Now in it’s second year, Sunfall Festival is developing a reputation as one of the best day festivals in a city with some fierce competition for that title. Curated by the brains behind Dimensions Festival and Outlook Festival, this year see’s the Brockwell Park event try to carve out it’s own corner on the festival circuit as the premiere event for underground electronic music.
This year, there’s a noticeable effort to step up their game with regards to bookings. With a real emphasis on legendary cult figures, the organisers have secured performances from the likes of jazz legend Roy Ayers and Chicago House music royalty Larry Heard, as well as a slew of home grown talent such as Giles Peterson, Ben UFO and a debut live solo performance from Floating Points.
Of course, with Sunfall Festival, it’s about more than just the day event. Due in part to the organisers ties with some of the best clubs in the city, we’re lucky to be treated to some pretty outstanding after parties at Phonox, XOYO, The Bussey Building, Corsica Studios & lots more.. Line up considered, you can’t really go too far wrong this year.. But we’ve whittled down a few acts that we can seriously recommend setting a reminder for.
Motor City Drum Ensemble
Many people reading, including myself, will have only properly discovered Danilo Plessow’s soulful disco & house stylings from his stand-out Dekmental set on Boiler Room.. However, he made his name as a master of soulful groove with the now seminal “Raw Cuts” series. A handful of tracks that cemented the German producer as a master curator of the funkiest samples from the world of Jazz, Soul, Funk, Hip Hop & House. The years have rolled by and the Raw Cuts tracks are still some of the most sought after Vinyl’s you can buy, and MCDE has become a seriously revered selector. We’re very much looking forward to checking this one out as the sun sets on the main stage..
Undoubtedly, one of the most ‘in form’ producers of the past few years. Sam Shepherds moniker has become a by-word for classy, intelligent, innovative & technically stunning pieces of music. Or potentially, compositions, describes it better. It’s when you realize that this guy is essentially a DJ, and also a qualified Neuroscientist, that you start to see the bigger picture of how his music transcends both club culture & hyper-critical, Guardian reader types. His previous live performances (Notably, the award winning Maida Vale session) have been backed by ensembles and orchestra players, but the Sunfall Festival set is billed as a solo live show & we’re fully excited to see what that involves..
Easily the most eye-catching name on the line-up, Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers is bringing his phenomenal live set to this year’s edition of Sunfall. The Chicago-based producer has been operating for three decades and has forged a reputation as one of the most influential deep house artists in history. Having taken a break from performing live, Mr Fingers brought the roof down at the Clearing at last year’s Dimension Festival in Pula and this summer he will return to play live in London for the first time in twenty years.
Growing up in the Windy City, Heard’s productions often contain a mesmerising blend of squelchy synths and gospel vocals that revert back to house music’s roots in disco. In terms of essential pre-set listening, Can You Feel it and The Sun Can’t Compare are two good starting points. Slightly less well known, but equally impressive, his self-titled EP, Mr Fingers, is a timeless classic that epitomises Heard’s ability to produce music that retains its sense of futurism. Mr Fingers will be closing the Main Stage at Sunfall. This is not one to sleep on.
Jay Donaldson (Palms Trax) is someone who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the previous 18 months. A man who holds the elusive talent of being both a great selector and producer. Characterised by utilising the pads in his production, Palms Trax has released on both London record label, Lobster Theremin and Dutch juggernaut Dekmantel. His most recent release, Honey Lemongina, has been tipped to be one of the songs of the summer. This track epitomises everything good about this artist as it playfully combines house and disco influences
His rise to prominence could be attributed, to some degree, to his outstanding set on the Boiler Room stage at Dekmantel last year. His sets move seamlessly through the genre and the man himself prides himself on never playing a bad track. Palms Trax is an astonishing selector and be sure that his set at Sunfall will contain little-known disco gems that will stick in your head and provide the soundtrack for your summer. Palms Trax is performing on the South Stage, b2b with Rush Hour founder and DJ extraordinaire, Antal. Be sure that this display will showcase music from all across the electronic musical spectrum.
Many reading this probably wouldn’t have been too familiar with the Berlin based Korean DJ, Peggy Gou a few years ago. After moving to London in her teens to learn English, completing a university course in fashion and finally moving to Berlin, Peggy has picked up a lot – networking and fine tuning her ear rootlessly drifting between such musically significant cities.
With early mentors such as Highlife’s Esa and Nu Guinea – her organic blend of funk, soul and more noticeably African poly-rhythms emanate throughout all her productions and add a unique twist to her sets travelling though and combining techno, electro and balearic beats. Her adaptability has made her one of the most versatile around right now featuring for Numbers, Paradise DC-10 and Dekmantel in the space of a month, finishing the year up at Jazz:Re:Found in Turin. Catch Peggy at this year’s Sunfall at Brockwell Park and later the same evening at Numbers’ take over at Village Underground.
Words by Ollie Subhedar, Aidan Grant, Warren Cummings