Ghostly International Showcase @ SXSW 2012 Day 1

03/21/2012

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There is only so much dance music one man can take. Whether it be top 40s (which encompasses every single radio station these days—WTF), or la crème de la crème (Ghostly International in my case last night)—at some point “umph umph” becomes a little “umph umph” enough.  It’s not because the creativity isn’t there, the rhythms aren’t unique, or the context isn’t right—it’s that at some point, whether because we’ve all adapted to “shuffle” on our iPod—enough is enough.

Yesterday, you know, I saw…

Young Magic’s shrill, minimal guitar and synth progressions sharply contrasted the group’s echoing vocals, and stood out amongst a Terrorbird/Force Field’s showcase of electronic and rock reverb.

On my way to Ghostly Record’s showcase I briefly had my dreams shot to hell by the…

Lines that swept around Stubb’s BBQ for Fiona Apple’s performance. In front of the venue I chatted with Bay Area band Geographer, who convinced me it was possible to enter the showcase. Then I noticed the anaconda line, and I realized I didn’t want none.

So I continued along and discovered…

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Chrome Sparks who opened Ghostly Record’s showcase with crisp hip hop beats and spaced out sounds. While chopping samples on an AKAI pad, he seamlessly mixed between two thirty second clips improvising a crescendo that had the crowd clapping and hollering.

But it was…

Shigeto who captivatingly stole the show. While most producers hover over a plate of electronic tools, Shigeto’s showmanship stands out (view the photo gallery). After orchestrating a sample loop, he’ll quickly transition to a drum set. It’s a moment of athleticism and skill that appears like a Lebron James of athleticism.

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Besides the one block strip of homeless people surrounding a food kitchen off the main drag of SXSW, the homeless for wireless fiasco is an afterthought once the music portion began in earnest yesterday (as it should be).