Somewhere before the present sturm und drang of big room electro house and the deep, yet breezy vibes of Daft Punk exists the reason for the vibes that permeate the lineups for 88DC’s 2013 Forward Festival. At a time when everything in and surrounding dance music and dance culture arguably feels so ubiquitous and cloyingly generic, Forward’s five days of unpretentious goodness – as it typically does – saves the day. If someone new (or late) to the party, there are nights of this Festival that will absolutely convince you that long after Flosstradamus finish running the trap, hearing “Get Lucky” for the ten millionth time or having moombahton’s desire to “turn up the bass” finally turn you off from twerking it on the dance floor that there’s something more connective and worthwhile in dance music than the letters E,D or M could ever encapsulate.
This year’s Festival boasts five nights of various events spread between three venues – subterranean hot spots U Street Music Hall and Tropicalia, and an enormous DIY warehouse space at 2052 West Virginia Avenue, NE. It would be easy to advise you – the revelry seeker – to replicate yourself and attend everything. If you want to do that, the festival’s entire schedule is here. However, let’s make the job a little more realistic and highlight one event per night that packs a little something extra making it rise above.
WEDNESDAY – TROPICALIA – 8 PM
Bill Kouligas [LIVE] >> Berlin >> Pan
Rrose (Live) >> Sandwell District
Beautiful Swimmers >> DC >> Future Times
(DC-based FACT Magazine US editor Chris Kelly hosts a sit-down conversation with the DJs at 7 PM)
German DJ and producer Bill Kouligas’ Pan Recordings consistently pushes boundaries with recordings that intentionally conflate and antagonize traditional standards in more minimal styles of dance music. As the headliner for the first night of the Forward Festival, he makes perfect sense. Even though so many of Forward’s guiding principles are based in consciously de-glamourizing dance and taking it back to unadorned basics, it’s in celebrating the unique lanes for dance music and culture to replicate itself for the future where Forward succeeds as well. As much as you want to come for Kouligas’ live closing set, come early for Rrose’s haunting, ambient techno and for best kept DC secret Beautiful Swimmers, who in spending more time in Europe than the do in the states are established global names who produce insistent, warm and melodic house that feels airy, wide and deep enough to not just envelop your mind and your feet, but your soul as well.
THURSDAY – U STREET MUSIC HALL – 9 PM
ESKMO (Live) >>Los Angeles>>
Aligning Minds (live) >>Ashville, Baltimore>>
Sonic manipulation and mental stimulation are the order of the evening at DC’s “temple of boom” when inventive DJs Eskmo, Aligning Minds and Soohan are involved. Eskmo’s latest release, the Earth and Words Mix is an intriguing and intellectual blend. The sounds appeal to an average listener’s love of peaceful atmospherics, but to a more attuned listener is the kind of recording that drills holes in the cerebellum and opens new portals. Joined by similarly motivated local DJs and producers Aligning Minds and Soohan, a night of possibly mind-blowing exploration and dance is the expectation.
FRIDAY – 2052 WEST VIRGINIA AVENUE, NE. – 9 PM
Nicky Siano >>NYC>> The Gallery, Studio 54
OM Unit >>London>> Civil Music, Cosmic Bridge, Exit, All City
Archie Pelago (Live) >>Brooklyn>>
Zuzuka Poderosa w/ Burt Fox (Live) >>Rio De Janeiro, Brooklyn>>
Sam ‘The Man’ Burns
Deep Sessions Crew
Metaphysical b2b Baronhawk
Before dance became all about festivals, Soundcloud clicks, big releases, pretentious behavior, PLUR, MDMA, John Travolta or the Bee Gees, the culture was simply built on expression, theater and freedom. New York City’s Nicky Siano began throwing parties in the early 1970s as a teenager at his space, The Gallery. Know that white noise that you love on your favorite trance or electro track? It has roots with this guy, who in playing the bigger proto-disco and disco tracks of his earliest of eras would equip a third turntable with a recording of a jet engine at takeoff, employing the sound to create a larger atmosphere for a record to inhabit in a room. This pioneering legend joins with a cast of entertainers, notable in the mix being a super-talented crew of local house and disco selectors, as well as Rio-to-Brooklyn “carioca bass” artist Zuzuka Poderosa whose desire to make her crowd create “interracial music babies” fits the incredibly entertaining vibe of the evening to a tee.
SATURDAY – TROPICALIA – 10 PM
DJ SABO >> SOL SELECTAS, LA
ALL GOOD FUNK ALLIANCE >> DC
Yes, DJ Sabo’s known as one-third of the resident trio (alongside Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom – aka Nadastrom) responsible for U Street Music Hall’s Moombahton Massive events. However, if new to the scene, Sabo’s been holding things down as one of the funkiest DJ’s anywhere in the world for quite some time. A night with him alongside Fort Knox Recordings favorites the All Good Funk Alliance and local breakmeisters QDUP is nothing but a good time. If looking for a sweaty, heavy and subwoofer knocking party sans candy ravers waiting for the drop sidling their backsides up against a DJ booth or the fear of experiencing teenagers having their minds blown (by sounds or otherwise) for the first time, this event ABSOLUTELY requires attendance.
SUNDAY – 2052 WEST VIRGINIA AVENUE, NE. – 3 PM -???
There is nothing yet known at press time as to the headliners or activities (outside of a masseuse available at the venue) of tis full day dance assault. Thus, I turn this space over to the organizers:
FORWARD 2013 concludes with it’s annual tradition of a no holds barred, last man standing, take no prisoners, let it all hang out, full blown assault on rational decisions. This will be our 3rd and final day/night in the 2052 DIY warehouse space and we plan on making very good use of it. A secret lineup of our very favorite selectors from all ends of the spectrum will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget OR remember.
>>>>>ONLY THE WEIRD SURVIVE<<<<<
FREE FOR EVERYONE ALL DAY & NIGHT!
1pm – ???