Well, most of them don't. For the past few years, InFiné—the label once headed by French techno artist Agoria—did start taking vacations together to a villa just outside of Poitiers. In this relatively isolated area, the artists are given the opportunity to turn off their cell phones, and simply focus on being creative for a few days.
InFiné has gained a reputation for its wide-ranging discography. Artists include a classical pianist, a masked artist that composed an entire album in the key of D and a woman who named a track after a character in The Crying of Lot 49. Functional techno on InFiné exists, but it's usually reserved for remix 12-inches. The workshop this year reflected this same freewheeling approach to sound, evidenced by their pairing of young Parisian producer Mondkopf with trance-inducing pianist Charlemagne Palestine or inviting Austrian funkateer Dorian Concept to improvise on the piano for three-quarters of an hour.
As you might be able to tell by that lineup, InFiné doesn't restrict the workshop solely to artists that have released on the label. (Although Rone, Cubenx and Clara Moto all featured.) During the day, they hang out, participate in workshops around the space that include teaching local and visiting children how to use things like the Kaossilator and beatmatch with CDJs. At night, the performances begin.
Less than a ten minute walk away from the accommodations lies the performance space. La Carriere is built alongside a stunning rock quarry. It was designed by a friend of InFiné label boss Alex Cazac, and hosts concerts throughout the summer each night at 9 PM. The space offers a dinner each night beforehand, and as things get going, the audience casually moves to the seating area at the back half of the venue.
The stuffiness of the classical or jazz-styled performance set-up, however, was leavened by some surprises each evening. One duo set up in the middle of the water and projected a film behind them on the rocks, as the crowd looked out to watch them play. James Taylor, formerly of Swayzak, performed an ambient and musique concrete DJ set, with the music emanating from speakers hidden at the top of the quarries. In short, it's a truly wondrous location to hear music.
Most of all, though, it seems similar to festivals like Freerotation and Labyrinth that offer the sort of freedom that inevitably gets the best out of talented artists. InFiné's label workshop at La Carriere isn't aiming to become a destination on the order of those events. But if you're looking for a relaxing couple of days in the French countryside with some adventurous music, it is most definitely a destination worth considering.