The rain is lashing down, it’s 8am, and Ricardo Villalobos is in full move, sporting his typical inexperienced tank high and taking just a few hundred hardened ravers down the rabbit gap. The Chilean DJ units sail for 9 hours of musical insanity to a crowd that’s made up of 79 totally different nationalities. The soundsystem is pumping, shaking the raindrops of the Frisbee-like cover above. It’s one thing of a household affair too, together with his son handing the demigod data to ship the dancers into an early morning frenzy. To our left is a gaggle of dishevelled ravers, who're stood in a circle seemingly oblivious to what’s unfolding in entrance of them. A second look reveals they’ve really discovered a child mouse, which they’re all stroking with Cheshire grins on their faces. This is Epizode Vietnam; an 11-day marathon the place the music by no means actually stops, and the strange unfolds in a freeform manner that simply boggles the thoughts.
Now in its third yr, Epizode is definitely Asia’s best-kept secret. It’s sufficiently small to be boutique, however large enough to welcome 150 artists from nearly each conceivable style, from the Stanton Warriors to Steve Lawler, Pan-Pot, Ferry Corsten, DJ Stingray, Digby, Zip and Nina Kraviz. It is like an digital candy store, with favourites stacked in unknown portions. It has a mind-boggling array of artwork (have you ever ever seen a row of elephant sculptures on stilts rising out of a turquoise sea, or a bamboo mega construction bar that appears prefer it has been lifted from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan?) and it’s an audio delight, the place the primary stage soundsystem is so loud that it scares away the fish and might simply be heard in neighbouring Cambodia. It’s a playground for Russian oligarchs, Australian hippies, Circoloco bros, ex-pats, seasoned ravers and loads of locals, too. It’s 264 hours of insanity that will get underneath your pores and skin on an image postcard island nestled within the Gulf of Thailand. It’s low cost, too. You can actually stay like a king from day-to-day, and the music on provide is jaw-dropping, in each selection and scope.
Highlights are nearly too plentiful, however one of the memorable finds Peggy Gou being serenaded by a sea of cat masks as she weaves via acid, techno and home, taking in her future traditional ‘It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)’, alongside stompers corresponding to Ellen Allien’s ‘UFO’. Israeli duo Red Axes play their half too, with a jaw-dropping set within the early hours, knitting collectively crooked acid bangers like their lately launched Phantasy Sound EP ‘Sound Test’, alongside throbbing machine disco and mutant electro. They make manner for the Pan-Pot techno freight practice, earlier than returning to play for an additional two hours in a shock dawn set (one in all many shock units that unfold throughout the 11 days), the place they ship a dose of traditional ’60s rock, together with anthems corresponding to Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit In The Sky’ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘She’s A Rainbow’ as the group embraces the early morning sunshine.
Other gems embrace Oliver Huntemann showcasing each his skilled mixing and the sheer breadth of his productions, with a set that features gut-busting rollers like his personal ‘Rotlicht’ alongside Âme’s remix of Underworld’s ‘Crocodile’, which sends the 1,000-strong crowd delirious on the second evening. The finest is, in fact, left till final, with each DJ Stingray and Nina Kraviz spinning on the ultimate evening — and what an evening! Kraviz unloads 4 hours of bustling techno that breathes new life right into a weary-looking crowd, with cuts like ‘Let’s Do It’ and ‘Ghetto Kraviz’ spliced with classics corresponding to Orbital’s ‘Chime’. Stingray, however, offers the Epizode trustworthy a bone-shaking electro sermon, dispatching cuts together with Mr. De’s ‘Shake It Baby’ and the sci-fi-infused ‘Crystal Boy’ by DJ Overdose, from behind his now iconic balaclava.
Epizode is a should for anybody who's seeking to pattern a few of the delights of Vietnam with out the depth of Hanoi or Saigon. Revellers can nonetheless gorge on unbelievable avenue meals, soak up adventures throughout 26 uninhabited islands and discover some beautiful Buddhist temples. The seashores are a few of the finest in Vietnam, and should you actually need to go for the complete five-star expertise, there are dozens of unbelievable resorts dotted across the pageant, and lots of extra underneath building, too. We’d advocate going now earlier than Phu Quoc turns right into a playground for the wealthy and well-known.