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New York Cool - Music


Beats Antique, Mike Relm and
Bowery Ballroom
November 7, 2008

Written by Joshua Williams
Photographed by
Amy Davidson



Opposite Photo: Mike Relm

So, somehow I ended up at the Bowery Ballroom to review a night of electronic acts. Not my usual forte, but I like making beats and mixing sounds so maybe something would inspire me. The kids were positively aching to get inside. I felt for the doorman, as there were a lot of teenagers in various stages of stupefication that had to be turned away. Sorry baby, but if you can’t walk to the door without tripping over the rope, you’re probably not making it in. Maybe you should do another whippet. Those neo-hippie dance kids are selling them right over there. Move along. Call your parents.

Beats Antique

Beats Antique was first. They are out of Oakland and consist of two guys with laptops and a fiddle along a belly dancer named Zoe. I found their mixes original and particularly enjoyed their incorporation of middle-eastern and North African themes with low-key ambient/minimalist beats. I’m not well versed in dance music styles, so I’m sure half of the people reading this will say that’s a bad depiction. In any event, the mixture of acoustic and electronic, the costume change (into a bear and an old man), and the dancer made for an enjoyable set. I was particularly impressed with the eastern tunings of the fiddle/violin or whatever you may want to call it.

Mike Relm

Mike Relm's Message

Next up was San Francisco’s Mike Relm. Relm is a dapper showman, dressed well in suit and tie. He is a VJ, a DJ, a mash up king and stellar turntabelist. It is probably best to describe Relm as a mixed media performance artist. He does more than just mix records. At one point in the set, he displayed messages with cards on the screen evoking a modern day take on Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. He also incorporated a host of other images from pop culture on the screen. All the images and sounds all came together with Relm at the center of it all. Underneath that suit lies a mad scientist. He is a highly entertaining performer.

Lorin Ashton of Bassnectar

Finishing up the evening was another San Franciscan, Bassnectar. Bassnectar seems to be a dude who spent a lot of time down in the basement mixing away. He played a mixture of hip-hop to what not and everything in between. All the while dancing away, banging his head and flinging the heavy metal hair. He illustrates that we live in a musical world that is no longer constrained by genre. You want to mix punk, jazz, soul metal country and hip-hop? No problem. It’s somewhat amazing how all these styles get incorporated together and produce a whole other sound. Bassnectar, and others like him, is attempting to make us the sum of our musical parts. It is a worthy endeavor.

Lorin Ashton of Bassnectar


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