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DJ Iron Mic’s Moogfest Review

Moogfest was already a full week ago, but I feel like I was running around Durham yesterday. As exhausting as it was, part of the fun of Moogfest was the mad dash of finding new and exciting activities. Grown up life prevented me from going to as many panels as I wanted to, but I was pumped to get over to GZA’s talk with Duke’s Dr. Mark Anthony Neal. If you listen to GZA’s music you can tell why he’s nicknamed “The Genius,” but as someone from a similar background, it was refreshing to listen to insights from an an intelligent Black man from the hood who made it in hip hop without being strictly about money, drugs, and guns.

Surprisingly enough for me, I didn’t just want to stay in my hip hop bubble (it’s easy to do as the Hip Hop Music Director), so I checked out some things that I didn’t exactly plan on doing. Having never played a Moog synth, going to the Modular Marketplace and trying out some of the toys, as well as watching how they’re made was extra cool. Afterhours DJ Marcel the Lion and I spent hours in there creating and wishing we had some way to record our work!

Additionally, as somewhat of an outsider to electronic music, I found it fun to see how fans interact with their favorite artists. The Reggae Soundsystem Party at Bull McCabe’s was probably my favorite stop off of my expected path. Mad Professor spun some super dope dub music. The house-style drum patterns, mixed with the good vibes of reggae, brought me back to the Bronx for a couple hours, minus the dancing… Sorry Durham, y’all cant dance to reggae like we do in the BX!

What I found most interesting about all of the new music I tried out was how audiences interact with their favorite artists. Audiences ranged from tame (at Health’s set), to hyped (Grimes and Odesza), to flat our weird (The Orb and DJ Harvey). The weirdest seeming to congregate at The Armory which cranked out DJ after DJ all weekend with a non-stop dance party. But weird is a good thing, especially when artists like The Orb have been mastering it for years, amassing a following of people ranging from younger than me to my mom’s age.

Enjoy the pics of my travels from last weekend!

DJ Iron Mic

(all pictures taken by Charles Morse for WKNC)

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Festival Coverage

Moogfest Day Three Photos 

All photos by Matt Brown

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Festival Coverage

Films at Moogfest

While most people know Moogfest for its performances, workshops, and installations, they also host a surprisingly diverse amount of films. The genres span from surrealist horror to documentaries and even futuristic sci-fi. Although you will not find many romance films here, I am sure you will fall in love with the beauty of the cinematography and creativity. These films exhibit why film is such unique medium of art. They combine visual and auditory elements so that each works to its strengths and creates something truly special.  

One of the main film programs is titled FUTURE PROJECTIONS. This is a 9-part screening program of short films and videos that present futuristic audiovisual concepts and put on display the sheer amount of creativity from the creators.  These films highlight some of North Carolina’s very best filmmakers and musicians including Brendan and Jeremy Smyth, Edward Rankus, Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat. Each film takes you through a separate journey, with some being guided by occasional live soundtracks from artists at Moogfest.

Many of the films featured at Moogfest are very exclusive. One such film is “The Three Grace’s Triptych”. It was created by Detroit electronic duo ADULT and focuses on the aesthetic of Midwestern horror. I am not quite sure what to expect from this film, but the fact that this film has only been presented in very few locations and will be accompanied by a live score makes it one of my most anticipated moments of Moogfest.

If exclusivity doesn’t float your boat and you would rather take your chances with a safer film, then perhaps you should check out It Follows, one of my personal favorites of last year. This lo-fi horror movie, is scored by Rich Vreeland (Disasterpeace), who has experience scoring TV shows, videogames, most notably Fez, and other films. The soundtrack to It Follows sounds straight out of a retro 80’s film where the horror genre was not dominated by jump scares. Following the screening there will be a discussion with Disasterpeace about the background and inner working of the score.

Other notable Films include “Lunar Orbit” a documentary about one of the pioneers of ambient house music, The Orb, and their unique creative process and the story of their music.  This will be a North American premiere screening with a conversation from the artists following the screening.

For more information on Films at Moogfest check out the lineup at http://sched.moogfest.com/

Written by DJ Kevin Cossio