|Futuresonic @ The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
6th August 2005
FUTURESONIC @ THE BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANCHESTER
FAST becoming our most credible answer to the Sonar school of forward-thinking electronic music festivals, Manchester's Futuresonic event gets bigger and better every time.
This year's showing sees the bars and venues of the city's hip Northern Quarter hijacked by the likes of Twisted Nerve and 20:20 Vision, while the main deal kicks off in the Bridgewater Hall, an open-minded concert venue that somehow lends itself to this kind of next level art and music event.
As ever, the choice of artists is inspired, and DJmag checks out an anthology show by local hero A Guy Called Gerald, plus the world premiere of groundbreaking German artist Robert Lippok.
Starring himself on synths and samplers, plus percussionist Johann von Schubert, Lippok's warm-up gig is a sublime taste of computer music at its warmest and most emotional. Full-bodied beats bounce from the accessible to the abstract and back again, with commentary from the artist himself, accompanied in part by a sinister video remake of scenes from cult film 'Radio Solaris'.
By the time Gerald strides on stage were primed for something special, and with his one-off past/present/future performance, the former 808 State member doesn't let us down. Against a backdrop of tripped-out visuals and acid-tinged lighting, he launches into a tightly crafted soundscape of bass, beats, loops and cold-as-ice machine vocals.
Bridgewater's high-ceilinged grandeur and acoustics means the ambience is poles apart from that of a club, while being seated forces the listener to take the music on board in an altogether different way.
His set slides easily from the acid house which made his name, to fierce drum & bass and deep Detroit-infused grooves, with the highlight of the night an Afrobeat-style re-rub of 'Voodoo Ray' so good it rivals the original. Futuresonic does it again.
[Reviewer: Clara Leeming]