The Scumfrog performs Robot Heart at Burning Man

image

The Scumfrog at Robot Heart

   If you’re a burner (or a fan of deep-house for that matter), you should already know about Robot Heart. An art-car at Burning Man —- for the uninitiated, an art-car is a decorated mutant vehicle of sorts that creeps around the Black Rock desert, or playa, at 5 mph ferrying folks to-and-from —- Robot Heart curates some of the best DJs during the event and drives them out to deep playa where they can be as loud as possible and unaffected by the noise-bleed of other soundcamps.

image

The Scumfrog at Robot Heart

   The set-times that the veritable Burning Man insitution Rockstar Librarian posts for Robot Heart are 10:00pm - 12:00pm, for everyone playing. No indication of who will play when during those 14 hours of music. You just have to guess, and guess right, or see as much of those 14 hours as possible. It’s very Burning Man in a way; you are promised nothing, and much of your success is dependent on the knowledge your able to acquire beforehand.

image

Andy Caldwell at Robot Heart

 So it was when we set out on Tuesday night, 30 strong, and as high as Danny Glover astride out LED bespeckled bikes, to deep-playa in search of Robot Heart. Lee Foss was spinning that evening as was The Scumfrog and Andy Caldwell. It was not to be missed. Departing from Nexus we scanned the horizon, and the 30 of us biked in a pack from mirage to apparition. The longer we searched, the more of our party disappeared to ruts and darkness of the Black Rock Desert, tempted away by the flashing, colored lights. Eventually, it came down to two of us. After regrouping at the temple, Robot Heart was plain to be seen, encircled by 10 - 20 art cars.

image

Andy Caldwell at Robot Heart

   We walked over, and lay down in the sand near our bikes as Lee Foss spun a hypnotically restrained set of Deep-House. We talked about the dramatic elements in our lives, about the importance of open communication, spending many hours in this way drinking Bulleit Borboun, speaking softly in each others arms.

   Then, as if called by some unseen beacon, we alighted and walked over to Robot Heart just as The Scumfrog’s set began. Beginning in the early morning and spanning just over two hours into daylight, The Scumfrog’s set slowly built, tantalizingly sprinkling in embellishments like the Beach Boys, a creatively cut “Sounds of Silence” sample from Simon and Garfunkel, and his own “Calling on the Blue Sky” sample as night turned into day.

image

DJ at Work: Robot Heart

 Andy Caldwell followed with the best daytime-disco set this writer has heard. Caldwell was all smiles, toying around and making kisses with his lady. And how could he not be? Part of what must be understood about Robot Heart is its size. A double-decker bus with a 15 foot frame heart perched atop and an industrial generator housed inside, there isn’t a lot of room for Robot Heart members to clamor about except on the top. So when the groove gets going and people start dancing, the bus literally rocks with the beat of bodies moving. It’s an incredible sight to see, a mass of flesh moving as one, not quite dissimilar from the motion of a mob overturning a vehicle, but awashed in ecstasy (and perhaps fueled by it), that desperate joy where the mind has no choice but to give in to the body’s will.

image

Andy Caldwell at Robot Heart

   I couldn’t be happier then, when Robot Heart released The Scumfrog’s sunrise set as the first mix from Burning Man 2013 on their soundcloud. From the moment I pressed play I was transported back to the desert, to the chill air of dusk and the cascading ridges of mountains slowly appearing in all their purple majesty from the desert fog, to the clear air of sunrise, and dancing with the hippest and most well-dressed people on the playa. Since it was only Wednesday morning and still early in the week, my companion was able to dance her way onto the bus in the most amazing black, The Fifth Element inspired jumpsuit you have ever seen. She threw down all the dance she had and left with an amazing Robot Heart patch, Robot Heart always having the most coveted of shwag. We left Robot Heart to discover one of our bikes stolen, but our spirit’s too high to be thwarted.

image

Andy Caldwell at Robot Heart