MP3 TAKES: Beyond Existence Set the Bar, and the Vibes, High (REVIEW)
Introducing MP3 TAKES, our event review series where we dive deep into the exhilarating world of music festivals and live performances. In an era teeming with music events worldwide, our aim is to help you navigate through the noise and uncover the most captivating experiences. Join us on this adventure to highlight the backstage stories, memorable moments, and unique elements that make each event one-of-a-kind.
To have an extraordinary experience, one must venture beyond the so-called “ordinary.” Whether that means exploring a new city, opening a business, or abandoning all earthly possessions to live out life off the grid is up to the individual. In our case, we didn’t just go beyond the ordinary — we went Beyond Existence.
Beyond Existence — the Austin, Texas underground bass music festival — returned for its fifth year and went off without a hitch. Every element, from the production to the venue and lineup, was outstanding. For three days, people gathered to partake in music, art, and good vibes. The only thing that hit harder than the bass from the speakers was the love that radiated from the hearts of the people. The sense of community was palpable.
Small Details Made a Big Impact
It’s the small details and non-music-related activities that give a festival personality, and Beyond Existence packed plenty of it. The visuals at the main stage (River Amphitheater), which sat on the banks of the Colorado River was a prime example.
Along with the typical visuals and lighting around the actual stage was a separate projection on the trees on the opposite bank. So, while festival goers were getting their faces melted by bass and colorful visuals, they also got to enjoy geometric patterns on the trees in the background.
Another detail that came in clutch was the Lotus Lounge — a chill spot set up with couches, blankets, books, and an N64 for late-night Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart tournaments. When you’ve been raging all day, nothing satisfies the soul (or the spine) like a comfy couch to pass out on at 2 A.M. The care that Beyond took to include concentrated intimate experiences like this added incredible value to the event.
Manifest Gang Takeover
Friday night was for the Manifest Gang. The Florida-based collective set the bar high on night one. They came packed with an arsenal of soul-shaking bass that created the perfect vibe from the golden hour to deep into the night. The whole gang killed it, but we especially enjoyed Sunken Frequencies, Rafeeki, and Mystic Grizzly.
We didn’t know we needed “Ratchet Jazz” in our lives until we saw SayWhat?! “Ratchet Jazz” is a term SayWhat?! (real name Jordan Panasewicz) coined to describe his sound. When he opened up the main stage on Saturday, he set the tone for a spectacularly funk-filled evening. He wowed the crowd with wobbly beats and the many instruments he played (trumpet, synth, and what looked like an electric clarinet?). Funk + jazz + filthy bass? We’re here for it!
If you’ve never caught a Zen Selekta set, you need to. Her energy and enthusiasm are unparalleled. She didn’t just go hard at the River Amphitheater on Sunday; she went stone solid. We especially loved when she rinsed Distinct Motive’s “Shake Junt.” Now, if you’ll excuse us, we need to see a chiropractor ASAP.
The king of chill intensity did not disappoint. Supertask created the perfect ambiance for Sunday late-night vibes. He started off downtempo and heavy. Toward the middle of his set, he cranked up the BPM to get feet moving and blood flowing. Then he slid back into the slow jams toward the end.
Boredomfighters’ Instrument Garden
One of the coolest installations at Beyond this year was the Instrument Garden, courtesy of Boredomfighters.
Boredomfighters is a non-profit organization that aims to improve access and education around music production. They bring their flagship program, the Instrument Garden Workshop, to schools and festivals across the country. It’s a big hit with all age groups.
The Instrument Garden is a popup studio where anyone can come in to make beats or record melodies on a variety of instruments. The Boredomfighters crew had everything set up, from CDJs and microphones to hand drums and singing bowls.
Beyond Existence set the standard for how an underground music festival should run. The team really went above and beyond to make this a quality experience for everyone. We had an infinity-out-of-ten great weekend and can’t wait to be back next year!