Aril Brikha System Soundbar, Toronto ON — November 8, 2002

Swedish techno producer Aril Brikha braved terrible conditions when his main synthesiser (with its custom-made settings) broke down just hours before his set. He quickly made do with a rental, and though things didn't sound the way he'd planned, the foreign piece of gear couldn't hold back the spontaneity of his sonic flow. With a pulse that rocked steady just below the conventional tech-house tempo, Brikha took the deep route, painting the mostly unlit room with an irresistibly emotional, low attack soundscape. Sweet and sometimes sad, the music was less a spectacle of technology than one of the human voice exploring its inner space. Brikha's humble introspection pulled the crowd in with waves of bass contorting in polyrhythmic ecstasy. At one point, he had them moving to an unreleased piece composed entirely of arpeggios reminiscent of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," building up and tweaking out with the minimal accompaniment of snowflake-light percussion. Unsurprisingly, it was Brikha's unique treatment of the now-classic "Groove La Chord" that drew the most energetic response. The track began beatless, with the familiar three-fingered motif bouncing around in an echo-chamber as the bass rumbled at ultra-low frequencies. Shortly after the bottom end kicked in, Brikha inserted the orgasmic throb of Lil Louis' "French Kiss" and the surreal chimes of Jeff Mills' "The Bells" followed. The simultaneous manipulation of the three most hypnotic tracks of '90s techno (and all without samples) was both masterful and unparalleled. And this was supposed to be an off-night?