Infrasound 2024: The Pulse of the Underground

Infrasound 2024 was truly one for the books.

Upon my arrival at Harmony Park on Thursday, I was greeted by the fierce winds of Minnesota (props to whomever first coined the term “Windfrasound”). The trees lurched and the tall grass swayed like ocean waves. Turtles nestled in the dirt quietly guarded their freshly laid eggs along the lake’s shoreline as chirping birds cheerfully welcomed the campers lining up outside the gate. Amidst this idyllic natural scenery, the distant rumble of three world-class sound systems pierced the air and shook the ground beneath my feet.

A garage lover’s dream, a drum and bass fiend’s paradise, a dub head’s utopia… whatever your fancy, there was a set for you at Infrasound this year. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite highlights.

Day one heralded a hell of an introduction to the weekend. After a 12-hour drive, my festivities began a bit later in the day than most, but I managed to arrive and get set up in time to start my day at the Pyramid Stage with the Deep Dark and Dangerous star Wraz, followed by J:Kenzo, who both proceeded to remind me just how earth-shattering the bass from Void Acoustic’s sound system can be. Pheel rocked the Funktion-Ones of the main Harmonic Stage with a refreshingly downtempo set during the hottest part of the day. UK drum and bass icon BCee, founder of Spearhead Records, was the perfect mood-setter after Pheel, dropping some of the most soulful liquid tracks that I heard all weekend. Ternion Sound, whose career as a group began at Infrasound all the way back in 2016, turned up the rowdiness knob on the decks as the sun began to set. Feeling nice and limber at this point, I was ready for the final main stage act of the night: Joker. At least, I thought I was ready, but when his trademark “purple sound” emerged from those speakers, my jaw dropped and didn’t close for the next hour. Joker’s reputation as a legend of dubstep and grime is well-deserved.

One of the things that makes Infrasound a unique and special experience is the silent disco, beginning each night after the other three stages shut down. I’m not usually one for silent discos, but they certainly hit differently when you’re in a space with a few thousand people surrounded by projection-mapped walls and ceilings. The dense crowd and level of production makes for an amazingly immersive and intimate experience. It’s not easy to keep track of the flurry of DJs moving on and off stage during the silent disco, including surprise guests whose names were never on the lineup to begin with; in fact, it’s common for attendees to leave the festival wondering who the hell they were listening to at a particular hour on a particular night, and I’d say that makes it all the more special. The silent disco is where the danciest and bounciest tracks come out to play and each night is a “you just had to be there” moment. Thankfully, my sleepy self managed to make it, and I’m so glad I did.

Infrasound Silent Disco

Day two is the day I decided I wanted to be buried at the Pyramid Stage when I die. Waking up at 11:00 AM to my tent shaking from the start of Necromancer‘s set, I was ready to plop myself in front of the Voids for the foreseeable future. DJ Paypal and Mary Droppinz went entirely too hard for playing just after noon (in a good way), leading into a drum and bass set from Ternion Sound, a killer garage set from Zed Bias, and a showcase of more throwback garage and grime from Joker and Sir Spyro.

Making my way to the Portal Stage for the first time of the weekend, I was treated to a litany of forward-thinking tracks from Lord Genmu and a more downtempo, introspective set from Entangled Mind. Meanwhile, filling in for Flava D at the Pyramid, Kursa and Tapeworm made an unexpected US debut of their project S.Murk. You really just never know what surprises await here. Madam X and Taiki Nulight followed-up to bless the crowd with an insane range of tempos and styles across their sets, all seamlessly blended together. Capping off the Pyramid Stage for the night were Fine Buster (the riddim alias of Bukez Finezt) and Shiverz. I didn’t know I needed riddim in that moment, but those sets sure set me straight on the matter.

Infrasound Pyramid Stage

Day three was a phenomenal day at main stage. Dozens of camping stoves and grills dotted the grounds during grLL sMTH, kLL sMTH‘s seminal cookout event. The smell of sausage and burgers wafting into my nostrils had me drooling for a long while. Subatomic Sound System gave the crowd a lesson in the history of dub, playing collaborative classics from the Jamaican legend Lee “Scratch” Perry. Sister Nancy continued the groove and blew me away with her belting voice and impressive improvisational skills. It’s still surreal to me that she was there at all. But alas, I was ready to go fast for some of my most anticipated acts of the weekend: Kasra, Enei, and their back-to-back for the Critical Music takeover at the Pyramid. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such raunchy, callous sounds in my life, and I’m not sure if I ever will again.

Back at main stage, Mr. Bill did what Mr. Bill does best, weaving together a sonic tapestry of tightly choreographed tracks while the visual designers had a field day with the lasers. Schmoop provided a brief moment of respite for my legs before Mefjus and Daxta MC proceeded to play what might just be the greatest drum and bass set I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. A slew of timeless classics and new, unreleased IDs made the set feel like looking into a time capsule of the genre. Finally, there was Eprom. I never know what to expect from an Eprom set and this was no different. Divided into a series of themed segments with time-coded visuals, this set was a dark and brooding audiovisual masterpiece. No one does it quite like Eprom.

Infrasound is a magical place. The crowd is stellar with an unmatched energy and urge to dance. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the venue and the music surrounding you, and ultimately, what more could you ask for from a festival? Here’s to next year continuing the trend, I hope to see you there.

Image credits courtesy of the official Infrasound account on X/Twitter.