It’s the time of year when festival line-ups start leaking into our social media pages via. fancy digitised posters. Gottwood and Field Day boast Aphex Twin, ABRA, Helena Hauff and DJ Harvey to name a few. They’re the kind of line-ups that make me wonder if 2017 will be the year I break out of the Latitude-Glastonbury Workers Beer volunteer cycle and branch into festivals as an Actual Spectator. I flick through the the Sonar, Outlook and Dimensions posters too, but a part of me (the dystopia-thirsting part) can’t help but think about how Brexit and article 50 and Theresa May’s tightened borders will tie into all of this. Festivals in European cities will inevitably become (even more) unaffordable to those coming from the UK, and the thought of having little to no international talent playing at UK venues as a result of some arbitrary law is strange to me. I’m no expert in Brexit-related policy and by no means think festival line-ups changing is the most important thing to worry about right now. But this is a column about electronic music, and the shifting European music community is definitely symptom of a larger series of changes that will come once the UK becomes an island floating apart from everything else.
Re-released in 2013 by Perlon records, Margaret Dygas’s EP Invisible Circles is thick with reverb coated samples, steady heart-like beats and a general sense of doom. ‘Frankly’ begins with a distant sax that sustains over layers of hi-hat and fleeting kick drums. A bicycle bell pierces the atmosphere and leads into a bass-heavy groove. Recurring guitar chords shimmer, indicating a hook – the sound makes me think of Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain album for some reason. It’s when the acoustic bongo is introduced though, palm-slap unfiltered, that the track goes from conventional techno to something more experimental. These undulations both complicate and sustain the rhythm, but before you get a chance to make sense of what you’ve been listening to, it fades out as gently as it began. ‘Invisible Circles’ is a continuation in a lot of ways. Barely-there vocal samples pan in, leaving a trail of delay; the on-going beat a lot more varied than ‘Frankly’. I don’t know if it’d work at a club or not, but the crowd would definitely be left feeling some type of way. Invisible Circles is an EP that demands something from you: attention, engagement, empathy maybe - I’d need to listen to it a few more times to figure out which.
Horse Meat Disco are a four-man DJ collective who formed in 2003. Since then, they’ve been residents at New York’s Vauxhall, touring festivals and club nights internationally. You’ll usually see them on a festival line-up, their name alone guaranteeing hours of familiar to obscure (but selectively curated) tracks. I’ve only ever danced to their parties from the drinks-serving side of the bar, but the energy was always palpable enough to leave me with a need to see them from the perspective of the dance floor. It’s kind of a rare thing for a set to speed up your entire shift, but Horse Meat Disco managed to do this with their relentless groove. With 75 tickets being sold on the door, expect a lot of house and disco from the HMD crew alongside SoulJam resident Jack Pearce.