If you don’t have a lot of time, and just want a quick synopsis to illustrate WIFM (what’s in it for me?), then you should know it’s an equal parts audio/visual spectacle hosted in a big old post office in Houston where you can see crazy awesome shit like this:
Did that get your attention? Good, now I don’t have to explain that this isn’t Coachella or Bonnaroo and it isn’t trying to be. It is it’s own thing, and likely a direction you’ll see more festivals moving towards in the coming years. No need to wait, though, as it’s all ready to go next month in Houston.
Also, you did read that correctly, the event is hosted at the Barbara Jordan Post Office, composed of 1.5 million square feet of indoor and outdoor space where the lighting artists will build out their projects and where you will go from everyday adult to a wide-eyed curious kid.
If that little snippet was enough to do it for you, go ahead and purchase your ticket here and I’ll see you in Houston. If you need and/or want a little more coaxing, then please do read on.
The audio portion of Day for Night is a diverse list of names spanning several generations and seemingly innumerable genres. It is at the same time heavy-hitting with the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Jesus Lizard to the ethereal soft and weird of Of Montreal and James Blake, there’s a little something for everybody and for those with broader musical tastes, there is a lot to love. Also? Day for Night boasts a strong showing of female-centered and female led acts, which is a far cry and vast improvement on the seeming industry standard sausage party that is a typical festival schedule. Even if you narrow the lineup down to exclusively females, there’s still a great amount of variety. And En Vogue. I’ve opted to highlight five names from the lineup, shows that you really shouldn’t miss.
1. Jamie xx
Just listen to ‘Gosh,’ five minutes of a lush sonic fabric weaving together a smorgasbord of vocals with a marching beat and steady bass line, creating something oozing with equal parts nostalgia and innovation, and you’ll have a glimpse at the brilliance of Jamie xx. The lead track on his landmark debut two years ago, ‘In Colour,’ sets a precedent for the rest of the album, an immediate crazily high watermark that he manages to stay above for the remainder of the album.
His live show’s lighting production typically involves several disco balls and alternating white and rainbow spots makes for a perfect match with Day for Night’s aesthetic. His live sets typically feature a variety of music from his catalog of original material and remixes, with a few additional tracks seemingly selected by throwing a dart at a map of a record store.
See also: Mount Kimbie, Marcus Marr
2. Nina Kraviz
If for whatever reason Nina Kraviz’s record label suddenly becomes unpopular and she doesn’t feel performing anymore, the Russian producer/DJ can always fall back on her training as a dental hygienist to get by. But given her Trip label’s success and her own growing popularity, appearing on an increasing number of tour dates and festival line-ups, it seems like a safe bet that she can keep producing and playing her addictive, dark house for the foreseeable future.
See also: DJ Tennis, Rezz
3. Laurie Anderson
If you have even a passive like of electronic music, then you’ll likely owe Laurie Anderson a thank you (card). She is not EDM, she does not make house music, nor does she fit in with her 70’s electronic music peers, Kraftwerk. Listen through ‘O Superman’ and you’ll find her music is a different kind of animal altogether. The composition, the lyrics, the beat, it’s all well out of the ordinary now as it was when it came out in 1982. At the time, she may as well have been from another planet. Given the still rampant lack of woken in computer science, in combination with music’s perpetual sausage party, the song is a testament to her impressive skills and results with less or none of the same support afforded to her male peers.
See also: Gas, Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois
In terms of metaphor, Phantogram may be one of the more apt names on the Day for Night lineup. Touring after their album that examined the fallout of losing a best friend and sister to suicide, digging the light/dark relationship of life and death, and the importance each plays in defining the other, it all seems appropriately day and night. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter of Phantogram also keep a toe in two parallel worlds, much like the distinct crowds that Day for Night aims to bring together: the festival crowd and the people who attend gallery openings. With a string of fashion collabs and appearances at various fashion events and openings, it’s a wonder that Phantogram didn’t come up with the idea of Day for Night first.
See also: Kimbra, St. Vincent
Imagine living in the shadow of Mother Theresa or Madonna or Oprah Winfrey. Your efforts and choices would constantly be compared to theirs, and because you are not that person, people would likely see that as a shortcoming or even a failure. Now, consider if all of three of those people were wrapped into one, and that one person was your sister, Beyonce. In Solange’s position, many people might flounder in an attempt to replicate the energy of their sibling, or even decide to do something completely unrelated to music, but thankfully she is a stronger, more confident person than that. Not only has she pursued her passion in music, but she’s managed to create something poignant and vital that very much stands on its own. She created an album that defies comparison, even outsmarts it. With two opportunities to witness the Houston native live, including an appearance Friday night with Saint Heron, you will have ample chances to see why she so obviously deserves a seat at the table.
See also: En Vogue, Jessy Lanza
The fine folks at Day for Night put together a Spotify playlist (Much to Thom Yorke’s chagrin, I assume) to assist you in getting familiar with everybody on the lineup:
I’m not gonna lie, this area is not my strong suit. I have a keen interest, but not a lot of knowledge about the artists and what their usual chosen media looks like. What I do know is that the festival’s lineup page is a very informative and easy-to-use tool to get to know any of the names on the lineup.
Except for Cocolab. I looked into their work and I’m excited to see what they bring to the table. The still below is taken from their White Canvas exhibit, exploring the relationship between light and dark.
For more of the visual component, take a look below at the recap video for last year’s festival.
Day for Night 2016 Recap Video
I work, live and play in Minneapolis.
I try to tell the story of the people that create music and experiences through pictures as well as through words.