Guest Blogger - 4clubbers
By Guy Hornsby (4clubbers.net)
It only seems like a few summers ago when there were only a handful festivals to choose from for the music fan. When I began attending in the early 2000s stalwarts like Reading, Glastonbury had already been alive for decades, and the likes of Coachella and Exit were barely born. These days there's a mind-boggling one hundred plus in the UK every year alone, and further afield they spring up every summer, challenging old hands like Burning Man in America to Sonar in Spain.
Every year new challengers trying to usurp them, and as the market becomes saturated Eastern Europe's found itself able to provide the holy grail of sun, booze and music cheaper and better than most.
Over the years I've been to across the world from Paris to Berlin, Sydney and Ibiza, but nothing comes close to standing in the middle of a crowd with the sun on your back. Festivals bring out the best in music of all shapes and sizes, even when I've braved the floods of Glastonbury in 2004 and 2005, or baking heat in Serbia this summer, music seems to be turned up a notch when you're in the open air with the waves of sound washing over you.
Ever since my first, at Homelands in 2000, I've been hooked.
In the last few months I've been lucky enough to catch some of my favourite music stood outside (in all four seasons), and had my ears opened to some amazing new stuff along the way. In just the last month I've seen the madness of Grinderman, Underworld's timeless tunes and the ethereal Portishead, but three things stood out above all of them and these are the tracks I've picked for the show.
Metronomy almost need no introduction. The Devon quartet may be on their third album, but something clicked in 2011 with The English Riviera, their idiosyncratic slice of electronic English pop that extols the beauty of their coastline. Single The Look was ubiquitous across 6 Music since Easter, and the album's virtually been on repeat for me since it surfaced in April.
Sh*t Robot is another recent find for me, and another in the long line of James Murphy's extended circle. His album From The Cradle To The Rave took his bleepy electronic disco to another level last summer. I caught him in the midst of a rain-dodging afternoon on the Sunday at Lovebox playing a live set at the Horse Meat Disco-controlled NYC Downlow. Amongst the classic disco it stood out, and Losing My Patience has the added bonus of vocals from Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, splicing one of my favourite bands of the last decade to one of my newest discoveries.
I did Exit for the first time this year, and it was an epiphany. Perched in a 16th century fort in Novi Sad, nestled on the Danube in Serbia, it's without a doubt the most incredible festival setting I've ever attended. While the 40-degree heat means the day is quiet, the night erupts, and when dawn breaks, the only place to be is the dance arena. With its stage set back in the moat of the ramparts, the dancefloor extends up above it, with close to ten thousand throwing shapes until the sun beats down.
On Monday morning I caught the Rebel Rave trio closing out the weekend in astounding fashion. Their blend of sleazy, woozy sound that's been at the forefront of the US's reemergence in house music in the last year alongside the likes of Wolf+Lamb, Soul Clap and Art Department. Benoit & Sergio's Principles is simultaneously euphoric, groovy, deep and melodic, and it's probably my favourite track of the last six months.