And so the first night of Ekko Festival has passed for me. It brought me an introduction to the festival, and especially the true electronic music scene in Bergen. And with that my general consciousness about the city and its unique view on music has extended to a level from which I didn’t expect it could happen in such a short amount of time. With the opening act of the festival, Analogik, still rushing through different layers of my grey mass, I’m glad I can give an insight of what can be expected of the four days still to come.
Let’s start with a short summary about the details that can be found at Østre, or more specific the atmosphere that is floating through the place. A sensation of belonging there is seen back at the very first people who encountered me at my entrance, and was reflected by every individual I had a glimpse at thereafter. The mixture between old and young, considering myself part of the later group, creates a feeling of truth and acknowledgement. Truth about what is represented, acknowledgement in my beliefs and views on music. The peaceful look on the people’s faces, accompanied with the controlled chaos of Analogik is something barely witnessed. And where it might all look a bit mysterious right now, it might get clearer when I shift the focus towards the music.
Analogik, a four headed collective consisting of Flø, Ratkje, Rishaug and Tafjord, pushed the boundaries of electronic music to it limits. With a performance far from ordinary, the group makes you reconsider the range of electronic music existing in our present-day society. Flø, the main cause of the disorder, perfectly guided the edges of electronic sounds into a well-balanced chaos, while the influence of Ratkje harmonised the first ten minutes of the act in a compulsive rhythm. Not the type of compulsive that led to a loss of freedom, or the rhythm that makes you swing. No, rather something you can’t put your focus off, or your mind on. With Tafjord introducing some form of humanity in the computer oriented mind state, the play formed itself more and more towards a thriller. And when Rishaug joined the three the full play blew you too the back of the wall, on the face of the earth and smashed you straight in the face.
And yet, and that was what I was referring to earlier, the tranquillity present at all the attendants continued as if nothing ever happened. With a high level of respect and gratitude, everybody in the room understood the divine beauty of the music, and recognized the idea of Analogik. Moreover, and not in the last place, the joy, although sometimes in the form of a stoic posture, was radiated from the stage.
After this rather technical description of tonight’s act, it mainly shows Ekko Festival’s view on music. And the words from art director Brodin, about their view on contemporary music, came alive on stage this evening. With that in mind, the Ekko Festival truly lives up to its role of educating, while still attracting exactly those who it represents. The coming days will be filled with more experiments, more enchantment, but above all more entertainment. Cause where it expanded my view on art, and has learned me a great deal about the wide range we call electronic music, it has mostly been pure pleasure being there tonight. With that in mind, shift your focus to Nils Frahm, Future Brown, Floating Points, and all the other guaranteed surprises the Ekko Festival has to offer coming weekend!