For the yearly Notting Hill Carnival bash with the mighty Major Lazer Soundsystem all tickets were gone within a matter of seconds, and the day was suitably epic. By the time Major Lazer hit the stage, the yard underneath the Westway had already seen a wealth of memorable performances. The print on the back of Kito’s shirt said it all during the first set of the day: ‘Let’s Party’.
Lunice went straight from dancing in the crowd to dancing on stage, Dillon Francis & Brodinski were a torrent of transatlantic moombahton madness and Jackmaster & Oneman were the mindbending experience you would expect them to be.
Starting it’s life as a local festival set up by the West Indian community of the Notting Hill area, it has now become a full-blooded Caribbean carnival, attracting millions of visitors from all over the globe. Held each August Bank Holiday since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe.
Every year the streets of West London come alive, with the sounds and smells of Europe’s biggest street festival. Twenty miles of vibrant colourful costumes surround over 40 static sound systems, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls ( Mama’s Jerk Station, on the corner of Portobello Rd and Oxford Gardens is essential) over 40,000 volunteers and over 1 million Notting Hill carnival revellers. Along with the colourful parade floats and the sounds of the traditional steel drum bands, the Notting Hill Carnival is arguably London’s most exciting annual event. Teaming up once more with the Red Bull Music Academy for Notting Hill Carnival 2011, Diplo and Switch of Major Lazer (pictured above) headed a bill handpicked for the occasion and brought all the fiery madness you’d expect at the Red Bull Academy Radio Main Stage.
Super DJ’s Oneman and Jackmaster also got behind the decks together with live vocals from the talented Jessie Ware and MC Asbo. Jack ‘Jackmaster’ Revill has been a member of Glasgow’s legendary Rubadub crew since the age of 14, his labels Dress 2 Sweat and Wireblock have been pivotal in launching the careers of trailblazing producers such as Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, or Night Slugs’ L-Vis 1990. His main focus, Numbers, sees him at the forefront of new electronic music again, with releases from some of the finest names in garage, such as SBTRKT, Untold, and Deadboy. First and foremost though, Jackmaster is a DJ and was just named “Best Breakthrough DJ” by DJ Mag.
Oneman has built a name by championing the pick of dark UK garage – that bypassed most people’s ears first time round – with the cream of dubstep. Part of the orginal BBC Radio 1 Dubstep War’s crew alongside the likes of Skream and Mala he is the co-founder of London’s infamous, sweat-dripping and legally-questionable warehouse events, House Party!, and he has 2-stepped his way onto a ridiculously long list of the top venues and club nights in the scene, including FWD>>, DMZ, and Night Slugs. In 2010 he founded his own imprint 502 Recordings, representing “new sounds born out of the collision of many modern forms of UK underground music”.
Also up on the main stage was Lunice Fermin Pierre II. This guy has taken hold of the futuristic beats scene across Canada and the US, and set ears and heads ablaze with his mixture of beats, bass, and splintered electronica. With releases on LuckyMe one side of the pond and a host of Mad Decent collaborations on the other side, Lunice’s bass heavy showmanship will be shaping the sound of clubland for a long time to come. Recorded live at Notting Hill Carnival 2011. Catch him at the Musica festival in Sydney and win tickets here.
You know you’re onto something when dubstep’s most famous MC Sgt Pokes waxes lyrical about your releases. So Kito must have been well pleased to hear her music described as a “magical journey into an enchanted forest made of jam and ice-cream that has grown on the back of an enormous cow deep in the heart of the invisible Burmese mountains”. This was when she had just switched the homebase for her clean and precise production style from Perth to bass music’s capital. Since her debut release What If on Skream’s Disfigured Dubz imprint in 2009 she has gradually allowed a healthy dose of pop melodies into her productions, reaching a first high note on her work with singer Reija Lee on Mad Decent. Kito’s set opened the RBMA x Major Lazer party at Notting Hill Carnival 2011 in style and finds Australian dubstep stepping up to the next level. What a great time to be in the capital of bass music!