MusicYour summer guide to left-field music happenings: festivals, warehouse parties and forest gatherings
From the woods of Niigata and West Virginia, to the warehouses of Bushwick and Berlin, here are our summertime picks for experimental music events.
Summer, sweet summer. How we mourn for you in winter only to rediscover your trash-scented warble all over again. Like the Taco Bell of the year, we dreamt you’d bring us refried happiness but instead we sweat and shit uncontrollably. Well, at least there’s music.
This hot season is shaping up rather nicely from my perspective. Forget the Governor’s Balls and Bonnaroos, this list is only the shit I’m genuinely excited about. Noise, a little punk, and enough left-field techno to completely wash you clean of any Electric Zoo residue. If I had a private jet, you better believe I would be at all of these events. From the mountains of Niigata and West Virginia to the warehouses of Bushwick and Berlin, here are our picks for a summer your ears will thank you for.
June 4 to June 7
Plaine de Jeux du Polygone (Bois de Vincennes) (Paris, France)
Paris's Weather Festival seems to have a ton going for it. From appearances by classic techno pioneers like Juan Atkins and Jeff Mills to crazy collaborations, like one between noise boss Vatican Shadow (see: Prurient) with L.I.E.S. founder Ron Morelli and In Paradisum's Low Jack (all on live hardware, to boot), anyone around Paris (or with frequent flyer miles) would be insane to miss this.
Secret Warehouse Location (Brooklyn, New York)
The two infamous party promoters Lost Soul Enterprises and The Long Count present another night at their favorite "Secret Warehouse Location" in Bushwick. For those who have never been, you'll find out the location day of, but don't let the high door price and mystery disuade you: these shows are bomb, especially this one featuring the ever adventurous Svengalisghost, a live distorted and haunting industrial bath courtesy of Appetite, and Alex from Queens bringing on the heat.
West 42nd Street (New York, New York)
Tim Sweeney's weekly Beats In Space radio show has amassed more than a cult following over the past decade. For New York City dwellers, it's the Top of the Pops of the techno world, where one can hear a track and immediately text a friend and tell them to "tune in!" His parties have also grown in numbers and dexterity over the past several years. While this Circle House Cruise isn't a Beats In Space party, I'd go on record to say he'll probably play more than a handful of tracks that you'll want to lift for your next house party. Oh, and it's on a boat. Night shades required.
The Good Room, 98 Meserole (Brooklyn, New York)
The Good Room is exactly what it states: a good ass room. Formerly punk venue (and Polish disco) Europa, the name change has served to usher in small and large scale techno events in a very inviting environment. The folks behind The Bunker have been throwing classic parties in New York City for over a decade and this one includes the pummeling bleeps and bloops of Berlin circa Italy's Massimiliano Pagliara.
Palisades, 906 Broadway (Brooklyn, New York)
Think all the good punk is dead? Austin's Institute will have you humming a different tune. Post-punk informed raucous rock with some piercingly hooky guitar leads. Not to mention the 70s punk worshippers Cheena are also on the bill, a five piece Sacred Bones act featuring Pharmakon's Margaret Chardiet on guitar. Need I say more?
June 19 - 21
Various venues (Toronto, Canada)
The Unsound Festival is one of the premier places to drown out the mercilessness of life in a disorienting drone haze. This year's festival has a couple of highlists, including a collaboration between MSP master Tim Hecker, MFO, & Geza Schoen presenting a work called "Ephemera." The festival might be ephermal but eventually you have to step out of the Twilight Zone and come back to shitty reality.
JUNE 27 TO SEPTEMBER 5 (saturdays)
PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave (Long Island City, New York)
Ah, Warm Up at PS1. A beautiful chance to see a bunch of rich art afficionados dance embarassingly to music that they don't quite understand. This year's Warm Up is filled with a lot of "meh" but there are indeed some shining moments, such as performances by 22-year-old Bristolian Sebastian Gainsborough's Vessel and Blackest Ever Black's Cut Hands.
Trans Pecos, 915 Wyckoff (Queens, New York)
Here at Hopes&Fears, we like Uniform. A lot. While I call them "Big Black-ish," H&F's Rhett Jones calls them "Suicide-y," and I think that's part of their charm. Both Berdan and Greenberg come from a long lineage of noisey punk acts and with Uniform, they seem to sort of bring all of these sounds under one umbrella. Whether wooing you with noise punk proficiency, or blasting your ear drums with a deafening wall of sound, Uniform seem to know exactly what they are doing. They celebrate the release of their first full length Perfect World at Trans Pecos in Ridgewood, Queens with a laundry list of like-minded noise makers.
Silent Barn, 603 Bushwick Avenue (Brooklyn, New York)
The 90s are back. Maybe the 90s never left. Or maybe the 90s are the party guest that still won't leave at 4am saying they'll run out and grab another six pack after you've already cleaned up. Come on 90s, I need to do "stuff" tomorrow. Nostalgia overload aside, if Swirlies are playing, color me excited. This show is a particularly interesting one as they stop at the grassroots DIY beacon of hope Silent Barn. Seeing a band this established play at a venue this intimate and charming does not happen that often, so make sure you plan your fourth of July accordingly.
July 10 and July 11
Parc Floral de Paris, Route du Champ de Manoeuvres (Paris, France)
If you miss Weather Festival, the Peacock Society has your back, bringing you more of the crème de la crème of the experimental electronic sect. After seeing Adam X last month, I would suggest bringing your earplugs and your dancing shoes (or your lethargically cool barely swaying shoes). And when the soul-soaked beats of Detroit's Omar S come in, you might fall in love on the dance floor, so maybe also bring some gum.
July 17 to July 19
Ferropolisstraße (06773 Gräfenhainichen), Corner of B 107, (Ferropolis, Germany)
Welcome to Ferropolis, Germany's Melt Festival. What festival promoters claim started out as "a small stronghold for rave lovers and techno enthusiasts at the quaint Bernsteinsee Velten in 1997" has become one of the bigger electronic music fests in the Euro circuit. Legends Autechre will bring you their mutated computer generated acid flux freaks outs, while Berlin's Palms Trax gives you respite in his pad-driven Detroit workouts. Forever.
July 18 to July 20
Mountain Park Tsunan, 1745-1, Kamigouedako Tsunan-machi (Niigata, Japan)
In the (quite literally) rural mountains of Niigata, Japan, Resident Advisor brings you Rural 2015. Shawn O'Sullivan seems to be the guest of honor at this party performing solo and with his wife Katie in their outfit Further Reductions. Also set to perform is the Sandwell District's pummeling minimalistic Function aka Dave Sumner, but maybe keep an eye out for an avalanche.
Trans Pecos, 9-15 Wyckoff Avenue (Queens, New York)
Back in Queens, Summer Scum is set to be one of the most hyped noise events of July. With an exceptional line up, with everyone from Pharmakon, Drew McDowall, Timeghost, Vereker, Negation, and a collaboration between Container, Kites, and Spiritual Recess simply entitled "Pool," this event is a definite banger. Also, do some shopping for mama with vendors from Sacred Bones, Torn Light Records, Ascetic House, Heaven Street Records, Dark Chart, Primitive Languages, and Fieldwork. That is, assuming your mother is really into gnarled harsh dissonance.
Ministry of Sound, 103 Gaunt Street, (London, England)
Larry Levan left an indeliable mark on music when he first hit the tables at Paradise Garage. The DJ left us long ago but the magic of his music still permeates most anyone it's come across. London's Ministry of Sound is throwing an epic birthday party for the late, great producer with original Paradise Garage DJs David DePino and Joey Llanos, and a special appearance from dance music pioneer Francois K.
July 22 and July 23
Nothing Changes at Home Sweet Home and No-Tech at Over the Eight (New York, New York)
Primitive Languages began out of a storage crate off Broadway in Bushwick, Brooklyn. What started as a record store grew into a record label, a booking presence, and now, a music festival. Electronic skronk from Brooklyn and beyond, Primitive Languages hosts the late night smokily goth Nothing Changes and their sister party No-Tech towards the end of this July. Expect performances from Nick Klein, Pure Matrix, and if we are lucky, J.R.H.N.B.R.
July 23 to July 26
Millstone, West Virginia
Forma, Quicksails, Mark McGuire, Laundry Room Squelchers and more meet in the middle of the woods in West Virginia to play noise to the gods. Long Distance Poison's Nathan Cearley said, “Ben Osborne moved it last year to a really beautiful big open site, surrounded by forest and at the middle there is this hill that slopes into the stage.”
July 30 to August 1
Gamla Banan 6, 738 33 (Norberg, Sweden)
What once served as a pithead frame for the extraction of iron ore in Sweden, the Kraftverk building and the mimer structure are a central part of Swedish industrial history, and now, industrial music. The Norberg Festival hosts a large array of industrial tinged techno, notably London's Perc, and is set in a building straight out of a horror movie.
July 31 to August 2
Bungalowdorf Olganitz to Bungalowdorf 1 04758 (Cavertitz, Germany)
Nachtdigital boasts its "Handmade decoration, aspiring visual arts, [and] carefully selected artists" in creating an intimate landscape of electronic music and art nestled in Saxony, Germany. Among the head nod enhancers, Werk Disc's Helena Hauff, Andy Stott, and Traxx will dazzle your ear's tastebuds with only 3,000 tickets being sold, "to preserve the typical holiday camp feeling Nachtdigital has become so famous for since its first edition in 1998."
August 3 to August 9
Berghain Kantine, Suicide Circus, and Urban Spree Gallery (Berlin, Germany)
Krake means "octopus" and the Krake Festival in Berlin is famous for selecting techno artists from all over the spectrum and bringing them to a few venues. This year's headliner, Chris Jarman's KAMIKAZE SPACE PROGRAMME, is "somewhere between a classic Musique Concrète and modern electronic approach." Definitely a festival for the more adventurous ears. No two acts are alike.
August 19 to August 23
Kraftwerk Berlin, Köpenicker Strasse 70, Mitte (Berlin, Germany)
One of the summer's most psychedelic friendly festivals has to be Berlin's Atonal. With a strong A/V component, this festival is as much about pushing the boundaries of film as it does music, but the music is certainly not weak. Avant-garde multimedia artist Tony Conrad is set to collaborate with legendary kraut rockers Faust, while IBM pumper Regis jams with Ancient Methods.
August 22 and August 23
Commodore Barry Park (Brooklyn, New York)
Brooklyn's annual Afropunk comes back this year with a bang. Among the top-tier artists performing are Grace Jones and Detroit's Danny Brown but I must say I'm most excited about Brooklyn by way of Chicago DJ and producer Brenmar, who RBMA says combines "the artificial gloss of commercial R'n'b with the urban grittiness of underground styles like Chicago footwork and global bass music."
September 10 to September 12
Various venues (Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina)
Hopscotch Music Festival is the pinnicle of a good indie rock festival. And what does that mean, exactly? That it's all over the place. Fuck the Decemberists, indie rock should mean a variety of things. Off the top of my head, this year's fest includes the mystical drones of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, the pop leaning harsh noise of Secret Boyfriend, Philly's Thin Lizzy-informed Sheer Mag, and and the mutant sax no wave of PILL, and that's just off the top of my head.
September 11 to SEPTEMBER 13
Camp Lakota, 56 Park Rd (Wurtsboro, New York)
We must all thank the gods of Mutual Dreaming for this blessed occasion otherwise known as Sustain Release. Literal electronic music summer camp, the festival takes place at a small campsite in Wurtsboro, New York. This year's headliners include Minimal Wave label head and choice spinner Veronica Vasicka and the hip/hop tinged futuristic house of one of my personal favorites, Galcher Lustwerk. He will probably be wearing that Cavs hat. Tickets are extremely limited and sold in rounds, so catch them while you can.
COVER IMAGE via www.sustain-release.com