The Buku Music + Arts Project combines the best in hip hop, indie rock, and electronic music in an environment that feels as if it could be right out of the next hip apocalypse movie. Imagine raving out next to some of the biggest Mardi Gras floats which seem to come back to life with bright light shows just after they greeted New Orleans in its largest annual celebration. Dream of a sunset that lands right behind an abandoned nuclear plant as you’re belting along with your favorite rappers’s hardest bars. It might be easier to imagine that (according to an interesting uber ride from the year before) that that same plant hosted secret rock shows. All of this creates a unique view for a festival set in what is the most historic area of Louisiana. Buku seems to know how to make a quiet part of downtown New Orleans come alive but it wouldn’t be without the help of their stellar lineup to make you feel like you’re in a world apart.
Releasing his debut, Generationwhy, last summer, Zhu has been gaining traction as a compelling house producer known for airy vocals with minimal arrangements working with Alunageorge and Skrillex. Much of his music sounds like it could be a part of a lurking thriller movie–possibly even a dancier universe akin to that of The Weeknd’s, Starboy. Zhu has proven that less in many instances can be more and just as catchy. Catch his late nite set at 11:45 in the Float Den on Saturday if you like your EDM a little darker.
Nina Kraviz was a name I was first familiar with after devoutly listening to my discover weekly playlists on spotify. What is most intriguing about Nina’s style is her simple electro style that can make any club vibe as if it was still the early days of house music. You can still hear the jazzy and soul influenced melodies that smooth out over minimal and hip hop edged beats. If you listen to her Boiler Room set, you’d know that her mixes are rewarding the more that you listen. If you’re a sucker for retro EDM, Nina is sure to keep you moving into the night starting at 11:30 in the Back Alley on Saturday.
Similar to Nina, Alina Baraz was introduced to me through Spotify where her Urban Flora EP–a collaboration with producer Galimatias–was just as enchanting as it was soothing. A mix of downtempo beats with R&B and neo soul influences, Alina sets the mood for any lovers playlist or the perfect chill out lounge for your laid back weekend. Her voice is powerful in personality while subdued in delivery. She’s set to open for Coldplay’s upcoming tour which could only hopefully mean that we hear new music from this songstress. Come out to the Power Plant at 4:30 on Saturday for more!
A musician working his way up to legendary cult status, making music with a variety of hip hop and jazz figures such as Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, Kimbra, Flying Lotus, and even throwing funky grooves into the songs of thrash-punk band Suicidal Tendencies, Thundercat is leaving less of himself to prove as the most versatile bassist as he walks on any stage. What else can be said about this man? Coming off the heels of his latest album, Drunk, Thundercat will be sure to electrify Friday at 7:30 in the Ballroom.
Car Seat Headrest
The boys of Car Seat Headrest are keeping the spirit of indie rock alive with their straightforward guitar riffs steeped in harmonic distortion and catchy, twangy choruses. In a genre that has in many ways returned to the underground scene and been pushed out for maximalist production, CSH keeps things simple, yet energetic and are sure to be a great contrast from other performers at Buku. Come rock out with me at their set at 5:15 in the Ballroom on Friday if you are in for a good time.
Sophie is a producer that has made many waves with his unconventionally oversaturated and sugary style that almost feels like it’s so intentionally catchy and appealing that it wasn’t supposed to be. That can be said of much of the PC music collective that has been popularized in the past few years which can be found in tracks by Charli XCX, Madonna, and even a McDonald’s commercial. The easiest way to describe Sophie’s music is if a J-Pop girl group made early-2000s styled music that every now and again delved into modern hip hop, trap, and electropop–and that description may not still be giving his music any justice. We may even see a bizarre performance given that Sophie also is very satirical of modern EDM culture (his last album was called Product and he has even been known to have a decoy perform on stage). Come find out for yourself what to expect at 7:45 in the Back Alley on Friday.
Nora En Pure
The kinda tunes that are produced by Nore En Pure definitely seem to soundtrack a variety of experiences from the adventures of a night out to the rush of exploring nature in all its rawness. Much of that can be felt listening to the Conquering Yosemite EP with titles like “Caught in the Act” and “Diving with Whales.” The Swiss-South African DJ seems to make very atmospheric deep house that sounds like it also is played at sophisticated rooftop parties, so come live the fantasy as Nora goes on at 10:15 in the Back Alley on Friday.
Having been to a Sleigh Bells show before, I’m expecting the fiery energy of a heavy metal concert, a stadium-styled pop performance, and the energy of trap level bass drops. My memories are faded because I was so overstimulated; the spirit of their latest album, Jessica Rabbit, their upcoming set should be some of their most challenging yet. Their new style of noise rock incorporates industrial drums and experimental rhythms and tempo changes. If there’s anything I do know is that you need to be ready to brawl at 9:00 in the Ballroom on Friday.
DJ Soul Sister
What makes me anticipate DJ Soul Sister is the fact that unlike many other live DJs, she is completely interested in showcasing the best in rare grooves rather than producing her own tracks. Her name alludes to the kinda party you’re going to invite yourself to but if you are a fan of the old school funk then this is definitely for you. If you appreciate the work that goes into DJing like they did in the “golden days” from collecting records of regional funk bands to mixing them for a new audience giving them the shine they deserve then you will not want to miss this set just for VIP attendees at 4:15 on the VIP S.S. Buku ship!
Run the Jewels
The eclectic pairing of Killer Mike and El-P has been one of the biggest knockout rap acts in recent memory. Having just released their highly-anticipated RTJ3 album, the duo is sure to do what they do best–rapping over heavy handed rap production with hardcore lyrics for almost an hour straight. These are guys who know how to have a good time and will also be the type of group to not worry about those who aren’t enjoying it (usually that’s no one). Hear the duo blaze the Power Plant stage at 8 on Saturday.
CisternYard Radio will be reporting live from Buku Music & Arts Festival March 10th and 11th. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (@cy_radio) for live reports from the festival with the hashtag #CYRTakesBuku.
Listen to all of the acts mentioned here in this Spotify playlist to gear you up for Buku 2017!