Online music magazine based in Copenhagen, Denmark

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August 2016

Trailerpark Festival

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By  Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com) and Charlie Cassarino

The tenth Trailerpark Festival was also announced to be the last; not because of lack of interest or finances, but because the team behind Trailerpark Festival wished to move on. A new festival is on they way, they say, and perhaps Trailerpark I/O, the new branch on this years Trailerpark Festival, is a hint of what to expect.

Trailerpark I/O preceded the music on Friday, centering around a variety of themes, including surveillance societies, virtual worlds, conversational interfaces, computational creativity and responsive materials. These themes where explored through talks, exhibitions, talent showcases, films and labs. Here are some of the highlights from the exhibitions:

An EEG sensor detects certain brain waves which are then displayed as gif's. Just meditate, the man was told.
Wear What You Think – An EEG sensor detects certain brain waves which are then displayed as gif’s. Just meditate, the man was told.

WEAR WHAT YOU THINK was one of the first installations you encountered in the exhibition area. Here you where outfitted with a consumer grade EEG-device programmed to detect brainwave patterns; these where then translated into .gifs pulled from giphy.com and projected back onto the subject wearing a white, reflective poncho.

I SEE YOU, the neighbouring installation , used similar technology. Developed by Great Works CPH, the project reflected on data collection, surveillance, privacy and transparency by displaying gifs relating to the conversations going on inside the installation. As with Wear What You Think the gifs where pulled from giphy. A handheld version using a Rasperry pie was also available.

This sci-fi setup is actually an exploration of haptics and music
Resonate by De Nakke Ontwerpers is an exploaration of haptics and music. The suits each contain 10 vibrating that adds another element to the music played in the headphones.

SHE & HE: A LOVE STORY BETWEEN TWO COMPUTERS by Mer/Sea & Iregular was a charming little installation staging a conversation between two computes by pulling randomly selected phrases from social media. The project was very reminiscent of Jonathan Harris’s 2008 installation at MOMA entitled I Want You To Want Me

In the Talents, Talks and Labs section you could employ Doliio’s Autonomous Self-Agent  to take care of your social media presence, meet a 3D printer-turned-tattoo-artist, a concept for decentralized furniture production and various virtual reality projects. Being able to try out new technologies, chat with the makers, listen to talks in an informal setting was a good, engaging experience and nice warm up for the music scheduled later on the day.

3D printer converted to a tatoo machine
A geek tatoo on an artificial hand made by 3D printer converted into a tattoo machine by Appropriate Audiences

 

Lynda Joy's virtual reality project lets people experience being a painter from a painters point of view.
Lynda Joy’s virtual reality project lets people experience being a painter from the artist’s point of view.
Section Boys puffing it
Section Boys puffing it

After an afternoon of encounters on the frontiers of technology, it’s back to business as usual at Trailer Park, which means four stages with music from the cutting edge of the Danish and internation pop, electornic and hiphop scenes. South London crew Section Boyz made up for their late appearance with as intense as they were visibly stoned. But the home-grown acts are the ones on everyone’s lips, particularly the r’n’b stylings of Phlake, the blissed out pop of Slowes and the baritone-voiced electronica of Wangel. And just in case the latter three were too laid back for you, Icelanders Sykur were ready to kick the crowd back into life with their aggressively catchy electronica.

So, Trailer Park, goodbye to a decade at Enghave skatepark. What’s in store for the next 10 years?

 

The decorated trailers are still a part of trailerpark festival
The decorated trailers are still a part of trailerpark festival
Phlake
Phlake
Dagny
Dagny
Slowes
Slowes
Wangel
Wangel
Crowd (Section Boyz)
Crowd (Section Boyz)
Sykur
Sykur.
M.I.L.K.
M.I.L.K.

LIVE REVIEW: Julia Holter, DR Koncerthuset, 18.08.2016

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Julia Holter live at DR Koncerthuset

Photo by Morten Krogh

Julia Holter is trying hard not to lose her cool. She tries to sing her first song only to find that her mic isn’t plugged in. She keeps asking for more vocals and keys in her monitor, only to learn that none of her band have any monitors at all. It’s not the most auspicious start to an evening in a smaller room in Koncerthuset, but Julia Holter is a professional.

There are little hints at this professionalism, her classical training, such as when she provides the exact measure to pick up after the mic snafu or when she conducts — whether consciously or unconsciously — for herself, waiting for her backing band to rejoin her on a song.

Maybe it’s the initial tension of the evening that skews this perspective, but the energy of the band as a whole seems stronger than when we first saw this incarnation at Vega last year. Perhaps there is a battle-worn solidarity that helps them rally their energy, but everyone recovers from the early inconvenience and compensates for a lack of joviality with energy. It’s not surprising that Holter surrounds herself with people as seasoned as herself.

While waiting for the monitor situation to get sorted, Julia jokes that now would be the time to sing a cappella, except she never does that. But later, when she sings the hushed line, “all the people run from the horizon” from “How Long?” or when the opening vocals of “So Lilies” ricochet off of those of her backing vocalist, you wonder why she wouldn’t try it. Her voice always identified as a part of her lush arrangements, but would anyone even blink if she made them the defining characteristic of a song?

Her set hasn’t changed much in the last year, with Have You in My Wilderness still her most recent release, but her set did draw a new appreciation for “Vasquez.” Without the electronic elements of its recorded version, it takes on a decidedly more jazzy feel, the bass more dominant and Holter’s vocals more careless in their delivery. The breakdown in the middle, without the horns of the album, is a showcase of minimalist bass and viola work, and when the drums chime in, it is truly startling. And that’s why we’ll be out at every show she plays in Copenhagen — for all her polish, and even after seeing three shows in as many years, Julia Holter can still startle.

LIVE REVIEW: Beach Slang, KB18, 12.08.16

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beach slang at kb18 in copenhagen

Some gigs make you feel like you’ve crashed a private party. I don’t know about you, but that’s never really worked out for me. It’s less like blagging your way into Andy Warhol’s factory, and more like being stuck singing happy birthday to someone whose name you don’t know. Suffice it to say that, tonight, the constant cheers of “seven more songs!” were entirely lost on me.

Beach Slang turn up at KB18 to a barrage of cheers and in-jokes. You’ve got to hand it to them, gaining this kind of fandom with only album and a couple of EPs is an achievement in itself. Then again, their particular brand of emo-inflected pop punk seems to function precisely in the way their debut album describes, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us. I might not be one of the people they are looking for, but everyone else in the room is.

beach slang at kb18 in copenhagen

The atmosphere is that of a local band surrounded by friends. Beach Slang have not amassed enough material to span an entire set, but they have the venue on their side, and sleeves–in frontman James Alex’s case, tuxedo sleeves–full of covers: the Cure, Jawbreaker, and of course, the Replacements. The tux, the so-predictable-they’re-unpredictable covers, and the high-fives that erupt at the end of every song, reveal the light-heartedness beneath the sometimes tortured lyrics. Which is a real relief, seeing as a room of people close to their 30s reveling in teenagerdom might otherwise be a terrifying prospect.

 

LIVE REVIEW: Patti Smith, DR Koncerthuset, 02.08.2016

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It’s not very far into Patti Smith’s show at Koncerthuset that a theme emerges for the night: Death. Death hangs over so many of her stories and songs. It’s implied when she opens the evening by reading from Just Kids about the optimism of ringing in the New Year, 1970, with Robert Mapplethorp, and confirmed shortly thereafter when she introduces “Paths That Cross” as a song written with her late husband for their friends suffering from AIDS (including Mapplethorp). It’s present in “This is the Girl,” Smith’s tribute to Amy Winehouse, now gone five years. It’s in the cover versions of “When Doves Cry,” “Perfect Day” and “People Get Ready,” the last of which got its worldwide debut from Patti and Co.

Or maybe this show is about life. As the years creep on and her written works begin to match those she’s recorded, Patti Smith is increasingly the one who has lived to tell the stories of those lost along the way. And Patti herself is so full of life. You feel it in the way her voice careers from folksy when she’s telling an unscripted story to frantic when she’s yowling the outro to “Land:” and flailing her arms to match. Or when she introduces “Beneath the Southern Cross” as “a song for life.” Or in the simple energy that radiates from her when she dances throughout the evening, every movement with a consistency that suggests that this is still what she loves and wants to be doing.

No, really, this evening is about survival. Because Patti Smith is not just a historian of her own stories or other people’s stories. She’s not on a legacy tour, but performing music she’s written in the last decade. She tells the audience that she’s performed the songs from Horses a million times, but it doesn’t feel like it. There’s still a force behind those songs that tells you they’re as important to her now as they were 40 years ago. Sometimes it manifests itself as fumbling intros, as with “Land:” and “Because the Night,” possibly because, after all these years, she still thinks about the songs as she sings them. She clearly isn’t on autopilot. She’s still experimenting, whether it’s new arrangements or new covers. It’s this enduring creativity that we will continue to celebrate.

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