– By Bag
In today’s age of bedroom producers and beatmakers, it’s a challenge for these artists to make their live set more spontaneous. You could say that electronic music performers are limited to what they can actually play on stage because of their vast, meticulously complex, digital productions. It would be impossible to perfectly recreate any given track. However, while producer/DJ’s like Deadmau5 strives for fidelity perfection on tour, using a digitally synced multi computer rig, other artists like Mount Kimbie, SBTRKT, Bonobo, and Disclosure go in the direction of a more “live” set, blurring the lines as much as possible of what is played, and performed.
As I walked into Fortune Sound Club in Chinatown I experienced the audio, visual experience that is Holy Other. The British producer’s atmospheric productions played back magnificently through Fortune’s impeccable sound system. Hearing every little detail in timbre, feeling those deep, sub harmonic frequencies rattling my insides, making the room vibrate in all the right, tight ways was a spiritual experience. With his spaced out, sparse and downtempo production, I felt as though being carried by clouds in the dark. Aided by captivating, abstract, moving projections, his set would have been very different without, or with different visuals. In fact, the lighting of his set was minimal, only used for Holy Other to be able to see his gear. All the eye could see was the screen, creating a film score watching experience to the point it wasn’t clear if the visuals were supposed to aid the music, or vice versa, a clever way to captivate an audience. This set was definitely a full experience, the cohesive, but adventurous set of tracks took the audience to a special place that they’ve never been.
One thing that was obvious during Holy Other was the mountain of gear around him that was previously set up for Mount Kimbie, and boy did they use them! Basically bringing a studio and a half with them on tour, it was easily the most gear and cables I’ve seen for a live gig personnel per capita on stage, they even brought their session musician who played a drum kit and bass guitar. Despite utilizing all this equipment, ironically the only technical issue was a mic stand that kept spinning away. Supporting their new album through Warp Records, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, their set consisted of a healthy mix of that and tasty selections from their post-dubstep genre defining debut album, Crooks & Lovers. Their visuals consisted of a slideshow of random photos taken from all over the world, same collection as their video for single, Before I Move Off. Every song had a unique flavour and set of instrumentation and effects. While it was difficult to tell what sound was coming from which source, the mystique was humbling. The live instrumentation definitely added a whole new level of dynamics, but even when they switched back to a song with just electronic, it did not feel empty, just different and refreshing.