Club Nokia was the place to be last Friday as remix kings RAC hosted a night of celebration for electronic music artists that included performances by Geographer and Big Data. But the lo-fi instrumentals of filous opened the night; his method of using his guitar and ukulele to record chords and then play them back over danceable beats leaving a strong impression on the crowd.
Geographer’s aim was to saturate fans in the new sounds of their third album Ghost Modern, to coat the walls and fill the theatre until you were soaked to the bone in the hypnotic beats and sent into a groove-induced coma.
They opened with, “I’m Ready,” and before long you were floating on familiar buzzing keyboards, but then something happens that you don’t expect–the crisp cut of strings chop into the lush waves of Deni’s high-pitched croons and suddenly you’re flying. A thundering bass drop later–with the blissful violin still dancing in the background–and you realize that Geographer has just reinvented itself. The end of “I’m Ready” is nothing short of an orgiastic explosion of warbling, phased-out bass, harmonized by Deni’s vocals and the magical accompaniment of strings.
Diving into some Myth-era tunes, the keyboard enthusiastic and staccato percussion of, “Lover’s Game,” followed, along with the grumbling bass of another Ghost Modern track, “Need.” A sharp right-turn into the dark ambience of alternative-R&B, the track is refreshingly free of any synth-pop flavoring–instead relying on concussive percussion rhythms, weeping strings, and groaning electric guitars. Then came the similarly minimalist, “Kaleidoscope,” and the dance frenzy that Geographer had opened their set with cooled beneath soothing vocalizations and chirping synth.
With the simple upbeat piano melody of, “The Guest,” the group took another right-turn–-lighthearted, infectiously hopeful, and rife with a gorgeous finale instrumental by the band’s backing ensemble.
A performance of “Falling Apart,” was painted with everything that has made Geographer what it is today; bottomless bass rhythms and percussion roll around behind Deni’s euphoniously agile vocals, while brooding strings sprint and jump alongside crashing cymbals. The entire song descends into quiet twinkles and hushed synth as Deni repeats, tirelessly, “Falling apart, falling apart, again.”
While fans were still recovering, the deep, rumbling synthesizers of crowd-favorite, “Verona,” burst through the speakers and to resist the urge to dance was to die right then and there. “I’m watching while a wild dog makes ripples round and round/Is every single whisper a life that we should know by now or is it just a sound?” Deni murmurs hopelessly against the infectious bass line. Standing above his keyboard, head-bobbing and eyes-closed, the young singer poured himself out with every syllable.
But the night was far from over, as Big Data took the stage with what has become their signature air for theatrics. Coordinated robotic dance moves, heavy percussion thunderings and synth explosions that shocked you into submission were a normality for the group that originally went viral for its groovy single “Dangerous.” But that rhythm and groove was not lost in the foray of electronic bursts, rumbling electric guitar melodies and sample tracks oozed with an inherent funk on songs like “Business of Emotion” and “Snowed In. The gorgeous vocals of Liz Ryan brought what might’ve been a chaotic jumbling of powerful sounds battling for domination into harmony, her high pitched mewls cutting deep in songs like “The Glow.”
It was close to one in the morning by the time RAC began, but fans were still more than restless to see the young crew do their thing. Opening with a one-two punch of dance-crazed hits, the group began with the upbeat rhythmics of their own song “Hollywood,” and followed with their remixed version of the infectious Two Door Cinema Club hit “Something Good Can Work.” Not ones to stop the massive weight of their own momentum, the Remix Artist Collective pounded hit after addictive hit into the crowd; their fluid rotation of lead singers made it feel like you were watching some sort of supergroup.
Everyone, from RAC founder Andre Anjos (who spent much of the night shredding on his Gibson), to his keyboardist and bassist stepped up to take mic duties–each completely slaying their part.
Words & Photography: Steven Ward