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Posts Tagged ‘Four Tet’

(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out here)

I’m stuck in fictional 2010, feeling like I just graduated college. I’m still hopeful about the Obama presidency, and my favorite album is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I’m like the show Newsroom—I imagine an idealized version of the proximate past where I do everything right. And in my retelling, I didn’t miss Gold Panda open for Four Tet during CMJ. I didn’t underestimate how long it’d take me to get to Webster Hall. I didn’t waste time eating a weak Japanese meal. Instead, I saw both acts and was blown away by each. And now, fast-forward to the present day, when I’m writing this review with an interesting context for the show I just saw: an extension of the great show I’d seen before.

Now, Gold Panda is two years removed from his critically acclaimed album, Lucky Shiner. He’s reached that critical juncture where he will be defined by what he does next. And so far, in 2012, GP is on track for repeat success. His new single, “Mountain,” is heady and spatial, a mental “Dancing with Myself.” It signposts that the producer and performer would bring his unique vision and talent to bare with the wisdom of experience. And, at the onset, it was clear he’d acquired an advanced sense of pacing and the attentiveness to the needs of his audience.

Gold Panda folded songs’ structures onto themselves, revisiting rhythms on top of melodies and jumbling together the two. When, midway through the set, he blended into the ultimate crowd-pleaser, “You,” it gained pace and impressiveness with an extended introduction tapped out on an MPC. It was, like his other robotically talkative pieces, a Peter Frampton–influenced triumph of language over noise; we hear words in the modulated stew of sound. And behind a similarly hazy yet familiar set of images, the performance felt like popular dance music drugged and sped up through a cassette player. There was a sense of nostalgia in the music. I entertained the past and thoroughly enjoyed the present.

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(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out @ http://houselist.bowerypresents.com/it’s-the-end-of-the-year-as-we-know-it-2/)

1. Arcade Fire, Madison Square Garden, August 5
In the physical and symbolic center of New York City entertainment, Arcade Fire delivered a performance that reached to the back of the bleachers and beyond, with fans streaming the live broadcast on Youtube. Everything about the show felt instantly legendary, from Win Butler traveling into the crowd to the entire arena joining along on the chorus of “Wake Up.” I imagine that this is the definitive concert of my generation, the show I will tell my kids about.

2. LCD Soundsystem, Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 8
Before the release of LCD Soundsystem’s alleged final album, This Is Happening, Music Hall of Williamsburg hosted the band’s dress rehearsal for their summer tour. However, with a set including the recent single “Drunk Girls” alongside the Sound of Silver classic “Us v Them,” the show felt more like a victory lap than an audition.

3. El Guincho, Mercury Lounge, September 28
Mercury Lounge is capable of both quiet intimacy and a complete suspension of personal space. During El Guincho’s sample-based tropical rave, I gladly accepted the latter over the former.

4. Four Tet, Webster Hall, October 22
Four Tet’s meditative There Is Love in You is one of my favorite albums of 2010. Fittingly, his performance during CMJ displayed the patience and care, conscientiously extending samples with an awareness of the crowd, which makes There Is Love in You such a triumph.

5. Delta Spirit, The Bowery Ballroom, June 30
I’ve never seen a group of people more excited about a band I knew so little about. With a large sampling of songs from their most recent album, History From Below, Delta Spirit tore through a raucous sing-along set with an encore featuring covers of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and “Shout” by the Isley Brothers.

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(Editor’s Note: This piece appears on The Bowery Presents The House List. Check it out here)

Against a starry backdrop, Four Tet, the stage name of Kieran Hebden, quietly blended into the celestial scenery. But for a neon yellow T-shirt, he allowed the music, rather than his presence or performance, to occupy the foreground. That the bulk of the songs came from his most recent LP, There Is Love in You, seemed wholly appropriate given the audience’s excitement and familiarity with the album. When the glitchy, haunting female sample from Love in You’s lead track, “Angel Echoes,” emerged from the soundscape, appreciative cheers followed. And an extended buildup and breakdown of “Sing” gripped the crowd, moving bodies while enlivening minds.

Hebden’s talent for creating introspective yet dance-oriented electronic music, stimulating rhythmically and challenging aurally, turns out to be his greatest strength. While many electronic musicians are capable of creating interesting sounds, he blends, isolates and removes samples in an effort to engage and disrupt his listeners’ expectations. A few times, as the crowd began to clap with the songs’ rhythms, Hebden switched the beat, either tricking those who hoped to participate or working to deconstruct convention, depending on your interpretation.

This is the spontaneous and original element that Hebden brings to his live music. With the twists of knobs and the pacing of samples, the album’s tracks became a reflection on Hebden’s process and intentions. Love in You is intimate but entirely conscience of its audience, and Hebden showed an awareness of the crowd, flashing the occasional smile while modestly going about his business. Such a brilliant yet humble performance turned out to be as impressive as the set, a tribute to Hebden’s musical intimation.

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