Moogfest is a tribute to the late, great Bob Moog, whose mark in the world is one I deeply admire. He created modular voltage-controlled analog synthesizer systems to the forefront in the early 1950s. Moogfest is a music festival that began in 2006 to celebrate his life and legacy. The festival offers a nice selection of innovative electronic, indie pop, and hip-hop artists to choose from.

It’s my kind of music festival – short and sweet. I had the opportunity to spend two lovely days in the Appalachian city of Asheville, NC the weekend before Halloween. Also, there’s extra charm to the festival when 75% of the crowd is dressed in Halloween costumes. Loved it.

The lineup this year included big electronic music staples like Squarepusher, Orbital, Four Tet, and Richie Hawtin to name just a few. Also some notable hip-hop acts like El-P, GZA, Nas, and Death Grips as well as some indie pop like Santigold, Miike Snow, and Cold Cave.

Although I was able to check out several shows throughout the festival, there were a few acts that left a lasting impression (which I never expected). Firstly, Exitmusic, who played at the Diana Wortham Auditorium a venue I initially thought to be just an art museum. It was so quiet I thought surely I was in the wrong place. It ended up being one of the best shows, thanks to the intimate setting and a nice sound system that rattled my collar bones on the low end. Exitmusic’s thoughtful music arrangements were beautifully simple and perfect to frame the incredible voice of singer Aleksa Palladino. So guttural and then soaring and overall incredibly powerful, you cannot believe it is coming from this lovely girl. It was the right venue for a show like this that requires the unyielding attention they received. Top shelf, you guys.

On the opposite pole, Death Grips. Wow. Blew my brain clean out of my head. You didn’t have to be a fan of hip-hop or punk rock or music or anything to dig this. The performance was pure unadulterated energy that did not recess for more than half a second. Death Grips provided an electrifying mix of driving rhythms, adrenaline pumping sonic textures, and sweaty funk that had the whole club (thank you Orange Peel) jumping and waving their fists. This show made more mainstream hip-hop acts seem like wedding singers. So thankful that I checked it out.

Directly after the Death Grips show, I was pretty spent and in need of something a little more soothing. So off I went to recline in the back from elevated seats at the Four Tet show. It was exactly what I needed, full of smooth, clean melodies and a little bit of a surprising dance beat since I had yet to check out the new album Pink. It transcended through what you might normally expect from house music through Four Tet’s trademark style, inventively drawing from other music genres. This set was a perfect ending to the festival – easy to digest and gorgeous.

– Submitted by Anida Gurlit, Music Design