There’s Music in Them Mountains
Snowball 2013 slated to melt snow and faces
By: Al Jacobs
An outdoor winter festival in the mountains? Don’t worry, the line up burns white hot. Spanning three days and myriad genres, Snowball 2013 is like an inviting mug of hot cocoa after a long winter of indoors-only music.
Pretty Lights is what 21st Century first-class entertainment sounds like. The production boasts a tasteful wobble laced with a tendency toward soul sounds. The result will melt the frost from your eyebrows. Crowned with the Saturday night Snow Ball slot in his home state, we can count on producer Derek Vincent Smith to deliver.
Likewise, Boulder, Colorado-based Big Gigantic will also rattle the homeland. Because the duo (Saxophonist Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken) shouted their instrumental superiority through state-of-the-art sound systems across America, Big G is responsible for livetronica’s advancement over the last couple years. It’s world class dubstep production with a soul, animated through the wailing sax and drums. Look out for them in the Friday night headliner spot, the first of two livetronica acts headlining
A combination livetronica/space funk act, the gentlemen of STS9 put together performances that blur the line between reality and dream world. Sound Tribe’s shows traverse the emotional spectrum, sounding at times, tonally dire with a vague urgency before flowing into triumphant jams. There’s a solid shot that you will glimpse Nirvana (the state of mind) by this show’s end. But that’s why the group’s name is consistently in large print at the top of festival bill’s nationwide. Tribe can’t help but astound.
Perhaps equally astounding is Flying Lotus, who arranges melodies the way Bobby Fisher whooped people’s asses in chess, prodigiously. That’s not to suggest that the Los Angeles producer’s tracks would fly over the crowd’s heads, but that his sound pleases on a primal level. A couple billion years of evolution have conspired to allow you to appreciate the gravity of his multi-genre album Until the Quiet Comes. And he’s sharing it with us. The only advice I have to offer: experience this set by any means necessary.
For those who thrive at mid to lower tempos, Orchard Lounge’s eclectic found beats guide the set through lush sonic landscapes, from rolling grasslands to synth jungles. The set dictates the journey’s mood, gradually ripening toward the richest samples. You will hear more different sounds in this set than a 19th century pioneer heading across Colorado gleaned in his entire life.
And for a more full-on set by a lesser-known act, look out for Robotic Pirate Monkey Friday afternoon. Their sound swings through vocal distortion and dub that laps against the ear drums before tilting sideways. RPM is comfortable with the punctual emptiness that gives way to the beat’s inevitable crunch. The layers stack then strip, adding an element of freshness to each track’s movement.
Friday and Sunday are the strongest days of Snow Ball 2013. Saturday could be a festival in itself, but bookended by the stacked schedules of Friday and Sunday, it’s tough to compete. Look out for the slew of after parties throughout the weekend and make sure to wear a hat so your ears don’t freeze between sets.
Here’s to music in the mountains. I would say, “Bring a coat and a hat,” but everyone in Colorado already knows that, so instead, bring your boogie shoes. Also, stop by the Ray John merch booth and kick it with us.
Snowball Music Festival 2013
Winter Park, CO