Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Festival Preview | Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, October 25-27, 2013

We're ankle deep in the 21st century by now, and the whole  "festival" thing is starting to sound a bit passé, don't you think? Mark my words, in the not-so-distant future music summits will be all the rage, leaving the music festival behind as a relic of the past. The way I understand it, the idea behind calling something a "summit" is that rather than solely focusing on artists performing, there are also panels, seminars, discussions, art installations, and other such learning goodies to take the event beyond the typical "let's get fucked up and rage" festival experience.  My first taste of the future begins this Friday.

The name says it all: "Mountain Oasis"

Asheville, NC could be adequately described as an oasis most of the time, but with the vibrant red and orange of fall in full swing right now, that description is more apt than ever. Despite calling itself an "electronic music summit," Mountain Oasis will host a wide array of genres and performers, with a particular focus on artists who make creative use of technology, be it new or old.

When trying to create an itinerary for the coming weekend I was presented with some tough decisions. I'm doing my best to be realistic, but there will be so much crazy goodness going on, that I don't know if I'll manage to stick to schedule. But letting the madness sweep you off on an unscheduled adventure is half the fun! Regardless, here's the plan so far:


Jherek Bischoff (7:00), Diana Wortham Theatre: After releasing 2012's Composed with high profile guest vocalists ranging from David Byrne to Caetano Veloso, the Seattle based composer has been spotted on more than a few "best up and coming artist" countdowns. With a live show that often features upwards of 30 people on stage,  this is sure to be a grand opening to the weekend.

Purity Ring (8:45), Arena: 
The Canadian electro-pop duo has been making waves even before their debut album, Shrines, came out last year. Missing out on dancing under their wicked awesome light-up orb stage setup would be downright foolish.

Daniel Johnston (9:45), Thomas Wolfe Auditorium: 
The original freak-folk troubadour doesn't come around very often, but his audience has grown exponentially as his legendary tale has spread. The demand to see him live has exploded. Very excited for this one!

Neutral Milk Hotel (11:30), Thomas Wolfe 
Auditorium: Admittedly, I am a Jeff Mangum/Neutral Milk Hotel fanboy. I had the pleasure of seeing Jeff on his two most recent solo tours, and was blown away both times. But now he's doing it up right. A full band Neutral Milk Hotel reunion has been the dream of legions of indie kids since Mangum called it quits in '99, and now it's actually happening. Holy fuck, y'all.

XXYYXX (12:45), Asheville Music Hall: This 17 year-old electronic wunderkind has been blowing up over the past two years, and his live set is rumored to be off the chain. Much delirious, exhausted dancing will ensue.


Bosnian Rainbows (7:00), Arena: I last saw Omar Rodriguez Lopez with a briefly reunited At the Drive-In during Lollapalooza 2012, and I never miss an opportunity to see one of his projects live. I'm actually pretty happy The Mars Volta are on hiatus because it gave birth to Bosnian Rainbows... Is that sacrilege?

Godspeed You! Black Emperor (10:00), Arena:  Godspeed blew my mind live once before. Their artful gloom, supplemented by real-deal 16mm film projections, was completely unlike any other concert experience I've had. Just be there and see what I'm talking about..

Animal Collective/Nine Inch Nails (11:30/12:00): Oh fortune, how you have scorned me! Pitting these two headliners against each other was an unfortunate decision, but I'll just have to manage sprinting between the manic madness of AnCo, and the industrial brood of NIN. I suppose there are worse problems to have, though.


How To Dress Well (7:45), The Orange Peel: I missed an opportunity to see How To Dress Well live before I knew about them, and have been kicking myself for the better part of a year for it. I can promise you that this will be the sexiest set of the weekend, and if you doubt me, just listen to 2012's Total Loss. You'll probably start making out with the first person who crosses your path, so be warned.

Shlohmo (10:45), Asheville Music Hall: Young EDM producers are a recurring theme at Mountain Oasis; the haunting wash of 22 year-old Heny Laufer's noir-tronica will surely satisfy my end of festival moodiness.

Time will tell how accurate this itinerary is, but great things are on the horizon.


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