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Club To Club Festival 2018 review

Discover what happened over the weekend with us

Club To Club Festival 2018 review Discover what happened over the weekend with us

Over the weekend saw the eighteenth edition of Club To Club Festival go down in Turin. Italy’s leading festival for bringing the best of experimental pop and avant-garde music, this year's festival was headlined by none other than the legendary Aphex Twin, who’s shire live show production set up is one of the most impressive on earth. Spread over four days the festival runs the gamut of more experimental and intimate sound experiences in some of Turin's most beautiful concert halls, to the full-on warehouse rave feeling within the gargantuan Torino Lingotto fair halls.

After the start on Thursday with some stand out eclectic sets played by Palm Wine and Call Super, the Friday saw things heat up with some of the festivals heavyweight names springing into action. Beach House followed by Jamie XX on the main stage gave people what was expected from the two high caliber acts, to then hand things over to Peggy Gou, one of the most hyped acts of the moments, bringing her hip Berlin sound to Turin, followed by the most interesting set of the main room that evening, Avalon Emerson’s closing set stimulated both minds and feet. For those who hungered more for breakbeats then 4/4, the Crack Stage provided some fire sets from Skee mask, and particularly the Jamaican heat brought by Equiknoxx.

Saturday saw the grey weather lift its veil a bit as if the city itself knew something special was about to happen that evening. After the always appreciated gentle starts to Saturdays at Club To Club, which are mostly spent around the various Absolut Symposiums and talks at the cozy AC Hotel, we at nss were of course not sitting idly by, and instead spent the afternoon interviewing DJ Nigga Fox in the hotel’s jacuzzi, but we will get back to that later.

The evenings first honorable musical mention has to start with the amazing set of Blood Orange, who beyond himself is surrounded which such a great entourage of musical talent that he and his band with back up singers made the endless main Lingotto stage feel more like an intimate concert space. Then it was time for Dj Nigga Fox to warm up the room for the assault that was to come. His unique sound fusing the cityscapes of Lisbon with the African rhythms from his heretical continent below worked perfectly as an entree for the main dish that was soon to be served, Aphex Twin

This was personally my fifth time seeing the new Aphex show, which he started playing in Houston, Texas at the end of 2016, and then played a select hand full of shows around Europe and ending the run in Japan at Fujirock festival. It is hard to explain the magnitude of his live production. The stage has around a dozen huge LED screens, which is backed up with a light and laser system, the budget of which rivals the GNP of a small country. When it all kicks in, the impact feels like a supernova going off in front of your eyes, all in perfect sync with the barrage of mind-melting beats and sounds Aphex provides.

The powerful visual set up is then placed in the hands of his now fairly long time collaborator Weirdcore, who sets graphics, visuals, morphed images of local celebs, live face mapping, lights, and laser all in sync to Aphex's set. In short, beyond anything called musical taste, the experience on a sensory level is so impactful that one can really only stand there an initially be overwhelmed by it, but also the genius that leads to such a great number of people being lured into listening to the always quite challenging musical sets he plays. His sets are mainly a DJ set, with his own tracks and bits of live manipulation taking place throughout. Of the 5 sets, I’ve seen, this was the first time I saw it inside and the music was even more experimental than usual, but also with what felt like a larger amount of his own productions played. The set was the most visceral I had seen from him so far, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it, again again. After the onslaught, it was felt perfect to trickle into the Crack stage and finish my musical night with Courtesy’s Dj set, who’s deep and personal techno sets are always a great listen.

This year’s Club To Club really will be one for the ages, beyond bringing the amazing and unique change to seeing Aphex Twin in Italy, the whole programmed felt very solid and well curated, and we are eagerly looking forward with anticipation to what they will do next.