Music Review - Original Synths

The Warm Up - Echosynthetic Fest 2018: Part One

 Part one of a three-part series

Echocynthetic Fest 2018It was a cold and wet night in Atlanta, Georgia. My flight had arrived in the early afternoon and nothing much had changed weather-wise; even my bones shivered from inside my leather jacket.

You wouldn’t know anything about that wintery weather from inside The Earl, where the evening – starting around 4pm with load-ins and high-fives from friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while – was already a HUGE celebration of warmth and embraces. The second annual Echosynthetic Fest, now expanded to two nights, was no longer just a dream.

Echocynthetic Fest 2018 - Acid KingAs soon as I emerged from the shadows of the evening’s wet branches and walked into The Earl, I could hear Vampire Step-Dad warming up; the cool tones of “The Skating Rink” came echoing from the stage. All I could do was smile stupidly as adjustments were made to the sound and he stopped playing momentarily.

“Vlad,” I said to him, “it’s time we should officially meet.”

“Are you Loron?!”

I nodded and he came bounding off the stage with open arms; it would not be the last hug I received that night.

After all, I arrived to the event thanks to a generous ride from Watch Out For Snakes and had already been in the magnanimous company of Echosynthetic’s James Mitchell, the man behind this two-night event, and Ethereal Delusions. I might have been an outsider when my plane landed, having met none of the faces now smiling in front of me before, but it didn’t take long for connections to happen: it was understood that I was a part of the family.

“the thing about Echosynthetic Fest is that it's like a High School Reunion that you actually want to go to. Finally meeting face to face with people you've known online for ages. Instead of bands being all insular and judgy of each other, we're all hanging out like we're one big band or something. I've played A LOT of shows in my life, and Echosynthetic is completely different than all the others in the best of ways.”

Vampire Step-Dad

 

Stranger in a Strange Land? I don’t think so. I was immediately welcomed and, in merely a few minutes, was in a conversation with Glitbiter, encouraging her to watch more Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; talking about Robyn’s excellent new album alongside Ethereal Delusions and James; and cheering on Gregorio Franco as he side-scrolled through Glitch Black’s set-up of Mega Man.Echocynthetic Fest 2018

And that family spirit is part of the purpose of Echosynthetic Fest. It may even be reason number one as best explained by Vampire Step-Dad, “the thing about Echosynthetic Fest is that it's like a High School Reunion that you actually want to go to. Finally meeting face to face with people you've known online for ages. Instead of bands being all insular and judgy of each other, we're all hanging out like we're one big band or something. I've played A LOT of shows in my life, and Echosynthetic is completely different than all the others in the best of ways.”

Operating with wide open arms, the two-night event featured artists local to Atlanta – Vampire Step-Dad, Gregorio Franco, Acid Gambit, Watch Out For Snakes – and from around the country: Ethereal Delusions from Oregon, Elay Arson from Colorado, Glitch Black from Louisiana, Street Sects from Texas, Glitbiter and Indradevi from California, Cemetery Gates from Tennessee, and the Unholy Rat King from Minnesota.

The “Synthfam”, as was tossed around frequently over the next couple of nights, was together again, performing under the same roof and everyone, including myself, could sense that over the next two nights, a certain kind of synthesized magic would happen that could not and would not be soon recreated.

Echosynthetic Fest 2018Echosynthetic Fest, or EchoFest as it has been dubbed by its performers and fans, is a deliciously dark event that rolls out in almost dreamlike wave of far-ranging live performances that has to be seen to be understood.

But getting this two-night behemoth off the ground wasn’t easy. Even Mitchell, the one-man promoter and organizer of the now annual event agrees, EchoFest was this year’s great challenge and it almost didn’t happen.

With the momentous loss of Square Wave (one that the ENTIRE synthwave community felt) and the lineup changes, this year’s event was indeed a miracle. Mitchell explains, “I don't think people realize how close we were to not having a show at all this year. I finally got enough funds to finalize everything, make sure room and board was secured for those that needed it, and wrapped up prep merely days before the show. To say that the weeks leading up to Echosynthetic Fest were stressful would be a gross understatement. But, as we all know, this story has a happy ending.”

“I don't think people realize how close we were to not having a show at all this year. I finally got enough funds to finalize everything, make sure room and board was secured for those that needed it, and wrapped up prep merely days before the show. To say that the weeks leading up to Echosynthetic Fest were stressful would be a gross understatement. But, as we all know, this story has a happy ending.”

James Mitchell

To put the twelve performances into words is something not easily done. “You had to have been there” is the phrase that comes to mind. That’s a cop-out but, yeah, you really should have been there. As Glitch Black puts it, “One of the joys in attending a festival such as this is that you get to be subjected to such a wide range of sounds from all the other performing artists.  Even though most of us use synthesizers heavily in our compositions, each of us uses electronic sounds in different, unique ways.” And that joy extends to the audience.

But Mitchell is right. The expanded version of EchoFest does indeed have a happy ending. But first, we must talk about how the opening night begins. . . and that belongs to the sultry vocals of Glitbiter, who kicked things off with an unforgettable performance . . .

TO BE CONTINUED ...

Echosynthetic Fest 2018

 


Friday Night 11.9 - Echosynthetic Fest 2018: Part Two

Saturday Night 11.10 - Echosynthetic Fest 2018: Part Three

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Music The Warm Up - Echosynthetic Fest 2018: Part One
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Google+
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes