Many left-field electronic producers have moved away from their signature sounds to explore how their experimental music-making techniques work within the parameters of hiphop (Prefuse 73 and Pole come to mind), but they tend to fall short when it comes to actually getting the kids moving.
Montreal beatsmith Ghislain Poirier, however, has had much more success than most at linking his early otherworldly sounds with the futuristic sci-fi side of contemporary hiphop, dancehall and booty.
Working the late-night crowd in the basement of the Drake Friday night (courtesy of extended TIFF bar hours), he impressively balanced idiosyncratic remixes of recognizable hits with the more underexposed urban sounds of grime, Baltimore club, baile funk and West African hiphop. The music nerds could geek out to the obscurities, but the reworked club bangers kept the rest of the club on the dance floor.
It would be nice to see him play somewhere a bit edgier to a more discerning audience and with more bass on hand. If he can rock the somewhat random TIFF partiers, then I can only imagine the damage he could do to a crowd that actually knows what they're getting into.
It's hard to believe that the annual Harvest Festival, held Saturday night on a farm near Cobourg, is eight years old. Some things have changed over the years, but mostly the fest is still the strangely wholesome rural hedonist marathon that it's always been.
Arriving around sunset, we caught the end of a performance by the Zero Gravity Circus, a new addition this year. The circus was entertaining, but we were antsy for the music to start up again. Soon enough, all three areas were pounding out the beats, and by the midnight bonfire-lighting ceremony, people were already sweaty and excited - and a few partially nude.
Somehow, many were still dancing at sunrise and returned to the party later in the morning after napping in their cars and tents.
As in past years, the all-Canadian DJ talent wasn't really based around any big names or headliners. People come here year after year for the event itself rather than to stand around and watch a superstar cue up records.
It was another quality year for the festival and, despite a few minor setbacks, the vast majority of the changes have been positive: improved and plentiful porta-potties with sanitation stations to wash your hands, film canisters handed out to the smokers to store their butts in, better organization in the parking lot and a sizable but discreet and polite security staff and EMS team.
Return of Return To NYC
Checked out the most recent edition of Toronto's version of the Return To New York party at State Theatre Friday night, but was surprised at the strange vibe in the room - lots of standing around and looking uncomfortable, unusual for events promoted by AD/D.
AD/D's first foray into the local scene brought Arthur Baker's travelling electro-rock-house-new-wave dance party to town. The promoters have since established themselves more for their own events, so maybe their regulars were saving themselves for the Monday-night presentation of the Soulwax crew.
This particular evening involved two live performances - a sleepy laptop set of tech-house by Kate Simko that got little reaction and an aggressive and manic industrial-infused techno set by Motor , whom audience members either loved and hated - they were either up front and cheering or outside smoking and complaining.
Junior Sanchez and Joel Madden (of Good Charlotte) followed the DJ sets, but there wasn't much of a vibe.