Monthly Archives: September 2012
In the midst of their California take-over, Digitalism rocked the house at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana Wednesday night, and T&A was lucky enough to catch it! Comprised of Hamburg’s Jens Moelle and İsmail Tüfekçi, and comparable to a post-modern Daft Punk, Digitalism has respectively been on the electronic radar for almost ten years now. Their phenomenal debut album Idealism made them instant giants, perpetually recognized for half a decade on a single album before finally releasing another EP in 2010. Although the duo played a DJ set as opposed to the acclaimed live band performance, the night was far from a letdown.
The Yost was a very impressive place to host the performance for one. Upon entering through the front glass doors you’re greeted by two parallel aisles leading downward to the general admission area; an upper dance floor accompanied by sofas and a full bar(score), and a lower level. The walls are covered in red drapes, giving one a faint sense of culture in the atmosphere, which doesn’t hurt at an 18+ DJ event. The stage was pretty serious. Although a smaller theater, a stage-wide visualizer screen stretched over the front of the DJ booth with Go-Go girls dancing away atop each side. An LED backdrop erupted with a plethora of colorful animations behind the stage, and radiant lasers bounced off two disco balls fashionably hovering above the stage for optimum stimulus. Most importantly, THE SOUND QUALITY. Few events come to mind that could beat it. I could hear the person next to me perfectly, all the while the music was incredibly loud and every single note permeated with crystal clarity. It was like an IMAX for techno. Easily one of my favorite venues.
At about midnight the stage went black, and their logo appeared across the booth and backdrop. You knew what time it was. Digitalism opened with a super spacey “digital” tune, building the mood with such a professional finesse, I mean these guys really had you before you knew it. Not to be taken lightly either, they tore into some high-octane house and nullified any challenge of predictability. Amid a compilation of tech-house beats and their own remixes, they dropped classics such as “Idealistic” , “Pogo”, and “Zdarlight”. Electrifying build-ups kept the energy surging, especially with a dedicated fanbase to hit the peaks with unanimous enthusiasm. Despite being a DJ set, it was mostly composed of their own tracks and edits, and their ability to unleash the right amount of intensity down to every note and calculated execution made it irrelevant at the time anyways. The tracks were certainly tasteful and delivered in a style that mirrors their live show. Crispy house rhythms fused with the trance beauty that Digitalism does so well. Whats great is that the place wasn’t even close to selling out, and they still played an over the top show, full of spectacular theatrics and relentless floor killers. This was West Coast indoor at its best.
Still going strong after forming ten years ago with limited releases goes to show you the power and potential musical genius behind the converging of these two German noggins. What keeps them firmly intact in the electronic hierarchy, and what it always comes down to, is their genuine artistic knack for creative uniqueness, and a good live performance. They expertly carry you through serene sequences of digital love and dance rock breakdowns, and continue to persevere with their classic approach in an era of failed, detrimental experimentation.
Digitalism delivered. What more can I really say?
Were back at Dim Mak Studios this week for performances by Justin Miller, Yacht, and Sneaky Sound System of DFA’s record label. DFA has long cast a shadow over New York’s underground disco scene, and tonight Hollywood got much needed look into their talents. Justin Miller has been tearing it up with the record label for some time now, but recently left to pursue his own interests and create his own label. The New York resident took the stage for an hour and forty minute set this past Tuesday.
Definitely taking a new direction with his music since the departure from DFA. Miller has cast aside the disco soaked mixing and taken on much more minimalistic attitude with the turntables. The set started out slow, although down tempo, his transistions were virtually flawless. Abundant in saturated bass lines, evolving slowly over very dark synths and decending pad. The rythms were so simple, yet meticulously calculated, and the drops form in blitzkriegs, with an almost gentle but heavy execution. What I love about Minimal Techno is that you think your in a place so for so long time until suddenly you realize your somewhere else completely. This crafted genre of calculated progression accents Justin’s expertise in turntablism perfectly. The mood of the mix had so much depth, but never lacked in intensity. Steady space travel indeed. Can you say “Miller-mal”?
Still, the track selection had a vintage flow. You could tell he worked with former colleagues James Murphy and Juan MacLean for some time. The years he’s spent on club floors were very present on stage Tuesday, even to one not familiar with his work. I suspected he couldn’t stray from his roots for too long and he finished the last thirty minutes of his set with a small array of disco floor fillers.
Despite the lacking disco nostalgia I had hoped for, I was pleasantly ambushed by his talent in the minimal niche. There were some undoubtedly dull moments in the set he laid down, but the potential in this direction is limitless, and I hope to see him persevere. I would not be surprised to see him succeed with this, and playing the streets of New York alongside Simian Mobile Disco someday.
Only in major cities like NYC and LA do you hear about some cult acclaimed DJ playing a secret late-night set in a club somewhere. Countless have enviously imagined what it would be like to have been there. Myself and patrons at AV Nightclub in Hollywood got to witness one of these events as LA Riots took to the tables for a surprise set this past Wednesday.
Following the mixing styles of Travis Emmons and Hollywood resident DJ Sid Vicious, LA Riots commenced with a seriously classic house beat, comparable to the likes of Deep Dish or Benassi’s Hypnotica (then again he has been on the scene for quite some time). Building off two-step filtered bass lines, and trickling synth sequences, the set had notes of solid force but with a great ambient mood overlapping too. This rhythm kept on for most of the night. The progression of the transitions and mixing was seamless, and slightly contrary to his productions the set had a much deeper feel to it, as opposed to his own style of harder sample-ridden singles. He played straight into closing hours and finished with a pretty hard hitting slew of final tracks, playing to the role of a Hollywood DJ very well.
In any aspect, its great to see this guy perform. He’s worked with artists including MSTRKRFT and Crystal Method, and produced the “Johnny Cage Theme” for the Mortal Kombat Soundtrack. You really couldn’t ask for better unscheduled house music to sneak up and smack you around for a bit. Not to mention that AV was hosting a circus themed party that night.