Baauer – Live at Thekla, Bristol

6 Dec


Any DJ set that opens with Wacka Flocka Flame’s ‘Brick Squad’ is clearly attempting to diverge from the over manipulated screeching of what’s now known as dubstep. For the heads that know, Skrillex and co. are far from the reggae infused origins of dubstep, but there we are. It seems that sub-genres are popping up left right and centre. So it’s not out of the question for someone to merge the hip-hop infused sounds from Brooklyn with the European infatuation of electronic music then, surely?

So enters Baauer, another youngster from across the pond that’s mastered the ancient art of producing music from a Macbook and yet another face to add to the list of predictable DJ acts, you’re thinking.

Well, on paper, he fits the style criteria for most bass enthused ravers. Thumping bass kicks? Check. Synthesisers that provide a, err, melody. Double check. Occasional rap samples? You betcha.

But thrown into the mix is the unmistakable hip-hop beats akin to those of Three Six Mafia, Big Sean and Rick Ross. I think the term ‘influenced’ is not strong enough here – Baauer’s Brooklyn roots really do come across strongly. There are even some jazzy sax samples to contradict the urban-electronic amalgamation.    

A recipe for disaster? Not at all.

Donning a flat-peak and a hoody, the 22 year-old looks set to get ‘home with the downies’.

The vocals of Nero’s ‘Won’t You’ rises and swathes of Bristolians await the remix that Baauer has become famous for through YouTube. A thorough ear and speaker bashing ensues, minimalistic sub-bass accompanies jumpy synth patterns that by now has become characteristic of the ‘trap-step’ style.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t listen to this at home, but in the resonating bass chambers in Bristol’s underground club scene, it’s undeniably addictive. 

Released on the 21st of September on Mad Decent imprint Jeffrees, the warped Azealia Banks style synth’s and off-beat bass kicks of Harlem Shake is like a middle finger to the norm of your average dance music.

This is the musical love child of a drug-fueled night of passion between house music and hip-hop, and it makes for an excellent live set.

By Freddie Holmes




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