EDAN with SOLIVA and INSIDEAMIND at the Horseshoe, August 27. Tickets: $20. Attendance: 130. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
If you're curious about what the ninth circle of hell sounds like, you shoulda dropped by the Horseshoe at around 10 pm last Sunday.
DJ duo InsideAMind were rocking four turntables. But after seeing their slick logo and hearing them itemize their entire inventory of hardware, the freaky sounds they were producing were way past anticlimactic.
Starting in a Portishead-like pocket, DJs Vision and Steptone descended into ambience that bounced between abrasive, atonal and arrhythmic. Oddly, they rarely dropped any breaks, though there was some choreography.
But from the looks on the faces of folks with their ears plugged during the high-pitched noise swells, I.A.M. 's sound art was a bit too avant-garde for the crowd. Or maybe they were having technical difficulties. Hard to say.
They summed up their set thusly: "We like vinyl. We use it as one of the main things in our production."
Hearing this backstage, Edan might've been enjoying the set; the unkempt-afro-possessing Bostonian beatmaker's on some whole other shit.
Carefully setting up his own equipment while a crowd gathered by the stage, he checked his mic and with no introduction got down to business.
In a unique twist, he played with a small effects pedal while he rhymed, holding down buttons to magnify, pitch-bend and reverberate the final words of lines fired off by himself and partner Dagha .
The two hurled nonstop, rapid-fire flows at each other and a receptive audience with Swiss-watch-like timing, sometimes even alternating words to create perfectly coherent verses.
Edan also threw a professorial tweed jacket over his buttoned-up white polo shirt, claiming that a costume change is the mark of a true showman. But he immediately abandoned the blazer: "This shit is too hot."
Everyone agreed when Edan got on the ones and twos and, juggling a break while rhyming (almost as well as J-Live), mashed up Nico over a classic 80s breakbeat, strummed a guitar while blowing a kazoo, ripped it over the Beatles' Strawberry Fields and blasted open the fourth wall of hiphop showdom by mingling in the audience with a cordless mic.