Monday, April 23, 2012

The Butterfly Effect

Morten Breum, the most popular Danish DJ with over 94.000 fans on Facebook, played a sold out Vega, one of my favorite venues i Copenhagen, with a capacity of 1500 on the floor and balcony in beautiful functionalist surroundings with mosaics, panels and tiles designed back in the 50's by world renowned danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen. This was the first show back in Denmark, since he and his manager Nima Kay from I AM CRE8TIONS moved to LA to pursue an international break through. He has since been working on some new tracks and playing major nightclubs around the US, like LIV Miami and Pacha NYC. At Miami Music Week he played a couple of pool parties and I actually attended one of them on top of the Dream Hotel on Collins, but I sadly just missed him, so I was really looking forward to catch this show in Copenhagen.

At Vega on April 21st, Breum displayed the excellent DJ skills, that has made him so popular in Denmark, he truly is a gifted DJ, but also a great choice of songs, with neoclassic hits like Atom by Nari & Milani, Greyhound by SHM, In My Mind by Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl, Toulouse by Nicky Romero, Calling by Ingrosso & Alesso and his new tracks Get Static and the epic Larva (get it NOW on Beatport, do it, seriously, do it). The 1500 guests sure loved it, going mental to the music. He also had a sweet stage setup with a 3D like beehive setting around the DJ booth with funky graphics being "projected" on the squares (or however they did it). Very impressive, can't wait to see him again at Summerburst in Stockholm this summer.

Back in January, I wrote about him and this new track Larva and predicted that this big room banger of Avicii-like proportions, will skyrocket him into international stardom. I still believe that. The Larva has turned into a beautiful Butterfly.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Sound of Miami

Miami Music Week was the center of the universe for this one warm and sunny week in late March. Everybody who works with or share the same passion as I for electronic dance music, were in Miami that week. Everywhere you went on South Beach, there were parties on the beaches, on the roof tops, at the pools, in the bars, in the hotels, on the yachts, in the marinas and of course several festivals like Nikki Beach, SHM's Masquerade Motel and the monster; the Ultra Music Festival, at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. House music filled my ears, heart and soul from dusk till dawn no matter where I went. The beautiful people, the sun, the art deco buildings, the convertible car and the pastels served as a fairytale-like backdrop. It was almost surreal and I loved every minute of it. In just under one week, I got to experience live performances from 90% of all the artist I love and listen to everyday, except maybe SHM and Nero.

We arrived Wednesday and started out, directly from the airport, with Axwell and his Axtone friends Thomas Gold, NO_ID and Jacques Lu Cont, in the cram packed mega-club Amnesia. What a fantastic way to kick off the 5 day party stretch. Axwell was worth the 1-hour long wait (as a ticket holder - wtf?!), he tore the place apart displaying excellent taste and skills.

Thursday, we went to a roof top pool party at the Dream Hotel on Collins Avenue, the Arti Deco strip on South Beach, with danish superstar DJ Morten Breum, Tristan Garner, Tim Mason, Jus Jack, my Russian darlings Hard Rock Sofa and several more DJ's. Nice relaxed Miami vibe by the roof top pool, overlooking South Beach, you could see parties on all the other roof tops with people dancing to house music and having fun in the sun.

Friday was UMF day 1. Over 150.000 people in party mode was ready in Bayfront park, downtown Miami, on the waterfront with the high risers and the monorail as backdrop. 7 stages from the small stage at eco-village playing niche stuff for people chilling in hammocks under the palm trees, over the insanely lit ASOT/Carl Cox arena to the massive Main Stage that was to host the biggest names in the business over the next three days.

The place was crawling with girls in very skimpy neon colored outfits, pig tails and baby pacifiers, and sweaty topless frat boys with glow stick, glowing necklaces, glowing hoola hoops, glowing fingertips etc. At first I thought it was a kind of childish or "retro" as we in Europe are way past that phase. But I finally got it, I understood what it was all about, when I saw several spontaneous "Molly-camps" popping up everywhere some guy was waving glow-gadgets in the air, the younglings settled down and tripped out on Molly (a form of ecstasy).

We started out with Nicky Romero in one of the "smaller" tents, he was OK but nothing special, followed by Tommy Trash on the Main Stage, he was really good; long hair, high energy and crazy mixes. Martin Solveig took over for Tommy and surprised me with great skills on the decks and an interesting mix of genres. Then it was time for veteran and local hero Benny Benassi, who was a bit disappointing in my opinion, but Afrojack soon brought a smile to my face with his dirty dutch sound, that seems to be catching on in Miami/USA, a great warm-up for Skrillex that entered the stage on a podium made as a spaceship that took of during the show.

Skrillex was insane, 100.000+ people were going mental. He played all the good stuff including a new wicked remix of Damian Marleys "Welcome to Jamrock" (now a real track called "Make It Bun Dem"), he finished of with his Cinema remix in front of a sea of lighters (and glow sticks). We finished the night of with Dada Life having a happy drunk party with banana beach balloons and a vocal mix of Gwen Stefani "The shit is bananas, B.A.N.A.N.A.S" over the Antidote instrumental and a good dose of pure electro madness from Wolgang Gartner after the Swedish nutcases in the same tent.

Saturday, Ultra day 2 included both Zedd and Mord Fustang, two of my very favorite electro artists. Mord Fustang played early in the park amphitheater named the Live Stage and despite some technical difficulties, he was absolutely amazing, maybe one of the best sets of the entire festival, even though we were just a couple of hundred rocking to his distinctive electro sound, in the middle of the day. Then our German friend Zedd went on the Main Stage and rocked the place, premiering his new brand new "dutch inspired" electro track "Shotgun". Good stuff!

Afterwards we went to the "dubstep tent" where 12th planet was playing with his fellow LA resident and surprise guest Skrillex. They played and awesome back-2-back set and it was clear to see, that Skrillex loved playing the smaller stage, connecting more closely with the wobble and bass drop hungering masses. The relatively large tent and a perimeter of maybe a 100 meters was packed with people having severe seizures. There was some serious heavy weight bro-stepping going on that night. Flux Pavilion and Doctor P continued and ripped the place apart. Though they played nicely, it was hard to enjoy, if you're not really that into sweaty frat boys armpits.
Pendulum took over with a DJ set that really rocked, as they of course played some of their tracks from their side project (my favorite) Knife Party.

We moved to a smaller stage to enjoy a world class moombahton set by Dillon Francis, including my moombah favorite "Kitchen" by Angger Dimas, while Duck Sauce and Fatboy Slim entertained on the Main Stage. Dillon Francis was excellent, the small stage right by the water, the chilled out vibe and the slower 110 bpm moombah was a nice break from the hardcore dubstep and the uptempo progressive house.

Before we left the festival that day, we stopped by Avicii at the Main Stage, with the now famous guest appearance by Madonna, who couldn't seem to find her friend "Molly". Of course the anthem "Levels" brought instant insanity to the massive crowd. Great second UMF day.

Sunday, last day of UMF and the MMW. People were hung over from Saturday nights partying and the festival had kind of a lazy start. We went to see Big Gigantic Live, dubstep played with a live band, a very positive surprise and a nice change to all the DJ's weve been seeing all week. Then the post-dubstep artist SBTRKT went on, he seems to be lost in space and/or on LSD, it was way out there and too trippy for our state of mind that morning, so we went over to the main stage to see Steve Aoki with hypeman Lil' John.
It was very disappointing that he used more time on goofing around, throwing his signature cakes in the faces of the crowd, instead of actually playing music. I guess his silly personality is now the main attraction rather than his actual DJ'ing skills. The real reason for moving to the main stage was to see my all times favorites Knife Party, but somehow they didn't really work on that huge stage and I was let down when they finished without playing the dubstep banger "Fire Hive". Anyway, the main stage finished strong with Fedde le Grand, American DJ hero Kaskade and closed with trance legend Armin van Buuren, who also played the ASOT550 arena the day before.

We finished the UMF with a seriously nice show by British dubstep veterans Chase and Status, complete with double decks, hypeman and guest singers. Very nice, I would recommend anybody to catch their show somewhere.

Finally, and last show of my personal UMF experience, was the Canadian Lazy Rich, rocking one of the smaller stages, the BAO Dome, with a hardcore electro mix for the party people that preferred this over popular "DJ" David Guetta - people like me.

After a shower and a change of clothes, we attended the mau5trap party at Amnesia and it was truly a fantastic way to finish and amazing week. Kill the Noise, Foreign Beggars live, Moguai, Steve Duda, and of course protégé Feed Me and the legend himself: deadmau5. His highness had some beef with UMF, which he played in 2011 as a headliner, due to his discontent with the high prices and the exclusiveness clause UMF insists on having for the top names, he seems to have boycotted the UMF and hosted his own party instead.

A nice surprise was the introduction of a new sign-on to the Mau5trap label, danish dubstep artist Frederik Olufsen, now aka The Frederik. The party was off the hook, it was beyond amazing to party in a nightclub very close to these fantastic artist, and not in front of a mega stage, several hundred meters from the artist. How often do you go to a night club and deadmau5 is there spinning his favorite tunes for a couple of hours? Only in Miami.

To include a single track or video from the many artist I've seen would be too extensive. Instead I've included some of the tracks that forever will remind me of that one euphoric week in the sun. These tracks were played all over Miami. Also check out the mix below from my Russian darlings Hard Rock Sofa, that has managed to capture the true essence of Miami Music Week in a 1-hour mix of all the Miami hit tracks.

All pictures above is my own, taken on my iPhone or with a pocket camera. To see more professional pictures from the UMF, please visit their Facebook page.

Qulinez - Troll (Original Mix)
Third Party Vs. Cicada - Feel

Jack Back ft. David Guetta Nicky Romero and Sia - Wild One Two (Original Mix) 

Nari & Milani - Atom (Original Mix)

Marco V - Analogital (Hard Rock Sofa Remix) - Preview

Hard Rock Sofa - Miami 2012 Podcast