Sequential Circus 14 happened a few months back. In fact, it’s almost time for Sequential Circus 15 (happening on July 26, 2014). Here are a few photo hi-lights from SC14.
(For the full audio podcast, click the link at the bottom of this post)
Despite a few technical challenges, we managed to cover quite a bit of ground… Dark Arps has fairly recently relocated to Vancouver, Canada after a 17 year stint in the UK where he toured extensively as part of 10-piece breakbeat orchestra, Keiretsu. Clearly he’s spent a significant amount of time evolving his sound which blends breaks, progressive house and sweeping atmospheric sounds.
MUX has been on hiatus for roughly 5 years (living on a sailboat off the coast of Mexico) and in addition to talking about the birth of Sequential Circus, tells us how, with the help of a Windows 95 machine, he continues to deliver screeching acid lines in every track he performs (Hint: Nord).
MUX rockin’ the Skytrain at the Robot Uprising party.
Photo credit: Matthew Trentacoste
I could have talked with these guys for days longer, and we will… as Sequential Circus continues to evolve. We also could have played tracks from both of these guys for hours on end, and so you will hear more of their material in the coming weeks and months.
Sequential Circus 14 happens this Saturday January 25th at Open Studios in Vancouver.
Plus, don’t miss the debut of the new daytime portion of Sequential Circus; a partnership with the Vancouver Producers Forum to bring you an afternoon of talks, workshops and panel discussions from veteran live performers. If you’re a live-pa artist, a producer interested in taking things live, or even just a fan who’s curious about what’s going on under the hood, this will be an excellent session of tips, tricks and techniques for live-pa performance.
This week we have two very special guests playing live in the studio! DJ Dresden and Goa Pete are the lead organizers behind Goa Trance Mission, a local Vancouver group that have been bringing some amazing psytrance DJs into Vancouver for both indoor and outdoor parties.
Their next show is on Dec 1st at W2 in downtown Vancouver, when they will be bringing Avalon over from the UK for a live performance.
DJ Dresden Psychedelic Trance Mix
(I think Dresden mentions several of the tracks he played at the half time break)
Goa Pete Forest Psy-trance Mix
(Pete’s tracklist is super-secret)
After Pete’s set I played a few more tracks…
Photo by Euan Forrester
As I turned off Main onto East 1st the memories started trickling back. It was a dark and quiet street. An industrial area, not far outside of downtown Vancouver – it was a bit like the old days, before the cops had cracked down on the illegal warehouse raves. But those memories were so distant at this point, it wasn’t more than a fleeting thought that I would only later recognize the significance of.
It was still pretty early when I arrived. Scott Riesterer was on stage, layering live muted trumpet overtop of weaving landscape of housey beats and melodies. It was a unique sound, and knowing Scott, I was immediately interested in hearing him play.
Everyone was playing live, so the night progressed quickly from artist to artist. PhonoTactic from Calgary was up next. His style was still different than what I would typically play, in fact, I’m not even sure how you would classify it. So far, Ableton had been the tool of choice for the evening, but PhonoTactic had a Chaos Pad running in tandem, and kept using it to add on-the-fly scratching effects that immediately left me wanting new gear. While his set sounded fresh and funky, many of his sounds had a classic “ripping” analogue sound that seemed to resonate and awaken a corner of my brain that had been asleep and forgotten about for the better part of a decade.
Each time a new artist took the stage, I was driven to try and find out what gear they were using. Terekith kept me in suspense for his entire set as I couldn’t quite make out the writing on the two boxes he was using. No laptop here. One of my favourites of the night, I could see Tarekith making every musical tweak right in front of me. Two fingers, two buttons – bass is gone. Twisting the filter on a sample, fading between rhythms. One, two, three, four fingers and – BAM! – bassline comes slamming back. Why take my word for it. Watch this. It even has overlays describing what he’s doing. This is half of a two-parter, so if you like it, be sure to check out the second video. Finally, at the end of his performance, I found out he was using an Elektron Machine Drum with a Octatrack sampler by the same company.
Dark Arps easily had the best stage presence, with a futuristic full torso costume (must have been screaming hot in there) that was lined with all kinds of intelligent lighting. It was pretty clear the crowd loved him too. I’m again unsure of how to classify the style, sort of a dark, wobbly techno. Here’s a sample from his previous Sequential Circus performance.
Let’s face it. MUX stole the show. And that opinion was formed before I had any idea he’s one of the key organizers behind Sequential Circus. Also before I realized I had likely seen him play before, at one of the Listening Room shows at the Planetarium. Wow. Throwback.
Even before MUX takes the stage, the night has crept up on me. With each artist, the sound has been boosted a little louder, and a little louder. And it’s good. I’ve come out of hibernation for a few shows in the past couple years, and unless it’s the Commodore, the sound never seems to be that great. Even some of the big shows have been plagued with terrible sound until the headliner comes on. (So tempting to mention some names here…) You’d figure I’d be half deaf at this point, but apparently I can still tell the difference when the sound is good, and what a difference it makes.
At this point I’m also starting to notice that it’s busy, but not so packed I can’t dance. I’m not surrounded by high-heeled hoochie-mommas, there are no whacked out candy ravers sitting in the middle of the dance floor… Holy shit! This party is going off!
MUX intros his set with an answering machine message, recorded at… 3:03. Boom. My knees have a lot of miles on them. They don’t like to bend as much as they used to, but MUX has me jumping in the air with hands up. Music affects us. It doesn’t matter what style you like. Classical, country… whatever it is that hits you, it reaches right inside and does something to you. That corner of my brain that’s been sleeping so long… Well… Just like Quietman said.
Here’s MUX playing live on the Skytrain (like the subway except above ground). Imagine the sound being 1000 times better.
Winding up the night was Vancouver’s own Vincent Parker playing glitched up I don’t know what. Psychedelic trip-hop craziness, outdone only by Vincent’s ability to move his body even more vibrantly than his music.
So as I start walking back through the otherwise quiet industrial streets, I’m reminded of that first fleeting memory of the night. From the moment I turned onto East 1st, it’s like I was back in 1996 – a time I’ve been trying to get back to for at least a decade. This was a fantastic night, in every aspect. I can’t wait till the next one.
Thank you to all the artists and the entire Sequential Circus team.
dj Smiley Mike and dj Caddyshack will both be going.
Find out more at: www.motionnotion.com
If you’re coming from the Vancouver area (roughly), join this Facebook group to connect: http://www.facebook.com/groups/235651353204654/
I started going to warehouse raves in the early 90s, and quickly found myself travelling around Western Canada to attend outdoor raves and electronic music festivals like Summer Love. My passion for electronic dance music has never wavered, but until this year, I haven’t been out to many shows over the past 10 years. Despite knowing many people who have made the annual treck to Shambhala, it has never been successful at drawing me out of hibernation.
Enter Motion Notion. It was a Trancendance fan who first told me about Motion Notion (thanks Karl!), and as soon as I saw the lineup I NEEDED to go! I’ve been fortunate enough to see the likes of Union Jack, Chemical Brother and Skylab 2000 all play live. But the group that has escaped me for years is The Crystal Method. I’ve been a huge fan of their unique sound since the beginning, and I’ve always wanted to see them. If that wasn’t enough, I’ve become a huge fan of Ace Ventura over the past few years, and watching the photos and videos of his performances from overseas as they get posted to Facebook has left me wishing and waiting for him to play a show close enough to BC or Alberta that I can see him play. John 00 Fleming is icing on the cake.
Last week, after Caddyshack and I had already been buzzing about the potential for a road trip from Vancouver to Golden, BC to see the show, I found out that Motion Notion had asked to sponsor Trancendance for June and July! And so it begins. Over the next six weeks leading up to the Motion Notion festival, Trancendance will feature different artists scheduled to headline the show as well as some of the different artistic aspects of the event. Plus… we’ll be talking about a roadtrip or maybe even a caravan from Vancouver to the Beaverfoot Lodge in Golden.
Find out more and get your tickets now at motionnotion.com