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11 Jan Our Top Five – Let Them Eat Cake 2017


Words by Matt Bladin // Photos by Bodhi Bailey


Our favourite oversized garden party Let Them Eat Cake has offered Victorian crowds a unique festival-going experience in a multitude of ways for over five years. Despite the huge names on the lineup resulting in ever-growing crowds, with each passing year LTEC has managed to hold onto what made it special from the start; a sense of community, celebration and musical appreciation difficult to find at many contemporary one-day events.

Werribee Mansion was the perfect setting for the eclectic mix of electronic acts, with the likes of Dusky, TOKiMONSTA, Leon Vynehall, Onra, and Maribou State DJs delivering an audible feast covering just about the full spectrum of forward-thinking dance music.

 

The architecture of Werribee Mansion and its surrounding gardens played host to five stages of varying sizes, each with their own aesthetic, designed by Zod, The Mutoid Waste Co. and Mikado Stolper. Despite the solid 45 minute to hour-long bus ride away from Melbourne on New Year’s Day, sprawling gardens and the diverse music on offer perfectly facilitated both the hungover and the still-partying attendees.

With so many fantastic acts throughout the day, picking highlights is always a challenge, none the less here are our top five acts (in no particular order)…

 


 

DUSKY

Since bursting onto the UK scene in 2010, Dusky have been at the forefront of the Garage and House revival that has slowly spread across the globe. The release of Outer — their first album with a major label — late last year marked a noticeable growth in their music, both thematically, and in song-writing sophistication. The musical territories and influences explored on Outer have added a new dimension to recent Dusky sets, as seen in their recent BBC1 Essential Mix. However, pushing a new direction when closing the festival main stage can sometimes prove cumbersome when balancing crowd expectations and creative assertion.

Thankfully Dusky managed to deliver a strong closing performance that was both memorable and expressive; filled with many influences, new and old original material, all set against the Mansion which was now lit up by an array of lights, lasers and pyrotechnics.

Taking liberally the musical freedom afforded to a headline act, Dusky seamlessly blended a mix of genres and influences — from the tribal in Melé’s ‘Scouse Afrika’, the dark industrial ‘Democracy (Caytas & Patz Remix)‘ by Garance & Werner Niedermeier, to the more progressive in Erosion Flow’s new release ‘Eclipse’. These more experimental tracks were received very well by the late evening audience, especially alongside Dusky favourites such as ‘Songs of Phase’. The set finally crescendoed with their best-known hit ‘Ingrid Is A Hybrid’. Though individually these tracks may feel disjointed on paper, the live transitions between them by Dusky made for a rich, layered hour and a half of music that was a fitting finish to a huge day.

 

Maribou State Dj Set

With the release of their 2015 album Portraits, Maribou State cemented themselves as artists who seamlessly combine the weight and impact of electronic music with the intricacies of live instrumentation. When considering that the album had such clear direction and intention throughout, it was always going to be interesting to see how the U.K duo would approach a festival DJ set, by necessity filled out with many tracks other than their own.

The answer to this question was an hour and half aural journey that covered all territories — from Disco, to House, to scattered glimpses of their Garage roots. They played a heavily varied set, which was a departure from what many might have expected, but the hour as a whole felt thoughtfully balanced and skillfully mixed. In the more intimate garden setting of the Versailles stage, the eclectic mix of music created an atmosphere that was not found anywhere else at the festival. A jam-packed crowd welcomed this by responding positively to every change that was offered up, including a string of 70s throwbacks mid-set.

 


 

Mano Le Tough

Playing relatively early in the day at 1pm, Mano Le Tough was by no means short of an audience. As the numbers continued to grow through the early afternoon many found a place amongst the masses at the Bastille stage to dance along to the musical offerings from the Irish producer. Though it was during Le Tough’s set that the first hints of the day’s rain came out, it was a testament to the quality of the music that it did almost nothing to falter the crowd’s enthusiasm.

Le Tough worked his afternoon set time perfectly; easing into the set with an accessible blend of melodic, lighter techno such as Patrice Baumel’s new release ‘Glutes’. Such an easy, yet engaging pace helped punters to find their feet before the set gradually transitioned into harder, more driven techno. It was this transition to tribal and techno sounds towards the end of the set (such as ‘Pelican’s Flight’ by Baikal) that helped lift the energy at the main stage and set up a smooth transition into the following acts.

 

Oliver Huntemann

Widely regarded as one of the leading techno and house DJs in the world right now, Oliver Huntemann was always going to be a drawcard for many to come to LTEC. Despite playing a frantic four sets in just three days while in Australia, he managed to make the most out of his late-afternoon two-hour time-slot, providing a well-considered mix that was one of the hardest of the day.

Though Huntemann eased into things off the back of Mano Le Tough, with lighter tracks like Mattei and Omich’s ‘Drop The Bomb’, things quickly took a much heavier turn, moving into deep, textured music that one might normally expect later in the night. The impressive Funktion-One sound system that adorned the custom stage had its low-end put to the test with a steady stream of bass-heavy tracks, like the Victor Ruiz remix of Dubfire, and Huntemann’s own ‘Humano’. In fact much of the two-hour set featured originals or remixes by Hunntemann, including big numbers ‘Magnets’ and ‘Dark Passenger’, and his remix of Underworld’s ‘Crocodile’.

Having a set dominated by such a distinctive production style lead to criticism by some that it felt very monotone or one-dimensional, but for the majority of the crowd who had come expecting Hunntemann’s brooding sounds it fit the bill perfectly.

 


 

Retza

On the Guillotine stage, Retza helped the tight-knit crowd move their bodies with a selection of smooth, upbeat techno. Tucked into the surrounding trees, the Guillotine stage had a more intimate feel; fitting to the lineup of local artists who took to the decks throughout the day. While it can be easy for these local talents to be overlooked in such a stacked line up, time and time again they prove just why Melbourne has gained a reputation globally for our resident DJs — pushing the boundaries of dance genres with an uncanny ability to gage the local crowd.

This was obvious throughout Retza’s early evening set as the crowd continued to grow, and we stayed dancing until the end. Rolling house and tech rhythms such as Ion Ludwig’s ‘Mission Architect’ filled out the body of the hour-long mix, until a few more progressive numbers emerged towards the end. While each of the various acts on the Guillotine stage had a unique musical direction, Retza’s performance stood out on the day as a one of the more subtly considered — giving a much-needed reprise from some of the other, harder music being played.

 


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