The Noise of the Light - a Sustain-Release review
Wed 21 Sep 16
The landscape of the NYC music scene has changed rapidly over the past few years. Everyone who has followed techno and its subgenres agree. More parties, more music, more eclectic artists playing for a growing number of fans. So when Sustain-Release was born in 2014, it was on the cusp of this surge of interest in the badlands of electronica.
But in many cases the pressure of running a festival, poor music curation or plain old emphasis on benjamins can completely kill the vibe. Keeping the integrity of a quality music event intact is not always easy.
Sustain-Release need have no fears in this respect.
Early murmurings on Sunday morning and evening seemed to bear that out. “Fantastic”, "on –point" "best one ever” were some of the kudos being heaped upon the organizers (Aurora Halal, Zara Wladawsky, Daniel Martin-McCormick and team). CGNY concurs. Here are some of the reasons why.
Firstly the new location – Camp Kennybrook was even prettier and more accessible than past years. The cabins were wooden and thus warmer (we had a good one right by the basketball court. Shout out to Lee Jun Vimala for winning the game this year!). While parking was a little bit of a walk it was doable and pleasant check-in staff gave us clear instructions for dropping our stuff. (Perhaps a few bright lamps or lights in the parking area for those of us optically-challenged next year?)
We didn’t know anyone in our cabin. It didn’t matter! This is the one of the best parts of the SR experience; everyone is there for the music so you’re automatic compadres in sound. By Saturday night, my previously unknown cabin mate was decorating me with glitter eye shadow! Perfect!
Camping by the lake looked so pretty – a sea of multicolored tents in the fog of the morning. This year the weather behaved. People were able to avail of the pool and enjoy the great poolside music of Beta Librae, Anthony Naples and Shanti Celeste. It was so relaxing.
Saturday morning I ate some food at the café. While the staff were good natured and pleasant, the delays were long and the food cold by the time it came out. They seemed a little overwhelmed by the amount of folks ordering. I did better at Sustenance later. For me, year one was best food so far. But I’m not traveling into the woods for haute cuisine! It’s for the music.
I knew sound and light would be smashing from past years and I was correct. It was just the right amount of light and smoke and lasers combined (provided by Nitemind and subBass Sound System) to create the right atmosphere without overkill.
I’ve said it before but it’s worth mentioning that 2016 is (in my opinion) the Year of the Female when it comes to techno and electronica. Antenes blew up the Bossa stage with her live set. Umfang (recently returned from her debut at Berghain) slayed us beautifully playing some hard high bpm techno. In between we were treated to Container who opened doors to our souls and the glorious perfection of DJ Stingray. Detroit in the house and we felt it! The floor was literally vibrating the whole way through his performance and on into the night at Bossa stage. I left briefly to catch some of DJ Sprinkles lushly vibrant set but was inevitably drawn back to the darkness.
Saturday I spent most of the evening at mainstage starting off with a fine ambient set from DJ Richard. (He played the only track I recognized over the whole weekend – Mica Levi’s “Love” from the fabulous soundtrack of “Under the Skin” –(if you haven’t heard it I highly recommend – CGNY’s Album of the Year 2014)
I hopped back over to Bossa for The Long Count Cycle's unrelenting thunder – those boys know how to set the room on fire! I caught Aurora Halal's fantastic live act followed by another whopper from Ital. I could’ve happily finished out the night there but Voiski was playing and I could not miss. He was like a mad professor of techno and so thoroughly enjoying himself it was a treat to watch. My pinnacle moment came when Greg Zifcak came on though. As you know if you’ve followed CGNY I’ve been a fan of Greg’s since Unsound Festival earlier this summer when I saw him perform first, with his awesomely disturbing and disorienting light/sound combination (the noise of the light, literally!) He had promised something special for SR and he delivered big time. Absolutely amazing and a welcome break from the intense dancing of Voiski and the rest! I headed back over for a bit of Huerco S (KC represent!) who played some incredible music mixing in some Arabic sounding tracks. My night ended with Phil Moffa’s spellbinding techno weave.
Yes I missed Source Direct who played killer dnb, Optimo and Dr. Rubenstein and I’m sad about that. I also didn’t get to the ambient tent. But the legs were giving out and I wanted to savor the delicious sleep that comes from money and time well-spent! From what I’ve heard from my friends it was all special.
Fave moments: chatting with Octa Octa at the campfire; listening to Beta Librae wafting out over the campgrounds while sipping coffee; Kip Davis’ hair glowing in black light. Scaring Hani with my wig!
There is something so unique about the Sustain-Release, the location, the woods, the isolation (I had no cell service for the weekend and after I overcame my initial cellphone paranoia I relaxed completely into the warm womb of sublime electronic music. Everything was perfect. Roll on 2017!
For more links and information about the artists visit - www.sustain-release.com
For pictures and videos head on over to Clubbersguidenewyork on Facebook.
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