Night life

III Points 2021: Ten Left-Field Acts in the Lineup

III Points started as a sanctuary for the strange, different, avant-garde, and bohemian. Eights years later, the festival still holds up in that respect. Despite its growth, it still manages to book the best names in electronica, indie-rock, and hip-hop, often sharing headliners with Coachella.

Catching the acts who’ve decided to take the road less traveled to the festival is imperative to the III Points experience, however.

In that spirit, below, in alphabetical order, are ten left-field acts carrying on the festival’s spirit of pushing the sonic boundaries.

Acid Pauli

With a name like Acid Pauli, the goal is twofold: get ’em dancing and keep it strange. But the ethos driving Pauli is not about experimenting with lengthily named compounds. Pauli (real name Martin Gretschmann) has an m.o. that’s more about the weirdness in sound. Production-wise, less is often more in Gretschmann’s work. Sounds bark, mystify, and vaporize in seconds. The spindled melodies poke your third eye, and the beat is friendly enough to start dancing. With an affinity for live elements during his DJ sets, Gretschmann eschews the limits on what’s allowed in a DJ set. He’ll get you dancing with bizarre homages to electronic music and entrancing techno, but don’t be surprised if he throws in some Johnny Cash or old-time Mexican ballads. 1 to 3 a.m. Friday, October 22, at Isotropic stage.

Ashley Venom

Fresh off a Boiler Room set that featured hypersonic techno, breaks, and acid, Miami’s own Ashley Venom (AKA Ashley Solage) is a certified favorite in the city. Aside from DJ’ing, the Haitian-American artist aims to change the cultural dimensions of Miami — be it through her dogged activism or speedy music. No one can predict how Solage will play, but her artistic license enables her to throw some of the most memorable sets to date. So bring a pair of comfy shoes and go in expecting a frantic sound and stoic style when Venom gets behind the decks. 9 to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 23, at S3quenc3 stage.

Bitter Babe

Speaking with New Times late last year, Bitter Babe (real name Laura Solarte) said, “I am a blend of different styles, but I wasn’t comfortable coming out with something that would give me this tag.” Born and reared in Colombia with stints in Berlin and Miami, Solarte has been DJ’ing since 2013. Her style infuses techno’s eerie sounds and extols the music she grew up with: dembow, reggaeton, cumbia, and guaracha. Solarte’s sonic whiplash will wear you down as your head uncontrollably nods. There may be times when you can’t dance and have to accept the build-ups and spiraling sounds. It’s proper warehouse music that pairs nicely with Miami’s suffocating humidity. 6 to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 23, at S3quenc3 stage.

Le Poodle

Miami-based artist and producer Le Poodle (real name Natalie Foucauld) captures the ’90s indie music without copying and pasting. Foucauld piles on contemporary layers of indie-electronic and dark psych-pop, creating a sound that’s not totally awkward to dance to. Her songs deal with the great escape from our egos and the rebirth that follows. Le Poodle’s III Points performance follows days after her latest single, “O.K. For Now,” a song about the mental gymnastics of leaving one’s old self behind. Her prose confronts the unconscious head-on: “Rejection is like bullet wounds to my chest/Take it all in.” Le Poodle’s stoical music cuts through the hedonism of a music festival and gives way for introspection. 8 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, October 22, at Toyota Music Den stage.

Moses Sumney

The futuristic sounds of Moses Sumney combined with his soulful crescendos create something never before heard. Sumney’s vocals pierce and bleed with emotion. However, simply labeling Sumney an R&B singer is a grave injustice. Sumney’s production is speedier than your typical R&B. The music borders on electronic and commingles with jazzy trumpets and rhythms that you can’t quite put your finger on. There are even crashing piano melodies and stadium-rock guitar riffs. The Ghanaian-American singer’s 2020 album, aptly titled Græ, is all about grayness. In an interview with NPR, Sumney stated the album is a “vision of multiplicity,” Some may listen to Sumney for his teary-eyed falsettos or powerful songs, while some are in it for instrumental abstraction. Either way, Sumney will guide you. 6:50 to 7:40 p.m. Friday, October 22, at Mind Melt stage.

박혜진 Park Hye Jin

Fresh off her debut album, Before I Die, the songwriter and DJ did a complete 180. Her original style focused on house — bouncy, fun, mesmerizing house. Fast-forward to today, and her album transcends the house label while also spotlighting Park’s artistry. Rapping and singing between English and Korean, every track brings Park to the forefront. “Never Die” is a club-ready cut complete with thumping bass and tripped-out sound effects that contrast “Watch Doin’ Later,” a track with a cruising-the-highway atheistic and liquid rap flow. Merging hip-hop and underground electronic music is a suspect move in the contemporary electronic era, but Park aims to challenge that. 12:30 to 1:30 a.m. Friday, October 22, at S3quenc3 stage.

Objekt

Born in Tokyo to British-American and Filipino parents, Berlin-based DJ/producer Objekt (real name TJ Hertz) can diversify his sets from otherwise antiseptic DJ mixes. Transitioning house to tech-house probably won’t win you DJ of the year, but shuffling through ambient to breaks to techno, IDM, acid throughout a single set is a different story. Objekt’s mission is to attract the unsuspecting listener who happens to be at the right place at the right time and sway them with a smörgåsbord of profound sounds. In an interview with the Guardian, Hertz said, “I wanted to give people who might not usually find themselves on a dance floor a route into listening to electronic music that they might otherwise find quite out-there.” 7:15 to 8:35 p.m. Friday, October 22, at Main Frame stage.

Thundercat

Stephen Bruner (AKA Thundercat) was the bassist for the thrash-metal band Suicidal Tendencies and contributed to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly — one of the most game-changing albums in hip-hop history. He was born to a revered flutist and percussionist mother and a father who drummed for Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, and the Temptations, so it makes perfect sense that Thundercat is one to make pivotal career changes. He pairs elements of acid-jazz, funk, and soul with dark, sinister lyrics that produce music in frightening and humorous worlds. Obsessive romanticism, police brutality, depression, death, Dragonball Z — Thundercat’s music knows no bounds. 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. Saturday, October 23, at Mind Melt stage.

Vegyn

Mellow and deep, blitzed and cathartic — producer and label boss Vegyn switches musical lanes with regularity. In an interview with Fader, Vegyn (AKA Joe Thornalley) said, “electronic music has opened up all these doors for possible iterations, and all everyone seems to want to do is stick to the ‘classics.’ Kick, snare, kick, snare. It’s just boring.” Thornalley’s music career began after handing singer James Blake a USB of original music, which Blake later used during his BBC Radio 1 slot. There are also those credits on Frank Ocean’s album Blonde and cohosting Ocean’s Apple Music 1 radio show Blonded. Inspired by the likes of the late J. Dilla, Thornalley creates breathing room with his music. The production flirts with spacious drum patterns, with euphoric melodies combed over with manipulated vocal samples. 6 to 7:15 p.m. Friday, October 22, at Main Frame stage.

Yves Tumor and Its Band

Warp Records prides itself on the free and obscure, and Yves Tumor is a shining example. Their latest single, “Jackie,” released on the aforementioned legendary label, is a melancholy song peppered with distorted guitar chords and emotional torment, akin to ’90s Nine Inch Nails mixed with Prince’s flair and the glitched-out works of Aphex Twin. The haunted sounds of Yves Tumor — real name Sean Bowie (possibly), and born in Miami (maybe) — ranges from rock star-like cadence to seductive, luring electronic. Yves Tumor’s production is as powerful as they are enigmatic. There’s no point trying to figure the artist out — and that’s one key to their enlightenment. Delayed by the pandemic, Yves Tumor and Its Band are finally back on the road, leaving behind dystopia and Warp Records legacy wherever they go. 11:15 p.m. to midnight Friday, October 22, at Sector 3 stage.

III Points. Friday, October 22, and Saturday, October 23, at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-0371; manawynwood.com. Tickets cost $89 to $319 via iiipoints.com.

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