(IDM-r) Ninjatune Tour - Los Angeles - 4/5/98

From Greg Earle
Sent Mon, Apr 6th 1998, 22:44

[Hmmn, I coulda sworn we had IDM subscribers in Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle,
 Portland and San Francisco.  Don't you ever go out?]

The Ninja posse hit Los Angeles last night.  I haven't seen any reviews, so
here's a rundown ...

Called the phone number and it said "Doors open at 8, first DJ at 9".  With
no running order in hand, but wanting to get there on time, left home at 8:25
and 2 pitstops later we're running late and don't get to the 
Troubadour until 9:05.  Get inside at like 9:15 to find DJ Anna had gone on
at 8 and was already finished!  What was worse, the Main Event - Riz Maslen -
was already up on stage!!  ARGGGGGH!  <insert various we-can't-print-these-
in-family-newspapers phrases directed towards buttwipe venue recorded 

Over the course of the next 45 minutes a half-full (at that time) club heard
Ms. Neotropic cover a vast musical landscape.  None of which had ever been
released!  (Found out later she played material from her upcoming album,
which due to the glacial-like pace of Ninja Tune won't be out 'til September.)

It was notably different from "15 Levels of Magnification" in most every way.
There was Industrial Hip-Hop (probably the closest I'll ever get to hearing
something that sounds like Techno-Animal live), there were vocals (both her
own and the girl singer from Sky Cries Mary, whom she's remixed), there were
ethereal moments, there were soundtrack-y moments, there were Industrial
moments, there were soft piano moments, and there were phat beats moments.
Lots of phat beats moments  :-)

In short, it was utterly fucking brilliant.

Riz embodies everything that's good about a true Artist - she doesn't look
back, she's into the here and now, and is not afraid to plow her own path -
and it's the epitome of "IDM" - at (most) times danceable music that's
obviously the product of a very intelligent mind.  (She should have draped a
"Caution: Brain At Work" sign over the turntables at the front of the stage.)

After Neotropic came a rather forgettable set from one of the Herbalizer
crew.  No attempt to mix and I just wasn't in the mood for it after Riz's set.

Next up was T-Power and his chum doing their Chocolate Weasel thing.  This
started out as a Young Person's Guide to Electro ("Planet Rock", "Tour de
France", "Clear") but then they veered away from that to what became a mix of
somewhat cheezy stuff mixed with some tuff Drum n' Bass (Brock 'spotted some
Grooverider, we heard other stuff that must have come from "Spaghettification"
which I haven't heard but you could kinda tell from the context).  I quite
liked the stuff I heard that sounded like it was T-Power-generated, and of
course how could you not love those old Electro chestnuts heard loud?  (Boy,
I think I'm gonna camp out for Kraftwerk tickets.  I can taste it already.)

Next up was DJ Vadim, who was later joined by someone else on the decks in a
2x4.  While I like Hip-Hop and scratching in small dosages, I guess I'm more
into it from the turntablist perspective, i.e. to me the music is less
relevant than the display of turntable talents (cf. Kid Koala, Q-Bert et al.)
and since Vadim is none of the aforementioned, after some pleasant
head-nodding for a bit we went outside ...

There we found Riz doing t-shirt booth duty (!) so we chatted her up for an
hour or so on various and sundry topics.  I found out there's two older
Neotropic 12"'s I've never even seen, as well as a Small Fish With Spine
full-length that's apparently not too easy to locate either.  She suggested I
contact Andy Shih at Oxygen Music Works in NY.  (I remember him being on IDM
once back in the day; anybody got a recent e-mail addy for him?)

For those of you in San Diego tonight, Phoenix tomorrow (Gil, I'm talkin' to
you boyuh - and bring that MD with you y'hear?) and points East, this is a
Don't Miss event.  Your brain will be churnin' and yo' ass will be shakin'.
But get there *early* or else you'll miss out on one of the best-kept secrets
in IDM - Neotropic.  Ignore her at your peril.

        - Greg