by Movement Correspondent Reisa Shanaman
DJing, as we understand it, ought to innately be considered live, as improvisation is always imperative. That said, there are those electronic musicians who take the concept of performing live even further. Employing tools like Ableton Live and incorporating instruments from electric guitars to drum kits, these artists meld musical worlds; inventively utilizing technology, they are breaking sonic ground, ever pushing the digital frontier forward. Pulling from an arsenal that includes only their own work, and often using suitcases worth of equipment, here are a few such acts that will be bringing their unique strains of electronic music to this year’s Movement Festival.
How the New York-based duo of Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance got their moniker varies depending on who asks them; where the name comes from hardly seems to matter compared to where they’re going with it, though. They debuted on Resident Advisor’s “Live Acts” poll at #16, and were named on iTunes UK’s “Ones to Watch” list, both last year. Armed with a guitar, a microphone, a keyboard and a computer, they’ve played their emotive music at Fabric, Output, Watergate, BPM, Burning Man, Electric Forest and recently, TV Lounge for a well-received Paxahau show. Recently signed to Domino, Resident Advisor writes of the pair, “Their music has a casual, easy brilliance, with a sexy smolder that’s half borrowed from vintage Massive Attack and half inspired by Crosstown Rebels-style deep house.” To see these two in an outdoor setting is always a special treat.
Referred to by Mixmag as “one of the most forward-thinking, innovative producers in British electronic music,” Chris Clark is a regular on the Warp roster. Of his live sets he has stated, “My hands are all over the place – literally I’m doing every single thing. Everything that happens on stage is being played and created live. It’s very interactive.” Cultivating a compelling hodge-podge of sounds, Mixmag has also stated that, “Chiseled Techno, abstract electronica, drone and dreamy lo-fi soundscapes are just a handful of elements in his work.” We anticipate exploring the outer reaches of experimentalism with the enigmatic producer who has expressed, “getting weirdly human sounds out of mechanical inanimate objects fascinates me, like making a synth sound like a human cry or laugh.”
Berlin-based producer Henrik Schwarz has performed and produced alongside a menagerie of musicians, most recently as a trio with bass player Dan Berglund and pianist Bugge Wusseltoft. His forthcoming album, Instruments, sees him transform some of his previous electronic productions into classical orchestral arrangements. Although he will be appearing solo at Movement, his ability to create captivating jazz-infused deep house sets on his computer cannot be overstated; he has earned a spot in the Top 10 on Resident Advisor’s “Live Acts” poll for the last seven years straight. Of his setup, he says, “Well there’s all the stuff that I ever made in the computer for a start, in parts so I can play around with it.” This includes remixes for Carl Craig, Underworld, Mary J. Blige, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and London Grammar, in addition to his own extensive original tracks and compositions.
With keyboards, controllers and a DJ rig, this brilliant DJ/producer has blown open the art of the live electronic musician. Resident Advisor proclaims, “KiNK’s performances are a middle finger to live dance music’s naysayers. The Bulgarian house artist shows the broad possibilities of the form by playing his assorted setup with the skill of a seasoned musician. Strahil Velchev’s style blends DJ tricks with keyboard and controller manipulation.” Of his own shows he explains, “I don’t really know what will happen. I might do a house beat on the fly and record a piano chord progression. I might go Techno and use my voice through a vocoder, to make dubby stabs. Or I can play a jazzy Rhodes solo on top of something.” Expect an exceptional outing from this immensely talented artist.
It can’t be easy to create music that is at once earthly and ethereal, and that somehow seems equally apt for dance floors and living rooms. Yet Recondite manages just that with his beautiful palette of brooding soundscapes. Resident Advisor’s #1 Live Act of 2014, the Berlin-based artist born Lorenz Brunner told Earmilk his music is, “Sometimes happy, sometimes sad – always melancholic. Sometimes fragile, sometimes strong – never too sure about anything. Sometimes convinced, sometimes conflicted, but always deep.” With releases on Ghostly International, Innervisions, Hotflush, and his own Plangent Records, Ableton considers his music to be, “Marked by a distinctly animate emotional core, his productions blur organic and synthetic processes into a mélange that has reached far beyond the narrow realms of heady, heavy Techno.” Prepare for a hypnotically melodic and intimate excursion inward.
Detroit-based Ghostly International artist Shigeto (Zachary Shigeto Saginaw) will be bringing Ableton Live, an Akai MPD and a drum kit to the Movement stage. He says, “I feel a performance should be about the performance, and the end result is very important. It’s a human thing, there’s this magnetism towards somebody who’s exerting genuine passion or pain or physical activity.” And that is precisely what he does with every musical appearance he makes. According to the blog Liveschool, “Human sweat and circuit boards collide as Shigeto attacks the drums with a Zen-like focus, often keeping the beat with just one hand while the other controls Ableton Live and the Akai MPD.” Utilizing various effects and a bank of samples, he creates a delirious cyclone of sounds as a bona fide one-man band.