Last September, UK production duo Mount Kimbie released their new album Love What Survives, their first since 2013’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth. The album featured guests who’ve been at the forefront of the British music scene this decade, including James Blake on “We Go Home Together” and King Krule on “Blue … More »
The vibrant affair Primavera Sound has announced a stunning 2018 lineup. Over 200 artists across a bevy of genres front the eighteenth edition set for May 28–June 3 in Barcelona.
Primavera Sound lends a glimpse into generational references with a pulse on contemporary music. The bill presents a push towards comprehensiveness, grrrl power, and once in a lifetime experiences in the live event sphere. With zero small print in the eminently danceable lineup, attendees can look forward to performances from Four Tet, French duo The Blaze, Chromeo, Jlin, Mount Kimbie, and Peggy Gou.
Hunee will go b2b with Antal. Both Seth Troxler and John Talabot have their own disco sets. Björk will perform her resplendent new album Utopia. Floating Points will perform both live and a six-hour DJ set. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein from S U R V I V E will perform the entire soundtrack from Stranger Things. Discwoman‘s Umfang and Volvox will go b2b. Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, DJ Koze, Lindström, Dekmantel Soundsystem, Palms Trax, The Black Madonna, Daphni, the killer DJ Shanti Celeste, and many more will see that euphoria and sweat reign supreme on the dance floor.
More information can be found via Primavera Sound’s website.
Photo Credit: Stuart Philkill
How Day For Night festival achieved curatorial excellence
Houston, Texas’ Day For Night festival has established itself as an unconventional, hyper-sensory utopia. Bolstering an exemplary menu of avant-garde talent, the festival satiates thousands all while blurring the boundaries of performance and offering the utmost in aural phenomena in its industrial warehouse setting.
Day For Night prided itself on its snapshot booking in its third year, by and for the experimentally-inclined. Enlisting artists like Nina Kraviz, Kaytranada, Justice, Jlin, Jamie xx, Mount Kimbie, Solange, REZZ, Nine Inch Nails, Tyler, the Creator, and Thom Yorke, among others, the gathering has situated itself as an unorthodox standout from an at times mundane, and largely counterfeit American festival circuit.
Words by Grace Fleisher Featured image courtesy of Theo Civitello
In its immersively emblematic nature, Day For Night’s third edition was a polyamorous union of music, culture, and digital art. It was a multifarious destination, and offered its attendees a mode of escapism while simultaneously defying how they explored their own, as well as others’ relationships with art and reality.
Those who attended were immersed in an epicenter of capitalism’s desolation, i.e the former Barbara Jordan Post Office, only to enter a sprawling industrial wonderland; complete with capacious lasers, fog machines, and immersive visual art open to infinite interpretations. Despite its growing pains, Day For Night was an unparalleled destination in the American festival circuit, protruding the landscape with its singularity in 2017, as it likely will in years to come, too.
Photo Credit: Katrina Barber
Embracement of Reflection: Houston & Beyond
It would be naive to ignore how Houston’s rampantly evolving cultural and developmental environment shaped Day For Night. A look at almost any sect of the city points to hyper-gentrification and a lack of zoning restrictions that are rendering a city of cultural depth increasingly unrecognizable. Festivals have the potential to be the 21st-century’s greatest linking apparatus, and Day For Night embraced multiple methods of coupling reflection in an immensely immersive fashion. Summits delved into socio-political discourse by way of Laurie Anderson, Chelsea Manning, Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova, and more. The gathering challenged its attendees toward an attainment of outward-awareness.
Photo Credit: Charles Reagan Hackleman
Woven into the very seams of artistic discourse at Day For Night was a thread on how the world’s 24-hour loops and radical advances in technology and communication are seamlessly moving faster than behavioral evolution, rendering many helpless in the interim. In a hyper-connected sect of the world, it’s ironically never been easier for one to feel helpless. Day For Night ruminated on how these very advancements can work to foster connections and discoveries in the world which will propel us further as a collective entity.
Photo Credit: Chad Wadsworth
Post HTX Served As A Model Venue
“The way one sees things, and the expectations one brings to a performance, or any art form, really, is completely determined by the venue,” articulated David Byrne of the seminal group, The Talking Heads.
This phenomenon of a concert space shaping context, and in turn, enjoyment, is explored in Byrne’s book How Music Works. Surely, the way in which performances are perceived en masse is in relation to the space they’re experienced in. At times this is an obvious element. Take the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, for example. Burning Man’s sustenance relies on the desert space it resides in, and while this may be an extreme example, space is becoming a deeply entwined element in the worldwide festival circuit. The relationship between attendees and venues is why scenes blossom, and it’s why destination festivals are becoming increasingly popular.
Photo Credit: Sara Marjorie Strick
Day For Night’s decision to place a hyper-sensorial paradise across four stages in a dimly lit, abandoned post office was a masterful one. Ironically, the nucleus of the performance venue were the veins of the warehouse, many of which contained captivating art installations. Unlit hallways that separated the “blue” stage from the intimately circular “yellow” stage, for example, beckoned an art form in themselves. For in these empty spaces, attendees prepared to ascend into visual or aural titillation. Whether it be disco balls adorned from a ceiling in netting, illuminating an entire room, moving mechanical cranes paired to ominous music, or synced screens around a ground level stage, the once-vacant warehouse was flooded with an innate intertwinement of senses.
Photo Credit: Theo Civitello
Exemplary Curatorial Intent
A festival’s success begins in its curatorial intent. Founded in 2015 by the Free Press Houston and the New York-based creative agency Work-Order, Day for Night established itself as a visually immersive music and art festival from the very beginning. By embedding an exploration of the elements of light, space, and sound in its mission, Day For Night has transformed the festival landscape by combining new media art with envelope-pushing musicians. It may still be a young festival, but its surely created a unique experience. Day For Night’s careful selection of artistry and curatorial intent spoke to several sects of music, tech, and art lovers. Planning such a feat does not come without intent or without a deeply embedded audience understanding, though.
Photo Credit: Katrina Barber
Appealing to the experimentally-inclined, for example, Day For Night brought forth Nina Kraviz, who’s on the heels of a momentous 2017, and largely regarded as a queen of techno. The festival also booked her трип (or Trip) labelmate Bjarki. Jlin, who’s set ironically rivaled her longtime purveyor Aphex Twin‘s 2016 DFN appearance, was also a standout experimental act. Her album, Black Origami, was an exemplary experimental record of the past year. Additionally, artists like Forest Swords, Jenny Hval, Shlomo, and Roni Size, all capitalized on the use of live sets as a medium for either outward, emotive release or social commentary.
Photo Credit: Julian Bajsel
Day For Night also booked standout artists like the esteemed Nine Inch Nails, who’ve been touring their immensely accessible EP Add Violence. Solange stunned in her Houston homecoming, merging art and popular culture with an affirming image of black pride and femininity. Cardi B gave the 12-minute performance of the year, encapsulating a tumultuous 2017 with her ominous hit “Bodak Yellow.” Tyler, The Creator gave a fervent performance which was brimming with tracks off his introspective new work Flower Boy. Pussy Riot, Pretty Lights, Justice, and REZZ — with her exceptional Mass Manipulation tour visuals — all expectedly stunned.
Day For Night displayed a keen understanding of the experimentally inclined, but also served as an apt pop culture gathering.In bringing together artists who continue to challenge the status quo, the festival’s curational intent was two-fold — displayed initially by the festival, and then, by each and every artist that performed.
Photo Credit: Ismael Quintanilla
Embedding a Festival Framework for the Future
As more and more festivals continue to emerge on the American festival circuit, immersive affairs such as Day For Night will continue to be a saving grace. It’s one thing to have an exemplary understanding of an audience, but as festival-goers grow into an increasingly digitized world, a means of facilitating connection through art and performance will be needed more than ever. Day For Night blurred the lines between its attendees and artists, it’s an environment where everyone was on an even playing field, as an observer, student of performance, and the outside world itself.
Photo Credit: Sara Marjorie Strick
Love What Survives
I can’t believe that this record didn’t already exist. Doubly so that the elevator-length description — “post-punk with electronics” — left any room for novelty whatsoever. Of course, it’s hard to communicate over the duration of an elevator ride that you intend to alter the very precepts of a genre. Sonically, Love What Survives is a sort of light-side answer to the churning industry of the never-quite-dead post-punk revival, akin in its position to the place of Mr. Mitch’s “peace dubs” among the broader, crueler landscape of UK grime. It’s too driving for dream pop, but too yielding for coldwave’s gloom. The drums, quite possibly programmed, remain a step less motorik than what the album art might suggest. Rather than incrementalism, this is the sound of musical progression by way of a headlong dive into something altogether new.
It took some time to hear what Mount Kimbie were doing. Crooks & Lovers, a wonderful document of its time, received wide acclaim and played a major part in ushering in what we faithful fondly recall as the “Majestic Casual” era. Despite a full three years passing in between, follow-up Cold Spring Fault Less Youth was a lot of the same. By then, that wasn’t nearly enough. While a new Mount Kimbie album doesn’t require a total vacuum of context, it seems to help if you can only vaguely recall what came before. Pressing play on Love What Survives, I remembered half of a track from Crooks & Lovers with the fondness given to everything new heard at 17; Cold Spring Fault Less Youth was a shadow of that, plus an inkling that there had been some ill-advised guitar incursions. With that in (or out of) mind, Love What Survives is a revelation — a summation of their work to-date without specific precedent for any individual track.
Although he only appears once, it would be irresponsible to discuss the album without mention of King Krule. Together with James Blake, he and Mount Kimbie form a sort of oligarchy over the domain of British melancholy. It’s that very note, struck with reckless sincerity by Krule and sublime clarity by Blake, that defines the record, allowing Mount Kimbie to explore whatever textural territory they desire safe in the knowledge that the town criers have shouldered the burden of narration. Their appearances are the only tracks for which vocal performances go beyond atmosphere or mantra, and for good reason: much beyond “Think about me everyday/ Forever” from “T.A.M.E.D.” or how the titular “You look certain (I’m not so sure)” would serve only to override, rather than augment, the lingering aftereffects of “I wanna fall forever if you ain’t by my side/ I wanna fall forever if you ain’t in my life” from “Blue Train Lines.”
This particular brand of middle-class British malaise is the result of absolute self-certainty confronted with a reality that undermines it. The feeling has a long history. Its scripture, Martin Amis’s The Rachel Papers, begins thus:
My name is Charles Highway, though you wouldn’t think it to look at me. It’s such a rangy, well-travelled, big-cocked name and, to look at, I am none of these. I wear glasses for a start, have done since I was nine. And my medium-length, arseless waistless figure, corrugated ribcage and bandy legs gang up to dispel any hint of aplomb… But I have got one of those fashionable reedy voices, the ones with the habitual ironic twang, excellent for the promotion of oldster unease. And I imagine there’s something oddly daunting about my face, too. It’s angular, yet delicate; thin long nose, wide thin mouth – and the eyes: richly lashed, dark ochre with a twinkle of singed auburn… ah, how inadequate these words seem.
Love What Survives is a blank canvas for the Charles Highways of the world, a palette for expression and interpretation that offers just enough direction to welcome even those for whom words fail. It is, in the parlance of the times, a “mood.” To that end, it’s without flaw, impressing a specific and inescapable impression for its full runtime despite minimal explicit instruction. Define artistic success as you will, but it’s beyond question that Mount Kimbie have here translated, and therefore transmitted, an entire state of being.
Mount Kimbie’s first new album in four years, Love What Survives, is out today. We’ve already heard some star-studded collaborations from the UK production duo’s new release, including team-ups with James Blake (“We Go Home Together“), King Krule (“Blue Train Lines“), and Micachu (“Marilyn“), plus the plain ol’ featureless “Delta,” and … More »