Revision Music’s Highlights: Wonderfruit Festival, Thailand 2018

Goldie & The Ensemble – Living Stage
GOLDIE photo courtesy of Wonderfruit Facebook

Goldie recreates his seminal jungle and drum and bass tracks from the nineties on a live stage to much anticipation back off of his collaborations with orchestras recently in the UK.

The sessionist drummer for the ensemble kept time as well as any digital sequencer would, complete with the swing and groove that only Goldie would be familiar with. As a direct interpretation of his electronic and sample heavy tracks, the wieght of those particular tracks did not come through as much as we were hoping, but Goldie’s presence on the microphone and on the tambourine is true to the genre icon’s style.

Howie Lee – Theatre Stage
THEATRE STAGE photo courtesy of Wonderfruit Facebook

One of the most jaw-dropping sets we caught on a stage by the the lake – shaped like shells and waves. This China based producer took us through a journey of sound – full of drones and noise backed by throat singing performed by the producer himself.

A mix of deep ambient soundscapes and beat driven tracks kept our ears interested throughout, and was a great break from the monotony of eight, sixteen and thirty-two bar loops from DJ sets at other stages. The ethereal and organic nature juxtaposed with glitch sounds and bit crushing drums – justifies the producer’s journey into the world of IDM – ala an oriental Aphex Twin.

Lord Echo – Solar Stage
SOLAR STAGE photo by @Nirs6D on Instagram

Our biggest highlight of the whole festival has to be Lord Echo from New Zealand. The perfect set time on the perfect stage. Solar Stage. Sunset. The producer serves as band leader and the backbone with his beats on a sequencer while he plays live electric bass.

Female vocalist, Mara TK harmonizes and gels amazingly with the horns section providing the audience with unlimited and boundless vibrations, from deep and funky disco numbers to dubbed out, feet moving beats. This set will be one etched into our memories for many years to come, ‘til we see thy echo lord on a live stage again.

Martha Van Straaten – Polygon Live 
MARTHA VAN STRAATEN photo courtesy of Wonderfruit Facebook

I was not familiar with this artiste but from her bio in the festival guide, I was inclined to give her set a shot, and I was not disappointed but sonically surprised.

A set full of dubby, slowed down house was a great start for the festival on Thursday evening with part organic, and part electronic sounds in the tracks she was mixing. I agree with this unique take on the ‘tech-house’ format at a slower tempo, with certain tracks almost sounding like a futurist’s take on electronic dancehall. Hard to classify but easy to get into, with inspirations from specific sub genre’s of dance music culture, this set suited the highly technical set-up of Polygon stage’s lighting design.

POLYGON LIVE photo by @Nirs6D on Instagram
Meute – Solar Stage
Image by @juanqian on Instagram

This German marching band from Hamburg played on the Solar Stage just before sunset. The intimate nature of the music and set-up (no microphones and reproduction of sound from their instruments) led the audience to crowd around the space in and around the Solar Stage. Participation from us entailed the band urging us closer while they gradually played softer, and while they got us crouching lower almost to a full squat, the number they did just dropped into a loud driving portion of a marching band playing familiar sounding dance tracks. A great slice of Europe in the the fields of Pattaya.

RAH – Neramit
Image by @juanqian on Instagram

Revision Music’s very own RAH plays in a tent flanked by a big bar, designated as a chill out area for revelers getting a solid siesta after dancing all night and after brunch on the Sunday of the the festival. Much respect to her for pushing a mix of tropical sounds and disco and finishing off the set with some quality liquid funk style drum & bass. It left me wishing there was a presence of more liquid funk at this festival, at the times when the sun is out.

Nightmares On Wax (Live) – Living Stage

Image by @juanqian on Instagram

I missed this iconic artiste’s DJ set in Singapore prior to the festival as well as on the first night of Wonderfruit. His live set is one that I did not want to miss and it did not disappoint. As compared to Goldie’s live ensemble the overall sound mix was more impressive. Deep low end bass and crispy beats of his classic down tempo numbers came through on the big line arrays and subs of the Living Stage and was the best way to kick off the evening program of any festival. 

Toshio Matsuura – Forbidden Fruit

FORBIDDEN FRUIT photo courtesy of Wonderfruit Facebook

The producer who recently did instrumental covers of dance and beat tracks like Roniz Size’s Brown Paper Bag and Flying Lotus’s Do The Astral Plan on Brownswood Recordings plays in the Forbidden Fruit tent in the day time. The Forbidden Fruit structure is one made out of rattan and straw but is hot from the inside when the dance floor is full, and we could not stand longer than forty-five minutes in there without taking in some cool air outside. Fortunately, the main food and beverage area was just at the doorstep. Toshio Matsuura played classic disco and boogie reserved for day-time dancing.

Matthew Johnson & Midland – The Quarry
THE QUARRY photo courtesy of Wonderfruit Facebook

Playing in the area for what seemed reserved for techno – UK style, these two DJs mixed a healthy serving of bass focused tracks with some broken break-beats thrown in for good measure. The enclave of The Quarry and atmosphere felt like a basement club – in the middle of the jungle. I hope to see this stage carry on the sonic traditions with more UK-centric acts that could include jungle and drum & bass music in future editions.

Sabai Sabai Radio (Maarten Goether B2B Juice Willis) – Hamlet Stage
MAARTEN GOETHER photo courtesy of @juanqian on Instagram

Last but not least, our homies Maarten Goether and Juice Willis, of Sabai Sabai Radio based in Thailand treated us to a great mix of disco, boogie and soulful dance tracks in the sunny Hamlet with its complete décor of medieval and royal style curtains and drapes. Surprisingly this stage was not listed on the physical festival guide but showed up on the festival’s digital app. Definitely a stage many regional industry cats dropped in to to chill out, connect and re-group throughout the four days and nights.