Friday, August 29, 2008

Cologne breaths pop

I had a great time in Cologne during C/O Pop festival. Lots of gigs, movies and presentations. It seemed that all venues and clubs were taking part in this event in one or another way, so it was imposible to see everything. However, I liked the idea that it was rather a network of parties than a one-spot festival with different stages. So, one can freely stroll around the city and check different clubs.

On my arrival I saw a live performance by Crytal Castles. Perhaps, it was due to the poor soundsystem or the crowd of young hipsters why I didn’t find it interesting enough. Afterwords we checked out Berlin Calling party with Bpitch artists which was pretty good.

The next day there was a Silent Movie Night where Vladislav Delay played a specially composed soundtrack for A.Kaurismaki’s movie “I Hired A Contract Killer”. His music was OK, but nothing too surprising — the usual deep vibes with clicky rhythmic structures. However, the performance by Adolf Noise — DJ Koze’s alias for more experimental listening music — was outstanding and highly entertaining. Basically, everything was built on looped samples, playing and additionaly sampling some live instruments (flutes, xilaphone, trumpet etc.) and voices. All that was tweaked and FX’ed. The performace contained also quite many lengthy spoken samples in German, apparently very funny judging by people’s response. Ah yeah, it was a headphone party — no headphones, no sound.

The next thing was definetely the highlight of the festival — Kompakt Total 9 party. Actually it turned out to be one of the best parties I’ve ever been. First, Expo XXI sounded quite dry as a name of venue, and I was expecting one of those impersonal huge expo centres which all look the same. Fortunately, I was wrong — it was a reconstructed middle-sized building with brick walls and curving archs, supplied with two dancefloors. It was spacious enough, but still cosy, also because of very tasteful and elegant lights and video projections all over the walls. Furthermore, both rooms had exceptionally good soundsystems which is so important to enjoy music properly.

When we entered, on the big stage Supermayer was starting its show. No minimal at all. Groovy electro beats, tight basslines, kitschy videos, some funny samples and interludes. Superpitcher even sang a bit. Then Ewan Pearson continued as a DJ. (By the way, I did an interview with him which will be published in Veto magazine. I will post a part of it in this blog as well, so stay tuned.) His set was quite techno, not the hardest one though. Meanwhile, we checked the small room which was more about kicking techno. Quite simple, but pleasently tight and effective. Again, the soundsystem was brilliant. I’m not sure who played at that point — could be Navid Tahernia or Reinherd Voight — but it was all groovy and having a nice drive.

Back to the main hall. After Ewan, Aril Brikha commenced his live set. At first, after having exposed ourselves to proper techno beats, Aril’s music seemed too uplifting and melodic, kind of epic. As we started to dance, the mood changed quickly. The purple and blue lights plus his music set a good vibe. Aril’s epic journey was continued by DJ Koze’s set. Quite different style again — more minimal yet outstanding and weird tracks. Maybe his style is no style, in fact. One of the funniest tracks was his own remix of Matias Aguayo’s Minimal. Actually Aguayo was playing in afterparty. Without stimulating substances we were just a bit short of energy to continue there, despite it was quite tempting. Anyway, it was totally enough.

The next night started with a chilly concert by Jose Gonzalez. It was on a boat. There was water all around and quite small audience, which made this experience even more unique and intimate. Enjoying some sekt, his marvellous singing and the night covered Rhein. I must admit that I prefered Teardrop instead of Heartbeats.

During the same night we managed to visit Treibstoff party and MBF/Traum/Trapez party. Both venues were really underground and crowded, and somehow we didn’t manage to stay long. On the way home, we checked a small club where Larry Heard DJ’ed. A true legend of house music, as we all know. However, it was a bit strange that grandfather of house music was DJ-ing on CDs. Well, OK, it was still nice house groove on a sweaty dancefloor.

The last day, Sunday, I was chilling in a park before my leaving. It was quite strange feeling realising that Sven Vath and Ricardo Villalobos are rocking nearby.

1 comment:

Lienerrr said...

Oho! Brilliant review.