Copenhagen Electronic Festival 2009 review

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If last year’s strøm festival was high octane, this year’s event can only be described as something out of this world. Electronic music and artistry seems to have been embraced by a lot more people who have discovered the magic behind it and in so doing, joined forces in being a part of its vivid legacy.

This was certainly true of the free concerts at Enghave park this weekend, where the likes of “The Field”, “Flying Lotus” , “Aeroplane”, “Troels Abrahamsen” and “Mary Anne Hobbs” gotpeople in high spirits. Here’s a short recap of the highlights.

Much credit has to be given to Swedish cats “The Field” for their virtuoso antics on Friday, which got the crowd jumping with tasty cuts from their new album, the critically acclaimed “Yesterday and today” Spot-on mixing, and a real immersion on the part of the band was what sold them though; these blokes really know how to get the party started.

“Aeroplane” followed suit after “The Field” left the stage, opening with a sizzling remix of “Friendly Fires’” “Paris” tune, and building on from there. I personally think that this was the peak of the night, though many would argue that it was the ravey “Flying Lotus” and his garland of quirky arcade game sounds, trippy visualisations and jittery musical bits and bobs that took the show to its zenith. Alice Coltrane’s great nephew certainly has the musical gift, no doubt about that.

Saturday’s Enghave shenanigans featured “Olga Kouklaki” and her lively vocals overlayed by dreamy, deep musical accompaniments before Troels Abrahamsen took over the baton and delivered a rich, emotional assemblage that set the stage for the undisputed highlight of the night, Mary-Anne Hobbs. Dubstep is something of a new revolution in the UK, and an even scarcer commodity in Denmark; bearing witness to the effect Mary- Anne Hobbs’ chunky basslines and heavy-set amalgamations had on the crowd was an experience like no other. Radiant, charming and communicative, the radio one Dj was nothing short of a sensation, may will no doubt remember her as quite a standout as far as standouts go.

Copenhagen Electronic Festival 2008

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The concept behind this novel ensemble was as radical as it was evocative. Shrouded in the sacrosanct purlieus of the Trinitatis church, revellers were treated to an alluring display of some flagrantly avant garde electro delivered by a series of adept artistes whose performances were frequently punctuated by sermons from the resident priestess endorsed by hollow background chant monotones.

Whilst the marriage of experimental electronic music and church ethics may seem highly controversial to some, its union in this case certainly came across as a very agreeable, well-measured initiative that cordially squashed any dubious presumptions one might have had beforehand.

Music wise, as aforementioned experimentalism was the order of the day as multi-layered drum loops, cacophonous synths and low-end bass riffs filled the cavernous church walls, creating a mis en scene of a most mystical and soothing nature. Background video skits either side of the alter peppered the cryptic, cabalistic feel of things, churning out a series of articulately prepared visualisations centralising primarily on scenic urban takes and daily life rituals, all fast forwarded, cut and scrambled for good measure.

Despite the setting filling all tick boxes, some performances lacked refinement and came across as slightly unvarnished therein. Unlinked tracks created several distasteful moments of silence every now and again, reflecting a distinct dearth of continuity and fluidity. Some performances also seemed excessively dispassionate and mundane. Adding to the inconsistency were several streaks of decibel violations that left a disturbing ring in the ear, amplified as it were by the myopic church walls through which the sound percolated untethered.

Aside from the discordances, Copenhagens electronic music festival has plenty to be proud of thus far, if for nothing else than the church / electronic music alliance and the quality of the daring music on show. Whilst lacking finesse and consistency at parts, the novelty and provocation of the overall concept shone through with credible brilliance, yielding a highly stimulating, indulgent experience of memorable proportions.