Categories
Festival Coverage

Moogfest 2018 Recap

Now that we’ve all been able to recover from the weekend, it’s time for a recap of this year’s Moogfest. 15 miles of walking around Durham + at least 5 meals consisting of free sandwiches from the media lounge + 17 shows = one unforgettable weekend.

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The first show I went to was Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. Maybe it was because I had gotten several free drinks at the opening party beforehand but I left Carolina Theatre absolutely sobbing, which was a good start to the weekend.

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Next we checked out Madame Gandhi. Her performance was dynamic and multifaceted, ranging from drum solos to rapping to reading poetry.

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I only caught a bit of Jamila Woods’ set but I enjoyed what I was able to hear. I really loved her recent album HEAVN and highly recommend it.

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I ended night one on a high note with Kelela, who put on a captivating performance. I was a little bit concerned when I heard she’d be playing Carolina Theatre- a seated venue- but they opened up the pit so people were able to dance.

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On Friday afternoon I stopped by the Raund Haus local producer showcase (check out my interview with Raund Haus a little further back on the blog!) Pictures is Double Barrel Benefit alum RGB.

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I headed back to Carolina Theatre for Jon Hopkins, which I wasn’t really feeling to be honest, but had a great light show.

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After quickly realizing I had lost my phone and retrieving it from the nice people at the Caroline Theatre front desk, I saw Suicideyear, a producer best known for his work with Yung Lean. This was honestly a weird show, complete with very unsettling visuals, but pretty fun.

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I LOVED Yves Tumor’s performance- it was the perfect kind of abrasive and weird. My friends all complained about their ears hurting afterwards and didn’t want to stay for the whole time but I highly enjoyed it.

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Next up was Shabazz Palaces. This was a really fun set and the crowd was absolutely loving it. I didn’t witness this myself but apparently there was a man in the front row dancing like crazy and swiping left on Tinder enthusiasticall during the set, which rocks.

I actually ended the night by checking out new Moogfest venue Fruit and Company and then going to an afterparty, but I didn’t get any pictures because both locations were too crowded.

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I was THRILLED when Moses Sumney was added to the Moogfest lineup mere days before the festival. I’m honestly a bit of a stan of his.His show was the first I saw on Saturday and it was a beautiful one. Very different from when I saw him at Moogfest in 2016- this time he had a full band with him!

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Pete Rock was another artist added last-minute (and as part of the free programming). 

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I was really excited about Psychic TV! None of my friends wanted to go with me to this show but I still enjoyed myself. Their bassist was wearing one of their own T-shirts, which absolutely owns.

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Jenny Hval killed it as per usual. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen her three times and each time has been amazing. She always incorporates weird performance art into her sets, and this time it consisted of a gigantic inflatable clam and a few inflatable pears that she had her collaborators blow up while she performed.

Later in the night I caught excellent sets by Fatima Al Qadiri and DJ Stingray but unfortunately didn’t get photos due to poor lighting.

Overall, I had a great time and caught some sets by artists that I wouldn’t expect to be in North Carolina for any other reason- even if some of the bigger names dropped off the lineup this year.

Categories
New Album Review

Jon Hopkins

ARTIST: JON HOPKINS
ALBUM: INSIDES

Jon Hopkins is a British musician who writes and performs his own music, melody-led electronica. His album Insides is definitely worth listening to.

For someone who has recently supported Coldplay on tour, co-produced a couple of their tracks and has co-written the soundtrack to the forthcoming Peter Jackson film, The Lovely Bones, you wouldn’t think that Jon Hopkins would have any time or energy left to release his own solo album.

Fortunately, he did. And the composer, pianist and self-taught studio wizard provides another impressive album packed full of lose-yourself electronica mixed with beautifully haunting piano, synths and a pulsing bass. Insides, his third album offering, rollercoasters from track to track going through the gloomy, the upbeat and somewhere indescribable in-between with almost every song seamlessly interacting with the next.

Commit yourself to seeing the whole album through in one go and you’ll find the hypnotic rhythms will take you deep into Jon’s delicately created world. In ‘Vessel’ you just begin to understand the album’s title as the distant-thunder sound of pulsating waves merges into the dawn-breaking piano that transports the music deep into your consciousness before it’s suddenly regurgitated back up by some intense bass and awakening energetic synths.

‘Autumn Hill’, ‘The Low Places’ and ‘Small Memory’ are stand-out tracks due to Jon’s use of piano. Clearly a master of the instrument, it is never overdone, as he creates dark, occasionally balled-esque melodies on top of basslines that wouldn’t feel out of place on a dance-floor. ‘Wire’ has an industrial feel that continues to grow in volume until it reaches an intensive peak, before gradually and symmetrically slowing down and returning to beginning.

Messy-sounding ‘Colour Eye’ is the exception on the album. The track’s etching, scratches and crackles seem a bit too congested and it doesn’t quite connect with the rest of the album’s gentleness like many other of the songs. What makes Insides great is that it allows you to open your mind and let the atmospheres he’s created come in and take over. Jon’s in full control here: he’s had no remit or strict deadline, resulting in a carefully crafted collection of perfect escapism.

It isn’t particularly ground-breaking; in fact, on the grand scale of things it’s just another little slice of musical uniqueness. The fact that it comes from someone who understands music in a deeper and more personal way than most in this genre is what makes Insides stand out from the rest.