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Electronic Beats at Springfestival: Graz Glory

Electronic Beats at Springfestival: Graz Glory After experiencing the ISAM live show for the first time at Springfestival, Amon Tobin‘s stated influences (which include Italian horror director Dario Argento) might not necessarily to come to mind. It’s hard to tell, though, since it was impossible to ask anyone at the end of the show. The crowd was completely blown away, staring at the now-dark boxes on stage, speechless at first, knowing they had just witnessed something unforgettable. Then the cheering started. But that’s how an incredible evening found its climax, so let’s backtrack to four hours earlier.

What had originally been an abandoned factory hall is now home to the Electronic Beats Springfestival opening night. It’s not totally dark yet as the first music lovers begin to trickle into the huge building. Wolfram started spinning at the DJ Booth at 9 pm; half an hour later he is the first person onstage. Some people even start dancing to his eclectic selection of obscure disco tunes, late ’70s synths and weirdo krautrock. Others gather in small groups, drinking beer and discussing the insane visual extravaganza the night may bring. Nobody knows exactly what to expect, but you can clearly feel the excitement in the crowd growing by the minute. Wolfram himself manages to be much more than a mere bit player. He cleverly directs the audience’s tension, a skill he may have learned from one of his idols, composer and experimenter of sounds Ennio Morricone. He’s missing only one thing: an audience. 9:30 pm seems to be way too early to enter the main hall. The situation has changed by the time the other Austrian musician of the night enters the stage. Zvonko organizes parties and stands behind the turntables all around the country with his colleagues at the Graz collective Disko404. Tonight he plays a solid, heavy bass set that gets people into the right mood.

It’s exactly 11:11 pm when Amon Tobin takes the stage to present his eighth studio album, ISAM, for the first time live in Austria. The crowd starts cheering, but before long the stunned audience has seemingly lost their ability to even put their hands together. With production designer and creative director Alex Lazarus from blasthouse, Tobin has created an audio-visual live show that will change the way we experience live music forever. It seems each song gives birth to its own world of shapes from another universe. The tour de force lasts a little bit over an hour and afterwards we’re all sure of one thing: we’ve just seen a glimpse of the future. Fortunately, minutes later, the crowd had regained enough of its senses to be able to show their appreciation and turn the venue into a madhouse. That enthusiasm gets rewarded with two encores, one consisting of heavy breakcore tracks, the other letting the visual cubes go down.

Are we sad that the end is in sight? More than words can describe. But we will make sure to keep you posted, especially with the next series of Electronic Beats festivals waiting just around the corner!


Check out some photos from the event in the image gallery to the right, and head over to our Facebook page to see more!

Published May 17, 2012.