Decibel Festival 9th Edition - Seattle, 26-30 September 2012

Words by: Sean-Michael Yoder
Posted: 22/8/12 8:41

Decibel Festival 9th Edition – 26-30 September 2012What a difference a year makes, last year’s installment of the Seattle-based Decibel Fest felt more like it was in competition with all of the other major North American electronic music events. As such it felt like there was a narrower, more standardized approach to the headliner selection, while still burrowing just as deep into the underground as the festival has become known for over the years.

Overall, it just felt like some of the events character may have been lost, This year, however, the Decibel Fest makes a smooth and logical progression into more a more unique offering that feels more like a giant festival for fans of just about every stripe of electronic music there is to be consumed, from the most obscure hipster niche genres to giant pop acts like Orbital.

Headliners this year typify this something-good-for-everyone approach with the aforementioned Orbital, the Cannabanoids feat Erykah Badu, DJ Shadow, Shpongle, Matthew Dear, even the dubious Kimbra - there aren’t other festivals that obsess at almost Coachella levels over electronic music in the United States making this year’s edition a must-attend event, especially for those fans living on the West Coast.

The price for events and passes are also quite reasonable making the ninth installment of DB the kind of low-price, scene politic free new music seminar that US fans have long desired.

There is some sense the arrival of electronic music into the mainstream over the past year has elevated the stature of even the underground artists, but indie and rock festivals seem like rank beginners when it comes to booking the actual artists and opt for the lowest common denominator, available for corporate parties between Grammy acceptance speech kinds of artists, leaving devotees wondering where the actual funk of their choosing is located.

In the case of this year’s Decibel Fest, there seems to be an understanding that Fatboy Slim might be alright for the big melting pot that is Movement, but in Seattle you’d better come with a little dash of Warp, some Carl Craig, a pinch of dubstep, even electro pop because out there some kid (or old enough to know better grown-up) has just made that little sector of the electronic music universe his or her home for the time being.

Showcases that get the perpetually grumpy staff here at I. Voice enthused this year include the following:

  • The Global Selektors series – Three intimate events over the course of the festival featuring Faltydl, Appleblim, Slow Hands, DVS1, Robag Wruhme, Peter Van Hoesen, Axel Boman, and M A N I K.
  • DB In Dub – An opportunity to catch BVDub perform is a must along with Monolake and locals Cyanwave
  • Warp showcase – Jimmy Edgar – Majenta live, Machinedrum, and Clark are something to get excited about
  • The Modern Love showcase – It’s not often that the US gets the pleasure of Andy Stott’s acquaintance, a fact that should be celebrated in the streets.
  • Motor City Masters – In theory, these Detroit love fests are probably the most played out aspect of the festival but Carl Craig’s 69 project live and Octave One equals a night that is sure to be thrilling.
  • Midnight Shift showcase – The return of Oxia this year has been something worth talking about, here the veteran headlines a deep soul event that is a must see.
  • Ghostly International showcase - Matthew Dear, Tycho, Lusine… enough said.
  • Pioneers of Rhythm – Head nodding beats from DJ Shadow, Bonobo, and Eprom give the entire festival a different flavor,
  • DB FinaleJohn Talabot and Pezzner seem like a fine way to close out what promises to be a wonderful event in 2012.

There’s also a boat party being present by the Portland based Alga-Rhythms and Decibel Fest, but actually getting tickets for a boat party seem to be as common as getting hit by lightning, so if you’re one of the lucky ones please be sure to gloat.

One of the things we’ve found to be a noticeable and welcome improvement is the festival’s wise decision to farm out the after-hours events to other, reputable promoters to give Decibel Fest the robust late night ambience it has always deserved.

Our favorite San Francisco promoters As You Like It are bringing Dixon, local hero Pezzner, and rising San Francisco DJ Brian Bejarano while Resident Advisor teams up for two events including an Ostgut Ton pairing that is sure to bring real heat.

In addition to a diverse collection of headliners, the festival remains committed to a multimedia experience with informative production workshops, business lectures, and the sound and vision onslaught of its Optical showcases. The only thing we haven’t seen yet is a program for the wonderful afternoon free shows the festival puts on in picturesque downtown Seattle under the shadow of the Space Needle. Barring that omission, this year’s Decibel Fest seems like an electronic music lover’s dream come true.

Decibel Festival 2012 program
Program
160+ artists from, 24 countries, across 5 days
14 premier venues across Seattle
34 club based concerts
5 OPTICAL A/V concerts
3 film screenings
3 day conference focusing on technology, business and music

In addition, Decibel is proud to be co-producing
8 recommended after hours events
4 boat parties
Wednesday 26th September
Kimbra - The Stepkids
Showbox at the Market - Doors at 9PM
More info here 

dB in Dub
Monolake + Tarik Barri - bvdub - Cyanwave
Neumos - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Warp Showcase
Clark - Jimmy Edgar - Machinedrum
The Crocodile - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Beat Prodigies
Dabrye - Katie Kate - Keyboard Kid
Barboza - Doors at 9:30PM
More info here 

Global Selektors 1
Appleblim - Jeff Samuel
Re-bar - Doors at 10PM
More info here

OPTICAL 1 : Ghosts in The Shadows
Robert Henke - Brock Van Wey - dalot
The Triple Door - Doors at 5:00PM
More info here 
Thursday 27th September
Halcyonic
Orbital - Paul Chambers
Paramount Theatre - Doors at 8pm
More info here 

Shpongle presents The Masquerade
Shpongle - Phutureprimitive
Neptune Theatre - Doors at 8pm
More info here

Starborne
MiMOSA - Tipper - Starkey
Showbox at the Market - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Jet Jam presents
Star Slinger - Baths - Shlohmo (DJ set)
Neumos - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Pop Fusion
Houses - port-royal - k.flay - Kids and Explosions
The Crocodile - Doors at 9PM
More info here 

Surefire Presents
Objekt - Kuedo - xxxy
Baltic Room - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Dropping Gems Showcase
Balam Acab - Devonwho - Natasha Kmeto - DJAO
Barboza - Doors at 9:30PM
More info here

Global Selektors 2
DVS1 - Robag Wruhme - Peter Van Hoesen
Re-bar - Doors at 10PM
More info here

Modern Love Showcase
Andy Stott - Demdike Stare - Cut Hands
Melrose Market Studios - Doors at 10PM
More info here

OPTICAL 2 : Ascension
Maria Minerva - Julianna Barwick - Lulacruza - Anenon
The Triple Door - Doors at 5PM
More info here 
Friday 28th September
Renegades of Funk
The Cannabinoids feat. Erykah Badu - The Starship Connection
Paramount Theatre - Doors at 8pm
More info here

Shpongle presents The Masquerade
Shpongle - Phidelity
Neptune Theatre - Doors at 8pm
More info here

Motor City Masters
Carl Craig 69 Live - Octave One
Showbox at the Market - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Decadance
Dragonette - Icona Pop - The Knocks
Neumos - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Ariel Pink & Friends
Ariel Pink - Dam-Funk - Bodyguard
The Crocodile - Doors at 9PM
More info here

XLR8R Presents
Actress - Teengirl Fantasy - Gulls
Baltic Room - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Midnight Shift Presents
Deetron - Terrance Parker - Basic Soul Unit - Norman Chung
Re-bar - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Raster-Noton Showcase
Byetone - Kangding Ray - EmptySet - AntiVJ
Melrose Market Studios - Doors at 10PM
More info here

How Deep is Your Love
Dixon - Oxia - Ripperton
Q - Doors at 10PM
More info here

OPTICAL 3 : Touch.30
Fennesz + Jon Wozencroft Present Liquid Music - Biosphere - The Sight Below
The Nordstrom Recital Hall - Doors at 6PM
More info here 
Saturday 29th September
Pioneers of Rhythm
DJ Shadow - MartyParty - Eprom
Showbox SoDo - Doors at 9pm
More info here

Ghostly International Showcase
Matthew Dear - Tycho - Lusine
Showbox at the Market - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Cerebral Vortex
Max Cooper - Roman Flugel - Matt Tolfrey
Neumos - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Hotflush Showcase
Sepalcure - George FitzGerald - Braille
Baltic Room - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Global Selektors 3
Axel Boman - MANIK
Re-bar - Doors at 10PM
More info here

High and Tight Presents
Roman Flugel - Nina Kraviz - Dave Aju
Q - Doors at 10PM
More info here

OPTICAL 4 : Discreet Tones
Nils Frahm - Orcas - Sylvain Chauveau - CFCF
Broadway Performance Hall - Doors at 6PM
More info here 
Sunday 30th September
dB Finale
John Talabot - Public Lover feat. Bruno Pronsato and Ninca Leece - Pezzner – World Debut Live Set
Neumos - Doors at 9PM
More info here 

Autonomous Music Presents
Emancipator - Yppah - The Great Mundane - Anomie Belle
The Crocodile - Doors at 9PM
More info here

FoF Music Showcase
Shlohmo (live set) - Salva - Groundislava - Lazy Brow
Baltic Room - Doors at 9PM
More info here

Nueva Forma Showcase
A Gap Between - The Bear and The Sea - IG88 - wndfrm
Barboza - Doors at 9:30PM
More info here

OPTICAL 5 : Undercurrent
Windy and Carl - Christina Vantzou - Loscil
The Triple Door - Doors at 5PM
More info here 
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