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LIVE: SXSW 2013, Azari & III

by Reginald Duvivier

Even though technology has evolved to the point where our cell phones can create pretty complex musical productions, plenty of musicians seek out that primitive sound of their youth, particularly with dance music. They scour Ebay for discontinued synthesizers to try to get that classic sound that went ironically nowhere for hundred of forgotten bands. Classic house and techno tracks have been revamped, re-sampled, and recreated dozens of times to the point where a ‘house music kit’ is a mainstay in most music production software. What’s great about technology is many of these ‘new’ tracks sound decent but by and large they are missing the element that made the original tracks so memorable.

Azari and III have been bringing that missing element, soul, to dance music for the past couple of years. Producers Azari and Alixander, flanked by singers Fritz and ‘Starving Yet Full’, create a mix of songs indebted but not beholden to the garage house and techno of yore. At the Tap Room they brought a stripped down and joyous set to SXSW. The crowd was filled with serious dance music fans and they wasted no time; they hit the stage with no fanfare and immediately got into their set.

Fritz and Starving joked with the crowd while Alixander and Azari sung along to themselves in the background while they queued up the beats. Periodically Fritz and Starving would break out into professional looking but un-choreographed dance offs that fit the off the cuff vibe of the show perfectly. They would switch vocals and flirt with the crowd and treat the rare dance or vocal screw up with a smile. The stage was low which was symbolic, their form of dance music is so infectious that’s there’s really no difference between performer and audience…everyone was just dancing around with no boundaries letting the beat take them wherever it wanted.