The Musicorium

Sharing some music.

Live from Movement/DEMF: Day Three

Posted by SP on June 1, 2010

Day three began with lighting and thunder.  Storms worked their way across the state in the early part of the afternoon and it rained throughout the day.  Far from ruining the festival though, the rain brought cloud cover and cooler breezes that washed away a lot of the previous two days’ pressure and aggressive energy.  We started late and got there just in time to see the end of Francesco Tristano’s set:

Tristano is from Luxembourg. I hadn’t known his music before, but if I had I would have made sure to see the whole thing.  Beautiful stuff.  The reason we were there though was to catch the Moritz von Oswald Trio.  Mortiz is one half of Rhythm & Sound/ Basic Channel, the other half of which is Mark Ernestus. Ernestus had done the dub reggae set that I mentioned in the post on day one.  The Trio was joined by Carl Craig for the set and did an absolutely beautiful hour of minimal, layered, hypnotic music.  Probably this stuff is a little abstract for many, but it was absolutely beautiful while the clouds rolled by and gulls wheeled over the river on the gusts of wind that trailed in the wake of the morning’s storms.  The set was interrupted by a power outage for about five minutes, but it was still lovely:

After starting the morning off with art it was time to go to a party, so it was over to the Beatport stage to hear French berserkers dOP.  Where the trio had been mellow and artistic, dOP were all out throwing down.  They had the crowd up on the stage with them, were drinking, pulling up girls from the audience and dancing with them, and absolutely everybody was shaking it. The MC worked the crowd masterfully, and the music was truly off the chain: imagine techno dance beats combined with New Orleans-style party jazz instrumental components and you pretty much have the idea. Insane, but great fun:

Having learned our lesson about festival attrition on day two we took a dinner break away from the festival in more comfortable surroundings.  Then we returned for the evening sets.

I had wanted to catch at least some of the set by German duo Booka Shade

but it was absolutely packed and for good reason.  What we did see was an excellent performance.  It was too hot though, too packed, and too full of drunks so we went to the Movement Torino stage to check out Italian Mauro Picotto instead:

Picotto’s skills as a DJ are excellent.  Everything that was missing from the day two sets he brought in spades.  His set was very up-tempo, well paced, well managed and kept the crowd on the floor.  That’s harder to do than it sounds, as I learned this weekend rather graphically, so it was a real pleasure to see someone getting it right.

The big draw of the evening was Model 500, brainchild of Detroit techno originator Juan Atkins.  I’d never seen Atkins before and was expecting something good but fairly ordinary in terms of presentation.  Most DJs don’t really incorporate much of a visual effect outside of (usually dispensable) graphics projected on a screen behind them–if even that.  Atkins was a whole other thing.  The set started with as much smoke as I’ve ever seen at any rock show, and when it cleared the Model 500 guys were standing there in Star Trek-looking outfits.  In addition to classic tracks like future (see below), he played some newer tracks with a vocalist and one with a rapper (Nick Speed).  These were not as impressive as you might think however, and came off as being somewhat experimental.  That said, it was an interesting set, if for no other reason than to get to hear stuff like this echoing off the buildings on Jefferson Avenue:

The experimental nature of Atkins set made it somewhat wearing, so we wandered around a bit to see the last acts at the other stages and wound up closing the festival at German Chris Liebing’s set.  It was a really good set, a lot like Picotto’s but more dub-influenced.  Liebing ended the last track by pitch-shifting the last note of the last track into a long, horrific bass note that felt like it was microwaving your kidneys.  It was one of those things you either love or don’t.  I think I was the only one in the ‘don’t’ column in my group, but hey, it was still a pretty good set:

That was DEMF 2010.  Day three made up for the shortcomings of days one and two, but to be fair the heat was a factor and I forgot my age those first two days.  What I will say is that I left the festival very impressed by the diversity of the music and the artistry of the people making it.  A lot of people write electronic music off as something that any talentless hack with a laptop can do, but that just ain’t so.  The only way you’re really going to know that though is if you see it done well, live, with a real human crowd. It’s a lot like jazz that way. There’s something like a quantum effect that happens in these shows, where the observations of the audience change what happens on stage, and what’s on stage produces a reciprocal effect in the audience.  When it comes off it is a beautiful thing.  And the music is beautiful in its own right too. It takes real skill to do this stuff, and if you listen with trained ears, know your way around the rhythmic ancestors of this music in Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean, and keep an open mind about it, you can be richly rewarded for your troubles.

Just stay hydrated.  And if you’re a guy, please keep your pants on for the duration of the performances.  Please.  That is all.


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