This weekend I attended part of the Printemps de Bourges festival, having been given tickets to the Rock’N’Beat event for Christmas. I had a fantastic weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the festival atmosphere!
The whole town gets taken over by the festival spirit, and although the focal point of the festival is the more commercial area where all the larger gigs and events happen, there is a band playing live music on almost every street, so it is easy to immerse yourself in the music while you are there!
The Rock’N’Beat evening turned out to be a great night, but it also made me reflect a bit more about what it is I look for in an electronic musician.
The highlights of the night included a live set from SBTRKT and DJ sets from Fritz Kalkbrenner (who also sang live – very cool!) and Radiokvm. I will admit that I was a little disappointed by some of the other acts, partly because I didn’t know their material as well, and partly due to the fact that they seemed to lack a certain thirst for innovation and experimentation.
Furthermore, artists like SBTRKT and Frits Kalkbrenner are not only capable of writing quality dance music, but are also able to maintain some subtlety in their music. Both of these acts do more than just make beats – they write songs, a differentiation I feel it very important to note.
Radiokvm, who I hadn’t heard of before attending the festival, made himself stand out from the crowd through his sonic innovations. His drums and percussion sounds were crunchy, organic and far from generic, and his whole set developed in a wonderfully organic and flowing way. Unlike some of the other acts, he didn’t drown us in bass, but used it to add drama, impact and movement to his set.
SBTRKT’s hardware rich live set up was very impressive and a joy to watch. However, for an artist who has made his name by fusing alternative/indie influences with a dance music approach to composition, his use of a Thom Yorke vocal in a remix that he and his band performed was a little disappointing.