ELEVATE 2018. Austria’s finest festival is bringing together contemporary music, art and politic discussion. Next year will mark it’s second spring edition with DJ Koze, Roman Flügel, Steffi and Mike Servito, only to name a few. Festival, which will take place from February 28 to March 4 in Graz, beautiful town in the hearth of Austrian alps, has just unveiled its full music program and it’s heading towards new shores.
This year, Elevate is launching its new open air stage atop the techno summit on Saturday’s open-air stage at Schlossberg, a magnificent castle on the top of the city, with three of the most distinguished ambassadors of techno: DJ Koze, Roman Flügel and Steffi, who will transform the Kasematten stage into an epicentre for hedonistic techno culture from the early afternoon onwards until just before midnight. The exquisite daytime disco will be kicked off by the Dutch producer Steffi, Berghain Panorama Bar resident, who has been marrying hard-hitting underground techno for quite some time. Roman Flügel, perhaps still fresh on people’s minds as one half of the duo Alter Ego, is responsible for some of the most vibrant club bangers of the 00’s as well as being a DJ live act, label boss, and producer since the 90’s. DJ Koze, one of the most adventurous and consistent techno producers of the 2000s and 2010s, known for his exceptional DJ skills, a bridge-builder between hip hop, schlager, minimal techno, discourse pop and the Kompakt universe, will mark his presence with playing a set of several hours.
On Friday the gates will open to a new A/V-focused portion of the festival which will show four works at the intersection of spatial installation. It will also include a wall of sound and visual arts at the Orpheum. Iceland-based Australian composer and producer Ben Frost will let his cascading, classically minimal and industrial drone -influenced sounds meet the light sculptures of Marcel Weber aka MFO. The Berlin-based lighting designer developed special projectors equipped with movable mirrors for this purpose. Suspended from the ceiling in various places, they scatter light beams and videos on fog patches that replace a frontal cinema screen.
At the Dom im Berg, a tunnel transformed into splendid club, Friday night will be all about hiphop, beats and cloud rap. The artist Nosaj Thing, originally from Korea, will be flown in from sunny California and will grace Graz with a laser show that creates a kind of temporary sculpture of light and fog to accompany highly advanced club sounds, wide-ranging basses, and flashy hiphop cuts. For those who missed his performance this summer in Ljubljana’s cultural institution Kino Šiška, here comes the young shooting star Cakes da Killa from Brooklyn, who, rapping at Busta Rhymes-speed, has been conjuring up the fingernail-coloured brilliance of a queer avant-garde in US hip-hop since 2015. Also on stage: The newcomer and Flying Lotus protege Iglooghost and the South London keyboard player and producer Kamaal Williams.
The second stage, the Tunnel, which was also once used as air-raid shelters, will provide a space for acid, techno and wave. Making their Austrian debut, for example, the resident of the New York club The Bunker Mike Servito and the co-founder of the Discwoman collective Emma Olson aka Umfang, who has been fighting the still-to-be-widely-acknowledged exclusive male power in contemporary club culture with amorphous, polyrhythmic techno. We are also looking forward to the detailed, eruptive sound designs of the young technically extremely agile producer and DJ Objekt.
On Saturday, Dom Im Berg will host Jack Revill aka Jackmaster, a second most sought-after DJs in the world according to Resident Advisor. Equally crucial to this lineup is the Italian techno pioneer Marco Passarani, known also as half of the disco duo Tiger & Woods. Another vital part of the label night is Errorsmith, who will be packing his first album after a 13-year hiatus.
Besides music, festival will have a diverse program in political discourse as well. It will be focused on two fundamental terms of the modern age: risk and courage. Both stand for personal responsibility, progress and engagement. Among the first confirmed speakers of this year’s Elevate discourse programme is the controversially discussed Wikileaks activist Julian Assange, who will be speaking via live video stream from the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he lives in political exile for more than five years. The conference will feature also British journalist Sarah Harrison, Civil rights lawyer Renata Avila, Angela Richter and others.