Some quick beats and pieces filling in ....
It was a hot, dusty, butt crunching marathon of a weekend and I'm here to fill in some more quiet moments of the festival. Check out Part I posted yesterday for more!
After a relatively lackluster set from Gramatik, Moby took the stage and those that didn’t show up to see the legend were foolishly, albeit ironically, dancing to wannabes and his predecessors elsewhere. There was something kinetic about Moby’s DJ set, catalyzed perhaps by his self-fulfilling prophecy of playing the festival as well as his duel and intentional role at the weekend event.
Moby in many ways, represents a lot of what the festival is about, coming together for an multifaceted experience with shared ethos, and yes, a joint appreciation of music and knowledge, but offering a much needed holistic approach to these events that have often become unbearable in the heat, dirt and non-stop crunched-in performances where everyone around you seems to be screaming at their friend questioning which act is in front of them. But LiB is a little different.
Moby is not back, he is not touring, but he hasn’t gone soft. He delivered a packed set, running the gambit of every genre and time, past and future, hard and nuanced, blending the more difficult music with familiarity. To return to Gramatik, it’s not that his set was bad, it just paled in comparison, Moby able to quickly run through with professionalism what Gramatik was going for in an entire set. We were transported back into a 90s acid rave warehouse, a soundtrack to every 90s montage, and we were having as much run as he seemed to be, jumping around in his worn out Black flag shirt.
Two nights later Gold Panda also delivered a enthusiastic set, although not to a full audience, who seemed to be somewhat unfamiliar and confused with his high level booking. Gold Panda is a sleeper. I’m not sure what everyone was showing up to hear, but it was probably the two songs he saved for his encore, You and Quitters Raga, which he seemed to play reluctantly, unpacking them to reveal their simplicity of sample+beat that was so timely at their 2010 and 2009 release, but somewhat simple in comparison to his trajectory towards the Trust EP released in March 2013.
Gold Panda flirtation with more dance-forward music in Half of Where You Live is infectious, throwing down Brazil but seamlessly transitioning into more aural movements like Casyam_59#02 (which may start off sounding a little like Back Home off of Companion, but opens and explores beyond the dangerously Fout Tet similar sounds). I think I even heard some Miyamae EP sounds.
Gold Panda has a lot going for him, and is traversing beyond the expected "electronic" music plateau that many expect of him, expect to see more, and make sure you see him live soon.
From the commotion, gaud and dust of the Main Lightning stage, it was simple to find refuge at in The Village section of the festival, along with The Temple stage, where I ended up spending the majority of my time. Friday night Wild Light offered a tangible performance of that the festival is supposed to be about, beyond just the excitement of “live” musical acts. Vocalist Ayla Nereo weaves and wains dreamy melodies with heavily symbolic lyrics, undulating between the layered funk electro beats via The Polish Ambassador. Before every song, Nereo took a moment to explain to the intimate and responsive audience the story beyond the song, presenting it as an offering to the trees, or the river, or the sadness overcome. PA’s accompaniment has an important and less common organic quality that partners with Nereo's meaning-conscious and breathy undulations.
In the same area of the festival over the next few days, I was able to spend some quiet moments in creative spaces with an array of voices. Juliana Birnbaum spoke about sustainable development and self explored permaculture communities, citing research she recently published in her book [R]evolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide. As we sat we all were too painfully aware of the eminent danger of our current agricultural systems, sitting in rare shade away form the blistering and dry heat in a canyon that once held luscious lakes and greenery. The book is entitled (R)evolution to connote the importance of returning to our roots, literally, remembering systems of food and water production, that don’t rape the earth and ensure a future for the next generation. The floor was opened for questions and others spoke about their fears or projects, a small little sense of community as a jumpstart for a revolution.
Moving around The Village area, you could come upon more talks and events celebrating and attending to the multi generational consciousness and community cementing ethos. Low hanging tents serving tea and a cool and comfy place to take a nap and take a break, while experts quietly taught and shared small cups of strong tea. Marlina Kooyaqueptewa spoke of messages from ancient stone writing, calling upon her Hopi traditional ways, and the Aztec Dance Collaborative shared their traditions and enthusiasm while the Village Fire burned brightly next to them, offering a moment of intention and offering.
As you move around the festival, and partook in the music and atmosphere, it becomes apparent that you are not a mere observer, but rather an active participant, that is, if you choose to be.
Cheri Rae of Peace Yoga put it most blatantly, as she waved off the yoga classes before and after her, with their cardio-driven blast yogas, and exclusivity, saying rather:
“You are all teachers. You are my teacher, and you are your own teacher.”
Her morning Fuck Yeah Yoga class, packed and in a circle formation in one of the two yoga tents imbedded in the camp sites, highlighted the all-inclusive, loving, and holistic importance of a place like Lightning in a Bottle, where everyone is welcome, loved and if in need of food, able to find a generous hand.
- Anya Lehr, Alumni DJ, Apocalyptic Adolescence