ADE ’17: Panels, Parties, Potpourri – Our Week in Amsterdam (Part 2)

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands – According to organizers, Amsterdam Dance Event drew more than 7,200 electronic-music-industry reps to the 23rd annual conference/exhibition/festival. While dozens of seminars were held at various venues throughout Amsterdam, ADE’s evening program, which presented the major practitioners of every genre within the electronic spectrum, drew more than 395,000 fans to the city’s clubs, arenas and outdoor facilities.

As always, DJ Times was there, taking meetings, making greetings, sitting in on seminars, networking with colleagues new and old, and attending plenty of performances all over the city. Part 1 of our report ran yesterday (click here) – here’s Part 2:


Friday, Oct. 20: During the rainy Day 3, we interviewed German groove master Purple Disco Machine (aka Tino Piontek), as his terrific full-length, Soulmatic, prepared to hit retail.

In addition to detailing his gear choices in the studio and DJ booth, the East German-born artist explained how, before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, his father would cross borders into Hungary and bring back vinyl records and cassette tapes that were generally unavailable behind the Iron Curtain. As we’ve found in interviews with other DJ/producers raised in the former East Germany (like Modeselektor and Paul van Dyk), Piontek’s lack of access to music made it all much more precious to him, ultimately fueling his interest in DJing and production. Expect more from Purple Disco Machine in an upcoming issue of DJ Times.

Underworld: Rick Smith & Karl Hyde at Rijksmuseum.
Dennis Bouman

Onto the evening program: One of the week’s highlights was Audio Obscura’s presentation of Underworld at the Rijksmuseum (aka Holland’s national museum). Playing inside the spooky open-air structure (built in 1800), Underworld’s Karl Hyde and Rick Smith delivered a spectacular production of light and fog with tones that ranged from ominous to cathartic. Of course, with a packed two-hour set, they brought the hits – “Pearl’s Girl,” “Rez,” “Two Months Off,” “Mmm Skyscraper I Love You,” “Cowgirl” and, of course, “Born Slippy” – and the well-clued-in crowd was up for every beat. Smiles all around.

Techno Bacchanalia: Dave Clarke Presents at Melkweg.
Mark Richter

Sliding over to Leidseplein’s legendary Melkweg club for the annual Dave Clarke Presents event, we caught good chunks of hot, main-room sets from Clarke and Boys Noize – hypnotizing lasers, strafing techno, manic response. Also, in Melweg’s always hopping side room, Belgium’s Charlotte de Witte brought great energy with a mixture of taut minimal moments and explosive rumblings. As always, Dave Clarke Presents was a techno bacchanalia at its finest.

We ended the evening with a quick stop-by at AIR to catch the Defected in the House party, where we heard DJ Sam Divine drop vocal-house movers from the British label (like Spen & Thommy’s Summer of Dub Mix of Barbara Tucker’s “Think About It”) to an enthusiastic audience. After mixing with a more mature audience than we’d experienced the previous evening at AIR, we left the Defected party certainly relieved, somewhat drained – yet, relatively dry.

Pioneer DJ Booth: Roger Sanchez rocked De Brakke Grond.
Mark Richter

Saturday, Oct. 21: On Day 4, we popped back over to De Brakke Grond, catching Roger Sanchez hit the decks at Pioneer DJ’s expansive exhibition. We also visited with the European reps for Roland, Native Instruments, Novation, Focusrite, Elektron synths and more.

We also took in another special ADE Q&A session, this time with influential composer Philip Glass. Though he didn’t always directly answer the questions asked of him, Glass, 80, nonetheless tapped into his vast experience to offer useful advice to the artists that filled the intimate auditorium.

“Artists…” he said, “they always ask me, ‘How do you find your voice?’ Really, the question is: ‘How to get rid of it?’ By 30, if you’re any good, you’ll find your artistic voice – but eventually, you’ll have to change your language. You have to grow as an artist. For example, I had success [in 1976] with my opera, ‘Einstein on the Beach,’ but half the people hated my next piece. I didn’t care. I needed to move on and grow and take on more challenges. You can’t stay in the same place artistically.”

Discussing the toxic political climate in the United States, Glass saw an unlikely upside. “When there are social problems happening, it’s good for artists,” he said. “When society is in a bad time, that’s when the arts of all kinds come forth. It’s like Mother Nature taking over, as if it’s a way to balance things. It might be a tough time politically, but it’s a great time to be an artist.”

And with that, it was off to Mulligan’s Irish Bar in Rembrandtplein for our annual ADE-closing pint of Guinness, some good craic and a not-so-traditional set from jovial Irish trio El Mush. Thanks, Amsterdam Dance Event – we’ll see you in ’18.