No Bounds festival – DJs in thrall to sound of subversion

Various venues, Sheffield
From ear-bleed techno to wall-wobbling beats, No Bounds’ roster moved electronic music way beyond the dancefloor

Now in its second year, No Bounds has established itself as a powerful new entry in the UK’s electronic music calendar. Set in Sheffield, a city long synonymous with pioneering electronic sounds, No Bounds has created an outlet to carry that tradition forwards. Spread over three days, local promoters Algorave and Off Me Nut take over the opening night to offer up wonky basslines, stomping techno and rapid-fire drum’n’bass. However, it’s the crammed Saturday when the festival truly comes alive. During the day there are DJ workshops, build-your-own-synth sessions, algorithmic drum circles, and South Yorkshire’s own radical artist Mark Fell curates a stage.

The leading trolls of experimental electronic music on Twitter, Wanda Group, play an enveloping mid-afternoon set filled with drones, cracks, bleeps, moans and drips. It pulsates like intensified environmental noise and harsh ambiance, resembling the creaking sounds of an abandoned rave house. Similarly disturbing is Theo Burt’s set of distorted pop music videos accompanied by noises that sound like dropping bombs. The room judders with such ferocity that confetti ribbons lodged in the ceiling from long-ago weddings rain down amid the gut-quivering terror.

‘Acid house priestess’ Volvox.
‘Acid house priestess’ Volvox. Photograph: Eddie Maynard

Berlin-based DJ rRoxymore plays a taut set, full of slow-build techno with no interest in easy euphoria. The self-described “queen of techno” and “acid house priestess” Volvox plays a set that masterfully glides between those genres, offering iridescent melody alongside drubbing beats. While Volvox’s set feels entirely in service to the groove, Errorsmith’s dismantles it using warped and disruptive rhythms that chew up anything resembling convention.

Bristol duo Giant Swan are as loose and fun as they are forceful, creating a maelstrom of ear-bleed techno and skull-rattling noise. Daniel Avery plays a steadily rousing set of electro and techno that sees the rigid backbone of his beat drive the festival into the early hours. As the full day and night of broad, disobedient and unpredictable programming comes to a close, the vast swirl of sounds floods the brain like a burst dam.


Daniel Dylan Wray

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Wysing Polyphonic review – explosions in the sonic inventing shed
Moor Mother and Paul Purgas curate an inspirational gathering where electronic artists, dancers and poets freely test the boundaries of expression

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

02, Sep, 2018 @11:50 AM

Article image
Tangerine Dream review – despite loss of leader, the Dream continues
For their first UK show without founder member Edgar Froese, the synth pioneers enlivened their proggy ambience with techno, but still created the same cosmic grandeur

David Stubbs

24, Apr, 2018 @12:48 PM

Article image
Raves, robots and writhing bodies: how electronic music rewired the world
It started with white-coated boffins; now its figureheads wear masks and play Vegas. A new exhibition tells the story of electronic dance music, from old synths to a statue of Brian Eno

Alexis Petridis

15, Apr, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Dimensions festival review: Larry Heard keeps sunburned crowd in thrall
Set in a stone fort, this dance music festival was a triumph, with daytime beach and boat parties giving way to rocking nights of Chicago and Detroit house

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

30, Aug, 2016 @3:33 PM

Article image
New Music Biennial review – from the novel to the
From a turntable artist’s orchestral remix to Gazelle Twin’s melodic revelry, composers reimagine classical

Philip Clark

07, Jul, 2019 @3:16 PM

Article image
Principal Sound review – Luigi Nono's fragile postcards from Venice
Alongside works by Morton Feldman, the experimental music festival centred on the Italian composer’s enigmatic pieces that blur instrumentation into electronics

Andrew Clements

19, Feb, 2018 @4:56 PM

Article image
The sound of mega orgasms: the female composers taking music into intimate places
A soundtrack to an erotic feminist film, the crunch of crisps in your own mouth, a composition for ‘strap-on and electric guitar’ … meet the women who are making music and telling stories on their own terms

Kate Molleson

06, Dec, 2017 @6:00 AM

Article image
Now for a lampshade solo: how the Radiophonic Workshop built the future of sound
They chased bees, raided junkyards and banged household objects. Now, half a century on, the Radiophonic Workshop are festival material. Meet the sound effect visionaries whose jobs came with a health warning

Pascal Wyse

18, Jul, 2018 @5:00 AM

Article image
Supersonic review – giant monsters and ghoul-sponge at UK's best small festival
By embracing the heaviness in Birmingham’s heritage, and adding a strong dose of eccentricity, Supersonic is world-class

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

23, Jul, 2019 @1:00 PM

Article image
Re-Textured festival review – perfect dive into the pitch-black underground
This new festival brought together artists on the periphery of club culture, from Lee Gamble’s impressionistic rave to Alva Noto’s exquisite sound design

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

01, Apr, 2019 @1:19 PM