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The audience has spoken: 10 sets from Art Basel week

Main photo: Jimi Jules @ Rakastella – Photo Credit: Tim Sandik | Ded Agency

Miami’s Art Basel week has become one of the top destinations for dance music in the USA. Although its core spectacle is the multitude of art fairs across the city, music has also taken its piece of the pie competing with the well-known Miami Music Week.

From full weekend festivals to nightly club events, the 2021 edition was something many partygoers in the states were eagerly expecting, and even under current pandemic circumstances and other countries locking again its nightlife, organizers, and promoters did a fantastic job putting together some quality events showcasing some memorable sets.

On this occasion, we asked some notable personalities and peers in our industry their thoughts on which set they liked the most and why. Here is what they had to say.

Gunita Nagpaul | Listed Productions / Listed Bookings: Anja Schneider at the Art With Me Festival

“I would say my favorite set was Anja Schneider at the Art With Me Festival on the listed Key Beach stage. I consider this to be part of my Art Basel Experience. I am honestly not just saying this because she is one of my artists; everyone around me on the dance floor was in awe and would completely agree. Her enthusiasm and class commanded the floor. Without ego, she could care less if the dance floor was packed. As soon as she played her first record, from beginning to end, the entire performance was SO technically tight, brilliant, and captivating. It was the perfect blend of everything from 80’s to classics, to today’s sounds of house and techno, and even WestBam!”

 

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Petra Ni | The Soundgarden: Rodriguez Jr. at The Soundgarden

“I heard so much incredible music over the Art Basel week but would have to choose Rodriquez Jr. (Live) at The Soundgarden as my favorite set. He was effortlessly crossing genres, traveling between house and techno while always staying melodic and pulling us in further, while dancing the night away in the tropical surroundings of Jungle Island. He’s a mesmerizing performer that interacted with the crowd constantly and set the bar very high for label boss Nick Warren & YokoO to follow.”

 

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Rene Weffer | EG: Ben UFO at Rakastella

Ben UFO stepped into the Mary stage at Rakastella on Saturday night with a brilliant performance. The Hessle Audio founder displayed a diverse range of techno sounds that created a sense of futurism on a packed dancefloor, pushing the attendees not only to dance but to also deeply connect with his intricate and forward-thinking sounds. During the 2-hour set, the crowd followed him while he dropped some serious beats, turning the dancefloor into an underground London extravaganza look-alike. I really enjoyed that kind of vibe on a Miami clear and starry night.”

 

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Rocky Ramniceanu | Bespoke Musik: Robag Wruhme at Gardens of Babylon

“Equally at home dropping one of his thunderous, genre-defying, glitchy own productions as he is a melodic, soulful deep house tune, Robag Wruhme, a frequent contributor to Pampa Records, has developed a reputation as a DJs DJ… with a keen sense of what moves a dancefloor and a fearless determination to make that happen with gorgeous, quirky music you’ve never heard before. His 1.5 hour set at Gardens of Babylon was too short, but it was oh-so-sweet, with pitch-perfect programming that led the rapidly growing crowd into a frenzy before he passed the baton.”

Melissa Mantha | Armigé Agency: DJ Minx at Rakastella

“There were so many incredible moments of music during Art Basel weekend but DJ Minx stood out and brought a perfectly curated set to Rakastella. She was dialed into the crowd, making lots of eye contact and making sure to play the sounds that got the most movement out of the Art Basel ravers. Minx bounced from track to track with impeccable technical mixing skills. The well-rounded set included house, tech, oldies, newbies, and some absolute bombs for posterity. Her set was driving and high energy – it was Detroit, Chicago, and New York, but it sounded perfect in Miami! She was able to do all this while keeping an infectious smile on her face, one of the many reasons she’s so likeable. It’s great to see this woman with 30 years of experience continue to make us dance.”

 

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Ramon Crespo | SAFE: BEN UFO at Rakastella and Ricardo Villalobos at Where Are My Keys

“Ben UFO at Rakastella in 2019 was one of my favorite sets of the week and guess what in 2021 he did it again. While a different stage than he played last time the same result, an eclectic mix of broken beats and techno, and I’m pretty sure I heard some drum and bass. That new Four Tet record got a spin and it causes absolute dance floor mayhem. The moment of the set for me was when he played Special Request remix of ‘Twangle Frent’ by mu-Ziq. It’s on the special request DJ kicks and it has these beautiful pads to start off and he basically had the crowd in a trance at this point and when the beat kicks in it’s just a special moment. I could’ve used another few hours of Ben, but it is a festival after all.

Also, I managed to catch Ricardo Villalobos three times in Miami, and while it was a dream come true to see him play back to back with Luciano at Space. He also played Chano Pozo on Saturday which was an amazing moment. However, It was his set on Sunday at Where Are My Keys that really caught my attention. Perfect weather and Ricardo playing some amazing house music including Roach Motel’s ‘Wild Luv and Fingers Inc – Music Take Me Up’. It seemed like he was really enjoying himself out there and people responded. House music in the sun with one of the best in the world behind the decks, a simple yet effective formula.”

Emilie McGlone | Parties 4 Peace: Beauty & the Beast (Holmar b2b Philipp Jung) at Art With Me Festival

“Each year Art Basel brings together an incredible community of artists, creators, and musicians who share their work and inspire people from all around the world to join in the week of creativity in the Miami sunshine. This year we started early and showcased some of our visual artists at the Art with Me Festival in Virginia Key Beach. Many of our partners and friends were performing on various stages throughout the event and there is one highlight that stands out as an incredible musical moment at the festival. The dynamic duo that play under the name of ‘Beauty & the Beast’ is none other than the talented combination of Holmar Filipsson and Philipp Jung. As part of the lineup at the Listed Stage, the flow of music from artists like Nikita set the stage for a perfect sunset afterglow with Holmar and Philipp’s beautifully curated set. Their set at Art With Me was a perfect combination of dark and groovy tunes mixed with lighter and high-energy music that had everyone dancing with hands in the air!”

 

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Alex Herman | Diaries From The Underground: Margaret Dygas at Where Are My Keys

“For many artists following a legend such as Ricardo Villalobos could be considered a daunting task, luckily Margaret Dygas is not one of those. When she took control of the decks after his epic set at Where Are My Keys she managed to ride that momentum to the next level and took us all along with her relentless groove leaving us eventually waving goodbye with an arm covered in goosebumps begging for more.”

 

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Mauricio Viana | EG: Rodriguez Jr. at The Soundgarden

“Deep inside the tropical Jungle Island, The Soundgarden hosted its 2021 Art Basel edition with what I thought was a lovely melodic lineup that would keep me in high spirits. Little did I know I was going to listen to one of the best live sets I ever had the chance to listen to (KiNK and Octave One are my other 1 and 2). Rigged with a superb sound system, beautiful lighting, and a well-planned space, Rodriguez Jr. crafted a 90-minute story of emotions, digging into multiple genres, blending retro sounds with futuristic melodies while creating layers filled with sonic textures. The French artist gave us a fantastic journey with true finesse building a sonic journey that climbed to proper heights of pure madness, thus becoming one of my favorite all-time sessions.”

 

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NIKITA | Listed Artists: Felix da Housecat at Basel On The Bay

“For me, opening for Felix da Housecat was not only a treat, but he threw down the best set I heard all week. It was full of surprises and crossed every genre from disco to house to techno and even ’80s. With the elegance and backdrop of the Mondrian’s Poolside view of Biscayne Bay, the day into night was pure magic and Felix’s set satisfied every need for a perfect sunset performance.”

 

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Tim Sandik | Ded Agency: Jimi Jules at Rakastella 

“It was the first time I had ever seen, let alone heard of, Jimi Jules. Working on the photo team at this year’s Rakastella, I had the pleasure of getting up close and personal with him while he moved the masses with his music. There was rarely a beat out of place for me during his entire set, which for me was the perfect balance of groovy basslines with proggy elements — and enough retro synth to tickle me deep in my heart where I remember the time when the magic of music was simply undeniable. He danced to his own music with the rhythm of a professional — his smile and breezy demeanor were contagious. I couldn’t possibly leave a stage that was vibing this hard, and couldn’t help but wonder how and where I would see him again.”

 

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See you in 2022!

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