It’s that time of year again. Time to endure the unsightly effects of consecutive days spent partying to mindless, repetitive beats. Time to show up late and quite possibly drunk for work. And time to enjoy the very best that the Copenhagen music scene has to offer. Despite the fact that ageing Distortion-goers invariably complain that everything was so much better in the ‘good old days’ dance music is undoubtedly in a very interesting place at the moment. And we would argue that the Distortion festival is still one of the best places in the world to experience the life-changing elation that comes with it. Ladies and gentlemen, step right this way for the AIAIAI Guide to Distortion 2014.
You have to give it up for the ‘Chef d’ Orchestre’ AKA festival director Thomas Flerquin and his gang of switched-on bookers, event-makers and volunteers; despite Spanish hipster-inquisitions, ongoing financial quibbles, gang-intimidation, crippling bureaucracy, internet-induced apathy and god knows what else, they’re still here. Still pushing at the boundaries of festival-curation, still rotting kids’ brains and probably making them go blind, deaf and dumb with all that hedonism.
Distortion is a thing to behold, an unrelenting party entity that rolls over Copenhagen every year, leaving a pungent trail of humanity in its wake. If you’ve never experienced this intense celebration of life, it’s high time that you make the trek over from wherever you are because it looks set to be another vintage year for Distortion.
Man/woman up because you’ll need to pace yourself to stay in the Distortion game. This game consists of navigating a treacherous sea where waves of lust, intoxication and general confusion all crash against the tiny lifeboat that is your mind. You’re all set to party like a Swede in a Systembolaget, but keep your wits about you and you’ll be able to go that extra mile on Saturday. First up: The Sun Ra Arkestra at Copenhagen Jazzhouse.
The late Sun Ra is that seminal, old space cadet who once said that nuclear war is a motherfucker and that ‘if they push that button, yo ass gotta go.’ He also made some of the most interesting music of the 20th century and checking out his band, the Sun Ra Arkestra should be the perfect way to get into the groove of things.
Klashy Distortion Block Party
Our friends from Klashy have been in the game for quite some time and if there’s one thing they know how to do it’s throw a block party. They’ve also got our friend Tomas Barfod on the bill, making this a nice little love-in where the Klashy crew promise to make you ‘pee your pants and weep with joy.’ Can’t really argue with that, I guess.
Then it’s time to head over to Culture Box where the one, the only Danny Wolfers AKA Legowelt will be bringing his extensive analog live set up along with Cosmin TRG and Psimono. Actually, skip all that stuff about taking it easy. When Legowelt’s in town it’s time to let it rip:
Kronprinsessegade 54, Copenhagen K
That is, if you’re not the type of person who’s heavily into juke and footwork and might feel like bigging up DJ Spinn who’s playing at Rust (RIP Rashad).
Guldbergsgade 8, Nørrebro
Ah christ, all of a sudden realized that White Magic are on the bill! Here’s a show that’s great for getting the festival ball rolling while snapping you out of your second-day daze. White Magic is irresistible, lo-fi, singer/songwriter rickety racket - and kind of an unexpected curveball from the Distortion bookers – so make sure to be there on time.
Later on you’ll be faced with a difficult choice: Todd Terje (DGI-byen, Tietgensgade) is playing at Svømmehallen, Tale of Us are Djing at Culture Box (Kronprinsessegade) and Matmos are performing at Jazzhouse (Niels Hemmingsensgade 10). We’ll leave this one up to you. Are you in touch with your homo-erotic, artsy sound art side? Or are you more of a full-on house and techno-type-guy/gal on the night in question? Then again, Disco always trumps everything, right? Actually, you can’t really go wrong here. A game of rock-paper-scissors should solve the dilemma. Although this might nudge your decision in a certain direction… (4:00)
If you ignored our advice and paced yourself at Legowelt you should still be alive and ready for another onslaught of quality shows, Djs sets and performances. Blawan’s unique brand of pummeling, machine-funk will leave you reeling for a bit at Culture Box:
And Tri Angle Records’ wunderkind AKA Evian Christ will bring his spooky, gauzy, bassy, and utterly bewitching brand of future hip hop to the Distortion soundsystem. This must under no circumstance be missed!
Klatrehallen, Refshalevej 163
And it goes without saying that we’ll always have time for Copenhagen’s very own handsome house duo, the inimitable Kenton Slash Demon:
Klatrehallen, Refshalevej 163
King Kong ain’t got shit on the party behemoth that is the Distortion Party and Final Party at Refshaleøen. It is as we say in Danish time to ‘skille fårene fra bukkene’, which can be roughly translated to ‘separate the bucks from the lamb.’ Or something. All you need to know is that you now find yourselves at a critical juncture, which will determine if you are a Distortion yay or a Distortion nay. By now some of you should be feeling the aching Distortion fatigue in your legs, feet and head - hell, even in your nails. But this is of little consequence. it’s time to pull up your socks for one last stand against wholesome family values. Let’s get things off to a flying start with the Mendoza Record release, which should be a lot of fun - and filled with some pretty remarkable outfits:
Now head on over to our buddy ELOQ who’s hooked up with Fact Magazine for a stage where you can catch the one, the only Hudson Mohawke. Report to the dance floor, honey:
Kompakt Boss, DJ Phenomenon and exceedingly nice guy Michael Mayer will dispense the Teutonic techno at the Klatrehallen Stage:
Coincidentally, that’s also where you’ll find one of Copenhagen’s best DJs, the outstanding Djuna Barnes:
You could do a lot worse than checking out When Saints go Machine live at the Membrane Stage:
Toronto’s Trust will be the man to go see about a balls-out synth party at the very same stage:
And Ivan Smagghe’s brand of moody electro-techno always delivers in spades. Check him out at the Gyden Tent.
There’s no way in hell we’d ever miss Axel Superpitcher at the afore-mentioned tent:
Okay, alright, that’s it for this year; If you managed to make it through all that, you can, like Maffia-affiliate Frank Sinatra once said, make it anywhere. See you in the streets and have a spectacular Distortion!
- The AIAIAI crew