What is it about Electric Island that makes it so special? Or a day in general, like this past Monday? Maybe it was the flow, the way each DJ melded into the next in terms of musical programming, or the glorious feeling of it being a prime summer day. The ferry excursion that takes you a touch away from the daily routine, so you know that it’s a bit of a journey in and of itself to be there. The gorgeous hues of blue decor, the flowered garlands and thoughtful greenery lining the stage, booth and beyond. The reflective mirrors with their ornamental voice throughout the venue, and coloured lights illuminating surrounding trees at night. The collection of people coming together, united veritably for a common purpose, essentially to have a good time with likeminded spirit and musical taste. Was it the anticipation, the lineup, the collective goodwill.. I’ve only started going to the Island parties this year, and it feels like there’s a momentum to this summer season and it’s only growing and getting more refined.

Nitin brought a soulful, at times vocal, deep, groovy, classic house feeling to the day. It was a fine early crowd, imbibing the perfect weather and sounds, and people were starting to sway. Andhim for many was the set of the day - bouncy goodness, full house vibes, energized and melodic. He brought the energy of the island to a new place and handed it off to special surprise guest, Kenny Glasgow. Guy Gerber couldn’t make the event and Kenny provided an ideal replacement. It got deep, smooth and groovy, and for many his techno was the set of the day.

(photos: Ded Agency)

Much anticipated, Gui Boratto came on after a warm send off for the Toronto homeboy, Glasgow. Boratto brought his heavy, layered, driving, synth-laden sound, often grimy and dirty, often melodic and elegant - it was perfect, and for others his was set of the day. Then came headliner Paul Kalkbrenner, and you know where this is going. Beautifully rich, emotive, powerful and creative, for me his live artistry elevated the energy and took us on a euphoric journey. He was having fun and it came through the music. I was standing between the stage and the crowd and felt (or imagined I felt) the communication taking place between performer and us being washed in it.

(photo: Ded Agency)

His set was dirty, full and uplifting. If you were in the mood for this, it was perfect. It became anthemic at times. In anticipation of his album, 7, released a year ago, he was given the opportunity to explore Sony and Columbia records’ musical coffers and choose a few tracks to sample. He opted for Jefferson Airplane’s memorable ‘White Rabbit’, kept the vocals intact and created a layered foundation to make it his own. An unforgettable moment from the night when he dropped this record. 

Thousands of people focused in a particular way is a very powerful thing, and this extended moment, a culmination really of an entire day of beautiful vibes, was an example of that pooled strength and shared energy. A lot of love in the dancing crowd.

And so it was, another edition of this truly memorable Island series of events. Toronto’s summer musically so far has been incredible, and this, for me and from what I could hear around me, was the best Island musically so far this season, and perhaps yet. It was a treat to have been there and experience this important contribution to Toronto’s house and techno scene. And it’s definitely not over - coming up is Electric Island’s two-day grand finale for the season, with a dream lineup. Looking forward to the next! Check it out here.

Thanks to Ded Agency for the shots! You can check out their full album here

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