From the 24th to 26th of July, the seventh year of Tramlines festival takes over Sheffield. With an expansive and eclectic line-up as its beating heart, spread across the city's veins are a vast array of bars, clubs, parks and landmarks hosting everyone from the internationally acclaimed – Basement Jaxx, Wu Tang Clan, The Charlatans – to the cream of local talent. We're utterly spoilt for choice, no doubt, but as the event looms closer and the excitement builds, here's five unmissable acts from across the weekend:
1. Roman Flügel
With a career that spans twenty years, Roman Flügel has crafted himself an impressive résumé; the German producer and DJ has worked under numerous monikers, is the co-founder of Ongaku / Klang Elektronik / Playhouse, and now has two LPs under his own name. His remix of Daniel Avery’s All I Need is a floor-pulsating crowd-pleaser, and institutions everywhere from Amnesia to Berghain have had him grace their stages. Adaptable and unclassifiable, Flügel’s expansive repertoire traverses house, techno, leftfield and IDM, straddling the border between the industrial, the ambient, and the playfully obscure.
Shangaan Electro is a home-grown movement deeply rooted in Shangaan culture – one of the smallest tribes in South Africa – but through its spearhead Nozinja the celebration of such a sound is thriving on the international. Its sheer pace is its most striking feature; vivacious, twitching and explosive, various synths and drum machines are set off in rapid fire, traditionally accompanied by the frenetic hip-shaking of staggeringly athletic dancers. There’s a genuine excitement that surrounds the recent Warp signee, and as he brings the technicolour of his recent debut Nozinja Lodge to Queens Social Club the live show promises to be utterly inimitable.
Memory and loss are deeply inked into the skin of Living Fields – the Ninja Tune released Portico debut. Broody and building, intoxicating and enthralling, the album is a cathartic release of the past echoing off a near-euphoric embrace of the new. It thrives off the tension of opposites: floating and fragile vocals against rattling and breaking beats, layered and textured soundscapes that are at once sparse and intimate. It is soulful and profound, ghostly and fractured, a masterpiece that draws their history of working together into a bold reincarnation. Filling the Millennium Gallery with a sound that delves into the electronic whilst remaining wholly organic, the trio will provide the ultimate, immersive close to Saturday night.
London-born Nao has been making some serious waves ever since ‘So Good’ was unleashed upon the internet last July. Collaborating with A K Paul, her syrupy-yet-strong falsetto voice is smothered over bursting synths and dreamy guitar licks, resulting in a charming piece that was crowned one of Vice’s ‘Best Tracks of 2014’. She’s been on the exponential rise ever since. Receiving soaring acclaim from the likes of Annie Mac, Zane Lowe and Pitchfork, and joining Little Dragon on their European tour, Nao's concoction of neo-soul, turn-of-the-millenium funk and tints of UK garage and bass is utterly addictive.
Rounding off Sunday afternoon at Queens Social Club are Bruising, a fuzzy lo-fi two piece hailing from Leeds, brought together over the appreciation of a Perfect Pussy t-shirt. Since joining forces, the pair have supported Waxahatchee and had a split vinyl release on Art Is Hard, with the riff-heavy, feel-good ‘Think About Death’ premiered on Noisey and named one of NME’s ‘Essential New Tracks.’ Naomi Baguley’s vocals are soft and sugary, slashed apart by thrashing percussion and blistering guitar distortion – it’s a killer combination from a band that GoldFlakePaint honoured as ‘the best new guitar band in the country.’ All in the space of a year.
Words: Josie Roberts