MoogFest: Band bios and schedule

Friday bands Arena

7 to 8 p.m. — The bio of Hendrik Weber (aka Pantha du Prince ) opens by expounding on the theories of the origins of music. Heady stuff, but the German producer and DJ was among early Moogfest lineup speculations, one of the most mentioned. And his style, evolved from house music, incorporated not just electronic explorations but acoustic instrumentation and field recordings. — A.M.


8:30 to 9:30 p.m. — The son of jazz cornetist/guitarist/singer Olu Dara, Nasir Jones (aka Nas ) took the family business (music) in a different direction (rap). His career kicked off in ‘91 when he was featured on Main Source’s debut, but successful albums have been balanced with high-profile angst (a feud with Jay-Z, a split with R&B singer Kelis). As seven platinum albums to date attest, Nas is a master of the lithe, smart, rhythmically complex lyric that’s as poetic as it is powerful. — A.M.


10 to 11:30 p.m. —  Primus , as much as any band in modern rock, exists on its own plane completely. Two decades of “What-the-hell-was-that” kind of weird, irreverent prog rock (defined by Les Claypool’s mind-bending bass lines) and the band is still at it. Following 2010’s Oddity Faire sideshow and the band’s first new record in a decade, Primus returns with an equally ambitious “3D enhanced live musical experience.” What, exactly, that is, who knows. But judging from the past 20 years with Primus, we’re pretty sure it’s going to rule. — D.S.


12:15 to 2 a.m. — If gold watches were still handed out for career longevity,  Richie Hawtin (two decades DJing!) would get one. Born in England, he influenced mid-’90s Detroit techno; he grew up just across the river in Canada. Hawtin, known for a minimalist approach to music, has also undertaken some maximalist ventures, producing raves, running clubs and performing under dozens of stage names. — A.M.


Thomas Wolf Auditorium

7:30 to 8:15 p.m. — Dense and elaborately blanketed in psychedelic nuance, krautrock moodiness and fuzzy synth meanderings,  Bear In Heaven (led by Brooklyn’s Jon Philpot) deftly balances unwieldy prog-rock axioms with pop discernment. Songs are both big and personal. The band previewed this year’s release, I Love You, It’s Cool by slowing it to a staggering 2,700 hours of drone. — A.M.


8:45 to 10 p.m. — If “Swedish indie pop” sounds about as approachable as bog snorkeling or blowfish eating, just listen to trio Miike Snow ’s hit, “Animal.” Which you probably already know, and if you don’t, it’ll still probably feel instantly familiar. The band’s name (in homage to friend Mike Snow and Japanese film director Takashi Miike) is also as clear as its English language vocals á la American singer Andrew Wyatt. — A.M.


10:30 to 11:45 p.m. — Electronic musician Tom Jenkinson (aka Squarepusher ) plays Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and London before landing in Asheville. His brand of drum and bass is significantly influenced by jazz; in addition to samplers and sequencers, he also plays drums, a xylophone, bass and guitar (including a classical). And a toy Yamaha keyboard, according to one interview from ‘98. His latest album is Ufabulum. — A.M.


12:30 to 1:45 a.m. —  Explosions in the Sky ‘s uber-melodic instrumental rock is textured and atmospheric in the “I’m about to zone out and think about my entire life” sort of way. Layers of spacey riffs build patiently, weaving epic, shimmering rock symphonies with a strange but undeniable nostalgia. Live performances are notoriously entrancing, even without chemical enhancements (though likely that doesn’t hurt). — D.S.


The Orange Peel

7:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Rapper Michael Render (aka Killer Mike ) debuted on the OutKast song “Snappin’ and Trappin’” a dozen years ago; his own debut album, Monster, dropped in ‘03. His biggest charting hit to date is his song “A.D.I.D.A.S.” — an acronym for “All Day I Dream About Sex.” Aside from his hip-hop career, Mike and his wife own Graffiti’s SWAG Barbershop in Atlanta. — A.M.


9:30 to 10:30 p.m. — Not to be confused with Emerson Lake and Palmer,  El-P (formerly El Producto) is the project of Brooklyn-based producer and rap artist Jaime Meline. Like Nas, El-P parlayed jazz roots (his dad is pianist Harry Keys) into a career in hip-hop. His 2012 release, Cancer For Cure, is a heavy-hitting, gut-punching work of lyrical acrobatics and disturbing imagery (and, if you check out the video “The Full Retard,” furry woodland-creature puppets gone horribly awry). — A.M.


11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. — Who doesn’t love an enigmatic electro pop band with mega-processed, almost robotic vocals and members who go by aliases like Tobacco, Bullsmear and Seven Fields of Aphelion? Not surprisingly,  Black Moth Super Rainbow embraces conceptual projects and takes psychedelia to a sometimes creepy level. Even so, the warm analog electronics, retro organs and catchy hooks keep things accessible enough (imagine The Flaming Lips if they actually took drugs). One can only hope the live show is half as otherworldly as the band’s gloriously bizarre videos. — D.S.


1 to 2 a.m. — Rapper GZA (aka Genius) of Wu-Tang Clan released his second solo album, Liquid Swords, in ‘95. It took more than a year to create, but it peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard chart and, more than a decade after its release, was hailed by Chicago Tribune as “one of the most substantial lyrical journeys in hip-hop history.” The album was reissued this summer. — A.M.


Asheville Music Hall

9:45 to 10:45 p.m. — Even if remixes aren’t your thing, it’s hard not to be charmed by Nashville-based DJ Andrew Owsley (aka Wick-It the Instigator ). He’s mashed up The Black Keys with Big Boi (rumor has it Big Boi likes it). And he’s not just remixing the newest bands — what he did to Van Halen’s “Jump” almost makes you forgive that band for, well, the entire decade of the ‘80s. The point: Wick-It is grounded in hip-hop, but he’s not afraid to tap indie-rock, ‘60s rock and whatever else he can get his capable hands on. — A.M.


11:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. — Neither Sam Haar nor Zach Steinman are blonde, though together the electronic musicians (who just released their debut, self-titled LP in February) are Blondes . More than a year before that album was out, The Guardian named the dance-pop duo a new band of the day. Blondes’ Facebook page is nearly blank, but they make up for that lack of disclosure with dozens of tracks to stream in Soundcloud ( — A.M.


12:45 to 2 a.m. — DJ Ana Sia , from the San Francisco Bay area, is known for breaking new sounds, championing music festivals and building a community through touring and playing venues that range from clubs to college towns. She’s also very interested in the relationship between performer and audience. She writes, on her website, “More and more, as the barriers between the stage and dancefloor begin to dissolve, and the unification of us just as we are (extraordinary animals who love to experience life) begin to crystallize, it makes me happier every time we see each other.” — A.M.


Diana Wortham Theatre

7 to 7:45 p.m. — The Brooklyn-based indie rock duo Buke and Gase is named for the homemade instruments that define its sound: the buke, a modified six-string ukulele; and the gase, a crunchy guitar-bass hybrid. Through a series of percussive innovations and foot-triggered drums, along with an arsenal of pedals and processors, the duo achieves remarkably lush sonic landscapes (it makes a point to note that all sounds are achieved live and no samplers are used), and Arone Dyer’s smooth alto and easy falsetto ground the churning rhythms with warm, poppy melodies. — D.S.


8:15 to 9:15 p.m. — Nearing 80 years old, electronic composer Morton Subotnick is a Moogfest progenitor not just for his seniority but because his 1967 album, Silver Apples of the Moon (which he’ll perform at the festival) was, according to his bio, “the first electronic work to be commissioned specifically for the record medium.” It was released on Nonesuch Records. Other groundbreaking works included Two Life Histories (‘77), “the first piece involving an electronic ghost score,” and All My Hummingbirds Have Alibis (‘94), an interactive concert work. — A.M.


10 to 11 p.m. — At times dreamy and atmospheric, at others anthemic and expansive,  Exitmusic is a shining example of what we all want dream pop to be. Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church’s backstory is almost as compelling as their music (the pair met on a train in Canada, remained in touch for years after and eventually were married; Palladino also happens to be a successful actress with major Hollywood films on her resume) but even that storybook tale can’t overshadow the ascending drama and soaring dynamics of Palladino’s smoky alto and the pulsing glow of Exitmusic’s mountainous soundscapes. — D.S.


11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. —  Ahleuchatistas is a powder keg of avant grade experimentalism, technical precision and explosive dissonance that can only be described as mind boggling. Guitarist Shane Perlowin spews dizzying lines of unorthodox melodies with chaotic bursts of unadulterated noise, punctuated with turn-on-a-dime time changes delivered at breakneck pace. Drummer Ryan Oslance is equally extraordinary, covering his entire body with percussive chains and bells, utilizing both sides of his drum sticks (along with his elbows and hands) and flailing behind the kit like a feral animal just released from a lifetime of imprisonment. The kicker? The seeming chaos of Ahleuchatistas is accompanied by an incomprehensible precision unrivaled in math-y prog rock. — D.S.

Saturday bands Arena

7:15 to 8:15 p.m. — In less than a year, Divine Fits has gone from an unknown entity (at one early and badly kept secret show, they were billed as “The Hot Skull”) to playing a Lollapalooza aftershow and two New Year’s Eve shows with The Black Keys in Vegas. Then again, Divine Fits members (Britt Daniel of Spoon, Dan Boeckner of Wolfe Parade, Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks) are the kind of musicians who fans follow closely. And, with the early success of just-released A Thing Called Divine Fits, they promise to be much more than a one-hit wonder. — A.M.


8:45 to 10 p.m. — One of just a handful of female performers at Moogfest, Santi White (aka Santigold) already wowed at Bonnaroo this year (one report noted “choreographed dance moves with her backup singers/dancers involving pom poms and briefcases”). And, having toured with the Beastie Boys and Kanye West and recorded with Karen O and Q-Tip, it’s a safe bet that Santigold will bring to the stage plenty of energy — along with the self-described “sonically eclectic but with some epic curveballs” spirit of her new album, Master of My Make-Believe. — A.M.


10:30 p.m. to midnight — Not only does British dance duo Orbital have its roots in the late ‘80s rave scene, their ‘89 track “Chime” became something of an anthem for raves. Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll disbanded in 2004 but regrouped in ‘09 (20 years after “Chime”) and have been playing big festivals ever since, such as Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts (with a guest appearance by “Doctor Who” actor Matt Smith). — A.M.


12:30 to 2 a.m. — Ambient musicians Simon Posford (aka Hallucinogen) and Raja Ram build the sonic journey that is Shpongle using acoustic guitars, flute (played live by Ram), Moroccan drumming, samples of Turkish singing, cello and double bass. Though from the U.K., Shpongle has a huge following in Japan. The duo can site authentic psychedelic roots: 70-year-old Ram was a founding member of ‘60s-era psychedelic rock band Quintessence. — A.M.


Thomas Wolfe Auditorium

7:30 to 8:45 p.m. — The Magnetic Fields’ jangly ballads and poppy hooks are the creative vehicle of Stephin Merritt, the band’s principle songwriter and driving force. Merritt is as comfortable with synth-heavy electro pop as he is with minimalist folk and fuzzy garage rock, and the multi-instrumentalist’s deep crooning vocals and pointed, witty narratives — as biting and sarcastic as they are humorous and universal — are always there to make listeners feel at home. — D.S.


9:30 to 10:45 p.m. — Thomas Dolby will forever be remembered for the ‘82 hit “She Blinded Me with Science” and his dance friendly synth-pop of the same decade, but the producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is a musical Renaissance man of sorts, combining his love of computer generated tones with funk, jazz and world styles, even collaborating with Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia and Eddie Van Halen on ‘92’s Astronauts and Heretics. In the ‘90s, he founded Beatnik Inc., which pioneered the polyphonic ringtones that dominated early mobile phones. These days, Dolby serves as musical director for the TED Conference series and tours the country with his Time Capsule, a “chrome- and brass-plated trailer” where fans can produce their own 30-second video message to the future. — D.S.


11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. — Kieran Hebden was first a member of Fridge before breaking out on his own as Four Tet. Asheville’s Marley Carroll has noted Hebden as a major influence; the British-born musician — despite being a solo act — often collaborates with artists of all ilks, from producer/DJ Bonobo (who regularly plays Asheville) to indie-folkie Andrew Bird to metal band Black Sabbath. His newest album, Pink, streams on his website. — A.M.


The Orange Peel

7 to 8 p.m. — Darren Cunningham (aka Actress) is the British A&R scout who discovered 2011 Moogfest alum Zomby. And, though he’s very private when it comes to his own musical endeavors, The Guardian calls him “more cerebral than your average techno artist.” His newest album, R.I.P., takes inspiration from the less-than-party-inspiring themes of death, God, the devil and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Never fear: We’re promised his Moogfest set will be “a more raucous affair.” — A.M.


8:30 to 9:30 p.m. — Formed in Philadelphia in ‘05, dark-wave group Cold Cave is mainly the project of singer-songwriter Wesley Eisold, who regularly collaborates with other musicians (like Dominick Fernow of Prurient and Caralee McElroy of Xiu Xiu). The band’s label, Matador, says they “strive for balance, between the ugly and the beautiful, between rupture and rapture.” — A.M.


10 to 11 p.m. — As Pitchfork put it, “Death Grips are angry. It’s unclear why.” The trio (Stefan Burnett, Andy Morin and Zach Hill) bursts out of the speakers with a Rage Against the Machine kick and punch, only it’s hard to say what they’re raging against. Instead, songs built on industrial grind and electronic chaos provide an antiseptic and non-melodic platform for the band’s spit-fast outbursts. — A.M.


Midnight to 2 a.m. — Artistic freedom seems to be a driving force for DJ, producer and composer Carl Craig. From his Planet E label to his tours as 69 (six nine), Craig ventures into jazz elements and futuristic thinking. A native of Detroit, he is credited with inspiring the evolution of drum ‘n’ bass. He also works on collaborations of techno and classical, film scores and remixes. — A.M.


Asheville Music Hall

9:30 to 10:30 p.m. — Toronto singer and keyboardist Robert Alfons (aka Trust) recently released his almost-self-titled debut EP, TRST, with drummer Maya Postepski (of 2011 Moogfest alums, Austra). This is darkly-melodic dance music that hints at Bauhaus, only more shimmery and less unrelentingly heavy. Alfons’ spooky baritone is at its resonant perfection on the velvety, industrial-lite “Candy Walls.” — A.M.


11 p.m. to midnight — South London sibs Guy and Howard Lawrence are synth-pop duo Disclosure. They’re really young (like, the younger brother isn’t even legal drinking age in the U.K.) but their music is dancey and not afraid of a club beat. There’s also polished sophistication to Disclosure’s tracks, which feature either sampled vocals or borrowed vocalists (most recently, Sam Smith and Ria Ritchie). — A.M.


12:30 to 1:30 a.m. — Producer Guillermo Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73) has lived everywhere from Miami to Barcelona and worked in nearly every genre, from ambient to hip-hop. No stranger to collaboration, he announced this year via Twitter a project with Brainfeeder visual artist/musician Mtendere Mandowa (aka Teebs). The resulting electronic wanderings are called Sons of the Morning.; — A.M.


Diana Wortham Theatre

7 to 8 p.m. — Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Julia Holter collaborates with a number of artists and has recorded two solo albums alone in her bedroom (most recently, Ekstasis). While her singing voice is pretty and dramatic (think Laurie Anderson), her work pushes the boundaries of experimentation, eschewing aesthetic beauty for strangeness and texture. Her song “Bars in Afternoons,” at more than 15 minutes, consists mainly of sounds field-recorded in watering holes. — A.M.


8:30 to 9:30 p.m. — Manchester-based producer Andy Stott crafts albums for the Modern Love label that fall under techno but edge up against ambient. Stott also records under the alias Andrea; SonicRouter describes Stott’s sound as “breathing a weirdly organic, sample-ridden life into steppers’ riddims and old hardcore tracks.” His most recent recording is the visceral, atmospheric We Stay Together. — A.M.


10:15 to 11:15 p.m. — Canadian sound artist Tim Hecker composes the sort of music that earns descriptions like “tectonic color plates” and “cathedral electronic music.” Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never, from Brooklyn) crafts droney, ambient sonic experiments on vintage synthesizers. The two teamed up this year on free jazz-inspired collaboration, Instrumental Tourist, on which, the musicians say, they “designed a sound palette from the acoustic resonance of digitally sourced ‘instruments of the world.’”; — A.M.


11:45 p.m. to 12:45 a.m. — Musician/poet/composer Harold Budd is another elder statesman of the festival; his career in music dates back to the early ‘60s with work in minimalist, drone and ambient sounds. His collaborations with bassist Keith Lowe include an ‘09 performance (with Budd on piano) in celebration of Budd’s book of poems, Colorful Fortune. At Moogfest, Budd and Lowe will perform “These Old Love Songs,” selected works from Budd’s discography.; — A.M.


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