I’ve already been lucky enough to attend Substrata Festival this year following my move to the Pacific North West, but a few months ago the sudden realisation hit me that I’d also be in with a chance to attend the tenth anniversary of Decibel Festival in Seattle. From it’s humble beginnings in 2003, Decibel is now one of the worlds leading Electronic festivals, with a heavy focus on live performances, interactive multi-media art and state-of-the-art sound technology and education.
The line-up for this year’s celebratory edition has been drip-fed to us these past few months over three announcements and now we’ve got all the players on paper, I thought it was about time to feature a few who i’m more than excited to see in my new country of residence. To say the line-up is impressive is an understatement. This year’s festival manages to combine some classic acts alongside many of my favourites of recent years – most of which I could only have dream’t seeing in the USA.
My hit-list for the weekend-long city festival is long to say the least. Childhood heroes Moby, Peter Hook (New Order) and the legendary Orb will be performing, the latter of which is obviously pretty special – getting these guys together seems almost impossible nowadays, but I hear that they will be in full attendance for this performance.
But what’s really getting me excited about this year’s festival are the two Optical A/V showcases featuring a wide selection of international ambient, neo-classical and experimental music. Hosted at the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall and the Triple Door Dinner Theater (remember that live recording from Helios?) Optical 1 will feature Hauschka who i’m yet to see live, and the debut live performance of Oliveray – the collaborative project of Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick. Their beautiful improvised neo-classical album, ‘Wonders’ was released on Erased Tapes back in 2011 but this seems to be the first time the duo will perform together as one.
The second Optical showcase will be a mirror of one of my favourite gigs of all time, when Erased Tapes’ Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm take over the Illsley Recital Hall on September 27th. if it’s anything like the performance they put on in London last year, then this is set to be another special night. Since that night, Ólafur has seen his latest album ‘For Now I Am Winter’ come and go with high praise, and Nils has been busy in the remix world, both providing (for the likes of Ralph Starck) and receiving (Juno reworked – where fellow Decibel attendee Luke Abbott is also involved). It’ll be interesting to see what this amazingly talented pair throw at us on the night.
In addition to the Optical Showcases, I do of course like the nights to extend a little every now and then, and needless to say there’s plenty of artists to satisfy the all night crazies. Ranging from the electronic genius of Max Cooper, Ghostly’s new signing Dauwd, and the always ASIP celebrated Lusine, the electronica side of Decibel is also looking strong. I may even be tempted to visit my old techno favourites Âme and one of my more recent favourite producers, Kink.
I haven’t even mentioned The Sight Below, Shigeto, Speedy J, Teen Daze or the illusive Kompakt After-hours showcase thats scheduled for 2am on September 28th… Persuaded yet? I’ve picked out just a couple of tracks from some of my favourite artists to feature this year below. If you can join me up in Seattle, then be sure to give me a shout.
Both festival and individual performance tickets available on dbfestival.com
Oliveray – Piano In The Pond.
Nils Frahm – Live at Incubate Festival 2012 (such an amazing set!)
Ólafur Arnalds – Throw (the original to that Kiasmos track ‘Thrown’)
Hauschka at NPR
Hauschka – Radar (Kompakt’s legendary Michael Mayer on remix duties)
Dauwd – And (Ghostly’s new starlet, featured in my recent set ‘On The Edge‘)
Âme – Rej (One of my all-time favourite techno tracks)