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Kid606, Richard Devine, Knamiproko, Airoes

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Electronic madness takes over a rock club in Atlanta.
The Earl, Atlanta GA

The Earl is one of the least likely venues for a night of intelligent (and not so intelligent) electronic performances in Atlanta. Even though it's a great venue with a new soundman and a respectable lineup of shows, the sight of multiple powerbooks and MIDI cables isn't something I am used to seeing there. So, appropriately, local opener Airoes eased the more traditionally 'rock' space into the evening with an assault of electronic terror blasted from his groovebox directly into a makeshift extra PA that was apparently part of his act. From the moment Airoes walked onstage, I knew that we'd be in for the kind of roughly constructed practical joke of a performance that seems to be all the rage these days. I know, I'm a real stick in the mud when it comes to music that's only purpose is raunchy entertainment, and here is where I should interject a serious dose of 'lighten up,' but I can't. Airoes, dressed in apparently hilarious running shorts, sweatsocks, and goggles with wires taped to his chest, back, and legs, proceeded to pound out at least a dozen one- to two-minute blasts of sampled guitar, beats, and mayhem while he screamed incoherently over it. Everyone was enjoying it, so mark your calendars, because Airoes will be the opening act for the 2007 "Former Novelty Acts of 2002" tour... or maybe he'll be co-headlining with Peaches and Louie Austen. Local fellows Knamiproko followed Airoes with a somewhat technically challenged performance that probably owed itself a lot to the fact that an entire EXTRA P.A. had been erected on the stage moments before. Richard Devine took control of the proceedings with a thick dose of DSP groove like only he can. The beats flew out in every imaginable direction with a swarm of pulsing ambient noises building up gradually in each song. Inexplicably, Devine was joined onstage by a handful of people who appeared to have won the "Peek Behind The IDM Curtain" contest and were staring intently at Devine's laptop screens, and even asking questions mid-song! I'll admit that as an audience member there is a feeling of disconnection between performers and their instruments a lot of the time when those instruments are arcane pieces of software, but at no time is that disconnect heightened more than when people onstage are visibly more interested in learning what it is a performer is doing, than appreciating the results. If The Earl had a surround sound system, Devine's set would have been otherworldly, but technical limitations aside, he demonstrated again what the DSP ethic is all about with style. At one point he even dropped a My Bloody Valentine sample into the mix, prompting the question "damn, what would a Richard Devine remix of Loveless be like?" Kid606 followed with what I can only describe as a marathon set to kill the mash-ups. People had been asking me if he was going to play his own music, or just manipulate other people's tunes, and frankly, I wasn't sure there was a difference. He started with a bang, and spent about thirty minutes spewing out the chopped up bits of sounds and beats and digital squelches that have characterized much of his recorded work. But when recognizable bits of Missy Elliot and A-Ha began surfacing amidst the spastic wreckage of amen breaks and gabber, it was clear that Kid606 had moved into that portion of the evening where he just has fun messing up other people's sounds. Another half hour went by, and it seemed that constantly speeding up tracks like The Bug vs. The Rootsmen's ragga bouncer "Killer" and mashing them up with Chaos Face's "Subhuman" was generating less and less enthusiasm with the audience who were quickly getting the picture. Another half hour later, and I thought I might like to hear "Video Killed The Radio Star" mixed rather than molested into Bubba Sparxx, but that was not on the menu. I'm not sure when the set was over, but the last time I peeked in the door at close to 3 AM, there was one guy moshing widly into one of the monitor speakers and some members of Knamiproko loading gear out the back door. A friend I was with asked, "when do you think people are going to get tired of this whole mash-up thing?" They just did.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 17:37  


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