26-28.07.2019   Płock/Poland

Black Sun Empire

Black Sun Empire

When the Utrecht-based trio of Rene Verdult and brothers Micha and Milan Heyboer chose their artist alias, they couldn’t have known it would manifest itself as a destiny to be fulfilled. But for Black Sun Empire, their title has become their fate. Known to many as the leaders of the harder, heavier and more experimental end of drum & bass, Black Sun Empire has grown into more than an artist project. Now Black Sun Empire and its offshoot, Blackout, is a record label and events empire with a reach that stretches across the globe and has seen its three-man namesake spearhead a whole generation of new artists.

Black Sun Empire began making music together in 1993, but it wasn’t until drum & bass reached its peak in the mid-‘90s that the trio truly found their footing. In that formative period, Black Sun Empire drew heavy inspiration from the darker side of the genre, a movement pioneered by London-based imprints like No U Turn, Grooverider’s Prototype Recordings and Ed Rush & Optical’s Virus label. By the time the Internet revolution opened a path for non-UK drum & bass acts to be fully embraced by the scene, Black Sun Empire had perfected their craft and began to deliver a distinct and different sound that they could truly call their own.

Since then the Netherlands residents have recorded no less than six studio albums, crafting anthems such as The Sun, Arrakis, Feed the Machine and Dawn of a Dark Day in the process. Through their label and event brand Blackout they have helped to build and shape the careers of some of the drum & bass scene’s most respected names. Having launched Blackout as an offshoot of Black Sun Empire Recordings in 2010, the trio has given a platform for releases from Noisia, The Upbeats, Phace & Misanthrop, Mefjus, State of Mind, Neonlight, Pythius and Rido, to name just a handful.

Meanwhile, with their own tours, and the trailblazing events arm of their empire, Black Sun have heavily toured the globe. Constantly in demand in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America, the trio are relentless in bringing their music to their growing legion of fans. Through their Blackout events at iconic venues like Fabric and The Melkweg and performing at the world’s biggest festivals such as Glastonbury, EDC Las Vegas, Lowlands and Pukkelpop, Black Sun Empire have a reputation for uncompromising dance-floor pressure that is second to none.

Beyond Blackout, Black Sun Empire’s name rings out to the wider musical world. Having collaborated with the great and the good from the drum & bass scene – everyone from Noisia and Audio to Cause4Concern and Concord Dawn – the trio have also infused their discography with a healthy dose of outside influences. Names like Foreign Beggars, Virus Syndicate and Dope D.O.D. which will be familiar to hip hop and grime fans, while collaborations with New Zealand-based singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver and Belgian composer Inne Eysermans show another side to Black Sun Empire’s multifaceted musicality.

Emperors of their own self-built domain, Black Sun Empire’s reach and influence cannot be underestimated. The trio reign over a musical realm that now encompasses a roster of the most exciting artists that the heavier side of drum & bass has to offer and an events arm that delivers their vision directly to a growing, dedicated fan base. While you can be assured that Black Sun Empire will continue their expansion across the globe, it’s clear to see that they have already fulfilled the destiny which their namesake bestowed upon them.

FJAAK live

FJAAK live

FJAAK, the Berlin-based trio of hardware heads, have been constantly making a name for themselves over the last half a decade. Having grown up together in Spandau on the outskirts of Berlin, Felix Wagner, Aaron Röbig and Kevin Kozicki began quite early to create all different kinds of music before ending up taking on the city’s heritage – techno – to make it their own. It was back then in 2009 at ‘Gewerbe 15’, their 50 qm shared flat studio, where they started to develop their very own distinct sound.

The trio first cut their teeth in the electronic music scene by organizing illegal raves in and around Berlin, which eventually led them to run their own techno series – Machine Vibes. Based on all hardware setups and vinyl only sets, the series took them not only to clubs beyond the German capital’s borders but all over Europe, steadily growing their reputation and fanbase.

2014 marked the turning point of FJAAK’s career, when 50Weapons bosses Modeselektor decided to take the young trio under their wings. The start of a promising collaboration which saw them release five critically acclaimed EPs on the label within one and a half years, whilst incessantly travelling the world.

Despite their young age FJAAK have played over 200 live shows, spreading their elaborate analogue sound all around the globe. From Los Angeles to Beijing, from SXSW back to Berghain, FJAAK were there to deliver what has become their trademark: raw, naturally crafted techno!

Jon Hopkins live

Jon Hopkins live

Jon Hopkins’ new album, Singularity, his first since 2013’s Immunity, was released in May 2018 on Domino Records.

Singularity begins and ends on the same note: a universe beginning, expanding, and contracting towards the same infinitesimal point. Where Immunity – his hypnotic breakthrough LP – charted the dark alternative reality of an epic night out, Singularity explores the dissonance between dystopian urbanity and the green forest. It is a journey that returns to where it began – from the opening note of foreboding to the final sound of acceptance.

Shaped by his experiences with meditation and trance states, the album flows seamlessly from rugged techno to transcendent choral music, from solo acoustic piano to psychedelic ambient. Its epic musical palette is visceral and emotionally honest: with a destructive opener full of industrial electronics and sonic claustrophobia and a redemptive, pure end on solo piano, this album reflects the psychological states Hopkins lived through during the writing process.

Exploring the connectivity of the mind, sonics and the natural world, Singularity is intended to be listened to in one sitting, as a complete body of work.