Despacio is back, and it certainly is happiness. For those who don’t know, Despacio is a one of a kind musical experience curated by James Murphy and the Dewaele brothers responsible for Soulwax and 2manyDJs. They made an immersive party powered by the 50,000 watt 10′ tall speakers they built.
As you can imagine, it’s expensive to move this equipment around so they rarely do it. Last time it was on the west coast it was a side stage at Coachella that was available all weekend.
Best part? They only play disco and funk on vinyl behind a wall where the focus is off them and just on the music and sound. I happened to catch 2manyDJs three times over CRSSD weekend, and let me tell you, they have still got it. They are just as innovative, creative, and unpredictable as ever.
With our world ever evolving and growing seemingly ever divisive, Tycho took it upon himself to build a soundscape that transports us into a world of unifying and pensive hope in his newest album, Simulcast. While he doesn’t stray too far from his signature instrumentals suited for solo sessions around celestial shifts, he does expand on his style with choral vocals and natural elements a la “Into the Woods” or “Easy”.
At just shy of 35 minutes, Simulcast serve as a staple of anyone’s wake up jaunt or daily meditation playlist. Every track, even more so when taken in sequence, allows listeners the space to step out from society and dive into their minds – which, quite clearly, the world needs more of. We can’t help but visualize love every time we listen to Tycho and Simulcast is no different – only it’s even better.
The coveted lovechild of FNGRS CRSSD and Goldenvoice returns to the lovely waterfront park in Downtown San Diego. The bi-annual festival really is the gem of musical collection that leaves underground and rising star fanatics drooling from the moment the lineup is released until the final sunset performance of the weekend. This March CRSSD will showcase debatably their most amazing lineup to date, and the results don’t lie: it sold out almost immediately.
This year sees some special lineup additions like the red hot Gesaffelstein, the fan favorite Rufus Du Sol, and the legendary Carl Cox. The special treats come in the undercard. Arguably the most fun festival DJs are doing the first ever official B2B that I’ve ever seen, and that also isn’t their Despacio project. This B2B happens to be with head of Bromance records BRODINSKI!? Not to mention Soulwax will also be doing their live set, which is worth the ticket price alone. Hopefully they bring their three drummers they were touring with a couple years ago. A name we haven’t seen on any bills in some time: French Express hero and smooth spacy house hero Perseus. Finally…The Rapture. THEY’RE BACK! Let your nostalgia and craziness run wild.
This is the kind of special madness that comes together rarely for an American festival, and it’s something that doesn’t just make CRSSD so special, but not to be missed.
Anyone who’s been keeping up with us knows that we absolutely worship Justice. The Disco/Electro Frenchies have been in our lives for nearly 15 years at this point – from our down and dirty electro days to our (semi-) refined modern times. Safe to say, we were stoked and piqued this year when we heard the boys were releasing a Space Opera of all things. Well, the time finally came and we’ve now fully absorbed everything Iris had to offer and has to forebode. Did it live up to the hype? You bet your cigarette burning disco dancing ass it did.
Iris is a new beast. It’s essentially a concert film without the concert; Xavier and Gaspard perform their live show that they’ve been touring on for the last two years in an empty warehouse sans any trace of a crowd. The film opens with a 30 minute introductory video cut together with interviews with the guys, their manager (Busy P) and the crew who designed their stage set up. It’s a pretty informative half-hour that delves into the inspiration behind the anatomy of the stage and why they wanted to make this film in the first place. They talk about how they’ve always wanted to film one of their live shows however they could never get the camera angles and presentation quite right to capture their energy. They justify the absence of a crowd simply by saying “it’s played out” to do so.
The performance itself was magical. For the better part of an hour, the guys were supporting characters to the music and spectacle placed front and center. Lighting effects illuminate their on stage tinkering from time to time, but for the most part the stage and “house” are the highlighted (and strobe-lighted) mainstays. Justice has always been hesitant to include actual visuals as the backdrop to the live performances and Iris was no different. Instead of using an LED screen with videos playing in the background they simply had what seemed like an endless amount of solid lighting dancing and pulsing to each kick drum and keystroke. This fairly simple presentation method was super effective in keeping the music as the highlight of the performance. To fill the void of where the crowd would be, a semi-reflective floor played a crucial role in expounding the Space concept of the ensuing Opera. Every so often they would interweave clips of digitally rendered space imagery to further drive home the space opera of it all. The film really wears Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey as an influence on its sleeve.
In sum, we had a fantastic time and a welcome departure from going to a cinema to see the standard summer blockbuster. Justice once again proved that a little innovation goes a long way and the bar has been raised for future live-virtual performances of this kind. We can only imagine what their creative minds and team will come up with once NextGen VR and AR become ubiquitous; imagine Justice playing live in your bedroom if your bedroom was an autopilot Tempur-Pedic Tesla with Funktion-One sound and a 360 degree field-of-view floating through the vastness of space. We’re not religious, but leave it to Justice to have us worshipping at the foot of a cross just the same.
The brainchild day-into-night event of the legend Lee Burridge makes its way to one of the biggest and most beautiful metropolitan parks in the country. After starting on a Brooklyn rooftop nine years ago, this experience has garnered a cult following of people who want to get away from their day to day for the outdoor party of the year. Having been hosted in Ibiza, Moscow, Dubai, New York, London, Mykonos, Tulum, and more, it’s no secret why they choose these special locations for such a unique vibe. Be sure to get tickets from the link above and listen to Lee Burridge’s Essential Mix that came out a couple months ago.
Remember the days of sneaking cannabis into festivals? Yea…we don’t either. Luckily, come July 19th we no longer need to have nightmares about the days we never had. Thanks to our favorite boutique festival, Northern Nights, the Tree Lounge returns with the added feature of cannabis concessions. Already touted as being one of the most forward thinking fests in the circuit, they’ve really stepped it up since this move. Don’t forget to hug your farmers! Less hassle (do you sweat bullets when people ask to check your spare tire space?) means more fun. To top it off, there’s an experience of music, art, relaxation, human nature, community nature, and nature nature rounding out the weekend-long lazy river smoke out.
All jokes aside, this is a big deal. Finally, those in the trenches of the “Wellness” work and their consistent pushing of the needle have shepherded us into what we hope will become the regular modality for healthy and mindful development options at music festivals. With top-tier music from the likes of Zhu, Big Wild, The Desert Hearts Fam, Sacha Robotti, The Funk Hunters, Dance Spirit, Minnesota, and on, and on, and on, and on; alongside sky-caressing Redwoods, soul-stretching yoga, and mind-bending art adding that extra splash of good ol’ routine breaking fun that we all know is necessary for positive growth, Northern Nights has again reminded us why Cook’s Valley is a home away from “home”. So, let’s go home – we’ve missed ya.
With up to 20 years of playing music together under their belt, the familial union of these talented musicians can not be understated. This brass infused wonder band is packed with jam sessions that will satisfy even the biggest Phish fans. They have been back and forth through the years in the eyes of the media as far as whether or not they will stick together, but these guys just like to chill and go at their own pace.
Well they are back with a vengeance and at the Fillmore TONIGHT! There could not be a more perfect, historical venue to house this experience for not just them, but us, the fans. Be sure to grab an apple on your way in. It’s part of the Fillmore experience, and they’re delicious.