A Comprehensive Guide To The Music At Magnetic Fields 2016
30 November 2016
And we’re almost there – just 10 days to go for our favourite weekend of the year! Magnetic Fields will be back for its 2016 edition with a whole bunch of activities, more art, food and of course, a more exhaustive international and homegrown lineup than ever before.
Of course, music lies at the heart of the festival, but there’s so much happening it just made sense to put everything in one place. Apart from the performers at The Piano Man basement, which will be a more improvised jazz jam, everyone performing has been listed below with a short descriptor and streamable music link so that you have an idea of what to expect and who you definitely don’t want to miss.
You might want to bookmark this page for future reference.
South (Day) Stage
Multi-instrumentalist and self-described "autodidact jazz musician, who samples himself" Dorian Concept is an erstwhile videogame-generation bedroom producer, whose album ‘Joined Ends’ could very well have been one of the most original and beautifully structured releases of 2014.The Austrian producer’s accolades include touring with FlyLo, collaborating with the Cinematic Orchestra and graduating RBMA, but what he’s really known for best are his absolutely absorbing live performances. Special thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum for helping us get hime down.
This is one of those acts that seems almost tailored for the Mag Fields Day Stage. The ‘Superpoze sound’ is the stuff of dreams – vast, airy and atmospheric production cushioned by reverberating basslines. Gabriel Legeleux’s music is best enjoyed live, watch the video below to see just how unreal the music is (and then imagine it against the twilight lit background of a 17th century palace in the middle of the desert).
Pune/London based producer and percussionist Sarathy Korwar sort of appeared out of thin air earlier this year and blew our metaphorical socks right off with his astounding debut via Ninja Tune ‘Day to Day’, created under the mentorship of luminaries like Gilles Peterson, Four Tet, Floating Points and Emanative under the Steve Reid Foundation. We can promise you that this will be a performance unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Japanese producer Daisuke Tanabe’s instrumental tracks and live performances manage to combine fragile, atmospheric production with hip-hop acappellas, jazz and folk for an extraordinary, all engulfing atmosphere we can’t wait for you to experience. It’s almost impossible to imagine that he comes from a techno/breakbeat background originally.
Flako will be performing for the second time in India after Various Artists earlier this year, and for those of us who missed it, this is a proper treat. Chilean-born Dario Rojo Guerra’s evocative, earth toned melodies and hypnotic beats will only be amplified when framed by the façade of the palace.
Known for their infectious energy and charismatic stage presence, the Wanton Bishops hail from Beirut, and are widely considered one of the best bands in the middle-east. Responsible for a significant blues rock revival in the country, the manages to channel the right kind of nostalgia without being cheesy or clichéd.
The electronic scene in China is thriving against the odds (for one thing, your traditional social media platforms like SoundCloud are banned across the country). At the helm of this movement is Beijing resident Howie Lee, who combines his British training with native sounds; so think a heavy dose of bass with Chinese melodies and a range of textures. He’s slowly managing to carve out his own niche, not just within his own country but around the world.
Israeli outfit Buttering Trio is a live ensemble that will bring a bit of funk to the desert this year. Combining broken beats and fat bass lines with live, jazz inflected instrumentation and lots of vox, Buttering Trio’s distinctively psychadelic and atmospheric sound is one of peace and all-round good energy. Watching them under a clear sky on the lawns of Alsisar Mahal will be an extra special treat.
Napoleon Gold was previously the solo project Antoine Honorez with Jerome Klein joining the electronic producer on piano and percussion in 2015. It’s the mix of live guitar, drums, piano and cascading electronica that we can’t wait to hear at the festival.
Two person army Nakul Sharma and Sahil Bhatia a.k.a. Burudu are the latest on the scene to catch our attention. They’ll be debuting a special live show at the festival, and based on what we’ve heard so far we can guarantee that this is one thing you’ll be coming back to. Listen to their incredible track ‘Immerse’ feat. Courtney Odom below to get an idea of just how measurelessly deep and all-encompassing their sound is.
Fresh from releasing her impressive full length LP ‘Downstream’ - arguably one of her most impressive ventures yet - Sanaya Ardeshir is back playing solo this year after last year’s memorable performance as Perfectiming with Jivraj Singh, who’ll also be providing improvised and one-of-a-kind (anti) visuals to accompany the set. Watch her perform ‘Crystal Pink’ at Echo Mountain Recording Studios, Asheville below.
Performing live on the South Stage again this year, after his lauded debut performance at the flagship edition of the festival is Curtain Blue a.k.a. Abhishek Bhatia. One of the few Indian artists to channel the moody and contemplative sounds made popular by the likes of Apparat and Jon Hopkins, Bhatia has released music with Project Mooncircle’s Robot Koch along with his own EP ‘Drones’ last year.
Nikhil Narendra & Shreyas Dipali
These two haven’t released a lot of music yet and they don’t perform together too often, but when they do – man, is it good. Do yourself a favour and watch them play below; Nikhil’s on the plethora of keys before him and Shreyas is the one going ham on the drum kit. We have a feeling this is going to be one of the Indian acts to pop up on your radar at this edition of the festival.
Who doesn’t love Prateek Kuhad? India’s most popular singer/songwriter makes his debut at Magnetic Fields with his signature gentle, whimsical lyrics and vocals. He cemented his position as one of the frontrunners in the indie circuit with his 2015 album ‘In Tokens and Charms’; you can listen to ‘Our Love’ below.
A personal favourite, Begum is back at the festival this year with a new album ‘We Are Excited’. Expect some lo-fi, psychadelic rock and dream pop influenced music, rounded off with honest, endearing vocals and just the right pinch of nostalgia to bring a grin to your faces.
RBMA North Stage
Eglo Records owner, selector, musician and composer Sam Shepherd is one of those rare names that holds just as much weight in the DJ world as it does in production, and that’s saying a lot because his music is very, very good. We’re going to let the sound do the talking – check out his iconic single ‘King Bromeliad’ here and listen to his now classic final Plastic People set with Four Tet here.
One of the busiest selectors on the circuit, Roman Flügel’s career dates back to the 90s and he’s been going at it (pretty much without pause) since then. A stalwart of the German electronic scene, Flügel’s versatile, constantly morphing non-conformist style is notoriously hard to describe. Check out a great piece on FACT about the artist and watch his Boiler Room below to see just how talented he is as a DJ (proof’s is in the pudding; your normally deadpan, static BR audience is actually sweaty and dancing)
“I think what makes music interesting is if it’s energetic - it needs some raw power.”
Hamburg based Helena Hauff lives by that mantra, the producers DJ sets (and underrated production) is marked by a kind of visceral, darkly cerebral power that allows her brand to stand our amongst the rest. Its intensity is what has cemented Hauff as one of Germanys' leading figures in techno. Think industrial beat and synth, sharp acid sounds and cold Detroit rhythmics – ruthless, energetic and completely gripping.
Chilean born, German raised Matias Aguayo is without a doubt one of the more unique names on the night stage – both his DJ sets and original productions have one thing in common – his voice. Vocals form the axis of Aguayo aesthetic, around which a genre-defying range of music revolved.
This one’s a treat for all the bass-heads at the festival. Rob Ellis is a leading name in experimental dubstep, not just as a producer and DJ but also label owner at Tectonic records, which showcased early releases from the likes of Loefah, Skream, 2562, Digital Mystikz, Distance, Flying Lotus, Joker, Addison Groove and Peverelist. Expect a dune shaking set for this one.
FILM is the alter ego of Sanil Sudan, who’s known for a wide range of house, techno and much more at his sets. He’s put together a nice little mix to get the hype up, and it’s a beauty.
Ketan Bahirat has had a better year than most; he got accepted into RBMA Montreal with his relatively new solo project Oceantied, upcoming EP ‘Tribes’ and a slew of performances around the country. We couldn’t be happier to have a young producer on board for the RBMA stage – this one’s going to be a banger.
Adidas Desert Disco
DJ Owais has been playing and collecting music from all over the world since the 90s. His sound is tailored for the desert sun – it’s always dance friendly, upbeat and varies between soul, disco, electronic, funk and folk.
Rinse FM (Manare and Azamat B)
Representing the sister wing of London’s legendary station Rinse FM are Manare and Azamat B, who’ll lay some disco, garage, Rn’B and funk out on the dunes. This one’s going to be a treat.
Arman Menzies a.k.a. Zokhuma covers a range of genres – from frantic, chopped up African beats and hip-hop to soundscapes and experimental electronica. Just what you need to get you up and awake and ready for the day ahead.
Bala Subramanyam aka Dakta Dub is one of Hyderabad’s foremost DJs and radio presenters. He’ll be playing a specially curated set on Delhi Sultanate’s brand new BFR soundsystem.
Delhi Sultanate & Begum X (BFR Soundsystem)
Taru Dalmia and Samara Chopra will be carting their traditionally built Jamaican BFR soundsystem across the desert for a special performance for our attendees, that focuses on reggae, its roots and offshoots. Massive in an understatement for his system, it’s a veritable monster, and we can’t wait to be in its vicinity.
BLOT! a.k.a. Gaurav Malaker’s heading back to Magnetic Fields for what will be (presumably) a repeat of one of our favourite sets last year. We just had to have him back.
Robert Yang will be representing San Francisco crew Honey Soundsystem, who came together after being inspired by pivotal gay underground parties and dance music history. The artist has a diverse interest in music and is committed to immersing audiences in experiential sets; we suggest you stay awake for this.
We’ve finally got some hip-hop going at the palace with two of the founders of London’s leading collective Livin’ Proof – a group that has been responsible for bringing the likes of Danny Brown, A$AP Rocky, A Tribe Called Quest and more to the city. Repping the crew are co-founders Khalil and Raji Rags – also the head of music at Boiler Room.
This experimental techno and house producer has been quietly carving out a name for himself in the industry since his game-changing debut LP ‘Suzi Ecto’. His sets are marks with hypnotic intensity and evocative musicality, ensuring a one-of-a-kind experience at the festival.
Abhimanyu Meer proves his mettle as one of India’s most prolific and respected music journalists by bringing his methodical, research based approach to the dancefloor as a selector. Just listen to his opening set for Kenny Dope (Grammy nominee and one half of Masters At Work) for proof:
Words: Diya Gupta
Image credit (main): Neville Sukhia