Venue: The Flat (Brooklyn)
Date: December 3, 2014
Event Review by Dante Mann
On Wednesday December 3rd at The Flat a gathering of musicians/performers (AF THE NAYSAYER, Holm., The Fantastic Plastics, Kidaudra, and The Grand Affair) created an energized yet intimate experience. The sense of community among this budding group of artists was truly inspiring but the most apparent commonality was their pertinent use of electronic assistance.
I decided to contact all of the acts and have a conversation about the utility and function of using electronics such as loop stations (live looping, samplers, midi-controllers, and drum machines) to assist in making a live show happen.
New Orleans’s AF THE NAYSAYER is an instrumental composer of future beats/hip-hop/downtempo; he uses a drum machine and sampler for his live show. Amazingly, he is able to capture the entire orchestral range of sound without paying for the instrumental backing, although he does have aspirations of being backed by a full band. His music is groove-oriented with elements of jazz and throwbacks to old school hip hop, but is simultaneously visually evocative . AF THE NAYSAYER is a true talent with distinguished compositional skills and an undeniable onstage charisma.
Boston’s Holm, a one-man show, utilizes computer software and mixer to control prerecorded and self-composed tracks while providing live accompaniment along to those tracks. He came to his current technique of performing out of necessity and partly because he hasn’t found the right band mates. Holm plays a multitude of instruments; his music is ambient yet he has a predilection for weaving in catchy melodies and rhythms.
Brooklyn’s The Fantastic Plastics, a DIY band playing their own form of electro grunge/new wave with a heavy emphasis on the visual, have space-age stage clothes made by the keyboardist and female vocalist Miranda Plastic. They wore glasses lined with LEDs constructed by this guitarist and male vocalist Tyson Plastic with help from a friend of the band. There is a third member of the band Dylan Plastic who lives in Illinois and because The Fantastic Plastics’ use of digital assistance, he is able to be part of the show without being there is person. Dylan writes/programs the drum and bass parts as well as a video that is projected during the show.
Brooklyn’s Kidaudra, an electro-pop musician with a superb voice, performs solo over pre-constructed music creating loops with her voice building lush textures, which truly adds to the performance aspect of the show. She composes all of the music and has chosen to be a solo artist as she feels it would compromise her vision, for her writing music is an intimate process. Playing solo with a loop station, synth, iPad, and mixer allows her the possibility of playing shows/touring with minimal equipment and without breaking the bank.
Brooklyn’s The Grand Affair, a couple/duo with a palpable love of hip-hop, have a compelling chemistry and alluring performance skills. Ms. Anne sings and plays the keys & Greg Mozian MCs. They use a midi controller through a laptop, a loop station, and keyboard. It is rare that a performance with just two individuals can engage a crowd getting them up, moving, and even eliciting call and response with success.
A diverse show both entertaining and enlightening, I would recommend seeing any of these acts live.