Shigeto. Photo: Anthony Ciannamea
After reading up on Karamea’s interview with label manager of Ghostly International, Jeff Owens, you can start to get a feel for what a Ghostly spirit is like. With electronic music that boasts more than just what your average E-popping rave-kid would listen to, the artists embrace a more intricate way of creating music with layers that not only get your body moving, but initiate stimulating brain activity. Kilby Court opened their doors for a night of these neural/body connections with three acts that embrace sounds that build off the past, but run towards the future.
The night began with a performance by Nitemoves, with solo artist Rory O’Conner from Washington DC. The samples were nostalgic, with scratches that sounded like they were being done across a middle school binder, and melodies that looped and spiraled with holographic images. It’s something to write home about when you can elucidate such imagery while not resorting to the fancy projections that most electronic bands do, and Nitemoves did this well as he used his fancy finger flipping on the samplers and midis. With experience performing alongside Tycho and Com Truise, it makes sense that the beats would come across as an innate part of his persona.
After Nitemoves, Beacon took the stage to set a more eerie tone to the garage at Kilby. As the Brooklyn duo (Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett) navigated through their set, they both contributed samples and beats with balance between the pair. A couple of things stood out about their set: Mullarney’s vocals, and the duo’s thick, potent bass. Mullarney sang ominous love songs with a voice that came across as sultry, emotional and angelic. Despite the dark undertones of the musical sounds, his voice was like a ’90s diva, but with a chilling, dank re-vibing of the hits (and no, I don’t mean “dank” like that shit you smoke, although that wouldn’t go bad with the tunes…). If Mary J Blige met Massive Attack and Atoms for Peace and they had a musical ménage à trois, the offspring might very well be Beacon, but it’s more indescribable than that. This is the R&B ballads for the future that you’ve been looking for, with demonic nuances that meld those pop love songs you grew up on, with a bass that was too much for Kilby’s tin walls to accommodate. Paired with the Satanic-ish projections behind them, Beacon would make for a good set to go along with some high school style dance, matured for an adult audience.
To conclude the night, Shigeto dominated the stage with more than just projections and fancy keyboards. Buzz on the street said that Shigeto was a “chill dude,” and the rumors turned out to be true as he climbed onto the stage, thanking the crowd and interacting with everyone before beginning his set, making it seem like we were all his BFFs. Instead of setting up and waiting for the crowd to huddle in the space, he started straight off with the first two songs from his new album, No Better Time Than Now with “First Saturn Return” setting the tone that transitions into the deeper, more danceable beats found in “Detroit Part 1.” Taking off from there, artist Zach Saginaw (Shigeto is his middle name) took us all on a journey into a mix that included new hits balanced with the earlier, appropriate as his dreamy tunes offer that same fusion of historical and futuristic tones. Accompanying him on stage was not only his samplers and computer, but a wood hooped drum set with chimes that he beat with hearty strength. The focus he had on the beats with the drum kit were intricate and focused, as he seemed to reach Zen-like states during his set while his computer crony looked over the mixed melodies. By balancing the mix with the drums, the songs were delivered powerfully and drew the crowd in with feet tapping and arms in the air for an ethereal experience.
Here’s to many more Salt Lake stops from the Ghostly crew!