Venturing to Rockdale for Electronic Fest Camp Capsul: Destination Unknown: Regional Support Shines Amid Lavish International Lineup – Music

Camp Capsul: destination unknown (Photo by Christina Garcia)

The Dallas promoters known as the Capsul know how to throw a rave.

Just ask their close-knit family of dancers and DJs. Dedicated and addicted to music, they roam far and wide for inner-circle weekend haters seeking the heights of booming house music. Dark techno also satisfies, all the better if mixed with twisted electro, industrial swooping, punishing or complex minimal breaks in an off-the-beaten-track setting.

Happening at least once a year since 2014, last weekend’s Capsul parties landed in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, with hiking and rafting nearby. “These parties weren’t really public,” said a longtime reveler aligned with Capsul’s team. Born out of the void left by the SoundsLike promotion team after the tragic death of chef Jason Lovel in 2016, Capsul’s inner circle parties have grown too big there, with around 40 people.

Other archived events open to outsiders have taken place at places like the quirky Casa Rio de Colores bed and breakfast, 30 minutes from Austin, in 2014 and 2019. About 100 people gathered there to dance in a daytime hallucination of an interior designer’s wildest imagination, with rooms arranged on themes like outer space or psychedelia. (The no-frills no-surface approach makes sense, as the now-closed event venue shared ownership with Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, the recently closed Southern Congress costume shop.)

But the neighbors complained, apparently threatening to call in the SWAT team to quiet the endless beating of the bass carried by the wind. So last weekend, Capsul celebrated its fifth anniversary at Apache Pass, a working pecan farm and event space in Rockdale, Texas. The three-day music festival, Camp Capsul: Destination Unknown, hosted DJs nearly around the clock on a monster DAS Audio setup (by longtime collaborator Josh Cavanaugh of DJ Sound & Lighting). Vibrant video projections and lasers danced under a canopy of Celtic-inspired swirls — unlike Capsul’s usual triangle-chic aesthetic in homage, perhaps, to Burning Man-aligned style.

The shadow of the Nevada monolith hangs over any camping-mandated electronic festival. In a nod to Burning Man royalty, Playa tech queen Tara Brooks thanked Capsul on social media for the “thoughtful programming” after performing at the weekend festival. Mexican Rebolledo, ultra-hip synth wave producer and half of the Pachanga Boys, further accentuated the burn in his signature style: endlessly looping but ripe with a tense, spiraling industrial noise, slowly wound and unwound like a cable.

A 2022 lineup filled with praised talent has bolstered Capsul’s recognition. Richie Hawtin, protege and queen of global techno, Magda disappeared from the list, but Florida’s Christopher Milo – aka DJ Three – was still on the list. With a humbly understated ensemble, Milo settled for California’s Doc Martin, who thrilled a dance floor of ravers wrapped in fur coats, shiny pants and plastic jumpsuits. Other standouts came from Halo Varga, a Chicago-born, West Coast-based techno house producer known as the H-Foundation, and Fur Coat, a Venezuela-born, Barcelona-based melodic techno band.

Austin’s Daniel Allen (Photo by Addison Staples)

Solar & Mozghan delivered the most thrilling, adrenaline-pumping and invigorating set of any headliner. While the scrumptious international lineup only provided a three-hour break from DJ sets for the entire weekend, stretching from 5 p.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Sunday, minor issues emerged.

On Saturday after midnight, Philadelphia jock Josh Wink – of “Higher State of Consciousness” fame – pushed tracks ranging from jazzy versions of Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman” to Honey Dijon’s “La Femme Fantastique” all the way to what his bass convulses the booth and the dance floor. with a metal rattle. A group, which Wink referred to as “the authorities”, then materialized, much to the DJ’s apparent chagrin. He jumped on the mic to let off steam, almost improvising until his set ended at 2am.

At 25 hours from Camp Capsul, after a wildly diverse set from Denied Music boss and longtime Austin scene Daniel Allen, Lizette Roman proved the state capitol to be a largely overlooked gem for pointy ears. Then the sound died down and the rumors flowed. How many people would it take to fix a generator running a massive sound system and lighting in Rockdale?

Promoters and friends scrambled to the motorhomes, phoning for reinforcements. An hour later the sound returned and lighting adjustments dimmed the laser’s glow, until a replacement generator came online. Lizette Roman’s bandmates and Ubiyu label ambassadors Robert Roman and Varela shared their final hour and played some of the best sets of the festival, featuring standout tracks from Jay Tripwire and other unreleased tracks from Ubiyu.

Overall, local and regional support stole the show, with other festival favorite sets coming from Dallas local Shams Mujadded and decades-built after-hours finesse from DJ Redeye. . Educated punters called out with smiles the many DJ Icey tracks played on the festival sets. Although Capsul recruited regional talent from Austin and Houston, Dallas stalwarts and lifers — many of whom have already been linked for more than a decade of club nights — fueled the dancefloor.

A second festival is already in the works, according to many during the first edition of Camp Capsul: Destination Unknown last weekend. Leave it to the locals to leave it all on the dance floor and come back for more. Now it’s tradition.

Morgan Moore and Zeb Eggers of Zorgan (Photo by Addison Staples)

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