Neel live at Under The Desert Stars Festival

Cast your­self back to the deserts of Moroc­co with this hybrid per­for­mance from Neel

Late in the sum­mer of 2019, Neel was invit­ed, for a spe­cif­ic con­cep­tu­alised per­for­mance, to the inau­gur­al edi­tion of Under The Desert Stars Fes­ti­val. This fresh two-day event, a col­lab­o­ra­tion between Rot­ter­dam pro­mot­er ISO­TOOP and Casablan­ca label Tiki­ta, was housed on the out­skirts of Mar­rakech in the heart of the desert. Neel was asked by fes­ti­val organ­is­er Van Anh for a spe­cial hybrid per­for­mance and was­n’t short on words when asked to reflect on the outcome…

It was clear straight away that she had a strong vision regard­ing the music to be played at each spe­cif­ic time of the day. She asked me to do some­thing slow – a wel­come into the elec­tron­ic realm after the per­cus­sive excur­sions of Mor­taza­vi. My set time was at the dusk; the dark­ness would slow­ly blan­ket the sprawl­ing tracts of the desert and that’s what I want­ed to trans­late through my music.

I took it as a chal­lenge and even­tu­al­ly every­thing came togeth­er per­fect­ly. The idea was to start the set with peo­ple sit­ting on the ground and slow­ly get them into my jour­ney. I want­ed the first part to be more organ­ic, with per­cus­sion, gen­tly intro­duc­ing the crowd into the dark­er tech­no realm. Build­ing up from a low­er vol­ume and bpm, I tried to make some sort of a wall of sound cov­er­ing the audi­ence, groovy and smooth, with­out any bang­ing kicks.

I saw peo­ple danc­ing with huge smiles on their faces; no one left the dance floor! As I fin­ished my set, I rushed straight into the crowd,

You often sense some dis­tance between the artist and the audi­ence; but there, it felt like every­one was on the same side, togeth­er as a whole. In just two days, we man­aged to build a com­mu­ni­ty.

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