Prefuse 73 / Nosaj Thing / FaltyDL The Hoxton, Toronto ON, January 31
Published Feb 01, 2014With bass bumping the night off to a lively start, Brooklyn-based producer FaltyDL delivered his own brand of colourful thumpers. While his set started energetically, it ended with some strange avant-garde pulses and samples of glass shattering, which mostly confused the crowd who were debating whether or not to attempt dancing to this weird outro. Most of what was in between was house (for lack of a better word), with borrowed aspects of funk, tribal rhythms and delicious synth-y goodness. There were even some modest elements of drum & bass thrown in too, a style which was then later replicated by the next act on the bill, Nosaj Thing, with his track "Light #3."
Before he reached that point, however, Nosaj Thing began with some angelic vocals over his trademark crackle, which then morphed into "Home," the title track from his latest LP. Keeping fluid from the offset, he gently introduced "EclipseBlue" before melting into "Quest." In addition to Nosaj's seamlessness, he was constantly reinventing his tracks on the fly, rarely staying still, keeping things interesting throughout. No song was safe from the plethora of filters and delays that he liberally used.
The fact that all the acts in the show were playing live and not just falling into the temptation of a DJ set, which far too many electronic artists are doing these days, raised the quality of the gig infinitely. Another temptation which was avoided was ramping up the tempo of their songs to a more club-friendly speed.
No one avoided this trait more than Prefuse 73, who didn't so much steer clear of the idea as he did punch it in the face and run off in the opposite direction. His set was niche, too niche for most people in fact, seeing as he pretty much cleared the dance floor. Simply refusing to pander to the masses, Prefuse went on a queer journey with frequent stops at glitch, IDM and downright off-kilter beats.
While his set was amazing, it's not surprising that he dissolved the crowd. Prefuse 73 is not a main room act. He's much more suited to a side room in a club or a small stage at a festival when the sun's going down. Anyone smart enough to stick around would've heard him tear through tracks "Uprock and Invigorate," "One Word Extinguisher," "Radio Attack" and "Nature's Uplifting Revenge."
Just as even the diehard Prefuse fans were beginning to flounder, FaltyDL and Nosaj Thing reemerged on stage so that all three could embark on a 30-minute improv session. It was a welcome change of pace that seemed to be mostly orchestrated by FaltyDL, who brought the proceedings full circle to the 4/4 rhythms of house music. It's incredibly rare to see an electronic jam, and even rarer to see one come off so smoothly.
There were golden moments in that half hour that they'd surely like to replicate in the studio. All three brought their own styles to the table, and it all gelled beautifully. Perhaps it was the overpowering talents of Prefuse 73 or the fact that Nosaj Thing looked like he wanted a cup of tea and a long sleep, but the improv fizzled back into odd, down-tempo beats once again. It was at this point that the show wound down to a close. Maybe there's just no room in a club for glitch-hop at two in the morning.