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!