Greetings from Seattle! I’m out here covering a few showcases for Decibel and hope you look forward to reading my reviews. Last night I went to their opening party at Re:bar, which was started off by Seattleites 214 and Jon McMillion and headlined by acclaimed producers Atom™ and Zomby.
First up, 214 began with electro and gradually moved to two-step in the manner of polished post-dubstep, keeping it soulful and smooth. He offered crisp drum beats and a nice build up that eventually lead into harder hitting bangers. Jon McMillion then took over with a solid deep house set. He played with finesse and concentrated on keeping the good vibes with subtle build-ups fit for a smooth warm up. I was also informed that he was responsible for most of the projections for the party (save Atom™’s set), which included a mix of colorful shapes and foliage, flirty women and Decibel logos.
Up next was Atom™ with his live A/V set. After seeing him at GAFFTA and hearing about the technical issues that arose with connecting his MPC 3000 to the projectors, I wasn’t surprised that those problems once again arose here. After a bit of time the tech folks managed to get the projectors working, and Atom™ began with visuals of morphing crisp, clear shapes and colors much like the works of Raster-Noton artists, interspersed with video clips of the outdoors. On the second screen, he had his performance statistics displayed.
Midway through his set, Atom™ stopped playing and stepped back from his equipment for a few moments, a reason for which I would assume to be, again, technical difficulties (note: Atom™ refuses to play without his visuals). Despite this, at some points he seemed to do this for brief moments at a time just to allow the video to do the talking. He slowed down from 136BPM to 102BPM toward the end of his set but kept his arrangements powerful and interesting. Then, nearing the very end, it became more personal when it appeared that the real life footage could be Atom™’s yard, complete with beautiful images of trees and plants and an endearing snippet of a cat rolling around on pavement, then finally Atom™ waving at the camera.
Then at last, Zomby appeared on stage wearing a Guy Fawkes mask splattered with bright blue paint. Fortunately, Atom™ set the slow pace for Zomby to pick up for a steady flow in dynamics, only instead of crisp sounds, Zomby’s bass poured out of the speakers super heavily, making the venue rattle and shake like a supped up car with subwoofers. He steadily built up the tempo, moving from funky to breaks. Although the material was good, he didn’t seem to be concerned about making smooth transitions, and this became more apparent as the show went on and he slowed down the pace again with the crowd response becoming less favorable. Despite this, he was able to stir up excitement when he dropped some of his tracks from his latest LP, Dedication, such as “Things Fall Apart.” With frequent exits behind the screen, his performance was pretty questionable. Although I can’t verify whether this was due to technical difficulties, I will say that his set could easily be improved by a revamped presentation.
This party had a bill for success, but in the end, unfortunately, didn’t quite succeed. However, despite the technical issues and otherwise, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on all these artists to see what happens next.
Zomby plays at 103 Harriet this Friday with Machinedrum, Nastynasty and Distal. Tickets are $20.
Photo credit: seattletimes.nwsource.com