfer coach arrived quickly after our flight landed and I was able to buy one of the spare seats available on it. Even if I hadn’t, getting to the site via public transport would have been simple enough, perhaps even slightly cheaper than using the festival’s organised transfers (approx £50 for a return ticket).


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Photo credits: Here & Now

Location

The calling-card for all Croatian festivals is the beautiful landscape, clear blue seas and hot climate. On this point, Echo definitely fulfilled all expectations! Set in a kind of holiday resort, ‘Kanegra Apartments’, there was no camping on site but rather a selection of basic but comfortable chalets, which formed a large sprawling village amongst forest-y areas just back from the beach. This format worked amazingly for me: with every chalet having to stay a minimum of five days, a community atmosphere developed on site within a day or two after everyone made friends with neighbouring apartments and had the comfort and space to invite people round for drinks, dinner or whatever floated their boat. Unlike a lot of other Croatian festivals where the majority of people camp, and some choose to stay far off site in private apartments, at Echo EVERYONE (including festival staff) was together in equal comfort and luxury. Plus, who doesn’t love a good afterparty in the comfort of four walls! Proper family vibes.

 

Music

With only three stages in total, and only two of them operating at any one time, there wasn’t a huge amount of choice artist-wise – especially in the day, with the smallest stage ‘Coco Bar’ having no one substantial booked to play. Nevertheless, the music that was on offer was almost always of high quality, and it was genuinely freeing not to worry that I was always missing something on another stage and to wander off on my own adventures and still be able to find people.

 

Thursday

When the beats finally did come-a-pounding on Thursday afternoon, Echo’s friendly resident DJs opened up the festivities with the bass-driven house so widely loved in the UK at the moment, with some disco-infused funk, and a sprinkling of grime and carnival bashment. The London/Brighton/Bristol heads were clearly out in force and everyone was loving it! But it was later on in the evening, when the Field Stage opened at 7pm, that the party really started and on Thursday it was unquestionably dominated by Well Rounded Record’s invasion of the ‘Field Stage’. With energies still soaring from first-day excitement, the area quickly packed out with xxxy jumping on stage for an impromptu b2b set with James Fox, before the rest of Donga’s Well Rounded crew (Lakosa and xxxy standing out as definite highlights) carried the vibe along. The whole lineup was a seriously impressive showcase of the kind of alternative 4/4 sounds that Well Rounded is increasingly known for: textured house and driving techno mutations all amassed together to produce unadulterated party music. 

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Photo credits: Here & Now

 

Leaving the main stage in order to catch Christopher Rau, I stumbled through the blackness towards the beach just as the man himself stepped up to the platter and proceeded to spend the next hour or so mesmerised by his signature blend of sophisticated house and techno. He was clearly having fun, toying with the crowd: a wry smile escaped him as he dropped Hrdvision’s cracked out rethink of Call Me Maybe, and I looked around the beach, revelling in that magical feeling of unity when the crowd and DJ really are feeding off each other. Shortly after leaving, rumours went around that the stage had shut, cutting his set short for reasons unknown at the time…a real shame as he was without a doubt a highlight.


Friday

From a subjective point of view, Echo Festival was in many ways a perfect balance between a holiday and a festival...you never felt pushed to search endlessly for the next vibe, the next upper, the next hectic body torment. This meant that on the afternoon of the second day, we had plenty of hours to soak up the sun and recover from the energy and hype of the previous evening – soundtracked to the tech stylings of Rejam, Onirik and Pablo Tarno (listen to a live recording of the last hour of their 3hr b2b set below!), to the likes of Brighton’s own Lorca on the Beach Stage, from where you could see the coast of Slovenia in the distance. 

Listen to the last hour of Onirik b2b Pablo Tarno @ Echo Festival exclusively on MEOKO

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The main highlights, however, came from the early morning sets from Davide Squillace on the main stage, and then South London Ordnance down on the beach. Both artists, in their own separate ways, threw themselves into energetic and exciting sets, garnering a response from the Echo crowd that was equally spirited even if numbers were low, such as on the beach stage during SLO. That was the beautiful thing about being at Echo: unlike at so many other festivals where the DJ booth seems so far away, the artist was right there in front of you and the relationship they had with the crowd was clear for all to see. 

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Photo credits: Here & Now

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Saturday

One of the most excitingly programmed days, the Saturday took a surprisingly long time to rev up; one of the consequences of such a small festival is that when everyone is exhausted after two days of partying, it becomes apparent to the whole collective. However, we were also blessed on the third evening by a strong presence of local Croatians and Slovenians, attracted by the prominent house and techno lineup on offer and the site became evidently busier and bustlier then ever before. Any lagging spirits were soon banished from the site, with the closing sets on the Field stage from none other than Magda and Nick Hoppner, both of them solidly living up to their reputations with two of the most inspiring techno sets I've ever seen. Magda's driving techno and tribal mutations injected an unmatchable energy into the crowd, almost as if she was personally feeding each and every one of us with her own homemade beat-soup to bring us back to life. After rejuvenating our souls, she passed on the baton to Nick Hoppner who only took us higher, blowing our minds with THE most perfect sunrise set of house, disco, funk, and so much more. The atmosphere was summed up when some of the festival congregated back in one of the apartments for a surprise afterparty hosted by Toi.Toi, with Nick Hoppner sitting on his 'throne' outside in the sun with people swaming round him, still buzzing from his performance only an hour before. 

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Sunday

Unfortunately, the Sunday evening was dampened by the torrential rain that began to pour down as the evening properly got started. As a result the Toi.Toi.Musik takeover on the Beach Stage was closed early due to heavy rain and wind posing a danger to the equipment and the crowd, and both Anthea and John Roberts were unable to perform their sets. The strict alcohol regulations that were in place on the site, and the news that a lot of people had been carted off by police over the weekend due to posession of substances (they were allowed to return with their passports once paying a fine of up to 200 euros), also proved to be a bit of a downer. Amalgamated together, these elements seemed to encourage a lot of the festival to choose their dry apartments over the soggy outside and the site was noticeably quiet, although the drum n bass heads were characteristically determined and kept the vibe going strong on the main stage. 

After the rain finally desisted, we headed down to see Synkro for the closing set of the whole festival. At first, the harder, dubstep character of his set was a massive disappointment, as I definitely would have preferred the euphoric disco that had closed the main stage the evening before. But, Synkro is reknowned for diversity and he soon delivered on that front, coming correct with energetic 4/4 hybrid sounds from the 'UK bass' scene and finishing with this atmospheric song from Boards of Canada, that brought together the whole crowd beautifully!

 

Conclusion

With such a beautiful location and one of the friendliest crowds I've ever come across, Echo was an experience like no other. Small enough to feel like one big family, but still big enough to meet new people every day, it offers the perfect antidote to the usual British festival format and this was hugely refreshing. Arguably, it was just music and beach and therefore there was little in the way of daytime activities, but most of my group were in agreement that this kind of relaxed atmosphere was exactly what the doctor ordered. This and the countless musical highlights outweighed some of Echo's operational shortcomings, such as the sometimes-dodgy soundsystem on the Beach Stage, the fact they hadn't sufficiently prepared for rain, and the lack of site decor and production. The prominent security presence was definitely an unfortunate situation, but one that seems to be common amongst Croatian festivals and probably a difficult one to prevent in the future. Due to the festival's intimacy, these small problems were probably more obvious even to the less discerning eye, but ultimately they were never important enough to ruin the overwhelming atmosphere and the weekend in general. 

From a punter's perspective, Echo was a resounding success and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a festival for its community spirit over its busy schedule, who thrives off interesting musical showcases rather than headlining artists, and who wants to leave remembering the people, the scenery, and the atmosphere rather than how wasted they were...or not remembering at all.


 
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REVIEW: SAMU.L - PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING EP

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Alex Arnout’s ‘Dogmatik’ imprint has built up a solid reputation since its inception in 2006, featuring the likes of Maya Jane Coles, Dusky, and Bubba. For their 9th instalment they’ve called upon the services of Samu.l, a young British producer who has been making waves with a string of powerful releases on Fuse, One Records an Baalsaal to name a few.

Kicking things off is ‘Have it Like That  - a weighty cut, stripped down to the bones. There’s no need to complicate things; the depth of a brooding bass line that sulks around the beat does well to compliment processed vocal chops, sure to melt a few brains on the dance floor. There’s little doubt that what gives his productions kick is not so much in the melody but in the texture: buttery smooth yet forceful all at once. ‘In the Cloudscarries things forward in a similar vein, with a clap sequence reminiscent of last year’s weapon ‘Party Non Stop’, but oozing with that stripped down sleaze we’ve come to recognise, and coloured with sparse vocal interjections.

Look Aroundcomes as a surprise on the flip, as he chooses to regiment this cut with none of the shuffle encompassed in the first two. The resulting backbone is a little more regimented… more robotic, and rather it’s effects that give the track its bounce as they spring around the spectrum. Title track ‘People are Sleeping utilises a concoction of heavily filtered effects side chained to the kick and super tight snares, resulting in an urgency that make it impossible to relax, let alone sleep – not that it’s a bad thing.

It’s another promising EP, demonstrating further evidence that we’ll be hearing a lot more from this man in the future. Four punchy tools to kick a set into gear… keep this at the front of your bag.

 

Samu.l’s ‘People Are Sleeping’ EP is out on Dogmatik Digital 28th June 2013.

{soundcloud}httpss://soundcloud.com/dogmatik-records/dogmatik-digital-009-samu-l{/soundcloud}

Words: James Ellis

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REVIEW: Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald - Borderland

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Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald
Borderland
Tresor LP 

The latest offering from Tresor Records is pretty special to say the least. ‘Borderland’ showcases eight soundscapes crafted by two of names that have been at the forefront of electronic music for decades now. Juan Atkins - who helped define techno itself in Detroit alongside Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, joins forces with Moritz von Oswald- one of the most influential German innovators of the 1990s, to form one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. Recorded over various studio sessions in Berlin, the album will be released in a series of 12” as well as a CD album, coupled with a live show debut at MUTEK this year. 

The duo gently eases you into their world with ‘Electric Garden (Deep Jazz In The Garden Mix)’. A meditative introduction, von Oswald’s dubbed out character forms a dense mist before the sound of a drum machine burns through, every delicate sound carefully considered. Uncluttered and unrushed, we traverse into ‘Electric Dub’ after just over ten minutes, the horns still resonating as though being carried in the wind. ‘Footprints’ shows a change in character, with the air of ambience overpowered ever so slightly courtesy of Atkins style percussion, almost tripping over itself as we begin to gain momentum. The third appearance of ‘Electric Garden’ – this time the original mix – takes us right back into the misty, ethereal atmosphere that is now so familiar, with what is both the longest and the most straight forward of the interpretations.

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The remainder of the album is unquestionably more dance floor orientated. ‘Treehouse’ encompasses many of Juan Atkins’ characteristics, with dancing synth melodies playing off slowly evolving chords. ‘Mars Garden’ – as the title might suggest – gives our garden an otherworldly tint, with distorted synths seasoning the landscape alongside metallic percussion. This gives way to ‘Digital Forest’, the fastest cut on the album with bags of Detroit flavour working with dub-techno pads and stabs in a way that invites both producers styles to shine through equally well, before ‘Afterlude’ closes the album with a fitting example of melancholic ambiance that leaves a lasting impression.

It’s a strikingly impressive fusion of melody and rhythm. An abundance of space allows every sound to shine through and be appreciated individually, yet subtle craftsmanship from both Juan Atkins and Moritz von Oswald ensures your attention through a constant flow of subtle yet cunning revisions throughout.  

 

Released: 10th June 2013

Words: James Ellis
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