Posted on 12 December 2011
Article By: Mark Dommu
Photos By: Jenna Gard
This Saturday night those of us looking to boogie made the irritatingly inconvenient trip to Terminal 5 (seriously, T5 is so out of the way) for HARD X MOUTH TAPED SHUT, a party in celebration of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The night promised to be a good one, with LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy opening for Italian electronic duo The Bloody Beetroots. I’m a long time Beetroots fan and have seen them spin several times, always waking up sore and happy the next day, so I went in with high expectations.
The event was 18 and over and free, which meant that about 80% of the crowd had black x’s on their hands. I wondered several times if HARD had been handing out flyers to NYU freshman in Washington Square Park. I’m also not sure how exactly the event had anything to do with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, aside from the fact that Rooney Mara’s head was everywhere…I guess that’s enough?
Proxy and Eye started out the evening, getting the initially small crowd dancing. When Proxy finished up the audience started calling eagerly for James Murphy, only to be met with a ridiculously long wait for his set. After about half an hour someone finally announced that there were technical difficulties and we were placated with Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of “Immigrant Song”, which debuted this summer with the first trailer for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
After an hour of oddly low-tempo filler music (one prolific teenager behind me commented that, “this music is not, like, nice”) Murphy finally appeared and rather halfheartedly apologized for the wait, citing problems with a turntable…or something. He promised the audience, “We’re gonna have as much fun as you can in a short period of time with your clothes on.”
He was…not exactly telling the truth. After such a long wait, Murphy’s set was rather anticlimactic. The set started off with a funky tribal beat that stayed smooth and easy and got everyone dancing. For the most part Murphy’s set sounded like Miami in the 70s, and also maybe the 90s. There were a few interesting moments throughout, one drawn out warping sounded like a spaceship taking off, but for the most part it was an altogether uninspired set and Murphy seemed to be disinterested in the whole affair.
Almost the second Murphy finished the crowd started chanting for the Bloody Beetroots, and the crowd went wild when they appeared. They started with a bang and tore relentlessly through a thrashing, thumping and glorious set. If you’ve never seen the Bloody Beetroots spin before than you are seriously missing out. It’s the kind of set that you have to flail and jump around too. I could feel the bass pounding in my chest, making my face throb with every pulse.
The Bloody Beetroots are certifiable bad asses and they also clearly care about their audience having a good time, They were invested in the crowd’s enjoyment, at one point coming out form behind the DJ booth to rev everyone up. The crowd was losing their shit, I was almost kicked in the head by three different crowd surfers and did not care.
The Bloody Beetroots definitely made the entire night worthwhile, and on the way home I kept thinking about alien’s in boat shoes dancing to James Murphy’s set…so there’s that. I did wake up the next morning sore and happy wit the thump-thump still pulsing in my head, so mission accomplished.
For Jenna Gard’s full photo gallery: click here
Posted in Concerts, Editorial, Events, HiFi Cartel, Live Music, Local Flavor, Music News, Review
Posted on 11 December 2011
It was almost a year ago when I first caught wind of the French pop-star Yelle. The record label I was working for was promoting her new album “Safari Disco Club” and received hundreds of her albums and posters. I was immediately drawn to Yelle because she had a strong style resemblance to one of my favorite female rockers, Karen O. Upon first listen of her album I was sold. I do not speak French and did not understand a single word of what was going on, but I did know: it sounded happen, was impossible to not dance to, and was upbeat. Good enough for me.
The Music Hall of Williamsburg was sold out and filled with an ecstatic audience on December 9th. Yelle took the stage in her iconic ‘mop’ like body suit that could have come straight out of Christian Joy’s closet. Behind her GrandMarnier and Tepr had started playing their pop-heavy synth lines and warming the crowd up. Yelle burst out into song and the audience went nuts.
That night I was able to appreciate music as a universal language. Though I hear that saying often and it was a core principle in my college curriculum, witnessing the phenomena live brought the saying full circle. The mass majority of the audience didn’t speak French and could not sing along with Yelle. But everyone knew how to dance. Everyone knew how to hum along with the catchy melody lines. That ladies and gentleman is art.
Yelle stripped down to an ‘ode to America’ Budweiser onesie that could have been glued to her body. She yelled out, “My English is not very good and your French is not very good, but I love Brooklyn, and this has been my favorite show of this tour! Thank you!” I can’t tell you which songs were played but I can tell you that they were played well and with emotion.
Posted in Concerts, Editorial, HiFi Cartel, Live Music, Review
Posted on 06 December 2011
Last Friday, the Bowery Ballroom played host to an eclectic mix of excitable fans who gathered to bask in the pop vocals and electro beats of Will Wiesenfeld as Baths. Will, who has also released tracks under the Geotic and [Post-Foetus] monikers, has become just as well known for his affable onstage banter and humble regard for fans as for his high energy shows, and this night was no exception.
First up was musician and producer Joel Burleson’s Ki:Theory. Embodying cut-n-paste music at its best, Ki:Theory’s original songs and remixes alike got the early birds in the audience moving. Joel kept the audience enthralled with his captivating stage presence, frequently moving back and forth from his laptop and equipment to center stage where he sang, dripping with sweat, to his glitchy, beat-driven tracks. Overall a great pump-up to prepare the crowd for the following dance-filled hours to come.
As more of a crowd accumulated, Brooklyn-based Dinosaur Feathers hit the stage with a poppy set reminiscent of fellow New Yorkers Vampire Weekend. With smiles throughout the set and song dedications to crowd members, the band seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their first show on the Bowery Ballroom stage. Although less electronic-based than Ki:Theory, Dinosaur Feathers still managed to entertain the audience hungry for Bath’s danceable techno beats. What stood out most was the band’s often acappella sounding vocals for which the keyboardist and both guitarists were invaluable.
The crowd spared no energy as charismatic Baths took to the stage after spending the beginning of the night manning his own merchandise table, chatting with fans, and setting up his onstage lights. He began with “Apologetic Shoulderblades” off his 2010 debut Cerulean, a choice met by many approving screams and a dance party joined in by the entire crowd. He continued his set incorporating tracks from this year’s Pop Music / False B-Sides with Cerulean hits like the sample-filled “Animals” and the woozily sung “Indoorsy.” He also managed to bring in a few of his newer explorations that, although unkown to most of the audience, still integrated the effortless tension between his heartfelt melodic vocals and head-nodding frenetic rhythms we have come to love and expect.
Also expected was Bath’s repartee with the audience, yet he went further than simply feeding off their dynamic energy and throwing in playful comments like “these next two songs are really really gay” and “I’m a professional,” as he incorrectly prefeced his next song. Weisenfeld, upon returning to the stage for his much welcomed encore, provided the audience with options and asked permission to play more than his alloted two last songs – jokingly yelling at his fans, “Okay I’ll play three, so no bitching when I’m finished, just go!” Needless to say, the crowd was left satisfied as they began their journeys home.
Posted in Concerts, Live Music, Review
Posted on 14 November 2011
11-11-11 was a magical day for NYC’s music scene. Plaid and the Gamelan Dhara Swara played at LPR, it was the first night of the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, Paco Osuna was spinning at Good Units, and MiM0$a was rocking out at Webster Hall alongside Alex English. Energy levels were high and HiFi was on a mission to catch as much music possible for the eve.
Le Passion Rouge was first on the list. We made our way through the doors with plenty of time to down a few Vodka-RedBulls during happy hour. As happy hour concluded, the Gamelan Dharma Swara took the stage. This 15+ person group performs the music and dance of Bali in the NYC area. Gamelan was dressed in beautiful authentic Indonesian attire and played a myriad of instruments that I can not name. An orchestra of percussion, woodwinds, and xylophone-like instruments was spread across the stage. Their structured tunes sounded atonal and chaotic, yet your ear could grasp the tonal center that remained audible through a maze of accidentals and modes. The group finished with two dancers acting out the story behind the music onstage. They were confronted by an evil daemon, but victoriously forced the daemon away.
Plaid took the stage next. I was unaware of what to expect from the avaunt guard Warp duo. They managed to deliver a very true representation of their studio tracks. The entire set itself felt like one long continuous song with very few rests. Much of the set had this distinct under water sound, which mirrored their opening video montage of a girl swimming and encountering a deadly octopus. Whimsical melodic lines were laid on top of structured rhythms and patterns. Soft synth lines ran back and forth from spacious simple sounds to dark and heavy drones. When looking out into the audience, their confusion was visible. Throughout the first 15 minutes of the set most everyone stood still. As time progressed, everyone started dancing to the tune of their own horn. It looked crazy, but it made sense. Plaid took the crowd on a symphonic journey through their heavy beats. A part of me wished they had jammed out in downtempo. The set was great, and overwhelmingly powerful, but the constant change from fast to slow became somewhat exhausting. However, the creation of tones produced put our ears in music heaven for the entirety of their set.
We left LPR and heading directly to Williamsburg for BEMF. Friday night was Cold. Quite frigid to say the least. We huddled on the subway for warmth all the way to the Bedford stop. After securing our wrist bands, we ran into The Cove for warmth and successfully succeeded with the disco funk beats pouring out from the decks by Nick Hook. We danced to his tunes and stared at the beautiful green lazers bouncing around the room. The Cove was not the only poppin’ place at that time. BEMF had taken over all of north Williamsburg, with showcases at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Public Assembly, Cameo, and Zablozki’s. It was visibly obvious that The Cove was slowly but surely filling up, and by the time Hudson Mohawke took over the decks, you could barely move. The recognizable Shower Melody opened his set and the crowd went nuts. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a glimpse of Hudson, but knowing that I was dancing to a set curated Ross Birchard himself, made it all worthwhile.
In the midst of Hudon’s set, I fled over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to catch the Fischerspooner DJ set by Casey Spooner and Lauren Flax. Casey looked dashing in his black suit with bright purple hair. He and Lauren plunged into a fresh remix Casey had made featuring Patti Smith. From there on out, deep house beats pulsated through the airwaves in the MHoW and it felt like we danced until the sun the came up. Or 3 AM. As the audience filed out, with exhausted yet elated looks on their faces. HiFi stuck around to chat one on one with Casey Spooner himself. Casey is a very kind and humble man. Sitting, talking, and drinking beers with an artist of his caliber was mind blowing, and probably one of the coolest things I have ever done. (The interview will be up in the next few days.) By 4:30 AM we stumbled back into our apartment and fell into a deep deep sleep.
11-11-11 was a magical day indeed. The music witnessed that evening was the perfect combination of the finest from BK and the UK. BEMF was as great success as well as the early show at LPR. We can’t wait for next year. Cheers.
Posted in Art, Concerts, DJ, Editorial, Events, Festivals, HiFi Cartel, Live Music, Local Flavor, Music News, Review
Posted on 20 October 2011
“A song can enter the solar plexus and activate a dream world. It can achieve the power of other forms of narrative—the novel, film, a play—in less than three-and-half minutes it recruits matter from the unconscious, the recesses of the heart, the heatlightning of the soul. When forty women are gathered in a room, singing these songs, another world is conjured, something not quite recognizable, not quite ours, and this is why art can be beautiful: because it has the power to transform us, to transport us to other places whether they be subterranean, molten, aquatic, or interstellar. So welcome to our planet where the scum runs deep, the speed tastes so sweet, and the Virgens run wild. Let’s begin at the end… “ –Adam Rapp
The curtain to the stage dropped and Karen O’s signature voice cautiously sang through the opening lullaby. The last words to delicately fall out of her mouth were “Let’s begin at the end.” As that message resonated throughout the theater, it became apparent that the end had already started. As the audience was ushered into the theater, we had to walk through a tunnel lined in translucent chiffon-like walls. On the other side of the walls were the Virgens themselves, whispering haunting phrases such as “the speed tastes so sweet” and “the scum runs deep” while pushing through the barrier and invading your personal space. This haunting thematic element set the tone for the eve.
This work can be the spark for hours of conversation, delving deeper into the thick of the plot. However, I dare not give away the story itself for that would diminish fragments of the theaters authentic magic. The classic battle of good versus evil runs deep through the spine of this tale and plays a pivotal role in Karen O’s character. While watching the scenes unfold, my mind danced back in time to a past Dramatic Literature course and I began to view this dramatic work as a jigsaw puzzle. Christian Joy’s imaginative mind worked its magic at full force and shined through the simplicity of the Virgens and Karen’s decadent attire sculptured out of hair and various loud fabrics and colors. The “Players” were clad in midnight blue, almost black, nun-ish robes that resembled death, lies, and darkness. The “Virgens” could have stepped out of the first scene in Fischerspooner’s “Emerge” video. They were very bare; minimally clad in white cloth that resembled bandage wrap. The white cloth was also wrapped around their knees and elbows, possibly healing broken joints or holding them together? As the snow fell from the sky in the end all I could think of was “Softness. Compliance. Forgiveness. Grace.” from “Angels in America.” A new beginning could now form post catharsis. (Also, take note that the trees in the opening scene are white in a black forest. In the closing scene, the colors are inverted.)
Watching Nick Zimmer play with such enthusiasm and passion was as much of a treat to be a part of. The chorus was lead by a live conductor while the band lined both sides of the stage. Every last detail of this work of art was carefully thought out and executed to perfection. If there were anyone in the world I could sit down and have drinks with, it would undoubtedly be Karen O. Her mind is a beautiful and brilliant mystery that birthed this masterpiece.
“Since the music was written it called out to be something more; even though I still can’t describe exactly what it is we have created, I can’t imagine it being anything else, nor can I see a more perfect collective of artists and friends answering that call.” Karen O
Posted in Art, Editorial, Events, HiFi Cartel, Review
Posted on 30 August 2011
Spastik- Plastikman (Dubfire Rework)
Richie Hawtin’s reign as one of the world’s best DJs dates back to the year 1990. Over the last twenty years, he has won numerous awards: Greatest DJ of All Time, Best International DJ, Best Techno DJ, Best Live Act (Plastikman), Best DJ Innovator, and Best New Media Work. In the early 90’s he was an influential part of Detriot techno’s second wave of artists. By the mid-90’s, he was the leading figure of Minimal Techno and was best known for his abstract, minimal works under the alias Plastikman, a pseudonym he still uses today. Hawtin was at the forefront of incorporating laptops and digital mixing equipment into his live sets.
At the age of nine, Richie’s family moved across the pond, from England to LaSalle, Ontario (right across the river from Detroit). His father was a robotics technician and a knowledgeable fan of electronic music. Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream were often played in the Hawtin household. Richie began DJing in the Detroit clubs at the ripe age of 17 with a young palate that mixed house and techno.
With Canadian DJ John Acquaviva, he formed the label Plus 8 in 1990 to release his own tracks under the name F.U.S.E. He spent part of 2002 and 2003 living in New York City, and has since moved to Berlin, Germany. He said,
“I’d always wanted to move to Europe. I needed somewhere that was inspiring and where there were like-minded musicians and artists, somewhere you could still experiment with music and with life. Berlin is so liberal in so many different ways; there’s an amazing club scene, there’s a great development software tech scene, there are so many resources here.”
Since then, Hawtin has released music under aliases: Plastikman, F.U.S.E., Concept 1, Forcept 1, Circuit Breaker, Robotman, Chrome, Spark, Xenon, R.H.X., Jack Master, Richard Michaels, and UP!.
In 2010, Hawtin decided to bring Plastikman back into the public.
“I’ve watched a lot of live electronic shows recently and was really uninspired. Like any genre, techno has become quite commercial now that it’s got so huge. I felt it needed something heavier, darker and more intense [so I resurrected Plastikman].”
Though many of Plastikman’s tunes are 15+ years old, there is still a timelessness to them. Spastik and Helikopter still sound far ahead of today’s mire of minimal techno.
“I think I occupy this weird position between being popular and underground,” Richie continues. “I didn’t want this to be just some underground thing because what I want to achieve needs to work on a larger scale. This is why I’ve had a so called “schizophrenic year”. I’ve been alternating between the two personae of Plastikman and DJing as Richie Hawtin.”
Richie Hawtin has gone on step further to enhance his live set by created a new (free) iPhone/iPod app called SYNK. This is an experiment in audience-performer interaction, blurring the lines of perception and participation. SYNK users will participate in an experiment in audience-performer interaction aiming to blur the lines of perception and participation. They will connect to the PLASTIKMAN Wi-Fi network available at each show, and after being notified by a vibration triggered by certain moments in the performance, be able to contribute and interact by reorganizing word samples, viewing the venue from the Plastikman perspective, and seeing the realtime programming of the drum and percussive elements and effects. Be sure to download this app before hitting the Zoo Plastikman will be playing at the Zoo on Friday and Richie Hawtin will be performing on Sunday. Get excited! And Click here for more info about the iPhone/iPod app.
Posted on 15 August 2011
This past Saturday, bass reigned supreme once again in New York City; SUB:STANCE, the seminal Berghain bass night concocted by Hotflush boss Scuba, finally made its way to New York City to invade Santos Party House and brought bassheads, househeads and techno-fiends out from the torrential downpour pelting the streets and inside a dark, deep vibe that took over both levels of the venue. Ostgut-Ton’s Steffi took over the lower level of Santos with a rousing three-hour set of Berghain-blessed techno and house while Appleblim, Addison Groove, Paul Spymania and the O.G. Scuba took over on the top level and threw down something legendary. All in all, SUB:STANCE at Santos was one of the more well-executed nights of electronic music New York has seen in quite a while.
Posted in DJ, Photo Gallery, Review
Posted on 12 August 2011
Just the other day, I found myself remarking to a friend that Canadian house revivalists Azari & III seemed to be keeping relatively quiet recently, and how it was unfortunate considering their infectious energy and sound. Lo and behold, I only needed to check my ever overflowing inbox to see that they are in fact set to release their debut LP on August 12, 2011, and for the time being the entire album can be streamed through Soundcloud below.
Azari & III
At first listen, the album is much what you would expect it to me: soaring diva vocals and energizing peaks lift the listener into ecstasy-like highs that can only be expressed adequately on a strobing dancefloor. However, their is a darker side to this album as well; a layer beneath the pure hedonism that in many ways is symbolic of what we as a culture have learned since the 1990s. The lightly masked wisdom seems to warn of what our generation already knows: that relationships built in nightclubs do not last, that beauty fades, that drugs wear off, and that eventually, the lights do turn back on.
Perhaps because of this, the tracks that most stand out on this album are the ones that express this duality in both their sound and lyrical content. Ironically, these tracks that could almost be more apt referred to as “songs” are also the ones that set themselves apart as dancefloor anthems. That is not to say that the instrumental tracks are less interesting, but they are interesting in a more strictly musical sense and seem to be more suited for personal listening.
Notable tracks include “Into the Night”, which is groovy and full of live, recalling the early stages of a blossoming love affair, where everything sparkles and every breath is intoxicating. I do not think it is accidental that this track opens the album, as this feeling of giddy new romance is representative of the inception of every person’s affair with nightlife.
If “Into the Night” is the naive beginning of a love affair with the night, “Reckless (With Your Love)” then represents the next level of developing maturity, delving into deeper house and calling forth a distinct taint of irony. It tells a story of someone figuratively hiding in the party, wearing a mask of freedom and fun that truly stems from an attempt to fill the void within. This irony is then magnified by the musicality of the track, as at first glance it seems made for the dancefloor, yet on a deeper level contains a beat that could almost be interpreted as melancholy. It is furthermore interesting that the infamous Tensnake remix of this track has been the more popular version, as it glosses over the darker underbelly turning it into true pop. This almost adds a third layer of irony – that the remix that focuses on danceability and lightheartedness, thereby ignoring the true meaning, represents, if you will, the mask worn by the subject of the track itself.
“Change of Heart” also stands out, with its echoed female vocals that sound almost ethereal when laid over needling synths. Conversely, “Manhooker” seems to be the most honesty dark track of the album, with elements that are almost industrial and stark infused with an overlay of sex, recalling a low-point in hedonistic revelry. “Hungry for the Power” is given depth by its subject matter, which is all about control, turning this track which might otherwise come off as cheesy into something much, much more.
You can purchase the album HERE, and check out the full tracklist below.
01. Into the Night
02. Reckless (With Your Love)
03. Tunnel Vision
05. Lost In Time
07. Change of Heart
10. Hungry for Power
Posted in Music News, New Music, Review, Up & Coming
Posted on 01 August 2011
Champagne wasn’t the only thing poppin’ at Le Bain last Friday, the 29th. Booties were poppin’ to a steady diet of house cuts courtesy of New York’s finest FaltyDL (Planet Mu/Swamp81) and Montreal goldenboy Jacques Greene (LuckyMe). While Falty played an exuberant set that was filled with notable favorites, (tunes from Julio Bashmore, dubs from Boddika, Joy O) he also played to one of the more livelier and stranger crowds at the space (apparently The Jonas Brothers were roaming about). It was all good in the end, setting the stage for Jacques Greene to play his carefully curated set of RnB quickfire edits, classic house tracks ranging worldwide, and of course dropping some proper techno knowledge with some heat from Wax. A big night? Certainly. A messy night? Without a doubt. That didn’t stop it from being one of the best nights Le Bain has housed in ages. Big-up the Mean Red girls, FaltyDL and Jacques Greene for throwing it down in Dark Disco style.
FaltyDL – Moonshine [BUY]
Posted in DJ, Events, Local Flavor, Music News, Photo Gallery, Review
Posted on 13 July 2011
Click here to see full photo gallery from Camp Bisco X.
The rolling green hills and bountiful vast fields of upstate New York provide a very rural, laid back lifestyle, the polar opposite of New York City’s over-crowded hustle and bustle mentality. Hosting a music festival here is ideal for a large portion of NYC inhabitants and east coasters alike: it’s accessible via public transportation or car, cheap, and easy to pencil-in around your work schedule. This three day event (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) hosted by the Disco Biscuits was about to be a weekend of musical bliss. Camp Bisco was on the verge of celebrating its 10th year anniversary with some of the finest artists, producers, and DJ’s our generation has to offer. Luckily, in a few short hours, this festival was about to become my reality.
We departed for Mariaville (15 miles outside of Schenectady, NY) around 10 am on Thursday morning. Though the town was only 180 miles away from New York City, it took our crew a lengthy seven hours to make it inside the Bisco gates. To our dismay, the campgrounds were thoroughly flooded with people. Tents were chaotically scattered and assembled so close to one another, it was nearly impossible to find a spot. (For those of you planning to attend next year, get there early- even if you have a media pass, get there early.) A half hour and eight clueless security guards later, we finally weaseled our way into the Rio de Janeiro campsite and set up our weekend home base.
Just by looking at a map of the grounds, I felt very at ease. In a festival environment it is easy to feel bombarded with excessive stimulation, but there was an attractive intimacy to Bisco’s layout. All of the campsites were named after iconic electronic cities: Ibiza, Rio, Tokyo, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, New York, Barcelona, etc. The two main stages were set up right next to each other so it looked like one massive stage with a barrier down the middle, separating the stages into Main Stage A and Main Stage B. As soon as one band finished on stage A, the next band would start on stage B five minutes later. This allowed you to more or less stay in one sport for the majority of your day, without having to sit through half hour set changes. There was one large white tent where the larger electronic acts would play by night called the Grooveshark Tent and a smaller tent titled the Dance Tent. The only other two smaller stages in the whole venue were the Silent Disco Tent and Showcase Stage.
The entire set up was perfect, small, and easy to navigate. But as soon as we started to talking to the people around us, everyone was unanimously baffled by the grandiose crowd, complaining that there were twice as many people at Bisco in 2011 as there were in 2010. This was the first year in history that Camp Bisco had sold out it’s 30,000 tickets. However, compared to Bonnaroo, which holds 100,000 annually, Bisco felt tiny. I also quickly learned that it was inappropriate to call this festival Camp Bisco or just Bisco. Looks of utter disgust would cross attendee’s faces if I ever mentioned those two phrases, they would look at me with wide eyes and respond in a dark condescending tone, “You mean Camp?” (Side note. If you plan on going to Camp Bisco in the future, or if you decide on bringing it up in conversation, just call it Camp. Trust me, just do it.)
The Disco Biscuits were hosting this musical festival and were due to play 6 sets in the three day period. It was only appropriate that we started out this adventure by watching the Biscuits first. We made our way over to Main Stage A to catch the set. Their steady jams and bizarre lyrics took me back to my high school jam-band loving days. The set was smooth, relaxing, and topped off with an incredible lazer show. However, the strobe lights were a bit overbearing and felt as if they were about to burn a hole through my retina. My crew backed away from the stage and moved towards the rear of the field where there was ample room to dance and move about freely. Right after the Biscuits, we headed to the Grooveshark Tent to catch Skirllex. The energy of this show was slightly overwhelming and the tent felt more like a sauna than an open-air space. I broke away from the bass heavy crowd and headed towards Archnemesis, who were playing in the Dance Tent. This show made my night. I had not heard of the DJ duo before I stepped foot in the tent and it seemed like everyone I ran into prior told me to check them out. Their set sampled everything from early 20’s blue and jazz to modern hip-hop and soul. Again, there was space in this tent to move about freely which enhanced the atmosphere. Archnemesis brought their set to a close and we headed back to the Grooveshark Tent for the last show of the evening. Lotus played to an over crowed vivacious group, hitting everyone softly with their melodic electronic grooves.
Bisco X attendee, Sara Finkle, told HiFi, “Lotus absolutely killed it! They catered perfectly to the Camp crowd while keeping their wonderful happy Lotus vibe.”
Once we were back in our tent and tucked into bed, I found it impossible to calm my wired brain. My boyfriend and I decided to walk around and explore the grounds for a little bit, you know, since that’s the sane thing to do at 4 in the morning. We walked into the Silent Disco Tent and both of our jaws hit the floor, the space was phenomenal. The artwork featured on the stage was very mythical and eerie, but beautiful. Two DJs were standing side by side battling one another in a silent abyss. As you walked into the stage area, staff members were passing out headphones that covered your ears. You could navigate between station 1 and 2, and chose which DJ you wanted to listen to. Your headphones would light up either green or blue depending on what channel you were tuned into. This way you could see what everyone around you was listening to and watch them react with the music. That put the cherry on top of a great evening.
I awoke to the burning sun forcing me out of tent at ten in the morning. I got up and joined the crew for a very lazy breakfast of milk and frosted mini wheats. Word got out that a few people were going to be leading yoga at Main Stage in a few hours. My friend and I decided that this would be the perfect way to start out the day and stretch out our bodies. Unfortunately, upon arrival, we learned yoga had been held at 10 am. Fortunately, we were greeted by the Easy Star All Stars and happily danced along to their reggae-tastic covers of Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles. RJD2 took over next as he plunged into his hit Ghostwriter. Break Science were right by his side backing him up on keys and drums. Together they performed Smoke & Mirrors and The Horror before RJD2 surrendered the stage to Break Science and Redman.
The next show on my schedule to hit was Four Tet. There is something unique in Kieran Hebden’s touch that makes his knob tweaks sound angelic. The sun was resting low in the cloudy sky and a light summer breeze passed through all of us inside the Grooveshark Tent. Four Tet’s light show was composed of warm pastel tones thats mirrored his tunes. Unfortunately, Shpongle was about to take over the Main Stage and we quickly rushed out of the tent to see what all this Shpongle hype was about.
How do we even begin to put the Shpongletron experience into words? Even if I pulled the most elaborate descriptive words from dictionary and artfully arranged them into picture-esque sentences, something would still be lost. Let’s just say that this was the musical highlight of 2011 . (My whole crew agreed.) Simon Posford and Raja Ram (together they create Shpongle) converted the stage into acid drenched rain forest straight out of the ’60s, filled with musicians and mythical creatures. There were viking cat-women, a slinky human costume that had a torso and 4 legs, and beings I only thought existed in the Beatles, ‘I am the Walrus.’ The crowd was equally as bizarre and freaky. When the music started, everyone responded in unanimous movement. Horns, brass, strings, blue-grass, glitch, ambient, psy-trance, psychedelic downtempo, psybient hand percussion: you name it, it was there.
“I felt like I was peering into the brain of an omnipotent sound being. Or maybe like living the dreams of the God of Music,” stated crowd member Alex Hoffman.
As Shpongle dove into The Stamen of the Shaman, the rain started plummeting out of the sky. We all looked like maniacs, losing our sanity to a crazy looking band in the pouring rain. It was amazing. Nothing can compare to the happenings of Shpongle.
The rain kept beating down on the crowded field for what felt like eternity. If there was one thing I should have brought, it would have been rain gear. Apparently there has not been a single Camp to date that hasn’t witnessed rain. The entire site was oozing mud. At one point it felt like we were all wading through quicksand that was caked up to our shins. My crew tried our hardest to scramble back towards our camp site, and we returned to discover the once lush green hill had been transformed into a gigantic mud slide.
An angry member who’s site was destroyed yelled out, “WHY DO YOU THINK THEY DECIDED TO CALL THIS CAMP SITE RIO DE JANEIRO???”
I laughed hard, but abruptly stopped when I saw our camp site had been equally destroyed by water. Shock. Sadness. Anger. Exhaustion. With no choice left than to embrace the mess, we headed back out to show and ended our night with two unbelievable performances by MSTRKRFT and Ghostland Observatory.
After a night like that, we were blessed with about 8 hours of sleep. Our crew awoke late in the afternoon and started packing up our campsite. We knew that we wanted to catch the Disco Biscuits last set and also Bassnectar before we departed. Exhaustion was weighing heavy in all of us, and we slowly trekked back to the Main Stage to see the final two acts. The Biscuits performed a very calming and soothing set which almost put us right to sleep. Basnectar shook us back to consciousness as the invasive wobbling bass lines pierced through our raw skin.
Somehow I managed to sleep the entire ride home and woke up in New York City. The layers of mud caked on my feet shook off the dream-like state I had been lingering in and made me realize I was out of Mariaville and back in Brooklyn. Bisco was a one of a kind experience. It felt great to camp outside and be bombarded with phenomenal electro-talent for three days straight. Though it was exhausting, the times I had and shows I experienced were priceless. I can’t wait to return next year. Thank you to the Biscuits, promoters, and everyone else who made this event possible.