Fello Music Lovers, this week you have the opportunity to witness an unforgettable live dance project that’s more than the sum of its parts with SBTRKT live at Fox Theatre on Friday, October 17th! If you have ever been graced with a live performance from the collaborative group, you already know that design is at the heart of this project: first the instruments, then the songs and finally the masks. Whilst massively prolific, a minimalist ethos runs through the work and style of SBTRKT, not just in the name but in the precision of the sonics and arrangements.
There are essentially two ways to do electronic music in concert – either as a DJ set typically enhanced by retina-scorching visuals, or as a complex and involved live performance. Appropriate to his meditative and technical mix of post-dubstep, house and techno, SBTRKT goes firmly for the latter. Typically you will find strobe lights silhouette Aaron Jerome plus a drummer and a multi-instrumentalist on a blackened stage, they will appear as if trapped in a forest of machinery, switching at pace between mysterious-looking devices connected by an undergrowth of cabling.
I will never forget the first time I got to witness the musical ingeniousness of SBTRKT. It was my first year at Coachella, and I can distinctly remember that I made the decision to start wandering around the venue (unaware of who was playing at the time) to see which sound being projected from the stages was most aesthetically pleasing to my ears. I walked about 20 feet before I was drawn to the Gobi stage like a magnet featuring masked men, an energized crowd, and a beat I couldn’t resist. Although at that point in my life, I was completely unfamiliar with the material they played, their delivery elevated their songs to a whole new level. Nothing was straightforward; everything was stretched, pushed, and cajoled to some new direction. Between numerous percussion interjections and various vocal effects and SBTRKT’s plethora of drums, and samples, there was no limit to the amount of improvisation they cooked up.
Almost hypnotized by their set, they downright took my experience to a whole new level when they dropped “Wildfire”, the only track I was familiar with. They threw in the lyrics from Drake which add yet another level of kickass to the original. But what really blew my mind was how SBTRKT had a drum loop engaged from the beginning of the song so that he could twist things up with his production gear, then quickly sat down at the drums when the lyrics kicked in to add that extra bit of juice to the sound. The entire performance was a brilliant display of the variation a song (or any song) can assume in the live setting, and no one in the EDM game does this as well as SBTRKT.
If you want to observe a live performance that will completely change your outlook on electronic music and production, SBTRKT is the artist to see. If you are in the bay area, this is a show you MUST attend!