7 of the best sets from Spring 2017's CRSSD Fest
CRSSD Fest celebrated its third Spring edition this year, recruiting a heavy slate of talent hailing from dance music’s underbelly. Distinguished talents such as future bass pioneer Flume, Bob Moses, and more dominated the picturesque Ocean View stage, while The Palms stage housed quirky house acts like Claude VonStroke and Jackmaster. Meanwhile, the City Steps gave revelers a chance to dive deep into the underground with Josh Wink, Recondite, Rødhåd, and more.
All artists played exceptionally well at CRSSD for its first edition of 2017, making them difficult to compare to one-another. However, after much deliberation, we here at Dancing Astronaut have selected our top highlights of the weekend.
Words by Christina Hernandez.
Photos by Michael Drummond.
HVOB - Saturday
HVOB are gearing up to release their debut artist album SILK on March 24, and have already built a mass amount of anticipation over it with their breathtaking lead single, “The Blame Game” featuring Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons. The Austrian duo of Anna Müller and Paul Wallner have enamored the electronic world over the past couple years with stunning vocal work and an artful, mellow production approach.
Müller’s voice sounded as pristine on the Ocean View stage as it does in HVOB’s mastered work as she sang over an array of new and older hits including a selection of pieces from their Trialog EP and their scintillating classic, “Azrael.” The duo’s infectious energy provided a refreshing start to Saturday during the festival’s early hours, leaving fans with an afterglow that persisted throughout the rest of the day once the initial sadness of their performance’s ephemerality passed.
Lane 8 - Saturday
Lane 8 brought his melodic brand of dance music to The Palms stage Saturday evening, treating to guests to a mix of whimsical, dark, and nostalgic sounds that made his set fly by swiftly. The DJ made sure to feature many of his highlight records from recent months, including his remix to “Strobe” and his original single “In My Arms,” as well as his vocal hit, “Loving You.” Lane 8 masterfully managed to take listeners on an emotive journey during his brief one-hour slot, stitching together each record he played with ease and fostering a euphoric atmosphere under the stage’s umbrella-laden overlay with his track selection.
Having spent a good portion of the last year on tour bringing his phone-free, “This Never Happened” concept tour to venues across North America, it’s safe to say that even though phones were allowed into CRSSD’s confines, he demanded his audience’s full attention the entire way through his performance.
Recondite - Saturday
Illustrious German producer Recondite has an enigmatic air about him that firmly captures techno aficionados’ attention. Lorenz Brunner’s production skills are nothing short of legendary; time and time again, he’s proven his ability to arrange minimalistic elements into complex, moving music. Recondite’s specialty when on tour, of course, is his live set, which he took with him both to the festival and to the after party.
Brunner’s CRSSD debut was certainly one to watch; editing his own music and he mixed it together and played it live, his intense focus on his work matched the introspective and fine-tuned nature of the music coming out of the speakers. Ethereal – but surreptitious – melodies cascaded out of the speakers, pairing with light percussion notes with menacing Moog tones to captivate his viewers, leaving them stupefied by his set’s conclusion. The artful momentum which Recondite established in his CRSSD set easily reaffirmed his well-deserved prodigious status.
Âme - Saturday
Âme translates to “soul” in French – something which Kristian Beyer brought to his set in droves while representing the famed duo at CRSSD. Beyer couldn’t have played a more polished closing set during his time at the City Steps; embodying the Innervisions aesthetic, he let loose a skillfully-chosen arsenal of tracks that took listeners on a seamless ride through generous doses of melody and intriguing rhythms while hopping between refined, polished techno and tribally-inspired house and tech. Soaring breakdowns introduced themselves into the mix every so often, offering a spot of weightlessness among an otherwise tantalizingly heavy set.
Beyer also made sure to fuse a plethora of elusive IDs into his two-hour set, teasing his viewers’ ears while sparking a positive reaction to their overall quality. One might argue that Âme was indeed the set of the night.
Dusky - Sunday
Like a good deal of acts on the roster this year, Dusky opted to use their brief time at CRSSD to show of their live skills, bringing sonic comfort to festival-goers as they huddled together under the cloudy skies and light rain of Sunday’s late afternoon. The two Englishmen never fail to put on an enchanting spectacle, and Dusky’s CRSSD performance saw them explore their repertoire in a new light as they cleverly enhanced each piece on the fly in presentation to their crowd. Overcoming the inclement conditions became easier as excitement from favorites such as “Ingrid Is A Hybrid” and “Yoohoo” brought focus solely to the music being edited by them on demand, conducting warmth through the dancing that inevitably ensued.
Rødhåd - Sunday
Rødhåd completely leveled the City Steps stage for his closing set on Sunday night, slaying his eagerly masochistic audience with an onslaught of menacing, proper German techno. The Dystopian label-boss played relentlessly, battering eardrums with powerful drum patterns, and tingling spines with brooding synth notes and the eerie vocal samples. Rødhåd’s set was easily the hardest techno offering of the entire weekend, much to the joy of his attendees. Those who witnessed the City Steps swan song were left with no choice but to end their weekend on a strong note as robust 4/4 kicks goaded feet into feet into movement and hearts into racing.
The German luminary refused to let his captivated audience go until the very last second, closing out with his heavily-praised remix to “Signs,” by Howling. Seeing Rødhåd in California is an extremely rare opportunity, and fans were more than duly satisfied at his performance by the time the festival came to a close.
Flume - Ocean View, Sunday
Australian icon Flume recently debuted a brand new setup for his tour in support of his sophomore album, Skin. Harley Streten decided to take it along with him to his Sunday headlining CRSSD set as well, giving his large pool of fans an unforgettable explosion of LEDs and eye-popping visuals to accompany his equally stunning music. Flume pieced together an array of his own originals and works from other prolific artists, taking care to maintain the aqueous, future bass tone for which he’s known throughout his set. Streten’s undeniably catchy selection of songs and eclectic way of arranging them captivated the crowd, blowing their minds even further when paired with some of the best visuals of the weekend.