Audioriver weekender 2010 – When all dikes are breaching…


With Silence Family Audioriver welcomed its first act from the Baltic States, from Lithuania to be precise. The opening beats were pretty seductive and called the people to the main stage. In the course of their gig musical energy flattened out a bit and their sound became somewhat predictable. Nevertheless the Silence Family project connects some of the biggest talents from Lithuania and their way of wrapping prominent male vocals in crisp house beats should even convince lyric cynics.

Such an omnipresent British dominance needs some balance. Not only historically, a Frenchman would be the perfect counterpart and none other than flamboyant Laurent Garnier and his live act merging techno and funky jazz rock could have been pledged to take that role. Laurent is a phenomenon… It doesn’t matter whether he is performing as DJ or playing live, his musical conception and charisma easily fascinate the whole crowd. While your legs suddenly have a life of their own and start to dance, you immediately feel the big smile that Laurent puts onto your face. It is just awesome to watch him dashing over the stage as if he’s literally been set on fire. Audioriver 2010 was honoured to experience such an infinite show held by the French free spirit. Poland, 0:00 o’clock – the beat is on! Sound Laboratoire Garnier

Beside Hawtin and Hybrid a third artist, or better to say group of artists delighted the Audioriver crowd a further time. Under his moniker The Mole and as part of Cobblestone Jazz Colin de la Plante had already rocked the techno tent in 2006 as well as the year before and apparently he must have liked the vibe a lot to return that quickly. In 2010 again he took his companions Mathew Jonson, Danuel Tate and Tyger Dhula (all members of Cobblestone Jazz) by the hand and played the main stage as The Modern Deep Left Quartet for an unbelievable 3 hours. Their sound was pretty much driving us over the beach and the next day you knew where you had got that muscle ache from. You only have to remember Carl Craig’s Innerzone Orchestra to know that they are not the first group trying to merge techno with organic music elements. Their live show is well-rehearsed, hence appears a bit static, but when they made use of vocoder and those old school synth sounds that are screwing themselves into the ground, festival-goers went crazy.

What do Baywatch’s Newmie and Richie Hawtin have in common? Correct; they have been involved from the very start. To see a Plastikman live act you should involve yourself from the very start as well… Audioriver’s Circus Stage was packed, crammed with people from tent wall to tent wall. Everybody wanted to see Richie. The command “Open!” set the ball rolling: the curtain fell, the light show started and for the next 60 minutes something similar to the 6th Russian tank division steamrolled us. In 15 years of techno, having attended international festivals and countless nightclubs, I have never experienced such a brutal and precise bass power.

The optical and acoustic omnipotence of Plastikman’s live act suspends all rules of space and time almost completely and takes the audience close to the limits of mental perception and not least this credit is going to the massive sound system put up at the Circus Stage tent. Even if the animations sometimes look a bit like Windows Media Player, you literally get swept away; hair and diaphragm begin to vibrate, your jaw drops and you just start gazing… Speechlessness guaranteed!

Like no other, Brooklyn-based Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani are able to reconcile the good old days of disco funk with contemporary electro-musical influences blindfolded. Whether Donna Summer or Prince, in Metro Area’s pop-inspired mixture of funk and house a lot of the big names you grew up with are stylistically resurrected. Last but not least, Michael Jackson’s death showed that this sound hadn’t disappeared from our minds. Morgan and Darshan gave their best and turned the Audioriver Festival into a house-driven New York-based 70’s/80’s disco grooving and swinging like hell.

There’s no need to introduce m_nus DJane Magda to her fellow Polish peeps and in a blink Audioriver became a frenetical home match for her. Set to play the techno tent directly after her mentor Richie Hawtin, she demonstrated that her name isn’t only connected to making freshly brewed tea. Her fans surely got a powerful and thrilling set of banging and driving techno, but against the background of having heard her sets at for example the Watergate, her appearance at the Audioriver was a bit too cool and uninspired. However, maybe that’s been the aftermath of Hawtin’s Plastikman as it was raising the bar for the following acts insuperably and left a (too?) big question mark in your mind behind…

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