A Definitive Guide To The RBMA Stage At Magnetic Fields 2015
23 November 2015
We’re just 23 days away now, Bedouins. Magnetic Fields Festival is almost upon us and if you’ve been following us you’ll know that the lineup and series of events this year is something special.
One of the biggest highlights of the festival this year is the Red Bull Music Academy stage. Since its inception in 1998 in Berlin, the travelling Red Bull Music Academy has grown to become the foremost institution for contemporary music worldwide, with a talented set of alumni and enviable roster of lecturers, which includes the most influential names in the music industry from DOOM, Brian Eno and FlyLo to Jah Shaka and Erykah Badu.
RBMA’s mighty reputation as an establishment and collective that pushes the sound of the future precedes it, so naturally, they’re selective about the festivals they choose to partner with. Other festivals they’ve collaborated in the past include Sonar, Dekmantel, Distortion Festival, Meltdown, Mutek, Bestival and many, many more.
India’s exposure to RBMA, however, is fairly recent, so we thought it might be a good idea to guide you through the artists playing at the festival so you know what to expect before their sets.
Here’s all you need to know about the international artists playing at the RBMA stage this year:
“The punters will probably know a song, maybe three hits, but it’s not the individual tracks that are the star, it’s the long groove, the fabric weaved together over hours. The vibe, the vibe.” (via FACT)
There’s a reason Stefan Kozalla, better known as DJ Koze, is considered an icon in electronic music worldwide (and again, this is not an exaggeration). The Hamburg based Pampa Records founder is amongst the most well respected selectors in the world; his style (musical and otherwise) is…unusual, to say the least and difficult to describe because of its unpredictability. This is a man who can shuttle from cerebral house to melancholic electronica to hip-hop and make it work with unfathomable ease.
More than a selector however, Koze’s subtly beautiful, astounding cuts have become the stuff of legends. This year saw him curate the landmark 50th installment of !K7’s DJ-Kicks and it’s one of their best so far. Listen to the whole thing below to get better acquainted with his unusual, unique interpretation of his craft.
Hun Choi never expected to be making and playing music for as long as he has. His initial plan was to pursue a life in academia after graduating in musicology and education. After a shift to Amsterdam and a meeting with charismatic local artist San Proper, in whose pink walled studio (which Hunee helped paint), he recorded his most recent release ‘Hunch Music’ – he realised it was music he was infatuated with.
Hunee’s playful, soul infused sets swing from house and disco to Afro and techno and he’s known for his energetic live sessions and charismatic presence behind the stage. It was in Amsterdam where Hunee also met frequent collaborator and friend Antal with whom he’ll be playing a b2b set at Magnetic Fields. Antal and Hunee are known for their symbiotic relationship on the deck and their b2b sets are coveted summer festival acts worldwide (Dekmantel, with Floating Points, Lowlands, Dimensions – we could go on).
Hunee’s sunny afternoon set at Dekmantel is one of our favourites.
Antal Heitlager is the co-founder of the Rush Hour Music – an almost two decade old independent music label (which Resident Advisor picked as their #1 label of 2010), retailer and distributor, also based in Amsterdam, that is responsible for putting out some truly exceptional music (check out its SoundCloud for more).
Like most great musicians, Antal prefers not to put a name to his style. Like Hunee, he’s an incredibly versatile DJ who can switch from a contemporary techno banger to an old classic disco record (probably dug out from his extensive and very enviable collection) with the surety and skill only a veteran can have. No matter what he plays however, Antal concedes that he always tries to make his diverse setlists feel soulful, raw and spiritual.
Like we mentioned before, Hunee and Antal will be playing a b2b set at Magnetic Fields later this year.
It’s all too easy to throw around superlatives when it comes to Justin ‘KUTMAH’ McNulty’s crate digging abilities. The BRAINFEEDER signee has been integral to the birth of the vibrant L.A. beat scene (specifically within the Low End Theory community), which has built a reputation for itself as one of, if not the foremost hubs for underground, forward thinking music in America.
The selector and producer was deported from the U.S. in 2010 suddenly, and rather tragically (as he explains in this account for the Guardian). He lives and works in the UK now, making music and DJing, as he does best. KUTMAH’s mad, mixed bag sets are a reflection of his own idiosyncratic taste which includes everything from hip-hop and soul to electro protopunk, tropicala, the cheesiest Swedish pop – you get the drift. He’s also an extremely talented producer, as is apparent from his excellent beat tapes.
Watch him digging through his favourite ever records here for FACT TV (and talk about running away from home to Sonic Youth’s ‘Teenage Riot’ at 16), and really convey his talent as a selector below on one of our favourite Boiler Room sets ever.
A master of sound design, Berlin native TJ Hertz now develops music software personally and professionally for tech giant Native Instruments. Pitchfork’s review of his debut LP ‘Flatland’ (named after a novella of the same name by Edward Abbot) says that the album is “…experimental to its core, but never considers polish and passion to be mutually exclusive.” That understanding defines the crux of Hertz’s music – its individual elements are distinctly artificial and any sounds from the material world would have been processed and reprocessed till our uncompromising perfectionist thought it passable.
And yet, there’s something about Objekt’s convoluted, manipulated brand of techno that feels organic and intoxicatingly alive. His complex productions straddle the cerebral and visceral with a pristine finesse that can only be achieved by the rarest producers.
Here is a person who has understood every rule of techno, and then turned it on its head.
Producer Jack Adams a.k.a. Mumdance divides his professional career into waves. The first wave began when he was ‘discovered’ by Diplo in 2008 after he was sent a bootleg remix of Black Lips’ ‘Veni Vedi Vici’ featuring MC Jammer through Myspace (Myspace was still a thing then). With the backing of Diplo’s Mad Decent record label, Mumdance was propelled into the spotlight within a span of 3 months
Adams’ sound has been consistently getting more polished since then and his more recent productions have been pushing the 130 bpm instrumental grime wave with with Mumdance releasing music on Hyperdub, Tectonic, Keysound & Unknown to the Unknown. Last year’s outstanding ‘Take Time’ with prodigal MC Novelist was received with enthusiasm and positive reviews from every major international music mag.
Grime has yet to hit Indian shores with the bang that it's had in the UK but we have a feeling it’s going to catch on very soon.
A very recent graduate of the academy (Tokyo, 2014), Palms Trax, real name Jay Donaldson is a prodigal producer and DJ who is currently based in Berlin. He might be young, but Domaldson’s productions, which are all created in his bedroom studio, are anything but amateur.
His inaugural 2013 ‘Equation’ EP via London based imprint Lobster Theramin was one of the freshest releases that year. He’s made a name for himself since then with own brand of dusty, often contemplative, melodic and meticulously produced brand of house and we can’t wait to see what’s going to come for the festival later this year. The future looks bright for the young producer and selector.
Words: Diya Gupta