- Band Management
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- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
For three days and three nights at the end of October the quiet mountain town of Asheville, NC falls prey to roving bands of costume clad music fans who come for one of the East Coast’s premier festivals. The Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit started in 2010 and was known as Moogfest until this year. The bands span a wide range of styles and popularity with this year’s lineup including electronic superstars Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Lights, and Bassnectar as well as indie heroes Neutral Milk Hotel and hip hop super trio DELTRON 3030. Set in the heart of Asheville’s vibrant downtown, the festival encompasses seven venues, five panels with the world’s premier music technologists, two interactive synth installations, a recording studio, and an art show, all while surrounded by festival goers dressed in their Halloween finest.
Photos by Sarah Jacobs – click for full-size views
Purity Ring kicked the festival off Friday night at the ExploreAsheville.com arena with their signature live rig of hanging cocoons that lit up and changed color in time with the music. Megan James cast a spell over the crowd dressed as mermaids, robots, ghouls and fairies with her enchanting motions and melodious voice carrying over Corin Roddick’s hip-hop via indie synth beats.
They were followed by the legendary DELTRON 3030, who set expectations high as they were preceded on stage by a string section, horn section, line of backup singers, and rock band. Next came DJ Kid Koala and Dan the Automator, dressed in a conductor’s tuxedo with a baton in hand. The ensemble launched into “The Return” off their new album Event II, a cinematic exploration of hip-hop, Sci-Fi, and old Westerns. The grandiose soundscape proved to be intro music for Deltron Zero who rode a skateboard onto the stage and came off rapping. The crowd started jumping and didn’t stop through the entire set that went back and forth between cuts from the new album and DELTRON 3030’s classic self-titled LP from 2000.
Baths came on after midnight Friday at the Orange Peel to end night one of the festival with a set mixing his emotionally intense yet sonically minimal beats with live glitch interludes a la Autechre. The crowd filtering in from venues across the city quickly warmed up to the L.A. duo and cheered on the music and Will Wiesenfeld’s short shorts.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor left their egos at the door for their show at the main arena, setting up in a semi-circle on stage with low lighting and preferring the crowd to look above them at the screen projecting grainy films and still images throughout their set. The sound started small but grew to grand proportions as the band washed the crowd with epic post-rock suites of distortion and melody.
After another solid showing this Autumn it’s not hard to see why the crowd gets bigger every year as festival attendees go home to evangelize about the magic that happens up in the Carolina hills. The Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit is unique for focusing on education and interaction as well as entertainment while providing a supportive atmosphere for musicians and fans in a one of a kind location outside the normal festival circuit, ensuring it will remain important, vibrant, and fun for years to come.