The only place I have ever seen a kandi kid and Deadhead dancing together was Electric Forest. Neon fur boots interchanging in dance with big brown Timberlands. I’m not sure what you call that. Harmony maybe. A very unorthodox harmony. But hey, that’s Electric Forest. The EDM festival where Skrillex, Kaskade and Flume are all up-billed by the String Cheese Incident… three times over. And you know what? It’s all good. Because that’s the spirit of the Forest.
We hope to see you out there in Rothbury, but if not, this is still a list for all of you weird ones. These are artists who do their own thing. Artists so different they could only join together at a place like Electric Forest. The only way to define them otherwise would be indefinable - but hey, feel free to take your best shot.
The Fungineers & Bubble Gutter
And here you thought you were gonna miss your trippy Sunday morning cartoons whilst you were away at festival. With live puppet mixing and elaborate theatrics, you won't miss a thing. It's hard to define the sound let alone what we should call them. A Band? Collective? Funovators from OnceUpona, The Funderground station in Mt. Elfin stone (their words)? None of these really do them justice. Plus you get to see them in the heart of the Forest at the visual spectacle that is The Observatory stage.
Best definition so far: Funovators from OnceUpona, The Funderground station in Mt. Elfin stone
Electric Forest Schedule: Thursday, Friday and Saturday late nights @ The Observatory stage
Their music doesn't so much sound as it does glow and transcend. The New York duo piece together shapeshifting ambient tones into bizarre harmonies only Bjork would fully understand. The kind of tones that, if broken apart, would never resemble the kind of transcendent state they form when combined as a whole. How fitting it is then that the duo set out to create "some kind of dance music that wasn't just emulating what we were hearing."
Best definition so far: Dream Music (Pitchfork)
Electric Forest Schedule: Saturday night @ The Observatory stage
It's like playing Whac-A-Mole with this artist. Just when you think you have him pegged (house, rhythm & blues, folk), he goes and throws out something else (like the cabana cooler that is "Maintenance Man"). A Soul Clap artist, his featured acts range from Wolf + Lamb (also in the Forest) to Funkadelic to Kill Frenzy. More elusive yet, he now has a new band - The Precious Fems. You know what they say, not all those who wander are lost. And Nick Monaco is far from lost.
Best definition so far: Whac-A-Soul
Electric Forest Schedule: Friday evening (Includes Crew Love performance) @ Forest Stage
Another New York artist, Benevento takes you from sci fi blips to sing-a-long choruses while dancing like a maniac all the way there (sometimes with a Tiger head apparently). You'll be having so much fun you won't care where you are or how you got there, whether you've ended up at his sets at Bonnaroo, Carnigie Hall or now Electric Forest. The festival's description says he "connects the dots between MGMT and LCD Soundsystem on one side, Brian Eno and Tortoise on the other" which is damn close.
Best definition so far: Genre-blind mashup (LA Times)
Electric Forest Schedule: Sunday evening @ The Observatory stage
I tried to keep the list to the lesser-known crowd, but I just couldn't leave out him out. The English producer has been innovating far too long (see his previous band, Fridge) and his style continues to evade the wordhammer of journalism. I've tried many a time to describe Four Tet to people and have failed over and over again. It's just not a battle anyone restricted with human language can win.
Best definition so far: Tripping Tranquility (YouTube User Csinovnyik3000)
Electric Forest Schedule: Thursday late night @ Sherwood Court stage
There are tons of artists performing at Electric Forest with sounds you can't really put a finger on. These were just a handful from a larger list which also included Shpongle, Made In Heights, Life On Planets, Jaga Jazzist, Vibe Street and many more. For a detailed schedule, you can visit the official website.
If you're still sick of the usual, I urge you to check out the Electric Forest official Spotify playlist and continue exploring.