OutsideIn_Report2

OutsideIn Festival Report Card

OI_Set-Time_ReportCard

Now in its third year, Astral People’s OutsideIn Festival has quietly become one of Sydney’s best festivals. As curators of electronic music they don’t come much smarter than Astral People and as such OutsideIn always has a lineup that sparks plenty of interest.

2014 delivered another stellar lineup that brought together both international and local acts, young and old to celebrate electronica, RnB, hip-hop and everything in between. Its new venue of Manning House in Sydney Uni was a perfect spot for its compact crowd, providing two outdoor stages and the indoor mainstage.

Holding it on the same week as Stereosonic made for an interesting sight on the streets of Sydney as fluoro-clad shredders walked next to kimono-wearing, hipsters. Choosing OutsideIn was a great choice for the interns- not just because we didn’t have to back-up for #2days but because the Festival grinned with a pleasant, happy-go-lucky crowd and plenty of stellar music.

Our only complaint? Stocking Red Bull as the only mixer for Vodka. For non-beer drinkers, that equals a very unhappy heart by the end of the day. It also evokes nightmarish dreams of Schoolies at 4am in the morning when you’re trying to settle your heart down because of said Red Bull.

On a lighter note, as it was set in Sydney Uni, we thought we’d take the scholastic connection very literally and write a report card of who we caught at OutsideIn.

Collarbones (A)

With their new album, Return, only released the day before OutsideIn, there were concerns that the boys may be unprepared for their debut. Those fears were quickly squashed, however. Collarbones are fast learners and they effortlessly melded the old with the new during their set. Marcus Whale is an unbelievably charismatic frontman and he thrashes his body around along with the pulsating beats of Travis Cook. Of the new album, Emoticon and Turning were clear standouts. The latter’s explosion into a bass-heavy, triumphant finish has to be one of the finest moments in Australian electronica this year. They may have begun early, but Collarbones took advantage of some mid-afternoon tipsiness.

Performance: Outstanding

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Brenmar (A+)

Chicago-born, New York-living producer Brenmar is a crowd-pleaser if ever we’ve seen one. Working with buzz label, Fools Gold, the producer churns out a set of high-BPM, bass-heavy tunes that oscillate between Jersey club, RnB and trap. As well as including his own original tunes he dropped a perfect cocktail of tracks at times drawing heavy on the nostalgia. His spin of Daniel Bedingfield’s Gotta Get Through This, deserves a special mention as the crowd went absolutely bonkers, as they did also for Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda. He gauged the crowd’s vibe immediately and followed it through the peaks and troughs.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Outstanding

Overall: Outstanding

Basenji (B)

Young Aussie producer, Basenji, is on many people’s hype list right now and for good reason. He’s has a pretty spectacular year, topping it off with his track Heirloom which has become a staple for any fan of Aussie electronica this year. His OutsideIn set also doubled as a birthday celebration for the producer and as such he was ready to get #turnt. Looking like he could’ve also taken to Rod Laver Arena for a hit of tennis, Basenji served up a refreshing, cohesive set of future-bass. It all culminated in Heirloom - a track that just drips with sunshine-induced beats and icy synths.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Satisfactory

Overall: Good

Giraffage (A-)

San-Francisco producer Giraffage was one of the main drawcards on the lineup and drew one of the biggest crowds of the day on the mainstage. His sound may be far more down-tempo than fellow Fools Gold signee, Brenmar, but it was no less effective. His own original material like Feels and Tell Me went down an absolute treat with skittering percussion and cloud-like synths. Things really kicked into gear when he dropped his remix of Janet Jackson’s Someone To Call My Lover which had an excitable crowd in ecstasy. There was only one thing that could top that and while we never would've expected it, his spin of Darude’s Sandstorm was the greatest moment of the day, if not our lives.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Pantha Du Prince (C+)

Introspective acts often don’t work in festival environments, particularly when the sun is still shining. There is no doubt that Pantha Du Prince is a marvel live but his OutsideIn set felt somewhat uncomfortable given the time of day and the mood of the crowd. Wearing a hood and covered in-part by smoke he gave off the same kind of mysterious vibe that his music complimented but it felt a little bizarre. With the amount of DJs at OutsideIn relying solely on their decks it was nice to see a producer with an interesting set-up but Pantha Du Prince is definitely an act to be enjoyed in the intimacy of a solo gig. He needs closed-in walls, a midnight set and a devoted audience. OutsideIn could deliver none of these.

Performance: Satisfactory

Crowd Response: Fair

Overall: Satisfactory

Cut/Copy DJs (A-)

Cut/Copy were the eleventh hour saviours of OutsideIn after Swedish producer HNNY pulled out. In hindsight it made a lot of sense that Cut/Copy should be on the bill, given that they’ve just released their Oceans Apart mixtape which celebrates Melbourne electronica. Their DJ set at OutsideIn saw frontman Dan Whitford take to the decks to showcase many of the artists featured on Oceans Apart. The set stayed at a steady, twilight-ready tempo for the most part, detouring at the end to bring it home strong. Whitford dropped SBTRKT’s New Dorp New York (a somewhat confusing choice in a set dedicated to Melbourne electronica) to an elated crowd and followed it up with the centrepiece of Oceans Apart, Brenda by Ara Koufax. It was a triumphant, hands-in-the-air moment, that made us pretty proud to be witnessing Aussie electronica right now, as we glanced around at hefty, joyful crowd.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Black Vanilla (A+)

Black Vanilla’s set was the second of the day for both Collarbones’ Marcus Whale and Guerre’s Guerre but there was no drop in energy from either. Black Vanilla have embraced this abrasive RnB/electronica crossover that requires full commitment and maximum crowd participation for it to work. Luckily for them, both those things were in order for their brilliant OutsideIn set. They layed down a set of new songs and songs from their Cloaks EP that would have made Kanye West proud. Cassius Selects beats are industrial, gritty and bass-heavy, with the crowd chests pummeled by the onslaught of music. Meanwhile Whale and Guerre stand out front working the crowd into a frenzy. The two of them go back and forth at each other with the same kind of energy as an act like The Prodigy. Whales' final dance-break in a circle he’d created in the crowd was pretty breathtaking. As compact as the crowd may have been, Black Vanilla garnered the best response of the day.

Performance: Outstanding

Crowd Response: Outstanding

Overall: Outstanding

Check out our OutsideIn photo gallery below. 

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Musical Speed Dating 10 April

musical speed dating

This week, the(in)terns are dating pop. From the euphoria of a Cut Copy dance floor to ear candy from rising pop queen, we've cast our fairly invalidated judgement on a new batch of singles. While there's plenty of love this week, there's also a few spiteful tongues as alt-country music falls flat and Drake gets a little too sleazy.

One tune this week made us all fall in love, with three willing bachelorettes naming it the pick of the week.

Cut Copy- In These Arms of Love

Hannah: Nothing to see here folks. 2

Bianca:  As a self-confessed Cut Copy fan girl (the rest of the(in)terns can confirm this) it pains me to say that this song should have perhaps remained a left-over. Dan Whitford’s usually on-the-beat voice sounds drawly and at times whiney and the guitar riff in the instrumental breaks sound like new school Coldplay (that’s not a compliment). Luckily this gal takes a man with their flaws. 3

Sam: I'm also an avid Cut Copy fan and like Bianca I ain't giving up. For me, this song is redemption after an album less impressive than those before it. It's expansive, atmospheric and melancholic. The synths come on thick and fast- just the way I like it. Add glitter bombs for extra effect. 3.5

Lizzie: Errrgh my ears are still ringing. I feel like I am stuck in some weird psychedelic Star Trek episode...that never made it to air. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/modularpeople/cut-copy-in-these-arms-of-love[/soundcloud]

How To Dress Well- Repeat Pleasure

Hannah: This song is infectious. With hand-clap percussion and catchy guitar riffs, Krell makes heartbreak sound sweet like only an R&B enthusiast with a killer upper register could. Taking on Mariah with his tingling “Even broken, my heart will go on” is a bold but totally welcomed move. I repeat, Mariah territory is never bad territory. 3.5

Bianca: The clap is infectious. Now let’s talk about the song.. Straight out of the ‘90s, this head-boppin’, toe-tappin’ good time takes me right back to the day with its rhythmic beatine, surface-lying guitar strums and Tom Krell’s soothing falsetto. I’m keeping this pleasure on repeat. 4.5

Sam: Tom Krell has gone from strength to strength. And It Was You was a total jam and Repeat Plesure betters that. It's straight out of Ashanti's song book with a fairly flat-lined melody but buttery instrumentation aplenty. I also heard him gush over Ciara with Jacques Greene and ever since then I've been a massive fan. 4.5  Sam's Pick

Lizzie: This song belongs in “Give a song a chance”! The first time I listened to it I was not sold. Second time, it really blossomed into a beautiful track. I agree with you Bianca, straight out of the 90’s. And now to listen again, again and again. 4

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/howtodresswell/repeat-pleasure[/soundcloud]

Drake- Days in the East

Hannah: The best and worst part about this is the teasing Rihanna sample. More RiRi please. 2.5

Bianca: Too R&B sex playlist for me. Keep this locked away in the after-dark collection. 2.5

Sam: Surely this is a left-over from Nothing Was The Same. It sounds in the same lane as Own It or Furtherst Thing. And I'm ok with that. It's another understated jam where Drame proves he's becoming a more effective singer than a rapper. Rihanna and Drake are going out now right? That sample is so kuwaii. 3.5

Lizzie: Hellooooo stripper pole. Not your best Drake. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/octobersveryown/drake-days-in-the-east[/soundcloud]

Rita Ora- I Will Never Let You Down

Hannah: It’s reassuring that in the lead up to her second album Rita Ora “will never let you down.” Good one Calvin, you’ve given this pop princess the credibility she deserves. 3

Bianca: Very simple, classic pop song. Neither here nor there for me. I didn’t have high hopes to begin with so fortunately Rita hasn’t let me down. Although in saying that, Calvin is better on his own and needs to ditch the poor man’s Rihanna - there’s no love found in this hopeless place. 2.5

Sam: So this is what talented couples do in their spare time. As far as pop songs go this is an A+. I like how Calvin tones down his synth break but I'm starting to grow tired of him. I feel he's up for a Guetta style fall from grace as it seems he's oversaturated the market. This could be his last moment in the sun. Rita on the other hand will surely have yet another hit record on her hands. 3

Lizzie: Calvin and Rita - bangin’ couple in real life but they do not hit it as a music duo. At all. Rita is still too cookie cutter, Aria Top 40 for me and “I Will Never Let You Down” is no different. I really want her to do something risqué with her beautiful voice. 2.5

Chrome Sparks- Goddess

Hannah: The title track off Brooklyn producer Jeremy Malvin’s forthcoming EP, Goddess is flawless. Sucking you in with deep synths and an almost Seekae sound, Goddess builds into two climatic crescendos so effortlessly imbued with vocal loops and twinkling galactic samples, you’ll be up, down and back up again before you even notice it. Scared to miss a single moment of this stellar roller coast ride, Goddess is on repeat.  Hannah's Pick

Bianca: Love the moodiness to this track and its underlying intergalactic feel. Very Fritz Lang-esque. Hot tip: listen to this song whilst feasting your eyes on this classic on mute4  Bianca's Pick

Sam: Such a velvety slice of ear candy. It just ticks all the boxes. A slow, brooding start and a gloriously climatic finish. It's got so much texture and dynamic to it- impressive for such a young gun. It's probably not immediate enough for it to really take off but a cult-following is sure to ensue. Count me in. 4.5

Lizzie: This track is beautiful- a pure, layered delight to listen to. If only the “drop” (for lack of a better word) at 4min 35 secs came earlier, thats when I experienced some serious earporn. 4.5  Lizzie's Pick

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/chrome-sparks/goddess-1[/soundcloud]

First Aid Kit- My Silver Lining

Hannah: Sure to find itself on The Js high rotation soon, My Silver Lining brings you the midwest straight  out of Sweden (wait, what?). With big strings and even bigger harmonies, the latest offering from duo First Aid Kit promises long dusty road trips and hopelessly hopeful mornings spent in forgotten hotel rooms. Bring on Summer. 3

Bianca: Hannah: Summer’s gone and this track should go with it. Adios, Amigos! 2

Sam: The Lions Roar was a standout record for me when it was released. And I like this. It's confident and assured but I can't help feeling it's more of the same. Hopefully the album has a little more variation but this is enough to whet the appetite. 3.5

Lizzie: Did Lana Del Ray go on a Western adventure? Sure sounds like it. I do like the sway this song has, and the violins, banjo and vocals work well together to produce and digestible cowboy track. Yee-haa!! 3.5

 

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