Better late than never right? So two weekends ago I attended the New Forms Festival in Vancouver with a couple of my favorites, Ziad and Tom. I snagged this quick description of what the New Forms Festival actually is in case you don’t know much about them:
New Forms Media Society is a non-profit society and media arts organization founded in 2000 that nurtures and connects local and international arts, science and grassroots communities through the annual New Forms Festival.
By promoting Canadian Artists in collaboration with the international arts and technology world, the NFF facilitates multimodal art works and engages in discussion on their role in our cultural environment. Since its inception, an integral element of the NFF is the recognition of independent and groundbreaking artists; the NFF aims to showcase and increase awareness of these artists and their work within our community and beyond by promoting them within a larger milieu.
So essentially, it’s a music and art festival that centralizes around electronic music. I was really excited to attend New Forms for 2 primary reasons:
1. The music curation this year was impeccable.
2. I thought it would be a good opportunity to see, and be a part of, the local electronica scene in a constructive way. Eg: Not be on drugs and still manage to have a good time.
I really need to emphasize how amazing the music curation was. It was incredible. There were two main rooms at the campus venue that played very different, but complimentary music in a very open setting. The larger room, The Hanger, was a little tough sound wise… but i’m sure that was only because of the huge ceilings and massive concrete walls. It was pretty echoey at times but overall tolerable.
Friday night I was pretty choked that I missed seeing Cloudface play. I have been following him for about 6 months now and even though he’s a local producer, he doesn’t play public shows very often. #nessafail. I did however, get to catch Actress play an unexpected progressive set. I was prepared to hear more experimental stuff from him and was a little caught off guard from his set; I still really enjoyed it though.
The A/V installations were also really beautiful. In the smaller room the wall projections actually integrated with a camera somewhere in the room that picked up motion from the crowd. So if you waved your arms to the music in the right spot you would see a kaleidoscope of arms explode on the wall in a variety of colors; trippy mane. Another memorable install was a drawing machine that could recreate any inputed image with a single continuous line that never crossed itself. My favorite install, however, was this pitch black room that echoed low frequency bass over a wood mulch covered floor. The artist pumped the room full of fog and instructed us to go in armed with a softly lit flashlight to explore the space. It felt like you were stepping into a different world with no sense of how big or small the room was.
Saturday afternoon I went to The Waldorf for a showcase curated by Jellyfish Recordings. A beautiful sunny day + a man made beach + a beer garden + live music = bliss. I was a little confused about the $15 charge for non-wristband attendees though. Isn’t the point of a showcase supposed to be about getting as much exposure for these up and coming artists as possible? Anyways, my favorite artist from the showcase was hands down 8prn. His set was pretty chill and downtempo for the relaxed afternoon vibe but managed to sneak in some surprises to keep the crowd moving.
Saturday night was a big deal musically, but the crowd seemed substantially smaller then Friday for whatever reason. My highlight was most definitely Sinjin Hawke, i’m in love with his style. Even though he played his most recent Boiler Room set song for song (which I have memorized because i’ve listened to it so many times) it was still impressive to see him play a full laptop-free set. Canblaster and Kode 9 were great as well but I couldn’t help but dwell on Sinjin’s set for the rest of the night because he was pretty much the main reason I decided to attend the festival.
With such great musical curation you would expect that the event would be a sell out? Not so. Ziad and I didn’t even know about the festival until a week or so before it was set to start. I think if there were flyers, posters, a stronger social media presence… anything really could have helped this festival. There were also so many friends I knew would have loved to attend but found out about it much too late. If anyone from New Forms actually reads this, hire me for the Marketing/Communications team next year! I’m serious.
Conclusion: Would I go back to New Forms next year? If the music curators keep doing what they’re doing, definitely.
*All event photos were taken by Ziad for Salacious Sound. Check out their review of New Forms here.