Mike Relm and
November 7, 2008
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 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'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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