Oregon Eclipse Gathering: A Journal
It’s no secret that anyone who writes for a music blog considers themselves to be a nerd at least a little bit. Some may live in denial, but facts are facts: If you write about music, you’re a nerd. Being nerds, we tend to approach music festivals more studiously than others. Many claim the best way to go to an event is with an open mind. Therefore eliminating any type of schedule, expectations, or any chance of let downs. This method sounds great, but nerds simply can’t do this. So, when faced with the task of covering a large scale event with around 250 musicians performing, I started researching and picking out the hidden gems within the lineup. Shortly into this, I realized I was embarking a task too large for traditional methods and embraced who I was a person. I created a spreadsheet.
The ending tally of bands and DJs I wanted to see reached sixty-six, and slowly grew as I kept hearing about others. This doesn’t include the list of keynote speakers and workshops. In fact, sixty-six could be considered a low number compared to some festival goers whose ears crave the vast amount of psy-trance, psydub, and bass music that fills up a major portion of the lineup. There’s also a number of headliner acts which don’t need to be mentioned due to their popularity (i.e. if you’re going to this festival and you don’t know who Bassnectar is, he’s probably not your style). The lineup features seven stages full of artists worthy of being at an event of this scale. Here what my calculations determined as “must see” acts.
CocoRosie (Eclipse Stage): A true rarity. Not just with their unique, gothic style but their slim-to-none touring schedule. This festival is their only US date this year. The two sisters formed their project in Paris and utilize a combination of creepy and beautiful to convey their sound.
Frameworks (Earth Stage and Silk Road): Fresh off a new album under Emancipator’s Loci Records, this UK based producer puts together an orchestration of horns and strings paired with downtempo beats to create a level of smooth scientists never knew existed.
Sun:Monx (Earth Stage): An added benefit of a festival this large catering to certain genres; side projects. Opiuo teams up with Austero to create an Australian power duo of reggae heavy psydub with an electronic guitar laying over on top of their intense back-and-forth beats. Another rarity, Sun:Monx remains elusive with their live performances so their presence is a treat.
Kaminanda (Earth Stage): Without a doubt, his music sits in the psydub world by errs to the side of psychedelic while the dub can fade in and out. Not to worry though, the bass heavy beats always come back to remain a focus throughout his wobbly songs.
Papadosio (Eclipse Stage): This band has been crafting their sound for over ten years, and it shows. What once was a jam heavy electronica band is dipping into the realms of psychedelic prog-rock with a drummer who can get anyone to move their feet. This is a full band who throws in some live mixing and have crafted a sound to fill the past, present, and future.
Lyrics Born (Big Top): One of the few hip hop artists on the lineup might also be the most aptly named. This was clearly born to be a lyricist as his poignant words channel clearly. This natural MC hails from California but his sound was born in New Orleans. His words are backed by an arrangement of horns, yet somehow the lyrics prevail over the big band sound underneath his voice.
J. Phlip (Sky Stage): The West Coast electronica scene is lucky to have the Dirtybird crew as their own. Festivals along the Pacific are most always graced with the presence of members of this San Francisco based label. J Phlip will bring her slightly spooky house beats to the Sky Stage. Her sets are upbeat and fluid. Dancing from start to finish is easy when she’s behind the decks.
Dirtwire (Eclipse and Silk Road): Again with the side projects. David Satori of Beats Antique joins forces with the members of Jed and Lucia to create a mixture of cowboy and Middle Eastern. They’re sound focuses around live, acoustic instruments most predominantly the banjo. Songs like “Shish Kabob” make their show a weird one, but obviously, no one should be scared off by weirdness when the attending a festival based on the premise of the sun disappearing for two minutes.
Machinedrum (Moon Stage): Like all great artists, it’s extremely difficult to categorize his music. Machinedrum might be one of the most technical sound producers at the festival which is why it should be surprising he’s represented by the prestigious Ninja Tune Records. A blend of glitch, darkness, and up-tempo drum and bass define his songs.
Hallucinogen (Sun Stage): Many say this artist is the godfather of psy-trance. Simon Posford (of Shpongle) has been innovating electronic sounds since the mid-1990s. He was a large fixture in the rave scene long before many of his fans were even born. He tours regularly with Shpongle, but you can expect for him to reach back to his hard-hitting trance roots as he falls under his former moniker.
Elisabet Sahtouris (Speaker): Elisabet is a biologist and futurist giving a regarding “Navigating through our Perfect Storm of Crises.” She focuses her talks around societal development in an evolutionary lens and how we as a society can move forward given the problems at hand.
Alnoor Ladha (speaker): With a degree in philosophy from the London school of Economics and more importantly an executive director of Greenpeace International, Alnoor will be giving a talk on how to deal with a post-Trump world. Topics included are the structural causes of inequality and the connection between capitalism and climate change.
Jessica Nielson (speaker): This talk regarding psychedelic data science sets to disprove common held beliefs about drugs through numbers and data. Particularly the benefits of illegal substances compared to their legal counterparts.
The Fungineers (other): Technically this could fall under the realm of music, but could just as easy be a comedy show. Some could even dismiss their performance as two hours of stage banter. What the puppet unicorn DJ, Paragon and his team of dinosaurs and other mythical creatures put together is a whimsical, one-of-a-kind performance at the expense of their audience’s most inebriated members. This has not officially announced by the organizers of the festival, but the Fungineers themselves have claimed they’re doing a four night stand at the Sitcommune at this festival.
Check out the Oregon Eclipse Gathering website HERE for more information.