Primavera Sound 2018

Primavera Bits, my favorite corner

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, concentrates attention around one more Spring, with one of the most prestigious European Festivals. Artists are coming from everywhere, all of them are reviewed present interest from headliners to newcomers, representing all kind of genres in a rich, full musical diversity. They are about to get packed Parc del Fòrum one more time. This facility located at the municipality of Sant Adrià del Besòs is the near downtown main scenery, getting stage complement with clubs in the heart of the city, where some public buildings set for the professional program by the organization, the so-called Primavera Pro. One more year, attendants will be in a joyful flow of colors, moves, and celebrating diversification, mainly from May 31st to June 2nd.

Diversity is the keyword for Primavera Sound‘ success. From the beginning, back in 2001, the festival’s bill was a vast range amalgam of genres, with indie pop-rock as prior subject, caring for local artists, always paying homage to the greats and never taking foreign highlights for granted. This attitude from programmers enlighted with big names the successive editions, first with few, now in massive. Increasingly, year by year, essential artists brought hip-hop, urban and electronic music to the audience. The later did a giant leap in 2016, concentrating a specific place for DJ sets in an area called Beach Club, on the Parc del Fòrum East-South side, close to the shore. Last year the zone became Primavera Bits, a proper two-stages territory for electronic music, one dedicated to the DJ sessions and the other to the DJ/ Producers’ live sets. Each one associated with a drink naming mark. Primavera Bits 2018 added a third drink named stage, giving beats a consolidated status at Primavera Sound Festival with a specific line-up.

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Since 2016, this has been my favorite corner at Parc del Fòrum attending Primavera Sound, always keeping an eye on the app for not losing any of the other exciting proposals offered.

Image credit: Viviane Vieira at Instagram (@strollingbarefoot)

Kölsch at RazzClub (Razzmatazz)

A promising “Testing new stuff”

Kölsch comes back to Barcelona with resonances of a perfect year. 2017 threw all the glitter over his stardom’ shadow, felt as an induced glow over the dark stillness of his appearance artwork. Always sliding from the ones’ perception he shifts to the mainstream and from the others who appreciate the qualities he injected into the underground, the half-Danish, half-Irish DJ, and producer turns to both with a bright naughty look like saying: “I do what I feel.” That is the point, and it is enough for the writer to enjoy his session this Saturday, March 10th, at RazzClub, one of the five rooms at Razzmatazz.

He will be on the decks a week before his latest remix hit the selves. A horizon melody over a strict early drum N bass pattern and groove bassline he turned into a rhythm artifact for the glory of Damon Albarn‘s chant and the fading echoes of classic UK rave sake. His contribution to “Saying,” a track from the acclaimed “My Heart” album by Nic Fanciulli, with whom Kölsch played alongside weekly throughout last summer at Hï Ibiza. His Facebook announces a promising “Testing new stuff.”

He steps like this in 2018′ solid ground after rounding up his autobiographical trilogy served through years in the full-length format with the last “1989” in grey, complementary to the teenagery memories of “1983” and the debut with “1977,” five years ago, giving the anthemic ‘Grey.’ All this stuff, all these uncomplexed string arrangements enriching his techno foundations would not have been possible without the empathy of Kompakt Records, the legendary Cologne-based imprint who did believe in him.

In 2010, Michael Mayer invited Rune Reilly Kölsch to express otherways than the dominant so-called Ketamine House at the time, and bring Ink And Needle (with Johannes Torpe) to Kompakt. It was the right place indeed. The home of Ambient, and Minimal Techno, thanks to Gas (Wolfgang Voigt), a territory for openminded artists daring to do something else as expected. Then Kölsch was Rune RK, the one who smashed with ‘Calabria‘ in July 2003. Immersed since then in different recording projects through the 00’, running labels like Arti Farti or Tatoo Recordings and releasing under the cited moniker but also as Ink & Needle (with his half-brother Johannes Torpe) without forgetting Artifical Funk among others.

On October 18th, 2010, under his definitive artistic name, Kölsch released the 12-inch ‘Loreley,‘ corresponding to #68 of the famous Speicher series, a defining fineness from Kompakt, the German record label founded by Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer, and Jürgen Paape. The Icelander affiliate Gus Gus ask him for a remix of ‘Deep Inside,’ and his personal touch of deep emotional Techno began in demand. The rest is a growing list of high rated names, from Coldplay and Deadmou5 to Eric Prydz and The Chemical Brothers, with a regular criterium of selective ventures for the artistic interest, which went to put his name beside andHim, Paul Kalkbrenner or Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons. What he gave to Flume‘s ‘Take A Chance (feat. Little Dragon)‘ and mostly to London Grammar‘s ‘Hell To The Liars’ is musical history. He is one of the talented producers, few of the accomplished craftsman capable of making electronic music the new pop for the 21st Century (in the most broader sense).

The local DJ and producer Baldo will open the night for the Kölsch set. The Vintage synth-loving L.A. producer Seth Haley (a.k.a. Com Truise) will be in the neighbor room, The Loft, with his latest album,”Iteration,” in the case. Everything is starting at 1 am.

GAS – MIRA 2017 Opening Concert at L’Auditori

‘Deutscher Wald’: welcome to the misty forest

Digital Arts Festival MIRA 2017 solemn its Barcelona Edition inviting GAS (a.k.a. Wolfgang Voigt) to perform “Narkopop” for the inaugural concert. The audio-visual show will take place on Tuesday, November 7th, at Sala 2 – Oriol Martorell, L’Auditori, Barcelona.

GAS is a driving force in ’90s German Ambient; the Techno Ambient to be precise. A musical impersonation of Wolfgang Voigt, the main spearhead of Cologne Minimal Techno and co-founder (alongside Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape) of legendary imprint Kompakt Records. Considered as the influential producer who tempered the punishing 4/4 Techno (the early ’90s Berlin-Detroit alliance with E-Werk and Tresor as headquarters) into a more finessed and not-to-be-roughly-explicit version of the beat. He helped (with his brother Reinhardt and through multiple projects and aliases) to spread an indulgence wave over it, recalling for hedonism and taste, giving Micro and Minimal extensions a chance to grow on the roots of Techno and House.

Wolfgang Voigt will perform “Narkopop,” the fifth installment of his opus as GAS. It is a set of eleven tracks in due form untitled but with the numbered generic one. Envolving musical journey in a symphonic and stately manner. Forget to expect any relaxation because eerie passages are on the way, even menacing ones. A set of visuals will complete the musical performance recorded at Köningsforst, a forest near Cologne where Voigt used to go as a kid, a place to meditate and experience, a matter of formation landscape. A set of stimulus music that will help to create your cinematic train of thoughts, scripted by knowledge and suggesting the imprecise.

The GAS project has always been in that abstract forest from the beginning, a cultural frame where germanic marching drummed was echoing in the mist through recreational descriptive historical pages with the same severity Kraftwerk attacked the musical cannon on the American airwaves. He has been there even when Wolfgang Voigt was unnoticed to grow artistically in this earthy and mythic environment, where to bridge a listening; Klaus Schulze connected to Wagner through psychedelic experience. A sampling pop citations state of mind that made him go from traditional sources of classical music to Schläger, in a mishmash of jazz glam-rock and new wave references that he poured in the acid house trend first to recreate Techno and give a hallmark for the run imprint afterward.

“Narkopop” is the re-encounter with an artistic move Voigt left behind seventeen years ago. He introduced it with “GAS” (1996), placing dance floor-ready Techno in standby for challenging himself to explore through long pieces into a suggestive soundscape of a purpose. It was a very European move, offering an alternative variation to Techno and House, generally defined by the American characteristics of being respectively “banging” electronic dance music and soulful “deep” dance music. In fact, the wordless contemporary universal language of music had a new context where the inclement pounding drums redefined in a tasteful turn, a signing sound for his releases and appreciate personality for the imprint, definitely stamped as German sound. He apparently completed GAS project with “Pop” (2000), with “Zauberberg” (1997) and “Königsforst” (1999) in between, all through Frankfurt record label Mille Plateaux. Except for the first, the rest of titles featured forest images on basic colors in its artwork. It is an aesthetic decision but also a framework charged with symbolism: “Deutscher Wald” (German Forest). The stylized German myth, the Romantic metaphor that defined Germanic-German arts and culture. From defeated Roman legions in Battle of Teutoburg Forest to ‘Nibelungenlied’ (The Song of Nibelungs), the myth runs over epic poems, fairy tales, legends, and music. From Schiller and Goethe to Rilke, Grimm Brothers and Mann, perverted in infamous chapters of the history as the ever-present ground force dismissed by the fog, from Wagner and Mahler to Schönberg.

Attendants will sit comfortably on the main floor of one of the four complimentary halls of the public building design by architect Rafael Moneo, home of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and The National Orchestra of Catalonia (OBC), providing the high-quality standard in acoustics. It makes sense because what we are going to listen to is an electronic music development categorized as Ambient. It is about tone and atmosphere as the most relevant beyond musical structure that can change in layered and diverse musical stimulus and travels through time and rhythms to evoke not to precise, “as ignorable (in parts) as it is interesting (for the whole)” as pioneer Brian Eno Dixit.

Hivernacle Pop Up Club: #1 Halloween Special Night

No trick for the treat

Autumn is here, and Hivernacle Pop Up second edition’s bill is back to renew this ephemeral idea of a club, always hot, with full parties of envolving sound and visuals. This three-part series event will take place through each of the resting months of the year under a transparent plastic greenhouse set at Plaça Major in Poble Espanyol (Barcelona).

The first will be on October 28, tagged as #1 Halloween Special Night, with legendary Derrick May heading the line-up along two females DJs and producers like french born Berlin based Bloody Mary (a.k.a Marjorie Migliaccio) and Ukranian IVA (a.k.a Anastasia Topolskaia). Two locals will round it up, Eduardo de la Calle, with his techno based in everything and everybody is physics particle vibrations, and the Argentinian based in Barcelona, Fede Zerdán. He will open at 10 p.m., and May will close from 2 a.m. until 4 a.m. The night will lighten up with lots of jack-O’-lanterns and beat pulses of Techno.

Having Derrick May (“Innovator”) on the decks is having a monster of pioneering Detroit Techno. He is one-third of the legendary bunch of visionaries commonly known as “Belleville Three,” along with his musical mentor Juan Atkins (“Godfather of Techno”) and collaborator Kevin Saunderson (“Elevator”), now on the road again as collaborative effort since Coachella 2017. Back in the early ’80s, these three were high-school kids. Atkins introduced to May and Saunderson in stuff as diverse as from Kraftwerk to Yellow Magic Orchestra, Depeche Mode, The B-52’s and Prince, including extensive and intense listening through Bootsy Collins, George Clinton’s Funkadelic, and Parliament material.

This mixture of Europhilia and weird shit that was decisive for the sound that represents May in one third through his three-decades-long career, from first steps as Deep Space Soundworks (with Atkins) to the singles signed as Rythim is Rythim. He is part-responsible for taking Techno back to its cradle, to the spirit of the city which gave it birth, after the massive impact on the other side, in the always receptiveness for innovative European shores, especially in the UK where it crossed into the pop charts in the late eighties. It was a round trip for good, recapturing some lost soul, by the way helping to make a difference from Chicago House. A set that predicts some healthy perspective in time from foundation’s drops.

Mount Kimbie in Barcelona

Go for it!

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The British duo is back to the city on Nov 22 to present the album “Love What Survives,” released the first week of September through Warp. The show will take place at The Loft-Razzmatazz 2 as part of RazzLive, the bill to celebrate the 17th Anniversary of the famous Club and inserted on the World Tour for their third studio album. Dominic Maker and Kai Campos will have the support of Marc Pell (Micachu) on drums, and Andrea Balency on vocals and keys to play their new material out. Barcelona audience is fortunate to have them not in a festival environment but in a concert venue, which is the best way to value their challenging music. It is what they did on Dec 13, 2013, at La [2] Apolo, with the previous album ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’ (Warp, 2012), and it is what they are going to do at the end of November with the latest. This one needs the crowded intimacy of a room imperatively.

You have to go to listen to this. It is an album, but mostly it is a renewed statement: to install a signature melt of synthetic and organic sound for the 21st-century musical spectrum, emotively and deeply rooted in an idiosyncratic London. We all have to go back in time to assume that, but they are working on it since the beginning when they transfigured synthetic and arranged a meeting with the organic for a surprise. Both strands are coiling around each other in Mount Kimbie’s musical DNA, shaping separately but not yet culminated as a whole, waiting for the perfect match. “Love What Survives” is not, but they are on the way.

You can dance to “Love What Survives,” if you are an introspective dancer, but it is far away from a dance record in the primary sense. It is electronic with no doubt but also has electric guitars, piano, drums and gospel touches of an organ on the instrumentation. The album winks to Krautrock styled in a motorik beat. That is valuing an original drum pattern, misunderstood at the time but gaining thousands of followers over the years. They go to the interrupted foundations that taught other constructions to rise. They walk through the streets of London with a recognize sound only a few were able to pave over in wet. They pay homage to some post-punk singularities, going from Joy Division, The Fall and The Cure to the exotic melts of Siouxie & The Banshees or The Creatures, where vintage synthesizers like Korg MS-20 and Korg Delta do the job, and even has post-rock developments in the way Stereolab did.

The title of the opening track, “Four Years And One day” is almost the time lapse between the release of the second album and the third, but looks like a criminal sentence for committing adventurous and confounding expectations. Since 2009, with their early EPs on Hotflush, ‘Maybes’ and ‘Sketch On Glass,’ they took dubstep beyond to debuting LP ‘Crooks & Lovers’ (Hotflush, 2010), and they were the new exploratory thing in electronica, and future garage. Next step was ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth,’ a daring test for nuances between club music and more song-oriented work that left them in the state of unconcluded pursue.

The fact is that “Four Years And One Day” is remodeling time and sounds with a purpose in a Kosmiche key. It is a defying bet, picking up ideas and orientations sketched in the past for letting them ring a decision, to fit together and conjugate in the present tense. It drags the experience of all these years since they irrupted in the UK dubstep scene to forge their micro-genre. They are looking for another “post-,” and they go for it. To do so, Mount Kimbie connects emotively with a peculiar musical past, to some episodes belonging to memory. All of them were singular and over-passed by time and circumstances, a glorious resound that many artists recaptured for its relevance along the past decades.

Furthermore, Mount Kimbie invites friends and collaborators that helped them in their musical journey. With two tracks, “We Go Home Together” and “How We Got By,” longtime colleague James Blake brings back to the album what Mount Kimbie offered him, a platform to endorse a vocal talent. Archy Marshall (King Krule) reinforces with “Blue Train Lines” what he pointed in two tracks of ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’ (Warp, 2012). Micachu debuted the same year the British duo did, but Mica Levi’s vocals on “Marylin” has more to say to the proposal than this circumstantial connection, with one of the album’s highlights. Added to the conclusion is talented Londoner, with a French-Mexican background, Andrea Balency who gives confidence to the bet with “You Look Certain (I’m Not Sure).” By the way, “T.A.M.E.D. (Think About Me Every Day)” it is conclusion itself, made out of a song. Instrumentals on the album are saying how they loved being bedroom-producers to become new synthesis creators.

“Post” is a time particle that goes along Mount Kimbie’s career. They are still “Post-everything” in the sense of being unexpected, untaggable. They have always been on the run, avoiding being captured, beyond any classification at least provoking the creation of new ones to fit them. Moreover, “Love What Survives” has intentions to do so.