Espionage ft. Nosaj Thing & Tokimonsta @ Revolt Art Space, Melbourne (23/07/2011)

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The Revolt Art Space is probably the most amazing venue in Melbourne. Whilst it does not host late night shindigs and tends more towards exhibits and performance art, in the five years that I have been attending gigs in the ‘Bourne I don’t think I have ever seen a better space for a show. Cradled in the bowls of the Kensington’s iconic 19th century Younghusband Factory, the space feels a lot more like a psychedelic cave than a former industrial powerhouse, with every nook and cranny adorned with artwork, tricked out with stages, lounge areas and a gargantuan bar. And on Saturday 23 July at approximately 7pm it was primed with a set of ye olde Funktion Ones and ready to kick off a sonic awakening.

Galapagoose was the first act to catch my attention, showcasing his Monome, Max for Live and other mad scientist skills. After seeing Trent demonstrate how to program your own synths, effects and even sequencers through the power of Max for Live earlier that day at the Producer’s Conference, it was fantastic to see the theory put into practice. Great tunes and definitely an act to watch out for.

Next up was Japanese-American wunderkind Nosaj Thing. Possibly one of the hottest things out of the US since ‘el pieco del Reeso’, it was clear that Nosaj was one of the headline appeals of the night as the crowd thickened exponentially within about eight seconds of the start of his set. He delved deep into things from the get go with some heady kicks tuning the ears before reaching towards some more melodic grooves in the middle of the set – a lot of the star tracks on the album Drift such as Fog and IOIO, then later Aquarium.

Throughout all the macro-triggered effects, electrified jazz hooks and wobbly dubstep snippets every now and then a sample or beat pattern would grab you and suddenly you would remember that this all came from hip hop. Juxtaposition was executed seamlessly and beats were chopped and changes at least every three minutes and every time without a glitch (pardon the pun).

A couple of hours later, TokiMonsta put on an equally amazing show, again seamless but surprising with a mastery of beat trickery rarely seen from females on this side of the globe. Full credit to Espionage – venue, tunes, vibe, and that does of the inexplicable that is quintessential to the perfect night – it was all there and happening at 120 miles an hour.

All in all the performances of the evening left me feeling like a wave that has been coming for a long time from distant shores has finally tsunami’d its way over to Australian and that our scene is becoming a part of something truly new in music.

While the accolade of being ‘cutting edge’ is thrown around fairly lightly in relation to many artists in electronic genres, I felt it to be more fitting to these particular artists. While the sounds are clearly influenced by and drawn from styles that have existed for decades, the elements of jazz, hip hop, dubstep and even disco have been fused to forge something unique – this isn’t just a genre with a new edge, it’s a new genre. I better leave it up to someone more talented than myself to name it though. Good luck kids.

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