It’s hard for me to gauge electronic music – especially in a setting like XP. So much of electronic music depends on momentum, keeping a ‘high’ that rolls from one song to the next so seamlessly, you don’t even notice. Taking a pause between songs, or even switching gears mid-set can completely jeopardize a performance. Luckily, I’m not a hardcore electronic music junkie, but seeing my buddy ramble outside between sets trying to capture that ‘high’ again via portable stereo, this fact was acknowledged. Nevertheless, tonight was really about sampling a whole assortment of electronic music, and in that regard the 2012 Beijing Electronic Musical Encounter (BEME) did not disappoint – in fact, I had a blast. Note, I’ve included some videos and soundbites below, which really don’t represent their entire performances, but instead give a tasting of what we got that night.
Things kicked off in hyperspeed with Metwang delivering a kinetic techno-buzzing set that rarely let the audience catch their breath.
Other than a few terrible transitions – which basically sums up how many of these electronic artists aren’t DJs – an interesting distinction that I’m sure could set off some arguments – Metwang is exactly what you’d want to hear in a club instead of the what we usually get.
Next up was JFI, whose set was on the opposite spectrum of things compared to the last artist…while Metwang bombarded ones senses, JFI was here to dig a little digger, add some paranoia, and keep things subtle, yet just as earful as before.
It’s experimental for sure, minimalist – but like lots of soundtracks, it finds a life of its own. Watching JFI play on his gizmo, like a musical version of pong was fascinating on its own terms. Oh, and special props to the VJ, who I heard was improvising much of the visuals – not too shabby, especially during JFI’s set which was accompanied with dystopian images, sweat shops, traffic, you get the jist.
But really, tonight was about seeing white+ giving a jaw-dropping performance which had my new roommate gushing like a schoolgirl after seeing Britney Spears for the first time. I don’t blame him…
If anyone was ever curious to hear and see what electronic music is capable of them white+ is the group to see. Intimate, high octane, and slightly insane, white+ is pretty much a checklist of what I look for in electronic music
It’s no wonder I spent most of their set recording, cause seriously this needed to be documented.
With the high that white+ left, Dead J shifted the party into a sleek chrome-infused sci-fi soundscape which can only fall under the word badass.
It’s minimal but bursting with a pulse, a ‘rising action’ pulse that gives each piece its own story – tornados horns, helicopter propellers, television fuzz – it’s a futuristic nightmare which Dead J has set the city of Beijing in, and I couldn’t be happier.
Things closed with a classy set from the trio FM3, who provided a chillingly beautiful performance complete with violins, slow rising beats, and precision all around.
Yeah, there were no instruments, no drummer, but watching these three, I really did at times feel like I was watching a composer (or three) work their magic with an orchestra.
It’s this façade that really separates these guys from the rest, a fine way to close off BEME, the perfect showcase for electronic music in the Big Red. Kudos to Metrowaves and XP for throwing this event together. Oh, and I’ll leave you with one more video of white +, cause it’s that good.