Decibel Festival Recap - Nicolas Jaar & Friends
It was the third time Mount Kimbie has performed in Seattle in less than a year. I have no idea why we could be so fortunate, but you can rest assured that each opportunity was seized, and each time the two trailblazers that make up the band shattered the expectations they had set previously. Each show has been put on through Decibel, and this time around it was for the annual festival. Going into the Showbox Sodo, it wasn’t as clear for what to expect - they weren’t headlining like they had been in the past. The venue itself is gargantuan - easily twice the size than any previous venue, and is notorious for very peculiar spacing, so there was some initial anxiety before they got on stage. Any and all apprehensiveness was immediately dusted off when Mount Kimbie took the stage. Not only did they play a full length set, but it was the most energetic and enthusiastic performance to date. It was very much a reciprocal trade-off, with the audience giving back just as much as the music put out. A lot of you may have had an opportunity to see these gentleman perform in the past year - especially since the release of their sophomore album, ‘Cold Spring Fault Less Youth’. The style of live performance may not be the first of it’s kind, but the way these guys seamlessly blend the experience of an avante-garde electronic escapade and a four-on-the-floor club scene is truly brilliant. The fans Mount Kimbie reaches is one of the richest in variety, and it’s a result of turning a blind eye to conceptual notion of genre-barriers. What they make, and what they play is music of a new standard and quality that has spread like wildfire. It’s a blessing and a curse to see these guys play, simply because at the end - you want nothing more then to experience it all over again. It should be noted as well, that the slideshow of photos captured on what I assume to be a disposable camera, has been utilized in every set of theirs, and has yet to become dull. Far from it in fact, the visuals are an exceptional compliment to the music. As the sounds and aural emotion vary, the photos stay consistent and surprisingly enough, pair up well with whatever they’re playing at the time. The topic of visuals serves as a great segue to the next performer - Nicolas Jaar.
Words will never do this justice. The life-changing experience that Nicolas Jaar provides is one-of-a-kind. There was a unifying presence within his music that every single individual in the audience felt deep within their being. Before we delve into that however, Tarik Barri deserves a good deal of credit for all of it. HIs visuals that were projected during Jaar’s set were by far, the best visuals I have ever seen. From an individual with little to no programming talent whatsoever - the complicated array of images and algorithms that went into the projectoins were present throughout. They were flawless and a sincere joy to watch and move to with Jaar’s music in the forefront. (Here’s a taste of his visuals played in conjunction with an Atoms for Peace performance.)
Nicolas Jaar has an uncanny ability of building a specific tension through out the crowd with the way in which he delays using low ends. From “Space Is Only Noise” he would trigger certain, familiar field recordings and play them out, tastefully mind you, til the point of breaking. And just when it seemed like the rubber band was at stretching capacity, and was soon to snap - he would release his grip on you and put you in this hypnotic trance of a state with his productions in full swing. It was an adventure that you could tell right form the beginning could never be matched again. It was of an entirely different element - incomparable to any other performance due to it’s originality and unique qualities.
A profound night to be remembered by everyone at the 2013 Decibel Festival.