Seattle's Decibel Festival has literally grown tenfold over its 11-year run, with last year's edition boasting 25,000 attendees. (Our review of the 2013 edition can be found here.) The volunteer-driven event's ambition has been rewarded—though Seattle is not typically thought of as a dance music mecca, the festival now possesses an unlikely gravitational pull that trickles across the continent and literally improves line-ups throughout the US and Canada in September and October. This year's festivities have something of a "back to the roots" feel, as the EDM-crossover bookings have been ditched and the line-up is heavy with artists from Ostgut Ton, Modern Love, Hyperdub, and other heady imprints. That's not the only change; this time around, Decibel will no longer squeeze into every nook and cranny of Capitol Hill, instead opting to situate larger events in downtown Seattle's EMP Museum. Still, even with this more concentrated approach, there's a lot to sift through. Each day, the festival is presenting industry and tech-focused workshops in the afternoon, proper showcases at night, and, beginning on Thursday, afterhours events that will stretch into the early morning hours. With so much to potentially see—the complete program can be viewed here—we figured that some attendees might appreciate a bit of a helping hand, so we've to put together a list of artists that should not be missed over the course of the five-day festival. Read more »
Real Talk: Anenon on Live Performance, Authenticity, and Being an Experimental Artist in an Increasingly Techno World
'Real Talk' is a series of artist-penned essays that appears on XLR8R from time to time, and our latest installment features LA producer Anenon (a.k.a. Brian Allen Simon). A few days after the release of his second LP, 'Sagrada,' via his own Non Projects label, Simon has put together some thoughts regarding the importance of performing live, and touches upon the increasing difficulty of securing solid shows.
There is not much else in this world like taking part in a truly great live music performance. Playing an amazing set and feeling the energy of the room cannot be paralleled by any other experience—it's a true natural high that doesn't need to be aided by anything other than good sound and an unspoken connection between audience and performer. During all of my best shows, there has been a sort of mutual and reciprocal trust that formed from the first note played. The audience accepted that they were along for the ride and I felt the power to take them wherever the sound took me. There was no doubt on either side. Nowadays, these experiences are beginning to feel few and far between. Read more »
New Forms' line-ups are clearly chosen by heads. The 2014 edition of the Vancouver festival, which kicked off last Thursday and continued through the weekend, included an embarrassment of rare and unique acts, several of whom were making their first trips to Canada. Read more »
Tin Man (a.k.a. Johannes Auvinen) has been releasing music for over a decade, but he seems to have found a real home at Acid Test, an offshoot of LA-based label Absurd. His 2012 full-length Neo Neo Acid brought broad attention to his use of the genre's signature machine—the Roland TB-303—from which he coaxes a distinctive musicality while crafting a unique brand of synth pop-inspired techno. Auvinen's latest album Ode (currently streaming in full via XLR8R) trades in a more distilled strain of post-rave melancholia, and ahead of its arrival on September 22, the Vienna-based artist walked us through five tracks that, much like his own productions, offer a unique take on acid—from Richie Hawtin's minimalist approach under his Plastikman alter ego to the acid-pop crossover of Ten City. Read more »
Now entering its 14th year, the annual New Forms festival has consistently offered both forward-thinking music and contemporary art, with local and international musicians performing amidst full-spectrum light installations and large-scale video projections. Kicking off on Thursday at Science World on the shore of Vancouver's False Creek, this year's festivities feature some particularly on-point programming, with acts as disparate as Oneohtrix Point Never (pictured above), Visionist, Morton Subotnick, and Scratcha DVA all set to perform across the three-floor venue. While the overall quality of the line-up is hard to fault, the abundance of talent does mean that there's a high chance of missing out on something worthwhile, so we've highlighted five certain winners to look out for this weekend. Read more »
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