West End Cultural Centre, Big Fun Festival, Winnipeg MB, January 29

OperatorsWest End Cultural Centre, Big Fun Festival, Winnipeg MB, January 29
Photo: Kaitlyn Emslie Farrell
Making their Winnipeg debut as part of the annual Big Fun Festival, Dan Boeckner's (Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs) new project, Operators, may be his dance-focused creative outlet, but it was the slowed down, guitar-centred tracks that really stood out. Using a hardware-based setup that included a Tempest, Moog Minitaur, Electron drum machine, a Novation synth and various effects, Boeckner, Macedonian multi-instrumentalist Devojka and drummer Sam Brown have all the tools to lay down a serious groove, but those moments were only fully realized a few times during the set.
That's not to say that songs like "Find the Light" or "Lesson Plan" don't benefit from the looseness that you only get with a human touch, but it felt at times some of Operators' tracks could use more bottom end or more underlying textures to fill out the sound. Of course, the lack of forceful bass so integral to dance music could have more to due with the venue's sound system than with the band, but somehow, something felt missing.
With only one EP out, the group decided to unveil new material, giving the audience a glimpse at where the band is heading. Although Operators have only been around since the summer, their music feels like Boeckner is tapping into the indie-dance vibe that was so prevalent in the mid 2000s. That's not a bad thing, but it will be interesting to see how this project unfolds.
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