photos | Nick Schrunk
Red Bull Music Academey presents On the Floor
Flying Lotus (L.A.) + Kode9 (U.K.)
Double Door Chicago | Live Review
(Photos by Red Bull's Nick Schrunk)
It would be selling myself short to call me a casual dubstep listener. While I was luke warm on the genre for the first four or so years of its existence, I've really come to like dubstep and its endless niche scenes, movements and subgenres of subgenres of subgenres. My collection has grown steadily over the past year and it has started to become a very prominent part of what we do at Dialogue Inc. So, naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to catch these two masters on the scene live under one roof.
They didn't disappoint either. The philosophical bass music juggernaut Kode9 kept his entire set fresh, playing across the board from dubstep's deep and techy side to its wonkier side—he threw the Midwestern kids a bone and played Major Lazer's "Pon Di Floor" and one or two other Rusko-flavored cuts. His Hyperdub label, home to chill-out-meets-dubstep master Burial, is continually held as one of the most forward-thinking imprints today. Throughout he kept much of his set focused on his label's sound, drifting between faster U.K. funky and halftime grime. All the while he kept the focus on the music, with the exception of a few splashes from the floods behind him (which were caught beautifully on film from our new friend at Red Bull. Thanks Nick!).
While there, my buddy Popstatic and I debated what to expect of FlyLo's live performance. It could have easily been a load of laptop wankery, but we were pleasantly surprised by his towering stage presence and drug induced visual-light show. The lotus flower has long symbolized the awakend mind, so it's no wonder that the So Cal beatsmith references it in his handle. FlyLo isn't shy about his infatuation with the intense hallucinogen DMT, often talking in interviews and on his blog about his experiments in reaching a higher consciousness. His music, with its washes of atmospherics, jittery off-kilter rhythms and meditative tempos, is a clear extension of his mind-expanding endeavors.
Lotus's music translated exceedingly well live, or at least the sold out crowd in attendance was loving it. While he stuck 90% to his own tunes, stringing them together either seamless, he also dropped nuggets from the afore mentioned Burial and his own remix of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop," which was a refreshing change of pace in a room that had been pushing dark, mostly instrumental beats for over two hours. Speaking of changes of pace, our PBR streak was broken by the two tall Red Bull vodka's that my buddy brought over to Popstatic and I at last call. That didn't hurt matters either.