Join us for Shark Week 2017! For More information check out our SharkWeek website as well as our Facebook page. Also be sure to donate at wsbf.net/donate!
At Moogfest, there was simultaneously praise and denouncement of the current world that we live in today. The beautiful, vast world of electronic music is so easy to escape into, but at the same time, the festival reclaimed and refocused our attention to how the underlying technology of all this music, and the music itself, can help make the world a better place.
Large music festivals, especially those focused around electronic music, seem to have a reputation of hedonism. Moogfest is structured in such a way that it thoroughly assassinates the stereotype. It’s serious in how heady it is. Its whole existence is based on its namesake: Dr. Robert Moog, pioneering technologist that helped create tools for artists to realize their dreams for decades. Not the least of which were his famous Moog analog synthesizers.
Moog’s entire life was lived at the crossroads of music and technology. And for one weekend, we got to live there, too.
The myriad of Moogfest’s talks, performances, and installations, spawned even more conversations; some that will hopefully continue for years to come. Inspiring, provocative, and even controversial, the entire weekend is one that we will not soon forget.
FUTURE THOUGHT – Matt
Most of these events came in the form of talks, panels, and interactive workshops. The key concepts featured by the festival (techno-shamanism, afro-futurism, the future of creativity, post-humanism) may have lofty ideas and can be prone to misfire, but the more established tech-industry professionals of the event seemed to have full control of these heady ideas.
Moogfest was held in Durham, a corner of the “Research Triangle”, the second largest urban area in North Carolina and home to one of the largest corporate research parks in the world. The area has been in media lately as one of the best places to live in the US, and small talk with fellow festival goers revealed that many were expats from the bay area. Durham is definitely on its way to being a great area in the 21st century, but also faces the same problems of low income displacement and gentrification that many metropolitan areas on the west coast are currently fighting. To that end, on Thursday there was a talk hosted by Greta Byrum, Bob Geolas, and Wanona Satcher about the future of cities focusing on what Durham and the Triangle area needs to do to thrive. Bob is the president of the Research Triangle Foundation, Greta focuses on community technology products and local preparedness, and Wanona is an urban designer who focuses on people driven improvements to the community. Durham has been in the news lately for how fast gentrification has taken over. Hearing an individual who could easily be summarized as ‘The Man’ talk about what the RTP is doing to ensure a future that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of socioeconomic status, with two women who are focused on listening to locals and how to create a better society was a happy collision of top down and bottom up creation and change. While the talk left some of the harder questions about Durham up in air — specifically regarding people that straddle the poverty line and how they can have a future that they can participate in — the fact that such a talk is occurring at a music festival speaks volumes about Moogfest’s drive to be in a class of its own.
The theme for the guest of honor keynote speeches was The Future of Creativity. Friday’s speaker was Dr. Martine Rothblatt, one of the most interesting minds in the world today. When her daughter came down with a rare disease, Martine started a drug research company. When the idea of high-fidelity satellite radio struck her, she broke down legal and technological barriers to create the most profitable radio company in the world, Sirius XM.
Her success as an individual who isn’t afraid to get weird to get results makes her one of the perfect candidates for such a speech. Her talk was focused on post-humanism and what she thinks America as a whole needs to do to excel. To her, free college education for every single American was the most important thing we can do to improve the world around us and creativity in the future. She also believes that the meme (ideas and concepts and thoughts in small easy to transfer parts) is stronger than the gene (our anatomical limitations as humans), and that through advances in organ printing and digital signal processing, we can beat death. A lot of the concepts she put forward definitely met the criteria for heady, but the work she has done on this front shows that she’s got the facts to back it up.
Saturday’s speaker was Jaron Lanier, one of Time Magazine’s top 100 futurists and an expert in computing systems, musical theory, and virtual reality. His speech was definitely more stream of consciousness than Martine’s. At times it felt like a boring person at a party namedropping every cool person they’ve fraternized with. This compounded with the unclear thesis statement for his talk and resulted in a somewhat frustrating time. To be honest, I’d probably be a worse speaker and the second half of his talk was worth it. He talked extensively about the unification of music and virtual reality, and his experience with creating cutting edge VR units in the early 1980’s. He helped invent the Data Glove and is credited with many of the first patents for 3D VR interfaces.
As a surprise, he had a recording of a tech demo from 30 years ago. In the video, the user had a tactile glove and could float around a 3D (In 1982!) space, and play music on a saxophone, a weird torus shaped synthesizer, and a slide whistle. Seeing the whole thing in action really convinced me that he knew what he was talking about just as well as Dr. Rothblatt. Jaron’s closing statements espoused much love for recently released consumer VR units that are enabling a new generation to further his weird, ephemeral experiments that unify music and technology. Ultimately, I left the talk with a new sense of how weird technology can and should be.
FUTURE MUSIC – Ben
The musical acts at the festival were splendidly diverse: house, club, trap, footwork, metal, drone, 80s synth pop, hip hop, ambient, post-rock, experimental electronic, and so much more. And even better than that: there were a ton of female performers! From the dizzying, creepy, screeching footwork of Jlin to the choral, pastoral tones of Juliana Barwick as well as the wild and self made power pop of Grimes, the feminine side of electronic music was dutifully represented. In addition to that, Moogfest did its part in supporting the local scene as well with a few Durham electronic and hip hop acts: Trandle, Well$, and Professor Toon. The aggressively diverse lineup brought out an equally and refreshingly diverse crowd to each and every show.
It’s so hard to say which performance stood out to me as the best, but my personal favorites of the weekend were UV Boi, Ben Frost, and Grimes.
UV Boi فوق بنفسجي (ultraviolet in arabic) is an Australian based electronic producer and DJ. He’s only been active on soundcloud under this name for about 2 years and he just turned 20 last week. Needless to say, he’s still very new to the game, but then again, the game is very new. Moogfest marks UV Boi’s very first show in the USA, so it was pretty incredible to have the opportunity to see him in North Carolina of all places.
He watermarks all his songs with “UV Boi Ultraviolet.” I usually hate watermarked tracks, but his are just soooo good! He’s a true 808 bass magician, his timing is impeccable, the hi hats are free flowing like wine at a Roman feast, and he makes me wants to dance my ass off every time I hear his beats. Matt and I actually got recognized three different times by other people at the festival for dancing so hard at UV Boi. I waited outside the venue to hear more from him, and he’s got a Lookbook in the works for some of his merch as well as some more shows in the states once he makes some good contacts over here. boiii boiii
The first time I saw Ben Frost, his visuals consisted of four or five intensely bright strobe lights that he kept on the whole time with no breaks. I was at the show with Garrett Burke, former WSBF General Manager, and we were both pummeled into sleep by our inability to watch and the visceral sonic blasts our bodies were enduring. However, Ben has *really* stepped up his game since I last saw him. His set was tight, very well put together, and the visual aspect of the show was stunning. Jaw dropping, frisson inducing amounts of fog, lasers and bass created an awe-inspiring combination both heady and brutal.
Claire Boucher, more commonly known as Grimes, is one of those weirdos like Prince who takes a look at pop music and goes “no no no, it sounds like *this*” and everyone else just kind of says “ok”. She built her pop empire from the ground up without that intention in mind. And even still, watching her perform still feels like that isn’t even her end goal. Even with the incredible access to resources to make new music, it hasn’t poisoned her spirit. Her friends choreographed their entire performance, and Grimes made it feel like we were in warehouse with about 40 other people instead of watching her on a huge stage with 3000 other people.
Grimes’ new album Art Angels is currently in rotation at WSBF so keep an ear out for that!
We experienced the splicing of EDM and noise rock with a heavy performance from HEALTH. We took the URL to the IRL with soundclouders Qrion, UV Boi, and Ryan Hemsworth. We threw back to the chill wave days with WSBF live alum RBTS WIN. We watched Reggie Watts get epistemological, philosophical, tropical, optical, and off the wall. Endured Greg Fox for about 2 hours. Jammed out dad style to Gary Numan. I could go on.
Cutting edge technology has allowed for truly incredible minds to create beautiful things. The Moog synthesizer was the first domino that led to the explosion of music that lay beyond traditional instruments. It’s crazy to think a couple of transistors and knobs changed music, and the future of creativity, forever. From what I could gather, things were weird, got weirder, and will get weirder in the future to come. And we’re just fine with that.
Lastly, we want to thank Missy at steepin.org for providing some great photos from the weekend! You can head over to her recap of the weekend for some more photos and an awesome recap video featuring some of our dance moves.
For those of you that haven’t heard, Moogfest is FINALLY happening again this year after a two year hiatus! The festival will take place from May 19-22 in Durham, NC. It’s a four day event that celebrates the life and legacy of Robert Moog; the man that helped popularize synthesizers in modern and electronic music. There will be tons of workshops on the future of art, music, and technology as well as a world class selection of some of the most exciting acts in music right now. With over 100 acts in both “Future Music” and “Future Thought”, we thought we’d share some more info about the people we’re most excited to see!
You can check out the full lineup at moogfest.sched.org
With a fresh new album, iii, the spark that the track Animal lit in me back in 2010 is back again. Miike Snow is moving towards a more band oriented sound and slightly further away from their synth beginnings but not to any detriment of the sound or the fun.
Oneohtrix Point Never
Daniel Lopatin better known as Oneohtrix Point Never, is an aural Picasso with several different “stages” already apparent in his 9 year career. His collaborations are always perfect blends of his work and the artist he works with (a lot of us at WSBF are excited about the DJ Earl album that Lopatin has a hand in), and his album composition is second to none. His last album, Garden of Delete took the place of my previously favorite experimental electronic album: R Plus 7 – Oneohtrix Point Never.
Actress is a british outsider/minimal house producer whose music makes you feel like you’re alone in a room by yourself and you can just barely make out the thump of a party down the hall. Decidedly not dance floor ready, Actress has described his work as “cool, classical stuff for a modern generation”
At a talk at Big Ears Festival in Knoxville last year, I heard Ben Frost describe his music as wanting to hurt people which followed with a wave of muted nervous laughter. When he performed later that evening, I sat through a punishing, hard to sit through barrage of wall-like waves of noise and monochrome flashing lights and really began to feel what he meant. Frost’s music is often described as power ambient due to the harsh and violent sounds and themes (see his 2009 album By The Throat) juxtaposed with soft and droney atmospheres. A U R O R A, his latest album, shows his capability for intense and intricate sonic architecture.
Listening to Liz Harris, better known as Grouper, makes me feely like a motherly ghost is caressing the small of my back, lulling me into sleep. Her 2014 album Ruins was without question my favorite album of that year, but I can only say I’ve listened to it all the way through no more than 2 times because I always end up drifting out of consciousness. Her soothing, drawn out, silky voice is just another instrument to spin up beautifully depressing lullabies. At her live shows, she sits at the back of the stage on the ground with nothing but a guitar, some pedals and a mic and not much else allowing for almost nothing to focus on but the sound itself.
Jlin Narlei, known simply as Jlin, is one of the only female footwork producers in the game right now. Weirdly syncopated, eerie, and especially dark, her 2015 album Dark Energy is aptly named. The jarring and skittering percussion is characteristic of footwork but the tone brings something new to the table completely. She’s one of the most innovative producers making footwork right now and is definitely someone to watch in 2016.
An innovator in beat boxing, comedy, and technology, Reggie Watts is bound to be one of the most interesting acts at Moogfest this year. His newest project is a virtual reality comedy film called Waves in which he is the lead actor and composer of the soundtrack. At a festival where pushing the boundaries is the name of the game, Reggie will be one to watch.
UV Boi is a young electronic producer based in Austrailia who has been making some of the best trap beats in the past couple of years. He’s a an absolute magician with 808s, weaving dizzying, irresistible bass lines that have _literally_ brought me to tears before. UV Boi’s music and online personality radiate a global, infectious happiness that can’t be stopped. His soul has transcended the physical dimension and has been uploaded to the soundcloud for all of his fans to relish in for eternity.
The ultraviolet boi is making his debut US appearance at Moogfest and I am going to fangirl and cry when I get the chance to hear that iPhone text tone bass drop. oh my god.
Lunice is the stage name for Lunice Fermin Pierre II, a DJ and producer who hails from Montreal Canada. Lunice’s career really began to take off after signing with LuckyMe who he dropped a couple of mix tapes with, one of my favorites being One Hunned. He later formed a production duo with Hudson Mohawke called TNGHT which really changed the entire trap game. Things truly were not the same for me after I experienced TNGHT for the first time. Lunice has also done production with Azalea Banks, namely her hit, and very explicit, track, 212.
HEALTH is a noise rock band turned alternate reality synth pop group. The change, seemingly to stay relevant seemed kitschy, but their latest album, DEATH MAGIC, actually really clicked with me. It’s got the growling darkness of the haxan cloak (who actually coproduced the intro track on the record AND is talking at moogfest), as well as the dancy beats of someone like justice. Moogfest seems to be the perfect venue to see HEALTH live after their evolution into electronic form.
Dev Hynes, better known by his stage name Blood Orange, has written for the likes of FKA Twigs, Sky Ferreira, and Carly Rae Jepsen. His own work as Blood Orange is a seductive combination of R&B and electronica that sounds like the love child of chaz bundick and FKA Twigs.
Sunn O))) is an american drone duo made up of Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley. For almost 20 years, they have been pushing the limits of live sound, even to the point of releasing their own line of guitar amps. They perform with black hooded cloaks so that only their grey beards show through. It’s less of a performance than it is an irreverent worship of sound itself. Seeing them live is a punishing, yet rewarding experience and it will change you.
This tropical, electronic duo from Asheville, NC is a WSBF live alumni! Their sound is something between chillwave and stuff from the LA beat scene. Lethargic vocals stretch over head-nodding, infectious beats and synths definitely scratch that summery night itch.
Ryan Hemsworth has been hustling on the internet for years now. If there was ever a trend in online beat culture, Ryan was and is always there first, even he didn’t start it himself. His skills and abilities to curate and communicate with artists are impeccable as seen in his web label “Secret Songs” which has spawned a new way of releasing music into the online world. And aside from that, hemmy is a damned good DJ and producer too. He’s hard to pin down, eclectic, and downright fun. Ryan has collaborated with UV Boi in the past, who is also an internet hero of mine who will be at Moogfest.
Ty Braxton is a math rock band leader (of Battles) turned modular synth wizard. He put down the guitar and picked up the electronics with his latest, solo work HIVE1. The entire album is reminiscent of insects and other various creepy crawlies that we can hear but can’t always see. His live setup consists of 5 tables with a grate of small holes through which lights shine and create honeycombed patterns all over the venue, accentuating the experience quite well.
A few other things we’ll be sure to check out are
- A screening of It Follows and a soundtrack discussion with Disasterpeace (Thanks Rob!)
- A rare opportunity to experience one of Robert Rich’s famed sleep concerts
- Greg Fox, drummer of the black metal band Liturgy, will be doing a 4 hour durational installation. (hoping for 4 hours of straight blast beats)
- Tons of music, art, and technology workshops to get those hands dirty.
- And so, so much more!
You can get tickets, including single day passes, for Moogfest here!
It’s that time of the year again where WSBF FM Clemson invites you to learn how to become a DJ, tour the station, eat pizza, listen to music, meet cool people, and MORE!
Come to the Student Media Lounge (located on the 3rd floor of the Hendrix Center) on September 1st.
We can’t wait to see you there!
G I V E A W A Y
You have THREE chances to win a pair of tickets to see Purity Ring at the The Orange Peel (Asheville, NC) on September 15th!
1. Facebook (WSBF FM Clemson 88.1)
2. Instagram (@wsbf_fm)
3. On Air with The Wombo Combo on 8/27/15 from 7-9am
The Facebook and Instagram winners will be chosen at random on Friday the 28th.
Intro to RADIOlogy is WSBF FM Clemson 88.1’s first event of the year! Come listen to music, hang out, and even learn a thing or two.
We at WSBF hope to see you at the Clemson University Outdoor Amphitheater from 8pm to Midnight on August 28th!
Echo Courts (Greensboro, NC) brings their own unique blend of psychedelic pop and indie rock
She Returns From War (Charleston, SC) Woman Abandoned Folk Americana
Cult of Riggonia (Athens, GA) Post-Apocalyptic Greeg: combining detailed soundscapes with experimental rock
Gomec (Clemson, SC) local indie rap artist
For more information go HERE.
WSBF is proud to announce the beginning of our brand new pledge drive and multi-day music festival, SHARK WEEK, made possible in conjunction with our friends CLEMSONSONLiVE and Graduate Student Government.
SHARK WEEK will be jammed packed with quality entertainment, including four nights of live music at venues on and off Clemson University’s campus, special pledge drive related programming on-air, a blood drive hosted by The Blood Connection, giveaways, and MORE!
WSBF is the upstate’s number one student-run source for alternative media & news and we especially love playing the best music you’ve never heard, but we cannot do it without your help! Faced with yearly budget cuts and the inevitable replacement of an aging FM transmitter, WSBF is asking for community support during the week of April 13th – 18th to ensure the future of our beloved radio station. Join us at our live music events and our on-air pledge drive during SHARK WEEK to find out how you can help us continue providing great entertainment to the Clemson community.
RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/711374932315106/
Fall’s here… You know what that means? It’s startin’ to get a lil’ sp00ky ’round here. And y’know what THAT means?!? IT’S TIME FOR FALL FEST! WSBF is throwin’ down with some of the best talent and spookiest sounds in the upstate. So, show up to the outdoor amphitheater on Clemson’s campus on Friday, October 17th! And remember, in Clemson, no one can hear you scream.