Once more Barcelona hosted DGTL this past August 23rd, 24th and 25th. The event took place at the Parc del Fórum, a perfect location for the by-now well-known industrial installations and hypnotizing lights of the festival, where established electronic music artists and rising stars, made a dedicated audience enjoy a unique ambiance, this time more intimate than the previous editions.
The festival brought four exclusive stages apart from various food trucks (with a prevalence of vegetarian options in their menus) and different installations spread across the venue, framed within their art and sustainability program which, apart from other activities, served practically all drinks in reusable cups. DGTL looks forward to becoming a circular event by 2020 and we applaud their initiatives, which we hope will be consolidated in future editions.
Friday looked very promising, so we began with a perfect set by Axel Bowman who filled the dancefloor as the heat started to go away. The co-founder of the Studio Barnhus label, and one half of Talaboman, fashioned the area by giving it rhythm and color with his fresh house and melodic techno session.
As the session ended, we made a first incursion into the other stages and arrived to Frequency where Moxie greeted us with a smile, as if we were listening to her weekly show at London’s NTS, mixing an exquisite selection of house, disco, funk, soul, UK bass and ethnic rhythms, all merged in harmony and elegance.
Even though we had highlighted some artists in our schedule, we wanted to check out the areas we hadn’t seen and catch part of Anna’s and Charlotte de Witte’s performances, who were giving it all as usual at Generator stage. We were sweating from their breakthrough techno by the time we had to leave, because Satori was one of our most anticipated shows and we didn’t want to be late.
It was really special to see the live set by the Dutchman, who kept us spellbound, like a snake charmer, with his flute, pianos, his voice and genuine deep house mix, with organic and ethnic tones… Satori takes you on an ulterior sensorial voyage, feeling his performance and, even though there’s no apparent script, he possesses enough creativity and skill to gift his audience with a “satori” moment, which means enlightenment in the Buddhist religion.
We also didn’t want to miss Octo Octa, who looked like he was floating in the Frequency stage. Her live analog set was deep, undoing any plans for a run-of-the-mill session. The American DJ left her personal mark in a dark, but harmonic, live performance which ended with the track ‘I Am Trying’. Together, we all tried to make that moment safe and inclusive at the dancefloor, just as she would have liked it.
After it was finished, we stayed dancing to the lively house and funk of French DJ Jeremy Underground, but felt the call of the AMP stage to catch Seth Troxler, Dubfire and Tiga performance, the first B2B2B in the history of DGTL, by these great artists from different generations and backgrounds. The audience could not stop dancing, turning their heads from one DJ to another and dancing to the techno selection they had prepared for us.
With the idea of having a good location for Jeff Mills’ session, we arrived on time to see part of the performance by Colin Benders, a very special orchestra director, who left our mouths open thanks to his virtuosity with a great rack of modular synthesizers bustling with cables and patches, and performing with his back to the audience, looking back every now and then with a great smile while creating a magical mix of experimental and acid techno.
This only left us wanting more and when Jeff Mills, another orchestra director, started his live set, we were already close to the seventh heaven. This master of techno first delighted us with his meticulous staging and style. The Detroit wizard, inseparable from his Roland TR-909, has an endless knowledge, when he took us to the past, he also transported us to the future with an unexpected twist. It was a dark and clean techno session.
Our next undisputed appointment was with Mr. G, who gave a zany one-hour live performance, starting with his mythical classic ‘If House Is A Nation, I Wanna Be President’. This maestro, not as well-known as one might expect, creates his magic by using a 16-channel mixing board and an Akai MPC 2000XL (8-output multi-track sampler), which makes him have to stop each track to start the next one. He accompanied his music with his famous dances, making us accomplices to his madness.
For the closing, we didn’t want to make decisions and simply chose the best of each stage, while the Modular hosted a live set from German producer Stephan Bodzin, who made us close our eyes and let ourselves go with his deep, melodic techno, English DJ Harvey tore us apart on the dancefloor of the Frequency stage, and Pan-Pot, with a more than adequate closing at the AMP stage, made us spend every bit of our remaining energy.
On the second date, the sun shone more strongly than the previous day and we decided to start ours at the Modular stage with Austrians HVOB, Her Voice Over Boys, who gifted us with an impeccable-as-always club set, loaded with deep techno with a dark aura, but with the soft voice and presence of Anna, finishing with ‘Butter’ included on their latest album, ‘Rocco’.
In the Frequency stage, locals Discos Paradiso Crew were giving it their all, followed by Ross From Friends live set, who we missed this time because we haven’t stopped seeing him around Spain!
We stayed at the same stage (it can be said that it was the favorite of the day) with the great Larry Heard (aka Mr. Fingers) accompanied by Paul Cut and Fatima, who gave us a house-styled session with strong vocals, broken with more soulful and acid tracks and closing with the mythical ‘The Sun Can’t Compare’.
Following were Germans Roman Flugel and Barnt who took the helm of the stage and kept the energy with a great, and unprecedented, back-to-back, going from house to more experimental melodic techno, one of the best acts in our opinion.
We went for a quick incursion into the Generator stage to catch Chris Liebing, but returned to the Modular, where Henrik Schwarz was already starting and who, like the happiest kid, didn’t stop dancing, gifting us with his great versatility of world samples and fine selection of house, acid… apart from his classics, such as the Kuar remix, and tracks from Jose Gonzalez and London Grammar.
The next appointment on our schedule was Len Faki’s performance at the Generator, who couldn’t attend and was missed by some in the audience as we could read in some signs that appeared among the heads. The alternatives were still very worthy, and we chose to dance with Mano Le Tough, a sure bet.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring stage, Catalan Paco Osuna was quickening pulses until the end, finishing up with Lil Louis who gave an incredible closing session, the father of Chicago House was the perfect dark techno fusion to end Saturday with a sweat.
However, we didn’t want to end the weekend without attending the closing party on Sunday, and so we engaged early to see the promising local DJs Lvcha and Agatha Pher. The fatigue from the previous days and the heat made it so that only the bravest danced. It was very important to hydrate – and it could have been at more affordable prices.
The rhythm felt deep and tropical in the APM stage since early on, Todd Terje brought it up with an electric neo-disco, funky and house session, making us forget the fatigue. Bedouin duo also gave a terrific set that hooked us with an East-West heritage, which shone thanks to an ethnic, deep interior.
Finally, putting a final touch to an excellent electronic music weekend was eclectic master Acid Pauli, who was not afraid to do it all just to make us happy. Did he really dare to play Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’? Yes, he did, and the audience danced delighted until the very end.
The next DGTL date in Spain will be on November in Madrid, and, if we were to venture, we could accompany them on their first immersion in Asia, where it will land in Bengaluru, India, hosting the festival on January 11th and 12th.
We share with you some of the moments captured by Electronic Groove, focusing on the big artists, as well as on the essence of the audience and their particular style when living the DGTL experience. You can check the event’s full gallery by clicking here.