The Field Day lineup couldn’t have been more appetising this year for electronic music enthusiasts with the programme including names such as Aphex Twin, ÂME, Fatima Yamaha, Hunee, Midland, Moodymann, Nicolas Jaar and Nina Kraviz.
Having not performed in London in the last five years the tension throughout the afternoon continually built in anticipation of Aphex Twin’s long-awaited headline set at the notorious Barn stage. A stage completely lacking any traditional associations one might have with a barn, hay bails and farm animals replaced with a sea of bodies and spectacular light pyrotechnics, which would have been the envy of any London club.
Beginning with gentle beats and distinct motifs we could bop along to the crowd were carefully immersed into another realm. However, as his set continued things became less lucid, the layering of various tracks and sounds becoming gradually more intense and disjointed. The element of the unexpected was initially received well, the crowd craving more. Despite this, towards the end of his two-hour performance, Aphex Twin’s set became less accommodating, filled with ear-splitting clashes and bangs resembling the noise one would associate with the inside of a computer processing too much information. The music he presented to the crowd was both hard to decipher and difficult to dance to. Alongside his unorthodox recital eerie spine-chilling visuals of the royal family, former prime ministers and TV personalities were grotesquely collaged together projected on 12 screens surrounding him.
In conclusion, Aphex Twin was an attack on all auditory and visual elements, the closing section of his set almost too much but not quite. As always his originality won the crowd over and at points the 14,000 capacity barn was full. It is clear that Aphex Twin’s set was the highlight of the day and something that everyone was licking their lip’s over. Since his celebrated set Aphex Twin’s website has been updated with a numerical countdown, no one is sure what this resembles, but we’ll soon find out.