Tag Archives: electronic

Concert Review: Kaytranada @ L’Olympia

photo taken by Aaron Bentley

photo taken by Aaron Bentley

Final exams didn’t faze dedicated fans from attending a sold out show at L’Olympia from local electronic producer Kaytranada. Taking the stage at 11:20pm, the venue was packed to the brim with people eagerly anticipating the eccentric young artist to perform his latest mixes for everyone. Fellow local artists Planet Giza and Lou Phelps opened the show earlier on that night with their own sets to warm up the crowd. However, if you planned on catching just the main act then you would’ve had to bear waiting outside in line for over half an hour before stepping foot into the venue.

Once inside L’Olympia, security pushed their efforts in patting down every single person before letting anyone onto the dancefloor. The crowd was immense, nothing but a sea of bodies could be seen in every direction and by the time my friends and I made our way inside, Kaytranada had already took to the stage with performing his mixes.

We made our way up towards the front of the stage, the energy in the room was unparalleled to the show that Kaytranada performed back in May for the release of his debut LP 99.9%. By this time around people knew what to expect from the young producer, his debut album garnered widespread attention and has been making appearances on end of the year lists for the hottest albums of 2016.

He performed fan favorites from 99.9%. The tracks “Glowed Up” and “Lite Spots” had the audience going ballistic and vibing hard off of the hottest two singles on the album. During another point of the show “Cranes In The Sky” off of Solange’s latest record A Seat At The Table had people grooving hard to the funky remix that Kaytranada was able to provide on the track. The liveliness of the venue was constant, everyone in the building was able to lose themselves to Kaytranada’s crisp production that has become distinct to the artist’s production style.

After over an hour of material the show finally concluded around 12:35am, roars of excitement and cheer filled the venue of L’Olympia as Kaytranada thanked everyone for coming to the show. While it’s only been a couple of months since 99.9% dropped, the amount of playability that album holds is always refreshing when listening to his debut efforts. On a live stage all his songs translate exceptionally well to the dancefloor, which makes total sense. His music is meant to be danced to, meant to be played at parties, and most importantly is meant to showcase that Kaytranada is no one-trick pony when it comes to making music.

-review by Michael Eidelson

Concert Review: SOPHIE @ Newspeak

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A clamour of high pitched bells ring throughout the club, conversations quiet down to whispers and heads turn to the stage lit up by a dazzling tubular ceiling display. A filter sweep brings the buzz to a close, and as the last echoes ring out the club is left in a tense state of anticipation…

Warm vibrations flood the dance floor, the trance is ruptured and screams of glee break out. “We were young and out of control,” sing the still young and yet to be out of control crowd, the opening words of Sophie’s melancholic and nostalgia-inducing Just Like We Never Said Goodbye. The song is played out in full. Originally serving to close out Sophie’s debut album Product, it left the listener aching to relive memories that were never allowed to materialize. Tonight, those memories are about to be made.

The crowd chant “SOPHIE” in adoration with a soft French intonation, their calls are answered and immediately they’re dropped into a Jersey club hype track. The clubbers are more than happy to settle into a skank, but before anyone gets comfortable the pressure builds and out of nowhere Trophy rips through the dance floor and turns Newspeak upside down. A hostile Charli XCX blasts through the speakers, she’s combative threatening; “bitch I’m here to fuck you up” and there’s nowhere to turn. The scenes are chaotic, while punters will have been familiar with the tune, no one could have fathomed its impact on the club. The dancing quickly becomes erratic as revellers attempt to keep up with the twists and turns of the track. People are crashing into each other, drinks are spilt, partners switched and bodies inevitably hit the floor. Sophie is detached from all this, so sternly focussed on his performance one could easily mistake his constraint for apathy.

When dealing with such abrasive and irregular electronica the mixing can take a hit: DJ’s tend to either echo-out and hope the cued intro picks up the slack or smash the tracks together, and in the mess of the noise fade one out. Sophie does neither, instead he molds one song into the next, crushing Trophy’s heavy basslines into the infamous screech of L.O.V.E. to the delight of everyone present. This transition and those that were to follow are well thought out, dutifully practiced and creatively executed. Consequently, the energy and intensity of the set hold firm through the night.

The stellar Vyzee marks the come up for the next climax, a cacophony of plastic sounds with insanely addictive lyrics enticing the crowd to “go crazy in the pop”. Those familiar with Sophie’s Boiler Room knew what was about to occur; hearing Lemonade at home is one thing, hearing it on the McDonalds advert is another, but experiencing it live is just something else. What’s quite extraordinary about this underground anthem is that it’s actually his second most successful song about a sugary drink (see: Hey QT). In fact seeing Sophie is a lot like drinking a cold Coke on a hot summer’s day: it tastes amazing, but before you know it you’ve only got one last good sip left. Luckily that last sip is always the best.

The final act is a dizzying cocktail of Sophie’s different stylistic approaches. The club is treated to a criminally unreleased remix of GFOTY’s Friday Night, a staple of his sets and a downright nasty display of electronic minimalism. Vroom Vroom soon follows and XCX takes the clubbers on another raucous joyride, everyone euphoric to have her back. The bubbly Nothing More to Say then fizzes into the room, and, eyes glazed and grins wide, the crowd is left relishing the sugar-laced melody as Sophie quietly slips out. They never did get to say goodbye.

Review by Vicente Orts

Album review: Andy Stott – Too Many Voices

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A master of sound design and manipulation, Manchester-based Andy Stott graced the world with a new creation this year. Too Many Voices is as deceivingly minimal as it is complex – the all-familiar default claps and snares of 90s sound banks re-imagined in a manner of a contemporary artwork. You can definitely feel the impact of more modern underground electronic music styles like vaporwave and juke in this. It is at times strange, at times so soulful and soothing, dreamy yet gritty, melding glitchy Brit-pop and garage-influenced rhythms that captivate and pull you in, making you want to live through it again and again. Continue reading

Album Review: Shura – Nothing’s Real

 

ShuraNothingShura’s debut album showcases her talent as a writer, singer and producer. It’s an eclectic mix of genres: from electronic, lush R&B slow jams, stripped back guitar rock, to 80s glam pop and even trip-hop. Though the young singer/producer hasn’t overreached by trying her hand at so many different genres, at times the album feels like a collection of her various projects and (albeit successful) experiments. Yet a strong theme of autobiographical archiving and coming-of-age runs through the album and gives us a compelling first glance at Shura’s personality.

Music is often our best way of expressing complicated and difficult to articulate emotions that overwhelm us when brought on by the stresses of life and relationships. No other set of experiences is more of a mine field of these overwhelming emotions than the transition from teenage angst to young adulthood. Shura’s debut album Nothing’s Real is a smooth and seemingly effortless ode to that angsty and distraught time. Continue reading

Oonga hosts If You Got Ears June 2016

If you haven’t heard already, Montreal DJ/producer Oonga (aka Eli Levinson) is hosting the June edition of If You Got Ears! A creator of house/techno dubstep and tropical-influenced music, he has been transporting CKUT’s listeners far beyond their musical expectations and around the world.

Since If You Got Ears is CKUT’s exploration of sonic delights, Oonga has been experimenting with the music he is playing during his residency. He taps into unique sounds of the world to “get out of the [world music] narrative” and challenges listeners’ expectations by blending international music with electronic ideas. On his most recent show (June 15th), he played a phenomenal selection of tropical bass and featured fellow artists including global bass producer Munchi and trans-national bass music (Borneo bass!) producer Jet Airess.

Tuning into Oonga’s show is a trip far beyond Montreal’s city limits to destinations such as Haiti (think voodoo drums), Turtle Island (pow wow music), and Indonesia (minimalistic gamelan), as well as a chance to explore electronic from its roots (i.e. Brazilian funk, Angolan kuduro, South African Gqom, etc.)

Join Oonga on his journeys every Wednesday in June (12-14h EST), or listen to past episodes in the CKUT archives! & Also check out  his mixcloud (which has mixes uploaded from his shows) and his soundcloud!

 

Album Review: Gesamtkunstwerk – Dead Obies

a0431750848_10“Gesamtkunstwerk” is a German compound noun that translates to “total work of art.” It is also the title of the latest release from local rap group Dead Obies, a wonderful Frankenstein of live tracks edited and enhanced in the studio. Gesamtkunstwerk is still a blend of hip hop, rap, and electronica, but the Dead Obies have shifted their focus from lyrics to production for this album, taking an almost exhibitionist approach to their craft. The process of creation is baldly displayed without compromising the integrity of the lyrics or production; what continues to set the Dead Obies apart from other Quebecois rap groups is their language choice, or rather a lack of one. Self-dubbed “Frenglish,” the members slip effortlessly between English and French with such speed and expertise that the two distinct languages blend into one poetic slurry.

Following the success of their 2013 release Montréal $ud, Dead Obies decided to make their next opus a gift to their loyal fanbase. Teaming up with music improv group Kalmunity, they played at the Phi Centre for three nights and sampled the live recordings, taking performances, the crowd’s applause, and individual audience interviews and mixing them in with recorded takes. This seamless patchwork of live and recorded takes was stitched together with surgical precision by the group-appointed producer, VNCE.

The album is intended to be heard as a whole work, and I would agree with this sentiment. Of course, there are a number of tracks that stand out among the fairly large list. Gesamtkunstwerk leads in with “GO 2 Get,” an explosive opener that serves as an immediate draw. Lamenting the everyday troubles in life to an undercurrent of cheering fans from one of the Phi Centre performances, the track provides an excellent introduction to the overall tone of the album. The six rappers who comprise Dead Obies take turns spitting out lyrics, effortlessly subbing in and out. “Waiting” is a celebration of concert life, lively trap music combining with a sensual bass beat. “Jelly” is more funky, with cooler synth laid over deep bass and remixed rhythmic vocals.

“Explosif” begins with a sample of distant fireworks, then continues with slow, smoldering instrumentals mixed in with varied odes to party and drug culture for an extensive eight minutes. The blend of French/English vocals is particularly noticeable in this track, adding to the mixed messages provided by individual members of the group. “Aweille!” is one of the singles released before the album, and is an aggressive dance track that includes a perfectly catchy chorus of “aweille” (a local phrase roughly equivalent to “come on!”), repeated and remixed. “Untitled” is a jazzy, smooth track that shows off the group’s more sensual side, and approaches something played on a late-night show for slow-wave funk. Towards the latter half of the track, the lyrics dissolve into a live recording, with the members taking turns talking in French to an instrumental vamp and a cheering crowd. “Outro,” the final track on Gesamtkunstwerk, is an instrumental electronic track that smoothly and quietly ties together Dead Obies’ “work of art,” ensuring the transformation from just another local rap album to something deserving of admiration and high praise; rap is just one form of artistic expression they utilize.

Gesamtkunstwerk ultimately serves as a big “thank you” to the Dead Obies’ fans; Phi Centre saw a big turnout for the fairly underground rap group, and allowed them to produce the album well. They gained, then lost, a Musicaction grant funding the production of the album; due to strict Quebec laws governing language, the group did not meet the 70% French lyric quota. However, even as they are continually rejected by mainstream media and their own province, Dead Obies still maintain a loyal (and growing!) fanbase and the quiet integrity of talented artists with a vision. They are dedicated to their craft and to creating the “total work of art” that they feel listeners deserve.

Album released: March 4, 2016

review by Juliana Van Amsterdam 

 

Album Review: Jamie xx – In Colour

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In Colour, Jamie XX’s solo debut album, delivers more danceable tunes than that of The XX’s, Jamie XX’s band, while keeping the simplicity that attracts many audiences who are tired of listening to already abundantly loud and monotonous music. All tracks sound pristine and well produced. Perhaps it is the powerful sounds and synergetic composition that allow In Colour to sound interesting despite its minimalistic composition.

Spacy and unpredictable, In Colour is soothing and comfortable to listen to. Jamie XX utilizes dynamics to build up anticipation. Tight and controlled bass would often come and go while his audience expects and desires more. Jamie XX adds on finer details on top of simple bass, and the tension continues to build up. If In Colour was a person, they would sure play hard to get!

Sounds from In Colour seem simple, but its high detail adds subtle complexities. Sometimes less is more, and In Colour demonstrates exactly that. The only criticism is that if In Colour had any less “colours” in it, it might lose its synergy.  If the compositional aspect of In Colour could be compared to various colours in a painting, how each instrument sounds is the underlying hue to the colour that brings out the brilliance from the painting. Although I enjoyed the composition of In Colour, it is the detail of each sound that allowed me to enjoy In Colour to its fullest.

My favourite tune from In Colour was Seesaw, featuring Jamie’s bandmate Romy. The song is arguably repetitive, but the background details and subtle changes in the song deliver so much emotion. I felt as if I was having a trippy dream that I could only vaguely recollect in the morning.

In Colour’s audience will really feel the music. While the album might not have a focal point, like an insane guitar solo to listen to, it offers a sanctuary for its audience to dive in, lie back, and chill out. The selling point of In Colour is about enjoying the various combinations of pleasant sounds. I would recommend to try and really see the sound of In Colour like the complex colours in a painting, rather solely listening to it.

-Review by Edward Keunuk Shin

The Montreal Sessions with Yellow Noise: October 20th 2015

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On Tuesday, October 20th, Sam Lu (SierraLima) and Mel Palapuz (DJ Mango Juiiice) from Yellow Noise Magazine hosted the third episode of their Montreal sessions residency. To find out more about Yellow Noise and their mission, you can check out their bio here.

This show included Japanese future funk, experimental tracks (featuring Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean), and an electronic performance by Yao Guai Cave followed by an acoustic set. Originally Yàocavé, (aka yay-o-kah-vay), Yao Guai Cave (yao-gooey-cave) is a Montréal based electro-experimental artist. For a taste, listen to his sweet February 2015 release Fanta-C Plus. 

After a fresh mix from SierraLima with plenty of dance, electronica, and hip hop tracks, DJ Mango Juiiice played a Japanese vaporwave set before welcoming Yàocavé into the studio.

While Yàocavé was his strictly electronic musician identity, Yao Guai Cave described his current music as a mix of everything– pop, house, techno, as well as music from short film he worked on that was accepted by MIX NYC (a queer film festival).

The set opened with a vast electronic soundscape of twinkling synths and distorted cosmic sounds before dropping into a sugary pop groove with bass, beats, and vocals. The electronic music was poignant; as different vocalists sang their individual stories Yao Guai Cave crafted worlds around them, using 8bit and kalimba-esque ornaments, chimes, bass synths, and percussive grooves. Before moving into his acoustic set, the hosts discussed vaporwave aesthetics and artists with Yao Guai Cave, as well as the effects of the internet on gender and ethnic identity. Finally, the show closed with an original, intimate song performed on acoustic guitar.

Tune into CKUT 90.3 FM next Tuesday from 3-5 pm for the final instalment in The Montreal Sessions hosted by Yellow Noise!

-Cyrenah Smith

Album Review: Drainolith – Hysteria

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The dark, droning, quirky massacre that is Drainolith’s “Hysteria” has obtained a certain aesthetic that can only possibly be described as Montreal underground. The combination of Alexander Moskos’ wild array of unique talents has produced a genre-smashing ensemble sound culminating in an album that is simply marvelous across the board and especially perfect for the CKUT scene. Continue reading

Kara-Lis Coverdale on If You Got Ears: August 19th 2015

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Today on If You Got Ears, experimental composer/musician/producer, Kara-Lis Coverdale talked to prolific Montreal electronic musician, d’Eon, about digital technology, performance, reality, and being human. If you missed it, you can check out our archives to catch todays session. Tune in next Wedneday from 12-2pm to get brought into new musical worlds by Kara-Lis on the last episode of her residency on If You Got Ears.