Thursday, September 9, 2010

Exploring new horizons in electronic music: The Gaslamp Killer and co.

Are you a fan of hip hop mash-ups, but you’ve worn out your copies of Girl Talk and 2ManyDJs albums? Are you looking for something with a bit more “bite” which goes beyond the boundaries of conventional hip hop and electronic music? Check out the Gaslamp Killer for potential iPod or houseparty musical fodder – it will either intrigue or bewilder… but music that’s a talking point is always a good thing, innit. The hyperactive Los Angelino’s DJ sets drift between improv jazz, psychedelic Hendrix riffs, show tunes from Caberet and fat dubstep beats… and pretty much everything else in between.

Punters at this year’s Golden Plains Festival in March might have caught him spinning his frenetic stuff late into the night, but I caught him in action on Monday night in a dingy club in Angel, when he played a DJ set and then accompanied the rather spaced-out rapper Gonjasufi, who headlined the event. (He also produced Gonjasufi’s debut album, A Sufi and a Killer, released earlier this year.) Music aside, the Gaslamp Killer has the sweetest fro and ‘tache combo ever seen on a white guy, and busts out award-winning air guitar/trumpet/keyboard moves from behind his decks. He also whipped out an iPad that was hooked up to his gear, and bashed out some beats on its shiny touch screen (if I needed any more reasons to justify an iPad investment, there’s one for sure).

In terms of musical pedigree, he comes from the same LA scene as experimental electronic DJ and producer Flying Lotus (a definite highlight of my Sonar festival experience in Spain this past June), and Daedelus, a modern dandy best known for remixing Wagner’s Ring cycle during his complex, sample-heavy live sets. (I’m just a teeeensy bit excited about seeing him at the Ninja Tune 20th birthday party in a couple of weeks…) The New York Times published a nice little summary of the scene earlier this year, which is a good read.

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