Musical Moments – Editors’ picks of 2014

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In 150 words, the Music and Clubs editors recall their favourite musical moments of 2014, ranging from Massive Attacks‘ set at Glastonbury, Klock and Dettmann at Dekmantel, to Ben Frost‘s performance in Utrecht.

Andrew: It was the last after-party at Dekmantel, and I was struggling. I’d been up more than forty hours, I’d lost my wallet in the queue and it was at least four hours until the first bus back to the campsite would transport my broken body back to a place of potential rest. Floating aimlessly around Trouw, I came upon a thing of magnificence; a thing of unquestionable beauty. Entranced for a good while, I finally broke from the stare I’d fixed and pulled bravely on the sleeve of the figure that had so generously bestowed on me such wonder.

“That’s a very aesthetically pleasing sticker arrangement you’ve got on your backpack”, I nodded at him enthusiastically, no doubt perfectly in time with the techno rhythms deployed by Klock and Dettmann behind me.

More of a life moment than a music moment, I’ll admit, but I’ll never forget the minutes/hours/days that I was lost staring into those glow-in-the-dark dinosaur stickers, nodding absently to Berlin’s finest musical exports.

Daoud: Have you ever been in water for a while and thought about where you end and the water begins? There isn’t a clear disconnect, and though it soon becomes obvious once you start moving about, as long as you’re still, it’s easy to lose yourself. This was how I felt when I was in Utrecht watching Ben Frost. Thanks to the genius of the sound engineer that night, Frost’s music became something I existed within. As long as I focused on just the music, it seemed as if there was absolutely zero disconnect between me and this embodiment of clarity, perfected. For most of the set Frost was playing material of his latest album, which though mighty had nothing on the moment when his infamous wolf snarls began. For those minutes snarls were my life. I wanted to be snarled to sleep, I wanted snarls to wake me.

Now that I think about it, that seems like an unrealistic expectation.

Oli: 15th August 2014. The Green Man Festival in Glanusk Park, Wales.

I had gone to the festival, as usual, expecting to frolic around in the whimsy of the folk tradition. In truth, I did enjoy seeing First Aid Kit and Jonathan Wilson. But, watching The 2 Bears, Luke Abbot and Ben UFO in the Far Out Tent (After Dark), opened up a brave new electronic world far removed from the acoustic, pastoral one I was used to.

Specifically, when The 2 Bears were joined on stage by a troupe of transvestites performing mad dance routines to ‘Finally’ by Kings of Tomorrow was the moment at which I fell in love with House, and became aware of its close relation to disco.

My return to Leeds a month later (around the time that I was enjoying techno for the first time) was incredibly auspicious as my eyes were finally opened to the city’s bounty of club nights.

Emily: It was early May when I found myself deep in the belly of Brudenell Social Club. I’d spent all day talking myself into giving up my ticket and yet here I was, clutching my drink so tightly I could feel the glass biting into my skin. As the growling melodies of Badbadnotgood’s ‘Earl’ ruptured through the quiet of the crowd, I felt the entire room inhale.

And for the rest of the evening we were silent – too intent on immersing ourselves in every sound, too lost in the suddenly cavernous Brudenell to remember to breathe. Around us, intricate improvisation spiralled into hip-hop, into electronica, before falling uncontrollably into jarring, fragmented jazz. BBNG’s set was chaotic, at times frightening in its intensity, but in the eye of the storm we were safe. And for the first time in a long time, I had a feeling that everything would be ok.

Maddie: My favourite musical moment of 2014 is, without a doubt, Gilles Peterson’s set at the last ever Dilation in May. The event was held during the exam period and was a welcome break from pretending to revise for my exams, at Beaverworks, a venue I had grown to associate with the best nights of my first year.

I learnt about his passion for World Music from his show on BBC Radio 6, but only truly started to appreciate his skill as a DJ when he started to give such focus to Latin influenced music. His set featured an incredible selection of Samba inspired tracks, mixed with an impressive technical skill. It was such a refreshing event to witness: fun in its purest, least pretentious form.

Harriet: However cliché it may be, Massive Attack’s Glastonbury set has to be the best live performance I’ve seen ever, let alone in 2014. The Bristol dub-electronic duo brought a truly unparalleled stage presence and proved how effectively electronic music can be translated live with powerful drums and hypnotic bass complimenting their brooding melodies.

Flashing anti-war slogans, political disinformation and personal testimonies from Guantanamo Bay inmates provided the sensational, yet sinister visuals, making for a particularly poignant and menacing set. Martina Topley-Bird sung over Paradise Circus’ intoxicating percussion; the bass sounds 10x better live. The duo were also joined by Horrace Andy’s powerful, haunting vocals for Girl I Love You and the iconic Angel. Closing the set with the euphoric Unfinished Symphony, Deborah Miller’s vocals brought me close to tears.


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