Sustain-Release: Year Four

MONTICELLO – Sustain-Release takes another deep dive at Camp Kennybrook with YEAR FOUR, September 15-17th 2017. As ever, the programming courses between warm enveloping grooves, bold techno and homegrown NYC mayhem with tons of North American talent in the mix.

On Friday’s Main stage, coder-turned-hitmaker and P-Bar regular AVALON EMERSON brings a burst of hypercolor, original edits and boss-mode surprise twists. Closing the night, collaborators DJ QU & JOEY ANDERSON go head 2 head for an extended set of stoned, emotive house and techno. Having been serious house dancers during New Jersey’s heyday, they both channel that perspective into startling & addictively supple new shapes. Charismatic rare disco/boogie selector & producer JAYDA G joins from Vancouver via Berlin, where she runs the Freakout Cult label with Sex Tags Mania’s Fett Burger. Setting it off is local loft favorite TURTLE BUGG.

At the Bossa Stage, new directions in Brooklyn & Ridgewood’s underground trade notes with EU emissaries STENNY & ANDREA. The duo is quintessential Ilian Tape both separately and together, making moody, heavy, breaks-y techno with an epic streak. Young BK legend-in-the-making AKANBI closes the stage; his Groovy Groovy parties & DJ sets mix up everything fast, crazy, and infectiously new. Earlier in the night, we get a double dose from the Ridgewood, Queens scene: EXOTIC DANCE label heads J. Albert & Person of Interest open, followed by the white-knuckle junglisms of DEEJAY XANAX (aka DJ Wey, Luis, Python, etc). RELAXER, the new project of Ital, plunges head on into a live set of lacerating, psychologically-charged techno.

The pool party is at it’s most playful this year. Headlining is Tokyo’s POWDER, who began making music as an escape from a dreary high-rise office job. Oozing with a heavy psychedelic groove, her DJ sets & recent EP H on Berlin’s Cocktail D’Amore are joyous descents into the stranger corners of house. OCTO OCTA has recently experienced an artistic and personal transformation – she’s come out as trans and released her most resonant work to date. She’ll join for a live set after fellow Honey Soundsystem labelmate JUSTIN CUDMORE, whose chunky acid cuts harken back to the glory days of Chicago House.

Saturday Main is a 12+ hour techno tunnel.. #1 Annihilator HELENA HAUFF takes the helm with a rare appearance in the states. Her vision is unmistakably nasty, melding pounding electro, rare EBM, and jaw grinding lost rave. Texan astral wanderer CONVEXTION touches down with a live set of gorgeous, searching electro. He’s followed by the slow burning cosmosis of Japanese newcomer WATA IGARASHI, protégé of DJ Nobu, whose productions have been twisting into ever-deadlier & dreamier formations. RANDOMER brings a late night dose of take-no-prisoners pounding, where UK futurism meets L.I.E.S. nihilism and Berghain-sized power. The night opens with an unfurling ambient session from Tokyo-based CHRIS SSG, of MNML SSGS fame. He’s followed by S-R residents THE LONG COUNT CYCLE, who stir the cauldron from evocative interludes to a rolling boil. Discwoman’s VOLVOX & UMFANG split the closing, bringing us home with one last blast of NYC mischief.

Steering deep into the night at Saturday’s Bossa stage is UK rising star JOSEY REBELLE. A Rinse FM resident with a genius for eclectic mixing, Rebelle cuts from I-F, Xosar and Drexciya to drum ‘n’ bass, ghettotech, Chicago house, boogie and beyond with an effortless narrative flow. Acting Press boss & MPC ninja PLO MAN returns for an extended closing set, mixing buoyant bombs and languid melters with winking b-sides and classics from the vaults. ROMANS, the duo of Tin Man & Gunnar Haslam, dose the room with improvised live modular acid. Also live, Cititrax rising star MARIE DAVIDSON opens the stage with raw, knowing vocals and lean, propulsive synth & drum machine badassery. Resident AURORA HALAL plays a DJ set of immersive, darkly tripping techno.

The campfire & ambient teepee are open all weekend, and this year will feature a 4-hour journey from Unter’s PURE IMMANENCE at dawn on Saturday morning. After Saturday’s nightfall, FLUCT conduct a specially commissioned dance piece in the forest grove across the bridge.

As always, both stages will be equipped with sound by SUBBASS SOUND SYSTEM and hand-built lighting by NITEMIND. Food is provided by the same teams as last year – SODA CLUB in the canteen and vegan-focused REMEDI FOOD in the cafe. The hot tubs, Ambient Tent and campfire are all returning. Full lineup announced with Round 2 tickets.

Year Four tickets are limited to 1,000. Due to limited capacity, S-R uses a membership system, where previous attendees can buy a ticket for themselves during the first round, and one for a guest in the second round. Entrance at the camp will start at 3PM Friday and close Sunday 3PM.

FLUCT dance performance



Emma Burgess-Olson moved to Kansas by way of the Bronx when she was six years old. During her time at college she discovered techno. Now back in New York City living and working in Brooklyn she can be found under the pseudonym Umfang. As co-founder of Discwoman she has been producing music, mixing records, and continuing the dialogue about feminism.



Her first true techno experience took place at a warehouse in Kansas City. It was in this moment that she became enamored with the genre and was swooned by the sound system. She says, “I remember it being really exciting, being in these old factory buildings with surprisingly beautiful bathrooms and wood floors and meeting all of these new freaky people. The defining moment was really entering the space and feeling a big sound system for the first time and experiencing the physical affect where I just needed to be immediately dancing.”

New York City’s enticing energy and pace keeps her zoned in. “I feel motivated and stimulated here and I get things done. People here inspire me so much,” Olson says. Along with Frankie Hutchinson and Christine Tran, the three work collectively as Discwoman – a platform and booking agent that promotes female, female-identified, and non-binary artists in the electronic scene. Through their events the collective strives to support and provide a place of safety for people of all races, gender and sexual identity. Bringing “discourse to the dance floor” they take a relaxed feminist approach by using Discwoman as a vessel for change in a subtle but effective way.

“We want to keep changing and adjusting as culture moves around us. We’ve never gone into it with a firm plan, we’ve just acted on what inspires us or what bothers us and tried to activate change in a way that can funnel resources toward people that we feel need more exposure and access. It is case by case who we work with and we want to stay open to not making any rules. The definition of woman has changed for all of us in the last two years.” -UMFANG

Since the first Discwoman party held in Bushwick at the Bossa Nova Civic Club, the platform started another New York-based party called Technofeminism, found at festivals like Sustain-Release and Movement in Detroit, as well as presenting artists at international events. The site’s roster identifies five artists but the group brings attention to flourishing DJs beyond NYC. Olson has helped lead a DJ workshop for women alongside Berlin’s Creamcake in the hopes of providing a place where women can feel comfortable learning the art of DJing.

boss nova civic club


According to Olson, this secluded setting for women is “not a necessity but I think it is more comfortable when people learn in an educational setting – it’s not as high pressure as a club night. Learning from a woman or non-binary person can be more welcoming since it is already intimidating to learn a technical skill. The less things making you uncomfortable the more you will be able to focus and ask questions. Not everyone is confident and that needs to be OK.”

Her creativity and determination has pushed her along and she has found herself not only contributing heavily to NYC’s scene but has performed at Berghain, played a 7-hour set at Pittsburgh’s Hot Mass, and a few Eastern European countries. In addition to all that NYC inspires, she finds creative sources in patterns, sound, people, textiles, synthesis, and constant change. The sound she puts out is tough, leaning more on the harder side of techno and she has a mission to evoke something inside of you.

“This is just who I am. I don’t think of it as a choice to play hard music. I relate to those sounds and I am lucky enough to have been supported in that. Now I can encourage others to release to these sounds and accept that they might identify with some evil and/or alien noises too. I think it’s really positive and healthy to release feeling and emotion with sound. I like to use different rhythm patterns to refocus the dance floor and sometimes utilize pauses or ambient breaks to stay engaged with the present moment. I really try to present what hits me emotionally or physically and hope it can do the same to captivate others.” 

Catch Umfang at the next installation of Strange Allure in Buffalo, NY on Saturday, Oct. 15.

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