Lets face it, none of us want to wait another three months to decant our troubles into big plastic bottles and get the festival season started. Luckily, as if it were delivered as a gift from the Gods of Getting Down, there’s a Bulgarian boutique retreat tucked away at the foot of the Pirin mountain that means you don’t have to.
It’s only Horizon Festival‘s third birthday and already it’s got some of the biggest names in electronic music on the bill. Taking place at Bankso, Bulgaria’s biggest ski resort, Horizon combines a snow sports holiday with winter a music festival and this year will be showcasing a line up to be rivalled. Secret mountain hotels, forest stages, medieval banquet halls, pools, go-go bars and abandoned factories all play host to Horizon’s army of DJ’s and producers for what is shaping up to be one hell of a party.
The Playground have chosen their top three acts to look out for at this years Horizon Festival and for a chance to win tickets to the event, head to the bottom of the page.
Looking out across a sea of faces that are enjoying a set, you would imagine, is something that DJ’s relish; a perk of the job, if you like. Glancing up from the decks to be greeted by an audience that would enthusiastically take one of your record sleeves, build a house and start a family inside it must be something different entirely. Something, that by now, Ben UFO is probably used to.
Famed for his articulate, precise and mesmerizing sets, Ben Thomson is now a driving force in the world of electronic music and lies firmly under the category of “Absolute specialist” with no signs of shifting. In an interview with Crack Magazine, Jackmaster described Thomson as “Technically the best DJ in the world” and more often than not it’s the Hessle Audio co-founder’s technical execution that gets the high fives. Those unfamiliar might be expecting a set with a thick coat of seriousness, but as hardened fans will know that while the finesse does impress, it’s the energy, accessibility and the sheer ground covered that acts as the ultimate rave-up catalyst.
Sure, you could give this one a shrug; hang back at a bar, get the grape rakia in. You’ll be there on your own though. Ben UFO is guaranteed to fill some floor.
“I’ve got records that smell like 1967. You cannot place that in an iPod. And when it comes to music most women prefer 12”s. You keep that in mind next time you are with your laptop”. Kenny Dixon Junior is a vinyl purist. He doesn’t often give interviews and up until a certain point he would only play in a DJ booth concealed by white sheets. He strolls into the Red Bull Music Academy lecture like a character straight out of a Blaxploitation movie, accompanied by three beautiful women that he later refers to as his “Security”- one of whom stands braiding his hair as speaks. Watching this unfold it quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t a guy a that needs to do interviews. Everything about one of house music’s biggest enigmas speaks for itself; if you’re lucky enough to get a glimpse that is.
“I’m not the hottest DJ in the world and I’m not gonna play the hottest tracks in the world but what I will do is give you the truth on those turntables”. Those who have had the pleasure of experiencing a Moodymann set will agree that unconditional honesty is what you get and with a well-supplied cultural past like his, it’s unlikely he could ever provide you with anything but. The ability to transmit pure personality into a set is a skill that should be envied and one that Kenny Dixon Junior has honed since day one.
Weaving together soul, funk, jazz, house and hip-hop, Moodymann does more than play music. Prepare to be transported through eras and genres and be prepared for it to be done with a charm and confidence that’s impossible to resist.
Shots have been fired at house music as of late and sometimes it takes for a seasoned professional like Move D to dive in front with his bullet-proof vest made of vinyl to remind the masses what it is they’re dropping bombs on. David Moufang (Move D) gives lessons in the tradition and the evolution of house. The kind of lesson that makes you want to stand in front of a speaker dancing until your bones vibrate like a Nokia 3310, that is.
It’s his determination to reinvigorate genres that puts Move D’s live performances at the same standard with his studio work, as those familiar will undoubtedly testify. His steady stream of releases since 2008 in conjunction with highly praised regular live performances globally go hand in hand in ensuring that he remains an underground hero and continues to gain notoriety in world of house music.
Watching Moufang live, there’s a sense of musical adoration and understanding that radiates as he performs and it’s totally infectious. Move D will have you floating on ambient techno and riding a wave of no frills house whilst subtly reminding you that you’re not just watching a DJ, you’re watching a master at work.
Fancy seeing these acts along with the rest of the knock out line up at Horizon festival? Click here and follow the steps to be in with a chance of wining a pair of tickets! Winners will be chosen at random this Thursday.
Written by Maya Radcliffe