24 hours of Fusion (Part 2 of 2)

The title of the post is a lie. I stayed over for another 24 hours till Tuesday morning to see what Fusion after-hours are. Most of the friends and acquaintances had left earlier, the festival area looked deserted and on top of that it started raining. I was sitting in the empty camp in a grumpy mood contemplating what the hell I was doing there. But then I had a realisation that it was way better to wait for the rain to stop at the festival with people and music than all alone in the middle of nowhere. How different things can look in another light. I met more people on Monday than during all the previous Fusions combined. The festival atmosphere is not the best setting for having a profound conversation, but the after hours were different. It seemed people were more down to earth and had no rush to see the festival programme. Food was shared with strangers (including smuggled bratwurst!) and stories were told. Highlights are anarchy of Berlin’s nightlife in early 90s and incostistencies of German traffic lights. Long story short, traffic lights in Germany do not make any sense. This is a topic for another post, though.

Monday did not have those “a day after, a Monday morning” qualities (but Tuesday had!). While most of the stages closed, Bachstalzen kept on deliveribg a mixture of deep house, slow techno, lo-fi, 80s hits and everything in between. Something that works really well both for dancing or as a conversation background. A full-on party nevermind the slow bpm with the packed dance floor and people hanging out in the trees jungle style A club for cool boys and girls, just like Guy’s Bar in Koh Phangan with sand and fancy dresses making the impression complete. As shocking as it sounds at some point of the night the bar ran out of beer (we are talking about Germany here). Mate was mixed with vodka and the party continued… As the official programme was approaching its end, entertainment was put into the hands of fellow partygoers. After music ended at Bachstalzen, sound production got rather lo-tech with people drumming on anything remotely generating sound and producing acid sounds by scratching air balloons. There was a “the rave is on” van cruising over the camping area and blasting drum & bass. It made brief stops inviting people to join this mobile mini-rave. Then there was a disco bus equipped with a decent sound system/lights and a mad party inside. I have been to many parties in my life, but never to a bus party. Fusion surprised once again.

Tuesday was a true day after. Music stopped, people were tired, food was difficult to come by. A quick cold shower (my first one ever in Fusion!), musli with a banana and milk for breakfast and I was on the road again. My bike gear raised questions from several people. One guy was so impressed by my story, so despite my protests he gave me five euros telling me “to buy something nice as long as it is not meat”. Funnily enough on my way from Fusion, I stumbled across a restaurant serving “after Fusion freakadellen”. I ordered frikadellen with potato salad and an orange juice, which cost exactly five euros. Remembering the condition of the gift, I paid with my own money. Universe balance was not upset. Bad karma avoided. Fusion ended.

24 hours of Fusion (Part 1 of 2)

The road to Fusion was hard: three storms, one rain jacket forgotten in Hamburg, two flat tyres, plus an old puncture in the spare tyre. Preparations for the journey could have been indeed better. I arrived on Sunday 8am, two hours late from the schedule due a huge storm in the wee hours of the morning. Sparkling wine for breakfast and I was ready for festivities. This year I had only one day worth of Fusion, so the time was to be used wisely. An important lesson was made this time: 24 hours are not enough to experience something as massive as Fusion. I kept hearing about amazing things discovered at the festival, but was never in a right place at a right time to catch them. On the other hand this is a part of the Fusion experience – missing something magnificent and hoping to catch it the next year.

What could be said about Fusion this year that was not said last time? It is always the same each year, but totally fucking different. It is like Christmas – no revelations, same as the last year, but nonetheless you cannot wait to experience it. A theme park for grown-ups, a playground for all ages. Walking around, exploring, getting lost, dancing, seeing absurd things, enjoying veggie food, watching theatre and cabaret, having strange conversations and experiencing just plain weirdness. How about a remote controlled real-looking robotic homeless bum or a mobile bicycle piano (completed with a woman lying on top of it)? Or a giant human powered wheel, witch set in motion an animation of a rowing skeleton? In a true Fusion fashion 99% of the line-up did not ring a bell. I was glad to catch Afrika Hi-Tech, but either they had problems with PA (the sound check took way too much time) or their music is too avant-garde for me, but the end result did not work for me. I will give them another try at Flow Festival next month, though.

Anyway what is the point in talking about Fusion? It is to be experienced, not to be heard or read about. As a Fusion newbie realized that it was actually AMAZING and not just something people pretend to be fun. Or as a new acquaintance from the festival put it: the first rule of Fusion is you don’t talk about Fusion. Just like Fightclub, minus the violence.

YouTube game

The rules are simple. Any number of players, everybody puts a tune on during their turn. The choice of music is free. You win, when you discover something amazing you haven’t heard before (Temptations “Zoom”, anyone?). You lose, when you get something like Lady Gaga. We did two sessions in Bei Jing with amazing results. It is mind-blowing when you discover that other people from different countries and with different backgrounds share a music taste similar to yours. Anyways here are the sets list for both sessions (everything is on YouTube). Rather Blue Room-ish material.

Session 1 (Hayden from Switzerland, Dani from UK, Zhenya from Moscow, Jussi from Kallio and myself)

Cotti feat. Kingpin “Let Go Mi Shirt”
Magnetic Man “I Need Air”
Peter Nalitch “Guitar”
Leonard Nimoy “The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins”
Frederik “Linda Linda”
Rolling Stones “2000 Light Years From Home”
Leadbelly “Black Betty”
Leadbelly “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”
Wurzels “I Am A Cider Drinker”
Swans “God Damn The Sun”
Circle “On The Bus In San Francisco”
Stevie Wonder “Have A Talk With God”
Rammstein “Adios”
Dolly Parton “Jolene”
Primal Scream “Some Velvet Morning”
Animals “House Of The Rising Sun”
The Coasters “Down In Mexico”
Lady Gaga “Poker Face”
Hedningarna “Kruspolska”
Ladytron “Runaway”
Kate Bush “Running Up That Hill”
Futureheads “Hounds Of Love (Phones Wolf At The Door Remix)”
Bobby McFerrin’ “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
Cleaning Women “Aelita”
DMX Krew “You Can’t Hide Your Love (Hidden Love Mix by Aphex Twin)”
Stockholm Monster “Partyline (Live)”
Dizzie Rascal “Just Sitting”
Fela Kuti “Teacher Don’t Teach Me No Nonsense”
Burning Spear “Jah No Dead”

Session 2 (Hayden, Dani and myself)

Eek-A-Mouse “Every Girl Is A Virgin”
Joy Division “Transmission”
The Clash “Train In Vain”
Sister Nancy “Bam Bam”
Black Sabbath “Planet Caravan”
Focus “Hocus Pocus”
The Congo’s “Fisherman”
Harmonia “Watussi”
Papa M “Arundel”
The Field “Over The Ice”
Cat Power “Satisfaction”
Morrisey “Spring Heeled Jam”
Chemical Brothers & The Flaming Lips “The Golden Path”
Yamasuki “Kono Samurai”
Black Grape “Reverend Black Grape”
Creative Source “Who Is He And What Is He To You”
Lack Of Afro “Wait A Minute”
Africa Hi-Tech “Blen”
Toto “Africa”
The Slackers “Married Girl”
Willy DeVille “Demasiado Corason”
Giorgio Moroder “Tears”
Yamasuki “Aieaoa”
Kenny Rogers “But You Know I Love You”
Radna Hare Krishna Temple “Govinda”
Old Crow Medicine Show “Wagon Wheel”
PJ Harvey “C’Mon Billy”
Gossip “Standing In The Way Of Control (Soulwax Nite Version)”
Slick Rick & Doug E Fresh Tribue “La Di Da Di”
NWA “If It Ain’t Ruff”
Senor Coconut “Smooth Operator”
Slick Rick “Mona Lisa”
Isaac Hayes “Walk On By”
The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”
Slick Rick feat. Outkast “Street Talkin'”
Nick Drake “Northern Sky”
Blackalicious “Alphabet Aerobics”
Tricky “Black Steel”