Entering its tenth year, Seattle, Washington's Decibel Festival is often mentioned alongside festivals like Montreal's Mutek as a shining example of what a "curated" festival should be. Like Mutek, Decibel both brings international talent to the city and showcases the local scene, happening across several local venues and bringing a daytime conference with panels and production classes (featuring artists including Kode9) in addition to nighttime showcases and afternoon boat parties. This year's festival will be taking place September 25 through 29. To keep up with Earmilk's Decibel mischief, follow Alyce (@notalyce) and Raquel (@Ooh_Raquel) on Twitter.
To celebrate Decibel's tenth year, we've got a giveaway for one reader: a pair of tickets to the Nicolas Jaar & Friends showcase (with Mount Kimbie and Phaeleh) at Showbox Sodo on Friday, September 27. Enter below, and reload the page if you don't see the contest.
It's hard not to put Nicolas Jaar's mixes on endless rotation. His BBC Radio 1Essential Mix last year was selected as Essential Mix of the Year, and he doesn't seem to be slowing down in 2013, with a new LP in the works alongside Dave Harrington as Darkside (the two have also joined forces on past EPs and worked together on a remix album of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories). Although Jaar's Essential Mix is arguably his most popular, we just can't get over how sensual his live mix at Sonar Lab in June 2012 continues to be over a year later. We'd recommend turning this one on next time you've somehow managed to bring a date home, but it's also a pretty good indication of what a live Nicolas Jaar set promises to bring. -Alyce
Catch him at Decibel: Wednesday, 9/25, 11:30 p.m. @ Q: Like Klockwork with Light Year, South London Ordnance
Debuting in Seattle and even hosting his own showcase, Ben Klock undoubtedly earns his place as one of this year's must-see acts on our Decibel list. Helping establish prominent record label Ostgut Ton and even emerging his very own Klockworks imprint that encompasses a forward-thinking kind of sophistication, there's no wonder why his name constantly comes up when discussing important models within techno music's recent history. With so many mixes to choose from, we had to go with the most recent live mix he gave as a free download from his latest Klubnacht set at Berghain, which served as a thank you to all his fans for hitting 100,000 likes on Facebook (a celebration Earmilk recently took part in too!). Mixed to perfection and full of his signature hypnotic sounds that often send crowds over the edge, this hour and forty-five minute recording is only a fraction of the actual set in its entirety. For as most techno geeks already know, a DJ set in true Klock fashion runs for at least half the night. Enjoy! -Raquel
I may be a techno brat now, but before dance music made its way into my heart, I spent far more time curled up in my room blasting the shoegaze of Slowdive, Chapterhouse, and My Bloody Valentine. Like an Ulrich Schnauss with more danceable sensibilities, London's Max Cooper's DJing and production hearkens back to the layered emotionality of shoegaze while sounding totally appropriate at the club. Pretty much any mix by Max Cooper is a sure bet, but we went with his seamless, deep live mix from Awakenings festival in the Netherlands for this preview, blending originals, edits, and other favorites. From his signature twinkling, ethereal sound to deeper, darker moments (like when he drops his own track "Miocene"), we couldn't think of a better man to catch at the afterparty. -Alyce
Catch him at Decibel: Thursday, 9/26, 11 p.m. @ The Crocodile: Resident Advisor Showcase with Actress, Natasha Kmeto, Ghost Feet
If you're up for some lo-fi electronic music put together in a breathtaking fashion sure to sweep you off your feet, allow me to direct you to Lapalux. Hailing from Essex, his music has kept my ears perked up ever since I picked up the Some Other Time EP he released on Brainfeeder last year. With a mix characterized by a couple of my favorite earlier Lapalux tracks, various slow jams, and an all-around easy-listening vibe perfect for any leisured occasion, it was a no-brainer to pick the eclectic mix he compiled for BBC Radio 1. Short and sweet, this little gem will have your head daydreaming from beginning to end. So take your shoes off, put your headphones on, lay back, and enjoy some relaxing "me-time" with Lapalux's musical choices ringing through your ears. -Raquel
Catch him at Decibel: Saturday, 9/28, 10 pm, at Showbox at the Market: Cosmic Adventures with The Orb, Juan Atkins.
Copenhagen's Tomas Barfod's LP, Salton Sea, released on Los Angeles label Friends of Friends last year, was a definite classic, bridging gaps between the dancefloor and headphone-listenability at every turn. That album made it onto our Top Albums of 2012 list at #12, with good reason. But he's not just a great producer: he's also a perfectionist when it comes to crafting mixes. We first fell in love with his XLR8R mix, and then his Little White Earbuds mix (no longer available for listening online) totally blew us away. More recently, he crafted this mix for Get Physical radio, the podcast run by M.A.N.D.Y. Although he'd be equally well-suited for a beach party, we trust the versatile Barfod to kill it on indoor opening duties for legends Juan Atkins and The Orb during Decibel. -Alyce
Catch him at Decibel: Saturday, 9/28, 3:30 a.m. @ Neumos: Kompakt 20 After-Hours with John Tejada, Thomas Felhmann
One of the artists who makes me jump with joy—and surely the blame for many stomach knots I get from excitement thinking about Decibel Festival—is seasoned radio veteran Matias Aguayo, managing to stand out in a pool full of great talent. Born in Santiago de Chile during the ruling '70s, he's witnessed many tidal waves of music come and go and surely crafted a sound from different eras and varied music scenes that help make sense of his unique and addictive radio podcasts that never go out of style. Out of all his radio segments and live mixes, it was the "Radio Cómeme Veneno 07 - Bang The Party" podcast that outdid the rest. Featuring an especially good dose of party music that makes you feel like you are traveling inside a disco ball through eras of past and futuristic times, this psychedelic ride full of twists and mash-ups has groovy and banging written all over it—quite literally. Compiled from vinyl he picked up while traveling across the world, unknown artists he discovered over the web, and releases by some of his favorite musicians, press play and enjoy the adventures Matias Aguayo welcomes us to join. -Raquel