Monday, September 08, 2014

Hopscotch 2014 Night 1: Deniro Farrar, Tim Hecker

Charlotte’s Deniro Farrar produced a lot of mixed feelings. The small crowd was lively, but not nearly as into it as Farrar’s large crew who danced and shouted on the back of the stage. Farrar’s performance was strong, but the beats he rapped over weren’t as interesting as his recorded music.

Every song started and ended with nearly identical explosion and gun shot sound effects. The beats were obtuse and heavy handed whereas on his recordings they are dark, slick, and grimy. It seemed like everything was pumped up to juice the live performance, but it actually sapped some of the energy and meaning. “Old Tookie” went from sounding like a reflective warning to another boastful club song.

The highlight of Farrar’s performance came with he dropped all the music and rapped a cappella. When all the frills were stripped away it was easy to see why he’s had a lot of recent success: his lyrics don’t beat around the bush and his delivery is honest.

My night ended with Tim Hecker at Kings Barcade. With all the lights out and smoke billowing from the stage, the atmosphere was eerie and calming at the same time. Hecker played continuously for the entire set. There was plenty of direction with the music as he built up the sound in various ways. First were the standard crescendos to build volume and then he built tones on top of tones to create color. Where Hecker took it to another level was in building texture.

One vibration would wash down my body and then he’d switch notes and another would wash up. For a brief moment, these vibrations would clash in odd and exhilarating fashion. The music wasn’t just a physical experience. The combinations of notes would create overtones and while the sounds waves would be shaking my body these overtones would appear in my head. It felt like only I could hear them and that this new note was coming from inside of me.

When the music stopped, my body had to readjust. It was like stepping off of the moving walkway at the airport. Music is often described as moving metaphorically, but with Tim Hecker it is appropriate to apply it literally.

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