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)

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.