The 13th edition of Lyon's Nuits Sonores festival has come and gone, drawing to a hedonistic close at the hands of Âme's Kristian Beyer, Laurent Garnier, Marcel Dettmann and Rødhåd on the final Sunday evening. As is typical for a festival of this caliber—as with the current blossoming state of underground electronic music as a whole—there were far too many special moments to list. Looking back, however, and before these memories inevitably fade, XLR8R has compiled this list featuring some of the highlights from this year's installment.
Dark, captivating and beautifully minimalist: Recondite (a.k.a. Lorenz Brunner) played a stunning set that was everything we’ve come to expect from the German producer, label owner and sound artist. Taking to the stage after his compatriot Nils Frahm on Wednesday night, it didn’t take long for Recondite to whisk the crowd off on his own twisted journey with a unique blend of deep house and meditative techno. Starting off with his slower, more hypnotic works like "Levo," he gradually built up to the more euphoric tracks from his catalog, most memorably with "Serak," an emotionally stirring production that caused utter hysteria as the melody unfolded and the light show kicked in.
Rarely, if ever, does the Spanish DJ-producer and Hivern Discs label manager disappoint. His two-hour midafternoon show on the Friday of the festival was a wonderful example of what a short, compressed festival sets should be: It twisted and turned, combining moments of pure elation with periods of calmness and serenity. Gradually building, and stamped with the mysterious melancholy that laces the majority of Talabot’s works, the set was brought to a delightful climax with the Spaniard following his already-notorious "Machine" (Syhtnedit version) with the stunning "The Devil's Dancers" by Oppenheimer Analysis.
Marvin & Guy "Egoista"
John Talabot "Machine" (John Talabot's Synthedit)
Tiger Stripes featuring Vanita "Twilight" (Dub)
Two power failures and an overpacked boat may have both interrupted and cut short Stuttgart-based Konstantin Sibold’s DJ set on the Thursday night, but the acclaimed DJ-producer—who has released on on a series of prestigious labels, from Kompakt to Innervisions to Cocoon—still delivered something wonderful. High in energy and distinctly fresh, Sibold’s set included a plethora of wonderful tracks as it drifted seamlessly between deep house and emotive techno. The only disappointment was that it came to an end so prematurely.
Daniel Bortz "Hot In The Fridge"
Aroma Pitch "Portal"
El_Txef_A "Claim of Planet Earth" (Eduardo De La Calle Internal Shuffle Mix)
Poor scheduling—and, consequentially, a half empty venue—meant that the set by Answer Code Request (a.k.a. Patrick Gräser) is unlikely to go down as one of his most memorable, but that certainly didn’t impede the quality of the output of his set. Starting off with ambient-tinged textures before drifting into more danceable, classic techno-orientated tracks, Gräser’s two hour set was nothing short of impeccable, unquestionably more fitting for a main stage slot at peak hours.
Kamikaze Space Programme "Cel"
J.C. C1 feat. Dario Zenker "Nebula 584"
Taking over from Tale of Us on the main stage, it took the pair some time to find their rhythm and common direction for their musical journey through warm and melodic deep house, but tracks like Agoria’s “Alluvion” and “Scala” set the tone for a perfect close to a stunning opening night at the festival.
Guy Mantzur, Roy RosenfelD "Epika"
Agoria featuing DJ Tennis & Luke Jenner "Baptême" (Lucky Blue Eyes version/Agoria Retouch)
Human Machine "Encode"
Deetron "Photon" (Deetron WP dub)
Clinical and precise, the Berlin-based long-term Berghain resident delivered yet another masterclass is warm and powerful techno, as expected. The layout of the Nuits Sonores hall allows for people to stroll in and stroll out with ease—and that’s what people do, creating a steady flow of people around the periphery of the main room. But with Klock, it feels like a magnet; people don’t move—they stop, engage and connect with the music. And the set's close, which saw him playing “Subzero” with Ensemble Links, was a wonderful moment that will live long in the memory.
Envoy "Sea Wall"
Reese "Rock to the Beat"
Trevino "After The Rain"
Though perhaps neither as engaging or eclectic as many of the above, it was a strong set from Jamie xx (a.k.a. Jamie Smith), and the set's closing was as euphoric a moment as they come Working his way through a number of cuts from his debut LP, In Colour, including “Sleep Sound” and “All Under One Roof Raving,” the London based producer-remix artist finished with “Loud Places,” a blissfully soothing track featuring vocals from Romy, which served as a perfect contrast to the high-energy beats that preceded.
Jamie XX featuring Romy "Loud Places"