May 19-22 will see the latest edition of Moogfest arrive in Durham, North Carolina. A festival celebrating the life of Bob Moog, founder of the Moog synthesizer and one of the founding fathers of electronic music. The festival is packed full of music, arts, and technology this year with musicians spanning all genres performing, demonstrating and speaking about the technology that makes their music. The names attending the festival this year are huge. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, you can find information here and details on the full lineup of performers and speakers here. Reggie Watts, comedian and lover of synths, shared the news with the world about Moogfest’s headliners, speakers, and supporting acts (he too will also be in attendance). Here is a list of who I am most excited for when the city of Durham becomes a haven for synths in May.
Well, why not start with the headliner? ODESZA makes some of the coolest electronic dance music I have ever listened to. It takes a lot to get me to step outside of metal, and, even more, to get me into EDM. Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight did so with ease by creating some of the best ambient electronic sounds that have entered these ears. Their My Friends Never Die EP and full-length album, In Return, stay in the constant rotation when I am at home, work, or out with friends. Check out their latest music video for “It’s Only (feat. Zyra)”
Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA is gracing Durham with his presence with a two-night residency at Moogfest. One of the all-time greatest lyrically, Gary Grice has made a career for himself as a Wu-Tang member and as a successful solo artist. He is planning to release a new album in 2016, entitled Dark Matter, no release date for it has been announced yet. It is not a far-fetched notion to think we may hear new music come festival time. Check out a classic track below.
In what will be the loudest and most immersive set in Moogfest (for me at least, and probably for you), the masters of drone, Sunn O))), are gracing Durham with their presence. Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson are responsible for pioneering the genre of drone and released one of heavy metal’s most important albums in 2015, Kannon. Sunn has a long-standing career of successful releases and they are innovators to the highest degree. Embrace it. Let it wash over you.
Dev Hynes is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes music. He’s a well known composer, producer, songwriter, and singer. He’s done a vast amount of work with artists and bands like Grizzly Bear, FKA Twigs, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Florence & the Machine and has seen success as his electronic R&B entity, Blood Orange. Hynes has a very unique sound that I’m interested in hearing live. His music is a recent discovery for me after hearing his latest song, “Sandra’s Smile”
Oneohtrix Point Never
I’m new to 0PN, in the sentiment of honesty. I was turned onto Daniel Lopatin’s newest album, Garden of Delete, a month or so after it was released last year by some fellow writers and was hooked on his brand of experimental music from the start. 0PN has numerous albums, EPs, compilations, etc. and is credited with founding the genre of “vaporwave”, a niche genre that utilizes a lot of retro styling, smooth jazz, and lounge music. It appears as time has passed, Lopatin has moved away from the vaporware and into a bit of an ambient drone and industrial sound like “I Bite Through It” below.
Next to Sunn O))), this is what I am most excited for. Master collaborators and crafters of terrifying noise and sludge, Chip King and Lee Buford destroy all hope with their dread. The duo have recently done collaborations with Thou and Neil Jameson of Krieg. They’re also in the works of releasing a collaboration with grind core group, Full of Hell as well as releasing a new solo album, No One Deserves Happiness, which has been described as what will be the grossest pop album ever. This is certain to be a bone-rattling set. Below is the first song to be heard from their latest solo album.
Raleigh’s own, King Mez, will be performing at Moogfest this year. Mez saw his fame bloom last year after being featured on Dr. Dre’s Compton. Aside from releasing mixtapes and an album of his own, He’s also collaborated with numerous NC-based performers and producers like Rhapsody, Kooley High, J. Cole, Drique London, 9th Wonder, and Khrysis. Mez is a talent to keep an eye on in the future of hip-hop and definitely worth checking out in May.
Drawing his inspiration from 9th Wonder and other sources, Canadian producer, Lunice (half of TNGHT), is known for making instrumental hip-hop and trap beats. He has also got a knack for remixes and has made a number of mixtapes and EPs since 2006. His music is packed full of energy and translates well into a live setting with such an extensive discography.
Synthwave duo, Zombi, are coming off a huge release in 2015. Shape Shift was a rousing success and an overall adventurous album to listen to. Steve Moore (synths, bass) and Anthony Paterra (drums) have a lot of pull in the heavy metal and noise rock world as they are signed to Relapse Records and have toured with bands such as ISIS, These Arms As Snakes, and Daughters. I’ve been itching to see Zombi play after hearing from other musicians how cool they are live.
Knows he doesn’t look like he listens to metal, but trust him. He does. He spends an overwhelming majority of his day listening to it. When he isn’t busy becoming a physical therapist at Duke University, he splits his time as a writer for not only Bearded Gentlemen Music but at Metal Injection, Noisey, and Treble as well. Cody can be found on Twitter or Instagram and if you ever see him in person, please buy him a cup of coffee.