Symbiosis Gathering 2016 Retrospective

00_Sector N-707 Cover artwork
The mechanist – Sector N-707
10/11/2016
Spoken Bird - Liquid Soul Mantra Remixed
Spoken Bird – Liquid Soul Mantra Remixed
11/20/2016
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Symbiosis Gathering 2016 Retrospective

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As first timers at Symbiosis 2016, we were given a golden opportunity to experience a music festival at its peak, the prowess of a well oiled beast operating at levels just within control and meshing with the border lands weird and magical.

Amongst the wide selection of summer festival experiences available in the US, Symbiosis Gathering takes the cake for the most comprehensively wild smorgasbord of festival offerings. The plethora of theatrical performers, art installations, and unique stages coupled with the sheer density of music talent and immersive entertainment should make Symbiosis high on anyone’s festival bucket list.

The Woodward Reservoir has hosted the gathering since 2013, and this space has proven to be one of the most unique and alluring aspects of this festival. It is a rare delight to leave your tent in the morning, walk into the festival grounds, and swim to a floating stage equipped with a water slide where you can relax on your floaty and sip your beverage while waking up to the sounds of world-class DJs and performers.

Changing water regulations may pose a dramatic challenge for the festival next year if they are to remain at Woodward Reservoir, so the team behind Symbiosis has been focusing their efforts on a very special solar eclipse gathering in Oregon next year. While Symbiosis 2017 at Woodward is not out of the question, we are certain that we can look forward to an evolution and expansion of the offerings we have seen from Team Symbiosis.

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Juliana Bernstein / Get Tiny Photography

Hedflux dropped loads of fresh new material off his latest release, Soul Science!  Fusing within these groovy Midtempo rhythms, he also fused in psy-tech-funk / breaks classics in his set which really made the whole experience an elevating journey.  This was the first music jam of the gathering, as we arrived late night around 10:30 after a massive entry line that predicted a fully packed weekend of beautiful souls uniting together.  After parking our ride, setting up quickly, and making an exhilarating dash into Lagoon stage, we had already experienced a furthering journey of its own.

Charles The First wowed the crowd on Saturday night with his signature blend of rich synths, eclectic samples from field recordings, and melty, glitchy beats. While he is only 19 years old, he is forging a place for himself alongside the highest echelon of music producers with a unique brand of music that is both highly danceable and highly listenable in any context.

Bird of Prey and Gibson, the masterminds behind Birds of Paradise delivered a tantalizing set of their works outside the duo project. While maintaining their elite standards of production and sound design, this Friday afternoon set echoed the textures found in BoP but went beyond the realms of tropical bass music into a psychedelic journey that would tickle the ears of casual listeners and music production aficionados alike.

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Juliana Bernstein / Get Tiny Photography

Late-night at the Silk Road stage, Dirtwire upped the ante for what we can expect from both live electronic performance and the fusion of musical cultures. The side project from Beats Antique’s David Satori fuses roots americana music with psychedelic squelch and fluid broken beatwork. The skill of David and instrumentalists Even Fraser and Mark Reveley shines with the band’s live performances, while their unique fusion of traditional and futuristic idioms sets them clear apart from any of their contemporaries.

A favorite spot to boogie was The Atoll, Art Boat juiciness!  Dela Moontribe’s set was enlightening.  Fueled with variety in sound such as dope beats found in frequencies of drum and bass grooves, dubstep, grime, and endless deep bass lines, she had the whole crowd going and getting.  A mystical experience was had and found which created great energy release, profound clarity, elevation, and smiles on smiles.

Zoe Jakes’ House of Tarot was an inspiring and artistic experience!  Zoey, who is the choreographer, dancer, music composer, and costume/set designer, has created a magical journey through theatrical performance deeply rooted in ritual and mysteries of human fate and archetypes.  Interactive and engaging creativity was displayed thoroughly and a full capturing effect took place.  Zoe and her crew put on a fascinating performance and belly dance extravaganza within an ever-changing, unique, and exhilarating set design.  Stories and tales were told, get downs were had with the audience, and proper and imaginative presentations were a one of a kind journey.

If you’re not that into house music, it can be a bore. That being said, when it’s the soundtrack to a beach with thousands of beautiful faces dancing in the sunshine, it’s a hard thing not to be into. Desert Hearts took over the Swimbiosis stage on Friday, with non-stop laid back grooves that encourage enough footwork to break a sweat.

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Juliana Bernstein / Get Tiny Photography

spacegeishA kicked off Sunday morning with a drippy, glitch, and psychedelic driven.  Always providing a fresh set, she had the early birds in a dreamy state and flowing further through sultry rhythms, impressive blends, and a soothing touch dosed in bass themes.  Was amazing to experience Art of Bohl and Rez painting away, two dope stylistic painters.  The whole experience was one.  Everything from the beats, to the brush strokes, to the san pedro kicking in, to the dance moves got my morning feeling nourished.

OTT. sunrise set was a memorable moment to be in at the Silk Road Stage, definitely a favorite gem spot.  His twisty brand of psychedelia was the ideal musical offering for the exotic environs, and attendees took note. The floor was packed with a vibrating mass of music heads, who all seemed to writhe slowly as one to the mysterious turns and sparkly dreamscapes which provided a perfect soundtrack to an early Sunday morning that was dark, weird, and beautiful.

Ace Ventura was energizing, nourishing, yet very calming, left me in a trance for the rest of the time being.  It was around 1pm, when midway I found myself floating in the Lake to soothe off further.  The Grotto stage had some serious psytrance on board and this one experience left me floating.  Treavor Moontribe was another stellar and meditative journey which brought clarity and enhancing energy to the flow.

Ivy Lab was gold.  Deep into the night, Ivy Lab provided a full on drum and bass experience that brought some magical elevation and lush landscapes through awe-inspiring frequencies, blends, and overall imaginative set.  High dosed and brightly generating innovative dance dreams throughout the night, they were one spectacular act not to miss.

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Juliana Bernstein / Get Tiny Photography

Stage design was a key element in creating the X-factor of the symbiosis experience.  Each stage offered a different universe for participants to experience that went far beyond the spectacular lighting and production delivered by the festival. However, the lighting design at Symbiosis should not go unnoticed; the sheer firepower displayed at The Fringe Stage was an experience in and of itself, even if seen distantly across the festival reflecting in the water of Woodward Reservoir.

The Silk Road Stage featured a lineup mainly comprised of world fusion and downtempo music, and the atmosphere of the stage was perfectly tailored to the vibrations pumping through the speakers. Fully shaded by a cloth roof, the surroundings were reminiscent of a middle-eastern bazaar. Much of the ground was covered by oriental rugs and tapestries where festival goers were able to extend their bodies and minds with the expansive music, while secret rooms and passageways leading off the main area provided spacial wormholes to accompany the twisting and otherworldly musical offerings

The Juke Lagoon stage created at atmosphere of a swampy bayou, where camouflage netting hung to look like moss, and the DJ booth was positioned on the front porch of a shack that could have been transported straight Mississippi delta. Lighting design was tuned to match, with murky blues and greens washing over the stage and the audience.

The Atoll, one of Symbiosis’ art boat installations, featured a stage that was only accessible by crossing a small expanse of water. The speakers were aimed at a marina filled with floaties that had been piloted from the shore into perfect position to experience musical offerings from the stage. It is thoughtful and creative offerings such as this that make Symbiosis festival a one-of-a-kind experience.

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