We Out Here 2019:
Ones to watch
by Christian and Oskar Jones
We're all set to be covering the inaugural edition of We Out Here, a new festival in Cambridgeshire curated by Gilles Peterson and promising a dazzling array of live music and DJ sets. To help you prepare we've assembled an inexhaustive shortlist of some of the many acts we're excited to witness across the next few days.
Steam Down are a Deptford-based Afrofuturist collective focusing on collective aural exploration between musicians and their audience. They bring their ethos to “communicate through dance and good vibes” to the Saturday evening slot, and if their recent NTS Flesh and Bone session is any indicator of how it’ll go down, it will be a healing experience soundtracked by raw talent and passion.
Two-time MOBO winner and serial collaborator (Sons of Kemet, Floating Points, Zara McFarlane, Soweto Kinch) Moses Boyd brings his own band ‘Exodus’ to We Out Here. From 2016’s breakout ‘Rye Lane Shuffle’ he has only gone from strength to strength, so expect the man himself to pop up in any number of live performances over the weekend, slinging propulsive beats forth into the quiet countryside.
‘Devotion’ was a delightfully off-kilter addition to 2018’s pantheon of great albums. There doesn’t feel like a better setting for what Pitchfork described as “swoon-inducing, scrapbook pop songs” than the idyllic Cambridgeshire location, and seeing it performed live will be beautiful. Curl boss and frequent collaborator Coby Sey brings the cross-genre electronics (having released previously on Whities), so settle in for some feels in unorthodox form.
Tahoe: A 2018 release on Kranky. Produced by Fred Welton Warmsley III under the moniker Dedekind Cut (“Dead-da-ken Cut”)
Virtuosic talent on the keys won’t be sparse on the ground over the coming weekend, but Armon-Jones brings such a smooth sensibility to the fore that new release Icy Roads seems like an understatement. He’s a perfect fit for the night-time stint on the ‘Lush Life’ stage, and like many others represents the cream of UK Jazz talent circulating at the moment: expect appearances elsewhere than his single scheduled performance for sure.
Uniquely combining shattered vocals, shimmering guitars, and soothing electronics, Hewitt’s set will work wonders to remedy some of the more high-energy acts present at the festival. Her music sits on the liminal boundary of ambient and more direct temperaments, with newest release ‘Citrus Paradisi’ wonderfully channelling ‘Rounds’-era Four Tet alongside more prominent vocal performances. Let her lull you into the first full evening of the weekend with a warm glow on the inside.
Whities Showcase: Tasker b2b Minor Science
Nic Tasker’s direction of this Young Turks imprint has so far been incisive and pinpoint-accurate, with Whities heralding releases from Avalon Emerson, Lanark Artefax, upsammy, and many others on the bleeding edge of electronic music. Label member and all-encompassing selector Minor Science joins him for what will be a mind-expanding three hours as they freely range across the musical spectrum.
Blue Lab Beats
Drawing from a wide range of influences including Jazz, Hip-Hop and Funk, Blue Lab Beats are pushing Jazztronica forwards with an arsenal of funk-laden grooves. Having previously remixed tracks for artists such as Dua Lipa and Rag’n’Bone Man, new single ‘Hi There’ shows they have even more tricks up their sleeves with a lead that starts out sounding like it’s comprised of a resampled Gameboy melting away in front of your eyes. Expect a sideways sense of humour blended with ice-cold licks.
Co-Founder of the crate-diggin’ reissue label Melodies International, Lisbon-born Mafalda brings a flair to her DJ sets like few others. Combining a million different flavours of jazz and an encyclopaedic sensibility for oddities that just work, expect high-point explosions of joy which emerge from unexpected directions and unfamiliar tempos.
There’s little that hasn’t been said about Theo Parrish. His impact on the DJs and musicians present at We Out Here is unavoidable, with his legendary ten-year residency at London club Plastic People providing formative experiences for the likes of Floating Points and Four Tet. In addition, he’s run pioneering label ‘Sound Signature’ for over two decades, a project intended to “form a black music at once steeped in the past and hopeful for a better future.” In many ways he’s a godfather to the approach we’ll all be fortunate to enjoy at the festival; a whirlwind of genres, energies, and love for every single tune played. Fireworks will ensue.
Stay tuned for more post-event coverage!
Words by Christian and Oskar Jones