Preview: Sunfall - A new festival for London | Soundspace

Preview: Sunfall – A new festival for London

Sunfall is a new day festival in London’s Brockwell Park on 9th July. You could be forgiven for thinking that the market for such festivals has become saturated, with similar line ups and asphyxiating licensing restrictions regularly marring such occasions. However, the success of Junction 2 as a first time day festival proves that these events can still be hits. If any newcomer was positioned not to fail in this market, it is Sunfall. There are a couple of reasons for this.

Firstly, Sunfall is the brainchild of the same people who brought you Dimensions and Outlook, both huge heavyweights in the festival game. This, coupled with partnerships with Resident Advisor and Stamp the Wax make Sunfall a tantalising prospect.

The second reason is intrinsically linked to the first, but is worth mentioning because it makes a huge difference to the festival. It almost goes without saying but, having been curated by the names above, the line up for this festival is one to get excited about, not only because of its quality but also the sheer diversity that is brings. The pairing of Outlook and Dimensions has meant that there is a wealth of electronic music on offer, from the darkest depths of dub-techno to the serotonin secreting realms of disco and funk. There really is something for everyone.

However, as undeniably stellar as the line up is, this is not what makes Sunfall such an attractive proposition. The real thing that sets Sunfall apart from its counterparts is the way that the stages during both the day and the night bills have been carefully put together with the result that there is clear cohesion and each stage has its own identity. Too often at festivals nowadays are we forced to ask why a particular name has been put on that stage. This is not the case at Sunfall.

The South Stage, with the likes of Digital Mystikz, Goldie b2b dBridge and Zomby could be one for the dubset and jungle heads. Over on the West Stage you are likely to find techno, and all forms of it, from the industrial 4×4 of Ben Klock, to the experimental sounds of Shackleton. The North Stage is home to some of the world’s best selectors. If hearing tunes that have less that 100 hits on YouTube is your muse, then the likes of Hunee, Jeremy Underground and Joy Orbison are likely to get your heart racing, not even factoring in the headliner Omar S.

Due to the nature of a main stage, it shouldn’t be surprising that this cohesion is a little tenuous here. The 2 names at the top of this bill will be the reason that many punters paid the ticket price. The perennial enigma Moodymann and the Grammy nominated Jamie XX will be sure to play an eclectic mix of tunes spanning any number of genres.

However, Sunfall’s draw is not merely limited to the music. There are also a number of other attractions that have been put on for the enjoyment of festival goers. There is an independent record fare, showcasing the work of 28 independent labels, for the perusal of those who may be looking for a break from the music. Another aspect of Sunfall that has excited me personally is the ‘Knowledge Arena’. It is all too common for people to attend these festivals, dance and listen to the music without any understanding of what they might be listening to. Yet with music production and creation workshops and also talks given by artists and industry professionals, Sunfall has demonstrated its commitment to musical education, the importance of which cannot be understated.

These things coupled with one of the line ups of the summer, means that there is little chance that Sunfall will slip into the same mediocrity that has plagued the majority of day festivals in London.

Here is an act from each stage that we think that you should catch on 9th July.

1. Moodymann (Main Stage)

Sunfall welcomes Kenny Dixon Jr, one of the quandaries of electronic music. He manages to play jump-rope between the line of quiet recluse and outspoken maverick.

However, he has undoubtedly found his niche and created an extremely unique sound. His refusal to interview and bullish rants about the roots of music can come across pretentious but no one can question his talent and passion for the production of electronic music. In truth. his enigmatic personality makes him even more fascinating. Who else could encapsulate an audience whilst appearing to be bored to the point of tears and having his hair braided (Red Bull Music Academy Lecture – See Below).

However you feel about Moodymann’s persona, it is impossible to discount him as an artist. What makes his production so impressive is his commitment to reverse the trend and slow down the drums which with the carefully chosen samples he uses, creates an unparalleled soulful sound.

At Sunfall, expect an uplifting set that pays homage to roots of electronic music in a manner that keeps the crowd guessing and dancing.

2. Shackleton (West Stage)

London born, Berlin based producer, Sam Shackleton has been a pioneer in the production of dystopian experimental electronic music in the last decade. Inspired by attending FWD>> nights with Appleblim, the pair co-founded the seminal record label Skull Disco, with the aim of further exploring bass and percussion heavy dubstep. Although the label closed in 2008, these percussive elements still clearly ring though in Shackleton’s work.

A live recording released by Fabric (not known for pushing this type of experimental music) epitomises Shackleton’s commitment to the eery end of the dubstep spectrum.

Not one for fragile minds, this set will be an intense and claustrophobic mix of impenetrable subs and erratic percussion.

3. Digital Mystikz (South Stage)

Digital Mystikz are made up of South London duo of Mala and Coki, without doubt, two of the main pioneers of the London Dubstep scene.

As part of the ASBO group, they operated the DMZ label and ran the DMZ nights that gained legendary status in the Capital. These nights were arguably the most important venture in the development of the dubstep scene in the mid noughties, as it massively increased the reach of dubstep as a genre, drawing crowds of well over 400 people.

In terms of production, the pair’s most famous release is Anti-War Dub, played for the first time in the wake of the 7/7 bombings. This track epitomises Digital Mystikz ability, not only to produce bassy music with a distinct and definite percussive groove, but also their talent in conveying a clear and important message through their music. This talent is not to be underestimated and, by giving the audience this insight, they create a deeper connection to those who are listening to their music.

Overall, Digital Mystikz will take thir audience on a journey through the winding streets of Dubstep, stopping at the relaxed and easy going and also the dreadful and menacing. There will not be a dull moment and this one is not to  be missed.

4. Hunee (North Stage)

Hun Choi (Hunee) has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last 18 months or so, to now being one of the most sought after DJs in the world.

Having honed his skills living in Berlin and briefly LA, Hunee has been settled in Amsterdam since 2012 and has cemented a firm friendship with Rush Hour boss Antal.

However, it has only been since late 2014 that the world has properly started to notice Hunee as a DJ with some of the deepest crates around and enough energy and drive to power a small city. 2015 saw his first solo LP (Hunch Music) released on Rush Hour and a Boiler Room set at Dekmantel that was widely regarded as one of the best of the year.

Hunee is one of the few DJs who can be described as a selector, a true student of music ( he is a graduate in Systematic Musicology) and this shines through in his eclectic and abstract sets. This man can read a crowd better than most, and his ability to captivate his audience equally whether he is playing industrial techno or bouncy afrobeat is remarkable.

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