Nostromo Festival 2021: An impeccable showcase of contemporary club culture

    Upon first look at the newfound Nostromo Festival, it became immediately evident this was to be a unique affair. On top of a marathon 24-hour music programme, the initial artist announcements revealed a classy merging of worlds within club culture.

    Bringing the minimalist sounds of Club De Visionäre and Romania’s roster in the likes of Rhadoo and Ion Ludwig, sprinkles of techno via Berghain’s Etapp Kyle; as well as the deep digging circuit in Francesco Del Garda, Quest, and countless others, it’s clear that music is at the forefront of all plans.

    Located one hour out of Paris, breathtaking woodland surrounding the historic castle Chateau de Motteux welcomes you into Nostromo. Organic inspired structures host subtle stages, charmed with a conscious effort to compliment their surroundings and armed with immense d&b sound systems.

    Photography by Chris Nicholls

    Mindfully considered programming made for a perfect split between stages, dispersing the crowd between head-scratching clashes like Zip and Slow Life, or Dyed Soundorom and Nicolas Lutz.

    With this endless choice of top-tier DJs across the weekend, each playing extended sets of 3-7+ hours, sleep soon became a difficult concept. Decisions were to be made for who to catch on your hit list, with numerous complimentary pairings sticking out on the programming, like Raresh into Francesco Del Garda, or Onur Ozer into Jane Fitz.

    Both the curation and crowd created the kind of environment that had been tailored by ravers, for ravers. Numerous brand showcases provided the opportunity to see more undiscovered acts, such as the powerful sounds of Montevideo mainstay Christian warming up for Lutz in the early hours.

    Opting for entire label and collective showcases allowed for immersive experiences into cultures from all across the globe. From Uruguay’s Phonotheque, Germany’s Perlon, to France’s Lumbago, the atmosphere across every stage was exhilarating and educational.

    Photography by Martin Czaja

    Inspiring ideas, projects, and connections between the global crowd of music enthusiasts, Nostromo’s September edition gave the impression of a festival that many projects and labels could be born from.

    Dedication to excellent sound and conditions was apparent throughout. With sound engineers consistently on-site ensuring optimal conditions, tight vinyl mixing was heard everywhere, with very few issues.

    Tastefully selected tracks spanning decades of electronic music were heard throughout the duration. Many local French selectors scattered around the bill, delivering sultry and considered warm-up and after-hour sets, mindful of the endurance 24-hour schedule.

    A beautiful ancient looking space hosted the festival’s chill-out stage Spacelab. Offering a breather from the dance floors, ambient and downtempo sets ran 24 hours, littered with comfortable sofas, seats, and blankets which became essential for this extended experience.

    Photography by Martin Czaja

    Many artists played multiple times across the weekend, providing another unique opportunity to see the likes of Josh Tweek and Alec Falconer’s home listening records on a stunning sound system.

    Rhadoo soon took comfort within the impressive valley stage on Friday evening. Working through shades of introverted micro and minimal house, the [a:rpia:r] boss expressed his tastes to a keen-eared crowd. Moods turned towards a menacing attitude to bring in the morning hours, shifting through the likes of Do Or Die’s ‘Paint The Whitehouse Black’ and Robin Ordell’s ‘Inside Out Song’, the Romanian tastemaker was in a delightful flow state.

    Photography by Martin Czaja

    Wrapping up at around 9am, his elegant masterclass eventually came to a close after voluntary playing an extra two hours past the scheduled 7am finish.

    Lumbago’s four-hour showcase on Friday was a lesson in ravey chaos. Elegant and frothing with groove, the french duo sent the woods into a frenzy, before handing over to the Cartulis crew. Unai Trotti and Rapahel Carrau played arguably one of the sets of the festival. Riffling through spirited techno and electro cuts with pristine mixing, the duo’s sunrise set created many hands-on-head moments of euphoria.

    Walking the line between ominous and hopeful, crafty beats wrapped around glorious pads and synth lines from a plethora of unrecognisable tracks.

    Photography by Martin Czaja

    Onur Özer was impeccable in the forest. Following Binh and Matthias’ wonderful morning sets, the Turkish wizard took a lighter tone. Sifting through exquisite breaks, patiently building tension before eventually reaching his mind-bending strain of sci-fi electro to hand over to Jane Fitz.

    It is difficult to note every highlight, with everyone delivering high-class, inspiring sets across the weekend, before we had even reached the remarkable Sunday Perlon showcase.

    Ivan Iacobucci played a gorgeous warm-up, considering the many hours ahead whilst setting the scene for recent Perlon signing Chris Korda. The Church of Euthanasia founder formed an eclectic journey through her productions.

    Whether spreading the joyful sounds of ‘Ra Mi’, or the mind-bending live vocals touching on climate change and reproduction, it was the perfect eccentric teaser before 4 hours of Zip.

    Photography by Chris Nicholls

    The Perlon boss took a more minimalist approach to many of his well-known housey sets. Steadily building an atmosphere through the likes of Thomas Melchior and Fumiya Tanaka’s stripped-back cuts, the veteran had the 360 stage in the palm of his hands. Many selections were of a more laid-back vibe, perhaps aware of his Sunday afternoon slot following 4 days of 24-hour music; considered selections were greatly appreciated by the crowd.

    One of the very few downsides to the festival was a limited number of food options, especially for vegetarian and vegan diets. Given the endurance nature of the weekend, energy-boosting smoothies or further nutritional options would have been a great addition.

    It’s safe to say that Nostromo is a testament to contemporary club culture’s community values. Witnessing the scene collaborating on this scale created a very encouraging and nourishing environment, particularly after the many difficulties experienced throughout the pandemic.

    From the perfect sound systems to the welcoming crowd, the French collective is definitely one to watch.

    More info on Nostromo
    Facebook | Website | Instagram