5 acts you can’t miss at Lightning in a BottleLightningInABottle 2015 ElliPapadopoulos 136

5 acts you can’t miss at Lightning in a Bottle

5 acts not to miss at Lightning in a Bottle

The Do LaB’s Lightning in a Bottle has gradually become one of the most beloved names in the transformative festival movement since its humble beginnings as a private birthday party at the turn of the millennium. Most devotees to the festival claim that the spiritual culture that LiB provides is as essential to the festival’s experience as the musical acts scheduled, if not more so. This notion is further corroborated by The Do LaB’s addition of “a day with no music” to its calendar,” which adds to the festival’s extensive offerings of workshops, presentations, and other nonmusical experiences.

While the experiences that pervade Lightning in a Bottle outside of the musical stages are as significant as they are numerous, it is important that they don’t eclipse the event’s stellar lineup. Now that the festival’s third installation since moving to Bradley, California’s San Antonio Reservoir Recreation Area is imminent, the time has come for attendees to begin deciding on their own musical schedules for the long weekend. Here are five acts that we suggest making a point to see.

Photo by Elli Papadopoulos. 

5. Shall Ocin

Argentinian-born producer Nicolas Adobos is one of the more exciting artists to watch as he begins to scratch through the surface of techno’s underground. Having operated for several years under the “Paneoh” alias, Adobos now produces as Shall Ocin. Signed to Maceo Plex’s Ellum imprint, Shall Ocin’s spins on techno and tech house are expectedly entrancing, but also inherently ominous. Adobos’ music is malevolently mesmerizing, typified by the ominously simplistic synthesis and catalyzing rhythms that thrive within the Ellum Audio catalogue. Equally daunting and debonair, Shall Ocin stands out as one of LiB’s most exciting techno representatives amidst a lineup that includes heavy hitters like Guy Gerber, Josh Wink, and Magda.

4. Mr. Carmack

Hawaiian producer Aaron Carmack is one of the most interesting names in bass music. At times, Mr. Carmack puts out trap music that excels, but doesn’t experiment, such as his breakthrough track “Pay for What” and Stooki Sound collaboration “Uppers.” The majority of his catalogue, however, is defined by unique blends of hip hop, trap, future bass, and further eclectic inspirations, which see the producer play with erratic rhythms and challenging melodies.

Mr. Carmack is known for his brash unpredictability, regularly pulling moves like deleting all of his music from his SoundCloud account and randomly releasing extensive EPs. Most recently, Carmack released his 34-track Yellow EP, which spans a musical range as diverse as it is lengthy. Though Mr. Carmack has held a cult following for several years, he is just beginning to broach the major festival circuit, having earned his first slot at Coachella this year. The only two things that fans can expect from Carmack’s LiB set is that it will be unpredictable, and it will be extremely heavy.

3. Four Tet

Kieran Hebden’s career as Four Tet spans almost two decades, giving the artist ample time to define himself. However, Hebden has ensured that his presence in the music industry is as elusive as it is illustrious. Always on the innovative edge of trends, but never defined by them, Four Tet has masterfully lent his unique touch to techno, IDM, garage, and a seemingly innumerable combination of other genres.

Hebden reaffirmed his avant-garde conceptualization of music in most recent album, last year’s Morning/EveningLargely centered upon samples of Hindu devotional music passed onto him by his recently-deceased grandmother, Four Tet succeeded in the difficult feat of engaging listeners with an album consisting of two twenty-minute songs, the eponymous “Morning” and “Evening.” Aggressively eclectic, inherently spiritual, and deeply authentic, Hebden’s unabashed determination to entrance listeners who will duly appreciate his extensive electronic epics makes him one of LiB’s most scintillating inclusions.

2. Hundred Waters

Having just concluded the third installation of their own FORM Festival in the Arcosanti desert, Hundred Waters are currently on an ascent to become among the most innovative voices in the transformative festival movement. The three-person outfit of Nicole Miglis, Trayer Tryon, and Zach Tetrault create a non-categorical blend of experimental electronic and acoustic music that is intimately emotive and perennially eclectic.

Hailing from Gainsville, Florida, Hundred Waters thrive upon their unique status by boldly existing in unfamiliar territories. Skrillex has referred to Hundred Waters as being among the most important artists of our generation, and backed the trio on his OWSLA imprint since 2012. Hundred Waters have proven their ability to excel within a label that is of a distinctly different orientation than their musical strengths. Lightning in a Bottle, being as impacted by spirituality as electronic music, should prove to be an ideal setting for the emotionally deep, classically trained outfit.

1. Jamie XX

Perhaps no name shines brighter on the LiB lineup than Jamie xx. A core member of The xx, Jamie Smith has operated as a solo act for quite some time, but 2015 saw his success as Jamie xx reach new heights. A year has passed since the release of Smith’s debut album, In Colour, which received a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album.

Past the mainstream successes of “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” and “Loud Places,” In Colour is a masterfully-produced album that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates rave music. Given the similar role that Lightning in a Bottle has in relation to electronic music events, the festival will undoubtedly prove to be the perfect backdrop for Jamie xx’s ominously colorful live show. 


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