Decibel Festival 2013: Pre-Festival Preview – w/ Ben Klock, JETS, The Orb, Machinedrum, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm & More

Our preview guide for Decibel Festival 2013 in Seattle, with tightly-curated showcase picks for each day.

The more I look into Decibel Festival 2013, the more pumped I get about its representation of sounds — classic, indie, techno, house, classical, disco; somehow this year’s fest hits on almost every bit of my musical interests without becoming redundant. With so much going on, it is certainly hard to choose where to put one’s mental and physical energies… so I’ve taken the liberty of choosing my top showcases for each day, to help those of you with passes to hop around gleefully, and those without to best use your money and time. Last year’s festival featured some of my favorite shows of 2012; I expect this year to be no different. Happy tenth birthday to one of the best fall festivals around!

REDEFINE is currently giving away tickets to the upcoming Little Boots dates in Portland and Seattle! The Seattle date is a Decibel Festival date, which includes Little Boots, Light Asylum, Young Galaxy, and MNDR show at Neumos on Friday.


Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 ___ BACK TO TOP


> FACTORY POP w/ Peter Hook & Light, ADULT., Nightmare Fortress @ Neumos
> ABSTRACT EARTH PROJECT Wax Tailor, Blockhead, Little People, Rena Jones @ Showbox at the Market
> HYPERDUB RECORDS Kode9, DJ Spinn, Ikonika, Jimi Jaxon, Zach Walker @ The Crocodile ***

* TOP PICK * Like Klockwork Showcase w/ Ben Klock, Light Years

Q Nightclub (1426 Broadway Ave.) – 9pm Doors / 21+ / $22 Advance or FREE with Decibel Pass

Attend the Like Klockwork showcase, and you’re pretty much signing up just to see Berlin’s Ben Klock, for the man is going to be playing for three-and-a-half-hours. It’s not exactly a feat as he has been known to play sets up to ten hours long – but this will be a rare treat for Seattlites looking for bumping techno at the relatively new and sonically well-equipped Q Nightclub.

Klock, a signee to the well-reputed Ostgut Ton record label, is a regular DJ at the internationally-famed Berghain nightclub in Berlin, with the likes of folks like Marcel Dettman and label owner Nick Höppner. Dominated by steel and concrete and known for its extremity, the club is, in particular, a “platform for purist techno”, according to Höppner. The techno Klock and Ostgut Ton churn out is one not just to be listened to, but experienced (for it’s not every type of music that yields the types of quotes as the one on the right) – and as the days begin to turn grey and Seattle enters into fall, one can only hope that the dark, pulsing creative energies that Berlin is known for will seep its way into the way into the Pacific Northwest.

Opening the showcase will be Australia’s Light Year, who will, with his wide-ranging repertoire, flow from relatively melodious and vocal sample-driven house into more atonal sounds, easing listeners into the transition from sundown to techno night.

Thursday, September 26th, 2013 ___ BACK TO TOP


> SUB POP 25 w/ Shabazz Palaces, The Helio Sequence, THEESatisfaction, Kingdom Crumbs @ Showbox at the Market
> OPTICAL 1: KOLLABORATIONS w/ Hauschka, Oliveray, Peter Broderick @ Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall
> XLR8R PRESENTS Evian Christ, Vessel, Huerco S., Shawn Reynaldo @ Chop Suey ***

* TOP PICK * Leisure System After-Hours w/ Jimmy Edgar, JETS, DJ Funk

Neumos (925 E Pike St.) – 2am Doors / 18+ – $20 Advance or FREE with Decibel Pass

One of six official after-hours shows, this Leisure System production reaches its pinnacle with a live set by Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum’s party-ready collaborative project, JETS. Though the duo has released a 2012 record, their primary internet presence lies in a few live videos, an incredible FACT Mag mix, and a 4-track EP.

That, coupled with what will be sure to be a spontaneous DJ set by Jimmy Edgar, is guaranteed to make for a funk-heavy late night at Neumos. my most anticipated show of the festival. Stay tuned for an in-depth interview with Jimmy Edgar on metaphysics, Egyptian occult-themed record labels, and more.

Friday, September 28th, 2013 ___ BACK TO TOP

Friday is the day to beat, and with that, we have two top picks for the day — and a note that every other show above is also worth going to. We are also giving away tickets for the Little Boots show, at Decibel as well as in Portland!!


> GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL w/ Shigeto, Lusine, Beacon, Dauwd @ The Crocodile
> NOCTURNAL w/ Little Boots, Light Asylum, Young Galaxy, MNDR @ Neumos
> NICOLAS JAAR & FRIENDS w/ Nicolas Jaar, Mount Kimbie, Phaeleh, Tarik Barri @ Showbox Sodo
> HESSLE AUDIO AFTER-HOURS w/ Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, Pangaea @ Neumos ***

* TOP PICK * What The Festival Presents w/ XXYYXX, Machinedrum, Giraffage, Timeboy, Zach Walker

Showbox Market (1426 1st Ave.) – 9pm Doors

To kick off his September 30th record, Vapor City, Machinedrum will be debuting his world premiere of Vapor City live at Decibel Festival this year! The first show in a series of 32 dates around the world — mostly in Europe and the United States, with two dates in Japan — the show will feature a live set-up with Weirdcore on visual duties. And considering Weirdcore was the party behind Machinedrum’s “Eyesdontlie” music video, one can certainly expect a pulsing array of sounds and textures that will likely beat out the remaining bulk of Decibel Festival VJ projects.

Not that this is a one-act showcase; also representing will be a number of similar artists: XXYYXX, Giraffage, and Timeboy, on behalf of Relief in Abstract, Alpha Pup, and Brainfeeder, respectively. XXYYXX’s self-titled record was one of my favorite chilled out electronic records of 2012, and I have been waiting to see him since then. Future garage sounds, downtempo rhythms, and soulful vocals will be plentiful in this showcase, and XXYYXX and Giraffage’s joint track “Even Though” is perhaps the most well-known representation of their collaborative sound. Love it or leave it.

* TOP PICK * OPTICAL 2: ERASED TAPES w/ Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm

The Nordstrom Recital Hall (200 University St.) – 5:30pm Doors / All-Ages / $40 advance or FREE with Decibel Pass

Both Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds are young performers who have made waves in the contemporary classical community and now moved on — not to leave their past experiences behind, but to incorporate them in bold new settings. Composers turned electronic musicians are not a completely new phenomenon, but one might argue that the two do it better than most — with Nils Frahm, in particular, truly challenging the context and structure of such creations. And as though the strength of their solo projects were not enough, the two also graced us last year with a joint record entitled Stare, and one can only hope that they will make the most of their shared space on this tour.

Their performances will be accompanied by visuals by artists Timeboy and Leo Mayberry, for one of the most exciting Optical showcases ever. Piano nerdery galore — and in a fancy setting, no less.

Saturday, September 29th, 2013 ___ BACK TO TOP


> SHINE ON w/ Gold Panda, ODESZA, Slow Magic, VOICES OF BLACK, Zach Walker @ Neumos
> HUSH HUSH w/ Cyril Hahn, Ryan Hemsworth, Henry Krinkle, Kid Smlp, DJAO, Domokos @ The Crocodile
> DB IN THE PARK w/ Poolside, Jeno, Phildelity vs. Michael Manahan, etc. @ Broadway Performance Hall [FREE!] > OPTICAL 3: NIGHT VESSEL: w/ Zola Jesus ft. JG Thrilwell & Mivos Quartet, Pharmakon
> HOME BASS w/ Dusky, Midland, J. Alvarez @ Q Nightclub ***

* TOP PICK * COSMIC ADVENTURES w/ The Orb, Juan Atkins, Nick Monaco

Showbox at the Market (1426 Broadway Ave.) – 10pm Doors / All-Ages w/ 21+ Bar / $30 Advance or FREE with Decibel Pass

With The Orb and Juan Atkins in the house, the lineup for Cosmic Adventures will no doubt be full of some classic moments and much nostalgia.

Pioneer of Detroit techno music, Juan Atkins will open for The Orb, who have recently come back into the fold with new records and collaborations with Lee “Scratch” Perry. If my guess is correct this will likely be a sold-out show, so get there early if you want to see these two sets of masters at work.

Sunday, September 30th, 2013 ___ BACK TO TOP


> TIMETABLE RECORDS w/ Nosaj Thing, Lorn, Teebs, D Tiberio @ The Crocodile
> dB FINALE: REBEL HOUSE w/ Art Department (Kenny Glasgow), Mano Le Tough, Maxxi Soundsystem @ Q Nightclub ***

* TOP PICK * dB Finale: From Disco to Disco w/ Aeroplane, Tiger & Woods, KiNK, Archie Pelago, Zach Walker

Neumos 925 E pike St.) – 9pm Doors / 21+ / $20 Advance or FREE with Decibel Pass

Wait… did you have me at disco? You had me at disco.

Electronic music can take itself extremely seriously at times — but with From Disco to Disco, it’s about getting funky, down, and frankly, just celebrating the playfulness that dance can bring, without getting too heady. ; As one of the last showcases of Decibel Festival 2013, this one is guaranteed to wash away all of the introvertedness created from ambient showcases and all of the darkness bestowed upon showgoers from more bass-heavy electronica. Get playful.


Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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