Photographs by Leticia Molina
At risk of sounding like a negative nancy, I’m going to come right out and say that last night at 1015 Folsom left a lot to be desired. But that’s not to say it was horrible, or didn’t have any redeeming qualities. After pushing my way through the front lounge, I entered the main room early through Giraffage’s opening set. He was playing a ‘live’ set off his his laptop, presumably using Ableton. The music was forgettable bed-room hip-hop production. Some of it veered towards ‘trap’, the hip-hop EDM hybrid that is all the rage these days, because of it’s use of 808 bass and rolling-triplet hi-hats which is prevalent in seemingly all current rap music–at least the southern variety. The songs lacked dynamic range and the physical impact of heavy sub-bass, likely because they had not been mixed-down or mastered.
After becoming sufficiently bored I wandered upstairs to catch Ital Tek. Ital Tek is primarily known for his down-temp, sometimes ambient dubstep and bass music. He has found recent inspiration with the foot-work/juke movement hailing from the South. His new album draws primarily from this template, but retains his melodic, ‘deep’ roots. As for his set, the rhythms came hard and fast, but were largely forgettable mixed one after another. The fast tempo of foot-work leaves little room for head-space or intricate percussion. There was a decent sized crowd in the room, and people were dancing enthusiastically. His skills as a high-quality producer were show-cased by the thick, chest moving sub-bass kicks that emanated from the bass-bins. No tune however got a spectacular reaction or could be deemed ‘classic.’ Some jungle or classic drum and bass would have lit the room on fire, but maybe I’m just in a minority for thinking that.
Ital Tek’s set ended just as the main act, Mount Kimbie, took to the stage. Having seen them once before at Public Works well over a year ago, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect the second time around. They started nice and slow, playing a couple of slow-burning deep-house numbers that had the crowd in a trance. I was a little disappointed to see them working with the standard 4×4 tempo that so many dubstep/post-dubstep artists have latched onto in the last year or so, because of how standard the format is. You know what is going to come next, so to speak, whereas other forms of dance music, especially dubstep, can get pretty strange rhythmically and it’s much easier to throw the audience off guard with syncopation and off-timed drops or wonky bass-lines and weird sound design.
Luckily, Mount Kimbie busted out live renditions of a few of their previous productions, that were more ‘dubsteppy’ so to speak. It was mostly a slow, eyes-down affair for the majority of their set, except for a rousing garage tune towards the very end, that had the crowd boppin and cheering. Sadly, their set came to an end just as the crowd was finally getting worked up into a frenzy, something had been lacking the entire night, due to the slow, sometimes melancoly music that took forefront in the main room all evening until Mount Kimbie graced the stage.
By the time Mount Kimbie came on I was in a mood to dance my ass off and that is simply not the type of music they play. It has much less to say about them and their set, but about the booking and set-times of the show. It would have made more sense for Ital Tek to play in the main-room right before Kimbie, because the crowd would be tired from dancing to fast-paced footwork, and Kimbie would have chilled them out. But as it was the crowd was already more than enough chilled from the first artists and looked antsy and bored during the majority of Kimbie’s set.