After five days of solid musical discovery, amazing artist encounters, several plates of Cancale oysters and a fair amount of red wine, I’ve come back from my French hometown of Rennes with a huge playlist to go through.
Once more, Les Rencontres Trans Musicales has outdone itself. From the South Korean doo-wop trio The Barberettes, to German brass band doing techno covers Meute, via Romanian middle-eastern ambience of Khidja and raw traditional sounds of Soweto’s BCUC, it was all there yet again.
I tend to hover around electronic music artists for interviews, but when it comes to the gigs, there’s way too much inspiration to stay mono-musical.
Here are some of my highlights in words, music, picture, and video.
Arrived in town, festival compilation at the ready to remind myself who I can’t miss!
Time to setup my office for the next 5 days at the media village, and revise the programme a little more…
Then off to the UBU Club in the centre of Rennes for the soft opening night. First highlight: Kondi Band, the product of an encounter between US DJ/Producer Chef Boima and Sierra Leonian legend Sorie Kondi. The future of Afro-Electro is in good hands with these two!
Artists and media from all corners of the globe converge to the media village at Le Liberté, for the first big promo day of the festival. In between meetings with Indian agents, Chinese promoters and Dutch festival owners; I meet up with French DJ, producer and Partyfine Records head honcho Yuksek. He’s premiering his brand new live show at the Parc Expo that evening and tells me all about it.
The Parc Expo is not your regular festival site. It is 4 airports hangars all interlinked, the smallest being 3,500 capacity and the biggest 8,000. They are not f***ing around! Kicking off with a plate of fresh oysters in the beautifully decorated food & drinks hall (all art, sculptures and festival poster are designed by French street artist War!).
I then head to Hall 3 to checkout Chinese psych-electro-punk band St.ol.en. Mad energy!
Special mention to Irish rapper Rejjie Snow who turned the place upside down!
…and French producer Feynman, killing it in the Green Room, the DJ hangar. Totally up my street! (listen to our interview in my audio montage above)
I spend the rest of the afternoon chatting to French college students here to interview foreign journalists and review gigs for their class work. Wish I had that as a module at school!
Just before heading off to the Parc Expo for the third night of the festival. I meet with South Korean DJ and all round darling Mushxxx. The most versatile DJ I discovered in 2016, no doubt!
And we’re off for a big night again. So many artists I want to check out, starting with Romanian producers Khidja opening the Green Room. And I have the pleasure of interviewing them just after (listen to the interview in my audio montage above).
The Barberettes offer a spicy Korean take on 50s and 60s American Do-Woop.
French duo from Rennes, Leska, is one of my biggest highlights. Very, VERY impressive live electronic duo.
And I close my night with another French electronic artist, however more on a Funk & Groove tip. The Parisian Møme.
Good night for now!
It’s the penultimate day of the festival, and I am starting to feel it!
Kicking off the evening at Parc Expo with more translating on French national radio France Culture. This time it’s for the South African band BCUC, traditional, political, energetic and each song is 20min long! Here’s a taster.
I stick around for their performance in Hall 8 just after, they smash it (obviously)!
Then off to the Green Room for a bit of homegrown Rennes talent, the euphoric electro duo Empereur Renard. Amazing visual work from the two youngsters.
It’s getting late! So dark and hypnotic Techno is on the menu. Garance from Switzerland is on the case.
Techno is also fun when it’s played by a Brass Band. Yes, this is a serious thing! Meute from Hamburg and rocking Hall 9 with a force to be reckoned with. I knew it was going to be good when I interviewed them earlier in the day, just after they played in the French metro, absolute vibes (listen to our interview in my audio montage above). Have a listen, you will recognise some of your favourite Techno tunes!
And they rock it, it’s rammed in there!
That’s enough for one night. It’s 7am and I’ve been on site for eleven hours…
My legs are screaming but my mind wants more! It’s the closing night at UBU Club in the centre of town. And I hear this Californian electro-rock band is in town: NVDES.
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And there you have it. Five beautiful days in my French hometown, at a festival that doesn’t cease to impress me after almost ten years going there. Leaving you with Jean-Louis Brossard taking off…