Review| The Cape Town Electronic Music Festival 2013


Cape Town might be seen as a relatively small and nichey market when it comes to the wider scope of electronic excellence, but this doesn’t mean our array of talent is stuck cornered in this enclave. In fact, our artists take this hindrance and let it motivate them, inspire them and provide the push needed to see their faculties globally recognized. Simply put; our electronic musos are the absolute chronic donkey tits. And they like to play loud.


It sucks that CTEMF was forced to be held at one of the most beautiful venues featuring multi directional epic vistas and near perfect weather, but partygoers braved the magnificence this weekend and were rewarded by one of the most spectacularly engaging events to hit the Mother City since the Helen Zille at Mavericks on CCTV footage. One was immediately aware of the slick level of production and attention to detail that is so often a rarity in CT, from the seamless entrance, to the finite design of chill areas, to the ample bar space that made sure every cat and his uncle were doing cart wheels by 10pm. This was an event not seen in Cape Town without a four figure price tag and the need for cocktail dresses and high heels, and here I was rocking tekkies.


The geography of the jol allowed participants to look down on the dance floor from up high, and, arriving at 8pm on Friday, one could see a leviathan of humans moving in unison as if a single entity. Now before I get hippy CapeTonian and very “united by our souls” “our consciousness combined in love”, what I really mean is that there were a thousand people literally vibrating and swaying in perfect symmetry, almost choreographed by the earth shattering bass from Anthea. People were having a great time and letting loose in an urban environment, normally reserved strictly for bushveld tie-dye raves, and padded wall institutions. What the fuck was I watching? Oh yes, the next step in local music evolution.

I was blown away by Anthea’s techy wonder class, and the transition into Sound Sensible was effortless, before the musical juggernauts of Killer Robot entered the fray. Indeed the mothers whose radioactive wombs birthed this electronic gathering; these two shattered ear drums and whipped up a frenzy in a crowd I have seldom seen. By this stage smiles were as plentiful as the bounty of gorgeous Cape women traversing the Breakwater, and what might have been seen as the appropriate time for the event to fizzle, was simply a change from 4th into 5th as the demigod of dance, Richie Hawtin, made his way to the stage to a surprising, if not enjoyable, thunderous applause.


I’m going to stop for a second here. Dear Kilowatt AV, are you Jesus? If bass were a porno, then that rig would be 8 midgets urinating on Asian women. I have never come cross such stomach wrenching low end, coupled with crystal clear intricacies in my life. The whole weekend was majestic and how the authorities who must have heard it in Brackenfell didn’t come running is beyond me! But back onto Hawtin. Starting with somewhat tame tech-house he moved swiftly onto some of his trademark brutal tekno. It was gloriously coupled with mind bending visuals to cap off a transient night of  emphatic musical artistry. I left almost amped for a hangover, but that swiftly dissipated.

Saturday got off to a slow start. I arrived during Ready D, not my personal favourite, but great for merging a more hip hop orientated crowd with other electronic genres. African Storm Soundsystem were a bit of a joke, bad MCing over consecutive Bob Marley tracks was definitely the musical low point of the three days. Crazy White Boy set the sun with soulful African classics and by this stage the floor had filled again and the light mist that sprayed over the sweltering crowd provided a brilliant coolant. And then my personal favourite of the festival: Shangaan Electro. Authentic Limpopo mega house adrenalized through unrivalled energy, mind warping booty shaking and probably the blood of virgins; these okes had never rocked a CT soiree before, but they endeared themselves to the faithful for many moons to come. The crowd was initially flummoxed as to the 175bpm madness, but by the time they hit “One Nine Zero” there were bodies vibrating beyond compare. May this be the dawn of truly uniquely African mega dance that will finally turn ecstasy into a killer? 190bpm; the most fun you can have during a heart attack.


Sibot tore faces apart. Lark’s melodious offerings were a mega hit and Niskerone was… well… Nisker: The drum and bass deity. Sunday was a time for meditation, prayer and a short trip to the Medi Clinic and I was unable to make Sunday but by all accounts it was filled with deep goodness. I have spoken to loads of people and they have said that each DJ played exceptionally well but three names stand out as favourites, the illustrious Black Coffee being the highlight yet again with the energetic Esa and one third of Digital Rockit – G Force claiming the top three sets.


Theres nothing really negative to say. The sponsors were a treat, and Adidas did their name proud. Olmeca and Monster Inspiration headphones inspired a litany of compliments and the organisers can contact me for Craigslist style meet ups in the bushes where we can consummate my love for you. The only time I felt uncomfortable was at the four-way urinals where we were forced to look face-to-face at each other while taking a leak. I think me screaming “Never break eye contact!!!”  at a few fellow patrons might have slightly dampened the mood, but beyond that; perfection. With such growth and improvement from last year I can’t wait for 2014. It’s going to take a lot of work to get better than this.


*Follow @Stroobz on Twitter as he gives belly rings to the elderly, and back massages to unicorns.

**All images used were from Red Bull Mobile (click here for more)

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Rumoured to have the blue-prints for Krang's TechnoDrome, stolen straight from Dimension X, he’s the type of guy who exudes so much coolness that he adds whole countries on Facebook at one time instead of just people. Always up for a party and a Tequila shot or two this is the guy who we always call first, both before and after a night out…