Published Apr 05, 2014There's something to be said for taking a week off during a music festival, to come back mentally and physically refreshed, and the renewed energy was palpable at 99 Sudbury for the first night of the closing weekend of Foundry 2014. Presented in collaboration with Resident Advisor, the night in store for Foundry-goers was another solid night of live techno featuring local and international producers. The festival's set-dressers had again draped the walls in black fabric and the visual accompaniment this week was switched up with multiple red strip lights, not unlike a flattened Dan Flavin installation.
First up were the Canadian trio of Kevin McPhee, David Patterson and Michael Krochak, known for their How Does It Make You Feel (HDIMYF) nights, who played an epic set from the doors opening until the main visiting act. The set never peaked, showing great restraint while building anticipation for Swedish duo Skudge.
Analog gear dominated the night, and for none more so than Skudge, who augmented their driving rhythms with some syncopated swing in a tasteful set that had a real sense of fun to it. As some house-like vocal treatments were brought in halfway through the set, the house lights came on, illuminating the crowd in an awkward and intimate moment, far from the cliché of dark, faceless techno. The minimal visuals were used to great effect, changing colour in sync with the breakdowns.
It didn't take German producer Shed — known as much for his EPs on 50 Weapons as his albums on Ostgut Ton — much time to change gears after taking to the stage. Early on in the set, his banging workmanlike techno was pierced by the persistent sound of a train's alarm bell, which kept the tension high and curiosity piqued. The most impressive thing about Shed's set was how he managed to keep a constant swing underneath the music, at times getting an almost 1920s jazz swing going under the driving beats.
All in all it was a great night that formed part of an ambitious festival schedule in a city that is too much in the clutches of developers, bureaucracy and half-baked artistic practice. For that, Foundry should be commended.