The Swarovski Kristallwelten is a place to get inspired. I have been a few times now and it still amazes me. Last month I was there for an interview and video/photo shoot for my new business Tirol Box. We include Swarovski products in some of our monthly subscription boxes, so this was the perfect location. Check it out in their blog (in German only).

Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend their annual event: fmRiese – Forward Music Festival. Three evenings host different live music acts related to the motto. Creator of the festival Christof Dienz explained to me: “this year’s motto is Girls & Boy, so we try and have a special focus on female musicians”. I was there on Friday, which had the “Boy” theme.

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fmRiese creator Christof Dienz. Photo: Christoph Walder and Helmut K. Lackner.

Since 2012, the festival has been bringing together new music, electronic and pop. Christof books the acts himself, so the quality of the performers is consistently high.

Before showtime

The Swarovski Kristallwelten is a magical place and at night, the glistening of the clouds consisting of 800,000 netted crystals is a special sight.

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Crystal clouds.

At this time of year, there is a huge sparkling Christmas tree in front of the famous giant (Riese), at the entrance to the venue.

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A christmas tree in front of the giant at the Swarovski Kristallwelten.

As I walked into the Swarovski Kristallwelten bar that has a back wall made of Swarovski crystals, DJ Tom Tanzer was playing a mix of funk, soul and reggae, whilst people enjoy a mingle and some drinks.

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DJ Tom Tanzer  playing vinyl in the Swarovski bar.

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Crystal wall.

The main room at Swarovski Kristallwelten

The live acts were performing downstairs under the giant. The room was a good size and was filled with vivid red lighting. This coincided with the event’s corporate colour and set the mood. This venue is not for a lot of people, the capacity is only 450 so it’s quite intimate.

Cid Rim

The first act was Viennese music man Cid Rim. He combines live drums with electronic drums, samples, loops and a lighting show – a one man band. Tonight was the premiere of his new show.

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Cid Rim smashing it.

A mix of electronic, broken beat, house, techno and hip hop. Abstract beats with classic chords and synths, played in live and looped. He swapped between his live kit and drum machine/sequencer, adding fascinating dynamics to his performance.

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Capturing the moments with Cid Rim.

His sequencer also triggered the different LEDs that surrounded him on stage. This looked wicked with injections from the smoke machine, especially as it was synched to the beats.

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Cid Rim triggering sound and light.

I used to play drums in a band when I was a kid and now I DJ and produce music using synths, sequencers and a drum machine, so this was right up my street. Cid Rim did not only play excellent drums with marching rolls and fills, he created a show.

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Moving music.

Wide spread organs with twitchy percussion, drum solos on the live kit, then on the drum machine. He utilised everything he had on stage and everything was perfectly in time. His playing style and drum sound reminded me a lot of The Roots drummer Questlove, giving the show a hip hop edge. Lovely stuff.

MEUTE

I hadn’t heard of this Techno Marching Band before. I had seen similar acts in the past and it has always been interesting for me when music is remixed/reworked in a way that is very different to the original. I personally love remixing music and putting my own style into it and this is exactly what MEUTE does.

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MEUTE starting their set.

Before going to the event at Swarovski Kristallwelten, I checked out a video of the 12 piece band on Youtube and they looked good, but thought it might be a bit too “cheesy” or overdone for my liking. You can’t always go by first impressions though.

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Dancing whilst playing on stage.

Immediately when they started, I was captivated (along with the rest of the audience) by the size of the band and the BIG sound that they created. What was a turning point on my initial impression was the fact they didn’t play to a backing track. It was them and their instruments, that’s it.

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MEUTE grabbing people’s attention.

So the band from Hamburg had grabbed our attention and the cheering, whistling and dancing already started during their opening song. Classic house and techno tracks were being remixed live with acoustic instruments.

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Blowing his own trumpet.

A highlight for me was their remake of Laurent Garnier’s “The Man With The Red Face”. This track is one my all time favourite dance tracks and sent chills down my spine. It also fitted well to the event’s corporate colour, I’m not sure if this was a coincidence or not.

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The crowd boogie to the beat.

Different members of the band came forward to play their section of the song, so there was always someone different in the foreground. When they played Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey”, the bass sax player started to sing and the crowd were loving it.

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Bass sax player singing “Hey Hey”.

Encore

Even though the event wasn’t sold out, the fun loving crowd connected with each other and the band, the atmosphere was fantastic. Wanting more by calling the encore, the band walked out into the crowd and started to play.

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Into the crowd for the encore.

Creating a circle of dancing people, the band jumped around playing more classic dance tracks. They even created a sit down in the middle of the dance floor, amazing!

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Getting ready for the drop.

What I liked about MEUTE is the energy they send out to their audience. They are really entertaining and I liked the way they structure and build up/down the different layers of the tracks, just like the original versions.

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The band loving it as much as the crowd.

Is it worth going?

Definitely! I live in Innsbruck, so of course going to the Swarovski Kristallwelten is not as easy as just jumping on the tram into Innsbruck town. But it’s only a 15/20 minutes drive away. To be honest this is nothing to me, I’m use to traveling on the tube across London from a friends house to an event, which can take over an hour door to door. Also there are return shuttle buses from Innsbruck central station to the Kristallwelten, easy.

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Swarovski Kristallwelten Shuttlebus

I was surprised at how good this event was, only two acts (plus DJ Tom Tanzer) for the evening, but they were fantastic. Being very much involved in music myself, I can easily be disappointed because I automatically analyse in detail what I hear and if it’s poor quality, I pick up on this pretty quickly. With fmRiese, you can be assured that the quality of music is always going to be tip top sauber.

I have now discovered two new brilliant acts that I didn’t know about before. The other acts on the other evenings are also worth a look: BOY, Leyya, HI5, konsTellation, Anna Widauer and Akua Naru. This is something that runs throughout the Swarovski Kristallwelten. Different artists present themselves and their art. Even the delicious hotdog van called “Fat Bus” was designed by artist Erwin Wurm.

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Fat Bus by artist Erwin Wurm.

The Swarovski Kristallwelten is a special place to get inspired and discover new and wonderful creations. I will be back again very soon.

All photos are by Ashley Wiggins unless otherwise stated.