Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Show Review: Slow Magic w/ Kodak to Graph & Daktyl

Slow Magic at Kings on Sept. 21
Electronic shows can really be a crapshoot sometimes, especially if you haven't checked in on the artist and researched what their live set-up is. It's really easy to end up seeing a handful of dudes in backwards fitted caps slamming pads and spinning knobs on an MPD for about twenty minutes, and frankly after three sets of that you're kind of done for the evening. But what took place at Kings was far from that, it was one of the most engaging and exciting performances I've seen in quite some time. While Daktyl and Kodak to Graph had markedly similar styles, and Daktyl may have fallen a little bit into the first category, there was enough versatility throughout the night's performances to keep things exciting until the main event of the evening came around.

Daktyl started things off with a set filled with crunching bass lines, jittering synths and dreamy yet disjointed vocal samples turned into syncopated rhythms. It was a set built on quick build-ups and even swifter breakdowns, there was bukus of noise sweeps and bass drops, but it felt natural rather than formulaic and expected. With releases set in the near future for Mad Decent and some obvious talent under his belt, I'm excited to hear more from Daktyl as he evolves as an artist. There's some exciting possibilities that lie beneath these danceable tracks, hopefully he's willing to dig deeper into the rabbit hole to really define his style amidst a sea of Mad Decent-hopefuls.

Kodak to Graph at Kings on Sept. 21
The evening got gradually more exciting as the subsequent artists took the stage. As Kodak to Graph's stage began to get set-up I pretty much knew I was going to dig this set. His table was packed in with a laptop, multi-colored beat pads and an analog synth that was all facing towards the crowd for some reason. I'm not quite sure as to whether this was done for aesthetic reasons or for ease of playability, but regardless it got my attention. Kodak to Graph was emanating some heavy house vibes while still making sure he didn't fall with into the new "deep-house" trends. Most of the set bounced between bass-laden tracks that were driven by either ambient vocals that were chopped into rhythmic patterns or hip-hop vocal samples utilized as percussive flair and bridges into heavy bass grooves.

Kodak to Graph had an entertaining set, but nothing was going to top the energy that Slow Magic brought to the stage. I'm very glad I didn't come into this show with expectations for what was about to happen, frankly I thought I'd be taking it easy for this show, maybe sitting in the corner and soaking it all in. I was doing a pretty good job of following that plan until I saw the Slow Magic set-up and then I immediately posted up in front of the stage. Driven by two large toms and a mixture of loops and live mixing, Slow Magic put on one of the most engaging and awe-inspiring electronic sets I've seen in quite some time. Many times acts like these are marked by their impressive lights show or their gimmicky set-ups, but Slow Magic seems to do it for all of the right reasons. Shortly into the set he raised a drum high above his head, hopped into the crowd, and lead the crowd in a tightly packed burst of dance to his tribal beats and poppy production. Shortly after that he was high-fiving members of the crowd, letting the front row contribute to his percussion pads and even had members of the crowd toying with the remote that controlled his light show. It was less of a passive viewing experience and more of an immersive event that everyone felt a part of, which is a massive feat for an artist like this. The tracks were all incredible, the live drumming was nothing short of compelling, and ultimately proved to be a phenomenal way to end what could have been a very blasé show. Kudos to this remarkable showman for putting on the show he does, he's won this writer over as a massive fan.

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