Saturday, February 11, 2006

New Media

Last night, I accepted an invite from Kevin and Luis to the Hollywood Knitting Factory for an electronic music / video performance art concert.

And, despite me having to spend time in Hollywood on a Friday night, I went, and was very impressed.

We went got to the Knitting Factory much earlier than we expected to, but after getting turned away from an Of Montreal concert last week (bastards!), I wasn't taking any chances. The opening band, Dalek, were billed as "industrial hip-hop," but all I heard was "loud."

Now, don't get me wrong - this wasn't loud in a "dang those kids with their dang rap music" loud, this was "the only thing I hear is buzzing, and my feet can feel the floor moving with the bass ... and hey, is my ear bleeding?" loud. I may act like an old man in many regards, but music is not one of them.

Still, when their second song sounded exactly like their first, we decided to skip the opening band and instead check out the rockabilly / country-rock band playing on one of the side stages. Not too shabby, although it appeared the "1950s Greaser" look was experiencing a mild revival - localized entirely in one room.

When it came time for the headliners, we went back into the stage, and I promptly had my mind blown.

Meat Beat Manifesto
consisted of three guys on Apple Laptops, a synth drummer, a bunch of keyboards, video cameras, and two large projection screens. Basically, they took audio and visual samples and remixed and twisted them on top of layers of beats to create an instantly engaging and absolutely compelling show.

Musically, they're like a more playful version of Kraftwerk or a more accessible Matmos. Visually, they're unbelievable. They were looping archival speeches, viral internet videos, black and white sci-fi films, modern and classic films of all kinds, and even TV shows ("MacGyver"'s Murdoc made a quick appearance in one). There's subversion, juxtaposition, clips and looks taken out of context - all coming together to tell a story in each composition while the media ephemera of the past 75 years forms a danceable beat behind it.

It's an amateur semiotician's wet dream.

Needless to say, if they're swinging through your area (and they are on a short tour right now), it is definitely worth the price of tickets to see 'em.

Just plan on skipping Dalek.
that one guy you know, 4:49 PM | | | | | | | | |


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