With six venues, more than 80 artists (visual and aural alike) and thousands upon thousands of eager electronic enthusiasts, the energy at this year's Decibel Festival — spanning four overcast days (September 14-17) in Seattle, Wash. — was palpable.
Whether you planned to purchase access at the door or were one of the many advance ticket-holders, lines were everywhere. They were bearable lines, mind you, because the audio experience began before you ever entered the venue, with pulsating tunes provided by the many sponsors. Inside, it was all heat, packed flesh and fast-flying colors splashed across innumerable screens by the evening's resident visual host. And if you wanted ambient, dub, tech-soul or future-jazz, all options were available simultaneously. Just wander from one venue to another, and it's there: Lusine and Apparat here, Jacob London & Claude VonStroke there, Thomas Fehlmann on the other side and even Green Velvet down the street.
Telefon Tel Aviv offered the full range of its talents to enraptured attendees at the Headfuk Showcase V3, from the couch-cozy feel of “Fahrenheit Fair Enough,” with its lush synth beginning, to the perfect genre-melding mash-ups of Aaliyah's “Try Again” (Timbaland's “…step to, step to…” perfectly syncopated) and Ciara's “1, 2 Step.” Those are oldies-but-goodies for the long-time fan, but the group also provided something with a little familiarity for the curious hipster.
Beyond the nightly music and visual displays, Decibel also presented an educational element in the form of the DB Conference, a daylong clinic with workshops on the likes of Propellerhead Reason 3, Digidesign Pro Tools for the laptop and Ableton Live 6. To top it off, the DB Conference also held several panels, such as “Music Discovery and Distribution in the Digital Age,” which included Jeff Owens, label manager for Ghostly/Spectral Sound and Leo Parker Dirac, director of technology for RealNetworks/Rhapsody.
Decibel Festival's holistic approach to the electronic music festival was much appreciated and enjoyed by seemingly all in attendance. After three years, it's anyone's guess as to where this Pacific Northwest festival will be three more years down the road. Attendees have now come to expect great things, so without a doubt, the noise around this event will only continue to grow.