Posts Tagged ‘Kid Koala’

The Hard Sell

Friday, January 25th, 2008

I have a couple interesting things to write about (thoughts on a couple books, mainly), but wanted to report on the second show of 2008 for me, which was last night at the 9:30 ClubDJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. I’ll betray my total ignorance here: this was the first time I’ve ever seen a show like this before. In fact, the only time I’ve ever seen a live turntablist was when I saw The Beta Band, who at times indulged in some scratching. I do have a couple DJ Shadow albums, and I have an early album by opener Kid Koala, and have heard him on records like Deltron 3030 as well.

With this minimal experience in mind, I had a lot of fun last night. Each performer used four turntables; Kid Koala’s solo act might actually have been my favorite. He really took his set above and beyond the source material he used, including one rather jaw-dropping section where he lifted up the stylus and placed it on different parts of a spinning record, in succession, creating a melody not unlike some of those that appear on the aforementioned Deltron 3030 (I think towards the end of “Things You Can Do” is a good example, but that’s offhand and I’m not sure my memory is right).

On the other hand, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist’s performance seemed a lot less coherent, and more dependent on the source material. They used a really wide variety of 7″ records, but the whole thing was just a bit too pastichey for me. Still, their talent was undeniable (Cut Chemist in particular showed off some pretty ridiculous chops) and their closing gimmick — imitating the hyperspeed guitar riffing from Metallica’s “One” — was hilarious and awesome. These guys might not be “musicians” in the traditional sense, but they absolutely are artists, working in a particularly postmodern field.

This is going to be a common theme throughout the year — I took some photos. SLRs (for the uninitiated, this basically means professional cameras, though not exactly) were not allowed, so I was using a cheap point & shoot digital camera, but here they are anyway.

The Dismemberment Plan in New Haven

Friday, January 26th, 2001

Well, I got those CDs from Greg Walker (except the Dün, damn), and having given each of them a very cursory listen each, I think I can safely say that I like them all so far. Score!

I went to see Dismemberment Plan play last night, at the Tune Inn Cafe, a club no more than three or four blocks from where I live. Solid show. I had some issues with the sound - the guitars sounded rather wall-of-noisish, without much definition (very, very different from the clear sound on the album I have, Emergency & I), and the keys were mixed too low, and the vocal mic was pretty shitty-sounding. But the band managed to do a good show even despite these problems. “A Life of Possibilities” shredded. They also did, from Emergency & I, “What Do You Want Me to Say”, “You are Invited”, “Gyroscope”, “The City”, “8 1/2 Minutes” (which apparently they rarely do live), and “Back and Forth”. There were some older songs I didn’t recognize and wasn’t that keen on, but they also did three new songs that were very good.

The opening bands were two I’d never heard of; one was tolerable, the other was absolutely fucking terrible. I mean, as in one of the worst bands I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing live. Mother of God, it was bad. For their opening number, which was four or five minutes long, the drummer literally played the same beat on the same drum at the same tempo for the entire song, without playing a single fill, roll, or anything of the sort. The guitarist and bassist were doing similar things, playing the same chord really fast over and over again. But that doesn’t even scratch the surface of why they sucked… I’m afraid words can’t describe.

Kid Koala’s scratch-fest Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is intruiging me. At first it struck me as rather… irritating, but it doesn’t really annoy me that much any more. I’ll have to give it another few spins (so to speak) before I figure out exactly what the hell I think about it. It doesn’t help that I have absolutely no familiarity with this type of music. And how exactly do you categorize the sound of a guy fucking around with a couple of turntables? It was in the “dance” section of Cutler’s, but whoever dances to this shit is seriously messed up.