words by Kon Glikos, photos by Zach Dilgard
Flying Lotus / ravers
As we were saying, This past Labor Day weekend saw the second installment of the Electric Zoo festival, taking place on Randall's Island. The two-day festival boasted a line up of over 70 artists on 4 stages, catering to most genres of electronic music. The line up ran the gamut. Commercial dance DJ's/acts such as: The Chemical Brothers, Moby, Armin Van Buuren, and house and techno staples the likes of: Richie Hawtin, Claude Von Stroke, and Steve Bug found themselves along side each other on the bill. In addition, artists such as Martyn, Erol Alkan, and Aeroplane represented genres like dubstep, electro, and nu-disco.
Highlights on Saturday included a blistering live techno set from Reboot, taking place in the Sunday School tent. In the evening, Major Lazer brought the crowd into a frenzy with their all-encompassing musical mash-ups. Over on the Red Bull Academy stage, Flying Lotus's much anticipated set had its moments of brilliance, namely a re-edit of Radiohead's Idioteque towards the end of his set. The Chemical Brothers closed out the night on the main stage, starting off with a string of new songs, signifying a musical directional change, giving way to older crowd favorites. Additionally, the visual production paired with their music, made their performance memorable for the thousands that listened in.
Day 2 started off on a high note, with Jon Hopkins's thoroughly original take of a live electronic set, which seemed largely improvisational. The next time slot called for witnessing a meeting of the techno minds back at the Sunday School tent. Techno heavy weights: Martin Buttrich, Mattias Tanzmann and Davide Squillace performed a track for track DJ set that was mainly composed of their favorite techno classics. It quickly became one of the highlights of the weekend. On the main stage, Moby played his DJ set to a sea of people in full on festival mode. His set was a retrospective, made up of tracks from dance eras gone by. What he played was a nice contrast to the seemingly endless stream of commercial trance and progressive house sounds coming from the main stage all day long. He was one of the top main stage performances all weekend.
While the aforementioned performances made up what I thought to be some of the most significant of the weekend, there was no shortage of cringe-worthy music being performed. For example, the countless musical crimes being committed in the Hilltop Arena tent (aptly re-named the Jersey Shore tent by many), aided in shedding some of the festival's musical credibility. Still, the premise of this festival seems to be that there is something for everyone because "you get what you pay for". Only time will tell if this is the electronic music festival that New York City deserves.
Claude Von Stroke
Mike Bindra & Laura Depalma (Electric Zoo founders)
Martin Buttrich, Matthias Tanzmann, Davide Squillace