And so it ended… My last few minutes of Ekko Festival ended as Floating Points picked another piece of black gold out his vinyl crate. I was exhausted, needed to sit down, and arrange some time to process everything of the three days I visited the festival.
Last night was again a miraculous view on the spectrum of electronic music. The opening set by Pandeas started a bit later than we expected, so the first half hour of the evening was spent on the ground floor. Lysgaard played a mellow set, varied a lot between tracks, and playfully controlled the beautiful machines before him. A continuous flow of some three hours gave a good hideaway for the breaks between the acts on the first floor, and the night couldn’t have started more relaxed.
Pandreas, who eventually launched his first beats at half past ten, firmly took the audience by the hand, and guided them through a march of electronic tones. With a rather zombie-ish look, the crowd seemed to highly appreciate the music. Looking at the people around me, I quickly followed their motionless postures, and fully escaped into the music. Some schwungs and unnoticeable hand movements didn’t disturb me for completely losing myself in Pandreas’ music, and as a 6 am alarm clock the unexpected silence rushing through the speakers roughly woke me up.
After an intermezzo by Lysgaard downstairs, TM404 resumed the program. And as my body started to prepare for some more motionless movements, the highly active TM404 slowly got some movement within the people. As a chunk of butter, the music slithered through the room, and slowly the collective surrounding me formed back to its individual forms, and showed signs of action. The vague rhythms had its impact, and similar to Pandreas, I completely lost myself in the sound. And as the alarm clock was set an hour earlier, my resistance towards the end got even bigger.
Luckily the man in the small room was still going strong, and with as much joy as earlier I joined him. Tarjei Nygård & Are Foss had long started before I found myself walking on the stairs to the other stage, and I saw a small part of their performance. The guitar was suiting, the beats were sensitive, but due to the lack of introduction I didn’t really see the meaning of it all. And as the crowd around me collectively froze again, the ease to escape back into a statue-mode was too tempting to resist.
Thinking back at that point, the evening seemed lifeless, and the words typed on paper seem more obligatory than passionate. If it was due to the relativity or if it could be measured in absolute terms are still a mystery, but Rrose’s set that followed from that point on, had a long lasting impact on my mindset. The US-based DJ composed a mix of rough and though tracks, mixed off like an emotionless machine. The stoic look on her face didn’t make it much better, and before I knew it, the indoctrinating sound followed its effect throughout my movement. The brainless motion of the people surrounding me shifted my thoughts to the Berlin club scene, and the retaining attitude that had took its place throughout the whole evening vanished like snow before the sun. Rarely though, the stone cold attitude of Rrose all contributed to the atmosphere, movement and sensation, and the evening finally had found its purpose; raving to a numb extend.
With Floating Points following Rrose, the mindset had to be tempered, and weirdly enough barely anybody found its problem with that. The swing wasn’t present at everybody, but most of my fellow minions didn’t mind to follow the orders of the DJ from Manchester. And it was hard for me to proof them wrong. The smooth technique, the fantastic choice of record, all made the resistance towards the discoflow almost impossible. And yet, the contradiction with the earlier played music felt to big, and I couldn’t set myself towards rhythmic melodies. Rrose had frozen my heart, and it was impossible for Floating Points to melt it down. But although the evening ended sooner than expected, my overall feeling was great.
Throughout the last three days Ekko Festival had offered me variety, high quality and loads of new insights in both Bergen and electronic music. With an outmost surprising openings act of Analogikk, who showed the true meaning of experimental, a mesmerizingly beautiful mass from Nils Frahm, and a brutal performance of a 5 feet tall Brit, all possible request in the field of electronic music had been answered. The festival shows nothing but quality, and although the people don’t always know how to deal with it, Ekko gives an amazing opportunity to broaden your knowledge about contemporary music. Besides their educational role, which they definitely have proven, it is mostly entertainment rushing through the sound system at Østre. With pure exhaustion and a slightly depressed sensation, I can’t be anything but grateful for the festival and all it had offered me. From a foreign perspective the Norwegian prejudice has definitely been confirmed; high quality with a down to earth mentality.