Live: RBMA 2013, Four Tet, Jon Hopkins, Koreless
by Reginald Duvivier
At a sold out Webster Hall the stage was unadorned with the exception of a single table covered from end to end with wires. There was no concert lighting, or guest musicians or even hype men. It was a night to celebrate the kind of musician that pretty much only started existing in the 21st century; the laptop musician. On the twelfth night of the Red Bull Music Academy they brought out three famed electronic musicians to fill the venue with whatever sounds they could cook up from their macbooks.
First up was Welsh producer Koreless. His set was built around synthesizer sound loops that for the first half of his set had no drums. It was a lesson in repletion and layering, with him blending unrecognizable pieces over time into large walls of sounds. Halfway through his he introduced drums for the first time and the beats lumbered along menacingly until the end of his set.
Movie composer Jon Hopkins played tracks of a more populist flair. He hit the stage spinning a hard hitting set of almost Skrillex sounding dubstep before settling into a grove of hard hitting Berlin techno. On his way out he started dismantling the tracks he built up, leading to a cacophonic Aphex Twin-like drum and bass breakdown that sounded like metal and concrete slamming into each other.
Master remixer Four Tet took stage last. His set was more nuances then the others as he switched between meticulously constructed melody driven piece and pure dance music. Over his decade plus career Four Tet has taken sparse samples and built complex songs out of them but this showcase was much more straight forward and focused on moving feet then moving minds. The night ended the only way it could have; as a dance party.