You can use whatever reasoning you like to calculate when summer begins, but for us at Hyponik it’s not official until Field Day comes around. Entering its ninth year, the festival has undergone slight changes during its lifespan – notably expanding to two days last year, although the remit has remained the same: great music in a park in East London. Due to unfold across this coming weekend, there’s plenty to be excited about whether you’re an intrepid first timer or a seasoned veteran. Read on for a list of Hyponik’s recommendations of who to check out in Victoria Park…
Awesome Tapes From Africa – Saturday, Resident Advisor Stage 16.45pm
A year away from its tenth anniversary, Awesome Tapes From Africa has grown outwards from its beginnings in a dusty niche of the internet, into a hugely popular multi-platform source for some of the most exciting obscurities the cradle of civilisation has produced. Throughout it has remained powered by the earnest enthusiasm of its founder, New Yorker Brian Shimkovitz. His label – sharing the same name as his blog, has been responsible for enlightening Western listeners to the enduring charms of late Senegalese singer Aby Ngana Diop, Ghanian genre bender Ata Kak, and Ethiopian organist Hailu Mergia – who’s also billed to make an appearance in Victoria Park. Set to bless us with gems from Algiers all the way down to Zanzibar via one of his trademark cassette based sets – you’d be best advised bringing your passport and going on a musical journey with Shimkovitz when Saturday comes.
Volte-Face – Saturday, Bugged Out! 12.00pm
Just now achieving recognition under his Volte-Face moniker, Casper Clark is nonetheless a man with deep roots in London clubland. His relationship with Field Day specifically is a storied one, with his stewardship of fabric’s infamous extravaganza of eclecticism, Adventures In The Beetroot Field, finding him curating stages at the festival on many occasions. More recently his role in BleeD has seen him darken dancefloors around the capital with line-up’s rich in blackened noisy weirdness in all its forms.
His transition into production – which culminated with the release of this month’s ‘Charlatan’ EP, has been a careful, yet assured move. The five original tracks on the release display stylistic range and tempo, yet are bound together by a monochromatic vision of contemporary Techno. Set to be playing on ‘home’ turf at Field Day, Clark’s set should serve as a triumphant confirmation of his arrival to the big time.
Patti Smith performs ‘Horses’ – Sunday, Eat Your Own Ears 18.30pm
With a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame already secured alongside a National Book Award and an armful of honorary degrees, Patti Smith probably doesn’t ‘need’ our endorsement at this point. Nonetheless, we think it goes without saying that her performance at Field Day is set to be one of the clear highlights. On a Sunday bill which includes many younger artists likely inspired by her, Smith will perform her seminal 1975 debut ‘Horses’ – a record which landed at the intersection of Punk and Rock & Roll with poetic flair and a vitally needed feminine touch. With her band – many of whom she’s played with since the 70’s, the nearly septuagenarian singer/poet will belt out the timeless likes of ‘Gloria’, ‘Redondo Beach’ and ‘Kimberly’ with a level of wit and vigour that many of her younger contemporaries would struggle to emulate.
Mumdance – Saturday, i-D Mix 15.40pm
If we were to give out awards for the first half of 2015 there’s a strong chance Jack Adams would crop up towards the top in several categories. After speaking to him a few months back, he’s gone on to have a bumper year so far – with career milestones arriving on a seemingly weekly basis. EP’s and mini albums with frequent collaborators Novelist and Logos have shown Adams’ finger to be squarely on the pulse of the dancefloor, whilst his live trio The Sprawl has found him diving head first into his experimental side. The crowning achievement of his year however came in the form of ‘FABRICLIVE 80’ – an entrance into the London club’s vaunted mix series that stood amongst the finest of recent times. Expect him to show the range displayed on that session, with abrasive Grime VIP’s rubbing shoulders with hi-NRG Hardcore, fathoms deep ambience and all manner of imploded Electronica.
Gaz Coombes – Sunday, Shackelwell Arms, 17.40pm
Responsible for some of the most jubilantly catchy musical depictions of adolescence ever recorded as a member of Supergrass, Gaz Coombes has enjoyed a rewarding solo career in recent years. His second solo album, ‘Matador’, landed at the start of the year to a level of acclaim that may finally see him emerge from the shadow of his former band. Laden with melodies and hooks, the record is underscored by a level of a lyrical introspection and stylistic experimentation that slyly pushes it towards excellence.
Hookworms – Sunday, Shackelwell Arms 18.50pm
Toeing a similar line between functionality and chaos are six piece Hookworms. Known only by their initials, the North Yorkshiremen have remained resolutely ambivalent in the face of acclaim since they emerged at the turn of the decade, insisting the group is no more than a hobby to them. Despite this assertion, there’s nothing casual about their music – a heady infusion of scuzzed out Spacemen 3 influence drone blended with harmonies that oscillate between engulfing melancohly and boundless joy. Riding high off rave reviews for last year’s full length ‘The Hum’, the group will be given a prime slot on the Sunday.
Madlib – Saturday, Resident Advisor 18.15pm
A rather incongruous presence amidst some of the dancier fare on Saturday’s programme, Madlib is nonetheless no doubt a huge draw for many set to attend Field Day. Although the Stones Throw lynchpin will be familiar to many through his classic work as Quasismoto and with MF Doom, as well as last year’s crossover success with Freddie Gibbs, you’d be well advised against expecting any of the hits when he steps on the 1’s and 2’s. Instead his DJ sets are the logical extension of his rampant crate digging, just as likely to feature frazzled Brazilian Psych as they are ear splitting Punk. The Beat Konducta might not play to the crowd, but in spinning for himself he’s landed on something infinitely more satisfying.
Daniel Avery b2b Andrew Weatherall – Saturday, Bugged Out! 13.45pm
As b2b pairings go, you’d be hard pressed to find a more natural pairing than the one that will be greeting punters early doors on the Saturday. Musical sparring partners for nearly five years now, living legend Weatherall evidently heard something of himself in the, “gimmick free machine funk” Avery has been churning out since the turn of the decade. The ‘Drone Logic’ man for his part has long displayed a spiritual kinsip with his mentor’s free thinking approach to the dancefloor, developing into one of most unique propositions in clubland while curating a series of packed sessions at fabric for his Divided Love night. Packed with left turns, chugging grooves and invigorating drama, their set is set to be less of an amouse bouche than an early entree.
Beyond The Wizards Sleeve – Sunday, Eat Your Own Ears 20.00pm
The long running side project of Dance-Rock crossover specialist Erol Alkan and former Grid member Richard Norris, Beyond The Wizards Sleeve arguably best encapsulates the unique musical aesthetic of Field Day as a festival. Furnished with the functional trappings of electronic music, their re-works or ‘re-animations’ of Indie-Rock songs use beats and blips as a springboard for explorations into the deeper recesses of psychedelia. Able to make the decidedly hit and miss likes of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds sound nothing short of revelatory (see above), theirs is a formula which has stood the test of time. They’ll provide the suitably widescreen warm-up to the Sunday headline set from reunited Shoegaze heroes Ride.
Future Brown – Saturday, i-D mix 19.50pm
Arriving in February of this year, there was much to enjoy about the self-titled debut from Future Brown – although it couldn’t help but feel somewhat less than the sum of its parts. The genre blurring post-globalisation quartet offered an ambitious depiction of contemporary club culture, despite occasionally sounding a little all over the place. In a live context though, the grouping of Fatima Al Qadiri, Nguzunguzu and J-Cush should excel – with the Trap/Grime/Drill/Ballroom/whatever hybrids they’ve fine tuned serving up a smorgasboard of stimulation for the adventurous raver.
Field Day takes place in Victoria Park this weekend, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June. Tickets for Saturday are now sold out, but Sunday tickets can still be bought here.