Brainfeeder Ate My Brain: Brainfeeder Sessions Breaks Ground Like a 9.9
Photo by Theo Jemison
LA, you have outdone yourself again. You have once again proved that this city rests not only on the San Andreas fault, but on a fissure to the future that steams out artistic productions far ahead of their time as well. There was a rupture in the earth last night of gargantuan proportions, and the world of electronic arts is changed today. My brain is changed today, after a meal like no other last night.
Yesterday evening I went to Brainfeeder Sessions at the Downtown Independent. As I walked past Jalisco’s Inn and up to the box office, I was thinking what the people on the sidewalk were saying: “Is this the right place?”
Then I heard screams flying off the roof and knew indeed we had accurately arrived. The Downtown Independent is a movie theater, but this was no Sunday matinee. This was something groundbreaking, something unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life, something that knocked me off-kilter and made my mind spasm and shake. In the lobby the line for concessions was snaking back towards the door; I ran into Gaslamp Killer who was whispering, which really threw me off.
Little did I know my entire brain was about to be thrown to Jupiter.
Inside the movie theater Mono/Poly had just gone on and the place was already filling up. People were crowded together by the entrance, trying to locate somewhere to sit in the darkness. The room smelled of beer, popcorn and weed- quite the delightful combination.
I quickly snagged a seat up by the front on the left, sat down and did not move for the rest of the set. Well, I moved, but not from my seat. The combination of Mono/Poly’s wacked out glitch-laden beats and fierce dubstep with Dr. Strangeloop and Synesthete‘s maniacal visuals held me captive, pushing me into my seat with my jaw dropped open like a lobotomy patient. I was freaking out. In a good way.
Eight zillion words could not describe eight seconds of the audio/visual experience last night. It was all the glory of an acid trip without the ugly comedown. The music alone injects you with this crazy energy, and then the visuals weave through the beats to further penetrate your brain: cutouts of steel-colored clouds, stuttering apocalypse cartoons, gold women from another universe, vibrating designs of screaming boxes, all perfectly timed and twirling and swirling with each booming beat. Every new sound and picture seems to stimulate a different area of your brain, and as it scrambles to keep up and connect all the pieces, your whole mind is illuminated and aroused and flailing in exhiliration. I would love to see brain scans of the crowd last night- we would have been lit up like the freakin’ Staples Center.
I had chills up the back of my neck, like some sort of specter was crawling down my spine. Multiple times, chills. I wanted to dance but couldn’t; alas all these emotions being squeezed out of my brain were coming out through my mouth, and the only way I could process this saturation of over-stimulation was to sit there laughing. The guy next to me is like, whoa crazy blond chick #953, but truly the experience affected me so very profoundly with such an eruption of emotions, I had to get them out of my body some way. Being unable to dance I was sitting there laughing out my amazement. I do the same thing when I am overcome with nerves: laugh.
FUCK I was freaking OUT. Twitching and wiggling and fidgeting like a madwoman in my seat, spit bubbles forming at the sides of my open mouth, eyes wrenched open like a candy kid at dawn. Mono/Poly was jumping around like the crowd’s synapses, giving shouts out to Low End Theory with a massive smile on his face, ending his set with a collection of dubstep BANGERS. The three rows ahead of me were as squirmy in their seats as I; people were yelling sporadically with fists in the air, clapping, hooting. The hyphyness continued to spread through the crowd and the hours until we were practically monkey-people by the end of the night. Our brains were spilled like soda on the floor, our feet were stuck in the goo and our lips could not contain the feral screams escaping our mouths.
I would say: give us a dance floor, Brainfeeder, and it certainly was said last night by some in the crowd who could not and did not want to contain their bodily movement, inspired by such a rich sensory experience. But the whole point of this arrangement is to make you sit there and fully experience the tsunami of stimulation, to shove the meal of madness right into your mind without any other distractions.
After a brief and very freaky intermission (still with music and visuals), Eskmo came on. He is one of my favorite producers in the world and hearing his music set to Strangeloop’s visuals was nothing short of spectacular, magnificent on the level of mountain ranges. UBER crunchy bass, twisted up, slapping you like a wet beach towel- but still immaculately designed and elegantly delivered. Wild images raced around the movie screen in the meantime, fuzzed out armies of beetle-people, exploding houses on alien planets, flashes into an ancient oblivion, the stringy dreams of a lunatic, all pulling your eyes forward and then popping them back with ferocity.
By now the movie theater was PACKED, sold out, people standing all up and down both aisles and in the back, sitting on the floor, like we were kids in a camp meeting preparing for a time warp. At the second intermission I grabbed a second beer and hit the rooftop, where a second bar and second stage were set up and the overall theme of the night’s conversation was, “Oh my god this is fucking unbelievable, this shit is so fucking crazy, wow what a show!” Teebs was dropping beats but soon they had to cut the music off in order to move it downstairs to the lobby where the party would continue after the last set.
Which. Was. NOSAJ THING. His visuals were unique to his show, produced by Fair Enough. They were more minimalist and color blocked, floating around the screen like layers of oil and water. At other times they were tricky lines and squares, all timed and designed for Nosaj’s beats, allowing the crowd to refocus on the music. Nosaj’s set was as beautiful and epically graceful as ever. His music touches that soft and breakable part inside of you that you always keep hidden, lest the self-proclaimed proud assholes of the world try to break it just to see it break, like those jerks who shot the buffalo just to watch them fall. Nosaj’s art is a salve for the world, or at least my world; a warm blanket to wrap my mind in and soothe it from all its suffering, a glistening and shimmering moment of truth in the landscape of life. Bravo!
People were a bit confused about last night; I don’t think anyone knew what to expect, myself included. Some people didn’t realize it was an early party, and this being LA, showed up halfway through Nosaj’s set. Next time, I am getting there early, and I suggest you do too. The party continued after the visual show in the lobby with the beats of Mr. Killer and we slowly filtered out into the beautiful city night.
Brainfeeder Sessions is nothing short of groundbreaking. Talk about future shit. Talk about next level. You say you want a revolution? Great art transcends personal preferences; I know I am in the presence of great art when I am thinking: I want everyone I know and love to experience this, regardless of their age or musical taste or location. I want my mom there, my grandma there, my hippie friends who only like reggae, my shit-talking dubstep freaks, the techno elitists, the happy house heads: I want them all to experience this. Wow.
BIG BIG BIG FUCKING UPS to Flying Lotus and his masterful curation, creative genius and hard work. Big ups to the Brainfeeder crew, to the whole crowd last night, and indeed to the whole city of LA for providing the geographical glue that unites us in the quest for life-stimulating experiences through artistic expression.
Click here to watch a video of part of Nosaj Thing’s set last night, by Theo Jemison.
Click here to check out BNUT’s photos of the evening.
Amazing Brainfeeder logo art by Teebs
This entry was posted on December 14, 2009 at 4:30 PM and is filed under From the Front Lines (Show Reviews) with tags bnut, brainfeeder, brainfeeder sessions, downtown independent, dr. strangeloop, eskmo, fair enough, Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Low End Theory, mono/poly, nosaj thing, strangeloop, synesthete, teebs, theo jemison, visual show. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.