Live performances of electronic music have gone a long way since the seminal decision of a few men from Düsseldorf to leave their Krautrock beginnings behind and to become machines. Since then, the list of successors is epic and technologically refined in the process: from the musicians who on stage incorporated electronics into their post punk aesthetics to today's laptop PAs blurring the lines between performance and DJ set in a club context. Of course the evolution of according concepts also proceeded in reverse, with electronic musicians implementing their sound into traditional band structures, and performing their music as modern interpretations of the latter, combining the sounds of the according analogue and digital equipment.
Elektro Guzzi from Vienna are none of the above. Though their sound most certainly suggests that Bernhard Hammer, Jakob Schneidewind and Bernhard Breuer also decided to become machines, they strangely enough don't use any.
As digital as they may sound, they couldn't be more analogue, producing and performing with the most classic of all setups: bass, guitar, and drums. But however traditional they may look as a band, they certainly do not sound like one.
Elektro Guzzi are not interested in exploring their minimal and dubbed out soundscapes in long epic jams, where coincidental ideas born out of improvisation are the unofficial band member. Elektro Guzzi are interested in structure. They produce and perform like any modern electronic producer and performer wanting that every element of a track is exactly where it is intended to be. There is no computer backup material they prepared earlier, no loops and things, no overdubs. However hard it is to believe, what you hear is 100% live.
The band started in 2004, taking five years to shape their skills before ever entering the studio. This may explain why they have been one of the few acts so convincing that they got a tour of Japan and appearances at Barcelona's Sonar and Berlin's Berghain booked before any recording was even promoted.
As fascinating as the resulting music already sounds on their debut releases for Macro (produced by Austrian legend Patrick Pulsinger), the band is perfectly able to bring it on stage. There, they connect the hypnotizing force of their analogue techno with the visual treat of a band doing it all right in front of your eyes. You hear it, you witness it, and you dance.
Bursting onto the scene with their Maybes EP at the start of 2009, Mount Kimbie, the duo of Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, have developed a truly unique sound whose experimental rhythms lend themselves to the fringes of dubstep, wonky and hip hop, but ooze with emotion and echoing ambient soundscapes that take the listener to an entirely different place.
Both Mount Kimbie EPs Maybes and Sketch On Glass cover a lot of stylistic territory, using pitch-shifted vocals along with electronic and organic tones to create beat-oriented headphone music with the elegaic grandeur of post-rock. Difficult to categorise, the lush EPs caused a commotion when released last year with Sketch On Glass recently undergoing reworks from the likes of Faulty DL, SCB (Scuba's darker techno alias) and their sometime collaborator James Blake. With their own remixes for The Big Pink, The xx and Foals becoming hot property, plus an exclusive Radio 1 Maida Vale session on the Gilles Peterson's show, Mount Kimbie have been a core part of the growing scene in London often associated with a sub-genre perfected by labels like Hyperdub and Hessle Audio.
The duo's debut full-length Crooks & Lovers, released in July 2010, sees them refine the delicate experiments of their first two EPs into a longer, more rounded statement of intent. The result is an album that follows a deliciously free-associative logic, veering wildly between bursts of perfect, fizzing pop, glowing ambience and buzzing UK garage. Certainly Mount Kimbie’s increased use of live samples and instruments lends their newer material an organic, natural sense of pace that exceeds even that of their earlier EPs. If one word succinctly captures the essence of Crooks & Lovers, it's hypnotic. Crooks & Lovers possesses a nervy, haunted feel, a tension that’s only heightened by the fragments of living and breathing reality that lurk just beneath its surface.
Toro y Moi is 23 year old Columbia, South Carolina native and resident Chaz Bundick. After earning a BFA in Graphic Design at The University of South Carolina, Chaz decided to push his music further now that he has more time on his hands.
Chaz Bundick's methods are constantly changing and evolving. Heavily influenced by his parent’s vinyl and tape collection, he also possesses great admiration for contemporary influences like Animal Collective, Sonic Youth, J Dilla, and Daft Punk. Like most prepubescent teens, he had his punk band and once that died out, the "side project" soon became the main focus.
Toro y Moi started in 2001 as a bedroom project but quickly grew into the live performance realm. The songs are born from a plethora of different genres, from freak-folk to R&B to French House — which is heavily influential on Chaz's newest dance alias, Les Sins. He has since been signed to Carpark Records, on which he released his first full-length album Causers of This in January 2010.
Before any full length album has been released, Toro y Moi has already received praise from Pitchfork and Gorilla Vs. Bear, as well as print features in the NME and Dazed and Confused.