Ekkofest, held yearly in Bergen, is one of a cluster of small yet potent electronic music festivals that can be found within the pockets of urban life in Norway. Over the years, it's managed to attract names as diverse as France's Duracell, ESG, Booka Shade and Norway's own Erlend Øye. At present, the festival is held in a compact and idyllic spot at the edge of Bergen's port in a former sardine factory called USF Verftet—a space that not only hosts festivals such as Ekkofest but also acts as the home to a number of other cultural events, artists studios, a cafe and other more band-oriented gigs.
The low ceilings and many rooms of the venue create a sense of curiosity as you make your way through the different vibes and sounds. The flavour for this spring's The Fix party (organized by Ekkofest as part of Bergenfest) was no less dynamic than previous line-ups. Co-headlining the event were Los Angeleno hip-hopper Flying Lotus and exotic New Yorkers Gang Gang Dance. Alongside these two, DFA presented a finely picked selection of their brightest acts with Fabric regular Hannah Holland, Stretch Armstrong, A Mountain of One and sprightly young local acts such as the Casio Kids and DJ Asel filling out the rest of the roster.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, the two strongest performers on the night were the headliners. Flying Lotus took in the biggest crowd and, in return, gave them a trip through deep and bleepy cinematic swoops and interludes between his better known heavy-hitting and soulful productions. The set went from jazz to electro and reached its climax courtesy of some monstrous techno from Mr. Oizo and Daedalus's "Hours Minutes Seconds."
Gang Gang Dance, on the other hand, had to contend with playing in a room that—even when busy—seemed to be half empty due to the vast amount of open space to the side of the stage. Despite this hindrance, they pulled off a geographically-defying bang, bang and pogo groove that got the majority of the dance floor moving.
Amongst the other acts, the most notable performers were Norway's Casio Kids and DFA pair Yacht and House of House. While the local kids played a cute and fun jump-up electro set, Yacht was more polished accompanied with great-fitting outfits and interactive visuals. Appearing like an high school girl and boy duo armed with an Apple Powerbook, they hopped, skipped and got the crowd singing along to their catchy electronic pop ballads. House of House, meanwhile, played homage to the halcyon days of electronic music that made David Mancuso and François K legends. It was refreshing to hear some long and flawless mixing, together with authentic voxed voice effects and deep acid drone samples, as opposed to the fast and instant anthem mixing style that seems to be the current style du jour.
Overall, for the size of the venue, the amount and variation of styles from the acts performing at Ekkofest suited the laidback and indie crowd. That said, the rooms were busy for Flying Lotus and Holy Ghost's sets, but the party would have gone from good to great had there been more people—and a much more lively atmosphere from those who were in attendance.