springseven: shaking confinements

by Pamela Hruska

Being that this was R4NT’s second year in attendance at the springfestival, we will move on from our first year’s initial impressions of the festival and Graz, Austria, which is seriously fantastica, into a more cerebral look at things… we hope anyway!

What inspired most of this thought process was our attendance at the excess amount of music events to attend, and the Red Bull Music Academy discussions. The combo is great because the discussions inspire you to go to the events and to be a more dynamic participant at the shows. And this year, wow, were there shows to be had. Steed Lord, The Great Danes in underpants and angel wings (Who made Who), arguably the worlds best Balkan brass band, (Buccovina Club Orkestar), and hundreds more.

Video by: turnmastertim

It seems contemplation around the world of electronica is extremely rare, and people seem to unfortunately group it into ‘the stuff that glow stick candy users listen to’. If I could clearly articulate the all the forms of electronica, I would, but it’s not that simple. It seems impossible to keep up to all the new names artists are labeling their styles, and then some are adamant that they wish not to conform to a certain style. When you tell people you are going to the world’s best electronica festival in Graz, they don’t know what to say. Some are polite and ask what this festival entails, and wonder what kind of music will be played, but generally the discussion stops there. Rarely do people ask who’s performing, and if you are enthusiastic about it all and talk big about how you’re going to get to see ‘4Hero,’ it is rare that people identify with it.

Images from Day 1

Fair enough. If you told me about your favorite punk band, I would likely do the same, but I think that it would be idyllic to see a shift from everyone accepting the top 40 as the only source of music they listen to. The passion behind getting people to look outside this very tight confined realm is because there is soo much out there, and its quality. It is motivated from the fact that music is what you want it to be, and that should not be something that is force fed to you.

If you have read Bill Brewster’s ‘Last night a DJ saved my life,’ you’ll know where top 40 came from… if you haven’t read it, you should, and you need to know that top 40 was invented because that’s the number of songs a juke box held. In this day and age are you still stuck to top 40? Is it true that your ipod, or whatever mp3 player you choose, only holds 40 songs? Are you just not sure what to look for? Hopefully R4NT can help you out of this rut, because if you are in it, it’s deep, and in all seriousness you need to get out of it. Tune in, and fill up your mp3 player with something fresh.

Images from Day 2

Labels, music and night clubs are created by individuals who aim to fulfill a personal desire to enable themselves to listen to the music they are interested in, and to share a genre of music or an experience that is different or difficult to obtain. Zeiger, the organizing force behind springseven, does an amazing job at presenting a vast variety of DJ’s and musicians during the four day urban festival. Sometimes you are overwhelmed by the number of artists you want to see in a night. Sometimes you recognize no names, and just go to see what’s up. Sometimes you experience a piece of history, as with the Detroit Music night in the Dom im Berg. Sometimes you see artists who are on the cusp of being incredibly huge the year to follow, so much so, that you look back and thank your lucky stars that you were fortunate enough to see them in person. That’s what makes this festival so great; the fact that you go there excited to see a few artists you might recognize, but that the culture at this festival is accepting of new ideas and forms of music. It is amazing that this sphere of electonica is constantly changing, coming up with reinvented ways of naming conventions applied to new sounds. One year later we noticed a big change in the styles and sounds we heard. It had evolved.

Images from Day 3

If the labeling of electronica was more particular, would more people would be able to get into the scene of new music? It seems debatable. It s funny how certain elements of labeling can be a source of resentment for this generation. A deviation from sticky confinements of labels and titles seems to be something people strive for, but at the end of the day is that beneficial? Perhaps in music or anything really, it stops the ability for progression. To lock into a specific genre would be to definitively say ñ this is what I am now, and will continue to be.

On the flip side, it could be argued that a lack of definition could be harmful in making music genres so perplexing that there is no real path to set out on. No clear way of identifying with crowds or people. I guess what it comes down to is if people listen to the music and like it. But if you didn’t know what it was classified under, where would you look? And if you were trying to describe it to someone so they would go listen to it, what would you say about it?

Images from Day 4

I guess our answer is to listen to FM4, read Jon Freer’s amazingly articulated posts on what’s going on out there, take in R4NT’s music shows, indulge in Red Bull’s Music Academy, or! Go to Graz for springeight! Electronica is making such strides in new sounds it would be a shame for you to miss out on them. The evolution just in one year was amazing. Coming away from sprinseven it seems to clear that Carl Craig is the composer of this millennia, and that the world of electronica in its core is committed to introspectively trying to make better music in this world.

  • springseven: shaking confinements
  • by Pamela Hruska
  • Published on July 2nd, 2007
May 17th - 20th 2007
Graz, Austria
David Gluzman
R4NT Live Blog Coverage:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

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