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Friday, September 21, 2007

It’s the Beat

posted by on September 21 at 11:14 AM

Decibel Kick-Off/Death of the Party Showcase - Neumo’s

First off: Congrats to Decibel Festival. It’s only my second year attending, so I can’t speak to 2005 or 2004, but I can’t imagine any previous year of the fest kicking off with as raucous a party as last night’s. Neumo’s was packed—sweat on the walls, etc, etc—the crowd was as energetic as most any I’ve seen in Seattle, the sound was top-notch, and the music was relentless.

I missed all but the last couple songs (the “Shoulder Lean/”No More Conversations” mash-up, “Percolator”) of Fourcolorzack and Pretty Titty’s 2x4, but they seemed to have the crowd warmed up nicely.

I was initially disappointed that Simian Mobile Disco wasn’t playing a live set. The pictures of their live set-up—a giant modular patchbay, a Korg MS-20, rows and rows of knobs—make it look pretty impressive, and it would have been cool to see. But their DJ set was still a blast (I’d rank it as at least the second best of the night).

smd%20donte.jpgSimian Mobile Disco (and Angelina Jolie from Hackers) by Donte Parks

They kicked off with Attack Decay Sustain Release opener “Sleep Deprivation,” and throughout the set mixed about an even ratio of originals and other people’s material. Highlights included the wildly fun “It’s the Beat,” the new Soulwax remix of LCD Soundsystem’s “Get Innocuous” (as usual, a dance floor killer from the brothers Dewaele), and the one-two punch of “Hustler” and Laid Back’s “White Horse” set to a montage of a slow-motion galloping white horse and several vintage shots of some serious-ass coke dealers. The duo’s mixing was confident and tight, and they looked to be having some fun when they weren’t gently arguing over their cd booklet. (Best overheard e-talking: “I’ve only known you for, like, an hour!”)

I was pretty thoroughly exhausted by SMD’s set, so I spent much of Switch’s set watching from the sidelines. Switch stuck mostly to his own productions (as both Switch and Solid Groove), including his awesome remix of Spank Rock’s “Bump” and his ridiculous, pleasure-center assaulting rework of “Apache,” “A Bit Patchy,” but also played some other choice cuts such as Digitalism’s “Juptier Room (Martian Assault).” Switch’s productions are flawless, boasting some truly sick beats (Sean Horton says the trick to Switch’s solid grooves is that he builds house beats out of live drum samples, thus keeping a little swing and funk in his 4/4) and some of the gnarliest bass lines around. All that said, Switch is a better producer than a DJ—his mixing was functional, not impressive, but it was actually nice to hear him noticably adjust the occasional off beat, it gave his twitching robot house an affable, human element.

Then there was Diplo. Diplo’s set last night wasn’t the most technical I’ve seen out of him (his last Neumo’s appearance, with his DVD scratching and beat-matching was probably more impressive in that regard), but it was definitely the most fun. Kids rushed the stage to a remix of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Diplo showed more Seattle love later dropping “Baby Got Back”).

diplo%20donte.jpgDiplo and crowd by Donte Parks

He mixed Simain vs Justice’s “We Are Your Friends” into the Hollertronix-released remix of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.” He played technotronic. He played “Young Folks.” He layered the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Zero” over Bonde Do Role. He wrapped up with a mix of “Bombs Over Baghdad” into LE Tigre’s “Decetacon.” It was that kind of a crazy, populist party. And it was awesome.

There’s so much more good stuff coming up at Decibel this weekend (see some recommendations here and here), so be sure to get your ass out.

RSS icon Comments


I'm going to have a Decibal Fest in my bathroom tonight, shit. Diplo sounded rad.

And 'modular' is such a good word. It's like tubular, but better. I have more respect for modular as a word than I do for tubular.

Posted by trent moorman | September 21, 2007 12:49 PM

I am sick of DJ sets!

Posted by Sick of DJ Sets | September 21, 2007 12:54 PM

Yeah I was bummed earlier this week when I read on Decibel's site that SMD was going to do a DJ-only set. Is that because it was too expensive to actually get them to play? I was confused since the rest of their tour dates are live...

My evening turned out OK because I got sucked into watching "Frogs" starring Sam Eliott, from 1972, but Diplo's set sounds fun, hope to see him SOMEday.

Posted by Ross | September 21, 2007 2:12 PM

there was also a db show at the baltic room last night. it was the ORAC records showcase and was well attended. Strategy and Caro killed it, mr Mcmillion was pretty hot as well. Did anybody else on here go to this?

Posted by ac | September 21, 2007 2:24 PM

I wish I'd been able to check that out, too. I'd love to have heard Strategy's set. For a minute Dave and I were talking about skipping down there during Diplo, but then he played Nirvana and I just had to be up on that stage. I'll definitely be dropping by for the Sensory Effect showcase there on Saturday, though.

Posted by Eric Grandy | September 21, 2007 2:33 PM

Anyone know where I can get pictures from the show?

Posted by Mark | September 21, 2007 3:10 PM

Wow. And this is just day one.

No sleep 'til Monday.

Posted by Recess | September 21, 2007 3:12 PM

Four Color Zack & Pretty Titty were awesome too.

Posted by John | September 21, 2007 4:56 PM

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