The festival brought together the best of the US and European scenes
By Megan Townsend
Entering its 12th year, Movement Torino might be the most established euro festival you’ve never heard of. Launched in 2006 as a dance ‘closing’ ceremony for Turin’s winter Olympics, by Maurizo ‘juni’ Vitale and Movement founder and techno powerhouse Derrick May, Movement Torino has gradually moved from a small underground gathering to one of the Europe’s most famous winter festivals. Hosted in the Lingotto district of the city, famous for its history its car factories and Italian Job backdrops, the festival this year expanded to span over 5 days – with two nights in the Lingotto Arena and then multiple smaller events around Turin.
The Iingotto Arena itself was expansive. The building hosted three massive stages (four on the second night), and upon arriving to the initial entrance to the main stage – which was lined with fast food stands selling coffee and hot dogs, the apprehension about whether or not this area could satisfy the ‘underground’ vibe of the line-up.
The identical ‘Burn’ and ‘Kappa’ stages, huge rooms reminiscent of train stations or airport terminals felt too big (there was about 3-4 meters between most groups dancing together). The large containers selling drinks tokens, sponsors attempting to grab passers-by and the empty bars were distracting.
Though, the music matched and filled the space – Agnelli’s Hypercium thundered and vibrated the entirety of the Burn stage on the first night. The layout was similar to something seen in warehouse parties in London, allowing the intensity of the beats to resound throughout the space.
And the stages being as big as they were was also had advantages – the light shows and visuals might have been the best I’ve ever witnessed at a techno festival – with hundreds of lasers and keeping all eyes glued in the direction of the DJ. Apollonia’s set was particularly impressive, where the lights appeared to liquefy as orange bars shook on-screen during a bassy mix of Stucco Homes.
The Techno Stage (renamed ‘ The Detroit Stage’ on the second night) was the complete opposite. It was warehouse on acid. The stage was set in a small section of an immense space, complete with a disorienting array of endless Aokigahara-like black columns which gave no real ability to determine which way was what. The stage itself was beneath a canopy of stringy lights that seemed to levitate above the crowd. The solid beats of Marcel Fengler’s Enigma seemed to bounce from the columns into your soul. I’m someone who either likes to feel like they are being encourages to groove to techno – or being held hostage by it. In this space it was usually the latter and It was perfect.
The Jaeger Music Lab was way more of a traditional club space – reminiscent of Warehouse Project or Bristol’s Motion. Removed were all the logos, all the bars (which instead the organisers had cleverly relocated to the smoking area) It was tight and small, and upon entering I almost welcomed the sweaty heat coming from the room.
Glasgow’s young gun Denis Sulta played a three-hour (maybe longer) knockout set that was easily the best of the festival. I was being delivered from the hard , repetitive beats to a funky shin-dig. The set was impossible to tear yourself away from, from the smoking area you could hear only moans of frustration as a vibey mix of Micheal Gray’s The Weekend blasted through the doors. Likewise during Patrick Topping – there were one or more Italian expletives let out as he began a remix of Raumakustiks Dem A Pree.
The second night had a far bigger turn-out (despite being on a Tuesday night), and way more of the names that have made Movement such an institution. We were greeted on arrival by Burden Brothers duo Octave one on the ‘Detroit Stage’ who were visible bouncing and grooving behind the decks. The synths mixed in with some sort of groovy church organ felt eerie in the column-filled backdrop. It seemed to attract the international crowd, who grinned at each other during a rendition of Black Water overlaid with Britney Spears’ Toxic samples.
Founder Dereck May likewise had the entire space humming. Starting at around 4am the set was lively, lighting up the faces of just about every onlooker as an extended mix of Donna Summer’s ‘I feel love’ blended into Floorplan’s Music.
Movement also had two club venues on the Roster, the first Berghains loop-techno favourite Rødhåd, cancelled his show the night before. The second featured Amsterdam’s finest San Proper, who played a soulful, psychedelic offering that was rightly removed from the rest of the artists in the lineup. During Caught On You might have been the first time I’ve heard “oi, oi, oi” chanted outside the north west – by a majority Italian crowd to boot.