Monday, 1 September 2008

melt! festival 2008, gräfenhainichen, pt. 2

photo courtesy of sint

Melt! day 2 was about the slow rebuilding of anticipation after Late of the Pier's stonking performance the day before.

As the night got going in the Gemini tent, Friendly Fires tried admirably to outdo the boys from Castle Donnington. It was never going to happen though, despite the best efforts of their frontman, Ed, who has stage presence. Dollops of cowbell gave them an edge that is sadly undone by the difficulty they face in ever outdoing the shimmering beauty of Paris. Perhaps I'm being harsh as On Board is a beast of a tune to pogo to.

Friendly Fires - On Board

Disaster then struck in the form of very poor organisation. Partly on my part through not getting to the Melt! Klub well in advance for an artist that I have been wanting to see since Kitsune Maison 3 assaulted my ears - The Whitest Boy Alive.

Schizophrenic weather conditions had beset the site all weekend as the rains would come and go, leaving nobody with any certainty as to whether a dry point would actually last. This uncertainty allied to the tremendously epic lightning storm which had battered the Ferropolis earlier in the evening could have had people running for the cover of Melt Klub. There were still far too many people trying to get in, and I was v. pissed at Melt! organisers. The band themselves highlighted the problem in a myspace blog. I underestimated the popularity of Erlend Oye on the continent and I certainly won't be making that mistake again if he ever travels anywhere near a town where I happen to be.

After this heartbreak, my hopes cruelly dashed, I wanted nothing more but crisp, hard electro to banish the disappointment. Edu "here's another one of my vocal tracks" K was not what anybody needed. Seriously.

At the earliest opportunity, I made my escape for Mr.Oizo who raised the bar for the rest of the night immeasurably. After the uninspiring dross of Edu K, the sound of my favourite Justice remix blaring out of the Gemini tent speakers had me running inside. In my eyes, their rework of Blood On Your Hands by Death From Above 1979 hits the spot so perfectly because both artists share a love of being dirty and distorted but at the same time in possession of great pop sensibilities. I'd go as far to say that Justice owe DFA79 a debt in a way, this remix more than amply repays it though.

DFA1979 - Blood on Your Hands (Justice Remix)

Oizo continued to sprinkle his set with electro-house classics, Daft Punk and SebastiAn being prominent as the party really got started. For sheer fun, top marks, up there with Erol Alkan.

SebastiAN - Motor

It was then back to the mud for Italians Crookers. I had intended to report on these guys after seeing them at Social Club a while back but I was incomparably paralytic that night and remember nothing.

Their bass-heavy jams just got bodies shaking and juddering. Complete lack of ego also, which was nice to see, as the stage became crammed with their admirers. They echoed Oizo in dropping Motor again, which blew my head off yet again.

Crookers - Love to Edit
///head to new mixes for a quality mix of theirs

It was then time for the homecoming kid. I hadn't been totally convinced by Boys Noize before this festival. Feel Good (TV:Off) way back when on Kitsune Maison 3 rocked my socks. I obviously hadn't been paying attention as he brought the party. Alex Ridha was always gonna get a great reception at one of the biggest festivals Germany has to offer, but he had that Gemini tent in the palm of his hand for 2 hours straight from 5am and would have continued well past lunchtime if the powers that be had let him be. We were starting to flag at 6.30 am, but Ridha kept feet moving and hearts a flutter with this classic. The night will live long in my memory.

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

The highlights for me were &Down, which pummels the listener into dancing, and his masterful re-edit of Late of the Pier's Focker. Admittedly, it isn't a great deal more than the outro of the song repeated and ampified in classic Boys Noize style. When the outro packs such a punch, it's hard not to love though. Preview over on myspace, this needs releasing soon so I can play it at parties and laugh at how easily the dancefloor turns to a gleeful heap of people.

Boys Noize - &Down
///buy Boys Noize stuff via his myspace


His remix work deserves a mention as he almost always manages to impart his trademark motifs (robot voices, sqwarks, fuzzy tech-house vibes) to every track. His remix of Feist's My Moon My Man is extremely well known for its beautiful mix of styles - the lightness of Feist's vocals merging perfectly with Ridha's lush electro stylings. His Phantom Pt. II remix is top-notch as well, transferring the track into his realm.

Feist - My Moon My Man (Boys Noize remix)
Justice - Phantom Pt. II (Boys Noize remix)

I spent the last 6 months in Paris working at Record Makers (Sebastien Tellier, Kavinsky, Turzi) and Alex was very keen to remix a track off Sexuality. No doubt the Daft Punk connection played a part (Daft Punk songs featured in his Melt! set quite heavily) and it's interesting that the song he wanted to remix, L'Amour et La Violence, was one of Homem-Christo's favourites off the record.

The Main Version has already seen the light of day - it featured on the Japanese release alongside the SebastiAn and Danger remixes and as a free download for anybody who buys the record from American Apparel stores stateside. It demonstrates remarkable restraint when the track could have been mashed up and distressed considerably. It retains the piano and adds some melancholy robots (and they really are melancholy, which is a feat in itself - I have a vision of some little depressed robots that inhabit Ridha's studio). The shimmering synths are emphasised more as you would expect, and whilst the original is one of the best songs on the album and I don't really think you can fuck with it too much, this version is impressive because I think Ridha has tried to reinterpret the sentiment in the song as best he can.

Sebastien Tellier - L'Amour et la Violence (Boys Noize Main Version)

Eagle eyed viewers of the Boys Noize myspace page will have noticed another remix is due in the future. The Euro Version packs a punch in a way the other doesn't even try to. Heading straight into a simple drum beat, the vocals come in way earlier and it builds up and drops in all the right places. I prefer it to the Main Version because it is a bit more euphoric, and for melancholy I don't think you can really touch the album song anyway. If you're a fan of the other remix, expect to get your head blown off by this one. As soon as I get the green light to post it I will, but until then you'll have to be patient, these remixes reward the patient listener anyway. Expect an in-depth Sebastien Tellier feature v soon.

So that brings my Melt! feature to an end. I don't have any more energy, live reviews are draining, I don't think you'll see too many festival ones ever from me as I like to be thorough and it's tough. The rest of Melt! including Battles, Hot Chip and Bjork on Sunday was amazing, but it didn't top Saturday's electronic music so I won't talk about it. wordpress move, lotp competition this week I think.

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