Underground Electronica

18-09-10

Brilliant first night of electronica! Lets do it again in the future!! Thank you to all the acts, to Rockschool, the audience and to the glorious smoke machine which I controlled all night long hahahaha
love Chris B xx

U-Elec_049.jpg

U-Elec_001.jpg U-Elec_002.jpg U-Elec_003.jpg U-Elec_004.jpg U-Elec_005.jpg U-Elec_009.jpg U-Elec_010.jpg U-Elec_013.jpg U-Elec_016.jpg U-Elec_017.jpg

U-Elec_019.jpg U-Elec_020.jpg U-Elec_021.jpg U-Elec_023.jpg U-Elec_024.jpg U-Elec_025.jpg

little albert

Setlist:

  • 1. Rap Daddy
  • 2. Migration
  • 3. Mrs. Lee
  • 4. Cross Over
  • 5. Tutoring
  • 6. Oh Yeah

The first ever Electronica show was heralded by huge columns of smoke from the newest addition to Rockschool’s stage area. A very trigger-happy (with the smoke machine’s remote) Chris B called on this one skinny guy, with a guitar that looked like a Les Paul had had body contouring done, amongst the transient artificial fog to unsteadily start his set. After making sure that his DJ (who wasn’t accompanying him on stage) could see him, and vice versa, he started his set, which was curiously laidback despite all of the considerably fast CG-ed drums used. Despite being a very slight figure on stage, he was quite interesting to watch – he had an endearing earnestness, which even made his somewhat cheesy Cantonese spoken word bits decent to listen to.

The (highly, highly effects-ed) guitar he held was purely for embellishment of the sound, as he only used it intermittently to fill in the soundscape. The electronic bit was mostly used to counterpoint the variety of different styles that were factored in to the different songs. Migration featured some very Jane’s Addiction-like guitar against a beat that sounded very much like a Prodigy song. The soundscape was eerily blank, and gave a feeling of transience, a trek across the desert, perhaps. Mrs. Lee was a really funk-oriented, boppy track, that had people swaying their legs and heads, evidently feeling really good. Oh Yeah had, what is in my estimation, a typical corny Canto-pop song, with a surprisingly Hendrixy guitar line, some harmonica, and (even more surprisingly) without getting on peoples’ nerves. It was after this song when, suddenly, his set was over, and there was more smoke to see him off, along with cheers from people who’d clearly enjoyed his set a lot.

— Shashwati

U-Elec_029.jpg U-Elec_030.jpg U-Elec_031.jpg U-Elec_036.jpg U-Elec_038.jpg U-Elec_040.jpg

U-Elec_042.jpg U-Elec_043.jpg U-Elec_044.jpg U-Elec_045.jpg U-Elec_046.jpg U-Elec_047.jpg

A.O.S.

Setlist:

  • 1. Mime
  • 2. de-
  • 3. 26, 52, 78, 104…
  • 4. O

Before I say anything more about what happened further during the show, I feel obligated to point out that I am a certified non-expert in fields of the various types of electronic music that exist- I’m not good at differentiating between them, and I’m almost sure that there’s hundreds of things that I’m unable to appreciate about it. So, if the reviews that follow lack in detail or informativeness, the trouble’s likely at this end.

That said, A.O.S. set began, with the deceptively pop-ey opening to Mime, which soon grew into a cavalcade of distortion and feedback, set against many different sounds you may have heard emanating from computers at some point of time. This was a pattern that continued throughout his set, with very atmospheric sound effects combined with computer sounds, the classic hoover, and even some piano set, clearly, with great care at points. 26, 52, 78, 104… had some traffic-like sounds to start with, and involved a somewhat vocodered female voice which spoke well into the wah-ed breakdown, while O slowed down to almost purely backing track pace, but with the many effects arranged well through the track, and dying down into a looping spinning disc sound.

I, for one, didn’t enjoy this set much. To start with, A.O.S.’ mostly stationary presence on stage with just his gear, without any visuals is in conducive to a live show. It follows logically that you should fill your sound to make up for it. The effects were few and far between, so that the songs ended up being mostly ambient, continuous sounds without much activity, taking much too much time to build up to what little crescendo there was. The overt deliberateness of the arrangements seemed to be lost on the crowd as well, as they looked confused and hesitant through most of the set. Perhaps A.O.S.’ sound is a bit too minimalistic, and too pointed at the few listeners who will have the patience and knowledge to appreciate what he’s doing, and needs something to done about the blankness of the show. I hope that the next time I see him play, this will have been taken care of.

— Shashwati

U-Elec_051.jpg U-Elec_052.jpg U-Elec_053.jpg U-Elec_055.jpg U-Elec_056.jpg U-Elec_060.jpg U-Elec_064.jpg U-Elec_065.jpg

U-Elec_068.jpg U-Elec_070.jpg U-Elec_071.jpg U-Elec_072.jpg U-Elec_074.jpg U-Elec_076.jpg U-Elec_077.jpg U-Elec_079.jpg U-Elec_080.jpg U-Elec_082.jpg U-Elec_083.jpg U-Elec_084.jpg U-Elec_085.jpg

Snoblind

Setlist:

  • 1. Intro
  • 2. No Place Like Home
  • 3. Krushed
  • 4. Clouds
  • 5. Strawberry Redux
  • 6. 69 Police
  • 7. Six Weeks
  • 8. Which Way to Home

(*Continuous set)

Another disclaimer at this point – because this set, and the next, were continuous, I can’t really describe many songs specifically ‘cause I’m not sure which ones they are! But, I’ll try to describe the various areas of feel and sight that the songs moved into to compensate for that.

Snoblind started with the screen reading just their name, and began their Intro with some nice looping piano and hip-hop beats. There was some anthemic, almost operatic tune rendered on vocals and something that sounded a lot like an organ. From here, they proceeded to take the joint to smoother, sweeter places, like the ones Moby inhabits. The crowd were in it right from the start, as they were willingly steered into everything from the sheer schizophrenic paranoia that the looped drums, er, drummed up, to the taut basslines of 80s pop, to long, winding basslines with female vocals that kinda reminded me of Ace of Base. At some point, there was a song that had some very Dylan-esque vocals, and to match, a video that reminded me very much of the one for Subterranean Homesick Blues, where words on the screen were the main focus of the image. Strawberry Redux was their take on samples of the classic Strawberry Fields Forever, with a really psychedelic, shoegaze-y feel to it. There were several breakdowns into just one sound playing, and then ably steered into a completely different soundscape.

Their visuals were really, really excellent, and perfectly tailored to the songs. There were many shots, both long and fleeting, of desolate Hong Kong buildings in inadequate lighting, many sped up videos of nature, clouds and horizons, some military shots, and the kind of creepy avant-garde stuff of heads moving unnaturally being focused upon thrown in for good measure as well. The crowd ate right out of their hands, as their mindset was clearly in sync with wherever the two on stage wanted to take them; from gentle swaying, to wild dancing, they were led everywhere, and willingly at that. It was a pity when they looped down Which Way to Home into the linked woo-ing sounds that closed their set – a feeling that was by everyone there, as there was a huge whoop of applause that greeted the end of a very engaging and enjoyable set.

— Shashwati

U-Elec_087.jpg U-Elec_089.jpg U-Elec_090.jpg U-Elec_093.jpg U-Elec_094.jpg U-Elec_097.jpg U-Elec_099.jpg U-Elec_100.jpg U-Elec_102.jpg U-Elec_104.jpg U-Elec_106.jpg U-Elec_108.jpg
U-Elec_110.jpg U-Elec_113.jpg U-Elec_115.jpg U-Elec_116.jpg U-Elec_118.jpg U-Elec_119.jpg U-Elec_121.jpg U-Elec_122.jpg U-Elec_123.jpg
U-Elec_125.jpg U-Elec_126.jpg U-Elec_127.jpg U-Elec_129.jpg U-Elec_130.jpg U-Elec_131.jpg U-Elec_132.jpg U-Elec_133.jpg U-Elec_135.jpg U-Elec_136.jpg

Sushi Robot

Setlist:

  • 1. Heavy Artillery
  • 2. Pierce
  • 3. Volcania
  • 4. Comprendo
  • 5. Box Bass
  • 6. Analogic
  • 7. Synthpop
  • 8. Mosh Odessa
  • 9. Looking in the Face of Danger
  • 10. Push Me
  • 11. Blob

(*Continuous set)

Sushi Robot seemed to have been just what the crowd was waiting for, judging by how much the crowd seemed to have enjoyed their set. They were probably the most ‘live’ act on that night, because even though they were just two guys behind their laptops (and other assorted stuff), they were every bit as mobile and active as anyone in the crowd – basically, very watchable, even aside from their awesome visuals of their band logo in cool ways, and other images of robots and other mechanical paraphernalia. Heavy Artillery was a commanding way to start, with the rapid dancey beats of 80s pop songs. Their set was a testament to how much electronic music owes to the 4/4 beat, as most songs were based clearly on this most basic of rhythms. This soon changed into this really ominous bassline, that outlined the stark, Asimov-esque soundscape, with the rigid clinical beat patterns of Kraftwerk’s latter career.

Most of their songs were really up-tempo, but they threw in some phases of more relaxed tunes, with soothing, looping basslines, at one point even having a likably familiar cheesy melody. This was, of course, momentary, as it was soon followed by more violent, pendulumic swings in the beat. Their last song had kinda Mario-like sounds, but with the same synth-ey foundations. The visuals by this point had grown to encompass kaleidoscope-y pictures of faces, and glaring fluorescent pictures, so the set ended in a completely different visual territory. From what I could tell, these guys are consummate experts at what they do, because despite having the proverbial cold machine at their disposal, the songs all retained an appealingly familiar feel that can only be created by knowing your craft, and their set melded together so well that you didn’t realise where your half hour had gone. The ending of their set was promptly followed by (guess what) more smoke, and even some shouts of “show me your underwear!” from the crowd; the mark of a show that has truly been, to use a technical term, “torn up”.

— Shashwati

U-Elec_137.jpg U-Elec_138.jpg

U-Elec_140.jpg

(winner of two tickets to Brett Anderson concert!)
U-Elec_142.jpg U-Elec_143.jpg U-Elec_147.jpg U-Elec_150.jpg U-Elec_151.jpg U-Elec_152.jpg U-Elec_158.jpg U-Elec_167.jpg U-Elec_171.jpg U-Elec_172.jpg U-Elec_177.jpg U-Elec_186.jpg U-Elec_189.jpg

Choi Sai-ho (S.T.)

Setlist:

  • 1. U-Electronica [*New Song]
  • 2. The Educators
  • 3. Pianohead + Mood Be4 Storm + Violin Cityscape
  • 4. Map Dealers + Dancing Failure + Lottery Players vs. Game Console People + Technoscape + Summer 80s: Hong Kong Rain

S.T. was another guy who used a real instrument in his music, but his was a violin that is testament to his classical music training. U-Electronica moved quickly into hyperdrive, with a sudden avalanche of beats and notes, and equally fast visuals, creating a jarring mood with a benzedrine mindset. The visuals of empty balconies were perfect to accompany the sparse sound, offset by the occasional coloured image and change of sound effects. The violin was brought into play in The Educators, and the song was appropriately operatic at first, then going into a serious, symphonic yet experimentally techno feel. The 3rd song spanned a vast variety of electronic genres, and its feel was based more on the sampled voice as in hard acid jazz, and had a distinct groove to it – a nice flourished contrast to the rest of his sparse, technically-oriented tracks. The fourth song was much more primary and simple in its feel, with correspondingly uncomplicated visuals of just colours, but nicely offset with some complex polyrhythms to make up for the lack of substantial melody in the song(s). The set ended on a rousing high, but ended somewhat abruptly, momentarily undoing the good work done in the preceding song. But, no harm done, because he’d taken everyone on a really interesting journey through an unexpectedly earthy electronic set. Additionally, his iPad histrionics were uber cool to watch, as that was equally interesting as the visuals.

There could only be one way to close the show after that – by once again enveloping the stage with smoke – and making S.T. have to wait a couple minutes for the visibility to be enough for him to clear up his gear.

— Shashwati

photos © Copyright 2010 by ANGUS LEUNG

poster by ANGUS LEUNG

Be Sociable, Share!
Be Sociable, Share!