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Beyond Wonderland 2015

Music was good, visuals were better

The music at most edm festivals mostly miss, but sometimes ya find a hit. Unfortunately that hit wasn’t the music this year at Beyond, but the visuals.

I met with a visual supervisor from the Mad Hatter’s stage and he let me check out what he does at a live set. Let’s just say there’s not much glamour in his performance, but the performance he puts on was breathtaking. Not for the epileptic though. It seems the visualsm from the lights to the costumes and exhibits are evolving quicker than the music at these festivals.

I’m not much for the harder, bass driven music that’s still popular today, if you couldn’t tell yet. So like every year before it I put together a playlist that I’d love to see live (mixed right). The first year I did this was general high bpm dance tracks, but the second year I went specifically for the bass. This year was the best of bass since we started Silence six years ago. It may not be defining what I love now and probably won’t for many years, but it did have its place and may once again. It’s all about soul right now (and has always been).

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A Symbiosis Story

Go for the music, stay for everything else

Symbiosis Gathering and festivals like it are an experience everyone should involve themselves in at least a few times in life, especially for the type that aren’t already going. Symbiosis brought together electronic music and other activities for mind growth & body. I went for the music, but I got more out of everything else.

People are picky in what music they’ll listen to, especially me, but other activities for growth are much more universally appreciated. That is, if you’re open to learning. I got a chance to listen to a few panels while dodging the daily scorching heat and every one of ’em gave me at least a little new perspective.

One particular speaker comes to mind was Shylah’s talk on natural birth. She took all of three minutes to flip me from ‘seems like an option some people should look into’ to ‘your child’s birth is pretty much one of the most important moments in your life (and theirs) and of course we’re getting it wrong, like always.’ She went off on a few other like-minded tangents that felt more rooted in emotion than actual urgency, but her zest towards it all was refreshing.

As much as the panels and music were worth the adventure out to Oakdale where the festival was held, all of the brief interactions were what made it so memorable, most memorably my missed connection [see below].

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Hiero Day 2015

Annual festival in Oakland

Hieroglyphics is a hip hop group out of Northern California. Each year they celebrate new hip hop talent with their own festival in Oakland on Labor Day. I got the chance to cover their show this year and even though there were over a dozen quality performers to see on each stage, I was there for one.

It took me over three hours to get to Hiero Day, public transit wasn’t doing so well. When I got there the temp had to be hitting on 90 and everyone was looking for shade to sit in. But I had to find Anderson .Paak. The main reason I was there.

I caught him right before his performance on the Third Eye stage. I ran up to him like a giddy fool and blathered about my love for his music. When I realized how foolish I was sounding, his manager assured me that they all felt the same way too. We talked a bit longer about other LA emcees, I actually told him the only other one that could compete with him was Doja Cat. He got a kick out of it.

His performance on stage had just as much character as his music, along with the short time I talked to him. The day was a highlight I’ll be holding on to at least until next Labor Day.

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A Symbiosis Gathering

It's almost completely perfect, except one thing

Doing some digging on the Symbiosis website and social, I noticed that Madelyn Grant had liked their Facebook page – she’s featured on Emancipator’s latest single, Seven Seas. So instantly I thought, Madelyn might be there too! I asked her, she’s not :(

She’s one of the main reasons I keep this thing around, so I gotta at least try to get her out here and play live with Emancipator at Symbiosis. I think it would be their first time playing live together, at least I’m pretty sure it would be. And who cares! She needs to be there!

So what do we gotta do to make this happen? Mind you, I’m well unaware of the logistics of getting her out here. Or if she’s even available. And I’m probably just being selfish and no one wants it that bad. But they should! And I have to try and so do you if you feel so inclined.

Feel inclined!

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Outside Lands 2015, best one yet

From Odesza’s set to meeting Toro y Moi

Outside Lands begins my favorite time of the year. It’s good weather in San Francisco, except in Golden Gate Park where it’s held, and there are plenty of fun things right around the corner. Treasure Island Music Festival, Beyond Wonderland & SF MusicTech to name three.

This year’s lineup for OSL is looking to be one of its best. I’ve compiled 12 of my favorites, not including Elton, D’Angelo, St. Vincent, Leon Bridges & Toro y Moi. Their SoundCloud presence is lacking and 8tracks doesn’t give us enough numbers to give a damn about dat.

Below the playlist we have two highlights from the festival, Odesza’s set and meeting Toro y Moi.

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Snakehips + FKJ at SF’s 1015 Folsom

Yep, this is gonna be the best damn show of the year

A great live show needs two things. The right friends and and the right music. And Friday at Folsom might just top any other show I’ve ever been to. Not only is Snakehips headlining, but FKJ is playing his debut live set!

I’ve only ever written about a show once before solely to get more people to go. This is my second attempt. And I’m MUCH more excited about this one.

Only a few people I go to the club with regularly would know how much I love to dance. But only if the right friends and music are there and the two usually don’t come together often.

Many great producers are not as great live. It’s a whole different game. Something I know FKJ excels at and I’m pretty damn confident Snakehips will too. Both are making the best dance music today, and I don’t say that lightly.

Just see for yourself.
– Make sure to dance
– Even if it’s on your seat

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Noise Pop Festival 2015

More specifically Flight Fac with a little Touch

Touch Sensitive always helps make an entrance. Whether it was Le Youth at the Rickshaw last year or Flight Facilities at the Regency a week ago, I always walk in when he’s playing his best on the bass. And he always makes me feel like a badass while doing it (which doesn’t happen much).

I did wonder how much of his set was script and how much he winged it, but I don’t think I made that too clear on Twitter. Thanks Touch for indulging in my drunkin ramblings.

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Beyond Wonderland 2014

with our list of this year's best bass music

Beyond Wonder 2014 - Boombox

The same styles of EDM from last year seemed to dominate Beyond Wonderland this year. Mainly progressive house and various forms of bass music. I like a lot of both, but this mainstream shit sounds so manufactured. It’s like old people buying into infomercials, but at least they have an excuse (they’re old).

I know I sound like the typical music blogger bitchin about the mainstream, but I bring it up so someone will help me understand why people settle for this shit. There are just so many better alternatives. And a few were actually on side stages at Beyond. I guess the lack of awareness is the biggest problem.

So every year, since last year, we’ve put together a list of our favorite EDM tracks for Beyond. Since we’ve already covered house this year with our tropical house & deep house playlists, we decided to go for bass.

It does include deep house & electro funk, but we tried to highlight as much glitch & lazers & shit as possible. Just remember, bass is more for the feeling & dance than for the sound.

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Outside Lands 2014

Fulfilling all your sensual needs in SF's park

I taught a friend a new word this week. I thought it summed up Outside Lands pretty well and most festivals in general. It’s got a negative connotation to it, but a TA at my University once defined himself as a hedonist and at the time it sounded like the most honest look at one’s life I had ever heard. I don’t mean it in its extreme, as it’s often taken, but to some extent it’s what most festivals are in the business for, the senses.

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Beyond Wonderland 2013

A trip without tripping, that's the plan.

Last year I heard Insomniac was taking its Wonderland festival and bringing it to The Bay. The thing I remember most when looking into Beyond was that Insomniac was trying to create a festival so visually & audibly stimulating there was no need to rely on ecstasy or LSD. As you can imagine, I was pretty eager to find out how well they pulled it off both personally as well as for other attendees. And as much as I can’t speak for them, though some of the pictures can, I will speak a little on my own account.

Visually, everything was pretty enchanting my two nights there, but during the day the drabness of the Shoreline Amphitheater seeped through. Much of the crowd was dressed in full fantasy and really made the scene more than anything. But where as the visuals were decent, the music faltered.

Some of the night acts, namely Zeds Dead & WhiteNoize, were a helluva time, but the music that played most of the day can best be described by one song, the dirty bit version of ‘Time’ by The Black Eyed Peas. In other words, once the beat dropped everything went to shit […]

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