Low End Theory: Nosaj Thing
There are artists, and then there are artists. I think you know the difference.
Jason Chung is an artist.
Yesterday at Low End Theory we had a re-do; the last time Nosaj Thing was out (for his record release party on June 10), the LAFD shut down the outdoor stage a skoch early because shit was getting too crazy up under those wooden rafters and tin roof, like the Airliner was having some sort of structural seizure. Bitches! WE DON’T NEED NO WATER LET THE MOTHER FUCKER BURN! Don’t you know how we roll, LAFD?
So last night we all pushed into the upstairs room which has been madly improved with sound and paint; the lighter hue behind the stage works well with the rolling visuals, and the massive amount of bass coming out of those speakers rattle your eyelids- even proper speaker freakers like me can’t stand up front for too long.
The crowd was thick and sweaty and young and beautiful yesterday evening, a gorgeous hot city night in the summer of love. The resident MC Nocando seemed to be particularly on, spitting mad rhymes on the dance floor’s heads like bouncing bricks and obviously loving it. D-Styles, Daddy Kev and Nobody once again delivered: as always these masters sling top choice tracks, expertly read the crowd’s energy, and mix seamlessly and clean. I think they may have done this once or twice before. Daddy Kev in particular always seems to throw these insane new tracks I haven’t heard yet; what underground track railroad is he part of? The best one, I am sure.
Along with Nosaj another guest last night was Dak, his more-abstract set lost the crowd a little bit, although I enjoyed watching his efforts and mutli-multi-approach to IDMy hip hop. The more abstract you go with your music, the more you risk losing the dance floor, as more minds will not be able to distinguish between the looser music and crap. It doesn’t take a special mind, but it does take hours and hours of listening to all kinds of sounds and some brains just aren’t there yet; their owners aren’t quite obsessed with music enough.
There is nothing elitist about being able to appreciate more abstract music, like jazz. It has little to do with some “natural music brain” and much more to do with how many hours you have listened to music in general. Good music, not Top 40 pop crap, which is the music that people who don’t listen to music listen to.
Now, people have said that no one dances much at Low End Theory. Okay, I have said that. And once again in life I find myself on the wrong side of being right, because last night people were getting down! From the back of the room by Sharky’s bar to the sticky-floored front in the glowing waves of bass, hipster chicks and gangsta boys and X-handed minors and freaks like me were all lovin’ it, spilling beer on each other and spanking the airspace above our heads and shaking ass like we liked it or something.
And then: Nosaj Thing. WOW. What a freaking set. What a freaking artist. I love the golden experience of listening to a producer mix and remix his own tracks live, adding in extra tweaks and bleeps, making you catch your breath up near your throat before it escapes and he slams down the drop like a whale tale on a parking lot. And I love it when DJs tease you with a hint of a track long before they drop it, a sneak peek that some people consciously recognize and others viscerally respond to. Oh don’t we humans just love that mix of the new and the familiar!
Nosaj Thing wove in some melodramatic pop songs and a little sticky dubstep as well, but by far the greatest response from the crowd was always when he let loose tracks from Drift, his new album (BUY IT NOW). We knew we were in the presence of greatness, and we sweated like it. Nosaj is fun to watch; he knows his shit and he loves his shit, and his movements on stage are filled with the grace of someone who is in the process of creating something beautiful.
The only word coming out of my mouth last night was “YEAH!” and besides being soaking wet with sweat, THAT is how I know I am experiencing transcendence. It only happens two places in this world, and the dance floor is one of them. Some people may go into spasms, some roll their eyes back in their head, some talk in tongues, some scream and yell. But for this wordy bitch, I know I am having a moment when for once in my life I can form no words but only a whimper of affirmation, like all my energy is processing the music, like I am experiencing something that reaches back far beyond language, like I am touching god, with an eyes-closed mouth-open ‘YEAH‘.
Ok you guys. Nosaj Thing restored my faith in humanity last night, in myself, in my home which is the dance floor, and in LA. This is a hard town to take on alone; there is a lot of shitty music out there and a lot of stupid people. But if you look a little harder and search with a little more soul, you can find artists and inspiration greater than any place I have ever known. God I am in love.
NOSAJ THING IS ON TOUR shortly with the Glitch Mob and Daddy Kev all up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Canadialand; check dates here and for the love of God, do not miss these artists when they come to your city! Experience for yourself what the hell I have been blathering on and on about; I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
ALSO: Next week at Low End Theory we have more local music pioneers Daedelus and Free the Robots, both of whom continue the trend of evolutionary revolutionary experimental electronic hip hoppy brain music. And oh yes, there will be bass.