The good folks over at Decibel Festival have made April of this year really special for Seattle. For those of us who are waiting on pins and needles for this year's lineup to drop, the announcement of DB Micro Fest was a wonderful surprise. All April, we've had incredible shows, from John Talabot & Marc Pinol at Q to Shlohmo and his WEDIDIT crew at Neumos. One of the things that makes Decibel so special of an organization is their ability to craft a full exhibition of a single night's event. Micro Fest's pinnacle event was no exception to this rule whatsoever, as we saw UK electronic artist Clark and LA producer (and Decibel favorite!) Nosaj Thing co-headline a killer of an event at Neumos. While each working with entirely different bodies of sound and work, both producers brought their A game and the crowd loved every minute of it.
Clark has taken a long time to release a self-titled record, but somehow, 2014 riding into 2015 seems just right. Chris has been around the heart of the IDM and techno scene since the golden days of early 2000s Warp. Through the years he's built on his sound wonderfully, never seeming to bottleneck or date any certain album to a specific time or trend. Each feels like its own chapter moving forward. But with last year's moody autumn record Clark, he's making a definitive, autobiographical statement. Clark has built to this record, and this one is a testament to the progress made thus far. In that, it's some of his best and self-expressive work yet. Live, Clark has a boatload to work with, and the crowd knows it. Even after an 80 minute set, with the bass pounding and the visuals lightly playing into his imagery, it felt like Clark had just gotten started when it was time for him to bid farewell. But not a minute went by in waste. Clark's fades between tracks and transitions between eras were all incredibly telling. The guy is a master of his craft, and tonight, it was fun to just hop along for the ride. Though really, that ride could have gone on for another hour or two, easy.
Thanks to Decibel, Seattle has given lots of love to Nosaj Thing over the years, but given his current trajectory, it won't be long until the rest of the world loves him as much as we do. Jason Chung hails from LA. His production style mixes electronic and hip-hop and personifies all the introspective, warm summer night drives that his city has to offer. He caught the eye of Kendrick Lamar back in 2011 for the one-off "Cloud 10". Then he dropped one of the most memorable tracks on Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap with "Paranoia". On his own, he dropped his second LP Home back in 2013 and has a third one coming in a couple weeks with Fated, showing off features from Chance and the trending Whoarei on the singles. Judging by what we've heard so far, Nosaj Thing is only continuing to perfect this melancholy sensibility of his genres. It makes him an entirely one-of-a-kind producer in the hip-hop world, and judging by the trends we've been seeing, I think it will make Nosaj Thing quite a hot commodity in the next year or so.
Live, Nosaj Thing is tremendous. His sets span the massive array of sounds he throws into his records and then some. Following the driving, groove-heavy sounds of Clark, Nosaj Thing kept thing spacious and heterogenous. The contrast between the two only heightened mutual appreciation. Nosaj Thing turned the set inwards and made it something to get welcomed into. The guy works in truly mysterious ways - he's an ace in the hole just waiting on timing. But for the meantime, getting to dance along to his selections in the cozy confines of Neumos is always much appreciated.
Clark's new LP Clark is out now on Warp. Look for Nosaj Thing's third LP Fated out May the 4th on Innovative Leisure.
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